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A Spiritual Battle and Dealing with My Fears
The whole book of scripture is there for me to deal with this life, so USE IT!
Well, I’m home from the hospital. These devotionals, that I dearly love creating and researching, are not going to write themselves, you know, even if I have just a few readers (they are written as love letters to HIM, but I hope others think about them). I’m not out of the woods but prayerfully will continue to improve. I’m taking a short hiatus from the miracles (maybe a couple of different posts for a couple of days) but I will get back to them as soon as possible as they are so wonderful. In this devotional, I’m going to talk about a spiritual battle that went on last night (April 3) and also what life is like living with my panic-room brain.
As I noted in my last devotional and my hubby Steve talked about in a couple of devotionals, I recently had a health scare with a bad infection that is in the wrong place on the body to have a bad infection. I spent two days in the hospital after surgery to drain the infection and now I’m home. I’m taking two nasty antibiotics until Monday (hopefully done) and have a follow-up visit with the surgeon’s office.
Let’s talk about Barb a little bit. I’m going to do a lot of the next parts in the third-person because I’m observing a specimen under glass (me). I’ve shared my testimony on coming back to the Lord a number of years ago and now Steve and I are trying to follow Him in as many ways as possible (obedience, worship, Word, giving, fellowship). But, before that all happened, let’s talk about how I have been allegedly “gifted” with what other people tell me is the “smarts”. I am good at math and science and became an electrical engineer by education, one of the first women from my University. I was a top performer in school and at work. I became very intuitive figuring out root causes for problems (it was part of my job for a long time) and I used to focus a LOT on risks to having a successful mission (I worked in the space business). This brain got in the way of a relationship with God for many years.
Because of this talent from God (I can’t criticize the Lord for the things He has provided - that’s not ego. He provided for a reason), I have tons of data stored in my brain, I’m a whiz at trivia, I love lots of different topics to explore, AND, sadly, I do “worst-case” analyses on EVERYTHING. I worry, then fret, then ponder the worry, then fear, then fret again, then sometimes descend into full-blown panic for something that has not yet happened. I am also not a good multi-tasker. If I’m focused on something, it really messes with my central processing system to put five more things in there to deal with, especially if those are more dire or crisis situations.
So picture this: If X is the current situation, Barb’s brain will focus on the outcome with the worst Y. Barb will also get into a mental battle with herself on how in the world she is going to deal with X and Y and Z RIGHT NOW, all at the same time! Here are two very recent examples using the health scare:
Barb gets a pain on a camping trip that gets worse and then VERY painful and we decide to come back home from a camping trip so I can get treatment near home. We drove home for three long days while I played Internet Doctor and attributed my problem to something that is annoying, but would rather deal with it here near home. I got into the urgent care and the “annoying” expectation of “go home and do this” turned into “you have an abscess and an ugly infection”, which led to the hospital, surgery and time spent looking at nasty stuff dripped into my arms. My brain now recognizes and processes that I have this localized infection and then it traveled from “infection” in my brain router to “I have full-blown sepsis” within no measurable time. I also had whacked out electrolytes (especially Potassium), so what could be the cause of THAT? Not a single prayer or petition to my Creator has been sent at this point when more data was obtained, unless you can say they were half-hearted. It doesn’t help that Steve’s brother-in-law died of sepsis in February (he wasn’t even 70). I should have gone to a local clinic when it wasn’t bad and life likely would have continued with a minor intervention that was the right one. But I did start a lot of praying and so did Steve, but my thoughts still swirled around the worst-case scenario of sepsis (and that could still happen). Because we drove back, the infection I didn’t know I had did get pretty bad! Stupid!
Barb gets treatments for two days and then can go home (yay!) but must be on some potent antibiotics for seven days. Every medical person she talked to in the hospital says that she was no where near sepsis territory, but we do have to fix this infection. Barb is feeling pretty good and is trying to pray and thank God. Barb then sees the prescriptions and recognizes one of the most powerful broad spectrum antibiotics in the world (Cipro). It is one of the only drugs that can treat Anthrax, if not the only one. It has a black box warning that is several PAGES long. And for a person who has had mild rheumatoid arthritis her whole adult life (it flared up a number of years ago and resulted in two knee replacements) it set off a warning alarm in my fevered brain that probably put the klaxon that announced the core reactor breach in Chernobyl to shame. Cipro has a very nasty side effect in people with RA that causes tendons to be damaged or even blow permanently and it can do it months after treatment. Yeah, treat an infection and then be in a wheelchair. That’s where Barb’s stupid brain went in nanoseconds. My rheumatologist was quite certain I would be ok (but notice I did check with her) and the surgeons prescribe this stuff all the time and most people get well. We have both prayed for Him to allow this Cipro (that is like the worst military invasion force into the body) to heal my infection without causing damage. Do you think I can actually have faith? Could I have even done a little risk analysis in my head?
See what poor Steve has had to put up with? So what was the spiritual battle that I alluded to earlier?
Ok, Sunday night in the hospital I was feeling pretty upbeat after writing my devotional about Jesus walking on the water. I was thinking that healing was heading my way. I looked forward to maybe going home on Monday and toughing out a week on some antibiotics, then truly recovering. Then blood work results came back and I was not improving that much. With the lights out that night (in between all of the interruptions) I was fervently praying and I had the weirdest sensation. It felt like someone was holding my hand. Tears flowed - that was awesome! Talk about comforting!
A few minutes later, my room door then slams open and the very weird middle-aged male nighttime RN comes in and he gets all offended immediately by something I said that was really innocuous and actually was trying to make a joke about a night in a hospital. The world dictator (the enemy) brings us back to our anger, fear, suspicions, in no time. I went from peaceful comfort to apologies, trying to talk again to this guy (an RN!), and finally getting him to calm down. Later he treated me like a best buddy.
So Barb goes home, tries to eat, takes a long overdue shower, then goes to bed. Poor Steve is running around trying to help me in my weakened state and we ended up yelling at each other because I couldn’t process all of things I was trying to have him do. I was also having some weird visual things going on that were probably a combination of the pharmaceuticals that I had been inundated with. I had some waking nightmares, which I get sometimes get even in the best of times. They were not pleasant.
SO - I began what was probably the most fervent prayer in my life to Jesus, not for some minor result like feeling better (I didn’t feel that bad), but for Him to pull me out of this battle with the dark spiritual forces surrounding me and protect me. I immediately felt a sense of calming and peace and, as tears flowed, understood the message that He is the only thing I need to focus on, now and forever and He will defeat the enemy. The current sickness may not be cured or may have complications or may have annoyances, but TRUST HIM. The visual things stopped for the rest of the night. Totally ironic that I see this battle going on when I realized that He went through the spiritual battle of the eternal ages during this week in Church history. And I’m certainly not comparing myself to Him. He wants me to rest in Him through this little battle.
I’m not there yet. Today was a day full of phone calls asking questions and seeing if I could get an alternative to Cipro (sorry, not happening). The treatments have also resulted in a new fun side effect and I had to go have a test done just to make sure I don’t need a third antibiotic (sigh). I’m still not that interested in food. I feel like I could jump five feet if a door slammed.
So off to the war room in bed tonight again, when the lights are out. This type of prayer was discussed TODAY on a Facebook page that I really, really love called “My Morning Walks with God” (Blog link). Here is an excerpt from the Facebook post that Greg A. Lane made; there are no coincidences where God is concerned.
During a time of prayer last night, I received these thoughts and words from the Lord.
There is a moment in time, during your prayer time with the Lord, that you meet with the end of your fleshly self. There’s a wall … a barrier, that prevents you from going any further under your own physical/mental power. Many times, when a person meets with that wall, that’s when they stop praying and say “Amen.” But the wall is actually a line of demarcation. Those who want to go further, who press in and don’t quit, are rewarded with another level of prayer. They “cross over” from praying from their flesh, and they begin to pray from their spirit. They cross over from being flesh beings to spiritual beings. They cross over from the natural to the supernatural. They cross over from being sinners to being saints. They cross over from darkness, where everything is veiled and concealed, to the light where hidden things are revealed. It’s fitly called “crossing over.”
The devil doesn’t want you to CROSS OVER. He wants you to be content staying on the fleshly side of prayer. He doesn’t want you to discover what’s waiting for you in the Promised Land. He doesn’t want you to discover the ministry God has for you on the other side of the Lake. He’ll send storms your way. He’ll send distractions your way to take your eyes off the goal. Don’t give in to the distractions and detours. There’s POWER on the other side … but you’ll never experience it if you don’t CROSS OVER.
So, when I went to Lane’s website to get the URL for above (it’s not on his site yet), I was flabbergasted for find this!
Friends, we are on a journey in life. The goal is to get to THE OTHER SIDE. THE OTHER SIDE is awesome and glorious, but right smack dab in THE MIDDLE of our journey we run into things that try to steal our peace and joy … storms and battles. I bet if we could interview the disciples on THE OTHER SIDE of the lake they would have admitted it was silly for them to get so disturbed about the storm they went through after seeing what Jesus was able to do using a simple rebuke from His lips. I have a feeling that when we get to the THE OTHER SIDE of where we’re going we will also be a little embarrassed about how worried and fretful we were while in THE MIDDLE of our journey here on Earth.
That’s it for tonight. Let’s see what happens on Good Friday!
Heaven on Wheels Daily Prayer:
Dear Lord - You have my attention now. I am in the battle to cross over and get to the other side in this life, but more importantly in the next. Thank you for all of the things that are going well right now. And thank you for healing.