Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Written in support of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month:

GOD’s glory is so overwhelming, we can sense Him all around us– if we just take time to perceive it. Welcome back to the 6th installment of ” Yep…I See You Jesus.” May your senses be more attuned to His presence day by day.

She looked vaguely familiar, but on further probing, we discovered we hadn’t met before. As she prepared to leave my office, her hand on the doorknob, she casually mentioned she was looking forward to going to Atlantic City for a few days with friends. Me wishing her a good time seemed like a welcomed opportunity to vent her feelings and share her story.

You see this beautiful gracious woman was one of a few siblings. Let’s call her Ms. Betty as an anonymous name. Yet she is the primary caretaker of a sister with Alzheimer’s disease – we’ll call her Ms. Lou. Alzheimer’s is a disease that mostly affects the brain and leads primarily to problems with memory, judgement and other high functioning intellectual activities. To have a loved one with this terrible disease is to witness them slowly slipping from your grasp on a steady decline right before your eyes.

With the family not recognizing the early stages of the disease, they mistakenly took her offensive and aggresive behavior as personal insults. Consequently, harboring fresh wounds from her uncontrollable tirades in times long passed, children and grandchildren had largely abandoned her. Furthermore, Ms. Lou had a boyfriend who endeavored to stand by her side, but in the end the devastation of her condition proved to be too much for him. Ms. Lou even has a twin sister– surely the genetic and spiritual bond that twins share would draw her almost identical counterpart to never forsake her. But riddled with fear that Ms. Lou’s fate would be her own, Ms. Lou’s condition pains her twin to see her.

Which leaves my patient Ms. Betty– who does everything for her sister short of living with her. Whether it’s cooking, overseeing her medical care, simply being present or a listening ear, Ms. Betty is her sister’s light in a very dark and devastating world, despite having her own marriage, children and grandchildren. In her times of mental clarity Ms. Lou questions her sister about her family. An innocent victim of Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t comprehend how she has hurt them. But on good days she laughs, jokes, wonders about her past and seems like her old self.

Despite it all, she knows her sister is her rock. Her constant grateful utterance “I don’t know what I would do without you” tells us that Ms. Betty’s love for her sister has transcended the walls of this disease. Sometimes it’s not enough to just act like Jesus. For some we must literally become like Jesus in someone’s life– bringing His presence, love, joy and hope.

Well done Ms. Betty– yep I see you Jesus.

The mark of God is imprinted all around us, if we would just take time to notice. Here is installment #5 of “I see you Jesus.”

As I stepped out of my car, nearly tumbling into a helpless heap on a slick layer of ice and snow in my apartment complex, I couldn’t help but think how much I hated cold weather and wonder for the hundredth time why I was still in New York City. Oh snow! How I’ve had such a tumultuous perspective on this force of nature! It amazes me how much I love it from the comfort of my own bed when not forced to travel in it; or how beautiful it is when it falls in its natural glistening white color; or how fun it can be when frolicking in it for play. But my how quickly my mind shifts when having to navigate snow in my travels to work or anywhere else! Or even worse, when the gleaming white color is replaced by a blanket of urban dirt and filth. Yet as I walked gingerly down the path to my apartment, I am almost sure God put these thoughts in my head as a reminder that once again His mind is so much beyond what we can comprehend. Snow is just another way to water the earth in the cold season. Imagine! No water from snow, no fertile soil. No fertile soil, no foundation for plants and trees to grow. No plants or trees, no oxygen to breath. No oxygen, no possibility of life for most living beings….most noticeably human beings. Furthermore, what helps to fill our world’s rivers and streams throughout many continents? Look at the variety of wildlife, vital to the ecosystem that are designed to live and thrive in snow? All of these important functions and this was just my surface understanding.

So even in something as mundane and challenging as snow, God’s wisdom, grandeur and complexity are on display. And who but God could intentionally design something so vital and still install the added benefit of providing a means for fun?! Skiing or snow-tubing anyone? Yep….I see you Jesus

Some of the best advice I’ve heard on many occasions is to intentionally try to meet God daily. In other words we must become attuned to where He is active, present and very much at work in our lives and the world around us despite the negativity that threatens to overshadow His glory and bring discouragement on our respective journeys.

Hence in my attempt to adhere to that wisdom and keep my eye on Jesus, I would love to share with you (whenever time allows, I’m not too lazy to write and for as long as I feel I should do it lol) an example of where I see God daily, especially through my encounters with people and in the lives of others.
So here we are at entry #2. This particular encounter took place at work where a fellow associate in another department tends to eat poorly and sometimes neglect his health issues. It’s not uncommon for us to lovingly scold him in regards to his poor management of his health.

On this particular day in his absence, a superior comes to me and says that the employee looked pretty sick earlier in the week and he was very concerned. With passion and intensity came the plea: “You gotta talk to him doc. I’m really worried about him.” The look on this man’s face and the concern in his voice was one like a father who is concerned for his son.
I don’t know about you but how many bosses would seize the opportunity to talk to a medical professional for the benefit of the employee simply because they care so deeply? Wouldn’t our work environments be more efficient and productive if it were filled with such love, selflessness and positive energy across the board?
The love of God is definitely in that relationship…yep I see you Jesus.

 

Stillirise323

The way I sleep with my eyes half open, sometimes snoring if I’m really tired– He loves that. The way I suck my tongue ( ask Caribbean people what this means) and squeeze my pillow– He adores it. That fiery side– yep He loves that spice. My funny looking second long toe– He thinks its adorable. My singing off key in the shower– melts His heart. The way I come to Him after avoiding Him–  arms are always still open. Nappy or natural, dressed up or dressed down, overweight or slim, toned or flabby, smelling stinky or sweet, on my A game or a hot mess, walking righteous or straying off course, getting it right or when I’m way off the mark– God loves me, Jesus adores me, the Holy Ghost embraces me. And they love you too. Just as you are, right where you are. It’s a love beyond comprehension that we often forget, never truly embrace and fail to understand. It is that love that when I contemplate the reality of it, let go and  receive it and allow myself to be washed in it, that love  comforts, motivates and lifts me. And I sincerely pray that you, that I, that we will all be free, refreshed, healed, complete  and empowered in His love.

 

Love lifted me…and yet still I rise

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always

 

Stillirise323

hula hoop exercise

What is it about exercise that causes such an aversion to it for so many people? I must admit, I shamefully count myself in that number. I mean I personally know the countless benefits to physical activity; I beg, scold and preach it to my own patients all the time. Yet at the end of the day I can’t say I consistently practice what I preach. Without fail at least 2 or 3 times a year I give myself the motivational and mental pep talk to begin and maintain a regular exercise regimen only to fizzle and die out 1-2 weeks.

What is it that makes some run the other way at the mention of doing a jumping exhausted person taking a break from exercisingjack or sit up? Is it fear? Is it the time commitment? Is it the cost or effort? Those things may factor in, but the truth of the matter is that exercise can be challenging and  just outright painful. As you move, stretch, arouse and agitate those muscles into becoming more active,  inevitably aches, soreness and pain creeps in. As the muscles experience increasing  intensity, speed and pressure, what is known as microtrauma to the muscle fibers occur and soreness comes uninvited. Yet despite the initial discomfort,  look at all the benefits to exercise that have been well documented. Exercise allows weight control, promotes  good heart, lung and  mental health, healthy skin, more youthful appearance, increased energy, improvement in general well-being, etc., etc., etc.–the list goes on.
It is quite apparent the benefits of movement far exceed the strain and effort we exert to do it.
In the same way, life inevitably brings trials, difficulties and burdens at different intensities without warning.

Yet God uses these experiences to help us grow in  spiritual maturity, develop intimacy with Him, increase our trust and faith and transform us into the best person He has designed us to be.  The Bible says that the light affliction we experience now momentarily, is
producing for us a more exceeding and external weight in glory (2 Corinthians 4:17). In other words from the perspective and vastness of eternity, the momentary struggles that plague this life are fleeting.

 

Female Aerobics Trainer With Weights Stepper ClipartNotice the words exceeding and eternal. Just as the benefits of physical exercise  far outweigh the temporary discomfort of the physical challenge, the benefits of experiencing life and beyond with Jesus Christ far outweigh  the difficulties we face if we choose to serve and partner with him. Every opportunity brings the potential for growth.

Furthermore, warming up before exercise has been shown to decrease muscle trauma. In the same way when we practice spiritual disciplines like prayer, daily reading and study of the Bible, meditating on God’s word and on the things of God, service to others and walking in humility, it builds our character.  We live a more fulfilling life with great purpose,  with our spiritual muscles “warmed up” in faith, trust and assurance to better sustain the traumas of life.

woman performing stretching exercise

 

Now I’m not denying that life is hard. I’m not guaranteeing that in living you won’t experience pain and trouble.
But as you fortify your spirit and stay connected to Jesus Christ, he will sustain you and carry you through. The benefits of exercise are temporary in that  despite our best efforts the body will age and breakdown. Yet when you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, although the body may pass on, we believe  in faith we will have the eternal benefit of having eternal life in heaven with our eternalstudent doing a handstandGod. There is no greater benefit than relationship and life with Jesus Christ.

So my friends physical exercise undeniably  brings  physical transformation. But being active with and for the Lord brings the best transformation of all– the beauty of looking, acting and being like him;  a vessel of  love and light that brings hope and healing to a dark world.

Ordinary life has a way of teaching us extraordinary lessons.

#Life lessons are lessons for life
#Life metaphors are metaphors for life

And yet still I rise……

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise 323

Just last week as part of my regular workday routine, I squeezed into a crowded morning F train as one of millions of people heading to work in the city. Although I was being pressed by bodies on every side, I tried desperately to hold onto my heavy work bag, determined to not let it settle on the filthy floor of the train. Sometimes I let it hang low on my wrists close to my knees, sometimes I hoist it on my shoulders and I often had to shift the bag from one arm to the next in order to avoid overburdening one arm and equally balance the weight. The situation even required that I shift the entire position of my body just to stay grounded as I jolted with the movements of the train and the ebb and flow of the crowd entering and exiting the steel machine at each successive stop.

As I approached my stop, it came to mind that just like I gripped that bag on this seemingly regular weekday morning, I must have a strong hold on Jesus and my faith in God.  I may have to maneuver, shift and reorient at times as I’d done on my excursion to work, but the important thing is to not let go. Hold on and adjust in this life with a tight grip on the Lord of all. JUST HOLD ON! Many times on that short train ride, my arms got achingly tired, my back felt strained and I was resigned to drop that bag right where I stood, on the filth of the subway floor. Yet I’m proud to announce that my tenacity won out and I didn’t let go of that bag. I exited the train, bag firmly  in hand and went on my way. I had decided to hold on. I encourage you in the difficulties of life, highs and lows, pressures and pitfalls to hold on!

Nonetheless the less, if I’d dropped that bag I would have picked it up again. It wasn’t the end.  That’s the amazing thing about our Lord.  When we fall in our mess and the sins of this oppressed and  chaotic world, Jesus picks us up out of the filth, the shame and brokenness, bringing healing and freedom as he loves us ever so tenderly. Even if justice doesn’t always seem to come in this life, in the light of eternity all will be made right. Jesus always seeks to hold on to us, so my friend hold on to him!
# life’s metaphors are metaphors for life….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

As I opened the Bible app on my phone to do my morning Bible reading, I hadn’t been particularly thinking or searching for this verse a day or two ago. Actually, to be quite honest, I haven’t been so disciplined in reading my Bible as I should.  Yet Isaiah 41:10 popped up unannounced and unasked as the Bible verse of the day.  Undoubtedly this is perhaps one of my top 10 “go to” verses in the Bible–you know the ones that you can recite in your sleep and that serve as a bedrock to any situation. How many times have I read this verse? How many times has it calmed me in times of uncertainty, fear or despair?  Yet this time, as is often the case when reading God’s word… this time it spoke to me a little differently.  In moments prior, the last three lines always anchored me—God’s strengthens me, helps me and upholds me.  But on this particular day as I read, my heart, my eyes, my entire being centered on the first two lines.

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.”  Over and over I read: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.”

Then closing my eyes and meditating on it:  “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.”

Then the revelation, peace and joy that comes with the piercing power of God’s word:  “God is with me! He is God! God is with me! He’s my God!” It was almost like I said to myself: “Girl don’t you know God is God and He’s with you? What’s wrong with you? What you worried about?”

Of course if you are a Christian you’ve heard that preached in countless sermons, taught in many bible study studies or you’ve just read it for yourself.  And of course we know in theory God is with us.  But how often  do we forget?  How common for us to know it in theory but not live as if we believe it or know it?  So frequently we don’t  live it in or day to day experience. It is so easy to give that encouraging word to someone else, but we can’t embrace it for ourselves.   And if you don’t know Christ as Lord and Savior, you may not know the beauty of God’s blessed assurance to be faithful to His people at all.

So as the last fleeting hours of 2015 pass us by and we embark on the adventure of the unknown in 2016, like me you  may be having moments of reflection, pursuing goals for the coming year, seeking strategies for the next steps and holding some apprehension about who, what, where and how to do it all.   It’s natural for these feelings to come. But the message is simple:   “Fear not, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”

Notice God didn’t say, “Fear not, I’m going to give power or make you wealthy or give you this or that.”  He simply said, “I am with you.  I am your God.”  And when we have Him, really and truly in every dimension of our lives, He is all we need.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine…..and yet still I rise!

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323