Seesaw of Emotions

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections at 9:34 pm by Al

Like a seesaw, my emotions have been up and down from day-to-day lately. Yesterday was a particularly “blue” day, perhaps one of the more depressed days I have had in years. Today started similarly as well.

There are many potential factors, physical and emotional: Two decades of increasing fibromyalgia pain and exhaustion have been continual companions, which cancer has not managed to frighten away. Now stir in heat, pain from the blood clot in my leg, lack of exercise, headaches from swelling in my brain, the impact of various drugs I have been on for treatment, and the steroids I’m currently taking for swelling around the brain tumor, all impacting rest and sleep. Lack of energy and pain make sitting at the computer for any stretch of time a problem. (I don’t use the computer simply for writing, but I use it very much as a help for my devotions and study of the scriptures.) What little energy I have has sometimes gone into organizing medical treatments and procedures, etc. (And Libbie does so much here as well!) Season all this with a tumor in the brain signaling that the advance of the cancer continues, and there seem to be any number of reasons for what I have been feeling.

Yesterday was a day where it was hard not to treat my feelings, whatever their source, as the ultimate reality in life. Reading a simple book about a simple truth (known from the beginning of my Christian life) reminded me that I don’t look inside for help, but to the Lord, through his Spirit in his word for the truth. That truth is found in him, in Christógrace that is personal and comes from a glorious union with Christ. That truth comes from what Christ has done for me in his death and resurrection.

The book? C. J. Mahaney’s “Living the Cross-Centered Life.” In particular, the chapter I was re-reading was the one on listening to the scriptures, to the truth that comes from God, not to my feelings. My feelings are not good and wise authorities, but are often led by other circumstances. Bringing my heart and thoughts captive to Christ, to the living Lord, began to change heart. In any case, it comes from outside in. God used the words of several of you through email and in person to point me to God’s personal care and love.

Psalms 42-43 (the first of the eleven songs of the sons of Korah in the book of Psalms) were particularly relevant. I hope to write a blog tomorrow about the sons of Korah and these Psalms.

Blessings, Al


  1. Karyn Traphagen said,

    June 3, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing so candidly and allowing us to share in your journey. While my circumstances are different from yours, your reminder that truth comes from God and not our feelings is very relevant and necessary to hear!

    I am praying that you will be able to begin to share with us the things from Psalms that are on your heart. It is good to sit in this “cyber” classroom and learn so much from you!

  2. Eep Talstra said,

    June 4, 2006 at 6:40 am

    Dear brother Alan,

    It is moving to read about your struggle with all that happens to you now and to read
    at the same time about your dialogue with God based on the words of the Psalms.
    Words that are precious to both of us, not because they are part of the discipline
    we have been working in together for such a long time, but because they offer us the
    discipline that helps to face life and death. Your words reminded me strongly of the
    words we had chosen for the memorial service of Lies and I realize myself no even more
    what a gift it was that you could be there. Harmen read from Psalm 91:9
    “U bent mijn toevlucht HEER”. We have experienced that very stronlgy at this side of
    the ocean and we pray that it will remain true for you also. For, as the other reading of
    that servce said (1 John 3:20) God is greater than our hearts, He knows everything.

    I highly appreciate your openness about the struggle of body and soul. You know that
    many people around you, myself and Harmen and Arendjan included, share it with you.
    We struggle with God about the riddle His way of doing is to us, and we experience that
    the riddle is not an ennemy to His mercy.

    Blessings to you and to you all,


  3. Eep Talstra said,

    June 4, 2006 at 6:43 am

    Reading my comments I see now the typing errors. Apologies! But since we Pentacost
    today, language should not be the problem, I believe,

  4. judi said,

    June 7, 2006 at 9:40 pm

    al, margarent, in vermont, gave me a copy of ‘the cross-centered life’ but like a lot of my books, they lie in wait for me to pick up. i will make it a point to read it, since you have highly endorsed it.

    i have enjoyed reading your thoughts on the psalms and look forward to reading what you may be learning.


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