Tag Archives: prayer

It Ain’t Over…

Sometimes we don’t know what to pray.  Sometimes we have prayed until we have no words left.  Sometimes we are so wounded and feel so beaten down that we don’t know what to say. Tonight is one of those nights.  I know in Whom I have believed.  I know He never breaks a promise.  I will wait, but I know the miracle is coming. It ain’t over!

In Jesus’ name!

C.

 

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Lessons From My Knees…

My grandmother’s birthday was April 20th and in her honor I reposted a blog post about the lost art of kneeling to pray. There was even a song about going to war on our knees. You see I believe that when we kneel before God, we are in total surrender to Him. It is humbling to kneel, but in almost every situation where you find someone kneeling, it is a sign of submission or honor, or reverence. It is always serious…kneeling is never taken lightly.

There have been many times I have found myself on my knees beside my bed, sometimes with my grandmother’s Bible in my hands, reading out Scriptures to God and claiming His promises. I have prayed until a peace descended up on me that was past understanding. On my knees before God is where I find my strength and where He meets me and communes with me.

On April 30th, the devil tried to take this precious privilege away from me. I had an accident at work and I fell and due to the situation, all my weight concentrated in my knees and the impact on the concrete sidewalk was considerable. The doctors showed me the x-ray and said there was a possible tibial plateau fracture. There were deep scratches and bruising and swelling and general pain. I was placed on crutches with a leg restraint for my right knee. I was told that I could not work until further tests were completed.

Then, the waiting began. I was stir crazy. I had so much to do. What if the fracture was bad? What if there was soft tissue damage and they had to do surgery? These were all possibilities the doctor discussed with me.

The devil tried to rob me of my peace and make me fear the unknown. The difficulty of navigating on crutches limited me and caused me great frustration. I found myself confined to the bed or the recliner. I couldn’t drive since I was told not to place any weight on my right leg. In a moment’s time, my whole world turned upside down….and all I could think about was that I couldn’t get on my knees to call out to God. I couldn’t lie in the floor and talk to Him and let Him comfort me. I had been robbed by the greatest thief there ever was.

I thanked God for my knees. I thanked Him for each day and tried to rejoice in the day and be patient. It was not easy. My arms ached from trying to navigate the crutches. The simplest of tasks seemed impossible. I depended upon others when usually I am the one who helps. Roles were reversed. My stress levels rose. I needed answers.

Five days passed and finally the MRI was scheduled to see what damage had been done. I was apprehensive and almost had a panic attack while they were imaging me. All the possibilities poured into my mind. I tried to close my eyes and hum “Peace, peace, wonderful peace…coming down from the Father above…” as the jackhammer sound of the imaging machine roared in my ears.

When it was over, I asked if they knew anything. “It was undefined. I will have to let the radiologist read it and send it to your doctor.” These were the only words I heard. What does “undefined” mean? I hobbled out and back to the car and headed to the doctor’s office. My stress levels rose as I sat and waited once more. I hobbled back to an exam room mumbling about never being able to pass Crutches 101. The doctor heard me and smiled and said it was a hard course to pass.

As I waited, I prayed for peace. Finally, the results came and as she read them off I felt a huge burden roll away from my heart. Nothing is fractured or broken. You have nothing torn. You are very bruised and there is a lot of swelling, but I don’t think you have to have those crutches anymore. You will need to be careful, but you can return to work as long as you take some precautions. I will see you in a week and check the swelling and bruising.

I don’t know how a person on trial must feel when the jury reads the verdict of “not guilty” but I felt as if my life was given back to me today. I carried my crutches and knee restraint out the door. I wanted to look for the nearest local charity to donate them to. My heart was singing “Thank you, Jesus!”

You see, I saw the x-rays. I saw the left knee versus the right knee. I was told that maybe it was just an artifact. Maybe it was not what we thought, but there was a defined hairline fracture. I could see it. The doctor could see it. We compared the knees. I Googled it and saw one just like it on someone else’s leg. The doctor diagnosed it. I have the papers….but five days later…it was not there.

The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Jesus came to give us life…and that more abundantly. On April 30th, the devil tried to steal from me, but what the devil meant for evil…God meant for good. I truly believe God performed a miracle on my knee. I believe that God allowed me to truly have a moment to be thankful for my knees and to help me not take for granted the privilege I have of being able to kneel before Him and offer up my prayers and thanksgiving to Him.   He gave me a ‘time out’ to show me just how much I take for granted. I hope that I have learned what He has intended for me to learn. I give Him all the glory for the MRI results. I thank Him for the ability to walk without crutches every day and for the small things that I take for granted. I thank Him for the people He has placed in my life that love and support me.

I can still go to war on my knees. It may take me a few weeks to be able to kneel again, but I will get there and I will always remember what it was like to have that opportunity taken away for a brief time period.

Until next time,

C.

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Sound of Silence

I have not posted in some time.  Since my last post I have celebrated a birthday, spent time with my friends and family, loved on my students, and been through several difficult situations, both professionally and personally.  I’ve begun reading some great books and thought about many things to share on this blog.  However, I did not post any of them. Writing ideas have invaded my thoughts constantly and the general outline for a novel has wound its way through my mind; however, I haven’t written it down so far.

This morning I woke to the urgency that it had been too long since my last blog post and that I needed to write something…but what?  Yesterday was an extremely stressful day and I seem to be a bit worse for the wear (as my grandmother used to say) from the physical and emotional battles I have recently been fighting, not to mention the spiritual war that is currently raging. Some of my previous blog posts have mentioned this war, or at least one of the battles contained therein. Some posts have mentioned trusting God with my life and my relationship with God.  Some posts have just been little tidbits of life lessons that I gleaned from watching and interacting with people.  All of these thoughts and comments are a part of who I am as a person. 

But today the uppermost thought on my mind is wondering why I feel that I am in a void and cannot seem to get past it?  This void has constantly permeated my everyday life and although it comes and goes, I am very aware of it.  The heavens are silent.  I pray, but it seems like I am conversing with a brick wall, or as someone used to say:  “My prayers don’t feel like they are reaching past the ceiling.”  Is this because I am expecting a visible, tangible, immediate answer?  Is it because I ask amiss?  These questions have plagued me.  God is such an important part of my life that I don’t understand not being able to feel His arms around me.  I draw strength from my relationship with Him and it made me wonder if He was just tired of hearing the same thing from me over and over again, so He withdrew.

So, this morning when I walked into the living room to get the laptop and try to figure out what to post, I reached for my devotional and remembered that I had not read the one for October 11th, yesterday’s date.  I always try to go back if I forget to read one and usually I realize that if I had only read it when I was supposed to, I would have been much better off when facing the difficulties of that particular day.

I hope I am not violating copyright laws by posting some of this, but I had to share it.  This is from  My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:

                “Has God trusted you with His silence-a silence that has great meaning?  God’s silences are actually His answers…”

The devotional goes on to quote the Scripture from the story of Lazarus’ death and how Jesus stayed two extra days before he returned to Bethany.  Two days of silence in Bethany where they did not know what to do.  They knew Jesus intimately and personally.  Mary sought Jesus by sitting at His feet and listening to His voice while Martha loved Him and believed she best served Him by doing things for Him.  Obviously both were in the same boat in this story because Jesus was silent. Everything they had heard Him say or anything they had done for Him didn’t matter at this point. All those moments spent in His presence didn’t count in the obvious silence of His absence. He didn’t come in the time they allotted and when they were at their lowest and their hearts were breaking. So, let’s continue reading:

“Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is a sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself.  Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response?  When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible—with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation.”

At this point of the reading, I wanted to scream:  “I CANNOT take any more surprises or revelations!”  However, I refrained and kept reading:

“If God has given you a silence, then praise Him—He is bringing you into the mainstream of his purposes…Time is nothing to God.”  (You are preaching to the choir here.  I am already praising Him and I know that He does not get in hurry to do anything….These are just the thoughts going through my head as I read this.)

At this point, the devotional goes into the Scripture about asking for bread and receiving a stone.  That is what I have felt like recently.  Not only did I receive a stone, but it felt like it was thrown at me.

I continued to read and by the time I read the last line of the devotional it began to sink in and I could feel those arms wrap around me once again:

“If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of his intimacy—silence.”

I have searched and sought to deepen my relationship with Jesus and yet I did not recognize when I had achieved what I sought.  Intimacy means that I have reached a new level of relationship, a new knowledge of the person with whom I am in a relationship.  Intimacy is about knowledge through communication.  It did not occur to me that silence was a form of communication.

It is not coincidence the devotional for yesterday was about silence.  The Scripture tells us, and this is something that I recently discussed with a  friend, when Jesus stood up to read in the synagogue as a young man, the Scripture for that day was fulfilled and He made the statement it was fulfilled.  This was not some random act or coincidence, but planned many years in advance and orchestrated by God. 

I truly believe that God loves me enough to know what I need and in my despair over being left conversing with a brick wall, I failed to read the words He had left for me to reassure me that He is with me and that He is taking me to a new level in our relationship.  Now, the silence is golden and I feel nourished with bread instead of a stone. 

Women tend to have twice as many words in a day they need to speak than men, or so I have been told.  I had reached the point of using up all my words and still felt like I had gotten nowhere, but it was not in the words, tears, or prayers that I prayed where I found my answer.  It was in the silence and maybe that is why I have not written or posted until today.  This may not be a big revelation to anyone but me, but it is what I have to share, so here it is.

So, please enjoy the silences and know that you are not alone, but that you may be in transition to a deeper level of intimacy in your relationship.

Until next time…

C

P.S. My favorite promise verse from the One who never breaks His promises:

Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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People Watching

The past two days have been spent in various medical facilities, and as always I find myself watching and listening to those around me.  Such was the case a couple of days ago in a local doctor’s office.  I had completed my paperwork and decided to play a game on my phone.  A few minutes into the game, I heard a nurse saying goodbye to a patient as she held the door for her.  Out walked an elderly lady, her silver hair styled to perfection. At first I did not see anyone behind her, but when she came to the outside door, she moved no further, but stood frozen as if waiting for it to magically open.  She didn’t have to wait very long because her faithful companion walked up behind her and gallantly opened the door and stood waiting for her to pass through it.  I smiled to myself because I love seeing that type of behavior and understanding between couples.  The elderly generation has something that I think we have lost as the years have passed.  I loved seeing the trust in this lady as she stood waiting knowing that he would open that door. 

Soon my attention was diverted by a young firefighter who came in looking a bit wobbly.  He sort of stumbled through asking the receptionist if the doctor could see him as a walk-in patient and then he sat close to the door with his head in his hands.  A few moments later an energetic young woman in a simple t-shirt and jeans walked into the room and sat beside him.  They began to chat and I begin to smile as I couldn’t help but listen to the conversation:

“So you passed out today” She said.

“No, I did not pass out.”

“So, you just decided to lie down on the floor?” She replied.

“No, I felt like I was going to pass out so I just knelt down.”

“So, you just decided to get on the floor because you were tired, but you weren’t going to pass out?” She pressed him to respond.

“Passing out means losing consciousness and I didn’t lose consciousness.  I just felt like I needed to kneel down or lie down on the floor.”

At this point, they both got to giggling because it was obvious that he did not want to admit that he had passed out at work from dehydration and he was trying his best to save face since, of course, he was a firefighter and they are supposed to be tough.  The conversation continued, but it amazed me that she knew how to respond to break the tension and eventually he realized he needed to tell the doctor he had passed out despite the fact that he really didn’t want to do so.  His masculinity was threatened and she smoothed it over until they were both laughing.  In fact, I kept my head down playing my game, but I was smiling as well because their friendly banter was contagious.  I couldn’t help but think how she must worry over him at times because of his career choice, but how supportive she was toward him to talk him through his own little crisis. 

The next day brought more people watching and interesting scenarios.  This time I was not the patient, but as the physician’s assistant stated, “You are the driver.”  This means I hold everything and spend much time waiting and I get buzzed when the patient is ready.  Did you know that now they use those same buzzers that restaurants use?  I would love to have had some queso and chips while I was waiting, but I guess that was out of the question since we were on the gastrointestinal floor and food had been banned. A bit ironic I think.  Okay, I am digressing.  Maybe it is because I am a bit hungry as I write this.

Back to my story…

There were about fifty or more people in this waiting room and I believe I sat there for close to two hours.  At first I thought I would count how many overweight people there were because this is Mississippi and most of us are overweight.  However, that was not a challenge because there were so many.  Next, I just watched individuals as they signed in and looked around wondering where to sit or what to do.  One guy who accompanied his wife startled me because he reminded me of a cross between Jethro Gibbs and Mark Twain.  I will call him Mark Gibbs.  He had the scruffy longish silver/white hair and his mustache completely covered his upper lip and was well on its way to covering his lower lip.  He was relaxed and his mannerisms were that of a Southern gentleman.  His accent was pronounced and I couldn’t help but think he should be on the river and not stuck in this waiting room.

Of course there were the usual people with their ear buds and iPhones totally immersed in texting, playing games, and listening to music.  Nothing to see there.  I was struck by one elderly couple that sat together.  The wife was a round little lady and when they took the husband back for his test, he handed her this massive volume he had been reading.  She promptly began reading after he had left and I couldn’t help but smile to think they were sharing a book. So much for electronic devices.  I couldn’t catch the name of the book, but its tan cloth cover and burgundy binding let me know it was a friend and I felt a sense of rightness that some people still value our cloth bound treasures.

 I started watching the couples as one or the other was left to wait while their spouse completed his/her test. One lady was completing her paperwork and she stopped and asked her husband to feel of a place on her back.  He obediently put his hand on her back and felt the spot she indicated and she asked, “Can you feel that knot?”  He looked a bit puzzled and responded, “No.”  She said, “I know there is a knot there.  I hope there is nothing wrong.”  He resumed his reading.  This brought a smile to my face much like the woman that was constantly chatting with her husband while he was consumed in his newspaper.  The perfunctory “ummhmmm” that he uttered led me to believe this happened daily and his brain just automatically knew when to respond without him having to stop reading. 

However, there was one couple that I enjoyed watching.  He had a pronounced Louisiana accent and was obviously a well educated gentleman.  His casual attire of polo shirt, shorts, and athletic shoes screamed in contrast to his ladies’ outfit.  She was a tall, slender redhead dressed in purple slinky pants and jacket, with a purple printed scarf.  They were probably in their sixties, but the remnants of younger days still attached themselves to their appearance and it was not hard to see what a dash they must have cut as a young society couple.  The rhinestone black reading glasses remained perched on her nose throughout the waiting period and she had all the latest magazines resting in her lap.  Her makeup was flawless and the only signs of possible nervousness or a hurried action were the wisps of hair mussed in the back of her ponytail.  The fact the hair was in a ponytail was a telltale sign.  They constantly conversed and he seemed nervous about the upcoming test. His Louisiana accent was soothing and smooth, so much so the receptionist commented on it. His lady was calm and kept him engaged in conversation until the medical assistant called him.  He immediately asked her if she would be coming with him, but the assistant told him it was just a moment’s procedure to get his arm band and he would be right back.  Well, he must have talked about her constantly while he was back there because the assistant came back out and spoke to her for several minutes about her career.  I couldn’t help but wonder what career path she had taken, so I brainstormed that for a bit.

They continued to talk and it was great to see how they interpreted comments from the television and looked at each other as if they didn’t have to say anything to read each others’ thoughts.  This kept him calm throughout the waiting period and it also made my waiting time more entertaining. The assistant called his name for the test, and I said a prayer for them as my buzzer went off and I headed to get my patient.  I hoped they did not have any bad results and they would have many more years to spend laughing together and “cutting a dash” in their senior years.

Many things have gone through my mind as I have sat in these medical facilities the past couple of days.  I have prayed for people I did not know, but felt a closeness to from just being exposed to them for a short time period.  I have been very thankful that I have minor medical issues so that I do not have to spend time in these facilities.  I have seen examples of kindness, consideration, happiness, and beautiful relationships because I had time to stop and look for a few minutes.  I am wondering how much I miss on a regular day when I am hurried and cannot stop to really ‘see’ people enough to recognize what is going on in their lives.  I think I would benefit more if I could do this; however, I don’t want the medical issues that might go along with having the time to do it.  That is just the irony of life.  Sometimes we don’t really stop and see others until we are all experiencing pain or some sort of “time out” in our lives.

Today my goal is to try to stop and see someone and give them a moment of my time whether is it to pray for them, speak to them, or just smile at something they have said.  I think my life will be richer for it and I hope you will also take the time today to stop and do a little people watching in your world.

Until next time,

C

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