Personal change 16.5.22.

1. Diagnosis

My health has been deteriorating for several years, but I have never had an explanation for this. However, last Thursday I was given a diagnosis of Autonomic Neuropathy (AN).

AN is an incurable degenerative disorder, in which the brain loses the ability to regulate processes that normally happen automatically. It affects the functioning of multiple body systems, including, for example, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature control, bladder, digestion, eyesight, balance and energy.

There are several sub-types of AN. Some are more severe than others. Some progress more quickly than others. A battery of tests over the next few weeks and months should eventually indicate which type I have, how quickly I can expect to deteriorate, and my anticipated life-expectancy.    

2. Realisation

About a year ago, as my health deteriorated, I reached a point where I could no longer go to church. Since then, I have hoped in vain that some of the people there who I thought of as friends might notice my absence and make contact with me. However, only one member of my local congregation has stayed in touch.

Over the last few days I have realised how deeply I lack sources of spiritual nourishment with like-minded people. This has made me see that I need to stop hoping for contact, understanding and support from church, where there is so little available. Instead, I want to accept, share, and develop, relationships that are available to me, for example, with spiritually-minded friends online.

So, it’s time for me to start afresh, to change, and to focus much more on some reciprocal relationships. This feels like a very positive realisation. Indeed, it’s already leading me to explore a much more universal faith than is possible within the narrow confines of a single, rule-based denomination. 

With this new-found approach, I can start putting my very limited energy into seeking and finding God in everyone and everything, a prospect which fills me with joy. God really does work in mysterious ways, bringing good even out of situations that can appear wholly negative.

3. Recognition

Accordingly, yesterday, as I prepared my blog for posting, I found great pleasure in illustrating it with a wonderful photo of a woman priest joyfully celebrating communion. This simply  doesn’t happen in my denomination, where all women are automatically excluded from the priesthood, simply because of their gender. 

Using the photo of the woman priest made me recognise that I could also include photos of older women and disabled people amongst my website headers, so I spent a very happy hour or two on this task. Until today, my thinking had always been so blinkered that it had never occurred to me to do this.

4. Freedom

Right now, I feel my diagnosis of Autonomic Neuropathy is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It has made me realise that I’ve only got one life here, and that it might be a lot shorter, more limited, and more unpleasant than I had previously imagined. So, as my heath and mobility deteriorate, I want to make the most of whatever freedom and independence I have, at each stage of this disorder.

However, I’m not thinking of the conventional “bucket list” of places I want to go to, or things I want to do before I die. Rather, I’m already experiencing a deep, joyful sense of inner freedom to be myself. This gives me space and permission to think what I think, believe what I believe, feel how I feel, and be how I am. I am also working on my outward freedom, by speaking the truth in love, and taking pleasure in doing what I still can, however limited this may be. 

5. Future 

I’m sharing all this with you because as I deteriorate, I will probably need to change my approach to blogging. This might mean expending less energy on formal, disciplined poetic structures, instead describing whatever spiritual insights God gives me in simpler, more direct prose.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling optimistic, the future looks exciting, and I will continue to post here each day for as long as I can.

✝️ My greetings to every follower and visitor to this website. I appreciate every one of you, and pray for you all each day.

With love and blessings, from Ruth xxxx


References 

1. Diagnosis

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave (Psalm 89:48; NLT). 

2. Realisation

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (Isaiah 30:20; NLT).

Truly, O God of Israel, our Saviour, you work in mysterious ways (Isaiah 45:15; NIV). 

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28; GNT).

3. Recognition

Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognised him (Luke 24:31; NLT).

God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27; NLT).

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NIV).

The Almighty … blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and the womb (Genesis 49:5; NIV). 

“As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our mother” (Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 59, Julian of Norwich).

4. Freedom 

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32; NLT). 

If the Son sets you free, you are truly free (John 8:36; NLT).  

When you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go (John 21:18; NLT).

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me (Psalm 139:1; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:24; NIV).

You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10; NIV).

5. Future

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts (Psalm 90:12; CSB).

Share every thought

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

May I share every thought with you,
Until we’re of one mind,

For then my speech will be like yours, Lord:
Humble, honest, kind;

And I’ll grow more like you each day
Until, at last, we’re one –

Then it will be no longer I who lives,
But you, God’s Son.

🖤

It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
(Galatians 2:20; NLT).

 


Don’t let prayer become a burden


Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30; NLT).

Don’t let prayer become a burden;
Don’t let prayer become a chore:
Listen to the Spirit’s prompting –
Silence is your inner core.

Take it slowly. Take it gently.
Keep it honest; not too long:
One with God in deep communion –
Though you’re weak, your prayers are strong.

Revel in your intercessions;
Pray for those who cross your path,
Begging God to bless and heal them –
Don’t let this become a “task”.

For yourself, ask God to help you
Face, and bear, his perfect will
With humble thanks, and great rejoicing –
Knowing that he loves you, still.

Pray that many unbelievers
Meet Christ Jesus, hear his call,
Repent, and turn to him each day –
Because the Father loves us all.

🖤

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16; NLT).


Share each thought

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

1. May I share each thought with you,
Until we’re of one mind;

2. May my speech become like yours:
Patient; honest; kind;

3. May my deeds be full of love, like yours,
Till we are one,

4. Then it will be no longer I who lives,
But you, God’s only Son.

✝️

It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
(Galatians 2:20; NLT).

 


References

1. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart (Deuteronomy 15:9; ESV).

2. We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

3. Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:13-14; NLT).

For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:8; NLT).

4. The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT). 

We will be like him. (1 John 3:2; NLT).

 


 

Simple prayers

When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans,
for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
(Matthew 6:7; NIV).

1. May my prayers
Be simple, Lord,
For you already know
My needs.

2. May my prayers
Be honest, Lord:
You know my thoughts,
And words, and deeds.

3. May my prayers
Be Christ-like, Lord:
Pleading for others,
Judging none;

4. And may my prayers
Be constant, Lord,
Then we will always
Live as one.

🧡


References

1. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:8; NIV).

2. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

You perceive my thoughts from afar (Psalm 139:2; NIV).

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:4; NIV).

You know everything I do (Psalm 119:168; NLT). 

3. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified – one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34; NLT). 

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you (Luke 6:37; NLT).

4. Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

The person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17; NLT).

 


 

Give us this day (for E.)

Give us this day our daily bread.
(Matthew 6:11; KJV).

Lord, 

Give us this day the energy
To do what we must do,
And all the faithfulness we need
To serve and worship you.

Give us this day the honesty
To say what we must say,
And all the inner peace we need
To thank you, praise, and pray.

Give us this day the confidence
To go where we must go,
And all the strength of mind we need
To bless both friend and foe.

Give us this day the fortitude
To face what we must face,
And all the qualities we need
To spread your truth and grace.

Give us this day the constancy
To bear what we must bear,
And all empathy we need
To listen, mourn, and share.

Give us this day the readiness
To follow, as you bid,
And all the love we need, Lord God,
To live as Jesus did.

🖤

It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere.
(Deuteronomy 13:4; NIV). 

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world (1 John 4:17; NLT).

 


If you want to follow Christ

We will speak the truth in love,
growing in every way more and more like Christ
(Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

If you want to follow  Christ,
Face all you feel
With honesty
And love.

If you want to live like him,
Treat every thought
With honesty
And love.

If you want to grow like Christ,
Say every word
With honesty
And love;

And if you want to be like him,
Serve everyone
With honesty
And love.

Anyone who wants to be first
must be the very last,
and the servant of all

(Mark 9:35; NIV).


The best prayer

For God alone, O my soul,
wait in silence (Psalm 62:5; ESV).

The best prayer
Is wordless:
We wait upon God.

The best prayer
Is simple:
We pour out our hearts.

The best prayer
Is honest:
For he will forgive. 

The best prayer
Is constant:
As long as we live. 

Pray continually
(1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

Rest

I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue since 2005. This means that my energy is always very limited. Exhaustion often forces me to rest, regardless of what I want, or need, to do.

Until today, I have always understood ‘rest’ as time spent sitting down, or being in bed.

However, to my astonishment, God has now shown me that rest can also be a state of mind, and even a way of life.

With this approach, whether or not I am active, living restfully means noticing my sensations, thoughts, and emotions as they occur, acknowledging their reality without judgement, then sharing them simply and honestly with God.

Hopefully, this process will teach me how I need to change in order to live more restfully, so I can be at peace with myself, with God, with others, and the world. 

References

My soul finds rest in God (Palm 62:1; NIV). 

My prayers

Image: waldryano, Pixabay


❤️

Lord,

1. May my prayers
Be natural –
Childlike, simple,
Sweet.

2. May my prayers
Be genuine –
Honest, prompt,
Complete.

3. May my prayers
Be uncontrived –
Trustful, loving,
Pure.

4. May my prayers
Be uncompelled –
Joyful, short,
Mature.

5. May my prayers
Be from the heart –
Spontaneous,
And true.

6. May my prayers
Be constant, Lord –
Then I’ll be one
With you.

❤️

Image: Pexels, Pixabay


References

1. Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3; NIV).

They will be called ‘children of the living God’ (Hosea 1:10; NIV).

2. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

3. Trust in God, and trust also in me (John 14;1; NLT).

I have done no wrong, and my prayer is pure (Job 16:17; NLT).

4. Always rejoice (1 Thessalonians 5:16; NIV).

When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words (Matthew 6:7; NIV).

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4; NIV).

5. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

6. Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).