Thursday, January 29, 2009
Have great day!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Last Spring I was in the midst of what felt like an impossible situation. I had been nannying for a family for the past nine months and my job would be ending at the end of the school year. Not only was I loosing my income but my health insurance too. I quickly applied for an individual policy and was denied health insurance because of my fibromyalgia medications and was told I could purchase a group policy for myself to the tune of $600/month. I was devastated. There was no way I could afford that on top of all my other expenses and yet going without health insurance wasn’t an option either. I talked more with the insurance agent and found out that I had been denied because of the cost of the two medicines I was taking-one for fibromyalgia and one for stomach/esophagus problems. The agent told me if I went off the fibro medicine I could qualify with another provider. Feeling like I had no choice I went off of the medicine. The next 4 days were horrible as I barely slept and had intense pain. It was clear that the medicine I thought never really worked anyways must have been doing something and it was also clear that I needed to go back on it. I was heartbroken. I talked to the agent and told him about my ordeal and explained that going off the fibro medicine wasn’t an option.
Then he offered up another solution- a last resort as he said. He said why didn’t I have my doctor write the prescription for more pills a day than I need and then I wouldn’t need to get the prescription refilled for several months. During that time I could tell the insurance company that I went off it while I take the supply I have. Since they would think I was no longer taking it I could qualify for insurance and then when I pills run out I could go back to the doctor, claim that my pain was bad, get my prescription, and the insurance company would never know. My first response was no way. I would be lying to the insurance company but I also knew this may be the only way to get health insurance I could afford. I began praying and asking friends to pray for God to intervene. I didn’t want to lie but I didn’t know what to do.
It was during this time that I learned an incredible lesson in trusting God. I was reminded during this time of the verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13. It says:
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
I was definitely tempted and knew I needed a way out. I had continuation insurance through my employer for a few months so I had some time to pray for God to give me a way out. A few weeks later an idea came to me (thank you God!) that hadn’t occurred to me before. I couldn’t go off my fibro medicine but I could probably go off of my esophagus medicine. I knew there was some over the counter alternatives that weren’t as good as what I was taking but I thought it would be doable. I immediately called my insurance agent to ask him if I went off the stomach meds but stayed on the fibro meds if I would qualify for an individual policy. He ran the numbers and came back to say yes. God had given me a way out! I went off the stomach meds that days and replaced them with over the counter alternatives. Within a month I had an individual policy paying half of what I had first been quoted, still a lot for an unemployed person but at least manageable.
I share this story to encourage you in the midst of whatever struggle you are facing to trust in Him. God will provide and there is never a situation when you are tempted to sin that He will not provide you a way out if you ask Him too. His word says so and His word is true. So what do you need to trust Him with today? Is there a situation where you are tempted to sin where you need a way out?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Ouch. I would have much preferred it to say do everything without complaining or arguing unless of course you have a really good reason. So in an effort to overcome my biggest struggle (and I suspect a struggle for many of you) I am trying to actively practice gratitude. I say practice because it doesn’t come easily or naturally. Sure I’m super thankful when something great happens or a prayer is answered but in everyday life especially when my pain is bad, gratitude is not my first thought. But focusing on and thanking God for the blessings He’s given us helps us to remember God’s goodness and takes our focus off the pain and pity party. So often my pain is so overwhelming that its all I can think about, all I can focus on but then God in His goodness will remind me how truly blessed I am. Maybe a T.V show or an article I read will put everything in perspective- people in worse pain than I, people affected by famine, poverty, war, and abuse. When I take the time to thank Jesus for the life He’s blessed me with it takes my focus off of my problems and turns my eyes to the one who has blessed me beyond measure.
There is another verse in Philippians that I love that always helps me to remember where my focus needs to be. It says: Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers, 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.”
And verse 9 goes on to say: “And the Peace of God will be with you”
When we choose to focus on our blessings, God in His grace allows us to experience more of His peace. How cool is that? I’m trying to make an effort now is my prayer/journal time when I come to God in prayer and through writing to share my requests for myself and others, I am trying to also spend more time praising God for the blessings in my life big and small. Its amazing the shift that takes place in my life when I do that.
So what about you? What do you do when you feel isolated, alone, sad, and angry about the pain do you stop and think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy? Do you stop and thank God for all He’s given you? How would your life be different if you did?
Sunday, January 11, 2009
As I was praying about what to blog next I felt compelled to share a bit of my week with you. Monday and Tuesday were horrible pain days. It seemed like no matter what I tried I couldn’t get the pain under control. I was at the end of my rope and wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry or complain or both. Then I remembered the words God had me write in my last post about choosing not to complain. I wasn’t feeling too great about myself when I realized I couldn’t even follow my own advice! On top of the pain, I had to deal with job dilemmas and family situations, probably not unlike your own lives. By Tuesday night I was ready to buy a one-way ticket anywhere to escape my life. But despite the rough start to the week I chose to continue praying and reading God’s word and that combined with some much needed sleep lead to much more pleasant Wednesday. I share all of this with you to let you know that if you feel the same way I do-you’re not alone. I’ve found in my life when the storm clouds roll in and rain down junk I’m faced with two responses-to run from God or to run to Him. I’ve responded both ways and I can absolutely assure you running to Him is the only way to go.
I am reminded of the story in Matthew 14:25-30 where Jesus walks on water. It says:
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
This reminds me so much of myself. I’m going thru life with my eyes fixed on Jesus and everything is fine. Then the wind blows and the storm clouds roll in and I look away from God and onto my circumstances and begin to sink like Peter did. My prayer for myself and for all of you reading is to continue to run after God regardless of the circumstances around you-to keep your eyes and heart fixed on Him.
To close I wanted to share a song that has helped me get through difficult times. Its called Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns. Here’s a link to the song. I hope it will bless you too!
Sunday, January 4, 2009
On October 8th, 2008 in the midst of an awful flare up I wrote in my journal:
Today is a very low day. I am in intense pain and don’t see a way out but God does. Lord help, rescue me, heal me, use me. I need you so much.
In the days that followed that entry I came across John 9:1-3 in my Bible reading. It said:
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
In an instant I knew these words for me. God wasn’t punishing me. He had allowed this pain into my life for a purpose. It wasn’t my place to question Him. He knows better than me. As strange as it sounds I began to see this pain as a gift and a way to serve God. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t always have this joyful outlook and I would happily welcome complete healing anytime but I am striving daily to do what Paul says in
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
When it came down to it, my attitude over the pain at times was just another way of saying, “God you don’t know what you’re doing here.” But He does and I know He has a plan to use this pain in my life.
So what are you struggling with? Is it pain, disease, maybe a difficult relationship or job loss? Or something else that doesn’t seem fair to you? How are you responding to it?
There have been many nights when I’ve gone to bed crying and asking God to forgive me for my complaining attitude and there have been other nights when I’ve to bed rejoicing that God gave me the strength to endure the pain in a more joyful way. The honest truth is the circumstances of those two days were probably not different but what was different was the choice I made about getting through the day on my own strength (leading to complaining and disappointment) or relying on God’s strength to get through the day (leading to rejoicing and peace in the midst of pain). I’m not saying its easy but there is a choice.
I also want to be clear I think it very important when you’re struggling with pain or any problem to share it with someone you trust that can encourage you, uplift you and pray for you. I thank God for the wonderful friends and family who have listened to me share more times than they probably wanted to hear. But I've learned there is a difference between sharing your burdens and complaining and being bitter. I don’t always make the right choice in my response to the pain but I know that I want to.
Whatever it is you are struggling with, no matter how bad it seems, remember that it can be used for God. He has all the strength you need to endure any trial when you fully rely on Him. So what choice will you make?