Monday, 9 June 2014

What a difference a week makes.

I can't quite believe that I was writing such a happy up beat post this time last week!  After writing that the following day I woke up with very sore joints,  this happens some times with my rheumatoid arthritis, but often wears off over the day.  However Weds it was still just as bad, so was Thursday and Friday - grrrrrr.  It is so easy to be pulled down by pain.  I suddenly become aware of all the things I cannot do, rather than thinking about the things I can do.

It took me until yesterday to put a plea out for prayers from my friends for healing and today I think God has answered in a gentle way.  The first thing is I managed to have a telephone conversation with my GP and so now have some stronger pain killers - which are already working better than my other ones!  The second thing was that because I had to go to the chemist to pick up my prescription, I had to use the car, which spurred me on to drive just a little further to the gym and go for a swim.  I had to use the indoor pool because it is the only one with gentle steps down into the water rather than a ladder.  However it really was bliss.  I guess I was more floating than swimming.  When I am floating my arms feel so supported and weightless, I so wish I could bottle that feeling it is just bliss.  It reminds me of years ago using a floatation tank, where you get into a coffin like piece of equipment that has salty water in it and you lie in the darkness.  They were all the rage back then, I wonder if they still exist.  Anyway the pool is definitely as good a place as any to capture that beautiful floating feeling.

The bonus of getting to the gym means I could shower as well, at home I have to go upstairs to do this, so when everything is as painful as it is now, I can only shower either first thing in the morning or last thing before bed.  The gym is great as I am able to stay all on the ground floor all the way from my car.  So though I cannot say there has been a lot of physical healing take place since the prayers of yesterday, I do know that God is here with me and am very grateful for the moments of relief, medication and water have given me.

Have a good week xxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 2 June 2014

Finding Joy on the Journey

A week last Sunday my husband and I had the pleasure of leading our all together service at church.  We could choose anything we liked as the subject!  I had originally intended to rehash something I had done when I was working for the church as a youth and children's pastor.  I never got round to doing it as my father died the night before, it was still used but someone else did it for me.  Then I had been given the title Admiring the View and had to come up with an interactive slot for newly confirmed Christians at our local Cathedral.  It's funny how God works though, as when I looked back on my computer the only thing I could find (I thought I had all sorts of stuff) was a power point which now looked very dated.

Admiring the View had ended up being all about remembering to stop on our Christian/life's journey and look around us and see the good stuff that God is always up to around us.

I set about writing some notes, looking through google at posts about similar topics and eventually I heard God loud and clear and the title had to be Finding Joy on the Journey.

The verse I was drawn to was this one

Philippians 4 4 - 11

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learnt or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practise. And the God of peace will be with you.

I felt able to speak about this because it was something I had first hand experience of and just felt God prompting me to tell others about my experience.  The last 5 1/2 years of my life could be described as a journey through grief.  Not only did I lose my younger sister at the age of 36 after a brief  3 week illness,  I then suddenly and unexpectedly lost my dad from a heart attack and then found my mum after she had taken an overdose and had already fallen into a state of unconsciousness, though she didn't die for another 30 hours.

As well as this my health deteriorated after a knee operation left me in a worse state than I had been prior to it.  I had to give up my job.  I became a full time carer of my niece who was 12 when she joined our family and then after two years had to hand over full time care for her to the health service, where she remains to this day, though I still have daily contact with her.

These are just all the surface issues that you could see, there was a whole lot more emotional stuff that was going on.  So life hasn't been easy.  There have been many comments made to me over the years about getting on with the good stuff that has still been left in my life, but somehow this has just made me feel discounted.  However this one bit of scripture from the Bible has been the thing that has shown me how to appreciate and find JOY on this journey.

It is so easy to only focus on negative stuff when it is surrounding you.  I truly believe that one of the things that excites Satan most is when he can see us drowning in a whirlpool of negativity.  

The whatever's in the verses start to point us towards the joy - we just have to choose to go and look for it.  I find also find it helpful to think about what this verse doesn't say:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is UNTRUE, whatever is IGNOBLE, whatever is WRONG , whatever is DIRTY, whatever is UNLOVED, whatever is UGLY – if anything is negative or not praiseworthy – DON'T think about such things. 

My own experience has led me to praise God for the small joys in life - the first cup of tea in the morning, - the sound of my children getting on, - my dog always so happy to see me.  And when you Praise and rejoice with God - then the peace is there for your taking. 

Choose Joy!  God Bless,  Jane x.