A PREVIEW: Red Letter Experiment:#4 Short and Sweet and Childlike: Matthew 18

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Renee’s flowers. My daughter-in-love took this picture at a Farmer’s Market in Bend, Oregon.

 I haven’t worked on this blog for awhile. I haven’t been looking at the red letters of Jesus and trying to see how I’m supposed to be living. I pick up my Bible and my journal and I listen to great teaching and I study and wait for God to inspire me to write. Nothing. 

 I read books on writing. I get periodic phone calls from a self-publishing group reminding me that when I finish my books, I should pay them a couple thousand bucks to see my work in print (so thoughtful of them). I feel this pressure to write and grow and develop, but I’m just so tired. Overwhelmed. Empty. There is nothing new or spontaneous happening in my creative brain cell. I used to think I had a veritable cornucopia of creative brain cells, but not any longer. I’m pretty sure I’m hanging on to my last one. And it’s a wimpy one. 

I’m a school teacher (in case you didn’t read the “About Me” tab information). I teach English to high school kids. This past year I used up five years worth of accumulated sick days. I feel like I let down my students. 

I headed into summer determined to lick several things within the first two weeks of June:

  • Lose another 20 pounds! 
  • Start riding my bike religiously again! (my favorite form of exercise ever)
  • Switch from Humira to Enbrel and start seeing my psoriatic arthritis improve.
  • Get really healthy, fit and energetic so I can make it through the teaching year without missing a day (and so I can wear some cute skirts with boots this year–Vanity, thy name is Cindy).
  • Write 2 books: one for first year teachers and one called Volkswagen Theology, which I  started as a blog.

REALITY: 

  • Can’t lose weight because the drugs I’m taking are messing with my metabolism.
  • Started riding my bike and loving it….when–DA DA DUM! I started feeling numbness in my left arm. 
  • Saw doctor. Numbness in left arm due to cervical disk pressure due to degenerative disks due to psoriatic arthritis (with rheumatoid pain patterns) and osteoarthritis. No more biking. WHAT??? What about the 20+ more pounds of fat and excess everything on my body? No weights. Walk (in 100 degree weather–I scoff and sob).
  • Started Enbrel. 
  • Started pain pills for arthritis. 
  • Numbness in hands becomes a full-blown conflagration of fiery nerve pain up and down my left arm and into my upper spine. Weeping in bed with pain and fear. 
  • I am now 3 weeks into June. No books finished. No writing. No weight loss. No bike. Just pain. Losing chunks of eyebrows. Pale. Constant pain and no sleeping. A visit to the Urgent Care Center. 
  • Doctor seen on emergency basis. Schedules MRI. Gives me two shots in neck and shoulder blade. No help. 
  • Another night of searing pain so intense I expect to see blisters on my skin. Steve and I cancel our Jackson Hole vacation for July. 
  • Percocet. 

 And that’s the lowdown. MRI will hopefully show what is blocking the nerves, and then we can sandblast the sucker out and be completely recovered by the first of August. (HA!)

Meantime, I exist. I can’t drive due to medicine. I can’t ride my bike (though hubby has sort of consented to getting me a cruiser bike that allows me set upright). Money. That’s all it takes. 

And God is staying very quiet. Whispery even. It’s like He doesn’t want to disturb me. WAKE UP GOD AND DISTURB ME!! I’M SINKING HERE!

 When all else fails, go back to what works. Red Letters. 

I’ve been examining Matthew 18 and will have some things to write about tomorrow. But not today. Today I re-posted my past Red Letter writings. Today I’m resting and learning to trust again. Today I’m eating an apricot and dreaming of a miniature poodle. Today is a day to remain hopeful.

Some thoughts before I write: What do you think Jesus means when he refers to the “kingdom of heaven”? How can adults change/convert/turn back to a child? What is Jesus warning us about regarding causing a child to stumble and sin? How do we do that? What does it look like? 

 Leave some thoughts if you have a hankering to…I’d love to hear from you.