Category Archives: Faith

Spring is here, and my PTSD is melting

Effie’s sunshine greeting far exceeds the melting point of PTSD.

At last I am gaining perspective. It’s still weak, but I am coming around to believing that an auto accident a year ago in which no one was significantly hurt (except for a torn tendon in my right elbow that hurt for nine months; and Grünhilde, my Audi and a veritable member of the family, who was totaled) is not a sufficient reason to torque my worldview downward.

With the help of God through His Word, and my husband, my pastor and Effie, now on therapy cat duty (as she probably always has been), I am able to concede that every driver on the road is not specifically out to harm me.

Particular noteworthy Bible verses coalesced in my attention sphere this morning.

“It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:7

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

“Behold, I am vile;
What shall I answer You?
I lay my hand over my mouth.” Job 40:4

(All verses above are from the New King James Version (NKJV), © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

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Effie’s Therapeutic Gifts vs. the News: Mitigating PTSD

There was the collision last year, and I have finally begun to feel a bit more calm in the car. Now the well-written, well-documented news coalesces with the worst of dystopias into a living nightmare. I can’t read the news anymore. I simply become too agitated.

I am thankful I have mitigants that don’t involve medication. I have a Lord to thank for accepting my hurried prayers, such as, “Lord, grant me the grace to accept and withstand Your will. . . .” For what else can I petition? Does God change the course of His providence in the world for undeserving sinners? I’m thankful He does not!

l have a wonderful husband, a pleasant home, and an exquisitely charming cat. We live near some excellent places to fish, and I take pleasure in fishing.

Effie sensed my anxiety after I left off reading a couple of demoralizing news analyses. Her cuteness is not merely gratuitous–nothing and no one is. Effie has a therapeutic grace within her being.

She’s napping now, and I am uplifted. I feel understood; my cat lolled winsomely for me before her nap, and my husband and I are going fishing after dinner.

What a wonderful world we have been given; and God’s gracious protection and consolation are with us, throughout the best and the bleakest of times.

Effie will never have a need to feign an antic disposition–she’s a natural!

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Grace and rebellion

My husband preached in our pastor’s absence today, on the theme of the promise of the Messiah, from Isaiah 9.  I thought the two sermons were wonderful, and I wanted to remember a construct I thought especially important:

Only grace overthrows rebellion.

p1010464-bit-of-a-tussleIt takes a lot of grace on both our parts to get Effie combed, and most tasks I undertake require much more. I pray for grace to persevere because she’s worth it–no one this cute needs hairballs.

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Of ground hogs and Gadarenes

It hasn’t been good, pushing myself to follow news that ultimately leaves me in the Slough of Despond, gulping for air. (If you are unfamiliar with the venue, it is detailed in The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan.)

Last night, to waylay the effects of the gloomy articles, I decided I would check out the ground hog situation today. I had planned to drive to an arterial bounded by fields where I have often seen ground hogs. Unlike prairie dogs, who sensibly hibernate through the winter until they receive nature’s all-clear signal, ground hogs quasi-hibernate, emerging at various times to test the readiness of winter’s departure. At 9:30 this morning it was still only 16° and foggy. Forget it. I’m more the prairie dog type.

I skipped the news. I thought of Legion, the Gadarene man chronicled in Luke 8:26-38. He was afflicted with demons and quite miserable. Christ came to the man, and of course apprehended his misery. The Lord sent the demons out of the man and into a herd of swine, who promptly ran maniacally over a cliff and perished. The man was grateful. But the owners of the swine were not grateful; they were rueful over their loss of their pigs. They wanted Christ to depart from their territory because they could perceive Him only as a vessel of misfortune. The grateful man whom Christ delivered from the demons became an evangelist.

I don’t need to keep testing the waters of the Slough of Despond; it’s good to be aware of what’s going on, but not to the point of toxic exposure and unhelpful grief. Lord, give me a heart that is more like Legion’s.

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee.

27 And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.

28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!”

29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.

30 Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him.

31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

32 Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them.

33 Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.

34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.

35 Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.

36 They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.

37 Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.

38 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

— New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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A brief seasonal reflection

Nature is given to frequent changes of linen, and our semi-arid prairie just received a thick new blanket of snow. The snowplow driver deserved to hear “Hail to the Plowman” in our street, but people remained indoors and out of his diligent way. My husband plowed our driveway with his tractor’s plow. Effie went out for a trudge in what for her was shoulder-deep snow. My neighbor was out with a little handheld blower.

Seasons commend change; change is the proper dynamic of all life. Seasons cue every lifeform on earth. Sometimes they command resourcefulness. Sometimes they accelerate the undesired inevitable. Seasons are entirely subject to God’s will; God’s will is manifest in his seasonal work, and all things occur in their season.

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

 

And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.  (Daniel 2:21)

And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. (Acts 1:7)

(New King James Version (NKJV). Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

p1020436In the far background are the basalt hills of Hells Canyon

p1020439“So inviting, and yet so cold. . .”

p1020438“I can stay in and take naps and play with toys. . .”

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Nothing if not thematic

I have a thematic world view. I view events, behaviors, objects, thoughts, and media according to themes. I think of concepts and things in terms of the thematic context I see them as presenting. I consider myself a thematicist.

Some hours ago, I believed I had coined the word “thematicist.” I was incredulous that the word was not to be found either in our 1928 or 1974 Webster’s dictionaries. I Googled the word to see whether it was in any lexicon anywhere. Several uses of the word came up in various books, as well as the blog of another blogger who also wondered whether he had coined the word.

I like to detect and analyze themes in what I read. I enjoy photography, particularly when I find something thematic in the subject (frequently my cat’s face). I don’t draw well, but I have a charm bracelet and a collection of interchangeable charms that I change frequently and arrange according to a particular theme. (Presently featured is “meteorological vicissitudes in silver.”)

Themes anchor us. But themes can also be like the “things” of which Yeats writes in his poem The Second Coming–“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. . .”

When my themes of How Things Should Be implode, I mourn and pine for them. When my themes give me a sense of true integration, I am given cheer and peace of mind. I might, for instance, see a flock of pelicans on the river, or in flight on their migration. This is a thematic event; the theme of God’s perfect ordering of all Creation is presented to my desponding self, formerly frustrated over some stupid political event as remote from my control as an errant missile off trajectory in space.

And so I remain a thematicist. And my snowman gets to jangle on my wrist, right next to my palm tree.

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More things of November, for which some were and some were not wished

The morning of Thursday, November 17, our deck glistened with our first frost of 2016. We have not been hard-frosted since.

If the super-moon hovered over the Eastern Washington prairie, either we missed it or it wasn’t dramatically huge and stunning.

I will not bore my readers with my mopey election malaise.

My five-year-old granddaughter now shops online for what she wants for Christmas. I sent a gift card so she could (with a little help from her Mom) buy some figure skates and a skate tote.

I made a request and my doctor’s office granted it. I may phone my doctor’s office to confirm my appointment, instead of completing a lengthy electronic form requiring a phone call to a robot midway through it to secure a code that authorizes completion of my multi-page promises: (a) that I am me; and (b) that I will show up for my appointment.

Assuredly, complexity and quality of life have become inversely proportional.

Effie is on track with her priorities, none of which require Senate ratification.

p1020374

Thanks be to God for the wonderful and amazing gift that some things in life are still simple.

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