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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
2/22/14 3:30 P

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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Is Illness Making Us Grumble Over His Daily Manna?

Just because we have reason to grumble doesn’t mean we should. Kerryn shares.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, “At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God”‘” (Exodus 16:11-12).

It’s not easy during illnesses, and grumbling can become an all too familiar thought pattern if I’m not careful.

I see many parallels from the story in Exodus to chronic invisible illnesses. We’re taken out of a comfortable, familiar environment into a desert experience. There’s a sparseness of all of the comforts that were there before.

It’s easy to think that God just doesn’t care and isn’t providing for our needs. However, God did provide for the Israelites out in the desert, and He provides for us too.

He provided daily direction with the cloud of His glory and manna each day, which tasted good. Quails were provided each night, but grumbling continued. Water was even provided out of rock. Trust God to put on a show to let them know that He’s providing for all of their needs.

I have daily food, shelter and water. The Lord also directs my paths and yet I find myself grumbling! Interestingly there are 25 Bible references to the word “grumbling.” It says in John 6:43, “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered.

Jesus was speaking to the Jews. What really surprised me was that it was in amongst “Jesus the Bread of Life”–quite a step up from the manna!

So what were the two sections before this? “Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand” and “Jesus Walks on the Water.” Yet again references, to feeding us and to the miracles around water. Sadly the section straight after this is “Many Disciples Desert Jesus.”

There is much about this that has humbled me and caused me to come before the Lord and contemplate how I have grumbled over His goodness. He’s reminding me that He is providing for me each and every day.

Humble or grumble . . . an interesting choice!

Prayer: Oh Lord, thank You for Your Word that brings us back again and again to Your truths, help and direction for our lives. Sorry for grumbling to You Lord. Help us to turn our grumbling into gratitude. Remind us of all that You have provided on a daily basis. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
2/18/14 9:36 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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What’s in a Name and Why Does it Matter?

The names of God exist to remind us of all He is and how He will bless us. Bronlynn explains.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in Your name all day long. . . for You are their glory and strength” (Psalm 89:15-17).

Most of us have probably been on prescription medicine at some time or another. And most of us have probably had difficulties pronouncing or remembering the names of some of those drugs.

I did a little research on the naming of drugs and learned that the chemical or brand name of a drug describes the ingredients, and the generic name relates to its function–the problems it will treat.

The Bible study, Knowing God by Name, by Mary Kassian, explains how the names of God fulfill the same purpose by describing who He is as well as what He does. The study specifically focuses on names of God’s deity, character, power, authority, splendor, intimacy, and sufficiency.

Whatever our struggles may be, there is an aspect of God’s character that will meet our need. He is the God Who Sees, Our Rock, Our Redeemer, the Lord Healer, the God Who Works Wonders, Mighty in Power, and Abounding in Love. There are also countless names in Scripture for each person of the Trinity based on their characteristics, and many of those names can bring us great comfort during times of suffering–our refuge, our strength, our comforter, our wisdom, etc.

Hopefully we know at least some of the names of our God even better than the names of our medicines. And what a blessing and comfort it is to know that whatever our problems encompass, we can call on that great name–a name that will ultimately do more for us than any drug ever can. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Prayer: O God, what a comfort and encouragement it is to know that for every problem I face, there is an aspect of Your character that is sufficient to bring me through it. May I rejoice in Your name every day, for You are my glory and strength. Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
2/16/14 6:20 P

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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Who You Are Matters More Than What You Do



Just when you think you aren’t doing enough, you may discover your faith and joy is influencing others. Linda shares.

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

We never know the lives we impact by the way we handle the circumstances surrounding our illness. I never thought a lot about the fact that others were watching how I reacted and handled the daily struggles of living with multiple chronic illnesses.

I had been going through a period feeling like I was worthless; I was not able to do anything for anyone. All I was doing was taking. I felt like my days of working for the Lord were in the past.

Then, at a recent doctor’s appointment where the news wasn’t good, the doctor stopped and asked me, “How do you do it? You remain positive, you spread a smile, we all look forward to your appointments knowing that we are the ones that feel better when you leave.”

Wow . . . not what I was expecting. Despite being in shock I was able to say, “I don’t do it. It is God working in me. I have the confidence that God is in control and will give me strength and wisdom to face whatever is to come.”

Later thinking back over the visit I thought of this verse and was reminded that while I may not be doing anything physical I am doing work for the Lord. Others are watching and they are able to see what He is doing in me. I pray that encourages them to know that He is there for them.

So while it is still hard to be on the receiving end of so much–the meals, the house cleaning, the rides to appointments–I am more determined to remain positive and spread the hope of resting in the arms of the Lord to those who are watching.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the peace You give. Thank You for those in our lives that can do the physical things we are no long able to do. Please give us the peace and grace to accept the gifts You send to us and let Your love shine through us and be a blessing to others.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
2/15/14 1:49 P

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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How to Get it Right When Talking to One Who Is Ill

It can be challenging to get it right when talking to one who is ill, without causing hurt. Vicki shares a few insights.

“Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Micah 7:18).

“Are you enjoying retirement?” That question, casually posed to my fifty-five-year-old sister, aroused her frustration and anger. Surely, she wasn’t enjoying her constant migraines, diabetes, eye stroke, and sleep apnea.

“No. I’m not enjoying ‘retirement!’ It wasn’t my decision to give up the job I loved. My disabilities made it impossible for me to remain in the workforce.”

Well-meaning people can offend. It sometimes feels like no one gets it; no one understands what it’s like to have a disability. The truth is they don’t. They can’t. We shouldn’t expect it.

My mother-in-law once asked me, “Does Howie help you with the vacuuming?”

That question left me bewildered.

She assumes I vacuum? She knows I’m unable to work outside the home. Doesn’t she know my illness prevents me from doing daily chores? How can she not get it? She must know that I endure pain and fatigue each day.

Here’s one I hear often: “Are you feeling better?” It’s particularly frustrating when I’ve already told the person that multiple sclerosis (MS) is an incurable, progressive illness. Sometimes I’m more sick and tired of the questions than my illness.

Once we had a family get-together. The hot room weakened me and made my aches more painful. So I asked if the hostess could turn down the heat.

“Why don’t you just stand outside?” answered one relative.

I know it’s important for me to restrain my reactions. When others don’t get it right, I still need to get it right. And respond correctly.

Micah tells us the Lord requires that we “love mercy” (Micah 6:8). Even if judged harshly.

Love mercy? How can I extend mercy when I’m not feeling well? I’ll trust in the One Who delights in mercy. My Father, who is slow to anger, will help me get it right.

Prayer: Dear Father, Oh how I want to stop expecting others to understand completely what it’s like for me to have MS. When others ask questions, based on their compassion, open my heart to their sensitivity (no matter how they word it). Thank You for filling my life with friends and family members who do seem to get it. They express sympathy in ways that bless my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
2/14/14 10:59 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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Be Mine, Valentine, Eternally

Valentine’s Day can have an entirely new meaning when we consider who wants our heart. Shelly explains.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

I love this verse. The New Living Translation actually reads: My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.

From cradle to grave, there are so many things that we want to be. A dancer, a firefighter, a parent, a spouse. Some of those dreams come true, some remain dreams, and some morph into deeper and stronger realities.

There are so many things that find their way into our identities, that we never wanted to be. An addict, a sinner, ill, alone. We find ourselves facing circumstances that we had no plans for, that we could never feel prepared for.

Through all of these dreams and realities there is only one thing that Jesus has ever asked of us. He has never dictated our profession or our goals. Christ has never demanded that we follow a certain route, and there are sufferings He does not rescue us from.

But there is one thing He just won’t budge on. One thing on which He insists. No matter the clutter of the rest of our lives, there’s one thing we must be in order to satisfy God’s requirements.

That one thing is: Be Mine.

That’s it. Just “Be Mine.”

“All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before My Father and His angels that they are mine” (Revelation 3:5)

Isn’t the most romantic Valentine you’ve ever heard? He writes your name in the Book of Life. Mine looks something like this:

Shelly + Jesus = 4Ever

Do you belong to Him yet? If not, then the invitation is for you. He’s the Lover of your soul.

And He whispers, “Be Mine.”

Prayer: Valentine, You overwhelm us with Your acceptance. You pour Your unfailing love out to us so generously, so tenderly. We thank You, and we love You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
2/11/14 5:48 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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All Dreams are Not Lost Because We Are Ill

Illness can take away some of our dreams in life, but God is not deterred. Brittany shares.

“My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day; in the face of darkness light is near” (Job 17:11-12).

Chronic Illness can seem like a roadblock to our plans, and in some cases it can make our dreams unrealistic or impossible. It is easy to grieve over our loss of control that comes with illness. Sometimes you may wonder, “Why did God allow me to be chronically ill?” It’s hard to accept that we may spend the rest of our lives ill.

But we must have hope that God has bigger and better plans for us that involve using our illnesses for good.

A few months ago I discovered I have celiac disease which basically means my body attacks gluten (wheat). This is not news a sweets-loving seventeen-year-old wants to hear. Everything in my life had to change. I had to pack lunches, eat endless chicken Caesar salads at restaurants, and throw away my dreams of becoming a camp counselor (gluten-free food isn’t always easy to find in camp settings).

I would never choose a life like this for myself. But God is infinitely more experienced and wise than I ever will be, and He chose this life for me. Although I don’t know what the plan God has for me is, I do know that it involves bigger and better things that do not involve bread (or cookies, cake, etc.).

It can be hard to accept that our chronic illnesses are chronic and maybe even lifelong. That doesn’t mean that we have to live the rest of our lives feeling like these illnesses are unnecessary burdens.

The point is, we need start thinking like Job and finding hope in our future–even though it seems like there is little to hope for. God has a plan for us and His plan is better than we can even imagine. We need to put our faith in the Lord and that His plan is perfect.

Prayer: God help us find hope and strength through our illness and let us let go of the future we planned, instead of the future You planned. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
2/2/14 9:39 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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Taking The Fight To The Enemy

Living with chronic illness is a spiritual battle–perhaps more so than physical. Karlton shares how we have the power to fight.

“So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” (Exodus 13:8)

How can we fight the enemy of our souls when we are too weak to leave our sickbeds? How can we stand up to our enemy when we can barely stand up at all? I think we can and must fight, but it is not a physical battle.

Spiritual warfare goes on all around us, from people trying to resist temptation, trying to retain virtue and morality in a sin-sick world, to the soul standing in the balance between heaven and hell. We can look at spiritual challenges as a chance to engage the enemy, or we can retreat from the battlefield.

In wartime the general send seasoned troops into the field, knowing they have been battle-tested and are trustworthy. I think in the same way those of us who have long endured illness and hardship, and have survived many trials, we too are battle-tested. God can count on us in difficult circumstances. We have the experience and knowledge that our weakened physical state belies.

Prayer and the Word of God are our weapons of warfare. Added to them are faith and confidence in God’s ability and awesome power to work through us. We may be no match physically to the might of our enemy, but our spiritual weapons are strong, and our God overcomes through us, even in our weakened state.y

Ask God to show you how to further His kingdom and diminish the power of our enemy on this earth. Be willing to help and pray for those who are hurting, and share your testimony of God’s faithfulness and His work in your life.

All around us are hurting people, and we can relate because of our own pain. Help lift others up just as God holds you up.

Prayer: Father, remind us that You are all powerful, and Your power lives in us, Your children. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
2/1/14 8:53 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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When I Feel Too Inadequate, Then What?

If your illness makes you feel inadequate you are not alone, but Kerryn shares how to overcome them.

“Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put My words in your mouth” (Jeremiah 1:9).

I’ve often wondered how it would have been for Jeremiah to be told by God to speak for Him. I sometimes think the Bible characters are so different to me, but they’re not so different really.

The Lord asks us all to do things that seem impossible and out of our reach, at some stage in our lives. His requests can seem more impossible once we become ill, yet God never asks of us more than what we can manage–with His help.

Jeremiah argued that he was too young. What do we use as our excuse?

I remember when a Rest Ministries devotional writer challenged me to become a devotional writer. I’d already had God prompting me to write. So when a person challenged me too, I had all the excuses imaginable ready to go!

I felt insecure and inadequate. I didn’t feel “enough” and I knew that, more often than not, I’m too weak and ill to write. It’s true that I’m never enough. I need God!

This is where He wants us, to be dependent upon Him. Now, this doesn’t mean doing something that is counteractive to our health and will put us in danger! It does mean relying fully on God.

More often than not, I’m at my most exhausted state when God says: “Okay, let’s write!” At first I’d think “Are You crazy?” Yet, every time He’s given me the words and energy to write, with minimal effort and usually with barely any editing needed. What a blessing that is, each and every time.

I’m truly grateful that God uses this weakened, ill body for His purposes, even when it seems impossible.

Psalm 37:24 “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to trust You when You call. Thank You that I’m not enough and I do need You, for You are my strength when I am weak. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/30/14 7:55 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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Are You Embracing God’s New Assignment For You While Chronically Ill?

You may wonder how you can serve God with the limits of your illness, but Diane encourages us to look at it as a new assignment.

“We however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God Himself first assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.” (2 Corinthians 10:13)

Recently my husband and I heard a sermon in which the pastor used this verse to encourage us to ask, ”Am I doing what God has assigned me to do?” As my husband and I discussed it, I told him I felt that so much has changed over the last year, due to my illnesses, that I felt I wasn’t really doing much.

No longer could I travel out of state doing mission trips, often now I’m not able to leave the house. Then my husband said,”How do you know God hasn’t just changed your assignment?” He then pointed out how my illness, as it is now, has allowed me to minister to a different group people–people he has prepared in advance for those divine appointments. He often working out a connection that is so amazing that only He could do it, showing His sovereignty.

As I’ve dwelled on this, I recognized that just because I’m not doing the same ministry I have for the many years, doesn’t mean I’m not ministering fully for Him. I shouldn’t mourn it–I should joyfully embrace the new assignment, boasting of how and what God is doing! (remembering to “confine my boasting” to His power and strength). I can choose to believe that He knows best what and where I can be used to the fullest.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the changes You have orchestrated in each of our lives. Help us to fully embrace those changes, knowing that Your plan is perfect. Our desire Lord is to serve You, let us not try to dictate that plan in our own will, but relinquish that control to You, giving You the very best we have to offer for Your kingdom. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/28/14 7:30 A

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How To Keep Your Eyes on Jesus When Overwhelmed with Illness

When our body takes so much maintenance and trial overflow, Bronlynn shares how to keep our eyes on what matters.

“We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

As we go through our days, we can keep our eyes fixed on many things, if not literally then figuratively. We may focus on health concerns, financial difficulties, relationship issues, unfulfilled dreams and desires, and countless other problems.

The above verse reminds us of where our eyes should be. It was spoken by Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, when his people were under attack by enemy nations. God told the people not to be discouraged, for the battle was not theirs, but His. They were to face the enemy, stand firm, and trust the Lord. The people responded in worship. They obeyed God, marched out singing praises to Him, and saw His mighty deliverance.

We can learn some lessons from this king. Jehoshaphat kept his eyes on the Lord rather than on his problems. He acknowledged God’s power and might. He presented his requests before the Lord. He obeyed God’s commands. His army then faced their enemies singing songs of praise and faith, believing God would give them the victory He promised.

Our eyes can easily stay focused on our problems and pain. Praise sometimes gets lost among all our requests. We fall into our default modes of worry, fear, and control, rather than following God’s commands to be anxious for nothing and to remember that with Him all things are possible. And we don’t always trust God enough for the outcomes to praise Him in advance for victory.

We may be attacked by a “vast army” of problems, and we may have no idea what to do. But we can be sure that by keeping our eyes on the Lord, He will deliver us, either from them or through them. He is our Jehovah-Nissi (Our Banner)–our source of strength and our assurance of victory.

Prayer: O God, I can become so easily distracted by my pain and problems that I forget to look to You for direction, strength, and peace. Keep my eyes fixed on You and Your promises throughout each day, and let me declare in faith that You will be my victory. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/27/14 6:04 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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No Problem is too Small to Pray About So Come to Him!

If you have ever kept a worry to yourself rather than choosing to pray about it, Shelly shares how we are missing out.

“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” (Psalm 27:8)

Are you coming?

Or are you one who believes that some things are too trivial to bother God with? Are you one who feels maybe He’s too busy with others’ larger problems to give attention to your own?

Let me assure you, God is a master multi-tasker. He’s perfectly capable of answering prayers regarding war, illness, poverty, hunger, and unemployment all at once without breaking a sweat. As far as our daily activities and thoughts being too trivial, well, I guess I just have one thing to say.

Can your heart hear the beckoning?

The invitation is not, “Tell me your problems when they get large enough.”
It is not, “Let me know if you need my help.”
It isn’t even, “I hope to hear from you if you have something to say that you think might interest Me.”

Here is the invitation He has whispered to Your heart. “Come and talk with me.”

Let your answer today be, “Lord, I am coming!”

Prayer: Dear God, the fact that you invite me, little ole me, to come and talk with you. Wow. I am coming. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/26/14 7:23 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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How Do We Get Through a Trial? Plan For It

When God tells us trials will happen do we plan for it by becoming discouraged? Vicki clarifies.

“. . . We wait for the blessed hope–the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

I’m a just-in-case kinda person. When our sons were toddlers I kept a toy car in my purse for wiggle prevention during unwanted waiting. When I taught second grade, I prepared twelve weeks of lesson plans at a time–in case my multiple sclerosis prevented me from teaching.

Each purse contains tissues because I’ve reached the level of master crier. Tears flow for just about any mood: sadness, compassion, extreme happiness, and humor. Every pocket book also has a hair clip in it. In case the room temperature is too hot.

Nowadays, I pack extra things for doctor appointments and medical tests. I’m a waiting room warrior. A proud marathon sitter. I can wait for an hour without releasing a perturbed grunt, glaring at the receptionist, or glancing at a clock. My strategy: read a good book.

I draw the line at planning for trials. Who does that? But the Bible guarantees they’ll come.

Jesus assured us that, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Does that mean we should begin each day asking, “What pain will pester me today? What part of this day will be disrupted by my disability?” I doubt Christ meant for fear to fill our minds each morning. But we should expect to have difficulties.

Plan on trouble? Ugh! But anticipate trials in the context of His victory? Now that I can plan on! God helps me have a mental mindset to face anything. What’s a just-in-case kinda woman to do to prepare? Start the day in His presence.

Not everyone plans ahead. Some wait until they’re on their deathbed to prepare for eternity. Not me. I’m ready. I’ve received the ticket–paid for by Christ. Now all I gotta do is watch, wait, and witness.

Prayer: Dear Father, the hardest things for me to prepare for are disappointments. Help prepare my heart for whatever You have in store for me today. Increase my trust in You. Keep me from thinking I’m in control of everything simply because I make my plans. I know that’s Your job. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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1/25/14 7:22 A

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Allowing Jesus to Turn Water into Wine

How can you find joy in your circumstances? Lynn shares how Jesus’ water into wine miracle can apply in your life.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2a).

Scripture’s account of Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana is compelling. Jesus loved a celebration. Although He felt that his time to manifest God’s glory had not yet come, He knew His Father’s heart that the celebration not be spoiled.

Jesus and water are themes throughout Scripture.

Immediately after His baptism in the Jordan River, Satan tempted Him in the wilderness for 40 days. The anointed waters of baptism surely nourished Him to resist.

When adversities pound into my life, I am exhorted to: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1: 2),

How can I count the daily afflictions “as joy” had I not the strength of the Holy Spirit’s blessed presence–a wine transforming my watered weaknesses for God’s purposes? It is a surrender impossible without my trust in Him.

My life, no longer full of vitality that I once knew, can cause me to feel much like the jars of clay filled to the brim with plain water. Though water is life giving, when celebration is the dress for the day, what am I to do with the feelings that I have been left out?

I can remember Mary’s words to the servants at that Cana feast. “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).

God asks me to trust the miracle of His living water within me, more powerful than wine, but also the fruit of the Vine I cling to.

God trusts me! Best I keep learning by trusting Him so that I can can be ready for His transformational miracles that will change my life.

Prayer: Lord, only You have the power to make the changes in my heart and life that will most richly honor You. My heart’s desire is to be still and to let Your power unfold miraculously. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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1/24/14 3:42 A

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When Challenges Grow What Happens to Your Trust?

When trials multiple does your trust grow–or waver? Laura shares.

“Late in the afternoon the twelve came to Him and said, ‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.’
He replied, ‘You give them something to eat.’

They answered, ‘We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.’ About five thousand men were there.)

But He said to his disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” (Luke 9:12-17)

When I was a kid this passage always fascinated me. I wondered how Jesus could feed thousands of people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Was it magic? Did He have extra bakers and fisherman on standby? It was a great mystery how He could satisfy so many with so little.

While thinking of the Christmas season last month I began to recall Jesus’ love and how it spreads just as markedly as that food did. He bestows His love on us through His constant presence in our lives. Just by picking up our Bible or closing our eyes and meditating on His word, birth, life and death, we feel Jesus’ love in our lives.

And then I began to think of my chronic illness. It was early December 2010 when a flu essentially damaged my autonomic nervous system leaving me with a myriad of symptoms–and a body spiraling out of control. Eventually I was diagnosed with dysautonomia and my life would change forever. I have dreaded the month of December since then but am slowly changing my views.

I now realize my illness has allowed growth. I am no longer trying to control everything in my life rather I know I have choices to make but ultimately God is in charge. Each new day is now a gift from God, rather than an expectation, and I do my best to make the day productive in some way. I try to thank God for each day, even the most difficult ones as there is always some good to be found.

And just like Jesus provided an opportunity for thousands to eat, He has changed my life’s path. I have met people and nurtured relationships in a variety of areas including through running a HopeKeepers group, joining a book club, participating in church activities, spending more time with family and friends and through on-line support. God has even allowed my heart to grow in its capacity to meet and love others. For this I am grateful.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I am not always sure where my life is going but am slowly learning that You are ultimately in charge and trusting in You makes everything go more smoothly. Thank You, Lord, for the great comfort You provide during both difficult and joy-filled days. Amen.




Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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1/23/14 5:54 A

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Will Helping Others Hurt Your Health?

What do you do when someone needs you but you really cannot help because of your own pain? Fiona tackles this tough question.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

I was reminded recently of my high school motto–“non nobis sed omnibus.”

While we used to take delight in remembering it as “no knobs on buses”–what the Latin really says is “not us, but others.”

Our school song began with the words, “Not for our own, but others’ good”–just as Paul exhorts us here, to consider others and their interests as more important than our own.

For those of us with chronic illness, it can seem like every decision we make needs to consider our health. There are often very important and good reasons why that’s necessary. I remember telling someone that I seemed to always have to consider “pain” in making decisions–would it cause pain? Would it make things worse? How much pain would it bring? Was it worth the pain? It was about finding the right balance.

How do we put others needs first when we already are ourselves “needy”?

My Mum had a stroke a few months ago and there have been things I felt I needed to do to help her, yet that extra effort may also have a detrimental affect on my own health. I want to help her–I want to be obedient to Paul’s directions–yet what if that is not good for me?

We see things we want to do–good things that will make others lives better; we want to serve, help, or simply be an encouragement to others.

What would God have us do? God who knows us, better than we know ourselves.

“For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)

Shouldn’t we trust God to show us when, where and how He wants us to consider others? Won’t He give us the resources to do what He requires of us?

Prayer: Father God, please guide us and teach us how to consider others and what You want us to do for You. Help us not to become thoughtless of others, when we get wrapped up in our own problems. Keep our hearts open to Your promptings, as we thank You for still seeing us as valuable in Your sight. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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1/22/14 6:04 A

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Leaving Imprints for God on the Snowy Slopes of the New Year

When you look back at the imprints left from your actions and thought this year, what will they look like? Bronlynn shares.

“Glory has come to me through them” (John 17:10).

Winter weather is here on the east coast and it’s time for many people to enjoy winter sports. Our pastor is from New York and has been skiing for years. He once preached a New Year’s sermon related to skiing.

He mentioned that he and his friends used to enjoy skiing right after a fresh snowfall. They would look at the perfectly unmarred snow, decide what designs they would each like to make, and then enjoy leaving their creative marks. He then asked the congregation to think about what marks we wanted to leave for God in the upcoming year.

The new year is indeed like a clean slate of fresh snow. It hasn’t been marked yet by countless tracks of pain. We can’t see the broken branches and other debris of problems hidden underneath. We haven’t gotten stuck in the slushy and muddy melting repercussions of our struggles.

Lord willing, we will have some downhill skiing–blessed times when God gives us enjoyable experiences and respite from our trials. But we will also have times of making long, arduous, uphill climbs back to the top of the slope.

So what marks will we leave for God on the fresh snow of this new year? Whether we are experienced skiers or not, we will have some falls through its ups and downs. But when we fall, what better imprint to display God’s glory through our suffering than that of being on our knees, face down in humble submission to His plan for our days, and arms spread out in praise and worship to the One Who will be with us through it all.

Prayer: Lord God, as I go through whatever this year holds for me, I pray that I would leave marks of glory for You, trusting in Your perfect will for my life and testifying to others of Your power and strength through my weaknesses. Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/21/14 10:27 A

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Are You Ready For Your Life to be a New Thing?

It may be hard to consider we can become a new thing when our body feels so old, but Cynthia shares how it has nothing to do with our body.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

What if God wants to do a new thing in your life?

I’ve dealt with a wide range of health issues. It’s tempting to dwell on the negative instead of showing excitement for the future. Being twenty-four, I wish I could do the same activities as my peers.

My chronic pain fluctuates. It’s complicated. I’ll do something effortlessly. The next day the activity is difficult. It’s like a yo-yo.

I tend to think my pain will get worse and I’ll never improve. At the start of a new year, I want to make goals that involve discipline. Isaiah 43:19 gives me hope.

Health can make us feel like we are stranded in the woods and holding up an S.O.S. sign. Even so, God sees us in the wilderness. God creates streams in wastelands and joy where we thought there was sadness.

He can do a new thing through you. Think of your life like a chapter book. If you have trouble letting go of the past or moving forward, turn the page. Believe that 2014 will be a year of health and favor.

While we focus on where we’ve been, God is concerned about where we’re going. His mercies are new every morning. He sees the end while we wrestle through beginnings.

I find peace in knowing that God is the ultimate author of my life. If you’ve struggled with pain for several years, it might seem unrealistic to expect new things. I understand how that feels.

Expect wellness and favor anyways. The new thing may be a helpful friend that offers support. The new thing may be a doctor that shows compassion. Don’t put a limit on Gods new thing; you never know what that new thing might be and that includes a miracle.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for all that You have done in my life. I trust You in every season and ask for wellness and favor. My hope does not come from my circumstances, nor the doctor. My hope comes from You. Thank You for doing a new thing through me. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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1/20/14 5:46 A

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How Can You Exercise in the New Year? Spiritually!

What kind of exercise can I do to most improve myself this next year? Diane shares.

”My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

As the New Year begins the continuous promotions for a new lean and fit you assault us from every angle–telling us to join this, take that or do this, all in the name of fitness. So what are we who are chronically ill to do? How can we enter into this New Year with a plan to exercise, when we have a body which is not willing or able to comply with the world’s view of fitness?

Well, here are a few suggestions to exercise in a way that will challenge you to have a more, fit and flexible, spiritual you!

1. Exercise the ability to pray. (Psalm 119:164) Remember this was King David’s biggest asset, granting strength, peace and faith in God.

2. Exercise forgiveness and restraint when irritated by others (Psalm 141:3), when dealing with others, choose forgiveness, and prayer over a stern or snappy response.

3. Exercise humility. Remember, we too have a past we were so generously absolved of by Christ; let us not judge but be merciful for otherwise we would be dressed in filth as we stood before Him. (James 2:12)

4. Exercise the gift of love. (John 3:16) If we choose to love fully, unconditionally, and uncommonly as Christ did for us, there is nothing greater!

Prayer: Father as we enter into a new year help us not to look at ourselves as unfit, but better yet to exercise the truths that You offer us in Your word. Teach us to be focused on You and Your great love for us, allowing us to choose to be children who are uncommon examples of Your amazing Character. Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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1/19/14 12:59 P

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Do You Grow Impatient With God?

Do you ever become impatient with God’s time table? Karlton shares how you are not alone.

“Abraham fell face-down; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’” (Genesis 17:17)

Even Abraham and Sarah had a hard time believing God, and when it seemed God was never going to act, they took the matter into their own hands and Ishmael was conceived.

I sympathize with Abraham and Sarah. I too have a hard time believing God on occasion, and I also grow impatient waiting on God. When you live with illness it can strain your patience, and test your faith in God’s ability to heal and meet your needs. But when we start counting past victories, we realize we are not in this alone, God is with us and helping us.

When illnesses flare up, when new problems arise, and when it seems we have been waiting forever for God to arrive on the scene, we can become impatient with God because of our circumstances. Yet we must fight past our doubts and frustrations and count on God being who He says He is, and doing what He can to help us.

I have never liked waiting, patience has never been my best quality. Too often I find myself crying out in frustration at God rather than believing in God’s promises. Yet when I step back from my situation and remember who God is, what He has already done, and what He can do, I recall that God is everything He said He is, and can do everything He says He will do.

Today you are perhaps like me, feeling frustrated with God and impatient in your circumstances. Let’s recall who God is, and believe He will do all that He promised.

Prayer: Dear Lord, be patient with our impatience, and strengthen our faith, for we know Your word and promises are true. Amen.




Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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1/18/14 5:25 A

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Do You Want to Be Held?

Do you ever wish God could just hold you? Shelly shares how we may feel this way, but also be struggling to get away.

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” (Psalm 27:10)

I am a child of God.

And some days the “child” part of that statement is truer than others.

I remember when I tried to hold my screaming toddler as she was throwing a temper tantrum. I only wanted to comfort her, to calm her, to reason with her. But she thrashed around, only wanting to show me her anger. She was impossible to hold onto.

My mood brings to mind nights in the past when I wanted to read to my little son. He climbed up into my lap, eager to hear the story, but soon he was scrambling down to chase after some forgotten item or a new idea that had popped into his mind as it wandered. Each time my grip tightened to hold him in place, he increased his efforts to escape, became more determined to flee after his own distractions.

The New Living Translation version speaks the above word this way:
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

These days when I am facing pain, frustrations and questions, I am eager for God to hold me close. And the Bible assures me that He longs to and that He will.

Do I make it difficult or impossible for my Father to keep me with Him for longer than a moment? Do I thrash around in my anger and fear, making it hard for Him to offer me comfort? Do I think of new or forgotten things and scramble to leave His embrace and the haven He provides for me there?

I pray that I will be the child who wants to be held. I will climb up and be deliberate in my snuggling and rest. I will not take for granted the peace He offers me.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for always having Your arms open to me. Help me to settle down and take full advantage of all that You offer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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1/17/14 7:04 A

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When God Says, ‘Everything Will Be Okay’

Have you ever received God’s assurance that things will be okay? Laura shares.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:25-27)

“Everything will be okay even if you don’t work.”

What? Where did that come from? I was sitting in my favorite chapel–having had to leave my son’s Confirmation Mass several times due to the length of the celebration and the fact I can’t sit anywhere for too long without becoming symptomatic.

I was in serious shape, my arms and legs were heavy; the heavy feeling that comes before passing out. My brain was foggy, breathing labored and thoughts were turning towards how or if I was going to make it back to church.

I knew if I could walk the 20 yards to church I would warm up–as I was freezing. I had little strength to keep my body upright, let alone walk. So I stretched out on a pew in this beautiful St. Francis Chapel and prayed.

It was one of the first times during my illness I had found this recently-built chapel–adorned with statues of Jesus, Joseph, Mary and St. Francis of Assisi. I wondered if the emergency squad would need to carry me out or if I would walk on my own accord.

I was not frightened just tired from the long evening in which I saw my son receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation.

As I prayed, this message came to me as clear as ever:

“Everything will be okay even if you don’t work.”

Okay, what does this mean and why did I hear it at this moment? I wasn’t thinking about work, I was pondering whether I would stay conscious.

After hearing the message, I recovered enough to get back to church, warm up and eventually take some lovely family pictures with the bishop. I don’t remember conversations after Mass as I was still a bit fuzzy, but the photographs I have show pure joy on our faces.

And from that day forward while dealing with many uncertainties that came up as I prepared to retire from my job, I thought back to that night and the message I received. I admit there was anxiety but in my heart I knew that everything was going to be okay–because in that chapel I was told.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for Your reassurance that things would work out for my family even if I did not work. You have provided for us and I thank You for that. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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1/16/14 5:53 A

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Do You Long For A Fresh Start?

start Do You Long For A Fresh Start?January gives us the opportunity to reflect on who we wish to be and how God can help us grow. Fiona shares.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When a year ends and we look at approaching a new one, who doesn’t long for a fresh start? I often do.

2013 was the end of a fairly difficult year for me and right now I’m just longing for a new beginning; a chance to start over again; an opportunity to not make the same mistakes, or failures; maybe an opportunity to make changes.

Some things that have been tough this year, may continue into another year–they may even become more difficult–but it seems comforting to think I’m starting afresh in a new year with a blank slate.

The above verse reminds us that when you become a Christian you are a new creation. I remember this verse from the old Living Bible where it said “A new life has begun!” It was a fresh start, an opportunity to do life differently.

Earlier this year, I set out to encourage one person, somehow, each day. As the verse in Thessalonians says: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Certainly I didn’t manage it every day, but I think the fact that I wrote it down and told some other people, meant I had that idea firmly in my mind and on my heart.

I didn’t want it to be empty encouragement just for the sake of it, but I wanted to feel I was opening my heart to what God wanted me to write or say to someone else.

That was my choice. Life is full of choices–even for those of us with chronic illness and limited energy. We all still have choices.

What will you choose to do differently in this coming year?

Prayer: Father God, as we enter a new year, please help us to know what You want us to choose to be doing with our time, or effort. Please guide and direct us as we seek to grow closer to You. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/15/14 5:37 A

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How Do we Bear the Burden of Another When We Don’t Understand?

Can you share the burden of someone even if you don’t really understand what he or she is experiencing? Karlton shares.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Recently my wife and I were complaining back and forth. I told her, “You would not want to have to deal with my problem.” And she replied: “No, but you would not want to have to deal with my problem either.” To which I replied: “No, I wouldn’t.”

I suspect that each one of us is given just the sort of challenges that each of us is meant to have. There are people who could never deal with my issues, and I know I could never face the challenges others are living with. I think God, in His wisdom, allows us just the sort of challenges that we are capable of enduring.

But that does not mean we should not care for and encourage one another. Though we cannot literally bear one another’s burden, we can share their concern and hold onto them as they go through their portion of life’s challenges. We need to support one another.

When we live with burdens too big to carry alone it helps to talk to others, get their perspective, and receive encouragement from them. More than this, it is absolutely necessary to take our cares and burdens to the Lord, to receive His grace, peace, and His encouragement. We must allow the Lord to carry us when we cannot carry ourselves.

Reaching out to others, finding comfort in your affliction can be a great blessing, but if you are never willing to share your challenges you will not receive comfort from others. Call upon the Lord, pour your heart out to Him, and allow His peace to replace your cares and worries.

Prayer: Dear Lord, our burdens sometimes seem beyond bearing. Help us to share our cares and worries with others, but also with You. Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
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Are You Living Like the Resurrection Fern?

Have you heard of the resurrection fern? Jackie shares a beautiful description of how this represents our life with illness.

“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom, like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” (Isaiah 35:1)
Have you ever heard of the Resurrection Fern? I hadn’t until a very dear friend wrote me and told me that I resemble one. After I read about this fern, I felt honored that she felt that way and wanted to do my best to live up to its meaning.

It seems that this fern holds fast to the oak tree for its very sustenance. Until it rains, this little fern turns brown, curls up , and is very nondescript. Then when it does rain, it unfurls into a vibrant, deep emerald green plant, basking in the rain.

How often do we feel more like the fern that is all shriveled up and brown? We all have days when we are dealing with unrelenting pain, frustration with our physicians, and inept doctor’s offices. Or we lose our patience with insurance companies who want to deny our medication.

Some days it just seems to be too much.

We’ve all been there. These are our wilderness and desert days that can be so dreary. Yet something very unusual can happen in the depth of our frustration.

God in myriad ways brushes our hearts and rains peace and hope upon us. We are made like the beautiful Resurrection Fern that reaches out its deep green tendrils and says that we can rise again from desolation to joyous living.

Refreshing ourselves in His Presence causes us to unfurl into a living, vibrant spirit that is not defined by our illness but by our soaking up His Presence.

Prayer: Dearest Lord, we look to You for sustenance. In our wilderness days, thank You that you don’t leave us there. Thank You for bringing newness of life when we wait on You. Help us to blossom even in the desert. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When You Ask, ‘Jesus, Do You Hear Me?’

When you wonder is Jesus still hears you, Diane asks you to consider how He may respond.

“See the former things have taken place and the new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” (Isaiah 4:29)

As I lay in there in the stillness of night, unable to sleep, waiting for the pain to subside, I prayed–going through my thoughts trying to think of those who I knew needed to receive His touch–I asked, “Lord, do You still hear me?”

In the stillness of the night came His soft words . . .

I called to you from the heavenly heights, as the wind in the trees. . .
Did you hear Me?

On a silent night my voice rang out as the cry of an infant, in humble surroundings. . .
Did you hear Me? (Matthew 1:23)

In the temple as a young boy soon to be a man, I spoke among the teachers of the law, where a glimpse of my Fathers wisdom would be heard. . .
Did you hear Me? (Luke 46:47)

Reaching the age of 30 My purpose here now coming to fruition. . .
Did you hear Me? (Matthew 4:17)

My voice resounded from the mountain, teaching of the new covenant of Love, hope and forgiveness. . .
Did you hear Me? (Matthew 5:1-2)

Upon the cross I was nailed, though my body was racked with pain, my voice cried out that my suffering would not be in vain. . .
Did you hear Me? (Mark 15:25-26)

Three days later I defeated death; when I went to my Father, I sent forth my Spirit I would dwell with you, knowing I love you. (Acts 1:8)
I ask you, my child, “Do you hear Me?”

Oh, Yes, Lord! I hear you!

Prayer: Father, thank You for your amazing love, for choosing to humble Yourself by coming here to this earth that we could know and believe that You love us beyond all measure. May we take the time is Christmas season to listen and truly hear Your voice. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Being Well-Preserved Through the New Year

Our illness may be degenerative but God promises to preserve us! Bronlynn shares this blessing.

“The Lord preserves the faithful” (Psalm 31:23).

We have all heard the expression “well-preserved,” which can refer to anything from an antique in good condition to a person who is ageing well. As illness and health problems take their toll on our bodies and minds, how does this verse apply to us?

Being preserved involves being protected and kept safe from harm, being treated to last and prevent decay, and being reserved for special use. God promises us that He will protect us and keep us.

Although He does not promise freedom from trouble, He does promise deliverance through it (Psalm 34:19). This includes whatever problems we may face in this new year.

Through Christ, we have the gift of eternal salvation. Although this temporary earthly body is decaying–and some of us may feel ours is deteriorating quite rapidly!–we have the assurance of knowing that our heavenly bodies and souls have been treated by the saving blood of Jesus and will last forever (1 Corinthians 15:53).

As God’s children, we are set apart for special uses which He planned before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10), and He will continue to equip us and work out in us what is pleasing to Him from now through eternity (Hebrews 13:21).

The word “preserve” can also refer to something similar to jam. Interestingly enough, the difference between jam and preserves is that preserves contain more fruit. Preserves allow fruit to be enjoyed through all seasons.

As God continually preserves us, we are able to continually display the fruit of His love and faithfulness in our lives to others.

We may not know what the coming year holds for our health or circumstances, but we can be assured that God will preserve us through it all. Let’s remain faithful in trusting Him to do it.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as I enter this new year, I know I can confidently face whatever it may hold because You will preserve me through it. Use whatever challenges the lie ahead to strengthen my faithfulness and testimony of Your power in my life. Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Putting Aside Resolutions and Resting In Your Testimony

Don’t focus on resolutions, but instead on how God is going to shine through you in 2014. Lisa shares.

“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.” (Psalm 66:16)

The commercials have already begin. Weight loss, exercise equipment, and goals, goals, goals! For those of us with illness we are physically–and maybe emotionally–flat on our back. Talk of resolutions to be better, do more, improve something–can quickly make us more discouraged than ever.

So. . . stop. You are among friends here at Rest Ministries. In fact, we should have a contest to see who keeps up their holiday decorations the longest (I think last year there were still some up at Easter time.)

Goals and resolutions can be a nice idea, but they often set us up for more failure if we attempt to practice them before we are ready. Rather than thinking about what you can do I encourage you to instead rest.

Just. Rest. For. Now.

And as you rest, consider God’s faithfulness. Reflect on how You saw Him active in your life last year.

How did He surprise you? What did He teach you? How did He comfort you? How did He test you?

How did each of things factors contribute to how your testimony changed in the last twelve months?

Yes, illness is in our bodies. But God is in our soul. Perhaps illness changed your physical self last year. Maybe it even changed who you are emotionally. But how did God use all of this to mold you, refine you, use you to comfort another?

As the world tells us to improve ourselves so that we can have a better life, instead listen for God’s voice. Ask Him where He would have you put your energies in 2014 to bring Him glory. How will the testimony He has given you be part of who you will become this year? What a glorious way to start a new year!

Prayer: As the pressures to do more begin, Lord, help me remember that You are at work in my life it is an opportunity for You to shine this year. Amen.




Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/10/14 4:02 P

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glad to do it...I'm glad they help!

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Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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1/10/14 3:55 P

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Thanks for sharing these. It has been a few days since I checked them, and they are just what I needed.


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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Planning for a Spirit of Renewal


When you consider what God can do, Sandi shares how renewal is her hope for the new year.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12)

Every year I take on a new word. It is an activity similar to a New Year’s resolution. I begin in the Fall searching for a word whose meaning seems to be missing in my life. A word to study, and then to implement into my life. This year I have chosen two because they are similar and often used interchangeably in the scripture.

renew and restore

This year has been a roller coaster! Busy with normal things of life made complicated by illness, new symptoms, much pain, and growing disabilities. I cannot do now, what I could easily do just a few months ago! In fact, when we moved to this parsonage four years ago, I could walk up and down the basement steps, and now I am in a wheelchair!

I have learned to maneuver through life in my chair. I have learned to stand and cook while leaning against the counter, having my chair a few steps behind me to sit in when I need to. We have a lovely deck off our back door, and our church men built a ramp so getting out is easier.

But this past summer and fall were hard. And my heart became cold and tired. I needed more of God. What better time than a brand New Year to seek a time of renewal and restoration?

Psalm 51:10 in the Amplified Bible has become a prayer of mine as I search for renewal from God.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.”

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines renewal as:
1. to make new or fresh again
2. to reestablish or revive

Doesn’t that sound exciting? I want to be renewed, and have a heart that is revived! Perfect words for me to chose this year.

Prayer: O Heavenly Father, this is my prayer. I long to be renewed. I cry to be revived. Please create in me a clean and pure heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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1/9/14 7:09 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Making Plans for Life in the Face of Fear

Are the fears of what your illness may do preventing you from making plans? Laura shares.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 25-27)

Have you ever looked fear in the face and said “I just don’t care?” This is a lyric to a song that resonates with me lately. I realized fear sometimes creeps into my pours and tries to stop me from enjoying life. And with a chronic illness I think it would be easy to give way to the fear, but that is not how I am trying to live.

I was inspired after reading a blog about 18 months ago by a gentleman with a much more severe form of dysautonomia. Despite limitations, he seizes every second he has–even planning a Mediterranean Cruise a year in advance. It is his hopefulness that allowed me to believe that I could fly to Florida to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary with my husband and children.

And after the trip was planned and I was told I needed a pacemaker, I chose to go ahead with the surgery. It was just six weeks before our flight but I thought it would improve my chances for increased stamina on vacation. It worked.

I type this from the balcony of our rented condominium looking out over the Gulf of Mexico. The sea air smells glorious. My family has left for a boat ride and day trip to an island; something my body cannot handle. I will relax instead at the beach and pool, swim laps and come inside as needed. Tonight we hope to have a celebratory anniversary dinner at an oceanside restaurant.

There have been challenges on the trip and in life. Some days are filled with physical exhaustion and uncertainty. And when fear seeps in I try my best to kick it out. Each day is a gift from God and I am choosing to embrace whatever I am given. After all, that is what life is all about.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank You for providing me with Your comfort to handle the fear that comes into my life. Help each of us see that You walk this journey with us Lord and provide our troubled hearts with peace. Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Can Others see What We Give to Wholeheartedly?

Sometimes we may do something wholeheartedly but the world doesn’t understand the strength it takes for us and may interpret our actions as less than committed. Fiona explains.

“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.” (2 Chronicles 25:2)

The reign of Amaziah, one of the kings of Judah, is described by, “he did what was right–but not wholeheartedly.” Some of the kings were known because they were faithful in following God’s commands. But many are known because of how far they strayed, or allowed their people to stray, from what God had commanded them to do.

Amaziah kind of sits on the fence–but as I read his story recently, I was struck by the above verse and how often those of us with chronic illness, may feel we are unable to do things wholeheartedly.

We may not be able to do things we once did to serve God; or maybe we do them, but in reduced ways now. Maybe some of us even wonder what there is that we can do for God now–because of our limitations.

This verse says that Amaziah did what was right, even if he didn’t do it wholeheartedly. Surely that’s what we should do too. What God wants us to do, may be just to encourage someone–which may look like a little thing, but can be huge in someone else’s life.

God asks us to do what’s right and to do it to the best of our ability, even if that doesn’t appear like much of a wholehearted effort to someone else.

God knows how feeble we are. The Psalmist cries:

“I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.” (Psalm 38:8)

He just asks us to do wholeheartedly what He knows we are able to do for Him.

At this busy time of year when everyone is setting resolutions and making to-do lists, those with limited energy can become overwhelmed with all that appears to need our attention or effort. Are we using our effort to do what God wants us to do?

Prayer: Father God, though my efforts may at times seem feeble, help me to use my efforts for what’s important and right, to wholeheartedly make a difference for You. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is the Goliath in Your Life Today?

Regardless of what you are up against God has the power to defeat it in a moment when you call on Him. Linda shares.

“’The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of the Philistine.’ Saul said to David, ‘Go and the Lord be with you.’” (1 Samuel 17:37)

Living with a chronic illness there are times that it seems we are facing a new Goliath or obstacle in our life on a daily or even hourly basis.

Recently I realized that I was facing one of the biggest “Goliaths” that I had dealt with in years. Yes, there had been lots of ongoing issues and I knew God was helping me win each battle, but this was different lots of decisions with major consequences –and Satin new just where to attack.

I turned to the scripture’s and found this verse in 1 Samuel. It got me thinking back over the years at all of the times I had faced some pretty big giants. And how God had been with me, just as He was with David when he slayed the lion and the bear.

It reminded me that the God who had always been with me was the same God who would help me conquer this new giant in my life. I could go forth armed with the assurance that the God of yesterday is the same God of today and tomorrow.

I was armed with the confidence that He was still with me. So together we went, ready to face the unknown, but with a peace and assurance that we would overcome once again.

I don’t know what Goliath you are facing right now. But I pray that you will find assurance in the fact that the God who has helped you in the past is the same God who will help you though this day.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank You for the calm assurance that comes from You being the same God today that You were yesterday and will be tomorrow. Thank You that no obstacle that we face or “Goliath” that comes into our life is too big for You. Please help each of us rest in the knowledge that You are with us to help us and that we can trust in the plan that You have for us. Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How to Push Forward and Get ‘In the Zone"

When you get ‘in the zone’ to accomplish a task before your illness is gone, do you find yourself blocking others out? Vicki shares.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

Is it wrong for Christians to just want to be left alone at times?

Don’t talk to me. I’m here to do my water walking, not socialize.

Those are the thoughts I often have when I’m trying to exercise–a feat that demands my full concentration. Praying for others during my work out prevents me from feeling my pain or giving into exhaustion. I get in my zone, kind of like athletes who mentally block out all surrounding distractions.

Sometimes I reflect on the blessings God has provided or mentally draft a devotional. All the while maintaining a fixed focus on my goal: to keep moving for thirty minutes. My motivation? To maintain my mobility.

Often I wonder if it’s wrong for me to resist conversations with others in the pool. Then my MS reminds me I don’t have the luxury of enjoying exercise. Walking for half an hour is a marathon to me. Successful completion represents a huge accomplishment.

Even standing in a long line at the food store can be exhausting. Leaving me with little energy to share a perky smile. Filling my head with degrading thoughts: What kind of Christian are you? Why aren’t you spreading the joy of the Lord with that person next to you?

Then I comfort myself. You’re doing the best you can.

Athletes earn the prize when they remain focused on their goal. With their single-minded attention to one thing: winning. The most successful competitors don’t allow anything or anyone to derail their attention.

My challenge is to be just as focused on eternal prizes. To fight the good fight in a way that honors God. To live each day for Him, seeking His will, accepting His path and not demanding my own. Contemplating His blessings rather than my losses.

Prayer: Dear Father, When I’m in public and feel sore or weak, help me not offend others. Instead, help me share a smile or a kind word. I want others to see You in me—even when I’m tired or in pain. In Jesus’ name, Amen.




Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/6/14 7:15 P

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Wow - just realized I didn't do the devotional this morning!!! Sorry!!!!!!

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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1/5/14 4:41 P

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emoticon emoticon emoticon

Sue (snoozy suzy)
PST. Carmichael, California
glassslipper.info

2015 is the year that I want to stop recovering and start living again!

Aug. 9th, I will start the Ideal Protocol diet. This is a high protein diet where you can lose weight in a healthy way. I hope to have more energy and feel good for a change, and lose weight too!



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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are You Able to Be Truly Humble Before God?


What does it mean to be completely humble before God? Diane shares.

“Humble yourselves therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

What is humility? It means the act of being humble. As a verb, it is to destroy the independence of–or will of–self. So I ask myself and you, are you willing to humble yourself before the Lord? Are we flexible when He speaks, willing to listen, to conform to His will? Or are we stiff and rigid as a piece of steel, unyielding to the gentle breeze of His breath as it flows over us?

It is often easy to say we are humble, especially when we are in a season of turmoil from illness, depression, or stress of caring for a loved one and having to watching them in their daily struggle. In those times we find ourselves on our knees, seeking His strength and wisdom.

Humility means much more than just the realization that we are not in control of all that is within the confines of our lives. It is the realization that God is using all that we encounter to mold us; to teach us to bend and bow down to His will as a stalk of wheat in the wind.

Even when we do not understand His methods, God tell is that “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Jesus chose to be the essence of humility itself–standing in the gap for us and our sins. He shows us exactly what it means to be truly humble in the eyes of God.

It means to continuously have the heart of a servant, placing our Father’s purposes in the forefront of our minds. I pray that each of us will allow God to bend and shape us according to His Good and perfect will, that we each will bend under His breath, choosing to be as Jesus, a moldable, loving servant to all.

Prayer: Father, as we go throughout our days, let us be willing to bend and be shaped by You. Help us to listen; to respond in obedience to whatever You desire for us to be and do. Always striving to have a servant’s heart, humble and yielding to Your good and perfect will for our lives. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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1/5/14 3:46 A

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Wow! That is a great story! You should write it in your blog! I bet you'll get a lot of likes on it! That is awesome:)

Sue (snoozy suzy)
PST. Carmichael, California
glassslipper.info

2015 is the year that I want to stop recovering and start living again!

Aug. 9th, I will start the Ideal Protocol diet. This is a high protein diet where you can lose weight in a healthy way. I hope to have more energy and feel good for a change, and lose weight too!



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1/4/14 8:24 P

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thank you Sue! I have to believe he has a plan for me as well. I have survived not one but TWO blood clots in my lung.That's just not supposed to happen....sometimes I wonder if it is to spread the word about getting healthy? I went to Walmart the other day to pick up my new aerobic stepper that I had ordered online and the first clerk couldn't get on the register and had to go get a second one. In the mean time before she could come back another clerk walked up and said she would help. We got to talking about the exercise equipment I was buying and I told her I had lost 87 pounds. She was amazed and of course we talked about how I did it and how Spark People helped. I gave her one of my Spark People cards (you can print them on here to give out to people) and as I left she told me that when she had walked through the doors of work that morning that she had asked God to either be able to make a difference in someone's life that day or for someone to make a difference in hers. She then told me I was the answer to her prayer and that I had made a huge difference in her life that day! Made me feel absolutely awesome...so maybe that is my purpose...to show others that it really can be done!

ok, I just looked back at this short book I've written LOL - I'm going to have to make this into a blog I believe!

I hope you find your reason Sue..I'm sure you will!

emoticon

Edited by: WILDKAT781 at: 1/4/2014 (20:26)
Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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1/4/14 8:25 A

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That was a great message! I always wonder if God has plans for me! He gave me a second chance for a reason, but I don't know what that reason is. I know He has a plan for me and I just have to wait, like you say in this message:)

Sue (snoozy suzy)
PST. Carmichael, California
glassslipper.info

2015 is the year that I want to stop recovering and start living again!

Aug. 9th, I will start the Ideal Protocol diet. This is a high protein diet where you can lose weight in a healthy way. I hope to have more energy and feel good for a change, and lose weight too!



 current weight: 188.5 
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181.75
178.375
175
WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/4/14 7:16 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Does God Really Have Plans for Me?

When we view our circumstances it is easy to wonder if illness will make our life exempt from God’s plans. Cynthia explains.

“But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” (Genesis 39:20-23)

The story of Joseph in Genesis is a beautiful story and shows that God is with us no matter what we go through. God was with Joseph when he was thrown in prison and God was with Joseph when his dream interpretations saved many lives.

Let’s think of prison in a symbolic way.

What emotions hold you captive? Emotions hold me captive sometimes. Emotions like worry, fear, and guilt cloud my judgment.

Do you pray for freedom? For instance, you might pray for freedom from a painful break-up, financial crisis, health concern, addiction, etc.?

What’s holding you captive? What would you like freedom from? Whatever you’re going through, God is with you in the prison.

Joseph spoke to his brothers and told them not to be afraid. Don’t be afraid. What is intended for harm, God will use for good.

Even in our perceived captivity, God has a plan. God has a purpose. God will grant you favor and grace to overcome your pain. I encourage you to read the full story about Joseph in the bible.

Joseph had to go to the dungeon before he could fulfill his purpose. Don’t give up. Some of the most memorable people went through great suffering before witnessing Gods glory.

To my knowledge, it was the wrongdoing of Joseph’s brothers that allowed Joseph to prosper and overcome in the first place. It’s best to trust God while you wait for freedom. God will meet you right where you are today. God will be with you in the darkest of valleys and the highest hilltop.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. . . .” (Isaiah 43: 1-2)

Prayer: Lord, thank you for always watching over me. I want to experience freedom in my life. When I feel lost or stuck, deliver me. Give me the strength to believe that You are with me no matter what happens. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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SNUZSUZ's Photo SNUZSUZ Posts: 18,824
1/3/14 10:52 A

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emoticon emoticon emoticon

Sue (snoozy suzy)
PST. Carmichael, California
glassslipper.info

2015 is the year that I want to stop recovering and start living again!

Aug. 9th, I will start the Ideal Protocol diet. This is a high protein diet where you can lose weight in a healthy way. I hope to have more energy and feel good for a change, and lose weight too!



 current weight: 188.5 
188.5
185.125
181.75
178.375
175
WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/3/14 10:34 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What Do You Resolve For A New Year While Ill?

What can you resolve to do, despite how your illness may add twists and turns to your life this year? Shelly shares.

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:2-5)

Oh, the comfort the above scripture gives me! So often it seems that my life is filled with coming to people in weakness with great fear and trembling. Some of them are earthly fears.

How will I afford this treatment? What if my health continues to decline? Am I still a good wife and mother in my illness?

And some are spiritual fears.

How can you possibly use me, Lord? Do You not see that I am damaged goods? What if I don’t know enough to start this discussion? Aren’t You afraid I’ll make You look bad?

But this scripture answers it all. It is the Spirit’s power that my faith must rest on, in all matters.

The Spirit gave us the Word, and the Word gives us light and life. What more need I seek?

This is a new season of fresh beginnings.
. . . Less questions and more answers.
. . . Less doubt and more trust.
. . . Less second-guessing and more first-fruits.

I’m all in.

And so in this season of resolutions, I resolve, as Paul did, to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Will you join me?

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me as I enter this New Year to move deeper into You. Let me take this opportunity to thank you and to trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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SNUZSUZ's Photo SNUZSUZ Posts: 18,824
1/2/14 11:06 A

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emoticon emoticon

Sue (snoozy suzy)
PST. Carmichael, California
glassslipper.info

2015 is the year that I want to stop recovering and start living again!

Aug. 9th, I will start the Ideal Protocol diet. This is a high protein diet where you can lose weight in a healthy way. I hope to have more energy and feel good for a change, and lose weight too!



 current weight: 188.5 
188.5
185.125
181.75
178.375
175
WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/2/14 10:28 A

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I'm so glad you are enjoying the stories - I enjoy posting them for everyone emoticon

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


 current weight: 360.0 
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366.25
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228.75
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SNUZSUZ's Photo SNUZSUZ Posts: 18,824
1/2/14 10:15 A

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Thanks again! These stories are great and fit right in with my life right now. I have been going through all my clothes and things and trying to simplify my life as well. I guess that is what they call confirmation. When something is on my mind to do, and then I read, or hear, or see, others doing it or talking about it at the same time. So this year, must be my year to simplify as well:)

Sue (snoozy suzy)
PST. Carmichael, California
glassslipper.info

2015 is the year that I want to stop recovering and start living again!

Aug. 9th, I will start the Ideal Protocol diet. This is a high protein diet where you can lose weight in a healthy way. I hope to have more energy and feel good for a change, and lose weight too!



 current weight: 188.5 
188.5
185.125
181.75
178.375
175
WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/2/14 10:07 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What Will Lead You Into the New Year?

Rather than allowing our illness to determine what kind of new year you will have, Kerryn encourages you to ask God where He desires your focus.

“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was” (Matthew 2:9).

The wise men followed the star “until it stopped over the place where the child was.”

Recently God has been leading me clearly, but I’ve been digging in my heels! What results when I do that is a mess–with me being tired, cranky and miserable.

Oh, it looked like I was doing all the right things. I’ve been obediently doing as He asks. I “stopped” in the lead up to Christmas to rest and reflect more about the first Christmas.

All good.

The trouble is I’ve been following like a little child with her hands over her ears while her Father explains important things to her. “La la la,” I’ve chimed over the top of His words to me!

Knowing what He’s been saying for weeks, I just haven’t wanted to accept it fully. So, I’ve tried to pretend that I’m following Him, but really everything within me has been wanting to go the other way

As if God doesn’t know.

It all started with searching for my “word” for 2014. In recent years, God has given me a word or focus for the year.

During this time, He’s given deeper revelations about the simplicity of that first Christmas. There were no frills, feasts, festivities and fancy clothes where Jesus was born. Next He took my focus to the star that “stopped over the place where the child was.” That star stopped for a long time.

Everything has become so complicated, complex, and chaotic that we miss what’s truly important. Stopping helps us to focus and listen.

So, I’ve decided to stop fighting, truly listen and gratefully accept the word that God is giving me for 2014.

“Simplify!”

My first step, in 2014, is to simplify things. . . by not fighting where my Father’s taking me.

Prayer: Lord, help me to follow You, simply because You know what’s best for me in 2014 and to the end of time. Amen.



Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


 current weight: 360.0 
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SNUZSUZ's Photo SNUZSUZ Posts: 18,824
1/1/14 1:40 P

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I only came to know the Lord 7 years ago. I was in a bad situation and God turned my life around. I started attending a bible study group, and then eventually, I went to church for the first time in my life at the age of 53. The next year, I was babtized. I went to church every week and was so filled with joy and felt so close to the Lord. Life was wonderful!
Then I got a part time job where I worked on Sunday mornings, or more often, I worked all night Saturday night. I still read the bible, a daily devotion, and pray every day and often, but I no longer go to church, or have that joy I had back then.
I pray, with all my heart Lord, that I can get back that relationship I once I had with You, and find the joy of knowing you, and please help me to find Your purpose for my life, Lord.
In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen.

Sue (snoozy suzy)
PST. Carmichael, California
glassslipper.info

2015 is the year that I want to stop recovering and start living again!

Aug. 9th, I will start the Ideal Protocol diet. This is a high protein diet where you can lose weight in a healthy way. I hope to have more energy and feel good for a change, and lose weight too!



 current weight: 188.5 
188.5
185.125
181.75
178.375
175
WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
1/1/14 10:34 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A New Year’s Prayer for One Who is Ill


As 2014 begins, Bronlynn shares a New Year’s Prayer that we can all find comfort and hope through. May you be blessed.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:12-17)

Sometimes I like to use actual Scripture verses as prayers. Psalm 90, which is written by Moses, is one of my favorite Psalms. I am focusing on verses 12-17 as a prayer for this year. I pray this for you as well.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Lord, I will need Your wisdom for so many things in this new year, whether they are related to my health, relationships, circumstances, or simply life in general. Help me to seek Your guidance daily and trust You for the outcomes.

Help me also to be wise in the use of my time, staying focused on what is truly important in this life, rather than being caught up in the priorities of the world.

“Have compassion on your servants.”

Lord, You know my struggles with pain and problems. You know how much I can bear. I pray for Your compassion and mercy through any difficult times that lie ahead.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Father, as I begin each new day, open my eyes to Your presence around me. Remind me that no matter how intense my pain or problems may be, I can rejoice in knowing that You love me and will carry me through all things.

Make me aware of the countless ways that You show Your love and presence to me each day.

“Make us glad for as many days as we have seen trouble.”

Lord, You said this world would be full of trials, but to rejoice for You have overcome the world. Thank you for the assurance that even if my circumstances or health do not improve in this life, the glad days of eternal health and happiness are coming soon.

Help me persevere until then, and make me thankful for the blessings and gifts You give now.

“May your deeds be shown to your servants.”

O God, make me aware of opportunities to display Your glory in the coming year. May I be a testimony to others of Your power and strength in my weaknesses.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us.”

Lord God, may pleasing You be the greatest desire of my heart this year. Whatever plans You have for me to accomplish, I pray that You would bless me through them.

Let me remember that no matter what my limitations are, I can still be used by You and am important to You and Your kingdom work.

I pray these things in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
12/31/13 9:24 P

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you are welcome my friend, I sent you an email about how I quit smoking

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


 current weight: 360.0 
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SNUZSUZ's Photo SNUZSUZ Posts: 18,824
12/31/13 11:08 A

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Thank you for this post! It is very moving. I also can relate to it. In October 2011, I was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer, and it was already in my lymph nodes under my arm and on my esophagus. They said the average life expectancy was about 15 months, But I still smoke, and my chances of survival were even less. I found out I was in remission last December and I am a miracle!
But, I also wonder why me? I know a young girl in her 30;s, that has stage IV, and also some other serious disease along with the cancer. She has 4 young children. I often feel guilty that I have survived my cancer, and I am 60 years old, and she will not.
No one knows why God heals one and not the other and although I am so grateful and thankful to God for giving me a second chance, I sometimes have survivor's guilt when talking to others that have lost a loved one to cancer.
Especially because I still smoke. I have tried everything to quit since 2011, and have finally just given up even trying. I can't even believe after all that I went through the past couple of years, and what a miracle it is to even be here still, that I still smoke, but I do, and that weighs heavily on my heart and mind.
God works in mysterious ways, but He alwasy provides, and is always there!

Sue (snoozy suzy)
PST. Carmichael, California
glassslipper.info

2015 is the year that I want to stop recovering and start living again!

Aug. 9th, I will start the Ideal Protocol diet. This is a high protein diet where you can lose weight in a healthy way. I hope to have more energy and feel good for a change, and lose weight too!



 current weight: 188.5 
188.5
185.125
181.75
178.375
175
WILDKAT781's Photo WILDKAT781 Posts: 11,974
12/31/13 7:36 A

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Disclaimer = these are not personal stories. These are from emails I get for people dealing with serious illness. I believe they are relevant to the wonderful folks on this team.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Could This Be A Miracle, Lord

Kerryn has some fabulous news we can celebrate, and she also shares how she is guarding her heart from asking too many questions.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).

My middle son has been healed!

I still find those words hard to type . . . but why?

What is it about physical healing that causes me to struggle to tell you about it, to encourage you in your own illness journeys? I regularly hear doubts about whether God heals people physically. It’s not surprising, since:

most of us reading this are sick, many with a myriad of illnesses
we’re commonly given false teaching that batters us into thinking that illness is choosing not to be well (as if!)
many falsely say that we don’t have enough faith to be healed (grrr)
we need to protect ourselves from constantly being disappointed when we wake each day, often sicker than the day before

Yet, what has happened is a miracle and God wants me to share it with you!

My middle son was suddenly and miraculously healed this August. He’s suffered seven long years of multiple illnesses, with chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome being the worst illness. He’s missed out on life with his mates from age 17-24, being bed, chair, and house-bound for most of that time.

He will tell you that the healing was all about God and nothing about him. You see, he’d moved away from his faith–out of anger and frustration. He was faithless . . . and yet God healed him! So it was not about his faith.

There have been lots of attempts to explain away his healing through rational thinking, but it can’t be explained that way. God healed him, it’s as simple as that!

The verse at the top has been my middle son’s life verse, since he was a young child, starting many years before he became ill. I cross-stitched this verse, with an eagle, during hours of sitting with him in his 9-week hospital stay in 2009, before I became ill. It has more meaning to he and I than I could possible explain.

Today, we’re celebrating that he has renewed strength, is running and not growing weary, and is walking and not fainting. This is a time of great celebration for all of our family.

It’s tipped our lives upside down, in a good way! It’s caused questions, searching, and scratching our heads. Why does God heal one person and not another? I don’t know and have realized that I don’t need to know.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

I’m learning to trust God in a deeper way. My middle son is healed and I am not, but “It Is Well With My Soul.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, I do not understand Your ways! Let that be well with my soul. Help me to hope in You, not to gain anything, but simply because You are my everything. I love You, Lord. Amen.

Kathy from southern West Virginia - eastern time zone
co-leader of Class of 2006 team and Spark West Virginia – The Official Team

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=2006

and
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g
roups_individual.asp?gurl=wv


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