Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Round Ligament Pain

The title of this post may lead one to believe it should belong in my blog for pregnant women, Your Labor Room, but it does not.

Round ligament pain is an extremely painful condition which affects some pregnant women starting about 28-30 weeks in their pregnancy and lasting until about 35 or 36 weeks.  It is caused by the tightening and pulling of the round ligaments which run along each side of the uterus.  Some women experience this and some women never do.

I never experienced round ligament pain with my first two pregnancies, but with my third I not only had it, but was shocked at the intensity of pain this caused.  I have often joked that I should apologize to all the patients I had before that third pregnancy because I wasn't nearly empathetic enough with them.

Since experiencing this pain, I have been able to not only have true empathy with my patients, but to teach them from a place I never could before.

Our Lord suffered and was "in all points tempted  like as we are, yet without sin," (Hebrews 4:15.)  There is no temptation, no trial, no suffering we can encounter which He has not felt.  Therefore, He has the ability to comfort us, to teach us and to lead us in a way none other could ever possibly have.  

In our times of trial, our times of temptation, in pain and suffering, let us look "unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God," (Hebrews 12:2.)  He alone truly knows our pain, our dilemmas and our moments of temptation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The God of All Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, 
and the God of all comfort;"

I love my bed.

My bed is the type that can be as soft or as firm as one would like.  I prefer it to be soft and squishy.

I love my pillows.  One is downy-soft and the other is a perfect combination of firmness and pliability.  I don't know what it is made of to give it such a great blend of two opposing adjectives, but it is my favorite.

I love my soft, fluffy blanket which is toasty warm in the winter but not hot in the summer.

All this combines to offer a complete feeling of comfort.

But where does comfort truly originate from?  From God.  Our Father is the source of all true comfort.  This means my wonderfully comfortable bed is somehow a gift to me and an expression of God's love and comfort.

In some way, every time we experience comfort, or are comforted by someone else, we are experiencing that comfort which comes from our Heavenly Father.  When we minister comfort to someone else, it is our Lord's comfort we are sharing.

This should change our attitude to our moments of comfort.  Let us use them as an opportunity of thanksgiving and praise to the One who is the "God of all comfort," and the Giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift."

2 Corinthians 1: 3,4
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
 the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

James 1:17
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

Monday, February 24, 2014

HId With Christ in God

3rd Force Reconnaissance Company seal.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My husband and I have often pondered the thought if we were on a deserted island, who would we most want with us.  We both add the same person to our list, our son Noah.

If I had to hide somewhere, or to survive somewhere, I would certainly want to do it with our son, who is a Force Reconnaissance Marine. He knows the secrets of stealth, of navigation and survival.  I have great confidence in his abilities to safely see us through almost any situation.

As Christians, we are hidden.  The Scriptures say that "your life is hid with Christ in God,"(Colossians 3:3.)  If we are hidden with Christ, in God, could we be any safer?  Is there any need which is not provided?  Is there any problem He does not know?

A person hides something that is precious to them.  Our Lord has hidden us in the most-protected, safest, most secure place possible, in Himself with the Lord Jesus.  He has hidden us with His most precious Son. We should take great comfort in that.  

No matter what situations befall us, the truth of the matter, and the truth we should affirm by faith, is that we are hid with Christ in God.  No one, no matter how powerful, can touch us there.  

Matthew 10:28
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls

The other day my husband was making homemade cinnamon rolls.  They were fragrant, fluffy and fat.  While he was making the filling, which called for three tablespoons of cinnamon, he stopped to check the recipe.

"That's way too much cinnamon," he thought.  But trying this recipe for the first time, he decided to put in the whole amount.  Thankfully, the recipe called for brown sugar and white sugar as well.  Once cooked, the amount of cinnamon had been just perfect.

Cinnamon is an interesting spice.  It is wonderful baked in things, but by itself it is extremely bitter.  It has an edgy bite that I find unpleasant.  Combine the cinnamon with sugar, and especially with sugar and butter, and you have something extremely delectable.

Our words are like that.

They can be harsh, bitter and edgy if we don't take effort that they are also "with grace."   We have all perhaps had someone say something harsh to us that we have remembered perhaps for years and years.  It seems those things stay with us so much longer than the sweet things, don't they?

The Apostle Paul in both Ephesians and Colossians spoke of what comes out of our mouths.  

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:6

Just as our cinnamon rolls needed the sugar along with the cinnamon, let us be careful that our speech ministers grace to our hearers.  Even if we must say something that is hard to hear, let us not utter it with a hardness of heart, but let us be meek, kind and tenderhearted.  

May our own words coming back to us be a joy and not a sorrow.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"They can do anything!"

You have probably heard it said about someone, "They can do anything!"  

I know someone like that.  She is incredibly intelligent, easily one of the most intelligent persons I have ever met.  She has great technical knowledge, but she is also extremely creative.  She draws, she sews, she cooks, she can make a cake look like anything you would like.  If there were a fine arts museum for decorated cakes, hers would be the centerpieces.

It is comforting to know someone like that.  I have said more than once, when a situation came up that perplexed us, "I bet Jessica knows how to do it!' 

Jessica not only knows how to do the things she knows how to do (she even repairs airplane engines!) but she does them well.  This is perhaps the most important point. . .she doesn't do things with mediocrity, she does them well. . .very well.

There is Someone else is our lives who not only knows everything --literally everything-- but also does everything He does perfectly.  Our Lord Jesus knows everything, "Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite," (Psalms 147:5.)  He knows, and everything He does is perfect, "As for God, His way is perfect, "(2 Samuel 22:31.)

It reminds me of the great hymn by Fanny Crosby which ends with the line, "Jesus doeth all things well."

All The Way my Savior Leads Me
by Fanny Crosby

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt His tender mercy,

Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Draw Nigh to God

I am having a little difficulty typing my posts this morning.  I can't quite reach the Q,W,E and A keys well.

My beagle Sparrow has snuggled up next to me absolutely as close as she can be, as is her usual habit.  Sometimes she even tries to push herself even closer, as if to remove any possible space between the two of us.  Her floppy ear on my keyboard has slowed my typing speed considerably.

I believe she does this because she finds pleasure in the closeness, and I find pleasure both in the closeness and in her seeking the closeness.  I love being able to reach out and scratch her soft ears, rub her head, and just feel the warmth of her body.

How much more must the Lord find pleasure when we seek to be close to Him?

Psalms 149:4
"For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation."

We should never feel hesitant to draw near to the Lord, because He is waiting for us to do so.  He loves our prayers, our nearness. . .He loves us.

Psalms 73:28
"But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works."

James 4:8
"Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Keep Your Eyes on the Mountains

The Sugarlands, looking northwest from Bull He...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several years ago, as our family drove to Boston, we had ample opportunity to view the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, with one majestic peak after another crowning our view.

Often we would reach places in the valleys enshrouded by fog or mist, or our view obstructed by trees and forests.  Yet the mountains would still be visible towering over the landscape.  In the distant, we could see them rising up as a hopeful sign of the path we were yet to trod.

There are times in our lives which also seem to be enshrouded in fog, mist and darkness.  Often we may feel as those whose hearts are "failing them for fear."  We don't understand the how or the why of the moment.   Fortunately, we are not called to understand it all, and we are not called to have a "spirit of fear." We are called to trust the One to whom the moment belongs.

Psalm 90:2
"Lord, Thou has been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, 
or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, 
even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God."

When we reach those inevitable foggy, dark places in our lives, let us affirm and confess the "Ancient One" who has been, and is and will be, "our dwelling place." Let us trust in the Lord who has promised He would not only lead us through the shadowed valleys, but walk with us, and in us along the way.  Let us keep our eyes on the mountains in the distance,  and believe in He who framed the worlds and formed those mountains.  

He has been, is, and will always be, faithful and true.

Luke 21:28
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; 
for your redemption draweth nigh."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Remove Not the Ancient Landmark"

"Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set," (Proverbs 22:28.)

The Israelites had many memorials which could be considered "ancient landmarks."  The twelve stones placed in the river Jordan after the children of Israel had passed over on dry land; the altar Abraham built at Bethel; the altar Noah built after the waters of the flood had receeded, are all examples.

In our day, we also have "ancient landmarks."  Immediately, I think of the Statue of Liberty. Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi,  our Lady of Liberty was a gift to the United States from the people of France.  The Jefferson Memorial comes to mind as well.  We have scattered our country with memorials and testimonials to the countless patriots who helped form this country and of battles fought.

Ancient landmarks exist in our Christian realm as well, though not made of stone or brass, the old hymns.  These great songs were not written by musicians for the purpose of making money, they were written out of great faith in the midst of great pain.

One was Charlotte Elliott, who after 13 years of being an invalid, at age 32, Charlotte wrote the five verses to "Just As I Am" in 1834.  She suffered much during the last 50 years of her life and during that time wrote 150 hymns, most of which were published anonymously.

Another was Horatio Spafford.  In 1870, he and his wife lost their only son, four years old,  to pneumonia.  In 1871 he lost a sizable investment of real estate in the Great Fire of Chicago.  Then on November 22, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic, his four daughters aged from eleven to two, were drowned when their ship was stuck by an iron sailing vessel.  Spafford traveled to England to meet his wife and when over site of his daughter's death, penned the words to "It Is Well With My Soul."

I think of the song, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," written by Thomas Dorsey, during his inconsolable grief at the death of his wife, Nettie, during childbirth and the subsequent death of his infant son two days later.

One of the greatest hymn writers of all time, Fanny Crosby, was blind from six weeks of age.  Crosby once said, "when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior." She was the writer of over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, including "Jesus is Tenderly Calling You Home," "Blessed Assurance," and "To God be the Glory."

This list could go on and on.  It makes me sad to think that there are those, individuals and corporate entities, who desire to give up these hymns of great profession of faith to replace them with short choruses which repeat the same words over and over.  To me, it is a form of removing our ancient landmarks.

The justification for this is that young people don't understand the hymns.  My thought is, do they understand the gravesite at Normandy?  Do they know why the Statue of Liberty stands so proudly in New York harbor?  Do they know why there is a monument to Jefferson?  Not if they are not taught.  

To erase the great hymns of the past would be like dismantling the Statue of Liberty, of sanding Mount Rushmore down to smooth stone or building an apartment complex in place of the Washington Monument.

Let us commit to remind each other of our great ancient landmarks, to share the stories of our great hymns which praise and honor our Lord in the midst of great hardship and pain.