Saturday, January 15, 2011

Misery is Optional!

After writing my last post, reading a great book & being encouraged my someone else's blog, I found myself being challenged to write a little more about what's going on with my experience with my back pain.  I have shared my physical battle with you, but I haven't shared much of my emotional & spiritual battle.

Despite the discouragement I sometimes feel from my physical limitations, the Lord is working & growing me.  I have to be honest that December has been hard for me. I have been angry & frustrated at times, mostly because I had been trying to face my pain by myself.  As I have stated in my previous posts, I sometimes feel all alone in my pain b/c I don't really share it with others.  The TRUTH is I'm not alone.  My God is faithful & has shown himself so clearly to me over the past 4 years through the pain he has brought into my life---from migraines to leg pain to physical limitations. 

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." Habakkuk 3:17-19

I started to realize that I had quenched the spirit.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit." I Thessalonians 5:16-19. 
I had forgotten to rejoice despite how I was feeling.
I had forgotten to give thanks for my circumstances. 
I had stopped praying continually for my attitude & for his help.---so I quenched the spirit.

The truth is that the Lord knew how I felt & gave me some people around me to encourage me.  One of those people was a lady from our church named Marcia.  She experienced 30 years of pain from an unknown cyst on her spine.  All of the MRI's had come back clear in the early years of her treatment.  She just came to grips with her situation & lived in pain.  About 5 years ago they found her cyst & she had surgery that eliminated 90% of her pain.  She alone encouraged me, but she also gave me a book called You Gotta Keep Dancin' by Tim Hansel.  I have started reading it & know that it is going to take several reads to learn all that might be in this book, but I wanted to share some truths he shared in his book.

"Faith isn't really faith until it's all that you're holding on to."
(p. 42)

This is so true!  I think that is why the Lord chooses for us to go through trials.  I'm not so sure trials are so much of a test, as we often see them as, but more of a magnifying glass being held to our God so we can SEE him better. 

I remember the moment when I saw this in my own life.  It was one of the most pain-filled times with my back, just 2 days before my trip to the ER & 3 before my emergency surgery.  I was trying to sit-up long enough to pump milk for my newborn, praying every sec to go a full 15 min. I just prayed for 1 more minute until I got through that & prayed for another & yet another.  My faith was all I was holding on to.  He had become my sustainer & strength.  I trusted him & he gave me victory each second I prayed.

"The word happiness comes from the same root as the word happening, suggesting that happiness is based on something happening to us.  Happiness is circumstantial. If I pay off my car, I'm happy. If I get a new shirt, I am happy. If my friends say nice things, I'm happy....Joy on the otherhand is something that defies circumstances & happens in spite of difficult situations...

Whereas happiness is a feeling, joy is an attitude."
(p. 49)

"I began to realize that it wasn't my imposed limitations that held me back as much as my perception of those limitations.  It wasn't the pain that was twarting me as much as it was my attitude toward the pain...

I had the opportunity to choose a new freedom and joy if I wanted to."
(p. 48)

I am seeing this in my own life & have a feeling that this will be a constant battle as I have to decide each day if I will CHOOSE joy!  I can choose joy because God sent His Son to die for my sins & reconciled our relationship (John 3:16).  I can choose joy because He is my strength (Psalm 28:7). I can choose joy because He increases as I decrease (John 3:30).

Pray with me that His glory would shine from my circumstances & that my mind would be focused on His truth!

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