Monday, August 29, 2016

Eternal store credit

God is the God of restoration. Even store credit restoration.
I had nearly forgotten about the misplaced store credit receipt issued to me by my favorite local boutique shop. Months ago I returned a piece of jewelry without a receipt. As is the store's policy, store credit was offered. The return transaction was recorded on a thin paper receipt which the recipient (me) was instructed to keep in a safe place until presented for use on a future purchase. I gladly accepted my store credit. I love store credit. To me store credit is a promise of a pre-paid shopping trip.
The only trouble with store credit is when you lose the one single recorded documentation of said credit. That is precisely what happened to my flimsy piece of proof of store credit. Upon receiving the receipt for $26.95 of credit I folded it and placed it in my wallet. For at least a month the paper stayed securely between my library card and my license. On a number of occasions I considered moving the receipt to a more secure location, such as my desk drawer, but I never followed through. I kept the receipt laying in my wallet, a dangerous place for little, thin crinkled papers.
I'll never know what became of that three inch by eight inch piece of invoice roll paper because by the time I decided to transfer its location, it was gone. Somewhere along the way my receipt must have slipped out of my wallet. In the shuffle of removing cards and cash the paper must have fallen to the ground without my noticing. As a result of my carelessness, I lost all proof and all right to my $26.95 prepaid shopping spree.
After much frustration and fruitless searching I put the whole store credit saga out of my mind. It was a loss but, thankfully, not a gigantic one. I determined to learn a lesson for future store credits and put all important receipts in a designated desk drawer.
It wasn't until I stood at the cash register of that same store six months later that I remembered the long lost piece of paper. As I placed my splurge of a wristlet on the counter my eyes met that of the same cashier who had issued me the store credit and the warning about the importance of the receipt indicating its value. In an instant the number $26.95 flashed through my mind.
The cashier must have remembered too because after some clicking around on her computer screen and a delayed ringing of my order she leaned forward across the counter and whispered a number. "$16.50" was all she said. The price of my purchase less $26.95.
I didn't have the right receipt to give proof of my store credit and I didn't ask to be reinstated that which I didn't deserve. The loss had been of my own making. The store didn't owe me $26.95 but that sweet woman remembered me, my loss and took action to provide me gracious restoration.
By my own will I wasn't able to look up the record of my returned purchase. Only the cashier could do that job. I couldn't compel the cashier to act on my behalf out of compassion or pity. It wasn't a convincing speech, a sob story or threatened legal action that changed the course of my store credit fate. It was forgiveness, kindness and grace of the woman behind the counter.

Isn't that just precisely the way it is with God? I didn't compel God to save me. When I was lost in my sin, separated from Him by the loss of my innocence and rebellious ways, I couldn't cry hard enough or yell loud enough to make God hear me and rescue me. It was by grace that He saved me.
I didn't and still don't, deserve God's mercy. I don't deserve the restoration of my soul. I don't deserve to be reinstated into God's family fold. And yet He looks on me with compassion and kindness. God knows just how lost I have been - more lost than my store credit receipt - and He has come to find me. Before I even knew I needed rescued and restored, before I knew I needed a search team or a Savior, God had His mission to find me and reinstate me planned and plotted out.

It is by grace I have been saved. By grace and unmerited mercy that God sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem me. He came to bring me back to a right relationship with my Heavenly Father. Forgiveness made possible by the shedding of Christ's blood on the cross removed the stain of my sin and restored my heart to be a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
By the actions I sowed in sin and rebellion I lost something more valuable than any amount that can ever be printed on a store credit. I lost my union with God, a deficit I could never overcome by my own will and work. I needed Jesus.
Everyday, every hour, every minute I need Jesus because it is only through His gracious work of restoration on the cross that I am made whole, complete and credited as eternally holy.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Have I soaked my seeds?

If you've read Pippy Love for any length of time you probably already know that I do not have a green thumb. I have been known to write laments about my lack of gardening prowess and have marveled at the very few plants I have managed to keep alive for more than a week. As my garden stands today it consists of a dead tomato plant, a baby fern purchased three days ago (give it three more and check back on its status) and the hardiest basil plant known to man which has survived an astounding two months in a small porcelain container on the kitchen windowsill. I water it from both the top and the bottom by filling the container with a shallow puddle of water every few days (read: when I think of it). Amazingly the basil plant has survived. Unfortunately every other plant has met its fate with the trash.
Despite repeated planting failures I still hold out hope for my gardening future. I tell myself that someday, when I'm older and wiser, I will miraculously become infinitely more garden savvy. My thumb will change colors.
In the spirit of enduring hope that springs eternal every now and again I do some online reading on gardening tips. Due to this sporatic studying, somewhere in my mind there is categorized a random assortment of good advice for horticulture success. To date I have yet to put any of this information to good use. Maybe, somday it will take root someday...maybe.
My latest reading on the art of gardening led me to a new tid-bit of gardening information I had never before stumbled upon. The gardener's secret to success is in soaking the seeds prior to planting. According to the gardening authorities, this practice will help the seeds absorb more moisture once planted. Experts call it a jump start for seedlings. In other words, pre-soaked seeds are more likely to be overachievers once planted.
The best gardeners make this one simple act part of their planting routine. Large seeds are soaked longer than small. Hot water is used, not cold. The whole process is amazingly simple. All it takes is  a shallow container, a thin puddle of water and a packet of seeds. That's it. The seeds soak overnight and the next day the gardener removes them from the water and plants them in soil.
By pre-soaking little seedlings the future of the plant is by no means guaranteed. The work of the gardener doesn't end at at the pre-soak. She still needs a green thumb, dedication and Miracle Grow. But the pre-soaking sets the her, and her seeds, up for long term success. One night in a puddle of water translates to hardier, healthier plants with a far greater probability of being vibrant and lush flowers in the future.
I love the idea of the pre-soaked seeds so much I want to put it into practice. Thankfully I don't need a packet of seeds to start putting the gardener's secret to work. I have a spiritual garden in need of some tending, pruning and precious time of pre-soaking.

The soaking stage for the spiritual garden isn't top secret but it is an often overlooked tip of the successful spiritual gardener. The heart most dedicated to Christ, most attune to the voice of God is the heart that has been soaked in the spirit. Before the Christ-follower produces a single sprout, before the child of God is even planted in the ground, they must be soaked in the Spirit of God and filled up with the righteousness of Christ. It is the pre-soaking that sets the Christian up for success of the soul. The heart is given the ultimate head start by being drenched in holiness and plumped up by the overwhelming fountains of God's goodness.
Gardening in the physical dirt is a beautiful picture of the work God is doing in the human heart. Pre-soaking is part of that picture. It is a vital step in the long-term development and health of the Christian life that, if neglected, will prove to stunt growth. We must first soak in the Word and Spirit of God before trying to sprout with holiness. The soul has to be plumped up by the spirit. Planting can come tomorrow, or the next day if God so directs, but soaking must come first. It is a critical and vital step that, once skipped, cannot be repeated.
Have I soaked my spiritual seeds or am I trying to get in the dirt before doing my time in the spiritual waters of God? If I try to by-pass the container and go straight to the soil I will never grow as lush as God intended. He wants me to be pre-soaked. He has the container ready. The next steps of planting, watering and sprouting will come. Someday a lush crop and abundant fruit will come forth but only after I soak but only after I spend time drenched in the Holy Spirit, God will bring forth a Holy harvest. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Life at the waffle buffet

Go ahead, throw another waffle on my iron. 
How's that for a life motto? I think I might claim it as my own. Consider this public notice, my own personal copyright, if you will: "Go ahead, throw another waffle on my iron" is officially my life motto.
Over the past six years I've been singularly focused on one particular waffle iron filled with a waffle batter made of dreams for health and healing. I have peeked into the cast iron claws of my iron, hoping for a golden brown waffle in the form of good digestion, healthy weight gain and abundant energy. Nearly every peek into the progress of my health journey has proven disappointing. My health waffle hasn't been crisping quite right. Every glimpse upon my uncooked waffle dampens my dreams. After six years of unsuccessfully cooked health waffles my confidence in a better future looks as flat and lifeless as a bowl of uncooked batter.
But now I want a new motto. I want new batter in the waffle iron and I want more irons. I want more challenges and new obstacles. In breakfast buffet terminology, I want to embrace the heat the chef feels while cooking up an abundance of gourmet waffles simultaneously, all at varying stages of crisping. The chef behind the counter stands at the ready with flipper in hand and a stack of porcelain white plates nearby. He takes order and dutifully fulfills requests such as added pecans, a dusting of sprinkles and "extra crispy" edges. The master chef can have a dozen waffles in progress without being overwhelmed. He flips the waffle irons at just the precisely right moment to produce the perfect golden breakfast treat.
The chef inspiring my motto takes orders with a smile and, when the waffle is complete and presented, takes a special moment with each eager guest to offer a thanks and knod of gratitude. As a child I used to watch the chef pictured in my mind at my family's yearly vacation to Ogelbay Park. In the elegant Ihlenfeld dining room framed with a wall of windows overlooking the pond and rolling hills of the park below, my parents and I would enjoy the resort's famous gourmet breakfast buffet.
A sugar loving child who never passed up an opportunity to eat cake for breakfast, my first stop along the buffet route was always the waffle station. Behind a long table draped in white linen stood the friendly chef who would take my order and dish up a the perfect classic Belgium waffle. The long line of waffle orderers - many being my impatient and hungry youthful peers - never phased the chef. He never seemed stressed by the heat of the iron's element or the drooling faces of children watching him do his work. This chef embodied my new motto: "Go ahead, throw another waffle on my iron."
After watching year after year the skilled chef dutifully, and happily, go about his work, it is now my turn to take up his motto and run with it. But first I have to get the right batter. Just ask the chef at Ogelbay Park and he'll tell you that the batter makes the waffle. Sure, the timing at the iron is critical but inferior batter will never crisp properly. The results of lousy batter will always be a lousy waffle no matter how precise the cooking time. 
After six years of failing to create even one good health waffle it dawned on me, I've been working with the wrong batter. Forget how many times I've checked my iron and tested its heat levels. The batter hasn't changed form. I've tried upgrading my waffle iron and I've tweaked timing but my problem has persisted because I haven't switched batters. Could it be that I am capable of creating tantalizing waffles, and many more of them all at the same time, if I would simply switched to a whole new batter?
So I went to my health bowl filled with a batter of half baked hopes and dreams. I dumped the bowl an dstarted fresh. I went back to God's word and reached for the basic ingredients of His goodness. I reached for the fruits of His spirit, the armor of His Word and the truth of His resurrection. That's when my batter started coming together. I could see the difference immediately. The color of the batter looked different than my self-made un-crispable health batter. This new batter, inspired and directed by God, looked like the stuff of cooking blogs and Martha Stewart Living recipes. It looked perfect because it was (and is) perfect.

The batter, the life, consisting of God's truth crisps up perfectly every time. What's the secret? It's what the batter is made of - Christ's love and God's glory. Every waffle made with this batter turns out a little differently. Some are crispier than others - per the instruction and will of God. Some have pecans while others have chocolate chips. But the batter is always the same. The love and glory of God is the base. All of the other ingredients and elements come together because God's character indwells within it and holds the scrumptious waffle of life together.
When I use God's batter and make waffles that are all for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ, I can have many waffles cooking up all at the same time. God enables me to stop having to sneak a peek at each and every waffle because He gives me the peace to let it cook in due time. I don't have to wonder if the batter is browning just right. I know it is because I'm using God's recipe. I have the knowledge and assurance that God will make the waffle brown while I go about my work, pouring my next serving into the next empty iron ready to feed the next hungry soul.
Now that I have the batter right I'm standing behind a row with more irons than I can count and each is cooking up just right, just for the glory of God. Each waffle is being prepared to deliver God's love and saving grace. Now that I am working with God's batter I can embrace my new motto and let it be a rallying cry as I cook up a life crispy and golden brown.
In Christ's kitchen, wearing God's apron, indwelled with the Spirit's recipe I can confidently say,  "Go ahead, throw another waffle on my iron."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tantrum in 9

Have you ever seen a child have a temper tantrum in the grocery store check out line? The saga usually unfolds this way:
A tired mother is pushing a loaded down mini-car cart through the isles of her local grocery store. This is the type of cart specifically designed to intrigue children. The seat of the cart is in the shape of a hot wheels car and comes included with a non-functioning steering wheel. The cart proves to be a satisfactory distraction for the child for at least part of the shopping excursion but by checkout time the allure of the cart has worn off. The child is antsy and the checkout line is boasting tempting chocolate bars and colorful sugary snacks. The mini-car cart is no match for Fun Dip and Reece's Cups.
While the Mom unloads the contents of the cart, the essentials for meal making and family feeding, her young son eyes up a caramel and chocolate covered King Size treat and his mouth begins to water. He must have the chocolate. Now. He cannot wait for the cashier to ring it up. He cannot wait to get in the car and unwrap the contents. He must have the chocolate, it must be king size and it must be obtained and devoured in that moment.
The Mom does her best to put off the child. If she told him once she had told him a thousand times that he could not pick out the king size chocolate bar. In fact, she had forbidden him from demanding any chocolate what-so-ever. If he demanded he would be automatically denied. "That's not how you ask for things," she had told him. And now here they were again. Son commanding he be indulged with the biggest candy bar on the rack and Mom refusing to budge.
Yelling, screaming, crying or fist pounding inevitably ensues. Usually all three. Sometimes simultaneously. The boy kicks the plastic floor of his car cart. He tries to reach out of the small window opening to grab the object of his desire but his Mom cuts his arm off at the window's pass. He increases the rhythm of his foot stomping and throws his head back as he lets out an exasperated cry. His outburst echos throughout the cavernous expanse of the grocery store, bouncing off the walls and drawing the attention of fellow shoppers.
In the end the child leaves either screaming and chocolate-bar-less or smiling and sugar-satisfied. There are only two ways to remove the child from the store: by force or by retreat. More often than not the child appears to leave the store by his own will. Toddler: one. Mom: zero.

The scene I've just described has been witnessed by nearly every adult who has ever stepped foot in a grocery store. Children want what they want when they want it. Sugar addicted children want chocolate, sweets and every tantalizing treat. They don't stop to think about the stomach ache or the discipline and obedience training of parents who have taught them "how to ask." The last thing the child is considering is the embarrassing scene they are creating in check-out line nine.
How is it that I can so clearly see the immaturity and foolishness of the child's tantrum yet completely miss the folly in my own?
I am demanding, too. I want to be healthy, successful, happy and whole and I want it now. Actually, I wanted it yesterday but now will do. God, like the Mother pushing a weighed down cart, is telling me, "that's not how you ask." He's taught me better. Demanding doesn't get me what I want. Crying doesn't cure my pain. Screaming doesn't solve anything. And yet I persist in my tantrums. I pass by the vitality and full lives of my fellow man, a temptation more enticing than a thousand king size candy bars, and I start to stomp and cry. I throw such a fit that even a two year old would be impressed.
Like the child in the check-out line I have to learn that demanding my way isn't going to solve my problems and it isn't going to produce a favorable outcome. God, unlike the mother behind the cart, never retreats. He always carries me out by force. He persists in His way and demands my obedience. There is no wearing down of God's nerves. He can't be overcome by tears or swayed by the fear of embarrassment. Even when I yell, God doesn't budge. When I scream, He doesn't flinch. He is unwavering in His parental duty to raise a child that behaves according to His teachings and commands.
There will be plenty of trips through the grocery store with God where I won't get what I want. God will check out without having me pick out the biggest candy bar on the shelf. But that doesn't make Him a mean, stingy Father. God sees that the king size candy bar isn't the best treat for health. Getting what I want, when I want it isn't necessarily the most beneficial nourishment for the soul.
God has the cart full of what I need. He did the shopping, is going to prepare the meal and will serve it at the proper time. No spoiling my dinner with a Twix. No ruining my appetite with Skittles. God has the perfect meal plan and He isn't going to let it be ruined by harmful sweets that won't do my body a moment of good. He cares too much for me to give in to my tantrums. He sees what is best and, through my screams, cries and yells, says, "No." He's taught me better than that. He has better than that in store for me and He won't let a little fit get in the way of my receiving His good and enriching plan for my life.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


"You don't need to be able to run a physical marathon. If you can run spiritual marathons, you are in good shape."
Those words rang out from Heaven as clearly as church bells on a Sunday morning. It was in a moment of need that God spoke into me confirmation of satisfaction. I didn't understand the need as I was expressing it but God knew the void I desperately needed filled and He came to my listening ear to provide the tender mercies my heart was aching to hear.
This need started years ago, back when I started running. I used to look at marathoners and envy their muscular legs, strong lungs and fierce bodies. In my healthier moments I fantasized about joining them in their quest for the finish line. Someday, I thought, I'll be running those twenty-six miles, too.
As the years passed and my weight dropped so did my running and with it my marathon dreams. Even if I had wanted to train and prepare for such a feat I wouldn't be able to force my body to cooperate. My weight and flaring muscles put an end to any ideas of training for a long distance run. To even an attempt a marathon at my weight would be foolish and downright dangerous. So I reluctantly let that dream go and re-shape my criteria for fitness. In order to cease judging my body by how many miles I could run and at what speed I had to stop envying the stride of marathoners. I had to change my definition of "in shape" and embrace the exercise of a brisk walk.

My vision of running a marathon has long been laid to rest and, until this morning, I hadn't thought on it for even a moment. No wonder I was surprised when God directly spoke to a deeply hidden longing that I believed was dead and buried.
As I sat on my bed with my Bible open to the book of Luke, God used the words in red, the words of Jesus, to remind me that the Holy Spirit was there with me, in the room. A sigh of relief filled up my lungs and brought an audible prayer to my lips. That's when I started talking to God, out loud. I normally - read never - pray out loud. I am more of a silent communicator. I pray to myself but I rarely speak to the air. As I meditated on Luke 17 I realized that talking out loud wasn't silly or a practice in futility. God was in the room. The Holy Spirit was as real as the bed I was sitting on.
So I started talking and what came forth was the need God had been waiting for me to acknowledge. Without an agenda, a dialogue or a plan I started speaking about my insufficiencies and insecurities. I spoke for what couldn't have been more than a minute or two but when I was done my heart felt lighter. Without yelling, screaming or crying I had vented the deepest parts of my soul and ended it with a smile and a new found peace.
That's when the voice came. That's when God responded. He reached into the shadows of my soul  and revealed my hidden desire to run a marathon. Then He lifted my burden on of regret and loss. In return He gave me permission to accept my life and my body apart from my physical capabilities. In one sentence He redefined my understanding of fitness and strength and gave new meaning to "in shape."
The world's measurements for physical success don't define who I am. I am not evaluated by distance run or the pace of my fastest mile. God doesn't judge what the world can see and calculate. He doesn't use physical accomplishments to evaluate man.
God measures fitness against the perfect ruler of His Son. Jesus is my yard stick. The "it is finished" of Christ is my finish line. I'm running in a spiritual race that doesn't come with a stop watch or a checkered flag. It comes with trials, struggles, hidden blessings of the heart and eternal bliss in Heaven.
Until this morning I truly believed I was done judging myself by the world's physical standards but God shined a light into my heart and showed me otherwise. God uncovered a guilt burden I was hiding. I was still wishing and hoping for a body that could run a marathon. But that hope is no longer hidden and it is no longer doing internal damage to my inner peace. God threw off the covering and threw out the desire. He looked at my heart, heard my prayer and met my need for acceptance with His voice.
Now I know the truth of who I am in Christ and my spiritual fitness. I am in shape as long as I am running my race to the glory of god. As long as I am matching my steps to Christ's and keeping pace with His speed then I can be sure I am performing at a level worthy of the ultimate gold - the golden streets of Heaven perfectly paved for running the spirit's marathon to the glory and honor of the King of Kings.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The buyer's agent

"Listers last." At least that's what they say in the real estate industry - whoever "they" are anyways. The idea is that the agent with the most name on yard rider will win the day. Riders in real estate are the equivalent to the lights of Hollywood. Every actor wants their name in those lights. Every agent wants their name on that "for sale" yard sign.
Every real estate market has their popular sign rider names and companies. Certain brokers have established a corner on a certain neighborhood or region and their signs can be as common as named street signs. But it is the name on the sign rider that really matters. That is the coveted spot.
The name on the sign rider conveys knowledge, trust and excellence, especially for certain properties. The top dollar, million dollar listings are the creme-dela-creme for real estate agents. The commission is sweet and the sign exposure can catapult the career of an unknown agent into the territory of home-selling superstar seemingly overnight. It's all in the sign and the name on the rider.
But in the world of real estate there is another kind of agent whose name isn't on any signs. That agent is known as "a buyer's agent." This kind of agent doesn't have their picture in the newspaper next to pictures of hot properties for sale and you won't see their name in anyone's yard. A buyer's agent works behind the scenes.
A buyer's agent's job begins with someone else's dream. A client with hopes and wishes for a house they can call home comes to the agent for help. There is no sign on the buyer's agent. They have to be sought after and searched for but when they are found they are an advocate and champion for the buyer. The agent takes up the cause of the buyer and negotiates on their behalf, hunts the market on their behalf and won't rest until that house hunter has had their "ah-ha" home sweet home moment. The buyer's agents job is to make the signs of the lister's come down without anyone knowing who helped make the "for sale" go to "sold."
When I decided to join the world of real estate I was immediately drawn to the work of the buyer's agent. The behind the scenes, stealth like agent intrigued me. The thrill of the hunt appealed to me. I knew I wanted to be a buyer's agent.
Despite the old adage that lister's last, I've taken my chances on being a buyer's agent instead and I'm confident I'll still last because I have a Mentor who has already perfected the business of working from behind the scenes. And His business has lasted longer than any lister's and has outshined every name in lights.
God is the ultimate buyer's agent. He works behind the scenes on behalf of His children like the real estate agent works for clients. His name isn't predominantly displayed on every transaction yet His hand is diligently at work in every market.
God doesn't actively solicit His services. Like a home buyer must seek an agent, the children of God seek Christ. He is there, in business and ready to serve but He cannot force Himself on the clientele He loves and longs to work with. They must see their need for an advocate, a guide and a help mate and then reach out to Him.
Christ has the license to save, redeem and restore and now He wants clients. He wants you and I to sign the notice that says, "I believe in your sacrifice and put my faith in your redemption. I am putting my life in your hands." There won't be a big sign to announce the transaction. God's name won't suddenly be hung on your chest. The presence of God will come more like a buyer's agent. The work will happen behind the scenes. The transaction of a transformation will happen quietly without a sign rider or newspaper announcement. But it will happen as surely as a deed transfers from one owner to another. God will take ownership and Christ will reign.
I want to be a buyer's agent because I want to follow in the footsteps of Christ. I want to work behind the scenes for the betterment of my client. I don't want to work for a listing or for a false security of lasting in this line of work. I want to work because I want to serve. I want to be a buyer's agent because I know a tested, proven and infallible formula for success that has been perfected by Christ and put on display in His Spirit. God has taught me how to do business and He's showing me how to be the ultimate buyer's agent.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


MS is like quicksand. It sucks you in and drags you down. When you thrash and fight in an attempt to escape its clutches, it only tightens its grip. Like quicksand, the symptoms of MS shift quickly and suddenly. One moment they are muscular, the next they are visual and without warning they can shift to downright painful.
When trapped in quicksand the body's natural response is to break free. When legs are held in a vice grip and the earth is swallowing up the lower extremities panic naturally ensues. It is as if the earth has opened up its mouth and begun to swallow the man whole. Who wouldn't put up the fight of their life?
Can you imagine the horror? One second you are upright and unawares, maybe out on a walk or a hike, when all of a sudden the ground beneath your feet begins to sink. You lift up one leg to try to take big steps out of the slimy puddle but it is as if the puddle is made of tar. The leg doesn't budge. In a moment of sheer terror you attempt to lift the other leg but instead of rising up you feel yourself sink down. Panicked, you try to move your legs faster. You attempt to turn around to see if anyone else is nearby. With every movement your body sinks a little lower, a little lower and a little lower.
We've all seen this scene play out a thousand times in movies and TV shows attempting to keep us captivated by suspense. In the movies the tactic works. Maybe that's why 3% of films feature such a scene but in real life the quicksand of MS is certainly not entertaining. It is debilitating. It can't necessarily be escaped with a pill or a routine procedure. Just like a great attempt to break free from earth's sinking sands, MS quicksand doesn't let go by mere force or strength. Attempting to thrash and claw out of MS will work about as well as trying to muscle out of the clay and water of physical quicksands.
The casual moviegoer might never have considered the reality of the dramatic quicksand scenes portrayed on the screen. Could quicksand really swallow a man whole? For most of my life I took the screenwriter's word for it and believed in Hollywood's deadly quicksand. It wasn't until I became stuck in my own MS quicksand that I discovered the truth behind the tale. Quicksand isn't a death sentence. It doesn't swallow men whole. Quicksand will release its victims but only once they stop fighting.
Acceptance of the quicksand and relaxing in it is the only way out, not so unlike MS quicksand. Thrashing against the chronic illness of MS won't make it go away. Tugging away from the reality of MS only puts the victim in deeper despair and depression. There is only one way to escape the life-sucking doom of MS quicksand and that is to accept it, stop fighting the facts and learn to relax in spite of the disease. Then, and only then, can emotional freedom be found.
MS will suck the life and joy out of its victims when they panic in its grips and become fixated on breaking free. All the sufferer can think to do is throw punches and break the disease's grip but MS doesn't let go that easily. It holds onto the body with a death grip and threatens to pull the emotions into a deep pit of hopelessness. But by relaxing in God freedom can be attained. It is when the MSer takes a deep breath and releases the tension of physical dysfunction that the emotional hopelessness that gripped the soul begins to release. God starts to pull the desperate, languishing heart out of the quicksand. When we stop trying to extract ourselves physically, God can free us emotionally.
Once out of the MS quicksand that was so binding, refusing to allow the heart the movement and freedom to trust, hope and experience peace and joy, something mysterious happens to the physical quicksand of MS. It doesn't feel as sticky. Although the symptoms may linger, the perspective of the sufferer sees them with a new pair of eyes. Even physical dysfunction diminishes in devastation when the heart is free to be happy and whole no matter what the body's condition.
Dear friend with MS, even if your body is stuck physically in the quicksand of your condition remember that you need not be emotionally stuck. Relax, breath, release your striving and struggling into the hands of God and let Him set you free. He will release the chains of the quicksand that has kept your heart bound in hopelessness and despair. God alone can free you and He will do it the moment you ask Him to be your rescue. He will break the chains, and the sands, that bind you and make you free. Free indeed.