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

Advertisements

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

Resting in my Heavenly Father’s Embrace

“Abba!” I cry as I reach my hands up, wanting to be held, but unsure of where my daddy is. “Where are you?”

“I am right here, my child,” comes the reply as he picks me up into his arms and holds me in a hug.

“I am so stressed out,” I say to his shoulder. But he comforts me. He puts his hand gently on my back.

“There is no need,” God tells me softly into my ear. “I’ve got this.”

I nod my head. “I don’t want to do today on my own. It’s too heavy.”

“My dear, all you have to do is ask.”

“Will you……?”

“Will I….what?”

“Will you take this day from me? And here is my to-do list. It is overwhelming. I can’t……”

“Don’t worry, my child.”

“But what if I take it back?”

“Then just give it to me once more.”

I let out a sigh as I burry my face in my Heavenly Father’s shoulder.

Yesterday was a hard day. So much going on, so much disappointment and discouragement. In church last Sunday, we talked about how the devil goes about discouraging us all. Because even if we don’t fall for his other schemes, discouragement pushes us into despair and trouble better than anything else. And now that I recognize it, I see it all over.

“Disappointments come in threes,” a Mary Kay leader once said, “but blessings come by the thousands.” I can feel that God is opening the floodgates for blessings with this Mary Kay job of mine. It is going to affect my job at Sound House, as well. Sometimes, I can’t sleep because I am just imagining possibilities. Now that yesterday is just that—yesterday, in the past, history, I am ready to look ahead and keep moving forward.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote had me listen to a voicemail I’d left him a few weeks ago, telling him how excited I was that the father of one of my music students thanked me for teaching his daughter, and getting her excited about the piano. We do that for each other—haul one another up and out of the pity party we are trying to throw ourselves. I look at all my goals and the reasons that I am doing this Mary Kay job, as well. I want to bless other women by introducing them to a product that makes them feel good and look good on top of it; by giving them the same job opportunity I had, one that many women are praying for but don’t even know exist. I want to share my faith and pour into other women, just as I have been so poured into!

My dad giving me a hug the day of my wedding.
My dad giving me a hug the day of my wedding.

“Hey, God,” I say as he sets me down and takes my hand.

“Yes?” he asks with a small smile on his face.

“I know that the rest of this month will be better, so…thank you!”

“You know?”

“I TRUST.”

Have a great day, everyone!

Anna E Meyer

I’M MARRIED! And God is good :)

Colossians 2:9-10, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” Basically, this is saying that Christ completes us. Not a soulmate or lover. Christ. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And then woman was formed.

Anna and Doug Meyer
Photo credit: Byron Bredlow

Here I was, all ready to gush about my recent wedding and the awesomeness that it is being Mrs….Wile E. Coyote (AKA Meyer). And then the Lord just kind of tapped me on the shoulder. Christ completes me. D and I do help each other and kind of fill in gaps, but we are not the fullness of the other. I knew this, and I just want to make it clear. (Now that I found where it is stated super clearly in scripture!) D and I are our own, independent people. We have individual relationships with God and with our own friends. We are two totally different people. What a miracle it is that God can take two very different people and make them ONE! “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). When someone gets married, relationship priorities shift. Parents don’t help make big, important decisions. The spouse does. Parents may give advice, especially when sought out, but the number one person in a married person’s life is their spouse.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I have been praying since we started dating that our relationship would be glorifying to God. He has been hearing our prayers. This I know because of a few things: the doc (student) and I started dating in August. We were engaged on New Year’s. Married on June 28. Everything in our relationship has just landed in place. It’s incredible. Our wedding was focused 100% on God, and all our guests could see it. We didn’t have alcohol at our reception, but it was a PARTY! That fact really spoke to the place where our reception was and the people helping us out there. Those who we’ve shared our story with have been encouraged, and those who have been watching our story unfold have seen it, too.

So here we are, living in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Lord has been hearing our prayers for this place, too. Awesome landlords, we fell in love with a church the first full day we were here (Sunday), and we’ve been invited out to supper sometime this week by a couple that has lived here for a while (from Minnesota!?). Anyway, we honeymooned out here with minimals and some wedding presents. Dr. Wile E. Coyote’s parents will be out here next week with a U-Haul and the rest of our stuff. So, it’s been a challenge filled with late-night Wal-Mart runs when we realized how smart we were and forgot a blanket for the bed, a pillow for me, and laundry detergent? Ha.

I’ve only been married for like, a week, but already I have been hearing prayers answered there too. I have been praying that God loves my husband through me. I have been given this patience I didn’t know I possessed when I really just want to yell. I have been showing grace, when other parts of me fight it. Ya’ll who aren’t married yet? Patience and grace are huge things you notice real fast.

I felt like I needed to update you, my readers, on my life. I can’t even really talk about being married yet because it has been 10 days. That’s it. But those 10 days have been awesome and filled with road trips, no schedule, and a plethora adventures—exploring new cities, going to new restaurants that are common in the south, and talking with all those nice people with different accents. (Although, I guess since we’re the outsiders here, it is us with the accents!)

Keep it real, my friends!

Lovin’ life and livin’ in the moment,

Anna MEYER

Dating Someone with MS

I asked Dr. Wile E. Coyote to write a guest blog of his experiences dating someone with MS (hence the title) after I wrote this post about the importance of relationships while having MS. Oh, and have I told you, my readers, that I am marrying this man in like, two weeks?  🙂  Enjoy!  -Anna

 

I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. This is the phrase that really humbled me and really began to sink in when starting to date Anna. She has a disorder called multiple sclerosis (MS). So what is it like dating someone with MS? I’m not sure if it is the same for everyone because every person is different, every relationship is different, and MS varies drastically from person to person, but I pray that sharing my experiences a little will help people out there understand what it can be like. Anna’s blog is so encouraging and I don’t want to stop that trend with this. I love you Anna! 🙂

 

The summer after I graduated college is when I really started thinking a lot more about moving our friendship to something more. Anna had shared with me glimpses of her MS and some personal things in day to day living that she struggled with, but not a whole lot of the deep stuff and really personal ways it had and has affected her. I’m not sure if it was soon after we started dating or right before (we will say right after to make things more consistent) I started getting afraid. What if we can never have children? What if she gets the JC virus and becomes a vegetable before we even get married or during our marriage? What if we can never have sex or it won’t be the same because of her MS? What if we can never run or walk together, because I like to run? Can I handle taking care of her in the future if things get worse? Am I ok sacrificing my dreams of being a doctor and beyond to take care of Anna if needed? What if she ends up in a nursing home really young? Can I be there to support her through all this? These are just a handful of the questions that would fly through my head. To add to this fear, my dad would ask questions like, “Do you feel like you will be missing out on some things in life by pursing a marriage with Anna?” Little did he know that was a very bad question to ask that made me doubt if my family even supported my relationship with Anna (not sure if he meant it that way, but that’s how I took it).

Additionally, my first time seeing Anna’s MS in action since we were dating was at her Mayo Clinic visit in Rochester. This was also our first time seeing each other in person for more than a day since summer 2011. This was August 2013. I was really nervous and tried my best to keep an open mind. Anna had described her limp to me multiple times, but to really see it was different. Well, up walked Anna and her mom, linked arms. We hugged and I got Anna’s arm and away we went. I was actually quite proud and giddy at this moment. Locking arms is kind of romantic. The doctor’s appointments raised a lot more questions, more out of curiosity, love, and concern, now. I am a born learner and observer though, especially when it comes to medical stuff and human body stuff.

Backtracking a little bit, leading up to the visit to Mayo with Anna, I did a lot of research and digging into her medicine Tysabri. This really triggered a lot of fears in me and my family when I shared some of the things I had learned with them. To put it simple, this medicine makes a person more at risk of getting infected by a virus known as the JC virus. This virus has the potential to turn someone very quickly into a vegetable with not much to stop it (at least that is what I remembered reading or what I perceived it as). *Disclaimer from Anna: the JC virus just means an increased risk for PML, the brain disease that can transform a human into a vegetable. D did his research months ago, and the risk for PML has also been getting smaller over time.* From what I remember, the odds are 1:1,000 of being infected while on the medicine. What was I getting myself into? For just starting to date a good friend, could I handle all this? Do I love her enough to be by her side if this happens? My doctor side kicked in as well and questioned whether there was other options of medicine (not knowing Anna’s whole story too well yet). So at the doctor’s appointment, her doctor never really mentioned if they found evidence of the JC virus infecting Anna or not. This scared the pants off me and really worried me because I wanted to hear it myself that everything was still okay. Anna and her mom weren’t too worried about it and tried to reassure me that no news was good news. I wasn’t convinced.

Basically, I made MS much larger in my head than it really is. It is a sucky disease, but by no means life threatening or aggressive (for Anna at least and most I know who have it). And with today’s research and medicines, can be controlled quite nicely along with its symptoms. Also, I distrusted Anna’s doctors and the LORD that the best decision was made for her to be on Tysabri. The LORD would protect her from getting the JC virus and has for about 6 years already. He would also give me all the strength and abilities I would need to take care of Anna how she needed it no matter what happened. He brought us together. He will help always.

Something else that made a difference for Anna and I was that I loved Anna for who she is before seeing her MS in full action. I loved her writings A LOT! I loved her optimism in the midst of MS struggles. I loved her musical talents. I loved her desire to hug people. I loved her relationship with Jesus and where they have gone together over time. I loved her spontaneous personality and go-get-um personality. I loved her Minnesotan and Olson dialect. I loved her many smiley faces. I loved her stubborness and affectionate nature. Okay, I love a lot of things about Anna and could go on for a long time with these things, but I must move on with this blog. Honestly, at Mayo clinic walking with her, I still saw her as Anna, not as someone to pity because they limp and have no sense of texture in their fingers. Not someone to feel sorry for because they have a life altering disease called MS and had it since 13 years old. How did I do that?

Two things really helped with this: 1) The love that Jesus has for me overflowed to the way I loved and saw Anna. 2) I had gotten to know who Anna was as a person for about 2 years through letters, emails, phone calls, and Skype. *Note from Anna: Skype didn’t start until summer of 2013. But spending, like, 4 hours at a time on a Skype call pretty much made up for that.* To see inside a person you have to get to know them. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Open up with them about your life and listen to them when they open up about their life. Then, you must remember that Jesus knows, created, uniquely designed, and loves that person and see that person with that same frame of mind.

So more about my experiences (sorry I tend to get more preachy then real). Walking with Anna is tough sometimes. We have to walk slower and I have to be more conscious of where I step or the space we have so we don’t walk off the street or on uneven ground (Anna can handle uneven ground or will walk on it anyway even if it really wasn’t worth it because of her stubborness or impatience). I never thought I would become a unit with Anna everywhere we went, but I grew to like the closeness. It actually made me kind of protective because I wasn’t sure if she could handle walking without support. Of course she reassured me often, sometimes I think biting her teeth, that she can.

On the note of protectiveness, I would be concerned for Anna a lot (and still am) when I don’t see her. She will tell me about her day of little energy or how bad she felt her walk was that day. She will tell me about getting super hot and not sure how she would continue with the day. She would tell me when any of her symptoms would flare up a little. This worried and worries me because I want to be there to support her all the time and be there to comfort her. I don’t want her to overdo it and burnout. I also want to see her care about her body and health as much as I do, so I encouraged her often to stretch and eat a little healthier (I still do both). Through this I learned a couple things and am still learning them. One, Jesus is always there to support, provide strength, and comfort Anna in her time of need. She knows this and looks to Jesus for that support. When we are married Jesus will use me to do this, but not always because her help is ultimately from Him, not me. Second, Anna has to make the decision herself to make lifestyle changes when it comes to her health. I can encourage her, but I can’t force it on her. Just like asking any person to change to or add healthy habits, that person has to find the motivation and need in themselves before the change will take place. I am learning to accept this and be patient with Anna’s decision making on her own health.

The toughest part about dating someone with MS is understanding the nature of the disease. I can never understand it because I can’t experience it without having it, but getting Anna to describe what happens to her body or how she feels in specific and analogical ways is extremely helpful. When I can go through a whole day even on low energy and still stay standing, Anna cannot. It took some time to learn her energy levels vary a lot because of fatigue and MS. I remember shopping at target together a few months ago registering items for our wedding. We walked around the store for a good 1.5 hours I would say. Anna had to stop and sit down. She was beat tired. I was fine. She was not. Also, Anna will get frustrated with her limp or energy swings often. She will try to push herself too far even though I may give her a very concerned look as I think, “I really don’t want you to overdo it.” I cannot fully understand the frustration inside. But I must let her work through it herself. I learned quickly to let Anna be stubborn if she is set out to be (at least to a point). I also learned that Anna is still an independent person. And like all people, needs help with certain things in life. Anna may need help balancing while walking a long distance. I may need help washing the dishes faster. I am not saying I learned this overnight, but trusting Anna that when she needs help, she will let me know. She is learning each day to ask for help when she needs it and it takes time for her to learn this. I try my best to be understanding of her learning processes.

This leads me to why Anna and I are complements. She is a get-r-done kind of person. I am a think-it-through kind of person. She has a disorder that forces her to slow down. I struggle with gettin-r-done when I need to. God has given me a spirit of understanding when it comes to people that is supernatural to me sometimes. I do not boast in this, for it is not of my own. This has helped me tremendously to understand Anna and her MS. I try to get into Anna’s world and perspective. I even looked up how much an average human leg ways to try to imagine what it would be like to limp like Anna. I sometimes think intently about what it is like to walk with a foot-drop and try to mimic it. I told Anna on a day or week when MS is made aware throughout the world, I will wear gloves and weights around my left leg, and potentially a device that forces my foot to extend so that I can experience at least somewhat close to what Anna does each day.

One more thing before I wrap it up. Psychologically, Anna has been to the depths of the dead sea and back. I count it a miracle she came back by God’s Great Grace. This scared me at first that this might happen again. But I see now it won’t. Anna now looks at only the potential for who she can be and what she can do. She loves people more than ever and pursues her dreams without letting MS stop her. Along these same lines, Anna has learned to deal with stares from those who don’t know her. I now get stares when with her. Maybe people pity me and her. Maybe I shine the light of Jesus that I love someone with a limp the way I do. Maybe they think I and/or Anna are both mentally handicapped. After a while, I learned not to care. I know I love Anna and I know who she really is. She is beautiful to me inside and out. A quick note on that: I honestly was kind of indifferent to Anna physically at first. But very quickly that changed. When I knew Anna on the inside, I think the inward beauty started transferring to how Anna appeared on the outside to me. Now she is my babe! And we are getting hitched in 13 days!

The past few days I have been wearing a bracelet Anna gave me that says, “I love someone with MS.” I use to look at that in pride, saying to myself, “That’s right.” or I would smile thinking of Anna. I still do the latter and as I wear it I think of the story Anna and I have to encourage and share with others about MS and our relationship. I am not perfect and do get impatient with Anna sometimes. I do have thoughts here and there entice me that I am missing out on something by marrying Anna. But I know that I will experience far better things then those things I am “missing out on” because I love Anna more than any person on this earth.

 

I hope this was encouraging and real.

 

Doug (AKA Dr. W. E. Coyote)

Grace, Getting Married, and Gearing Up :)

Two weeks. HEY EVERYONE, I’M GETTING MARRIED IN TWO WEEKS! Less than that now. 🙂 I am doing physical therapy (last one will be the Wednesday before), I will get my new AFO brace the Tuesday before, and I just have a lot of feels right now. I went to my cousin Trish’s wedding on Saturday, and I started losing it at her reception. Totally not the place to start crying. I don’t even notice stress anymore, and I push it to the side. But it’s messing with me, and I don’t like it. Oh, no. I’m not stressed about the wedding or anything. I’m actually quite excited for that. Everything is falling into place, and it will be the best day I can’t even imagine. It’s other things. You know, leaving everyone and everything here. Saying good-bye to my roommates last week, when I have no idea when I’ll see them again. Packing when I don’t really have any idea what I’ll be needing for work. Starting a new adventure of many unknowns. Being able to see Dr. Wile E. Coyote more than once a month because of a nine-hour difference, but every DAY because we’ll be married! The inevitable culture shock that moving to Kentucky from the northern Midwest of the South Dakota-Minnesota-Wisconsin region.

I’m also kind of worried that at first, the pre-doc and I will drive each other nuts. In our premarital counseling, we spoke of examples of this: Say I put the spatulas in one drawer, but Doug thinks they should go in a different drawer and we fight about it. We’re not really fighting about where the spatulas go, but grieving the loss of our childhoods. Now, this is only a hypothetical example. This has been bothering me quite a bit lately, as I see some of Dr. WEC’s quirks and view them in a negative light. I even see some of my quirks and worry about how D will perceive them. But there is this ridiculous word that God has been leading me to, and I can’t really give Dr. Wile E. Coyote any grief. This word is GRACE.

This morning at church, we talked about the parable where the landowner goes into the village to get workers for his vineyard more than once in a day. Some workers were hired at noon, 3pm, and 5pm, even, when the rest of the workday started at 6am and finished at 6pm. The end of the day comes, and the landowner pays those who came last to work first, and those who got there in the morning last. And he gave them the exact same pay. There are other parables in the Bible that make us feel good and rejoice. Like the prodigal son, who returns home after some bad choices but is welcomed home and his return celebrated. Woo! The Good Samaritan who helps the injured man on the side of the road. Woo! But the employer who pays all of his workers the exact same thing, whether they worked 12 hours or 1? That goes against a lot of things. But that is the crazy, ridiculous grace that we so often hear about. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been running the race—someone could have found the race path yesterday and reach the finish line tomorrow. God wants to welcome us all into his kingdom. In the parable, the owner speaks to the grumbling 12 hour workers: “I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” (Matthew 20:14b-15a).  Yep, God wants to give us all the same gift of eternal life.  Are you okay with that?

Talking with Dig-Doug this afternoon, he spoke about how on top of things we are. We totally have a plan, and God has been helping us throughout. He added, “We have each other through it all. And even bigger than that, we have the Lord.”

So, in answer to questions I have been hearing: Yes, I am excited to get married. Even though we have a few little things left to do, I am totally ready. Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I will be starting the adventure that will start in this chapter of our lives. The words “I do” will mark a beginning, and I am so excited.

Love to you all!

Anna

HOPE

Hope: noun (first definition) the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best

I took a quiz on Facebook today that told me in five simple questions what my happy word is, and it gave me HOPE. Normally, I take those Facebook quizzes for funsies and just laugh at the result. But I liked the description on this one: “You refuse to give up on anyone, including yourself. You see the best in others. You think happiness should be shared. You spread your message of optimism as much as possible. You will keep believing when everyone else has stopped. You think good will always prevail in the end. You believe if we trusted each other more, the world would be a better place. All we need is a little hope.”

I downloaded “e-sword” (basically, a really neat tool for studying the Bible in-depth, even though at first it looks like an old, ’90s computer program or something), and in the KJV, I looked up “hope” and got 130 matches. It’s interesting that modern translations substitute other words like “wait” or something. But the Hebrew dictionary entry for “hope” is this: “tiqvâh tik-vaw’ From qâvâh; literally a cord (as an attachment ); figuratively expectancy: – expectation ([-ted]), hope, live, thing that I long for.”

The word hope gives joy and expectancy. In the trinity, who is continually at work here in ways we can’t see; in the physical return of Christ. In each other. I do believe in sharing happiness with others. Smiles are contagious, you know. I can’t be in the doldrums longer than I want to because of my optimism (even before I was on anti-depressants and cried a lot and freaked….I still smiled, which is kind of weird when I think about it now). Hope is the word that was on those red rubber bracelets before the National MS Society decided that orange was a better color for their logo. Hope for a cure of MS and a better tomorrow. I have dreams and hopes for myself and for the way things will be. I hope to become an author (now with the name “Anna E. Meyer” instead of Olson, as I formerly wrote of often…smiley face). I hope to teach others of the subjects that I love—of music and playing it; of Christ and the many things I’ve learned and want to pass on; of simply living a hope-filled and a Christ-filled life. Because Christ is hope. He is my hope and the reason for my continued smile. It is he whom I trust, and my Minnesota-roots that have taught me to trust others, as well.

There is always a reason for hope. Even when life feels down or bad things happen, God is there. There is a silver lining. Hopes of mine have already become realities: my hope of a husband who loves me for me (well, that’s a month away still, but he loves me for me even now); my hope of writing for an audience (thanks to this blog and readers like you for my start), and my hope of a future, even with this blasted MS. I graduated college in 4 ½ years. I’m currently living in an apartment with three other roommates whom I love like sisters. And I’m getting married in a month! God is good.

Smiling,

Anna

What are your hopes? Have you seen hopes become realities?

My MS and the Thinkings It Has Brought Lately

So, Dr. Wile E. Coyote has been talking with a few people he has met that have MS, as well. I love hearing their stories told second-hand by the Pre-Doc. He has even been giving my blog address to a few of them! I have been realizing a few things. 1) I have a hard time accepting the MS that has helped to make me who I am. In two years, I will have had MS for half my life. I was diagnosed when I was going through puberty, so it became who I was, whether I wanted it to or not. 2) I’m kind of prideful about it. I feel like having MS makes me different from a lot of people—they don’t know what’s going on in me, how it affects things from a feeling perspective. But then I meet someone who can, and it’s weird. When I especially wanted to meet people who could relate when I was first diagnosed, there was no one my age to be found. Everyone was a whole lot older than I was, and I didn’t feel like I could relate with anyone. 3) Technology and medicine have come a LOOOOONG ways, and I am so thankful. Dr. Coyote was telling me the story of someone he met that was diagnosed at age 18 in the ‘60s. I can’t even imagine. Even when I was diagnosed a decade ago, there were misdiagnoses happening to many children. Everyone (including myself) was shocked that I was diagnosed with MS so quickly. I am also so thankful that everything else had ruled itself out so fast. Two separate incidences of MS within a few months? And the fact that I’m a third-generation MSer. Which leads me to 4) My family is awesome. Both of my grandmas had MS, though only one knew of it when she was living. Then I was diagnosed. Then they found that my dad and his sister had shown signs of MS when they were in high school, as it turned out. And then on the other side of the family, a cousin was diagnosed. But God chose each of us because he knew we would change our world. I’ve mentioned it before, but so many people looked up to my grandma Lois and her positive attitude, though the disease weakened her and she passed sooner than she would have without it. But it’s okay. It has been 5-ish years since she was “promoted to heaven” (Jason’s term). My dad and his sister (who is working halfway around the world in Mongolia!) don’t speak of it much—at least not in my earshot. I get the feeling that they feel the same way I do about wasting energy complaining. It’s really easy to do, but it gets exhausting. They, luckily, had already learned that, though, and I had to learn by doing. (That’s how I learn best, though, and why I’m good at what I do.) And my cousin Jenni will ask questions sometimes about my experiences with MS (and I’m so glad when I can help her out!), but I don’t hear much from her, either. I think that sometimes she does what I used to do and forget about the MS, that it’s even there. Those were the days. Now I CAN’T forget it’s there. Ah, well, God is teaching me much through it. It’s all for his purpose and glory. 5) God is teaching me through this MS a whole lot of things. I’m seeing how important it is to REST sometimes, even though I like being busy all the time (according to Dr. Wile E, I’m like my father that way…and that may be true). I have learned how to ADVOCATE for myself over the years (thanks, Mom…that’s super important, and making me talk to doctors and not talking for me was good). I’ve learned that in my weakness, God is STRONG (and I’ve been seeing it PHYSICALLY, as well as in other ways, which is pretty cool). I’ve been seeing how much others care for me, as well. I hate when I get lectured at or told to stretch more. But I always melt a little when Dr. Wile E. Coyote adds that he tells me these things because he loves me and doesn’t want to see me get worse if I can help it. And I have seen the benefits of stretching in my own life, as well as my grandma Lois’s—she had a caregiver before she moved to the nursing home that stretched her muscles every day (and it helped!).

I have a lot to be thankful for, including the MS itself. As I’ve referenced it before, it’s the “thorn in my flesh” that the Lord is using in my life. I just like writing out these things at times when I’m thinking. It makes it more revelationized in that fabulous brain of mine (and it is fabulous—I have pictures of it. Do you have proof of your brain?).

Peace,

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

 

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 🙂