Monday, July 22, 2013

Thoughts From Year Five: Home

I have finally entered into living my 5th year with Chronic Pain. So since I passed my anniversary of having chronic pain, I've decided to write a quick blog post about trials and pain. So here we are.



I don't see myself having a bright future. Nor do I see life turning out in a way that I'd want it to. As the pessimist I am, I've let my trials dictate the future I'll have. I figure it will all go wrong; especially if my pain stays here forever, and I will have to deal with it forever. Which will definitely be a hindrance and cause conflict.
Of course, I don't usually think that there's something wrong with thinking you'll have a bleak future, but tonight while going back and highlighting some quotes in a C.H. Spurgeon book I've been reading, I realized how many were just on trials and heaven.
This one stood out to me in particular,

"We do not know what will happen to us between this and heaven, but we can easily prognosticate the aim and result of all that will occur. We are harps which will be tuned in all their strings for the concerts of the blessed. The tuner is putting us in order. He sweeps His hands along the strings; there is a jar from every note; so He begins first with one string, and then goes to another. He continues at each string till He hears the exact note. The last time you were ill, one of your strings was tuned; the last time you had a bad debt, or trembled at declining business, another string was tuned. And so, between now and heaven, you will have every string set in order; and you will not enter Heaven till all are in tune. Did you ever go to a place where they make pianos, and expect to hear sweet music? The tuning-room is enough to drive a man mad, and in factory you hear the screeching of saws and the noise of hammers, and you say, "I thought this was a place where they made pianos." Yes, so it is, but it is not the place where they play them. On earth is the place where God makes musical instruments, and tunes them, and between down and heaven He will put all that is within them into fit condition for blessing and praising His name eternally."

That really struck me. What a way it is to look at trials as the thing preparing you for Home. When I think of the future I think of it in a pessimistic slant. And I realize that while things might end up awful for me one day, that isn't my only future. My future is Heaven.
All of these trials will just be preparing me for Home. I might have a horrible future here on earth, but it's only preparing me for my Brightest future-Heaven.
And to me, that is something to wake up another day for.

"What joy when altogether the jewels shall be put into the casket! Think of what they shall be gathered from! From poverty, from sickness, from beds of dust and silent clay they shall be gathered; from slander and rebuke, from persecution, and from suffering, from the lion's jaws, and from the flames they should be gathered, ten thousand times ten thousand of them, from sin and suffering to sin and suffer no more." -C.H. Spurgeon

God Bless,
   A.W.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When We Think We Are Strong



"I'm free, I'm free, I did dare to think,
I'm not, I'm not, I realized as I began to sink.
I once stood victorious on my sins,
Keeping track of all my wins.
I thought the worst was behind me
But little did I see.
When I thought I was firm and strong,
I didn't realize I was in danger of any wrong.
But by the time I fell it was all too late,
I was already committed to my awful fate.
I fell hard and low,
And my foolishness did show
There was no redeeming thing I could do,
And suddenly my self-righteous spirit I knew.
There was no reason for Him to let me live,
And yet His Mercy, He still yearned to give
Right when I stood strong and tall,
I experienced my greatest fall.
Yet He paid for these self-righteous sins on that Cross
And to make up for His sacrifice I am at a loss
By my arrogance I was deceived,
And after my fall, in the arms of forgiveness I was received.
For what good can I do alone,
When it is only by God's Grace that I have ever grown?"

God Bless,
  A.W.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Just Take A Mask


"'Be happy, be happy
When life is nothing but crappy
Just smile, just smile
Even when your trials stay awhile.'
The world says as they hand out masks,
Giving you instruction to complete your tasks.
'Pretend, pretend
From now on, for yourself you must fend.
Lie, lie,
Even when you feel as you could die.'
The world says as they hand out masks,
Preparing you for your tasks.
'Hide, hide,
No one can understand the tears you've cried.
Be perfect, be perfect,
Their approval will be worth it.
For the bar will be high
But you must not question why
You must put on a mask and take whatever comes your way,
Is what your instructions say.
You must smile and be happy
Pretend life is all but crappy.'
Says the world as they hand out their masks,
To each boy and girl, given such a heavy task."

God Bless,
   A.W.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thoughts From Year Four: Quotes For The Weary

After this month I will be going into the 5th year of my life with chronic pain.
This post might be the last of year 4, so I've decided to put together some quotes that I've found inspiring and comforting about suffering over the last year or so. Some of them might be long, but well worth your time. So here we go.

"But when the trial comes, then expect to have delight with it; for our troubles are generally proportioned in our joys, and joys are usually proportioned to our troubles. The more bitter the vessel of grief, the sweeter the cup of consolation; the heavier the weight of trial here, the brighter the crown of glory hereafter." --C.H. Spurgeon






"The furnace is a good place for you, Christian; it benefits you; it helps you become more like Christ, and it is fitting you for heaven. The more furnace-work you have the sooner you will get home; for God will not keep you long out of heaven when you are fit for it. When all the dross is burned, and the tin is gone, he will say, 'Bring hither that wedge of gold; I do not keep my pure gold on earth. I will put it away with my crown of jewels in the secret place of my tabernacle of heaven.'"  --C.H. Spurgeon


"The more trials the more bliss, the more sufferings the more ecstasies , the more depression the higher the exaltation. Thus we shall gain more of heaven by the sufferings we shall pass through here below. Let us not then, my brethren, fear to advance through our trials: they are for our good; to stop here awhile is for our benefit. Why! we should not know how to converse in heaven if we had not a few trials and hardships to tell of, and some tales of delivering grace to repeat with joy." -C.H. Spurgeon




"First, let me say to you, my brethren, it is necessary that you should have an 'although' in your lot, because if you had not, you know what you would do; you would build a very downy nest on earth, and there you would lie down in sleep; so God puts a thorn in your nest in order that you might sing. It is said by the old writers, that the nightingale never sang so sweetly as when she sang among the thorns, since they say, the thorns prick her breast, and remind her of her song. So it may be with you. Ye, like the larks, would sleep in your nest, did not some trouble pass by and affright you; then you stretch your wings, and caroling the martin song, rise to greet the sun. Trials are sent to wean you from the world; bitters are put into your drink that you may learn to live upon the dew of heaven; the food of earth is mingled with gall, that ye may only seek for true bread in the manna which droppeth from the sky. Your soul without trouble would be as the sea if it were without tide or motion; it would become foul and obnoxious. As Coleridge describes the sea after a wondrous calm, so would the soul breed contagion and death." --C.H. Spurgeon





"Some, without doubt, have a larger cup of sorrow to drink than others. But few are to be found who live long without sorrows or cares of some sort or another. Our bodies, our poverty, our families, our children, our relations, our servants, our friends, our neighbors, our worldly callings,--each and all of these are fountains of care. Sicknesses, deaths, losses, disappointments, partings, separations, ingratitude, slander,--all these are common things. We cannot get through life without the. Some day or other they find us out. The greater are our affections, the deeper are our afflictions; and the more we love, the more we have to weep." --J.C. Ryle

"Sufferings may somewhat pain and wear thee, but they will quicken thee God-ward, and sharpen thine appetite after spiritual things." --George Swinnock.





"Trials teach us who we are; they dig up the soil and let us see what we are made of." - C.H.Spurgeon

"As sure as God puts His children in the furnace He will be in the furnace with them." -C.H. Spurgeon

 "The flowers smell sweetest after a shower; vines bear the better for bleeding; the walnut-tree is more fruitful when most beaten. Saints spring and thrive most internally when they are most externally afflicted. Afflictions are called by some 'the mother of virtue.'...God's house of correction is His school of instruction . All the stones that came about Stephen's ears did but knock him closer to Christ, the corner-stone. The waves did but lift Noah's ark nearer to heaven; and the higher the waters grew, the more near the ark lifted to heaven. Afflictions do lift up the soul to more rich, clear, and full enjoyments of God." -Thomas Brooks







God Bless,
  A.W.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spiritual Helps



"Eternal Father,
It is amazing love,
   that thou hast sent thy Son to suffer in my stead,
   that thou hast added the Spirit to teach, comfort, guide,
   that thou hast allowed the ministry of angels
               to wall me round;
All heaven subserves the welfare of a poor worm.
Permit thy unseen servants to be ever active on my behalf,
   and to rejoice when grace expands in me.
Suffer them never to rest until my conflict is over,
   and I stand victoriously on salvation's shore.
Grant that my proneness to evil, deadness to good,
   resistance to thy Spirit's motions,
   may never provoke thee to abandon me.
May my hard heart awake thy pity, not thy wrath,
And if the enemy gets an advantage through my corruption,
   let it be seen that heaven is mightier than hell,
   that those for me are greater than those against me.
Arise to my help in richness of covenant blessings,
Keep me feeding in the pastures of thy strengthening Word,
   searching Scripture to find thee there.
In my waywardness is visited with a scourge,
   enable me to receive correction meekly,
      to bless the reproving hand,
      to discern the motive of rebuke,
      to respond promptly, and do the first work.
Let all my fatherly dealings make me a partaker of thy holiness.
Grant that in every fall I may sink lower on my knees,
  and that when I rise it may be to loftier heights of devotion.
May my every cross be sanctified,
    every loss be gain,
    every denial a spiritual advantage,
    every dark day a light of the Holy Spirit,
    every night of trial a song."

--The Valley of Vision

Thursday, June 13, 2013

There Will Always Be Someone



There have been many days in my life where I've considered suicide or self-harm. Dark thoughts towards myself have played in the back of my mind. They've given me reason after reason to leave this earth; they have plagued my mind for years. But I've not given in just yet.
And while I have struggled with depression for most of my life as a Christian, these suicidal thoughts are not foreign to me. I suppose you could call it a "curse", but even through it all I've had many opportunities to learn how to deal with it all and help others through it.
I know I am learning slowly about how to deal with these thoughts. But as of late, I've learned something new.

As time goes on, the more I have felt useless to everyone. I stopped writing a few months ago when my health was too bad to focus. I've not known quite what to do ever since. I've felt like all I am is a burden to the people I know, and troublesome to my family. I've always thought the world would be better off without me. I have never been that popular amongst the people I know. No one would have trouble moving on, they would be over it within the year.
And while I still feel I might be right about all of the above, I've come to realize that I'm not right about the last bit. 
I've noticed that many people who deal with suicidal thoughts tend to think that no one cares that much and that they'll just be forgotten, merely a foggy memory.
But the more I've come to deal with depression and the like, I've come to realize that there is always someone who cares. There will always be someone who will still visit your grave many years later and still think of you. There will always be that one person who won't just "move on" within a year, there will always be someone who will feel somewhat responsible over your death. And they will carry that burden with them to their own graves. All you will be doing is passing on the pain and grief you suffer to those you leave behind.

I understand that often it is hard to see who really does care. Often times it's hard to see things the right way when your mind is plagued with suicidal thoughts. I entirely understand that. It is hard to see. But I can guarantee you that there is always someone. Maybe there aren't always a lot of people at times. But there is always someone who cares that much. And who would be completely and utterly devastated over your death. There will always be that one person who will feel responsible and will struggle to forgive himself/herself. There will always be that one person who will have loved you more than you could ever know.
And when there is nothing left that you feel is keeping you here, or when you feel useless and a burden to your family, remember that there is someone out there who cares. And I'm sure while you read this you can see their face in your head.
Because while there feels like there is nothing left for you here but trouble, think of them and don't hurt yourself. Suicide isn't freeing yourself from grief and pain. It is simply passing it on to the people you know once you're dead.


God Bless,
  A.W.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

In That Happy Place



I hear day in and day out from the internet alone that while you are alive you should be doing things that make you happy. You should stop wasting time on people who don't care. You should be forget those who've hurt you and move on with your life.
To the world, this life is all about being in a happy place.
It's all about enjoying life and living to the fullest.
It has been burned into even our minds that we need to be in a happy place to live to the fullest.
Which is complete and utter crap.

There's so much wrong with that perspective on life.
For a first:
If I were to take the world's advice, I'd stop praying for all the people on my heart. I'd grow bitter and harsh towards the people who've done me wrong over the years. I'd forget all of the imperfect relationships I have with people. I'd forget all of the people whose memory burns alive in the worst of memories. I'd become all the more selfish and become a monster towards anyone who had problems with me.
In the world's view, I'd have to let go of anything that has even made me sad.

And not only is that perspective intertwined with selfishness, but it's also combined with the lie that the only way to live to the fullest is to be happy in life.
There have been plenty of saints who have been bright lights for Christ and have lived to their fullest, even though they lived in a very dark time. There have been many a Christians in great discomfort over sicknesses and pains who have proven to be happier when their trials were darkest.
Having the house you want, with your dream job, with your dream spouse, in your dream state doesn't always mean you will be happy and live to your fullest.
You don't have to be in a happy place, where everything is perfect to live your fullest.
While I agree that in life, we should live our fullest, to the greatest capacity, I don't think think this life is about finding that happy place where everything is fine.
Our greatest moments of joy are often found in our greatest trials.

And while I wish to see my friend's in a "happy" place, I don't say it in terms of having no strife. Because without trials we will have no reason to cling onto Jesus. And with no need for Jesus who is the core of our joy in life; we have nothing at all. So I wish my friends well and that they will live to the fullest, through their Saviour Jesus Christ.

In summary I suppose what I am trying to say is that while the world glorifies this "happy place" of the perfect life, with no sickness or pain, it is not always the best life where you will live to the fullest.
Often it is in our darkest times that we are happiest of all.

God Bless,
  A.W.