Friday, February 25, 2011

No bones about it!

I was blessed to go to a massage therapist yesterday for some work on my back. While she worked on various muscles she explained their connection. As she worked on what seemed an obscure area, I asked her how it was connected to my actual area of pain. She explained that there is a muscle under the arm on the ribcage that gets tight and adheres itself to the bone. This muscle directly affects the muscles under my shoulder blade next to my spine. I had no idea. Here I thought she should be going after the sore spot directly. But it turned out that that little spot is actually a big culprit to my discomfort. When I was done and ready to leave, I stood looking at the diagram on the wall of the human bodies muscular system, and thinking about how interconnected and combined all of the muscles are. And how those are connected to the bones, and how the nerves and blood vessels connect. How intricate!

Today I reflect on that and think about the body of Christ-

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?

20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,

25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
1st Corinthians 12:14-26 ESV

"If one member suffers, all suffer together;
If one member is honored, all rejoice together"

The body of Christ, individuals with specific purposes, each with intrinsic value, seen and unseen. Tied together whether we think about it or not. Intricately connected like the human body is- connected like muscle, tissue, nerves, blood vessels, bones, guts, skin, hands, feet. Perhaps more striking if you break it down further. I may or may not be taking liberty here...but connected like cells, DNA. All connected, all extremely unique.

"that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another"

The implications of this just keep multiplying in my mind. The application of this hits on so many areas.

I want to ask you to take up where I am leaving off, and tell me how this applies to you, to me, to Christ followers. Tell me what it stirs in your mind and heart...

- just megs

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Burdens and Strong Shoulders

From Tuesday's prayer journal-

Father God, thank you for your grace today. Thank you for helping me and lifting the weight of my burden that I have carried these past few weeks off of me. Thank you for making my burden bearable. For shouldering my load with me.

You say "come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I don't think I've ever really experienced that before. It's incredible. I still have the things that have been troubling me, but the impact of them is lessened, the extreme weight of them is lifted. In my mind I have a picture of myself under a heavy cross, and you come alongside of me, and take the principal of the weight onto your stronger, taller shoulders, and we continue on together. How gracious you are.

Another way I have witnessed your grace in this, is that you have allowed me a significant amount of time to get used to the changes that I need to live out, the daily adjustments that must be made. I've seen that I can do it, and I've been able to let go of the importance I previously placed on food related things. Thank you for your tenderness Lord.
Part of my struggle has been with food allergies and the knowledge that an IgE allergy to soy has a pretty far reaching is EVERYWHERE. Along with almond, hazelnut, and who knows what else as I wait on my test results. I also have had some pretty intense back/back muscle pain and a headache every single day. I awoke with the same problems Tuesday, and spent time praying in the shower for help. Somewhere between the shower and breakfast, my burden lightened to be bearable. It didn't happen in an instant that I recognized. I just realized at one point that my headache was gone, my back was FAR less sore, and my emotions were more under control. I just wanted to give a frame of reference for you. :)

I share this because I feel led to, and I pray that somehow it helps you today. I don't know how the Lord would choose to use it, but I trust He will.

The Lord is truly our strength. May you experience his help as you bear your cross today, knowing that he comes beside you and lifts the brunt of your burden off of your shoulders.

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
Psalm 18:1

- just megs

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

{ take courage }

But You, Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7

My husband gave this verse to me and it really impacted my heart. The surrounding story is about a prophet telling a king to take courage and do what the Lord told him. So the king "took courage" and removed the idols from the nations, and the Israelites made a covenant to search for God with all their desire and find him. And they did, and he was found by them.

This scripture stirs my heart for several reasons. First of, just verse 7, "take courage!" Most of the time I don't feel courageous. I feel worried or overwhelmed or afraid. And this is not about natural human courage, because that only goes so far, until something scares it out of you! No, my courage can only come from the choice to believe that the Lord is all powerful, in complete control, and loving. Courage from faith in a God that is bigger than my mind can conceive. Courage from the knowledge that he holds me in the palm of his hand. Courage because his grace has covered me, I need not fear his judgement, and I can be me, with all my uniquenesses, fearfully and wonderfully made. Courage to go wherever He sends me and speak whatever He tells me to. Courage to step out, to release my kids to God. Sometimes I just need courage to make it through the morning, let alone the day or week!

"Do not let your hands be weak", stand up and keep going, apply myself even when I feel sick or fatigued. "For your work shall be rewarded"

In my English Standard Version Bible, the phrase take courage is found in several other places. The ones which grab me are:

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Psalm 27:14

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Psalm 31:24

But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."
2 Chronicles 15:7

...take courage...
{ take courage }

And here is a summary of the story in Chronicles:

and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
2 Chronicles 15:2
7 But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."
8 As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 15:8

(you know what the tattoo guy said to me as he prepared to start and I closed my eyes? Yep. Take courage. Ha!)

Blessings and courage be with you!

- just megs

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Transparency and Grace

I am LOVING the book "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll right now. I've almost finished it, and it is a powerful, yet easy, read.

I feel the Lord is creating such a unique perspective for me, a unique view of life. David Platt's book "Radical" is exactly what it's title states. The Lord spoke to me a lot through that book. But combining those teachings with Chuck Swindoll's Grace Awakening is a whole different flavor.

Isn't it interesting the journeys God takes us on?

I'm going to try to be more transparent here on my blog. I sometimes avoid posting because I don't know what to say or am afraid to share the dirt of real life. But that's what life is, it's real! Too real sometimes! :)

I don't know if you remember how I wrote about a time of sickness in 2009, and how the Lord very graciously healed me, and then in His love, blessed us with a healthy pregnancy and child. All glory goes to him for that. Because of that time of healing I was able to carry and birth baby MnM. Praise the Lord!

Well, here is my transparency today...ever since I had our little one my stomach problems have been coming back and getting worse again. I am afraid to tell people because I feel like I have to defend God, because he DID heal me in 2009, or sound like a quack. But I don't have to defend God, do I? He is God, for heavens sake! He can defend himself! I giggle at myself for my knee-jerk reaction of defending God. If He felt the need to step in and stand up for himself, I am sure he would!

So, here I am. Blessed abundantly with darling MnM, LaLa, and Dear Son. Confident in the work the Lord did in 2009, and not quite understanding why we are walking through a similar scenario. But I am so grateful that I get to start where I left off before, with a depth of relationship with the Lord that was cultivated during a very hard time, and I know that He holds me and guides me. And loves me!

I'm going to be posting some of my prayer journal entries on here as the days go by, because I feel led to share and be transparent with whoever reads this, trusting that God will use it as He wants to.

Do you struggle with transparency?

Ugh. Ok, here we go. I have these stomach issues that seem to be food related. (I am an information nut, and have researched them like crazy, gone to the Dr, allergist, and am seeing a naturopath) I can't seem to make it through the day without ending up nauseous and bloated (like, I look like I'm pregnant bloated), with, ahem, other issues also. It can discourage me and make me feel defeated at times. I try to stand strong, and to watch what I eat, trying to minimize the impact of food. But, some days a girl just needs SOMETHING, and a craving for something normal gets me, I eat it, and my issues get way worse. So then I get in this cycle of defeat. Bah.

Here is what I do know right now as I am waiting on some test results that will tell me more...I know I am allergic, with a genuine allergy to soy, almonds, hazelnut, and cherries. These are somehow commonly connected to various springtime airborne allergies. But these affect my stomach big time. I am also avoiding gluten because it gives me major problems. That cuts out the majority of food out there!

That is just my basic rundown for ya, I'm not going to bore you with more, because honestly, I could write a book on it. But I don't wanna. Humph.

I am just giving a little foundation for this transparency thing, because a lot of what I share will stem from this situation.

I am thankful for it though. It brings me to my knees and into the arms of God, it drives me to seek Him more, to search for Him, to find Him. It makes me realize how much I want to KNOW Him. Really truly. Not just to be a well behaved Christian. Not even to stop at spending time daily with Him and in the Bible. I. Want. Him. I want total immersion. I want life abundant. I want...everything.

So, here is my entry today, as I sit on my bed and gather my thoughts.
Sunday 8:32pm

Heavenly Father, you know I am in a place of utter weakness right now. You know today was a hard day. Please forgive me for my short temper, loud voice, immature words and wrong choices. I thank you that my sins are wiped away, and that right now, I am clean. I am not judged by my shortcomings or failings, in fact, you can't even see them on me. You see me as I am made to be, you see me clothed in righteousness and success. You see beauty and strength, courage and faith, goodness and ability.

I don't really get how He sees me like that, but that is what His word says, so I plan on figuring it out and letting it seep into me and transform my view of myself!

Thanks for sticking with me in this post today. I'm going to tack a picture on the end here just to say hi.

Hi!!!! :) that's me with baby MnM all moby wrapped and snuggly early in January. Alright, baby fussing (she has a cold) and bedtime calling.

Till tomorrow!
- just megs

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