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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

The glory of God is all around us if we would just take time to perceive it. I hope to share with you when time allows how I see God’s beauty, love and glory shining in my life and the life of others even in the most seemingly ordinary ways. Here we go…

A time of silence, solitude and sitting before God was in order. So I booked a quick solo island getaway to do just that. Excited for the warmth and serene environment, I headed straight to the beach shortly after checking in. Passing the tour desk I quickly glimpsed a couple talking to the tour agent. I honestly thought to myself: “that’s an odd couple” and continued on.

She was at least a foot taller than him…. and mind you that was in flats. She was black, while with him being olive skinned it was hard to tell his origins. With her height and solid build she seemed to overpower him. Seeing them a few times over my stay I wondered what things they shared in common, what other non apparent differences lie between them and what was the story behind their love?

On my final night at dinner they happen to be seated next to my table. In my curiosity I peaked over a few times.  The connection, chemistry and camaderie between them was undeniable.
In the end after seeing their apparent happiness throughout the weekend, their differences didn’t matter. His obvious reservedness was a compliment to her more outgoing nature and for now they just seem to “fit.” The other couple I saw on my last day before leaving paradise— the 4 foot little person with his 5 foot 8 partner– served to reiterate the point.

God has made us in our own unique beauty, but in His love for all of us we should all fit together in love for one another. Whether that love is romantic, familial, neighborly or just as fellow human beings, let us all live connected together despite our differences…. in the adhesive of LOVE… yep I see you Jesus.

Some of the best advice I’ve heard on several 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 #3.

We started out as ordinary coworkers—she was my medical assistant to be exact. She is an immigrant from Bangledesh while I am an immigrant from Jamaica. She is a devout Muslim, while I am a devout Christian. Between us there is about a 7 year age difference—no need to venture into the specific numbers. Yet despite our differences in just a few short years she has become a dear friend. It was one day at work that I broke down in tears and shared with her some heavy burdens I had been carrying in my personal life. Sure I had plenty of people to talk to and as a matter of fact I had confided in some close to me. But that particular day it was too much. That day, my Muslim friend from Bangladesh in the middle of a slow work day was a safe haven where I could be real, raw and vulnerable. She provided a space where I could bare my soul and receive the truth, comfort and gentle love I needed at that moment. Two people from very different worlds, yet God used her to minister to me about FAITH in a way that few people ever have– Christian or otherwise.

It’s easy to expect support from the likely staples in your life in the form of family and longtime friends. But only God can use the most unexpected circumstances and unlikely people to reach you just where you are when you need Him most. The light of Jesus shone through my new confidante that day despite our seemingly vast differences….yep I see you Jesus.

Side note: Thank you sis Sharon D. Highland for holding me accountable to keep posting after getting lax during the holiday. Lol. I so appreciate you. Iron sharpens iron. Blessings to you 🙂

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

Happy Thursday everyone! Alzheimer’s Awareness month is winding down. But you can still be alert and help fight Alzheimer’s year round. Check out the 2 newest posts sharing facts about Alzheimer’s on my health blog “When You Consider Your Body God’s Temple” at www.asalivingsacrifice.wordpress.com. Please feel free to comment or share with others. Hope it blesses you in some way! Have a greatly blessed day!

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