Best Laid Plans

I enjoyed putting last year to rest. My son’s house fire, actually the year before, their finding a suitable house last year, deaths and illnesses in the family and financial hardships. This year was looking up and looking to be the best year in a long time. USA’s return to human space flight, job advancements, better health test results etc. While the year started out looking great, things quickly changed.

I don’t have to tell you of the challenges this virus mess has brought to all of us. From the lies to the fear to the political bias. Sometimes we feel we are alone and on our own. But…there is hope.

Not being able to do life as normal is something we all took for granted. You can’t join your friends at the local pub for a drink and a bite. You can’t go to work. You can’t even go to church. I’m still not sure whether to think of it all as a necessity or if this has been used as a socialist/communistic type of dry run. I don’t mean to make that sound as bad as it does but I do think there are people out there who take advantage of every opportunity that comes along.

Our little town has also seen an uptick in domestic problems. I’m sure it is that way all over. Spouses are working from home or dealing with being out of work. Kids are learning from home making parents their new teachers and they didn’t sign up for that. Family frustrations grow as money issues continue to grow. Fear of when this will end and how recovery will ever be possible plague almost everyone. But… there is hope.

I also realized my normal depression has shifted to anger when I thought about just quitting, giving up, rolling over, not caring, taking social distancing to a whole new level of becoming somewhat of a hermit. Not worrying about anyone else and just existing because it hurts less. But I didn’t because…there is hope.

I became overwhelmed with trying to keep my parents safe, fed and myself the same. Not to mention two wonderful elderly ladies that live alone that we make sure have plenty of food to eat. I didn’t loose faith, I just got so busy I forgot to give God some of the load and the subsequent glory. Thank God we are all fine and doing well.

God never said if you believe in Me, your life will be easy. Something else He didn’t say specifically was that when you believe in Me, the devil will work harder to draw you away from Me by making you bitter, angry, fearful, disobedient, disrespectful…a hermit and many more.

You can find hope in Jesus Christ. Check out these promises.

God loves us no matter what.

Paul explains “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NKJV)

God Promises the result is worth the risk.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

God provides strength through faith.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)

We can’t do life alone. We were not designed to do it alone or to be alone. God is the answer and He is fully capable of carrying us when we become too weary to walk on our own. I am living proof.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can.

“How can you know God personally? Only one thing keeps us from Him, and that is our sin. But Christ came to erase our sins by His death on the cross, and as we open our hearts to Him, He comes to live within us. By faith ask Christ to take away your sins and come into your life today—and He will. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). (courtesy of billygraham.org)”

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Diet Plan #4731

Not really but it feels like it. A few years ago I discovered the perfect way to loose weight and eat healthy. Since I am a diabetic I have to be careful. Even the doctors liked the change and it was a healthy approach…until I started working again.

I have been researching for months about protein and fiber. I found several good plant-based protein products that should do the trick. Unfortunately they used sugar or aspertame as their sweetener. Although I did find one that used stevia, it was nasty and face it, if it’s that bad, you won’t stick to it any more than I did; no matter how motivated you are.

Enter the obvious…Glucerna. It’s made specifically for diabetics and now they have a hunger smart meal replacement variety. Win…win for me.

I looked over each and every one of their products and found that the powders just don’t taste the same to me so I opted for the ready made, just chill and go, varieties.

I am thrilled to report, even though it has only been a week, that I have lost four (4) pounds. I drink one for breakfast, snack, lunch, and snack again. Then eat a sensible supper. For a TV snack I either drink a snack shake or eat something from the Weigh Watchers Freestyle 200 item no points list. (I figure they did the research so I’ll go with that.) I try to “shake” (lol, sorry I couldn’t resist) around every 3 hours. This is the diabetic approach to healthy eating plus it tricks your body into not storing future needed fat since you are eating so often it doesn’t have time to hoard what you eat.

I just placed a re-order with Abbott for more shakes so I’ll continue to report as the weeks go by.

Now for a challenge. Yes getting down to a healthy weight will be the challenge but remember I got down to 175 before I started work again and gained half of it back and it was still slowing creeping up, no matter how hard I tried to make it stop. Hence this new approach. Had I not started working again, I can assure you I would be down to my goal weight but life happens and sometimes you have to punt. So I am punting. But this also means finding a healthy way to live and eat in a way that I don’t gain weight back once I reach that goal.

Please share your successes and failures in hopes of helping encourage others. A lot of people think being fat is a choice or they have no self control or they are literally just gluttons who don’t care. I know that not to be true. It is a struggle and not just about choices. I often find myself reaching for comfort foods as though they could somehow dull the pain I am feeling. But I am also one of those people who could eat three (3) healthy meals a day and still gain weight. It is how God made us, we just have to learn how to manage it. And it isn’t the same formula for everyone.

Father, as I enter into this season of learning, I pray for your wisdom to help me make Your choices for my life, not just what I eat. In Christ name I pray, Amen.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing Glucerna or Weight Watchers or their products, merely reporting on the benefits I receive from their use.

 

My New Adventure

I have been working hard to earn my Christian degrees. I just finished and received my Doctorate in Theology. I have taught Sunday School to many ages, lead small groups, VBS, and gone on mission trips to name a few.

I continually load my brain with all the knowledge possible to complete these cool tasks and be an effective witness for the Gospel. And I love each and every one. But now I need to put this knowledge to different use.

I have been praying for a long time on what to do next. I volunteered for hospice for many years and while that was fulfilling, I needed to move on, so to speak. While I was checking local listings, I noticed one that caught my eye. So I seized on an opportunity to volunteer with the hospital chaplain and visit patients in our local hospital.

While I was visiting on my second day something hit me.

The first man we visited was in because he is loosing his toes to diabetes. He seemed kind and friendly and welcomed our presence. We asked him about his family which brought him to tears. He was genuinely concerned about his health and his family. He spoke of them fondly and welcomed our offer to pray with him.

We got out to the nurses station and commented that he had signed up for the Partners in Healing program which is a community based effort to improve recovery and healing. The nurse lifted her eyebrows in surprise. She went on to explain how he is bashing the hospital and giving the nurses a hard time, with actions and with words. I was blown away. I was stunned. I felt betrayed, vulnerable and dumb all at the same time.

This concerns me a little. I want to be a good steward of mercy but I don’t want to be a naive type of victim either.

We continued on our visits and came across a young man who had had a stroke and could no longer speak. I looked at him wondering what kind of productive life he may have had before. Another patient had pneumonia and could barely speak because of his previous stroke. He was uncomfortable, weak and didn’t want to be there. The final patient was an elderly lady who had hip issues following surgery. She seemed angry but pleasant.

I know they don’t want to be in the hospital which can explain their demeanor’s. I come from the computer analyst world of business so it is my nature to make folders or piles to organize things into groupings of similarity which helps solve software issues. I have learned today that life isn’t that way.

I can’t look at the chart and see a heart patient that didn’t exercise and take care of himself. I cant look at the diabetic and see someone who couldn’t control their cravings. I can’t look at the former smoker with COPD and think “well you knew it could happen”.

They all have one thing in common…

…they are all the same.

They all need healing, compassion, respect, comfort and most of all Jesus.

Seasons of Life

As I read my devotion today, I began to reminisce on the seasons of my life. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 , King Solomon used opposites to help us understand the changes that we will experience in our lives. While we don’t fully understand these changes and what they mean, we can be assured that God has a purpose for everything we experience. The good makes us worship Him more and the bad grows us and molds us to be more like Jesus.

I used to regret that I was the one working outside our home while the children were little. I missed a lot of firsts that I can never get back. This caused me to grow animosity towards my husband because he didn’t want to work and I was determined to make our marriage work and keep our little family together.

Over the years the animosity changed me. I became dumb to feelings. Death had no effect on me. Life was just fleeting and meaningless. I was going through the motions as a hallow emotionless unhappy person who had no direction, no goals, no anything. I woke up, went to work, went home, ate supper, went to bed and repeated every day. I was a robotic humanoid money making machine. That is what my husband wanted and that is what he created. He drained me of all feelings related to enjoying life. All this so he could spend the money and do what he wanted to do. And worst of all, I was oblivious.

I could relate to Joseph in that I had no control over what was happening to me. Despite this as in Genesis 39:5 shows, the Lord blessed him and the household. I didn’t always feel blessed. Sometimes I felt trapped and stuck thinking God was leaving me there since I was the one that dug my pit. But He was faithful to keep His promises and slowly pulled me out teaching me about Him and myself along the way.

When my ex asked me for a divorce I gladly granted it. I was not expecting a new season though. I thought now the abuse would end and I can be free to worship God in peace and not have him belittling me for everything I do. I could go about my day as I wish and not have to answer to his every whim. Little did I know the next season would be just as challenging if not more.

You know how everyone says that God moves in mysterious way? Well, I’m living proof he does. When we separated, I moved into a small apartment. I continued working and going to church and doing everything I wanted to do. After a few years my sister tricked me into moving back home to help her take care of our elderly parents. She tricked me by convincing me that their health is worse than it really is. I don’t fault her for that because I have been blessed to be able to spend this time with them. My ex kept me away from everyone, especially family so we have had a lot of time to reconnect and enjoy each other.

The reason I know God uses everything in our lives is because if I had not learned how to endure my ex’s narcissistic behavior, I would have killed my sister within the first week. I don’t think she is a full blown narcissist but she is obsessive compulsive, just ask her. That doesn’t mean I don’t love her, it means it is a challenge. God has blessed me with this season and I look forward for the next one.

 

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