Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Building up Strength

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicA friend about to undergo chemotherapy. An aging parent who is wobbly. You, terrified of the next doctor’s visit and what news you might get.

Right now, there are many of us who are anticipating something that will require much fortitude and strength. But perhaps you’re not feeling particularly strong. Perhaps you are unsure of your own abilities to face a new health challenge. Maybe, just maybe, you are afraid.

Not exactly a recipe for success, but this is perfectly natural. Especially if you’ve lived with illness or infirmity for a long while, the thought of yet another fight, yet another uphill climb might be, well, unthinkable.

But there’s a way to make the way easier, and it doesn’t require a lot of extra time, only mindfulness of the mental struggle you’re engaged in – and the power that God has over and in your life.

For every trembling moment, remind yourself that you are a beloved child of God, who is all-caring.

For every doubt that creeps into your mind, push it back with, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

For each whimper, tear, and anguished cry, be gentle with yourself and insist, “It’s all right to fear, but it’s in me to be courageous.”

With every positive movement and word that we can bring into our fear-filled days and nights, we are building up resilience, we are stocking up on strength. And, the more mindful we are of God’s presence, the less we will feel like sinking in sadness. How can we be despondent when we have the Creator in our lives?!

I pray today that you will start to build up strength for whatever challenge looms. And, as you meet it face-to-face, I also pray that you will be heartened by the strength that has been building up inside of you – all along,

Blessings for the day,
Maureen

Done Something Foolish?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In honor of April Fool’s Day, some thoughts about those foolish moments – better known as “Ooops!”

We’ve all had them. Those moments (or days, or months…) when we’ve known better, but still…

We knew it would be better not to attend a social gathering, but did anyway and for days afterward, felt the effects of too much of a good thing.

We knew it would be better to get the refill on a prescription before vacation, but didn’t and got stranded at an airport without our necessary meds.

We knew that respite from flares meant the disease was still lurking, but acted as if it wasn’t, and, wham!, stirred up a recurrence…

Yes, sometimes we don’t act in our best interest. Perhaps because of peer pressure, frustration over “I’ve had this [disease] for so long, I’m tired of it!”, or another reason. But, even as we might pay harsh consequences, we don’t have to think that we’ve caused a long-term, downward spiral.

We don’t have to flog ourselves with guilt.

We learn. We pick up the pieces. We move on, wiser and more resolved to do better next time.

And, know what? We do! We do “do better” next time (in most cases), and that’s probably the point of those foolish moments.

We’re human. We’ll stumble. We might even fall, foolishly. But we can learn. We’re never too old to learn. And, as the lessons sink in and we’re able to do better and get stronger, we’ll find reason for thankfulness. Yes, even for those foolish moments.

Blssings for the day,

Maureen

Uprooted? Displaced? No more!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicOne of the most difficult things about a serious diagnosis is that it displaces us from our “life as we knew it” to a terrible, scary unknown world that, for many, has life or death consequences. Whether because of symptoms or medication or even having to relocate to be closer to a treatment center or healthcare team, we can feel completely uprooted and at sea – strangers in a strange land. Or, even if we remain where we lived “before,” we might find that the people in our lives rotate out as the strain and stress of chronic illness and pain alter relationships, often for the worse.

I felt like this when I was diagnosed with lupus and had to stop most of the activities I’d enjoyed up to that point. I lost friends. I felt isolated and, in every sense, “displaced.”

But although my life was turned upside down, my faith never wavered. And it is this that, I think, is the key to controlling the uncontrollable, to finding a new “home” in the world – and to moving ahead spiritually and emotionally.

Our Lord, the center of my faith, never left me. He became “home” for me, and my faith was my root system. From that place of supreme comfort and encouragement, other things grew. Friends who were strong and compassionate. Ways to still make use of gifts, even if lupus restricted me mightily.

Was the world, my world, smaller than before? Well, I suppose you could say it was. But it was greater, too, because I learned about what was possible in an impossible situation. I learned about grace, and the potent, powerful importance of the Resurrection.

Yes, I learned, grew, shined – and I’m still at it!

Life is full of change, even if you are completely healthy for a long period of time. We will be buffeted, at times, and in calmer seas at others. But there is no need to worry, and no need to feel as if you don’t have a “place,” a purpose.

Jesus, the center of your life and joy is there – and you are home!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Finding time for God

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicHe’s with us every moment of our lives. In fact, He knew us before we were born. He knows what we do, think, and feel. And he knows what we pray for even before we ask. So how is it that, in our super-busy lives, we can’t find time for Him?

Whether it’s going to church or reading Scripture everyday, for many people, finding time to “just be” with God is tough. Family responsibilities, work (maybe more than one job and more than full-time), keeping fit, running a household, and, if you have a chronic illness or live with chronic pain, even if you have time when you’re resting or unable to be very active, you might find you don’t have a lot of mental energy to carry on a “meaningful” conversation with the Creator.

How well I know! But here’s what’s been helpful for me: Even when I’ve been too tired, sick, or busy to focus on deep prayer, I remind myself of how I began this blog.

He’s with us every moment of our lives. So, I don’t have to look far or go to some particular place to “find” God. He’s right there, sitting beside you, protectively behind you during office meetings, in the car as you go from place to place. Know this. Feel His presence.

He knew us before we were born. God knows us so well that we don’t have to make a big show of communicating with Him. We can lift up a full prayer or a word, a glance at His Creation or a tearful supplication. At a loss for words? Slowly recite the “Our Father,” and feel the comfort of His constancy and love.

He knows what we pray for even before we ask. Don’t have your prayer list handy, but you have a few minutes of energy or opportunity? Use those minutes to pray anyway, turning your heart and mind over to your petitions, but also your ears to hear His whisper.

In the time that you take to bemoan not having enough time for worship or prayer, you could use that time to pray – and the minutes add up greatly as the days go by.

Yes, we have time – 24 hours each day, actually – and all we have to do is remember God is with us every minute!
Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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