“…more than we can handle…”

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“Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” 1COR 10:13

There are days when we want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over us. We just cannot face the day. I know this. I had a rough night with very little of that restorative sleep we all need to keep going. My eyes are stinging and, well, frankly, I am cranky. But the Lord apparently wants me to keep on keeping on, because if I try, I cannot sleep. Just remain tired.

I love these quotes above about this topic; they give me hope. If Mother Theresa felt she had days when she would prefer to stay in bed, then who I am to expect more from my days? The Lord promises us He will allow us to be put to the test, but He will also give us the strength we need to endure, as well as a way out.

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So today was a heavy day…and it’s just past noon! Ha-Ha! I was told of a marriage ending; a child lost; a sickness being borne; illness taking hold; weather wreaking havoc on lives; government tussles; and so much more . But on the other side, a mother is preparing to go home with her newborn today, and my mother-in-law is going home from the hospital. There are good things, too. It is balance. Unfortunately, when in the middle of it, it is hard to see the other side. But God promised us a way out; he promised us the strength to get through whatever we are facing. And sometimes how we do that needs to change!

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God allows trials, but He does not create evil; evil is a thing on its own. Our salvation lays in learning to combat evil, in all its insidious forms, every day. When we are beat down, we clammer back up to the top. We do not allow evil to keep us pinned to where he wants us…despairing, immersed in misery and sadness. And each day when we awaken, we are given a new day to dedicate to the Lord and His will in our lives. We need to praise His covenant over us each and every day. We need to smile in the face of all that can destroy our faith. We need to cling to all He has promised us! Keep praying; remain strong in the faith; and hit your knees as often as you need to!! And when our numbered days are at their conclusion, so much of what we have conquered will make complete sense to us. Never doubt, never waiver, never give up…and never allow evil in where peace and love reside.

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“Let our prayers rise as incense before You.”

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“In all things give thanks.” 1Thess 5:18

DidacheSo I had all these awesome plans for blessing our house.  I wrote a post for this blog about it.  As I ended that post, I mentioned ‘chasing elusive dust bunnies.”  Well, as I was reaching down to grab one by its ears, I heard a “pop” in my back and felt searing pain.  Oh boy. House blessing not happening!

I was able to get into a new Chiropractor my son is seeing, and that poor guy!  The first time he meets me, I am literally crying and screaming whenever he touches me.  We take x-rays, we massage, we do all these weird things I had never experienced before. This went on for about 2 hours and I was relaxing and actually pain-free!  Then he tilted the table so I could stand, and wowser! The pain was so intense I cried and cried, started to shake, and could not hold myself up.  I was literally sinking to the floor, if my husband and the doctor had not held me up.  They put a large “cinch” or “truss” around my waist, gave me an ice pack, and sent me on my way to the ER.  There are some things even a Chiropractor cannot handle…and me and my back last night was one of those things.

Off we went to ER.  Did I mention this was in a snowstorm (well, for here it was being called a “light dusting” of 1-2 inches)? The ER doctor had a completely different diagnosis than the Chiropractor, but their treatments were exactly the same…bed rest, laying as flat as possible, for the next 2-3 days.  Right.  As you can tell, I am not laying flat.  Been as flat as I could be in my recliner, for hours upon hours.  Standing is fine. Sitting is its own kind of hell.  Ice packs, heating pads, pain meds.  And I cannot move without something tweaking and hurting.

But I am giving thanks.  I had someone acknowledge my long, long struggle with back issues.  There are reasons for the intermittent issues I have with my back and trunk muscles (I felt vindicated for all my episodes and times of extreme pain; the times I could not work, let alone even move.  My husband said he always believed me, but to have a doctor confirm it and x-rays show it, made me feel justified somehow).  And I see options ahead of me.  This should have been dealt with years ago, but I put it off (not a big fan of doctors!).  I usually only see a doctor for an issue – not a very good preventative maintenance person.  (At least where my health is concerned). Through the pain, the way ahead seems clearer, somehow, like God wanted this to happen so I could just get on with it, and deal with it.

As I was in agony, I was able to pray.  I was able to surrender to what may lie ahead for me.  And I clung to my family.  My husband held my hand and tried to make light of it.  His concern and his love were obvious to me.  And I felt loved, from my family and my friends who I knew and know are praying for me.  My kids are kicking in and helping out with some things for my youngest son…driving him here and there in the falling snow; dropping off uniforms for CAP this weekend; dropping off my RXs, making us dinner…wow, I am blessed!

So I will give thanks…thanks that I have found a doctor in a new town.  Thanks that I am getting some medical intervention that I need.  Thankful my kids are close by and are wonderfully attentive.  And thankful for some down time.  Painful downtime, but I am still.  Picking up, once again, some favorite books but most especially, “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives,” by Elder Thaddeus.  As the Chiropractor was helping me into the car last night (in snowy weather) he kept telling me to think positive thoughts, and to breathe.  I wonder if he’s read Elder Thaddeus, too?

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“…a way of escape…”

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If you have read my posts before, you know we recently relocated as far north as you can live and still be in the US of A.  We are slowly acclimatizing ourselves to this new environment.  And we promised ourselves that with this immense change in location, we would try to become better, different people.  It is a rare opportunity to leave aspects of yourself behind and to start over; a clean slate.  We have tried, and are still trying.  St. Nikon of Optina says, “A place cannot save you because there is no place where you can flee from yourself.” And it is amazing to me that even though we acknowledged who we were beforehand, those odd little ticks and habits we wanted to leave behind us, we  came here, aware, but with all our baggage seemingly intact.  I read a cute saying today that stated something to the effect that, “A glass 50% full of water also has 50% air, so technically, it is 100% full.  My husband and I are opposites in that I always tend to look on the bright side, and prefer to think of my glasses as half full, whereas my husband is the half empty kind of guy. He told me yesterday that he sees the glass half empty, because that is the reality of it, but then he looks to see how he can fill that glass.  He is a practical person, whereas I am sort of a dreamer. I tend to believe in things unseen, whereas he is more like St. Thomas, wanting to place his hands in the wounds of Christ.  (Sorry for using “whereas” so much, but it seemed the perfect word!!). For the past 30 years, it has been a winning combination.  We are up against the wall once again in our lives, and our personalities are playing a role in how we approach these days.  Once in awhile, we feel battered and bruised, and flat out scared; but we forge ahead.

We recently watched the movie, “Life of Pi.” What a beautifully photographed (cinema-graphed?) film.  The scenery was amazing.  Some of the portions filmed at night on the open seas were just short of spectacular (and please don’t ruin it and tell me they were all CG!!).  The protagonist of the story, Picene, is beset with tragedy and the story is how he copes with it.  He is in a shipwreck at sea and his entire family drowns.  They are transporting some of the animals from their Zoo in India to a new location in Canada.  Several of the animals survive and are on a rescue boat with Pi.  He tells of his adventure at making his way to becoming a professor in Canada, through the re-telling of his adventures at sea.  And he tells the author listening to his tale that when he hears it, he will come to believe in God.  It struck me that through adversity, we turn to God and we lean heavily on what we have been taught and come to believe in.  Pi was an interesting young man growing up and was all-at-once a practicing Hindu, Muslim, and Christian.  His explanation of why was wonderful, with his belief that all religions tells bits and pieces of the reality he wanted to share in his story; that there is a God.

Life-of-Pi-WhaleWhen you visually see God in action, as in the story of the Life of Pi, your faith is cemented and you find peace.  Picene uses his beliefs to help him get through something that defied rational explanation, something that was difficult for him to face. His entire family drowned at sea and he was just a young teenager at the time.  He survives 277 days on the open sea, with just a “tiger” as his companion.  His faith allowed him to reach that Mexican shore, where he was finally rescued, and where the tiger, Richard Parker, just walks away into the jungle. The story leaves us, the reader or viewer, with a choice of which version of Picene’s adventure we choose to believe in. Along with the writer he is speaking to in the story, I like the animal version best – that version gives me God, and hope, and the strength of spirit I sometimes need when I have to move forward. I recommend the movie and the book!!

The timing of this movie was perfect for me.  I realize that the joys I find along the way mitigate any sorrow or difficulty I might encounter.  While we were working today on applying for jobs, our daughter-in-law dropped by with our grandson and some decaf coffee from our new favorite coffee shop, Jitters.  The moments spent with his grandson on his lap gave my husband a reprieve and infused him with a reason to keep plugging away. God promises us, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13).  The temptation to despair is one that God does not want us to face: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)  Our Lord gives us glimpses into His eternity; moments of pure spiritual bliss. These moments are there for us to cling to when all else seems lost, when we question the whys and wherefores of our days and our choices, when we feel despondent or despairing.  And we can cling to, and long for more of, the peace that only comes from God. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27

And when that bouncing baby grandson smiles up at you with those amazing dimples, you know that all will be right in this world.  God works in us and in His time.  “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

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