Jesus Loves Me!

There is the sound of meals rolling down the aisle of the ward and the distinction of plastic utensils for every meal or the calling of staff for the starting of a group to attend.

During the weekdays it wasn’t bad. We kept busy with groups and doctor visits but weekends were awful. You may wait around all day in the hopes of a visitor, but most of the time was spent in your room or pacing the hall. There was rarely enough staff to take us out in what was referred to as outside. Ounce you got out, there was a very high chain-link fence to keep anyone from leaving. The other option was the TV room, which was also only assessable when there was enough staff to watch everyone. These rarely happened because the unit was usually under staffed.

During one of my hospital stays I met a precious little angel, we’ll call, Annie. This dear soul had down syndrome, was blind, heard voices (schizophrenia), and loved Jesus with all her heart. When the voices got really bad the only thing that would calm her down was singing, “Jesus Loves Me”.

She didn’t spend anytime outside her room with the general population. It never occurred to me to ask the staff why. I can only guess that it was too much stimuli for her to handle. There were a couple of us that would visit her during our down time from groups and meals. Any time we would hear Annie screaming we would get to her as soon as possible to hold her hands and talk to her about what the voices were telling her and the fallacy in what they were saying, pray with her and if all that didn’t work we would sing, “Jesus Loves Me”. As she started feeling better she would join us in singing. Such a simple song, that rang out the words of truth. A song that brought such comfort and healing.

For some reason that none of us will ever know why, they decided Annie should be transferred somewhere else. This made Annie very scared and anxious. I was with her holding her hand singing to her right up until the guys with the gurney started to take her away. I told one EMT “Sing the song ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to her, it calms her.” He said, “You’re a Proverbs 31 woman.” My heart warmed, my throat tightened up & tears ebbed on my eyelids (as is happening as I write this) and I smiled as he wheeled her away. There in a Psychiatric Hospital a patient, not as an employee, he saw something in me; in the psych ward where the most humiliating labels come from, that touched my heart and sent it souring higher than any bird you can imagine. That moment though my body was locked up, my heart and soul were in heaven!

I’ve been hospitalized over 35 times and I could tell you how God met me each time. Some people may see all of these hospitalizations as a failure of me not trusting God or of God not meeting me when I needed Him the most. But that could be nothing further from the truth, in each and everyone I can see how God has blessed me. He has either used me, open my eyes by someone else or both.

Sometimes I wonder why God chose to bless me with the thorns He did. But then I’m reminded that God can meet you anywhere no matter what the circumstances. I’m also reminded how truly blessed I am. I’m truly blessed the more bows in your arsenal the more lives you are able to affect. For that affect I’ll ask God for as many as He feels I am capable of handling.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the hospital and if God calls me to go again; wherever He calls I’ll go.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

2 Peter 1:5-7 Developing Christian Love

Adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), and in [exercising} knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), and in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.

–  2 Peter 1:5-7  Amplified

If there is one thing that God has demonstrated in His creation is that He is a God of order.  The circle of life follows an orderly guideline.  You can count on the sun rising every day and setting every night.  You can count on the moon and it’s varying shapes throughout the year.  If you give your body the right amount and kind of nutrition and exercise for the most part you can count on it’s response, unless you have some disease counter acting your diligence.  And it would appear there is an order to the verses above.

Let’s take it step by step and see what the verses are actually saying to us.  First we are to be diligent (work hard) at delving into [the divine promises], to me that means digging into God’s Word.  Once we are faithful to that what are we to do?  Make every effort to take what we’ve learned stretch our faith (work it out – put it to the test, thus exercising it) thus developing virtue (excellence, resolution).  Faith that has been stretched and pulled put through the flames and come out the other side has resilience and is stronger than faith that hasn’t been tested.  We will never how solid our faith is without it being tested.  Testing brings growth.

The next step is as we grow in virtue (excellence, resolution) we gain knowledge.  This makes sense as we grow in the Word of God and our faith blossoms we grow in knowledge.

Now we are growing stronger in the Word of God and we have a faith with resolution backing it up and growing in the knowledge of God we have the tools to exercise self-control.  It’s through exercising knowledge that we develop self-control.  They build on one another.

When we take the time to work on self-control we will see as the fruits of our labor steadfastness.  We will be firm, unwavering, patient, and enduring in our affairs.

With that steadfastness being worked out in our lives we will see godliness add to the characteristics that we bare.  Which is a necessity to build on the other qualities we who love God want to very much to attain.

Once we have godliness we can exercise that to mature to brotherly affection.  This is an important step.  We must have affection (fondness, liking, devotion, endearment, caring, attachment, warmth, and friendship).  If we can not have these attributes for one another we have no hope of loving one another.

While exercising brotherly affection this is how we develop Christian love.  An unconditional love.  This is when our characteristics become most like Christ.  We love those around us as Christ did.  Life is a process and we are not God we are humans so there will be times when we will fail.  At that time we repent and move on.

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Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Qualities to Add to Our Life

It seems that God is trying to get a message through to me because similar messages are repeating themselves every time I turn around.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-8

It is obvious to me that God wants me to increase my faith and to add these qualities to my life.  The qualities that He seems to be focusing on at this time are knowledge, self-control and perseverance.  I have an increasing hunger to get to know Him better and His will in my life.

It has become very obvious to me that I lack self-control.  The areas of my life that I lack it in so much is my eating and my sleep habits and making and sticking to a schedule for my life.  I need God’s guidance in these areas.

If I had more faith, knowledge and self-control I would naturally have more perseverance.  The more faith I have the longer I will trust God and persevere under trials.  With more knowledge of the Word of God, the greater my faith and the stronger my trust and my self-control.

Lord help me to add to my faith, if that means by experiences that are uncomfortable that need to be gone through, I’m ready to do whatever it takes to increase my faith in You that we might be closer.  Help me to live a a life of goodness.  Give me a thirst for Your Word that I might have ever increasing  knowledge.  Lord, help me to develop the Fruit of the Spirit self-control.  I long to be pleasing to You and not let You down.  Please let me develop perseverance that I might withstand under trials and peer pressure, so that I might be pleasing to You and mature in the faith.  Lord, help me to develop godliness that I might be a good representative of You.  Give me brotherly kindness that I might help to bring unity to the body of Christ.  Heavenly Father give me love for that is the most important quality of all.  Give me the love that You have for those who know You and those who don’t know You.  I want to love as You love, unconditionally.  Thank you for loving me enough to answer my prayers.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!