First, thanks for all your prayers. I just finished the 1st of 3 units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Florida Hospitals Tampa and Wesley Chapel, Tampa, FL! The second series begins the week of January 15, 2018! Time is flying and I am learning and growing in becoming more confident, being more transparent and vulnerable in my interactions with others so I can achieve my goal of becoming a Chaplain. Still have not decided what venue or industry I will work in when completed in August, 2018, waiting for God to decide.
I have missed sharing Fast Wednesdays but will continue to be on hiatus with occasional messages until further notice. My training is grueling with clinical assignments, classes, seminars, didactics, on call duties, essays, readings and more which does not allow time to prepare and be active. However, I felt compelled not to let 2017 close without sharing and looking forward to hearing from some of you. While I will still be on hiatus, I will try to periodically share messages, if possible.
Additionally, I am still looking for any of you who would like to be active with posting one, two or a few of our weekly messages. I know you ALL have the abilities. Therefore, just let me know anything pressing on your heart, God is seeking for you to share. (Y’all don’t want me to start naming names of those with a message). What’s also exciting is some of the major accomplishments of you my peers! God is doing great things in the midst for all of us.
Thanking God for his Grace, Goodness and Glory!!!
In the meantime, 2017 has been quite a year for us all. Mine started with my stepdaughter getting married the first weekend of January and us being caught in a major snowstorm in Hartford, New Haven and Stamford, CT. Mine ended attending one of my favorite uncles, Frank Fuller’s, funeral in Fayetteville, North Carolina last week. These two major events were symbolic of the year for me, beginning with Joy and ending with Sorrow. Throughout the year I experienced both more Joy and Sorrow. I learned in CPE this last unit, “the most helpful discovery of today has been that right in the midst of my Sorrows there is always room for Joy. Joy and Sorrow are sisters; they live in the same house.” … Marcina Wiederkehr
Some lessons learned for me and food for thought for all comes from a Care Notes called “Taking Care of Yourself While Grieving:”
- I need to take care of my physical self People don’t always anticipate the physical toll that grieving takes. Losing Uncle Frank was highly stressful. I was going through final evaluations, I had lots going on at work with visiting patients, writing papers, as well as we traveled to North Carolina and back within 48 hours by van. Stress can create many kinds of physical responses including being tired, sleeping too little or too much, trouble eating either too much or not enough, and the lists goes on and on. One way to alleviate this is make sure I have a balanced diet, exercise and more which are my plans for 2018 and beyond.
- I need to take care of my emotional self by processing what has happened by dealing with the painful emotions I am feeling such as anger, sorrow, loss, confusion, fear, bitterness, regret, etc. Then by crying and laughing and moving on based on my needs and nobody else’s for me.
- I need to take care of my spiritual self. “There’s a marvelous story about some African people who had been pressed into carrying the baggage of a foreign explorer on his way to a distant settlement. Near the destination, the Africans put down their bundles and then refused to go on, unmoved by offers of more payment. They had to wait, they said, for their souls to catch up. The journey through grief is long and arduous; be sure to let your soul catch up. Make space in your schedule for meditation and prayer. Listen to the questions burning within you. Explore the answers you’ve accepted in the past; formulate new ones when you need to. I need to … for so long, I have avoided pain by just accepting it as God’s will and moving on. Yes, we most move on, but we must also experience and process the pain as well or we move on without “letting our soul catch up.”
My church, New Life Assembly of God, Lehigh Acres, FL, has a scripture a week they pass along throughout the year. The scripture for this last week of 2017, #52, is so appropriate for me as we close one year and move into the next.
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” Psalm 150:6 NIV
Thanking God for His Grace, Goodness and Glory!!!
With this scripture in mind, I transition into the songs I am sharing today. The first one is 10,000 Reasons. Been singing this song for awhile and did not even know its name … that happens to me. And actually, I have a million, billion, trillion x infinity Reasons to Bless the Lord!
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) – Matt Redman (Best Worship Song Ever)
My new found knowledge on Joy and Sorrow, shared above, reminds me of the song by Frankie Beverly and Maze where they sing Joy and Pain are both one in the same…
“Joy and Pain, Sunshine and Rain”
Remember when you first found love how you felt so good
Well it seems to me that
Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain,
Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain
Love can be bitter, love can be sweet
Sometimes devotion and sometimes deceit
The ones that you care for give you so much pain
Oh but it’s alright they’re both one in the same
Listen, don’t it seem we go through life going up and down
Seems the things that turn you on turn you around
Always hurting each other if it ain’t one thing it’s another
When the world is down on you love’s somewhere around
Over and over you can be sure
There will be sorrow but you will endure (you will endure)
Where there’s a flower there’s the sun and the rain
Oh but it’s wonderful they’re both one in the same
His Unfailing Presence
Another year I enter
Its history unknown;
Oh, how my feet would tremble
To tread its paths alone!
But I have heard a whisper,
I know I shall be blest;
“My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest.”
What will the New Year bring me?
I may not, must not know;
Will it be love and rapture,
Or loneliness and woe?
Hush! Hush! I hear His whisper;
I surely shall be blest;
“My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest.”
I pray for you God’s Grace, Goodness and Glory, 2018 and forevermore, my friends and loved ones.
Debra J. Fuller Ellis
Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us either by contacting me or I personally added you: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us for various reasons participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the sisterhood continues to grow!
The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord both chronologically and spiritually in accordance to: A God-Filled Life Titus 2:3-5 “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.” Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog.