The Unchanging Character of God

Drive Road sign Winging Path PIxabay“I the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:6)

Suddenly my world turned upside down. Suddenly I stepped out of a healthy active life into the world of chronic illness. Suddenly, periodic paralysis hijacked my body. Reading Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change,” was a balm for my aching soul. I prayed:

“Lord, I need to savor the words of your promise. God, over the past year so much of my life has changed; I desperately need the reminder today that you do not change. Amen.”

Identity Crisis image Pixabay

  • My health has changed…rare neuromuscular disease
  • My mood has changed …sometimes not so good
  • My abilities have changed…today I cannot lift a coffee mug
  • My income has changed…I have not worked in 8 months
  • My priorities have changed… rest and recovery are on my to do list
  • My posture has changed...my head droops and silent tears fall freely

Unlike me, God never changes. He never has an off day. His mood never fluctuates. He never wakes up on the grumpy side of the bed, because he never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121: 3-4). He does not have bad days, bad weeks, or hormonal changes.

God is always good, constantly kind, and loving. He is long-suffering towards His children and full of tender compassion. He brews a fresh batch of mercy every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

Because God never changes:

  • My praise has changed…I substitute worship for worry.
  • My perspective has changed…I pray, “Lord, bless my perspective.”
  • My identity has changed…God showed me I have been following the idol of self-sufficiency. Now I trust fully in not my ability, but His Sovereignty.
  • My security has changed…God led me here, and He will lead me out.
  • My trust has changed…I trust in the Lord with all my heart, trying not to figure it out on my own.
  • My ability to rest has changed…It is still a daily battle, but rest is a necessary part of this season.
  • My assignment has changed… Each day I ask, God want do you want me to do today?
  • My faith has changed…In my battle of this new chronic illness named Periodic Paralysis, I have witness God’s chronic presence in my life.
God stepped into my world of chronic illness with His chronic presence. Click To Tweet

For Ever Tree PIxabayWhile my attacks are episodic and periodic, God remains unchanging in His chronic compassion towards me, and it is well with my soul.

Friend, has your world turned upside down? Has there been a recent change in your life? Take comfort today that while our circumstances may change we can cling to the promise God issued in Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord, do not change.”

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.  *Images courtesy of Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Why Would God Induce an Attack on His Children?

dr-pepper-and-nachosMunching on nachos and drinking a fully loaded Dr. Pepper, I calculate the length of time since I last consumed these foods–seven months.

Today, I am purposefully trying to induce an attack of Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, the rare neuromuscular disease that hijacked my body nearly a year ago. My assignment for the next two days is to avoid taking my medications and to eat everything to trigger an attack. I return to Duke on Thursday for more testing. The neurologist wants to me trigger an attack so that she can conduct further nerve conduction tests while paralyzed.  (Doesn’t that sound fun?)

During my quiet time with the Lord this morning, I contemplated this process and wondered, “Isn’t there an easier way?”  I understand comparing test results from a good day/bad day will aid in my treatment plan. However, I know pain and paralysis is imminent.

“Isn’t there an easier way?” is the question we frequently ask when facing difficulty. God reminded me of his leading of Moses and the Israelites through the Red Sea. The Israelites probably also asked for an easier way.  “God did not lead them on the road…though that was shorter. God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea” (Exodus 13:17-18).

In this epic story, God led the people as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They followed God’s lead into an impossible situation between enemy territory and a body of water too wide to cross. Then God hardened Pharaoh’s heart knowing the King of Egypt would pursue them.  God also induced an attack.

The same God who led you in will lead you out. -Robert J. Morgan Click To Tweet

Why would God induce an attack on his children? Why would God purposefully position His children in an impossible situation? Often, God will bring us to a place of utter dependence on Him to bring glory to His Name and to prove that “I AM LORD” (Exodus 14:4).Caught an attack and impossible

Pastor and writer Robert J. Morgan wrote a powerful book titled The Red Sea Rules. Each time I read this book, I find new comfort from a familiar story of Moses and the Red Sea. The byline of the book is one of my favorite quotes, “The same God who led you in will lead you out.”

When you feel the enemy closing in and an attack in imminent, remember these two things: “With God all things are possible,” and “The same God who led you in will lead you out.”

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of author and Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

 

Hope in Christ: My Oasis in the Desert

“I cared for you in the desert.” (Hosea 13:5)

I feel as if I’ve been banished to exile in the desert. Periodic Paralysis, the rare neuromuscular disease that hijacked my body less than a year ago, forces me to live with restricted food choices and limited activities. My once active self bucks and strains against these new constraints.

During my quiet time with the Lord, I studied the Hebrew word for desert: ‘midbar’, which also means the place of the word. I am reminded of another time when Christ referred to himself as the Word: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1-2, NIV)

Hope in Christ my Oasis in the Desert

Today, I sipped my coffee, sat in my red chair, and pondered these things in my heart. My situation has not changed. I am still waiting for genetic test results, still waiting for an upcoming appointment to Duke Medical Center, still wondering what my future will hold.

 

Hope in Christ is my oasis in the desert. Click To Tweet

The One who holds my future is the One spoke the world into existence with a word (Genesis 1:3) and is with me in the desert. Hope in Christ is my oasis in the desert and it is well with my soul.

~April Dawn White

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

Victory Perspective

What if you approached your battle from the stance of victory? Click To Tweet

Photo courtesy of 88.5 Lite FMThe biggest battle I face is not wondering about direction in my current season. The biggest battle I face is trusting God has already won the battle on my behalf.

I love to highlight passages of scripture where God uses past tense grammar to describe a current or future victory. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

Joshua and Jericho

“See I have delivered Jericho into your hands.” (Joshua 6:2, NIV)

Joshua stands before a small city fortified with tall walls. Assessing the giant walls, God said, “See I have delivered Jericho into your hands.” I wish I could see the look on Joshua’s face at that moment. Queue the climatic music. Staring up at the walls, did he have a look of skepticism or determination? Before God offers an unusual battle plan, He assured Joshua, “I have delivered” this city into your hands.boots PIxabay

Joshua entered into battle from the stance of victory.

Moses’ Commission

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20-31 (NIV)

Moses led a million march–a motley crew of former slaves, out of Egypt through the Red Sea towards freedom. God in is mighty way parted the Red Sea and the people marched right through toward freedom. Before the split, God assured Moses, “I am sending an angel ahead of you…to a place I have prepared.”

With Pharaoh and the entire Egyptian army closing in behind, Moses walked in a stance of victory on dry ground as he crossed the Red Sea.

Gideon’s Call

“Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” (Judges 7:15, NIV)

A chapter before, the Lord finds Gideon hiding from the enemy. Now God has called him to fight. Before God issues an unusual battle plan (by the way, most of God’s battle strategies are unusual) He assures Gideon, “The Lord has given” the enemy into your hands.

Gideon enters into battle from a stance of victory.

The victory is yours. Go get it! Click To Tweet

sword-790815_1920 pixabayWe can learn from Joshua, Moses, and Gideon. These men faced insurmountable circumstances, yet they entered into battle from a stance of victory.

Before God issues an unusual battle plan, for our lives we can rest assure He has already prepared our future and delivered the victory.

What battle are you facing?  The victory is already yours. Go get it.

If you need musical motivation, I recommend listening to Go Get It by Mary Mary.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of Pixabay and 88.5 Lite FM

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Confessions of a Zebra

Confessions of a Zebra“Mom, since you’re a zebra” Rachel says tossing a zebra printed tank top in my direction. “You can wear this shirt to your doctor’s appointment today.”

“When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra.” Dr. Theodore Woodward

In the 1940’s Dr. Theodore Woodward coined the term “zebra” for any rare medical condition. He taught his University of Maryland medical students common conditions are commonly seen and not to expect to see a zebra. While exotic illnesses exist, these are highly unlikely and the simplest explanation is usually the best. However, rare conditions, like exotic zebras do exhibit. I am a zebra.

In February 2016, my neurologist diagnosed me with Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, a rare neuromuscular “zebra” condition that causes episodes of paralysis or severe muscle weakness. These attacks occur suddenly with little warning and may last for hours or days.[1] Periodic Paralysis has a prevalence of 1 case per 100,000 population. [2]   By the grace of God, multiple medications, physical therapy, and avoidance of triggers (which is not always possible) my attacks have lessened in duration and severity.Confessions of zebra, biochemistry

Dusting off the cobwebs in biochemistry, I’ve studied the Krebs cycle, action potentials, skeletal muscle movement, and dabbled in genetics. Taking a break from genetic mutations, I veered into zoology and began to study zebras.

Zebra fact: A zebra possess a unique stripe pattern similar to the unique fingerprint pattern in humans.

Zebra fact: Immediately after birth, the mother zebra will separate the foal from the herd for two or three days. During this time, the baby zebra studies the mother’s scent, the sound of her call, and memorizes the mother’s stripe pattern.[3]

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV)

Confession of a zebraSeparated from the herd, my Heavenly Father set me apart for this season, to memorize His patterns, to examine His character traits, to recognize His voice over the chatter of the world, and to study His chronic presence in my periodic paralysis.

Staring down on at the zebra printed tank top; a familiar verse rises to the surface of my mind: “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV).

Staring at the stripes Christ bore for me on the cross, I am thankful my medical zebra status, is only temporary.  “By His stripes we are healed” for all eternity, and it is well with my soul.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV and NKJV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

References:

[1] https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/hypokalemic-periodic-paralysis

[2] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1171678-overview

[3] http://animals.mom.me/zebra-foals-born-striped-9564.html

My Favorite Coffee Mugs

Favorite Coffee Mug

“My cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5)

From the kitchen cupboard, I select one of three favorite mugs. My daily mug selection is as important to the overall coffee experience as sipping the freshly brewed liquid mercy.

Last week I shared in the article Coffee and Fresh Brewed Mercy, how Our Heavenly Father offers more than your local barista. He has already prepared fresh brewed grace today with calorie free forgiveness and a bottomless supply of do-overs.

My cup overflows with a bottomless supply of do-overs. Click To Tweet

I choose a mug based on how I am feeling that day. Today I will share with you my three favorite mugs:

My Shepherd’s Gate mug was a gift by my writing mentor and friend, Brenda who has lovingly taken me under her wing to mentor and shepherd. Brenda introduced me to another writer, mentor, and friend Vie. These women saw writing potential in areas where I felt the most unqualified. This is my daily go to mug and serves as a visual reminder of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd.”My Favorite Coffee Mug

My Oregon Starbucks mug was a gift by my long time friend Bonnie, whose friendship spans over two decades. She currently lives in Oregon and recently send me an all-things-coffee care package including locally traded Oregon coffee, chocolate covered espresso beans, and this beautiful mug. Over the past several years, eight dear friends moved far away. I ache for their geographical closeness. I yearn for those friends who know my history and understand with one spoken word what is going on without having to give the whole backstory. This mug represents my distant friendships. I use this mug when I am feeling lonely. Enough said.

My Favorite Coffee MugMy Pioneer Woman mug was a gift to myself in November 2015. I purchased this mug and matching saucer the day I my family doctor diagnosed me with peripheral neuropathy and referred to a neurologist for the mysterious “other” symptoms. I use this mug when my hands tingle and go numb from the neuropathy or when I forced to drink coffee through a straw because I lack the strength to lift the mug during a Periodic Paralysis attack.

No matter how I feel, I know God has brewed a fresh batch of mercy just for me and in that “my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5).

What is your favorite mug and why? Please join in and share. I am eager to see the variety of comments.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of author.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

 

Pin It on Pinterest