Relapses and Remissions

Life is a roller coaster. One minute we are up high, feeling great, healthy, and happy and the next minute we are soaring downwards feeling despair, depression, symptoms of our disease flaring. Why are things going wrong? Does not matter if we struggle with addictions, temptations, rebellion, disease, chaos or just everyday life; we are all on a roller coaster of some kind. Some may be straight and flat while others have many ups, downs and curves.

Remission is calming periods in our lives where things feel normal, we are not falling into a trap; definitely not a pit, symptoms have slowed and may have even stopped. We may be at the highest point of the rollercoaster or just the middle ground; cruising through life. We are happy, feel joyous and feel nothing can go wrong during this time.

Relapses are a totally different story. They come in all shapes and sizes, some mild and major; symptoms are flaring, the disease has resurfaced, addictions and temptations are back in full force, chaos becomes unbearable. Life is definitely not normal. We wish this rollercoaster would just stop and we were not on it. Why do we have to be on it in the first place? Some relapses make us stronger while others make us realize our weaknesses. They teach us what it means to fully rely on God and His guidance for our lives.  A reminder we cannot do life on our own.

When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.
Psalm 138:3

I have had many different kinds of relapse in my life as most people have. At this stage in my life, my relapses are linked to my undiagnosed disease. This past week I found myself in yet again another relapse. I never understand why I go through them and cannot pinpoint anything that makes them happen. They just arrive unannounced. They are also a reminder for me to fully rely on God to help me rest in his arms and allow Him to give me the strength I need until a remission happens. They are also a reminder that many people in our world are struggling with something in their lives, need others to help pick them up, give them an encouraging word and to pray for them.

Relapses and remissions will always be a part of our lives. Just remember God is walking beside you and He will give you the strength you need.

Blessings my friends!

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Beautifully Abnormal but Extraordinary

Our lives are abnormal but God can make it extraordinary.

Abnormal is the new normal for us. We sometimes struggle to settle into a new life after something happens. Whether it is an illness, an accident, an injury, becoming a cancer survivor, having a child, getting married, a tragedy, losing a loved one, losing a job, dealing with chaos etc, our life has taken a new twist. Life is not like it was before. Therefore we feel it is abnormal but a new life is waiting for us. A new and exciting life awaits. Our life can be extraordinary if we walk with God. He turns ordinary into extraordinary.

Here are a few examples from the Bible:
Naaman – Mighty warrior, had leprosy (a dreadful disease), through faith God healed him
Jehosheba – came from a pagan family, was a princess, and saved the line of David from being destroyed which also was the lineage of Jesus Christ
David – flawed, a man of contrasts, by faith killed a giant, loved God deeply, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)
Noah – righteous, by faith built an ark
Abraham – came from a pagan family, left everything behind, built a great nation
Moses – a murderer, great leader, saved God’s people
Rahab – a prostitute, obeyed God, welcomed the spies, life spared
Jonah – ran from God, whined, brought God’s message to change hearts of many living in spiritual darkness
Paul – intelligent, prosecuted Christians, transformed, became strong voice in spreading the Good news, powerful testimony, no matter what happened he never lost his fierce intensity to tell others about Christ
Peter – uneducated fisherman, denied Christ three times, brash, impulsive, spoke without thinking, great voice in telling others about Christ
Hannah – barren, struggled with self-worth, followed through on a costly commitment, dedicated and gave her child to God whom became Israel’s greatest Judge, ordinary to extraordinary in her commitment
Mary Magdalene – seven demons lived within, transformed, obedient, genuine faith, at the cross, believed and obeyed before understanding, example of thankful living
And there are many others but God did some amazing things through them.

No one is perfect but in our imperfections, God makes us extraordinary. We never know what God can do in our weaknesses and imperfections until we allow him to have all that we are. God does not waste our time; he will use our past and present so we may serve him with our future.

Blessings to you my friend!

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What is normal? Synonyms for normal are regular – standard – ordinary – common – usual. If you are like most, these are far from what life really is. Our view of normal is obscured. We may feel it is having a perfect life; no problems, no illness, no chaos. It may mean an earlier point in our lives. Anything besides this is viewed as abnormal. We feel our lives are abnormal when we don’t meet our expectations of what life should be like. A normal life is different for everyone no matter what we go through in life. It will also take on a different definition multiple times as we go through life depending on our circumstances.

When something happens in our lives; tragedy, illness, job loss, family chaos, etc, we look to the past. Why can’t we go back before all this when life seemed normal, perfect or somewhat perfect. “I don’t want to live this life that has come my way.” “How am I to survive this or even find joy in this?”

These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire test and purifies gold and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
1 Peter 1:7

As gold is heated, impurities float to the top and can be skimmed off. As Christians, our faith is tested along with our devotion and obedience. Our trials and struggles refine and strengthen our faith removing the impurities we have that God does not want there. We must not let these attacks rob us of our joy and peace that we can only find in God (1 Peter 5:8).

We must find a new normal in our lives. Whether we still live in chaos, a new normal emerges. Same is true when learning to deal with a tragedy, becoming a cancer survivor, learning to live with an illness or disease; a new normal emerges. Even just learning to adjust to something new in our life; a new normal emerges. In the abnormal, weakness and imperfections, the greatest things can happen.

Take one step at a time to learn the life that has come your way. Cherish every day and every breath that God has blessed you with. Find the joy and peace that is nestled in the new normal.

Blessings my dear friends!

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Giving Up

Have you ever felt like giving up on something? Why bother? Does it really matter if I do this anyways? Life is hard and it gets difficult at times. We get tired of struggling. We do not understand why we have to continue to go through these times. It hurts! We just want to give up, stay under the covers and let life happen around us without us. Yes, there will be good times and bad times but both are needed in our lives. It is hard to think that bad times are good for us. What? Bad times are good for me? Bad times will help us to become stronger and they will help prune areas of our lives that should not be there. It is like the potter and the clay in Jeremiah 18, if the jar the potter is making is not turning out as he had hoped, the potter will squash the jar into a lump of clay and start again. If our lives are not turning out the way God intended, he will reshape and reform our lives by pruning the unwanted areas out (the imperfections and defects). These will be our difficult times when we struggle. If we turn to God for help, he will shape us into that magnificent piece of pottery he intended us to be. We must not give up on the life he has set before us because it is hard and difficult. We must take the bad along with the good. Life cannot always be on top of the mountain, we must endure the pits as well. If we do not allow the reshaping of our lives, we become broken, destroyed, worthless and not useful. We need to be willing and receptive to God’s transformation of our lives. We then become a valuable vessel to his plan.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2

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