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Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

We can recover.

The sun rises every morning and one day follows another.

We can be confident in that.

And as time moves forward, so things change.

Slowly at first, imperceptibly, until we gradually realise that we are changing too.

And hope appears on the horizon.

Norman Wright outlines 3 stages of recovery:

  • The Thinking Stage: This is when you face the facts. You put the pieces of your jig-saw puzzle together to try to make sense of the picture. You go over what has happened in minute detail, alone and with friends. You are a detached observer rather than an emotional participant. For me this was hours and hours searching the internet to learn all I could about breast cancer. I wanted to know every detail and I wanted to understand the numbers and the risks.
  • The Emotional Stage: This is when you feel the pain. Your emotions well up from deep within you and spill out in a stream, a river, a waterfall. There will be anger, anxiety, grief, fear, sadness. For me this was a constant leaking. I cried almost every day, many times a day, for three months. Tears welled up as I recognised the layers of consequences of what was happening to me. I stopped crying when I started the blog.
  • The Stage of Mastery: At the beginning you cannot believe this stage will happen but it does. Your perspective changes, you find value in your experience. You have learned things you could not have learned in any other way. You become a survivor rather than a victim, taking control of the direction of your life again. Your outer journey may still be very challenging, but you have found a strength for the inner journey which transforms your experience. Laughter can reappear, with all its healing power.

The stages vary in length for each person, and they can overlap.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

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If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide.

But it is you, one like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.

How painful are the blows from a friend!

Want to know how you behave like a miserable comforter without meaning to be one?

Norman Wright tells us that we adopt three well-meaning but unhelpful behaviours when we support friends:

  • We have difficulty accepting bad news ourselves: This can be for lots of reasons (we may be overwhelmed with our own sorrows), but the result is the same. While we may say words of comfort, we physically distance ourselves from our friend who is hurting. Our friend will see this as us rejecting them and their problem.
  • We give advice that is not wanted or needed: We want to help and we can see some obvious ways forward for our friend, and so we tell them what they need to do. Our friend becomes a pupil as we adopt the role of their teacher. They will react in the variety of ways that children react to being told what to do – and with the added creativity gleaned over the years.
  • We overwhelm them with help: If we really, really care this is the trap for us. We smother them with kindness. Our friend becomes a child as we adopt the role of their parent. And we know how complex parent-child relationships can become. Sooner of later they will want to break free.

Can you see yourself in any of these behaviours?

Being aware that the patterns exist gives us a helpful starting point.

Being open in our communication and giving up the need to be in control, to be right or to fix things will take the pressure away from us all as we negotiate the maze of hurting emotions.

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Life can take its toll on us.

My bible reading plan is taking me through Mark – and last week I met again the woman who touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak.

What Jesus said to her moves me deeply.

She had a tough life. She was suffering physically and emotionally. Despite spending all of her money on trying to find a cure for her twelve years of pain, she was getting worse rather than better.

She heard about this man, Jesus. She knew he cared about others who suffered: he noticed them and he touched them.

And his touch could heal.

He was radical and powerful.

She was resourceful and believing.

She pushed through the crowd and stretched out her hand to touch the man she believed could heal her. With every grain of her being she engaged in changing her future.

Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

Jesus said to her . .

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Click here to read some more about the Afghan woman in the picture above. Life has taken a heavy toll on her.

We can engage in changing. And we can pray for healing, peace, and freedom from suffering for ourselves and for others.

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Never underestimate the intelligence of your immune system.

Have a look at this short clip of a white blood cell chasing tiny bacteria in the blood stream.

Our immune cells are clever little things that are part of an amazing emergency network. They recognise and destroy anything that is not part of our own body – the ultimate loyal and effective defense army.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

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Home safely . . had my first dose of Herceptin, and all is well.

This was the ‘loading dose’ and the one likely to cause a reaction. Administering a foreign protein intravenously has risks.

And so the nurse is very careful to talk through what might happen if I react . . .

“You might feel hot, become breathless, develop an itchy rash or a headache”.

Well he might as well say “Don’t think of a Pink Elephant”.

This is the power of positive suggestion. Tell me NOT to think of something and I have to think of it so that I can tell myself not to.

And before I  know it my headache begins to get worse.

Having read a lot of  Dr David Hamilton’s work on how your mind can influence your body, I know very well that I can easily generate exactly the symptoms I want to avoid.

But today I was ready for it.

I have received prayer ministry many times since being diagnosed with breast cancer. At the start of radiotherapy, I was given a picture of a stream of icy water flowing and picking up debris along the way until it ran clear. Through each treatment I visualised this icy stream flowing through my body, removing ‘debris’ (could that be abnormal cells?) and keeping my breast from burning.  Is it a coincidence that my skin is undamaged by the radiation?

For me, the icy water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

And so today, sitting in the chemo chair for 6 hours, I did not check to see if I felt hot, tight chested, or itchy. Instead I shut my eyes and bathed in a cool soft shower that washed me inside and out. I filled my chest with full deep breaths and rested.

My fellow patient in the chair opposite went home before me – “Bye-bye. Good luck and God Bless”.

Thank you, Father, that you have blessed me. I feel cool, refreshed and safe.

. . the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

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Never give up

Staying on the subject of coping with life’s challenges and changes, this spunky frog inspires me.

Some challenges are huge, the odds are stacked against you, and you are running out of resources.

And yet because you want to win through you fight on.

This frog is not allowing himself to be overwhelmed by the problem – he has found a way forward and is taking hold of it with all his strength.

Never give up!

I love it 🙂

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Interference

A friend sent me this C.S. Lewis quote yesterday

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course, that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending day by day. What one calls one’s ‘real’ life is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”
Thank you 🙂

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