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A Simple but Powerful Plea

This is going to be just a quick post; but a powerful one I believe.  I hope it helps you as much as it helps me.

In one of her books, Madeline L’Engle tells of her experience after being in a car accident.  She was away from home and in the hospital for months before she could go home.

Her injuries were so serious she could not do anything but lie there.  Her pain was so great she said she could not even begin to pray.  Which is why we need others praying for us in times of crisis.  And other times too of course.

What stuck with me from her story is what she did end up praying.  All she said over and over was, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.  Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.  Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.”  

Sometimes we are in too much pain to pray like we normally would.  And that’s okay.  God knows and the number of words we use is not the measuring stick for a good prayer anyway.  It is our hearts that matter.

I memorized this little phrase which is obviously not difficult to do.  I used it even today and it made me think I needed to share it with you.

“Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me”  A-men.

God Wants to Help You Fight for Your Child

27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, ‘Destroy him!’ (Deut.1:27)

“…He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places.” (Deut. 1:29)

In my reading today I came across these scriptures and immediately thought of all the different enemies we face today.  During the time of Moses their enemies were those who were living in the land God promised to the Israelites.

God expected the Israelites to trust Him to go before them and wipe out their enemies.  There were times when they did not have to lift a finger to pillage their enemies. 

I believe we forget we have that same promise.  God wants to go before us and destroy our enemies.  For you, your enemy might be your daughter or son’s eating disorder (ED).

Now I’m not a “name it and claim it” kind of person; though I believe there are times when you have to stake your claim, so to speak, to take back ground you may have allowed the enemy to claim.

And that may be your child’s illness or your ability to re-feed her because you are too intimidated or afraid of her emotions when you sit with her and encourage her to eat more than she wants to.

I am not saying if you just proclaim your child healthy that will be the immediate result.  God doesn’t always work as quickly as we would like Him to.

But I am saying we have power and strength that comes from the Lord and we need to stand on that truth when we’re having tough times.  Your child’s ED may be pushing you around.

I’m saying God can give you the wisdom to know when to be strong and when to be tender and even when to be both at the same time.  God wants to fight our battles for us and we so often try to go it alone.  I know I do. 

These scriptures remind me without Him I can do nothing.  I need to ask Him to fight and to help me stand strong with whatever my part is in overcoming struggles.

Jesus’ death on the cross means the battle is over.  It is won!  We can live out that victory one step at a time.  For you, helping your child eat one more bite than she wants to and taking one meal at a time.  You can stand strong with God’s help and slowly re-feed your child.

“Greater is He that is in me than He who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

My Spirit is Broken

1 My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.” Job 17:1

Job has been through so much at this point in his story.  He lost every child, his home, his health, the respect of his friends and even the respect of his wife.  She couldn’t understand why he continued to trust God and even told him to curse God and die!

He finally said to his friends in frustration, hurt and disappointment,

“I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! 3 Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? 4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. 5 But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.: Job 16: 1-5

When we are in pain our friends can actually be the worst comforters as Job found out.  They all have their own interpretation of what is going on, of what God is up to in our lives or why we are in the circumstances we are in.

Don’t get me wrong, we need friends.  God made us relational beings; and not just to relate to Him but to other humans.  I think though Job’s experience shows us that when we are in a great period of suffering; especially one which makes absolutely no sense; God is the One we need to go to for answers.

Many families who experience eating disorders feel hurt, misunderstood, judged and betrayed by friends and family.  There is a lot to get wrong about eating disorders and most are not educated.  This means you either have to educate them if they are open to it or limit contact while helping your child recover.  Either way, you probably will feel very alone at times.

The first scripture in Job I referenced was Job 17:1, “My spirit is broken…”  When we are facing great hardship it may take time before we come to the end of ourselves and are finally willing to admit our spirits are broken.  That we have nothing left to give, nothing else to try and without God we and our situations are utterly without hope.

Even as I write this I believe I am on the precipice of admitting, accepting and believing I am broken.  The depression and lack of motivation is beyond my ability to conquer.  I have not wanted to submit and totally fall on my face helpless and broken before God.  I want to do something myself.  I am coming to believe I cannot and will not.

Will I get tired of trying on my own?  I hope so.  I hope I am as close to submission as I feel right now.  I pray in this moment I will lay the broken pieces of my mind, heart and spirit before God soon.  It is excruciating not to, yet I am learning how stubborn and hard-hearted I can be.

Forgive me Oh Lord.  Speed the brokenness, the softening, the submission I pray.  I cannot even do that by myself God.  I need You to do it.  Help me.

You may feel this way sometimes when it comes to laying your ill child down before God.  You know you need to stop feeling guilty, hurt, angry, afraid but you too feel afraid of being utterly dependent upon God and totally broken before Him.

We must trust that to be broken before God is the most beautiful place we can be in His eyes.  When Job stopped listening to his friends and started following his own heart…it led him right to the throne room of His God.

He and God had it out once and for all and Job submitted his smallness and neediness that he knew was there all along.  He just needed to say it all to God himself.  And God revealed Himself completely to Job in all His strength and glory.

And Job submitted and surrendered completely.  God responded with blessing upon blessing.  We have no guarantee of the blessings of wealth and  property as Job received.

But we are guaranteed all the strength and grace we need to persevere through anything God allows in our lives.  Let’s allow God to break and mend and re-mold us into who He wants us to be.

“Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me,

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me,

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.” (worship song)


Jesus Get’s Your Suffering

‘He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”‘
Jesus felt alone with His sorrow and trouble.  We know from the larger context of this scripture that His disciples could not stay awake to pray for Him.  You may feel alone too, like no one understands how much you need support and prayer.
It may feel like your friends and those closest to you are like the disciples…they just don’t get it.  The disciples didn’t get it and probably your friends don’t fully get how terrifying it is that your child is ill.  Also how difficult it is to re-feed your child and how much pain it is causing your whole family.

Remember Jesus does get it.  He went through suffering unto death and He turned to His Father even though He didn’t get the answer He hoped for…to not have to drink the cup of suffering unto death.  And He submitted His will to His Father’s.

So must we all; no matter our circumstances.  It’s okay to ask God to remove your child’s suffering and then whatever His answer, give your child and your family totally into the hands of your Father.

He is trustworthy and good.  He will be there when everyone else is going on with their lives.  His Word says He will never leave you or forsake you.

All We Need to Know Is In His Word

“Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” Mk 20:17-19

It was surprising to me as I read this scripture today that I had never thought about how much detail Jesus gave His disciples about his pending death.  You’ll notice in Mark 18 and 19 He told them where they were going, who would be involved and what was going to happen to Him.

My first thought was, “I wish God would give me these kinds of details about what is going to happen in my life.” Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus told us the amount of detail he gave to the disciples?

I make an assumption that having details about my future will make a difference in how I deal with it.  Also that it will impact how I will feel about the circumstances.

As I look deeper into this scripture and others that involve Jesus and His disciples; I realize that having these details really didn’t make a big difference with how the disciples reacted.  Jesus told them what was about to happen and they still did not handle it well.  Ultimately they all abandoned Him.

So it makes me wonder; would it really make a difference if I knew more?  From the disciples experience, not that much I don’t  think.

The more I considered this the more I started thinking I guess He did give us a lot of information.  All the information we need to know is in His Word.  He didn’t give us detail in terms of what we would suffer specifically.

He told us we would have trouble; there would be hardship and suffering.  He gave us His Word so we would know these things and not be surprised when we faced difficulty.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…(James 2:1)

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials (1 Peter 1:6).

When you have a child with an eating disorder you may suffer quietly.  Others don’t know about how painful and frightening it is to watch your daughter try to starve herself.

Even though you couldn’t imagine this would ever happen to you; God knew.  No amount of information would have made this hurt any less or help you deal with it better.  It just is and you are dealing with it the best you can one day at a time.

Jesus gave the disciples what they needed to know; and He gives us what we need to know as well.  We must trust Him that we know enough to get through this and He will help us with what we don’t yet know.

 

God is Our First Line of Defense

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” 8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

I wonder how often Jesus heard these little side discussions his disciples had with one another?  I wonder how often they got it wrong when the disciples, “discussed this among themselves”?

I know I do this.  I have a question or thought about something and instead of going first to the One who has all the answers, I call a friend or talk with my husband first.

I wonder if God, like Jesus in this scripture, is quietly listening and thinking, “Lynn, why don’t you ask Me?  I already have the answer.”  On and on I go conversing, stewing, evaluating and then if that doesn’t work I might go to God.

This is not something I like to admit but at times it is true.  Not always, but probably more often than I care to think about.

I don’t know this for sure, but I think Jesus wanted his disciples to ask him what he meant when they didn’t understand something he said.  Jesus knew how little they understood, how out of their element they were, how radically different his teaching was from everything else they had ever been taught.

I can think of multiple times in scripture when the disciples asked Jesus to clarify or interpret for them something he said.  After all they were his disciples; the purpose of their relationship with Him was to learn so they could continue what He began after He was gone.

My guess is Jesus had a similar policy that many teachers have and that is, “there is no dumb question.”  Ask anything.

So all of this to say, your child is ill and you are scared and don’t always know what to do.  My encouragement to you and to me is to go to Jesus first, not last with your questions, thoughts and emotions.

Yes, God gives us qualified people from whom to seek counsel and we should utilize them at whatever level it is necessary.  Scripture refers to seeking the counsel of the wise.

But I think in His mind it is a given that we always go to Him first.  He is our first line of defense, not our last.  Then once we have done that; we are more likely to hear or sense what direction to go and whose counsel to seek.

What do you need to take to God right now that you have been holding onto or are seeking the counsel of humans first?

Make God your first line of defense.  He will not let you down.  He will not let me down.  All we have to do is ask.

“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.” (James 1:5)

Spiritual Amnesia

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” 8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

At times the disciples seem to be so dense to us.  Here Jesus had done all these miracles including the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand; and they were still worried about bread!

I would like to think that if I were one of the disciples I would have been more astute.  But most likely I wouldn’t have been.  Just like I would like to think I would have made a better decision than Eve did in the garden.  Again, probably I wouldn’t have.

Once again, Jesus is pointing out the disciples’ lack of faith.  I wonder how often He would point out my lack of faith and remind me of all the ways He has been faithful to me.  Probably more times than I could count.

Just like the disciples, I forget what God has done for me.  I am faced with an obstacle and almost immediately have spiritual amnesia.

Does that ever happen to you?  This happens to all of us because we are human and fallible.  When your child develops anorexia it is difficult to hang onto faith.  The immediate question is, “Why did this happen to us?”

When your child is ill, it is more difficult to remember God’s faithfulness.  You are frightened and confused.

But God wants us to remember all the times He has been faithful and has provided for us.  That’s why Jesus reminds the disciples of the miracles because they had forgotten or weren’t able to transfer that information from one experience to another.

Even as I write this God is quietly reminding me of all He has done for me.  My concerns today are in His hands and He has always been faithful.

What events are God whispering in your ear right now?  I would encourage you to write down all the ways God has taken care of you and provided for you in the past.  It is a great exercise you can go back to over and over as your family goes through the recovery process.