Dealing With Anxiety Can Be As Simple As 1, 2, 3!

lifeandshape,org
Photo Credit: Lifeandshape.org

There are literally millions and millions of people around this country and the world, who deal with large amounts of worry, stress, and anxiety every single day. Individuals may pay thousands and thousands of dollars on various therapies, medications, etc. While there are definitely some individuals who are authentically in need of medication, counseling,etc., many people suffer from self-induced anxiety.

So, I have good news!! I recently came across a nice and simple guideline, that people might want to use to help them deal with the tough times in their life. I found these ideas to be as helpful as 1, 2, 3!  I hope that these 10 steps will help you when you face stressful situations!

The Five Fingers of Prayers

Michael Goghlan
Photo Credit: Michael Goghlan via CC Flickr

I came across this little, fun way to pray many, many years ago that I always thought was a pretty good idea and a terrific way to remember not only who or what to pray for…but HOW to pray.

This is beautiful – and it is surely worth making the 5 finger prayer a part of our lives!

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1.Your thumb is nearest you.

So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you.

They are the easiest to remember.

To pray for our loved ones is,

as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

2. The next finger is the pointing finger.

Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.

This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers.

They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.

Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger.

It reminds us of our leaders.

Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators.

These people shape our nation and guide public opinion.

They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger.

Surprising to many is the fact that is our weakest finger,

as any piano teacher will testify.

It should remind us to pray for those who are weak,

trouble or in pain.

They need prayers day and night.

You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger

– the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves

in relation to God and others.

As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.”

Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.

By the time you have prayed for the other four groups,

your own needs will be put into proper perspective

and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

A Story of the Soldier and a Spider

Photo Credit: Petra via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Petra via CC Flickr

During World War II, a US Marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire, he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves. Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed. As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it be your will, please protect me. Whatever your will though, I love you and trust you. Amen.”

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me out of this one.”

Just then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave. As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.

“Hah” he thought, “what I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on.

Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered it for quite a while.

“Lord, forgive me,” prayed the young man, “I had forgotten that in you a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”

We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to forget the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in the most surprising ways.

As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded the people of Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem, “In God we will have success!” [Nehemiah 2:20]

Remember: Whatever is happening in your life, with God, a mere spider’s web can become a brick wall of protection. Trust and believe that He is with you always. Just ask for his help and you will see His great power and love for you.

———-

source: truthbook.com

What If…?

Photo Credit: kakissel vis Flickr
Photo Credit: kakissel vis Flickr

The following poem raises some good questions that we can ponder…what if?

What If…?
God couldn’t take the time
to Bless us today
because we could not take the time
to thank Him yesterday…

What If…?
God decided to
stop leading us tomorrow
Because we didn’t
follow him today…

What If…?
God didn’t walk with us today
because we failed to
recognize it as his day…

What If…?
We never saw another flower bloom
because we grumbled
when God sent the rain…

What If…?
God stopped loving and
caring for us because
we failed to love and care for others…

What If…?
God took away the Bible
tomorrow, because
we would not read it today…

What If…?
God took away his message
because we failed to listen
to his messenger…

What If…?
God didn’t send
His only begotten Son because
he wanted us be
prepared to pay the price of sin…

What If…?
The door to the church
was closed because
we did not open the door of our hearts…

What If…?
God would not hear us today because
we would not listen
to Him yesterday…

What If…?
God answered our prayers
the way we answer
his call to service…

What If…?
God met our needs
the way we give
Him our lives…

It makes you think….

——————

Author Unknown

Source: heartwarmingstories.com

A Prayer for the New Year (The Prayer of St. Francis)

Photo Credit: "Silent Prayer" Leila Darwish via Flickr
Photo Credit: “Silent Prayer” Leila Darwish via Flickr

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

 

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Saying Goodbye to Mom and the Christmas Miracle

Photo Credit: jandmranch.com
Photo Credit: jandmranch.com

It was a week before Christmas and my dearly beloved mother was in a coma. She was dying of cancer and had been unconscious since early that afternoon. It was the third night in a row that my wife and I had made our two hour trip to come to my mother’s house to say  ”goodbye” to her.

The hospice doctor had told me three days earlier that he believed that mom would pass away at any time and that we should visit her to be with her when she passed. So, for those three nights, we would make our trip to be with her and wait for the dreaded moment to come.

Leaving her house each night was very heart wrenching because I was never sure if it would be the last time that I would see her alive. I had always made it a point to tell her that I loved her each time I left her, so that I could always say, that that would be the last thing I told her on this earth if she passed away.

Like I said earlier, it was the third and last night we were with her and she was just in a deep, deep sleep. It was such a strange and surreal feeling, standing their watching my mom take in very slow breathes with her oxygen mask on her face. All of her hair was gone and she was just a shell of the beautiful and delightful woman that was my mother.

As the night wore on and the time got later and later, I grew more and more saddened by the fact that we would have to leave to return home. Finally, around midnight, we decided that it was time to go home. We had to be home for our two little boys in the morning.

I remember thinking that I wanted to SAY goodbye to my mom just one more time but I knew that I could but she would never hear it. So, with a heavy heart, I leaned over my mom, placed a gentle kiss on her forehead and said, “I love you mom.” Then I whispered to her, in almost a prayer-type request, “come on mom…wake up one more time. Please? Just once more?” But my request fell upon deaf ears and she never woke up. My wife then sat on the side of her bed, held hand ever so gently and began to say her goodbyes.

Suddenly, my mother opened her eyes, took off her air mask and said, with a voice as clear as could be, “what is everyone doing here? I am fine! I have just been sleeping. I am going to be fine.” It was simply fascinating experience. Here was my mother who had talked, just the day before, with a weak, raspy voice that was caused by constantly having the mask on and inhaling the oxygen 24 hours a day, and now she was totally awake and not only sounded like she was totally healthy but acted like it as well.

I stood there mesmerized and the sudden turn of events but I was also so very thankful…I could now SAY goodbye to my mother and share my feelings and last thoughts with her! After telling her the things that I wanted to tell her, giving her one last kiss goodbye and telling her how much I loved her and for being such a terrific mom, we got ready to leave. I felt truly blessed and thankful that my “whispered prayer” was answered. My heart was filled with joy knowing that God had given us a Christmas miracle…my mom.

Soon after we left, she went back to sleep and never woke up again. Later the next day, surrounded by friends along with her childhood best friend, she quietly passed on from this world and touched the face of God.

The Five Finger Prayer

Photo Credit: micn2sugars via Flickr
Photo Credit: micn2sugars via Flickr

This is a beautiful reminder of how we can pray each day and it is surely worth making our 5 fingers a part of our lives. It is my hope that the “Five Finger Prayer” will be something that will help your own prayer life each day!

1. Your thumb is nearest you.

So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

2. The next finger is the pointing finger.
Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.  Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger.
It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger.
Surprising to many is the fact that is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, trouble or in pain. They need prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger, the pinkie.
The smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others.
As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.” Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

Remembering Our Veterans: Praying for Pappy

Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net
Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net

This is a story that took place in the south and involved a little boy and his mom. It shows us the sad side of war and reactions that a family endured at the loss of their loved one. Get a box of tissues ready as you read this story of a little boys love of rhis mom and dad.

Tommy’s Maw Maw and Pappy used to take Tommy to church every Sunday before his Pappy left to go to war.

Tommy had learned early in life all about God and how to pray. Every night Tommy would kneel by his bed and pray before going to sleep.
Today is the day the soldiers are to come home. Tommy and his Maw Maw dressed and went and stood at the dock waiting for his Pappy to arrive. They would wait and wait… Until the last boat left the dock but Tommy’s Pappy would not be arriving this day.

When they got home Tommy was too tired to care about eating. He kissed his grand mother goodnight and went straight to his room. He changed into his pajamas and knelt by his bed.
Lord,
It’s Tommy.
We stood at the dock all day. Every one walked away and we just stood there. Pappy must have missed the boat so we waited for the next one then the next one until all the boats were gone and the tall man in the uniform said all the soldiers had gotten off but he is wrong ’cause Lord, Pappy didn’t get off none of those boats. I hate it when maw maw cries Lord. Please send Pappy home so she will stop crying.
Thank you.

 

All week long Tommy listened as his Maw Maw cried. He heard her on the phone several times asking about why his Pappy didn’t come home like the rest of the soldiers. On the seventh night he knelt by his bed and prayed.

 

Lord ,
It’s Tommy .
It has been a long week. Maw Maw just sits and stares out the window when she ain’t cooking and cleaning or on the phone asking where Pappy is and why they didn’t send him home.. She hasn’t hardly spoke in days other than when she is on the phone.
Mrs. Nelly Baker from down the road came by to see if Pappy had come home yet but he hasn’t and Maw Maw began to cry again as Mrs. Nelly Baker talked to her. I heard her say You might have Pappy with you Lord. If you do , could you please tell him it is time to come home ’cause Maw Maw and me miss him and Maw Maw cries at night and calls for him. I’d sure ‘preciate it if you would.

 

Slowly the days passed by, then weeks. Every day was more of the same. Tommy was worried about his Pappy and his Maw Maw. It had been a little over a month now and Pappy still hadn’t come home. He walked in the living room and there his Maw Maw sat staring out the window until a knock came upon the door. A man in a uniform stood at the door. He backed up and Maw Maw walked outside. His Grand Mother screamed falling to the ground. Then the women in the neighborhood came running.
Tommy was confused. Why was his Maw Maw screaming and crying Pappy was coming home finally. He felt heavy hearted, So he went and knelt by his bed and prayed.

 

Lord,
It’s Tommy.
It’s been a month and three days since Maw Maw and I went to meet Pappy at the dock. Some man in a uniform just showed up at Maw Maw’s door and made her scream. He ‘pologized for making her scream and cry before he left. Mrs. Nelly Baker and some other women came running . I guess they heard Maw Maw screaming before she fell to the ground.
I don’t understand Lord. Why is she so upset ? The man said Pappy would be coming home tomorrow with something in a pine box. Don’t know why he needs a box. I guess he lost his suitcase. I thank Lord for sending Pappy home.

 

Tommy didn’t know his Maw Maw stood silently by the door. She listened as the little boy of ten prayed through sobs.

 

Lord,
It’s Tommy .
I un’ stand now. My Pappy came home today. I know all about the pine box now. I guess I forgot to ask for you to send him back to Maw Maw alive. I hope she will forgive me. I thought You knew what I meant when I asked you to bring my Pappy home. But you did do what I asked. I made a mess of things. Now my Maw Maw will never be happy again. Lord, the next time I ask for something make sure I ask the right way please and tell Pappy I am sorry I got him dead I didn’t mean to. It’s all my fault Maw Maw is sad. I am so sorry.

 

Tommy opened his tear stained eyes to see his Maw Maw standing in his doorway , tears streaming down her face. ” Dear child, it is not your fault.” She said through sobs and held her arms out to him. ” If it had not been for your prayers, your Pappy may never had come home at all.”

———————–

Source: friendburst.com

The Faith That Moved A Mountain

Photo Credit: alex grichenko via publicdomainpictures.net
Photo Credit: alex grichenko via publicdomainpictures.net

Every once on a while, I come across a story that renews my faith and encourages my soul. The following short story is a great example that shows us that when we TRULY have faith in God, our faith will be rewarded in amazing ways!!

A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a church member. Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building. Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary.

Unfortunately, the church with its undersized parking lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built. In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard.

Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had “mountain-moving faith”. They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.

At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation’s 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o’clock the pastor said the final “Amen”. “We’ll open next Sunday as scheduled,” he assured everyone. “God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time too.”

The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door. When he called “come in”, a rough looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered.

“Excuse me, Reverend. I’m from Acme Construction Company over in the next county. We’re building a huge new shopping mall over there and we need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We’ll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge, if we can have it right away. We can’t do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly.”

The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned and there were far more members with “mountain-moving faith” on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week!

“Do It Anyway”

Photo Credit: stevencox.com
Photo Credit: stevencox.com

The verses below reportedly were written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India, and are widely attributed to her. 

Some sources say that the words below were written on the wall in Mother Teresa’s own room.  In any case, their association with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity has made them popular worldwide, expressing as they do, the spirit in which they lived their lives. 

They seem to be based on a composition originally by Kent Keith, but much of the second half has been re-written in a more spiritual way.  Both versions are shown

The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

–          this version is credited to Mother Teresa

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The Original Version: The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith:

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
    Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
    Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
    Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
    Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
    Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
    Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
    Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
    Build anyway.
  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
    Help people anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
    Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

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These are great, encouraging words and thought s to live by. My hope is that they touch your heart like they did mine!

 

 

source: prayerfoundation.org

Can You Smell That?

Photo Credit: niebeltz.com
Photo Credit: niebeltz.com

There are times in our lives that we wonder where God is when life gets hard. Sometimes it seems like God isn’t listening, doesn’t care, or is going to answer our prayers. The good news…He IS always there and ALWAYS working and comforting people…sometimes in ways that are unknown to us…as the following story so beautifully shows us.

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery.

Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency cesarean to deliver couple’s new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing.

At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs.

“I don’t think she’s going to make it,” he said, as kindly as he could. “There’s only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.”

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

“No! No!” was all Diana could say.

She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

As those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana’s underdeveloped nervous system was essentially ‘raw’, the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted. Though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero.

Five years later, Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, “Do you smell that?”

Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.”

Dana closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?”

Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet. It smells like rain.”

Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God does when you lay your head on His chest.”

Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children.

Before the rains came, her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of the first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it was His loving scent that the little girl was remembering.

God is not a knife edge to carefully balance on lest one falls into the abyss. God is an infinite plain, no matter which way you fall, he catches you.

Source: Truthbook.com