A Season of Saturdays: Between the Pain & the Promise

I am stuck in a season of Saturdays.

The last three days of the Holy week, Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday, represent the pain of loss and the hope of the promise we have in Christ. What about Saturday? I understand the purpose of Good Friday and I eagerly anticipate celebrating the risen Savior on Easter Sunday. But what about Saturday? What is the purpose of Saturday?

As I studied the Bible for the events of the Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, I focused primarily on the last three days; Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday. I found it interesting that the gospels recount the various activities of Friday and Sunday morning, but there is little mention about Saturday. What about Saturday? What is the purpose of Saturday?

According to the Bible, the day after Christ’s death was the Sabbath. Jewish law prohibited work on that day. Perhaps each follower was pondering the words Jesus spoke during his three-year ministry. Maybe they were shocked and bewildered thinking, “This wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.” Maybe they felt stuck—stuck not knowing what to do next or how to pick up the broken pieces and move on.

I am stuck in a season of Saturdays. Stuck not knowing what the next step will be or which direction set forth. Like the movie Groundhog Day, I wake up and experience the same day repeatedly.

What is the purpose of Saturday? For weeks, I pondered this question. Slowly two words rose to the surface of my heart: wait and hope.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7).

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25).

“We wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

My season of Saturdays are filled with confusion and curiosity, grief and loss. I am waiting on God to ease my suffering as I try to make sense of all the life changes. Meanwhile I reach out for the promise of hope that Sunday brings. Scholars tell us the Bible contains over 8,000 promises. If you chose one promise a day, it would take nearly twenty-two years to read all 8,000 promises.

Are you in a season of waiting? As you wait, wait with the promise of hope in Jesus Christ. Together as we wait with hope, let us remember to trust God’s sovereign hand.

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay  *Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Gratitude Is Always In Season

“I want my old life back,” I sobbed to my husband. “Yesterday, I felt good and went on a brief walk. My fifteen-minute walk caused over two hours of muscle weakness and paralysis. Today, my entire body hurts.  This disease sucks.”

My beloved of nearly nineteen years, inched closer to me. He knows I needed a compassionate listening ear.  “I wish I could have my old self back just for one day.”

Sipping his own mug of liquid mercy, my husband asked, “What would you do?”

“I would run. I miss the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest, breath synchronized to rhythm of my pace, and sweat on my face.”

He laughed and said, “I guess I’m lazy because running does not sound fun to me.”

“After running,” I said, wiping my eyes, “I would play soccer with Andrew and softball with Rachel.”

“Now, that sounds fun,” my beloved said and offered a hug.

An hour later, I sat alone in my red chair reading Scripture and praying.  Peace replaced the sadness I felt earlier. It is amazing what time with the Lord can do. “Thank you Lord for the peace, Amen.”

Placing my coffee mug in the sink, I studied the kitchen chalkboard sign. The chalked verse and mini pumpkins have been in place for seven months. It is now spring. These pumpkins are leftovers from two seasons ago. I examined each pumpkin for signs of decay, but the pumpkins are just a firm as the day I received them.

Pushing back the darkness that lingers with chronic illness, I read the verse: “In everything, give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Gratitude is Always in Season Click To Tweet

The mini-pumpkins decorating my kitchen counter are out-of-season along with the candy cane Christmas kitchen towel, but gratitude is always in season.

Friend, are you stuck in one season hoping for another? Me too! As we journey together let us not forget that gratitude is always in season.

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay  *Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Rare Disease Day & Alongside Giveaway Winner

Rare Disease DayThis is the day the Lord, has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, HCSB)

Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February each year. The goal of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness to the public and lawmakers on rare diseases and their impact on patient (and family) lives.

Last year, I was diagnosed with hypokalemic periodic paralysis, a rare condition that is prevalent in 1/100,000 people.

I celebrated Rare Disease Day, as I celebrate every “good day,” talking with friends. These particular friends are battling their own health crisis. As I set out to encourage them, I was the one who was encouraged.

Do you know someone whose illness is rare or chronic? Perhaps you can come alongside them today, tomorrow, or this week and provide a little extra dose of sunshine and encouragement.

This is the day the Lord, has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, HCSB)

Giveaway winnerAlongside

Earlier this month, I reviewed the new book by Sarah Beckman, Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial. Click on this sentence if you missed the book review.

The winner of the new book by Sarah Beckman, Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in their Time of Trial is Leah L.  I will contact you soon for address information.

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay and Morgan James Publishing

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Alongside by Sarah Beckman Book Review and Giveaway

AlongsideRead to the end to find out how you can win a free copy of this book!

“The friend who loves their neighbor well in trial will continue to come alongside after the initial hardship is over”—Sara Beckham, Alongside

Most of us have experienced the desire to help someone during a time of medical diagnosis, loss, or grief.  What are we to do? Sending over a meal is important, but how can we love others beyond taking them a meal? Alongside, is a practical guide of helpful suggestions complied by personal testimonies of the author and others in their time of crisis.

Author, Sarah Beckman, has been on both the giving and receiving end of help. Within a span of six years, Beckman lived through eleven weeks of bedrest prior the birth of her third child and four back surgeries.  In her book, Alongside, Beckman incorporates her experiences with the advice of others to provide the byline of the book, “A Practical Guide for Loving Your Neighbor in the Time of Trial.” Alongside, features three parts, “First Things First, Taking Action, and Special Circumstances.”

Part 1

In the first part Beckman, explains that at the heart of this book is the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-40, NLT).  “Reaching out to help others is more than ‘just doing the right thing.’ It is our God-given responsibility” (page 5).

“It’s Not About You” is the title of chapter two and a reoccurring theme throughout the book. In this chapter Beckman, reminds the giver not to focus on their personal feelings, but the feelings of the one they desire to help.  This concept sounds simple, put as Beckman references throughout the book; often people unintentionally make hurtful statements to those they are trying to help.

In chapter three, “In the Know,” Beckman illustrates a tier system of relationship:Sarah Beckman Alongside

Tier 1: caregiver/close friend

Tier 2: friend/neighbor/co-worker/church member/sports team/shared organizations

Tier 3: acquaintance/friend or friend-of-the-family

Tier 4: infrequent interaction

I found this tier system to be golden. “Knowing your place in the life of the person in crisis will help you know how to respond” (page 15).

Part 2

The second part of Alongside, features a variety of ways to love thy neighbor by taking action. I suffer from a chronic illness and I found this section exceptionally valuable. The first year of my diagnosis was the most difficult. Those who reached out, who made themselves present, those who took the time to visit, those who invited me to normal activities and didn’t always talk about my condition, and those who continued to remember my struggle are the ones I appreciate the most.

Part 3

In the third part of Alongside, author Sarah Beckman shares five chapters of special circumstances such as in the case of a terminal illness, a messy situation, or when faith isn’t shared.  Regardless of the difficult situation, being present is the truest gift of friendship. My favorite quote in the entire book is found in Chapter 7 “Be Present.” It reads, “The friend who loves their neighbor well in trial will continue to come alongside after the initial hardship is over” (page 60).

Sarah Beckman AlongsideMost of us have experienced the desire to help someone during a time of medical diagnosis, loss, or grief.  What are we to do? We are to be a present friend who walks alongside them in their journey.

Meet Sarah Beckman

Sarah Beckman shares on her website, “I love coffee and green chile and golf and my Wisconsin Badgers. I love the water, but also the mountains. And I love traveling to Haiti…maybe because they have both.” To learn more about first time author, Sarah Beckman visit SaraBeckman.org.

Book Giveaway

To enter the drawing, subscribe to my blog:

  • Subscribe to Red Chair Moments on the bottom of the home page and  type in your email address.

To earn more entries, or if you’re already following my blog,

  • Share this post via social media. Each share to a different social media venue earns you one entry (up to three).
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  • Let me know in a comment where you’ve shared.
  • Notify me of your name.

Giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada only.

I will announce the winner February 28, 2017.

DISCLOSURE (IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FTC’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING”): MANY THANKS TO Morgan James Publisher FOR GIVING ME TWO COPIES of Alongside IN EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST OPINION.

P.S. If you are interested in reading more of my thoughts on chronic illness and friendship, read Four Lessons Chronic Illness Taught Me about Friendship.

©2017 April Dawn White

Carryover from 2016: Still Waiting on God

Waiting on GodThe Turbo Tax software asks, “Do you have any carryover from 2016?

“You have no idea,” I growl at the computer screen.

It is a New Year but I never had that New Year fresh start feeling.  I have a new word, a new verse, a new promise, and a new song for this year for 2017. All of this is new for 2017, but I am still dealing with same unresolved issues from 2016.

I still have a restless spirit. I was hoping that when the ball dropped at midnight (not that I could stay awake that long to watch it), my purpose in this chronic illness would be revealed. While the house has showed numerous times, we still have had no offers. I still don’t know where we will move and I still don’t know if we will buy or build a home.

These unresolved problems I hoped would remain in 2016. However, these problems have ignored the calendar. What are we to do when it is a New Year, but we have the same old issues?

I went back to my journal and underlined each time I wrote the word ‘still.’ Then God whispered in my spirit.

 “Be still and know that I AM God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Cease striving and know that I AM God.” (Psalm 46:10, NASB)

God reminded me that while I might have some carry over issues, that He is Sovereign and in control. I need to quiet my restless spirit and recognize that He is God and I am not and for heaven sake, stop worrying so much.

Consider:

  • Do you have any issues from 2016 (or before) that have carried over into this New Year?
  • How does the reminder that God is in control change your perspective?

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay © 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

One Year Later…God is Still Faithful

Today is the one-year anniversary of my medical leave of absence.

One year later, I have a diagnosis (Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis), six new medications to manage symptoms, and new teammates such as physicians, counselors, and a slew of online friends with this disease.

Over the past year, I’ve wrestled with God over a handful of losses; loss of self, identity, my career, income, and independence.  However, today, I recognize God’s steadfast love and faithfulness was never taken away.

“But I will NOT take my love from you, NOR will I ever betray my faithfulness.” (Psalm 89:33, emphasis and personalization mine)

When it feels you've lost is all, God's love & faithfulness will never be removed. Click To Tweet

One year later, uncertainty still looms as I ask the Lord many questions. I surrender each question to Him knowing I cannot answer when, where, what, and how.  But I know the Who and knowing God is all that matters.

One year later... God is still faithful Click To Tweet

Friend, do you have uncertainty looming over you? I encourage you to write out your questions and anxious thoughts to the Lord. Surrender each question to the one who can replace your uncertainty with His faithfulness. 

~April 

*Images courtesy of Pixabay © 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

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