Archives for the month of: September, 2011

Today the pain came again – as it has for the last week.  Why??? The only day it did not come was Sunday – I did not go to church because the pain has been coming every day about the same time.  I knew if I was in church and it came I would have to leave but was not certain I could get home.   Then today it came back.  The only thing we can track down is that when I go out it comes – later but still it comes.  Is it allergy?  I don’t know.

 

Pain – lying on the bed, trying to praise God . . . my whole being focused on a black hole where there is red pulsing beating fire . . . pain.  Freedom to praise – nno – my whole body and mind is not free – they are captured by this pulsing beating red fire.  I am not free I am cornered and fighting like a wounded animal – such is the pain.

 

Focus . . . the 23rd Psalm . . . I shall not want (I do want freedom from the pain) He restores my soul (please, please, please, God restore my sanity) He makes me lay down in green pastures (God in heaven please) He leads me beside still waters (no, there is a raging storm in my head) Though I walk through the valley of death – yes, welcome, freedom from pain (I fear no evil my Lord) a table is prepared before my enemies (Father God please put that healing oil over my head and the warmth soothe this pain) my cup runneth over (Lord, the pain dries out my soul) –

 

Freedom to praise – Father God, please help me to praise you even in the midst of this pain.

 

Finally, the pain lessens – thank you, God . . . for less pain, for being there in the midst of the pain . . . for Your Holy Presence in the midst of unholy pain . . .

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Freedom to Praise 

God says to "be still and know that I am GOD" -

He also says to "be still and know that I AM GOD"

I believe that if I am still I can stop and give all over to Him.  My pain, my stress, my worry, my . . . This is the "be still and know that I am God", the place where I sit . . . rest in Him.  

Where I give it all over to Him so I can cease worrying, I become free of pain, my stress melts away.  Only by doing this - being still and knowing He is God can I live . . . so moment by moment I need to return to this stillness within me that gives it all to God. 

There is another point to "be still and know"  . . . this is the "know that I AM GOD" . . . the knowing the "I AM".  Do I know the I AM?  

This is where I am still and I learn who God is.  I cannot learn who God is by being busy, by hurrying about.  To learn who God is I must be still  and study about Him, study His word, study what He would have me know.   This is where I learn to know Him and this is where I begin to be able to "be still and know that I am God" and where I begin to know how to give all over to Him.  

Without the knowledge of who He is . . . how can I rest in His presence. . .
We were created as a nation with the freedom to praise . . . a freedom of religion.  This past Sunday was the anniversary of a day of challenge for our freedoms . . .September 11, 2001.  For many people - over 3,000 - Sunday was a day of remembering those lost  . . . for some losses have occurred since September 11, 2001.  

I do not take for granted my freedom to praise . . . for my family, since before we were a nation, has participated in insuring that I have this freedom.  

Nor do I take for granted my right - as a woman - to vote.  This is a freedom that was hard fought for and I gain the benefit without having to fight the fight.  

However, in each of these situations and in many more situations I can lose my right - my right to praise freely, to vote as I choose, to go to the Church of my choosing, to drive from my house to the store.  Some of these seem so ordinary.  Yet in many countries they are not ordinary, they are not even allowed.  I can lose my rights if I don't exercise them -- the right to vote -- and if I take them for granted.  

So I honor those who helped me get and keep these rights.  I pledge myself to making sure that those who come after me get to keep these rights.  

I also praise my God and thank Him for each of the "rights" that I have - as a free American and most of all as a child of God's Kingdom.
Reading "One Thousand Gifts"

Paul says he has learned to be content with whatever he has -- this seems to me to be linked to freedom to praise.  Certainly if I am content with whatever I have then I am free from the desire to have more . . . This freedom from desiring means I will be content with what I have . . . being content with what I have means thanking God for what I have . . . which means praising God for what I have . . .  Okay, now does that mean whatever . . . 

Sitting here thinking on this . . . 

When one is in pain, physical pain or mental, one focuses inward.  At the same time, the physical body tenses up when it is in pain . . . both of these, physical and mental, will lead one to focus inward, to tense up.  When you are tensed up you are not experiencing freedom.  You can't move about freely -- physically or mentally.   That means when I am in pain -- whether physical or mental -- I am not experiencing "freedom to praise."  

So this is a conundrum -- to be pain free in order to praise yet focusing on praise in order to eliminate pain . . . 

This then actually reinforces the fact that I need strength from my Lord, from my God. . . without His strength, without His Spirit in me, I do not have the "whatever it takes" to be pain free in order to have freedom to praise. . .
This is a freedom that I am not sure that I have practiced.  I think I have had this available to me, just that I have not practiced it.  Recently a couple of events have transpired to bring this to my attention . . . 

First was a deep pleasure in reading Ann Voskamp's book, "One Thousand Gifts".  She talks of living thankfully. 

Second was a deep disappointment in not being allowed to participate in worship as I had previously.  Along with this disappointment was a wound inflicted by people around me.  

At about this same time I seemed to repeatedly be focused (through other's words and emails and through God's touch on my heart) on God's requirement to "count it all joy."  

In order to "count it all joy" there must be praise.  How can I consider it joy if I am not praising God in whatever it is?  I don't think I can.  Can I count it all joy if I am not living thankfully?  With thanksgiving there is praise to God.  

Thus, I begin this journey.