Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Scarf Sisters Bible - A Rose in the Thorns

Many prayers and physical support has been rallied for Japan’s restoration from the devastation from earthquakes. The same comfort and compassion has been poured out for victims of the recent storms which have ravaged through our southeastern United States. Heartbreaking images of families separated and desperately searching for their loved ones have dominated the news.

In the midst of so much stress and sadness, I discovered a mysterious package in my mailbox this week. I was delighted to find The Scarf Sisters Bible. Also included where gifts and scriptures from special women around the world. One gift was a book titled, A Cup of Comfort.

I always marvel at how God works. I had just had a conversation with friends about how God desires to be our comfort in all walks of our lives. I plan to share more about my favorite scripture on comfort on a later post. This scripture is both a conviction and a comfort to me as I hope it will be to others.

Nothing catches God by surprise. He always goes before us to make a way. Even through these horrible tragedies, there is a Rose among life’s thorns. It is His Word and unfailing love for us.

Thank you, dear Sisters of the Scarf for the encouragement. I look forward to reading each verse and message left by each of you.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted

Matthew 5:4

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hail and High Waters

Hail storm through sunny skies

It was another wonderful spring weekend here in Northeast Arkansas. It was perfect weather for getting motivated to continue spring cleaning, bike riding and such.  Dan refurbished a wood burning stove to donate to a mission who needs it. 

Dan' refurbished wood burning stove

Then Monday morning rolled around and brought severe weather throughout our region. All morning there were warnings and watches for thunder storms, flash floods and tornadoes. The weather seemed to clear in the afternoon. Dark clouds gave way to blue skies and sunshine. Then literally out of the blue, there was another sudden storm with hail that passed as quickly as it appeared.

We spend a lot of time talking about the weather. I suppose it is always a safe conversation to have. Weather is a subject we know we have absolutely no power over. It comes and goes at will often with devastating results.

There are some conversations that are virtually taboo. One is mental illness and/or personality disorders. I find that is especially true when it is close to home. It is just too uncomfortable or painful to cope with.

For as long as I can remember, I have had issues with depression. It has been years since I have had a severe episode. Recent events triggered a post-traumatic episode that lasted for weeks. Most of us relate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with the military. God bless them; I cannot begin to imagine the traumas they and their loved ones have lived through.

Mine is obviously not from what has also been referred to as Soldiers Heat, Combat Fatigue or Shell Shock. Before it was recognized as an emotional illness, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, one might be expected to just snap out of it and get on with business. General George Patton whether out of ignorance, his personal mental disease or just plain cruelty, slapped two shell-shocked soldiers.  General Patton's behavior and view of them as cowardly nearly cost him his career- perhaps rightly so. Just like any other illness, you cannot simply will one's self, be forced or shamed into wellness. Whatever the root causes, it is an individual and possibly a life threatening battle.

I found myself weeping uncontrollably in waves of sorrow for days on end. What little energy I could muster took all the will power I could scrap together. There was one night terror my husband woke me from. Even though I could not remember the nightmare, for nights afterwards, I had panic attacks as bedtime approached.

I know some folks still hold to the belief that people of faith should never be depressed. I can only hope and pray they never find themselves in that place. The Bible in Psalms 91 speaks of terrors by night. I read and re-read this chapter claiming His promises. King David also speaks of his anguish of depression, to name a few.

God, I believe, doesn’t speak of things in the Bible without a reason. It is for us to help and be helped by His Words. We go through things in life, but we don’t have to stay there. With God’s help, loved ones and professionals we can freely confide in, medication, hard work and patience get us through the storms of life. My husband and I are grateful this latest storm in our life has passed.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle on you.  Isaiah 43:2