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I so love these scriptures from Job (see below).  They are such a good reminder that I am not God.  He allows many things I do not understand and if I were “God for a day” I would certainly do it differently (thankfully I am not).

But my ways are not God’s ways.  My best thinking and actions have gotten me no where.  I’m sure you can identify some not so good places where your best thinking and actions have gotten you also.

Mine resulted in marrying too young and then being left at the age of 23.  My life was barely starting and I felt like it was already over.  Thus began the early years of my depression.

But here’s the thing…even though my best thinking got me in a world of hurt; it also resulted in my finding out I needed a Savior.  I needed Jesus to come in and wipe my canvas clean.

Because of my realization that my ways were not going to work, God used it to bring me to Him.  And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.  Certainly I wish I could have found this out in an easier, less painful way.

The important thing is I learned it and I have never been alone since.  And I have learned that only God is trustworthy, not me.  God is wise, I am not.  My wisdom comes only through Him.

If you are a parent who has a child with an eating disorder; I know you wish that God was not allowing this pain in your life and in the life of your child and family.  How could you not feel that way?

God is bigger than all you are suffering right now.  He directs the lightening, he counts the clouds as well as the hair on your child’s head and He has given you a heart with wisdom and an understanding mind.

You can trust Him with what you are facing because for reasons we cannot understand it flows through His hand.  Nothing happens that He does not know about or sanction in some way.  All you have to do is read the first few chapters of Job and that truth becomes clear.

Job 38: 34-38

34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? 36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind ? 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens 38 when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?”

Dear God,

Help me submit to Your will and not demand mine.  Help me trust You even when it feels like You have turned away from me and aren’t answering my prayers for the healing of my child.  Help me never give up on my child, his healing, my family and most of all You Lord.

A-men.

This worship chorus keeps running through my mind as I get ready to sign off for the night so I thought I would share it.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new every morning,
Great is Thy faithfulness oh Lord’
Great is Thy faithfulness.”

Psalm 57:1
“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

No matter what has transpired today, God gives mercy and we receive a blank canvas on which to paint tomorrow. Receive His mercy and rely on His faithful love for you.

God, give me the humility to receive your mercy, to be grateful for a new  day tomorrow and to accept Your steadfast love for me no matter what. 

 

Acts 8:26-39

Philip and the Ethiopian

 26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road–

the desert road–that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he

started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important

official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians.

This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home

was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet.

 

You know how sometimes God is very specific about what He wants us to do?

Most of us have had that sense, or that inner spiritual nudge that we believe is

coming from God.  I was at a women’s conference a few years ago and there

was a young woman sitting just below me in the arena.  She was sobbing quietly

during a worship time.

 

I really felt like God wanted me to give her a slip of paper that said, “God loves

you just the way you are…right now in this moment.”  It was a bit scary but I

did it.  She turned around and gave me a sad, but sweet smile and said, “Thank

you.”

 

I have no idea what those words really meant to her; but I felt good that I had

heard what I believed to be God’s voice and I did what I thought He asked me

to do.

 

Philip also was given very specific instructions from God…from the Spirit…when

he obeyed and headed South to the desert road.  I think sometimes we wish

God would always be this clear with us don’t you?  I know I do because life

can seem very confusing.  We don’t always know the right thing to do.

 

But do you know what else I noticed in that scripture about Philip?  God didn’t tell

him what to do once he got to this Ethiopian eunuch.  He just said to go there.

Here’s what happens…

 

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the

prophet.  “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

Philip got there, listened, ran up to the man and asked him a question.  How did

he know what to ask or what to say?  I think God trusted Philip enough to allow

him to figure that out when he got there.  Philip would continue to sense the

Spirit’s leading or because of his relationship with God, past experience, and his

faith he would figure out what to say.

 

And Philip ended up being able to share “…the good news about Jesus.”

 

When you have a child with an eating disorder you often feel alone.  You may

feel like you are winging it most of the time and don’t always know what to do.

I believe God wants you to know that He trusts you to be the parent your child

needs you to be at any given time.

 

There will be circumstances when you feel led specifically by God to do certain

things; and there will also be times when you pray for wisdom about what to do

and then act from that prayerful place “the best you can.”

 

Those are key words…”the best you can.”  That is all God expects.  He knows

you are not perfect and that you will make mistakes.  But He also knows that

everything you do comes from a deep place of love for your child.  Just like His

love for you comes the deepest places in Him.

 

Isn’t it amazing to think about the possibility that just as you trust God…He

trusts you too?  He trusts you to relate to others and to your child from your

relationship with Him; from the wisdom only He can give.

 

For years parents have not been trusted by those in the eating disorder field.

You were kept on the periphery of your child’s treatment because you were told

you would make it worse or that it was your fault your child was ill.  Praise God

that is changing!

 

If you take nothing else from this today please take this….God trusts you!  And

because of that I believe you can begin to trust yourself…that you can heal

your child at home.  One bite at a time, one meal at a time, preventing one

purge or one 6 mile run at a time.  Your best, grounded in God’s wisdom, is

enough.

 

You are trustworthy in God’s eyes!

Psalm 27:13-14

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 34:18

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  – That means He is close to you and saves you!!

 
Psalm 119:76
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

Job 5: 11, 18

11 The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety

18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.

Dear God,

Set me on high tonight for I am lowly; and lift me to safety as I mourn.  Bind up my wounds and may Your hands heal my injuries.  Thank you God that You are good.  Though sometimes it seems like my mind is filled with thoughts and fears about death because my child has this horrible eating disorder; thank You that there is a “land of the living” and You are it. You are my living God!  Help me keep living and hoping.  Thank you for being my comfort; for being close to me even during the times when it feels like You are far away.  And thank You for saving me!  Thank You for Your Word and the life it gives me.  Breathe life into my child and my family oh God.  Breathe life God into me!

Truth or Lies Part 2

Yesterday I laid the foundation that it is very important to God that we know the difference between the truth and a lie.  If we don’t the devil will attempt to deceive us…in any area of our life. 

If you are a parent of a child with an eating disorder; knowing the truth will indeed set you free to be the parent your ill child needs you to be.  Why?  Because your child IS being deceived and you have to be the keeper of truth for him or her. And then you act upon that truth for the benefit and health of your child.

The ED wants your child to believe that she is not sick; that she is just fine.  ED also wants you to believe that your child is fine, or this not eating stuff is just a phase or will get better on its own.  When you see changes in your child that concern you…it is not an over-reaction to take her to the doctor or to another professional for an assessment. 

If your child has a fever you go to the doctor.  If all of a sudden he starts to struggle with reading; you might take him to the eye doctor or to an educational specialist to rule out learning issues. 

The bottom line is you know when there are changes in your child’s attitude, behavior, emotion and body.  You may not know it overnight, but you will at some point. 

Your son or daughter may complain, get an attitude, say they hate you or threaten to not go to an appointment.  She may even say she won’t eat  or she’ll run away if you force her to go, etc. 

This is not your child talking; it is the ED and even though ED wants you to believe you have no power and are helpless to get your child to an appointment or whatever; you are not.  These are the lies ED wants parents to believe.  He doesn’t just lie to your son or daughter.  He lies to you too.

Hang onto what you know to be true.  You know your child.  You know the changes you have seen are real and not to be ignored.  You know your child does not want to be ill or have an eating disorder.  She wants to eat or she does not want to binge and purge.  ED wants her to do those things. 

This is only one way that the eating disorder lies to you and your child.  We’ll talk about more tomorrow.  Trust God that as you ask for wisdom about what to do, that He will show you.  Then trust yourself that you can listen to God and you hear His voice and will act in the best interest of your child and your family.

James 1:5-8

5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

John 4:10

“…and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

Dear God,

I need wisdom and Your Word says that when I ask for wisdom you will give it to me.  Once I ask; give me the faith to believe the direction is from You and the courage to act on the direction You have given me.  Show me the truth in every situation with my child and help us as a family defeat this enemy. 

Truth or Lies?

As I read Matthew 24:1-34 tonight I was reminded of one of the tools of Bible study which is to look for repetition.  If God repeats it multiple times; it must be something He wants us to understand.

Jesus is telling His disciples to pay attention because there will be many who will try to deceive them about His return.  It seems very important to Jesus that His disciples know the truth so they will not be led astray in the future.

It also seems important to the disciples or they wouldn’t have raised the issue.  “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (v-3b)

So one of the things we are to take away from Matthew 24 is God cares very deeply that we know the truth and that we not allow anyone or anything to deceive or lead us astray.  I think this applies to any area of life; not just knowing the truth about the signs of Jesus’ return.

Let’s look at the examples of Jesus exonerating His disciples regarding this theme of truth versus lie in Matthew 24.

“I tell you the truth…” (v-2)

“Watch out that no one deceives you.” (v-4)

“…and will deceive many.” (v-5)

“…and will deceive many people.” (v-11)

“…do not believe it.” (v-23)

“…do not believe it.” (v-26)

“I tell you the truth…” (v-34)

Doesn’t that seem pretty repetitious to you?  God wants us to know the difference between the truth and a lie.  And where do lies come from?  “The father of lies…the devil.” (John 8:44) NIV

What does all this have to do with being a parent of a child with an eating disorder?  Check back tomorrow and we’ll talk some more about it.

Here is Matthew 24:1-35:

1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand– 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. 26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. 29 “Immediately after the distress of those days ” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Do you ever feel like your light is going dim?  I know I have.  I would say for the last 2 years I have struggled to keep my lamp lit at all; let alone allow it to burn brightly.  Stress, grief, overwhelming emotional pain can cause our spiritual lamps to dim in ways we don’t even realize sometimes.

I can’t believe it has been 8 years since my dad’s suicide and yet I am still impacted deeply and probably in ways I don’t even see.  Like the depression it is has caused, and the dimming of my light and life.

It not only affected me emotionally and spiritually; but also physically.  I ended up having to take a sabbatical from work because I was having so many physical symptoms and issues.  My relationships have also suffered as I turned inward and distanced myself from people I care about.

My dad’s suicide was like this hurricane that blasted its way through my life and left chaos and wreckage in its wake.  I was so devastated I didn’t take down the wood I used to cover the windows of my heart and soul.  I stayed locked up in the dark with my lamp barely burning long after the storm past.  Though honestly I think I am still in the storm when I don’t even know it.

You might feel that way too as your family battles it’s way through your child’s eating disorder.  You might wonder will this ever end…will my child ever recover…will my light ever shine again?  Or is my family destined to live in this dark place forever?

Most of you have probably done better than I have in staying in the Word of God through your own personal hurricane.  For the last 2 years I have not done a good job of that…but I am trying again to not only rejoin the world; but God and His Word as well.

I was reading today…

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

 1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.‘  NIV

…and I got to verse 8…especially the part about…”our lamps are going out…” and the Bible does what it does so well.  God used it to speak to my heart and told me my lamp has been going out…has been very dim…for a while…for too long.  And I need to do something about it.  And all He wants me to do is be in His Word more…that’s it.  For right now.

No big commitments, changes, promises…just a quiet whisper from Him…”Lynn, be in my Word more.  I love you.”  And I said, “Okay God, I can do that.  One small step at a time.”

And my lamp seems a bit brighter tonight.  And I am grateful God is patient, loving and kind.  And that He waits for me.

How is your lamp burning right now?  What does God want you to do to burn a little brighter?  Even in the midst of the hurricane of the ED; God has some light to bring into your life.  Let Him.  I know I am trying to. 

It may also be that God doesn’t want you to do anything except allow Him to hold and comfort you.  That alone is at times a huge step for me…allowing myself to be comforted by God the way He longs to comfort me.

Your will be done God.  Whatever You want for me in this moment; help me invite and embrace it.