March 19, 2013

Is My Life Meaningful?

Everyone in this world longs to be loved even if they don't admit it, yet very few people seem to trust others enough to be vulnerable & make their lives an open book.

"To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved." ― George MacDonald

When our lives are filled with pain & frustration, that is when we need to trust the most!

Who is worthy of our trust?

Our families?

Our friends?

What about GOD?

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known GOD." ― Corrie ten Boom

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the CREATOR for all I have not seen." ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

For 5+ years I've suffered daily as nerve pain ravishes my body making even the simplest of tasks excruciatingly difficult & there has not been one second since the car accident where I've physically felt comfortable.

"But GOD doesn't call us to be comfortable. HE calls us to trust HIM so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if HE doesn't come through." ― Francis Chan

I thought living in Miami from 1991-1993 was a testimony of trusting the LORD completely but the intensity of living & ministering in Medellín, Colombia took complete trust to a whole new level!

There were times while I was walking through the most dangerous "barrios" that the HOLY SPIRIT prompted me to not go down a certain street.

How did the LORD communicate that to me?

Was HE speaking directly to me?

In "Discovering El Salvador!" in 1990, my sweet heavenly FATHER filled me with supernatural joy, love, & peace.

I could write for days on end about joy, love, & peace without ever conveying what they truly are & feel like because the supernatural is beyond our capacity to fully describe.

However, I can tell you that all the money in the world falls drastically short of the value of joy, love, & peace!

After being so profoundly impacted by the presence of peace in me while in war ravaged El Salvador, I now pray for the LORD to take away that peace if I should do or not do things that HE wants me to do.

So, as I walked through the most dangerous city in the world Medellín, Colombia ... I was filled with peace but if there was danger ahead, that peace would start to leave until I made the necessary adjustment to keep that peace from slipping away because let me tell you, once you've known peace, you are completely miserable when it's gone!

There may be people who think sharing what we know or learn is a bit eccentric.

"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric." ― Bertrand Russell

We are in good company if we are thought to be eccentric as all the so called knowledgeable people thought JESUS was eccentric!

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." ― Robert Frost

I refuse to be silent about what the LORD prompts me to share, even if it costs everything & several times through various moments of standing firm on my beliefs & the testimony of who JESUS is & what HE has done, has cost me dearly in the financial realm.

However, I am so grateful for the FATHER's provision to me even though to some it may appear to be meager.

Millionaires & even billionaires have committed suicide because they are so empty & lack meaning in their lives!

I am thankful for each meal. I am thankful for my loving wife. I am thankful for each & every person that has been a part of my journey.

Most of all, I am thankful that my FATHER not only created me but saved me through HIS SON JESUS CHRIST & daily fills me with HIS supernatural joy, love, & peace via the HOLY SPIRIT living in me!

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, & more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today & creates a vision for tomorrow." ― Melody Beattie

My life is full & I have more than I need which is why I strive to encourage others on a daily basis.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." ― William Durant

We can be excellent in our daily lives because we can overcome whatever may come our way through JESUS & our faith!

"For everyone who has been born of GOD overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that JESUS is the SON of GOD? This is HE who came by water & blood — JESUS CHRIST; not by the water only but by the water & the blood. And the SPIRIT is the one who testifies, because the SPIRIT is the truth." — 1 JOHN 5:4-6

All of us experience pain emotionally, mentally, physically, & spiritually but it's up to us as how we deal with it!

"You can't avoid pain, but you can choose to overcome it." ― Paulo Coelho

You may be thinking or yelling, "Easy for you to say!"


In the last 5 years:

I have not slept for more than 3 consecutive hours.

There have been several sleepless nights each month.

I'm awoken by muscle cramps in my calves so painful that I scream!

Just moving my arm feels like someone is stabbing my shoulder with a knife & twisting it to make sure it hits all the nerves!

As I shared before, being physically comfortable is a memory to me that is fading more & more each day because lying down, sitting, standing, or walking are all uncomfortable.

The simplest of tasks is extremely difficult as my fine motor skills seem to be destroyed as simply clasping a necklace sometimes takes 10 minutes or I can't even hold onto a pen to write a check.

I enjoy the variety of wildlife that either live on our lake or visit from the Atlantic Ocean or the Everglades but now I'm unable to throw a piece of bread more than 10 yards as it feels like someone is grabbing my arm & ripping it off as the burning sensation reverberates throughout my entire body!

So, how do I overcome all of that?

"The moment in which the mind acknowledges 'This isn't what I wanted, but it's what I got' is the point at which suffering disappears. Sadness might remain present, but the mind is free to console, free to support the mind's acceptance of the situation, free to allow space for new possibilities to come into view." ― Sylvia Boorstein

Does suffering ever truly disappear?

"GOD is calling us to live for the sake of CHRIST & to do that through suffering. CHRIST chose suffering; it didn't just happen to HIM. HE chose it as the way to create & perfect the church. Now HE calls us to choose suffering. That is, HE calls us to take up our cross & follow HIM on the Calvary road & deny ourselves & make sacrifices for the sake of ministering to the church & presenting HIS sufferings to the world." ― John Piper

So GOD actually wants me &  you to suffer?

How could that be?

What can we do to discover what is deep within us so that we may understand?

For me, writing has been a window into my body, mind, soul, & spirit.

"In the very act of writing I felt pleased with what I did. There was the pleasure of having words come to me, & the pleasure of ordering them, re-ordering them, weighing one against another. Pleasure also in the imagination of the story, the feeling that it could mean something. Mostly I was glad to find out that I could write at all. In writing you work toward a result you won't see for years, & can't be sure you'll ever see. It takes stamina & self-mastery & faith. It demands those things of you, then gives them back with a little extra, a surprise to keep you coming. It toughens you & clears your head. I could feel it happening. I was saving my life with every word I wrote, & I knew it." ― Tobias Wolff

It's amazing to me as I hated to write in school when I had to write yet now, I'm able to read what I have written & see where I was at that moment in time. To see where I had been, where I was, & where I hoped to go allows me to understand myself & any fears that I may have.

"Feed your fears & your faith will starve. Feed your faith, & your fears will. Can you imagine a life with no fear? What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats?" ― Max Lucado

My faith in GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON JESUS CHRIST, & GOD the HOLY SPIRIT grows stronger & stronger as I trust in HIM no matter what miserable & painful physical condition I may be suffering because I have faith in HIS promises to me!

"We are closest to CHRIST when sharing the world's misery. You think JESUS came to remove our pains? Wherever did you get that notion? The LORD came, not to remove our suffering, but to show us the way through it to the glory beyond. We can overcome our travails. That is the promise of the cross." ― Stephen R. Lawhead

The love JESUS has for you & for me is more powerful than anything else in this world & can carry us through the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

"For all these years, you've lived under the illusion that, somehow, you made it because you were tough enough to overpower the abuse, the hatred, the hard knocks of life. But really you made it because love is so powerful that tiny little doses of it are enough to overcome the pain of the worst things life can dish out. Toughness was a faulty coping mechanism you devised to get by. But, in reality, it has been your ability to never give up, to keep seeking love, & your resourcefulness to make that love last long enough to sustain you. That's what has gotten you by." ― Rachel Reiland

I long to leave this world & be with JESUS in heaven where there are no more tears & no more pain & a new body but for some reason or reasons, the LORD has other plans for me.

So, what are those plans?

GOD hasn't revealed all of HIS plans yet but one thing I know for sure, HE has blessed me richly through several unbelievably & extraordinarily ultra-cool friends!

"I believe GOD allows special people to enter our lives at the right moment in time to help us on our journey. Some of those special people are in our lives just a moment & others remain forever. No matter how long we are together, the timing is always arranged by divine care." ― Melissa G. Moore

What do I want my relationships with my friends to be like?

"I crossed a line by making his family's personal business my own. But isn't that what friendship is? Isn't that what love is? It's more than caring & laughing & inspiring. It's about taking hurt & anger off people's shoulders & helping to carry the weight. It's more important to love people on the worst days than their best." ― Katie Kacvinsky

Instead of just trying to make it through another day, I hope to do more than just encourage, inspire, & laugh with my friends.

I don't want to see them hurting or angry or overwhelmed, but if they are, I want to love them in the midst of all of that.

It's amazing to me that I need all of that yet in giving it to others, I receive exactly what the LORD knows that I need!

Is that cool or what?

Another part of the plan for my life is obviously writing or I wouldn't have a blog.

Is there more to me writing than what I've already shared?

"Writing & reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen & widen & expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose & their truths, & even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over & over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts & spirits of the people who are together on that ship." ― Anne Lamott

Why do I love to laugh or make other people laugh?

"I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much ... because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting." ― Robert A. Heinlein

I don't know if that's true for you or not, but I know that laughing in the midst of pain definitely eases the load on my shoulders.

Why has my blog been silent for so many weeks?

What has been going on within me?

If writing is my favorite form of expression, where has it been?

"Every child of GOD is not called by the LORD to establish schools & orphan houses & to trust in the LORD for means for them. Yet, there is no reason why you may not experience, far more abundantly than we do now, HIS willingness to answer the prayers of HIS children." ― George Müller

"Glory be to GOD who by HIS mighty power that is at work within us, is able to carry out HIS purpose & do super-abundantly, far over & above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams." ― EPHESIANS 3:20

You may check out my prior post "We Are Together" for a hint about what has literally made everything else in life unimportant!

Do you know what it is?

If so, please tell me as there are several possibilities & combinations of things that may come next as there is so much need out there for those who the world seems to have forgotten about, especially right here in the USA!

Is there ever going to be a conclusion to this hodgepodge of ideas & thoughts?

There is an incredible quote that rang so true to me & finally captured how not only me but anyone who is faced with circumstances that drain them emotionally, mentally, physically, & spiritually is able to rise above them.

"Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it." ― Eckhart Tolle

How will accepting whatever comes our way help us?

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." ― Maya Angelou

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the MASTER calls a butterfly." ― Richard Bach

"Death is a butterfly in it's cocoon waiting to fly." ― Maria Housden

There is freedom in CHRIST & that occurs when we accept all that is part of our journey, even when we don't see or think that GOD cares for us!

"Sometimes GOD allows what HE hates to accomplish what HE loves." ― Joni Eareckson Tada

Trusting GOD when things are going well for you is easy, the true test is to trust HIM when our lives are filled with what we consider are problems.

"HE uses our problems for HIS miracles. This was my first lesson in learning to trust HIM completely." ― Corrie ten Boom

Next time you feel frustrated or horrible or lack motivation, be courteous to someone by simply opening the door!

"The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of." ― C.S. Lewis

It's absolutely amazing what one small act of kindness can do!

"Certain people have said that the world is like a calm pond, & that anytime a person does even the smallest thing, it is as if a stone has dropped into the pond, spreading circles of ripples further & further out, until the entire world has been changed by one tiny action." ― Lemony Snicket

My life & your life are meaningful, especially when we are filled with joy, love, & peace!

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