A woman plagued with a health problem for years saw Jesus walking by. She thought to herself if she could just touch the hem of the garment of Jesus, she could be healed. She touched the hem of his garment and was healed.
Jesus walks by us every day. We can reach out to him. If we are feeling isolated, depressed, hopeless, all we need to do is barely reach out to him. He wants us to be with him.
I love this song with the focus on reaching out to touch the hem of his garment. We can do so in prayer. Even the faintest prayer will get his attention. Even if all we can do is say his name. He invites us to do so.
Have you ever walked down a dimly lit or a dark street at night? It can be a bit scary. In the night there are more crimes committed. It is also easy to stumble and hurt ones self walking in the dark. If we have a light, it makes it so much safer.
Jesus came into the world that he created. He came to be a light in the darkness of this world. This world is in spiritual darkness. There are various kinds of dangers in the darkness of this world, addiction, abuse, failed relationships, illness, etc.
Jesus came into the world he created to be a light for us, to show us God. In John 1:4 we read:
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Jesus is the source of life since he is the creator. He came here out of love to reclaim his most precious creation-human beings. We are the most precious part of creation to him. He is the light for all humans.
In John 1:5 we read:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus still shines his light in this world for us. Interesting to me is the word for overcome in Greek- katalmbano using English letters for you- gives a meaning of acquire, grasp, lay hold of. It is a word full of meaning. The darkness has not overcome it, lay hold of it, so it has not and will not conquer the light of Jesus. The darkness has not grasped the light or understood.
Think about how startling it is when all of the sudden someone turns on a light. Our eyes close a bit as we adjust to the light. If we are sleeping and someone suddenly turns on a light to wake us up, we are confused for a bit.
Those in darkness are confused about Jesus. The darkness that has a hold of them cannot overcome the light of Jesus.
Jesus wants us to be children of the light and reach out to those in the darkness. He wants us to shine his light in this world.
If anyone feels trapped by addiction, relationship/family troubles, depression, or anything else, Jesus holds out his hand to you to help you.
Let us who follow Jesus take our light out to a troubled world. Seek out those in need of the hope only Jesus can give.
Huge baby step may seem contradictory but as you read, you will understand why I chose the title.
One of the moms in my morning class is a woman from Sudan. She came to the USA with her husband and children as refugees to a small city about an hour and a half drive from my city. Her oldest son moved to my city for work shortly after they came here.
Her husband died about two years ago, so my student moved to my city with her younger children to be with her oldest son. She began my class shortly after she came to my city.
The above picture is not her but illustrates depression. We think she has clinical depression, but getting a diagnosis and treatment for someone with low verbal skills in English is not easy. She was despondent when she began my class and looked down a lot. She speaks so softly that it is difficult to hear her as she wears a mask in class. When I speak to her or someone else speaks to her, she will look up only to look down again afterward.
She had no computer skills when she started my class. Last school year, she was completely dependent on my assistant to help her with her Chromebook in class. When the class had to go remote using Zoom in April and May this year, we lost her.
This year she brings her Chromebook every day. All of the students have a Chromebook checked out to them. But she has been dependent on my assistant to help her. Then yesterday it happened.
When I assigned breakout rooms in Zoom, she clicked on join by herself. When I closed the breakout rooms in Zoom, she clicked on leave breakout room by herself. Both times I quickly acknowledged what she had done by saying her name, giving her a thumbs up and clapping for her. It was a small step for anyone else, but for her it was a HUGE baby step.
Jesus knows her name. Please pray for this woman who is a widow with a son in 1st grade who is autistic, a daughter in middle school, and a few older children.
Alisa Turner is a Christian Artist whose music speaks to me. She lived through years of battling Lyme Disease being bedridden from it for some time. Upon getting healthier, as in able to go on with life but still having issues, she started to pursue her dream of music ministry.
Her new song The Window expresses so beautifully and poignantly the experience some chronic illness sufferers got through of only being able to watch life but not be a part of life.
It was born out of her experience that her new song The Window was written and recorded. It was also out of that same experience that she recorded one of my all time favs My Prayer for You. I am sharing both in this post.
So for all of my fellow Spoonies, Chronic Illness Sufferers, here are two wonderful songs by Alisa Turner.
Today is World Mental Health Day. Unfortunately there is still stigma attached to mental health issues. Somehow it is forgotten that the brain is an organ that is part of our physical bodies.
We don’t say to a diabetic they are weak because they need insulin or to someone with asthma they don’t really need that inhaler.
As Christians, we are exhorted to bear one another’s burdens in Galatians 6. Depression and anxiety are burdens. Bi-Polar is a burden. God wants us to come alongside people who suffer to be supportive not judgemental.
As someone who has experienced depression/anxiety as symptoms of chronic illness, I understand how interconnected our bodies are. When one part of our bodies suffer, it can affect other parts of our bodies. Think about something as simple as lack of sleep for a few days and how it can affect one’s mood and it would only seem logical that physical ailments can contribute to mental health issues.
Jesus understands anguish. The night before he was crucified, he knew what was about to happen. He spent time praying and asked his disciples to be with him. We see in Matthew 26 Jesus saying:
“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
In Luke 22 we see how much the anguish affected him:
“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
So if you struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, please know that Jesus understands anguish and he invites you to come to him. In Matthew 11 he said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The reason he gave is that he is gentle and humble of heart. Jesus has all power and yet he is gentle with those who seek him.
This afternoon three Amazon deliveries came to me. As I thought about the items, I realized the connection among them at least for me.
One was a coffee cup sent to me by a student from Brazil who lives in Canada. She knows I am a Christian and sent me this coffee cup.
I love it. I love to start my day with coffee while listening to worship music and praying over my day. One prayer every morning is for Jesus to help me show his love to my students and others I will encounter during the day.
Speaking of showing the love of Jesus, this package came. It is from friends at church.
It is a box of winter hats and gloves for children at the school where I teach in the mornings. The school is in a low income neighborhood. These will help over 70 children stay warm as the walk to and from school in the winter.
One issue that is important to me is suicide prevention. I shared about it yesterday. Mental health is something that I care about as it affects others. In punctuation a period ends a sentence, full stop for British English, but a semi colon means the sentence will continue. So the semi colon is a symbol that someone has thought of suicide but decided to continue with their life. Some people get semi colon tattoos to either show they have chosen to continue or to show support for others. I ordered this mask from Amazon
Notice the semi colon in the word live. I will wear this to show support to others.
So the packages represent time with Jesus in the mornings, showing his love to children, and showing his love to those who struggle in life.
They all came on the same day. Kind of a reminder from Jesus 🙂
About a month ago, a young woman who had been my student completed suicide. She struggled with trauma from a childhood with an abusive father. I will never forget walking up to her mom after the funeral service in the church and her mom falling into my arms weeping as I held her.
We never know what someone is going through unless we take the time to listen, to really listen. Alisa Turner, one of my favorite artists, has a new song called The Letter. The song is about a letter being written by someone who is close to attempting suicide but in the end chooses not to. I loved what she wrote in her Facebook to introduce the song:
“If listening to it made you emotional or even uncomfortable, good. Because there is nothing about suffering in any capacity that is comfortable. So often when a suicide happens there’s a crowd that can’t fathom what would make a person do such a thing. Perhaps the “The Letter” let you feel even a 10th of an inch of the wreckage that person may have been battling, for we will never truly know as no one walks anyone else’s road but their own. You really don’t know what the person next to you is going through…they may have filled you in on the details, the big picture, but it’s those small breaths in between, quiet gentle gasps they hope no one hears, out of fear of judgement or worse, being misunderstood. And just because they don’t show you, doesn’t mean you did anything wrong… you may have loved them so well. But we have to accept we don’t really know what anyone else is truly, truly going through. So best to just keep showing up when they let you, and even when they dont ….and to the person sitting on the edge. If you don’t mind, I’ll take a seat right next to you. We don’t have to talk, or we can. I don’t know that I have any answers, because life truly is brutal enough for some people to drive you to such edge. But for this moment, Ill just sit right here on your edge if that’s ok I will tell you what you already know, that you are not alone and you are very, very loved. I will tell you anything to make you stay so I can then show you why it was worth staying. But I also understand if you don’t. I get it. I really do. In my own way, I know, I know, I know, I know.”
I love the part- “and to the person sitting on the edge, if you don’t mind, I’ll take a seat right next to you.”
My friends if you ever need, I will sit on the edge with you. I will listen. You are so precious to Jesus. Jesus loves you so much. I will sit on the edge with you because I know how it feels to wonder if there is hope. I also know how it feels to discover hope. But I will sit in silence if that is what you need.
Even if you are just experiencing a rough time with no thoughts of anything drastic and just need someone to listen, I will listen.
Dear reader there are so many hurting people now. Let’s listen to them.
She can see the little mountains of hope she spent her life building slip into the heart of the seaShe can see the waters roaringThe earth changingAnd the mountains trembling and crackingAnd the only word her mind can come up with is ‘why’? Sometimes she is tempted to ask why?In fact, she is asking whyWhy […]
A few months ago, I felt the Lord impressing on me to share about chronic illness in my Instagram. Because of that I have been able to connect with other chronic illness spoonies from various countries. One of them is a woman in Sweden who goes by funniebunnie on Instagram. She does live interviews on her Instagram with people. She asked me to do one.
We did it today. It is a but long, but I wanted to share it with you. If you click on the link, you can view the interview.
It has been quite a while since I last wrote a short story. The one I wrote today is The Wanderer’s Encounter on a Path. It is about a person, who I never describe or identify. who is walking down a lonely path thinking of suicide but has an encounter that changes things.
I purposefully did not describe or identify the character so that anyone who reads the story can picture the character however they wish. If even one person is helped, it is all worth it.