No FB

We’re in the season of Lent right now. It started Mar 5 this year and will end at Easter. It is a period of 40 days (not including Sundays) leading up to Easter (which is on the first Sunday after the full moon, after the Spring Equinox). Lent is a time to commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before He began His ministry. There He was tempted by the devil three times but He overcame by the power and Word of God. I haven’t studied this but I feel it also points to an even greater temptation He felt…to NOT go to the cross. At the height of this very human feeling, the night before He was betrayed and led to the cross, He pleaded with God to take the cup (of God’s wrath) from Him, but still said “Not as I will, but as You will.” Words are insufficient in describing that kind of submission and obedience and trust in the Father.

Back to Lent…Christian observers of Lent originally fasted from any kind of rich foods (i.e. wine, meat, fat, sugar) for 40 days to commemorate Jesus’ period of fasting in the desert. This, in a way, lead to some serious binging of rich foods the day before Lent started…which brings us modern day festivals like Mardi Gras. I think the spirit of Lent is kinda lost in that….but anyways, we were encouraged by our pastor to observe Lent by giving up something that takes up undue attention and time in our lives so that we can make more room for God. To give something up so that God can fill it in with more of Himself. To break holds that things or people or practices might have in our lives so that we can have a better hold on God.

This year, I’ve chosen to give up Facebook. I’ve given this up in past Lenten seasons as well but I haven’t been as thoughtful about filling the time that would otherwise be used Facebooking with things of God. This time, I aim to pray for someone or pray over a situation every time I have the inclination to check Facebook. I must say…I pray a lot more now. Ha. But it’s been really good. There is less anxiousness through the day when I’m lifting everything to God in prayer. In submission and trust in God. I really want to keep this habit up even after Lent is over. Prayer is so critical to a life of faith. It is more powerful than any human word or action. It reaches out to and taps into the power of the Creator of the Universe! And because really, Facebook is SUCH a waste of time in comparison!

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Curious

October results…

TSH = 2.4 (normal is 0.27-4.2)

T4 = 15.6 (normal is 10.5-20.0)

Praise God…I continue to be normal. Well…TSH-wise anyways. =) I saw my Endocrinologist yesterday and she shared something interesting with me. Earlier I was tested for the antibodies that cause hypothyroidism and the antibodies that cause Graves Disease. Results came back positive for the hypothryoid antibody….and NEGATIVE for Graves Disease antibody. However, since I developed the slight double vision in my eyes, which is a unique indicator of the Graves antibody, I MUST have the antibody. Except I don’t. And I must have had it at the beginning otherwise they couldn’t diagnose me with Graves right? Curious no?

The Endocrinologist said that sometimes these curious things just happen and it’s unexplained. But I think I might have an explanation. I had prayed for healing. Healing beyond just managing the disease through diet restrictions and lifestyle. Healing, in my mind, would mean that Graves would be gone from my body. (Though I would’ve settled for “well-managed via diet and lifestyle” too.) So, this might be answered prayer!!

I’m not going to pig out on seafood just yet though. Matters of health do not usually happen quickly. I’ll have another antibody test in the new year…and if that one confirms the findings this time…then maybe I’ll celebrate with some sushi, and raw oysters, and Alaskan King Crab, and calamari. =D

Brokenness: Did I ask for this?

(Image not mine)

Around the end of Grade 12, despite thinking I was so “good” and so “smart”, some feeling or thought was put in my head such that when we were singing “Holiness is What I Long For (Take my Life)” in worship one day, I really prayed those words to God. I desired holiness, I desired to be broken for God.

Brokenness.

What does that mean really? I didn’t know….but I would find out. And keep finding out. Oh man. Would I ever. (Blog series to come.)

You know the verse, “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)? I totally used to read it to mean that God would just give me the things I fancied. But as this brokenness prayer started to be answered, I started to understand the verse in two ways…

  1. God gives/PLANTS the desire of certain things into my heart so that I would want it
  2. and then He fulfills said desires

I don’t know that my selfish nature would ever, out of its own will, WANT brokenness…yet that Sunday, that song stirred in me some kind of other-wordly longing for a deeper connection to God. Those lyrics became a prayer and I asked for something I didn’t even understand.

God’s answer to that prayer is still going….some fifteen years later. There were many moments of gut wrenching tears that I told God “I didn’t ask for this!!” But looking back, I see I did. And I came to realize….while I asked for brokenness, He showed me very gently instead, how broken I already was.

And then, He started to make me whole….one part at a time. Faithfully and surely He will complete the good work He started through Christ in me. I am SO thankful.

I Believe…

But Lord help overcome my unbelief!

At the beginning of June I posted on how discouraged I felt about the return of my hyperthyroid condition. Some of the closest people around me where starting to suggest that maybe I should do the RAI therapy and just permanently disable my thyroid. It’d be easier to control. There were conversations about how God has provided science and medicine so they were forms of God’s “healing” as well. I argued that destroying the natural function of my thyroid isn’t exactly “healing”. I believe in science and medicine….I also believe in God. The two shouldn’t be in conflict but how does it work together? How does my faith fit into the equation?

The endocrinologist called me to ask if I was ready for the RAI treatment but I refused it again. Part of me strongly believed through God I can kick this Graves Disease and defy the doctor’s diagnosis. Part of me wondered if God would actually heal me. I didn’t know how to pray…I wanted to be healed yet adding “if it’s Your will” to my request sounded hollow. So I asked God to direct me…what did He want me to do?? And He answered.

Last week a friend shared an incredibly touching story with me. A young family she knew was taking their third child, a baby, to the hospital to correct her cleft palate issue. But Sudden Death Syndrome took the baby’s life before the surgery could happen. The parents were devastated but resolute in their faith that God could and would bring their daughter back to life. A 24 hour prayer chain was started and people came to the church to pray over the body of the baby girl. And while a cremation date was still scheduled as that was expected of you, the parents believed it wouldn’t be necessary. The night before the scheduled cremation, a fellow believer who was praying saw letters appear on the girl’s forehead. He couldn’t read it, but recognized it was Hebrew. Taking a photo of it, he sent it to his friend who was studying Hebrew. The friend replied saying the text read “I AM that I AM”. Stunned he immediately told the parents of the little girl who then had incredible peace in knowing God had let them know He was keeping her. (I seriously had tingles in my arms when she was telling me this.)

My friend later asked the mother how she had such faith her daughter would be raised…and it’s her reply that spoke deeply to me:

“You have to believe 100%….or 0%. There is no lukewarm with God.”

No lukewarm. No “…but only if it’s Your will.”
Either I believe Him 100% for the healing or I don’t believe and I get the RAI done. I realize it’s not so much which is the better option…it’s where does my faith really lay? In science and medicine, which God enabled man to develop, or in God Himself who created the very things we discover and marvel over?

As further assurance to me, God spoke through the words of a doctor friend of mine who was also diagnosed with Graves but has been in remission for the last 10+ years. She never went through the RAI therapy and encouraged me that the thyroid ups and downs is account it trying to reach the middle…and that I should not be discouraged.

Then this past Sunday, we received a message on Healing. (I love how God always answers in more than one way!) In God’s kingdom there will neither be death nor sickness…though while His kingdom is here, it is not yet complete. This does not diminish His present ability or willingness to heal. In fact, you hear of many many miraculous healing stories from Christians in the developing world. We hear less in the developed world because our faith and security is in pills and surgeries. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should disregard science and medicine…to a degree it’s still part of God’s provision for healing! I’m still taking my thryoid medication until my blood test shows I can stop. The question continues to be “Who or what is my faith in?”

Do I believe God is who He says He is? Do I believe He can do what He says He can do? Do I believe Him enough to ask Him for it? Or am I trying to give my faith and God a way out by saying “if it’s Your will”? Not too long ago I wrote about believing God…and now I must chose to live that out.     100%.