Tag Archive | snow

Finding Peace during Cold, Dark Times

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When does the season match emotions? When the sun isn’t shining and the temperature hits below freezing. That’s when some people get seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Cold and grey winter days can lead to depression.

What does SAD have to do with moms raising kids with mental illness (MI)? We can relate to the strong urge to hibernate during the winter seasons of life. Times when it seems like the journey will never end. When our discouragement meter plummets lower than subfreezing temperatures. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape by crawling into bed for days? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to curl up in a warm blanket and dream of the carefree days before MI hit?

The reality is that moms raising kids with MI can’t take a week off. Thankfully, the reality is also that God can surprise us with His peace during the darkest days.

Recently I wrote a devotional for Rest Ministries—an online Christian ministry for people with chronic illness or pain. The message, ‘Winter Surprises’ may encourage you during the long winter months on the calendar or in your life. I created a YouTube video (using photos I took) to accompany the devotional. It’s my prayer that you’ll find refreshment while watching that video (about six minutes long). Here’s the link:   https://youtu.be/bownpnIV7hE

 

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Preparing for the Storm

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What do ants and Solomon have in common? Wisdom.

“Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt (1 Kings 4:30).”

“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer (Proverbs 30:24-25).”

Why do I care about that little fact? Will I ever be a king? No. Will I ever be an ant? No! But the ant teaches me an important lesson. Be prepared.

This winter we’re getting slammed with snowstorms. I just cleared snow off our cars. Again. sad.face  Whew! Now I can rest.

Yesterday I got my invitation to join the preparedness party. Local meteorologists sent this announcement:

Who: All ‘guests’ living in the northeastern section of the US

What: Another impressive storm: a massive clipper system, followed by an arctic blast

When: All day Tuesday and into Wednesday morning

Host: God would provide the decorations. Snow and plenty of it.

Dress: Layers of clothing, boots, hats, mittens…

I joined all the invited ‘guests’ who headed straight to the food stores to stock up. I wound my way through crowded aisles grabbing all the items on my list. The expressions on people’s faces said, “I’m so done with all this snow. Enough!”

Getting ready for storms requires certain rituals. We reluctantly engage in them. Experience has taught us it’s wise to be prepared. We can weather the storm if we’ve planned ahead.

How ‘bout the storms of life? Do we prepare for them? Hardly. Most people don’t even entertain thoughts about facing a trial. But mental illness (MI) forces us to expect anything. It can hit any day or any minute. A child with MI can be unpredictable.

Often it seems turbulence in the home (due to MI) can’t be controlled any more than swirling winds in the sky. Are there things we can do to minimize the impact of an emotional storm? Yes.

Stockpiling would be the recommended strategy. During calmer days, load up on Bible verses. Mentally fill all the corners of your brain with passages from scripture. Then when troubles come, God’s Word will sustain you.

During some of our most horrific moments, it wasn’t possible to sit and read my Bible. Dangerous situations dictated that I stay alert. Often, in the midst of a crisis, a verse popped into my head. One that comforted me. Verses like:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).”

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isaiah 26:3).”

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).”

Word to the wise: be ready for anything. The time to prepare is now. Feast on His Word. Then, just as I rested after clearing off the cars, rest—in Him.

Only our Lord can prepare our hearts. Reflect on His perfect work in you as you listen to ‘Sanctuary.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxB9VH3cCN4

God, where are You?

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‘Ever wonder if God is really there? You pray and there’s silence.
Sometimes, it seems a prayer goes unanswered. Other times, the answer isn’t what was expected.

Am I the only one who asks God for help and proceeds to tell the Creator of the universe exactly how to answer?

Recently, God provided precisely what I requested.

A winter storm hit our area. Meteorologists predicted sizable snow accumulations and blustery winds. Those forecasts didn’t deter Chris from his plans. Before the first snowflake, our son headed out to a bowling alley seven miles away. His intention: to walk home.

Chris proceeded to leave, carrying a huge backpack.
Howie offered, “I’ll drive you home.”
“No, I wanna walk home.”
Howie didn’t repeat the offer. No point disputing Chris’s decision. Arguing with someone who has mental illness (MI) isn’t a good idea…reasoning with him isn’t usually possible.
Although rejecting the assistance made no sense, Chris’s mind was set.

At nightfall, the storm arrived with a vengeance. Gusts of wind created white-out conditions.

I couldn’t get the image of Chris out of my mind. I pictured him trudging alone, in the dark, on the side of a snow-covered road. Thoughts of cars creeping by on slick surfaces tormented me.
Will drivers see him in the dark? What if a car spins out of control right next to him?

I calculated how long it would take to walk seven miles in good weather. Two hours, at least. But, battling defensive linebacker- strength winds could make it much longer. The journey could take close to four hours.

“Howie, please pray for someone to offer Chris a ride home.” With bowed heads, we lifted up our hearts.

The night wore on. I couldn’t sleep. What mother can sleep not knowing what’s happening to her vulnerable child who has MI? Midnight came. Still no Chris. 1:00… 2:00…

Will I hear the front door open or the phone ring?

Finally, at 2:45 AM the door opened, telling me Chris returned home safely.

The next day, Chris told Howie someone at the bowling alley offered him a ride. He turned it down.

Where was God when Chris rejected the second offer?
He was providing His answer to our specific prayer: for someone to offer Chris a ride.

Surely, God knew we meant that we wanted our son to be spared the ice-cold trek home.
But, God demonstrated His ever-present care for our son. He moved in the heart of the person at the bowling alley. He honored Chris’s free will. And protected Chris as he trudged home in a storm.

It’s hard to understand why anyone would reject help and willingly choose to venture out into a storm. Yet, isn’t that what we do? We ignore God’s presence in our troubles. God says, “I’m here for you.” We respond, “No thanks…I’ve got it. Never mind…I know the way. I can handle this myself. “

We head into the storm, rejecting God’s assistance. Our Father knows how my husband felt when Chris declined his offer. He knows what it’s like to watch us as we struggle needlessly on our own.

God promised Moses and Joshua He’d be with them. With that promise, Joshua was able to assure his people.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).”

When you face a river of uncertainty, can you hear the words God spoke to Joshua? The Lord your God goes with you. Do you hear Him beckoning you to walk with Him?

Will you stagger alone, or stroll with your Lord?

Listen to Him call you as you watch Alan Jackson perform the song ‘In The Garden.’