Sunday Scriptures — Keep Our Guard Up

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

After a two-day drive east last month, Pilot, Pie, and I had dinner with Sissy and Chief at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I’ve been to this restaurant every time I visited my mother when she lived in the nursing home near it. I knew the menu pretty much by heart, and knew there were a lot of items I could not eat, due to being gluten-intolerant.

Maybe it was my distressed emotional state at the death of Mom three days earlier. Maybe it was exhaustion from the drive. Maybe it was pain from the fibromyalgia flares. Who knows? But I did something I should not have done. I let my guard down. I stopped being vigilant. I was careless. I picked up a cute little pot of meat, potatoes, and carrots.

When I put a forkful of beef into my mouth, I discovered it had brown gravy on the underside.

Wheat. Gluten. Pain.

That one forkful was all it took. Within ten minutes the pain I used to live with daily, returned. Sharp. Like a knife plunged into my lower abdomen. I knew the pain would last one to two weeks before subsiding, and it did.

I believe there are times in our lives when we let our guard down. Don’t you?

We stop being vigilant. We’re careless regarding our relationship with Jesus, and doing his will. We pick up the cute little pot of something we have no business messing with.

We become frustrated or tired and choose the path of least resistance. Or we respond in ways we know we shouldn’t. We feel angry or mad and make foolish choices. We are lonely or sad and surround ourselves with toxic individuals.

In her book, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst says there are four times in particular where we need to pay attention, and should be careful of decisions we make during those times.

These are times when we need to HALT. When we are Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired.

Choosing what to eat isn’t a major issue for a lot of people, but for people with food allergies, it can be.

On the other hand, choosing whether or not we follow Jesus is a major issue for everyone. It is something we need to make certain we are not careless about.

What do you do to keep from letting your guard down?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and remember that the strain is the same for all your fellow-Christians in other parts of the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (Philips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Battle is the LORD’s Part II

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Several months ago, I wrote how the battles we face are God’s to fight. In that post I said, We face giants today. Some days, the battles are fierce. Other days just naggingly annoying. Some days the battle has raged for a long time. Other days we’re blindsided. Either way, if we go out in our own strength we’re sure to fail, or at the most, win only a partial victory.

Today, I would like to revisit that idea. Although I truly believe God must fight our battles for us, and I cling to and hold onto that promise, there are times I waver.

Another new health concern is the latest battle God will have to fight for me. And no…I haven’t gone on any trips lately. 😉

One more auto-immune disease has been added to my Fibromyalgia and growing list of other health concerns. Lupus.

Woven and spun…God put in what he wanted to put in, and left out what he wanted to leave out when I was created in my mother’s womb.

When King Jehoshaphat and his army prepared to go into battle, God told them not to be discouraged or afraid. Even though they faced a large enemy. The outcome of the battle didn’t depend on what the king and his army could or couldn’t do. The outcome depended on God.

Jehoshaphat was told he and his men would not need to fight the battle. Their job was to meet the enemy, take up their positions and wait. Oh, yeah. Wait.

The LORD would give the victory.

I know many of you are going through battles of your own right along with me. Health battles. Job battles. Family battles. Financial battles. Relationship battles. Addiction battles…

We’ve been given our orders. We are not to look at our discouraging circumstances and be overcome with fear. We are instructed to face the enemy, and wait upon the LORD to win the victory. Can I get an amen?

Jahaziel said, “Your Majesty and all you people of Judah and Jerusalem, the Lord says that you must not be discouraged or be afraid to face this large army. The battle depends on God, not on you. Attack them tomorrow as they come up the pass at Ziz. You will meet them at the end of the valley that leads to the wild country near Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Just take up your positions and wait; you will see the Lord give you victory. People of Judah and Jerusalem, do not hesitate or be afraid. Go out to battle, and the Lord will be with you!”                                    2 Chronicles 20:15-17 (GNT)

Leave your comments below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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There and Back Again

Last week, I returned from a visit with my 93-year-old mother. The trip involved a two and a half hour flight, and a four and a half, to five hour drive.

There and back again.

During this trip, I made several observations, which I would like to share with you. While this list is certainly not definitive, it is what struck me.

 

  1. Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Airport suggested arrival times are listed on the TSA website. You will do yourself a favor by not being rushed to get to your departure gate. Especially if, like me, you have fibromyalgia, or some other health concern.
  2. Have your boarding pass and identification in hand as you approach the TSA agent.
  3. Make sure all your liquids are in 3 oz, or less, bottles, and fit inside a clear, 1 quart plastic zip-type bag.
  4. Wear shoes you can easily slip off before going through the x-ray machine.
  5. Empty your pockets of everything before going through security.
  6. Have your laptop computer, and other electronic devices, easily accessible so they can be placed in a plastic bin on the x-ray conveyor belt.

These suggestions will speed up the time it takes you to get on the other side of security.

Now to the plane ride.

 

The seats have gotten smaller. Truly. With that said, it does not give you the right to put my arm rest up, sit diagonally in your seat, and encroach into my seat because your fanny won’t fit into your assigned space. Do you know how uncomfortable it is to have your posterior pressed against my thigh the entire trip? Very. That also does not give you the right to hang over the arm rest, into my area.

As far as the overhead bins go, if you see someone struggling with their luggage, be patient. Assist them, if you can. They will be grateful. Trust me on this.

If there is a parent near you with young children, don’t treat them as if they are a bane on society. And for goodness sake, don’t roll your eyes at them when they sit near you. Compliment the weary parents if their children are well behaved. If the children are not, well…

Realize babies’ ears pop during landing, just like yours do, only babies don’t have a clue what’s going on, so, yeah, they scream. It won’t last forever.

The flight attendants, for the most part, are trying their best to make your flight enjoyable. Give them a break.

What suggestions, or observations, can you share about your air travel adventures?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Fibromyalgia and the Holidays

As a fibromyalgia sufferer, the approaching holidays, and all the busy-ness that usually accompanies them, are a time for me to reassess and readjust what activities occupy my time.

Although I would love to involve myself with all the things I used to do, it is not going to happen. Not with the limitations fibro imposes. So, I have a choice. I can listen to my body, and slow down when I need to, or not listen, plow ahead at full speed, and suffer the consequences. I try to listen.

Notice I said, “try”.

Two big triggers for my fibro flares are stress and not enough deep, restorative, sleep.

Both seem to be a given for even “normal” people, where major holidays are concerned, but are magnified for fibromyalgia patients.

In years gone by, I decorated for every holiday. Right down to the shamrock candy dish with pale green mints. Not so, any more. Just getting decorations on the Christmas tree, some years, has been a major accomplishment.

Some things I am learning, in no particular order, which might be helpful for other fibromyalgia sufferers are:

  • pace myself
  • stop when I get tired – whether I have completed what I set out to do, or not
  • fatigue is real – it’s not all in my mind
  • prioritize – do what’s most important first
  • give myself permission not to go to every worthwhile function
  • every meal does not need to be an elaborate occasion
  • ask for help – something I do not like to do
  • exercise daily – something else I don’t particular care for
  • make spending time alone with God number one on my daily “to do” list – no compromise
  • soaking in a hot tub of bubble bath and Epsom salts is not a luxury
  • quit beating myself up for not having a perfectly clean house – those days are long gone, if they ever truly existed
  • I can no longer do what I used to do, and that’s okay
  • fibro fog does not mean I have Alzheimers
  • avoid situations, and people, I know will make my stress worse
  • understand what is essential, and what is not – despite what others may believe (I love the poster – Poor planning on YOUR part, does not constitute an emergency on MINE!)
  • don’t cave into others’ expectations, or even my own

Each person is different. What works for me, may not work for you, and vice-versa. If you have any other tips on how to lessen holiday stress, I’d love to hear your ideas.

One song I play as Christmas nears, is Emmy Lou Harris’s Christmas Time’s a Coming. I tried to find a video of Emmy Lou singing it, but couldn’t, so we’ll go with this video of Ricky Skaggs singing it, instead.

I wish you well.

Sandy

PS

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Ever Have One of Those Days?

Bear and Kirby

Bear and Kirby
Photo copyright
SQuandt

Have you ever felt like Bear in the picture above?  Ready to give up?  Fully surrendered?

Well I have, and today was one of those days, in a year that has had plenty of them.

This morning, my rheumatologist added one more prescription to the plethora of medications I already take, to try and limit the pain I have, associated with fibromyalgia.

When I went to the pharmacy to pick up my ‘scripts, the sweet pharmacy tech, who knows me by name, said in a quiet whisper, “Are you all right?  I don’t remember you ever needing so much medicine before.”

“No, I’m not all right,” I said with a faint smile. “I have fibromyalgia.”

I’ll be alright. Give me a minute.
Photo Copyright
SQuandt

“Oohhh.”

Her sympathetic look almost made me cry right there at the check out counter.

There is a scripture I have struggled to understand, because, I never quite got it.  No matter how modern the translation I used to read it. It’s sort of right next to the expression, “Strong in the broken places.”  What does that mean?

 

Each time he (God) said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.

…for when I am weak, then I am strong – the less I have, the more I depend on him (God).

2 Corinthians 12:910  The Living Bible

Casting Crowns has a song that talks about this.

Things aren’t as bad as they appear.

Now I think I get it…a little bit.  It is only when I am weak, broken, defeated, whatever, that I can focus on the fact that anything I am able to accomplish, is accomplished only through the power of Christ living in me.  It isn’t anything I’ve done on my own.

Christ is my strength, my shield, my shelter.  He is the lifter of my head.  In good times and bad.

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

PS

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