Divine Intervention

I am not religious.  I was brought up in the Christian Church but in my late teens decided religion is not for me.  I’m not saying there is no God.  I’m also not saying there is a God.  Just that, for me, Church is nowhere I need to be.

I’m also not particularly spiritual.  It’s great as a concept, and as I’ve said many times I watch Oprah’s Soul Sunday programmes and feel a warm fuzzy glow afterwards.  Which lasts all of five minutes before I remember it’s way too simplistic a solution for someone in a situation such as mine.  Asking the Universe to get my laundry done doesn’t get my laundry done.

I am fascinated by life after death though – we all wish it existed.  I’m an avid watcher of programmes by Mediums such as John Edward (even travelled 100 miles to see him live when he came to England) and Teresa Caputo.  But I’m still not convinced.  When I hear Teresa say things like “when you didn’t die in that car crash it was your Mum watching over you from the Other Side” I think to myself what about all the people who do die in car crashes?  Does that mean their dead relatives don’t love them and aren’t watching over them from the Other Side?!

I had a friend whose Dad hung himself in the garage when my friend was just a child.  40 years later my friend, too, hung himself in the garage after a long struggle with depression.  His poor Mum and sister had to face that twice.  Surely if his Dad could have intervened to help from the Other Side he would have.

Having said all that things have happened in my life that, on the surface, look unexplainable.  As you know, I’m having a rough time of it at the moment.  At the weekend I was just so exhausted from the relentlessness of the struggle I said out loud “if anyone out there is listening, please just let something nice happen to me for a change.  Something huge that will change my life for the better and bring me some joy!”  And literally the next day I received an email saying 3 of my photographs had been accepted by iStock, following a competition I entered before Christmas and had forgotten about!  iStock is owned by Getty Images, the number one stock photo company in the world, and it’s really quite hard to get accepted by them.  OK, so I’m only going to make a few dollars on each picture so it’s not quite the monumental life changing event I asked for but it still made my day.

There is a flip side to events like these, however.  I’ve always tried to do something useful with my life.  I’ve gone through a LOT one way and another and the reason I blog, write media articles and talk about my experiences is to share the things I’ve learned with others in a similar situation.  If my life’s purpose is to help others through my struggles then I try very hard to fulfill that purpose.  Everyone tells me I should write a book, and I’d love to.  But I just don’t feel well enough.  By the time I’ve cooked, eaten, bathed, walked the dog, looked after my parents and seen to the running of my home there is not an ounce of energy or brain power left.  I’ve tried to make a bargain with God and the Universe: stop clobbering me with new crises and symptoms to deal with, let me be well enough to simply think straight and I’ll write the damned book.  Or let me win the lotto, so’s I can employ people to cook, clean and run my home then I’d have the energy to write.   But, if the past few months are anything to go by it’s pretty obvious God and the Universe aren’t listening.

In difficult times it’s human to look for Divine help and intervention.  To bargain with God and the Universe.  It’s easier to cope if you think some loving energy force is watching over you, rather than the fact that actually kid you’re all on your own.

As I’ve said before, nothing has fallen in my lap from the heavens.  Everything good that’s ever happened to me has been the result of my own sheer hard work and determination.  Even having my photos accepted happened because I spend hours studying and perfecting my craft, freezing my butt off outside taking pictures every day of my life, and I spent hours making sure my competition entries were immaculate.  It didn’t just happen willy nilly.  Things which happen by pure luck or chance are events I would be more inclined to believe were due to some kind of Divine intervention.  Only they never happen to me.

I still hope we travel on to somewhere better when this life is over.  I’ve found my time here on earth really hard going and I’m ready for a rest.  And I hope that, if there are any lessons to be learned I’m learning them, because I damned sure don’t want to have to pass this way again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Divine Intervention

  1. Kathy

    Congratulations on your photos! How wonderful for you. 🙂 Like you, I tend to be skeptical about “Divine Intervention” stories. I live in Oklahoma, USA, a state where a majority of the population holds church membership of some sort. The more evangelical profess a “personal relationship with God”, and will happily discuss with anybody how God has “blessed” them, has led them to (or through) something, staged a direct intervention, etc.

    I’m an unapologetic Christian of the Presbyterian variety (Education Above All!). It isn’t that I don’t believe God doesn’t intervene from time to time, but I tend to cast a jaundiced eye on people who claim God just led them to their beautiful new sofa which matches their color scheme perfectly. God is their personal interior decorator. Really?

    Having said that, I have two stories for which I have no explanation, but both were life-changing.

    The first happened upon leaving the hospital with my newborn daughter. Megan was born with a very rare condition (1-500,000) called a Giant Congenital Nevus. It is a dark brown birthmark covering almost 70% of her body. It took the doctors a full 24 hours to even come up with a name for it, and then we were told she would die before she was 2, and there was nothing we could do about it. I cried more tears than I thought humanly possible, bargained with God. The pastor of our church stopped by while I was in the throes of this, causing me to straighten up and say that stupid adage, “I know God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”, not that I believed it. My pastor touched my arm and said, “You stop right there. God doesn’t zap innocent little babies with terrible conditions. These things just happen. But God can turn a terrible situation into a beautiful one if you will allow him to do so. I think maybe God sees an opportunity here.” I nodded “yes”, but was thinking, “no”. I mean, what good could come of this? A few days later, the hospital released us to go home. It was scary. We felt we were being cast adrift on a very large ocean with no land in sight. The nursery staff had become very protective of Megan, and the head nurse, Mary, asked if she could walk Megan down to our car with us. We happily agreed. She was wonderful! We waited on the elevators – the first opened, and it was jammed with people. So we waited. Finally a car arrived with nobody in it except a little old white-haired man, wearing a sportcoat and with a stethescope around his neck. He smiled when we entered, and exclaimed, “Oh, what a beautiful baby!” I made some comment about the tough road she had ahead of her, and he bent over to get a closer look. “Oh, she has a nevus, does she?” he asked. We were stunned. He knew immediately what she had! He turned to us and slowly pushed the sleeve of his coat up his left arm. His entire arm, as much as we could see, was covered with a giant nevus. “You know, I’ve had this all my life, and it has never gotten in my way.” Then he looked me directly in the eye. “And I want YOU to know it does not necessarily interfere with longevity.” We stood there gaping at him, and the elevator reach the bottom floor. He remained on the elevator as the rest of us exited. ??? We were all very quiet as we made our way to our car. Finally, my husband turned to Mary and asked, “Who was that doctor, anyway?” Mary softly replied, “I’ve worked here for 15 years, and have never seen him before.”

    An angel? Divine messenger? Pure coincidence? Whatever it was, I had entered the elevator in despair, and came out with hope. What a gift, and for that I thank God.

    Megan is now 18, and doing great. We have had an interesting journey so far! Mark and I helped start Nevus Outreach, Inc. a non-profit dedicated to promoting support, education, and finding a cure for this rare and confounding condition. The impact this little organization has had on the lives of people affected by a Giant Nevus is huge. I won’t go into detail, but I will say that my pastor turned out to be right. Beauty was found in a very unexpected place. 🙂 If you care to read more, you can visit http://www.nevus.org

    Story number 2 is way more apt to why we are here, on your blog. I had the proverbial near-death experience during my first anaphylactic attack. I am really unable to describe the vastness of what I saw. But I will say this: the human lives we lead here are hard, because we are in physical bodies that experience all manner of pain and discomfort (some of us more than others). Once we get “over there”, it is really, really easy. The other take-away is that everything we get our knickers in a wad over is ridiculous and petty. And I mean everything. I also know why few people come back. Who would want to, if given the choice?

    Our task here, perhaps then, is to love each other as best we can. To be kind when we cannot love.

    One more thing: one of our nevus researchers has recently discovered that people with giant nevi have, on average, 30-40% more mast cells than people without giant nevi. Hmmmm.

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      What a wonderful story about your daughter Kathy, thanks for sharing. I’m so glad she’s doing well 🙂 And very interesting re the mast cell research – those little blighters are responsible for more than we can even guess at! Jak x

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    2. Tabitha151

      That is a wonderful story about your daughter. As a woman with EDS III, a Christian Counselor, and a Christian, I do believe you are correct about God transforming one’s experiences. Romans 8:28 addresses this topic. I will pray for her. God bless. Tabitha151

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  2. Marley

    Kathy, your story about Megan and the man in the elevator touched my heart.
    I live in the Bible Belt state of Georgia in the U.S. I was raised Catholic and married a Southern Baptist. We became Episcopal while living in Virginia, until that faith divided itself on the issue of Ordained Homosexual Priests. The”Elders” in the Church with the money sent our Priest packing with a severance package. How absurd! I am for tolerance and acceptance as was the Priest.

    In Georgia, there were few “ministers” early on in the 1800’s to cover such a large area, so “circuit ministers” would travel and hold religious “revivals”. Time passed and know there are “Mega-Churches” that go defunct with embezzaling staff, and anyone can make up a name and have their own Church group. The reading of the Bible is enforced with Southern Baptists. I am without a Church now until a real one comes along.

    Regarding your anaphylaxis, my last thought on 2 occasions of anaphylaxis was, “but God I’m not ready yet”.

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    1. Tabitha151

      I’m a Southern Baptist, and love The Lord, so I thought I would comment. First of all, I don’t know about all Southern Baptist churches, so I will keep my comments to the one I’m a member of. At my church, Bible Study has never been ” enforced, ” or forced. ( Neither in the one I grew up in, nor in my boyfriend’s church. ). We are encouraged to participate in Bible Study ( if we want to. ). Those of us who choose to are a large, close, group. We love The Lord, and thus love learning more about how best to please Him. But never, in my forty-four years of church membership, and visiting friends churches, have I ever heard of Bible Study ( or any other part of our daily obedience ) being ” enforced. “. I must say, that our Scripture does not teach anything but supporting and encouraging each other. So, whichever church you attended just got it wrong.
      A saving relationship with The Lord is a very joyful thing; but it ( and daily Bible Study, as well as other acts of obedience ) are by our free choice. Please don’t let one bad experience keep you from the most valuable thing in time and eternity, a saving knowledge of Christ. Once He saves a person, everything changes for the better. And one can find a Southern Baptist (or other denomination ) church that is loving and Biblical. I know I did. My church family has helped me so much, never pushed me in any way (and I’m disabled !). We all need support. And human friendships.

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  3. Glo

    I just want to say that I was raised in the Lutheran religion. Going to church didn’t do a thing for me. I was agnostic for years. When I was in my 40s I started studying Islam. I study the Sufi branch which is Islamic mysticism. I also study Tibetan Buddhism. Both of these incorporate a lot of meditation and an extreme amount of self awareness. Yes we pray in these religions but that and the meditation help lead us to self awareness. When you reach a certain point you start reaching out to others to guide them and help them. It’s a very hard path and I stumble a lot but being self aware enables us to see things in others more clearly and thereby be better able to guide them. It’s not an in your face guidance. We sometimes call it holding a mirror. For instance some one complains about a person who complains all the time. The person who is saying this also complains all the time. So I would say to them, this other person complains all the time and does nothing to change the situation? I do this in hoped the person will think about this and see themselves. We don’t change by people preaching at us. That said I would like to tell you Jak that you are on a path and are helping others and sometimes holding the mirror for us. You don’t need an organized religion to be spiritual. If we are fortunate we find our own way.

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    1. Jody

      You sound like me before I came to know the Lord. You are intellectual, logical, a realist, a good writer, and a nice person, I’m sure. I feel bad for your suffering. We are all separated from God until (or if) we put our trust in Jesus Christ… He is the bridge that connects us with God. I would advise you to get to know Him by reading the book of St. John or also called the gospel of John in the New Testament. It is a good start. It will guide you to the truth and help you much more than mediums or Oprah’s show. God loves you and has a plan for your life but you will miss out if you don’t connect with Him voluntarily. We are not robots and God gives us a free will to make our own choices. Jesus demonstrated His love for us on the cross, but it is our choice how we respond. I just want to add 2 points: 1. When we have a personal relationship with the Lord and get to know Him, we come to love and trust Him, no matter what difficulties may come our way. It’s not really about us having our way or if God does what WE want, but finding God’s will (which is good and right) and following Him. He helps me in all situations and gives me guidance, purpose and peace…such a different existence than I had when I was on my own and alone. 2. If people acknowledge / agree or not…there is an invisible spiritual realm that exists- it is actually more important, more real, and much longer lasting (like forever) than the visible realm of this earthly life. Satan is real too and he has a plan to deceive, misguide, discourage, and destroy as many as he can, using any method that works to keep you from God and heaven. So there is a battle going on. It depends on who you allow to influence you. Anyway not wanting to preach but just to reach out to you. I will pray right now for your life to improve greatly! (I normally don’t reply to blogs but touched by yours)

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      1. bertieandme Post author

        I’m pleased you find religion helpful Jody. I was brought up in the church and went to Sundary School every week, so I’m very familiar with the Bible. I also studied Theology for one of my A levels, so am familiar with other religions. Religion is not for me in so many ways, but I’m glad others find solace in it. Jak x

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      2. Tabitha151

        Jody, you are really correct. I’m also a believer and follower of The Lord Jesus Christ. And the stories on here really touch me. It seems like the unsaved folks think our religion is about preaching, or tradition, etc. When actually, when Christ saves you, you experience a Supernatural transformation. Once one repents of one’s sin’s and trusts Christ for salvation, an incredible journey begins. It’s not about religion, consolation, etc. It’s about a saving relationship with Our Lord, who walks with us, strengthens us, provides, protects, sanctifies, and has saved us. So, we attend church and do other acts of obedience because we choose to; it’s a joyful thing. Daily Bible Study, prayer, and fellowship with my church family has been a great comfort to me, yes. However, we both also know that there are some folks who attend church, and do these other things for the wrong reasons.
        So, those of you who are seekers, please keep that in mind. And Satan does deceive many into thinking ” alternate ways ” can reconcile one to the Living God; which of course we know is not true. The true gospel of repenting of one’s sins and trusting Christ as God the Son who paid one’s sin debt is for all mankind. I hope those who have had bad experiences with ” organized religion ” will realize that Christ died for them, also. And that God wishes for all mankind to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. However, it does involve their free choice.

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  4. Lindsay

    congrats on istock! that’s huge!

    i was baptized and confirmed as methodist, and attended catholic school (and thus, studied the catholic religion). all of that has turned me off of organized religion. i don’t know what to believe, i don’t know which religion is right, all i know is i try to be a good person, and hope that is enough.

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  5. Donna Woodward Taylor

    Hiya. I tried writing to you a few days ago but couldn’t remember my password and lost the post. I just wanted to ask whether you have ever looked into acute intermittent porphyria. Not everyone has purple urine so it is often overlooked. Although hereditary it is triggered by drugs, alcohol, sunlight, stress, infection and female hormones. The remedy is glucose, carbs and avoiding triggers. Please read up on it if you have the chance, it is more common in EDS. My symptoms are identical to yours and I have needed IV glucose after a sedative which wasn’t on the safelist. Donna x

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      Thanks for this Donna, I’d never heard of it. Having read a little it doesn’t fit my attacks though, and I’m at my best in sunlight. I’ll definitely keep it in mind though if I ever get chance to have some genetic testing done. Jak x

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      1. Donna Woodward Taylor

        Sunlight doesn’t affect everyone and Vitamin D kills a lot of the underlying pathogens that can trigger the pophyria. If the die off is too quick, or you are in bright sunlight for several days in a row and aren’t used to it, you can get a nasty herx reaction because your liver cannot pruduce the extra heme it needs to get rid of the dead bacteria. If you are eating plenty of carbs and glucose and are supplementing magnesium you have a better chance of avoiding an attack. The precursors act like histamine in that you can get away with things to a certain point but eventually the bucket overflows and the body has to wipe you out (stop digestion etc) while it concentrates on excreting the toxins via vomiting, urination, or through the skin x

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        1. Tabitha151

          I have EDSIII, and would like to comment, in case it may help others. I’ve had quite a struggle with severe pain, and chronic fatigue. Also, it was very difficult to move forward in my PT, when I increased it even a little, I would have a severe flare. This included a lot more pain, fatigue, and lymph node swelling. Also, I would catch any illness I was exposed to. So, my specialist rheumatologist suggested a clinical trial ( Famciclovir. ). Won’t necessarily work for everyone with this, but really works for me! So, you may want to ask your physician about it. Over time, all my flare symptoms stopped. Now, I do still have some pain and fatigue, but it’s not nearly as bad. Also, am able to progress in PT, and daily activities. The rheumatologist also recommended Magnesium, it has helped some with muscle pain.
          I’m not exactly sure how the Famciclovir works. However, my research review showed that it bolsters the immune system. Apparently, those of us with EDSIII are weak in this area. I’ve also found that getting good sleep helps. To sleep better, I’ve found sleep hygiene couple with a warm bath ( with Epsom salts if sore, ) works wonders.
          Anyway, I’m hoping this idea can help someone else.

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  6. anomaly

    Congratulations on the iStock photos! That is wonderful!

    I really relate to this post. I’m like you in that religion doesn’t speak to me. I find it too dogmatic, and am turned off by the ways humans twist the underlying good within religious teachings into judgment and control over each other. The concept doesn’t sit well with me, and even ruined the idea of god for a while. (Well, I can’t say it fully ruined it, as I was more of an agnostic to begin with…but you know what I mean.) But I’ve always been insatiably curious about why we’re here living these crazy lives on earth. I have also felt intuitively that the atheistic, “cosmic fluke” explanation was as wrong as the religious explanations. (And like you, I am also fascinated by life after death concepts.)

    So, I started exploring more metaphysical angles regarding the meaning of life, and god. After many years and much reading, I have come think of god as more of an energy, or a universal force. God is creation…god is all that exists, including us. I have also come to believe humans are an aspect of the creator come to earth to embody love and our connection to source…or something like that, lol. (Which…”source” and “creator” are words which are more palatable to me than “god”. Now that I believe in a type of creator, I feel uncomfortable with the word “god” because of how religion has handled the word.)

    Anyway…I read a book a few years ago which reconciled the question of why some humans are saved from death and why some are not (it’s not about someone’s dead relative watching over them, or of a vengeful god, or anything like that.) Also, since facing illness myself, I wondered why some people have unspeakably hard lives and why others seem to coast through with ease. Anyway, the book is called Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz, and it explains why souls incarnate into lives in which they suffer so tremendously. The answer is…various reasons, really…but often times it’s so we can be of service to the world and each other, all while growing as souls. The idea is that we choose the challenges we face before we are born. Not some god, and not a cruel fate, but we ourselves dictate the conditions of our lives for very specific purposes that are very hard to fathom while living human lives in physical bodies on earth. I highly recommend the book, as trying to type it out here just doesn’t do it justice. The author very eloquently and sensitively explores this concept in so much detail, that what might seem offensive to someone who struggles in life (the idea that we chose it ourselves…like it’s our fault) instead becomes something of a comfort – an explanation about why terrible things happen to people, and the deeper meaning behind them. When I viewed my own life and my own struggles through that lens, I realized the ways my suffering has made me a more compassionate and loving person. I realized that the the lessons I’ve learned through my suffering have been used (and hopefully will continue to be used) to help others. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard and awful. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to fling myself off a building sometimes. But it does bring me comfort other times.

    Books like the one above do not speak to or sit well with everyone (as well they shouldn’t – we are all on our unique paths). Obviously, an atheist who is adamantly against the existence of a creator, or souls, is probably not going to like this book. (Though I still think they could glean valuable lessons within this book on how to reframe suffering). It requires both curiosity about the nature of existence, and an open-mindedness about different theories. Those who possess these traits, however, might find it extremely enlightening, helpful, and comforting.

    Disclaimer: Having said all of this, I still am well aware that my beliefs are just that…beliefs. They may be wrong. I may be deluding myself as a survival mechanism, like you mentioned in your post. But boy, I hope not. Like you, I hope there’s a method to this madness, and that I’m learning the lessons I sought to learn (if that is in fact how life works) so that I never have to come back here and live through any of this again! Either way, whether I’m right or wrong, I figure I’ll find out the real truth when it’s my time to go. 🙂

    P.S. Sorry this was so long. I just really related to parts of your post and wanted to recommend a book in case you were interested and hadn’t heard of it. Then I got carried away, as usual. 🙂 (I just remembered, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers is a good book, too. And I hope you are not offended by anything I wrote – I just wanted to share some things I found interesting and helpful.)

    P.P.S. I’m sorry you’re having a rough time, and I wish you lots of luck on your health journey.

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  7. bertieandme Post author

    Thanks so much for this anomaly. I’ll definitely make a note of the book and download it when I’ve finished my current read. As you say, there’s no proof any theory is correct and it could be we just die and there’s nothing else and it’s just luck the life we live. But the learning soul theme comes up a lot with mediums so it will be interesting to know more about it.

    Really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Jak x

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