Monday, August 30, 2010
I was talking with a person who has an intensely draining job: a social worker in an Intensive Care Unit. She spends her whole day, day after day, comforting families in distress while their loved ones titer on the edge of death. Can you imagine? How does one emotionally recover after a day in a job like that?! I found myself recommending my gold-standard intervention: a gratitude journal! Sometimes the things we experience are so emotionally exhausting and debilitating that rehashing them in a journal or talking to a friend just increases the trauma. Indeed, the research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder suggests that people who can stop themselves from ruminating over negative experiences and instead enjoy simple life events recover faster. (Shopping therapy!) I find I need a gratitude attitude the most when I am under intense stress. So, as I start this week bracing myself for a hyper-speed work environment, I will follow Melissa's example in listing the things for which I am grateful---focusing on the positive! Melissa made a point of having "things to look forward to" and focusing on those things, however small and simple the pleasures. Gratitude provides us with amazing emotional fortitude. So, I hope you can see the blessings of your day, even if you don't have time to write them down, and say a little prayer of "thanks". I'm thankful for you in reading this! Gratefully, Janice
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Stretching is important to maintain flexibility and full range of motion for our muscles and joints. But God has been stretching me a lot lately, and that's a whole different ball game. God stretches me by pulling me out of my comfort zone, calling me to do new things that I never wanted to do.... like write a blog.... or start a publishing company. Now I feel called to make a video about Melissa and put in on the net.... maybe even Youtube! This could be really humiliating, especially at my less photogenic stage of life. The Lord continually reminds me that it's not about me, but Him. It's all about my helping others to get to the Source of the only real Peace and Joy available in this life, and that's a life with God. Melissa knew all about looking for love "in all the wrong places" and finally found it with Jesus. And she never stopped trying to point her friends in the right direction, to save them the heartbreak of blind alleys and dead ends in their search for meaning, fulfillment, the ultimate relationship. Stretching by God keeps me flexible in my thoughts and skills, but also keeps me hanging on tight to my Lord. I trust that I can do anything with God, and nothing worth doing without Him. I'm sure that's another positive outcome of God-stretching: I remain so aware of how much I need Him. So, I'll trust the Holy Spirit to be in my video, too. With the help of God, whatever I do will be helpful to others, even if I never find out. What a great reassurance! Blessings on you day!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Recently, I've had the chance to share some stories with some younger friends, and hear some of their stories. It's amazing how true stories can be encouraging and enlightening, especially recounts of how God has worked in someone's life. Faith is so invisible and intangible for us who rely on five senses to experience the world. But when someone looks back and see's the trail of God's fingerprints in their circumstances, it's awesome! So, sharing those stories become a powerful way to strengthen one another in hope and even sharpen our own eyesight of God's hand on earth. Melissa had a powerful story about the night she was first diagnosed with cancer. She was crying for hours in her bedroom in the middle of the night, when she finally cried to God. As soon as she did, a light shone into her room from her back, 3rd story window facing woods. The light moved up and down, as if to prove it was not from this earth. She was stunned and cautiously crept to the window to pull up the shade. When she did, the light vanished without a trace. But really, that light stayed with her, for she had a peace that was beyond comprehension during her whole illness. God came to her in a light, and entered her to allow her to become His light. She told her story to all who would listen. Now we have to tell our stories, but most of all, we have to remember to cry to the One who responds with such amazing Grace! Blessings on your day-