August 17, 2011

My Bible Swallowed Up My Food Journal! :D

Posted in Devotionals, Disability at 2:35 am by Sarah Bosse

This post is about applying the Bible to real-life problems.  Here’s how I did it this week…

My G.I. psychologist gave me some homework last time I saw him, which was our first meeting. He wanted me to start yet another food journal. But the journal he wanted had some different questions to answer each day than the normal journal that I am used to using for tracking the food I eat and what symptoms I have. This one asks me what I ate when having GI symtpoms, what I was doing, what I was thinking about and how much I believed the thoughts (on a scale from 0 to 10), a description of my symptoms (again, with a scale of 0 to 10), and a description of how I felt (and 0 to 10).

Being me, and having large handwriting, there is absolutely no way that I was going to fit all of that on the one piece of paper he gave me, so I added it to my pH notebook. Like any journal I start, I have been painfully honest when I write. For several days, I literally felt like poop (but I used a more colorful word for it). On the days when I was so exhausted that I felt like I might pass out, my mood was about equally bad, and I had several days where I just wanted the day to be over – make it go away! On Sunday I have a pity party, and again God was not in the picture. On Monday I did get a few things done around my home, but my mind was wrapped up around food food food food food.

I tend to see food is the enemy rather than recognizing that Satan and my own flesh is my enemy, though they may take every opportunity to whisper to me that it is actually the food and not them against which I wage this battle. Sounds like deception’s clarion voice to me. It’s time for me to bring the Bible into the most frustrating parts of my life, not only the most painful.  Perhaps my Bible will eat up my food journal like Moses’ snake ate the Egyptian’s serpents? …maybe?…

Please forgive the lack of formatting to differentiate Bible verses from my babble in between.  In my personal journal on my computer it’s color coded, but WordPress wouldn’t allow me to copy and paste any text formatting. Go figure.

Psalm 139:1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

In light of my distrust of verses 13-16, this takes on more meaning – cleanse me of my anxious thoughts, my fears, expose my ways and thoughts because they are already known to You. There’s an interesting use of tense here.  The psalmist says that God HAS ALREADY searched him and known him – in the PAST.  But by the end of the psalm, you can see the psalmist ASKING for God to search him and know him in the present, and to reveal such things to him for his growth in spiritual maturity.

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You know when I stay in bed too long, when I wear out and have to rest, when I rise and how I use my limited energy for YOU (not just me).

you discern my thoughts from afar.

My thoughts matter to You.  They either glorify or dishonor You.

3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Because You know all my ways, all my habits, all my thoughts, all my fears…and You know all things in my life (past, present, future) and how they will work out in the end (Rom 8:28), You are in the unique position of guiding me.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You know the full measure of my words both spoken and silenced.

5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

Even when I feel sick, Your hand is upon me; even when I’m worn out, You are behind and before me, protecting me and guiding me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

But it is the glory of kings to seek out a matter (Prov 25), and I’m honored to be able to try to understand even a part of these truths.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I am sick in bed, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

If I am lonely and alone, unable even to be around other people for weariness…

10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;

You can find me there – it’s not dark to You, so I’m not lost – You still see me even when I cannot see anything and I’m blinded by weariness and/or depression.

the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

Am I to be angry at You for how you made me? Is the clay to complain to the potter because the potter didn’t give it a long handle? Is not some for honorable and other for dishonorable use?  What should my response be to knowing that God Himself made me for His glory, even when it hurts?  I will praise Him…

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

And when my soul doesn’t know it very well, that’s where faith comes in and trusts.

15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

I imagine You smiling as You carefully, “intricately,” form one You love, as you enjoy the secrecy of it, the inability of man to imitate Your works which You have kept for Yourself.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

That’s the days of pain, joy, sorrow, gratitude, a time for every season under the sun.  You already knew them and how my life would play out before I was born.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

If He thinks so many thoughts that I cannot fathom, how likely is it that He’s worked out all these things (written about my life) so that they will glorify Him even when I don’t understand HOW – the He DOES comprehend what I see as a mystery? Very likely!

I awake, and I am still with you. ….

Doesn’t matter if I’m awake or asleep.  Night terrors can’t separate us.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!

Do I really want Him to “try me”?  Sure feels like that’s what He has been doing lately.  I feel stretched thin in so many directions.  The psalmist is actually ASKING for this, so that He might know God more and Honor Him more and be Lead in the way everlasting – it’s an exercise of growth for the psalmist and me too.  *Wink to self.*

24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

God’s way is the only everlasting way, the only way that will have a glorious eternity.

Romans 8: 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, When I am thinking about my challenges, I’m thinking about the flesh, about things that will end and pass away, and I am not looking to spiritual realities but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit I need to trust God for His purposes and seek to glorify Him through my attitude about suffering in light of the cross and the suffering Jesus bore for me. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace Life and peace sounds better to me and definitely a better gift to others!. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God I don’t want to be hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you Yay!. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him L. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness Whose righteousness? Christ’s Righteousness!. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you The ability, through the Spirit, to do what in the body (mind included) is impossible due to weakness and the flesh.

8:23b we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons It drives me to the cross and the Word of God, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Am I being patient and exercising faith and trust in the promise? Am I claiming the promise as my own? Am I seeing this suffering as temporary and God’s glorification through my attitude as eternal? 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Thank Goodness!  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Thank You, God, for praying for me.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? If God is for me, what disease can be against me? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?…35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Do I doubt the love of God when the list below is dished out in my life? I have no Biblical reason to, yet there have been many times that I’ve accused God of not loving me BECAUSE He allowed the following.  I often forget about verses 37-39. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword, or weariness, or depression, or fear, or sickness, or difficult relationships, or lack of finances, or malnutrition, or hunger…? 36 As it is written,37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. I am a conqueror BECAUSE He loved (and loves) me. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, (not ONLY all the things in the previous list (verse 35), but also all the other things listed here!…can separate me from the love of God) nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It Hurts, But He Has Not Forgotten.

 

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May 26, 2011

I Think I’m Trippin’ Y’all!

Posted in Disability, Prayer Request at 8:36 pm by Sarah Bosse

This week, for the first time in literally 3 years, I am going on a trip that will take me more than 2 hours from my home.  This is the first time in 3 years that I’ve been able to go that far before!  And if it wasn’t for my wheelchair, I wouldn’t be able to go!!  God has used that wheelchair to give me SO MUCH MORE FREEDOM than I had before!
I’m going to Florida with friends – we’re going to a Christian conference (www.thisisnext.org).  😀  And I’m so excited!  I’ve been cooking most of the day today (except during the hours I was working from 4p-9p) and making meal plans so that I can pack two coolers and a box with food I can take on the trip since everything I eat must be prepared ahead of time in my allergen-free kitchen because my allergies and the severity of my celiac disease and gluten ataxia really are life-threatening.
I can’t believe I’m doing this in some ways!  😀  I mean, I’ve adjusted my lifestyle SO MUCH to work with my increased limitations over the last few years.  I’ve given up so much just in the name of “surviving”.  So, to finally do something that I like and that I’ve not been able to do for years is really amazing to me.
I just don’t want to miss this opportunity to be grateful, you know?  We all take SO MUCH FOR GRANTED!  And here I am!  I’m able (I think – we’ll find out for sure!) to travel for a few days, and even if it requires extensive planning (how to fit a wheelchair, crutches, coolers and a box of food with a luggage bag and pillows and medications…into a car that other people are riding in; how to avoid contamination while traveling; how to manage pain when riding in the car; how to sleep on a flat bed that most people sleep on without waking up a lot from spasms; etc), it’s worth it for me to GET OUT AND LIVE and ENJOY life and be with PEOPLE, and have a vacation where I can listen to excellent preaching, teaching, join thousands of others in worship, and have dedicated time to read the Word and soak in more of the knowledge of God and His grace.  Isn’t that worth so much?!  Wow. I feel really blessed!  I might be the most blessed person in the United States…no…in the WHOLE WORLD!  Really!  Can you think of anyone who has it better than I do?!  I can’t!  God and my friends and church have been so kind to me.
Please pray for safe travels for everyone going.  And for me especially, please pray for pain control, and that I will have energy while there to be “all there”.  Please also ask that I would hear the Holy Spirit clearly and have very refreshing time in the Word.  I also need an appetite so that I will want to eat, and I need to sleep well enough to function.  I’m sure I’m forgetting something.  If you happen to think of something I left out, please also add that in!  😀  Your prayers are coveted.
Thanks, friends!!  😀  Here we go!!!!!!

December 6, 2010

Prayers In The Night – a prayer poem for a friend

Posted in Disability, Poetry, Prayer Request at 1:08 am by Sarah Bosse

Prayers In The Night
written for a friend
Friday, 5.29.09, 2:15am

Our prayers are that this night
you will receive peace and rest,
and wake in the morning fully refreshed
by the incomprehensible power of God.

The Lord goes before you
and you are not alone.
Your Heavenly Father adores you;
His child He will not give a stone.

Through all these days, years, months, and miles,
He has walked you through every fiery trial
For His own glory and your eternal good.

The Sovereign Lord who created the galaxies
Condescended to become human flesh.
Tempted and tried, hung on a cross to die,
Knowing all manner of grief and pain.

Yet three days later He rose again!
And we are granted life through His resurrection.
The power of God that raised Christ will raise us too
so that in this Christian life, we will be made new.

Turn to Him now and look upon His face,
and the world will grow dim in the light of His grace.

Hear your Savior interceding for you with perfect prayers,
pointing to His wounds, how He bought you fair and square.
No evil may touch you, no pain and no harm,
but that which the Lord allows; so do not be alarmed.
“Fear Not!” the Lord said to fearful disciples many a time;
“I control the wind and waves; they obey my voice and are mine.”

We obey Your voice and come to You right now;
before Your throne we humbly bow,
seeking Your face and the light of Your grace
to fill us with increased faith.

How grateful we are to have a high priest
Who knows that we are frail and weak,
who remembers that we are but dust
and loves us still; and so we trust His sovereign will.

Amen!

Sarah M. Bosse

July 13, 2010

God Cares About Your Body And Your Healing – But He Has His Priorities

Posted in Devotionals, Disability tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:32 pm by Sarah Bosse

If you’re walking through a time of pain and sickness in your life, it’s easy to think that physical healing is the one thing you need more than anything else.  It’s sometimes also what others think you need most.  But it’s not always what God KNOWS you need most.  After years and years of praying for healing, it can become difficult to say that prayer and ask for healing even one more time.  In my case, it’s not that I think God unable to heal.  In fact, God has shown me a number of times in my own life that he is entirely able to heal my body.

Usually it is one of two things that makes it difficult for me to pray for healing.  The first reason it can be difficult is that I may truly be hoping for healing, and it does not come.  This can be emotionally draining and disheartening.  But when I am of a better mindset, and I am content, I am okay with the suffering, because I can begin to see the fruit that it produces in my life.  I would rather have pain that produces fruit than a painless life that is worthless and fruitless.

I have, at times, been told that it is a lack of faith that has prevented me from being healed permanently. Yet I fully believe that God has the power to heal as he wills. Even more, I am confident he will heal me in his perfect timing, which may be when he calls me home.  In light of eternity, I am already saved, healed, and perfected.  I must surrender my desire for healing (while on earth) over to him and not let it become a spiritual stumbling block, a pathetic excuse for throwing a hateful fist at God with a demand that he heal me because of my faith.

True faith is a gift that comes from God and not from within myself. Attempting to wield faith as a manipulative tool against God to somehow make him do what we want is an absolute perversion of faith’s intended purpose, which is to draw us near to God as we trust in what is unseen but known through faith. Faith helps us to transcend the real-life circumstances around us and give our minds and souls ascent to the reality of Christ’s all-sufficiency. Faith doesn’t demand, but trusts, believes, and obeys.

Faith has two hands.  One of Faith’s hands is open and eagerly receives from God whatever He wills to give.  The other is set to work and fervently takes the seeds received in the palm of the first hand and plants it into the ground so that they may grow; and fruit is produced from the labor and works of faith.  Faith without works is dead.  Works without faith are fruitless, because we may be working, but we have no seeds to plant into the soil we are digging.  But without the gifts of God and our ability, by His grace, to receive His gifts, we are unable to have seeds to plant and fruit to grow.  Every good thing comes from God.

Now, if I did not have faith that God can and will heal in his perfect timing, then yes… there is biblical evidence that doubt could hinder healing.  I believe that’s another topic for another blog post, however, and I prefer not to detract nor distract from the main ideas here.

God is jealous of His people and their hearts.  His name is Jealous – Exodus 34.  HE calls HIMSELF by the name “Jealous”.

Verse 14 makes plain what the covenant demands from Israel and what image we should have in our mind. “For you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” The demand of the covenant is for single-minded worship of God alone. And the image created in our mind by the word “jealous” is the picture of a lover or a husband who gets angry when someone else competes for the heart of his wife or when her heart goes away after other lovers.

This picture is confirmed by verses 15 and 16 which warn Israel against playing the harlot with other gods. The demand of the covenant is: don’t be a harlot. Don’t commit adultery against God. Don’t let your heart turn from him and go after other things. For your God, your husband, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

God is jealous like a powerful and merciful king who takes a peasant girl from a life of shame, forgives her, marries her, and gives her not the chores of a slave, but the privileges of a wife—a queen. His jealousy does not rise from fear or weakness but from a holy indignation at having his honor and power and mercy scorned by the faithlessness of a fickle spouse.

The ten commandments are not a job description for God’s employees. They are the wedding vows that the peasant girl takes to forsake all others and to cleave to the king alone and to live in a way that brings no dishonor to his great name.

I urge you to listen to this warning. The jealousy of God for your undivided love and devotion will always have the last say. Whatever lures your affections away from God with deceptive attraction will come back to strip you bare and cut you in pieces. It is a horrifying thing to use your God-given life to commit adultery against the Almighty.

But for those of you who have been truly united to Christ and who keep your vows to forsake all others and cleave only to him and live for his honor—for you the jealousy of God is a great comfort and a great hope. Since God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, anything and anybody who threatens the good of his faithful wife will be opposed with divine omnipotence.

Now, I must pray that God will reveal to me what is in my heart and those things that are idols in my life and that draw my focus away from God and towards this temporal life.  It is our sinful temptation to worship the gifts and not the Giver.  IS MY DESIRE FOR HEALING ASSUMING THE PLACE OF GOD IN MY HEART?  Sometimes it does for me.  God is faithful to reveal my sin and call me back.  He wants to be on the throne.  And He will remove anything necessary in my life to achieve His glorious purpose of causing me to worship Him – and I praise Him for that!

So now, let’s go back to the idea of physical healing and how faith, eternity, and God’s preeminence by listening to a short (less than 3 minute) video by John Piper, who is more equipped to end this blog post with something noteworthy that both you and I will remember.  To God be the Glory for the things He has done, the things He will do, and the things He has already done but that we only now see by faith during our short time on earth.

TRANSCRIPT
Don’t make a mistake.  God cares about your body.  Big time.  He simply didn’t come to fix all that in this age.  He cares 10 million times more about your soul, and about your everlasting life, and about the resurrection from the dead at the last day when this old body will rise and be made new, and we will… what does it say in the fighter verse?  He will wipe away every tear from her eyes, death will be no more.  Neither mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things will have passed away.  Oh, he cares about crying.  He cares about tears.  He cares about leukemia, he cares about cancer, he cares about sore throats, he cares about depression.  He cares about these things.  But he cares 10 million times more about what becomes of us forever.  We just have to keep these things balanced right.  And your eternity is 10,000, 10,000, 10 million, pick a number, times more important than whether you get well now.  What matters is that you get well eventually and stay well for ever!  Satisfied not mainly by his gifts, but by himself.  This is eternal life, that they might know you, the only God and the One whom you have sent.  So he cares, but in a certain order, both in priority and time.  He will make you well, yes he will, in due time; every one of you who trusts him.

February 18, 2010

Great Specialty Products – Selling Gluten-Filled “GF” Bread Products to Celiacs

Posted in Disability, Stories tagged , , , , , , , at 10:25 am by Sarah Bosse

Well, this is a sad incident to report and makes me much more wary of products and companies claiming to be “gluten free”. I had bought bagels from this company and when I ate them I said, “Oh my goodness! These are so good! How can they be gluten free?!” I was already sick from a previous glutening, so if I was glutened by these non-GF bread products, I wouldn’t have known the difference. I was in probably my second or third month of gluten-free living, and I know more now than I did then. But this story is really scary if gluten is a major problem for you because you have gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease.

Just a few nights ago, two days after being officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I woke up from very vivid nightmare, in tears. I dreamed that I had opened a bread bag, and oh…that bread was soooo soft and yummy, and I took the first bite. But before I swallowed it, I looked on the bag and realized “OH NO! IT’s NOT GLUTEN FREE!!” and I rushed to the sink to try to wash every single crumb out of my mouth and then cried because I didn’t know if I had just glutened myself. Granted, it was just a dream and when I woke up, tears soaking my face and pillow, I realized it was a nightmare. But it amazes me that someone could be so mean as to sell regular bread and target it specifically to Gluten-Free or Celiac consumers!

I’m sad to see those WONDERFUL TASTING bagels and breads go, but in another, much greater sense, I am all too happy to see them go. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is.

And if it tastes too good to be Gluten-Free, then it’s probably NOT Gluten-Free.

Here is how the story came out in the news, and you can find more information about it online.
Company: Great Specialty Products, Durham NC
Owner: Paul Seelig (also goes by other fictitious names)

http://thegfcfcookbook.blogspot.com/2009/12/every-celiacs-nightmare.html

http://glutenfreeraleigh.blogspot.com/2010/02/nc-vs-great-specialty-products-update.html

http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news/story/47183/local-bakery-closes-after-gluten-is-found-in-gluten-free-bread/

Sarah Bosse

February 15, 2010

Diagnosis Dependency

Posted in Disability, Prayer Request tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:27 pm by Sarah Bosse

This has been an interesting week.  I’ve seen a few doctors, had my blood drawn and a few x-rays taken, and continued to push through each exhausting day by the grace of God.  I received the diagnosis of Celiac Disease this week.  I wasn’t surprised – I have been on a gluten-free diet since July 28, 2009 – about six months – because I strongly suspected either gluten intolerance or Celiac Sprue.

There are two ways to react to a diagnosis that I think are common among people who have been SEARCHING for the right diagnosis for a long time (i.e. years).  First, there is relief. Relief in the fact that a few of the unknowns are now known and there is a potential plan (depending on the diagnosis) for what one can do to improve his/her quality of life.  Then the second response is sadness. Sadness because, while it’s nice to have answers, a person must still live with his/her diagnosis on a daily basis.  And these two feelings alternate and intermingle.  I feel both relief and sadness, often at the same time.

My doctor thinks there may still be more behind my ills than simply Celiac Disease.  So while it’s nice to have a diagnosis that I can do something about (The way to control Celiac Sprue is to avoid all gluten-containing foods…easier said than done, but possible.), we don’t have all the answers.  Is my fibromyalgia caused by Celiac Disease and the resulting nutritional deficiencies?  Is it caused by something else – some other autoimmune disorder?  There are still many more questions than answers.

So I called a friend earlier this week to discuss my thoughts and frustrations.  We talked for a while about how we were each “searching for the right diagnosis”.  She had sought a diagnosis for more than 10 years and finally been diagnosed.  But then, this year, her new doctor wasn’t convinced of her diagnosis and she’s back at square one, being told that her doctors “don’t know what she has”.  Ouch.  I’ve been told it was everything from IBS to a problem “in [my] head,” and now it’s Celiac Disease.  The diagnosis keeps changing, and probably will continue to change as the years march on.

It is easy to get caught in the trap of seeking worldly wisdom or knowledge.  There’s a certain level of false comfort one can receive from believing that he/she now has been correctly diagnosed and that doctors know what to do about the problem.

There are several reasons for why this is a FALSE comfort:
*  We may put our faith in doctors (people…some of them are at least…), rather than in the Great Physician – God.  Everyone but God may fail us, but God remains true to His Word.
*  A diagnosis may change over time; God doesn’t change.
*  Being so focused on having a diagnosis may lead us to value comfort in this life (so-called “quality of life”?) over living for God’s purposes (which, by the way, don’t frequently take personal comfort into account).
*  Our thoughts may be taken up with thinking too much of ourselves and “our problems” rather than with asking God what He wants us to do with the brief time He’s put us on earth.  We meditate on ourselves rather than on God, and therefore do not love the Lord with our minds.

Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding.6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

There are some real promises here in Proverbs 3.  If we trust the Lord, depending on Him rather than on a diagnosis, and we let go of our conceptions of “wisdom” and seek spiritual wisdom from His Spirit, submitting our meditations and worries to His care, thereby turning away from evil…God says that this will be healing for our flesh and refreshment to our bones.  There’s a real physical and spiritual gain to be had here by adopting God Dependency and forsaking Diagnosis Dependency.

Trusting God means we don’t get dejected. We will still have emotions – we are human; not robots…and even God has emotions.  But our joy doesn’t ride on the back of a diagnosis – it soars on the wings of Love, over and above everything that a diagnosis does or does not mean during our short lives.  That “healing to your flesh” and “refreshment to your bones” might well come from NOT WORRYING.

Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The “burden” we have when we concern ourselves with the things of God is lighter than the burden we carry when we concern ourselves with matters that should be God’s to handle in the first place.  He gives us fewer to take on than we choose or try to take on ourselves.  And so we worry about things we cannot change.

James MacDonald assembles these ideas succinctly:

“Rest is best understood as “peace without resolution”….I have been poring over Psalm 37, praying for understanding as to how that promised rest (Matthew 11:28-30) is experienced.  My study and meditation on Psalm 37 has yielded this single insight which has been incredibly impacting for me.

Trust without Waiting = Striving. I have done too much of that.  Proverbs 20:3, “It is good that a man should stop striving.”

Waiting without Trusting = Worrying. I have done too much of that.   Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life.”

Trusting + Waiting = Rest. I trust that God will work for my good.  I have done what I know to do, and now I must wait for Him.  I am at rest!  I have peace without resolution, and it is a wonderful experience for which I thank the Lord.”

God, please help me to adopt God Dependency and forsake my sinful Diagnosis Dependency.  Help me to trust you, stop worrying and striving, and take up the rest and healing you promise to give.  I don’t need to know all the answers – YOU are my Answer, Lord.  Thank You for Your faithfulness and steadfast love.

November 4, 2009

Remembering November 4, 2007 – The Accident

Posted in Disability, Prayer Request, Stories tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:41 pm by Sarah Bosse

Today is the two-year date of my accident on November 4, 2007, at nearly 1:30pm.  It’s a difficult day for me, but I’m doing alright.  In some way I remember the accident daily.  It impacts every day by adding physical pain to what I had already experienced from fibromyalgia, birth defects, osteoarthritis in some joints, stress fractures, and other problems.  Every time I wince or my back spasms, it’s a reminder of what happened on that day.  My back has almost constantly been hurting since that day (minus two months, ending about this time last year, of full relief – what a miraculous rest I enjoyed, provided by God!). 
I also think about how God really spared me a lot of harm from that accident.  If you had seen the car afterwards, you would know that I was definitely protected by the hand of God.  Sometimes I wonder why He didn’t take my life on that day and bring me Home to New Life with Him.  I often wonder if the pain will ever go away, at least during this lifetime.  Could I have prevented the accident by being more diligent while driving?  I honestly don’t know.  But I often battle this creepy little guilt monster that tells me I should have done things differently.
There was some encouragement that came out of the wreckage, however.  I remember very clearly how near He was to me as my car flipped over in ‘slow motion’ and I was utterly powerless to control the situation that I felt would surely lead to either my death or dismemberment.  God wanted to show me that everything was in His hands. 
So many complete (hundreds, I dare say?) thoughts in just milliseconds raced through my mind as my car started to go airborne.  “I cannot do anything!” I thought to myself.  As that thought left my mind, it was replaced with another, more comforting thought.  “God, you’re in control now and I’m not.  I need your help.” 
 

Suddenly, as if I had been removed from my car which was headed for a tree, I was ‘transported’ back to my Occupational Therapy class at Pitt Community College, where Mrs. Haithcock was lecturing about car accidents and telling students that drunk drivers are often less seriously injured in vehicle accidents because, like sleeping drivers, they are relaxed and not bracing for impact.  Bracing for impact and tightening skeletal muscleture is frequently what causes the impact to break bones and cause soft tissue damage.  During that lecture, I remembered thinking to myself, “I wonder if it is possible, during an emergency situation like a car accident, to make your muscles relax to avoid injury?”  I don’t remember if I ever actually asked the question or not; probably not. 
As my car began to flip, I snapped back to the situation I was currently in.  I was very aware of what was happening around me and the fact that I was flipping over and that the brakes were utterly useless at this point.  I believe I shouted audibly “GOD, I CAN’T!” meaning “I can’t relax my body right now!  I’m afraid!”  God did not speak audibly back to me, but He spoke so clearly in my spirit that it wouldn’t have been any more convincing to me had he spoken audibly…and He said, “You’re right; you can’t, but I can.  I can make you relax.  Now relax your body, relax your muscles.”  And I immediately became like a ragdoll as the car threw me violently over and over, without my body resisting. 
I counted myself flipping around three times.  Witnesses counted “at least four times”.  In any case, I landed upside down.  But by the time I landed, I had no idea which way was up…nor the fact that I was “down”.  My car had landed upside-down in a ditch, the back window somehow hanging up high in a tree, the back end having smashed sideways into a tree at nearly full force (55 mph).  People I had met just that day came to get me out of the car.  If the accident had happened a mere week from that day, I would have drowned.  We had been experiencing a drought, but the next week it rained and poured, and that same ditch was filled to the top with water.  It took too long for me to get out of the car, and with the back window having been popped out and the other windows cracked and “holy,” there is no way I would have made it had I been in that accident seven days later…save for another miracle. 
*Deep sigh.*  Yeah, a lot has happened through and since that day in 2007.  Dreams have had to be drastically changed.  Life has become more challenging in many ways.  The one thing I need to give God for Christmas is an “easy” button.  I think Staples has them on sale during the Christmas season.   Of course, I’m just joking.  For God, nothing is impossible.  But that doesn’t mean He’s guaranteed to take the shortcut route. 
 
At the end of the day, I won’t be able to figure out all of God’s reasons for why he allowed the accident, protected me through it, allowed the consequences of it to last for 2 full years thus far, and what He desires to continue to do through it to change my heart and life for His glory, etc.  The answers are too big for me to understand, and chasing them down is basically like chasing the wind; it won’t get me anywhere.
 

I like what Joni Eareckson Tada said:

“Rather than answers, I believe God wants you to see Jesus as the Answer.  He’s the One who holds all the reasons in His hand.  And having His hand to hold onto through this difficult time is enough!”

 
 
So I Will Trust You
 
Almighty Maker, Universe Shaper,
You put the stars into space,
yet You descended, You have befriended
those who had hated Your name, just like me.

Chorus:
King of Glory, I know You love me,
so I will trust You.
Yes I will trust You.
God almighty, You have saved me,
so I will trust You.
Yes, I will trust in You.

Lord over nations, King of Creation,
heaven and earth bow to You.
I am Your child, I’ve been reconciled,
with tender affection You drew me to You.

Chorus

Bridge:
How could I not trust my King,
the One who has formed me and shaped me?
I will rejoice and will sing,
for the One who has made me has saved me.

October 26, 2009

He Uses Broken Things

Posted in Devotionals, Disability, Hymns / Songs / Lyrics, Poetry tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:39 am by Sarah Bosse

I wrote this poem today. It’s half-poem, half-song. I enjoy singing it full heartedly. The point is hopefully simple and clear. God uses broken things and redeems them. Doing so is very much a part of who He is and a reflection of His character and attributes.

He Uses Broken Things

He told the paralized man to take up his bed and walk
He uses the paralized and makes them to leap and run
He is the All-Powerful One

He told the storm to be still and a stiller stillness was never known
He uses the storms in our souls to increase our dependence and faith
He is the Ruler of Everything

He told the fever to depart; Peter’s mother-in-law rose to do her part
He uses the sick to show His compassion and healing
He is the Great Physician

He took splintered wood from trees and formed it into useful things
He uses what is and makes it what it was not, for His glory
He is the Craftsman of Galilee

He chose the weak to make known His matchless, sufficient grace
He uses human weakness to make His power more fully known
He is Our Help And Strength

He loved the sacrifice of an alabaster box and feet washed with tears and locks
He uses the broken dreams to show the value of the Christ and everlasting life
He is the Redeemer

He allowed Lazarus to die and wept bitterly, but brought him back to life for his family to see
He uses the dead to proclaim that He is the only source of life and breath
He is the Life-Giver

He gave Paul a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble before God
He uses thorns in our lives to keep our focus up above
He is the One Who Bore The Nails and Thorns

He answered the thief upon the cross, “Today you will join me in paradise”
He uses the plans of Satan to accomplish His own purposes
He is the One Who Died In Love

He is the All-Powerful One
The Ruler of Everything
The Great Physician
The Craftsman of Galilee
He is Our Help And Strength
He is The Redeemer
The Life-Giver
The One Who Bore The Nails and Thorns on the Cross
And the One Who Died In Love

He uses the storms, the thorns, the sick, the weak
He takes what is nothing and makes it beautiful
He uses broken dreams to redeem
He takes away death and brings new life

Let us rejoice in the character of God
For He has been faithful in all that He has done
Let us reach out in dependence and faith
Let us sing to Him our praise

He is the All-Powerful One
The Ruler of Everything
The Great Physician
The Craftsman of Galilee
He is Our Help And Strength
He is The Redeemer
The Life-Giver
The One Who Bore The Nails and Thorns on the Cross
And the One Who Died In Love
The One Who Died In Love

Copyright Sarah M. Bosse 10/26/2009

October 5, 2009

God Chose What Is Foolish In The World To Shame The Wise

Posted in Devotionals, Disability tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 11:59 am by Sarah Bosse

1 Cor 1:17-31

17 [Christ sent me] to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

July 21, 2009

Life Is Hard But God Is Good – Joni Eareckson Tada, ParkStreet Church Boston 2009

Posted in Devotionals, Disability tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:50 am by Sarah Bosse

I was unable to attend Joni’s series (Life Is Hard But God Is Good) at ParkStreet Church in Boston this summer, but I was able, courtesy of a friend, to watch and listen to her speak almost in real-time! For a limited time, you can download the MP3 of her lecture for free at ParkStreet Church’s website. The MP3’s of her lecture are filed under July 12th 2009. I hope that, if either you or someone you know or love or wish to minister to has been affected by disability, suffering, or hardships in life, you will listen to Joni’s message.

The whole message was good, but there were a few points that really stood out to me. I’ll try to capture them in a nutshell here and allow you to discover the rest on your own by listening to her lecture for yourself! You can also find other lectures by Joni on my blog – just type her name into the search box on the right-hand side and you should find several references to other lectures she’s given in the past.

During her lecture, Joni pointed out that (in my own words)…
Even if God gave us answers, we wouldn’t be satisfied. His answers would be like pouring the ocean into a kiddie pail – we couldn’t begin to comprehend how, from the beginning of all time, God had ordained these things in our lives for His glory and how every day and second of our lives was planned by Him before one of them came to be. Instead of answers, we just really want Him to wrap His Fatherly arms around us and tell us, “I am here; it will be okay, and I will work this out for your good and My glory!”

What Joni said is a lot to process. As she made her point, I said in my mind, “Yes, that’s true. Even if I had answers to the suffering, I wouldn’t be satisfied. She’s right; I really do just want God’s arms around me and his whisper telling me He’s here and it will be okay.” How true!

In a Joni and Friends newsletter I received earlier this year, I read the following: “Rather than answers, I believe God wants you to see Jesus as the Answer. He’s the One who holds all the reasons in His hand. And having His hand to hold onto through this difficult time is enough!” – Joni Eareckson Tada. I pinned the letter to the cork board on my bedroom wall as a reminder. That thought has remained with me and lodged itself in my heart. He has all the answers. I don’t need the answers; I just need Him.

I hope you’re now interested in hearing what this wise woman, Joni, has to say. I watched her speak during the evening service via streaming videocam. She arrived late because of a medical issue caused by her spinal cord injury. And she looked pretty worn out, pale, and was having trouble breathing. During her lecture that evening, I saw something in Joni that I had not seen before. And it touched my heart. She had given this lecture and other similar messages many times before. This is nothing new for her. She is used to saying the same things about suffering over and over again, and she’s used to affirming God’s character repeatedly. But on this evening, there was a war being waged; a spiritual war against discouragement, fear, and the Enemy.

Joni has been suffering intensely with pain for more than a year now, resulting from decades of using her neck and the few muscles she CAN use to compensate for all the ones she cannot. Years of compensation wears down the joints, bones, ligaments and tendons because the body isn’t designed to use just one part – all parts are to work together for the benefit of the whole, as Christ designed His church and our individual bodies. The body cannot be healthy when its parts do not work together. Joni’s spirit is strong, but her body is worn out. Just breathing requires everything she has got as her working muscles go into “overdrive” to give her better breath support.

So the fight was on and Joni knew it. As she lectured, with a little less description and fewer words in this evening lecture than she had given in the morning lecture, due to breathlessness, the necessary message came out. Joni was cutting it down the the essentials. She was preaching to herself. She wasn’t lecturing to others alone; she was speaking the TRUTH to herself, reminding herself of God’s character and His plan in suffering, commanding her soul with the psalmist in Psalm 42 to “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” despite circumstances. She was in the midst of circumstances causing her very significant pain; that kind of chronic pain and suffering that can play with your mind, taunting you with, “Where is your God now? Why won’t He deliver you from this suffering? Do you really think He loves you now, after all of this? Perhaps you’re all wrong about God!” Like the psalmist, however, I watched as Joni fought back – she was fighting for hope (Psalm 42:5,11); she was fighting against her emotions and, with the witnesses and powers of all of heaven backing her up, she was fighting to praise God, affirm His sovereign love, seek Him in this place, and preach to her own soul.

While I was sorry to see her suffering, I was also encouraged. It’s unlikely that I was the only person encouraged as we watched Joni painfully struggle through her lecture and simultaneously fight, with God on her side, for “hope in God“. Joni’s suffering and godly response that night gave us just a small glimpse of the larger picture of suffering and how we praise God – by faithfully coming to Him again and again with empty cups waiting to be filled with more of Him. Sometimes it isn’t the “strong Christians” that encourage us, but the “weak ones,” who are strong only in the power of Christ. Joni was an example, that night, of one who is supernaturally strong in Christ alone. It’s easy to think of dear Joni as a woman who knows all about this suffering thing and is an “expert sufferer,” as if time makes the suffering something of a wimpy “casual spiritual battle”. But she will very quickly tell you that’s not true; suffering rocks us to our core continually. To be privileged to watch a Christian “suffer well” by fighting for hope in God can cause you to realize that you’re standing on holy ground and the spiritual battle is real; it is in the “here and now,” it is intense, it’s part of our daily lives, our thoughts, responses, prayers. It is the Lord’s battle, and He will ultimately win the victory, but we are His warriors and we must fight with God-given courage! We must continue, as Joni has done for so many years, to proclaim and claim the Promises of God. He is worthy of our devotion, trust, and praise.

To Joni and all the saints who have “suffered well” as examples of Children of God who put their Hope in God, I say “Thank You!” Please take some time to listen to Joni’s lecture, “Life Is Hard But God Is Good,” and to pray for Joni, her husband Ken, and Joni and Friends Ministries.

Sarah M. Bosse

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