Epileptic Christians Rule

Epilepsy understood
Epilepsy understood

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart;
    he is mine forever.”

Psalm 73:26, NLT

I think it’s time for me to talk openly about this.

For several months I have been experiencing absent seizures. These are moments when I just ‘check out’ and stare at something–actually at anything, but bright and flashy will almost always draws me in. These are not the ‘grand mal seizures’ with the jerking and shaking and rolling around (but I’ve been told that these can happen to me.) I have the ‘petit mal’ variety. Many times they go undetected and unnoticed by others. They seem like a long pause of thoughtfulness. But it isn’t. I’m having a seizure.

It seems just what I needed, “another kick-in-the-head.” The thought has been brewing lately that I’ve been mistreated by God again. Why? (Why do I always get the hammer? I wonder if heaven has a Complaint Department?)

My medical history would rival the classic, “Moby Dick” in terms of sheer mass and requiring “heavy lifting.” Hepatitis C, Manic depression, Brain tumor surgery and all the after effects–and now this. Perhaps, I need to spend some quality time with my Father?  I like this verse a lot.

“O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
    if you save me, I will be truly saved.
    My praises are for you alone!”

Jeremiah 17:14, NLT

I have worked hard to eradicate self-pity over the years (or I think I have). I’ve had so many medical issues and I don’t ever want to add “hypochondriac” to this list.  I heard this joke about a young boy who was so caught up with his illness that he started to take his M&Ms one by one with a glass of water, like a pill.

The jolt is becoming real now. They want to take my driver’s license away. (What next–will I be mandated to hear a protective helmet?) All of this is so wrong, it seems to me. (“Can I get an ‘amen’ here?”) The last few days I’ve taken a new med, a proven anti-convulsive. I have never ever wanted a drug to work more then this one. Unfortunately, I am experiencing some side effects. I covet your prayers now, more than ever, especially for my wife, Lynn and my kids.

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“I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain.”

    John Henry Newman

Some links I have discovered to be interesting, and maybe even helpful.

http://epilepsyfoundation.ning.com/group/christianswithepilepsy

http://www.squidoo.com/ahealthyresponsetoseizuresversusdemons

http://morethanstone.blogsome.com/2007/02/27/epilepsy-and-spiritual-warfare/

&

ybic, Bryan

 

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Dangerous Thinking

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Anne Lamott is a writer and a person who understands mental illness and ‘recovery’ issues.

She is also a ‘brokenbeliever’. I have read several of her books; she writes elegantly on faith and discipleship. She is a rare jewel. She writes carefully and creatively.

Coming across this quote was fortuitous for me, to say the least. This quotation effectively captures a somewhat dangerous mind that prevails among mentally ill people. We should come to the realization that our thinking needs to be ‘supervised.’ I must concur.

I can be patently ‘unsafe’. My thinking will often get distorted. I can get pretty strange at times. The ‘nice people’ who know me first-hand call me ‘eccentric.’ The ‘mean people’ outright ostracize me. Delusions blow through me periodically, with the occasional flare up episode of paranoia. The doctors call this Bipolar disorder.

Like Anne Lamott, I am a Christian believer. But my mind twists things up so much, I must regard it as an enemy. It can be capable of good; but dark things grow there as well. I have given up hope of ever navigating it alone safely. I simply cannot trust it. Mine can be capricious, untrustworthy, and unreliable. I know what it is like to be afraid of your own mind.

“Who is this coming up from the wilderness
    leaning on her beloved?”

Song of Solomon 8:5, NIV

However, if I venture into this steaming fetid jungle, with the Holy Spirit firmly in charge, we can navigate through safely. (But I dare not venture in alone, as things can get ‘scary.’) The Spirit is completely trustworthy and He is always faithful. No matter what I discover, I really try to let Him tell me if the ‘coast is clear.’ Together, we have seen some crazy crap, but He never ever ‘freaks out’ and leaves me alone.

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

John 16:13

Dear afflicted one, don’t venture in alone. Look only to Him. He is ready (up on tip-toes!) to be your guide. You don’t have to muscle through the ‘jungle’ all by yourself. Remember that there are others who can help: a spouse, a pastor, or anyone who understands what you’re up against. Only you can know what your mind is doing, but others can help you.

When you find yourself lost in your wilderness, “lean on your beloved.”

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P.S. Anne Lamott has some very readable books out there. Check her out.

 

Caving Into the Presence

 

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“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10:22

 I have never really understood “caving”.  Some consider it a sport, but I guess I really don’t see the athleticism of it.  People actually seem to derive some satisfaction and thrill from exploring muddy caves in the dark.  I guess I can try to grab the basic idea of it, but to me it’s a whole lot like “parachuting”.  Why jump out of a perfectly decent airplane, when you can sit in a Starbucks with a vanilla latte?  It doesn’t compute.

But there is a sense about caving that resonates with the hunger in a man’s or woman’s heart.  Hebrews tell us that we are to enter the presence of God.  The keys will be sincerity and trust.  In other words, a honesty, and a trust that will open up the passage.  Spiritual spelunkers in a quest for His glorOUCC-Cave-Climbingy.

Sometimes something will block a person.  Depression is a barrier for us.  Essentially it effects our passion and strength.  Our pursuit of God is nullified by the corrosive facets of depression and melancholy.  There is no longer any zip or zeal for His presence.  The fire of zeal we once had just fizzles out.  But to reach our goal, we need to squeeze beyond the blockage. There is a spiritual resistance.  Our infernal enemy is working against any progress.

So much involves patience and humility.  A person must continue to probe ahead but slowly and patiently, taking their time and monitoring their progress.  Humility is necessary.  An awareness of self and our dimensions in tight spots.  “Am I small enough to squeeze through that hole?”

Our scripture tells us that we have a key to the throne room of God.  Our guiltiness and our defiled conscience have both been cleansed or sanitized from anything that would corrupt us.  We haven’t done a thing.  And we are exhorted to be very bold.  Jesus has made us pure.  We are clean.

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Exulting in Our Shadow

 

So that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

Acts 5:15-16, ESV

 

Astonishing!  It was Peter, who denied the Lord—three distinct and definite times. Since we are moving past Good Friday and our celebration of Easter, so we should rest for a moment and consider Peter, and think about this “rascal.”  He really isn’t magical, or a “miracle worker,” Peter, quite precisely is a definite loser.  The best you can say is that he is a displaced and “has-been”  fisherman, who hasn’t really got a good track-record.  He tries hard, but he always muddles it up.  He falls very short.

Peter’s shadow reveals the power of unconscious influence.  His shadow wasn’t magical or possessed a healing virtue.  In a deep sense we all influence people around us–for good, or for evil.  Our imprint on others is quite significant.  Our impact is quite noticable.  Watchman Nee in his book, “Release of the Spirit.”  Nee compared our influence to the “ring” we leave in the bathtub.  Everyone leaves his mark.  Looking at that we can understand (to a degree) what that particular person is really like.  But the reality is, we all leave behind some scum.

J.R. Miller relates this thought.  “There is a legend of a good man for whom was asked some new power. He chose that he might do a great deal of good and might not be aware of it. So it was ordered that when his shadow fell behind him, where he could not see it, it should have healing power, but when it fell before him, so that he could see it, it should have no such effect.”

We need to view this thing closer.  How exactly do we influence others?  What manner of people are we to acheive such attention?  Do we really deserve “the praise of men?”  Do we go as far as to exult  in our shadows?  If we really want to powerfully affect others, we have to be humble, perhaps even dismissive of the good that may follow behind us.  (It doesn’t belong to us.”)   When we become really conscious of our significance or sway, we are in mortal danger and risk spoiling everything.

The kingdom is not big enough for Jesus, and than us–who takes over the center stage?  There is a disturbing assumption that we are most significant.  We stack-up our blocks and create a facade of being quite exceptional people.  The reality is this–we are all very much like Peter, our lives belie what is truly real.  But our authenticity really is found in the “blood of Jesus,”  which covers our wickedness.  That dear one, is our “claim to fame.”  Essentially, due to the proportion of our pride, determines the glory that the Lord receives.  We often eliminate him from our consideration.  Your pride determines His glory, plain and simple.  So step up, who goes next?