Lent: Maundy Thursday

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Today is Maudy Thursday. It commemorates everything that happened during the Last Supper: the meal, communion, washing of feet, and receiving the new commandments.  Types of services the church holds include a Seder meal (sharing the same meal Jesus had at the Last Supper), feet washing, worship with communion, and a worship with a focus on alms.

Why is it called Maundy? It comes from a french word meaning something commanded and Latin phrase meaning command from God (dictionary.com). We can say Maundy means the new commandment given by Christ. The commandment given to us that day is that we love each other as Jesus loves us.

 

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Lent: Pretzel Prayer

I like pretzels, the soft warm ones and the crunchy ones you buy at the store. It brings out the foodie in me that likes salty goodness. Today it made me think about the parable of the salt without taste, Mathew 5:13. People are the salt. Christians, the salt with taste, give life pep through Jesus and the Word. Then it is Christians’ duty to spread the goodness. A person without Christ is like salt without taste, that sp-pretzel-2-5oz_2_hrperson does not have a zesty life and is useless to God. It is our mission to spread the tasty salt to these people.

This is a nice prayer, its called the Pretzel Prayer
Heavenly Father, we ask you to less that little breads. Each times we eat them may we be reminded of the special season we are in and that through prayer we will become better people to each other. Let us not forget those who are in need of our prayers daily. Keep your loving arms around us. Oh Father, Protect us always. Amen

 

 

 

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Lent: My Happy Place

When people woupsalm-23-001ld say “Just go to you happy place” I would be very annoyed. An imaginary place or New Age crap, would not make my pain all better. I tried it anyway and it didn’t work. When I was in the hospital I found a true happy place. It doesn’t make it all better, I am still in pain, but when I think about it but I feel better emotionally.

 

Psalm 23:1-4
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for
his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,a

I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

I imagine that I am laying in lush, soft, green grass on soft ground in a field. There is the sound of water near by. The sunlight is on my face. I am joined by my brother and sisters in Christ. There is a soft warm breeze surrounding us and flowing through us. Jesus, the Shepard, is in the middle leaning against a tree, watching over us. Every once in a while he takes a group to go to the stream. Jesus guides us and watches over us. The Lord protects us and provides. The Holy Spirit fills us and warms our hearts.

 

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Lent: The Lord Provides

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I spent the last three weeks in the hospital. I was diagnosed with psychosis (hearing voices, seeing things, and believing lies) and severe depression. I don’t remember most of the first 15 days of my psychotic state which is a blessing. They psychologist said the onset was caused by my persistent headache, chronic migraine, and severe depression going untreated. So if you are experiencing depression, please seek help.

I was told that the entire time I carried a Gideon’s Bible with me everywhere. I read Psalms out loud when I was afraid. I also prayed the serenity prayer daily. The interesting thing is that I do not know the serenity prayer. The only things that calmed me down were holding the Bible, the Psalms, and the serenity prayer. Time with God was my only safe haven. God gave me everything I needed: a psychiatric ward, a Bible, and a prayer that asks for calmness, peace, and for troubles to be taken away. The Lord provides.

Psalm 84:11-12 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

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We need help.

Sometimes we need help.

We are social beings. Our brains are hardwired to need people. We need family, friends, clergy, and loved ones. We need people in our lives that can build us up and people who can lift our spirits.

We also need to distance ourselves from toxic people. These people tell us lies about our illnesses, the people who care about us, and about our character. Toxic people tare us down and make us feel sad, lonely, unloved, and like we are burdens to the people we loves. These are all lies.

The people who love us do not see us as burdens. We are loved. We are strong. We inspire people. We build people up. We teach others about perseverance. We are doing the best we can. We are people doing something extraordinary. We function while suffering, we are doing the impossible. The people who love us see an exceptional person.

Sometimes we need help. We need to reach out to those who support us. Our family, friends, loved ones, support groups, and others going through what you are. And sometimes we need to reach out to psychologists, talk therapy, the E.R. The E.R. will admit you to the psychiatric ward and that’s OK. If you are psychotic, very depressed, or having suicidal thoughts it is where you need to be. Personal care is important. Part of that is reaching out for help from whomever you feel/think will give you the bests help or advice.

Sometimes you need help and that is normal. It’s okay. Take care of yourself.

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Lenten Post: Why Me?

 

I realized that I ask “Why me God” more often since the pain started. Why is my head hurting me? Why does it have to be me? Why are people being like this to me? Why does the doctor hate me? Why don’t people believe me?

So you can see there are no excuses for any of us. If your eyes shift their focus from yourselves to others–you have already condemned yourselves! You don’t realize that you are pointed your figures at others for the exact thing you do as well.

Romans 2:1

When we ask “Why me” it’s usually an unfortunate event. Asking God why did this happen to me is a good thing to do but we should also think about what we are asking “why?” about. Is it always something bad or do we sometimes think about something good that happened. In the book “Why God Why” by Justin Tul, he writes that asking “Why me” when good things happen turn prayers about suffering, protest, bamboozlement, and negativity into prayers of praise, wonder, promise and rejoicing that is good in the sight of the Lord. It takes your mind off your angst, suffering, and pain. Instead you focus on your blessings and find comfort in Jesus.

When we ask “Why me” it can turn our attention to those who have sinned against us and ultimately judge them. I’ve done it. Judging others makes you lose sight of your own sins, misgivings, and shortcoming. While distancing ourselves from a person or group of people we can lose out on blessings. So before we ask “why me” regarding someone else’s actions, we should ask “why did I.” Instead of “Why do they say I’m lying about the pain?” ask “Why did I lose my temper and leave?”

“Why me?” during the bad times and good times can bring you closer to God. If we ask “Why me?” and then listen, wait, and watch for an answer, we can see how God is working in our lives and answering prayers.

Lord,

Prepare to be asked “Why me” more. I am going to ask “why me” when I am happy and coming to you with a heart of praise, not just when I am frustrated and hurting. Please give me peace and contentment as you answer “why me?” in Your own way and time. Amen

Tul, Justin W. “Why God Why: Sermons on the problem of pain.” Abingdon Press: Nashville. 1996

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Lenten Post: Growing In Relationship and Suffering

God calls us all to be patients. Yeah, it sucks. But think about it. A patient suffers quietly, withstands silently, obeys blindly, complains silently, and cries while smiling. The label puts our role perfectly. Patients are patient. That is when they are in public. Once we get home we show our grumpy, hurting, angry, “the world can go to Hell in a hay basket!” side. God calls us to go out and do his works knowing we are going to “patient” with everyone we meet. God also knows that when we get home we need to put on our PJs and tell him exactlyimage what we think about being a patient.

Jesus is always with you and helping you. He is there with you through your pain and suffering. Jesus wants to be there for you but you have to let Jesus show His love and let Him see that you want his guidance and comfort. The pain and suffering is a testament of his love. An alliance made out of everlasting love and unfailing trust. Pain and suffering encourages people to grow in their faith. The person learns to lean on Jesus, trust in Him always, be patient, and grow closer to perfect love. The pain and suffering brings you in a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord,
Help me grow into a closer relationship with you. Help to bring me closer to you so that I can know you and tell you all about my pain and suffering, woes and sorrows. Not just the superficial junk. Please make me white as snow and clean as good waters so that I can become even closer with you Lord. Amen

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Lent Blog

The 40 days before Easter is the Lenten season. Lent is the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert and was tempted before he started his ministering. We take this time to focus on scriptures about his adulthood: baptism, sermons, disciples, healing, and miracles. To celebrate Lent remember what it means to be a Christian. It is a time of reflection, prayer, worship, and repentance. Many choose to give something up for Lent. What my pastor recommends is devoting more time with God or doing his works. For example, set aside time for prayer or go volunteer at the food pantry. Do something that actually brings you into a closer relationship with God.

I looked for a devotional to do and got frustrated very quickly. I don’t want to read anything that is a rainfall right now. And I hope I am not that pitiful.

I came up with a solution. I’ll read books and post about God and pain. I got together some resources and I think I’m ready to give it a go. I’ve got “Health, Illness, and the Social Body. A Critical Sociology.” 4th edition. I found “Why God Why? Sermons on the problem of pain.” By Justin W Tull in a sale bin. Out of nowhere appeared “When Your Doctor Has Bad News” by A.I.B. Weir .m.d. I also have my rusty dusty World Wide Web, trusty gutsy “NIV Bible” and handy dandy “NRSV Study Bible.”

Lent Started Today. So, 40 posts to go.

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Waiting for the UPS

I went for Botox last week. I waited in the exam room for an hour before I was informed there was a problem. My medicine hadn’t arrived with the morning UPS. Because of an error by the Botox company my medicine was sent guaranteed by 3pm.

Guess what I did for 4 hours at the doctors office?
I waited for the UPS guy.

My Dad and I sat in the front lobby and watched for the UPS truck. I never imagined I would be waiting for the UPS guy in the doctor’s office.

I did learn I prefer to get Botox first thing. I prefer getting the injections when I’m still a little groggy.

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When the E.R. Doctor says “You can cry”

Today is the first day I have been able to type since Thanksgiving. Why? I sliced off a few centimeters of my pointer finger with a rotary cutter.

I was cutting fabric while standing, like you do when using a rotary cutter. A rotary cutter looks like a pizza cutter but its sharper and you cut fabric with it. I suddenly got disoriented, then dizzy, and I began to fall. And in the chaos the rotary cutter slipped and rolled over my finger just far enough to warrant a trip to the E.R..

It was so weird going to the ER not screaming in pain. But the cause of the accident was the onset of a migraine. The first thing the nurse asked about was about the symptoms of blood loss. I realized they were all symptoms of migraine; I was clammy, nauseous, head spinning, and confused.

The nurse asked me about how much pain I was in and I couldn’t answer. The question confused me. My migraine hurt more then my finger. (That in itself concerns me. My head hurt more then cutting part of my body off.) The nurse was confused and specified my finger. I looked at the pain chart and rated it an 8 because I wasn’t crying. I had a bad migraine, on the brink of horrible. But I also had just cut off part of my finger. I was in a lot of pain. I didn’t cry. The doctor who cauterized my finger told me several times it was okay to cry and crying didn’t make me less brave.

I did produce a few tears but they were out of frustration. I obviously should be crying. Any normal person would be crying. I am in a lot of pain. I realized I was scared to cry. A doctor told me that crying can make a migraine worse because it puts stress on the respiratory system. Crying could have put me past the breaking point and I could have started screaming.

Mostly, I was scared of being misunderstood for a drug seeker. A person crazy enough to cut off a bit of herself to get a fix. When I got home, that made me cry myself to sleep.

A brave or courageous person would cry.

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