When Life Feels Like It’s Spinning Out of Control…

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I first posted this in 2011.  I’ve had a rough week and so decided to repost an old blog that perhaps I needed to hear!  Maybe you do too.   The only change I can see is that even though I was optimistic about my knitting skills improving, they never did.  I have found a lady on Etsy that make a mean dishcloth though and sells them at a reasonable price!  Sorry for the lack of originality this week…some weeks are like that!  Enjoy!

We all love being in control, don’t we?  There are times in all of our lives though that it seems like all we do is wander aimlessly and no matter how hard we pray, nothing happens.  When we pray and God doesn’t answer immediately or even for years in some circumstances, we start falling into that “things are definitely out of control” mode and begin to panic.  When in reality, if we are praying and trusting God for answers, things are not out of control at all.  God hears our prayers and honors them–He is in total control once we’ve prayed. Satan would just like for us to think God’s not listening and that things out of control.

Today I was driving down the road following a big white Cadillac.  It was moving rather slowly and my first reaction was to be annoyed with their speed.  I was trying to make it on time for an appointment and they were starting to make it impossible to be on time.  I had an agenda and they were in my way!  However, as I looked closer, it appeared from the back of the car that there was in fact no one driving the vehicle!  There was not one head of a driver or passenger to be seen above the front seat head rests anywhere.  I quickly turned my frustrations of their slowness into laughing. I couldn’t see anyone driving, but I knew since the vehicle was stopping, starting and turning on turn signals 500 feet before they turned, someone was behind the wheel.  I don’t know why it is funny, but it just is because you know there is some little old man or old woman behind that wheel and they’re probably sitting on a pillow!

I realized with this scenario that I could choose to be entertained and laugh or I could be upset.  The one thing I knew was that I was no longer in control of my schedule; rather the person in front of me was.  There was nowhere I could go but just stay in the lane I knew would eventually get me there—the one I thought was going to get me there on time.

How many times are our plans and agendas stopped or slowed down by things we cannot control like slow moving vehicles in our path?  We have all been  in situations where we had a plan for our lives, prayed about it, stepped out in faith, and now things just aren’t working out as we had hoped.  Why is it when we pray about things that God doesn’t just make them happen? He seemed to say, “OK,” when we were making the plans, but now it just seems that He doesn’t care or isn’t listening as nothing seems to be going our way.   Boy this is the time where the enemy arises and puts all kinds of questions and doubts in our minds.  He really wants us to believe that God doesn’t care. If he is allowed, he will turn our focus onto things that really don’t matter in the big scheme of things, while taking our focus off of what God is actually doing in our circumstances.

I have recently been learning how to knit and to say the least, the experience has been interesting.  My goal is to make dishcloths like what my mom used to knit every Christmas for her kids and grandkids to have in their kitchens every year.  As I started following the pattern yesterday to make my first one, it just wasn’t looking right.  It’s supposed to end up square when it’s done but it was beginning to take on the shape of, of, of, I’m not sure what.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t looking like a dishcloth, though!  However, as I continue to work the pattern row by row, slowly but surely, it is starting to take form and I do believe when it is done, I may have a dishcloth!  It might not be perfect, but with a little practice, I bet the next one is wonderful!

Reflecting on today’s happenings, I am reminded that even when I can’t see God behind the wheel of my life, I have to have faith that He is there.  He sends signals here and there with unexpected happenings and/or blessing and we just have to teach ourselves to focus on those signs along the way and trust.  We may look at our dishcloths in life and think it is never going to be right even when we thought we were following the pattern exactly.  The same goes for our lives.  We can read God’s Word and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we have to have faith that the outcome will be what God perfectly designed for our lives, even when it looks nothing like we imagined.

If we could always see the driver and the final outcome of our life’s dilemmas, why would we need God?  God uses these dry times in our lives to teach us and help us grow closer to Him.  Instead of panic and dismay, my prayer for you today is that even when you have that out of control feeling and think that life has thrown you another lemon, I hope you will find laughter instead of the turmoil that comes when we feel out of control and unloved by God. Have faith, He is still driving. As a matter of fact, the outcome He has planned for your situation is going to be a masterpiece.  Perhaps if it were a washcloth, it would win a blue ribbon at the county fair for workmanship!

Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of your joy.  Stay focused and trust that God has things under control.  Rather, laugh at your enemy that he has once again tried to cause you to stray and once again failed.  For when we are able to give up total control and trust, we can once again find the supernatural peace and joy that only God can give.  Your answers may not come today nor even tomorrow, but rest assured they will come in God’s time. May His peace and joy be yours today while you wait and trust the Creator of the Universe to work it all out!

1 Peter 1:6-9   In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen,you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Death Has Lost Its Sting

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Image courtesy of SweetCrisis at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t want to freak you out if you’re a hypochondriac, but did you know that having cancer cells in your body is normal?    Even healthy bodies produce thousands of cancer cells every day.  However, since our body’s immune system  is designed to manage and kill these cells, many people don’t actually get cancer even if they have cancer cells in their bloodstream.  It’s basically when your body stops working properly that it allows cancer cells to grow and create problems.  In that regard, cancer is a symptom of your body’s immune system not functioning properly.

Similarly, we all have a sinful nature running through our veins.  Some of us choose to pray and trust God to help us overcome it.  Others allow that sinful nature to chew at their soul until there is nothing left…like a cancer.  You might then say that sinning is a symptom of a malfunction in our relationship with God… similar to our body’s immune system malfunctioning and not protecting us from cancer.

There is a song that we sing in church called Marvelous Light, by Charlie Hall that says, “Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting…”  Since we sang that song last week, those ten words have constantly been in my mind.  Not being able to shake the thought, I figured I would write my blog about it this week and work it out on paper. Then maybe I could stop it from repeating in my mind all the time.  It’s way cheaper than a counselor and much less inconvenient!

I’ve had a lot of people check-in on me to see how I am and how things are going.  I have been happy to report that as a result of prayer and God’s protection, I feel great!  I truly have peace that surpasses all understanding.  I realize though that there might be some tough days ahead; I’m human.  However, I am blessed by the way God is taking me through this and I am convinced that I have peace because God, my spiritual immune system, is at work in my life.  I am overcoming my need to focus on woe is me as a victim and am being shown how God is taking me through as a victor.

We all have a choice.  Do we allow the sin and dark thoughts to win or do we stay focused on God and trust Him when we face a challenge in life? The words, “Sin has lost its power” have come to life for me this past week.  It is not worth it for me to fall into the darkness anymore and not trust God.  To me, that would be sinful.  I have tasted of the sweetness of my Lord and Savior and no matter how much I must suffer, I will continue to call on God to protect me.  Sin has lost its appeal.

Whether I overcome my physical issues is irrelevant.  God’s plan for me is unfolding and whatever the outcome, it is His will for my life.  He is teaching me in an intimate way that I can trust Him through EVERYTHING that this life leads me through.  I don’t have to succumb to my carnal ways and entertain fear and anger; rather, I just need to trust and believe.  If I win the physical battle, I will praise Him for healing me.  If I lose the physical battle, I will praise Him for seeing me through to the end.  Either way, I see it as a win…death has lost its sting. When you know this life isn’t your home and there is something waiting for you on the other side far greater than you could ever imagine, it is easy to praise and thank God for whatever challenge you might be facing.

I’ve said having cancer is like wrestling an alligator.  Some days you’re on top and others it whisks you to the bottom of the swamp before you know it.  However, even the bottom of the swamp can be OK when you know the Savior Who created the universe and everything in it has your back.  So today I choose to follow, trust and give Him my life whatever that may look like for the rest of my days on this earth.

If you don’t have a relationship with God that you know He will see you through anything you face, pray and ask Him to come into your life today.  Ask Him for ways to overcome the sin and temptations that you may be experiencing and take away the fears that cripple you.  Trust Him to see you through…all the way to the end.  As His servant and witness, I can truly say, “He is faithful.  You can put your trust in Him.”

1Corinthians 15:55-58 (NIV)  “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Psalm 56:3-4 (NKJV)  Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

If You Would Like to Enjoy the Song, Marvelous Light, Click Here!  *

*Disclaimer: Since this directs you to YouTube, I cannot be responsible for the advertising the video might have previous to it playing.

From Today On, Your Life Will Never Be the Same

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Those are the words that my oncologist shared with me this week as he explained next steps.  You see, when you are diagnosed with a disease that can potentially take your life from you, you change.  You look at relationships differently, you don’t get upset so much over stupid things, you never take a day for granted and you put a big smile on your face every day that you wake up, are alive and feeling good. Well, at least that is the way I look at things.  I know there are others who will choose to retreat into their own little world, become angry with God, begin feeling like they are owed something for their sufferings and are basically bitter and miserable every day of their lives.

Each one of us is required to make choices when change comes into our lives.  When I go speak, I talk about the fact that people either run towards God or away from God when they face trials.  Personally, I choose to run towards God.  I have learned in my 29 years of following God that He is always faithful.  He may not answer our pleas for help in the timing that we think He should.  Nor does He always answer our prayers with the answer we asked for.  But one thing I’ve learned…even when we don’t see Him, you can rest assured He is there.

I went to two oncology offices last week…one was hematology for meds and/or chemo.  The other was for radiation treatments.  My first appointment of the week was very upsetting.  It’s a long story but let’s just leave it at that. On Thursday, I went to the second oncologist and I was petrified as I sat outside of their office preparing to go in for my appointment.  I certainly need to trust these doctors who hold my life and well-being in their hands.  If I were going to have an experience like I did on Monday, I was thinking about just ignoring the fact I have cancer and just going on as usual.  I know that’s not a reasonable thought, but if I couldn’t trust those in charge of my care, I had no hope.

I read the Bible every morning…or at least try to do so. I typically follow one of the reading plans with the You Version online Bible.  That way I can check off what I have read and track my progress.  My reading the last couple of days had been in Ecclesiastes and then the Song of Solomon.  Although each book has its benefits, I didn’t think they would provide me with the encouragement I needed for that particular day.  I kept thinking, “I should read the book of James today.”  However, life got in the way.  Robin Roberts had returned to Good Morning America and I needed to check in to see how she was holding up on her second day back.  Then I had to check Facebook and answer some emails.  All of a sudden I looked up and I only had about 20 minutes to get a shower and be ready to leave for my appointment!

I was feeling bad that I didn’t get my reading in so I took my iPad with me so I could read a little while waiting to go into my appointment.  I also chose to keep the radio off during the drive there and prayed instead.  When I arrived I sat in the parking lot thinking to myself, “Maybe I should just forget all of this stuff.  They are going to poison my body and give me other bad things to heal this already bad thing I have.  At least most of the bad things they’re going to give me won’t actually kill me like cancer.  They will only make me miserable as time goes on.  But then I was reminded about how I want to be here for my grandchildren.  I want them to know who I was as I don’t remember mine other than one grandpa.  I want them to understand my faith in God and I want to tell them about Him when they are old enough to understand.  I need to fight.”  So I bravely got out of the car and went inside.

I tried to put a big smile on my face as I was greeted by the receptionist but it just came out about halfway.  As I sat down to wait, I pulled out my iPad and opened it to James 1.  As I sat in the waiting room, I had tears streaming down my face as God literally met me there with His Word.  James 1:2-4 (NKJV) says: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

It has been confirmed.  I know now that life as I knew it is going to change.  God is taking me to a new dimension of knowing Him.  He is using my circumstances to stretch me, mold me and teach me His ways.  I need to have praise on my lips and patience in my heart as He once again shows me more of Him.  How can I not get excited knowing that He loves me enough to be there for me in my time of weakness and sorrow so that some day I might be perfected… complete…lacking NOTHING!

So yes, I will have days in my humanness that I am sad and ask, “Why me?”  However, I hope that there will be many more days of praising Him for what He is doing and has done in my life through this current trial.  Again, I will ask but with different meaning, “Why me?  Why not choose to use someone who is a much better person than me?  And then I will smile because I know that with my suffering, God will give me joy and meet me right where I am.  He will fill me with more knowledge of Him and from today on, my life will never be the same.  With that, I choose to praise Him all the rest of the days of my life! I have found my hope!

What trial have you been through that changed your life?  Have you praised and thanked God for that experience or did you become bitter, missing the opportunity for growth?  I realize that yes, it is important to trust my doctors.  However, it is even more important to trust my Lord and Savior.  He is the one that holds the answers and will see me through.  I hope that you will be inspired to give God that struggle you have in your life today.  No longer will you put your trust in man; rather, you will trust the God who is right there with you seeing you through.   I promise you.  If you make the choice to trust God today, your life as you know it will never be the same!  Be blessed this week and don’t forget…go out and be a blessing!

A couple of more inspirational thoughts sent to me from friends…

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

“God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” — C.S. Lewis