Spiritual Fitness Tracker

Triumphant faith presses on.

Mysterious medical marvels occurred during my fourth decade of life; a genetic illness, Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis which had been dormant in my past triggered on. In addition, my estrogen levels and metabolism plummeted while hot flashes and brain fog skyrocketed. Something caused my body to short-circuit. I scrambled to search for the factory default setting, but none existed.

Those of us with a chronic illness can relate to this story. While the period of time and disease name may vary the overall sense of our bodies short-circuiting is universal. We miss our old life “before” our illness and we grieve the person we used to be.  That person is still inside of us, held hostage by an uninvited circumstance or illness.

For me, the good old days prior to my illness, I led a balanced and active life. I enjoyed working three days a week as the neighborhood pharmacist. During my days off, I volunteered at my kid’s school, served as room mom, baked special treats for the teachers, and served in various areas at church. Physical fitness was important to me. I ran three to five days a week, competed in Marine Corp Mud Runs, and hiked the Appalachian Trail. I did not need a fitness tracker to monitor my steps or track my activity level because I was constantly on the move. Now I wear an electronic gadget to monitor my activity level. This pesky device prompts me to move when I linger in one place too long.

If we’re not careful we can allow our minds to be held hostage by our uninvited circumstance or illness. If we are not careful, we can allow our minds to wander off God’s intended path of peace (Luke 1:79) into the thorns and thistles of stinkin’ thinkin’. I pray for my mind. I pray for the Holy Spirit to prompt me like a spiritual fitness tracker to notify me when my mind lingers in stinkin’ thinkin’ too long.

When my mind begins to creep into the stinkin’ thinkin’ and when I begin to grieve my old life for too long, I dwell on the words of wisdom by missionary Paul: 

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

Philippians 4:8-9, MSG

We cannot control our unwelcomed illness or life circumstance. However, we can control how we respond. Whether we become bitter or better is our choice to make.  When the Holy Spirit prompts us like a spiritual fitness tracker to move, will we follow the prompt or will we linger? The choice is ours to make. Triumphant faith presses on.

~April Dawn White ©2019

Images courtesy of SnockSnap and Melkhagelslag of Pixabay

P.S. If you like this article, check out the online magazine Broken But Priceless. This faith-based quarterly e-magazine specifically nourishes the soul of the chronically ill and their caregivers. I call it “comfort food for the soul.”

 

Ransomed by Grace: Surviving Pulmonary Embolisms

Innumerable pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) in my lungs held my life at ransom. But grace, God’s grace paid the price.

April 14, 2018, I left the Radiant Roanoke Women’s Conference early.  My chest hurt and I found it difficult to breathe. Once home, I slept for three hours and woke with a pounding sensation in my chest. Despite the three-hour rest, my blood pressure skyrocketed and my pulse thumped at a whopping 122 beats per minute.  I swiftly packed an overnight back and my beloved drove me to the ER.

EKG, chest X-rays, CT scan, and blood work all pointed to one cause: “extensive bilateral pulmonary embolisms.” In everyday language, both lungs were full to the brim with blood clots. Physicians later determined the cause as one of the medications used to regulate the flare-ups of my chronic illness, Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis.

Blood clots in the lungs are fatal, but God’s grace prevailed.

Deep draughts of air expand my lungs to their full measure.  There is no more pain and no more coughing. The pulmonary embolisms are gone. With each breath, I meditate and count inhaling grace, two, three, four then exhaling praise two, three, four. Rather than being angry at the turn of events in my life, I am thankful. Thankful our resurrected King is still in the business resurrecting lives.

Our resurrected King is still in the business resurrecting lives.

This situation taught me the grace of God is more than a spiritual principle; it penetrates on an intracellular level for our good and for His glory. As we continue into Holy Week, let us remember to give God thanks for the resurrected King and grace in our lives.

“Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”Amazing Grace by John Newton (1725-1807)

~April Dawn White

©2019 Red Chair Moments | Image courtesy of Pixabay and Pexels from Pixabay.

Avoiding the Comparison Trap

I’m learning to avoid the comparison trap.

 

I am still adjusting to this stay-at-home-mom gig. This wasn’t part of my plan. Nor was the unexpected illness that put me here. It’s been thirty-four months and eleven days since I was medically forced to walk away from my career as a pharmacist. One would think by now, I would be adjusted to my new role, but I still struggle.

Finding contentment in this new realm is my struggle.

This summer, my neighbor had her backyard excavated to make way for an in-ground pool. Meanwhile, God excavated my heart to make room for contentment.

Per instructions by Priscilla Shirer in her book, The Resolution for Women, I scribed these words on an index card and attached it to the front of my fridge.

In my desire to find contentment, I began with a simple prayer: “Lord whatever my hands find to do today, may you look upon your servant and find me faithful. Amen.” 

Later, I simplified this to a four-sentence prayer: “Lord, find me faithful.”

This prayer is based on these verses in the Old and New Testament:

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NIV)

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV)

When I pray, “Lord find me faithful,” it helps me put on spiritual blinders. Keeping the simple prayer on the forefront of my mind repels my desire for comparison to others. It allows me to remain faithful in my role, where I am, and with what God has provided for me.

The death of contentment is comparison.

Steven Furtick

Pastor , Elevation Church

During God’s summer excavation of my heart, He showed me two passages in the Bible where the main characters felt unequipped and unqualified in their role because they were comparing themselves to those around them.

Gideon the weakest in his clan hid from the enemy. God finds him, calls him a “valiant warrior” and tells him to fight the enemy. “Go in the strength that you have.” (Judges 6:12, 14). Reluctantly obedient, Gideon and his motley crew of a few defeat the enemy in an unexpected way.

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we meet an unnamed woman who is a recent widow. Left with debts she cannot repay, the debt collectors threatened to take away her two sons. Desperate, she pleads to the prophet Elisha for help. Instead of helping, he asks, “What’s in your house?” She confesses to having only a little oil. Elisha instructs her to gather as many jars as she can from the neighbors. (Can you imagine the humility of having to ask the neighbors for help?) Elisha blessed what little oil she had and the oil miraculously continued to pour until all the jars were full. She was able to pay off all her debt and keep her sons.

What’s in your house?

How can you go in the strength you have to bless others?

In my realm of a stay-at-home-mom, I have the margin of time and rest in my day. This week, God found me faithful packing lunches for my friend and me. In my house, I already had all the fixings for Meg’s favorite snacks and lunch. Going in the strength I had, God found me faithful as I drove my friend to her chemotherapy infusion. We enjoyed our day together as we laughed, cupped mugs of piping hot Starbucks, and shared stories of God’s faithfulness.

Reflecting on the stories of Gideon and the widow woman, ask yourself:

How can you use what you already have to bless others?

What is God calling you to do?

~April Dawn White ©2018

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We Never Walk Alone

This year, I told my kids if they missed the bus they would walk to school. Situated on the outskirts of our neighborhood the middle and high school buildings are a twenty-minute walk from our home.

Today, Rachel missed the bus. Because it is picture day, I offered to drive her to school.  Visibly relieved, she sighed and her shoulders relaxed.  As I pulled out of the driveway, Rachel chattered about being caught up in the bus traffic, late to school, and possibly sent to the principle’s office.

I sipped the dark brew of liquid mercy and smiled to myself. She did not know I was taking her on a different route. Dropping her off at the front of the school would require me sitting in traffic and the carpool line for over thirty minutes.  Instead, I pulled over at the walking trail that meanders behind the school.

Rachel turned in her seat, “Hey, there’s Marcus.”

“Oh good, you know him?”

“Yeah.”

Turning back to Rachel, I offered my confident parental grin. “Good. Now you don’t have to walk alone.”

“What? You’re not driving me to school?” She questioned.

“This is the trail behind the school. Go ahead and get out and walk with Marcus.”

She was stunned.  I drove her to school as promised, but I didn’t drop her off at the front door. I dropped her off behind the school. She would have to walk between the softball and soccer fields and around to the side of the building. But, she would not walk alone.

We never walk alone.

Sometimes God will interrupt your progress in order to get your attention. Sometimes he does that as an act of grace because he sees you expending effort in the wrong direction.  What you are calling progress is actually paralysis from heaven’s perspective.

Steven Furtick

Pastor , Elevation Church

In the course of life, we all find ourselves walking an unexpected path. Yet, we never walk alone.

When the path we planned shuts down, God provides another way. We set goals to move from point A to point B, with a straight and logical plan of action. But God prefers the scenic route.

When I think back over my unexpected journey of illness, job loss, move, and betrayal of friends, I can point to precise moments along the path when God provided a friend when I needed one the most. Sometimes the companions who linked arms with me were cherished old friends. Other times, they were new friends who understood the isolation and struggle of suffering.

However, in the dark moments, when my brokenness overwhelms me, I cry alone. These are the days when my social media activity and text messages are silent.  I cry for myself and I cry out for God to help. God is the lifter of my head. (Psalm 3:3). His Word reminds me He will never leave us nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Friend, have you found yourself on an unexpected path? If so, you can rest assured, you will never walk alone. 

~April White

P.S. In the seven-plus years, I’ve been writing Red Chair Moments, this is the first time there has been over a month between posts.  While I’ve been absent on-screen, I’ve been present before the Lord. God is cultivating in me a renewed mind and spirit of contentment. He is teaching me accepting my circumstances is not the same as contentment. As the band, Rascal Flats sings, God is teaching me He blesses and walks with me on the broken road. Dear friend, I’ve broken my on-screen silence to remind myself and all of us, we never walk alone. Hugs & Hope ~April

©2018 April White| Images courtesy of Pixabay

 

Lies Moms Believe by Rebekah Hargraves: Book Review & Giveaway

I am excited I get to give away one free copy of the book and study guide Lies Moms Believe and How the Gospel Refutes Them by Rebekah Hargraves. (Read to the end for detailed instructions.)

Lies Moms Believe is the inaugural book by Rebekah Hargraves, birthed from personal experience of raising two littles and sharing these thoughts on her blog, podcast, and website.

Rebekah Hargraves wrote, Lies Moms Believe to help moms battle the lies and find the freedom intended for motherhood.  Hargraves writes, “It all started way back in the Garden of Eden, this age-old ploy of Satan. It was the very tactic he first implemented in order that he might drive a wedge between God and Eve, and it is what Satan still uses today in his attempts to produce the very same outcome of division in our own relationships with God. What is that tactic, you ask? It is getting God’s people to believe a lie.”

Lies Moms Believe debunks thirty-two lies moms commonly believe. Lies Moms Believe, uncovers the distorted view of motherhood and womanhood forged by culture and warped legalistic thinking. Lies Moms Believe, refutes the myths and misconceptions women accept as true with the absolute truth of the gospel of God’s Word.

Hargraves gathered information from personal experience and via social media polls to detail thirty-two lies most commonly battled in motherhood.  These lies are broken down into five areas in which Satan seeks to lie to mothers.  These five main areas are:

Part I: Lies About Motherhood

Part II: Lies About How God View Us as Moms

Part III: Lies About How We View Ourselves as Moms

Part IV: Lies About Our Children

Part V: Lies About Our Parenting Choices

As a mom of two-teens, (a son and a daughter), I understand the internal struggle of motherhood in a Pinterest perfect world. Even among Christian influences, the battles of lies, debunking myths, and finding freedom in our unique calling continues past the diaper stage. I never felt cut out for motherhood. When our children were younger, I often shared obtaining a doctorate degree in pharmacy was much easier than raising our children. Lies Moms Believe unearth nuggets of wisdom and truth and offer encouragement to moms regardless of the stage of motherhood. Lies Moms Believe is an excellent Mother’s Day gift. 

Rebekah Hargraves invites the reader to continue the conversation with the supplementary Bible study and joining the private Facebook group Moms Living Free. Lies Moms Believe is available as a print and e-book. 

You may find Rebekah Hargraves online at https://www.hargraveshomeandhearth.com/, on Instagram @RebekahHargraves on Facebook @HargravesHomeandHearth, on Twitter @HHomeandHearth  Follow Rebekah Hargraves and Lies Moms Believe using these hashtags: #liesmomsbelieve #lmbcompanionstudy #authorrebekahhargraves #gospelformoms #livingintruth. 

Lies Moms Believe Book & Study Guide GIVEAWAY!

There are several ways to enter this giveaway:

  • Subscribe to my blog. Scroll down on the homepage of RedChairMoments.com and type in your name and email address.

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

  • Share this book review post via social media. Each share to a different social media venue earns you one entry. Tag me or leave me a comment so I know you’ve shared.
  • Share via email. Notify me of your name and the number of shares.

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

I will announce the winner via blog post next Friday, May 4th. Thank you!

DISCLOSURE (IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FTC’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING”): MANY THANKS TO THE BLOGABOUT NETWORK FOR GIVING ME A COPY OF Lies Moms Believe IN EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST OPINION.”

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Rebekah Hargraves and The BlogAbout Network.

© 2018 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

God Works on Both Sides of the Equation

God Works on Both Sides of the Equation: Part I

 

From the pulpit, our pastor pronounced, “God works on both sides of the equation.” I scribbled down the phrase in my journal, pondering the significance. This eight-word statement befuddled and encouraged me.

 

Images of algebraic equations filled my mind. Solve for x. If 2x = 12, then x = 6. As a science major, math saturated my college years. Algebra was my favorite over Calculus and Physics, not because it was easier, but because it made sense. I enjoyed the delicate balancing act of solving an equation and getting ‘x’ all by itself. It aligns with my type-A personality where balance and order are essential.

God Works on Both Sides of the Equation Click To Tweet

Like my kid’s rock collection that crashed and fell in the rock tumbler for months, this phrase continuously tumbled in my mind. Unlike the simpler algebraic equations in life that I could solve, life had abruptly changed. A domino effect beginning with a health crisis in 2016 cascaded to a job loss and the need to sell our home in 2017. The sudden shift caused the algebraic equation of our life off balance. Worse yet, I wondered if it was unsolvable.

 

No longer was our life simple, clearly defined, and controllable. Our life was much more complicated and beyond my control. The simple equation of 2x = 12, then x = 6 was gone, replaced by a much more complicated equation that I could not solve on my own. 

But God continued to whisper our pastor’s phrase, “God works on both sides of the equation.”

One of the first steps in solving an algebraic equation is to get ‘x’ by itself.  During this period of abrupt change and insurmountable challenges, God reminded me to get alone with Him and to seek His face. When life is beyond our ability to comprehend, we need to get ‘x’ by itself—and get alone with God.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  (Psalm 91:1)

Alone with God, we can surrender our overwhelming circumstances. Alone with God, we can surrender our doubt.  

God invites us to trade our sorrows for joy, ashes for beauty, our weakness for His strength, and trust for control. (Isaiah 61:3, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Is there a complicated circumstance in your life?

Knowing God works on both sides of the equation, what would happen if you got alone with God and surrendered to the One who can solve any equation. 

I don’t have all the answers, but I know can solve any complicated circumstance for our good and for His glory, because “God works on both sides of the equation,”

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” (Romans 8:28, AMP)

Please join me next week for Part II of this story. I will share how God worked on both sides of the equation for our family and our homebuyers.

~April Dawn White

© 2018 All Rights Reserved.

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