Jesus Loves Me!

There is the sound of meals rolling down the aisle of the ward and the distinction of plastic utensils for every meal or the calling of staff for the starting of a group to attend.

During the weekdays it wasn’t bad. We kept busy with groups and doctor visits but weekends were awful. You may wait around all day in the hopes of a visitor, but most of the time was spent in your room or pacing the hall. There was rarely enough staff to take us out in what was referred to as outside. Ounce you got out, there was a very high chain-link fence to keep anyone from leaving. The other option was the TV room, which was also only assessable when there was enough staff to watch everyone. These rarely happened because the unit was usually under staffed.

During one of my hospital stays I met a precious little angel, we’ll call, Annie. This dear soul had down syndrome, was blind, heard voices (schizophrenia), and loved Jesus with all her heart. When the voices got really bad the only thing that would calm her down was singing, “Jesus Loves Me”.

She didn’t spend anytime outside her room with the general population. It never occurred to me to ask the staff why. I can only guess that it was too much stimuli for her to handle. There were a couple of us that would visit her during our down time from groups and meals. Any time we would hear Annie screaming we would get to her as soon as possible to hold her hands and talk to her about what the voices were telling her and the fallacy in what they were saying, pray with her and if all that didn’t work we would sing, “Jesus Loves Me”. As she started feeling better she would join us in singing. Such a simple song, that rang out the words of truth. A song that brought such comfort and healing.

For some reason that none of us will ever know why, they decided Annie should be transferred somewhere else. This made Annie very scared and anxious. I was with her holding her hand singing to her right up until the guys with the gurney started to take her away. I told one EMT “Sing the song ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to her, it calms her.” He said, “You’re a Proverbs 31 woman.” My heart warmed, my throat tightened up & tears ebbed on my eyelids (as is happening as I write this) and I smiled as he wheeled her away. There in a Psychiatric Hospital a patient, not as an employee, he saw something in me; in the psych ward where the most humiliating labels come from, that touched my heart and sent it souring higher than any bird you can imagine. That moment though my body was locked up, my heart and soul were in heaven!

I’ve been hospitalized over 35 times and I could tell you how God met me each time. Some people may see all of these hospitalizations as a failure of me not trusting God or of God not meeting me when I needed Him the most. But that could be nothing further from the truth, in each and everyone I can see how God has blessed me. He has either used me, open my eyes by someone else or both.

Sometimes I wonder why God chose to bless me with the thorns He did. But then I’m reminded that God can meet you anywhere no matter what the circumstances. I’m also reminded how truly blessed I am. I’m truly blessed the more bows in your arsenal the more lives you are able to affect. For that affect I’ll ask God for as many as He feels I am capable of handling.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the hospital and if God calls me to go again; wherever He calls I’ll go.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

Woman To Be Cherished

Proverbs 19 speaks about two types of women.  One that no one would knowingly desire to attain to.  The other, I believe every woman would hope that she is thought in such a manner.

and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.

Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:13b-14

In my lifetime I hate to admit but I have done my part of being a quarrelsome wife.  To be honest with you not only am I sure my ex-husband feel the constant dripping but I began to feel it to and didn’t like it one bit!  I wasn’t happy with who I had become yet I felt stuck and unsure how to become a wife he could cherish rather than one he wanted to avoid.

I looked to anything that I thought would help; self-help books, eventually therapists yes multiple.  One was good enough for me but my marriage was crumbling around me.  When I brought my husband in he was good until they started looking at his issues then he wanted nothing to do with them.

All the rest of that is for another time.  Suffice it to say my constant dripping didn’t help things and we eventually parted ways.  This caused me to do some very deep soul searching.  One of our issues was he left God during our marriage and wanted nothing to do with anyone that had anything to do with God.  My problem is that I had misunderstood submissive and put him in front of God.

So here I was without my idol, praying to God to help get me through this mess.  I was just where God wanted me.  Back with Him.  I had lost my first love.  It is my belief that our God being a jealous God allowed my marriage to end because of my idolatry.  He wanted me back and nothing else had worked.  I was working on the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.

In the 22 years of my singleness I have learned a lot about what it means to be a good wife.  I’ve prayed that God would make me into the Proverbs 31 woman more times than I can count.  I’ve prayed it with the thought in mind that my husband was the Lord.  This is what I’ve prayed:

I long to be Your Proverbs 31 woman.  May I be “a virtuous wife…worth far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life…Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land…strength and honor are her clothing; she can laugh at days to come.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her; ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, shall be praised.  Give the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Since I have no children of my own, when it speaks of children I think of spiritual children I may have, and pray that they would see me at least a little like this woman of God.

These past 22 years I have learned many things about myself that needed changing and I have learned that men don’t respond nagging.  To say it once in a loving request that builds him up is much more effective and will keep your marriage healthy.  Always in all we do or say our job is to build him up.

Now if you are married please don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating divorce or separation.  But if your single or if everything seems to be being taken from you, it could mean that God is calling you to a closer walk with Him.

He may be pruning you to make you into the prudent woman of God that He will eventually present to your future husband or to repair your relationship.  If this is the case please be patient once a bush or tree is pruned, especially when it’s been severely pruned it takes a long time for the branches to grow to the tree the pruner had intended.  For me its been more than 22 years just to get a boyfriend.  Please notice that word I said boyfriend and not fiancé or husband.  I’m perfectly content to be where God has me right now.

You may ask after 22 years how can she be content with just a boyfriend.  Well, I can see the tree’s branches and they are almost grown out to the woman of God that the right man deserves.  Secondly, there is progress in so many areas of my life only one being, I didn’t have a boyfriend this time last year.

How might we be prudent woman that are a gift from God?  A man wants respect, so in everything we do and say we must do it from a place of respect.  A man needs building up.  All day long the world tears him down.  Our job to undo what the world has been doing. Build, build, build.  A man needs to be honored.  So no nagging!  You may disagree at such things but that is what makes a prudent woman.  She isn’t a politically correct woman.  She is called out by God to higher standards.  She is called to live a righteous life.  Not that she will always succeed but she must strive to be righteous in all she does.

You might be thinking or saying well what do I get out of all of this.  Which let me remind you, this is our calling and we shouldn’t be thinking what we get out of it.  If I had told you to respect, praise, honor and don’t nag God, would you be so quick to complain.  Just as God loves and cherishes us when we do these things so does a man.  So do it unto the Lord as an act of obedience if you must or better do it as an act of love for your man.  Trust me when I tell you from what I’ve observed of friends that live a life this way, there is no greater joy and no better way to guarantee being cherished by your man than this way.