It’s Time for a Change

Image Credit: neo (un) orthodoxy
Image Credit:
neo (un) orthodoxy

I’m getting older now, and while at fifty-three, I’m not ancient, I’ve still lived long enough to witness and be a part of many changes. Also, while I’m not yet ready to die, (Lord willing), I have reached the place in life, when we begin to comprehend our own mortality. My body is not as strong as it once was, and for the last three years, I’ve been living with chronic pain, which often renders me immobile. Though I’m still able to walk, the pain of doing so is often so excruciating that I’m confined to my recliner. This same recliner once belonged to my mother, who suffered from the same disabling back and leg pain.

Frankly, this isn’t the way I thought I would be spending this part of my life. I had envisioned a life filled with ministry, as I continue d ministering in prison for many years to come, as well as ministering wherever the Lord would send me, preaching the gospel and worshiping Him in dance. But all of that changed, when the back pain that I had dealt with off and on since childhood, (I have scoliosis, and have dealt with back pain off and on ever since I can remember.) came to stay in 2011. As early as 2008 and 2009, I began to notice that my pain was occurring more and more frequently, though I was able to tolerate it, because I still had more good days than bad.

However, by 2011, the pain had become my constant tormentor, and I found myself struggling to get out of bed in the mornings for work. The job I had once loved, was now a chore, which steadily grew more and more difficult to continue, while still, the pain continued to increase like a cumbersome, misshapen burden, continually tormenting me. By 2012, the pain had become so torturous that I began praying as soon as I got out of my car, “God, please help me make it across this parking lot to my office. Please help me, Lord. O God, please help me get to the building. Help me walk to the time clock, Lord…” On and on my prayer continued, and after I clocked in, I prayed for God to help me walk from the time clock to my office…

I’ve worked since I was fifteen years old, and I have always been a very dependable employee. I could always be counted on to get to my job on time, every day that I was scheduled to work, however, I began calling out frequently due to the pain, and on the days I was able to come to work, I had to fight the pain in order to get up and get ready on time. Because I missed so much time from work, my boss told me that I had to apply for FMLA, in order to keep from losing my job. Therefore, on September 1, 2012, I was placed on FMLA for twelve weeks. At the end of the twelve weeks, my pain had only grown in its intensity, and I was unable to return to work. The pain affected not only my job, but also my hopes and dreams for ministry, and I was forced to resign from prison ministry as well as my job. 

A few months later, my mother passed away. I was devastated. A month after losing my mom, I was admitted to the hospital with C-diff, a serious and contagious intestinal virus. Most often contracted by the elderly, this viral infection can sometimes be deadly. Then, to top that off, a few weeks after I was released from the hospital, my daughter, her husband and their children, who had been living with my husband and me, packed up and moved more than eight hundred miles away from us.

All of this happened within a five month span, and after losing so much, so quickly, I fell into a deep depression that I’m still trying to climb out of. As the reality of my own mortality became evident to me, I found myself battling many demons I had thought were long gone, but now, in my weakened state,  they rose up against me, much stronger and more ferocious than ever. I faced demons of rejection, fear, and anxiety, as well many others. On top of this, I came to the realization that many of the things I had long dreamed of doing, would never come to pass, because of the constant pain I now lived with. 

I won’t lie. Though I am a born-again, spirit-filled believer in Christ, I lost hope, when the Lord didn’t answer my impassioned plea for healing. Instead, my pain grew worse and worse. In the process of losing my mother, I felt that I had failed both her and God, which caused me to question my salvation. I fearfully worried that when the time comes to meet my Maker, would He look at me and say,   “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”? I was afraid that He would, and as crazy as this might sound, coming from a woman, who was once certain of her Father’s love for her, I began to fear that I had somehow lost His love, because I was so unworthy.

Without His love, my hope was gone as well. For how can anyone ever hope for anything without His love? How is it even possible to live, apart from His love? I was miserable. I was afraid of dying, and yet my reason for living was gone. My ministry was over. My mother was gone, as were my daughter, son and my grandchildren. I shudder to think of what might have happened to me if not for my beloved husband.

For more than a year, I grieved, as my emotional and spiritual pain matched my physical pain. When I first realized the seriousness of my back pain and came to comprehend that this pain wasn’t merely temporary, but chronic, I prayed that God would heal me.  As I stood in the shower, crying aloud because the pain of simply standing to take a shower was now so intolerable, I would beg Him to heal me… 

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.

~ Jeremiah 17:14  NKJV ~

I don’t know about you, but I hate pain, and I desperately wanted to believe that I would be healed from the many medical problems in my spine. Yet, no matter how much I wanted to believe this, something within me (I believe it was the Lord.) said that I would not be cured, and that I must go through this. That isn’t what I wanted to hear. 

So, how do you pray, when the pain is sometimes more than you can bear, yet you know this is God’s will for you?

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  NKJV ~

O, how this verse speaks to me on so  many different levels! For those who are in the midst of constant pain as I am, whether it is physical, emotional, spiritual, or all of the above, just look at another translation of this verse, and let it wash over you. The Voice ™, a fairly new translation of the bible, released in 2012, is a beautiful translation of God’s word. In fact, today is the first time I’ve read from this translation. Let’s look at Philippians 4:6-7 in The Voice ™… 

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  VOICE ~

This verse just speaks to me. I have been so anxious about so many things during the last year and a half, and the first thing thing I read in this scripture is, “Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.” In all honesty, while in the midst of all my struggles, I haven’t spent a lot of time praying. Yet this scripture commands me to pray, instead of being anxious. Is it possible, I wonder, that if I had spent more time praying in the last year and a half, I might not have suffered from anxiety? Even though the pain of my spinal condition is something that I must live with, if I continually pray about it, I’m certain He’ll help me endure it. 

The next portion of this scripture has tripped me up, in this time of pain and suffering… He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Wow. God commands us to be thankful for what has come, and I have been anything BUT thankful. While I haven’t been like Job’s wife, saying, “Curse God and die,” I haven’t been thankful for the pain that has come to my life, either. In fact, to tell you the truth, I’ve spent way too much time crying, whining and complaining, and it hasn’t made me feel any better. In fact, the truth of the matter is that I’ve been perfectly miserable. 

Therefore, I believe a change is in order…

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  VOICE ~

Image Credit: Q4 Consulting
Image Credit:
Q4 Consulting

I’ve decided to do exactly as this scripture commands. Whenever I feel anxious about things, I will  pray. Not only that, but this scripture commands that I pray about everything, because God longs to hear my requests. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to know? I’ve never even considered that before. Have you? Think about the magnitude of this…

… He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. ~ Philippians 4:6   VOICE ~

I don’t know why Almighty God would long to hear my request, but I feel blessed and encouraged that He does. Praise God! I wonder… is it possible that God has allowed all of the physical, emotional and spiritual pain to enter my life because He longed to hear my requests? When I think of my pain in this light, it becomes easier to thank God for what has come. 

Finally, in Philippians 4:7I discover yet another reason to give thanks to God for what has come…

And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:7  VOICE ~

When I pray about everything, I overcome those feelings of anxiety, and I am able to give the Lord what He longs for. How awesome is it to know that we are able to fulfill one of the Lord’s longings, simply by praying to Him about everything? When I give the Lord what He longs for, not only do I overcome my anxiety, I also receive the gift of having God’s peace watching over my heart and my mind in Jesus…

Yes, it is indeed time for a change in my life. How about you, beloved? Have you been dealing with pain and suffering in your  life? If so, how did you respond to the pain? Did you pray about everything, giving thanks for what has come into your life? Or were you anxious as I was, neglecting to pray and give thanks? If so, maybe it’s time for a change in your life too. Why don’t you join me in obeying this scripture, and let’s see if the peace of God that is promised descends on our lives, in Jesus’ name?

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Advertisements

Fan The Flames - Add Your Flaming Words And Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s