Monthly Archives: April 2014

Update on Sue

This is from Sue’s husband, Jim.

Sue wanted me to update you on her progress.

Everything with the surgery went well. Her recovery is slow, but progressing with few problems. In particular, her pain level is diminishing quickly.

She appreciates your continued prayers and anticipates the time when she can return to blogging.

Thank you for caring support and prayers thus far on her behalf.

Jim

*Please withhold comments for now. She will be too tempted to respond. Sue knows that you will be pleased to hear of her progress. She also wants you to know that she continues to pray for your needs, as well.

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Blessings Like Rain ~ Farewell Until I Mend

A cluster of raindrops on one of my iris leaves ~ it almost forms the shape of a treble clef

A cluster of raindrops on one of my iris leaves ~ it almost forms the shape of a treble clef

Thanks very much for the outpouring of well wishes after yesterday’s announcement about my surgery.  My recovery will require that I stay off computers for about two months, but since I want this to work, I will fully comply with doctor’s orders!

This last post, before I temporarily retire from blogging, is for you.  Until we meet up again in Blog-Land, receive this simple blessing of farewell and the special photo above just for you.

Blessings Like Rain

May God’s blessings pour like rain
On everything you do
May God’s melodies sustain
In all life puts you through

****

“For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God”
Hebrews 6:7

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*I will miss ‘you all’ very much.  Thanks for your friendship, encouragement and prayers.

Farewell until I mend!

Blessings, always

Sue

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*I will continue to read your posts and respond to comments through the weekend only, but as I stated yesterday, will have much time while I am off to pray for any of your needs.

Poem and photo by Sue Nash/ © 2014

 

Another Bend in the Road ~ A Painful Saga, Part 5

Around the Bend ~ I laid the bricks for the walkway myself

Around the Bend ~ I helped lay the bricks for the walkway years ago

Wrapped in God’s presence,
Secure in His embrace.
He directs my steps,
Each bend in the road I face.

It seems as though we each have our thorn in the flesh.  Mine is an inherited, early onset of degenerative disc disease that presented when I was in my twenties.  It started with my lower back and included sciatica, but progressed to include involvement with my neck.

These pronounced neck symptoms have forced me to make a tough decision; one that I never intended.

After MUCH prayer, and due to the deterioration of my symptoms with resulting ramifications to my life, I have decided to undergo the three level cervical fusion.

This is after years of trying nearly every non-surgical measure:

Physical therapy, trigger point, deep massage, TENS. myofascial release, chiropractor, traction, injections, stretching, ice and heat, ergonomics, custom-designed pillow, lifestyle adjustments, medications, etc…

For personal reasons, I’ve never wanted acupuncture.

At best, I have merely gotten by throughout the continual roller coaster of pain.  Car and plane trips are huge triggers, but I have always bounced back to a manageable level afterwards. 

That all changed with our latest trips out-of-town.  It’s like I crossed a threshold into a different level with an entirely new set of symptoms, and it is this new normal that drove my decision towards surgery.

Just knowing that any time I travel, I must face significant, lingering neck pain with radiating symptoms is bad enough. However, I now also have an interrelated vertigo with bizarre ear symptoms, which correlates both in intensity and in duration to the neck pain.

The decision was not an easy one, because the what ifs are terrifying.  Not unlike the what ifs that I faced with lower back surgeries, though.  Amazingly, God brought me through those successfully.  You can read about that story, in my series called, A Painful Saga. In fact, I’ve added this post to that series!

The sobering reality is that unless I want to give up traveling, which means that I will rarely see my precious grandchildren, or if I want to live with incapacitating symptoms, I must follow God’s direction and have this surgery.

I realize there are no guarantees.  God has given me a confident assurance, though, that He is directing my path.  That no matter what I face, He will bear me up on eagles’ wings into His presence.

None of us knows what lies ahead.  However, we can rest assured knowing that God already sees around the bend.  He promises to go before, behind and with us: helping, strengthening and delivering.

I believe for a good outcome.  Regardless of what I face, though, I know that God will wrap me us in His loving, comforting arms.  He will carry me safely around this next bend in the road.

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
Exodus 19:4

*Some of you have medical conditions and problems much worse than mine.  During my convalescence, as God brings you to my mind, I will pray for your needs and for His richest blessings to fall like rain! 

I will do one more post tomorrow before my upcoming surgery, which is scheduled for next week.

Words and photo by Sue Nash/ © 2014

 

 

Hope On ~ Easter Awaits

Daffodils in Spring ~ my grandmother planted these

Daffodils in Spring ~ my grandmother planted these

Hope On ~ Easter Awaits

Exceeding sorrow filled their hearts,
They couldn’t bear to see Him part.

But although He was crucified,
It wasn’t the end of His life.

Though death separated three days,
  To His followers Christ would say,

‘Hope on, Easter awaits.’

Just as the disciples did after the crucifixion of Christ, have you ever faced times when you thought things were hopeless?  You’ve prayed.  You’ve held on, but things only seem to get worse.  Then, something else happens, causing your hope to crash into despair.

When Jesus died, His followers wrongly concluded that all was lost.  Their King was gone; their hopes dashed.  They couldn’t see the promise for the tears.  Anguish distorted their anticipation of resurrection.

The pain of hopelessness does that.  It shreds any possibility of victory.  Through the lies of the enemy, it brutally annihilates trust.

Yet, our Savior, after enduring cruel battering by His captors and dying a death undeserved, knew that death would not hinder His resurrection.  What seemed hopeless to the disciples was merely a lack of understanding on their part.

Resurrection was set in motion the moment Christ breathed His last.

We would do well to remember that.  Although the breakthroughs seem impossible, their fulfillment is only awaiting their ripe Easter morn.  Suddenly, what God has promised will burst on the scene.

The thing desired, born anew in God’s perfect timing.

Hope on, fellow believers.  Easter awaits.

****

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12
NKJV

Words and photo by Sue Nash © 2014

To see my previous posts about Easter, follow the link.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold ~ Of Life

Threshold of possibilities

Threshold of possibilities

Chester loves waiting at the threshold of our front door, for the possibilities it affords:

A chance to bark at something, the ability to warm himself on sunny days or the possibility that someone will take him for a walk. 

Threshold of opportunities

Threshold of opportunities

I like walking across the threshold of a church door, because of the opportunities it brings:

A chance to fellowship with other believers, an avenue to show my love for God through worship and an opportunity to grow in my relationship with Him.

Threshold of life ~ this stone enclosure reminded me of the empty tomb

Threshold of life ~ this stone enclosure reminded me of the empty tomb

Jesus rejoiced crossing back over the threshold of the grave, by rising from the dead, knowing the accessibility to life it would offer us:

A chance for a brand new life through a restored relationship with God, the privilege of a Spirit-filled life through unrestricted admittance to His presence and the accessibility of eternal life through accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.

Through Jesus, we can cross over the threshold from death to life.

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“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
John 5:24

For other challenges, see Weekly Photo Challenge

See other responses to this challenge at The Daily Post

Words and photos by Sue Nash/ © 2014

Subtle Gospel Message Portrayed ~ Flowering Dogwoods

Dogwood Portrait

Dogwood Portrait

Drive or stroll past the woods in Mississippi during spring and you are sure to find flowering dogwood.  Although very lovely, like the trees on which they grow, their blossoms are comparatively timid.  Partial shade-loving, dogwoods grow best hidden under the shadows of their larger woodland companions.

The forested landscapes near my home are currently speckled with white dogwoods.  However, to get these close-up photos of the flowers, I needed a tree with low-lying branches.  Unfortunately, most of them were above my reach, but after diligent search, I found one that cooperated.

Dogwood Cross

Dogwood Cross

Legend has it that the Romans used wood from dogwood to make the cross of Christ, but the story has no Scriptural support. However, the blooms lend themselves nicely to the tale and certainly have a hint of the Passion.

Consider the cross shape of the flowers with blood-like stains on their edges, their fluted striations resembling stripes and the wounded appearance of the petal ends.  It does make for convincing comparisons to the account of how Jesus died. 

Subtle Hints

Subtle Hints

The dogwood legend is likely just that.  However, blooming as they do around Easter, the flowers will always remind me of the cross.  Within them, there is a subtle hint of the Gospel message.

Subtle Gospel Message Portrayed

Hidden dogwood tree,
Boldly lower your branches.
Reveal your story;
For the lost, don’t take chances. 

Although just legend,
Golgotha’s wood was yours,
It’s worth repeating,
Since nobody knows for sure.

Revisit the tale
About your lovely flowers.
How cross-like they form
Amid gentle spring showers.

Blooms that hint of Christ;
His Passion, of which we’ve heard.
Petals bearing wounds,
Reminding what He endured.

So, tell it once more;
Dying onlookers to sway.
A portrait of Him;
Subtle gospel you portray.

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“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:5

Dogwood B&W

Dogwood B&W

Words and photos by Sue Nash/ © 2014

For similar posts, follow this link to Easter

No, Never Alone ~ Your Thoughts

You can see more of my images with Scriptures on Heavenly Rain ~ Images

You can see more of my images with Scriptures on Heavenly Rain ~ Images

As soon as I had published my post yesterday, Solitary Snowdrop, I realized that there were some things about loneliness that I had neglected to include. 

Have any of you ever done that?

Fortunately, you – my readers – filled in the gaps where I left off, and I thank you:

Rene Yoshi, from Sweet Rains reminded of how the Holy Spirit brings comfort to us during loneliness, either directly from His presence or by sending someone our way with encouraging hugs.

Joseph Elon Lillie of Lillie-Put pointed out that our loneliness is often more about the pain within rather than our circumstances without, and how that when we allow the Lord to address those issues, the loneliness usually subsides.

Message From the Field shared a Scripture passage from Job 23 as a reminder that we are not alone when feeling so. 

Mikey of Hiseternalword shared a link to a wonderful post of his about loneliness called, Friend of the Lonely.  I hope he forgives me for misspelling his name on my reply!

Bill with Unshakable Hope shared his insights comparing religion vs relationship with God: “Religion = loneliness, relationship is fellowship.”  So true!

Jennifer with Fragrant Grace reminds us of the importance of prayer for those feeling lonely and rejected.  I know for myself that it is all to easy to forget the pain of loneliness, and to neglect offering encouragement and prayer for those still hurting.

Lilka of B is for Blessed offered her encouragement about my post,

as did Hope from Little Pix of Hope,

my friend Jane, and so many others through their Likes

After reading your lovely comments, and receiving blessings from the encouraging Likes, I realized that there is yet one more source of loneliness.  It can happen to any of us in the realm of blogging. 

I think back to a little over a year ago when I first began publishing my writing on Word Press. I had very few followers and little feedback. Having never had the courage until then to share my thoughts openly, it was disheartening. It left me feeling lonely and lost in the big world of blogging.  At times, I still feel that way.

How very grateful I am now to have more readers, and to receive such thoughtful comments as the ones I shared.  I appreciate you, my lovely readers.

One thing I have learned is that blogging is not just about throwing my thoughts out there; it is also about interacting with others.  I have found so many wonderful sites and made many friends through blogging.  It is through connecting with others that the loneliness felt in this arena dissipates.

That said, though, the most important thing for us to remember is that God cares about everything we post, whether or not we receive any likes or feedback.  He is pleased with our sacrifices of exalting His name. 

Even in blogosphere, we are never alone if we have Him.  Never.

I’ll end today’s post with an old hymn that goes along with our thoughts on loneliness.  Enjoy this Golden Oldie, 

Never Alone

For similar posts, see Golden Oldie Hymns

*Please note: if you happened to read my post from yesterday, and offered any comments after my publishing today’s, I apologize for not including your thoughts.  I do so very much appreciate you!  Also, sorry for the infrequent posts. Sadly, I am still struggling with my neck and will do a post soon about my plans.
Blessings, Sue