The Continuing Spiritual Battle, November 2017

On September 29, 2017, I was healed of MS. I was able to feel

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Veronica ministering to me at the Awake & Arise Conference while everyone else was all worshiping in song.

fine texture with my fingers again. Muscles were firing that hadn’t in more than ten years. Later that week, I had strep throat, and I wasn’t bed-ridden or extra-weak like usual. I could not deny. I praised God for my healing daily. I wrote about that in this blog.

On the night of November 3, 2017, I couldn’t even sleep for the spasms of my muscles. Doug didn’t sleep much, either. I saw the clock every hour that night. I don’t know if I was awake from hour to hour or if I was awake the whole time. Lies had been flooding my head for a few days. I thought about goals I had set for myself that I hadn’t met. Steps I had tried to take, but didn’t actually. Maybe shuffled my foot forward. But I wasn’t even walking toward them. The next morning, I was as weak as I am when a relapse hits me hard. Neither Doug nor I knew what was going on; I had felt fine the evening before. We called in Lindsey, the nanny that wasn’t supposed to be there until later that day, to come in as fast as she could. After Lindsey and Doug helped me into the car, we went to the ER. By God’s grace, there weren’t many others there at 8am on Saturday morning. They checked me out for an infection of any kind. Blood count was fine, urine was healthy, strep test came back negative, chest x-ray looked good, heart was fine. I had totally expected to be admitted. They let me go hours after getting there with the diagnosis of an MS flare-up because I hadn’t been taking my medicine. They didn’t give me steroids or a plan, except, “follow up with your family doc.” I have never been released while I was still so weak.

So why was I a two-person assist again? Doug, who would have been at the library studying all day, stayed home so he’d be there to help when I needed it. Lindsey had to stay later in the day so I wouldn’t be alone. I’m healed, aren’t I? It was a fight. I battled depression a lot of the day. I slept a lot, but when I was awake, I recited scriptures on healing out loud. Over and over. I’d been having trouble staying strong after a matter of hours. I cried out to the Lord that I would keep strength through all of church the next day. Doug posted on a bunch of Facebook groups and contacted family and stuff. “We are declaring for God to rid Anna of MS once and for all and for His help. He has helped every time before, and He will do it again. Faithful is He.” That night, Doug and I knew we needed a miracle. Doug wouldn’t be able to stay home anymore, as his board exam is coming up soon. We have three nannies, but they’re not available to come two at a time.

The next day, I was stronger than the day before. At least I started out that way. I just prayed it would stay. And I went to church, where I received a ton of encouragement and prayer. We stayed in the church even after everyone left, and prayed. We knew we were in the midst of a battle, the enemy attacking us and those we closely interact with. After my afternoon nap, I didn’t need my wheelchair anymore!

I have been carrying around the healing scriptures and reading them. What other explanation is there for my healing this weekend than the marvelous work of God, the Healer, the Lord Almighty? I know I am in a spiritual battle, and I am standing with many brothers and sisters in Christ who are agreeing with me, as I stand with so many of them in their own battles.

If you would, you can stand with me. Pass these scriptures on to some of your own friends when you need a healing yourself. Read them out loud. You could need healing in your relationships, body, mind, or spirit. It is ALWAYS God’s will to heal you. So if you’re waiting for his will…that’s that. It is.

Psalm 107:20 “He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 58:8 “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Jeremiah 30:7 “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord, because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.”

Jeremiah 33:6 “Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”

James 5:14-15 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

Matthew 4:23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”

Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”

1 Peter 2:24, “’He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”

woman full armor of GodLet these scriptures, read out loud, be the sword you fight with in your own battle. Pick up that helmet of salvation to guard your thoughts, your breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart, the belt of truth so you do not doubt what you have seen and heard. Tie on the gospel-ready shoes which will give you peace, and don’t forget to pick up that shield of faith, which can block the incoming attacks of the Enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are in a battle, my friend. May God be with you!

Warrior in Christ,

Anna

 

 

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The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your STAND against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of the evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to STAND your ground, and after everything, to STAND. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” [emphasis mine]

I italicized all of the things we are to do. These pieces of armor aren’t just automatically on us when we become a Christian. We have to put it on daily. Just like you don’t leave your house without putting clothes on, why should we, as Christians, venture into the world without our armor? I am just as guilty as anyone when it comes to leaving without my armor. Simply speak it on: “I buckle the belt of truth around my waist, put in place the breastplate of righteousness, and fit my feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of God, our peace. I take up the shield of faith, as well as the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.” While you are speaking these things on, pray for your day! Surrender it to the Lord, who takes much better care of it than we can ever dream of doing!

How well do you understand the armor of God? I love the visualization of it so much, that I wrote it into my book a whole lot. It was fun! Let me share some of my notes on what the armor of God all means.

woman full armor of GodWe first buckle on the belt of truth. The enemy sends lies our way as often as he can. The world is full of it. But remember the TRUTH about all things, especially your identity in Christ! Next, put in place the breastplate of righteousness. I imagine this breastplate as one that wraps around my entire torso. Under the breastplate, you see, are our hearts. Our heart is the hub of our emotions, self-worth, and trust. Many have built extra walls around our hearts from past hurts, but the breastplate of righteousness is especially important. It ensures God’s approval and protects our hearts better than we ever could. God approves of us because he loves us—he loves us so much, that he sent his son to die for us! Next, fit your feet with the readiness to share the good news. Sharing the gospel with everyone you can seems like a daunting task. The word says that the gospel will reach every nation and tongue before Jesus comes back. “What if people respond negatively? What if they attack me, or sharing the gospel turns out to be a hopeless task? That’s what missionaries and pastors do. I can’t!” you say. Let me tell you: the footgear that God gives us is the motivation to proclaim the gospel of God—the good news that everyone needs to hear! Take up the shield of faith. Satan attacks us in the form of insults, setbacks, temptations, etc, etc. But the shield we are given protects us from ALL the flaming arrows of the enemy! Take up the helmet of salvation. Satan loves when we doubt. He tries to make us doubt God, Jesus, and our salvation, as often as he can. The helmet protects our minds from doubting God’s saving work for us. With the helmet, we can remember in our heads who we are! As you can see, all of this defensive gear works together to protect us!

There are two weapons of offense listed with the armor. The first is the sword of the Spirit. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Tempted? Trust in the truth of God’s word! The second weapon of offense is prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God, as if he is in the room right next to you! When you talk to God, you are strengthening your relationship with him, and the devil ain’t got ground to stand when God speaks!

To read more about the armor of God in action, check out Acts of the Apostles in the Bible or Saving Vindicity,” the book that I recently published!

 

Be blessed, everyone!

Anna E. Meyer

Poem: TRUST (it’s a must) :)

He looked down upon her, and shook his head.

How could she not see the joy her actions had led?

How could she be frustrated, with all the joy up here?

The angel then realized that she hadn’t attuned the correct ear.

How could she be frustrated that she was not making a profit on earth,

If all of her actions led to things of eternal worth?

The angel descended and spoke through a friend.

All she needed was encouragement to defend.

The Enemy would not get his girl today,

With all the others fighting for her to keep the enemy at bay!

The girl picked up her armor which had fallen out of her hand.

She then saw what was happening, and against the devil she took a stand.

“I am okay if I don’t meet my goals,” she proclaimed.

“I have made progress, and it is by God I am claimed!

“I have been working and trying, and that was the goal.

“I can’t beat myself up because of what I can’t control!”

The angel above her smiled to the skies.

She had finally cleared her head of all the worthless lies.

“I am good enough, and I am doing this right!”

The girl shook a fist as she started to write.

“Why am I looking for my worth in money?

“As if I don’t know God? That’s funny.

“But I am his child, and he calls me a masterpiece.

“One day I will see and know how it fits, this piece.”

The girl down on Earth shook her head.

She was doing all she could in her stead.

She couldn’t control what other people did;

That was on them and herself she kid.

Only God could do something where she could not.

She should be speaking with him instead of feeling distraught!

//

The author of this poem looks through the words and into your eyes.

Are you, too, guilty of believing these lies?

Are you distressed by something you cannot control?

As if, on your own, you can change the public opinion poll?

Here is the solution, for all your troubles (it’s broad):

TRUST IN GOD.

You have to make a decision before you solve a problem.

If the decision is to trust God, it’s awesome.

Then it doesn’t matter what the solution may be;

It’ll work out later because you trusted in He.

These are the things I’ve been learning lately.

And I, the girl of the poem, have been moved by this greatly!

I try and try and try, but without God, my attempts are futile.

Pretty soon, all this work and self-reliance is brutal.

So trust in God, I shout it to the skies.

I hear it come back to me, my pleading cries.

Because I’m the one who needs to hear it.

And that is why for myself, this poem, I’ve writ.

//

Anna E Meyer

The Spoon Theory

“The Spoon Theory” was thought up by an individual with Lupus. It always makes me sad to think about, because I don’t have to plan life as much as she does. She has to plan around her ability to button shirts in the morning or take extra time to look presentable if there are bruises on her arms or if her hair is falling out. You can view her original story here. Anyway, I was thinking about this as I read the article to Dr. Wile E. Coyote yesterday morning, and I wanted to create my own spoon theory. Anyone who is physically disabled or has an illness such as MS, fibromyalgia, Lupus, no matter how severe or not, can relate to the Spoon Theory.

spoonEach spoon represents energy that I have in my day. People who are not sick have an unlimited number of spoons, and even if they use them all up in a day, many are regained with a good night’s sleep. This analogy also works well with a gas tank, that once you run out, it takes another night’s sleep to gain it back. But for the sake of this post, I will stick to spoons.

I’ll begin this illustration by handing you, my reader, twelve spoons.

“Only 12?” You ask suspiciously. Yes. Only 12. Let us begin the day.

At 2, 4, and 7 am, we get up to go to the bathroom, so it is really hard to get up later. Luckily, I do not work in the morning, so if I don’t get up until 8:30 or 9, it’s okay. But I’m already behind. But I have 12 spoons. At 8:47am, I get out of bed. I get up, shuffle through the clothes in my closet, and get dressed. I go to the bathroom to take my medicine, brush my teeth, put on some makeup, and just in general be ready for the day. I then go and put a bowl and some cereal on the table, make a pot of coffee, and sit down to eat breakfast. Oops, there are only 11 spoons in our hands now. I was standing for much too long this morning. Unlike others who have central nervous system diseases, I don’t notice when a spoon is missing until I sit down and relax for a moment. You can see how this may be hard when I am go-go-go for too long. It also doesn’t help how stubborn I am at times.

After breakfast, I sit down with my Bible, journal, and cup of coffee to spend some quality time with Jesus. I love doing this daily for a few reasons: 1) It starts off my day with eternal thinking, which always puts me in a better mindset when it comes to other things. And 2) It doesn’t cost a spoon. : ) Then I go ahead and do some chores. I put some clothes in the wash, and I decide to get some supper started in the crock pot while I’m up and on my feet right now. If I went and sat back down now, I would not lose a spoon, but because I have all this energy and am motivated and already here, I shall continue—but I lost another spoon. After supper is started and clothes are put in the drier some 20 minutes later, I sit back down in my spot to rest and catch up on some writing or reading or something else on my computer. I have 10 spoons. I wanted to go shopping today, but I also have to work today. Shopping usually costs about 3 spoons, so I decide to go tomorrow. We’re out of milk, but Dr. Coyote will make eggs or something for breakfast for himself. Shoot, we’re out of eggs, too. “Well, then, I shouldn’t have done laundry and started supper if I wanted to do all those things today!” I say frustratedly to myself. I look at my schedule the rest of the day and plan it out.

I leave at 11am to go grocery shopping, and after I decide something, I’ll do it, even if I…shouldn’t. If I leave at 11, I know Dr. Coyote will be out of class in time to help me unload groceries (because I texted him as I left). But as I’m grocery shopping, I have to back track because I forgot that something on my list was in the second aisle, not the second-to-last like in my hometown. I skipped getting another thing that I really did forget on my list simply because I didn’t want to lose another spoon. I have 6 spoons when I get inside the hot car, and 5 spoons before the car cools down enough where I feel like I’m breathing fresh air and my body temp goes down.

As soon as I get home, I climb the stairs with eggs in my hand, put the eggs away, and sit down, exhausted, with 4 spoons left. I didn’t take as long as I thought I might, so it’s not even noon yet when I crash. I listen as Dr. Coyote gets home and heads right for the car, taking as many groceries in his hands each trip as he can. He then starts putting groceries away (because he is such a sweet guy like that). At 12:18, I get up to help with the last few things. I now have 5 spoons again, because that sitting break is exactly what I needed.

“What do you want for lunch?” I ask my husband. He has to leave for class again at 12:55, so that doesn’t leave us much time. Had I not went grocery shopping, I could have had lunch started, or even finished by now. I beat myself for it, but Dr. Coyote tells me to go sit down again, because he has an idea for lunch.

I join Dr. Coyote at the table as he finishes putting together salads on two different plates, thanking him for carrying up the groceries and for making lunch. We eat and visit. I still have 5 spoons left, but I think I can get another back before I need to go to work.

That is just the first half of my day, but I do have to plan a little more. These are some recent examples of some harder days I’ve had. But I learn from my mistakes. I haven’t always planned enough in my day, but I know what I can and cannot do. Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn a lot of that through trial-and-error, but I don’t make the same mistakes forever. I’m not always aware when I’ve just dropped a spoon or took one away until after it has happened. Sometimes, I take tomorrow’s spoons by mistake, and have a harder day tomorrow.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote is learning more about MS in me and MS in general, as well. I share with him little bits, but it wasn’t until I read him the original spoon theory article that he really understood. Reading articles from the MS Society, I do know that people who have MS use 5x more energy than people without. We have to think as we walk. I have a limp, and need to lift up my left leg, even when it feels s o   h e a v y at times.

In an article I read by Cathy Chester yesterday morning, I learned that there are a few different kinds of fatigue. There is primary MS fatigue, which Chester described as “waking up feeling somewhat energized, then feeling tired in the afternoon and less tired in the evening.”  There are also different forms of secondary MS fatigue. Nerve fiber fatigue is when you are doing something, like walking or playing the piano, and suddenly your legs or your fingers feel weak. Both of these happen to me personally. There is fatigue of walking with a disability, which I have already discussed. There is fatigue caused by disrupted sleep. I have experienced this, as well, as urinary problems and other digestive problems have woken me up in the night repeatedly. To learn more about MS fatigue and what you can do about it, read the article I read yesterday here. I have found that planning, as well as rest breaks, work for me. I have jobs where I can sit while I work, and I have family, friends, and an amazing husband who will all help me out when needed. They don’t even know when they step up and rescue me, but God knows what I need and makes sure I get it.

I felt like I should write this so that my friends and family can understand me better. I have told this story to one friend, who had tears in her eyes as I finished, because she simply hadn’t understood before. I don’t want people to always feel like they need to help me, because I am independent and can do plenty of things on my own. But when I can’t do everything that one might expect, this is why. I haven’t completely understood how to explain, nor have I wanted the sympathy that stories like this sometimes bring. But I have come to a place where I would just like you to understand.

I’d like to hear from you: If you have an illness, do you have to plan your day around your illness? What kinds of things do you do to help yourself? If you don’t have an illness, does the spoon theory help you understand other illnesses better?

With love,

Anna Meyer

Five-Fold Ministry: Pastor

Synonyms: Soul-winners. Oversees, shepherds, and tends the flock of God. Protector.

Characteristics: Protector, hospitable, nurturing, love being around people. Peaceful, disarming, motivating, and counsel with wisdom.

Responsibilities: Care for and protect God’s flock; be worthy of imitation. Serve, inspire, and live as role models for their church. Instruct believers further in the things of Christ and build them up in faith. Admonishes and encourages in order to edify in love, with the patience and compassion of the Father. “He is humbled by the precious gift he’s been given and knows he’s fully accountable to God for each soul He places in his care and does not consider the gift and responsibility a light thing, but rather the most awesome responsibility in all of creation” (B. Dino).

Passions: Discipleship.

Examples: Jesus Christ, Timothy, Lydia. Who else do you know in this role? Some people from my life in this role include Pastor Jason Mueller, Pastor Jim Demke, and Tom Hartsock.

I read somewhere that women rate close to pastors on online tests because their mothering instinct is to protect those under their care and to love and grow their children. I even considered being a pastor at one point because I love doing discipleship. But the three men I have listed above? They are GREAT at discipleship and great at what they do. Not all preachers are the closest to the gift of “pastor.” Some of them teach better than they do some of the other responsibilities that fall under a pastor. There is nothing bad about that at all. I know churches that have a leadership TEAM, not simply one pastor to take care of everything. I think this is smart, if one has the resources. Then, a person that lands in each of these five spiritual ministries can be involved, and all the bases would be covered.

Anna E Meyer

Do you know people who display the gift of pastoring? Are they all pastors, or could they be other people, as well?

The First Week of Classes Complete: Update on Life of the Meyers

Books, books, books. I love reading. I love writing. I love having them on my bookshelf, even if I haven’t had TIME to read them yet. I finished writing my query today, and after I finish a synopsis, I shall start sending in my query and proposal (each agent calls for a different type of submission). Everything has been working out (again). I have had trouble with motivation and with writing just the right words in the past, but it has come together. Maybe it is because Dr. Wile E. Coyote has found his own niche for studying and has been at the library most of the weekend. Goodness, if this keeps up, I could have another three novels written before we get to clinicals! I have a list of things that I want to write but I have to take it one at a time. As I am working on the query and synopsis of my completed novel, I feel a push to begin the sequel. I have been learning so much about writing styles and writing in general from resources that I have been diving into! Also, I have found this whole new genre of books out there that fit mine completely: Christian urban-fiction. I’ve been reading reviews on Goodreads and going to websites and I just want to read all these books now, too! But of course, I don’t have time. I’ve discovered that this genre has been growing a lot since the late 80s, but I didn’t even know that until after I finished my book. And I’m just so excited about it, that I want to talk about it with people, but of course, they have not read it yet, because I am not yet published. *sigh* I’ll get there. (smiley face)

And THAT leads me to the totally awesome job I have at Sound House Music: teaching music lessons to students who are paying me for lessons and are excited because they WANT to learn. In public schools, you get those students that are just going through the motions because band is an “easy A” or their parents want them to play in band. I haven’t figured out how the music lessons and writing exactly will work hand-in-hand, but I have such a passion for both of them that is just erupting from my soul right now. I currently have 3 students, but another wants to get started when school starts up for him (public schools have already started here in Kentucky! Is that early or what?). And when word gets out that I can give lessons in more than just drums and piano, I will hopefully have even MORE students! I am so excited. I may have talked about all this here before, but I don’t care, because I’m just excited. Kind of like I’m excited to start sending my query in. I KNOW I’m going to get a lot of rejection before I will get a book published, and I KNOW that I beat myself up about music stuff too often. Which is great that God has been giving me such encouragement lately! – next paragraph –

I have talked about the friends that Doug and I have been making here, even before school started. Well, us and some friends I’ve mentioned here before, who I’ll call the “Bang!ers” because Bang! is the only game that is played when these particular people gather and play a game, met for a prayer night the Friday before classes started for our students. We first went around sharing prayer requests, and I shared how I didn’t feel “good enough” for my job at times. Among so much more prayer, that lie and those self-esteem issues were attacked. And I have been feeling the prayers. Much more, I can feel when those lies creep in and I throw them away, because God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). He has also given us authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19), so we can command it away. And this week, the small group I am in began going through Ephesians. We read Ephesians 1 for this weekend, and in our discussion Sunday morning, we talked all about our identity and how Paul tells us over and over of the many spiritual blessings we have received in Christ (it’s every spiritual blessing, actually!). The Lord has been attacking lies before The Student, as well, so we’ve been able to encourage each other. I am continually amazed by God’s incomparable love and blessings, his grace and his peace, and his constancy through EVERYTHING.

How is Dr. Coyote doing after this first week of classes? Well, he was at the library for hours at a time this weekend. It has been a roller coaster. Some days, it’s like, “Uuuuuugh,” and other days , it’s like, “This is the best ever!” Apparently, life of a med student. He has already been changing his study strategies until he found something that helps him study a lot better than his undergrad studying technique. His studying is like a roller coaster, as well. Sometimes, it’s like, “I was just plowin’ through!” and other times, it’s like, “I had to push to get it done.” Doug received his iPad keyboard today in the mail, and is currently geeking out about it. Maybe after supper, he’ll be done geeking out about the iPad, and be ready to geek out about anatomy? 😉

 

Adapting to this Kentucky resident/med schooler/spouse life! 🙂

 

Anna (AKA the native Minnesotan/music teacher/writer and science is like, whaaa?)

I Am NOT The Author of This Story (Just this Post)

We were going through Mark 2:1-12 at a Bible study on Monday. Just in case that reference doesn’t make you think, “Oh yeah, I remember that story!” allow me to refresh your memory. So, Jesus is back in Capernaum and everyone hears about it. Of course, they’re all flocking to him because they want to see him perform miracles like some circus act. Anyway, these four dudes are carrying their buddy on a stretcher because he is paralyzed. But they can’t even get in the house because it is PACKED. So, they go up to the roof, vandalize the roof to make a hole so the stretcher would fit, and lower their buddy right in front of Jesus. Jesus, seeing that the men actually believe Jesus will heal the paralytic and didn’t just come for a show, sees their faith and first forgives the sins of the paralytic. Then he heals him.

When I read these miraculous healings, I am awed by Jesus Christ’s power. And then I am filled with jealousy. There are SO many healings in the Bible. In fact, miraculous healings still happen today. So why am I not healed? I’m a storyteller and a rational thinker, but mostly a storyteller. I love a good story. Anna in the Bible lived with her husband for seven years and then was a widow until she was 84, when she got to see baby Jesus at the temple. So, it would be pretty cool if I was healed of MS after 7 years, right? So why wasn’t I? I prayed for it to happen, but I’ve had it for almost 10.

I realize now that there are more, better, and God-glorifying stories as I have MS. Being healed is a one-time deal. But overcoming struggles is a repeated process (day by day, hour by hour, etc). Did I just want to be part of a miraculous circus act? No. Even though that would be cool. I mean, I am a side character in this epic story called life (God is the main character, of course). I can glorify God through having MS, through my relationships, through my marriage (in 45 days), and through everything in my life in general. Yes, I am jealous of people in the gospels and even those I hear about now who have been miraculously healed. But, I don’t want to be a character in a one story, but many! I know that God would be able to use me whichever way he wants, but here looks like a pretty great place to be at the moment.

There’s another thing that we can never forget—God is the best storyteller in the history of the universe. I can’t be telling him what he should or shouldn’t do—I’m in the story. Only the author, who is outside of it, can write it. (So we should all stop trying.)

 

The Writer and Thinker of This Post,

Anna

Guilt, MS, and Time for Myself (these are super-conflicts with each other, ugh)

So….I opted not to work today.  Being a substitute teacher, you can decide things like that.  I had fruit loops, spent time with Jesus, and Skyped with my man.  But you know what I realized?

I FEEL GUILTY TAKING TIME FOR ME.  Seriously.  If I’m not busy being productive and-or doing things for other people, I feel like I’m a lazy pile who is doing nothing.  And I am doing things.  All the time.  Last night when I got back to the 101 after giving a late lesson, my roommates were waiting for me to celebrate LJ’s birthday for real.  So, we had cupcakes and watched a movie.  I hung out with some of my favorite live-in girlies and giggled and talked and cuddled ‘cuz we’re cool like that.  And at 11pm, I went online and turned on “do not call” for sub jobs today.  And I felt guilty.  So, I woke up at 7, and stayed awake until I got up, and was productive.  But now I’m writing a blog post, and frankly, this is taking away from my productivity and all-around list of things I should ACTUALLY be doing.

Why?  If I don’t keep my word and show up when I say I will, GUILT.  Even if I pretend I forgot and am hanging out with friends or something, if they call me, DROP EVERYTHING and convince myself that pretending to forget was a stupid idea in the first place.  I better still show up.

There is a word that I didn’t really know the meaning to until I was almost done with college: NO.  You ask me to do something, and I will agree to it.  I mean, I said “no” when I had a super good, legitimate excuse.  This then turned my having MS into something that I felt guilty about, as well. How can I come to terms with the disease if it has turned into an excuse?  You see my problem.  I pretend I don’t have MS until I notice it and it gets worse.  Or until I don’t want to do something, so I use it as an excuse.  AHHHHH!

You see the problem here.  I physically can’t do things because of the MS.  I have to get more sleep than the average 23-year-old, I can’t move furniture or carry heavyish boxes, and I need time to re-fuel in my day (take a break, crash mid-day, whatever).  I hate not hanging out with my roommates when they all get home, ‘cuz it’s the only time we can hang together.  I hated not being able to help move percussion equipment in college because I didn’t have any energy after and I felt like I was being lazy.  You know where this feeling originally came from?

Those who CAN’T and those who WON’T look the same on the outside.  You never know, maybe I just don’t want to move these things even though it’s a responsibility of mine because I’m LAZY.  Maybe I just want to go to sleep earlier than everyone else because I’m a FUN-KILLER.  Maybe I modify everything super a lot because I’m too LAZY and don’t feel like WORKING HARD enough.  My BIGGEST pet-peeve is when somebody CAN do something, but DOESN’T, because I CAN’T and WANT TO.  If I could, I would do everything.  But maybe that’s why I can’t.

I always look on the bright side (because I’m from the upper Midwest AND an optimist, believe it or not).  Maybe my inability to do everything is a blessing, because if I could I would.  Maybe my need to relax and re-fuel for my physical energy are what I actually need for my emotional and spiritual self, as well.  Maybe I’m not working today so I can have this argument in my head and in response publish this blog post instead of doing laundry right now (because that is needed BEFORE I go to bed, seriously).

Frankly, I don’t care if this post is “liked” or “shared” at all, because I think I just needed to write this for me more than anyone.  I’m gonna go do something that I deem “productive,” but maybe I’ll take time to stray away from my to-do list today.  Who knows?

Anna

 

Quiet Times in the Morning

Yesterday, I didn’t work. I sort of talked myself out of it after waking up at 6 like normal and lying in bed for 40 minutes, not wanting to get up. “I have so much to do today—maybe I could spend some time with Jesus, even!” And not receiving a call by 6:30 let me know there were no music jobs available. So I turned my phone on silent and went back to sleep. Yesterday, I got to hang out with some roommates I hadn’t hung out with in a while because our schedules are opposite, I got to spend a good hour and a half with Jesus, in his word and journaling, and I got stuff done! I had dship with Janae yesterday, and I was telling her about my longer time with Jesus. When I was in college, I woke up at 6, had a quiet time while eating breakfast, went and practiced percussion stuff in the band room for an hour, all before the band room had class at 8am. I was nuts, and wouldn’t be able to do that again. “It’s not like I’m going to wake up at 5am every day.”

And then. This morning (Wednesday, the 4th). I woke up at 4:53am. I looked at my clock, groaned, and turned over. But I didn’t fall back asleep. Actually, I was pretty wide awake. Suddenly, I remembered my words: It’s not like I’m going to get up at 5am every day. I rolled over. “Okay, Jesus, I hear you,” I thought real loud as my roommate rustled in her bed in our shared room. She got up to pee, and I sat up to get up. “What are you doing?” she asked me. “Getting up,” I said, taking my phone off the charger. “Anna…it’s 5am.” I stood up. “I know.” And so….I got ready for the day early and spent a longer time with Jesus over breakfast. On normal work mornings, I read a devo and have to run. But this was great. I’ve been going through Proverbs, and although I have tried before, I feel like I’m being spoken to like never before in that book. (I’ve only tried to read it one other time. It’s repetitive and boring. Or is it?) I even called in to see if there were jobs available, even though they probably wouldn’t have called me for another hour, if they even would have. So I worked at an elementary school today as an EA or a para or whatever you call those people who work with kids with special needs and/or do the “extra” tasks of the building. Some of the kids even remembered me from when I was at that same school filling in for their music teacher. I digress.

I like morning quiet times. Starting off the day with Jesus is like waking up to a pleasant thought or a great song. Okay, so I’m a morning person and like waking up to good music. So, like a good song playing on the radio after you’re ready to wake up? I don’t even know how to describe. Dr. Wile E. Coyote was once telling me of this podcast he listened to about tithing our firstfruits. Morning quiet times are like giving the firstfruits of our day to God. And, frankly, my whole day goes better when I start it by thinking of eternal things and not myself or my to-do list. Sundays are the first day of the week, and most church services are Sunday morning—the firstfruits of our week. We all know about the firstfruits of our paycheck. That’s not even up for argument. But tithing our time? In this way-too-busy world, that’s a crazy concept. But doesn’t it make sense!?

I know that not everyone is a morning person, and that’s okay. (We just have to respect that, and follow set rules to not sing VeggieTales songs until after 9am or to wait until an alarm has gone off to start chattering.) I know people who have quiet times right before bed, after they’ve had a long day and just need some Jesus or in the middle of the day, when they actually do have time. Last week, I told Janae that maybe we should start praying or having our quiet times in between the snooze button. I did it once. I mean, it helped me wake up, but it wasn’t consistent and so not what I needed. I was still in my sleep-position, after all. I don’t know if the 5am thing will fly long-term, but I’m taking a long weekend (substitute teachers can set their own schedules and do stuff like that), so I’ll worry about it later. 😉

When do you spend time with the Lord in your day?

Peace,

Anna

Lord, where are you goin’ with this?

Music. Teaching. Writing. Pastoral Care. All my life, I have been led in these directions.  I am at a loss.  You know when I said, “This is the first time in my life I have no idea what’s happening in the future and I’m okay with it”?  Well, those words are coming back to bite me, because I am not necessarily okay with it anymore.  I just want to know what I’m going to be doing so that I can focus on that and refresh or gain even more knowledge in that area.  I didn’t pass my Praxis education tests to get the score for Kentucky, and I’ve heard from a few different sources about this Christian writer’s conference in Michigan in less than a month.  Do I stop looking for teaching jobs and write more?  I honestly didn’t even know where in the Word to turn to, so I googled the phrases, “God’s will + circumstances” to see what I’d get.  I came across a few awesome articles/blogs.  One of them told me to ask myself these questions: “Where has God been leading us? Has He been doing something even when we couldn’t recognize it?  In the light of all God has been doing for us, does what we think we hear God saying through our circumstances make sense?” (Edmondson).  The thing is, God has been leading me toward all four things I started out this post with.  Even when I don’t see it, I look back and realize he has been making me better at those four things.  And now I don’t know what circumstances are saying, because anything makes sense right now.

What I do know is that God has been making it very clear to both Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I that he has a plan for us, and that we are to be in Pikeville, Kentucky for a season.  He has led us to that path in a way that one can’t question.  This last week, Dr. Coyote, my parents, and me drove down to Pikeville (a 2 day drive from anywhere in the upper Midwest).  It was great.  We looked at our apartment that we had signed the lease on a month earlier (smiley face), D went and turned in some forms in person to the school, and I followed up on some job leads I had.  Basically, there have been 3 music teachers hired in the last year, and unless any music teachers are married to a med student who will be moving on soon, there won’t be an opening anytime soon.  But I picked up the sub application for two districts.  And the newspaper, where I sent my resume the week before, was still in the process of looking at all the resumes that have come in.  But the music store.  The music store is looking to expand on the private lessons it offers to band students.  There is a man who gives drum set lessons who would like to focus on something else, so I could potentially have his students.  The owner of the store said we would stay in contact, and that they would probably be able to use me.  So excited!  I love giving lessons.  I love having that relationship with a student and passing on knowledge and watching them grow!  So, ideally, I could be almost-full-time giving lessons, and maybe I could write?  That would be awesome. And while we were there, we also took in some of the sites and got a feel for the town where much of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud took place.  (And I didn’t even really know about the Hatfield-McCoy feud.  I do now!)

The Lord alone knows what the future has in store.  I’ve been finding verses that I feel the Lord has been speaking to me through lately and writing them on index cards so I have them with me to look at again and again.  Verses that calm worry (1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 6:34), calm chaos (Psalm 46:10a, Psalm 37:7a), encourage perseverance because He is with me (2 Chronicles 32:7, Exodus 14:14, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6), command me to love him (Joshua 24:15b, Matthew 22:37-39, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and tell me that he’s got it (2 Corinthians 12:9).  These are only a few verses I read often to calm me and remind me that the Lord is near.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote told me that he thinks the Lord is leading me in 4 directions on purpose.  I know God has been teaching me trust through every single thing he seems to be doing in my life, but this is another one of those things.  He also tries my TEACHES ME patience every time I turn around, as well, smiley face.

Music, pastoral care, teaching, writing.  I don’t really know what God has in store for these things, but I dream of a job where I can use all these things that the Lord has been preparing me for at once.

 

Do you look at verses for comfort or have some memorized to repeat to yourself when you need it?  What are they?  Does God talk to you through circumstances or does he sort of just leave you waiting and trusting until the almost-last-minute? 

 

Anna 🙂