Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Pain’ Category

My Pain In The Neck

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

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I woke up with a headache.  These days it is somewhat unusual – and only happens if I sleep on my neck wrong – or something is out of alignment.  I’ve had sinus pressure, stress related and even bad migraines headaches – but this pain in the neck is different.  It takes the skilled hands of my chiropractor to “fix it” and adjust my neck and spine back into position before I feel better.

It’s funny how a pain in the neck colors everything about the day.  Things are just a little bit more gloomy – situations seem bigger than they really are, food and even coffee doesn’t help.  The little tasks seem more difficult and take longer.  And it gives me true empathy for the chronic pain sufferers out there – who live with some kind of pain every day of their life.  “How do others do it”?  I think to myself.

Some things are not so easily “adjusted” away – like my temporary pain in the neck.  Things like bad circumstances and unexpected events happen to us whether or not we want them to – or are ready for them.  And negative and bad attitudes seem to be on the rise – those that throw their weight around in very ugly ways.  It’s all around us.  Sometimes I’d like to give those people an “attitude adjustment” – but that isn’t possible.

I’m thinking that God would like to shake us up a bit once in a while and give us a reminder that we need His adjustment in our lives to deal with those around us – and mostly to deal with our own bad attitudes of selfishness and complaining.

“Lord, adjust my heart and my mind today.  With your hand on my life, I know I will begin to look at myself and others differently – with much grace and thankfulness.  I know that I will see every day pain and frustration as an opportunity to find grace and share it with others.”

Amen

When was the last time you had to have a personal “attitude adjustment”?  What did God teach you?

 

God Bless

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Soul Surfer

Last Sunday Greg and I went to see the highly recommended true story “Soul Surfer“.  I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe some cheesy “B” film with a dramatic and whiny theme – but I was amazed instead to actually be moved beyond belief.

This film is about real life hero – Bethany Hamilton, a surfer since she could walk – living in Hawaii with her family – already famous on the Island for the way she could ride the surf at a young age.  A fierce competitor who lived in the water and who was herself, fearless.  She had a promising future ahead of her until one day while surfing with some friends – she was attacked by a shark, who actually bit her left arm completely off.  But the story does not end there – in tragedy and darkness – dashed hopes and dreams, the story is more about her miraculous recovery and ever-growing faith in God to get her through the darkest and most challenging time of her young life.

It is a story of ultimate victory over adversity – life from death and renewed determination when life goes sideways.  It is a story that could  put all of us to shame – those of us who whine and complain about life’s woes – with two good arms.

I love how she finally finds her purpose and reason for going on – to be an inspiration to others – her famous quote at the end of the movie – “I can embrace more people now – with one arm”  Simply amazing.

I encourage you to see this film – if you yourself have ever doubted God – ever wondered why things happen as they do – wonder what God’s plan is and purpose in your life when you suffer, experience loss and try desperately to hold on to your faith.  It will touch you – inspire and amaze you – and you will never be the same.

Below, in an interview while the film was in production – is the real Bethany Hamilton.  Her words will  encourage you and her positive approach to life with inspire you today.

God Bless

The Devil Made Me Do It

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

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Our pastor had a great message yesterday.  The subject was “Why do bad things happen?” – a very timely topic in light of the recent events in Japan.

As he spoke and listed the possible reasons why things happen – I was reminded of the journey that I have been on – and the many people who I have encountered along the way who have also had bad things happen to them.

Sometimes bad things DO happen to good people.  It’s called LIFE.  We live in a fallen world where things are going to happen.

We ourselves are fallen creatures – capable of making choices that are not always the best.  Many things we do to ourselves – and although the Lord forgives us – people aren’t always so kind – and worse than that – there is the fall-out and carnage from those choices that can follow us for the rest of our lives.

Our choices, therefore – can lead us down a path of unresolved issues, guilt, despair, hurt and frustration, separation from loved ones and good friends.  Or they can lead us to reconciliation, understanding, forgiveness and love.  I want to be in the later group – and I want all those that I have wronged to also be in that group.  Ah – but that is not always possible.  My husband Greg – calls this, “Cindy Land”.

And of course when touching on this subject – my childhood teachings come in to play.  Certain scripture verses come to light when talking about ‘temptation’ – or ‘failing’ or just simply  a ‘mess-up’.   Scriptures that would cite the Devil or at least demonic activity as the culprit for why we mess-up – why we are tempted to do wrong – or get involved with wrong people and wrong choices.  Things like, “The Devil is crouching at the door”  or “The Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy”.   And although I buy into some of that to a certain extent – (I cannot argue with scripture after all) – I also have to accept responsibility for my own choices. I do know people who blame the Devil for everything saying, “The Devil made me do it” – instead of accepting personal responsibility for their own actions.  And almost always, those same people point fingers and blame others – instead of looking inside of themselves and taking the responsibility for themselves.  This makes me sad – because I know they will never heal properly while trying to “run from the devil” or run from those “bad people” who tempt them into doing wrong.  The answer is almost always inside ourselves and  has to do with our own heart.  Can the Devil take advantage of us when we are weak? – Yes.  Does he tempt us?  Yes.  I do believe that.  But he cannot force us to do anything – we are capable of making those bad choices without any help.  The heart of man is deceitfully wicked and prone to wander – without any help at all.  “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”

I know for myself – that I am almost always aware when I make a choice – good or bad.  There comes a point of ‘no return’ – where I blow past all the red flags – and intentionally do something – because I want to. I can admit that.  I think everyone would be better and healthier if they could just admit it too.

Like my pastor, Stephen – I do not believe that the earthquake and tsunami of Japan and a couple of years ago the earthquake in Haiti – is the result of God’s judgment.

I believe that the world is fallen – it has been fallen since sin entered the garden through Adam and Eve.  And yet despite this fact – I believe that God is good.  He sent His son Jesus to rescue me from myself, to validate and identify with me.  I believe that He loves me.  He came – He got involved.  He forgives and He is with me through bad things that happen to me.  He walks with me and gives me the ability to get through it.  He is very aware that I am fragile and that I blow it.  He is slow to anger and covers me with love and mercy.  And one day – things will be perfect again – when He returns and we see Him as He is.

Until then – we are here – living with fallen people – and in a fallen world.

When you have had something bad happen to you – either by a mistake and wrong choices that you have made – or just because you’re living in a fallen world with fallen people – I believe that you have a choice – just like I do.  A choice to quit and say, “I’m done” – or you can take that bad thing and use it to help other people – becoming a softer and more compassionate person who understands God’s amazing grace.  Someone whom others will come to when in trouble – who need an understanding hug and word of encouragement.

Be that person today.

As we journey together…

God Bless

Here is a little Flip Wilson – enjoy!

Dark Night Of The Soul

“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Corrie Ten Boom

I love the movie, ‘The Hiding Place‘ – where the above quote comes from. Corrie Ten Boom was a survivor of the Holocaust – and saw unspeakable things while she and her older sister, both of them women in their 50’s were held prisoner by the Germans. Her sister never lost her faith during that time in the concentration camps – believed, hoped and encouraged others not to become bitter – not to hate. She became ill and died at the hands of the ones who had been so cruel. It was after Corrie was released from prison – due to a clerical error – that she was able to see God‘s purpose and plan for her life – even in that ‘pit’. And she became an ambassador for Christ and His great love and provision for her – to countless millions of people around the world. If anyone knew about the ‘dark night of the soul‘ – it was this lady.

We have all experienced this – a situation that makes us evaluate our lives – and challenges everything we believe in. Most of us have never been in a situation or circumstance like Corrie Ten Boom – but we all have suffered our own degrees of sadness, depression, hurt, frustration, loss and helplessness. We all have longed for peace from strife – knowledge from endless questions and release from hurt and pain.

I’m so glad that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ – and I know for sure there is no place so dark – that His light cannot be seen – no place so deep, that He is not deeper still. I know because I’ve experienced it. I know because I have a story to tell of God’s great love and faithfulness – his hand of protection – and his grace and mercy to me – during a dark time.

Even in those times that seemed so hopeless to me – with no answers – I was not alone.

And I’m thankful that although I didn’t and still don’t understand everything about those hard places that I’ve had to experience – I’ve come to realize that I learned the most valuable lessons in those dark times. In the dark I was finally able to see things I would not have seen while the light shined so bright.

I am told that in a total eclipse of the sun – what is discovered while the sun’s brightness is covered up – is the deadly and dangerous corona which surrounds it and is usually invisible. In the same way there are dangers in my life that can be covered up in the light and are much clearer in a ‘dark’ painful time – where my senses and awareness are heightened. They are sharper and clearer during that time.  And I am forced to see them.  Giving me true courage to face what I must – turn away things from my life that are not healthy and give me final resolve.  As I battle in the dark – I learn much about myself and others who have been there – and sadly those who haven’t.  And I discover that it is in fact,  not the end.

Total Solar eclipse 1999 in France. * Addition...

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And like you – I’m still learning. I’m learning that the ‘dark night of the soul’ – is not the end of the world. It’s the place where fear of the unknown and true surrender come together. It is the place where giving up and temptation meet with resignation and strength.

It is a place where I begin:

Letting go – and giving in.

Losing everything I hold

Waving goodbye – and saying hello

Realizing false strength – and true weakness

Gaining much-needed perspective

Being engulfed by heaviness that I cannot lift

And sadness I can taste

A testing of my strength and will – and looking for any light

This, my friends – is the ‘dark night of the soul’.  It is surrender.

If you are having a season like this – it’s okay. It will not last forever. And although you may not ever get the answers you need – your heart will one day find the resignation – to the questions. And you will not always feel sad – or hopeless. This dark night may turn out to be your greatest testimony.  And your finest moment if you will allow the Savior in.  You will find Him ready to meet with you there.  And when you look back – you will realize that He carried you.   And your faith will never be the same.   Someday, you will be able to help someone else – because you will know and understand.

I found a beautiful song by Kate Campbell. If you are experiencing that ‘dark night of the soul’ or have recently experienced it – this song is for you.

God Bless

A Solid Resting Place

Sunset - 6 Feb 2008

Image by rachel_titiriga via Flickr

I am always comforted by scripture – the many passages that speak to me and help me find that solid resting place for my weary mind – as I am surrounded by the cares and sorrows of this world.

As I look ahead at the new year – I am reminded once again of God’s faithfulness and love shown to me over the last year and all of my life.  I have gone through things and have watched those around me be touched by sorrow, joy, happiness, pain and regret.  But in the midst of all of it – good and bad, He was always there.  That still small voice that always covers me and won’t let me go.  And I am so thankful that I know Him – and that He is a merciful God.

My prayer is that you too will find Him a solid and reliable friend – in times of joy and in times of trouble.  That you will find a reason and purpose for your life – and that you will allow Him to show you and help you with all those unanswered questions.

Below are some scriptures of comfort and hope – as we look forward to the new year.

 

God Bless

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Jeremiah 29:11

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:13-14

“You crowned the year with Your bounty and goodness…”
Psalm 65:11 (Amplified Bible)

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Dumb is Temporary – But Stupid Is Forever

MakingAFace

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Can you relate?

I sure can.

We all make dumb mistakes – errors that leave us cringing afterward –  But luckily for most of us, they are only temporary lapses of judgment – and easily remedied.  Everyone would agree – dumb is just dumb.

But stupid is forever.  These are the things that have long-term ramifications – and as former pastor Rick Ross used to say, “Stupid is as Stupid does” – it is so true.  Oh you know what I mean.  Those things or habits that we’ve come to know and even ‘cozied’  up to – blindly ignoring all warning signs that say, ‘STOP doing that!!’  It is then that we cross the line from dumb to stupid.

I’ve done everything that I could in the past to prevent me  from going into stupid after visiting dumb  – but I am human and even I have ventured into the scary dark abyss of stupid.  Making friends with stupid is pretty dumb and no one in their right mind would do it.  But I also know that I have done it – I’ve  tasted dumb – and have not been satisfied with it – and so I’ve taken a drink from the ‘stupid kool-aid’ – unaware of the effects of it until much later.  And sadly – sometimes getting rid of stupid takes forever.

Now the only way to combat stupid and stick to just plain dumb – is this:  Don’t ignore the red flags and the little ‘ping’ you get in your stomach when going there.  Be able to stop and run from stupid at a moment’s notice.  And when you are around stupid people – don’t listen to them.  They are usually as changeable as the wind – one minute your best friend – the next your most hated enemy.  And stupid people will always make you feel like the stupid one.  So beware.  They are slick, fast talking, fair weather people – like the leaves on a tree – blowing any direction – with no stability.  Watch out for them – don’t follow their advice or listen to what they say and stay away from people they hang out with – because most likely they’ve been drinking the ‘stupid kool-aid’  too.  Ever tried reasoning with a stupid person?  Yeah right.  It’s impossible.

I will continue to be dumb – because I’m on a journey just like you.  Mistakes and temporary lapses in judgment are part of my journey as an imperfect person.   I also know there is much grace for me that is new every morning, and God’s love has been such a wonderful and reassuring security for my many mess-ups.  Thank you Jesus!  But I have also gone to the stupid level – and know the pain involved with trying to undo it – heal and be reconciled to situations and people and I can tell you first hand – it’s just not worth it – so I will be on guard and aware 24-7. And let’s face it – even if you decide against stupid – stupid will never let you forget. Not ever.

Dumb is temporary – Stupid is Forever

God Bless

Fear Of Failure

Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs.

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Heard an excellent message this morning from our pastor – “How to deal with Failure”.

I jotted down some thoughts while I was listening:

We have all failed.

We can let that failure make us better – or keep us bitter.

God uses failure in our lives to prepare us for better things.

It can be Fear of Failure that keeps us back and holds us down.

 

A few days ago my husband and I went to see ‘Secretariat‘.  And yes I am actually old enough to remember watching him race  in those ‘triple crown’ races in 1972-73.  It brought back many memories for me – and was thrilling to hearing the back story.  The film also had a common theme today with our pastor’s message.  Failure. The owner of that magnificent race horse – had experienced failure and set-backs.  She could have given in to defeat and even what she knew about the horse’s genetics – but she refused to give in to either.  She knew that horse was a winner and so against all odds – she believed and that belief empowered her.  Instead of being afraid – she pushed on – and Secretariat is still known today as the greatest race horse that ever lived – no race horse has come close to beating his record in 37 years.

When I heard the message today – I was reminded of that horse.  And of the horse’s owner, Penny.  She was completely convinced that her horse was the best – even though the horse had lost a race at first and others told her – to give up.  She stared failure in the face and didn’t bat an eye.  At a great financial gamble – she believed and made the investors believe too.

How much I would love to be like this.  Just because I know something is true – how often do I really believe it and act on it?  Stare fear in the face and not bat an eye?  Take my power back?  Not care about the whispers and humiliation set against me?  Push on past my own reputation and pride?  Get back up after failing and be changed and transformed through the experience? And most of all – see the blessing in it?

It’s hard.  I have failed.  I am just now seeing the blessing in that failure.  But at the time – I thought it would be what would take me down and steal my joy, my testimony and my walk.  And although I am no champion – like Secretariat and numerous others that have had set-back and failures that are far more high-profile than I – I would have to say that it is because of that failure and my response to it – that I am where I am today. I found God’s grace in the midst of pain and hurt.  I might never have discovered first hand how much He loves and forgives if it hadn’t been for my failure.  I might never have discovered how much my husband really loves and believes in me – or how many true friendships I have – how much they have my back and love me beyond my many mistakes.

The key is our response – not the fear of failure.  To fall down and be broken before our God –  but then to get back up. To allow that failure to create something gracious inside of us that sees past the shortcomings and failures of other people.   To allow grace, mercy, humility and love to be our close friends when dealing with other people.  And to release that champion in our hearts that just wants to run – free – just like that race horse.

Here is a beautiful passage of scripture from the Message Bible.  When I was listening to my friend lead worship on a youtube video – she quoted a portion of this Psalm and it is so fitting when speaking about failure.

Psalm 51

1-3Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.

4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.

16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!

 

May you find that this new week  steeped in ‘chaos’ – is actually a ‘Genesis’ week – a new beginning – rich with possibilities and newness.  And no fear of failure.

 

God Bless

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