Hold Onto What You Know

 

DustyBible

A dear and wise friend of mine once told me that I should never go by what I feel, but by what I know. Feelings can be fickle and reactionary, and oftentimes they do not reveal the truth about the situation they are a reaction to.

There are times when my feelings have been all of those things. I’m sometimes sad or angry or depressed or disillusioned. My feelings are often a reaction to what has been going on in my life, or to things that have been said to me as well as about me and others whom I care deeply about. I’ve have times of feeling hopeless and been in disbelief of the things that have transpired in my life. I had days when I feel completely lost and alone. On those days I listen to my dear friend and turn to the things I know to help me get through how I am feeling, to get to the truth of the matter. Here is what I know:

  •  ”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. The important word in this verse for me is “all.” It is not just in some things, but in all things, that God works for the good of those who love Him. I may not see the good that will come from my present circumstances, but God does.
  • “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11. God has planned my days, now and for eternity, and His plan is one of hope.
  • “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 40:31. Even though my own strength may be insufficient to get me through difficult times, the strength of the Lord is always there for me to lean on.
  • “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7. God loves me and will take my burdens and anxiety if I will only let go.
  • “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3. Eternal life starts now by knowing Jesus, not just when this body dies.
  • “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38. This is one I have proven to myself. As I am a blessing to others I receive a blessing in return much greater than I gave.
  • “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. There is joy to be found when I trust in the Lord.
  • “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17. Grace and truth go hand in hand, and they are the great blessing that we all have from Jesus.
  • “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10. Jesus came that we might live an abundant life, the best life that God could possibly want for us, something much better than we can ever imagine. Satan is the thief who promises pleasure and great things, but means us only harm.
  • “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6. This is a promise and a truth that can get me through any day.

These are just some of the things I know. God’s Word is full of promises of hope, love, joy, and redemption. It is full of stories of how those who had faith in God, who trusted in His promises, were blessed beyond measure.

God is greater than my feelings. I may feel hopeless, but that does not negate the hope He offers. I may feel lost, but that does not change the fact that He has found me and will never leave me. For all these promises I am grateful.

ysic, Linda K

http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/

 

Invisible Pain

I posted this recently on my blog, Linda Kruschke’s Blog. This post was inspired by a flare up of my fibromyalgia. One of my fellow bloggers who has bipolar commented that the pain of bipolar is also a form of invisible pain. It occurred to me then that this is a perfect post for the encourament of broken believers, many of whom struggle with some form of invisible pain, whether physical or mental pain.

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I really didn’t want to write about fibromyalgia, but then I realized that sharing my struggles with this syndrome might help someone else who struggles with invisible pain.

When someone breaks a leg, or suffers a severe burn, or is covered with cuts and bruises it is easy for people to see what is wrong and to sympathize. But the pain of fibromyalgia is invisible pain. From the outside the person suffering with the pain of fibromyalgia looks just fine, and so people don’t understand what they are going through.

It is also an unpredictable pain with no easily determinable cause or trigger. One day you feel just fine and you wake up the next day feeling like you got run over by a freight train. I’ve gone for months feeling fine, with very little pain, then suddenly every muscle in my body aches and certain movements cause sharp pains in my legs, arms, and neck.

I try to figure out why. I’ve had doctors give me conflicting theories of what causes this pain, and I have read conflicting theories as well. One doctor told me it is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Another has told me it is caused by what I eat, by an inability of my muscles to process sugar that results in toxins in my muscles. Another suggested it is a symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that stems from some early trauma. I have also read that there is a strong link between fibromyalgia and Epstein Bar Virus (or mononucleosis), which I had when I was in junior high. Finally, I have read that it is simply hereditary.

The pain of fibromyalgia is truly invisible. There is no medical test that shows whether someone has fibromyalgia. There is a “tender point” test in which the doctor checks 18 designated tender points on the body and if 11 or more are tender to the touch a diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be made. But even that test is somewhat subjective.

All my life I have felt pain in circumstances where someone else thought I shouldn’t have felt pain. I can remember saying something hurt when I was a kid only to be told, “That didn’t hurt.” This summer I experienced pain from something that didn’t seem like it should hurt. I was at my cousin’s house in Houston and his granddaughter was playing with three pine cones. She kept handing them to me to play with, but the sharp points started to really hurt my hands. I said I didn’t want to play anymore because it made my hands hurt. My sister looked at me and asked, “Does that really hurt?”

Invisible pain. It’s difficult to cope with sometimes. But I know that Jesus knows how I feel, and that give me a great deal of comfort. Although the pain Jesus experienced when He was scourged, beaten, and crucified was quite visible, He experienced an invisible pain, too. He experienced the pain of having the sin of the world laid upon Him and of His Father turning away as He cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 (NIV).

If you struggle under the weight of invisible pain, take heart that you are not alone. Christ understands your suffering and your pain. You also have fellow Christians who understand what you are going through. The apostle Peter provided for us who suffer a wonderful encouragement in his first epistle:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

1 Peter 5:6-11 (NIV).

Satan would love to devour us in our pain, to make us fall and cease to be of use in God’s kingdom. But if we cling to Jesus, cast all of our fears and anxiety on Him, He will help us to defeat Satan’s plans. If you are struggling with invisible pain and feeling like you are at your wit’s end, leave me a comment and I would love to pray for you. It would be a blessing to me to be able to ask our Lord to strengthen you and give you peace and comfort, that you might be enabled to stand firm in your faith. Would you do the same for me?

ysic, Linda K.

http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/

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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Each morning I begin my prayers, “Heavenly Father, I praise You and worship You. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are merciful and loving; You are Holy and Just.” Then I think, almost without fail, that those words are never enough to describe who He is to me. Words are never enough to truly reveal the glory and majesty of our Creator.

Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, David, and many more wrote of the wonder of our God in the Old Testament. Their words, inspired by God Himself, make up ¾ of the entire Bible, which is no small book. Still, for all the prophets spoke and wrote of God’s love, mercy, and holiness, the people didn’t completely understand the majesty of God because our languages are insufficient for that task.

I was thinking about this during my prayer time one morning, and the children’s book Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney came to mind. It is a story about Little Nut Brown Hare and his dad Big Nut Brown Hare. Little Nut Brown Hare tells Big Nut Brown Hare how much he loves him: “I love you as high as I can hop!” he says. His father responds, “Well, I love you as high as I can hop,” which is, of course, higher. Throughout the story they try to describe how much they love each other as Little Nut Brown Hare is getting ready to go to bed. Just as he is drifting off to sleep, the little one says with a smile, “I love you to the moon!” After he is off into dreamland, his loving father says, “I love you to the moon . . . and back.”

Then I heard God say, “I love you to the cross . . . and back.” A thousand words and more can’t adequately describe the love of God. But this one picture — of Jesus on the cross, of His bleeding brow ringed with a crown of thorns, of His bleeding side — portrays it so well.

I believe that’s why the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Words alone were not enough to portray His love. He had to come down from Heaven and show us. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 (NIV).

I know I love God, but I also know that He loves me and you more. He loves us to the cross . . . and back.

This post was originally posted on my blog, Linda Kruschke’s Blog, and is offered here as a reminder of how much God loves the broken believers of the world.

Music Soothes the Soul

By Linda K.

Anyone who has read much of my blog, Linda Kruschke’s Blog, knows that I love music. I’ve devoted my Monday posts to music topics and many other days end up including a music component, too. Music can lift my spirits, give me encouragement, and get me moving when I’m down. But over the years I’ve learned that not all music has this positive impact.

Many years ago I listened to a lot of grunge music. It was my favorite genre in the late 80s and into the 90s. This was a time in my life when I was struggling with major depression, and I liked grunge because it expressed how I felt.

I remember when my dad died in 1993, I kept listening to the song “Indifference” by Pearl Jam. I won’t post the video because it’s not a song I want to encourage anyone to listen to. But the first four lines sum up the gist of the song:

i will light the match this mornin’, so i won’t be alone
watch as she lies silent, for soon light will be gone
i will stand arms outstretched, pretend i’m free to roam
           i will make my way, through, one more day in hell…

Listening to this song never made me feel better, but I just kept listening to it, missing my dad, feeling alone and like I was living in hell.

We all know the old saying “misery loved company.” I think that is the draw of music like grunge or the blues, to know that someone else understands your misery seems comforting. But when the music doesn’t end with hope or any words of encouragement, it’s the wrong company to be in when a person is struggling or feeling down.

We all have times of struggling, of loved ones lost or physical or mental illness we can’t find a cure to, of lost jobs or spiritual or emotional pain that just won’t end. When those times come, there is a lot of great music out there to lift your spirits and give you hope. That’s the kind of music I choose to listen to these days and the kind I like to share on Monday.

I do still love to listen to the blues, but preferably when things are going well in my life. At these times it is a reminder of the struggles of this life that we all endure so that I remember to be compassionate towards those I encounter who may be struggling and to be thankful for God seeing me through my own struggles.

One of my blogging friends called me her “music mentor” in a recent comment. I like that title. I am thankful that the Lord has led me to good music that does provide hope and encouragement, and that Pr. Bryan has provided me with this forum to share it with the many broken believers who read this blog. If you need a good song to lift you up, just let me know. I’d be blessed to be able to point you in the right direction. For starters, here’s one of my favorites. It’s by MercyMe and is called “Beautiful.” Let it be a reminder that to God you are beautiful, no matter how the world may see you or how you may see yourself.