Monday, July 13, 2009

My Prayer

Many of you know that my theme for the year is prayer. It's something God has laid on my heart and I know that because it is of Him giving me this desire that it has remained a theme for the year. Growing, learning, spending more time with's not about me but for me and my devotion to Him.
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

More than devotion, it's glorifying Him, even during the tough times. I cannot say that it has been an easy year. There are times when I feel spiritually hoarse and unable to pray even for myself. I recently received a diagnosis that not only disquieted my soul, but made me realize that although God has the ability to heal me, He may choose not to. And I am okay with that. I have, in addition to depression, anxiety, IBS and fibromyalgia, an illness called bipolar affective disorder.

It has rocked my world. My depression had been under control for years but because of one simple side effect of one of the medications, we felt brave enough to rock the boat and switch it. Whoa. Wrong thing to do. I spent some time in the hospital and got that out of my system. We replaced it with three other meds, only to have one more added recently after a doctor's visit.

Prayer is something I'm doing alot of these days. I had reached a point to where I couldn't pray and ended up finding out that that was okay. I knew I was covered in prayer by family and friends. I also remembered this:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." ~ Romans 8:26 (NIV)

That said, I have issues with this diagnosis. I am reading about it to learn more; however, I wonder how one suddenly become bipolar at the age of 38. The more I read about this illness, the more I realize that the signs were there all along, and confess that I'm a little more put out with the fact that it was mis-diagnosed as unipolar depression. I did recently read more about how it can be triggered by an anti-depressant, specifically an SSRI; yet, I signs were there that I've had it at least since the age of 9.

At the end of the day, I know I'll combat it with the medications I am given and praise the Lord that it isn't something worse. My uncle is fighting for his life with malignant melanoma and I'm worried about bipolar disorder. Oh my stars!

Worries can really get us down. In times like these, or whatever your personal situation might be, I would encourage you to pray as I am right now, not only for myself but for those I know need prayer. And when you pray, glorify God. It helps lift us up from the pit, I do believe.

Teach Me Your Way

I think many of us crave a sense of direction in life. Perhaps we had it at one time or another and veered off the path of purpose God has set before us. We may tend to fall into the same routine and the same habits, and some of those may need to be re-programmed, re-taught, into God's way.

The Hebrew word for teach is yarah. This verb actually means:

1) to throw, shoot, cast, pour
a) (Qal)
1) to throw, cast
2) to cast, lay, set
3) to shoot arrows
4) to throw water, rain
b) (Niphal) to be shot
c) (Hiphil)
1) to throw, cast
2) to shoot
3) to point out, show
4) to direct, teach, instruct
5) to throw water, rain

I don't know about you, but I love to be directed, taught and instructed by God. To have His holy net cast over me, pointing out to me the things He really wants me to truly be shown is what I long for. I want His arrows cast into my heart and to have the knowledge He has waiting for me to flow through my being.

What are some of the ways we can be taught by God? Certainly one way is by reading our Bibles. We need to make Bible reading a priority. The Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, and the epistles of Paul and others are some of my favorites, not to mention Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation. There is so much to be learned, my friend. Won't you pray for Him to teach you, too?

The Hebrew word for way is derek. This noun means:

1) way, road, distance, journey, manner
a) road, way, path
b) journey
c) direction
d) manner, habit, way
e) of course of life (fig.)
f) of moral character (fig.)

If you search for the word path on my blog, you'll find that this is a topic of great interest to me as well. My heart beats to serve the Lord, and if I am not on that path...Suffice it to say that I need Him to teach me in all these ways.

Walking in Truth

Since receiving this new diagnosis, bipolar affective disorder, I have had to really distinguish between the truth and the lies my brain is sending. The neurons are firing in all different directions and it's a hard row to hoe getting them all straight. Indeed, I can't do it alone. One of the medications that my doctor gave me really put many doubts in my mind about things I knew to be real. I began to believe those lies, hence the hospital.

I'm getting better day by day and am asking God to help me walk in His truth.

The Hebrew word for walk is halak. Also a verb, this word means:

1) to go, walk, come
a) (Qal)
1) to go, walk, come, depart, proceed, move, go away
2) to die, live, manner of life (fig.)
b) (Piel)
1) to walk
2) to walk (fig.)
c) (Hithpael)
1) to traverse
2) to walk about
d) (Niphal) to lead, bring, lead away, carry, cause to walk

When we walk, we are either going toward something or away from it. My choice is to walk toward God in His truth, even when my brain says, "Run, Laurie Ann, Run!"

The Hebrew word for God's truth is 'emeth. As a noun, it means:

1) firmness, faithfulness, truth
a) sureness, reliability
b) stability, continuance
c) faithfulness, reliableness
d) truth
1) as spoken
2) of testimony and judgment
3) of divine instruction
4) truth as a body of ethical or religious knowledge
5) true doctrine

As an adverb, it means:

2) in truth, truly

Is it your heart's desire to walk in God's truth? To travel down the paths that lead to firmness, faithfulness, stability and continuance?

Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God, says, "God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways."

We are to listen to what God tells us in these ways rather than what our finite mind or the world around us tells us. Only then will we walk in the truth of God's ways. Certainly, as mentioned above, godly men and women come into our lives and give us some great advice, but God Himself is our Source.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." ~ Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

An Undivided Heart

When we sincerely desire to have the Lord teach us and are seeking to walk in His truth, we must have an undivided heart. We can't have one foot in the world and one in Heaven.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

While we certainly should maintain level heads and keep up with what's up in the world today, we certainly aren't to turn into Vashti, we must ultimately choose God or the world. If we choose God, we'll learn lessons that we can carry into eternity with Him.

The Hebrew word for undivided is yachad, which means:

1) to join, unite, be joined, be united
a) (Qal) to be united
b) (Piel) to unite

Yachad, or undivided, is a verb that implies action. If you are so far in the things of the world that you cannot see God, then it's time to unite with Him. Make a good faith effort to move back to where you need to be. I had to do this. Although I had never left Him, He would describe me as lukewarm and very divided. I ate, slept and drank getting my head wrapped around this diagnosis, when what I should have done was stay in the Word and in Him and let the doctor handle the tough stuff.

I am learning to walk in His truth by the ways that He does teach me by uniting my heart back with Him.

The Hebrew word for heart is lebab, a noun that means:

1) inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding
a) inner part, midst
1) midst (of things)
2) heart (of man)
3) soul, heart (of man)
4) mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
5) inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
6) conscience
7) heart (of moral character)
8) as seat of appetites
9) as seat of emotions and passions
10) as seat of courage

Are we willing to have our hearts united in the Lord? Are we willing to let Him restore us to strength if our heart has failed? Are we willing to be alert, displaying the strength from our heart of hearts?
Look at the root word of heart. Labab means:

1) to ravish, become intelligent, get a mind
a) (Niphal) to take heart, become enheartened, become intelligent
b) (Piel) to ravish the heart, encourage, make heart beat faster
2) (Piel) to make cakes, bake cakes, cook bread

Does this excite you? Ravishing, intelligence, having our hearts just so set! This is exactly what I mean when I say that my heart beats to serve my Savior! It is passion.

Fearing God's Name

What does it mean to fear the name of the Lord? Are we to be truly scared? No, my friend. God is not some cruel taskmaster looking for ways to punish us.

The Hebrew word for fear here is yare'. It means:
1) to fear, revere, be afraid
a) (Qal)
1) to fear, be afraid
2) to stand in awe of, be awed
3) to fear, reverence, honour, respect
b) (Niphal)
1) to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared
2) to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe
3) to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe
c) (Piel) to make afraid, terrify
2) (TWOT) to shoot, pour

I grew up to fear, honor and respect the Lord and the works of His hand. I am just now learning the self-respect thing - my self-esteem has gone from near nil to much better, but I still have a long way to go. But more than esteeming myself, I must be astonished by God. He never ceases to amaze me. The works of His hand are magnificent and the ways that He acts are beyond belief. I have such reverence and awe of Him, and I pray you will, too.

We can always count on God. We must never have a fear of doom and gloom with Him. We'll never learn anything from Him if we do, and our hearts will be so divided.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." ~ John 3:16-17 (NIV)

Praising God

God loves for us to praise Him and glorify Him.
The Psalmist did this all the time, and we should, too. Just as the people around us need to know that we love them, our God, who loves us so much, needs to hear it from us, too.

The Hebrew word for praise is yadah. This verb means:

1) to throw, shoot, cast
a) (Qal) to shoot (arrows)
b) (Piel) to cast, cast down, throw down
c) (Hiphil)
1) to give thanks,, laud, praise
2) to confess, confess (the name of God)
d) (Hithpael)
1) to confess (sin)
2) to give thanks

Aren't these wonderful ways to praise God? We must give thanks and praise to Him and we do this when we confess His name and our sins. We praise Him when we cast down the things of the world in favor for the things of God.

The Hebrew word for glorify is kabad. This verb means:

1) to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome, be honoured
a) (Qal)
1) to be heavy
2) to be heavy, be insensible, be dull
3) to be honoured
b) (Niphal)
1) to be made heavy, be honoured, enjoy honour, be made abundant
2) to get oneself glory or honour, gain glory
c) (Piel)
1) to make heavy, make dull, make insensible
2) to make honourable, honour, glorify
d) (Pual) to be made honourable, be honoured
e) (Hiphil)
1) to make heavy
2) to make heavy, make dull, make unresponsive
3) to cause to be honoured
f) (Hithpael)
1) to make oneself heavy, make oneself dense, make oneself numerous
2) to honour oneself

What way will you choose to glorify God? May our glory all go to Him, our Creator and Sustainer.

Heart to Heart: What makes you move away from God? How do you know it's time to come back? Have you gone through things that rock your own personal world and then look around at others and think, "Perhaps it's not so bad after all?"

Verse of the Day: "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

Prayer: Father, my prayer is this verse. "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever." ~ Psalm 86:11-12 (NIV)

When times are hard, remember that they won't last forever. I'm telling myself that now.
Breathe - Sometimes we just forget to breathe. Taking a deep breath re-fills our lungs and sends oxygen to our brains, clearing our thoughts, reminding us that God has us in His hands. God has made our life nothing but a vapor. "You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah" ~ Psalm 39:5 (NIV)
Focus - Focusing on Christ as the source of our contentment can help us find peace during the hardest of times. "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." ~ Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

Pray - God is faithful to hear our prayers. Just knowing He is listening is very comforting. Think back to a time when God has answered your prayer and remember His faithfulness. "I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer." ~ Psalm 17:6 (NIV)

Release - Literally casting our anxiety on Christ, we can find true contentment. The key to this is not taking that anxiety back. Leave it with Jesus, who is far better equipped to deal with it than we are. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ~ 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)



LAURIE said...

God is still in the healing business. Many years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar but God totally healed me of it. :) Praying for you. -love, Laurie

Denise said...

I love you my dear friend, asking God to walk close by your side. Please take care.

Melanie said...

So glad to hear from you, Laurie Ann... I have missed you!

I'm so sorry the last few weeks have been so difficult, but so thankful you have turned to the Lord and kept your trust right there. I'll be praying for you!!

He & Me + 3 said...

Laurie Ann,

You have been missed. I have been on vacation too, so I feel so out of the loop. Hope that you are doing ok.
I will be praying for you.

Amydeanne said...

interesting as always! and I missed ya too! i was gone too (on auto post on my blog lol for a few days) and all out of sorts this week trying to get back into it!

Saleslady371 said...

You have been on my heart, Laurie Ann. I,too, pray for your healing. My husband wasn't diagnosed with bi-polar until his 50's. He was diagnosed with ADD in his late 40's. I'm sympathetic and know this suffering. May the doctor find just the right meds for you.

Prayer is such a lifeline. I enjoyed studying with you this morning.

Love, hugs and prayers,

LisaShaw said...

Praying for and with you dear sister.

Jehovah Rapha is our Healer.

Bless you.

Lynda P. said...

I've been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features by my therapist because of my frequent auditory and some visual hallucinations. However, I never mentioned it to my psych because of the fear of being over-medicated. Right now, as long as the hallucinations are limited to night time and are not too bothersome, I'll just let it go and self-soothe by prayer.

It will be hard for you to accept the diagnosis. I know I questioned it for months but the improvement in judgment with my medication has shown me that it's a valid illness. But prepare for some struggle with acceptance.

I put the book you are reading on my B&N wish list so that I too can read up on it. Also consider joining a support group.

Take care, my friend.

Laurie Ann said...

I'm starting the support group next Tuesday night. And I'm in therapy once a week.