Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Donations For Pakistan Flood Victims


Dear Friends~

The Canadian gov't has offered something great. If anyone in the world goes to a certain website and donates money for Pakistan's flood victims, Canada will match those funds, so it doubles your donation. I wish all countries would do this. If we give $5, Canada gov't will also give $5 to Pakistan flood victims, and they know not to give it to politicians. They know how to get the money and supplies to where it's needed. So if you send a bit of money through this website, you will be donating twice as much. If you want to pass this information on to anyone that might want to help Pakistan, the website is http://www.together.ca/ .

One third (1/3) of Pakistan is now under water. It has killed and made homeless more people than the China floods, Haiti earthquake and 2004 Tsunami all combined.

They have not gotten even a decent fraction of the amount of help that the other countries got, because of the prejudice created for Muslims, but remember that all these people are also tormented, terroeized by Taliban members. more than any other people. They are innocent victims as well.

The more you can give, the more God will bless you! If you are not able to give anything, may God bless you so that your life will get easier. No explanation needed if you are not able to give.

Because I have been given much, I too must give.

Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live.

I shall divide my gifts from thee with

every brother that I see,

who has the need of help from me.

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care…

I cannot see another's lack, and I not share-

my glowing fire, my loaf of bread, my

roof's safe shelter over head,

that he too may be comforted.

Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord,

I'll share thy love again according to thy word.

I shall give love to those in need.

'll show that love by word and deed,

then, shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

~The lyrics of the hymn, Because I Have Been Given Much

was written by Grace Noll Crowell.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Serenity Prayer for the Chronically Ill

A lesson worth remembering, by a wise and dear friend. Her words reflect all of my thoughts and feelings that I have not been able to put into words.

Serenity Prayer for the Chronically Ill
By Darla Isackson

I have a spirit that wants to run 100 miles an hour; it is housed in a body that can scarcely run at all. The mountains of worthy projects I would gladly require of myself must largely go undone. I know I am in good company. Chronic illness, caused by any number of conditions, is a common complaint in our society. How to best deal with it is an ongoing question.

Trusting the Lord's foreknowledge when I was young and very sick, a person I trusted prayed for me, He felt inspired to say that the Lord promised me the health and strength I need to live to fill my life's mission. Not the strength to win the Olympics or run marathons — but to fill MY life's mission. The Lord knew perfectly about the genetic weaknesses and super sensitive nervous system of the body he was sending my spirit to live in. He also had foreknowledge of the accidents, illnesses, and emotional traumas that would affect that body.

What if all those things were not obstacles to me filling my mission in life, but part of it? What if each illness, limitation, and emotional challenge has given me the exact experiences I needed, to learn what I need to learn, in order to do what the Lord wants me to do?

In response to Paul's prayer of pleading when he was imprisoned, the Lord might have told Paul that all things shall give you experience and will be for your good. In Romans 8:28 we read, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” I know that my issues are also for my good. While in jail, Paul was kept from carrying out righteous service by walls and bars and the evil of his captors. I often feel captive to the weakness of my body. At first glance, both prison bars and illness seem to be obstacles to serving the Lord.What if, instead of obstacles, limitations are part of the tutoring process, part of the humbling process, part of the refining process that make us more fit to do the work He has assigned us? Paul was a different man when he emerged from jail. Deeper, stronger, more humble, more aware of the Lord's constant care in spite of circumstances. I am a different person when, after all I can do, I accept life on the Lord's terms and trust the Lord's plan for me.

One day I was talking on the phone with a wonderful woman plagued with health problems and feeling guilty and frustrated about not being able to serve as she desired. She wept as she told me about having to say no to an opportunity to work a four-hour shift cleaning the church. (She is in her 70s!) She was greatly comforted when I shared the idea that the Lord would not assign us individually a mission or a task that is impossible because of our physical limitations. Instead he wants us to share the inner strength and important lessons we learn because of them! Granted, He often gives us strength beyond our own, but He never requires more than we can possibly give.

We ought to be content with things that God has allotted to each of us. . If, indeed, the things allotted to each were divinely customized according to our ability and capacity, then for us to seek to wrench ourselves free of every schooling circumstance in this life, is to tear ourselves away from matched opportunities. It is to go against divine wisdom.

In regard to this concept, a friend said, “I think we should do all we can to improve our health, but not 'whine' to the Lord to remove the challenge. Ask for strength, yes; ask for relief, yes; [even ask for healing] but always end our asking with 'Thy will be done.'”

Internalizing the Serenity Prayer
Recently I was impressed that the AA Serenity Prayer has great application to the health dilemmas of the chronically ill.

God grant me the

Serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can and

Wisdom to know the difference.

The courage part requires me to persevere in efforts to learn and apply common sense health rules—good nutrition, exercise, deep breathing, focusing thoughts on gratitude and hope, taking advantage of the many tools and treatments available. My quest has been partially successful—in spite of a serious childhood burn that resulted in a fever that would have killed me without divine intervention--and numerous challenges since--I have functional hours almost every day. Yet my health goals have not always been set with spiritual insight. Sometimes I suspect I’m trying to change what cannot be changed. In all the self-help, positive thinking, positive affirmation lingo, is the danger of humanistic thinking: "you are enough; you have everything inside you to accomplish every dream; if you just try hard enough, do enough, control your thoughts enough, you can do anything." This is not Christ's teaching.

I sometimes find more self-will than wisdom in my determination to get better. And sometimes I tire and stress myself running hither and yon seeking solutions from “arm of flesh” sources beyond what is reasonable. Rather than “Thy will be done” I often say, “I want to be well. I’m determined to get well. I’ll WILL myself well.”

What is My Part, What is the Lord’s?
The hard part is sorting out truth from error, because there is no doubt that the restoration of all things that Christ promises, includes unprecedented knowledge that we see in traditional and alternative medicine. It is also true that my thoughts and choices have a terrific impact on my body. I know that my health problems can be magnified or minimized by what I do and think. Thoughts are powerful, and some people think that the wrong thoughts have caused our illness and that absolute thought control is the only path to health.

My e-mail friend, Michelle Linford, who also suffers limitation from chronic illness, said, “What if thought control really means turning our thoughts more to the Savior, period? I don’t think He wants us to punish ourselves over what thoughts we might have had that brought us to this place of pain and illness or that we can fix those things by ourselves. My answer is choosing as much as I can to really ‘look unto Him in EVERY thought’ and to doubt not, fear not."

A trusted church leader told me I am still trying to DO it myself. That I needed to let Him TAKE it. When I told him I didn’t know how, he said something like, ‘Just pray like that; tell Heavenly Father that you can't do it yourself and don't know how to let Him carry you, but that is your desire.’ I know that what the Lord really wants is our hearts and our understanding that His grace is the source of our redemption, not our ability to accomplish and perform.”

Michelle and I have both concluded that some health problems may be, in God’s wisdom, necessary for our growth. Paul’s “thorn in the side” again comes to mind. He entreated the Lord three times that it might be removed, but the Lord’s answer indicated there was purpose in it.

The Purpose of Pain
Illness can sometimes help to slow us, tune our inner ears to hear the Spirit. A few years ago I spent a night with a stabbing, recurring pain my doctor had not been able to identify, nor medicine diminish. In the morning light, my friend Patricia came to comfort me. She rubbed my hands and feet, suggested I listen to what my body and spirit were trying to tell me. The pains became less frequent as I turned off my fear, tuned in to faith, and listened. I relaxed, said to each pain, “Teach me. What do I need to learn?” She left me feeling peaceful; as the day progressed I lay there still and open, asking for understanding. One clear message after another came to my mind. Here’s the list I recorded from that experience.

  • I need to learn to listen deeply and consistently to my body, spirit, and to the Holy Ghost.•I need to change any belittling and disrespecting thoughts of myself to messages of encouragement.

  • The way to honor and respect my spirit is to show myself the same love and compassion I do others,

  • “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” I am one of the least of these. When I lack compassion and love for myself, I disrespect the Savior.

  • I need to avoid comparing myself with others.

  • Until I follow His direction to love and respect myself, I am offending Him, showing I prefer voices around me and the “chattering monkeys” of disparaging comments in my own mind, rather than the counsel of His voice.

  • As long as I hold onto the cares of the world and carry on my shoulders a heavy weight of worries about my family, health, and finances, I am not heeding the Savior’s invitation to be yoked with Him.

Yoked with Him
I remembered one of the greatest spiritual ah-ha moments I’d ever experienced. In a Sunday School lesson, the teacher asked us to picture a yoke with two animals pulling together, sharing the load. He suggested that the Savior’s yoke is so light because His invitation is to be yoked WITH Him, be benefited by His magnificent strength, and accept His atoning sacrifice. When I turn my life and will over to Him and accept his yoke, He makes up the difference for all my weaknesses. His strength carries me along.

I knew that as I learn to honor myself, listen, become yoked with Him, I would either heal from my illnesses or become peaceful and spiritually strong in the midst of them and able to live in a new, flowing way.

Prayer Perspectives
The insights I received that day carried comfort, spiritual power, and motivation to change my thinking, rely more on the Savior. I’ve learned to be grateful for “down time” when I can focus more on prayer and listening to the Spirit. Mother Teresa said that when the sisters that worked with her were sick or disabled, that was the time they could spend more time in prayer.

Prayer can help me overcome the self-absorption that so easily occurs when so much time has to be directed toward health. I get weary of the effort it takes to stay healthy enough to function at all. I want to forget myself and just serve! But forgetting myself carries with it the temptation to overdo, and I pay for it big time with lots of enforced bed rest! Now I can remember that when I’m flat in bed I can serve through praying for others.

“He leadeth me beside the still waters . . . “
I read some time ago that sheep cannot drink from fast-flowing troubled waters. They will die of thirst with water all around unless their shepherd can find them a calm, still pool to drink from. In my case, it is not the water, but me that needs to be still. My life has often been too fast-flowing and troubled to seek and drink of living waters. Consequently, I have thirsted spiritually. The scriptures were always right there, the Lord never abandoned me, but I was moving too quickly to stop and drink. Whenever I am still and willing to follow Him, my shepherd leadeth me to drink of still and living waters.

I find so much living water in the scriptures, such as:
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden [With pain? Illness? Worry? Fatigue and weakness?] and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Maybe I’m learning better what the Serenity Prayer really means:

God grant me the
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can and
Wisdom to know the difference.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Hardest Times=The Most Comfort!

I got a very practical lesson in understanding this verse this week:

2 Corinthians 1:7
And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of
the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
The harder the trials, the more we open ourselves up to feel the Lord's comfort and strength. The more we spend time listening when we pray, instead of just talking.

All of this year, I was so very determined to change as many things in my life as possible. I was determined that 2010 was going to be the beginning of a whole new life for me. I was going to change all my unhealthy thoughts and habits, and find remedies for my health problems. Changes came in baby steps, as much as my very limited body would allow me. I felt inspired as I found the exact supplements/herbs that got my fibromyalgia under control. I thanked the Lord daily for this blessing. However, my lupus was getting worse, and attacking more organs, causing them to fail, and I was so ill, I couldn't really enjoy the absence of my fibromyalgia. I was spending more and more hours a day semi-conscious because of damage to my pancreas and liver. I avoided the Dr., because in my 35 years with this disease, I have learned there are only certain symptoms they are able/willing to help with.

Last week I got a large amount of blood tests, and the results were serious enough that I got a phone call from the Dr. and she told me the news over the phone, rather than waiting until our next appointment in a few weeks. My liver was so damaged by lupus, that all of the supplements and herbs I was taking, my liver could not assimilate or clean out the toxins from my body. There is nothing wrong with the supplements (for those of you afraid it might happen to you). It's just that my liver is so weak now, that even if I take more than 3 medicines, I get liver problems.

This means that I can no longer take ANYTHING that might remedy my problems, either natural or prescription. The Dr. said that even though it would not be good for me, I would need to stay on my pain meds and find a sleep remedy, because you can't heal unless you get rest, and if your pain can get to a bearable level.

I was in shock. I went home, thinking that God WANTED me to suffer for some reason, and it hurt to my soul. I thought He loved me! Why would He WANT me to suffer, without being able to take anything as a remedy, and without even being able to even seek help? Who does not seek help for their suffering? I cried all day. I couldn't even think clearly enough to logically reason myself out of the pit I was in, or to remember comforting scriptures.

Then that night, 3 people sent e-mails that were so perfect, so perfectly timed, that it was as if it was Heavenly Father speaking directly to me, through my Godly friends. I felt such comfort, and laughed in joy, realizing that He DOESN'T want us to suffer. Even if it is not His will to heal me right now, He is here to comfort me and strengthen me. I am so mad at myself for forgetting that lesson... that He is quick to comfort and strengthen, if we are open to hearing Him.

I want to share with you the first thing that touched me so deeply. It is an incredible short video of how our Heavenly Father "Fathers" each of us.

The next help came with the book I am editing for a lady whose son committed suicide. The very place that I left off a few days earlier, when I started reading again, was 3 pages of explanation on how it WAS a joy for Paul to suffer, because that is when He felt the most comfort, the closest to the Lord, and that we can have that as well. She also said:

The Savior is exactly that, a Savior of our sanity, a Savior of our faith. He has saved
and I know He will save each person who comes to Him with faith that He lives,
faith that He loves us. -Darla Isackson
Then she summarized something from the book "Hanoi Hilton", by a prisoner of war who was held captive for years.

An admiral named James Stockdale spent about six years at the "Hanoi Hilton" as a
prisoner of war. Stockdale documented three responses to that terrible trial, which I'll
  1. The pessimists saw the brutal facts, gave up and died, even though their bodies may have been healthy.

2. The optimists had boundless faith and ignored the brutal facts. They believed every rustle in the bush was marines coming to save them and that they would soon be on their way home. When that did not happen, they too gave up and died.

3. The realists faced the brutal facts, but had faith they could be dealt with. They accepted the improbability of rescue any time soon and banded together determined to survive anyway.

In the aftermath of tragedy we all have the same three choices: to be a pessimist and die inside, to be overly optimistic (put on a smiley face, pretend it didn't happen, live a lie) and eventually crash, or we can be realists. We can accept what has happened, gather our support systems, turn to the Lord, learn what He has for us to learn, have faith that we can make it through, and choose to live.

The third help came from a friend who was grieving her brother who had died recently. She is going to get grief counseling, but she also gets grief devotionals daily. The one that came that day seemed just for me, as I grieved any hope of a brighter future, or better quality of life. I have already lost 2 husbands due to this illness, and had to leave my children in the USA when I moved back to my home town in Canada, the fear of never seeing them again, never meeting my grandchildren or sons-in-law. That day all the losses due to this disease came to the surface...and the loss of hope anything improving in the future. Just imagine, if you were told that nothing will ever get any better than it is right now, and you are not even allowed to SEEK any help, because every remedy you are offered will make you sicker? The grief devotional said:

"Grief's unexpected turns will throw you again and again. You may feel that for every step forward,
you take at least one step back. The grieving process generally takes longer than you ever imagined.
Please don't rush this process. Remember, what you are feeling is not only normal; it is necessary.
"Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle
of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there's going to be an ache that won't quit. The grieving
process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the
We read in the Psalms that David grew weary with the process of grief and cried out to the Lord.
Then he left the timing in God's hands.

"Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in
anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your
unfailing love" (Psalm 6:2-4).

"I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My
eye has wasted away with grief" (Psalm 6:6-7 NASB).

Heavenly God, I cannot even begin to put my grief in a time frame. Thank you that I don't have to.
Comfort me and support me as I lean on You. Amen."
That was a really dark day, but now I have hope that the Lord will comfort me and strengthen me through anything, and whatever is His will, I must trust those things. ALL things DO work for good for those who love the Lord. ALL things! Even if we don't see the results until the next life.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" (Psalm 34: 18).
I AM SO GRATEFUL TO KNOW THE LORD AND HIS COMFORT AND THE SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND PEACE. I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW HIM EVEN PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER. May we all try to share this blessing with others. As we are comforted, we are able to comfort others.


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