Tag Archive | Holy Spirit

Does it really help to be a Christian?

A story or God’s Word? Fiction or Truth?

A story or God’s Word?
Fiction or Truth?

Liza Long wrote the article “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother – It’s time to talk about mental illness.”
She answered the question, “What’s it like to have a child with serious mental illness (MI)?”

Left unanswered were numerous other questions. Questions many of us grapple with and secretly ask God.

The big one: Is there a God who cares?

Hagar found out. When she became pregnant with Abraham’s child, Sarah banished her. Alone in the wilderness, God spoke to her. “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me. (Genesis 16:13)’”

He sees us as we stagger through the wilderness of MI. Wandering alone. Is there a God who cares? Yes, El Roi is the God who sees.

What’s the ultimate torture for a mother? To watch her child suffer and die. Hagar couldn’t do it. When her son’s water ran dry in the desert, she left him. Can you identify with her pain? Are there days when you doubt whether or not you can bear to watch your child suffer any longer?

The God who sees also hears. He heard the cry of Hagar’s son. “God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink (Genesis 21:17-19).”

Is there a God who hears? Yes. He’s the same God who opened Hagar’s eyes to see His provision and her ears to hear His future blessings. Ask Him to open your eyes to His provision and your ears to hear the blessings He plans for you.

Is there a God who can make a way when there seems to be no way to help our child with MI? Yes. El Shaday, God Almighty is the God of all possibilities. Nothing is impossible with Him.
Here’s an experience I had that helped me understand His limitless power.

Early in the morning, one of my second graders entered the classroom looking downcast. I could see he was fighting back tears. Samuel was normally a happy-go-lucky kind of kid…very even-tempered and mature. That’s why his demeanor alarmed me even more.

Before he unpacked his backpack, I took him out in the hall. I asked him what was wrong. From his backpack he pulled out a pink folder with a ballerina on the cover.
In disgust he said, “My yellow folder ripped, so my mother gave me this – my SISTER’S folder.”
He was embarrassed and ashamed of the folder and obviously angry with his mother.

Every student in the class had a yellow pocket folder they used to take papers to and from home. Samuel knew the pink folder would be noticed by all his classmates. He feared others would tease him.

My student didn’t know that I kept a supply of new yellow pocket folders in my cabinet for emergencies.
I instructed him to, “Wait here” and went to get a new yellow pocket folder. I printed his name on the front.

When I presented the new folder to Samuel, he was so relieved that he snatched it out of my hands and proceeded to rush into the classroom. But, I gently pulled him back into the hallway. This was an opportunity to share a biblical truth.
“Your problem seemed like a HUGE problem…one that couldn’t be solved. But, to me it was a very small problem. When you get older, you will have bigger problems. To God, all those problems will be easy for Him to solve. Never forget this pink folder. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” Always remember how much God loves you and never forget His mighty power.”

Is there a God who can make a way when there seems to be no way? Yes. El Shaday, God Almighty is the God of all possibilities. Nothing is impossible with Him.

Is there a God who can restore joy? The psalmist believed so. He reminded himself to tap into that fountain of joy.
“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 43:4-5).”

During my darkest days, I turn on Christian worship songs. Like the psalmist, I find that praise leads me right to God, my joy.
Can God restore joy? Yes. His joy is yours for the taking! Drink freely.

Is there a God who can restore peace in the home and in the hearts of our children? Yes. Our Shepherd restores our soul. He will lead us out of turbulence to rest beside still waters. His rod and staff comfort us.
Can God restore peace? Yes. The Lord, our Shepherd will be with us all the days of our lives. He will never leave us.

Is there a God who can intercede in a marriage to rebuild that relationship? If Christ can be our Mediator between us and God (1 Timothy 2:5), He can surely be the mediator in our marriage.
Is there a God who can restore marriages? Yes. The One who sent His Son to restore His relationship with mankind wants to renew your relationship with your spouse. The One who forgave all sin can help you unconditionally forgive and trust again.

When MI suddenly shattered our son’s live, Chris questioned God’s love for him. Don’t we all do that?
Chris demanded, “Don’t tell me Bible verses! I want to know that He still loves me. Where’s the proof?”
God’s answered by painting an exquisite moon that said, “Here’s a symbol of my love for you.”
A small child draws a picture to show their love. God paints the sky.
Can God be found? Yes. Elohim, the Creator can do amazing things to remind us of His love.

When Chris was out of touch from reality, he harmed our dog. The dog he loved. Zelda’s bloodshot eyes reminded him of his uncharacteristic violence. Tormented by those actions, Chris despaired of the loss of his pet’s love for him. “She won’t love me ever again.”
By faith, I responded, “Yes she will. Just call her.”
He called her name and she willingly responded.
Can God be found? Yes. Elohim, the Creator can do amazing things to remind us of His love.

Can God use the ugliness of MI for any good purpose? He uses trials to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in us. In this spiritual boot camp we find ourselves in, He teaches us how to show unconditional love to our child with MI. He helps us respond in gentleness when we receive unprovoked anger. He fills us with His perfect peace amid great sorrow. He is Melek, King. King of all kings. His power is limitless.

When things seem out of control and we can’t hold it together, God is still seated on the throne, holding the universe together.

When we feel the sting of searing stigma, the image of Christ reaching out to the outcasts and touching the lepers comforts us.

When we feel helpless, we remember God provides hope in abundance, as we recall the promise, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).”

Can God help a mom of a child with MI? Yes. He is:
• Our refuge when we need protection
• Our rock when things are uncertain and unstable
• Our loving Father who will provide all we need in His perfect time
• Present when we feel alone
• The One who sent the Holy Spirit to comfort us when we need His perfect peace

So, you tell me…Does it help to be a Christian?

I say yes!

Listen to Don Moen’s popular song “God Will Make a Way”

Advertisements

Help me, God.

kneelingprayer
Last week when our traveling vet came to put our dog down, my husband stayed with our pet to the end. I couldn’t watch.

I went upstairs and began praying for my husband. He would miss our dog, the most favorite pet he ever had. Our beloved cocker spaniel “watched” football with my husband on the recliner. There would be no long ears to pet while at the computer. No helper to prewash the dishes for the dishwasher. No dog to accompany him as Howie brought in the shopping bags.

I couldn’t ease his pain, while mourning our loss myself. No words could spare him the grief. So, I knelt to pray…an unusual position for me since I have multiple sclerosis (MS). I cried out to God.

Later in the day, Howie and I consoled each other. I lovingly said, “When you were with the vet, I got on my knees and prayed for you.”
He playfully replied, “There are two things wrong with that…you have MS and you’re not Catholic.”

Howie knows that many people pray on their knees. He understood the position of my conversation with God meant I spoke from my gut…from the core of my being. His long embrace told me how much that intercessory prayer meant to him.

Deep pain and urgency drives a person to cry out to God. Our human limitations lead to desperation.

Sooner or later, everyone gets desperate. Heartfelt prayers are sent to God. The fox hole prayer of a soldier, the surrendering prayer of an addict, the negotiation prayer of an unfaithful husband, the deathbed prayer of a terminally ill patient…or the pleading petition of a mom.

Mothers nurture and help their children. We’re driven to heal the hurts. But, sometimes those hurts can’t be cured with a band aid or a kiss. Like when a child is distraught or depressed. Or when a son is tormented by anxiety or distorted thoughts.

A mom of a child with serious mental illness (MI) watches such pain. We’d rather take the pain ourselves than have our children suffer. In helplessness, we cry out to God.

When you cry out to God, do you fast? Do you ask the Holy Spirit to pray for you? Do you sob or scream the words?

Hagar’s story encourages those of us who can’t stand to see our kids suffer.

“Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ And as she sat there, she began to sob.
God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.” Genesis 21:14-19

God tells us, “Do not be afraid. I hear your child crying.”
Our heavenly Father can do what we can’t…with greater love and power.

Listen to this song that reminds you He sees each tear that falls and hears when you call out to Him.

Feeling Powerless

cursive t

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high”                                                                                                                                                                                          (Luke 24:49.)

“I can’t deal with it anymore.”

What’s your “it?”

Is it watching the news—seeing what’s happening in our nation and in the world? Or is it life’s challenges? Or perhaps it’s your marriage. Maybe your “it” is struggling to forgive someone who’s hurt or betrayed you.

I once had a second grader who couldn’t deal with writing his first cursive t. That was his “it.” Even though Tommy had an artistic gift, he convinced himself he couldn’t write the new letter. His helpless feeling overwhelmed him. Feeling defeated, he stopped trying.

“Mrs. Chandler, Tommy’s crying.”

I walked to his desk. Countless erasures revealed his failed attempts.

“You can do it, Tommy. I’ll walk you through it. Start off with an undercurve stroke. That’s right. Now loop back and then make a slant. Yes, good. Now, do another undercurve. OK. Cross it. Yay! You did it! What a beautiful letter you wrote. See, you can do it.”

“Yeah, but you told me what to do.”

“Okay. I won’t tell you the strokes. I’ll just stand here to remind you that you can do it. Try again.”

All Tommy needed was my presence. That made a huge difference.

Perhaps all we need to face our “it” is God’s presence.  As believers, we have access to a power source greater than any nuclear power plant. Power that lasts longer than any solar power. Because God’s Son is the Source of that power.

Little things overwhelm us when our hearts are already overwhelmed. One tiny problem can break us. Make us want to give up.

We can cast our load of care on Him.

God with us, living within us, can carry our burdens. He will give us supernatural inner strength and peace.

Like, Tommy, we sometimes begin our day defeated. Fears overwhelm us even before we step out of bed. Powerlessness fills our heads with pessimistic thoughts.

I can’t face today. I’m powerless to control things, handle situations, or prevent problems.

Wouldn’t it be nice to put on power just as easy as we put on our clothes? We can! It’s possible to adorn ourselves in something more powerful than Superman’s cape.

Christ told His disciples they will be clothed with power from on high. We, too, can wrap ourselves in that power. As believers, it’s already within us. Who knew God was our personal fashion expert!

Dear Father, fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit.