A Word About Suffering

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Suffering is an interesting thing. We all try to avoid it like the plague, and when it comes along for a season in our lives, we wish so badly for that season to be over with. It’s interesting though, that the bible tells us repeatedly to expect suffering in this world. Not only that, but it says to “rejoice in our sufferings”!

  • Romans 5:3-5 ~ More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
  • James 1: 2-4 ~Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
  • 1 Peter 4: 12-13 ~Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Now, anyone who has truly gone through a season of suffering knows that “rejoicing” in suffering is probably the last thing we think about doing when we are hurting. However, if we look at the many different bible verses on suffering, it becomes clear that God doesn’t mean that we should be happy about the pain itself, but more so about the fact that times of suffering have a purpose, and that they can become something of such beauty and glorification of our amazing Father.

Whether it be to strengthen our relationship with Him, increase our dependence on Him, to mold us to become more Christ like, or something entirely different, suffering can have a positive outcome and work for our good, which is exactly what God wants for us. I don’t know about you, but yeah, I see that as a reason to “rejoice” when I am suffering – I know that it is a precursor to something amazing that will bring glory to God and work towards my good.

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If I’m being honest, when I first got sick about 5 years ago, I was confused, hurt, and very very angry…and this was on top of the suffering I was going through physically and mentally due to being sick! I didn’t understand why God would let this happen to me – I wasn’t a bad person (I mean sure, I have my flaws, but what ragamuffin doesn’t?), and I thought His promise was to work all things for my good…how could this be good?

Thankfully, I had about 3-4 years of intense suffering to really work through my thoughts on the subject. Yeah, you read that right, I said thankfully – even though I was so angry at first, now I am so grateful for all I’ve been through (even the flare-ups that I still get from time to time) and how close it has brought me to Papa. It’s one of my biggest blessings in this life, and I couldn’t have gotten that blessing without going through the trials I went through. I believe that it all comes down to this – He loves us way too much to let us be anything less than the best we can be.

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Let me ask you a question. Imagine you are a parent (or if you are one, just imagine real life 🙂 ), and you go to the doctor for your child’s checkup. The doctor tells you that there is a new medical procedure that will allow your child to be the best that they can possibly be. If they don’t have the procedure, their life will be okay and they will be fine, but they won’t reach their full potential, and they will miss out on so many wonderful opportunities that they could have if they have the procedure. Basically without the procedure, they will have a mediocre okay life, but with the procedure, their life will be beyond amazing and the best it can possibly be. There is no way the procedure can fail if you choose to have it done for your child. However, these are the conditions.

  • Your child will have to go through a period of great suffering.
  • You will have complete control over the entire period of suffering and you will be able to make sure it doesn’t become too much for them to bare, but they have to go through it for the procedure to work.
  • You will be there the entire time and will be overseeing the whole procedure knowing the outcome is the best possible thing for them. However, your child won’t be able to see you while they are suffering, and there will be times that the child feels as though you’ve abandoned them even though you are right there with them making sure they are safe and loved so dearly.

What do you choose? Procedure or no procedure? You know the procedure will allow them to live their best life possible. You know the suffering of your child is temporary, and you know you are always able to intervene to make sure it never destroys them or becomes too much for them. You know the outcome, and you know that the procedure is 100% effective.  However, yes, your child would have to suffer in order for this procedure to work!

Personally, I would choose the procedure. I would want the best possible life for my child. It would be extremely hard and painful to watch my child suffer and it would kill me if they thought I had abandoned them even though I hadn’t (I’m sure this is how it is for Papa when any of His children are suffering), but I would know that my child is safe in my hands, the suffering will end, and when it does end, my child will be in a much better place than if they hadn’t gone through it.

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This little analogy is what I’ve come up with while going through my own period of suffering as to why God allows suffering to happen. He wants what’s best for us, He already knows the outcome, and He will be with us, holding us and keeping us safe, all the way through the time of suffering.  In looking at it this way, I also tend to welcome and accept periods of suffering more easily now, and I can do as He says and “rejoice” in suffering. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t like the actual suffering part (as a matter of fact, I downright despise it), but I know I’m in good Hands that will never fail me, I know the suffering will end, and I know that when it does end I will be in such a better place! That is reason enough for me to rejoice and be glad in my suffering. God is good!

You’ve probably heard of the cliché saying that God won’t give you more than you can handle…yeah, I call bologna on that one! You will be given things that are so much more than you can handle…downright “impossible to handle” things! Nowhere in the bible does it say that you won’t, but don’t worry guys – He will handle it for you – that’s His word. That’s His promise.

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Whatever it is you may be going through at the moment, please know that you are held, that He won’t allow it to destroy you or become too much for you to bear. You couldn’t be in better hands, and He will be with you continuously till this season has passed. He loves you more than it is possible to fathom, and He already has a plan in place for you to come out of this period of struggle better than you went in.

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No one on this side of heaven is safe from suffering. We all go through times of pain and despair of all kinds, but my friends, I have great news – there is always the possibility of beauty from suffering, and this is God’s promise. He doesn’t promise that we won’t have suffering…quite the opposite actually – He is very specific in that we will have suffering in this world, but take heart! He has overcome the world!

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Karma vs. Grace

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In the past few weeks, I’ve had three different friends ask me about scenarios involving something they did or something that someone else did, and they were curious about my opinion as to what it meant karmically for the person involved. My response was the same in all three instances: “I don’t believe in karma, I believe in grace”.

Before we get started, let me preface this post by saying that this is based solely off my experiences and my belief. By no means am I any sort of expert. In fact, it’s a good day when I get a question from a friend and I have an answer other than “I don’t know”. However, what (or rather who) I do know is Jesus Christ, and I know that He is good, and He is always in my corner, regardless of the mistakes I’ve made in the past, the mistakes I’ve just made today, or the mistakes I will make in the future.

All that being said, let’s get back to the subject at hand: Karma vs. Grace. Yeah, like I said, I don’t believe in karma, I believe in grace. Let me explain. I’ve seen people who are some of the most loving and kind people I’ve ever met go through absolutely horrendous circumstances, and I’ve seen people do terrible things and get rewarded for those things. If karma were at play, these people would supposively be getting what they deserve?  Sorry, that just doesn’t add up to me.  So, no, I don’t believe in karma. Otherwise, let’s face it, we would all be fairly screwed, right? I mean, nobody’s perfect…we all make mistakes.

So, that explains my thoughts on karma, but why do I believe in grace? That answer is easy. God loves me and He loves you. Personally, I know I fall short and fail Him probably on a daily basis. There’s not a person on this earth that hasn’t screwed up at some point in their lives. And yet, guys, He loves us SO much – how is this even possible? I’ll tell you how – grace. God’s grace, His love, is unending and unfailing – it doesn’t matter what we’ve done, He loves us more than we can possibly fathom, He delights in us always, and when we mess up all He wants is to shower us with grace.

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Let me try to put this into perspective. Parents, if your child just royally messed up and made a huge mistake, wouldn’t you want your child to feel safe enough with you and trust you enough to come running to you in this event? You certainly wouldn’t want them to be scared, worried and feeling guilty all by themselves. Whatever they did may make you upset, but it certainly doesn’t change your love for them, and whatever it is, you would want to help them work through it supporting them, loving them, protecting them, and just guiding them in a better direction. In the exact same way, when we mess up, He just wants us to come running to Him, like the prodigal son, so He can hold us in His loving arms and reassure us that He made us, and what He makes is beautiful. To reassure us that He has washed us and made us clean…just like that *poof* – sin erased, sin forgotten, we’re forgiven, and we’re held.  We can breath in His love, we’re safe, and we can trust.

Wait, though, can it really be that easy? Yeah, it can. That’s grace. That’s God. That’s good. Maybe this is why it’s so hard for many of us to accept this gift of grace. It’s too easy. We live in a society that says the only way to gain something is to work for it, to give something up for it…nothing is free. We think we must have to do something to earn this, but no guys, He did all the work for us.  All we have to do is accept this gift, to accept Him. That’s it. Done deal. What an awesome gift, grace.

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Some of you may be thinking telling people this may be risky. I mean, does this “grace” concept mean that people can just sin as they please, because they will be forgiven. Does it mean we don’t have to do good for others?  Well, it’s true, there is risk involved. However, I can tell you from personal experience that once you’ve truly experienced the love and grace of God, once His light has seeped into the cracks of our brokenness illuminating all of our dark places, once you see that you can trust Him, that He is your loving Father who is especially fond of you, you’re not going to want to sin anymore – you just won’t.  Not only that, but after feeling God’s tremendous love for you, it will be hard to keep it to yourself.  You will want to serve others and share that love, because you will be bursting at the seams with it!

Let me be clear, not wanting to sin and not sinning are two very different things.  For instance, the women in my family (myself very much included) have a bit of temper.  It takes quite a bit for it to come out, but when it does, watch out, actually watching out isn’t enough, probably better to just run…no really, run away…fast. 🙂  Anyway, reason I bring it up, is because anytime that my temper has gotten the best of me, and maybe I’ve said something I shouldn’t have or raised my voice when I shouldn’t have, it’s not that I wanted that to happen.  It’s just that I’m a work in progress, and even though I know the things I have to work on and want to change them, that doesn’t mean I won’t stumble along the way.  Thank God for grace!

We all sin, we all fall short, we all fail, but hey, guess what? God already knows all the mistakes you’re going to make, and He already has a plan in place to pick you up, brush you off, and make that mistake into something beautiful. Probably not what we deserve as I know, personally, I’ve made some doozies in the past, but that’s the beauty of grace – we don’t get what we deserve, we get unmerited favor, we get grace. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that over karma every single time!

1Peter 5-10

Wishing you a day full of grace!  God bless you!

Anti Inflammatory Cauliflower and Injury Update

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As I explained in my post on extensor tendonitis, I’m injured.

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Sooooo, I am on week 4 of complete rest, and I am going somewhat insane with cabin fever, but I am hanging in there…sort of…

Last time I updated, I was just starting complete rest and the light therapy.  I’ve done the light therapy for 3 1/2 weeks now. I’m not sure if it’s really doing anything, so I am backing off on using it and will only use it sporadically here and there.  At my last PT session, we decided to try putting me in one of those air boots.  It felt okay for about 1/2 an hour, but after about 6 hours in that thing, my foot was actually feeling worse, so I decided that’s a no go.  We also tried massage – hokey pete, that hurt!!!  I didn’t want to do dry needling, so we tried “irritating” the area with massage.  That turned out about as well as you would expect it to from the sounds of it – won’t be doing that again!  I do think that once the pain settles down much more (yes, it has settled down some) that massage will be good for the tightness.

Okay, so let’s talk about some positives.  The things I have noticed that have helped a bit are icing, resting, and eating as much turmeric as is humanly possible.  I’m  noticing that I can now sit indian style without much pain, which was an impossibility before.  I also notice that I can wiggle, point and flex my toes with much less difficulty and pain.

I’m thinking I’m going to have to go old school with this injury and just follow R.I.C.E and stretches.  I’ve notice that my body doesn’t seem to like anything aggressive, so I’m going to have to just be patient and gently guide my body in the right direction to healing.  I’ll get there, it’s just going to take some time.  I’m hoping to be walking again in another month or so, and then I will get back to running VERY slowly hopefully next fall.

So, as I mentioned, I have been eating TONS of turmeric!

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This spice is one of the best anti-inflammatory spices you can possibly put in your body.  Many people use it to treat pain as opposed to anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, because it’s MUCH better for your body, and it WORKS!  I’ve been making a lot of rutabaga fries using turmeric as my seasoning.  I also have a great recipe for turmeric cauliflower, and I’ve been eating it as much as possible!  It’s delicious, easy to make, SO healthy, and STRONGLY anti-inflammatory!  Not only is the turmeric anti-inflammatory, but so are ALL the other ingredients!

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY TURMERIC CAULIFLOWER

Ingredients:

  • Red Onion, chopped
  • Cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • turmeric
  • sea salt
  • water

Directions:

1.) In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

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2.) Add your cauliflower, garlic powder, turmeric, and sea salt.  Stir to combine.  Add a small amount of water, then cook until the cauliflower is tender (or to desired consistency), probably about 10 minutes.

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Transfer to a plate, and enjoy! 🙂

 

Happy Easter! 10 Bible Verses for Easter Day

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The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.  ~Robert Flatt

I love this quote. No one on this side of heaven is immune to suffering, and the great news Christ provided for us by dying on the cross and rising again three days later is that no matter what your circumstances are, no matter how bad things seem and how terribly you are struggling, this is temporary! Christ’s resurrection gives us hope and promises us that we have a fantastic future full of amazing blessings in front of us.

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He shows us that A LOT can happen in just three days. Things can ALWAYS turn around, and this is what He wants for us. When you are faced with a difficult situation that seems downright impossible, remember that Christ is risen showing you that you too shall rise! Bask in that beauty today as we celebrate that Christ is risen and that He lives in each and every one of us!

As you go through your day today, here are 10 bible verses to meditate on, hold tight to, and to just take comfort in.

1.) Luke 24:46-47 – The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name.

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2.) 1 Peter 1:3 – According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

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3.) Romans 6:5 – For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

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4.) 1 Corinthians 6:14 – God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

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5.) Philippians 3:10 – …that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…

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6.) Mark 16: 5-7 – As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  “Don’t be alarmed,” he said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”

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7.) John 11:25-26 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe in this?”

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8.) John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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9.) Romans 8:34 – Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

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10.) Romans 6:8-11 – Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

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Let today be a reminder of how much you are loved and treasured by God! Be comforted that whatever trials you may be facing right now, God will bring them to pass. He has you in the palm of His hand and will never fail you! Happy Easter, friends! He is Risen! J ❤

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Dealing with a Runner Injury (Extensor Tendonitis) – Laughing Through My Pain

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Ack!!!  I’m injured! 😦

About two months ago, I finally had to admit that the nagging pain on my foot wasn’t just a little ache or pain that would go away even if I kept running on it…ugh.  I had been noticing a nagging pain on the top of my foot running over my ankle towards my toes for about a month, and because I’m a runner, I was in complete denial.

028fc4c527438aa9e052a3bf37065a9eDoc: It’s red and swollen.  Me: No!  My feet are just blushing.

Once I got to the point where I was actually limping while running, I decided it was time to call it.  After a normal x-ray and MRI, we’ve settled on the diagnosis of extensor tendonitis of the foot…aka – evil inflammation that makes you want to cuss at the top of your lungs.

Okay, so what now?  Of course, my first question to my doctor and pt was “Can I still run on it?  I’m pretty sure if I just ice it, I’ll be fine.”

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Yeah, that was pretty much my mentality.  Unfortunately….um, no…they both said no running.  So, I went straight to the elliptical and pilates.  However, because of the location being on top of the foot, I quickly learned that the elliptical still puts pressure on the area (heck, just standing puts pressure on the area), and pilates involves a lot of pointing and flexing the foot – not good till I let this thing calm down some.  Sooooo, just this past Sunday, I decided to take about three weeks of complete rest.

TemperTantrum704Yeah, that’s pretty accurate.

After complaining, sobbing, and throwing a temper tantrum that could put some two year olds to shame, I realized that at least this would give me some good material for my blog.  So, here we are.

Runners HATE injuries.  Anything that takes time on the road away from us is the enemy in our eyes.  In my running career, I’ve been blessed that I’ve only had two other injuries aside from this one (An inflamed SI Joint, and a torn hamstring).  This is my first time with tendonitis though.  I figure that I can post from time to time through the healing process on different things I do to help with healing.  Hopefully, it can help others out there dealing with tendonitis as it is an extremely common injury for athletes in general, but runners especially.

As I said, though I am two months into this injury, I really am only just now starting to get serious about treating it with complete rest, etc.  Hubby has had tendonitis in various parts of his body, and he’s said anywhere from 4-11 months to heal, and even after that, I may have some flare ups for a bit.  He is MUCH better at dealing with an injury than I am.  He has no problem taking time off, gaining a bit of happy weight, etc.  I, on the other hand…

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Okay, so at my last pt appointment, we decided to rest it and I am going to be using light therapy.  I bought two different home units: the Light Relief unit and the Tendlite unit.  I just started the light relief two days ago, and I am waiting to receive the tendlite in the mail.  I will post again giving a review of these products and let you all know if it helps me.  I know if you’re a runner and you have an injury, you get a little desperate, so hopefully, I can let you all know some things that work and some that don’t!  In the meantime, I will attempt to hang in there! 😛

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Fuzzy Friends Friday

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I know this is a little off topic from what I normally post on my site, but I was woken up this morning by our our love fluff cat, Fermat, tapping on my face with his paw as if to say “Hey Mom, are you awake?  Me too!!!”, and he was SO cute!  I love waking up to fur in my face, it always starts my day off with a smile, so I figured I would start your day off with a smile as well by sharing some of my favorite pins featuring all kinds of fur, fluff, funnies, and cuteness!  ❤

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And I will leave you with a picture of our fur babies – Pierre De Fermat and Sophie Germain.  Hug your animal babies today, and have a purrrrfect day!  Happy Friday! 🙂 ❤

Ferm and Sophie

PINNING JUNKIE RECIPE BOOK

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Hey Friends!!!

I am SO excited to announce that my Pinning Junkie Recipe Book is FINALLY done!!!  It’s an eBook, and has truly healthy clean eating recipes for food that you normally wouldn’t consider healthy – burgers, fries, ice cream, lasagna, chili, even pizza and many more! There are 73 clean eating recipes for only $14.99!!!

If you enjoy the recipes that I post on my blog, you will LOVE these recipes!  They are easy to make, EXTREMELY healthy, and beyond delicious!  You can purchase it at the following link (or just click on the picture above)!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/laura-pennington/pinning-junkie-recipe-book-clean-eating-at-its-yummiest/ebook/product-22066685.html

Get your copy today! Enjoy! 🙂