“Take your scripture verses and…”

There was once a day where I wanted not only to say those words, but punch them into someone’s face.  That day was December 6, 1999, and it was the day of my sister’s funeral and the day my grandfather died.  Why did I want to say that (and do that???)?  Well, here is what had just been spoken to me:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).  

No.  This isn’t good for me.  How can my sister choosing to die by suicide be GOOD for me????  How can fresh grief that has just had salt poured on that gaping, open wound by adding the death of my grandfather, one of my main caregivers over the years, be GOOD???  Shut up.

I wanted to scream all that.  But I didn’t.  I shook hands, and stood there, completely numb.  So much anger and confusion on the inside, and just going through the motions on the outside.

I so was not ready for Romans 8:28 in that moment…

And even moreso now, I see how out of context that verse is, and we misuse it all the time. So let’s go deeper.

Romans 8:26-39

 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So here is what I have learned and observed in these verses:  I am weak.  Oh yes, I am weak.  I am so weak that there are moments I have no idea what to even pray for or about.  I throw my hands up in the air and surrender because life has just gotten the better of me.  In that moment.  Then God reminds me, “I’ve got this, Kara.  You can be weak because I am going to be your strength today and everyday.  Rely on me.”  I know this because He tells me He has called me since before time began!  I am predestined!  I am CHOSEN!  God chose me.  Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”  

Even that day, December 6, 1999, with so many people speaking Romans 8:28 to me, was written in my book before it even happened.  God knew.  He knew the events that were going to unfold.  He  knew the choice of free will my sister would make.  He knew that it would be too much for my grandfather’s heart when he saw her in the casket during her visitation.  He knew that I would be angry and unable to receive His words of truth.

And here is what else I have observed in Romans 8:26-39:  God did not spare His own Son from death.  God KNOWS grief.  He has experienced it!  In that moment, He had such great compassion and empathy for me, because He knows loss.  I can see that now.  I couldn’t then.  But today, how comforting it is for me to know that I serve a God who KNOWS the hearts and minds of His people, because He truly has walked every path imaginable.

I want to look at that verse a bit closer too:  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  ALL THINGS.  God graciously gives us all things.  Every experience.  Every job.  Every encounter.  Every situation, good or bad.  Graciously, God allowed me to experience every day I have had thus far.  Even that day.  In the moment of that day, I had no idea what God could possibly do with my grief.  I wasn’t even ready to comprehend that.  Time has softened my wounds and dulled the salt that falls upon them.  He has allowed me to see how He has orchestrated the safety net that caught me.  He had that net in place well before the events began to unfold that would cause me to fall into that net to begin with!  He graciously saved me with that net.  He graciously has worked on my heart every day since.  He graciously took my mistakes and used them to teach me, coach me, and ultimately reveal to me the need for Jesus to cleanse my soul.  He used that net to remind me that nothing will ever separate me from my Abba Father.  Nothing.  And so many times I have quoted King David, because I am in awe of all the Father has done for me:  “Who am I that You are mindful of me???” (personalized Psalm 8:4)

Who am I?  I am adopted into God’s family.  I am CHOSEN by God.  I am His creation.  And I am so loved by Him that He made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that I could have a relationship with Him.  And despite the pain, despite the anger, despite the confusion of grief, God has carried me and drawn me close to Him.  He is my conqueror!

It has taken years to understand this:  God has used the brokenness and pain of my past to grow me.  He has allowed the fires to burn the dross, to purify my heart.  He is allowing me to minister to others because others ministered to me.  I am able to share these words, that God gives us not what we want, but ALL THINGS WE EXPERIENCE, because of the Truth God has spoken to me.

God is not a vending machine.  He is not our go-to when we don’t have everything we want.  He is more than that.  He is indescribable!  He is omniscient!  Sometimes, we have to experience the pain in order to understand blessings later.

I want to share some great songs with you now, to bring this entry to a close.  Grab some tissues…and listen carefully to the lyrics.  And remember:  we will rarely understand the why, but that doesn’t mean we can’t trust the WHO.  So let’s throw our hands up in the air and let Him pick us up and bring us through the fires.

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Circumstances vs. Identity

Today’s online Bible Study message got me thinking about separating my circumstances from MY identity!  Yes, I learn from the experiences I encounter, I grow through the ups and downs.  But that is not what defines me.  The Lord defines me.  I am HIS creation, and therefore, I am one of His GREAT WORKS!  So many times, I will have tears spring from my eyes when I realize who God is and what He has done for us.  He sent His only begotten Son to this crazy earth, to walk it in perfection, to take every sin (past, present, and future) on His shoulders, to die a gruesome death, and to conquer that death for ME.  For YOU!  Would Jesus do that for trash?  Oh NO!  He did that BECAUSE of the VALUE we have in the eyes of God.  God LOVES US THAT MUCH.  And God doesn’t love trash.  As soon as that truth hits me (every single time), I am overwhelmed.  How could I keep forgetting that I have such incredible value?  The lies of the enemy are strong, and GOD IS STRONGER.  So, let’s OWN OUR IDENTITIES.  We ARE daughters (and sons) of the King.

So much scripture speaks to this truth too.  Take a look (I have bolded, Italicized, and underlined specific text…)

Romans 8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Life in the Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh,could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Heirs with Christ

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Future Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing will separate us from the Love of God.  How deep does His love flow?  It flows deeper than the blood of the Lamb flowed from His wounds on the cross.  It flows deeper than the bonds of death.  It flows through eternity, from before time began, to well after time will end.  That is the greatness of God’s love for each of us, as His people, and as individuals. That is the greatness of God’s love for YOU!  Yes, YOU!  What stops you from accepting that love and letting it flow around and through you to define you?  Give it to God.  Confess it.  Let Him alone reveal your identity.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 4

So Chapter 4 took some serious reflecting!  So, here we go!

Lie #13:  I can sin and get away with it.

Truth #13:  We can hide NOTHING from God!  I am reminded of this in Psalm 139:  O Lord, you have searched me and known me!You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

In Genesis 3, we see God call out the sin that Adam and Eve had just committed:   And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [not because He did NOT know where Adam was, but to give Adam a chance to reveal himself.]And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

God questions them to give them an opportunity to confess.  Have you ever had a moment with your parents when they start asking questions about something?  My mom tells me the story of when I was 6, and the teacher had called her about something I did at school (not BAD, but bad for my health).  I was newly diagnosed as having Type 1 Diabetes, and had been sneaking Ho Ho cakes at school.  The teacher called and asked if I should be eating those?  Of course, NO!  So I got home from school.  Mom looked at me, and said, “Something seems off.  Let’s check your blood sugar.”  And the number on the screen gave everything away.  “That looks like the exact number of someone who has eaten a…HO HO!”  My jaw dropped, and eyes got wide.  “HOW DID YOU KNOW?????”

Just as that information ALWAYS gets back to our parents, God knows.  He needs no phone call, no secret agents.  He knows ALL our thoughts, good and bad.  Nothing is done in secret from Him.  Hebrews 4:13 affirms this:  “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

I think the biggest reason this lie gains so much traction is that the consequences of our actions are not usually immediate.  When we touch a hot stove, we get burned immediately.  When we choose to live in sexual sin, or lie to our parents, or steal a couple of dollars from the register once in a while, or eat that second dessert (as I eat strawberry pop-tarts for breakfast…), we might get away with things for a while.  For most of us, we can avoid unexpected pregnancies, can cover our lies with ease, can stay within the “allowable range” of being off on the register totals that day, or exercise away the extra calories.  But, eventually, we will be found out.  Sexual sins take their toll on our hearts and souls (trust me, I spent a few years in counseling for this one…), a teacher calls our mother (or a sibling tattles on you!), the boss installed cameras last week and didn’t say anything, or the pounds start to creep on because you forgot to work out more often than you remembered.  Eventually, we will be found out.

 

 

Lie #14:  My sin isn’t really that bad.

Truth #14:  All sin is NOT HOLY.

In my thinking, the Romans Road to Salvation seems to address this lie more than anything else:  We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that sin leads to the consequence of eternal death.  No matter how small the sin or how BIG the sin, it is still a blemish on the incomprehensible (for us) purity that is GOD.  We tend to view sin in relative terms.  We compare and contrast our sins against each other.  “I’m not bad; look at THAT guy!”  The art of distraction may work on people, but not on God.  He alone sees into the depths of our hearts and sees well beyond the masks we all wear.

1 John 1 sets a clear image of our deceit toward ourselves:This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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 cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

 

Lie #15:  God can’t forgive what I have done.

Truth #15:  Nothing is too big for our God.  In Romans 8, Paul proclaims “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Psalm 51 also paints a good picture of forgiveness.  King David models for us how to cover up sin, struggle with guilt, and then to confess before the Lord.  His affair with Bathsheeba, his conspiracy to kill her husband under the guise of war…he SINNED.  This was a BIG one.  Again, no sin is too small to be ignored, but we can use the example of David to view God’s mercy and grace.  Even murder is not too great a sin for God to cleanse through Christ.  Now, don’t go out and kill anyone.  Grace is not a license to sin, remember.  To break the habits and chains of sin, though, it is going to take a lot of transformation and redirecting of our thoughts.  We are not without help in that process though, and I will address that after a few more thoughts below.

 

 

Lie #16:  I am not fully responsible for my actions and reactions.

Truth #16:  I’ll be honest:  I struggled with this one.  We are so quick to blame!  Even Adam and Eve pointed the finger to another; Adam pointed to Eve (“She made me do it!”), Eve pointed to the serpent (“The snake made me do it!”), and so it goes.  If you have siblings, you know exactly how that goes, right?  “But he did something to me first!”  I tell my students all the time, “the majority of the time, the one who retaliates is the one who gets caught.”  Sneaky people…instigators who get away scott-free… but that’s not the point here.  Others may influence us toward sin, but ultimately WE DECIDE.  We choose to ignore the red flags, the exit signs God gives us to escape the sin.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  He provides the way, AND we have to choose that way!  We have to learn from our mistakes!  When I met the man who would become my husband, we both had past relationships we could reflect upon to help us set boundaries that would help us keep our relationship as pure as possible.  Yes, we had sinned before.  Yes, we had  both made mistakes in these previous relationships.  And the Lord is gracious in that He allowed us to see our downfalls, our mistakes, to not blame the former lover for those mistakes.  He allowed us to take action and to build those boundaries based on what we now knew our weaknesses to be.  It is so much easier to blame the other person though…to blame our parents for the way they raised us, to blame our circumstances, the government, the society in which we live, etc.  Change begins only when one person has the courage to make a change in his or her own life though.  If we remain in our ways, nothing will ever change.  2 Corinthians 5 shows us, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  When I came to Christ, I alone was made a new creation through the work of the Spirit.  Not my mom, not those who bullied me when I was 13, not my siblings, not my teachers or my peers.  God transforms my heart and mind.   I cannot change what has been done to me by others; I can change my perspective and how I respond to those who have hurt me in the past.

Ultimately, it boils down to this:  Nothing happens to us that is outside of God’s awareness.  Nothing is hidden from him.  Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, those who bullied me, my sister’s choice to die by suicide and the painful road of grief that followed…I had very little responsibility in CREATING those situations for myself; and yet God allowed those things to happen to me, knowing I would learn and grow because of those things and those people.  He would deepen the gift of compassion, open my eyes to see the potential of others, allow me to reach out and embrace those who are hurting.  I am responsible for MY RESPONSE to each of the situations that happen that are outside of my control.  I am responsible for the path I have chosen to walk instead of choosing the path of obedience when I have fallen to the temptation of sin.  I chose to ignore the red flags the Holy Spirit waves in my face when it came to temptations of the flesh in my late teens and my 20’s.  And now, I choose to give all of me to my Savior.  He creates the most beautiful patchwork quilts from the scraps of fabric that remain after I have destroyed parts of it and others have attempted to destroy the rest.  Yes, I have no impact on what OTHERS do, AND I have every impact on what I choose to do from here.  God takes my broken past and is transforming my life continually so that He alone may be glorified.  None of this is by my strength.  I simply cast my cares before Him, as we are told to do in 1 Peter 5:7.

 

 

Lie #17:  I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin.

Truth #17:  This truth that we CAN BE and ARE victorious over sin is a life-long lesson.  How many of you struggle like me with that one sin that seems to be a weakness we just can’t beat???  Conquering diabetes burnout, gluttonous eating, over-spending, conquering debt are all areas in which I continue to struggle.  I take 2 steps forward then 10 steps back, right?  In my past, it was sexual sin.  Satan would whisper to me, “Well, you had sex with him last week, why not again tonight?  You already fell once…what does it matter?”  Or he’ll say, “You’re not strong enough to resist me.  I got you on this one before, and I’ll get you to fall again.”  When we fall to the temptation, Satan thinks to himself, “Let me remember this weakness, because I will play that tune again.  It works!”

What I have learned through Christ is this:  Yes, I have fallen.  Yes, that is a weakness that Satan likes to poke and prod.  And yet, when I am weak, my God is strong.  When I can’t stop myself from opening that door to sinful behavior, my God can.  I cry out to Him in my weakness, and He lifts me up, lest I dash my foot against a stone!  I can choose to let Satan drag me down by keeping the cinderblocks of sin tied to my ankles as I swim in the sea of life, or I can reflect on those situations in my past and allow Jesus to cut those soul-ties for me and pull me to safety in His arms.  In each reminder Satan brings to try to reattach those sins to my life, Jesus reveals a lesson I learned and need to remember or a whole new lesson.  Like I mentioned before, my husband and I were able to reflect on the mistakes made in previous relationships to allow the Lord to build something completely new in our lives!  In overcoming food addictions, I am learning it is easier to eat healthier when I don’t buy candy bars to keep in the house!  Right?  Also, I am learning that when I order from the kids’ menu to split something with Zander, we both get more than enough!  And, it is CHEAPER!  Praise God!

Romans 7 has so much truth about this!  When we are growing in the Lord’s strength, Satan is right there to try to snatch us away.  “ So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”  This leads straight into Romans 8 where Paul reminds us of our victory through Christ.  We are more than conquerors through our Savior!  Praise the Lord!

Struggling to get this last video to post, but here is the link for Rush of Fools, Undo.

You are for me…

I have been reflecting a lot on Romans 8.  For a while, I have been getting stuck on the whole concept of “You are for me.”  Specifically, this line:  If God is for us, who can be against us? (verse 31b)  What does this mean?  Who can be against me?

Then it hits me.  God LOVES me.  He is WITH me.  When I am apart from His will, His Spirit draws me back in.  He guide me.  He gives me opportunities to obey Him, to draw near to Him, to seek forgiveness and His Truth.  He gives  us victory when we overcome the lies of the enemy with His Truth, with His strength.  God’s victory is SURE against the enemy.  God’s desire is for me to be continually sanctified and transformed to His likeness.  Nothing can separate us from Him when we are adopted through Christ.

He will not give me EVERYTHING.  He gives me what I need.  He does not want me do whatever I want; He wants me to seek after His heart and follow His will.  He faithfully reminds me of His grace, His mercy.  He fills me with His love.  His fruit grows within my heart and soul.  He desires my worship of Him!  I want to crave Him above all things!

I am weak.  I fall.  And His Spirit lifts me up, and the blood of Christ washes over me.  We begin again.  And again.  And again.  I am human.  He is full of patience and mercy.  He knows my weaknesses, and leads me to His Truth so that I may learn to flee from temptations.  He always provides me a way out from them!  He equips me with HIS armor so that I may stand firm against the devil and his schemes.

This is what it means that He is for me.  He does not forsake me in my times of needs.  He surrounds me, fills me with strength, creates the safety net beneath me that I will inevitably need time and time again.  And He allows me, through time and reflection, to see His hand in each and every one of those falls I take.  I am thankful for my weaknesses, for the strength He provides to bring me through them each time.  He carries me, even when I don’t recognize it.  Yep, I am human, and quite often blind to His Holy Work.  So when He does reveal that to me, I am in awe.  I am humbled and thankful.  He has saved me so many times!  Thank You, Father!  Thank You for Your limitless love!  I am constantly in awe of You!

Diabetes Burnout (Ch 14) and Made to Crave (Ch 13)

The Diabetes Police can make life with diabetes so annoying and frustrating.  Thankfully, I have not had a ton of “policing,” but I do have a few people in my life who will come up and say, “Check your blood sugar” or “Should you be eating that?”  If I had more of this, I would lose my mind!

I say these things out of frustration for those of us with diabetes.  And, I can say with hindsight, that those members of the diabetes police in our lives say and do these things out of love and concern for us.  Perspective is everything.  They care and don’t know how to best support us in our daily battle.  So how can we keep our peace of mind and involve these people who love us in our self-care routines?

Polonsky gives the following suggestions on page 152:

  1. Start with a conversation.  My input here:  When I communicate, I have to be careful how I phrase my words.  I don’t want to come across as defensive.  “I statements” work well here.  Ask questions.  Give the other an opportunity to ask questions as well.
  2. Advertise your own self-care efforts.  Here, Polonsky encourages us not to hide our disease.  Openly share struggles, glucose monitoring, injections, medications, etc. at a level with which you are both comfortable.
  3. Help the diabetes police to be helpful in a different way.  This means to make suggestions and set boundaries regarding involvement.  In what areas do you need support?  Ask the people in your life to check in on these things.  My issue:  glucose monitoring.  I have asked my husband to help keep me accountable by asking me what my glucose levels are any time during the day.  He does this well.  I am also going to need encouragement in getting some physical activity but I am not quite mentally ready for that yet.  Working up to it…
  4. Clarify areas of responsibility (boundary setting).
  5. Take a good look in the mirror.  Polonsky encourages us to check our own attitudes.
  6. If nothing else works, get professional assistance.  Don’t be afraid of individual and group counseling sessions!  Even support groups!  Invite them to come with you.

One of the main causes of the intensity of diabetes policing is simple misunderstandings and lack of knowledge regarding diabetes.  Communicate through this!  One thing I am thankful for in my husband is his desire to understand this disease.  He asks great questions and wants to learn so much!  He knows the normal glucose level ranges, how to calculate my insulin dosages, how to give me an injection, how to check my glucose levels.  When I was on my insulin pump, he even learned how to take care of my infusion set sites, to replace an infusion set, and to set and prime the pump.

 

Chapter 13 of Made To Crave is called “Overindulgence.”  On page 101, Lysa writes, “Indeed, our souls are thirsty and ravenous vacuums.  If we fail to understand how to fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our longings with other temporary physical pleasures.”  This is not just limited to food!  We fill the empty void with drugs, sex, alcohol, cutting, sleep…the list goes on and on.

One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 42.  Take a moment to read it, letting the words sink into your soul..

Psalm 42

English Standard Version (ESV)

Book Two

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

To the choirmaster. A Maskil[a] of the Sons of Korah.

42 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation[c] and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

 

These words speak to me deeply and remind me that even in my grief, despair, frustration, desire for food or anything else, God is with me.  He IS my HOPE and my SALVATION.  Lysa also mentions Lamentations 3:22-24 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'”

And so I will wait for Him.  I will learn to desire the Lord to fill the voids in my life when it seems only food (cake and ice cream) will do.  I do overindulge way to often:  on coffee, cake, candy, cereal, even apples and peanut butter.  And none of this is good for the diabetes, right?  See, it is all connected.  This battle has many fronts.  And by the grace of God, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)