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.

5 Facts About St. Patrick

“There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.”

-Irish saying

Millions of people will celebrate all things green and Irish on March 17th.   But how much do you really know about St. Patrick? Over the centuries, we have diluted the true meaning of the Christian holiday in a sea of green beer, leprechauns and the elusive pot of gold. How much do you think you know about St. Patrick?

Here 5 facts about St. Patrick:

1. St. Patrick was not Irish. 

In St. Patrick’s book Three leaves of the Clover the Saint Patrick Story, St. Patrick describes being born in the village of Bannavem Taberniae in circa 385. The exact location of Patrick’s village remains debated; experts think his village was in England, Scotland, or Wales.

Patrick (probably not his birth surname) was born into a Christian aristocratic family. At sixteen, Irish raiders kidnapped him and forced into slavery for six years. The Christian faith instilled in him as a child, carried him through his captivity. As a slave he served as a shepherd and believed to have heard God telling him to escape. Patrick walked over two hundred miles to the east coast of Ireland and escaped on a ship bound for England.

Upon his return home, Patrick became a priest. Yet, the pagan people of Ireland were never far from his mind. He returned to Ireland to spread the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  St. Patrick served as a missionary to Ireland for over forty years, converting the Celtic pagan country to Christianity.

2. Myth: St. Patrick drove out snakes from Ireland.

St. Patrick did not drive out the snakes from the island, because snakes were never indigenous to Ireland.  Scientists consider the chilly waters surrounding the island are too cold for the reptile animals to migrate and survive. Ireland is not the only snake-free country. If you’re searching a premier snake-free vacation destination consider New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica.

 

3. St. Patrick chose the shamrock to symbolize the Holy Trinity.

While serving as a missionary to Ireland, St. Patrick used the shamrock as to symbolize the Holy Trinity. At the time, Ireland was a pagan country. Patrick explained the basis of Christianity and the Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with the shamrock. This readily available three-leaved plant allowed for an excellent visual illustration of the Holy Trinity. Irish Christians placed a sprig of clover in the lapel jacket as an outward symbol of their belief in Christ and the Holy Trinity and in honor of St. Patrick the missionary who converted the Emerald Island.

4. St. Patrick defied the King.

King Laoghaire of Tara lit a fire each spring symbolizing the beginning of the pagan festival.  King Laoghaire ordered no one to light a fire before him. One night before Easter, St. Patrick defied the king and lit his prayer candles, anyway. St. Patrick was passionate about God and wanted his light to shine in the face of pagan darkness. King Laoghaire was so impressed by Patrick’s brave defiance he continued to let St. Patrick’s light shine.

5. St. Patrick was the inspiration behind the hymn Be Thou My Vision.

Dallen Forgaill, an 8th-century monk, originally penned the renowned hymn Bí Thusa ‘mo Shúile, in the Old Irish Gaelic language. (Click the link to listen in Gaelic.)

Bí Thusa ‘mo Shúile,

Rob tu mo bhoile,
a Comdi cride.
 Ni ni nech aile,
 acht ri secht nime …

In 1905 Mary Elizabeth Byrne, an educator, and linguist translated the prayer, Bí Thusa ‘mo Shúile, to the English prose we know as Be Thou my Vision. In 1912 songwriter, Eleanor H. Hull arranged the lyrics to an ancient Irish folk tune called Slane. (Click the link to listen in English)

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

 

Whether you are Irish or wish you were (like me), we can celebrate the real life of St. Patrick, by allowing our light for Christ to shine defiantly in a dark world.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

~April Dawn White

©Red Chair Moments 2016, 2019 | Images courtesy of Pixabay

Finding Peace When All is Lost: Guest Writer Angie Nolen

Finding Peace When All is LostAs part of Advent, our church invited my dear friend, Angie Nolan to share on peace. Angie writes on Finding Peace When All Is Lost.  She knows full well the supernatural peace extended to her during pain and loss. Like the Apostle Paul, who also wrote from prison, Angie’s voice carries the tune of praise and peace in dark circumstances. 

Last week, my friend Sara and I visited Angie in prison, I asked her permission to use this powerful message as a guest writer for Red Chair Moments. Today, Sara and I will read Angie’s message to our church congregation during the Christmas Eve service.

Pour a cup on liquid mercy and settle in for a blessing. ~ April

Finding Peace When All Is Lost by Angie Nolen

My mental image of peace usually involves water—walking beside a tranquil stream, sitting on the dock at the lake, or soaking up the sun by the ocean while wiggling my toes in the sand. It’s easy for me to find peace in those beautiful places…when things are going well and life is good.

How do you find peace when life is the worst it has ever been? How do you find peace in the middle of the storms?How do you find peace when you’ve lost everything—your home, your career, your father, and your freedom? How do you find peace when you can’t be with your child; unable to protect her and guide her as she grows up without you? How do you find peace when people have failed you and you even feel like God has abandoned you?

The answer is you don’t.

But true peace has nothing to do with your circumstances, your environment, or your feelings. Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Click To Tweet

The reality is there is nothing you can do to find peace. You have to go to the water—the living water. Jesus told the woman at the well “If you only knew the gift that God has for you…you would ask me and I would give you living water” (John 4:10).

Did you hear that? “I would give.” Jesus gives the water. He IS the living water.  In the 23rd Psalm, David says, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” That sounds like peace to me. He leads. He restores. Christ says in John 14:27, “My peace I give to you.”

 There is nothing I can do to find peace. God gives it.

It makes no sense that I am able to put aside my sadness, worry, and fear to sleep through the night on a metal bed in this terrible place but I can. Paul, who also understood prison life, wrote Philippians 4:6-7:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 The keywords from Paul’s script are “prayer” and “peace of God.” Every night when I lie down, I pray and recite scriptures until I fall asleep. When I am too overwhelmed by emotions and I can’t seem to pray, I know that my brothers and sisters in Christ are praying for me and that Jesus himself is interceding for me, and rest eventually comes. “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8).

The world defines peace as a state of tranquility, quiet, and harmony, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. The prison in which I am forced to live for now is not a place of peace. It is a place of self-centeredness, anger, resentment, noise, conflict, disrespect, foul language, and nasty attitudes. It is very hard to feel peaceful here; it is hard to settle your mind and find rest.

But true peace has nothing to do with your circumstances, your environment, or your feelings. Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

It’s the quiet assurance in your soul that God is in control; He’s got you in the palm of His hand, from your first breath to your last—your past, your present, your future, and your eternal home.

So, if you are looking for peace—stop and ask. Finding Peace When All is Lost

The Holy Spirit freely gives us His peace, and we must shoe our feet with that peace so that we can stand firm against the attacks of the enemy and walk forward in faith.

~Angie Nolen

Stuck at 9: Cultivate a Grateful Heart

I ran across this old post from 2012. I polished the writing and sharing it with you today. While over five and a half years have passed since I wrote this article, the message of cultivating a grateful heart is timeless. Our son is now a freshman in high school and only a few months away from turning fifteen. This is a good excuse to brew another pot of coffee and take a moment with me. Enjoy. ~April

February 7, 2012

Today is our son’s 9th birthday! Although he has a small party planned with his friends in a few days, we wanted to do something special for him, on his birthday. Unfortunately, skating, bowling, and even the local arcade were closed. Oh the dilemma of having a birthday, on a Tuesday, in a small town, during the winter.

Fortunately, Dairy Queen was open and we savored our favorite ice cream. To the kids surprise the DQ had a video game corner. The money disappeared as quickly as the ice cream.Taste and see the Lord is god

The birthday boy shifted his weight with excitement and eagerly asked, “Can I have more money?”

“I don’t have anymore more money for games,” replied his father.

Suddenly the eagerness disappeared, the meltdown began, and I’m not referring to my mint chocolate chip ice cream. Instantly, it did not matter to the birthday boy that he already tore open his family gifts at dinner, nor did it matter that a party with his friends is scheduled in a few days.

What mattered was his ungrateful attitude.

 “In everything give thanks, for it is the will of Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In a moment of frustration, the husband blasted, “That’s it you can forget about having a 10th birthday!”

At home, the birthday boy quietly sobbed.  Wrapping my arms around his tiny frame, I whispered, “What’s wrong?”

“Momma, I don’t want to be stuck at 9!”

As I rocked the birthday boy in my arms and my mind wandered.

“Heavenly Father, is this how you feel when we are ungrateful for all you have given us? Does our ungratefulness cause us to be stuck where we are?”

I believe it does.

I continued to rock the birthday boy. I explained if he chooses to be ungrateful, than he chooses to miss the blessings God has to give. We prayed, “Forgive me Lord, if I’ve been unappreciative, ungrateful, or possess a “Me, me, me” attitude. Amen.”

~April Dawn White © 2012

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

Forget the Frock This Easter

As a girl, purchasing a new frilly dress, lace embellished socks, and white patent leather shoes, was my favorite part of our Easter tradition. Easter was the one time of year when we had new clothes. The rest of the year, we wore hand-me-downs.

Growing up in the Bible belt in the south, Easter was the one Sunday when the phrase “wearing your Sunday best,” took on a completely new meaning. Boys wore a suit and tie and girls dripped in accessories, even the parents have a new outfit. If you are a woman, you probably have a new handbag and shoes to match.

The memory of my childhood Easters returned to me recently when I came across a video called “Forget the Frock”. As I watched the video, I instantly connected with the mission of this organization. This Easter, forget the frock. Instead of spending money buying new clothes this Easter, spend the money supporting missionaries and feeding orphans.

Forget the Frock this Easter and Feed Orphans instead. Click To Tweet

This Easter, our family will support Serving His Children.
Our family has been ministry partners with Serving His Children for years. I am excited to introduce this organization to you. Serving His Children is a non-profit organization that partners with the Ministry of Health in Uganda to treat the severely malnourished, provides health education, teaches effective agriculture methods, shares the gospel of Christ, and brings communities together.

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27, NLT)

Forget the Frock

Forget the Frock, I’m wearing a Serving His Children T-shirt this Easter.

Jesus’ ministry included caring for the sick, the widows, and orphans. This Easter our family will refocus our attention on where Christ spent his attention.  This Easter we will forget the frock and support feeding the malnourished.

Will you join hundreds of others who are also choosing to forget the frock?

~April Dawn White

© 2017 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

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