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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Healed by the Healer! Thank you Jesus!!

So, about 3 months later, I write to announce wonderful news that the healing that I anticipated....

...has HAPPENED!
Yes: I kid you not. Jesus broke into my life way earlier than I expected- ie. early May! (Picture above a little drawing I did as a small 'Thank You').
The reason I've not been online for so long is for this very reason. I've been out and about living life!
In short, after intense prayer from a man called Ken Fish (this man really knows how to operate in spiritual authority like Jesus), the wretched beast broke. He prayed, but it was Jesus who healed, as Ken would confirm.
The day after several hours of prayer, my heart changed its functioning. My nap times halved immediately in duration. Within a month (early June) I was not needing any naps during the day whatsoever. I can not tell you what a joy it was that day! I would walk around the kitchen and continue exclaiming- 'I can cook my dinner! I don't need to sit down! I don't need to rest today! I can walk!'
I was not getting payback when I did a bit more. I could exercise, and not crash! 
So much to share, I doubt I can get it all ordered.

My spirit, body and soul were oppressed for so long- longer than the illness itself even, and I was released from much of it over the weekend of May 8, 2012.
Confronting spiritual roots of illness were identified and broken, praise the Lord!
A religious, or performance-based spirit was removed (performance for love not from love).
Other relational and emotional healing was administered in prayer.
My heart had a death assignment over it. It was getting worse- the lack of fitness, it's pumping efficacy.
My multiple hypersensitivities were broken. I can now sit in a busy restaurant or church and not be overwhelmed by the sights, sounds or noise!
My immune system was cleared! I've not had a immune flare-up since- except once or twice after busy days when I needed to just chill and also fight a lady's infection off who I was staying with).
I was able to rapidly (at a supernaturally fast pace) begin getting off my sleeping pills. Rivitril (a more addictive one) is still being used, but at low doses. You can't just jump off these straight away, they need to be petered out. I'm actually at a point now where sleep is being difficult at lower doses, so I am slowing down my weening right now. But the feeling of need for them at bedtime has gone.

All these changes described are the outworking of something much deeper. My body's curse of illness was broken by the power of Jesus around 2000 years ago. On the cross. When Jesus was killed by the religious leaders of the day- and the people, as prophesied. The healing began to manifest powerfully as administered over time- more intensely over the year gone by (See previous posts). A few months ago I saw the results for the first time! I still am seeing them, praise God (Please excuse the overuse of the exclamation mark. You must understand that I am indeed excited)!
His blood shed on the cross was enough to administer full healing and deliverance for me, for everyone. By his wounds, I am healed! He was pierced (with nails) for all our offenses. He bore the sickness and curses that came with them too.

Now I can drive far. To the dandenongs, and back- then to Kew and back (to Nunawading) one night: 2 hours of driving, it was roughly. Before this, I could drive no more than 10 minutes without needing to lie down.
I'm doing things everyday, and not needing to sleep afterward. I'm running, walking and dancing: keeping fit! I'm shopping and doing housework. I even moved house, mostly by myself (aside from the heavy lifting of desks etc).

Today I still am regaining my strength, and learning so much about operating by faith in God. I'm learning to 'walk in my healing', to operate out of rest and of the Spirit, not by my own effort- a large part of what I learnt while ill. 
I'm a totally different person to what I was 2 and a bit months ago, even a year ago!
God has brought some new people into my life as well who are encouraging me in what I'm going through with regard to healing today- for myself and others. New experiences of community. I'm so grateful for this amazing provision.

There's too much to share, but more will follow as I'm able. I'm learning, and still processing, and still healing in some deeper ways, all necessary and good. Peace and healing to you my friend! Jesus is alive and He brings healing and hope to all who come to Him, even me!

[Please note I have also been DANCING! It's so refreshing and joyful to be able to twirl and jump, twist and stomp around the house and at worship gatherings without limitation, or the fear of overdoing it. I am really looking forward to a surf one day soon as well].

Saturday, March 24, 2012

#8 Whirlwind (or quiet unraveling?) of Healing

(Before I begin this delicate topic, I wish to give sincere tribute and respect to those who have suffered for decades without healing, and don't see any in sight. There are many like this, including people in my family. I do not know why we do not see miracles and healing for every single person who has asked Jesus in their lifetime. I know that there are reasons, a lot of which we don't know or understand yet. Yet I do seek to understand them so more people can get healing. I know that the kingdom of Darkness wants people to stay in sickness and die. Yet 'God wills that none should perish' (2 Peter 3:9). Does everything that happens on this earth exactly what God wants? That is a topic of discussion for another day. However I do want to address the idea that God can and does heal, and that this is His ultimate desire for everyone. Read on if you dare!!)

Healing is a-happening. I am on a trajectory of healing! Yes indeed. 'What? Nutty?' I hope not! Well if I am, I hope it's being so for the real Jesus! He's the judge anyways.

Background: Around May last year (2011) I began to receive three random, yet curiously identical images, in three different contexts. They were of a pink rose unfurling.

First came a wonderful card from my Aunt. On the front was the rose, inside words of encouragement and hope in my situation.

Second was a prayer gathering for me and my health, a week or so later. One lady 'saw' a picture of a pink rose with it's petals unfurling, gently opening. She had the word 'healing' accompanying it. She said that it was a picture of my healing to come.

Then later mid-year, a new friend joined our little women's church group that meets in my home. They've met in my home mostly so I can attend, even for a little. It has been a great blessing to me. This new friend suddenly pipes up after prayer time, 'Kara, when I was praying I saw a picture of a rose opening, like in time-lapse stages..I believe it's to do with your healing, that it will come after a time of more frequent prayer. Soon.'
This was certainly enough to have my attention! I asked my new friend if the rose was a pink one. She said yes, it was.
If you have not experienced much of Christian 'prophecy', here's a little taste! I took this repetitive image and message to be a prophetic word of God of healing to come. I believe it to this day, for healing in this lifetime.

Fast-forward a few months, I am wondering when this 'unfurling' will happen. I was trusting somewhat hesitantly in this 'word' I'd had: 'Healing to come, soon'. I would tell others about it, but alone I'd sometimes doubt..And I had questions. Still do. Like,
'Is it really for this lifetime, or just heaven? (I say yes, this lifetime!)
'When is soon?' (I don't know- am asking for before August).
'When and how do I receive more intense prayer?' (I'm seeking it out and getting some prayer most weeks so far. I'd love something regular to happen. Yet there's all my faithful friends and family praying persistently over the years.
It's not something I wanted to make happen really. It had to be in God's 'time', I felt. I literally assented in my mind to the word being true about my physical health. I believed it would happen because of the words. Interestingly, I also received repeated prophetic images and words of a boat on rocky seas, describing a rough ride, with Jesus as my anchor and desination. This was especially encouraging, acknowledging the realities and comfort of God being with me in the difficulties to come in the meanwhile, I supposed.
The pink rose didn't change much in my life circumstantially, because I didn't know when this healing should happen. However I did have much renewed hope and encouragement that God was involved in my personal story. So I decided to receive prayer for healing whenever possible and continue to 'wait upon the Lord', my reoccurring mantra and promise from Isaiah 40:

30 Even youths grow tired and weary, 
   and young men stumble and fall; 
31 but those who hope in the LORD 
   will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
   they will run and not grow weary, 
   they will walk and not be faint.
(NB 'Wait for' is often used interchangeably with 'hope in' the Lord)

Fast-Forward again to now.
Healing. Relevance? Do you get stressed regularly, or catch colds? Any negative thoughts? Or perhaps you are ill with a chronic illness and no cure like me. Perhaps disabled from birth.
Even if mostly healthy, I bet there is something in your life that's not the way things should be. Some oppressive force that seems to forever have the upper hand (eg. gambling/internet/porn addiction) over another or yourself? Did somebody wound you emotionally, even as a child- which deep down still haunts you today?
We all need healing in one kind or another, even if we are physically well enough. I happen to not be physically well, quite clearly.

Do you seek healing out?  I believe we do in many things.Why and how if so? Energy healing? Diet and organics? Sexual healing? Or perhaps Facebook- the social healer. I joke, clearly. But true observation, am I right?

Truth is: even if we have a cold, we will mostly do something to make it better, whether it be scoff a ton of vitamin Cs or rest up. We go to the doctor if our arm is broken. We seek out real care for our physical wounds, or other connections/feel-good stuff for those inner wounds to find some relief.

If God is real and made us (which I do believe), then surely he is the one who knows best about healing. And He is the one who is able to do it if anyone is, more than able. He is God after all! He went so far as to create our bodies with inherent self-healing mechanisms in them, like cell renewal every eight years.
It is interesting how many Christians will even when sick, first go to the doctor before bringing it to Jesus. Not that doctors aren't important, or God's agents for health. Or natural therapies. They can be and are helpful in many ways. But man-made (or found) solutions are mostly considered the true god of health. If this is you, do you think God has much to do with healing today? Deep down?

In November I was reminded by a surfing film-maker friend of how much I missed surfing, just watching his art. So after asking God, I took my board in faith with some friends to the beach for one weekend planned already. I didn't know we were going to a surf beach! Hadn't been on my board in 3 years. I didn't expect much to happen, as I was and am so unfit. Miraculously to me, after a little paddling, I jumped up on the board three times within 10 minutes, on little white-wash waves I concede, but waves nonetheless! I was reckless with joy that day as I have a deep and indescribable love for surfing. I had missed and tried to forget those waves like a long-lost lover after a break-up. This was an actual 'step' for me, of faith- of entering into the healing promised.

If you take the time to read the narratives of Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible, say in the account of Luke, there is story after story of healing.
Amazing healings. And also forgiveness: one kind of inner healing. And 'salvation' (note the word is linked with 'salve'- an healing ointment). They most often seem to be linked in the narratives. In the Eastern worldview of the Jews back then, all spheres of life were related and tied together. Other religions hold similar today. An example of this is the New Age spirituality movement concerning the connection between 'mind-body-spirit' and healing. I went to many of these festivals in the past.
There is a word in ancient Greek I have learnt transliterated as 'sozo' (disclaimer: I'm no scholar!) that encompasses the meanings of both 'healed' and 'saved' in some of these narratives in the Bible. I am not going to share here and now all that I have been learning and actually healed of in the last few months, because there's too much! That's what is so beautiful and exciting to me.
However I will share a few first off: About faith, and about God's compassion and desire to heal.

Firstly, hearing real stories will inspire you and raise your expectations of what is possible with God, what he can do for you. This is called 'faith': that expectation. It is expressed in action somehow.

 Here is one lovely story of a guy who had ME for more than 20 years who was healed recently. Their faith drew them a long distance to a healing event with John Mellor, the Aussie healing evangelist (Yay, an Aussie!). Jesus is the healer in this video as John makes clear in his charming, down-to-earth manner. 'Give the Lord a hand!', will always come out amongst the funny shhuuuuupp noises he makes when praying in the other videos. Check out them out! There are copious healing testimony videos of various disorders including fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, and cancer!

Later, I read the story of another young woman locally- a friend of a new facebook friend who shared her healing story with me in a private facebook message: ME for 8 years, bedbound as a teenager- then one specific day, after regular prayer received from a faithful few, she was better! There's a date she felt the voice and change: to 'get up and walk'! Apparently she even looked quite different, she was told- after 2 weeks!

I hope you are inspired even a little.

Before I was to hear these stories, I ended up staying ('accidentally') at a healing retreat over Summer with my parents at Phillip Island. I had no idea it was a healing retreat center, I simply thought it was some kind of cheaper Christian accommodation. There I found book after book on healing. How had I managed to avoid reading a Christian book specifically dedicated to healing after 5 years of illness? I was a little astounded at my foolishness. Healing teaching and stories about real people, about God's desire to heal seen in Jesus' actions and his words to a leper 'I am willing' (Luke 5). Do read some of these stories if you haven't before! Read them again with fresh eyes if you have.. what do you notice? I recommend the book of Luke as a place to start.

As I devoured these books, trying to seek God about my life direction, I realised that God had an ongoing, deep compassion for me and my situation and for all who suffer. His personal care and concern hit me deeper than ever before. This was what he wanted me to discover. He is wanting to heal and release people from their oppressive and saddening situations. Me from mine! He is compassionate! Before I believed based on the prophetic word. But here I had all the evidence in the bible before me which I hadn't deeply believed, honestly. My faith wasn't based in His character, but in a repeated image of a flower. Now I was overwhelmed by his HUGE character of compassion evidenced in the scriptures themselves. Before, I didn't doubt God was able- but deep down I wondered whether he really wanted to. Part of me thought I was predominantly meant to suffer patiently and show God's glory through my weakness. Even now it passes through my mind.

Indeed we can give glory to God no matter what the situation with the peace and joy that God gives. people often commented on my peace and joy in the midst of my trials. It was a gift of his that I could, and I held to the truth that 'All things work for the good of those love him, who are called according to his purpose.' (Romans 8:28) But the question I now ask is: does the actual situation give the same glory to God as a miracle does? I believe I as a person can, but what of the wretched circumstance? Any hurt in life can be taken and made into something beautiful by God. He uses them for good like Joseph and his technicolour dream coat (you can read the story in Genesis 37-50, NB: Chapter 50:20). Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39) if that is where you are, in Christ. However this is only one part of the story. What does the glory of heaven invading earth look like with Jesus?

We see the glory of God in his healing power through Jesus. It shows us who Jesus is. That He is God. He is THE great Physician! And God clearly cares for those who suffer. Enough to do something hard-core about it. God did not invent sickness. Rather sickness was twisted result of the fall of humanity. Sure, God must allow suffering and sickness to happen- death, since it's automatic consequence of sin in our world, the judgment, our groaning and cursed planet with the presence of evil personified (the devil) who loves to spread it. Evil that we sing to the tune of, even without knowing it. God sent Jesus to rescue us from these very things, especially the root cause; the curse of rebellion against God, our 'sin'. What does it mean now to overcome it?

But what does faith have to do with it, you may ask? Why doesn't God just take control and heal everyone now, if the above is true?
I do not have all the answers, even though I might come across that way sometimes, even to myself. I am very much on a steep learning curve right now. A new expectancy has arisen. I saw these videos and read. I visited John for prayer at a session and have been listening to his CDs. One thing I have learnt is that I do know that faith in Jesus is one key, life-changing mechanism taking people's suffering and turning it into miraculous healing- physical, social, mental, emotional and certainly spiritual. Whether it be that person's faith, or a friends' faith to pray, or the one to bring an invalid to Jesus like this man's girlfriend with Mellor. Like the friends of the paralysed man in Mark's account (ch.2). Spiritually, however if we continue in this journey, we need our own faith.

And what is faith? I've been granted a supernatural increase in this area lately. More God! It's not something I can describe easily, the experience, because it is something that one has to do or experience to know truly what it means. It's seen in action, yet it's a heart status. It comes through hearing the word of Jesus. It is a very real substance that is the 'evidence of things unseen'. It is a real thing. It is not an emotion or mental state, although both these can be and are affected. It is ultimately a gift, and really not so much about the levels that I have (remind me!), but what or who I put my faith  in- who will save and help me. And that is God. That is Jesus of Nazareth, the ultimate Healer, who demonstrated the same personality and power Yesterday (in history, his reputation remains uncontested by historians and believers alike) as he does Today (you see the stories on the videos) and Forever (Perfect Eternity with Jesus in Heaven).

The life of my heart over Jan/Feb/March 2012 has changed so much that it's hard to communicate in language. No event can help describe it all, though surfing and attending John's healing service certainly helped. There I witnessed miracle after miracle before my eyes (exactly as in the videos) at the service in Geelong, where one girl could even smell for the first time in her life!! There I was also encouraged to keep seeking a miracle, with shameless audacity and persistence as Jesus taught- since the 'seek' and 'knock' mentioned in Luke 11 above are in a present progressive tense, indicating a continuous seeking and knocking ('Seek and keep seeking. Knock and keep knocking' Mellor preached, as many healings happen over time). I've realised that my HEART is actually where much healing has been needed, since that is what stands between myself and God, and that is where my faith and receptiveness to his healing can be found if anywhere. Or perhaps some doubt and apathy that needs to be acknowledged. What is it for you?

Ultimate healing occurs in the heart when it receives Jesus and God's forgiveness for everything we've ever done against him and others. It occurs when it receives God's LOVE. It's through the extraordinary gift of Jesus' death- the penalty he paid for our sins on the cross. This is healing of the rebellious and deadly state we are in against God. This kind of healing is for everyone, the heart-miracle that lasts beyond this lifetime. 'Then Jesus said "Your sins are forgiven" (verse 48)'
So here are a few things that have happened in my heart with regard to healing and God.

- I am excited as I expect to see God to heal me physically soon, whenever exactly soon is. I can feel the 'unfurling' happening now as I press in, as faith and joy fill my heart.

-I am excited (no longer scared!) about surrendering everything that comes to mind to him, my future, my sins, my possessions, my heart. It's because I've been shown how good and gentle he really is. I'm allowing him to heal and forgive any unforgiving and negative thoughts inside- definitely key parts of healing!! Just as, if not more important.

- I believe that he wants healing for me and others. After all, heaven (God's Kingdom in full bloom) is made of glorious, shining bodies, never sick- like and with Jesus. That is a believer's eternal reality and destiny we are promised. For believers- at the very least, even death is only the doorway to full healing. And God's will is that none should die, but have life to the full!

- I now seek healing actively from Jesus, through persistent and 'pressing in' prayer (which I've learnt he responds to) when nothing seems to change. Daily, now. And I try to follow his leadings with what that looks like (ie. seek out a group to pray for me regularly, go to a naturopath (2 people brought it up in conversation in 1 week). All in a restful sense. I don't want to strive or be self or outcome-centred.

- I expect God to do far more than I 'ask or imagine' (Ephesians 3:20), so I am asking big (complete healing before August this year- big for me, though nothing for God!) and I am getting others to ask with me. I'm leaving the answering up to Him, according to his will, yet simultaneously believing that I've already received this healing- somehow! 'Lord I receive your healing power. I agree with your promise that 
'he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed' (Jesus on the cross- prophesied in Isaiah 53:5)
It's a weird yet wonderful journey- God help me on it!

These are just a few things.
Stay tuned for more! And may health and healing be yours. May you have faith in Jesus- that He wants to work his glory out in your life- and experience the joy and the reality of heavenly things that goes with!

Peace out:)

Sunday, November 6, 2011


No entry for September. Why? I had pain. Very severe, sudden and excruciating pain in what felt like was my bladder. It increased and increased in frequency and severity to the point that I dragged myself up out the door to go to the doctor.
Scans found a 'mass' of unknown quality. HUGE! 7cm on the right ovary. The GP wasted no time in getting me to a specialist, insinuating that I'd probably get a laparoscopy done (surgery cut for a camera to go in, with possible removal of lump).

I should note that the initial finding of the lump was a great shock. So I cried! Thankfully a friend asked to drop over that day, so instead of dropping over, she picked me up from the clinic in tears and kindly prayed for me. I felt great peace that stayed with me for the several weeks after, once having a good cry and entrusting everything to God.

So I was all set for hospital. Got lots of friends to pray. I packed all my essentials, and since my parents were away, got organised to stay with relatives post-operative.

For the details of surgery and ME and how they might relate, my specialist said to make sure I drink plenty of Aquaforce (a scientifically balanced energy drink which I take regularly anyway. It basically increases blood volume and keeps sugar/salt/magnesium levels balanced etc. Great for when you are stranded feeling light headed somewhere!) before surgery. AND also to keep up vitamin B12 intake with the other synergistic aids (vit E, Metafolin etc), which rid of the excessive nitric oxide/oxidative stress on the body. That way the general anesthetic won't hit so hard, 'just speaking from clinical experience', he said. It made sense. So I packed it all!

Finally I went to the women's specialist with a friend. He asked me about my menstrual cycle. He got excited when I told him it coincided with the scan.

To cut a long story short- after a 2nd scan, through people's prayers, the fact that ovaries do strange things naturally, and that cysts are quite common in women, it turned out that:
1. The doc was happy not to open me up
2. He pointed out 2 smaller cysts
3. I've not had any pain of this nature since.
4. IF it does come back again, I'm to go straight to hospital, with all my scan shots.

Surprise! What a roller-coaster. I'm not sure what that was all about, but I do know that I was saved from having to go into theater, and the pain has gone of it's own accord. I know that God answers prayers because he answers mine and others', time and time again. I think this was just another example.

I can't imagine how horrible general anesthetic, surgery and ME would be like together. For now I'm thankful I don't have to!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A scrawled poem I stumbled upon still sums me up

I am a weakling, and you are strong
You are the Light whilst I hold dark portions
What- that this fragile and broken, black pot
has strangely, with thanks become your home!

It is not at all what I chose on that day;
Ability suddenly syphoned away
But You show your glory in weaklings you say
So hope in me here I with joy; wait and pray.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm getting tested for XMRV (a retrovirus), despite the scientific controversy.

I did this a few weeks ago. Cost a lot of dosh. My parents paid. Blood shipped in eight vials to Belgium. Very generous of my parents. I feel Grateful. White blood cell count and activation also will be checked, along with cytokines. It will be interesting to see where things lead given the current scientific debate. I'm reassured though by my parents and doc that it will not be a waste of money or time. Let's hope so!
I'm more skeptical than I'd like to be, but I guess I'm fighting off being let down by a scientific 'red herring'. It's clear that I don't put my life in science's hands! But I am very, very grateful for everything that scientists do for us, and I advocate whole-heartedly and handedly for more of it.
Thank you smart scientists! Keep up the great work:)

lesson #6: True Family Needed and True Family needs us Weaklings

I wrote this ages ago, and only now have had the get-up to edit and finally publish. Old thoughts made fresh with a click of the button. So fresh to me even! Amazing.

Sick people are often isolated from daily interactions in the normal circles of uni, school, parenting groups, work, sport, mosque, scout, church, volunteer networks or cause groups.
Even friends' events become a more occasional effort to muster (still with pleasure for me though!).

However Mark Sayers (along with many sociologists) explains that it's not just the marginalised that feel isolated. It's a cultural thing that everyone is often behaviourally isolated in this individualist generation. Our sense of 'family', community and commitment, of covenant has dwindled historically, particularly in this 21st century. Watch and read his blog if you're interested- it's definitely worth a look.

The Jesus faith is about being welcomed into God's family through Jesus himself. It's non-negotiable. If I'm an adopted daughter, then I automatically live with brothers and sisters in the world who I need. They need me. We belong to each other as we do to Jesus.

Being sick gives us opportunity to show that bond and allow family and others to care. Practically. As someone who needs practical help, I need to show my needs so they can meet them, and fullfil their sibling or friendship roles. I care for them as they care for me. I can pray or listen. I can be thankful, allow people to serve me, to 'wash my feet' metaphorically speaking. It was humbling and hard the first time it started to happen for me. I wanted to do things by myself, to show I could cope. 'I can do the house-work! It just takes some energy out of me so I've not much left'. 'I can cook, it's just really hard some days'.
'By-MY-SELF' was the first phrase I learnt to stubbornly repeat as a toddler. Seems not much had changed..til much later. I waited for someone to offer, which they did, but I then failed to take them up, because I didn't want to be a burden. Then things began to dawn on me. I've lost a bit of my pride since, for which I'm grateful.

Yes, with a little prompting from my housemate, I phoned/emailed up my church and asked for regular support and help. BIG deal for me! But I did it, and it was very liberating. I also arranged city council help for a small fee. Now I receive prayer, regular meals dropped off (taking into consideration my extremely picky dietry needs as specified by fructose malabsorption (commonly a CFS/CFIDS issue- around 70% of patients) and other spontaneous offers of help as before... just 'let me know when you need something!' Now finally I take up offers. Oh and the council lady is a GEM! It's taken me a little while to get used to receiving help- but it's much easier now!

It's truly healthy to feel free to say 'Please can you help?'. And 'thank you'.
From a Jesus' 'pedicure' perspective (it sounds bizarre, but it's a beautiful story of Jesus interacting with his friends before he dies- check it), it's the essence of following him anyway- saying 'yes please!' to God's love which is extended even to his enemies. It's allowing your embarrassingly 'smelly feet' (and the rest of you) to be washed by a King- who surely ought to be receiving our services! We are simply asked to say: 'I need you'. 'I need help'. 'Thank you'. It's all we can do. Very humbling. There's nothing I can do to equalise the giving with a deed to match, I just need to accept. And then we are commissioned to do the same for one another ongoing! The great thing about Jesus for me is that He helps and serves me everyday in so many ways, including washing me on the inside- wiping the grime of my selfishness and pride (self-sufficiency?) away with his blood and tears shed on the cross.

I am part of a body of people who are my family, not by blood but by Spirit. Some of this family attend my local church. Some don't, they are part of other churches. Incidently, not everyone at my 'local church' are guaranteed to be part of this body, though. The definition of being a 'body' member is being loved and washed inside by Jesus, in faith- and following him.

Every Jesus person is a 'body part'. Some body parts are weak or seemingly useless, like pinkies or earlobes, love-handles or double chins. Eyebrows. You get my drift. Some are apparently strong or useful: like muscles, abs, lungs and kidneys. I would liken the latter to, say, the doctors, front stage people; the preachers or youth group leaders, social-workers, soup-kitchen coordinators, or singers. The former, who knows? That's the thing. We often don't see the weak members do their little bit, 'cos that's them by definition almost. I'll have a go though: the gardeners and cookers, the strays or those who constantly seem on the margins of community, mixed with whole different worlds. The loving grannies who can't leave the house except once a week. The boy with Down's. The depressed and mentally unwell. The chronically ill (includes me: surprise!).

God gives everyone equal value. Not only that, but that we should give special attention to those who seem 'the least'; in opposite proportions to our automatic inclinations. Read Corinthians 12 here and here for reference in the most popular book every written.

Nobody really wants to announce with a megaphone that "I am a gift of God to you". So I why am I writing something that could make me look arrogant at worst, or a guilt-mongerer at best?

Someone who suffers, is a nuisance or who seems useless in any way for serving is really God's deliberate implantation for the good of his people. We are an opportunity for God's people to grow in patience, love and care for one another. We are a reminder that God's kingdom is made up; not of the successful or most efficient, nor the smartest or most active. In fact, all of us are rather useless to God in and of ourselves, really. It's only God's gift of Jesus- the Head- that gives us any life at all. Life so we can begin a feeble journey of learning to live and love and function as a body part- valued. Useful. Dependent on Jesus most of all.

I invite you to ask someone for help with anything as you may need it. Ok here's my obvious marketing mode switched on (Hey- we all market something, it just so happens that Jesus has changed my life and others' unimaginably, so that's who I do it for!): 
 I also want to encourage you to consider the idea of joining the diverse and eclectic flock of the Jesus' clan- us self-confessed spiritual weaklings; to care, and be cared for, if you've not ever thought to before. It's like nothing else this world of competition and independence could offer. It's crazy-love.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

#5: Still dancing inside!

Well the dancing thing has helped! It has given me a way of expressing my creative side as well as my urge to worship God. I've had to time myself with my ipod clock- keep it under roughly 5 or 6 minutes (this month); 1 song, which is what I can cope with in terms of aerobic exercise at present.

I do strength exercises on alternate days still. This is only when I have not over-done it. Last week, over-doing it was seeing a few too many people after a trip to the hilly Dandenong mountains with my good friend from France (here only a month!). I also won't do exercise during post-exertional malaise (PEM), crash-time and for a few days after this, not until my 'immune flare-up' (as now succinctly described in the latest article  on immune signatures of CFS/ME (wait 45 seconds to download for free)) has resided. Discerning when to build a little strength again is quite hard sometimes... but I can usually tell nowadays.

I have actually weakened in my exercise capacity, and thus overal energy capacity. But hey- winter has set in, chills get caught more easily, especially when my ability to regulate body temperature is akin to getting a drunk man to walk straight. Again, part of the package. A package that means I need to be gracious towards myself when I get it wrong, whilst forgiving and educating others when they don't understand..

However, I need to learn from my mistakes. Always blow-dry my hair in the new house, even if it's sunny outside (or I will get a chill and crash). Try to do something biggish with a FORTNIGHT gap inbetween, not a week. So I probably won't go to Phillip Island this weekend as planned. I'll take it easy.

Gifts have come to me from outside and inside, to encourage me in the bad days of PEM, which was last weekend, and then some.

Outside: My friend Anna came today to play me a song on her guitar from a psalm in the bible. It was too loud, but it was beautiful. It wore me out when she strummed enthusiastically from less than a meter away (sensory overload)! We laughed about that when I told her because she thought she was blessing me, which she was- kind of!  Then she prayed for me. 'God loves you, Kara!' was the message. Beautiful! Very thankful.

From inside: remembering that God is all I have, and that if I'm to die now, I lose nothing, and gain everything (it often feels like death during PEM). 'To live is Christ, to die is gain' (Phillipians 1:21). Heaven is my home.

Another Outside encouragement- Reading the book of Lamentations, now in chapter 3. Along with the cries of the writer, I can also recognise that though I do not suffer because of specific sins (in contrast to the Israelites experiencing the punishment of horrific exile, as warned), it is true that considering my stubborn shunning of the Author of life over the years, nothing I do really has me deserving of the gift of life itself, let alone the deservedness of good health. This is actually encouraging because it reminds me again of God's grace to me, that he even graciously breathes life, keeps my heart-beat daily, enough to pour out my anguish to him, comforting me in the knowledge of his compassion, loving presence and faithfulness. And also, that God does not 'willingly afflict anyone'.

The writer repeatedly uses the ancient Hebrew terms (transliterated) 'yhl' and 'qwh' to refer to 'hoping' and 'waiting expectantly' simultaneously- for God. The promise is that for those who do so, his goodness comes. It's certainly something that any one of us can do! That's all God wants! What a relief: no more performing, just waiting for Him, with expectation that He is enough. We don't need numerological studies for a date to do this, unlike the apocalypse predicters this past weekend!

Recalling God's compassion amidst loss is the center-piece of this little bible gem Lamentations, as well as it's 3rd chapter, as is helpfully summarised by Barry Webb in 'Five Festal Garments: Christian reflections on The Song of songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther'. I recommend this read for anyone who wishes to study this book and understand it!

What's also kept me dancing on the inside has been the encouragement of friends who have responded to the Chase Community Giving request this week. If you haven't already, vote for 'Whittemore Peterson Institute' in CCG, which supports research, advocacy and treatment for the pathophysiology of neuro-immune diseases such as ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, atypical MS, and autism. I emailed all my family and friends, and most of them haven't responded yet! Sometimes people need a little reminding. I'm encouraged by a fellow sufferer in the US to keep on at it, without shame or fear of annoying people. It's worth it, I have to remind myself! 

We all need hope, and I have discovered great perseverance and hope from fellow sufferers through years and years of this. Thanks for your inspiration- you know who you are! For me, my sure hope is in God, as his promise of full healing is found in Jesus who has healed, who does still, and one day that is what I will have for certain in him, physically, emotionally for good. This future hope helps me to keep working towards it today, and God's Spirit himself empowers me to dance towards it too! 

The following bible passage shows how this can be anyone! Simply through faith in Jesus- nothing religious/requiring of anything good on our part! Since we aren't, and can't really...

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:1-4 9 (My italics)

Hope to you!