Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Heart on Fire

The little scribe in your mind can take note of the itchy, the blotchy, the painful.  

Or he can see the beautiful, the blessing, the favor.  You get to choose.

We thought we had bed bugs.  That would be bad.

But we were wrong.  And it was so much worse.

The next two days would involve a visit from the fire department (and a goodbye to my wedding band), a trip to the ER, and a strong dose of steroids.  And it was still over a week before the last of the itchy and blotchy left my body.

I'd show you a picture, but you wouldn't recognize me.  

However, I feel pretty certain you will recognize this shape on my arm.  

I cannot even describe to you how terrible I felt throughout that week.  I remember crying out, "What did I do to deserve this misery???"  I could not sleep.  I could not look in the mirror.  As soon as the red patches left one area of my body, they showed up somewhere else.  It was pure misery.

According to Kevin Gerald, our guest pastor at Elevation this week, there is a difference in assuming God is good and in seeing God's goodness.  If we can see God's goodness all around us, we can stay encouraged along the path we travel.

Will Bowen, a Lutheran pastor, was convinced that if we talk [or think] about what's wrong, it affects what we focus on, and we start to see other things we do not like.   So he challenged his congregation to a 21-day challenge.  For 21 days, they wore a bracelet.  When they complained, they had to move the bracelet from one arm to the other.  He reported that after two weeks of the challenge, his record was going six hours without complaining.

You see, you choose what you want to see.  If you only see the evil in the world, you will miss all the good.  Ask Drew Barrymore.  She has always loved hearts, and when she started looking for the hearts in her world, she realized they were all around her.  Find it in Everything is a recent book of hers in which she has compiled photos of hearts and heart-shaped patterns she has found in the environment.  She has chosen to see the happy.  

And so have I.

I have memorized this verse, and whenever the itchy, the blotchy, and the painful want to invade my thoughts, I choose...

whatever is

I think about those things.

After all, it's a choice.  It's YOUR choice.

Below I have created a bookmark you can print, laminate, personalize with your own ribbon, and put in your bible or favorite encouraging book.  There are three to the page, so you should be able to print a couple extra to give to friends.  Maybe you even want to order Drew Barrymore's book and put a heart bookmark in the book to give to your husband or a friend.

Those hives were awful.  I think I cried every day.  I couldn't seem to focus on anything but how badly I itched.  Until I spotted that heart on my arm.  And I knew the heart was a sign, telling me it was going to be ok.

How do you spot the hearts in your life?  Do you need a reminder to focus on the lovely, the admirable, the praiseworthy?

Take the 21-day challenge with me.  

You can get your own Gripes Be Gone bracelet here.  So far, I have noticed a big change in my attitude since starting to wear my purple bracelet marked with the words, "Gripes Be Gone."  I have gone from an attitude of griping to an attitude of gratitude.  But it hasn't happened overnight, and it is still a challenge

One thing I do know is that it is a choice.  Each day I get up in the morning I can choose.  Do I want to gripe today?  Or do I want to be gracious?  That's a no brainer for me.  But still one that takes constant prayer and focus to maintain.

What will you choose?

{Please leave me a message if you are going to take the challenge.  I would love to be able to share victories and challenges with you.  Thanks for taking time to read my post.  It has been burning inside me all week!}


  1. Hope you're feeling better. That must have been scary.

  2. Thanks, Matt. This was actually a couple years ago, but the sermon last Sunday just seemed to make it the perfect time to write about it.