Saturday, April 30, 2011

Holding onto the Hand of the Lord

Truck is WAY down at the bottom somewhere


Mick and I hike much. We don’t hike on paths or trails but up mountains, over foothills and across rocky landscapes. I am not sure how we did it and remained standing up before we began using hiking sticks. Now we have a tripod base and stumble or fall much less often. We have averted some bruises and cuts in doing so.

We also choose to hold tightly to our heavenly Father’s strong and capable hand in walking through our lives together. This has not always been so as there were times before Jesus when we were bruised, cut and fallen, this is an understatement.

We all have that offer from our heavenly Father, He is reaching out with His hand to grasp ours. He offers to walk with us through it all holding tightly to us because He really does care. What we do with His offer is our choice. If we listen really closely even today we can hear His voice speaking to us:

My child, you see the hills above you look not at your feet but up, to my glory
Let not your feelings tip and sway you so much. Your hand is in Mine. I am leading forth. Your feelings are like the weather, be not so affected by the climate around you as by who is your God.
If we are hand in hand what matters rain or snow or shine. Jesus, Jesus is the lifter of your soul.

In Luke 21:28 the Bible speaks of redemption saying “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (NKJV

John 10:27 speaks of Jesus’ sheep hearing His voice and how He knows them and how they follow him.
Our God is not someone impersonal who doesn’t have time or cannot be bothered. He numbers the very hairs on our heads. He is interested and concerned and wants to “be there for  us”.  All we need to do is ask.
Psalm 121:1 speaks of looking up to the hills and think about where our help comes from.

I am sure we can all think of instances when our loved ones and close friends have let us down. We have let others down too. It is a comfort to know that our Lord will never let us down. He might have different answers to our prayers than what we thought, He might say no or wait but it is in our best interest for Him to do so. For Him to do anything else would not be to love us purely. I have learned over the years that I can’t always trust myself and my perceptions but I truly can trust my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is not only faithful but He is oh, so ABLE.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I know Your ways are not our ways and Your thoughts, our thoughts.  Please help me to remember that when "crunch time" comes.  Help me not to look at the "weather" around me but to look always to the Weather maker! YOU alone are the answer.  You alone have the answers that I need. AMEN

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Come to Daddy, He is Calling to You

Dad and Marijo Hawaii 1975


In Matthew 19:14 the Bible speaks of little children not being forbidden to come to Jesus and that “of such is the kingdom of heaven”. While I suspect that this verse is referring to our need to become childlike; loving, accepting, not questioning all that our Daddy says most children have some childish times too. This is a comfort to me in my reflections today. He knows me and He loves me still. Unconditional love that allows me to crawl into His lap and rest in my Daddy’s arms even when I am sweaty, muddy and with a skinned knee or two. Such an incredible Father He is. I regret only that I waited so long to ask Him to be my Dad, to forgive me and set me free.

Prayer: My Jesus, sometimes I'm such a child. No temper tantrums, but self seeking, pushing after little pleasures instead of pressing in to You. 

I crossed the street I wasn't supposed to. You placed restrictions, not to bind me but for my safety, out of Your love. Now the day is over and I come home with sand in my hair, mud on my clothes and a tear winding down my cheek.

Can I be that little one who climbs in Your lap, responds to Your open arms, listens to Your counsel and breathes a heart -felt "I'm sorry, Daddy, please help me? I need You So much."

And tomorrow begins a brand new day. Will I choose to clasp Your hand and learn of You, delighting in Your communion or will I chance to run into traffic filled streets once again? And I now hear His Spirit whispering in my ears:

Child, you are my daughter still. Now you are aware of the sand in your hair, your soiled garb from play and your tear stained face. Other times it was not so (your awareness) but I was there still.

You shall get beyond this point, there will be harder challenges still but you shall meet them in Me. If you lean on Me, I will carry you through. If you choose to walk upright, on your own, I'm there but allow you that freedom of choice. I love you but do not force you.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for your patience and tenderness with us.  Sometimes I think that I am a perpetual toddler but alive because of Your most incredible love and grace. AMEN

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with with proper credits.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hanging On to Daddy’s Hand


Do you have memories going way back to the times you proudly held onto your daddy’s hand and skipped to keep up with his longer stride? Do you remember those times he easily lifted you up to ride on his shoulders? Can you remember your little four or five year old legs joyfully keeping up with him because he was your Daddy? I know not every one of us can remember or maybe even had that daddy who was present in our lives. The good news is that now you can make up for lost time. Your heavenly daddy wants to be there for you and let you know His delight in you!

Child, you are my daughter, growing in me. Jesus, your Lord will show Himself your Champion as you place your tiny hand in His most capable one. Trust – abandonment to Him who is most trustworthy. You’ve proved Him over and over. You grow as you lean more on your Lord. He is able to carry your load, your life, your growth. The more you let go the more you grow up in Him. Trust is a paradox of letting go while holding tightly to His hand. Childlike skipping along as He leads, your incredible Lord who loves you so.

In Matthew 19:13 the Bible tells us that the little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.

John 14:1 encourages us to not let our hearts be troubled but to trust in God and Jesus also.
In John 12:36 We are exhorted to trust in the light while we have the light so that we may become sons of light.

Going to Ephesians 4:15 the writer tells us to speak the truth in love and we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

I don’t know about you but I still have more growing up to do and this is good advice. We can trust His Word and act upon what is written there and grow.
Luke 18:16 also speaks about little children and allowing them to come to Jesus. Sayaing of such is the kingdom of heaven.

I think our Lord knows even some of us geriatric ones are still “little children”. With His help we can be childlike and turn loose of all that is childish. Of such is the kingdom of heaven!

Prayer: Dearest Savior, You give us SO much and ask SO little. Please help us to become more childlike, to be able to drop the childish from our lives.  Help us to cling to and lean on You as we walk the road in Your footsteps. AMEN

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Drought No More





Crackling thunder rumbles
Zigzagging fingers fire
Flying through tumults
Of storm cloud strewn sky

Giant drops plopping
In myriad wild flowers
Raising thirsty petals
Heavenward

Lifting little leaves
In praising poses
To the One Glorious God
Who sends refreshing rain

Which places puddles
Across parched earth
Delightfully dripping
Wind driven wonder

Rivulets reviving, renewing
Hope
In the mountain meadow
Montane of our hearts.
In Colorado we have had serious drought for probably 12 of the last 13 years now. To see the downpours of the past few days has touched something deep inside of me and triggered praises and release.
A note - montane is relating to mountain elevation and is just below alpine, that's where we live! 
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

(THIS WAS WRITTEN LAST YEAR - hoping for rain now too!)


Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Manna - New Creature



YES! I can remember dancing around my friend's front yard twirling her 10 month old baby (this was almost 37 years ago) FULL of Christ's new life - gone was the old. gone was the alcoholism - Jesus pulled me "feet first" out of the bottle...I was baptized under that water and the coming up was symbolic of me being raised a new creature. He changed my "mouth like a trucker" into one which didn't take Him name in vain, one which praised and thanked Him - he took me from tie dyed T-shirts and patched jeans into "granny dresses" because I, once again, felt feminine and released to be pretty before Him. HE turned my mourning into dancing. Know what? HE still does this today 36 1/2 years after the initial "setting me free" AND I LOVE HIM!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Blood Sacrifice


The Blood Sacrifice

Covered with the robe of righteousness
His blood poured out for me
Sinless God, our Jesus man
Tortured, bled and died to free

His wounded side for those not there
His heart, broken for you , for me
Not one bone touched, nailed on that cross
Raised up on the splintery tree

Penalty paid for liberty
Priceless freedom He gave
We need but ask forgiveness now
Our creator came to save

His wounds overflowed
Jesus’ heart did break,
Pierced by satan’s Roman spear
Killed. Scarlet flowed. An earth erupting quake.

Scattered disciples, Mary wept.
They entombed and buried him.
The lamb of God, prefect One
He who knew no sin.

He’d restored the lame,
Given sight to the blind
Healed the sick,
Touched the demonized mind

And these life deeds
Love freely gave
And then was
Sentenced to His grave

Red garnet, scarlet, flowing down
For the crucifiers to see
Did death really win, that terrible day
Or did He die to set me free?

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Could Have Been an Abortion Statistic


Mom was visiting my husband and me from Hawaii where she and Dad had lived for the past few years. She was “on the mainland” getting some medical tests. As she paced the living room near the fireplace I could see her getting agitated.
“Marijo, there is something in the past that you will NEVER forgive me for….”

I quickly thought back to the several years Tom and I had lived together before we married. We were smoking marijuana and drinking way too much, I suspected that she and Dad had “disowned” me during those years. The still, small voice of the Holy Spirit interrupted those thoughts with a single sentence, no, Dick isn’t your father
.
I mentally shook my head. I’d seen my birth certificate complete with Marion and Richard filled in for parents. Yet, in the several years since my being born again I had come to know the voice of the Lord, this was the Lord speaking.

I walked across the room and took Mom’s arms in my hands drawing her close to me. “Mom, Dad isn’t my Dad.”

“Ohhh, I just knew you knew, I knew you’ve known all along!!!” her voice came out in a very painful wail.

“No, I never had any idea until about 3 seconds ago when the Lord whispered this to my heart.”

“Oh, can you ever forgive me, can you ever?”

“Oh, Mom, yes, I forgive you!”

She was crying, talking and letting all the guilt and hurt pour out. It was that night the Lord Jesus began a healing within my Mom that was most incredible.

She sobbed out her story of a bad choice while Dad was in Africa in World War II as I held her close to me. We prayed. We later called my sister so Mom could ask her forgiveness. Mom had a smile on her face as the weight she’d carried for over 30 years was taken off her shoulders. She had recently come to the Lord in a salvation experience and His Holy Spirit was doing a further, deeper work in setting her free.

She was scheduled to fly home the next morning. Dad had told her never to say anything about this, to “let sleeping dogs lie…” I wanted to let him know what had happened and that it was the Lord who told me and not Mom.

I usually typed letters because I had polio as a toddler leaving my right hand weak. When I wrote much of anything at all longhand my hand got tired, cramped and was achy. It was later in the evening and I couldn’t type. Mom was leaving early and Tom had morning classes to go to. The typing would have kept them both awake. I didn’t work until the afternoon and could stay up so I began to write longhand.

The missive I began started with my earliest memory in life, the day my younger sister came home from the hospital as a newborn when I was 2 years and 4 months old. I relived all those special times I could remember about Dad being just the best Daddy a girl could have. From the times we “danced” in the living room with my feet on his shoes, hum, maybe that’s why I always stepped on the man’s toes even today when attempting to dance…. On to the time in the hammock when he sat and I was looking at the animals in the clouds above, to later years when he drew pictures explaining how lightening worked and how corn grew and produced.
He took my sister and me fishing, taught us to use a screw driver and hammer, taught us to paint furniture without leaving brush strokes. He read to us… His life and actions affirmed our value and worth as children in his life.

We were blessed in that both of our parents had time for us and treated us as people. They listened to our hearts and actually thought what we had to say was important. They disciplined us and helped us to grow. We learned how to work doing chores, gardening, sewing, and basic life skills. My hubby would say that perhaps we flunked housekeeping, but that’s another story.

Pretty soon I realized I had written, longhand, SIX pages. The thought came to me that maybe the Lord had healed my “polio paw”. Well, the next time I tried to do more than chart at the hospital for my RN duties I found out that the hand still ached and got tired – I had a special grace for that letter to Dad.
I got a letter very soon by return mail which I then read over and over. My stoic, German Dad poured out his heart in that letter. It was one of the very few letters I had ever gotten from him. Part of it said “I thought every child should have a Daddy. I had a father but never had a Daddy. If I wasn’t to be your Daddy I didn’t know who would. It was a most beautiful day in April when you were born, you were the most beautiful girl baby I had ever seen and from that day on you were my little girl.”
Tears ran down my face with the reading of this letter. He went on to say that he and Mom had issues but that it was definitely not the fault of us girls and he wanted me to know that.

At this point my Dad had not come to Jesus but that did happen not too long after. The Lord Jesus began a healing in the family with this one event that evening in the small duplex where we lived. So many things began to make sense. If Colette, my sister, took lessons then they wanted me to take lessons. They never wanted to spend more on one of us than the other. I didn’t want to take music lessons but now this was making sense. They never wanted me to feel “less than” or like I was any less their daughter than Colette was.

It was humorous how I was tall just like my girl cousins on Dad’s side of the family that I was not a blood relative to. My sister was 4’11 ¾” tall and the shortest one by about 8 inches. My Dad’s mom was only 4’8”.  Our Lord helped me to fit in well as I was actually shorter than all my other girl cousins. Little things we noticed spoke to our hearts over the years.
The family healing began. Mom was being made freer in Jesus and I think Dad was relieved and freed also. I never stopped thinking that he was my Daddy unless I was giving a medical history and remembered that oops, I could no longer give that side of the family for my history.
I prayed for my “bio father” that he would come to know Jesus and maybe I would meet him some day, in heaven.

God is so good to put broken pieces of hearts back together many years after the fact. I might not have been planned by my Mom and Dad but I was in God’s heart. God didn’t choose the circumstances of my conception but he definitely chose me. All those parts that make me uniquely “Marijo”, God thought up before I ever was. I was and am special to Him, unique. I praise Him for the scriptures about this and especially the following:

Jeremiah 1:4-5  

4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:  “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 

God loved us all and the healing He began in our family that night was just a tiny example of His love. I am sure glad that Mom didn’t choose abortion.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.


I Almost Wasn’t

Sunset in Colorado


I Almost Wasn’t

Lifting sunlit eyes
Many faceted green
You wrought
When I was but
Womb bound

You brought
All Your pre-thought
Me
To be
Together found

Sperm and ova united
Breath of life
You breathed
Holy Spirit ordained
Pre-held little one

Joyfully known
By the hosts
Of heaven
Before my mother
Had a clue

Cherished of God
Before my mother
Shed tears
Earthly sorrow
Uncontrolled

She made her choice
I was given life
Time
To grow
And glow and know

What You planned
For two celled
Me
Plans in time
And then Eternity

She’s with You now
And I thank her still
Her difficult choice
My life, my breath
As she exercised her will.

Jeremiah 1:5 (New King James Version)
 “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Psalms 139:13 (New King James Version)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.


(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

If Only for a Moment (a poem of healing)

This touching poem was shared with me by my friend Teresa Ortiz who wrote the piece. I am using it with her express permission here on my blog since it goes with my companion piece below it.

If Only for a Moment (a poem of healing)

They didn't tell me you had a beating heart;

they told me you were a mass of tissue.

They didn't tell me I would cry for you 24-years later,

they told me it was nothing-you were nothing.

The room was cold-so-so cold.

Just relax, they said, there's nothing to it.

Staring in silence-screaming inside with no place to hide, nowhere to run.

Relax I say, soon you will be out having fun.

Life went on-for me that is.

Would it matter if I told you your father and I  married?

Is that any consolation?

How many pregnancies, how many live births?

The question stings, I wonder if acid would soothe the burn.

Then one day I heard your sister's heartbeat for the very first time;

You were just her age when yours beat for the very last time.

What have I done? In an instant, you were real.

Would it make a difference if I told you I mourn for you still?

My Lord is gracious, forgiving and kind

He took you in His arms when I chose not to hold you in mine.

One hope I hold dear to my heart; that my Lord Jesus would

grant me one wish-one delight.

To hold you in my arms if only for a moment

and feel the love of both of you.

~~~~

All Children Should Be Wanted, Abortion is the Answer, Isn’t It, A Child is a Choice…

Marijo age 2 1/2 - must not have wanted photo, look at fists!


"I think we should have only WANTED children, why should an unwanted child be born and then abused?" my friend Marie whispered in my ear during the lecture. 


What can I say because I know the direction this is taking and I don't agree. What would help her to think this through? I knew intermission was coming up and wanted to respond to her. 


The idea came to me "how about all of your family and hers?" I was definitely not wanted. My mom made one majorly bad choice. Her husband was off fighting the war and she hadn't seen him in two years. And now she discovered she was pregnant. The Red Cross got her husband, the only wonderful Dad I have ever known, home. Anyone in the family who could count knew something wasn't adding up. She tried to pass me off as "premature" even though I weighed 8 pounds at birth.  I wasn't wanted, not at first. Was I then loved and cherished? You bet I was.


Next I thought about Marie. Her Dad was an undiagnosed and untreated manic-depressive, schizophrenic, alcoholic. Her parents already had 2 children in diapers when her mom found out she was pregnant, again, with TWINS. Oh, did I mention they lived on a farm with no indoor plumbing? We can only imagine the tears when her folks heard the news of twins and ended up with four babies, under two years of age, in diapers at once. I couldn't imagine my life without Marie, my very closest friend. 


Then there was Marie's son. She was newly married, just barely starting out in her chosen profession. They didn't have money for a baby nor was that in their plans for that timeframe. Some suggested she just have an abortion. I remember well what she said, "I CAN'T have an abortion I don't believe in them personally but I do think every woman should have a choice." That was the end of discussion and we began buying baby clothes. Her son is a delight. I thought back to the day he was in "time out". It was terribly quiet. When we went into his room he had cut the end out of a shoebox and placed pictures he had drawn over the hole in the box shined a flashlight through the picture and "projected" it onto his bedroom wall! He did this when he was seven years old. Several more "time outs" and he'd probably be a patented inventor. 


Further, I thought about her husband, who was like a brother to me. About age nine, he was going down the hall to the bathroom when he heard heated words from the nearby living room, "If I never would have F----- you, we never would have had him!" I am sure those words broke his nine-year-old heart, but he is loved now by SO many. Just because his parents were going through tough times and making some bad choices, did that mean he should have died before he began life outside the womb? 


Oh, then there is my wonderful husband. He is one of eleven children, coming in at number nine. I am pretty sure that he wasn't "planned". I can almost hear his mother's heart drop when she realized that "number nine" was on the way. His parents rented a dairy farm and at times there were only black birds in the pot for dinner. His father must have had heart failure when he realized they were expecting again. 


Marie and I had talked before about unwanted children leading to child abuse. But what worse abuse could there be than death? 


I mentioned all five of us being "unwanted" to her on the break and detailed my thoughts. I asked what all of us would have done, if any one of us had been aborted. She looked at me with really sad eyes, but didn't have time to comment, before the speaker began again. 


"This is encouragement for those of you who think you might have been unplanned or unwanted. please listen carefully: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." That is from Jeremiah 1:5. The Bible was speaking about Jeremiah here but this indicated that he was "thought about and planned for" BEFORE he was ever conceived. 


You are not an accident. The choices your parents made when you were conceived might not have been the best. You might have been a surprise to them, but you were no surprise to God. He thought you up, all those special parts of your personality that make you what and who you are. You were not a surprise to God but a delight. God has a plan for you, specially thought out and put together, just as you are thought out and planned by the creator of the universe. Think about that for a minute. 


I glanced at Marie and she has a small smile on her face. The speaker wasn't speaking directly to us, was he? How could he have known what we talked about through the break? 


"Also, there is forgiveness. Abortion is not the unpardonable sin. Let me give you some freedom here," he continued.


There were  murmurs coming from all parts of the lecture hall. You could tell this was affecting many who were there, both men and women.



"I know from counseling that there are many regrets after having an abortion. Much heaviness that those who abort had no idea they would have. Those who were told "it is not a child, it is just a blob of tissue" have told me of depression, haunting thoughts about that tiny being, about what happened and their choice. They didn't even believe it was a child, so why all these thoughts?" 


There was more audience shuffling of feet, more coughing and clearing throats. And the speaker went on, "Would you like to be set free from that heaviness? Would you like to have the nightmares stop? Would you like to be, in a word, forgiven?" 


Marie and I glanced around us. Who knew which ones in the audience had aborted a baby? 


 A  few years back  I made a jacket using textile paints, I drew a huge female sign on the back. Within the circle of that female sign I had painted "equal rights for UNBORN women". It had sparked many a conversation. Just l;ike the jacket, I was sure the speaker was sparking "conversations" within hearts even now an he spoke. What was he going to say next? 


"Think about this with me, if you will, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." This is from 1 John 1:9, yes it is in the Bible, but please don't let that keep you from listening." 


There were some chuckles from the audience. 


"God is in the business of setting people free. He died a horrible death and would have done it just for you, if you were the only one on earth. He loves you SO much. The forgiveness and the freedom that goes with it, is yours for the asking. It is a most incredible gift. All you need to do is ask." 


With that, he turned the microphone over to a gal who had an abortion. She shared her story with the audience, and how the freedom she had in being forgiven, totally changed her life. 


I sat still thinking about all we had been given that day. I already knew the part about being knit together in my mother's womb "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb" from Psalms 139:13. The Jeremiah scriptures were totally new to me I was NOT an accident in God's eyes. He planned me, He loved me AND my mother chose to give me life. I had a joy inside that was about to burst out of me! 


Marie and I left the lecture that day with so very much to talk about. Choice, it really is all about choice. I am so glad that my mom AND dad chose life for me. 


You will never know the total freedom in forgiveness until you ask, for yourself. God's line is never busy. He is never distracted. He is always there for you, waiting for you to call out to Him. Maybe this is your time, your day, your date with the creator of the universe how bad can that be? 

You simply need to ASK. Jesus already paid the price for you and me on Calvary with His death, the price to set us FREE!


(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits. 



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) or Esophageal Spasm?


It started out being a really good day – we splurged at breakfast and had bacon, something we usually didn’t do. I was on my way to get my hair a bit curlier with a perm.

“Hi, Marijo, please have a seat, would you like some specialty coffee with creamer?”

“That sounds yummy, Linda, thanks…”

A bit later, what with the twists and turns and laying down backwards into the shampoo bowl I was having some gastric reflux. Not a fun thing but I had overdone it a bit on the fats that morning.

Perm was finished and I got into my truck. As I began the drive home it felt like a hand had reached into my chest and was twisting and squeezing. I also had pains radiating up my jaw. As an RN, the thought crossed my mind that I might be having a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and that I should not be going home but to the emergency room. Being a typical RN, relatively stubborn regarding our own health issues and not believing it could really happen to me, I drove home.

(I WILL GO ON RECORD HERE SAYING DO NOT TO AS I DID – PLEASE, GET EVALUATED RIGHT AWAY…)

Somewhere in this process I decided to take an antacid. Just about as soon as I swallowed and it “hit bottom” I felt relief – the pain subsided in the chest and in my jaw and teeth.

I called my MD the next day and she said it sounded like an esophageal spasm BUT didn’t want to be overlooking something cardiac and sent me for a full cardiac workup including treadmill stress EKG and the works.

Turned out my heart was fine and it was an esophageal spasm. Apparently the combo of the fats and the caffeine in the delicious coffee set things off in a grand way.

Fast forward. I am working at a fairly large office. The young man across the cubical from me is having chest pains. I am thinking this young husband and father is way too young to be having cardiac issues. He is in the middle of a complete cardiac work up. The doctors were scratching their heads so far.

You almost never saw “Mark” without a can of Mountain Dew in his hand. He loved the stuff. Morning, noon and night it was never too early for a Dew, just ask him….

“Mark, I have a challenge for you regarding your chest pains….”

“Man, I am so miserable I would try just about anything, what are you thinking?”

“Think you could stop the sodas for about two weeks? Maybe you could wean off so the headaches wouldn’t be so bad but get off and stay off for 2 weeks?”

I then told him about my experience and how every time I had anything with caffeine I could almost guarantee triggering an esophageal spasm – add some fat to the mix and sometimes even carbohydrates like bread and it was a “done deal”.

“Okkkkay, I guess I could give it a try – this pain is terrible and thinking I might be having a heart attack and not knowing what to do is even worse…. You’re on!”

By the end of his two weeks he had a super grin on his face AND no further chest pains. He checked with his MDs and told them what had happened and they confirmed that yes, this could be cause and effect.
Fast forward again.

We were building a house (what’s news about that for the builder and his wife?) and our electrician was our friend who also owned land up this way. We were trading labor and spent much time working with him on our place and his.

“Gray, what’s with the grimacing face?”

“Man, my chest hurts like someone is squeezing the life out of me….”

I ran and got him an antacid and he took it and the pain stopped…. Whew, we didn’t have to call the med-evac helicopter….and Gray said he wasn’t about to go be checked anyhow… (hum, maybe men are wired a bit like this stubborn RN?)

We began a dialogue. This guy was Mr. Coffee and we had affectionately called him that for months.
“Ah, Gray, how long have you had these chest pains?”
“Oh, for months and months but they seem to be getting much worse lately. Sometimes I’m so miserable I can’t work”

“Want to try an experiment that might fix them for good?”

“Are you kidding, what could I do…?”

I then told him my experience and Mark’s regarding caffeine and the antacid “test” I did. He looked at me like I had taken a glass of cool water away from a man dying of thirst but gave a reluctant “yah…. Guess I could try that by going slowly off the coffee…..”

I think I could really hear the sob behind his words.

We had finished out electrical part of the house for them and didn’t see him again until it was time to do the next phase. He walked into the house with a grin on his face which told the whole story.

“Hey, Doc, look at me, no more chest pain!”

“Ahhh, and how were the headaches going off coffee?”

“Oh, they were not too bad after the first couple of days and it was SO worth it! Do you know that even decaf causes reflux?”

“Well, there is something in the coffee bean, leaded or unleaded, that makes you produce more stomach acid so I guess that could be part of it all, couldn’t it?”

“Yep and for the major relief I have gotten guess I will bum a glass of your wonderful well water.”

“I’m really glad to see this little “fix” of mine work so well for you, Gray. Congrats for sticking it out and getting off the java, but now we can’t call you Mr. Coffee anymore.

SO NEXT TIME YOU HAVE HORRIBLE CHEST PAINS, POP AN ANTACID ON THE WAY TO THE ER. BETTER YET, BEFORE YOU GET TO THAT STAGE MAYBE TRY TO MODERATE YOUR CAFFEINE BEFORE THE MISERY STARTS.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.








Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shhhh, Do You Hear that Still, Small Voice?

His voice is not in the storm.....but He speaks through the storms in our lives

So why isn’t God’s voice in the storm, the thunder, the wind but it is a “still small voice”? He doesn’t need to yell or thunder to get our attention if we are listening for Him. That should be our goal but sometimes we find ourselves in a different place.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (New King James Version)
God’s Revelation to Elijah
   

11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.


It was one of those other times when I finally got quiet enough to actually “hear” Him speaking to me:

Daughter, quiet yourself before me. Stop all your running around, beating your wings and listen. 



Your walk with me is grounded on the ROCK. It is based on My immutable character, not your froth or fervor. 

At times you're lazy and complacent but it matters not to me in the way you perceive it. Let me teach you in those times then lift you above them. 

There are areas in your life to be worked out and healed. They don't go by a wave of the hand but in my perfect process. 

All that looks confusing to you isn't bad. You see the situation from in the midst of it and that isn't a complete or total view. Trust me. 

I long to love you to a greater fullness in me, not punish. Let me help you bloom again and again in my timing. Selah.




"Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning” is a quote from Job.



“O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.” (NIV) Samuel said in 2 Samuel 7:28


Psalm 20:7 is good wisdom on where we should place our trust:

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (NIV)


Let’s sit and pray and ask Him to speak His Rhema word to our hearts even today. He is more than willing. Also, His Word the Bible is sharper than any two edged sword and active, not dusty and stale. Thank you, Jesus!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, please help us to act like we really do trust in You and not to just repeat the words.  Help us to lean into You and rely on You and find that incredible reward of Your strength and stability in our own weak times.  AMEN

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Price Paid to Free Me

You didn’t know me then, you didn’t know me when
Your sin seemed fun, for a season
Then you began crying, dying, still defying
Choosing darkness without reason

Yet I knew you at Calvary
When I died upon that hill
You’d have need for a Savior
And you need me still

You thudded to the bottom
Looking up, eyes opened wide
You had crashed ever down
To the place you couldn’t hide

In you was a God shaped void
You shoved all things in but me
Not seeing the gift I died to give
Cruel-cross death upon that tree

I wept that you fell oh, so far
But rejoiced when you could see
All along that emptiness
Could be filled by only me

Soon it was in perfect time
Your dulled eyes opened to see
Jesus really paid your price
That debt to set you free

And now that God shaped void
Is filled to overflowing,
You, completed child, righteously restored
Now growing in your knowing

Of how God came down
Facing torture on Calvary’s tree
He loved so much, left so much
Sacrificed all to set you free
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Sins made white as snow......