Friday, January 28, 2005

Pain is inevitable, misery is optional

This quote about pain is found in the book "You gotta keep dancing." It is the story of Tim Hansel and his life following an accident that left him in chronic debilitating pain, for life. I have thought about this quote and have made an observation. Pain is something we all deal with or will deal with. It is impossible to avoid for an entire lifetime. It will find us, no question. The bigger question is what is my response to it. Will it dictate who I am? Will it control my emotions? Will I choose joy in the midst of my pain?
I don't know about you but sometimes I go into a worship service at a church and find myself unable to sing. Others may look around and see me "not participating". They may think I am angry at God or angry at the world. In reality I am trying to focus on the words and the message in the song. I am trying to slow down and let the message of the song be very real.
This past Sunday I stood during the worship service and wept for much of it. The message was wonderful, Jesus is all I need. We sang the song "I Surrender All" and the words say, "All to Jesus I surrender all to him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him in His presence daily live."
I desire to be in that place where I can say I will ever love and trust him on a daily basis. I want to be able to daily trust God so much that joy, not misery, walk with me daily.
We have all met people who are miserable. There joy has been stolen from them or they have given it away. Find someone today who is miserable and share the joy of the Lord with them. I have found when I share joy with others I receive more joy in return. The bible says "the joy of the Lord is our strength." I believe it!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Nothing is the same

I decided to try and do something today that most would think to be normal. Myself and Tallie (a friend from Ohio)took a couple of girls age 6 and 9 bowling. I tried to throw two balls right handed and just could not do it. The pain was too much. I tried to adjust and throw left handed so I could be a part of what was happening. I bowled a 28 (the six year old bowled a 65) after throwing gutter ball after gutter ball.
What could have been a discouraging event was balanced by a very rewarding time. The pain was there all the time. The frustration of not being able to pick up the ball with my right hand, extend my arm backwards to get the needed speed and then to follow through with the ball going somewhere near a pin was real. To be able to spend time with these kids, just letting them be kids was not going to stop me. We got ice cream after bowling and they sang songs in the car as we drove home like "Jesus Loves Me" and they told me there favorite food was "paschetti" (spaghetti). We had a great time and for a few moments I forgot that I was still in pain.
I want to encourage you that no matter what you are going through don't stop living. You may have to modify some things. Find joy in the small blessings of life.
As I write now the pain is more intense and I am reminded that what I did today has added to that. I am also aware that today I lived and that feels so much better than the pain.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Another opinion

Today I went to see another specialist about my pain. I was hoping to hear from someone who could "fix" my problem. I have learned not to get too excited about the possibility of having my pain problem solved. It is hard to get my hopes high and then have them crushed. I think when it comes to pain of any sort we wish that we could find that easy solution. We get our hopes up and sometimes we hear what we hoped for and sometimes we feel that disappointment.
I then went to an appointment with a friend who has been in ministry for a number of years. We talked about discouragement in life and in ministry at times too. He shared that many times in life when we experience "discouragements", our first reaction is to try and get out of the situation that causes the discouragement. His comment was that those are the times we must determine in our hearts to press forward and deal with our pain and not run from them.
Any who have suffered pain of any kind know how much we wish we could just get it out of our lives. The reality is we can learn and mature so much as we face our pain and deal with it. It is not easy!!! Pain is not fun but growing through the process is valuable. My prayer is that God will give me the strength I need to face my pain and to encourage and help others through their pain. I appreciate your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Pain...the unexpected companion

Pain is something that many of us have experienced or are experiencing. I am not just talking about physical pain, though that is something that is constantly there in my life. I am also talking about mental, emotional or spiritual pain.
Pain has the ability no matter the form to interrupt, reshape and disrupt our lives. Pain can cause us to lose hope, to reexamine our vision and change our dreams.
I am by no means an expert in pain though it does seem to surround me. Ruth has been in serious pain for almost ten years (she fell on Jan 31/1995). As I have watched her struggle daily for most of these ten years I have been crushed. I have seen a vibrant, exciting, caring woman be beaten down so often by the intensity of the pain. I have seen my daughter struggle with the mental pain of a panic disorder. I have seen the pain of a good friend struggle emotionally and mentally with a marriage seperation less than eight months after beginning a Christian marriage, I have seen a good pastor friend devastated as his wife walked away from a marriage and then see his ministry removed due to the circumstances. I have seen the pain of death in our family. I have seen a young Christian man diagnosed with a rare disease and the struggle he and his family face.
I believe many people have seen pain or are experiencing it in some way.
After seeing Ruth suffer for so long I began to say to others "I don't know how she handles it. If I were in pain everyday I would go crazy." Well I was blessed with physical pain myself. It has been ten months of constant daily pain. It doesn't go away. It greets me when I wake up in the morning, it tucks me into bed at night. It travels with me in the car, it goes to church with me, it goes to work with me, it goes everywhere with me. BUT so does Christ's love and Christ's presence.
I can only deal with the pain in my life as I acknowledge that Christ walks with me and is aware of my pain and really does care.
No matter what your pain is be it emotional, mental, physical or spiritual be encouraged and know that God is closer than the pain you feel.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

January 2005 Newsletter

January 2005 Newletter

This time of year is where I do two things. Look back and look forward. Maybe you do that as well. I can say that
2004 was the most difficult year I have experienced in my 41 years. We experienced intense physical pain (Ruth all
of 2004, Scott beginning in March through the end of the 2004 and Erin beginning in October with her disorder). We
experienced emotional pain as we watched each other suffer and as Ruth grieved the death of her father. We
experienced financial challenges monthly. My spiritual walk has been tested. At times my spiritual journey
challenged every fiber of my relationship with Christ. On New Year’s Eve I had walked out of my physiotherapists
office at 5:00 and cried all the way to my car and all the way home. I pleaded with God to change 20005 for the
better as I could not handle another 2004 in the upcoming year.

I look forward to 2005, I am excited and yet apprehensive. I desire for 2005 to be a year of physical healing for all of
us. I could say, ‘I can see the light at the end of the tunnel’, but I cannot. What I can say is that I need God to help
me to see through eyes of faith. I desire our financial burden to be lifted. I desire to do some of the little things for
my girls. I desire that needed increase in our monthly support. I am excited, God has supplied our need for a vehicle,
yesterday we were able to replace our car that died in 2004 with a car given to us by a supporter. Maybe we are
seeing the tide slowly turn. I want 2005 to deepen my walk with Christ. Jesus is my only hope for changing all the
turmoil in our lives.

As I look on 2004 from a ministry perspective I see two spectrums, incredible victories and incredible opposition.
Victories include: many people (about 60) coming to Christ in Montreal this summer, seeing my friends Jody and
Michelle come to Christ and then have Michelle’s four children give their lives to Christ, see children at the local
Indian reserves pray for forgiveness (about 20), see men at our local shelter praying for Christ’s forgiveness and being
able to be a blessing to so many especially during the Christmas season.

Opposition includes: challenges to our health, have one Indian reserve tell us before the summer that we were no
longer welcome as they didn’t want Christians around, then have a second reserve tell us after the summer that we
were not welcome as they did not want Christians influencing the reserve, have my good friend in street ministry fall
back into the drug scene for a time and lose his ministry, have a lack of staff to really move forward and have our COI
ministry founder and leader pass away on Oct. 31st.

I look forward to 2005 with great anticipation. I believe God is raising up new opportunities for us, on one particular
Indian reserve we are making an impact and we are going to have an influence again on one of the reserves that
asked us and other Christians to go away. I believe we are going to have a greater influence with international
students in our city. I believe we are going to see many people won to Christ this year through the short term mission
teams we bring in to Canada and send out from Canada. I believe God is going to raise up new staff that will help
here in Canada. I believe God is going to see us through.

I pray you have a blessed 2005. May He help you impact this world for Him.

Thank you for your faithful prayer during 2004. Prayer carried us during trying days. Thank you for your
financial support. We can only do what we do if we have financial support. Thank you, thank you!!

Our financial support is based on a September to August term. As of today, we have a commitment for 71% of our
needed support. We must raise $8,000 USD above our present commitments in order to meet the need. Support can
be sent to: Christian Outreach International, PO Box 2823, Vero Beach, FL 32961-2823. Please include a note
indicating the support is for Scott and Ruth Wood. If you know other who may have interest in joining our support
team, please have them contact us at 5506-454-9484, e-mail us, or go to our website at
where we post information about ourselves and our ministry. We would love to hear from you.