Burn Bright–inspiration through the lyrics of Natalie Grant

You were made to shine
You were made for life
Even if you’ve lost your way
Turn and you will hear love say
You were made for more, so much more
Child of everlasting light
Made to blaze away the night
So baby burn bright
Burn bright

You can rise up from the ashes
Make something beautiful of all the broken pieces
And I’m believing you’ll come running
Into the arms of Jesus

These lyrics fell upon my ears in the perfect timing of God, as is His style!  As I interact with our youth (my son, my students, all of our children at church, and so many more), I see more and more how much hurt they carry!  So many of our young people are blinded to how precious they truly are!  They are broken by unrealistic expectations (even self-perceived expectations) of parents, family, friends and peers, and even our society as a whole.

How can we pour into this generation and those generations to come in a way that will break these lies the enemy feeds them?  We are so far from worthless that we are priceless!  Jesus showed us just how precious He views us when He chose to carry our sins and faults to the cross and into hell.  He showed us how much LOVE He has for each of us when He defeated death and broke the gates of hell!  He alone has paved the way to bring us into fellowship with the God of this universe!

It took me so long to learn and own that truth!  I claimed Jesus as my Savior when I was 12, but I was in my upper 20’s when I realized that I AM a creation of God!  That His works are WONDERFUL!  Therefore, since I am one of His works, He must view me as wonderful!  And you know what?  He views YOU as WONDERFUL as well!  When we are washed in the blood of the Lamb, we are clean from sin.  We are spotless and perfect in the eyes of God.  The filth of our sin is removed.  Jesus carried it away as far as the east is from the west!

Too often we try to earn affection and worth when in the kingdom of God, it is freely given!  We struggle so hard for something that is so simply attained through Faith in Jesus Christ alone.  Why?  The enemy blinds us to that truth. He whispers lies to us, just as he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden as she stared at the forbidden fruit.

So I pray for our youth.  May you see and experience God’s love for you, even through the pain and grief we find in this world.  May you know that you do not walk alone, and that we just simply turn to find our Savior by our side the whole time.

The Truth of God’s Word is so evident in this area!  James 4 shows us just how much we are battling against the lies, and just how close our God is to us in this battle.  We truly do not fight alone!

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:1-10)

So when we feel alone, lost, broken, and grieved, pray against the darkness!  Pick up God’s Armor (Ephesians 6:10-20).

And remember, in our darkest moments is when we are held, caught in God’s safety net, even when we don’t realize it until years later.

Journey…

…through life…through grief…through healing…

I have been reflecting on the journey through grief again.  It hits me every year!  Maybe this year especially, I am reflecting early because our second baby is due to be born in 6-7 weeks.  6 weeks from now is the anniversary date of my sister’s death.  Am I willing to share this momentously tragic day with one of the greatest joys of my life?  I don’t know if I am ready.

Thus I reflect on the journey through the land of grief.  Sometimes I feel like Grief’s borders gerrymander around the towns of Joy, Peace, Trust…you get the idea, right?  I can be in a place of Trusting my God, of being at Peace with where I am and how far I have come, and then BOOM!  Grief.  How did I end up back here??!!!?

Thankfully, it does not happen as frequently as it has in the past.  But the scars are real.  I know I have written before about the scars.  Not one of us is injury free, right?  Whether that injury is physical or emotional, we all have scars.  We all have experienced the annoyance of cuts and wounds as they heal.  They itch.  They get infected.  They eventually heal and fade, and yet the scar remains.  And then, years later, that scar is itchy, irritated, inflamed.  Why???  I thought this was healed!!!  We are reminded of that experience because of the irritation that is present.

The same is true for our emotional scars, especially those gained through grief.  We “feel” healed, those around us tell us we should be healed, and then the irritation/tears begin all over again.  Something as simple as a song, a memory, a phrase can trigger it.  Unless someone else has experienced this as well, others don’t seem to understand.  They get frustrated that we have entered back into the town of Grief.

Each time i find myself back there though, I learn and grow even more.  I don’t get lost on the streets like I used to.  The glow from Peace, Joy, and Trust do not fade like they did before.  So I can leave just as quickly as I came.  That is part of healing.  I am no longer stuck in Grief.  Yes, it sneaks up on me.  But it no longer owns me.  And in hindsight, it never did.  The journey of Grief, though unexpected many times, is an opportunity to reflect once the grips of Depression have been released.  When we find ourselves in Grief and can quickly walk back to the surrounding towns, that is when we know healing has taken place.  Yes, the triggers remain.  However, the intensity of that trigger does not have the power it once did.

Verses for reflection:  Psalm 401 Peter 5

Thoughts on Diabetes…

So after reading Diabetes Burnout this year, battling depression, getting pregnant, having all those medical “discussions” with a variety of doctors and specialists, it has been a rough 6-7 months!  However, in that same time period, I have really been noticing that when I take the time to care for my body, things go so much more smoothly!

In January, my A1c was 8.8.  By May 1, it was 8.1.  Progress…I was also 7 weeks pregnant at this point.  By June 4, after fighting the medical battles, I went back on my insulin pump.  By June 12, my A1c was 6.3!!!!  HUGE progress in only a MONTH!  I saw my endo again on July 31, and found my A1c to be 6.1.  Even better.  I’ll take it!  If I can keep it around this level for the duration of my pregnancy and beyond, I will be ecstatic! 

The KEY?  Checking my glucose levels.  I am very thankful for my continuous glucose monitoring system now.  When I am not using that, I poke my poor fingers so often!  But the results are so worth it.  I have to remember to do this. 

So, after the baby is born in a few months’ time, I will need a plan in place to help me maintain this progress.  It will be challenging with an almost-2-year-old and a newborn.  But if I don’t care for myself, who will care for them?  If I am not healthy, how can I keep them healthy?  My purpose and focus no longer include just me.  This is for me, for my family, for our future family. 

So I will keep fighting.  I will keep praying for provision to pay our bills, including all the medical bills.  I am thankful the Lord has brought us thus far.  And I know He will continue to take us further.  So I will walk this road in faith, knowing I truly do NOT walk alone.

Diabetic and 2nd trimester with baby #2

So, being diabetic (type 1) is challenging.  Add in pregnancy, and I go into hyper mode!

So I am 14 weeks pregnant.  The last 10 weeks have been challenging in getting situated with doctors.  I think I blogged earlier about my frustrating encounter with a “specialist” here in town?  If not, I can’t go into it.  I was FURIOUS and really did not respond well.

Needless to say, I took my care into my own hands for a short while before reconnecting with a doctor almost 3 hours north of us.  In that time, I was able to bring my A1c from an 8.1 down to a 6.3!!!!!  Do you know how happy I was?????  This revealed to me that I really do know HOW to take care of myself.  I just need MOTIVATION to continue to take care of myself!

Right now, that motivation is obvious:  I want this baby to be healthy!  I know I need to be healthy to help baby be healthy!

Post-birth, the first few months are obviously motivating as well:  stay healthy so I can take care of baby.  Then…life gets overwhelming.

So I ask, please pray for me throughout this pregnancy.  Pray for me come December (baby is due December 18, but will join us around December 11) that I can balance a newborn, a 23-month-old, and my health!  Pray for our finances so that I will be able to maintain using the insulin pump that is so beneficial for helping me monitor my glucose levels and insulin dosages 24 hours a day!

Pray for my emotional well-being.  I have struggled with Depression on and off the last decade or so, and know that will hit me hard after the baby comes.  Pray that I am diligent in awareness of red flags and triggers, and will get help right away as soon as I suspect those triggers are creeping in again.

In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work with my endocrinologist, will meet the new “specialist” that is an hour away, will be seeing my OB twice a month, and will be preparing our home for the arrival of baby #2.  Thankfully, I have a couple weeks off of work so that I can start to tackle these projects and plan out my schedule for when I do go to back to work (Seriously, I just typed “go back to bed…” think I am tired????).

As challenging as it is to live with type 1 diabetes, I am thankful for the care and provision the Lord brings.  I know this illness has been a part of developing me into who I am today, and so I press on.  Maybe, some day, there will be a cure.  Or a long-term fix easier than an insulin pump.  I am reading of more and more bionic pancreas operations and options, so hopefully those become more mainstream and affordable!  We shall see!

Lies Women Believe, Chapters 10 and 11

I am finally on the last two chapters of this book!  It has taken me a while to get here, and I have had a lot of distractions!  My next adventure is Fit For Your Assignment, and I will blog my way through that book as well.

Chapter 10 is called “Countering Lies With the Truth” and Chapter 11 is called “The Truth That Sets us Free.”

If we are to truly KNOW truth, we must start with “What is truth?” or rather, WHO is TRUTH?  Jesus himself speaks in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me...”

He alone IS TRUTH.  He does not tell us, “live this way so that…” or “You must obey these rules.”  He says, “Come to the Father THROUGH ME.”  That’s it.  Once we have that relationship with Him, then He begins to reveal His Truth to us through His Word.  To the unbeliever, the Bible is words on a page.  To those who truly follow Christ, though, this Book is His Word, His Truth.

I do want to quote this paragraph on page 252:  “The idea of ‘turning sinners from the error of their way’ is largely foreign in our day.  The hue and cry of our postmodern culture is ‘tolerance,’ which means:  ‘You can live however you want to live, but don’t try to tell me what’s right for me–it’s none of your business how I choose to live my life.’  As deception has inundated our culture, many believers have become hesitant to stand for the Truth, for fear of being labeled as intolerant or narrow-minded.”

I will say that in order for unbelievers to turn, we have to KNOW we are sinners.  Scripture says there is not one of us who is without sin, apart from Christ Himself.  To the unbeliever, I don’t think it works to walk around and say, “You know, that behavior/action/choice/way of life/book you are reading/show you are watching/etc. is sinful.  You should stop.”  I feel like there is more approachable-ness when I am aware of my own shortcomings and acknowledge that we are ALL sinners, big and small, myself included.  I can share how God has worked in my life and revealed His Truth and my sin through His Spirit.  It is up to the Spirit to reveal each of our sins to us individually.  God is not one to publicly shame us.  He will speak to you, and to me, in ways we can receive His messages.

I do agree with Nancy’s perception of our culture.  I think it is even more evident today than it was when the book was first written in 1991.  To the believers, though, I think that we do need to, in groups of 2-3, come alongside and talk of the Truth.  This should be done with great care and love, and as free from judgement as possible.  Even better, have someone in the group who has walked that path before share his/her personal struggle with the lies and the ultimate Truth that set him/her free!  It is so much easier to accept and follow the truth when we have people to come alongside us and walk it with us.

Chapter 11 has 22 Truths that Nancy clings to as she walks her life path.  Here they are:

1.  God is good (Psalm 119:68; Psalm 136:1)

2.  God loves me and wants me to have His best (Romans 8:32, 38-39)

3.  I am complete and accepted in Christ (Ephesians 1:4-6)

4.  God is enough (Psalm 23:1)

5.  God can be trusted (Isaiah 28:16; Hebrews 13:5)

6.  God doesn’t make any mistakes (Isaiah 46:10)

7.  God’s grace is sufficient for me(2 Corinthians 12:9)

8.  The blood of Christ is sufficient to cover any sin(1 John 1:7)

9.  The Cross of Christ is sufficient to conquer my sinful flesh (Romans 6:6-7)

10.  My past does not have to plague me (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

11.  God’s Word is sufficient to lead me, teach me, and heal me (Psalm 19:7; Psalm 107:20; Psalm 119:105)

12.  Through the power of His Holy Spirit, God will enable me ot do anything He commands me to do (1 Thessalonians 5:24; Philippians 2:13)

13.  I am responsible before God for my behavior, responses, and choices (Ezekiel 18:19-22)

14.  I will reap whatever I sow (Galatians 6:7-8)

15.  The pathway to true joy is to relinquish control (Matthew 16:25; Luke 1:38; 1 Peter 5:7)

16.  The greatest freedom I can experience is found through submission to God-ordained authority (Ephesians 5:21)

17.  In the will of God, there is no higher, holier calling than to be a wife and mother (Titus 2:4-5)

18.  Personal holiness is more important than temporal happiness (Ephesians 5:26-27)

19.  God is more concerned about changing me and glorifying Himself than about solving my problems (Romans 8:29)

20.  It is impossible to be godly without suffering (1 Peter 5:10)

21.  My suffering will not last forever (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

22.  It’s now about me; it’s all about Him (Colossians 1:16-18)

Take time to reflect on these truths and the verses that highlight them in scripture.  Seek out more passages of scripture that solidify these truths for you!  I challenge you!  And, feel free to comment with verses you come across that reveal His Truth to you even more!

Just a random update…

It has been a while since I have written, so I thought I would just give you all some updates.

 

So, in reading Lies Women Believe, I have to say I have failed miserably the tests I have faced recently of these lies in my life.  I have not been able to control my emotions, and I have let my temper get the better of me on more than one occasion.  Stress has been impacting me in some very negative ways.

But there has been some good that has come out of this too.  God has given me peace in the midst of the emotional turmoil.  Though I have felt justified in my responses, I know I did not act appropriately.  The outcome has been good in the long run, though, and for this, I am very thankful for God’s grace.

 

I had some issues with a doctor’s office here in town.  We had some major miscommunications, and I felt belittled and my concerns and issues were not addressed by them.  Instead of trying to work through the issues, I had a few outbursts.  Blame it on pregnancy hormones or stress, it does not matter.  I have since refused to be under their care, and am now working with a doctor three hours away from me.  This doctor I have seen before, and am very pleased with her understanding and insight.

Now, the validation to my concerns has come, as I have seen improvement in my care even while I was monitoring my own medication and glucose levels while I was between doctors.  I am thankful for the insight God has given me to my body’s needs!  I am ever thankful for His provision for allowing me to work with the best doctors now, and to FINALLY be back on my insulin pump.  Already, I am seeing drastic improvements even after 24 hours.  Thank you, Lord!

Now, my biggest prayer request is for that of the baby growing within.  With the delay of going back on the pump, and the stress-induced blood sugar swings, there are higher risks for some complications with baby’s heart.  Please, pray that there are no lasting effects of my blood sugars on this precious baby!  We’ll know more in a month or two after we have a fetal echo test done, but I know our God is greater than any physician.  He has the ability to knit together a perfect heart, perfect lungs, perfect kidneys, etc. in this child.

He did this for Zander, and I know He can do it again.  If He chooses not to, I know I have to prepare for that.  He is the great Physician, though, and I trust Him.  In all things, I must trust Him.

In the meantime, though, will you lift me up in prayer, and lift this pregnancy and baby up in prayer?  We’re 12 weeks today!  I can’t believe we’re almost a third of the way through already!  Time flies!  And, thank you for praying!