Tag Archives: emotions

The Greatest Gift

Most of us need someone to be there for us at some time in our lives and maybe, even be available to listen to others? Surely, this is the greatest gift we can give to another? To really listen.

I want you to listen.

You see …
I have an ache inside;
a sort of pain,
that really hurts.
It’s been there …
since I was a child.
I’ve tried to ignore it,
cover it over,
but it won’t go away.
It’s coming to the boil. Continue reading

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I’m Still Learning

For my wife to be given a ‘sentence’ of an aggressive and disabling form of rheumatoid arthritis certainly wasn’t on our agenda when we married. Neither did I expect to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (M.E.) not long after taking early retirement. These chronic illnesses changed the direction of our lives for ever, but although they were the cause of much grief and struggle, we have so very much to be thankful for and strangely, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has been a life-changing experience so far and this continues – we are still learning. What I personally have learnt and am still learning was on my mind today and these are just a few thoughts:

1. Fun. There are times when I have to remind myself not to take life too seriously and find time for fun. Yes FUN! It helps to have a sense of humour. Mine gets buried at times and I need to let it out and even take the risk of offending some. Continue reading

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Stick and Carrot

Speaking with a friend the other day, he asked me if I loved and accepted myself – meaning in the same way God does – and I replied about eighty percent. He said he felt he didn’t have a very good view of himself, so settled for twenty five percent.

I’m convinced that this was one of the factors that contributed towards my chronic fatigue syndrome. Continue reading

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Surprised by Angels

I once thought of angels as fluffy beings with wings, like the images portrayed in books, magazines and greeting cards. I was aware of recent reports and biblical angel encounters, but their existence remained theoretical, outside my realm of experience. As a pragmatic male, I believed Christians should concentrate on following Jesus, rather than an “experience”. While grateful for those blessings, or ‘consolations’ I received, I had no idea I was destined for my own very personal angelic encounters.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after several months of acute loneliness that defied any human solution. It was a most painful emotion of abandonment and anxiety, that kicked in after an eye operation that didn’t go to plan. I felt I was the only person in the whole world, like an infant, left out in the cold. I didn’t know which way to turn, except to God. The problem was He seemed to have left and was nowhere to be found. I had no sense of presence or awareness whatsoever. It was my own Dark Night of the Soul.

Even though He seemed far away, God had caught my attention as never before. I wanted to trust Him to take me through, but desperately needed answers and reached out to Him the best way I could. I spent time searching the bible, to see what was relevant to my situation. I recorded in my journal all that spoke to me, including my feelings at the time.

I liked to be outside in the freedom of the fresh air and was in the habit of going down to our beach. I used to sit on a low rock, just ‘being there in my wilderness!’ I became very aware and sensitive to those things close to hand, such as the surf gently washing in and rattling back over the shingle. I sat there one day, when I became aware – I can’t put it any other way – of Jesus kneeling at my feet, saying “What can I do for you?” This just stunned me. This was my God, kneeling at my feet, desiring to meet my needs.

A week or so later, when my anxiety levels were still high and I hadn’t driven far for a while, I drove my wife and a disabled friend, to visit a garden. On arrival, I left them in the formal garden while I explored a shady wooded area. I sat on a moss-covered tree stump, relishing the lush quiet all around me. I reached out to God in my isolation and almost immediately, I was aware of angels surrounding me. Some standing and some sitting, but all looking at me, protecting, waiting. It dawned upon me, that they had really been with me from the very beginning. I recalled some of the verses I had written down: I know it’s hard …. but you will come to no harm …. I will send my angels to protect you.

About three months later, after a brief appointment in town, my wife and I drove on to a favourite garden. It’s an incredible mix of several gardens, where there’s always a riot of colour, just like an artist dipping his brush in a paint box of flowers. After an hour or so, while my wife explored an old building, I wandered into a small secluded walled area. I was immediately struck by the quiet intimacy of this ‘secret’ garden. I sat on a sturdy wooden bench at the end of the close-cropped lawn. The seat was inviting like an armchair and so old, that the oak was bleached white with the sunlight.

As I soaked in the atmosphere, it suddenly felt like I was sitting on Father’s knee, with His arms around me. I could feel the warmth and comfort of His gentle embrace. I sat there enthralled, mesmerized, not wanting to move, in case He went away! I just sobbed with relief! That was a precious moment, Father and son together and possibly a promise of more to come?

Then, nearly five months after the onset, the state of desolation left as suddenly as it came. My senses began to return, the aching void inside receded and I felt covered by a warm comforting blanket of love.

I look back at that time now and just know that without me having to do anything, God did something deep inside. He knew my deepest need and just how much I could take and arranged those ‘angelic’ visitations to reassure and comfort me that He really was with me. Not the feeling, but the real God.

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It’s Lonely In Here

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I was catapulted into chronic fatigue after a feeling of loneliness that defied a human solution or change of situation. It was a most painful emotion of abandonment, as if I was the only person in the whole world. Whereas before I was aware of the presence of God, it felt He had gone. This was my own Dark Night of the Soul. I knew I had to trust Him to take me through the chasm of pain to the other side and that He did over a period of several months.

 

It’s lonely in here, very, very lonely
as if I’m the only person
in the whole wide world
and I’m frightened and hurting
I feel so helpless
I want to go back to how it was before, but I can’t
I want to escape, to run away.

Where are you God?
You seem so far away!
Why have you left me all alone?

In reality he is close
not the feeling, but the real thing
Jesus kneeling at my feet
“What would you have me do for you?”
What a God! at my feet!
Waiting patiently for the word
Waiting, waiting…
Yes, yes Lord, but .. but I need a lifeline
but yes, yes Lord, yes!

And as the yes’s and the trusting grew
and except for the odd backward glance
the journey entered upon
standing empty in the barren desert
feeling the feelings with Him
I remind myself
he will not let me down
he will not let me be tempted more than I can bear
and …

as my eyes become accustomed to the darkness
I find beauty to behold
diamonds and precious stones
hidden behind the pain
memories that heal and not hinder
heart to blessed heart
words of love
the pain starts to lift
and the anxieties start to melt away

Until the time when I feel His embrace
and do you know
it can actually hurt to be loved
but Lord don’t stop

Is this the end
no, it’s just the beginning.

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Writing With Father

tn_journal.jpgI have kept a diary for many years. It all started when I read a biography of Pope John 23 based upon his diary. Not that I am of his persuasion, but I thought if it was good for him, so it might work for me. At first it was just a few jottings of anything that grabbed my attention, but over the years it developed into more of a prayer journal.

At it’s most basic it has been a diary listing in some detail what I have done each day; this would give me some understanding of where I was heading. I found it particularly helpful after I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue, in keeping a check on my progress in physical activity. I’ve also used it as a record of God’s dealing with me and what I have been shown through scripture and in other ways. I have found it very encouraging to look back on past months and see the progress made. I can write anywhere with a notepad to hand, but most of the time it’s when I am sitting at my computer.

Sometimes there’s a need to write more extensively and expressively. Usually when there have been issues or events on my mind or thoughts that keep recurring. This is where writing comes into it’s own. Once I am comfortable and assured of the presence of Jesus, I begin. I write about the happenings in detail, almost like painting a picture with words, leaving nothing out. I just let the writing flow, without worrying about grammar or spelling. I write as it comes – this is for no one else but myself. It may link into past events, in which case I just go with it and see where it leads. As I get in touch with feelings, I describe them and see where they are coming from. I write what my heart is saying.

I am aware that I am writing with Father, so it is at this stage that I may pause to see if He has an input. I may be led to a scripture or words may come to me. By this time my voice will have taken over from my pen or I may have just lapsed into a meaningful prayerful silence.

I have found this kind of writing can be very powerful, freeing and healing, but I don’t want to give the impression that it’s like this every time. Also my handwriting is so bad that I mostly use a computer. The free journal software I use – Here – is so easy to use and helps to keep me organised with dates, prayer lists and bible quotes etc..

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Does God Heal Chronic Fatigue?

tn_dove.jpgDivine Healing has been the subject of many books, periodicals, journals and essays and written from the whole gamut of viewpoints. I am not even attempting to go into this, I leave that to the theologians and biblical scholars. But with my wife suffering from an incurable chronic illness and then I am diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome – CFS/ME/CFIDS – with no complete medical cure, it sharpens things up and makes things much more personal. With my ‘back to the wall’ I have been desperate for answers and I looked to God for the solution.

I’ve been a Christian for many years. For some of the time I have struggled and have even been rebellious, especially in situations where it felt like I was being dragged by my hair through a hedge backwards. Even so, I have long believed in a God who heals. The Bible tells me so and this has been born out by what I have seen for myself. I have witnessed others being healed instantly and also experienced minor and gradual examples within our family.

I have long believed that healing was all part of the ‘salvation package.’ But I came to accept that you can’t receive the gift without receiving the Giver, and He has an interest in the whole of me – body, soul and spirit – He doesn’t split me up into compartments. I would love an immediate miraculous release and have been prayed for a number of times, but I believe that on the whole it is a gradual process, a journey of love. Right from the start, once I had tasted that love, I longed for more, it was something I needed. However, even though it comes without price, it costs and takes all I have.

If there was some wonder pill or food that I could take for an instant cure, I would probably be the first in line for it. I’ve always been the one to look for the quick escape. But circumstances have forced me to go ‘through’ and not hide from the difficult issues, emotional pain and troublesome memories long swept under the carpet where they fester away. As I have learned to face these things with Father, I have realised a greater degree of personal freedom and gradual emotional and physical healing.

I feel that many physical illnesses, especially auto-immune conditions like chronic fatigue can have an emotional and spiritual root cause and dealing with these is at least part of the solution. This doesn’t mean that I discount lifestyle issues, eating sensibly and carefully or even taking vitamin supplements. I have tried following a rigid diet regime, but this did not show results and tended to take over my life. Anything that can threaten to take over the love relationship that I am totally committed to, I am wary of.

So I am on the way and I am changing. I just cannot tell God how or when He is to heal me of course. If Jesus can restore a man’s hearing by spitting on his tongue and another’s sight by rubbing mud in his eyes, I need to be open to what He sends my way. I am expectant for more, much more. Some of the symptoms have gone and I am stronger. I still long to be fully healed, whatever that means, but I trust Father who knows what he is doing. I have a greater longing that has become my life.

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