[Guest post by Sandi Krakowski: This is an excerpt from Sandi’s book #BEMORE. I picked out this section to share with you because I think it’s important to remember that truly, God likes you!] Your thought for today: God not only loves you, He likes …
Tag: guest poster
[Guest post by Jenee Day: Previously, Jenee wrote for Devotional Diva on the topic of gossip. Today, she shares why she’s writing to distract herself. We’re praying for your family, Jenee!]
I am writing this to distract myself.
Waiting is not something I have ever been good at, and today I wait for a phone call that may literally change my families’ lives forever.
Bud is just 5 years old now, and he is the light of our lives. Handsome and silly, sometimes quiet and others completely rambunctious, he is generous with his kisses and with his desserts. Bud is everything I ever hoped my child would be.
And now… my son is sick. My perfect, sweet, smart, beautiful boy, is battling some illness that has yet to be diagnosed. Right now I am sitting on the floor of our living room, crying and typing while he naps.
How did we get here? In the past year, Bud has had several episodes that we have come to describe as normal for him: Fever, paleness, vomiting, night sweats, loss of appetite, dehydration, weight loss, irritability and other vague symptoms.
Recently I brought Bud to our local Pediatric Emergency Room, suffering from one these episodes. I packed myself a bag, vowing not to leave the hospital until we got some answers about what is going on in his little body.
We were admitted immediately. Within a couple of hours the nurses had him on IV fluids and had taken about 10 (no exaggeration) vials of his blood for testing. We saw no less than half a dozen doctors over the next few days. I vascillated between stoic and panic-stricken. I prayed. I laid in the bed with Bud and endured more hours of “Spongebob Squarepants” than any parent should have to.
One phrase rolled around in my head throughout this ordeal. It’s from the book of Matthew, chapter 8 (also found in Luke, chapter 7), the story of the Centurion who had great faith. He had heard about Jesus’ great healing power and begged him to heal a servant in his household. Jesus said “I will come and heal him”, to which the soldier replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
Lord, I am not worthy to be in your holy presence, but only SAY THE WORD and he will be healed.
As the hours went by, I answered frightening questions about family history. I heard words like “metabolic” and “mitochondrial”. Doctors and nurses came and went, sometimes offering comfort and other times speaking in hushed tones amongst themselves. I tried to do my own research on the internet, but that only served to magnify my fears, so I stopped. I stared at magazines. I held Bud close to me and I and kissed his face.
I prayed before my husband arrived. We prayed together over our son. We praised God for his goodness and we thanked him for the doctors and nurses working so hard to heal our precious baby. Mostly, we waited.
Neither of the possibilities is appealing. Mitochondrial disease means that something is not working correctly on a very basic level – inside the cells in Bud’s body. According to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation website, mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow.
On the other hand, metabolic disease means that Bud’s little body has difficulty breaking down certain substances (carbohydrates, fat, nitrogen) to use for energy. These types of diseases are inherited, and it’s likely that my husband or myself (or both) carry the defective gene and we passed it on to our son. Mild forms can be treated with supplements, while others have no defined treatment.
Finally, we were released to our home awaiting test results.
We immediately went into “make it feel normal” mode, starting with a bubble bath for Bud and some cartoons in warm fuzzy pj’s.
I washed everything that smelled like hospital and cooked a big dinner. We all sat together and loved on each other . Once Bud was asleep, I completely dissolved into a messy, blubbering heap. I wept and I prayed and my sobs interrupted my thoughts so often that I kept starting over, trying to plead with God, trying to understand what was happening.
At first, all this waiting seemed like a nightmare. I am not a patient person anyway, and anyone who has sat more than one night in a hospital can attest to how mind-numbing it is. But then I began to understand the work that God is doing in my heart. I believe he has used these times when I have no choice but to be still, to draw me closer to him.
He has shown me truths about who he is, and who I am in him.
God has reminded me that:
- *He is in control. In our lives, control is an illusion, and while I struggle to figure out how to fix this for my son, God wants me to rely on HIM in times of crisis.
- *He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Or, as my husband would say, “Don’t put God in a box”.
- *He is growing my faith. Like the Centurion, I want to be able to approach my Savior and know confidently that if he only says the word, my son will have no more sickness.
- *I am not alone. Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned in all this is that God has not left me to fend for myself. He has been with me, listening to my prayers, speaking through friends, comforting me with recalled Scripture so that I might find rest in him.
So this is where I am today. Frightened and uncertain, yes, but more and more at peace, thanks to God. I do not know what will happen in two weeks, or in the weeks that follow.
But I do know the one who is already there, and I continue to rely on Him.
Prayers for Bud are, of course, greatly appreciated.
Jenee Day is a freelance writer and researcher and published poet. A member of the Spiritual Writer’s Association, she has written for textbroker.com and various regional publications. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two kids, and her heart belongs to Jesus.
[Guest post by Sarah Coleman: I’m so glad Sarah is back to share another story on Devotional Diva! I was so moved by her piece on mourning, and hope that it can encourage you, too.] Women aren’t bullet-proof. We like to think we are. That …
[Guest post by Rachel Madden: I think Rachel’s story on perfectionism will really encourage some of you, especially those who struggle with being a “perfect mom.” Remember “I must be perfect” is just a lie!] Psychology Today quotes, “For perfectionists, life is an endless …
[Guest post by Erin Marie Shell: This is a story of God’s love, a story of heartbreak and a story of rediscovery. Thanks for sharing, Erin!]
Exhausted after a full day of work, I arrived home late one night, opened the front door, and entered the darkness. As I walked into the house, my heels clicked on the floor, greeting me with a very loud, unfamiliar echo. Without turning on the lights, I began to realize what had happened.
After 11 years of marriage, he had moved out. The shock of an empty house left me reeling in confusion. I was exhausted with life, exhausted with familiar feeling of not being good enough, exhausted with begging him to see me…really see me.
As though life itself was being drained from my body, I sunk to the floor with my sleeping baby girl in my arms.
Physically, emotionally, mentally, with certainty, I knew that this would be the one that I could never overcome. Surely, this was the blow that would take me completely out. I cried for hours, and I lost track of time. There was no one I could call, there was no one who could understand.
The journey to this point had been traveled imperfectly by him and me alone. We were both responsible for what appeared to be a tragic failure. I had given more than I had to give to a marriage that was never satisfied, a marriage that didn’t care if I suffered, a marriage that refused to justify our existence in it.
I felt dejected, fooled, and crushed with disappointment as I lay on the floor, my body heaving with every cry and breath.
But it was on that floor, in a single defining moment, that God met me, and gently picked up the shattered pieces of my spirit, shattered beyond my recognition.
He met me there, right where I was, and flooded my heart with His love. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was alone – I was accompanied by a great, warm Presence.
God reminded me that in my weakness, He was strong. This was not an opportunity to give up on His abilities, instead, this was an opportunity to give up on my abilities. I had to give up on the belief that I had to do it all by myself, that I was alone, and that I would fail.
This was my opportunity to let go, and allow Him to be God. This was the beginning of my ultimate love-encounter with God.
I began to experience my love-encounter with God, beginning with my own personal meditation practice. This was a time that I dedicated to listening, feeling and recording the knowledge and wisdom that God impressed upon my spirit in a delightful, soothing way.
Just as with anything you devote time and energy to, over time, I came into a deep knowledge of what I was studying – God and my Self. As a result, I was restored, stronger, more radiantly than I can recall with any previous awareness. This delivery of restoration reverberated throughout every aspect of my life, from my spirit and relationships, to my career, business, family, and ministry.
During this period of time, Beautiful Wild Free – Spiritual Healing for Women Rediscovering Themselves, was birthed. Women began contacting me as they experienced the inevitable challenges of life, looking for answers.
“Why?” they asked, and as we engaged in conversation, I discovered that a process of rediscovery was a natural result of having been spiritually broken. It doesn’t really matter what did the breaking – the loss of a child, a marriage, a relationship, health – it was simply the fact that there was a breaking that positioned them perfectly to embark upon a journey of restoration that would exceed any understanding of possibility or expectation.
What would you do to discover peace, to wake up vibrant, to embody radiance that illuminates that life path that you’re walking? At the base of all created things is an energy of love.
Love has the power to restore, create and enliven.
It takes more than just a knowledge of love to accomplish this, it actually takes a love-encounter. An encounter with love brings you to your most authentic self, which is a gateway to true personal freedom. As you learn to love God, then to truly love yourself, you can then love others – even those who have purposefully committed severe acts of hurt and hate against your spirit.
This is where you find true peace and love, and where you learn to position yourself to receive what it is your spirit truly desires…to rejoice in the beauty of love, wildly, freely and with abandon. Beautiful. Wild. Free.
Erin Marie Shell, MBA is a passionate lover of Jesus Christ, bestselling author, compelling speaker and successful businesswoman whose life purpose is to help women achieve spiritual healing by coming into an intimate encounter with God’s love. She is the creator and spiritual catalyst of her women’s ministry Beautiful, Wild, Free: Spiritual Healing for Women Rediscovering Themselves.
[Guest post by Carla Gasser: Carla submitted this piece when I was scheduling for this series, and although she didn’t intend to be a part of it, I thought her story of God’s grace was perfect for the series. As God gives grace to us, we should extend it to others!]
I had an interesting conversation with one of my sons (whose name I will graciously withhold) at breakfast this morning.
I was asking why he was wearing the same khaki shorts for the third day in a row. He started complaining that he had no clean shorts because “someone” had not washed them. Excuse me? I held my breath while slowly counting to ten in my head and then calmly replied: “Well, why doesn’t “someone” sort and bring his dirty clothes down to the laundry room?” And then he said it. Yes, he did. Four little words:
“IT’S NOT MY JOB.”
Oh, really? To most of you moms out there, those are fighting words, and I had to do everything in my power not to go completely off on him.
I had a choice. A teachable moment. An opportunity.
I also had a lot of laundry to do (obviously!)…
I have four children and have been primarily a stay-at-home mom for over 18 years. I have done a lot of laundry. A lot. You could say it is part of my job (although no one has ever dared until today!).
My boys, who are now teenagers and play many sports, can take up to 3 showers a day. It is not difficult to imagine how much laundry that creates.
One day while folding seemingly endless pairs of underwear, my youngest child ( and my only daughter) came into the room and saw the piles stacked high of just underwear. For fun, for kicks, for laughs (ha ha), I asked her to count them. 37! Yes, 37 pairs of just underwear! Although math is not my strong suit, I pulled out my calculator…I just had to know.
37 divided by 3 boys=about 12 per boy. Let’s see…I did a load of their clothes about 3 days ago. More math….ugghhhhh! I guess that means that each boy went through 4 pairs of underwear per day. Seriously???????? I called a family meeting to discuss the situation. That was several months ago…and the laundry saga continues.
Back to this morning and my response to my son. A few years ago, I would have given him a ten minute lecture, refused to do his laundry for a week, and taken away his phone (I think I threatened at least one of those things today!).
I also would have been angry, bitter and resentful. I would have sulked and thrown myself a pity party. I would have called my husband at work and ranted for several minutes about how he needs to get “his son” under control.
But today I chose differently.
Maybe I am getting soft in my old age, maybe I am tired of fighting the same laundry battles, maybe the sunshine lightened my mood. I don’t really know. But I think it has something to do with grace.
God’s grace. His unmerited favor toward me which he unconditionally extends every day. The same grace that covers me even though I say “It’s not my job,” when He asks me to do something. The grace that was graciously extended to me when I was lost, broken and not even remotely looking for God.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us:
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!” ~Ephesians 2:4-5 (New Living Translation)
The older I get, the more I appreciate and realize my desperate need for that kind of grace. And maybe the more willing I am to attempt to extend that same grace to a strong-willed son who needs it as much as I do.
P.S. I did all the laundry (and there were only 17 pairs of underwear!)
When not teaching, writing or speaking, I am most myself as a wife and mom living in Hudson, Ohio with my four very active children and my husband of almost 25 years. I enjoy serving in the women’s ministry at my church, mentoring young women, and volunteering in the local public schools my children attend. I try to blog weekly and about how my messy, imperfect life and God’s amazing love and grace intersect in the most extraordinary ways. Please visit me AT THE CROSSROADS: www.carlagasser.com
This guest post is part of the first-ever Devotional Diva Christmas guest post series entitled, “The Gifts God Has Given You.” Look for more posts with this theme now until December 23rd!