‘Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.’

Do you ever have times when you just feel defeated? You try this or that to only end up disappointed and disheartened? It happens to everyone.

I’ve been tasting the bitterness of disappointed hopes lately with my recovery. I’ve tried new tasks I think I can handle just to end up once again taking two steps back. These were simple things like climbing stairs, or household chores, things that used to come easily but are now difficult and frustrating, resulting in nausea and fatigue.

That’s the physical struggle, but then there’s the spiritual struggle which accompanies the physical struggle because we are all connected: soul, body, spirit.

In her book ‘Beauty Marks’, Linda Barrick explains the difference between our bodies, souls and spirits like this:

Body: physiological, sense awareness, sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch.

Soul: psychological, self-awareness, mind, will, emotions.

Spirit: Spiritual, God awareness, Conscience, faith, worship, dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.

Just like God is Triune meaning three Persons in One, our bodies are so intricately designed that we can’t separate our broken bodies from our emotions and spirits. When the emotions go low so does our energy levels, and the pain seems to flare up or vice versa.

I’m unable to attend church or listen to sermons online because the sound negatively effects my nerves. Last week I tried reading a sermon on my iPhone (the print was super small) and it resulted in eye strain that left me cross-eyed and hypersensitive to light for days. I severely felt the spiritual battle for my soul just then.

I find it easy to feel discouraged but then God is teaching me to find the grace to carry on while healing from this brain injury and that grace comes from Him alone. We CAN ‘stand’ emotionally, physically, and spiritually by the power of Christ who is our Victor in every battle we face.

My copy of the hymn I rescued after a friend’s boy made it into a paper airplane.

The other day, my 12 year old son was listening to the hymn ‘In Christ Alone’ and the power of the lyrics struck me. We can only stand against the wiles of the Evil One undefeated by Christ’s strength alone. We will never face spiritual defeat because Christ has already claimed our victory in the fight by His victory over sin, death and separation from Himself through His triumphant work on the cross.

Only by Christ’s strength alone, will the fight gain a winning outcome but it won’t be easy. Christ has promised to carry us true but the battle is hard.

The lie that we can overcome spiritual battles by our own tactics is dangerous. The minute we think we are spiritual giants and can handle the world and sin on our own is precisely the minute we must get to God for help.

He doesn’t ask us to fight them alone. He knows how much we need Him and He is faithful in helping us when we seek Him for it.

He understands our physical limitations or weaknesses and can give us physical strength entirely sourced from Him. He can also heal our emotions and I believe as my body heals, my emotions will too. They’ve come a long way and God is gluing my shattered pieces back together again with hope.

The other day I was resting with closed eyes in my sofa chair and it hit me. While I don’t know exactly what is occurring with all the physical changes in my body that are scary, painful and hard, my spirit is directly connected to God who does KNOW. My comfort is this: Resting and trusting in the One who knows every detail of my life and believing that He will heal, and carry my body, soul and spirit to the very end. It gives me a lot of hope to stand in His strength alone and trust him.

Psalm 18:35 King James Version (KJV)

35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Psalm 44:8 King James Version (KJV)

8 In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

Psalm 20:7-8 King James Version (KJV)

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

1 Corinthians 15:57 King James Version (KJV)

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Here are the lyrics to ‘ In Christ Alone’.

Lyrics

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Stuart Townend & Keith GettyCopyright © 2001 Thankyou Music (Adm. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family, songs@integritymusic.com)

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The Psalm My Father Read to Me.

As a small girl growing up in intercity Philadelphia, I learned the meaning of fear quite early on, for evil was all about me. There were drugs, bars on every corner, gangs, and crime constantly. Yet, in the midst of all this, I was especially afraid of fire. Living in a row-home meant, if one house burned the whole block usually became engulfed in flames as well.

Knowing my fears, my father would read this psalm to me at night before tucking me in bed.

Psalm 121 King James Version (KJV)

121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

This psalm has carried me and comforted me for years.

This Father’s Day, I’m thankful for a loving dad who read the scriptures to me, prayed with me, and lead our family in family worship daily.

He is an amazingly loyal and faithful father to me, much like my heavenly Father who never fails in caring for me through storms that rage and threaten.

I’m so thankful for this precious Dad of mine. I love you Papa!

A Hero Story

Harriet Tubman was born a slave around the year 1820 on a Maryland plantation. As a child she was taught the Bible by her godly parents but they were never allowed, being slaves, to gather in a group for church.

When Harriet, nicknamed “Minty” was 13, she suffered a severe blow to the head from a two pound weight being thrown at her. The weight was intended to hit another but she stepped in the way, and suffered a traumatic brain injury (probably frontal lobe) making her unconscious for days. For months she slipped in and out of a ‘stupor’ yet a constant prayer remained on her lips.

Her wound finally healed but for the rest of her life Harriet suffered terrible headaches and had moments where she would suddenly black out for a few minutes or hours. Sometimes during a conversation she would black out only to awaken to continue on the flow of conversation right where it left off.

Did having a brain injury stop this remarkable lady from helping hundreds of slaves to freedom? No. Harriet Tubman had courage!! She was unstoppable. Why?

Because Harriet Tubman looked to God for help. She was constantly talking to Him while seeking His guidance through persistent prayer.

She spoke to God pleading for help as she fled the plantation seeking freedom. His love cradled her and surrounded her while she slept in the woods on dark nights. God gave her deep peace as she traveled in secret under wagon blankets to hide her. It was her trust in God that gave her the courage to run towards freedom and then turn back to help others do the same.

Harriet Tubman’s tireless efforts to help the Underground Railroad was an act of sacrificial love. At any time, there being a bounty on her head, she could have been discovered and arrested, but fear didn’t stop her from guiding others to free soil, and fear didn’t stop her from risking her own life.

I truly believe that having suffered TBI gave Harriet the courage and fearlessness that was intended from God all along. Her brain injury strengthened her faith, trust and reliance on God deeper than if she had no injury at all.

This brings me to the present. Currently many of us are suffering from TBI or chronic illness and wondering “Can God use me?” Many of us feel rather useless at times due to our limitations but this simply isn’t true. There is purpose. God wasn’t finished with Harriet at 13 when she became brain injured and He isn’t finished with us yet either. We may not run an Underground Railroad or have our names in history books, but that doesn’t mean our lives can’t be used by God to help others. Simply being there for someone in everyday settings alone is huge because true heroism is found in everyday people too, no matter what the world looks at as successful. Maybe it appears like no one notices, but God does and His face is upon every living, loving, and giving person because He knows all, sees all, and is using our lives for a far greater plan that we aren’t even capable of imagining.

A Friend

Common interests, common dreams,

All happiness and fun.

Carefree, laughing, fancy free-

But then hard trials come.

Former interests fade away,

Dreams now crushed by pain.

Laughter’s silenced, tears speak,

Freedom turns to chain.

Where has everybody gone?

Hearts united torn.

Fickle body, broken down,

Compassion never born.

It’s hard to bear injustice,

But there is One who knows.

He is a Friend unfailing

When everybody goes.

Written by Vivian Joy

The Rose

It’s only a tiny rosebud-a flower of God’s design;

But I can’t unfold the petals with these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers is not known to such as I—

The flower God opens so sweetly in my hands would fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud this flower of God’s design,

Then how can I think I have wisdom to unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading each moment of every day,

And I’ll look to Him for His guidance each step of the pilgrim way.

For the pathway that lies before me my Heavenly Father knows–

I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments just as He unfolds the rose.

Taken from the Joni Eareckson Tada devotional entitled More Precious Than Silver. Simply stated that it’s written by ‘A missionary ‘.

Encouraging Quotes That I Love 💚

I’ve been gleaning through some hopeful and encouraging quotes that I pray will bring peace and joy to you today.

Please let me know which one especially moves you in the comments below and I will try to add more quotes from that person. Blessings~

Head injuries are all different, often markedly so. If you have a head injury you will live with that head injury all the time and the only person who knows and understands your head injury is you. So called head injury experts will never understand a head injury unless they have had one. Yes, they can help, but when it comes to living with your head injury you are the expert and can feel superior to any doctor. -Philip Watling

You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.

Joy runs deeper than despair.

Both quotes by Corrie Ten Boom

Something will grow from all that you are going through and it will be you. -Toby Mac

The giant in front of you is never bigger than the God who lives in you. -Christina Caine

Make sure Satan has to climb over a lot of scripture to get to you. -John Macarthur

People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it. -Edith Schaeffer

We’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken. -Ernest Hemingway

David’s pen never wrote more sweetly then when dipped in the ink of affliction. -Octavius Winslow

Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you’ve got a big heart and aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength. -Brigitte Nicole

Believers look up – – take courage. The angels are nearer than you think. -Billy Graham

God doesn’t want something from us, He simply wants us. -C.S. Lewis

The hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. They are the real heros and so are the family and friends who have stood by them. -Christopher Reeves

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing the monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. -C. S. Lewis

Heartache forces us to embrace God out of desperate, urgent need. God is never closer than when your heart is aching. -Joni Eareckson Tada

The Gospel does not call us to receive Christ as an addition to our life, but as our life. -Paul Washer

Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow built with planks of thanks. -Ann Voskamp

Don’t for one moment suppose that God ever speaks an insincere thing. Question, if you will, your own existence; but do not question the veracity and sincerity of God…There is no insincerity with God. If He tells you to seek Him, seek Him, and do not look at the difficulties. Do not consider them a moment. True, they may appear to be insuperable, but there is nothing impossible with God. -B.H. Carroll

Meeting goals

A year and a half ago, I stopped taking showers. Now I know that sounds terrible, but let me assure you I do bathe, just in the form of baths, not showers.

The reason being, my nervous system has gone into a parasympathetic state and the stimulation of shower spray on my head and body has been unbearable.

I’m reminded of the verse, “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14a) I understand fully what the “fearfully made” statement means now with regards to the nervous system. Once that goes kaput things do get a bit fearful.

God has recently brought a new friend into my life named Emily, who is a survivor of a massive stroke causing severe brain injury. She has been such a huge supporter and we share our goals and dreams together as TBI warriors. I’m truly thankful for her courage and faith in facing the battles of daily life we face regularly.

The other week I related to her my goal of wanting to try taking showers again and she wholeheartedly encouraged me to give it a try and to not be afraid. It was a goal I had set and I was determined to at least try. Just telling her my goal and knowing she was behind me, gave me more courage and incentive to go for it.

But the biggest battle I was facing was my own fear. The fear of “what if”. What if I slip from my balance issues. What if I have a anxiety attack. What if I shatter my poor nerves again and on and on.

Fear is an anchor. It weighs down and keeps us still; it cements us, keeping our feet grounded and unable to move forward.

I decided to give it to God and carefully proceed forward with caution of course.

That morning after I got everything ready, and turned on the shower, I felt my courage rise up as I slowly got going and faced this challenge straight on. I let the water gradually spray my hands, then my arms and finally, slowly I put my full body in letting the warm water rush over my spine.

It wasn’t so bad. Yes, it was different and my spine felt the weird motor feeling I feel in it (sorry, I don’t know how else to describe this) but I allowed my body to slowly get used to the new sensation. I didn’t put my head under the spray yet but that will come and even though it was a small step, the giant leap was facing my fears and challenging myself to try things that were once common but now feel like a lifetime ago and uncertain.

Emily and I both cried tears of joy as I shared my small victory with her that day. While I further related my victory to others in our brain injury group, I received a overwhelming positive response while learning of others who have had the same shower issues like myself. One man said he needed occupational therapy before being able to shower again with ease.

It’s such a gift from God to get support especially when to the average person taking a shower’s no big deal. God has been so kind in leading me to others who can cheer me on especially when I need a good cheering.

Making goals and aiming for them can be a huge accomplishment no matter how big or small. Everyone needs goals because it’s setting goals that help us persevere, grow and stretch. Even if we fail or come short, not setting goals or trying is the bigger failure and we can’t give up.

I do think God sets goals too. He sees us the way He wants us to grow and mature in Him and puts us into circumstances that shape us more like Himself for His kingdom and for our good. From the beginning of time, His biggest goal was overcoming sin by sending Jesus to die in our place so we can have everlasting life. I’m tremendously glad Jesus met that goal! Jesus met every goal he faced because God the Father was with him every step of the way.

He’s with us too. God gave me strength last week to turn on the shower and get in. He’s given countless others with brain injury or health problems strength and courage to get up out of the bed to face what comes, and by His grace to set goals, face obstacles, and overcome challenges each and every day.

What are your goals? I’d love to hear them. If you wish, leave me a comment and I will gladly pray for you to meet your goals.~