Sow & Gather

Healing

When Our Soul Needs Preventative Maintenance

HealingMarci AnthonyComment
#sowandgather #healing Run Your Race with Endurance

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1b-2a (NIV) 

It seems the older I get, the more that falls apart. As I type today, I continue to suffer from recurring and chronic pain in my wrist, arm, and shoulder. Don't be fooled, an office job can take its toll on our bodies.  

I could create a list a mile long of every ache and pain in my body that needs healing. From chronic back issues, to wobbly ankles, to my wrist. I suspect you might have a similar list of ailments. I’m sure there's a specialist, a vitamin, or a diet plan out there that will cure all my ills. I just need to try the right one at the right time and MAKE IT WORK!  

You know what?  Taking care of our bodies can be exhausting. I often feel like I'm in a constant cycle of repairs.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could just check our bodies into the repair shop and have a rental body to use while everything gets straightened out?  Maybe I should check with Alamo and Hertz and see if they've considered diversifying their rentals!  

What I've realized over the last few years is that preventative maintenance on my body (just like the car), goes a long way to improving my life. I wonder why I don't do more preventative maintenance for my soul. Just like my physical body, my soul, my heart and my emotions need to remain active and exercised to keep me strong from the inside out.  

The Apostle Paul tells us to run the race before us with endurance. I don't think he was just talking about our physical bodies. He was talking about taking on the tasks before us with a soul that is light and healed through Christ. When our soul gets heavy, we have to toss our burdens onto Jesus Christ.   

To keep from weighing ourselves down with mental and emotional – soul-crushing – burdens, we have to do some preventative maintenance. I have a close set of friends that I meet with weekly for coffee, sharing life, and Bible study. The mentoring I receive from these women has been a key component in my soul preventative maintenance plan. Another part of my maintenance plan is prayer. It amazes me time and time again how healing prayer can be.   

Remember, God never intended for us to go it alone. God wants a relationship with each of us. In the end, exercising my relationship with God is truly the best medicine for healing my soul.   

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 73; Matthew 11:27-30  

Action Item |

Spend five minutes today in silence with God.  

Prayer |

Dear Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You know all of my hurts. You know the bruises on my soul that are not visible to others. Lord God, guide me today in silent prayer. Motivate me to connect with other Christian women on a deeper level. Show me Your ways. Amen.  

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What Do We Do When God Doesn't Answer Our Why?

HealingMarci AnthonyComment
#sowandgather When God Doesn't Answer Our Why #healing

Because he has set his love on Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.  He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.  Psalm 91:14-15 

I have had a lot happen to me in my life, probably just like you.  The incident that knocked me to my knees and rocked my faith was when I had a miscarriage.  That caused me to doubt God’s love and everything I believed . . . because I knew that God let it happen. 

In the book of Job, after Job lost everything but his wife, he struggled with this too.  The Why.  Why me?  Why now?  And he came to this conclusion:  he wasn’t God . . . and neither are we.  We can’t understand fully why everything happens the way it does.  Job never knew why either.  But in the struggling, he discovered something even better.  Job said, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” Job42:2 Job drew closer to God and discovered another part of His character that he had never known before. 

In my pain and questioning, I began to go to scripture with all of my “whys”.  I had an answer for each “why” that God could have done, and yet He didn’t.  But I kept on searching His word, reading it out of desperation because I needed to know “why”. 

It took over six months before I had the peace that only God can give.  Each time I was in His Word, He was ministering to me.  I never got my “why”.  I had to trust Him-- with my pain, with my doubts, with everything.  It wasn’t a quick fix-it prayer and everything was okay.  It took time.  Just like our key verse says, “ . . . I called upon Him and He answered me; He was with me in my trouble and He delivered me.”  And He can be with you too.  He can deliver you. All YOU have to do is call to Him. 

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 11:28; John 7:37; Psalm 50:15 

Action Item |

Are you hurting today and need comfort and peace?  Cry out to Jesus.  He will hear you and comfort you. 

Prayer |

Lord Jesus, thank you for being with me in my pain and when I am hurting.  Help me to feel you near as I cry out to you. 

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Healing through Forgiveness

HealingMarci AnthonyComment
#sowandgather #healing Be Kind and Compassionate

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) 

Upon graduating from college, I obtained a job with a national public accounting firm. I was delighted when they hired me and thrilled when I became a CPA. However, this excitement began to wane as I started to work long and difficult hours on different projects for various companies. After each project, I would receive an evaluation of my work, informing me of all my strengths and, of course, myweaknesses. 

After one such project, I was asked to come and receive my latest assessment. As the manager handed me my evaluation, which consisted of three 8 ½ x 14 pages, she proceeded to inform me of all my mistakes and weaknesses on this project. She went on and on about all the things I had done wrong. Towards the end of the one-sided conversation, she stopped and stated that I had done one thing well….I was “pleasant.” 

I was shocked, disappointed, frustrated and angry. I was so very angry. After all that hard work on that project, I was told I did only one thing well. What???? 

On my way home, I cried. I cried every night for a whole week.  

Every time I looked at her at work or thought about her, I was angry. These feelings of anger lasted for some time, actually for years after I stopped working with her. 

But in comes my dear Jesus; His word is so sharp and so convicting. Throughout the Bible and especially in the verse above, I am told to forgive. I struggled with this action. I couldn’t forgive her. I was angry and she was wrong!  

But, finally, I did it. I forgave her.  

Once I took that step, Jesus began the healing process in me. I wasn’t angry anymore and could actually think about her without getting angry. For a period of time, I was still hurt, but soon that emotion passed away too.  I eventually became peaceful and I still am. 

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 18:21-35 

Action Item |

Be obedient and forgive. 

Prayer |

God, Thank you for forgiving me. Help me to forgive others even when I don’t want to. Once I forgive, I know your healing will lead to peace.  Amen. 

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Guard Your Heart

HealingMarci AnthonyComment
#sowandgather Guard Your Heart. Plan for Early Detection by self examination

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23 NIV

October is“Breast Cancer Awareness” month. Organizations who support women’s health encourage women to get their annual mammograms, educate them on self-examination, promote support for breast cancer research, and celebrate all those who have fought this disease with courage and dignity. While attention to this issue happens in October, it often is an issue that requires self-examination. To be honest, I rarely do self-examinations, and regrettably, rely on my annual mammogram. Why isn’t early detection my first priority? 

I began to wonder about other areas in my life that I don’t self-examine. Like, how often do I examine my heart for sin? Am I doing daily self-examinations or am I an annual examiner? The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” We are told to listen closely to God’s Words; to not let them out of our sight; to keep them within our heart for they are life to those who find them, and health to a man’s whole body." (Proverbs 4:20-22 NIV)   

The heart is the seat of our feelings and desires. It can lead us to desire those things that bring life or those things that bring destruction. Our hearts will deceive us if we do not guard it every day. Proverbs 14:30 NIV says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”   

Only God can make a heart at peace and heal a broken one. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and ask for forgiveness of our sin, God sends His Spirit to dwell in us. He begins to take our heart of stone and turn it into a heart of flesh. The Spirit then begins the work of healing our brokeness, pain, disappointments, struggles, and sinfulness. Often, the sin in our hearts is undetected. How often do we cry out, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Only God can detect what is going on in our hearts, but if left unchecked, our hearts will lead us to destruction. 

In the Bible, King David wrote: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NIV) Don’t wait. Let God create a pure heart in you today. Oh – and do those self-examinations along with scheduling your mammogram! 

Dig Deeper |

Proverbs 17:22, Proverbs 15:13, Proverbs 15:30

Action Item |

Have you ever asked God into your heart? He is knocking and waiting. His love for you is greater than any love you will ever know. Ask Him to create in you a pure heart today.   

Prayer |

Dear Father, your love for me is more than I can imagine. You have taken my sinful, broken heart and turned it into a heart that is whole. I ask that you guard my heart daily so that I may not sin against You. Test me and know my thoughts, and walk with me daily. Amen. 

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How Well Do You Trust God?

HealingMarci AnthonyComment
Learning To Trust God #sowandgather #trust #prayer #healing

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

Trust is an interesting thought process that involves turning over control to something else. When you fully trust your situation, you are relaxed and calm. On the flip side, when you distrust the situation, you are nervous and rattled and have a hard time concentrating. I recently experienced this on an adventure I took my family on while vacationing. We had some downtime one day so I suggested that we go to a fun zip line ropes course.  

If you have ever been crazy enough to visit and attempt one of these courses, let me just say that the pictures on the internet make it look really fun. The photos online of the happy people doing the ropes course are all shot from the trees. You really don’t get a sense of how elevated you are until you’re standing on one of those platforms high above the ground. What really makes you feel safe is the brief 5 minute orientation from some high school kid that looks like he just rolled out of bed to come to work! As I surveyed my surroundings that day, I realized I might be pushing my comfort zone.   

I am a little afraid of heights. I can go up in an elevator and I have ridden roller coasters (with my eyes shut). But standing on a ledge perched high above the trees looking at my kids who couldn’t wait to get started, I was paralyzed with fear. I’m not really sure why I was afraid. There was a double locking cable system that did not allow me to ever be suspended without being attached to one of the cables. Quite possibly, the reason I was afraid was the fact that I didn’t know what obstacles lay ahead that I would have to navigate. So, there I was up on a ledge with a choice. I could either put my trust in the mechanics of the individual who designed the course and hope for the best, or bow out and climb down to the safety of the ground.  

It seems like a simple choice, but so many times in our lives this very choice causes our hearts to race and palms to sweat. We begin to doubt our choices. Instead of praying and placing our trust in God, we put our trust in the world and where it will lead us. God is our ultimate Guide and Protector and He knows which direction to take us. All we have to do is trust. “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” 

Do you wake up every morning ready to trust God in all of your circumstances or are you standing on that platform afraid to move forward and trust God? 

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 46:1; 2 Timothy 1:7 

Action Item |

Write down your fears and then pray and turn them over to God daily.  

Prayer |

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me the opportunity to start my day in the presence of Your greatness. I can be confident knowing that You are in control of all things and in all situations. This is Your day God. Allow me to accomplish Your will.  

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Healing Our Emotional Wounds

HealingMarci AnthonyComment
God Heals Our Emotional Wounds #healing #sowandgather #prayer

For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds… Jeremiah 30:17

Someone once said that a scar doesn’t hurt, only a wound hurts. That is true. A scar is a wound that has healed; there is no more pain. You can touch it, scratch it, bump it, even pour medicine over it and it doesn’t hurt. A wound, though, is painful. If you touch it, bump it, or pour medicine over it, you will pull back in pain; it is tender and hurts. You can see a physical wound and are more likely to guard it; others can see it, too, and will show compassion and care to avoid causing you any more pain. But not all wounds are physical. 

What about emotional wounds? They aren’t visible for everyone to see. Many times you can feel like you’ve been touched, bumped, scratched, and had medicine poured right into your pain. Most likely, the other person never even realized what he did. Yet, you walk away hurt, sad, and lonely; feeling like nobody understands or even cares. Everyone has probably felt this way at some point in his life. If you are in that place right now, I have some good news for you! There is someone who cares and understands, but more importantly, can actually do something about it. Psalm 30:2 says, “Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.” 

Have you cried out to Jesus for healing? Psalm 147:3 tells us that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Jesus can turn that open hurting wound into a scar – that will no longer cause pain. This only happens when the wound has completely healed. 

Sadly, this doesn’t happen overnight. But when you scrape or cut yourself, there is also a process, too. First, you must clean the wound. Then, a scab forms to protect the sore and start the healing process. Finally, the scab falls off and a scar takes its place. 

The same is true for emotional scars. It is a process. First, you must go to Jesus so He can cleanse the wound. This can be painful at times, but it is also necessary. Just like with a physical wound you must clean it so that you won’t get an infection; the same is true for emotional wounds. Left untreated they can fester and cause bitterness in your soul. After that, a scab will form and you will know you are on your way to healing. However, just like with a physical wound, if it gets bumped or scratched, the scab can fall off and reveal the open wound once again. You may have to start the process several times before that open wound you have becomes a scar. But, know this, sweet friend, you are not alone and someone does care! Call on Jesus and He will tenderly bind up your wounds and bring healing to your soul! 

Dig Deeper |

Hosea 6:1Malachi 4:2

Action Item |

Write down any emotional "open wounds" in your journal and take them to God. 

Prayer |

Lord, you are truly a balm to my hurting soul. Draw me close to You so that You can bind up my wounds. Amen. 

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Spiritual Lifeline in Hard Times

HealingMarci AnthonyComment
God Is Our Lifeline #healing #prayer #sowandgather

Marianne Highley, a guest contributor for Sow & Gather,  is a mom to two kids and has a blog to share her family's journey through pediatric cancer.  She shares updates on her son and encouragements the Lord has given her on her walk with Him through some hard times.  She and her family live in Colorado.  Check out her blog at: http://highleyblessed.weebly.com/

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26 (ESV)

“I’m sorry, but your son has cancer.”  I sat there completely shell-shocked and held it together until the doctor left the room and then just started shaking and clinging to my husband.  The only words I could get out were, “God no, please, no, please, not my son.”  How do you handle the news that your four year-old has cancer?     

You try to pray, you try to trust that God will heal, but the problem is that you know that God’s healing doesn’t always come in the way and in the time that you want it to. Back in 2010, my father died of cancer.  I prayed and pressed into God during my Dad’s eight year battle. When I didn’t know how to pray for my Dad, the Spirit helped me. God healed my Dad by bringing him home where there is no pain or suffering.  I take comfort in that, but I miss him terribly. 

As I walked through the cancer battle with my son, there were long, dark days when all I could do was weep.  I know the Holy Spirit was interceding for me because there were moments of peace that had nothing to do with my situation.  Sitting next to my son in ICU with the doctors all studying their feet saying, “Well, maybe we could try this,” leaves you in a place where God is your only source of comfort and hope.  You sometimes need prayer just to get through the next 5 minutes.   

After 5 cycles of chemo and 3 months in the hospital with just a few days home in between cycles, my son is healed.  His cancer is in remission and life is getting back to its normal chaotic rhythm.  God’s healing took the form that we most desired-- a whole, healthy, happy child.  But when it does not, do we still call Him good? 

Press into the Holy Spirit when healing doesn’t come and you don’t know how to pray. 

Dig Deeper |

Lamentations 3:22-23

Action Item |

Look at the areas of your life where you need healing and don’t feel like it is coming.  Pray for wisdom to wait on God’s timing and for comfort when the healing doesn’t look like you want it to. 

Prayer |

Heavenly Father, help us to seek You first in times of difficulties and to trust that You will answer our deepest need in the way that will bring You the greatest glory.  Forgive us when we doubt Your goodness in times of struggle, and give us the strength we need for each moment of our day.  Amen

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