Friday, June 15, 2012

What Are My Real Needs?

During these past few weeks I have been in touch with so many people who are facing down various crisis in their lives. If you are not in crisis at this time, praise God. It is inevitable that such times do arrive and could be around any corner when we least expect them. 
One common thread with those I have written to and responded to as they have cried out  for help is how they have "lost their identity" -  they are grieving the person they once were or the person that was able to be more active ( chronic illness hit )  There are those in marriage and/or  relationship crisis and a whole new identity is having to be faced either because of divorce or because the relationship is having to be rebuilt. There is struggle in letting go of the  "old" to make way for the "new". There is despair in wondering if any beauty can rise out of ashes. Unfortunately, it is necessary for a fire to burn the old so that there are any ashes from which beauty can arise.
I am facing decisions about a new medical treatment that is needed but which has the potential for side effects I'd prefer not to have and so I am clutching at my faith in believing that God brings the new because He has a plan - a plan to prosper and not to tear down. When we are in the midst of the questions, the pain, the depression, the wondering, and the unknown,  it is hard to focus on what we know as the "feelings" are so intense.
It is a time to draw close to the ultimate Comforter - the Holy Spirit. His light has not dimmed. Our view has dimmed as we are being crushed under the cares that are upon us. We are called to rest in different ways, seeking Him and waiting until the roar of the cares calm down enough so we can receive His counsel.
I have felt impressed to post to my blog a devotional I wrote some years ago in hopes that it will encourage any readers who are struggling. I am struggling and it is good for me to return to "my own words"! I needed them then and I need them now. This original posting  was for Rest Ministries - an online web site resource for those who live with chronic pain and/or illness ( I am a staff writer, along with other writers, who contribute to one of their resources - daily devotionals. 
This piece is written in first person but you can transpose it to your own needs. The core message is that each day we are given enough provisions from God's basket of care to meet our needs. It takes choosing to go to Him and the basket and reach in and trust what we pull out is enough - that He is enough  - for there is none who cares about each of us more than He does.
Bless you as you read!
What Are My Real Needs?
“If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” His disciples answered, "But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?" “How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied 
(Mark 8:3-5).
Jesus’ teachings nourished the spirits of those gathered to listen to him. During this event recorded in Mark, their need for food was also met. A miracle occurred as Jesus broke the bread, had his disciples distribute it to more than four thousand and leftovers remained -- enough to fill seven baskets! 
In kind, God cares about my every need. He knows how undernourished I can become in all areas of my life. As someone who lives alone and with chronic illness, how can I evaluate what I am truly needing as each day dawns? 
Are my feelings on edge, my hopes on hold, or my spirit in need of some freshening? What is in Jesus’ basket for me? I’ll find prayers to be offered, strength from his Word, encouragement to relax and to cease from striving. Yet in this account I see something else. Jesus asks his disciples to distribute the food to the crowds. I am designed for a relationship both with him and with others.
Do I isolate myself from nourishment that friends could bring? Can I risk letting others know of my need for them? Am I willing to wait for their yes if their lives are busy? Chronic illness does not make me exempt from the desire for human connection. It is most important that I have enough. If I become drained, my own opportunity to bring nourishment to others is weakened. 
This Scripture passage reminds me that the answer to all I need has its foundation in God. He asks others to contribute as they come alongside me. Together, relationship is formed. The Lord wants no one to collapse on the way Home from lack of care.
Prayer: Lord, your basket of provisions holds bread blessed and broken. Your basket is always full. Help me to receive from you and from others the gift of relationship. Thank you that you meet every one of my needs in abundance. Amen.
from Lynn's manuscript: "Choosing Comfort: Words of Encouragement During Times of Life Challenges"

Breadbasket photo by Lynn 

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