Last week I shared about a hassle of my asthma inhaler not working for the last doses causing me to go to the pharmacy. Because of that I was able to see a young woman from Vietnam, whom I had helped, working as a registered pharmacist. That was A Hassle That Led to a Blessing.
That same trip led to another hassle that turned into a blessing. I left my insurance card there. On Sunday I called and they told me they had my card. Before I went to pick it up, I stopped at a store across the street. I head a voice say-“Is that teacher Matt.”
I looked and saw a young woman from Guatemala who was my student for a few years. She met with me at my church along with another woman from Colombia. I helped both of them prepare for college.
It was a blessing to see her again and to catch up on things with her. She is back in college after having had a baby boy.
It is too easy to get bogged down in the difficulties of now and forget how God has worked through us. I am thankful that God gives us reminders of him working through us.
It is too easy to focus on only negatives in our past and doing so leads to feeling worthless, depressed, and other negative thoughts and emotions.
It is important to remember how God has worked through us and to express gratitude to God for that. If we do so, it can help lift us up.
All these pieces Broken and scattered In mercy gathered Mended and whole Empty-handed But not forsaken
Many things in life can leave us feeling broken inside and feeling we are scattered. Family problems, financial problems. loss of a loved one, illness, the list could go on.
The good news is that Jesus loves us and loves to take our broken pieces and put us back together. He can do what seems impossible. He can make us whole again.
There have been many times in my life that Jesus has made me whole again. The one that sticks out in my mind at this time is when I was sick and dying 25 years ago. He helped me to recover, but my life was shattered and in pieces. Step by step he led me to a ministry, work and purpose I had not even imagined before I was sick. Now my life is full as I share his love with refugees and immigrants in my city.
If you are feeling broken, shattered, and in pieces, the good news is that Jesus is in the mending business. He loves to mend what has been shattered because he loves us.
Body slammed is how I explain what a no energy and painful morning feels like. Kind of like chronic illness picked me up and slammed me down with no mercy.
That was my experience yesterday morning and has been several times in the past few years. The kind of fatigue that just sitting up can be exhausting. Living with chronic illness can wear on a person and get a person down, so if I have a bad day, I try to stop to say what I am thankful for. So here are some things I am thankful for.
I am thankful that I can pray and ask for strength. Once I got going, it eased up, but getting going can be the hard part.
I am thankful I have this afternoon and evening free to rest and hopefully do some more writing.
I am thankful that I can blog and have freedom to write about my faith.
I am thankful for the wonderful bloggers I interact with.
I am thankful I will see the moms in my class this morning.
By being thankful, it helps me to not go down the path of despair as it says in Isaiah 61:
” and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”
The Holidays are over. Christmas and New Years have come and gone. If I was living in a warm climate like some of my followers in places like South Africa, Australia, Jamaica, Antigua, Brazil or other warm places, I would perhaps go to the beach.
But for those of us in the U.S., Canada, and other northern countries, when the holidays are over, it means it is just boring winter time. We have more hours of dark than sunlight and it is cold.
Sound depressing? For some it can be.
Soon I will be back to teaching classes, next week in fact. It helps to get back to real life after a break. But as someone who lives with depression.anxiety caused by chronic illness, what helps me the most?
Each day I realize there is opportunity for me to share the love of Jesus with refugees and immigrants. Each morning I begin my day in prayer and listening to worship music. It is my relationship with Jesus that helps me the most.
It also helps to get out and be with people. I enjoy going to coffee shops. The ones I go to regularly are places that I know the people who work there. I have also met some of the other regular customers.
Visiting my refugee and immigrants friends is great. We eat, drink tea afterwards and sit and talk. Thursday evening I did just that. I visited a family from Iraq. We ate dinner and then sat down for tea and conversation for a few hours.
Writing helps too. Although I tend to get absorbed in it and forget to do things like eat until I am really really hungry.
What do you do to beat the winter blues? Or for those in warmer climates the pot-holiday blues. 🙂
Well it is the last day of 2019 and I feel it is time to say THANK YOU to my followers especially those who comment and interact with me.
It has been quite the year of blogging for me. My blog has grown from 300 followers to over 850 this past year.
It has been encouraging to see the response as I followed the Lord leading me to share on my blog including sharing about chronic illness and depression/anxiety. 2 Corinthians 1 talks about the God of all comfort who comforts us so we can in turn comfort others. I hope I have been able to comfort others through my blog this past year.
I plan to continue to share about my experiences with refugees and immigrants and also about life with chronic illness and depression.anxiety as well as posts about my faith.
Thank you to my followers. I would like to give a special shout out to the ones who have interacted with me so much through comments.
A blogger I follow, Kim of fearandovercome.wordpress.com shared her reflections on 2019 in a good post to read- 2019 Reflections. In her post she asks the following questions that I felt would be good ones to answer to reflect on this past year.
What was your biggest blessing this year?
How did you show compassion for others?
What did you accomplish this year?
Who are two people that influenced you the most this year?
What do you need to release in order to move ahead in 2020?
What are you most grateful for this year?
So I will answer the questions but also want to challenge fellow bloggers to also reflect with these questions. If you do, please share the link the Kim’s post not mine.
1- My biggest blessing came after my biggest down point. In the summer, I had a sudden drop of income which caused a lot of problems. In September and October God moved in a big way as help came from former students, my church, and an anonymous donor. I was amazed and overwhelmed. I will never forget it.
2- God helped me to show compassion to my refugee and immigrant friends in various ways such as helping to arrange assistance and being a friend. I also hope my blog posts encouraged others who have chronic illness or depression/anxiety.
3- God accomplished a lot in my life. Some examples- my Spanish improved, the opportunity to help others be ready to pass the citizenship test, teaching classes, seeing my blog continue to grow, and pay off some bills.
4- The new pastor at my church has influenced me a lot through his teaching and also our interaction. Another pastor at my church helped me during my down point.
5- I still have medical bills to pay off. It is a bit discouraging that when I seem to make headway that I get more because of chronic illness.
6- First and foremost I am grateful for Jesus for his love. I am also grateful for my friends and my students. I am very grateful for those who follow my blog and comment on posts.
In the midst of all the busy preparations for Christmas it is too easy to lose focus on WHY we have Christmas.
Christmas is a time to remember and celebrate Jesus being born as a human infant, so he he could grow to be a man to be our Savior by dying on the cross and defeating death for us through his resurrection. I love the lyrics of Behold Him such as:
He who was before there was light Walked across the pages of time He who made every living thing Behold Him
He who heard humanity’s cry Left His throne to wake as a child He became like the least of us Behold Him
Yes he heard humanity’s cry. He hears the cry of those who struggle in life. That is why he left his throne in heaven to come as a human baby. He heard the cries of people desperate for hope.
Whatever our struggle in life is, depression, anxiety, chronic illness, financial problems, family problems, Jesus heard the cry of humanity and came.
I love this song because it gives the complete picture of Jesus and not just Jesus as a baby. He has all power. He came for us because he loves us. This song is my theme song for this Christmas season. I prayed it will bless you as much or more than it has blessed me.
The world waits for a miracle The heart longs for a little bit of hope Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel A child prays for peace on Earth And she’s calling out from a sea of hurt Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
Longing for hope, there are so many reasons people can be longing for hope.
Perhaps it is struggling with depression or anxiety.
Perhaps it is illness.
Perhaps it is loss of a loved one.
Perhaps it is family problems.
Whatever the struggles are that we have, a common thing all who struggle share is a longing for hope.
I love this song by Lauren Daigle because it focuses on who brings us hope. Hope was born to us on the first Christmas when Jesus was born. Jesus is the one who can give us hope, light, love, answers. and reconciliation with God.
Jesus is Emmanuel- God with us. Jesus came because he wants to be with us. Let that sink in. No matter how messed up our lives are, Jesus wants to be with us.
I prayed that this song blesses you as much or more than it blessed me.