Tag Archives: peace

When the Tables are Turned, is it Abuse… or Righteous Anger?

The table was shoved over in a fit of rage when I was around eight. There’d been a bit of squabbling at the table, as happens between eight-year-old and four-year-old kids, but nothing out of the ordinary. It came as a complete shock. It was apparently the last straw; the one that broke the camel’s back. The flimsy card table in our tiny Italian kitchen was suddenly flipped over. There was a scream, and tomato rice soup was flying everywhere. What just happened? Our entire lunch was on the floor; the table upended on its side. And suddenly it was silent.

As I surveyed the red creamy soup splattered all over the walls and in puddles on the floor, we began to cry. My little sister started yelling, “My tooth! My tooth!” In a flurry of activity, we ran to kneel on the floor beside her and look into her mouth. Fear. Had the table smacked her in the face on its way down? Then, suddenly relief, as the discovery came… “It’s a piece of rice! It’s just a piece of rice!” 

I guess it was the relief, because it surely wasn’t joy, that brought the nervous laughter. Suddenly we got the impression it was not so bad after all. In fact, it was all quite funny. But it was actually only funny, because we were trained to believe it was so. The brainwashing had set in long before. I knew what to do. I was supposed to laugh along; make light of the situation. That way no one would get mad… and I wouldn’t get into trouble. And then we could all put a smile on our face and pretend it had never happened. 

What was that after all? Was it abuse, or was it righteous anger?

Well, let’s compare it to another scenario from a time long before. Instead of little kids bickering at the kitchen table, there were money changers in the courts of God’s Holy Temple. And they weren’t innocently sitting at tables eating their lunch. No. They were sitting at tables exchanging foreign money. And instead of having a little argument to top it off, merchants were also selling sheep, cattle, and doves to be sacrificed. Instead of children facing an angry woman, the merchants and money changers came face to face with an angry man… an angry man who just happened to be the Son of God! 

Jesus didn’t shove a flimsy table of food to the ground; he shoved multiple tables, scattering tons of coins: here, there, and everywhere! If that wasn’t frightening enough, he created a whip out of cords, and sent the animals running hither and dither from the temple’s courtyard! Merchants and money changers were in his Father’s House, and Jesus was mad as a hornet! Did you know that Jesus yelled too?! “To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market’ ” (John 2:16 New International Version)!

What was that after all? Was it abuse? Or was it righteous anger?

Well, if you had to choose which situation to witness, which one would you pick? I know which one I would choose. For the silver lining is in knowing that my Savior is good, and perfect, and pure. Though the scene with Jesus was extra dramatic, I would have surveyed the whole scene with peace, instead of anxiety. I would have sat on the sidelines knowing that his corded whip was not for me, nor the righteous anger, nor the disciplinary action. I also wouldn’t have been forced to fake laugh, and pretend I was okay. This is because my confidence is in Christ. My Savior knows what he is doing, has a purpose for it all the time, and it is always good.

I can see myself as a small, skinny eight-year-old girl, about the age of my daughter, sitting on a wall in the courtyard. I’m watching Jesus; glad that he is clearing the temple of the bad guys. I’m sitting in my ratty brown robe, barefoot, swinging my legs against the stone wall, waiting for him to finish his work. I can hardly wait for him to toss down the whip and head over to me. Everyone is gone; the merchants, the buyers, the money changers, and the animals. It’s just me left.  As he comes towards me, I bow my head, but it’s not out of fear. 

It’s out of reverence. It’s because I know he’s getting ready to pull me into his comforting, warm embrace of unconditional love. My head is down because I know his hand is going to touch the top of my curly auburn head, and he’s going to say, “I love you, my child. There’s nothing to fear.” But I’m not afraid anyway. And when I look up into his beautiful, dark face, and smile into his kind, brown eyes;  I nod my head. I can’t talk, because I’m overjoyed. But he understand me. He can read my mind. He knows I’ve remembered. He knows that I, just like “His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17).

Prayer: 

Dear God, turn the tables in my life. Where I am weak, make me strong. Cleanse my mind of the lies I was taught as a child. Fill me with The Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the truth. Instead of bitter anger, help me to continue to forgive those who have sinned against me, just as you have forgiven those who have sinned against you. Remove the deceit from those who have become blind to the truth. Bring instead, wisdom and discernment, to those who seek Your Face. 

Years later, I’m on fire for You, Lord. My speech, and my body have experienced the shaking strength of righteous anger, and in it I did not sin; just as you my Savior, did not sin in the temple courtyard. I am zealous for you, Jesus. I’m zealous for others to make their home with you in Heaven. It consumes me, and I don’t care if the world hates me for it. Even if I’m the only one left sitting in your courtyard, I will wait for you to come get me. I want to live in your house forever. I want my home to be wherever you may be. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for your eternal love. 

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).

Related Posts:

PAST PATHS… AND OTHER THINGS TOO PAINFUL TO MENTION

SHE’S A LITTLE RUNAWAY: A JOURNEY FROM REJECTION TO ACCEPTANCE 


Before Your Loved Ones Die, Give Them Jesus… Expect a Miracle!

I can’t believe it’s been six years since my friend Donna Dehart passed away. I love this photo of the two of us giggling, trying to play the Wii (and failing miserably) on Christmas Day, 2008. It’s the only photo I have of the two of us together. 

Donna’s daughters were at their dad’s on Christmas Day, so we had the blessing of having her spend Christmas Day with my family.  We enjoyed good food, love and laughter, and the fun of playing with Christmas toys! That Christmas, Donna gave me a beautiful gift. I opened a small, delicate ceramic angel box; and what was inside, took my breath away: Donna had written wise sayings on teeny tiny pieces of long paper, and she had curled them around a pencil. Then she had lovingly placed them one by one, into the angel box… just…for…ME! One of the sayings said, “Expect a miracle… Expect a miracle…”

Even though I knew Donna struggled greatly with chronic illness, I had no idea God would take my friend home just three years later. Donna was adamant that Jesus was a great teacher, and that was where it ended. She was stubborn when it came to her beliefs, so I decided to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus for my friend; so she could see Jesus living me! We had lunch dates, painted in art class together, met at the Farmer’s Market, shared secrets, and had spiritual conversations on the phone. 

Finally,  against everything she said she wouldn’t do; she began to attend my church, where some of my friends had been loving on her and ministering to her too. We also formed a team to help her with house repairs, and another friend fixed her vintage car; which was in the garage more than out, and ran on a few bucks and a prayer! My sisters and brothers in Christ let our love speak for itself. 

Donna didn’t have much as far as earthly possessions, but she had a contagious laugh and positive attitude that filled me up. She had a fierce love for her daughters, and great empathy for animals without a home; so great, that she gave them a home at her own house! Though we didn’t always agree, our friendship was one of respect, trust, loyalty, and love. Donna did believe in Jesus and his death and resurrection, but she would only let me witness up to a certain point. I had to trust that God would reveal Himself through compassion from our church, other godly organizations, and her Christian friends. 

When she lay in the hospital, close to death, and unresponsive; I thought of the silver lining… Expect a miracle. I prayed an intercessory prayer for her. I held her hand and whispered in her ear, and I asked her to receive Christ if she had not. I told her it wasn’t too late, and she could receive Jesus without talking. While still whispering in her ear, so she could hear me above the noisy machines working hard to keep her alive, I asked God in his infinite mercy to let her hear my prayer. I asked God to lead her to say yes in her heart, and to have peace, so she could go to Heaven. I told her I would meet her there, and I kissed her goodbye. And to this day, I… expect a miracle!

We never know how much time we have with our friends and family here in earth. Tell them about Jesus while you can, even if it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do! People need Jesus, and they are more ready to receive him than we realize. Out of every act of friendship, telling someone about Jesus is the most loving thing you can ever do! 

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:11).


Here’s how I think of you, up in Heaven, my dear, precious friend! Peace be with you!

This is the poem I wrote and read for Donna’s memorial service:

Dear Donna, this is what I know;

that lots of people loved you so.

 

You truly had a heart of gold,

so kind to others: young and old,

 

Accepted people as they are;

It’s why you’re still a shining star.

 

Down on his luck, you’d find a friend,

Make up a bed, and take him in.

 

A dog or cat left out to roam

Could find your house and call it home.

 

I’ll not forget your loyalty…

You named a chicken after me!

 

Nature, music, animals, art:

Happy passions of your heart.

 

But even more, you loved your girls,

Who brought you pride and filled your world.

 

Long black hair, and a great big smile,

Always time to chat for a while.

 

Your hearty laugh would make my day,

My troubles would just melt away.

 

A flash of green erased my frown;

Your Ford Galaxy on the town!

 

 When my heart hurts, I’ll feel a tug,

and give myself a “great big hug”.

 

My friend, why did you have to go?

It’s hard, but now I think I know.

 

God must have had some extra paint.

He looked until he found a saint.

 

He thought He’d free you from your pain

And since you loved the sun and rain,

 

He’d give you something fun to do,

And make you feel much better too.

 

You’d paint His rainbows with His brush

To be enjoyed by all of us. 

 

When orange and purple clouds roll by,

I’ll know you’re painting in the sky!

 

 ~Angela Royse Pelleman

   © 2011

Jesus is Your ONE WAY Ticket to Heaven! Don’t Deny Him! Get on Board! 

Come on, Christian Believers… Rise up! You have to make a CHOICE! You can NOT serve two masters! Either you’re with JESUS all the way, or not at all! You can’t say you’re a Christian, and then tell other people it’s okay to worship whomever and however they choose! That’s NOT witnessing! That is denying the power and authority of GOD as the ONE and ONLY GOD! If you’re telling people you are a Christian, but you’re appealing to the masses by telling others it’s fine if they believe in another deity, or fine to participate in religious practices which are directly OPPOSED to God’s teachings; I’ve got some bad news for you… you are NOT helping the lost get to Heaven! Don’t make the mistake of denying Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for you, and gave you salvation!

Denying Jesus due to ignorance:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ignorance as: “the state or fact of being ignorant : lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.” Ignorant does not mean stupid or foolish. Being ignorant just means we’re unaware of a particular topic, or have not been educated on a specific subject. I’m intelligent, gifted, and talented in many different areas. So are you. But when it comes to Calculus, I’m completely ignorant. I know nothing about it, have never been educated in this type of Math, and frankly; I really don’t care. But one area where ignorance is NOT bliss, is the matter of receiving your salvation through Jesus Christ. Being ignorant in this area will cost you your very life… after death! 

So don’t be foolish; get educated about the truth today. Let Jesus save you now: HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART, AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!  If you have been living with the belief that everyone gets to Heaven their own way; through various religions, journeys, and beliefs, I need to break the news to you… You have been believing a LIE! For the Bible says: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him’ ” (Jn. 14:6-7 New International Version).



Denying Jesus due to confusion:

Confusion is not from God; it’s from the devil. If you’re already saved, but have still been led to believe that there are alternative ways to get to Heaven; you’re living in denial of the truth. You need to renounce the lies you’ve been taught, so you can do what you were called to do, when you made the decision to give your life to Christ: Tell others about Jesus! Why would a true Christian be so selfish and self-centered, as to keep God’s Good News all to themselves, without telling another single soul?

If you have received Jesus, yet don’t believe your life will ever get better, you are in denial of what Jesus can do for you! If you are saved, yet believe you are perfect, you are in denial of why Jesus died for you in the first place! As Christians, we must continuously repent, apologize, and ask for forgiveness often; or we are living in denial of what it means to be a Christian. Ask the Holy Spirit to impress the truth deeply within your heart, so you will know, without a doubt, that Jesus is the ONE and ONLY way to eternal life.

Denying Jesus by refusing to follow him

Some people don’t want to give up their bad habits and fleshly desires. But Jesus is here to change our hearts. When we follow him, our earthly desires will give way to holy desires. Some people choose the world, because they feel they can’t attain perfectionism, but this does not mean we aren’t supposed to try living like Jesus. People choose many sinful things, believing these evil things will satisfy them. But these evil things only lead to more evil things. The truth is, people are really looking for peace, purity, and perfection; and unless they choose Jesus, they are living in denial of the one and only path that will take them there.

If you have accepted Jesus into your heart, yet purposely choose not to live the life of a Christian, you’re denying the truth about what your salvation means. Salvation means we have received the gift of eternal life through Jesus, and have decided to follow him. The Holy Spirit impresses this upon our hearts: We are to live our lives in continuous repentance, by asking for forgiveness of our sins. We are to live in the world, but not be of the world. We should pursue Jesus and desire a relationship with him. Jesus wants a relationship with us! “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’ ” (Matt. 16:24).



Denying Jesus by pleasing the world:

To be comfortable telling others that whatever floats their boat is great for them, when we know the TRUTH… is a SIN! It is a LIE; and people who die believing that lie, are going to end up in Hell! You’re not doing anyone a favor by sharing your faith as a Christian, while at the same time, telling them it’s acceptable to delve into world religions, which do not teach that Jesus is the one and only way to God! That is to deny the very foundation, the ROCK, of Christianity… God’s Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ! Christianity is the belief that JESUS CHRIST is THE ONE and ONLY way to SALVATION! Would we set a plate for our child’s lunch, yet not fill it with food? Would we buy a friend a favorite book, with all the pages torn out? Would we put our teen drivers into a car without any brakes? Of course not!  So why would we offer them a religion lacking the crucial, key component they need to experience healing, joy, and freedom on Earth? Why would we offer a religion lacking hope and truth in Jesus Christ… the one and only way for them to get to Heaven? Why?

If you know that Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life, and you believe this to the very core of your being; why on earth would you encourage your loved ones, and the people you care about, to go about practicing any religion they choose? Is it to prove tolerance? Is it to prove you’re a well rounded, open-minded person who gets along with everyone? Is that why some parents let their children flounder in the dark, believing the lie that they shouldn’t “interfere” with their children’s religion? While we cannot force our children to choose Jesus, don’t we love them so much we want to offer them the most valuable gift of salvation? Is It a Gift?  Yes! Withholding your witness to please the world is a LIE from the devil. Ask God to remove this lie in the name of Jesus, and to remind you that sharing the truth about Jesus is the most loving gift you can ever give… It leads to eternal life!  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matt. 7:13).

Denying Jesus due to strongholds:

Jesus knew his disciples had human weaknesses, such as fear. This is why the night of his betrayal, Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. Peter, along with all of the other disciples, vehemently disagreed. But when Jesus asked his disciples to be on guard in the Garden of Gethsemene, they fell asleep! When praying for God’s will to be done, Jesus, overwhelmed with sorrow, was so distressed over what was yet to come, that he sweat blood! Yet he still asked for His Father’s will to be done. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas, and then badly beaten by the Roman guards, his disciples were overcome by fear; they ran away, abandoning Jesus. They forgot to trust Jesus their Savior, who had faithfully kept all of his promises to them.

If you’re letting fear or other spirits control your actions, you’re denying your God-given power and authority to overcome strongholds through Jesus Christ! You’re denying the fact that your very best friend in the whole world is able to spiritually come to your aid during trials, and give you miraculous victory! Peter allowed fear to take over, even though he had witnessed so many miracles of Jesus; including his own amazing experience of walking on water! When two servant girls recognized Peter as having been with Jesus, Peter twice denied it; he even denied knowing Jesus at all. “After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’ Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’  And he went outside and wept bitterly”  (Matt 26:73-75).

Denial of Jesus as THE Authority and Power of God:

Do you know “The Man?” If you have a relationship with Jesus, you will understand that anyone and everything in the entire universe comes under the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Every human, animal, and spirit must bow to him. Even if one chooses not to believe in Jesus as the one and only way to Heaven,  it’s still the truth. We can not create our own truth…  God is Truth! Someone might choose to believe night will never come, but it’s coming anyway; just as one can choose to believe Jesus isn’t real, but he’s coming back anyway! And Jesus comes with rewards… or consequences. We can choose to willingly worship God through Jesus, and be immensely blessed; or we can choose to ignore the truth, and end up living in hell for eternity. The Holy Spirit lives within true Christians, and provides wisdom and discernment against the world’s lies. Lies go against scripture, and they cause our spirits to feel “unsettled.” We need to seek wise counsel from our elders, look for answers in our bibles, and pray for God to continuously reveal truth in His timing.

If you are a Christian, and realize that you’ve helped to pass on false teachings of other world religions as being an alternative path to Heaven, you should feel conviction in your heart from The Holy Spirit. Get on your knees in repentance, and ask God to forgive you for living in denial of the fact that Jesus, and ONLY Jesus died for you; and that ONLY GOD’s SON is capable of wiping away our dirt, grime, and SIN. Forgiveness can only be given to us through Jesus Christ, and ONLY the blood of Jesus can cleanse us, and make us holy, and white as snow. Without being cleansed of sin, we can NOT enter Heaven, because sin is what separates us from God. It would be impossible for us to live in Heaven with Jesus without being washed clean! “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Denying Jesus because you’re ashamed of the gospel:

Let’s say you know fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you, and will keep you trim, healthy, and fit. Yet, you know a lot of your friends really like candy, and they want to be trim, healthy, and fit too! Your friends are very ill from eating just candy, and they never eat any fresh fruits or vegetables. You know the fruits and veggies will heal them, but you’re afraid you will be rejected for your advice; after all, you don’t want to offend them. So, you decide to tell them that if they choose to believe that eating sugary candies will help keep them trim, healthy, and fit; that they should keep on doing it In addition, you never even bother to tell them that eating fruits and vegetables will give them their desired results. Even worse, you have an entire vegetable garden and luscious fruit trees in your back yard, growing in such abundance, you can’t even harvest it all!

Wouldn’t you want to volunteer your nourishing, fresh food to your friends to help them get well? Especially when there is enough for everyone? Don’t you want to help them? Why are you not helping them? What if you find out that the candy eaters are dying from lack of the nourishment, and your nutritious fruits and veggies could have saved their lives? Would you tell them now? … Or, never? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16).

Denying Jesus by not pursuing him as our Master:

Of course when we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, the most brilliant gift is getting to spend eternity with him in Heaven! The silver lining in serving only Jesus Christ as our earthly Master, is that our prayers are offered to The One who can really answer them! Jesus changes us, forgives us, gives us strength and courage, talks and listens to us; Jesus has a relationship with us! No other prophet, deity, spirit, religion, or false god can provide us with any hope on earth, or the joyful gift of eternal life when we are gone!

If we pursue only Jesus, we won’t get confused about where to go when we come to a fork in the road. Do we really want to get lost in the forest, or take the longest path when we are searching for the truth?  If not, we must pursue only the truth! We must choose Jesus! Choose Jesus, and stay close to his side. God offers us protection, refuge, and shelter from the storm! No other prophet, deity, spirit, idol, or false god can fulfill God’s promises. The devil will use the things of the world to deceive, manipulate, trick, control, tempt and tease you. He flashes shiny material goods, feel-good passions, money; and he lure his victims with lies about the grass being greener on the other side! He even comes disguised as Christianity, which is why we need to choose one master, and follow only Jesus! The devil’s plans are all meant to destroy you, and ultimately lead to your demise and destruction! ” ‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:24 NIV).

Get on board, Believers! Don’t deny yourself a one-way ticket to ride the train of truth! Hang on tight when it’s going full speed! Don’t jump off when it slows down. Pick up as many people as you can at all the stops along the way! You will be amazed at the glorious perfection which awaits you at your final destination!

There’s only ONE WAY to God, and it’s through Jesus Christ! It’s a free trip to Paradise, and we can stay forever!

The Unexpected Joy of REST

I never expected God would fill me up with so much joy, at the exact same time I’d be recovering from major back surgery! I’m two weeks into recovery, and God has been lighting up my life! Now don’t get me wrong… it hurts! The pain is intense. Just when I think the pain is beginning to diminish, it either comes back, or starts up again somewhere else!

But God has a sense of humor, and He knows what He’s doing ALL the time! I wasn’t listening as God tried to convince me to slow down. I needed rest, and it just wasn’t happening. As my body kept breaking down, God continued to urge me to rest in Him, but I believed rest was a waste of time. I did NOT believe God was a waste of time, and I’m so in love with Him for being patient with me. I just could not sit still and allow myself to soak up His Holy Presence; but I needed it… His rest… more than sunshine. I know that now.

I wrote about God, I looked up His verses and studied them, I listened to the words He said to me and wrote them down to encourage others, I sought counsel for things I didn’t understand, and thanked God for my elders wiser than me. I humbled myself and admitted my shortcomings, forgave others even when it hurt, and continued faithfully trusting God, even when it didn’t make sense… but I refused to… rest

I told myself there wasn’t time; there was too much to do, and moments of rest were moments I could be accomplishing something. But the accomplishments were never enough, and every night I was still filled with self-condemnation, even when I had worked my fingers, or my back, to the bone.  The voices from my past always left me feeling guilty and unworthy, like I must keep going to prove myself. But I was now at the breaking point. I was exhausted, and truly tired of suffering, and I just couldn’t break the cycle. No one in my precious, immediate family pressured me to keep going; in fact they all insisted I take a break and… rest. So did my dear friends. And I knew they really meant it. And I knew they were right. But the green light always said, “GO.”

And finally I began to get the message. I wasn’t taking care of myself, because I had never really learned how. During childhood, I’d been made to feel ashamed for doing well and for doing nice things for myself. So somewhere along the line; a long, long time ago, I had given up. I hadn’t given up on caring for my family, but I realized I had stopped caring for myself. I didn’t take the time to enjoy a book, write poetry, eat healthy, paint my nails, and just “stop and smell the flowers.” 

I was doing everything for others, and nothing for myself. When I had time to myself, I didn’t use it wisely, because I felt it was useless. As a child, I’d taught myself not to get my hopes up, because I was constantly let down, and penalized for doing things that made me happy. Of course my children gave me great joy, so my focus was there. I just found our family seemed to be always doing something on everyone else’s agenda, and never anything on our own; or mine. If I didn’t start taking care of myself soon, I wouldn’t be able to take care of those I love the most…my family members. And I wanted to be there for my friends and sisters and brothers in Christ, the way God has helped me to be there for them before. 

I began to make the necessary decision to take things off of my plate, and get serious about my surgery, and get serious about dividing my time equally in caring for both my family, and myself. This meant saying no to lots of things. I wasn’t concerned about not being liked, for I had discovered boundaries a long time ago, and am no longer into people-pleasing. I’m into pleasing God!

The hard part was giving up the couple things I had chosen to keep, like my Sunday School class and freelancing for Child Guide magazine, where I’m both a columnist, and a regular contributor. But God met me here too! I saw my daughter light up when she went to my friend’s Sunday School class and was welcomed by name with a cheerful smile. Yes, she wanted to go back! And my friend and editor of the magazine, kindly worked with me, as she always has, so I could have this season of rest and recovery, without any pressing deadlines.

Even though I was getting the message, the week before my surgery, I was frantically cleaning the house and calling in the troops to help me. Though I knew I should probably be relaxing, because my body would be enduring a lot of stress from the surgery, I stayed up late into the night two days prior to my surgery, instead of… resting.  Though my family promised to take care of me and did indeed do everything  I requested, I was determined to make sure my bedroom would be a sanctuary of peace for my recovery. When I got home, I wanted to make sure I would be able to… rest

Besides,  Pshaw! I could rest in the hospital after my surgery! Um… no. I didn’t realize then, that the post-operative pain would be so unbearable, I wouldn’t sleep a wink! Yet, I found myself joyfully writing a blog in the hospital that night instead. But this time, in spite of the excruciating pain, I could feel my body… resting. Even though I couldn’t sleep, I felt relaxed in my mind, because I knew that I was finally going to get a chance to… rest… and I was desperate to do so. 
 
If I could easily kneel down; all the love, support, and encouragement (which is still coming my way) would have already humbly brought me to my knees. Instead, our family has appreciatively gathered, and bowed our heads each evening, thanking God for warm home-cooked meals;  made by loving hands, and serving hearts. We’ve asked God to bless these beautiful women and their families, from my church and town. We’ve told God how very grateful we are for His provisions of delicious food, enjoyable visits, and playdates for my young daughter who is homeschooled; so she can remain happy, busy, and active with friends while I recuperate.

I’ve been able to bask in the warmth of the sun, while enjoying God’s beautiful flowers as they spring forth during my favorite season;  in anticipation of my favorite holiday… Easter!  What could be a more perfect time for rest and rejuvenation?  I’m so thankful that Jesus died for me, so that no matter what lies ahead; my future, my family’s future, and the future of my Christian brothers and sisters; lies secure in our salvation through Jesus Christ!

Why am I so surprised about the immense joy which has come my way in the midst of pain? This isn’t some crazy coincidence; for God’s timing really is the best; and He knows when we most need the presence of joy. He prepared me for it, and without a doubt He gets the glory for the healing he is bestowing upon me, both inside and out. Because, the fact is, hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ have been praying for me for a long time, and I’ve been anointed by both my pastor and my husband. Anointing is powerful, and we should expect good things when we receive the gift of it. After all, it’s a holy blessing from The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit!  

In the pain and suffering, God has provided the silver lining: family, friends, fellowship, food, and… rest. I hoped for it… and it came… just when I needed it most! So as I heal, I continue to TRUST HIM, because hope in Jesus does NOT disappoint! “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:1-5 New International Version).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).


Spring is a time of joyful, new beginnings! I pray you know the truth; that our hope lies only in Jesus, so you can find healing, joy, and freedom in Christ! May you enjoy the warmth of the sun, the beauty of colorful flowers, the hugs from friends, and the joy of holding a soft, downy baby chick! May you receive Jesus, and have peace in knowing you have eternal life! AMEN!


Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Family that Prays Together…

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!  

Exactly one week ago, was the big surgery day. For a while, I’ve thought the surgery was long overdue, but now I can see that God planned it to be this way all along. I want my family, friends, readers, writers, church, and even very kind strangers; to know that last week God showed up… He heard all your prayers, answered many of them, and more answers are on the way! 

I already know Jesus is the Great Physician, and I know He is a Miracle Maker. I’ve witnessed miraculous recoveries among my own family members. So I know God is good… and I know He shows up. But I needed your prayers, and I want you to know that prayer is powerful! I want the people in my life to know that there is great power in being anointed by your pastor, and your spouse, and any Christian who comes faithfully asking for your healing in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is because we do the serving, but God is The One showing up. “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas. 5:14 New International Version).


I first hurt my back in 8th grade. My best friend and I were choreographing a dance, and as I moved to bend over at the waist, I was shocked to find myself stuck. I couldn’t straighten up into a standing position, so I lay frozen, awkwardly flat on my back, on her bed for a half an hour. I was terrified. She was worried about me, so she said she was getting her dad. I was afraid of her dad, so I managed to stand, while wobbling and leaning against her, and she walked me home. There was no attention given to my injury, and no doctor appointment. I just remember gradually getting better over the next several days, and hoping that this scary event would not happen to me again. 

God must have had mercy on me, because it didn’t seem to be big deal to anyone but me and my best friend, and she couldn’t help me. God gracefully healed me, so that I remained active in gymnastics, volleyball, and cheerleading. I had more problems with asthma, and my bad knees, than with my back. But over the years, my back would give out, and I’d be out of commission for about three days. I got used to it. It was just a familiar part of my life. I finished college, got a job teaching, got married to my husband, and finally became pregnant with twin boys. 

The double pregnancy was in itself, its own trial, forcing me to continuously keep my eyes focused on the silver lining that lay up ahead. It felt like death was at my door; I vomited for five months straight, 30 times a day, losing weight fast. Though my precious boys were very tiny at 2 lbs. 15 oz. and 3 lbs. 5 oz., my back was never the same after that difficult pregnancy, which at 29 weeks, brought forth immense joy… I was blessed with the most beautiful premature baby boys I’d ever seen! 

I began to exercise in order to get back my trim figure. I’d always been skinny, but I was just looking to get back to the size I’d been before my pregnancy. When I threw out my back again, the doctor told me to stop doing the exercises where I had to lie on my back. Unfortunately, this meant most of the ones from my routine, which was actually beginning to flatten my belly. I became discouraged and stopped exercising altogether. I couldn’t go walking either, not until my husband got home from work, and by then we were both exhausted from caring for two babies who continued to fight for their lives. To go anywhere, we had to lug a heart and lung machine monitor for each one, and an oxygen tank for one of them. It was just too much. Even with staggered help and support, our new, little family was so very tired. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28).


When my boys were two years old, I threw my back out and ended up stooped over, unable to stand straight. People around my small town knew me by my young, stooped figure. Physical therapy got me standing agaian, but it also began years of constant MRI’s and X-rays, physical therapy, chiropractors, pain management, steroids and epidural injections. One office told me they weren’t giving up on me, but they just didn’t know how to help me find pain relief from my herniated disk. A trial run of burning the nerves in my back, showed the right spot had been found, but since the practice run gave only short-term relief, the official procedure wasn’t considered long-term treatment for me. I was so discouraged, because as the lidocaine ran through my body, I was exhilarated to be able to bend over and touch my toes with no pain whatsoever for an entire hour. It was short-lived. 

I headed “over the mountain,” towards the city, where most people from my small town tended to find higher quality care, when facing more serious medical issues. I found a great doctor; one I really liked, who was compassionate, honest, and thorough. He was also truly dedicated, and determined to find alternate procedures in an effort to prevent the inevitable… surgery. I was diagnosed with lumbosacrial and cervical spondylitis; a painful condition resulting from degeneration of intervertebral disks in the neck and lumbar areas, myofascial pain, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and more. There were steroid and epidermal injections, trigger point injections for muscle spasms, and lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy to treat facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain caused by my degenerative disk disease. My doctor performed a discogram, and the extreme pain confirmed that my damaged L-5 disk was indeed the culprit, along with the S-I joint. He even injected methylene blue, which surprisingly brought about 30 percent relief, for just a couple months, but overflowed and spilled out, because there was so little room in the shrunken disk. 

After the procedure, my body got chilled, and I had to lie under warm blankets for an hour. I shook, and my teeth chattered. I don’t know if it was shock, or the effects of the procedure, but I knew I didn’t want to ever have a discogram again, or go through anything like it.  There were other possible procedures which we decided against. My doctor didn’t feel confident enough that they would work, and didn’t want to waste my money. I was sent to one of his colleagues for Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments, where so many vials of blood were taken to use my platelets, I lost count. Neither procedure took; in fact one damaged the ligaments in my coccyx area, and three doctors verified it was because mistakes had been made. I had another extremely painful procedure to try and repair the damage. I was basically bedridden for three weeks afterward. I was tired of hurting. All. The. Time.

Right after my precious daughter was born (thankfully I had survived another bout of unrelenting nausea, which left me bed-ridden for four months) my son became extremely, chronically ill with Eosinophilic Esophagitis; a debilitatating disease with no cure. He was my main focus, and I put my own health on hold, as any mother does who earnestly prays and diligently searches for relief for her beloved children. Our new baby girl brought us joy in the storm, a beautiful distraction from the sadness and pain of the sickness. Three years later, God chose to miraculously heal my son, when I was out of state caring for my father who had cancer. It was emotionally and financially draining to be away from my family for three flights out of state that summer. My surgery and our addition would have to wait; for God had something else in mind.

I was away for a sum total of two months, but God is faithful. He healed not only my son, while I was away, but my father too. Both had been anointed and both had approximately 500 people praying for them. God showed me the healing power of forgiveness that summer, and He showed me that my children are in the best hands always… His hands! I went home exhausted, and in chronic pain, but with love in my heart, and no regret. I went back to teaching Sunday School, but finally had to take a break. I’d become very, very sick; unable to do anything at all. I knew I had picked up something serious from being at the ICU at the hospital, and from being sole caretaker for weeks at a time, around so much sickness and suffering. I was right; the diagnosis finally came: a staph infection in my sinuses. I was truly running only on Holy Spirit fumes. 

My back surgery had already been put on hold several times. I was still dealing with plantar fasciitis, which caused severe pain in my feet when I walked. I also continued to battle pain from the degeneration of the two disks in my neck. I also had emergency shoulder surgery, because of rotater cuff syndrome, along with a bone spur and arthritis in my shoulder, which prevented me from lifting my arm above shoulder level. The shoulder surgery was successful, though it required prolotherapy treatment to fully heal. During all this time, I continued to homeschool my children, run to even more doctors appointments for all of us, and teach Sunday School. It seemed there was no relief in sight. I began to wonder if I was supposed to sacrifice my life until I dropped. If Jesus did it, maybe I was supposed to just keep going, even though I felt like my body was breaking to pieces. But how would that be good for my family who needed me?

God told me it was time to rest. He let me know that Jesus already sacrificed his life for me, and I was not meant to run on empty. My husband supported me, and said it was time to take care of myself.  I realized I’d put things off, because I’d been taught to feel guilty for doing nice things for myself. It was so ingrained, I even felt guilty doing the very things I needed to do to save my own life. There’s never a perfect time, yet the time was perfect. I’d already met with several surgeons over the past few years. I met with two more, and chose the surgeon my doctor had highly recommended I talk to, before making my final decision about going through with the surgery. He correctly insisted I needed an expert, someone highly proficient and skilled, experienced and specialized in complicated back surgeries. I was grateful to both of those last two surgeons on my list, who had confirmed a completely collapsed disk, validation that there was nothing there to support the bones which rubbed against each other every time I moved. The rubbing irritating nerves, and my spine’s instability was indeed causing excruciating pain. 

So here I lie, writing while recovering, grateful for the love and care being shown to me in the midst of this trial. I want those who have been praying for me to know God has heard your prayers, and is already giving answers (good ones, because it is the only kind He gives!). My surgeon said the surgery went “perfectly!” Well, Jesus was there, after all, so perfect is a great word choice! My surgeon said I will now be taller, because I was missing a disk before; and adding space has given me more height. How cool is that? My daughter is tall, and I love that I can tell her that I’m now taller too!  

I’m doing well, in spite of being tired and dealing with pain. I’ve had a cage inserted into my spine with screws to hold it together. The cage is made of bone grafting material, which will grow into my own bone.  I’m very, very sore! The site of the injection hurts like crazy, and I can’t twist, bend, or lift more than five pounds. It’s going to take a while to feel like myself again, but… Praise The Lord! He brought me through it all! He even took away my anxiety, which is HUGE considering my past major struggle with the spirit of Fear! “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jer. 17:14).


I’m appreciating all the prayers, along with both the big things and the little things; because little things to me, are big treasures! May God bless everyone who has been here for me; near and far, who has taken time to offer up a prayer for me, and my family, in the name of Jesus. I’m taking you on this journey, not for attention or pity or popularity; or whatever other silly reasons are out there, but because I want God to be glorified in all of this! I don’t even know the end of the story, but I’ve chosen to JUST TRUST HIM! 

I originally wrote this the day after my surgery but did not complete and edit it until one week afterward. I now realize that God has wanted me to rest, while enjoying the love, support, and encouragement from family and friends. He has given me this time to prepare to write words centered around a theme of “healing” during the rest of Lent, and to provide others with hope in the midst of trial and storm. God has even led me to explore and share some wonderful writings from other gifted and talented writers, and I’m excited to see what He is putting together! He continues to provide confirmation via wonderful feedback from brothers and sisters in Christ. What joy it gives me, to be reminded that God is always in control; using every seed we plant to bless and minister to others, and grow His Mighty Kingdom. During this time of trial, God has been showing me the silver lining; connecting me to special people, giving me more ideas for the future of The Silver Lining, and letting me peacefully soak up the joy of how much He has already healed me, how He is healing me now, and the healing He is going to do in my future! It’s been a long time coming, but in God’s timing, everything is, well… just perfect! “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’ ” (Mark 5:34).

Pursue Jesus! Trust him to heal you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually according to his good and perfect will. Give God your body, heart, mind, and soul. Don’t miss your divine appointment; The Great Physician always shows up on time! 

Your healing can only begin through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Anything else is temporary, and short-lived. That’s because a good physician finds the root of the problem, and starts there. Jesus knows the answer to all our illnesses and ailments. In addition, he is a Miracle-Maker; someone no doctor on earth can truthfully claim to be.  For more, join The Silver Lining Facebook page, where encourage them, truth, and wisdom are posted every day! Also, visit my website. It is there as a gift to you! When you visit The Silver Lining homepage, click on the topic: Healing. Subscribe or follow, so you don’t miss truth-related blog posts that could lead you in God’s direction, which could actually help to save your life; both eternally, and here on earth! 

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

The Family that Prays Together…

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Healing is a Journey

It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

Pursue The Shepherd to Escape the Wolves!

Everyone is free to believe as they wish, but no one should fool themselves into believing he or she will ever understand the truth about anything in life without pursuing God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. If God says there are wolves among us, pretending to be Christians, He means it. It’s true. We need to pay attention to God’s warning, as we walk with Jesus and begin to view the world with godly, spiritual eyes. As our eyes and ears become open to the truth, we come to a place where we are no longer willing to be blinded and deceived by fake Christians, pretenders, or wolves in sheep’s clothing. We can rely on Jesus, refusing to get reeled in by the lies of self-centered, narcissistic people who are only interested in themselves. Many people also proudly rely on self, instead of looking towards God for guidance. Sadly, they will remain unable to escape the sharp hook of deception, and will lose out on the freedom of exploring the vast ocean of joy God has waiting for them. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:33 New International Version).

To find truth, we must give our lives to Christ, and continuously pursue him. Christians follow Jesus in spite of their mistakes and imperfections. Christians are people who change, because they grow over time. Sometimes the changes come quickly, and others can take much more time. But the changes will be good changes, reflecting the character of Christ. If there are no positive changes and spiritual growth, one should ask God if He’s pleased with the spiritual journey He’s watching from up above. When a child of God is stuck in a rut, it’s likely that repentance, forgiveness, and prayer are all necessary to bring back a wandering heart. God is always waiting with open arms to receive His lost children!

True Christians are followers of Christ. They don’t just talk; they walk with Jesus. They humbly accept that they are not perfect, but seek to do unto others as Jesus would do. Christians forgive each other, and forgive in the name of Jesus when it’s too hard to do it on their own. Christians don’t demand forgiveness. Christians humbly seek forgiveness with a repentant heart. They want to know how they’ve offended a brother or sister in Christ, so they can fix what’s broken. The Bible tells us not to judge or condemn others. These sinful attitudes get in the way of forgiveness. Other strongholds which keep people seeing God clearly are: stubbornness, anger, bitterness, denial, and even rejection. As The Holy Spirit reveals these, it is our place to ask God to remove them in the name of Jesus. Healing, freedom, and joy take place. Forgiveness then comes easier, and more naturally, just as it does with Jesus.

Some people only pretend to give their lives to Christ. Others actually do receive their salvation, yet go on living the same lives they led before; lives that don’t include God. This isn’t God’s will for His children. God is our Creator. He wants a relationship with us. God is omniscient; He knows whether we’ve really given our lives to Him. He looks at our hearts: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’ ” (1 Sam. 16:7 ). God also sees us bearing fruit, and planting seeds which lead to others growing in Christ.

When you are with a Christian, you should see and hear and feel Jesus reflected in the heart of that person. You should be able to see light in that person’s eyes, rather than darkness. You should hear words that uplift and encourage you, rather than words that leave you angry, bitter, and confused. You should feel hopeful, peaceful, and comforted after spending time with a Christian, rather than feeling anxious and depressed. Real Christians grow fruit; they leave the world a better place by leading others to Jesus. Their lives show evidence of joy, grace, and the mercy of God’s love.

We all have times of conflict with brothers and sisters in Christ, but these should not override the goodness seen within them; the goodness that comes from having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Many people daily refer to themselves as Christians just because they go to church or do good deeds, but they have not truly given their lives to Christ. Instead they choose to live life without any regard to God’s commandments and callings. Their walk does not reflect the character of Christ, so it causes others to have a warped, false, and negative view of the pure goodness of Christianity.

The bible tells us evil will masquerade as light. We need to pursue Jesus, asking for wisdom to discern fake Christians (wolves) from genuine Christians (sheep). Wolves are jealous and vengeful. They gossip, lie, and stir up strife on a regular basis. Because of their vicious nature, they can get in the way of the amazing plans God has for you! Therefore, be diligent, and heed God’s warning: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matt.7:15). Ask God to help you identify deceit. Ask God to show you who the wolves are, and to remove them from your life, in Jesus’ name. God is your refuge and shelter; He is your greatest source of protection.

No matter what it looks like, what lies are being told, who has turned against you; look for the silver lining: NOTHING is more powerful than the power and authority of JESUS CHRIST in your life! God knows your worth; His Truth is all that matters! If you have a relationship with Jesus, then GOD HIMSELF has your back! Trust Him each and every day! Pursue Jesus, and the scales will fall from your eyes, as the real world of truth appears before you in ways you’ve never imagined! You will be amazed at what you can see through your brand new spiritual eyes! It’s about love and forgiveness. It really is…all about…pursuing JESUS!

” ‘I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. ‘So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock–his church, purchased with his own blood–over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you–my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. ‘And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.’ ”
( Acts 20:26-32 New Living Translation)

You can read more about how to identify wolves in sheep’s clothing in my article: Sheepish Character? False Christians cause Division (Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing).

My mission is to help others find hope leading to healing, joy, and freedom in the truth of Jesus Christ. On The Silver Lining homepage, you can click on specific topics related to this blog post, such as: narcissism, judging, deception, freedom, and more. You can also search your own keywords; examples are: “self-centeredness” “wolves” “jealousy” “character” “fruit” “light” and many others. Join The Silver Lining Facebook page, and share the silver lining experiences God has given to you, by submitting them to be shared with other readers! God bless you, in Jesus name!