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There's a bottom to that trial

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Some years ago I found myself suddenly suffering from a severe systemic candida infection. Sugar and carbs were the enemy--they not only made me violently sick, but released toxins that caused miserable symptoms. Within hours of the diagnosis, I had to go cold-turkey off of half what I normally ate, eat only meats, fish, eggs, and green vegetables, and begin the regime of natural meds that seemed all my body could handle.

I cried through more than one meal. Not being able to eat all the good things I cooked for my family was brutal. The candida made me ravenously hungry; the spartan diet I was now on didn't satisfy, and my body was having to shift from getting its energy from carbs to proteins.

But the scary thing for me was rapid weight loss. I have an average build, and at the time had very little extra to lose. Within the first month, I lost 25 pounds with no end in sight, and I was soon seeing a gaunt, not-well reflection in the mirror.

One afternoon, a jeweler, who was adjustin…

The simple secret of relationships

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Fourth grade was brutal. At least the other-kids-in-class part of it (is there any other?). That year I learned what a horrible person I was (!), how unlikable I was, and how ‘sticks and stones’ weren’t the things that drove painful wounds deep into my heart. I learned how important it was to carefully calculate my words and actions, knowing that no matter what I said, a mean arrow could fly straight back at me from the class bully. She was my discovery that there were people who didn’t play according to the ‘nice’ rules I’d been taught.

In distress and bewilderment, I would pour out my trouble to Mom after school. What do you do when you can’t play the game according to their rules? What had I done to bring her hatred on me?

And Mom would always come back to the same thought in her response. “Honey, we don’t know why she’s acting that way. It might not be because of something you’ve done. Maybe she’s unhappy inside and is taking it out on you. But the most important thing is not what …

Grace-living

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I'm learning in this unusual season of care-giving a life lesson I hope I'll never forget.

As a type-A-box-checker, I love a list, a plan, a logical progression of things. I love to know what's coming, and will come up with a plan for any and everything. (Can anyone relate?)

Problem is, this creates all kinds of personal stress--because as often as not, life doesn't go the way I'd like it to. Then I get frustrated, and might go try plan B, which may or may not work. Then, I might even get sick!  (Stress does that, you know.)

Of course, the Lord has been working with me for a long time about this besetting sin. (Yes, I'd call it a sin because if I'm managing things, guess Who isn't?)  I've learned often in the past—and keep forgetting—the value of "letting go and letting God.”

But this season of my life has required a "letting go" way beyond anything I've ever lived. I've been walking not only on the unfamiliar ground of care-…

Helping someone in grief

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I recently went to a community talk on grief in an effort to help my mother-in-law navigate this time of sorrow and depression. She not only lost her beloved husband of 62 years, but also her vitality, sense of purpose, and independence. Add to that some debilitating health issues and you can imagine the grace it takes to daily live in such a place.

We have tried over the past year to encourage, love, and provide for her, but the bottom line is...there's nothing we can do to change her pain. We want to fix it, but she's on her own journey of loss and all we can do is come alongside, pray, help as we’re able, and leave the process to the Lord.

I was helped by the lecture.  It relieved me of the sense of guilt that I haven't done enough, that I've failed her and the Lord in some way. It armed me with some fresh understanding of both what she's going through and how we can better support her.

If you’re grieving a loss, or helping someone else who is, here are a few …

When life gives you lemons...

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…you know the rest—make lemonade!

That’s what we’re doing around here right now, making the best of a challenging situation. My husband has been laid low--literally!--the past seven weeks with a back injury. Thankfully, he’s getting better, and we’re appreciating in a whole new way the little privileges of life we tend to take for granted…like sitting, tying your own shoes, going for a walk.

He’s reread a book on the power of praise during this time that has really been a gift to us.  You tend to forget that God wants you to be thankful in everything when you’re drowning in the circumstances and pain of trouble.

It seems a contradiction, but as we’ve talked and worked to implement this, we’ve been newly reminded of the power and benefit of praise and thanksgiving.  We’ve been able to stay in peace and not succumb to the negative.

So I'll share with you some sips of our lemonade!


Giving thanks to the Lord in everything…

…reminds us of the fundamentals:  He made us, He redeemed us …

Holding steady

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One of the things I'm often challenged in is steadiness.  My mood or frame of mind can be influenced by lack of sleep or physical issues, stress and feeling overwhelmed, situations that feel edgy or out of control.  I want to be like what this blog is titled - still waters!  Unflappable, spiritually-minded, steady.  All the time.

It is clearer than ever to me that the battles of life are won or lost in my mind.  Discouragement with myself or situations can have a completely deflating effect, robbing me of motivation to do the right thing even when I don't feel like it.

While I'm better than I used to be, there's lots of room for improvement. It's one of the great goals of my life (and no doubt God's for me!).

I know that steadiness comes directly from my relationship with the Lord.  He is my source of peace, order, confidence, strength, etc.  And that means this unshakable quality I desire is spiritual in nature, not a product of perfect circumstances. It's e…

"Leave to thy God"

This morning, the wonderful words from one of my most favorite hymns "Be Still, My Soul" came to mind.  During a time of great turmoil in my life, this ministered deeply to my heart, calming and settling me with God's peace.  Read through the lyrics here, and see if it doesn't do the same for you. 

Be Still, My SoulBe still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change he faithful will remain. 

Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul, thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul, the waves and winds still know
his voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul, the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love&#…