Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chapter 8, Completely Loved and Accepted






Oh hi my friends, wow what a great chapter this is. So yes it's that time again my weekly blog Bible study Yes to God hosted by the amazing Lelia on the book by Lisa Whittle Behind Those Eyes. Let me tell you this has been an amazing journey, last week as many of you read was very draining for me, but after the post I felt so uplifted, and so much love from our Father, and he sent it to me from all of you my friends who commented, and a couple who email. This week, just let me tell you is just an awesome chapter. So here we go. As always Lisa's quotes from the book are in purple.



Lisa shared with us about her friend Christa who always knows the right thing to say, and this is a quote she always says to Lisa. Now I want all of you to write this quote down and then in giant letters put it on your bathroom mirror (because that's where we seem to rip ourselves apart), and anywhere else you think appropriate. "You are an awesome spirit being, truly loved and accepted by God" Robert McGee, Search For Significance.



Lisa writes, "The depth of God's love for us is hard to comprehend. So are the height, the width, and the breadth of His love. Our human minds will not allow us to process the greatness of the love of our Father because we are programmed by the world's view of love, which has great limitations." The world tells us we are loved because of the way we look, by what we own, by what we drive and that we must earn love. It also tells us that if at anytime we fall short that love will be taken away and it's our fault.

God tells us that's not true. Think about this it always blows me away. Jesus prayed for me and for you right before he was arrested and crucified. (words added by me) Jesus prayed these words, "My prayer is not for them alone (the disciples). I (Jesus) pray also for those who will believe in my message (that's me and that's you) through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May the world also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you give me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have love me." John 17:20-26 niv. HOW AWESOME IS THAT JESUS PRAYING FOR US, and about how much He wants us to know that the Father God Loves us. That just grips my heart. Jesus prayed for me, because He already knew who I was.

Then Lisa reminds us of this in 1John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"



I have felt the limitations of the worlds love, by being cast aside for another woman, by having family put you on the bottom of the priority list because a new man is in the picture, by being lied to, and told I'm not good enough. I have also been the one who's done some unloving things to others.



God's love is different, God's love has no limits, He cannot die, He's seen all my flaws and knows every vile deceitful thing about me, yet he loves me. Jesus was beaten, tormented, had his flesh ripped from his body, and was hung on a cross. That has been said to be one of the most horrific ways to die - He did this for me. For me was I worth that? are you worth that? If your answer was the same as mine, NO. I have only one child I can't imagine how painful that would be to give your child over to save someone else, I haven't met a person yet I would allow her to endure any suffering for. Thankfully I'm not God - because God loves us in that way. He says I am worth it and your are worth it too, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." John 3:16-17 No love on earth can compare.


I have searched for love and fulfillment in so many ways. Through people, friendships, sexual relationships, marriages, and no matter what there has been some hurt or disappointments. I've tried shopping, eating, exercising, changing my look all left me empty. (well the food it left me fatter, but you get the picture) Only through God's love have I been able to slowly learn to love who I am, and having his love helps me to stop looking in all those other places. Thankfully God is patient because I'm a slow learner.

I love what Lisa wrote here: "Deep down inside, when no one is around and the only sound that breaks is the beating of our own hearts, we long to feel the warm embrace of love wrapped around us. We desire to truly experience lasting and genuine love, maybe for the first time in our lives. What we thought would bring us love has left us down, and we are tired of searching. Even the best of our earthly relationships with the strongest bonds of earthly love cannot quench the insatiable thirst of our souls for a deeper connection"



I am still learning how much God loves me, He shows me in many ways. Lisa told us to write down a time in detail when God paused to show us how much He cared about us through a unique experience. So here goes.

As many of you know I have a chronic illness called Autoimmune Hepatitis. (see side bar for other posts on my illness) It was January of 2001, Brinn was 18 months old, I was a single mommy living and working at my current apartment management job. I had been feeling tired for probably about 3 1/2 months and had developed a cough I could not get rid of. I'd been to the doctors a couple times but on this one visit the Physicians Assistant took more time. She asked me about my life, and said I seemed sad, and worn out, that concerned her. Then she went to listen to my back for my breathing, she paused and said can you take off your glasses, and she looked at my eyes. At that point, she told me that she wanted to get the doctor and she came back in. The doctor came in and looked at my back and my eyes, and started asking me if I drank alcohol on a regular basis or if I used iv drugs. I said no, why? He said I was jaundice and that he wanted to run some liver tests through blood work, and then he asked me other questions about my bodily functions that you all just don't want to know.


So anyway I went for my blood tests, and went back to work. I went home and kept looking in the mirror I did I had this yellow tinge to my eyes. I called my family and nobody was really freaked out yet. Except me. Over the next couple days I went for a ultrasound and more blood work, then back to my regular doctor who said my liver was enlarging, and that's why I was getting yellower. Then they sent me to a GI specialist. This was a Wednesday the 22nd of January, and by time I got to him I was orange yes orange, my eyes glowed like an orange highlighter, I was so weak, and so cold I could barely get my self there. Dr. F, my GI specialist looked at me and said I bet your pretty tired huh. He asked about me, I told him about my daughter and that I was a single mommy, he shared that he and his wife were expecting their first child. He told me that he was almost positive what I had and that he needed to do a liver biopsy to make sure, plus run some more blood. Then he told me I would need to go home and rest, and we'd go from there. He also told me that I needed some one to be with me at home that night.



I left the room got in the elevator, and it hit me this is bad really bad. I remember feeling the tears fall, and then a man standing next to me asking me are you okay, all I said is I don't know. I got in my car and drove home. Now on the Sunday before I had told a lady at church that worked in the office, and she made me promise to call her when I got back from the doctors. So I first called my sister (who's birthday was the next day) she said she'd be over as soon as she got her daughter Amy settled after school. I called my friend Linda to have her pick Brinn up from the baby sitter, my sister told me to put on worship music, and that God was going to bring us through this (I had only come to the Lord in May of 1999). The hospital called and had me scheduled for the next day for my biopsy. So I talked with Janette from church, she prayed with me then, she put our Pastor Dean on the phone. I had only been going to the church at the time for since July of 2000, and Highway was not even a year old, but Dean prayed with me and said that the church would be there to help in anyway they could.

So I put on my CD that was from my churches worship band and opened my Bible and turned to Jeremiah 29:11. Then this song came on "Come Near to God" there was a part in it that said "Lord make me still content with your will, I lay down my life at your feet. Confusion runs deep, but your plan I will receive, give me the strength to believe. When I draw near you, you are there beside me Come Near to God here and now". I looked over and saw this picture.

(sorry about the quality) This was Brinn's Christmas photo, and it was sitting where I could see it while laying in my bed. It was at that moment I prayed to God. I said, "God you have given me everything I have, my job, my apartment, furniture, a car. Please Lord take all of it, but let me stay with Brinn, I don't want her to grow up not knowing how much I love her, I don't want to be only a memory, but it's your will not mine."


At that moment, I felt the presence of God, I had been unable to get warm for the entire day, and I felt warmth and like I was being wrapped in someones arms and held like a little child, I felt so full of love and peace, then I heard the whisper. "I just need you to endure this for Me, you will not be separated." I can't express that moment in words. I just remember crying and praising God.


My sister came that night, and took care of me, and I think she was pretty shocked by what I looked like, as was my brother the next day when he came to take me to the hospital. I was green and orange ladies, and I even got the doctors in the elevators to do a double take. But I had no fear, none, I had God's love and peace in me. I remember joking with the surgeon who did my biopsy to be careful not to leave a big scar because I paid $5.00 for this procedure.


Oh wow how God showered his love on me through that time. Now I did have moments of fear, and frustration I am human. God used so many people at that time. My family, my sister came to every doctor appointment, and that was every week, she took care of my finances, and helped me to understand the things the doctor said. My brother and his wife brought Brinn and I too their house every weekend to take care of me, and my mom came and took care of us through the week. The church, helped pay my rent, brought meals everyday for the first month, and then several people just kept bringing them after that, they cleaned my house, brought a bed for my mom to sleep in, took Brinn to play groups, and just came by to visit. The people I worked with called me every week, also brought food, and promised me a job to come back to. I got to watch Brinn go from a tumbly toddler to a talking 2 year old, and had some much needed time of healing with my mom. I was out of work for 7 months, doc thought I'd never go back to work. Doc thought I might need a liver transplant, I still have my original liver. Even now as I struggle with my illness I recall that moment with God, and that picture of Brinn it's always close by to remind me if I'm forgetful of that Love.


God has shown me His precious love many times since that day, He never fails, and He never forgets.


May you know the complete and accepting love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Carol

14 comments:

Naomi said...

OH... That has been so special to read... I'm so glad you were so well cared for by your Church community, your family and friends. How lovely and precious that everyone pulled together when you needed them. And Baby Brinn - how beautiful that you felt His comfort re your Mothering when you were sad and concerned. I hope and pray that you are having a good day today, and that every day you get stronger. Thanks for such a wonderful post. He loves you so, and we do too! God bless!

Cindy said...

What a wonderful story of God's love you have shared. I'm so happy for you that your family and church family were such a blessing at that time. That is Jesus with skin on!!

Bless you, Cindy

Tammy R said...

Carol,
My eyes filled with tears as I read your story and saw God's faithfulness in your life.

Your faith in God has encouraged me and showed me that my only hope is in HIM!

Blessings to you,my friend.

june said...

Carol,

Thanks for your prayers. I appreciated them more than you will know this side of eternity.

I did not get to post this week
because, my sister has lost her daughter, not thourgh death but throuth rebellion. Yes, I assure her that she will come home, because Jesus promises he will bring them back. It is just a difficult time for her and she has
needed a willing, hearing ear.
Which I am happy to provide.

Will catch up this next week.

June

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

What a beautiful reflection of God's love. He is so amazing and if we could only love Him back the same-even more...to love others as He loves us. There's the conviction but I am still lingering in the hug we received from this chapter!! I have been blessed to be here today!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Laura said...

Carol,
What an amazing story! You have blessed me with your heart tonight. To feel God's touch the way you did--this is truly special. And to experience the outpouring of love that your friends and family lavished on you...Amazing.
I am so glad that you are doing well now, and will pray for your continued health.

Rochelle said...

I remember that time! I was scared for you. The first time I saw you after you'd gotten on the prednisone was a huge shock! And yet, God has been faithful. Even though you still deal with this, you are so much better. You are as lovely now as the day I met you. I miss being able to hang out with you and Bret and Brinn.

hkudla said...

Carol,
Again, I am so grateful and thankful for your openness. You impressed me last with what you wrote... and you did the same this week. You have a gift for sharing your heart.

I too have felt God's embrace. I think I am going to need to add an addendum to my post, to direct people there. I almost put a link in my post (I wrote 3 different posts before I finally settled on this one this morning... kept deleting and re-writing) before, but ended up taking it back out cause it didn't fit with this version!

thank you for your comments on my blog. I am so grateful to get to know you, and to have you share your life with me as well.
I pray that God will bless you with more and more realizations of His love and acceptance for/of you... especially at the times when He knows you need it the most!
God bless you,
Love,
Heather

Tina said...

Carol,
What a blessing you are! John 17 is a favorite of mine..to take in the truth of Jesus our Holy Savior praying for us! You and me! His love shines through your posts. I don't know why or how long you will have to deal with your illness but one thing is true He is glorified in your life. I will pray for healing and strength for you. Continue to abide in Him and please continue to share as it is such a blessing and encouragment to many (myself included). Thanks again for your kind words to me, I have been like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs these days! I am working on a couple of blogs and am behind in my bible study but I imagine I will eventually get it all sorted out.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

My sweet Carol,
This is a beautiful post. I'm sitting here in awe, not really knowing what to say. What a journey you've had. What an experience you had that day when He whispered to you. I'm in awe of how much love surrounded you through so many family, friends, church folks, and co-workers. That is so incredible. What an awesome blessing for sure.

You, Carol, most definitely are a walking testimony. He has turned to test into a testimony of great power, sweet one.

I am honored to know and love you.

Please forgive my ignorance in my last email...I momentarily forgot you work outside of the home managing a huge (or rather two) apartment complexes.

I love ya, friend.
Paula

Lisa said...

Wow. Awesome stuff, Carol. I am so thankful that you took the time to write that story down, not only because we got to read about it, but also because reading your own words of His love for you has to do something to your heart. We all need those reminders, Carol. Sometimes we forget just how much He has been there for us...the lengths He has gone to show us that love through time. Sometimes we brush off the significance of things, when if we would remember them, we would be moved and inspired. That is what you did for me when you recalled this story in this post. I hope and pray it inspired you, too, to remember just how crazy He is about you. He is concerned with every single detail of your life.

So thankful you are remembering and embracing TRUTH about His love! Journey on, friend.

Lisa :)

Lelia Chealey said...

So good Carol. I love what God has brought you through and I love that sharing His greatness with us. Great post my friend.
Blessings,
Lelia

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Jen Mc. said...

Carol! Thank you SO much for this post! Jesus totally shines through you, sister!!!!! (And you ARE a good writer! You laugh on this blog, you cry on this blog, you thank God on this blog! :)). Much love! jen