Isaiah 51:3 – The LORD will surely comfort Zion and look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, here wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
It started with a car’s mechanical failure sparking a small fire.
But the fire didn’t stay small for long. It broke out into a ferocious fire storm; a literal fire tornado at one point. It ate everything in its path and soon it was reaching by handfuls into towns and the center of a city.
Who would think that a fire would reach downtown? Then the the firefighters had to let the fire go so that they could help with evacuations.
Those who had nowhere to go, rushed to evacuation centers. They had to leave their homes quickly and were unable to take many of their possessions.
Some heard about neighborhoods and businesses that were completely destroyed. People cried at the thought of having lost everything they had.
In a similar way those affected by floods and tornadoes face evacuation and the possibility of losing everything.
But had they lost everything?
No. Not if they still have what matters the most – their families. Families are the glue that will help you build a new future.
“What?” You may say. Yes, a tragedy can actually provide some positive changes in your life. It can be a time to reevaluate your priorities as you attempt to put the pieces of your life back together.
Yet, how do we actually do that? What steps do we take to restore out lives after a fire or other disaster? Take a look at the article on wikihow.com, “How to Put Your Life Back Together After a Fire.” Its suggestions include getting help from your community such as contacting disaster relief services, how to recover financially such as how to file an insurance claim, replacing your possessions such as documenting your losses, and recovering emotionally.
Having a disaster wipe away elements of your life can seem daunting. But remember that God can send you his comfort from within your ruins, as the Bible verse above speaks of. It also states that gladness and thanksgiving can be found. That may seem impossible at first, but when you remember that you haven’t lost everything if you still have your family it can give you the strength you need to move forward.
Psalm 16:11 – You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
The alarm goes off.
“Uggg,” he groans. And that’s how another day begins.
Life can sometimes seem to be nothing more than just another chore. A boring chore. The same steps are taken Monday through Friday with only a few changes on the weekends:
So what’s missing in those days? Did you see anything different? Was there an outing to the lake or a trip to Grandma’s house?
Not really. Not often. Most of the time, we are just moving through life.
When did life become just another chore? Somewhere along the way life turned from being full of happiness to a life full of groaning about the things we have to get done and nothing about making life more enjoyable.
Entreprenueur.com has some ideas in their article, “8 Tiny Things to Make Your Life 10 Times More Enjoyable,” such as set your alarm clock half an hour earlier so you have time in the morning to exercise, meditate, read, check emails and have breakfast with your family. It saves you from rushing out the door.
It is possible with a little bit of effort to make your life more enjoyable.
God also wants to put some fun back into your day. In the verse above the writer recognized God could direct his path and fill him with joy. Let’s give God a shot at helping us become happier people instead of always grumbling before we start our day. Even if at first try you can’t imagine how you will squeeze anything more out of your day, God will show up and surprise you and help you see just how easy it can be.
Mark 5:26 - She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
But sometimes you can’t get the help you need.
It’s one thing to become stressed when battling chronic health issues or emotional pain, but it’s another thing to battle the billing mess you face when seeing your care provider.
Perhaps you thought that you were covered, because you have a primary and supplementary insurance. But even with this you battle a billing mess because, like my mother, you have to pay hundreds and sometimes over a thousand dollars every quarter to your insurance company, not to mention your deductable.
So here you are. You need to make an appointment with your health provider, but if you do the bills, with all the stress they carry with them, sometimes blocks you from making that appointment.
What do we do?
Do we go to the doctor or therapist regardless of the bills stacking up? Or do we try to “suck it up,” and pretend you’re okay and stay home?
First, you may not be aware that if you have a low enough income you may qualify for extra help such as Medicaid.
Second, sometimes your doctor or hospital has programs where they may be willing to cover the costs for you, or at least they may work with you on a payment plan.
Third, in regards to the option above, most hospitals state that they will not turn away anyone who is in emergent need for treatment regardless of their ability to pay for the services.
Here are some other ideas on how to pay for medical bills from creditkarma.com in their article, “Planning to Pay Medical Debt With a Credit Card? Weigh Your Options First.” The article tells us that everything is negotiable and make sure you have accurate billing. You don’t want to be paying for a service or medical supply that you didn’t get.
Another great resource is from moneyunder30.com’s article, “What to do When You Get Medical Bills You Can’t Afford,” includes suggestions on how to deal with collection agencies.
There should never be a block to receiving medical care because you can’t afford it. But that’s not how it is. And even when you can afford it at first, you can become like the woman in the Bible verse above who spent everything she had on doctors. This calls for wisdom and that wisdom can come through God in any of the suggestions in the articles above. He can take your need and provide the opportunity to receive care without it becoming a billing mess.
Psalm 107:29, 30 - He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
Every year when Christmas comes around there are many things that need to be done: shopping for gifts for family and friends, baking and entertaining or attending parties, and going caroling and finding excitement while visiting those who are homebound.
Every year birthdays and anniversaries come along. There are many of the same opportunities for excitement just like there are for Christmas. And, it’s a fun kind of stress when your birthday comes along and you’re the one being blessed.
Every year there are other kinds of good stress such as getting a new job. In this situation, there’s the chance to meet new people and set new goals.
All of these are good kinds of stress.
For each of the categories above, there’s the chance to smile and feel excited about life. Yet, there is also the chance to cause you to become stressed out. Will you buy the right gift for Christmas or birthdays? Will you have the right words to say to your new employer?
You see, the tables can get turned as each person reacts differently to life situations. What is your tendency? Do you see events in only a negative way or are you unsure that you’ll measure up and so you place extra chairs at the table of stressed out?
First, let’s take a look at the different meanings of the words excitement and stress:
As you can see, excitement is more of a positive situation and emotion, whereas stressed is not only negative, but can result in being so troubled that you feel you are in danger.
How do we remain excited about life without letting ourselves become stressed out? Stress is an inevitable part of life, but the trick is to realize that a little stress can be a good thing as long as we don’t let it get out of control.
Irishtimes.com, in their article, “Anxious or Excited? How to Find Your Stress Sweet Spot,” talks about learning to redirect stress into motivation and excitement rather than anxiety and fear such as exchanging, “I’m stressed,” with “I’m excited.”
Ultimately, if we do let excitement turn into being stressed out we can find ourselves feeling like we’re in real danger. Let’s not let our excitement turn into negative stress, but focus on the joyful part of a situation instead of worrying about a negative outcome.
Also, take a look at the Bible verse above. Just like sailors going through a storm are glad when they are guided safely through a storm, so can we be glad when God guides us through the waters of being stressed out to the safe haven of peace.
Psalm 55:12-13 - If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend.
Life is hard.
You see, just as you think life is done hurting you, the most painful thing of them all happens – Your loved one hates you. This pain can be even more deeply felt than when you lose a loved one in death.
That statement is going to make some people angry with me, but when you stand in the face of spoiled fruit ready to turn into rancid words and actions; you’ll know what I mean. And, while all the time you don’t have a clue of what you’ve done to make your loved one hate you.
And though we said that we couldn’t do this anymore, when your loved one crosses your path you still try to reach out to them but to no avail.
Is there anything we can do to stop our loved one from hating us? Aren’t our tears enough? Aren’t our efforts to make amends enough? Where did we go so wrong?
Coolcatteacher.com posts the article, “What to do When Someone Hates You.” It provides good advice, such as realizing that not every criticism is motivated by hate and committing not to hate back the one who is hurting us, because ultimately hating hurts the hater most of all.
The Bible verse above is taken from a time in the life of Israel’s King David when he was fleeing for his life. As he fled a close friend turned on him. If it had been an enemy he could’ve endured it, but not someone he cared about. David was saddened for what appeared to be the loss of his close friend.
We can face the same situation except in our case it is a loved one who decides to turn on us. But we must take the high road and not turn on them and throw insults their way. It is God we can depend on just as King David did. God can be our comfort. He is our ultimate loved one and will never speak unkindly about us or become our enemy. Trust that love and maybe someday, you’ll find your loved one no longer hates you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.