Overcoming Unhealthy Habits with Susan Ryan

praise susan ryan Sep 13, 2019


Overcoming Unhealthy Habits- Episode 2


 It takes as long as it takes.

“I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will continually be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together.” Psalm 34:1
I like to ask myself this question: "Is praise my response of choice to every situation?" It certainly should be. Lately, I’ve been putting a lot of effort into responding to situations instead of reacting. I’m also working on polishing those responses so they don’t sound like reactions!
Every morning when I have my devotions my prayers look like this: I have my mighty bow and arrow stretched back as far as it can go and whoosh, I release and let it go... off to hit a very specific target that I have visualized for every person, topic and need. “Lord, please do thus and such.”
If God does not hit my target in my time frame, do I count it as an unanswered prayer? Here’s what I have learned: Give God some wiggle room.
As a single mom raising a daughter with special medical needs, I am all too familiar with prayers and targets. Her medical conditions were physically excruciating for her, and emotionally excruciating for me. From the age of 9, she spent much time in doctor’s offices, testing, imaging facilities, and the children’s hospital. I can’t tell you how painful it is to have a child suffering so. After many years, they performed surgery for one of the conditions. It got worse. She got an infection. It didn’t fix anything. In addition, she could not eat or digest food properly for many years. She withered away to the point she could have easily lost her fight. There were few options, few treatments, all very costly and required travel.
In 2001, I experienced burnout in the medical sense. My nerves felt like a damaged, frayed electrical cord, complete with panic attacks and overwhelming exhaustion. I had hit a wall. Many people at church prayed fervently for us for years. I was so burnt out we had to live with my parents for 6 months so they could assist us. I healed up and Kristin’s conditions continued on, occasionally morphing, and now it has been 25 years. She is married, has a beautiful son (she was told she couldn’t carry), and a happy life... still battling some of the same conditions but victorious at the same time.
Are we defeated because of continued difficulty and illness, or are we victorious? You can look at it both ways. Because she couldn’t eat, she
cooks for hundreds. She has turned out to be the most amazing woman and mom.
What did I learn? It takes as long as it takes. I learned that slogan from a previous boss who was a civil engineer. Very powerful and wealthy developers hired him to design subdivisions. Big dollars and time frames were at stake. They would ask how long will this take? I often heard him say “it takes as long as it takes because we have zero control over the process.”
What about my prayers? I feel so defeated. How long will it take? My targets?My needs? My cries for help? God is not on my timetable, nor does He necessarily have the same goals in mind for me and my family, He gets to conform me into the image of His Son and develop godly character any way He wants.
My job is to sit in His lap, share my heart, cry my tears, offer praise (even when I don’t see or feel anything happening), and just (try to) stay in a place of trust without continued panic, worry, or fear. Forever.
Here was my prayer:
"Dear Lord, answer me.
I fall again in a heap of exhaustive neediness.
Explain things to me in this dark hour.
Thank You that as we speak You
are wielding Your shield around me and my daughter to the four corners
of the earth and time matters little to You.
Although You tarry, I wait for
You, and I praise You... in the hallway, on the highway, in the deep
valley, when scared, or scarred, or in trauma, in loss or grief, in trials
and tribulations, yes, and in hospitals, as well as on the mountaintop."
Some days, when I was completely exhausted, I would pray,
“dear God, see list.”
When I was completely burnt out, it was,
“dear God, see life.”
When I felt completely defeated, feeling I had let my daughter down, didn’t find the right specialists, or could have done things differently, the Lord whispered to me that my daughter was His daughter, and no one could love or care for her more than He. So, when I felt like life had caved in,
experienced loss of a normal life for both of us, traumatized, emotionally bankrupt, financially distraught, and in what seemed to be terminal sorrow, I realized a very important truth. My circumstances do not dictate how God feels about me. Conversely, my circumstances do not (should not) dictate how I feel about God.
I found the antidote for defeat is praise. Even if I have just enough energy to put my hands turned upward towards heaven, I acknowledge He is God, and I am not.
Give God some wiggle room.
He will answer when He answers. He will respond when it is time, in the manner that is best and good for all. God lives in an eternal time continuum, completely loving, completely sovereign. Even if His answer takes as long as it takes I will offer up praise to Him. He is working everything out for my good. I am victorious in Him.
Susan Ryan


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