Revisiting Slowing Down-Prepared, Protected & Peaceful
Revisiting “Slowing Down” -- Prepared, Protected & Peaceful
Do you ever get on a roll of doing something regularly and then something interferes with that pattern and it’s hard to get back to your regime?
Back in August, I wrote a blog entitled, “Slowing Down,” http://www.gatewayphotoartistry.com/blog/2012/8/slowing-down. I had gotten into a fairly regular routine of carving out time to read my Bible, praying, listening to what the Lord, and writing in my journal. Although writing in my journal can get lengthy for me so I have to pace myself.
Then, my life took a dramatic turn, though it took a little revving up to get to the point of life-changing. First, my volunteer responsibilities at my church significantly changed, and it took me awhile to adjust to the change.
About two weeks later, I returned from a family camping trip where I did most of the unloading of our van because my husband had left for a business trip, and I wasn’t in the mood to keep fighting with our two teens to help. The next morning, I woke up to swelling in my hands and knees and almost every joint in my body hurt intensely. I felt like I had turned 80-years-old overnight! I can take a lot of pain after all my years of playing sports, but I wasn’t able to walk without cringing in pain.
In the following weeks, I found out very quickly that any amount of exercise, even walking, would cause my joints to swell and be painful. Though too little activity caused my knees to stiffen and make walking difficult also. As a personal trainer for 12 years, the one thing that helped me remain physically healthy had now become my adversary. Most people didn’t know the physical challenges I faced because I did a pretty good job of covering it up. Even my husband wasn’t aware of the pain intensity level until he noticed I was having trouble dressing myself and handling the stairs.
What followed was a series of doctor’s visits, blood tests, body scans and an MRI to diagnosis the problem. I’m not going to lie, I was scared! I had never been in a place where participating in any activity might be threatened indefinitely.
In between all these visits and tests, I was navigating doctors’ visits and medical procedures for the continued healing process of our daughter’s lacrosse injury which had begun in April, and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight.
After getting two doctors’ opinions which slightly differ, I was diagnosed right before Thanksgiving with an incurable, but treatable autoimmune disease called mixed connective tissue disease or undifferentiated connective tissue disease, depending on which doctor you trust. The good thing is that they both agree on the treatment, so the exact diagnosis is moot to me. The treatment of oral medications may take some tweaking, but the prognosis is very positive.
Not long after our daughter was released from physical therapy in November, our son injured himself and he’s now going through physical therapy! After seeing both the sports medicine doctor and the physical therapist for both kids, I’m looking into whether they offer a “family plan” to differ expenses! It was getting almost comical with our revolving-door appearances at these facilities.
So what’s the point of me telling you all of these details of our physical ailments? The point is, when I looked back in my journal recently, I noticed I hadn’t written in it for months except a few sporadic notes. I hadn’t slowed down to read my Bible, to listen for God’s direction after I threw up my “Help me, God” prayers, or to take a deep breath to survey what was happening in my life. I had recognized that I was under a spiritual attack because whenever I decide to involve myself in something where I might have a spiritual influence on someone, I face some sort of trial. I wasn’t surprised when I had decided in August to lead a women’s Bible study, and I faced some challenges, but I missed the depth of the attack on my family.
It didn’t even occur to me about the spiritual attack on my family until my cousin, Joanne, brought it to my attention right before Thanksgiving break. Well, of course, it made sense! Our spiritual Enemy who has been wreaking havoc by dividing marriages (see “Reclaim the Joy of Christmas”
(http://www.gatewayphotoartistry.com/blog/2012/12/reclaim-the-joy-of-christmas on December 25, 2012), causing physical illnesses and generating adversity had slid in the “back door.” We were blindsided!
I’m normally the one to recognize it in other people’s lives, but this time, I had missed the obvious signs of the Enemy’s attack. I have to believe that if I hadn’t gotten out of the habit of slowing down to read my Bible, write in my journal and listen to God, I would have been more prepared, protected and peaceful during the onslaught. Covered in prayer, we would have likely “extinguished the flaming arrows of the Evil One,” (Ephesians 6:16).
Notice, I didn’t say God would have kept us from facing these problems, though that’s entirely possible. We will never know. He just promises to be with us, when we ask.
Joanne and her sister, Lynne, prayed with my husband and me for our family while we were visiting them in Florida for Thanksgiving. Since then, I have been feeling much better and I anticipate continued progression toward a return to my regular lifestyle. Our daughter has started exercising again, and our son returned from physical therapy yesterday with a positive prognosis.
I think it’s about time to start my day by reading the Bible, listening to God and writing in my journal again. What do you think? Are you facing something that has gotten you flustered or anxious or angry? Do you feel like you lack direction or don’t feel grounded? Take a moment or two and make time to get into a habit or back into the habit of reading the Bible, praying, and listening for God’s answers. As one last Christmas gift, get yourself a journal. :)
“But what would have been the good?" asked Lucy.
Aslan said nothing.
"You mean," said Lucy rather faintly, "that it would have turned out all right – somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?"
"To know what would have happened, child?" said Aslan. "No. Nobody is ever told that."
"Oh dear," said Lucy.
"But anyone can find out what will happen," said Aslan. "If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me – what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.”
Thank you for reading my meanderings! If you like it, feel free to re-post, but please keep my copyrights enacted. I welcome your comments, feedback and questions.
"Revisiting 'Slowing Down' -- Prepared, Protected & Peaceful" © Copyright 2012 Gena Buskirk-Ford, writer/photographer, Gateway PhotoArtistry™, www.gatewayphotoartistry.com.*
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*For permission to use the photograph, poem or article, contact artist at: http://www.gatewayphotoartistry.com/contact.html.
Keywords: Anderson University graduate, Gateway PhotoArtistry™, Gena Buskirk-Ford, photographer/writer, why listen to God, why study the Bible
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