A desire for fellowship with others who experience limitations similar to mine has resulted in an ever-widening circle of companions via social networking. Most of us are homebound due to physical difficulties; we are better able to manage health concerns at home. Interestingly, a common thread runs through many of our conversations: what do we do with our time, and how do we accomplish what we think we should be doing?
The battle for right thinking is hard; sometimes, it is very hard. Prolonged trials challenge the faith of a believer but have the potential to produce spiritual growth and nearness to God. Many of the Psalms illustrate this as the psalmist pours out his heart to God with words of anguish and fear alternating with praise for God and hope for His help.
As a prime example of this, Psalm 42 reflects much of what has been on my heart recently. I have felt anguish and fear after finding another breast lump. However, the Holy Spirit is bringing truths to my mind that challenge my thoughts, resulting in a spiritual war that is difficult, but bound to produce good.
My tears have fallen frequently as I attempt to absorb the losses that keep coming. As I write, I am thinking of the dilemma that currently tests me. The vertigo I experienced following the surgery to remove my tumor has lessened significantly, but I am still unable to lie in any position except on my right side without dizziness. My right hip is complaining, making sleep more difficult. I was thinking today, “Something has to give. Either my hip has to stop hurting or I have to be able to lie in other positions. I have to sleep in order to heal and fight cancer!”
Several years of chemical sensitivities that cause vertigo, migraines, and insomnia coupled with a difficult past 6 months including a broken shoulder, caring for family members with major medical issues, and worsening insomnia have been difficult but sanctifying. I keep hoping that a period of rest will come, thinking that a reprieve from trials is what is needed in order to accomplish this. However, God’s understanding is beyond mine. I have entered through the door of a new challenge… breast cancer.
With the threat of additional medical issues looming on the horizon, the Holy Spirit reminded me that my thoughts questioning why I may have to endure more affliction were not helpful. Instead of looking for God in the situation, I was focused on my fear of feeling physically worse than I do already. Thankfully, there is no end to the number of places I could find comfort and guidance in the Bible. My study for today included this passage:Read More »
As discussed here, the ministry of other Christians during a recent medical trial served to keep my sleep-deprived mind on Truth rather than downward-spiraling thoughts regarding my physical condition. I have continued to reflect on a particular letter I received during this time, because it contains key points that still encourage me daily.
At the end of my last post, I posed the question, “Can I be content even if I spend the rest of my days physically unable to do daily household tasks”? God has given me the opportunity to try to answer this question. My sleep deteriorated to the point that I was sleeping only 1 hour per night for several weeks, resulting in physical and mental deterioration; I felt much like Paul expresses in his second letter to the Corinthians:Read More »
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
An interesting thing has happened during these years of my physical affliction; my desires have changed. At one time, I had a strong desire to go back out into the workforce once our children’s needs didn’t require me to be at home full time. I had visions of contributing to our household income so that we could live the way we thought we wanted to live. The prestige of the positions I had trained for called me to keep the pace going by striving to attain even more. Requests from customers and previous coworkers for me to return to this course stoked my pride and kept my head turned to what seemed most desirable at the time. As a result, I didn’t see the alternative, cooking and cleaning at home, as something that would be satisfying at all.
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 Corinthians 10:13
By no means am I suggesting that what I am about to write is all there is to glean from this passage. However, I do believe that what I experienced this morning is one application of its meaning.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
There was a day recently when I was feeling inclined toward bitterness regarding a particular doctor’s ill-treatment of two of our children. My babies have suffered greatly for a long time while seeking help for a medical issue, help that hasn’t been helpful after all. Despite objective evidence to the contrary, this doctor insisted that the prescriptions he ordered were doing what he said they do. Even the ineffectiveness of doses beyond the standards would not sway his steadfast opinion that his methods were correct.