Friday, April 24, 2020

my little Friday manifesto and stupid-stinking chronic pain

Today is one of those days.
One of those “I want to give up and shut down” days.
A Friday, when the rest of the world celebrates the coming weekend...
But I have yet to enjoy sound sleep since last Friday.

It’s one of those “everything hurts and nothing helps” days.
When chronic pain is so stupidly-stinking chronic.
When I’ve reached the point that I should not take anymore meds lest I overdose.
When laying down, standing up, sitting, pacing, and swaying are all useless.
There is no physical comfort today.
There is no position, no bath, no patch, no drug, no special sauce that will free me of my painful prison.

The other day, someone asked me how I was holding up through the pandemic.
I shrugged out an answer without really giving one.
Because truthfully most do not understand that isolation is already a regularity in my normal day-to-day.
It is typical for me to miss out...
To zealously guard myself from catching flu bugs and common colds,
Because I simply can’t afford to be burdened with more health issues, more specialists, more pills, more surgeries, more hospitals, more health care... more stupidly-stinking chronic pain.

I am always home, or close to it.
I am intimate with isolation, depression, loss of community, and the feelings of hopelessness.
I know what stir crazy is and the tricks it plays in one's head.
I also understand what catching a virus that further threatens an already weakened immune system can do.

How am I holding up through the pandemic?
I am teary.
Because I wish this isolation on no one.
But since we all must isolate and cope in our own varying forms of uncomfortableness,
Please allow me to share something key on this Friday...

For me, today is definitely one of those days.
One of those hard, discouraging, “Why me, Lord?!!!” days.
And though relief is not visible on the horizon, I do trust God’s love for me.
I have firsthand life experience of His care and provision.
I believe in His grace.
I am thankful to be promised His eternal future.
I know He walks with me through every ache and ouch.
He holds onto my hand as I hold onto His hope.

Yes, today my body really, really hurts...
But I choose to seek out beauty and busy myself within the confines of our blessed homestead.
Today I am very nauseous...
But I will eat healthy and drink plenty of water to keep myself fueled and hydrated.
Today I cannot move without fighting the suck of my stupid-stinking chronic pain...

But I will walk my garden.
I will breathe God’s breath.
I will smell new roses.
I will sing to bees and butterflies.
I will pray in Jesus Name.
I will soak in warm bubble baths.
I will paint pink palm trees.
I will gratefully take medicines that I know others in the world are not privy to receive.
I will be blessed by all the blessings that surround.
I will think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admiral, excellent, praiseworthy.

And even though I feel like crap...
I will not give up.
I will not shut down.

I will rest.
I will promote peace.

Today, I will self care and trust that my wobbly feet stand exactly where God intends.
I will reach out and share His good news with others and reject all notions of guilt or shame that I am somehow a failure that is lesser in importance, ability, or validity due to my physical weaknesses.

No... I am able because He is able.
My pace is the pace He has provided.

Today I will remember...
I am saved.
I am a survivor.
I am a child of the King of kings.
I am here, awake, alive, and able to share love.

So in Jesus Name, I will rejoice.
Today, I will successfully make it through with the strength and Spirit of the Lord.

This is my little Friday manifesto with promise.

:)

Victoria

Sunday, April 12, 2020

He lives

This is the moment...
When a Carpenter repaired the broken.
When a Creator made old new.
When a King served....
And, when a Servant ruled.

This is the time...
When death posed no end.
When finite met infinite.
When less than expected brought more than enough...
And, more than deserved.

Just a few days before...
He was mocked, tortured, abused.
Yet, He still obeyed.
He still allowed.
He carried that cross.
He wore those thorns.

Then darkness consumed.
And all appeared lost.
We questioned, we cried...
Overwhelmed by the cost.

But then came this moment...
This Resurrection Day.
When the grave rolled aside.
When He showed us The Way!

Yes, now is the time...
He repairs all our brokenness.
He makes our old new.
“Come to me,” He invites all....
“Because I first loved you!”

Yes, Jesus made Himself less.
To give us more than deserved.
He is able.
He is holy.
He is Easter.
He is here.

Hallelujah... for our God lives in us, for us, and with us forevermore!!!
Blessed be the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and Happy Easter to all who believe!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

our impact, His influence

Well, today it just got real as my hubby informed me that someone he and his boss had a meeting with on March 11th has now been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Fortunately none of our households have shown any symptoms of the virus and we have all been very conscientious to maintain healthy boundaries and use antibacterial agents religiously.  But let me tell y’all... hearing about someone in your circle contracting this virus really hits close to home.

Soooo, just as I was being told the news about Chuck’s business associate, I felt something crawling on the back of my neck and realized a big bug was on me!  😳!!!  Apparently a very large ant had crawled on my back while I was planting new tomato plants in the garden just a few moments before.  Immediately I did the “get it off me dance” and sent the poor guy flying.

Clearly I’m on edge.

We all are.

For these are uncertain times, right?

Thankfully, it was just a little ant that I over-reacted to in the depth of my immediate stress.
It was just an ant.  Phew.

As I settled down from my creepy crawly freak out, I realized something very important.  Clearly, God has already protected me and my family from the scariest of danger.  Not just in the form of a little innocent ant, but we have miraculously been shielded from a deadly bug much more lethal.

Thank you, Father.  Please continue to watch over us all.

I am so thankful that God has kept my already weakened immune system free of this major illness.  He has protected my family and helped us keep level heads.  (Despite my ant moment, lol.)

In this rare global pandemic situation, we must all make wise, purposeful decisions and avoid panic-motivated reactions.  We must not allow our fear to rule over our responses.  We must consider that the choices we make today can definitely impact the wellbeing of another person's tomorrow.  But more important than all of that, we must remember that greater than our personal impact may have on one another is our great God’s influence over all mankind.  We must be thankful and share the good news of His sovereignty.  For He is truly in control.  He is King over all seen and unseen.  And His influence teaches each of us to do all things in Christ's love.  To depend on Him for every single need.  To seek Him first/most/always.  To trust that greater is He (God) that is in me than he that is in the world (the spirit of antiChrist/Satan/evil).  What an encouragement to know that God loves us enough to save us from all evil.  His influence of love reaches farther than any pandemic.  Hallelujah... for His influence is eternal and what each of us needs the very most.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4)

Yáll, I know COVID-19 has made our day-to-day lives more isolated.  I know that we all are coping with the loss of what once was and what will possibly be our new normal moving ahead.  But the good news is this: God has overcome all the yuck in this world and invites us to join His eternal family in Spirit.  His authority spans far beyond this place and time... beyond the whole universe... beyond every microbe and every galaxy.  If we believe in Jesus as our Lord, we are His people!  And He loves us so much.  Such perspective affords us the grace to react more wisely and lovingly in this and every trial.  We can focus our energy on sharing His good news, hope and help to those who really need to receive Him.

So today, I'd like to encourage all who read this little blog to check-in with someone and share Christ's wonderful love.  Call in and say hello.  Text, email, or stream online with a friend, colleague, family member with whom you have not talked to in a while.  Stay in touch with the means we have been afforded in this unique time and place.  Let me say it again... stay in touch.  Notice all the blessings you have been afforded and share His praises with one another.  For our God is good.  His mercies are new every morning!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Folks, this horrible, dangerous virus is real.  It is here.  But it too, shall pass.

So as we wait it out, let's invite others to know the greatest gift given to all mankind...  Christ's perfect love.  Remember, He is ever-faithful.  He will see us through all trials.  He will protect and uphold His people forever.

Share His life-giving influence as you make sound choices that impact other's wellbeing.

This is the day to love.
This is the day to be thankful together.
This is the day to seek Jesus first/most/always.

God bless us, everyone!!!

Victoria

2020 © Copyright | All Rights Reserved Victoria Anderson | The Devoted Woman

Thursday, February 27, 2020

fear not

It’s been a long while since I’ve shared anything on this blog page.  (Sorry about that, y’all.)  But those of you who follow my social media pages already know that the last two years have been quite taxing on me with increased chronic pain and health issues.

Without getting into all the nitty gritty details, today I find myself home again, in my pajam-jams, while still recovering from yet another necessary surgery and not being able to walk a full day without serious swelling and ouchie inflammation.  In fact, for many, many months, I have had to remain quite still, isolated, and mostly stationary in this space… watching old television and reading new books.  Anyway, sorry that I've not been writing more.

Anywhooo… this morning the hubby and I were up early enjoying some time together and discussing the state of the world.  (A big topic to hit at 5:30 a.m. but I was grateful to chat about anything other than my health woes.)  And though I do not care to elaborate with yáll about our political opinions and views, I do want to share where this conversation led us to.  You see, because I no longer work full time due to my health hardships, the Lord has been testing Chuck and I on how much we depend on Him vs. how much we allow our fears to impact the direction of our day-to-day lives.

Yes… FEAR!

We fear.

Humanity fears.

We spiral and stress.

We worry, worry, worry.

We panic while we forecast and make lists in our heads about handling the worst case scenarios of the day...

The worst job situation.  Being fired and out of work.
The worst home situation.  Being homeless.
The worst relationship situation.  Breaking up or possibly never finding anyone at all.
The worst health situation.  Disease… Ongoing Pain… Blindness… Deafness… Disability… Death.
The worst financial situation.  Debt.
The worst political situation.  Lost freedoms.  Broken economies.  Corrupted leaders.  Forgotten manners, cultures, traditions.

These many fears influence how people exist.
Our moods, our bank accounts, and our time hinges on the millions of threats out there to be faced.

But God commands us, “Do not fear.”
Why?
Because He is with us.

Just like my spouse is “with me”… standing by me, supporting me, loving me through this life… more so, God Almighty walks with us in a very personal, intimate, and covenant way.

This is the Savior who endeavors wherever we endeavor.  He sees everything we see.  He even died on our behalf, no matter if we would acknowledge His authority and love Him in return.  Simply, God promises to be right here, right now with us.  He ordains our steps, defines our purpose, promises our future, strengthens and helps, and continues to love, and give, and bless despite our human messiness.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10)

So why do we fear?
Rather, why don’t we cast away our fears and notice God with us?

I think it is because we usually are our own worst enemy.  We trust ourselves, our own logic, our inner reason, and our desires in the everyday more than we seek after His Word and His Way.  As such, we end up lacking and afraid.  Believing the lie that we too are in control.  Behaving in our own best interest rather than choosing to lay lovingly upon the altar of the Creator who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Why do we fear?
Because we are self-focused rather than inspired in His grace.

Seriously, we fear so much.  But in truth, we only need to fear the Lord in humble reverence.  For we are not God.  We cannot know the unknown things ahead.  We cannot determine the depth of the waves or the strength of a storm.  We can only trust or not trust His eternal promises.  Obey or not obey His lawful commandments.  Worship or not worship His holy throne.  We are broken, but He is not.  We are tarnished and corrupted, but He is not.  Without Him, we are lost and struggling to survive a fate we alone cannot overcome.  We need God with us.  We need His help.  We need His adoption and love to save us each day... forever.

So rather than fear… why not rejoice?
Rather than panic and make lists in our heads about horrors that may or may not await... why not focus on His holiness and nothing else.  For He knows the trial.  He knows our path.  He is with us, and that is what matters most.

So, do not fear.
God is here.
He is strong.
He will help.
He will uphold.
He will see you through.
He promises and is able to protect you.
He is all you need to live this day.
His covenant stands eternal.
His love for you is everlasting.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)

Blessings,

Victoria

2020 © Copyright | All Rights Reserved Victoria Anderson | The Devoted Woman

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