Closing Comraderies: February {Lung Leavin’ Day}

Closing Comraderies: February {Lung Leavin’ Day}

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Earlier this month, Heather Von St. James reached out and asked me to share her story.  After reading her blog, I decided to feature her as my Closing Comrade for the month of February.  Here’s a little more about Heather and how you can partner with her:

My name is Heather Von St. James, and 9 years ago I was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given just 15 months to live. As a new mom, I knew that I had to get through this to be there for my daughter. Family shot

After a life saving surgery that included the removal of my left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born.

Lung Leavin Day logo

In honor of the fear that I was facing the night before my surgery, my family and friends gather around a fire in our backyard with our friends and family, write our biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. LLD_plate

I’ve created an interactive page that tells the full story of our special day and allows other to be involved in smashing their fears.  More information on mesothelioma can be found here.

Heather also asked me to share one of my own fears.

In high school, I would have never claimed to be a fearful person.  I love to travel and be adventurous, I have been zip-lining in Costa Rica, flown into the second most dangerous airport int he world, rappelled down a 90-foot cliff, climbed numerous rock walls, and jumped from a 60-foot free fall.  I held a snake in Trinidad and went scuba diving in Tobago.  In Honduras, I was the person selected to remove the tarantula from our room.  Me? Afraid? Never!

In college, I realized that there are fears other than arachnophobia, acrophobia, and hydrophobia.  In fact, I am a chronic sufferer of atychiphobia, the fear of failure.

Thankfully, God does not expect me to do anything in my own strength.  He is omnipotent and ready to help me succeed.  In Luke 18:27, Jesus says, “What is impossible for man is possible for God.”  Also, Second Corinthians 12:9 says that Christ’s “grace is sufficient for you, for [His] power is made perfect in weakness.”

We need not fear anything on earth.  God “protects our lives and does not let us be defeated” (Psalm 66:9).  Nothing is impossible for Him.

 

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Positive Negation

Positive Negation

playground

“Miss Kat, can we go outside today?”

I glance from the deceptively sunny sky to the snowy white parking lot and shake my head.  “Sorry, but no, we can’t.”

According to the weather app, temps have settled below the thirties.  By law, I cannot take the children to the play-lot, despite their hyperactive cabin fever.  The students, of course, are disappointed, longing to run off their energy.  Not understanding that slippery dangers await beyond the windowpane, they assume I am simply a mean adult, trying to ruin their day.

When did “no” become synonymous with “hate?”  I am just as guilty as the children.  I ask the teacher for extra credit and whine when none is offered.  I am upset when a coworker can’t cover for me.  Obviously, the state highway patrol hates me since they won’t let me break the speed limit.

If any New Testament saint had reason to feel unloved, it was Paul.  He cried out to God three times to be relieved of his “thorn in the flesh.”  Nonetheless, God outright said, “No.”  The remarkable fact is found in Second Corinthians 12:7-10, however.  According to these verses, Paul’s malady ended up being an asset; it allowed God’s strength to be made perfect.

When I don’t let the kids go outside, I am protecting them from sliding on the icy steps.  When the authorities admonish me to slow down, they are protecting me from causing a wreck.  Likewise, when God said “no” to Paul, He was protecting Paul from conceit.

When God tells us “no,” He is not being a cruel dictator; He is a sovereign, loving Protector.  As hard as it is, we must trust God’s statement in Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  He is bringing it all together to make us more like His Son.

Top Ten Tuesday: Insomnia

Top Ten Tuesday: Insomnia

sleep

Ten Things I Do When I Cannot Sleep

1. Try to figure out why I am not sleeping

2. Eat

3. Mentally rearrange my room or redecorate a house

4. Read Scripture

5. Write blog posts

6. Do school work – The fun kind.  You know, like making Prezis and PowerPoints

7. Stare at the walls

8. Pray – Sometimes, I start praying for the first girl on my hall and keep going until every girl in the dorm has been prayed for (or I fall asleep–whichever comes first)

9. Count how many hours of sleep I will get if I fall asleep immediately

10.Listen to audiobooks – Right now I am working on The Book Thief.  It is quite possibly the most literary-rich book I have read/heard in years.

 

I feel sorry for the dyslexic agnostic insomniac.  He stays up all night wondering if there really is a dog.

Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday

barrel

Despite sub-zero weather, it has been an excellent week.  Here are six reasons:

1. Sunday morning, I kept a half dozen three-year-olds in the nursery.  They were actually obedient, congenial, and affable!

2. I left work an hour early on Monday because the snow started falling and quickly covered the streets.

3. I had neither school nor work on Tuesday.  What a relaxing, stress-free day!

4. For lunch on Wednesday, the cafeteria served spaghetti squash.

5. On Thursday night, we celebrated a friend’s birthday at Cracker Barrel.  Laughter, friendly teasing, and good food made for a great evening.

6. Due to lingering snow, ice, and frigid weather, my boss graciously gave me the morning shift off on Friday.  I got an extra hour of sleep!Why has your week been good?

Top Ten Tuesday: Snow Day

Top Ten Tuesday: Snow Day

snowday

The Ten Commandments of a Southern Snow Day

1. Thou shalt have no school/work if snow is threatening to fall.

2. Thou shalt make snowmen and snow angels.

3. Thou shalt be warm, not vain (wear whatever it takes!)

4. Remember the snow day and keep it fun!

5. Honor thy inner child, even if thou art a parent.

6. Thou shalt not kill when you throw the snowball, simply inflict minor injury.

7.  Thou shalt not adulterate the snow if at all possible (step in someone else’s tracks!).

8.  Thou shalt steal pictures.  Lot’s of them.

9.  Thou shalt not lie around inside all day.

10.  Thou shalt try very, very hard to not covet hotter weather.

Pray Without Ceasing?

Pray Without Ceasing?

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After a long session of swapping our favorite verses about prayer, my Sunday School teacher brought forth his predicament.  “I just can’t find an example anywhere in the Bible,” he admitted, “of a person praying for years repetitively about the same thing (other than requesting their daily bread).  They always have one intense, solid, heartfelt prayer and accept that the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no.’  What do y’all think about this?”

I racked my brain.  Was he right?  Surely someone prayed for years for healing, or for a child, or for…something!  Hannah? No, she only prayed once in the temple (I Samuel 1:8. 9-18).  Job? No, he addresses Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, but he never directly complains to God.  Surely there is someone!  James 5:16 promises that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Surely this eludes to a lengthy prayer!  My mind raced.

The Apostle Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”  God desires to hear from his children.  However, the surrounding verses must also be considered.  Directly before this command, we are told to “rejoice evermore.”  Afterwards, Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God is Christ Jesus concerning you.”  These verses show that the continual prayer is filled with praise, not petitions.  Likewise, Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times:  his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

I ignored my school work that afternoon in order to further study this question, and I found only one valid example of a person praying multiple times for the exact same thing.  In II Corinthians 12:8, Paul told his readers that he had “petitioned the Lord three times that He would remove [his thorn in the flesh].”  In the end, Paul affirms that God’s answer had been “no,” but this weakness is an asset because it forced Paul to rely on God.

So what are your thoughts?  Should we pray multiple times for the same thing, or should we “leave it in the hands of the Father and walk away”?  What does the biblical model of prayer imply?