Tag Archives: handicapped

Unrest In Our Skin

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Sometimes I hate writing from the gut. There are enough topical stresses to cope with on a daily basis. However, being real (the theme of this blog) also exposes “unrest in our skin”–or under-the-skin discomforts. So I press on in unwrapping before you some  common and invisible scrapes and bruises that have tormented me (and maybe you). But I promise to not stop there, as that would be like giving you a cup without coffee. Pretty mean.  So I will fill your cup with a special brew of comforts, energizers, and a sidecar of directives for deliverance from oppression.

Today I will describe to you my (and maybe your) enemies and the elements of truth that will make them flee.

Discomfort with the past. Edgy about the present. Worried about the future. I can identify with the person in the photo, looking back, feeling perhaps troubled, and overflowing with pain. How about you? If the person in the above photo, looking back while bracing herself in her present circumstances and anxious about tomorrow remind you of yourself,  you may be interested in reading this article. However, if you are comfortable with your past, calm about your current life (maybe feeling confident in your older chronological age), and not fearful of your future, I welcome you to take a few minutes to read this post and possibly share your encouragement and advice for deliverance from unrest in the skin with others.

As an individual, I have often confronted painful attacks of unrest in my skin, deep and deadly, charged with cyclonic winds driven to unravel the most held-together strands in my soul. Reflecting upon these sharp and heavy attacks, I’ve discovered three properties in my storms (perhaps one or more of these will help you tap into something eating you), three types of damages to my heart (your heart may have been hurt in a like way, leading you to consider if you want to reduce or remove the harmful effects) , and three effective rescue aids that calmed the winds and dried up the rain, leaving me with peace and strength (maybe they will help you. Maybe not).

FIRST, I would like to share with you properties in my storm that have moved me into unrest. This section of the article is the most stressful for me to deal with because it involves undressing myself in front of you, my valued readers. I have to remove my costumes and masks to show you who I have been.

My soul has been whipped by the wind (My faith has been tossed around by negative circumstances), drenched by the rain (My hope has been dampened by the downpour of unpredictable, yet well-meaning situations), and burned by the hot sun (My sense of being loved and loving have been fried to a burning crisp). In sum, my faith, hope, and love have been attacked by the enemy–permitted by God for a season.

SECOND, I’ve discovered three types of damages done to my heart, resulting from the hateful treatment of the wind to my faith, rain to my hope, and sun to love in my life.

The wind has brought me to my knees before God, begging for protection and direction. The gusts have blown off many of my roof’s shingles and the sense of safety I once had has been destroyed. I feel like a puppet, with no arms and no legs, suspended from the endless sky. Trauma!

The rain has also laid me prostrate before my invisible, yet living God, crying out for a life jacket to save me from the drowning flood that’s quickly filling my nostrils and leaving me gasping and gagging. Even my best friends stand back and watch a disaster in the making.  Crisis!

The hot scorching sun throws my face to the ground. I plead for God to transform this burning ball to a dissipating yellow in the horizon. I’m helpless.

Trauma, Crisis, and Helplessness: Unrest in my skin.

THIRD, the experience of unrest in my skin and three effective rescue aids in the treatment of trauma, crisis, and helplessness? There remain an enormous volume of so-called solutions to our problems. Some just work better than others. Quick fixes are just that–laugh-out-loud–quick fixes, and who wants them. They look so inviting and they taste so good, but these quick fixes have a short lifespan and aren’t very faithful. They’re involved for their benefit alone.

I’m going to jump out of my little self-made boat and walk on water, like Jesus teaches me, and share with you what He has taught me about living above my circumstances. For simplicity, I’ve broken the principles God has revealed to me into three parts, as previously mentioned:

(1) Living through my trauma, to me, means to look to God for answers and deliverance. This is not only my opinion, but my conviction. Sometimes in my life God has performed divine intervention, while other times He has sent a person, or a God-orchestrated circumstance. There are times that He permits the pain for a time purposed by Him. The scripture I recall is:  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33).

(2) Living through my crisis, to me, means to  hold on to God, draw close to Him, and don’t pull away from Him. I’ve read the following Biblical words tons of time and they never grow old. I always need to hear them in my heart: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:11-13)

(3) Living through my helplessness, to me, means to accept my human condition as TOTALLY hopeless without God.  The following verses make me examine myself, for sure: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.  ” (I Cor 3:18-20).

This article, “Unrest in my Skin,” has defined my personal unrest in my skin, described the results of my turmoil, and addressed treatments I have found helpful in my life. I look forward to hearing from you and learning from you, my dear readers.

Crippled for Life Or Primed for Victory?

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The picture above of a person sitting in a wheelchair could be me–or you. Even if you are not wheelchair-dependent for your mobility, you use some type of “device” to get around in the world:  your family name as a forefront identity, a nice looking body that says “I’m desirable,” a motorized turquoise wheelchair with an inaudible ocean spray message whispering”I’m a mermaid at heart.” Anything can be used to identify who we are–or to distract us (and others) from seeing who we really are. Sometimes these selections speak clearly of the real you and the real me, while other times they chip away at our God-given power as children of His, making the enemy of our souls (the enemy can live in the life of anyone who lets him in) shout “YES!” in the midst of our stumbling.

God has blessed me with knowing lots of people from around the world. I talk with people daily: hangout buddies, writer friends, business associates, etc. Being a member of and having led workshops for the International Women’s Writing Guild, I’ve been honored to meet an enormous volume of writers from around the globe. Active in multiple online authors and writers forums, out-and-about almost daily, and being active in my church have connected me with many people. Three specific individuals come to mind this evening. Oddly, all three shared with me that they have lived in silent desperation for years and see no way out. Are they all three women? No. So if you are a gentleman reader, read on, my friend.

These three hurting people live in “emotional” prison with invisible bars. T’ll call them Person A, Person B, and Person C. They each wear different “covers” to deflect the pain from digging deeper in their guts and attempt to camouflage the “crime.”

I knew a woman (Person A) born with a physical handicap (I’m not talking about me, but I will tell you when I am). She never wore lipstick. She wanted to wear it for years, but her mother said, “No!” and “You won’t look right in lipstick.” Her mother also made other decisions for her daughter and the daughter has average intelligence. She just couldn’t walk and take care of her physical needs. A step farther, her mother also told the daughter how much money she could spend from her check. I ill stop here. It just makes me burn inside to think about what her life was like. A point here, even people who claim they love us, like the beloved mother and caregiver (a real security to have, like chocolate tainted with poison), can be used as an enemy of our souls to hurt us, taking advantage of a vulnerable area in our lives to gain control. .

How did this criminal control hurt my friend? Answer: she told me, “I love momma and know she does her best. So what more can I do. I’ve got to love her. Right?” The truth she later admitted to me was that she knew her mother felt better about her own power when she exercised power over her.  My friend didn’t believe she would ever have the right and the power to live any life, except one crippled for life.

It makes me sick to my stomach.

Person B worked almost around the clock. Their spouse was thrilled at all of the money brought in, enjoying spending like there was no tomorrow. The spouse didn’t care about the other person’s decline in health from over-work. All they cared about was being married to a money machine. The appearance of success was all that mattered. Person B actually gave all they had, including their life, to render unto the spouse what-so-ever they desired. Yes, Person B was crippled for life, which led to suicide.

A Tragedy.

Person C is me. Many years ago I was engaged in a relationship that called for my attention twenty-four hours a day. I thought I was to help this person be a success. So I extended myself beyond a full-time job to a full-time job, plus assisting this individual, plus having another part-time job to help them. One day I got sick at my work, as my blood pressure went down to 80–something over 50–something. That’s what the doctor told me, and that I was physically exhausted. She also strongly advised me to stay home and rest for a couple of days. As I turned to roll out of the office the doctor asked me, “Why do you work so much? You must work in a good paying position. So what’s going on with you? Why are you killing yourself?” Then she smiled, put her arm around me, and said, “Mary, you struggle everyday of your life. Why not let them take responsibility for their things and struggle, too? You know, they’re no better than you, dear,” and she gave me one last smile with acknowledgement before my departure.

I’ll never forget those words of advice. If I had kept at that pace I would have worn out my helper apron and lived crippled for life, but I stopped taking up the slack in the other person’s life. I remained connected and helped when I could, but stopped killing myself.

I recently read some material on emotional abuse from Focus on the Family at  http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/abuse_and_addiction/understanding_emotional_abuse.aspx  If you struggle with mental abuse or knows someone who does, please forward them this link.

In summary from the suggested link, emotionally crippling conditions may include some of the following: attempts to be isolated from others, withholding financial resources, contemptuous looks, excessive critical comments, and monitoring their whereabouts and activities.

We all own devices: some visible, some invisible. So if you’re an able-bodied person, you are still living on the same plane of fragility as us folks with what I laugh and call a “disability.” The question for me–and to you–is what device(s) do you and I scoot around in life with? Don’t worry, no one can invade your thoughts. It’s safe to be transparent with yourself.

Crippled for life or primed for victory?

Abuse?

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Whether you’re a big person or a little person, it is likely that you have been abused sometime in your life. Physical, emotional, or spiritual abuse? One can be just as harmful as the other. Ask a victim from each of the three major area which type of abuse is the most painful and damaging. Most will respond that there’s no way to really measure it. Pain is pain, destruction is destruction, and memories are memories.

Several obstacles often face the abused, but three major ones are:

(1) Disbelief in it really being abuse that happened to them.

(2) Determination to keep it a secret.

(3) Willingness to take the blame for the abuse.

Disbelief in it really being abuse that happened to them:

Disbelief that it’s real abuse, but is instead “just part of life”  is a common position taken by the abused individual. The person does not want to admit they have been abused by, perhaps, a person they love–or one they have depended on for either financial support, physical assistance, or whatever is regarded as important to them.

I had a friend many years ago with a disability who desperately needed a home to live. The home owners (a married couple) provided for my friend one blanket to wrap in and sleep on the floor, one meal a day (cheaper food than the couple ate), and sexual favors required by the man.  My friend had nowhere to live, so they put up with the mistreatment for a while. To clarify, my friend NEEDED a home to live and no one wanted her, because she was born with no arms and no legs, and a very, very low Social Security check. Not even her family wanted her.

As her friend, I felt angry, and ready to be her advocate. No one else wanted the job and my friend was not equipped to help herself.

My friend was intellectually challenged and I knew I had to help her. In retrospect, we had had a great day. I coached her to use public accessible transportation in Baltimore City. We had covered a lot of territory, just being slowed down by a set of rail road tracks we had to cross to get to the mall. This super big mall was on the other side of the city. We laughed the whole day. It was so much fun! But when we headed back to her house she teared and tried to hide her tears from me.

I asked her, “What’s wrong?”

She freely told me about her harsh conditions, but constantly said, “But it’s not their fault though.”

I could see she was scared to death. So I asked her if she would like to move in with me (I had a large apartment–two bedroom–two bath– and was single).

“Yes and I’ll sleep on the rug.”

“No, you’re a human being and I love you and there’s a bed with a nice mattress in your bedroom.”

Her eyes gleamed. She readily took me up on the offer.

The next step was to tell her landlords that she was moving out. So all of us gathered in the living room and I waited for my friend to open her mouth.

Suddenly she rolled her motorized wheelchair up close to me, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “You tell them.”

I spilled the beans in a factual manner. The high and mighty landlords became angry and the man told her she had to stay until the end of the month.

I turned, looked straight into his eyes and said, “No! She is coming with me.”

The man grabbed my wheelchair, towered his body over mine and yelled “You shut up, NOW!”

I looked toward the entrance, signaled to my friend to follow me out, and we both left, while the “man” continued to romp and rave. As we left the house, the female landlord bragged, “You’ll miss the hot meals and good treatment you got here.”

My friend and I shared the apartment for months, until she met an older lady who lived on another floor and was retired–home all day. I worked full-time. So her next move was even better for her with a roommate who loved home-cooked stuff, instead of microwave entrees and quick and easy things.

Wow! This story makes me smile.

Determination to keep it a secret:

Every person with a disability, especially women, eventually bring up the topic of abuse sometime in conversation at seminars, workshops, support groups, etc. It’s not a topic that waves its hand a lot, but if a person’s heart carries the subject around in their soul, like a campfire it bursts in more flames each time kindling is thrown in.

The kindling may be discrimination in the workplace, because of a wart on their face,  or whatever the employer deems a legitimate reason to turn them down. This time I’m pointing to myself as a victim. BUT I must tell you that in spite of all of the rejections not making sense, I know God has never left me.

Have I tried to keep the discrimination problem in my life a secret?

Yes, when I believed it would negatively affect the outcome, I said nothing about the pattern I saw.  I earned a PhD –highest honors– 98.7% average–but it didn’t matter. For three reasons I tallied over three-hundred no’s:

(1) Job market is flooded with applicants

(2) The job was fazed out

(3) Discrimination because I am physically “challenged.” They don’t want me around, because they don’t think I can do the job. OR they are not comfortable with me, because my “handicap” is no big deal–except to them. The problem is the handicap is an attitude problem of theirs. My motto is Test-drive me, instead of rejecting me.  This test-drive approach clarifies reality and puts the truth under a bright light.

Willingness to take the blame for the abuse.

Remember my friend in the first section of the story? “She freely told me about her harsh conditions, but constantly said, ‘But it’s not their fault though.'” That says it loud and clear.

A second illustration follows:

“Please, mommy. Please! Stop. Please. It’s my fault. I was clumsy. It was an accident, Mommy, but please,” the little girl screamed.

I heard her from outside the bathroom at a local shopping center and had to use their facilities, but was not exactly excited to enter the lion’s den to go to the bathroom and what would i find in there and what would i do and what could they do to me if the abuser felt the need to wipe me out?

i took a quick moment to ask God for his protection and sailed in to find a little girl picking up puzzle pieces from the floor.

“And you get every piece from the floor, ” the mother watched as her apparent daughter obeyed.

“But mommy, I’m tired,” she cried.

“Stop that crying right this minute. You hear me? You know what, girly, you’re useless!”

The child finished gathering all of the pieces in a puzzle box and the mother emptied the entire box of pieces out on the floor again.

But what is the mother doing? Why is she doing this to her little one? I wondered.

“Now you’re going to pick the pieces up three times, until you learn your lesson to be neat and clean–always, and when we get home you’re going to clean up your toy box, just like you are doing with this puzzle and when you’re all grown up your life will shine like a star, instead of being such a damn slob.”

i was stunned. why would a mother treat her child like this?

i rolled up to the toilet and noticed no toilet paper, but remembered i had kleenex in my purse. so i used them, deciding not to ask the hateful woman for some. if i had spoken with her she would possibly yell at me and find something about me to pick on.

i hurried in the bathroom and flew from the scene, looking for a security officer to tell them what happened.

“Well, you know, we can’t get involved,” the officer said.

Uunless someone is killed, I thought.

Abuse lingers. It can grow, infect, and do serious damage.

The effects of abuse can last a lifetime.

Some things can be done. I know that to be true.

Don’t believe the lie. Stand up.

Happiness and the Woman with a Disability: Part Five: You’re Still Living for Reasons: So what’s Next?

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(Dove painting by me, M.J. Pace).

“I am not young but I feel young. The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there. J’aime la vie! I feel that to live is a wonderful thing” by Coco Chanel.

Coco Chanel’s words, “To live is a wonderful thing” caressed my heart. A penetrating thrust of enthusiasm pulsated my soul in agreement. For me, to live has been and “is a wonderful thing.” The days and months and years, with ups and downs, have been a lifetime of cherished experiences.   I thank you, God, for gracing me with sixty-one years of treasured relationships and valued learning experiences. Along with an unavoidable progression of years soon knocking at my door (senior years) and the propitiation of trials and troubles passing through as well as staying,  God has nurtured my thoughts, emotions, and events with strength to push me onward and peace  to comfort and assure me of His presence. I may struggle to find reasons for living when dark clouds flood my senses, and ponder “What’s next?” when I am unable to see beyond my short pug nose, but I still know that God is here.

As a woman who happens to have what the world calls a disability, a potential onset of new hardships, like oncoming health problems that affect my physical disability, similar to those of one of my close girlfriends, may happen to me  in the near future. Or progressive health conditions and emotional strains may add new financial burdens in my coming years, like another friend of mine.  However, for now, I am blessed by God with good health, but have faced a different kind of burden that has bit me in my butt, with no let up, most of my years, still biting me today: discrimination and rejection.  But put on your brakes. Don’t feel sorry for me, because what could have been used to destroy me has always made me a stronger and more resilient person. God has continued to use discrimination and rejection in my life to actually give me a good laugh. Yes, the Lord has a sense of humor.

I wear my lifetime disability like a piece of visible clothing, seen and responded to by all. In a world of people who are normal formulators, I remain on the battlefield named life, where prejudice fights can range from mild to severe. And I’m not alone. Some of you are engaged in similar struggles. You are either too short or too tall, too fat or too skinny, too smart (yes, this can happen) or too “slow.” Or you just so happen to cruise around in a hot rod wheelchair, instead of walking on your feet, like me. Whatever! Disgusting, isn’t it? My battles have included going into a car dealership with $12,000 in my pocket and everyone gets waited on–BUT ME! So I left these jokers and rolled down the street to a place that welcomed my business with open arms. Now, when I think about, it makes me laugh to see how God moved me from the “let’s ignore this lady” treatment to VICTORY.  Another example is job discrimination–related to applications, close to 300 no’s after getting a PhD in Biblical Studies (I embarrassingly, for them,  confirmed some of the discrimination). Well, I’m starting to laugh again as I see each day what God is doing. Opportunities to use my skills have exploded, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am to the Lord.

Well, you’re still living for reasons. Maybe they’re clear, maybe they’re not so clear. But let me encourage you to look to God. Ask Him for patience with steadfastness–and press on. And ask God what’s next?  I’m still living for reasons and I’ve asked God what’s next?

Happiness and the Woman with a Disability–Part Two: Goals? Love them or Leave them.

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Part Two: Goals? Love Them or Leave Them

Good goals and bad ones. We’ve all made them. Sometimes we become marred for life from decisions’ less than desirable consequences, while other times the hair on our skin is barely brushed by the decision’s aftermath and what a relief, the negative repercussions could have been worse. As a woman with a disability, added elements in the melting pot of current and potential conditions may be complicated by personal responsibilities relevant to our basic needs, like caregiver assistance, wheelchair repair service, etc.

Every person has different factors to consider when making decisions. However, in my life, and in the lives of many other women with disabilities, a key to happiness and peace of heart is courage. To claim a goal, accept it and faithfully engage in it, requires courage. No blame games allowed. Love them (embrace your goal) or leave them (let your goal go).

Goals call us to stand up and move forward, even when the Enemy of our Souls tries to keep us from reaching them.

Courage says, “I admit to God and myself that I am afraid, but I will not back down.” Stones may be rolled in the path in which I walk, attempting to trip me up. Heavy downpours of rain could be sent to make the ground wet and slick, trying to force me to lose my footing. Prolonged periods of sunshine, dehydrating the fluid in my body, are likely to be used by the Enemy to slow me down. Weakened, I may fall on my face, but empowered with God, I will get back on my feet and move onward.

She was so doggone smart! A client of mine born with no arms, her aspiration was to enroll in a four-year Bachelor’s Degree program in accounting. My job was to assess her vocational strengths, weaknesses, and lead her to set attainable goals. My superiors had cast down my recommendations for this star-client. I recommended that she enroll in a high-standard university, live on campus, and be provided equal-access equipment and supplies necessary to progress through the program. I will not disclose confidential information regarding this case. However, I can tell you that my supervisors insisted (demanded) that I modify the plan. Did I do it? Well– (smile). No. I merely tucked my notes away. Then one late Friday afternoon a family member made an unexpected visit, insisting to only talk with me. I looked this person in the eye, took this person aside (hiding my anxiety and anger), and told the person everything. This family member withdrew the individual from the service organization (what a laugh! Still angers me to think about how Satan will attempt to use well-meaning, so-called professionals against good people) and used their own money to open the door for this highly-capable person without arms to earn a bachelors and masters degree in their chosen field. Yes, you guessed right, the individual became full-time employed, got married, and I heard the person had her own set of wheels.

Don’t blame others for stealing your dreams. Be of good courage! Treat your goals like you treat your life–with honor and dignity. Pray and plan. Then work toward your goals, one step in front of the next, remembering the words of Paul Coelho (The Alchemist): When we make a decision we are “diving into a strong current.”

And the Winner Is?

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Last week I took this photo at the Horse Show here in Shelbyville. “And the winner is” kept echoing in my mind, and repeated itself until it nearly drove me crazy. When I got home I uploaded the pictures from the digital camera to the computer and saved them on my blog.

“And the winner is” let up eventually, but got me thinking about the qualities it takes for a horse to win. I really don’t know much about raising horses and training them for shows, but I did see abundant qualities of controlled, posed posture and cooperation in submitting to the trainer’s commands. After watching each horse  do what they were supposed to do I came to the conclusion that they’re all winners.

People are like horses. Winning is highly valued in our culture. But what about losing?

Well, losing is often frowned upon or rationalized as “Hey, they did their best. What more could they do ?”

Well, the answer to that question is “win.”

Years ago I had a friend with the same physical disability I have, Arthrogryposis. This girlfriend and I became close friends. I was in graduate school, but had changed majors, while she graduated and went on to get a good-paying job as a social worker.

My friend was on cloud nine. She even moved into her first apartment. I can’t tell you how proud I was of her. However, she didn’t feel the same way about her own accomplishments. One night she called me to say she was in a psychiatric hospital for depression and anxiety, plus she slowly shared with me that she had attempted to kill herself. I was shocked!

I encouraged my friend to call me anytime. There was silence on her end. Then she told me I was lucky.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you’ve got thick skin and you’re always smiling.”

I opened up with her and shared that I did  have  hard times, but  they generally didn’t last “forever” and I wanted to win in life. I continued to share with her that I had made mistakes in life, but I wanted to finish the race. She got sarcastic and responded “Humph! Good for you. But remember, we are two different people.”

“I know we are, but God’s blessed us both with drive.”

She remarked, “Yea, but__.”

I was in disbelief over the dark side choking off her vitality.

My friend returned home in a few weeks, after her insurance ran out. We talked on the phone. Then she came over to my apartment, on the other side of the city.  I had cooked for us baked chicken and baked potatoes, plus a garden salad. I’m not a real cook, so the chicken went in the oven–after sprinkling it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and the baked potatoes went in the good ‘ole microwave.  Well,, I dropped one very hot potato on the floor.

“Oops! I take that one. After all, I’ll just be getting my own germs”, and l laughed.

But she didn’t laugh, and she left right after dinner.

I told her I’d do dishes, unless she’d like to stay to dry them. But she said she needed to go.

The horses lined up  in this picture remind me of my friend and me. We were running the race together. We both were so excited to be sharing career goals. Running this track called life, side by side, was invigorating, until I got a phone call one night,.

“__ took her life last night.”

“What?!”

“Yes, Mary. We knew you were the best of friends, so we thought we’d let you know.”

I went to her viewing and funeral–shocked. There was my friend, I loved so much, lying in a coffin. Her arms and hands looked like mine. It was almost like it was me in that coffin–but it wasn’t.”

I stayed until closing, angry with her for giving up her life in exchange for deliverance of problems.

Today I think, I must win. I must, like the grand prize winner, not look back. Pain comes. Pain goes. That’s okay. God is running with me.

I still miss my friend, but she had free will. Her choice, to run the race or not. When she was in the race, she ran as a true winner. But one day she decided to say, “NO!” to life. I loved her. She taught me a lot about what I wanted in life–and didn’t want.

The excited horses in the lineup in this photograph excelled to a level of delight. They stayed in the race, which means rewards are coming. II’m excited,too, because God is here, and good stuff is coming.

Treasures in the Sand: Part One of Two

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It can take courage, patience, and wisdom  to seek God’s will and His  ways. In an enormous world of resources, answers, and solutions to our deepest questions and problems,  we often keep looking for the grain of sand on the beach of life that contains more than the common traits of pebbles–hoping to spot a few treasures.

One of the problems of seeking God’s will and ways in our lives is having too many items, events, and experiences to analyze. With  multitudes of choices ready to be selected from our sandbar, the call for courage, perseverance, and patience is inevitable.

Tension builds in our souls. What do we look at first? What do we assess in light of possibly being God’s will for our lives? What do we conclude as definite ways ordained by God for us to establish?

It’s hard–and painful! Many pebbles appear the same. The y seem no different than other grains. These speckles seem to lend no aid to the service of us personally, and to the collective humankind. The ones that stand out often make no obvious statement regarding their purpose. They may carry their unique characteristics, but the treasures usually remain ordinary in nature, and why in the world would “ordinary” be valued?

~to be continued~