Soul Shine Part 2
A car alarm at my apartment complex has been going off repeatedly of late. Like the psalmist, it was putting out a cry for help. This can be a sign that someone other than the owner of the vehicle, may be trying to cause damage or theft. But sometimes the alarm, like on this particular car, is going off when there is no danger present–not even a car parked closely in its vicinity. Our body is equipped with its very own alarm system too. Just like the horn that blared when no one was near due to faulty wiring, as in autoimmune diseases. Our immune systems can attack healthy cells by mistake or ring with pain from hidden issues. The Body of Messiah can attack itself just like an autoimmune disease. All sickness, like the car alarm, is a warning signal.
Healing our soul can quiet any alarm, but it takes steps to get there. A person can even find a place of wholeness in their spirit when their body is in pain; even if their hip is out of socket like Jacobs after he wrestled and was given a new name.
Mental peace instead of worry can occur even if the person is shackled in chains between two Roman soldiers like Paul was. Sound asleep. He said, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” 2nd Timothy 4:6-7 (TLV). No alarm going off here. No panic that his life was going to be taken by a cruel death. He says, “holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.” Philippians 2:16-18 (NASB) These words were spoken by a man who was getting ready to be decapitated. He’s not screaming for help with alarm. He is not bitter at His God. He is not begging for prayer and saying, “You do not know what all I have gone through!” He said, I am being poured out like an offering before my Heavenly Father, and I am going to receive a crown that can’t be attained on this earth with its fleshly desires for crowns.
If you are uncomfortable, anxious, suffering from physical, mental, or emotional pain, my prayer is that you can quiet the alarm and find wholeness. Towards the end of this blog, I’ll explain The Spoon Theory, a true life story that ministered to me deeply at a time when I was suffering greatly. The short story is easy to pass out to family, and friends, and those in chronic pain.
If you have a family member, friend, or spouse who is suffering, there are multiple things you can do to help them. Many times prayer, a home cooked meal, a maid for a day, spa-massage, calls, get-well cards, or even understanding more of what’s going on in their body can help.
Aging is not a sickness. These bodies, like the trees, and the flowers wear out, grow old, wilt, drop leaves and expire. Our teeth become loose. Our hair fades like the petals of a rose. Our skin, no matter how much Botox is injected, wilts, sags, and the skin hangs.
“All flesh is like grass, and its glory is like the flowers of the field,” the prophet Isaiah bellows! Old age is natural–sickness is not. Infection and dis-ease can be very painful. Millions, if not billions, are spent annually in the United States to stop one from feeling pain, but too often the person is given a label and a drug that actually prevents the body and soul from protecting itself. Have you ever read the side effects on some of these Pharmaceutical drugs? Scary.
Antidepressants are good for a season if the person cannot handle the amount of mental anguish, but our emotions work together. We can’t feel joy when we’re numb to all our emotions. In Hebrew thought, everything has feelings. The rocks cry out. The trees clap their hands. The mountains burst into song. Everything is ALIVE! Dead people feel nothing. Yeshua, even says “let the dead bury their dead.” Some of my greatest joy came forth out of devastation. After losing my home and all my possessions, a year later, I opened the door to an apartment that was 650 square feet and hit my knees with great joy. I could control my thermostat, use my water, drink from my coffee cup in the serenity of a space chalked out for me. The smallest space I’d ever occupied was peaceful. There was joy in that space, but what if I would have never experienced being homeless and just went from my home to the tiny place? Would I have had such gratitude for it?
“Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5 BSB).
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2nd Corinthians 4:16-17 (NASB).
A hurting person often needs to speak of their strange symptoms and pain. They need to vent via describing it to those willing to share in their suffering. They need someone to believe them and offer compassion. I’ve found this type of servant in my life to be few and far in between. Most of the people I know who have compassion and a willing ear have suffered. Listening with empathy or even a response of “Do you want to be made whole?” is needed.
There is nothing as difficult as sitting in a room full of healthy people laughing and talking and being in horrific pain or depression, or worse cooped up in a hospital bed. We try to appear normal for the sake of family or friends, but our body is screaming, or our mind is screaming, “Don’t you know what I am going through?” This is what we want to say, but instead, we ask for water or inquire about Betty’s new hairstyle. Even worse, is having someone tell us not to speak it. They quote ‘life and death are in the power of the tongue.’ True. Look at the giants and the grapes. But Caleb did not say the Giants didn’t exist; he said they could conquer them because of the faith he had in His Heavenly Father. If your child were to cut off his arm, would you just tell him to say that his arm was whole, while he bled out? No. Of course not. We need to be more like Caleb, who had a different spirit. When he saw giants, no alarm went off!
On the other hand, is it good to sit and talk about our pain, nonstop? No, not always. What we focus on grows. If you have a loved one battling depression, give them space to heal. Try not to use words like “Snap out of it.” “You just need to go for a walk, get some sunlight, or take a yoga class.” Really? Depression can be crueler than physical pain. Even Job’s friends started out with great compassion.
“When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” Job 2:12-13 (NIV).
The Book of Proverbs warns us what not to do around these.
“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart” (Proverbs 25:20 (NIV).
If one has a child or friend diagnosed with a chronic illness or something like ADHD, Asperger’s, dyslexia and so forth, learning about their issues is a kindness we can do for our loved ones. Learning the best way to teach them, correct them, or how their brain works compared to ours, is also essential to those suffering. Not all minds are the same. Would a man as wise as Solomon have a brain that looked like ours? I think some of these children and adults are fearfully and wonderfully made by The Designer of all for a particular purpose.
Many times, a parent frustrated by a rumbustious ADHD child, who is making poor grades, may be tempted to use a rod of punishment when if they had the knowledge of how the child’s frontal lobe differs from others, they would have more compassion and more tools to research natural remedies and the best way for their child to learn and do well academically. A website called understood.org has a section titled “Through Your Child’s Eye’s” where parents can select an issue their child is having and experience what a child with dyslexia and ADHD feels by tools that lead to stimulation.
Sometimes education from Science about pain helps the person in pain. When I went numb from the waist down, I wanted to know why this was happening to my body? When it felt like spiders or creepy things were crawling over my skin, or when I couldn’t remember how to get home from a store a couple of miles away, I had questions about what was going on in my body and my mind. It was scary! Sometimes research answers these questions and stops the person suffering from feeling like they are going insane. They connect with others who have the same symptoms, the same labels, and even learn from communities like Daily Strength, a social network that connects people who are in pain, even the pain that comes from the loss of a child.
A person who has progressed with Alzheimer’s won’t have the ability to learn about the disease and retain it, but the loved one can. Recently, doctors at Mayo Clinic found that slapping nicotine patches on Alzheimer’s patients is helping them with memory. CBD oil is helping people who suffer from epilepsy, anxiety, Cancer, Lyme, and other health issues. Plants are good medicine. Learning from research often helps the one who is too sick to research. Also, when family members search out the disease their loved one has, they can become more understanding, compassionate, and even find helpful tips. On the flip side, sometimes the advice from others who haven’t taken the time to research their loved one’s illness bring a different pain.
All knowledge is good when we have empathy and love behind it.
My husband, while loading his truck with items was asked by a close relative, why he had a motorized scooter in the back. He explained that it was ordered by my doctor for when my muscles are feeble. No one had looked up the diagnosis I had been given and read up on it. Many times people do not understand why a person has to leave the party early or not show up at all. Many people with chronic illnesses and disease, look fine, but inside their body is screaming. My most significant plea to my readers is for them to research the symptoms of their loved ones suffering, and please don’t say, “It’s just the devil!”
When they don’t offer to help clear the table after a dinner gathering, or they seem disgruntled or don’t show up for grandma’s birthday, offenses can take place if we don’t have an understanding–even if they went to an outing the day or week before. Everyone has good days and bad.
Sometimes a family member may have the doctors scratching their heads, and no diagnosis has been given yet, trust me, the person is still going through something. My mother had Parkinson’s disease for a decade before she was diagnosed. Most people do not crave this kind of attention.
Here is the link below to the wonderful spoon story. It can be handed out to family and friends who lack understanding or empathy, and it ministers to those with chronic illnesses. The Spoon Theory here.
Part #3 Will involve people who can destroy our destiny and even our heath. Bullying, and Torah.
“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
You can find Part #1 here.
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