Maturity

One of the many things I have learned on my journey is that many of us have grown up in cultures that will not admit it, but they encourage complacency.  Why do you do what you do?  Why do you believe what you believe?  Can you really say that you stand on or for something, or do you just accept what others have told you to believe?

For some reason, we can grow comfortable where we are…especially when we look at other people!  We will say things like: “I don’t do what they do”  or “At least I go to church”, when the reality is another person’s position in God has nothing to do with me.

I have realized my immaturity when I attend churches and sit there thinking…”This person isn’t preaching about anything….or Why are they singing….or I should have gone to another church so I can worship.”  Does this sound familiar?  I’m not taking personal responsibility away from ministers who are lazy with their presentations, however I am wondering if most of our experiences with God are completely based off of what is going on around us?  We only want to lift hands if the praise team is great?  We will only stand up during a sermon when the preacher is saying something we want to hear?  We love to change everything but the most important thing…US?!?

I challenge you today, this sabbath day to ask God to grow you in some way.  If we focus on ourselves more than other people and things then maybe we will actually see that our view is much clearer! Are you growing and maturing today?

Who do you trust? Are you for sure?

One of the worst things that can happen in a person’s life is when there are things that are terribly wrong and they have no clue as to what is going on.  Its October 2009 and I literally felt like the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8.  I had gone to an urgent care doctor, my primary care doctor, and now on my way to see a cardiologist and nobody could definitively tell me anything.  Nobody was saying: “You have this, lets do this and you will start improving.”  I was getting worse every week.

We got to the cardiologist where they did an EKG test again, and again it came up that my heartbeat was terribly abnormal, so they proceeded to do an echogram, a test that looks in your heart to see whats going on.  They did the test and the cardiologist said: “Your heart looks fine but its very weak right now” (whatever that means)  I remember going back to his office and him giving me this diagnosis thinking to myself that I was really in bad shape.  They didn’t know if my abnormal heartbeat was something that I have always had (I had never had an EKG before) or was it something being brought on by something else.  However what made it worse was the Cardiologist next comments to me. I was already feeling terrible, physically and mentally.  He says (I will NEVER forget this): “Well your the doctor said you have Lyme Disease huh?  Well I don’t know too much about that, so I guess that’s what you have, but one thing is for sure, you look like sh*t, I you look terrible!  But all I deal with is the heart, I don’t know about Lyme so make an appointment to see me in a couple of weeks so we can check your heart again.  What?!?  I just paid you $35 to tell me something that I already knew?  So I return home again, with no real answers.  I am, at this point, in 24 hour constant pain that I literally cannot describe, extreme fatigue, nausea that makes me feel I am about to throw up constantly, and I can’t walk.

I will be totally honest, at this point, I had lost ALL respect for doctors.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate doctors and I have friends who are doctors.  However, at the point where I was, where no one was helping me I didn’t trust them much anymore.  Its not the best position I understand to be in, but hey, thats where I was.  Yet it taught me a huge lesson.  God taught me that most of us trust people, systems, and things that by nature are prone to let us down!  I had so much trust in doctors to help me get better that I had forgotten Who could make be better in an instant.  If you were asked today: Do you trust God?  Most of you would say of course I do!  However, I have learned that trust can really only be determined after it is challenged.  In order for you to say that you fully trust something or someone, it must be tested or put up against something else.

There are many of you who can now say that you trust God because your faith was put to the test against a financial problem, a relationship, or a hardship in life.  After all, how will you know how much you really need Him unless there is something in your life that questions His power in your life?  And for most of us, when difficult things happen in our lives, it is often an indication of how far away from Him we really are.  So do you really trust God or do you just like telling people that you are a believer?

Stay tuned…my world in 2009 hasn’t even gotten real yet…I challenge you today to trust God!

Whats really going on?

They had given me Amoxicillin to take and after taking it for about a week I literally, could no longer walk.  So I started wondering, okay whats really going on?!?  I went in to my primary care doctor and after seeing that I could not walk she started asking me whats going on.  I remember her looking very confused because in the doctor’s mind, it was just a flu.

She then started listening to my breathing and wondering why I was having an extremely difficult time breathing.  She said:  “What’s wrong, why can’t you breathe?”  After watching my breathing and seeing that I could not walk the doctor said to me: “You know what, you don’t have Lyme Disease then, its something else.”  After testing positive for it, she told me that I didn’t have that!  She then had the tech come in the room and give me an EKG exam to see why I was having problems breathing.  After doing it I looked at the tech and said: “Everything is okay right?”  I knew that the tech could not tell me what the results were, but the look in her eyes to me told me that something was not good.  So the doctor comes back in and says lets do that again, because there’s no way that it was done correctly.  The tech does the EKG exam again and once again the exam comes back that my heartbeat is TERRIBLY abnormal ( I had never had heart problems).  The doctor comes in a third time and is very disturbed because she can’t believe what the results are saying, and doesn’t believe that the tech is doing it correctly.  So she stays in the room and watches the tech do it the third time and after seeing the results she looks at me in the eyes and says: Are you okay?  You need to go right now to see a cardiologist!!!

I was on my way to see a neurologist because of the headaches that I was also having, but the doctor told me how disturbed she was by the EKG results and we went straight over to see a cardiologist to see what the problem was.  I remember being driven over to the cardiologist thinking…I can’t walk, I can’t breathe, I’m in constant pain, and my head hurts…What is going on?!?!?!?

I don’t know who this blog may be for today, but I am so glad that when I don’t know whats going on, I am so glad that God knows exactly whats going on.  Stop trying to fight through your pain AND trying to figure out whats going on.  There are many of you who are going through some serious challenges and are having a difficult time getting through.  What many of us love to do however, is to try and figure out EVERYTHING.  Can I suggest to you that our job has never been to try and figure out everything that is going on…that’s God’s job and His delight.  If there is one thing that I am glad about that I have learned in my world that has released me from so much stress and pain, its knowing that God always knows whats really truly going on!

Swine Flu?!?

If you remember back to the fall of 2009, many people were nervous about swine flu; the terrible cold that was actually killing people.  I was initially told that I had contracted swine flu and was given a Z-pac from urgent care.  I took one pill every day for the next 5 days hoping that I would begin feeling better because at this time I was beginning to have aches, pains, and just didn’t feel like myself.  However after completing the medication I had actually felt a little worse.  I told my wife: “You know something is just not right with me!”  We went to my doctor, at the time, and they began asking a series of questions, and said okay, we are going to check your liver and kidney functions.  I remember her telling me that they were going to test for some other things, and then she said we are going to test you for Mono, and since you live in Maryland we are going to test you for Lyme.

I waiting for these test desperately, trying to figure out what was really wrong with me.  Its October and this problem had been persisting for weeks now!  The doctor’s office called me back and said: “Everything is normal its probably just a little flu.  There are two test that are outstanding but those will probably come back negative as well.  The flu has to run its course so you should be alright in about 5 days.”  I thought to myself that it had been well over 5 days so why do I still have this ‘flu’.  Do I really have swine flu?  What in the world is going on with me?  You know what your body is supposed to feel like, even when you have a flu, and my body was not feeling like that.  I can’t correctly explain it but I was feeling a way that I had never felt before, which is why I KNEW that it was definitely not just a flu.

I remember calling back trying to find out the results of the last two test but they weren’t in yet.  Its frustrating when you have a difficulty but you don’t have any answers!  They called me back the next day and said: “Mr. Washington you tested negative for Mono, but you tested positive for Lyme.”  Yes!!!!  I can’t tell you how happy me and my family were to FINALLY find out what was really wrong with me; I knew that it was something.  We were so excited!!!  I asked the doctor: “So what does that mean, I don’t know anything about Lyme?”  The doctor said: “Well, there is a medicine you can take one pill twice a day or there is another medicine you can take one pill, three times a day…which one do you want.”  I thought to myself, I’ve never been to medical school, why would I know what medicine to take?  I brushed it off and told her to give me the one that you take three times a day, I wanted to start feeling better as soon as possible!

Finally, I would be on the road to recovery…Or so I thought. I took that medicine for a week, and at the end of that week, I could NOT walk…My world started to get real crazy….

Grace

I will get back to my daily battle with Lyme Disease tomorrow, but I wanted to reflect on something that has really made me take a step back and think.

We have ALL heard about the huge scandal at Penn State.  I have even made mention of it in an earlier blog because of how it has flooded all news networks.  I have read the graphic and rather disturbing 23 page report on what has happened.  What is so crazy though is that the grace of God is so HUGE that it’s large enough to cover what Mr. Sandusky has allegedly done.  A biblical understanding of Jesus teaches that the grace of God literally covers EVERYTHING that we do.

It’s amazing when I can desperately be in need of the grace of God when I have let him down, or disappointment Him in one way or the other; and yet when someone else does something horrible it seems that the grace of God magically runs out?!  I had to ask God’s forgiveness for thinking that just because I may go to church, read my bible, and fellowship with believers that I am entitled to God’s grace more than someone who allegedly has extremely inappropriate relations with minor boys.

I am often guilty of thinking this way and maybe you are too of the thought that the better I am the less I am in need of the grace of Jesus Christ.    I want to be clear that in no means am I justifying the alleged crimes of Mr. Sandusky, I personally believe that what he did was TERRIBLE!  However I want to stretch you thinking today and help all of us to understand that nothing we do is so terrible that the grace of God cannot cover it!  As ugly as the aforementioned crimes are…as ugly as you and my sin is…HIS grace STILL covers it!!!  Thats crazy love and I’m so glad that God’s grace comes in my life and in my world, aren’t you?

Maybe a summer flu?

June 2009 was a weird month for me! I was having a constant headache that would not go away.  I can remember not only having this constant headache but also feeling symptoms of a flu.  In my opinion, there is nothing worse than catching a ‘bug’ in the summertime.  The time when people are usually outside, just enjoying life.  I took some over-the-counter medicine and can remember that it being towards the end of the month when it seemed that I started feeling better.  What I had no clue of at this time however is the fact that I had already contracted Lyme, but that being the farthest thing from my mind, I just thought that it was a summer flu.  My immune system was fighting against what was going on and that’s why I started feeling somewhat better.

If you remember from an earlier post, I was at this particular time, at an annual Campmeeting.   While there a terrible storm came on the campus on a Friday evening.  When the storm started I was actually under a tent preparing for a worship service to begin that I was leading out in.  The wind and rain picked up as I looked around the tent began falling.  I ran out and as soon as I got out of the tent and looked back, the entire tent was on the ground!  It was a difficult ten days trying to repair the campus and put it back together.

When I returned home after Campmeeting finished I was totally exhausted, and all I did was sleep!  I remember people asking me how I was doing and all I would say was: “I’m so tired!  I need some rest!”  I credited my fatigue with the fact that I had been extremely busy the last couple of weeks.  People would say to me: “You need to exercise more.  You need to take more vitamins.  What you need to do is eat better.”  All of these may have been true, but it wasn’t what I needed.

May I suggest to someone today that there are many people who give you things in this life, but those things are not what you really need.  There are many people who say things to you, but its not what you need to hear.  How many people do you have in you life right now that are giving you things but not changing your life?

I would not really get what I needed until 5 months later…See you tomorrow, in my world!

Sabbath

Good morning everyone!  In my world I do acknowledge the biblical command that God, for some reason, chose to rest on the seventh day of His creation and I still believe that He wants for us to do the same.  To rest from anything and everything that is common and usual to us and spend 24 hours reflecting on his goodness!

Because of this, my blogs on Saturday will be rather brief.  However I would like to challenge anyone who reads, to maybe for the first time, rest from any activity that cannot specifically help you to reflect on God’s goodness.  I want to challenge others that do “keep the Sabbath” to possibly consider doing something different as well.  The true meaning of the sabbath, although it does command us to rest, does not necessarily mean to sleep.  I challenge you on this day to rest in what God has done for all of us.  Realizing this I would like to challenge you to intentionally perform an act of kindness to someone today!  Don’t let this day go by without you doing something meaningful in the life of someone else.  Speak a word of encouragement, give someone some money, lend a helping hand, etc.

In my world I have realized that heaven will not have room for selfish people…see you tomorrow!

Welcome!

I want to welcome everyone to my world!!!  A world of open and honest reflection on my life, what it’s been like to live with Lyme Disease and practical/spiritual life lessons that I have learned along the way.  I promise you that I have learned more in the past two years than a person could learn in an entire lifetime!  I need to let you know that there is MUCH MORE to life than: being born, growing up, going to school, getting a job…and living what some call “The American Dream”.  I truly believe that the events that have happened to me helped me to know and understand that most of us (especially me) live our lives and let our entire lives pass by without really walking into what God ultimately wants us to do and that leaves us forever chasing after things that quickly bore us!

I have, as I am sure you have been bombarded with the thinking in the media about what has been going on at Penn State.  Where a man used his influence and position to destroy the lives of young boys.  I am not sure how you have been digesting the information, but I have personally been shocked.  I am not shocked however at the actions of the Football coach on the young boys.  It was difficult reading the 32 page report on what happened (I caution you if/when you read, its very graphic) yet that wasn’t what really surprised me either.  What really made me cringe was how we live in such a messed up world that we value someone’s tenure over someone’s integrity.  The long time tenured coach of Penn State football has been a wonderful influence on so many people!  Yet, how can we cry, throw over vehicles, and cause a terrible scene about the college letting him go (which in my opinion they should have), and not say much about lives that have been forever changed because they were abused?!?  That just doesn’t make sense to me…but hey, thats our world.

The changes in my world started two years ago, in June 2009.  I had been accustomed to, for the past three years going up to a campground in Pennsylvania to get things ready for an annual “Campmeeting” that takes place for ten days.  I entered this summer excited about my coming ordination that I would receive from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  It had been a routine summer, nothing really strange or out of the ordinary had happened.  However as I was leaving the campground one Thursday afternoon I began having migraine headaches that continued for the next four days.  I thought the headaches were because of the stress of driving back and forth from Maryland to Pennsylvania each week, while pastoring at the same time; or maybe I was extremely tired and just needed some rest?  I thought I knew but I had no idea…

See you tomorrow in my world…

My daily battle

These past two years of my life have literally taught me that absolutely NOTHING is promised to us.  Two years ago I contracted Lyme Disease along with other co-infections.  I reached the age of 30 this year and told myself that I wanted to do more with my life!  I currently do a lot already but I feel that I want to do more; and I realized that blogging would be a great way to inspire people and get my story out to that no one would go through what I have and continue to deal with.

This is my first of thousands of blogs that I will post in my world, Wash’s World; and give inspiration, truth, and what I believe are practical life lessons for every day life!  Be blessed and please pass these notes along to others.  I will see you tomorrow!