In keeping with my promise that this will no longer be a place only about bodily nourishment, I offer today's post and it may be the most important post I've written yet because after everything, so much of everything, I know that I know that I know...
The Number 1, most important thing in this life is to give this life over to NOT JUST 'a higher power', but the only High Power. There is no other god like him because, quite frankly, there is no other God, period. And just in case there is any confusion, as there so often is today, I speak of the one and only Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I speak of Jesus Christ. I speak of God.
But in our lives, we can and do make a god out of anything. To some, it's gold, in whatever form it takes. To others, it's the agenda for today or a multitude of other things we've decided are first. And in that very decision is the decision that there is no other God except the one doing the deciding.
If you know me or have followed me via FB, you know my story. You know that part of my story includes very nearly dying twice in a single year. It's been just 2 years since the enemy's first attempt against my life took place. It's been about a year and a half since the second.
Today, I write about the second attempt, or actually, life thereafter, and offer gleanings from the experience. If you're wondering why it's taken so long, well, it takes time to clean up and sort through what's worth keeping and what needs abandonment after a bomb is dropped. Or a hurricane hits. Or a flood washes through. I'm sure you get the idea...
Sometimes, my most serious prayer is the one where I'm asking God to keep a friend from going crazy, no joke. ...To give them that peace that he promises is so great and good that we just cannot understand it. I ask that often. I see the stuff people go through sometimes and wonder how they can possibly stay sane outside of the abiding (not going away) love and presence of Jesus Christ.
When I was hospitalized and in non-stop pain a few years ago, I had a lot of support. I had the staff, my church family, my extended family and immediate family and the many good friends God has blessed us with via the 'military life'. They cared for me in a multitude of ways and they were excellent in that care.
But they couldn't guard my heart and mind... (and how ironic that the two physical ways I came under attack was my heart and brain.)
I remember feeling panic...a lot. Especially when the pain was really bad. "What does this mean? Has something gone wrong? How much more pain will I feel before I die? Am I going to die? I haven't said good-bye to anyone!" I was not yet able to speak well...and w/the drugs I was given, probably much sounded like gibberish anyway.
And alone? Oh, yes! My world had suddenly become a place where no human-being could enter. But God made his presence known to me there. Somewhere between the white light and darkness, between the awake and un-awake, he was there. ...Oh, how true that we can go nowhere that is away from him! (Psalm 139:7-12).
I could only do so much to guard my thoughts at the time, but his Holy Spirit, who sealed me to Himself so many years ago...He came in and let me know He was THERE. I wasn't always aware, but the moments I was were enough. I wasn't 'Super-Cindy-Soldier', be sure to get me right. I was completely helpless and vulnerable. Completely. An isolated sack where time was forever and nothing all at once, where life was over and yet beginning. ...Where nothing seemed to be as it should be and yet somehow, all was well. Surrounded by caretakers I was yet alone in that place.
Eventually, I was able to communicate about needing ‘my music’ and consequently, there were songs played constantly at my ear...songs that encouraged me to let go and trust God to move the mountains.
While everyone else was so (necessarily) busy seeing to the maintenance of my broken body, God was busy with that and perhaps even more so, with the surrounding of my soul...my mind, will and emotions, with His grace ...his protection... and somehow, he gave me will to fight back. But not in the way we think of as fighting.
MY fight was to trust. To believe. To NOT panic. To surrender WILLINGLY. To believe if my body didn't stay, those I love fiercely would have confidence that indeed I did and do love them. To believe that His love for those I love is greater than my love for them, to believe that the little picture I see isn't the picture. In my life, I'd only once been so far out of reach of my own abilities and in that case, it was over so quickly that imagined control was back in my hands again.
But not this time. Even as the miracles unfolded, one by one, that inner struggle remained. Entering back into the Land of the Living, I was to find the honeymoon short-lived. There was so much more pain to be faced! I'd had no earthly idea the average, everyday person like myself might really have to endure something like this. Sure, I’d read books, articles, other peoples’ stories. I thought this stuff only happened in torture chambers or outside of that, to those overly endowed with courage. Not me. Not me! And it just kept on coming and coming. And yes, I DID
beg God to make it stop. And yes, today, I still grapple with pieces of it. And
I'd be a liar to say I don't tire. There is still that little voice that tells
me to "Just. Give. Up."
But I can't.
I'm not wired to give up, not anymore. I've pledged allegiance to the God of the universe. I've given him place in my spirit and spirit is deeper than mind, will and emotion. And HE says, "No giving up!" He hands me key upon key to unlock doors to peace and every single key has a corresponding keyhole shaped as, 'Trust'.
In this way, God has carried me, kept me sane, given me the courage and strength I was so desperately without, helped me sort through the cluttered, 'bomb-debris' left behind. Yes, in His way, this way of granting unreasonable peace, He's still at it. And In His way, He will carry all of us through things we never, ever imagined would touch our lives. Maybe Today. Maybe Tomorrow. And I truly hope the reader doesn't take this is a prophesy of doom. It is, rather, a promise of hope.
Sometimes our prayers will, by necessity, be silently shouted by our spirits. Sometimes they will be voiced and other times, they'll be joined with the voice of many. What we need to remember is that all prayer to God is heard prayer. We don't always know the words, we may even be too far into unconsciousness to comprehend our own thoughts, but that same Spirit that seals, prays for us when we are unable to form the words or even the thoughts that form the words.
Trust this: Prayer to the King of Kings is heard prayer. Every other prayer pales. Withers. Drifts away.
And one last thing I have to say about this Asking-of-God-Talk… We cannot claim there is no answer when the answer has come but not in the way we wanted. To keep God's peace, we have to release our own ideas of what will bring that peace. We think we know. But do we know better than our Creator? We do not. God’s Word is full of incident after incident where the answer to prayer did not include an immediate end to pain, in whatever form it presented itself. Still, from the beginning to the end we have this beautiful answer in the form of a free offering ...not FROM us, but TO us... of God’s unsurpassed, unfathomable, against-all-odds, peace.
In the end, it comes to this. His peace outweighs everything. Everything!
In the end, it comes to this. His peace outweighs everything. Everything!
Philippians 4:6 & 7:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
...He's a Good, Good Father!