Sunday, July 27, 2014


Girlfriends In God

March 4, 2014
Patience Pays Off
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12, NIV)

Friend to Friend

Patience is not one of my greatest strengths. In fact, I tend to live each day with a schedule in mind - an agenda by which to live that day and several goals I need to meet before the day’s end.

God does have a sense of humor.

I can’t tell you how many times my schedule falls apart, the agenda is completely forgotten, and I have to move today’s goals to tomorrow’s list of things to do. I am learning that when God wants to build a certain quality in my life, He puts me in the opposite circumstance. For example, if God wants me to be more patient, He arranges the hours and minutes of my day in ways that demand patience.

What is patience? To be patient is to have the ability to endure, but it doesn’t stop there. Patience must also have the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate. In other words, patience is love persevering and love waiting. We are not only to be patient in the way we face difficult situations but in our relationships as well. That just about covers life, doesn’t it?

One of the most powerful Bible passages on patience and perseverance is found in the book of James. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” Do you want to be blessed? Stand firm in your trial. Do you want to be rewarded? Stand firm in that tough circumstance. Be patient – because patience really does pay off.

God promises blessings and rewards to those who persevere and stand firm in hard times, but the reason we can stand firm is because He loves us unconditionally and promises to walk with us through every dark moment life will bring.

Nothing touches our life that does not pass through God’s hand, with His permission.

Remember the Bible story of the man named Job? Job was a faithful servant of God, strong in his faith and unwavering in his obedience to God. Satan didn’t like it. In fact, he went to God and asked permission to test Job. I love that truth! The devil had to go to God like an errand boy in order to get permission to touch His child, Job. Satan was convinced that if Job lost everything God had given him - his health, his family, and his possessions - if Job lost everything, he would curse God and follow Satan. God told the serpent to give it his best shot, convinced that Job would persevere. Satan stripped Job of his health, his possessions, his wealth and his family – everything Job held dear. Job stood firm.

Every trial must come through His love but every trial has a purpose. Every pain has a purpose, every ordeal contains a seed of victory, and there is a promise for every problem you and I will ever face. The psalmist writes, “The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy” (Psalm 28:7).

Patience pays off in many ways, but one of the greatest rewards of patience is joy. Joy is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. Warren Wiersbe writes, “When God permits His children to go through the furnace, He keeps his eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat!” God will never let us face more than we can handle with His help. Hebrews 12:12 says it so well: “So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.” I have been there, done that and can relate to a weary heart and shaky legs. Can’t you?

An evangelist told the story of his friend who, during the depression, lost a job, a fortune, a wife and a home, but he held onto his faith because it was all he had left. One day, the man stopped to watch some men building a stone church. One of the workers was chiseling a triangular piece of rock. “What are you going to do with that?” asked the friend. The workman said, “Do you see that little opening way up there near the spire? Well, I’m shaping this down here so that it will fit up there.” Tears filled the eyes of the broken man as he walked away. It seemed that God had spoken through the workman to explain the trials of his life.” God is using the trials here on earth to refine and purify us. In Colossians 1:11, the apostle Paul writes, “God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient!”

No matter where you are today, where you have been, or what you are facing tomorrow, be patient, knowing your God will strengthen you to stand firm.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


We have done A LOT since the stroke to accommodate this new life that we have (right now). This list is maybe to help someone else (and to remind me). (I have to actually go in to each room to remember). 

- Wheelchair bar by toilet, in Elijah's bathroom, and inside & outside shower
- took out bathroom mats
- installed push dispensers in our shower, Elijah's bathtub, and by my sink to dispense soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. 
- toilet chair
- grip strips in front of toilet and shower
- bought a permanent hair removal system
- bought a hair dryer hood
- bought an Instyler and Perfector for one handed hair styling
-  magnetic clasps for necklaces
- wear earrings with loop thingy (I don't know what they're called but the earrings without backs....)
- bought (well, it was a gift) a NuStep (kind of like a sitting Eliptical
- had a wheelchair ramp installed outside to the front door
- installed a low peep hole 
- have a Life Alert
- Crocs inside the house for traction 
- shop on Amazon since I can't drive
- bin by Elijah's bathtub with washcloths, his underwear, pajamas, bubbles, etc. 
- basket by front door with some of E's outdoor toys (because I can't get in garage where we store the others)
- bought a Roomba (I named him Carl) so I can vacuum 
- baby wipes on kitchen table to assist with clean up (so I don't have to go into kitchen and wet paper towels)
- a nice hand vacuum out and accessible to clean up after meals
- pill box (because it's hard to open bottles)
- stack of washcloths by bathroom sink to wash face (since I can't stand and do it)
- change clothes dryer door to other side to accommodate wheelchair in laundry room
- everything obviously down lower (in fridge, cabinets, closet, etc.)
- glasses instead of contacts because they're easier...transitions lenses so I don't have to keep up with or fool with sunglasses or clips
- flossers instead of using both hands for floss
- toothpaste with pop lid
- hooks in bathroom for earrings, etc
- new haircut that is easier to style one handed
- buy cans with pop tops, applesauce pouches with easy open lids, etc
-wear shoes with back strap (other sandals fall off my right foot)
- use straws (since I can't feel my right side I spill otherwise)
- change direction of some kitchen cabinets
- use disposable hot and cold cups with lids because left hand shakes
-use paper plates because a) I can't reach real ones and b) left hand shakes
- bought Corell dishes (for when Barry is home) to make it easier to load/unload dishwasher
- purse with cross shoulder strap 

Well, that list is not all-inclusive, but it's long. These things have slowly happened over the past 21ish months. It's not perfect, but these things help me function. (I even cooked dinner in the crock pot tonight!) We still are constantly thinking of things to make life easier. We have had to make a lot of accommodations looking over this list but I almost forget about it. It's life. :)

Monday, July 7, 2014


My quiet time this morning (I'm doing a Beth Moore Bible study with a group of ladies called Children of the Day) was about God's love for us. She addresses each of us as "Sisters loved by God." Coincidence? No. 

"I, Jude, am a slave to Jesus Christ and brother to James, writing to those loved by God the Father, called and kept safe by Jesus Christ. Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way! (Jude 1:1-2 MSG)"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Identity Change

My identity has changed A LOT since the stroke. Some bad and some good. Some examples - I used to be very talkative, a perfectionist, I had a good job, I took care of myself - eating right, exercising, etc. I was very independent.  

Now, I keep more to myself because not everyone can understand me and I don't have the breath for a lot of talking. I can't be a perfectionist because there are some things I simply cannot do right now and those I can do (which is almost anything now) are far from perfect. I had to quit my job (I had planned on leaving when Elijah got here, but being forced to leave so suddenly makes it feel differently.) I have put on a lot of weight and there's nothing I can do about it (i still eat healthy, exercise on the NuStep/yoga/treadmill at therapy almost every day...I have even cut the ammount I eat in half.) I have to depend on others - to drive, water the outside flowers, etc. I am now a mother (see, they're not all negative. I can't walk on my own, see clearly, use my right hand normally, etc.  

But regardless of how I (or the world) see me, I am a child of God. God made me and loves me just the way I am. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)