C.D. Journals – July 18, 2019

“Physical frailties may cause you to miss earthly fun and fellowship, but spiritual resources will enable you to grow stronger on the bed of affliction.” I read this in my devotional this morning and found it very encouraging. Something I dearly needed after the events of yesterday.

I was all packed for a three-day visit at my sister’s. The car was loaded and I was heading out – in my husband Rich’s Chevy Cruze, which I have not driven in months. Normally I drive a Tahoe with great visibility and a head rest that accommodates my C.D. quite well. Unfortunately, we discovered the other day that my Tahoe had become home to a family of mice. So, my vehicle was at work with Rich (who works at a Chevy dealer) where the mice would hopefully be eradicated.

I got most of the way out of my neighborhood, unable to situate my head comfortably enough for a two-hour drive. I drove around the neighborhood a little more, trying unsuccessfully to work it out. The head rest hit me in the wrong place and actually pushed my head forward a bit. Even with my brace on, I couldn’t get it situated. I drove back home and aborted my trip. My C.D. has gotten a little worse since the last time I drove the Cruze and even then I was not entirely comfortable.

My son unloaded the car for me and helped me unpack with tears in my eyes. Yet another limitation caused by this nightmare of a disease. I was frustrated and depressed, not only about not getting to visit with my sister as scheduled, but over the entire situation. It took me hours to pack when it used to take me half that much time. By the time I was done packing I was so sore and tired that I had to rest before I faced the drive. Then, I was thwarted by my inability to get situated in the car – an obstacle I could not overcome.

I feel like anytime I get behind the wheel is even more dangerous than normal now. I even fear having my license taken away, although I’ve not heard of that happening to someone with C.D. As a result, I don’t drive nearly as much as I used to – probably how we ended up with mice in the Tahoe, it sat too much. I hate feeling limited like that. I keep trying to look on the bright side. The quote above reminded me that God has used the “bed of affliction” in my life before. We wrote a Bible study during one such season. I had to stay off my feet for three months. Talk about limiting and frustrating, but God had a purpose in that and He has a purpose now. I just need to stay focused on that and keep believing that He is in control. I love how He sends me little bits of encouragement just when I need it most. Even though very little goes the way I want it to these days, Jesus is good and He is with me. We will get through this and be stronger for it. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.” -Psalm 28:7a

😊💕

Lead Us

black hanging bridge surrounded by green forest trees

Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Lead us, Father,
to the place we should go,
to the patch of garden
where we will grow.
Plant our roots deep
in the soil of Your choice.
Open our hearts
to hear Your voice.
In Your will
we desire to be,
Your plan for our lives
we long to see.
Hear our cry.
Heed our call.
In the pit of despair
let us not fall.
Light the way,
give us hope.
Lead us, Father,
to the place we should go.
©Brenda Lenz, 2019

Longing

clouds

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

The feeling inside that you are destined for greater things
Is there because you are.
The longing for something more
Is your soul longing for home.
The emptiness you can’t define
Is the God shaped hole in your heart.

Our souls are eternal
Created for perfection
Until sin crept in,
A deadly infection.

But In His image
We were created,
And Jesus came
So that justice was sated.

This world is not home.
Our destiny is perfection.
Relationship with Christ
Leads to completion.

We are destined for greater things.
Our souls long for home in a greater place.
We are children of God, our hearts well know
And our longing is fulfilled in our Savior’s face.

                                                          ©Brenda Lenz, 2019

Adventurous Plans

Because God made you and knows you, He has great plans in store for you. You may not know what any of those plans are yet, but you’re going to love them.This was part of my devotion this morning. I read these words and simultaneously laughed and cried. Sometimes I just don’t know what motivates some of these Devotional writers to say the things they say. I think some of them blow a little too much sunshine. I do not LOVE all of God’s plans for me. I’m just being honest. I certainly don’t love having C.D. I don’t love living in Texas (no offense to my Texan family & friends). I don’t love a lot of things that have happened in my life. On the other hand, there have been plenty of His plans that I have loved; His plan for me to meet and marry my incredible husband, His plan for me to have four beautiful and amazing children, and the list could go on and on. I believe that God has more plans for me, or at least I hope He does. I also believe that I’m not going to love them all, and I believe that they will all work together for good somehow.

God has an exciting adventure planned for you. And the best part is that He’s promised to walk with you every step of the way!This quote is also from this morning’s devotion and this I know. I have walked with Jesus for almost 25-years and it has been anything but boring. I never know exactly what He’s going to do next or where He’ll lead me. It has been the adventure of a lifetime and He has seen me through every bit of it. Some days I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. I start the day with a black cloud over me, especially since my diagnosis. I know that as soon as I lift my crooked head off the pillow the battle will begin, and some days I just don’t want to do it. I call out to God and He’s there. I spend some time with Him and in His Word and I feel better equipped to fight the good fight. He strengthens me when I’m weak, He gives me hope when I feel hopeless, He reminds me of all that He’s blessed me with when I’m tempted to start a pity party. He encourages me, He comforts me, He is my Rock and my Salvation, and my adventures with Him thus far have indeed been exciting!

What do you think God wants you to do?These words also made me simultaneously laugh and cry because my answer is, “I have no idea!” Aside from the basic directives in the Bible, I have no idea what God wants me to do right now in this season of my life. I am still waiting for some direction there, or maybe God is waiting for me to see what’s right in front of me. Either way, I have yet to be enlightened. Prayers are always appreciated. 🙏🏻😊

God has plans for me. I won’t always love them, but I love and trust my Lord Jesus. I may not know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life right now, but in His time I believe I will. As a dear friend and mentor once said, “I eagerly anticipate what He has in store for me.” Love it or not, it will be an adventure!

😊💕

The Truth About My Father

I’m going to be very transparent with you here. I am not one of those Christians who are always bubbling over with joy; mostly smiling, glowing from the inside out, and oh so loving and patient. I wish I were. I’ve always wanted to be like them, but no. At least not yet. No, I’m more the serious type; analytical and sometimes doubtful in my faith. I ask more questions than maybe I should and I see God more as stern and serious than anything else.

I read devotions that tell me God “likes me”, wants to “hang out” and “laugh with me”. That He’s excited about the things that excite me. For some reason, I find this hard to believe. I know that He loves me. I have no doubt about that, but like me? That’s a horse of a different color. I see myself more as a disappointment to God. I feel more like He’s frowning at me than smiling at me.

I suspect that a lot of my issue is that I put my earthly father’s face on my Heavenly Father, which is completely unfair to God. My dad was a terrible god; abusive, emotionally distant, impossible to please – nothing like my Heavenly Father and yet . . . here I am. I’ve heard that this father transference thing is common and I think that’s very sad, especially when the earthly father was not all that great of a guy.

How to change it? That’s my question. How do I get the things I know about God; that He is faithful “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” -Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV, that He cares for me “Casting all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you.” -1Peter 5:7 ESV, He rejoices and sings over me! “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” -Zephaniah 3:17 ESV. Those are some amazing truths and I need them to move from my head down into my heart.

I want to believe with all my heart that God and I are like the picture above. I think maybe I’ll hang that picture somewhere with the verses listed above and meditate on them and pray them until my heart gets it. The Lord and I have wrestled before and He has always helped me to understand. I am completely confident that He will help me with this. I believe in my heart that God wants me to know Him for Him and not confuse Him with someone else. “. . . For he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him -Hebrews 11:6b NASB. “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” -Matthew 7:8 ESV.

Heavenly Father, I seek to know You for who You truly are. I desire to know in my heart, without a doubt, how You feel about me and who I am to You. More than head knowledge, Lord, I want Your truth to grow deep roots in my heart. I commit this to You and thank You that You will complete the good work You have begun in me. In the amazing name of Jesus! Amen!

😊💕

Forgiven to Forgive

Someone has hurt you terribly; cut you to the core and broken your heart. You feel as though you could NEVER forgive them. So, you don’t. You choose to carry the hurt around, wallowing in it now and then, and fantasizing about how to hurt them back. Or, at least, thinking about different ways the situation could have gone in your favor. Imagining yourself walking away with your dignity intact and the perpetrator regretting what they had done.

Unfortunately, it rarely goes the way of our “after the fact” imaginations or we wouldn’t be imagining something different. No. We’ve been hurt and we have to make a choice; hang on to the hurt, ignore it altogether and just pretend it never happened, or let it go and forgive.

Hanging onto the hurt is the most toxic choice, I think. It stays inside your heart and festers. It’s like a parasite that eats you up from the inside; breeding resentment and hatred. It turns very nasty and hurts no one but yourself. As much as you may think that your suffering is somehow punishing the other person; it’s all happening internally and no one feels the pain like you do. The person who hurt you is not suffering at all. They’ve probably gone on their merry way leaving you to do all the suffering. Do you really want to give them that kind of power over you?

Ignoring it and pretending it never happened may sound like the easy solution, but your heart is smarter than that. Your heart has the memory of an elephant and you’re going to have a bit of a fight on your hands trying to ignore your hurt heart. It can be done for spurts of time, but the memory will rear it’s ugly head now and then and you’ll be back at the start. Or, the pain will manifest in other ways; anger, depression, even physical illness. Doesn’t sound so easy after all, does it?

Letting it go and forgiving. This probably sounds like the most difficult and least fun option (we do enjoy a good pity party) and it is. However, it is the most healthy and beneficial option. Unforgiveness enslaves you. Forgiveness sets you free. it doesn’t mean you forget, or even excuse the other person’s behavior. Forgiveness doesn’t even always mean the restoration of the relationship. Forgiveness means that you choose not to hold a grudge. As Dictionary.com puts it, to cease to feel resentment against“. We choose to feel differently.

“But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” -1 John 1:9 NLT. Those who call Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives are forgiven their sins. All the bad things that we’ve done in our lives are forgiven by God. We have a clean slate with Him, and anytime we mess up we have only to go to Him in repentance and He is quick to forgive. He is a merciful and compassionate Father. So who are we to not afford our fellow sinners – imperfect humans – the same grace? Regardless of how awful or hurtful, sin is sin and we are all sinners.

As I said, forgiveness is the more difficult option. Especially if the hurt was totally out of the blue and completely unjustified. And it is completely doable. It starts with a choice and a confession to God. Admit to Him your feelings, every last ugly one of them, and tell Him that you’re choosing to forgive. You may need to do this over and over again until your heart goes along with it and you are truly no longer feeling resentful. Nothing worth having comes easy. A healed heart and the freedom that comes with it is WELL worth having!

😊💕

Moving On

black car on hi way with fog

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

I’m going to be totally transparent here.  I am a dreamer, and I’m a little spoiled.  I blame my husband for the spoiled part.  He does everything in his power to make me happy and  when I really want something, he’ll move heaven and earth to get it for me.  Just as a small example; I decided I wanted a dog a couple months back.  Rich has NEVER wanted a dog.  In fact, he has been adamantly against living with one the entire 27-years we’ve been together.  It is the ONE thing I thought he would never let me have my way on.  I was wrong!  We lived with a little bundle of half beagle/half rat terrier energy for exactly one month. At which time I decided I’m not such a dog person and this particular dog needed a younger home.  My husband spoils me.

This combination of spoiled and dreamer causes me to have a hard time with the harsh realities of life.  I’ve been this way my entire life, even when I was up to my eyeballs in harsh realities; being homeless for one (that story is for another post).  My oldest son once referred to me as an “ostrich mother hen”.  Even he was aware of my need to bury my head in the sand while attempting to control my circumstances  at the same time.  Interesting visual, isn’t it?  😂

I enjoy making things look beautiful, my life included.  So, when things get ugly I do my best to spruce them up.  When my efforts end up being futile I get frustrated, confused, sad.  Eventually, (recently actually) I learned an important lesson.  Sometimes life is just ugly.  Sometimes things are really hard and there’s nothing to be done, but do your best to move on.  Sometimes God’s answer to my prayer is, “No. My grace is sufficient for you.”  Which means that He will help me to move on because that’s what I need to do.  And sometimes I really need His help!

When I’m tempted to try and resurrect something that is long since gone, or recreate the original situation when I don’t like the way it has changed.  Those are the times when I really need the strength, peace, and grace of God.  My kids are grown and they’re not magically going to turn back into 5-year olds.  My health has diminished, I’m aging, and there’s nothing I can do to be 25 or even 30 again.  The one constant in life is change and it amazes me how much I fight against it if it’s not a change I wanted.

In the midst of many changes in my life, I am doing my best to adapt and adjust my attitude. I’m trying to look forward rather than back.  It’s not easy and I have moments when I feel only loss.  Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Attitude is everything.  I believe that.  Every day I need to make the choice to look forward, to have a positive attitude about the future and all the possibilities that are there for me to discover.

God is good and He has good planned for me.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT.‬‬  Sometimes the good takes the path of hardship on its way to me and I have to look hard for it, but it always shows up.  I was never promised a perfect, pain free life.  None of us were.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” -John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬. Sometimes things are just hard and there’s nothing to be done except pray for what you need to get through it and move on.

😊💕