Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category

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When Hope Feels Dangerous

May 21, 2015

My heart is broken as I realize I am terrified by hope.

I’m getting excited about a new doctor and dreaming again about finding answers. But every time hope surges, a flood of terror rolls in behind it. I don’t know what another round of disappointment will do to my floundering faith.

Will I still call Him good when the accuser piles “evidence” against Him? Will I let the Holy Spirit lead me into patience and peace?

Somewhere in my mess of doubt and faith, I know that He is good. Somewhere in that confused darkness, I know that His leadership is perfect.

The testimony of my own life has proven His sufficient grace. I have seen His steadfast love and faithfulness. I have trusted a power that was not annulled by my own weakness.

I hate how much I struggle to remember. I hate how pitiful I feel and how poorly I am coping.

Oh, to trust Him more!

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Ooh! I see a speck of light!

January 8, 2015

I feel good right now. The best I remember feeling in a long time. And… I think I really like it!

I’m tired… but it is the happy tired of “I just got a good workout!” Which is a lot better than the defeated exhaustion of “I just went grocery shopping and now I’m completely spent for the week… and my whole body hurts even more than it did when I dragged it out of bed.”

We just got back from swimming at the Y. An uninterupted hour of treading water and swimming can tire a healthy person (or make them really hungry). I’m not even remotely healthy. But I feel like I have finally figured out a magical assortment of healthy foods, exercise, and supplements that can keep my body going as we work to understand what is wrong with me. Seriously. As tired as I am, this is nothing like my persistent fatigue. I’m not sure where it came from, but I actually have some energy to work with!

PRAISE

THE

LORD

The warm, spring-like weather is only enhancing this sense of being tired, but refreshed. Winters in Colorado Springs are THE BEST. Yesterday was COLD. I got to enjoy falling snow that formed a fresh blanket over the crisp earth. (My favorite!) Today, I was greeted by the warm sun and sounds of trickling snowmelt when I walked out of the gym smelling like a swimming pool. Everything looked, smelled, sounded and felt like spring. New life. Fresh beginnings.

Hope is easier to grasp today than it is most days. I feel the Holy Spirit breathing life in and around me. (The recent norm has been, “Hey, you’re still here, Holy Spirit, aren’t you?”)

I’m also writing again. I wrote a… thing for a thing on the 1st. About 1100 words that would be judged by strangers. It felt good. I also created a new blog, hoping anonymity might help me break through this… writer’s block. It must be doing something, because here I am… writing on the blog that some people I know might read.

Seal seems a little disappointed. The poor cat still wants to spend the majority of her day curled up on my lap, utilizing my body heat to survive the warmish fridge that is our house. (Seriously… Our ” room temperature” water is perfect right now.) But I’m doing things like… moving for reasons beyond an empty water bottle or full bladder… sitting at the computer, where good cuddling can’t be achieved. (Oddly enough, I opted for writing this post on my cell phone… again.)

It is amazing how foreign energy has become. I’m going to go upstairs and shower soon. And it isn’t going to require my usual mental preparation to will myself up the stairs to the room where a bunch of standing awaits me.

Maybe you are reading this and mostly thinking, “Wow… I didn’t realize she had gotten this… pitiful.” But, if things keep trending in this direction…

Not for much longer, friends! Not for much longer!

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Improper Hope?

December 5, 2011

I typed this out very quickly on my phone last night and accidentally published. After un-publishing, I decided to clarify one sentence and just leave it the way it was. Welcome to my brain (minus all the stuff my fingers had no hope of keeping up with).

Hoping to have celiac disease.
Wait… Hoping to be sick?
Does it betray true hope?
Does it betray hope for complete healing?

I was once encouraged by someone well-acquainted with suffering to keep hope alive every day that it would be the day that I am healed.
Is this contradictory?

It seems like such a small sacrifice, though, giving up gluten.
I just want an answer. I know I am sick.

Perhaps I only want to know that I have been suffering from a gluten intolerance. I KNOW I have been suffering.

I don’t want it to continue, but hoping for a label is not hoping for permanence.

Tricky thing is the fact that I would be unlikely to test it out in the future.

How does God feel about allergies?

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Precious in the Sight of the Lord

December 24, 2009

This morning, our IHOP family suffered a devastating loss.

I have little to say. And this is one of those times when it is perhaps best that little be said. So instead of endeavoring to process my emotions and thoughts in the public realm, I will direct you to a post written by Randy Bohlender.

I have wrestled with death much on this blog. It is one thing to express the sighs, confusion, hopes, and grasping of my heart as I grieve the loss of my own mother. But this man was not my husband. This man was not my father.

I am confident that this family will know the ministry of the Holy Spirit more intimately than ever before in this difficult time.

Oh, Comforter, do what only You are truly able to do. Let them find friendship in the Jesus who wept at the loss of His friend. Awaken in them the confident and joyful hope of the resurrection as you meet them in the pain of their loss.

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About the Headaches

October 1, 2009

In a recent post, I talked a little about my migraine headaches and shared a testimony of the Lord healing me in the midst of an especially ferocious migraine.

Well… I wanted to share a quick update on that.

It has now been five weeks, and I have not had a single migraine since the one that was healed. Given the frequency of those wretched headaches in the months before then… that’s really good for me.

I have had several really bad headaches, but they were definitely different from a migraine. I’m still praying for an end to those… but I am grateful for what has happened.

Still living in the hope that I will never have another migraine…

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Hope for Healing

August 27, 2009

Yesterday, I began getting a headache in the evening. Assuming I must be dehydrated, I kept sucking down the water.

Earlier in the day, I had spent some time in the sun. It was 99 degrees outside, so I was pretty sweaty and gross. Since I was so gross, I decided the best follow-up activity would be sweating some more at the gym. Anyone who gets a lot of headaches has probably been told plenty of times that they just need to drink more water. Truth be told, this is the reason that I drink more water than anyone I know. I spend a large percentage of my day swallowing water or using the restroom. (We can safely assume that dehydration is rarely the actual cause of my headaches.) But, I’ve heard it enough that I still assumed my headache that began forming in the evening was due to a drinking failure.

As the night went on and my headache progressed, I realized how much water I had taken in, the frequency with which I needed to empty my bladder, and the reality of how great I felt when I got back from the gym and was in the kitchen, baking. If anything, I might have overdone the water intake for the day.

11:00/midnight rolled around and I started my prayer time, logging into to the blessed prayer room webstream… a lifeline for extended times away. Rose (a beloved part of the extended IHOP-KC family) had surgery coming up within a few hours and there was a lot of emphasis on prayer for healing. And there was A LOT of life on the prayers. I was definitely feeling it, from my little prayer room extension… my bedroom.

Around 1:20, Emily Russell prayed. And that was it. I don’t know what happened, but it was like she cracked something open. I sat weeping on my bed for the next 30 minutes.

Now, crying tends to make my bad headaches worse. (Probably no more than refusing to cry, though.) So it wasn’t looking too good for me and my headache. But I was really dialoguing with the Lord about His desire to heal, His promises to our community, and the promises of scripture. He IS a God who heals.

This might sound weird, but in all of my investigation and searching for my migraine triggers, there is one thing I have noticed that has been terribly consistent (well, kind of two, but I won’t go into the second). You won’t find this trigger listed anywhere that talks about migraine headaches. My “trigger”? Prayer.

The more I have broken my agreement with consistent headaches in my life, the more I have woken up from my place of resigning to it, the more I have asked God to heal me, and the more others have partnered with me in praying for healing… the worse and more frequent they have gotten. Every time I stand for healing prayer in the prayer room or sit in the back row for healing prayer, I am almost guaranteed noticeable backlash in the very near future.

So, as I sat there joining my heart with the prayers of my community and asking the Lord to do what He longs to do, I couldn’t help but laugh at the rapid worsening of my headache.

I don’t understand why it is like that. I definitely don’t fully understand warfare. I’m not OK with the fact that prayer, in essense, seems to make my headaches worse. But I am taking it as evidence that the Lord has finally awakened me to the real battle for my physical healing. He is able to heal me. And I believe that He will. And the “backlash” has given me hope that sickness is desperately fighting against me… grasping on as it ultimately looses its grip on me. I also take it as a sign of hope in my once apathetic and numbed heart. As Moltmann has said: as freedom gets closer, the chains begin to hurt.

By 3 AM, my headache had landed and settled in to its usual loction, right behind my eye. Definitely a migraine.

It was pretty miserable, but not bad enough yet that I couldn’t sleep. It was well after four before I managed to be unconscious, but I did, happily, get a little sleep. A little. Until I finally reached the point where that was impossible.

I spent most of that morning (when I should have been sleeping) pleading with the Lord, trying desperately not to move, and in far too much pain to have any hope of being unconscious. You wouldn’t believe how long I resisted my miserable trip to the bathroom before the desire to NOT wet myself won out. I probably should have let myself throw up at that time. It took a lot of restraint not to. And I might have felt a little better if I had. But I despise vomitting. (As helpful as it sometimes is.)

I returned to my bed, updated my status to ask for prayer, and continued to lay there, pleading with the Lord to do something about the pain.

After some time, sleep came. That in itself felt like a miracle.

I woke up a couple of times to find that I wasn’t in excruciating pain anymore. I would thank the Lord, roll over, and go back to sleep. Such joy!

I finally got out of bed at 2:30. And my head didn’t hurt at all. No, really… not at all. I know migraine headaches can be as short as a few hours, but I can’t say I’ve ever been that fortunate.

I’m usually pretty dizzy and nauseated, with a low-level headache for the day or two after a migraine. But…

I continued through the rest of the day feeling wonderful. As if I hadn’t just suffered through one of my most horrendous migraine headaches. In fact, it didn’t even feel like the day after a migraine. I think twice in the entire day, I felt a little sick/dizzy. But it passed almost immediately and may have been a food thing.

I have never had that happen before. I have never had a headache of that intensity so quickly and completely disappear.

So… my conclusion: prayer works. Thank You, Lord!

As far as I know, that’s the last one. And until I know otherwise, I will continue to live in the hope and possibility that it is.

That’s the tension of waiting for healing. True hope causes you to live every day in the possibility that maybe that’s your day. (Thank you, Leah Morgan, for reminding me of that and helping give me the courage to continue hoping as the circumstances overwhelmed me.) Hope is dangerous. It opens you up to pain (and joy). Because hope deferred truly does make the heart sick. Disappointed hopes are painful because hope is the stubborn resistance to the temptation to be unfeeling and indifferent. Hope like that is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are too weary, without His strength, to continue in the vibrant life that hope awakens.

So, I am still choosing the life of hope. I am leaning on the Holy Spirit, daily being renewed by His life within me. And the God of Hope is filling me with all joy and peace in believing, causing me to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

And I am grateful for His healing power, manifesting itself in the world, in my life.

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John 14-16

April 3, 2009

John 14-16 is presently one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Jesus’ words. He speaks a great deal about three of my favorite topics: Holy Spirit, hope, and love.

Actually, now that I think of it, the Holy Spirit and hope are THE two topics that I am actually highlighting in my current Bible. And love is something I have been seriously focusing on for the last 5 months. No wonder I love this passage so much!

Throughout His dialogue, Jesus elaborates several times on the immanent sending of the Holy Spirit and how this person of the Trinity would serve and help us. (Ah! God’s humility!) I love it when one person of the Trinity talks about another person of the Trinity. They actually do it quite a bit. It’s beautiful! If anyone knows about God and has something to say about God… it’s God.

The hope topic isn’t necessarily evident in a quick scan of the passage. This is primarily because he uses the language of peace, joy, and believing.

And then we have love. Jesus keeps coming back to this theme. And He especially focuses on defining love as obedience.

This post was originally going to be about obedience. I was having one of those really good conversations with the Holy Spirit that felt like it needed to overflow into verbal expression. But then, as I sat down to write… I realized that I wanted to talk about a lot of things from this passage. And that I was so enamored with the other two subjects that I could not leave them alone in order to maintain some level of focus for this post.

So we have, instead, an introduction. I have decided, in my failed attempt to stay on the one topic, to start a tiny series of posts on John 14-16.

I’m not looking at the passage right now. In fact, I haven’t for a few days. So right now I am simply talking from what has stuck with me in the last few months as I have been looking at it and talking to the Lord about it.

From those recollections of the things that have most struck me, I would say that these three topics are essentially the three main themes of this passage. If I sat down and looked at it more analytically, I might change my stance a bit. But, my study of the Bible happens in the context of relationship and primarily exists as dialogue with God about God. (Let us all remember, prayer and love are literally my primary occupation. Sigh… I love life as an intercessory missionary. Apart from being at the core of my job description, though, these are truly what we are called to as Christians.)

So, as I talk about this passage, I will be emphasizing the things that have been the highlights of these “conversations” with God. So, whether hope, Holy Spirit, and love=obedience are the three main themes of this passage or not… I can almost guarantee that they will be the three main themes of this little series.

I’m not going to make any promises about how quickly these posts will be written. I am simply going to state my intent to write them and follow through with that at whatever pace my schedule allows.

I also cannot make any guarantees concerning the length of the series. I anticipate that there will probably be three posts, one for each topic. But… then again… I anticipated, upon sitting down to blog, that I was writing one post about obedience. And now… here I am, introducing a series. So who knows what this will look like when all is said and done.

In any case, I am excited about it. This is the stuff that is moving my heart. I love to talk about the things that move my heart. (Now that I have a heart that moves and all. Thank You, God, for reviving the heart that I spent so many years trying to numb and deaden!)

Yay fun!