Monday, September 27, 2010

a steady 81 degrees

for those of you who haven't known me long...or don't know my sweet man well....or who haven't been in my home much, this may be "new" news to you...but we, on team holzberge,r are all about saving money. we abide by the dave ramsey principles, have our envelopes, have no debt (which ain't easy to do with all the medical bills that keep coming and a comin' each year, trust me! and for some reason, they don't like it if you just try to change your name and move every couple years, not sure why. ha ha, just teasing people, c'mon.) thing we do to help out ol' "mr. budget" is that we keep the thermostat WELL above or WELL below what the normal household does. our old home group used to have to say to themselves (and if you are reading this, you can attest to it!) "ok, we are meeting at the holzberger's this week, so i need to wear an extra sweater and bring my fuzzy blankey" :)

so, throughout the lovely heat that accompanies our amazing great state of Texas for roughly HALF of the calendar year, (i'm being generous, it's more like three-quarters of the year) when the daybreak comes along with the 94 degree temperature and it is already 102 before the darn mailman has even brought your mail (and yes, ours is here by 10:30am!!)...we have our "air conditioner" (please note the use of quotes there because i use that term very loosely and if we were sitting across from each other chatting, i'd be using the good ol' air-quote method of exaggerating this point) a steady 81 degrees. well, i say that we do... with we - being my hubby and i...but i am quite certain that my dear, darling, amazing, hubby who i have loved since i was 18, has, on occasion, taken liberty to jack the thing up to 83 or 84 during the day to see if i notice. i generally do. but, we always go back down to 81 at night (sweet, ain't he?:)....and if we know guests are coming over then we bump it down to 80, maybe. if we really like them, (more likely that if we don't know them very well and don't want to sweat them out) we will put it on 79. so...if you ever wanna know how close we are, go look at my thermostat when you come over. if you find yourself uncomfortable, chances are, we are pretty tight! :)

now, you may have read....i have been spending every bit of my time in my house. generally on "my spot" on the couch...or resting in my bed. occasionally i have to use the little girls room and then every day or two...or three (just keepin' it real here) i get to take a bath. that pretty much sums it up. so, my world, for the last two weeks has been kept pretty solid, at the steady 81 degrees. and for 16 days before that i was in the hospital where i was pretty much locked into the same environment. it may have been a degree or two less, but not too much, really, and all the while, steady. and then, for two weeks before that (once again with a brief three day hospital stay, yes, a different one) i was at home, on the couch....steady 81 degrees.

so....that brings us from about the middle of august up to now, almost all the way through case you were keeping track.

and yesterday, my sweet and faithful husband...who, in the last year has truly lived out the meaning of "through sickness and in health"...insisted that i come out and enjoy this weather..."how, baby? how can i do that? i can't sit up at all?" he knew that. trust me, he needs no reminding. the poor man works full-time as an asst. principal at two different schools (at a brand new job, nonetheless...fortunately, he LOVES it!) and then comes home and does everything, and i mean everything... from changing getting supper ironing his washing changing diapers playing with refereeing disciplining bathing mowing the washing the mopping the paying the fixing the cleaning the making lunches for, get the point, but trust me, i could go on and on and on. the point is...he did not need me to remind him that i can't get up. he knows. he lives this every day too. breaks my heart for him. pray for him too, in fact, if you don't mind. since, i have you here. he is so good and so fine and so kind and so faithful. but he is so tired and weary now. we are so blessed to have the amazing help of my parents and other family and friends, i cannot begin to even tell you. (that's a whole blog on serving others, trust me!) but still, this is his home, his family, his wife, his kids, his responsibility. and i know it has been a long year for him too. sweet man insisted that i come out and enjoy this weather. he saw in my face that i would love nothing more than to hear my children play in person in not through the mini-blinds, again. so, he said....well, i'll carry you. (isn't he cute?) now, for those of you who don't hubby is a pretty big guy. (did i mention how cute he is? i mean, i know that isn't like a requirement by any means...ooh he's gonna kill me for typing this too, but, i mean it, he's a hottie! :)

anyway...focus....ok, i'm back. he's about 5 foot 10 and a half-ish, i think and weighs maybe 200 pounds or so.....but he is a "strong-type"....loves to work out (ya, in all his free time!) and although painfully modest, even when i try to show off his muscles, he won't! :) me: "oh c'mon baby, show them your muscles, just lift up your shirt a little!" him: no words, just death stare. :) but, i'll be honest here...i ain't the same girl he carried across the threshold nine some odd years ago. i've gained and lost about 60 pounds three different times (thank you jacob, benjamin, abigail and blue bell ice cream! :) but most recently, i have put on, no lie, at least 30 pounds thanks to the inability to exercise (ok, move around at all) and the lovely wicked amount of steroids i've been on for the adrenal issues. so, i'm looking at him like, "um, ok honey...if you say so" and thinking..."oh lovely, this should be yet another way to get to wear my "humble shorts" today! why don't we bust out the bed pan while we're at it?" :)

so...he did. (not bust out the bed pan, thankfully!) he scooped me up (only adding a few grunts and groans to be funny...i know, he's a stinkin' riot, isn't he!) and carried me quickly to the chaise lounge thingy that he had moved up into our backyard right by the playground and trampoline where the kids were already playing. he had sweet benjamin carry mommy's two pillows and ice packs out there and they were there waiting for me. i was flat on my back again in no time. but....ooohh this view was soooooo much better. i hadn't been lying there two minutes and i 'bout burst into tears.

"honey", he said "don't get yourself worked up, enjoy this." he knows that my little emotional breakdowns that happen occasionally only make my headaches he was trying to protect me....and maybe the kids. :) they have seen me cry too much. plus, he knew i'd truly want to enjoy it! benjamin, my cuddle bug came over pretty quickly and said "mama, i'm gonna "cuggle" with you!!!" to which i replied, "wahooooo!!!" and he did. we lied there and looked up at the trees. ooooh how i had missed my trees. and we watched the wind blowing them all around in every direction. and i said to my sweet middle child, as i held his little sweaty body so tight, "isn't it so cool how God made the wind?" and he said "yep, it is...and He's blowing it around right now.....oh wait....he stopped......(long pause) i bet He had to go get a drink!" i burst into laughter, and he followed. he wasn't sure why i was laughing, but he knew he had caused it and he LOVES to make people laugh, so he was tickled! and quick to remind me a few times later that day "hey, mama, remember...God took a drink...hahahahaha!!" so fine that boy.

so there i was...just right there in that moment. my heart so.....very....full. i had missed so much about my backyard. it has been soooo long. i could write a whole blog about missing my trees. i mean it. i love my trees. looking up and watching God blow them around makes me feel so small and insignificant and yet so valuable and special, all at the same time. and feeling the wind on my face. i can count on ONE HAND the number of times i've even felt the wind on my face in the past month. (no, trips in a wheelchair from the door to the car don't count....but even if they did, it only makes me count up to two hands) hearing and seeing my kiddos play around, get dirty and call out "mama, watch this!" "hey, watch this!" was the best song my ears have heard in a very....very...long time. my heart was full.

and later it hit me. my moment with God. my friend (and sooo many others) had commented about how beautiful the weather was. people were just going on and on and on about what a gorgeous day it was. and in my head i was thinking "what's the big deal?" but that is when i realized that is because for sooo long now, i have been lying around inside my house at a steady 81 degrees. i had missed so much.

before i went into the hospital, it was crazy hot outside. 105 some days....too hot for the kids to play for too long. people were miserable. just plain miserable.

while i was in the hospital, it was monsoon like....weird kinda. it rained off and on for days and then we got a tornado. i am not making this up. an actual tornado touched down just miles from the hospital. yes, they rolled me into the hallway "code, black..code black!" and took precautionary measures....although according to chief meteorologist david finfrock, they did that about 10 minutes too late, but oh well :) regardless....all the rain....people were miserable.

then back to hot. then back to rain. then.....oh i don't know. but, it affects people. amazing how we can be so affected by something as simple as the weather. not me, my world has been a steady 81 degrees. pretty easy for me to not be miserable, eh? exactly...easy for me to say.

i haven't had to trudge wet kids through a parking lot with no umbrella. thanks rain.

i haven't had to hear them whine because it is time to come inside again because it is too stinkin' hot to be outside. thanks heat.

i haven't had to change any plans, cancel any plans....shoot, even make any plans.

exactly. that is what hit me. how steady have i really been? really????

if only you could read my thoughts like God can. well...i sure am thankful you can't. trust me, you should be too!! my heart, friend...has NOT been a steady 81 degrees. not at all. some days i am steady. some days i am not. i probably shouldn't even lump it in groups that big, really....some hours i am steady. some hours i am not. i could really break it down to minutes, let's be honest, that is more realistic. and clearly...more unsteady...

sometimes i am 105 degrees inside and upset...mad....frustrated....sooooo over having to live my life like this. life? if you can call it that. i cry out to God about how tired i am with it all.... the lying around...the pain...the unanswered questions...the "watching" my kids from the sidelines, but not feeling like i get to really be their mom right now....the heavy burden it is placing on those around me who love me most....oooohh bitterness tries hard to creep in here...and he brings his friends, fear, pity, and the need for control.

other times i am a cool, chilly 62 degrees inside....distant from God...lazy about how much time i spend with him during the day.....not "feeling" like i want to read anything else about Him and how faithful He is during trials....i just sit back, turn on the tv and chill. ooooohhhh complacency tries to creep in here....and he brings his friends along too (they never come alone, do they?) his friends are laziness, apathy, and hopelessness.

isn't it awful? the answer is yes. truly not something i am proud of. but it's the truth.

and what does my God think about it?
rev. 3:16 "so, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

i don't feel great about making God want to throw up.

but i am thankful for his abundant grace, that is for sure.
romans 5:15 "But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!"

oh, i am so happy to be one of the many! and i have learned a lot about these "feelings" that have been so lukewarm....for it is these feelings that deceive me. my belief in God isn't wavering. but my "feelings" about this whole trial do waver. the key is not to be led by, overcome by, or consumed by these feelings. i heard joyce meyer speak once about her ministry. she was asked about her many mission travels all over the world to feed and help the starving and desperate cultures of people. they asked her if she was "excited" about going. she said "no, i'm not terribly excited." this surprised them, until she explained. she basically said that she had been over there so very many times. the first time, she was excited. but then, on the 21 hour flight home, she got a stomach bug and threw up the entire way home. it was awful! the time change, long flight, insect bites, stomach bug...all that she knew was coming, didn't make her "excited". but what was important was that she was committed. even if all of those things happened again, she was committed to serve God, and had a faithful heart about it...excited or not.

i can absolutely respect that. am i always patient and trusting and humble during this looong "flight" i am on?? absolutely not. but, whenever these "feelings" come...these feelings that make me waver, make my thoughts go briefly (and sometimes not so briefly) to where they shouldn't go...i remember, that GOD IS FAITHFUL. it is ok if my feelings get the best of me sometimes, because i am committed. i will cling to God through this. i will trust Him the very best i can each day. i will stay committed to whatever it is He is allowing in my life. in spite of my "feelings".

i think some of the lyrics to an amazing song by mercyme fit very well here...("bring the rain")

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain isn't easy. moments will come, those 105 degree times, followed by the 62 degree times. and girls...let's be honest, it happens to us even more often...let's say every month or so, eh?? but, i have great news!! and trust me, i am needing truth upon truth to stand upon KNOW THIS...whatever you face....heat stroke days that make you feel parched, dried out, alone and forgotten...or monsoon-like days where you slop around soaking wet, beat-down, and frustrated that you've ruined your best shoes....regardless...HE CAN HANDLE IT!! HE IS IN CONTROL!!! and He loves you. that's right... YOU! He's got this covered... read below...and thank Him for His faithfulness, despite our lack of it...i know i am.

isaiah 58:11 "The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

thank you for strengthening my frame God. thank you for making me like a well-watered garden in the middle of the desert. only you can do that. without you, i am all dried up.

isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you"

thank you for not letting all of this sweep over me, God. thank you for the truth that when i feel waist deep in water with nowhere clear to are with me.


Monday, September 20, 2010

mini-blinds on my skylight....

(i warned you, this post is not short...but, let's be honest, it is me. i have never, ever, ever :) been known for my brevity. thank you so much for reading this and for praying. i cannot get low enough to humble myself and thank you. truly.)

ok, so i loooove our home. i just want you to know that. truly, i do. i mean it, ryan and i both sit around often and just bask in how much we love where we live. we have a modest home. it is not at all big, but not at all small...maybe a bit less than 2,000 square feet or so-ish.....we have lived here for almost two years now...can't believe it...and we looove it. it is what we like to call our "forever house" because we plan on raising the kids here, being here for years and years...fixing it up along the way.....etc. it could use some fixing up, by the way. while it was new to us two years ago, it is absolutely not new. in fact, this house was built around the same time i was built! :)

the last house we lived in was brand spankin' new....we picked everything out from the elevation (i think i sound sooooo fancy when i say really just means "the way the house looks from the front", but i sound waaay smarter saying it the other way, dont'cha think!?!) anyway...we picked the interior color (lulled beige, by the way.....and yes, i became one of those silly people i used to mock that would sit there and look at eight different paint samples and say...hmm, this one really has more green in it...ooh, this one has much more rosey undertones.....oh my goodness, THEY WERE ALL BEIGE!!!) oh well.....anyway...we loved that house...what we didn't love, however, was the roughly 9 1/2 square feet (i am not under-exaggerating by much, trust me) of backyard that we had. so...once we had the two sweet boys and baby #3 on the way, (thank you, God, for our sweet baby girl!) we decided to make the move to our "forever house".

ever moved with small children? and pregnant? NOT COOL!! and while it was nice to have an excuse not to have to load any of the heavy stuff, "sorry, dear, (as i pat the belly), i can't!" still, i told ryan...often...and always with a kind tone in my voice, of course (insert sarcasm)..."darn right this is our forever house, cause i am NEVER moving again, EVER!!" :) and i love you and i love Jesus. sigh. :) God gave us the deal of the century on our current home, He worked it out perfectly....and we LOVE sits on almost an acre....tucked in on all sides by 144 lovely, towering, oak trees (yes, my sweet, methodical husband and eldest son counted them for a homework project...oh they had fun with their tally chart, it was precious! :)....we are at the tail end of a quiet cul-de-sac where my children run out to the street and play all the time...most everyone on the street has been here for twenty or thirty years, (except some of our best friends and their three small kiddos who just recently moved in across the street, God we are so thankful for that blessing!) but most everyone else already raised their kids but have told me they love seeing little ones out and about playing outside again. at night, when we are hosing the kids off, we sometimes forget we live in the city. we are more than blessed.

but....i'm not gonna lie....there are some things that i would change if i could...things that really don't matter at all, really.....truly......but nonetheless.....popcorn ceilings aren't my favorite (been staring at them a lot over the last year, which doesn't help :)....the counter tops in our master bathroom are overly speckled with lovely flecks of, huh? :) or should i say, groovy, man, groovy. he, he. mini-blinds are not as "neat-o" as the faux (, i am so fancy) 3-inch white wooden blinds we saved and saved for and bought slowly but surely for our old house...oh ya, when we were selling it, i was like...wait a minute...those have to stay!?!? no way! ugh. (don't get me started on our beautiful ceiling fans!?! and yes...ryan was, honey, of course the ceiling fans stay...ever been to a house that just had the hole in the ceiling? to which i (calmly, of course) replied, "well, no! but, can't we replace them with ugly ones and take these with us?" i was pregnant and a bit emotional. but, if i could have found a way to take the precious stripes that my dear friend and i spent hours and hours painting on the wall of the nursery with me, i would have.

but, anyway....this leads me to where God was talking to me the other day. audibly? no. i sure do wish...that would be great to occasionally get a few specific tips yelled just to me from a bush or something....but i digress. so...i was lying on my couch (i know, shocker!) and i pretty much stay in the same position on the couch during the day (yes i have completely warped our sectional over the last is forever slumped from where i have literally lived....but who cares, this is the good is "my spot") of the (many) random and funny things about this house is part of my daily view....and this particular day, i was having a tough day and thankfully God had A LOT to say to me through multiple please, stick with me on this one.....(if you need to go get a light snack or take a restroom break, this would be a good time, i'll wait!:)

as i lay on the couch, in "my spot", i get to look up at the skylight in the living room....where someone once decided that it would be a good idea to put mini-blinds. really!?! stop and think about that for a minute, friend. mini-blinds in the skylight?!? i mean....they are turned open, obviously, since it is...ya know...a skylight and all....but on a skylight??? what exactly is the point of that, i have often stopped to wonder. you can't close them. you can't reach them. you can't clean them (which for such an avid cleaner like myself is just a true tragedy because i love nothing more than dusting., with the sarcasm) and while we are talking about it, why, really...would you want to even partially block the light from the very large HOLE cut out of your ceiling and roof that is specifically designed to bring in light? really, this one just baffles me. and makes me giggle.

and on this particular day it reminded me of an old song i used to love. back in the day, before Christian music really did become cool and it really was relevant to kids and what they were actually wanting to listen to...back when your choices were amy grant, rich mullins, twila paris and well, amy grant, again....well, not too long after that era, there was a song called "screen door on a submarine" you remember it? well...a few of the lyrics were "it's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine. faith without works baby, it just ain't happenin'." i loved that song. it was fun, upbeat, peppy....and it had a GREAT visual for me, who has always been such a visual silly would it be to have a screen door on a submarine? c'mon, take a what i do...stop and picture the little submarine-man-guy who works under water having to open the door, take a break from his hard work, and telling his buddies, "oh, it's ok guys, i got the screen door closed, we're good!" that always made me giggle.

but the lyrics are true. faith without works is pointless. over these last few months, i would like to believe that i have had quite a bit of faith about my healing. i honestly do. i know full well that i could literally wake up tomorrow and be completely healed, not a bit of pain. i also know that i have to be ok if i am not. but i believe God can do that. i have faith. but, have i had works to back up that faith? hmmm....i will get back to that.

so, this day, i am looking at the mini-blinds on my skylight and just then, i got the sun right in my face. ya see....when you spent hour after hour after hour on the couch each and every day, you kinda get in a routine. and since i am always in "my spot", i have come to realize lately that every day, right around lunchtime, is when the sun hits just right, and shines directly above my skylight. often, i have just moved over a smidge and not thought much about it. but not on this day. on this day, i was listening to my praise and worship channel on my tv and crying like a little girl, talking to God about how tired i was of being on this couch....of being in pain....of not having clear answers from the doctors of why, or when this will end, or even what is going on....of seeing my kids playing outside through the stinkin' window and not being a part of it....of saying goodbye to them as the go somewhere, anywhere and once again i can't go....anyway....i truly don't have moments like this all the time, but trust me, friend, they do come. and thankfully, God can handle it.

so, anyway, i was crying and singing the lyrics to this amazing song i love that had just come carefully...(josh wilson "before the morning")

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

man, these lyrics just ring sooo very true to me, right now i can't even tell you. it is such a great song. and so true. and of course, just then, i got the BEAM of light, stretched through my mini-blinds on my skylight......but this time was different....

i was crying and singing the words "i just gotta wait for the light"....and then there it was....the me friend, i DID NOT move over a smidge this time. i stayed put. i closed my eyes because the light is literally WAY too bright to look into....and i just let it shine in my face. i just laid still.

for so many reasons.... i just laid still.

because i knew God was telling me to be thankful for how the silly mini-blinds in my skylight, in my amazing house we are sooo blessed to have, let in this light just so.

because i knew the Truth in this song needed to be heard in my heart.

because i hadn't felt the sun on my face like this in WEEKS, friend.......weeks.

because i knew this wasn't my moment in the sun....but this was a moment with the Son.

and...i laid there and thought about the lyrics to that song....and also, to the old song that i had just been thinking and works.....and i knew what God was saying to me.

i need to put my faith into action, and put works alongside it.

i need to go to new mexico.

HUH!?!? did i lose you there?? well, that is because i haven't told you about my amazing friend from college who had just emailed me and told me that God had truly placed it on her heart for she and her husband to fly me (or come and get me and drive me) and pay my way to her women's conference at her church. she had been feeling that way for a while but, by her words, hadn't been obedient because...well, it didn't make sense, honestly. she knew i was sick...i lived far could this work didn't make sense. but then through a series of amazing events that can only be described as God taking a neon sign and confirming Himself to her, she stepped out on faith and told me this was what she needed to do. she put works behind her faith. not the kind of works that are trying to get her to "earn" His love, or perform well enough to be righteous, like the Pharisees used to...but the kind of works that show her faith in action. the kind of works that don't make sense, that she would be willing to spend that kind of money on wanting to get me there, knowing that as of right now, i can't even barely walk across the house to use the potty! that is the kind of works i am talking about, people. oh, i just love her. and miss her. and get giddy at the thought of spending time with her.

so, that is where you come in, friend. i am well aware that some of you flat have rug burns on your knees on my behalf, and for that, there is no way to truly ever repay you or thank you enough. but, i am asking for you to commit to pray for me and for healing and for me to get my hiney to new mexico for this women's conference! we have about four weeks. just typing that makes doubt flood my head..."um, hello, you can't even walk across your house and be upright that are you going to get to new mexico!?!"

again, this is big faith...and works to back it up. it doesn't make sense. as my dear friend said "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called." (amen!) she has booked my reservation with her women's retreat and now i just need to find someone to drive me to amarillo, or lubbock, or some west texas town about halfway, where she and her mom (who is believing alongside us and already scheduled to take a day off work to come get and works!) will meet up and get me. this is exciting isn't it??

it was for me, too.

and then the headaches came back. ugh. the same type of pressure headaches i've been having when i sit up. the doctors say i am leaking spinal fluid (fourth time in three years) and so whenever i sit up, the pressure changes in my head, the spinal fluid that is supposed to cushion my brain...well, doesn't cushion it, and the headaches swell. it isn't as bad as when i was in the hospital, THANK GOD, but it is back. i have an appointment with my neurologist next week, who will likely refer me to the mayo clinic, and i could have another procedure to "fix it"....another very painful procedure.....already had two.....or i could just stay f.o.b. and let my body try to heal. let God heal. i believe God can use either way to heal me. or not. again, i have to be ok either way. i refuse to let a bitter root grow, people. (hebrews 12:15)

but i'd be lying if i told you i wasn't quite discouraged sometimes.

again, this is where you come in, friend. we have until october 13th...that is when i need to "go west, young man"...will you commit to pray for me??

let's pray for healing.

let's pray for my heart and mind to stay encouraged and positive and trusting God, believing like the song says, that "the pain i'm going through is just the dark before the morning".

let's pray for all of our faith to grow...and our works to back it up!

i know full well that if i am supposed to be there, God will make it happen. and if, for some reason, i am will not be for a lack of faith. He can heal me on the drive there...later this morning in the bath tub (horaay, it's my bathing day!)...or through the wisdom and procedures of the doctors. who knows? He knows. but, i need your help. i am humbly asking you to kneel alongside of me and take this road with me.

let's do this thing, shall we?

if you will please sign up to "follow" me on this blog thing, i will know you are praying. i can't tell you how to do that, because i am a computer fool. you will know that because i have the regular template as my blog background, and i don't have anyone i follow, because i can't figure out how to make their little faces show up....i'll get there. that is my project after i get this post completed. but, i think you have to have a certain email address to click on the side and "follow". you could just email me through facebook too. i just would love to be able to thank you and keep you posted.

we love and serve a very big God. like i told my darling friend from college who stepped out bigger and with more faith than i did....we do serve the God that was able to part the water a few times and let people walk across dry land...He did rescue "rack, shack and benny" (gotta love veggie tales, those were the names for shadrach, meshach and abednago, but i prefer the veggie tales names :) from the fire and they didn't even smell of smoke...He did place the stars in the sky....He did invent the concept of my i'm thinking he can handle my little problem here. He can be trusted. this i know. (ephesians 3:20-21...immeasurably more, people!!)

again, sorry this post was so loooong. (and again, it is me.) and thank you. i truly mean it when i say how humbled i have been throughout it all. i always used to say that whenever i'd see the little girlys with something clever, or usually not-so-clever written across their hiney...i truly should own some that have "humbled"...just cause i have been soooo many times. and needed it each and every time. anyway.... i wear my humble shorts daily, trust me. fortunately, they coordinate with everything, so i'm good. :)

alright, God, we love you. we trust you. let's do this thing. now, you go and show yourself big!
love love. and thank you again, everyone.

proverbs 15:29 "The Lord is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous."

jeremiah 17:14 "Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise."

psalm 103:2-5"Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

it was the alien....

ok, any of you believe that an alien can take over your body and make you do things that you wouldn't normally do?????

well, i don't either, obviously...i'm not a buffoon. well, i take that back. i am a buffoon. but i don't believe that, anyway. but, boy sometimes do i wish it were true. sigh. i will explain....

and i will preface this by saying that i am posting this particular information with great fact, if my computer were to crash all of a sudden in the middle of this and i, were to lose everything, i can't say i'd be too terribly sad, because i am about to admit something to the world out there that i am just flat not proud of. but, recently, it dawned on me, that i sure hope no one out there reading my blog thinks that i am "too good", ya know?!? i don't ever want to come across as someone who doesn't struggle, or always take the high road, or leaves the "real" sinnin' for the rest of you girls. so, it full disclosure....this won't be pretty. but it's real. it's me. ok...deep we go....(darn that computer...still no crashing...:)

so, one of my dearest, sweetest friends came over to visit me recently and we were talking about various things.....she wanted to catch up on how i was feeling....she has missed me (because she is lovely and kind and good) and hadn't gotten to see me while i was in the hospital or since i'd been home (PRAISE GOD I AM HOME!!!)....and i was asking her about her super wonderful family who i adore.....her children are so very fine, well-behaved, good-hearted, and she is, just wooonderful......the kind of person who you hope really likes you and stays friends with you and who you want to come over and hang out with you every single day.....and, well, i tolerate her husband. he, he. just teasing....he is one of the finest men you'll meet, such a great heart.....and although he likes to act like he's tough, he really is a rascal and we treat each other like brother and sister, often teasing each other relentlessly, it is greatness. and yes, he smells funny. :) sweet, sweet friend and i were, mind you....i have just come home from the hospital, i mean i don't even have all the remnants of tape debri scratched off my arms from all the iv's yet.....and this was a time where God and i have spent A LOT of time talking...i have been reading A LOT of His Word....trying to keep my mind on things that are lovely, good, pure, etc (phil. 4:8) and while i have been f.o.b. (see other blog entry for more info) i have just, ever-so-recently really had a lot of time to reflect and stay in tune with God and His presence.......ok, so you get my drift....moving on....(and yes, still no computer crash, sigh)

so we are talking and she asks me some questions about some people i once knew....(innocent enough on her part, poor thing) people i haven't thought about (or seen) in years and years.....and one person, in particular...let's just say, wasn't my favorite person then (ok, or now either, apparently...stay tuned)......and she wanted to know if i knew these people and what i thought about them. let me be clear, if i haven't been clear enough already about my wonderful friend....she was IN NO WAY looking for gossip, or anything ugly like that....she just loves and trusts me (well, did....hopefully still does) and wanted to know my opinion......well...girls and boys...she got it. gulp.

upon hearing the name of someone from my professional past who had genuinely caused me pain, embarrassment, trouble and who had belittled me, falsely accused me, and flat out hurt me....not to mention, not done a thing for my fragile insecurity issues i was carting around at the time(yes, yes, my issues, not hers!...and clearly i have dealt with all of them, eh?).....i proceeded to throw up all over my dear sweet friend. now, i didn't throw up literally...although, let's be honest... this wasn't much prettier......i told her my unfortunate story, my experience with this opinions....faaaar more than she surely had bargained for....faaar more than she surely wanted to hear....and FAAAAARR more than i should have.

this, when i would like to believe the alien took over my body. i would like to believe that i wouldn't act this way at all. not me?? not grateful to be home....thankful for SOOO much....spending so much time talking to Him or about Him in my day....lovin'-my Jesus-ol'-me?? oh was me. no aliens here. bummer.

now...i don't think it was all gossip. trust me, i have over-thought it since my friend left. most of it was just my version of what happened. and most of it was fact. shame on me sitting here (lying here) and for trying to justify it. (i would like to delete this part, but darn if i'm not leaving all this justification part in, too! ughhh.) the fact is, the lady was not sitting here to defend herself. and goodness gracious it was SEVEN years ago.....who knew i had so much hurt buried about the whole thing!?! not me. and not my poor sweet friend, that's for sure. i bet she felt she needed a cold shower after leaving me. goodness gracious, i felt i needed one..and i didn't get to leave me.

and would you like to know what chapter was next in the book i am currently reading when i got to bed that night?? (joyce meyer's "battlefield of the mind", by the way) was the chapter titled "a judgmental, critical and suspicious mind". don't you just love it when God gets you right in the gut?? well, me neither, silly. who loves that!?! but man, He is good at that with me. and yes, i genuinely am thankful, because clearly, i need it.

would you like to read the verse that opens that chapter?? i laughed out loud when i read it (almost woke ryan!)...not because it was funny....but because it was like one of these moments....

dear me,
clearly, you need to read this.
i love you,

it is from matthew, chapter 7...perhaps you have read it? beginning with verse 1 through 3...

"do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. for just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you (use to) deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you." this part made me say, OUCH!! obviously. according to the measure, huh? shoot. that can't be good.

and then i read verse three and that is when i laughed (more of a snort!) and almost woke will see why....

"why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother's eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye?"

ha! beam of timber!?! love it.

i'm not sure what version of the Bible that joyce meyer used here, but i think it is probably the AMP version, she likes that one...anyway....i love this translation....because i am an extremely visual immediately i pictured that person i "discussed" with my friend with just a SPECK, an itty bitty, super small, don't even need to get out your compact mirror, it's so easy to get out, particle of dust in her eye...and me, the fool, walking around with a beam of timber sticking 15 feet out of my ridiculous face, just taking out people left and right, old ladies, small children - knocked to the ground... as i walk down the street. sigh. a BEAM OF TIMBER, people..i think God is pretty clear here. it is irrelevant if this person actually hurt me, and who was actually right and wrong back then....right now, when i chose to "go there" and tell my dear friend all this stuff.....i CHOSE the beam of timber. ugh. and now, thank God, i was doing as the verse said and taking time to "become aware of and consider" my beam of timber. double sigh. you know what....i am afraid that some of us (myself of course included here) truly don't stop and "become aware of and consider" this thing.....honestly....i think some of us try to put a little more foundation on, maybe a bit of concealer, in hopes that we cover up that ol' beam of timber.....and then we walk around wondering why all these poor people keep getting flattened in our wake. goodness gracious. you think king kong did some damage?? i would venture to say that the enemy could get a lot done for his plan with one of us and a beam of timber we consider, and instead just put some L'Oreal color-stay on.

which leads me to what joyce goes further in her book to say.... that "the devil loves to keep us busy, mentally judging the faults of others. that way, we never see or deal with what is wrong with us."

whoa. that hit me, too.

and it is sooooo true. the enemy of our soul, who is relentless, by the way!! (1 peter 5:8) would love NOTHING more than for me to stay this way, and keep this type of behavior up...decorating my beam of timber....sprucing it up, carving me and ryan's initial's in that i don't ever deal with the fact that i am not acting like Jesus, like i should be...and therefore not growing up in Him, like i should be (hebrews 5)..and therefore, not being as effectual as i could be.

well, i want NONE of his stupid plan, that is for sure.

i called my dear, sweet, darling friend.....and apologized truly for, well...throwing up all over her....and she loves me and said she knows my heart and knew where all that was coming from....but still, whew...that wasn't was almost like i couldn't apologize enough.

i've heard it said that you must be so careful about what you say out loud (matthew 12:34, james 3:10) because once you say it, you can't EVER "un"-say it...again, i am soooo visual, and they said it is like trying to get toothpaste back in the is impossible. i felt that way. couldn't get that stuff back in the tube for the life of me. you can try, but all you are left with is an empty tube and messy hands. so, obviously.....all there is left to do is go to God, repent and give it up.

fortunately for me, i am f.o.b. all the time and so i gotta face Him, face first a i just laid there and apologized for blowing an opportunity to act like love on and minister to my sweet friend who i honor the person who hurt me and turn the other cheek, bless those who curse me (luke 6:28) was not a fun night. i felt better after repenting, that's for sure....but there's a reason God doesn't want us to is not in our best interest. it feels awful.

so....there it is. all my not-glory. fyi---this is just one small instance i have shared by the way...from a big ol' handful that i could have shared. this one just hit the hardest and stung the least over the last few i felt i should share. did i want to? of course not. (and yes...please notice that my computer has still not crashed. of course.) and darn that area 54 for not being real. i can't blame the aliens for taking over my body, making me do something i wouldn't normally do. i take full responsibility. i do take a small bit of solace (is that the right word, here??hm?) in knowing that the apostle paul can relate....i will leave you with The Message translation of romans 7:14-25 (which is the whole, "what i want to do, i don't do, but what i don't want to do, that i do" thing... that i can totally relate to! and maybe you can to?! i think this version, while not super Biblically accurate as far as translations go...but it is easy to relate to and i think, in this case....a great, please do, friend....please do.

14-16I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.

17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.



ok, so i must be first thought...hearing the word "homecoming" makes me immediately flashback to my good ol' high school days and i am bombarded with memories of the days of blue and gold....

that's and gold...everywhere! homecoming was sort of a big deal at my high school...not as much as the awards dance in the spring, called legacy...but still, homecoming was something that we "did" and most people took part in, at least all my friends, and it was cool...i guess. well, i took part. and i was cool...or so i thought, at least. :)

the tradition was to find a cute boy and somehow get him to ask you to homecoming...others of my friends didn't have a hard time with that part.....and then you would arrange for his parents to fork over a ridiculous amount of money on a mum with both of your names splattered down it in blue and gold...of course adding the other doo-dads and trinkets that showed off all you were involved in....varsity add a dangly gold volleyball thingy...and he is in choir, so put some music notes down the little hoopy things on this time she liked dance, so for goodness sake, we have to add some twirly sort of flashy gold dancer somewhere on the thing...and so on and so forth...adding roughly 38 pounds (and who knows how many dollars!!) to the monstrosity that was somehow supposed to be supported by a safety pin and attached to my bra strap. the guys (and therefore my parent's pocketbook), however, got off much easier and just wore the arm thingy with a much, much more tamed down version of the, i bet that thing only weighed like 2 pounds. isn't the logic backwards here?? you wore this mum to school that friday and jingle jangled with pride up and down the halls all day, dropping golden pieces everywhere and whooping and hollering for your good ol' patriots all the while. :) then, you wore it to the football game that night (or what was left of it after a full day of school)...and of course then hung it on your wall for the rest of the year, assuming you still liked the guy you went with. which, i, generally did. in fact, i still had my senior year mum until fairly recently when my sweet husband finally gave me "the look" that says he loves me dearly but that if he has to store one more box full of my childhood junk he's going to make me sleep out here with i relented and threw it out. i do still have my letter jacket somewhere though...shh...don't tell ryan! :)

then, there was the dance, saturday night. typical high school deal...girls in short cocktail dresses, boys in suits....girls spending ALL day getting done with faaar too much hairspray and the type of hairdo in the mid-late 90's that once you actually got home and removed all the bobby pins, it all stayed perfectly in place...still perched atop your head...miraculous...nails done (and lasting a whopping three days until the next volleyball game when your $35 went down the drain after your first serve)....some would go tanning, not me thanks to the rules in my house..hated it then, thankful now......and the boys would do nothing all day and then perhaps shower, throw on their cheap cologne and suit up at 6pm and go meet at someone's house for all the traditional group photos.....ok, now let's get one of all the girls.....ok, now all the guys....ok, now each couple.....etc.

ahhh...i have fairly good memories of homecoming in high school. the concept of homecoming is a good one. seeing the almuni come back to visit....only from the year before, because everyone knew it was lame to go back and visit after one year.....but it was cool to see them, even though they were all sporting their college tshirts, and acted like they were sort of put out by being there and strangely enough, even seemed waay older than we were....

homecoming. good concept. good memories. not sure how i got off on this tangent. well, let's be honest, it's me. is it really a stretch to see me go off on a tangent? (that was rhetorical, by the way)

but i am happy...actually BEYOND THRILLED to discuss my newest memories of what homecoming means to me now..... me...homecoming means the idea that the doctors...after SIXTEEN days in the hospital.....did you read that.....S I X T E E N days away from my babies, my man, my bed, my shower, my clothes, my couch, my shows recorded on my tv, my world.....after SIXTEEN days of being laid up in a hospital bed, hooked up to an iv, eating grilled chicken, broccoli spears, carrots and baked potatoes....after SIXTEEN days of pain and tests...unanswered questions, unsure diagnosis......after SIXTEEN days of it all....i was getting to come home.

that was some good news. that was a homecoming worth celebrating.

and boy did i.

i couldn't wait. honestly, as i sit here and try to type about it, it is hard for me to find the words....and if you know me at all, i RARELY lack for words. there was that time that i got engaged to my sweet man and was speechless and almost peed on myself in front of hundreds of people cause i was sooo surprised.....and then there was the time i was asked to try and describe what it's like being a mom....or giving birth.....or rushing your kid to the ER........ok, there have been a few times.....

but this was a great time. and it is hard to describe.

i was filled with so much joy. and thankfulness. and joy. and excitement. and anticipation. and peace. and joy. and giddiness. and relief. and something that resembles the expression of "IT'S ABOUT STINKIN' TIME!!!"....all at the same time...

you see, my kids didn't know i was coming home that day. it was going to be a surprise. they had asked me, pretty much every single day, multiple times a day, since i left when i was coming home. that was maybe the hardest part of being gone. because they were only ages 5, 3 and 17 months....they didn't quite get it fully. and i got A LOT of..."mama, are they going to let you come home, today?" "can you just ask the doctors and the nurses to let you come home today?" "why can't they fix you today, mama?" "do you think you will be home by my birthday, mama?" (ya, that one was the hardest, and unfortunately, the answer was no.)

but on this day, my homecoming day......i couldn't wait to see their little faces, hug their little necks and just sit on my couch and be at home. i live in a modest home. it is nice, but not fancy. but i can't tell you how much i missed so very many things about it. most of all were the little faces (and the really hot big face!) :) that make it not a house, but a home.

man, i wanted not only a 38 pound mum...i wanted a whole stinkin parade on this day. i felt i deserved it...after the year i've had....and after these looong 16 days away......

but not really. really, i didn't care. i just wanted to get home. and i did. i got to the couch and had some time to rest before ryan and the kids got there. i sat there and thanked God for letting me come home....for giving me a place i wanted so badly to come home to...and people i sooo badly wanted to be around. i am so blessed.

then they came in.

ryan had their little eyes covered and said "i have a surprise for you....ready, one...two....three. open!!" the older two opened there eyes and kinda stood there for just a second, almost as if what they were seeing couldn't be real.....but then ran to me and just hugged me.....they didn't scream or squeal (they are boys after all:) they just ran and hugged me....for a looooong time. sweet sister friend did squeal (atta girl!!) and ran to me giggling with her sweet toddler self.....they all kinda piled on...and for a few minutes i didn't even care about the pain, i just hugged.....and my oldest just kept looking up at me and smiling and then hugging me some more....

it was wonderful. it was pure. it was perfect.

it was my homecoming. and i couldn't be more thankful.

i knew God had been with me the entire time in the hospital. i knew it because i couldn't have made it otherwise. i believe he healed me when He did. I believe i will continue to get better. and i know, because He loves me, that that homecoming was a great day for Him, too. He made us to love, and He taught us to love.....and i know that He saw each tear i cried in that hospital bed. i know He saw each tear they cried missing their mama, while i was away. not one will be wasted. He has a plan. i will continue to trust in that, as i am home (thank you, God) but still so far from being back to normal. so very far)

i believe i wasn't the only one rejoicing that day.....i bet if there were mums in heaven, God would have worm one for me that day...He would have wanted to celebrate that homecoming day with me. sounds silly....maybe? but true. and He would proudly wear my name down the side of it.

obviously, His would be made with real gold, though. :)

Psalm 100 "A psalm. For giving thanks. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

Friday, September 10, 2010


i had the immense blessing at working at a Christian camp for ten summers. well, pretty much ten summers. the last two weren't full summers because i was huge and pregnant for summer #9..and i do mean huge! :) and then a new mommy summer #10 and mainly just helped out a bit here and there as i could. (and since i never, ever, ever, ever...ever, ever exaggerate, ever. :)) i don't want to mislead....but, for the better part of ten summers i was devoted and in LOVE with working at camp. there is no way to fully know how amazingly God impacted my life, my future...and, everything though that place, those people, those experiences...all of it. i got engaged to my sweet man there for goodness sake. :) and, for those of you wonderful people (family) who worked at camp el har with me, you know exactly what the title of this post means. you know it, because, if you were an overnight camp counselor, it was the absolute highlight of your longed for it more than you longed for a cool drink of "coke, mr.pib, sprite or orange" :) in the 106 degree heat of the endless summer camp days....more than the small bits of shade of the snack shack times while the kids played carpet-ball in between loooong walks between activities.....more than dressing up for wacky wednesday and blacking out your teeth with a sharpie....oh wait, i think that was just me! :)

for the rest of you unfortunate souls who didn't work there :) let me explain....

f.o.b. was a scheduled time during every camp day (for the overnight campers) where the campers and counselors would go into the cabins and take a set amount of time to calm down in a horizontal position, in hopes that said children's eyes would close, breathing would slow to a steady calm, and noise would cease, if ever so briefly. they didn't dare call it "nap" time because these kids were waaaay too big to take naps and would have revolted by tying the counselors together with their dirty socks and making them listen to hours upon hours of the ever-so-annoying song "i know a song that gets on the counselor's nerves, i know a song that gets on the counselor's nerves, i know a song that gets on the counselor's nerves, and this is how it goes...verse 1....i know a song that gets on the counselor's nerves, i know a song...."

now, f.o.b. was crucial, not only for the survival of the campers to make it through the jam-packed, fun-filled, heat-stroked week of camp...but also for the counselors to make it through the mosquito-packed, noise-filled, heat-stroked week after week after week after week of summer. it was by far the counselor's favorite part of the day. they depended on it. they longed for it. they led their campers into the cabins, took just enough time to make sure they were all there and in the bunks and then whether or not the campers slept, they were snoring and drooling themselves before you could hum one bar of "kum-bay-yah, my Lord". it was crucial for their survival. without it, they wouldn't make it. it was f.o.b. and what did it stand for? Flat On Back.

well, it has been five years since i have worked at camp. weird to think about, but true. but, one thing is for sure...this last year, i have personally had an extra dose of f.o.b. time....and then some.

someone very dear to me, who loves Jesus so much it just oozes from her and whom i love and respect greatly, mentioned to me that i must have a very unique view of God from all this time i have had to spend flat on my back. whoa. that really got me thinking. and of course, inspired this post. as soon as i read what she wrote...the phrase "flat on my back" made me think of camp...and of course i couldn't help but be flooded with years of memories and smiles and joy upon joy. but then i really started thinking about being f.o.b. all this time. i sure haven't looked at it like the counselors did back in the day.

have i resisted it too much?

have i learned enough from it?

have i looked up enough?

you would think i would have no choice...but to look up. but oh, you'd be wrong. even flat on your back, with your face upward, you can choose to look left or right, or to flat close your eyes if you dare.

lately, i must admit, i have had a phrase running around in my head....about those ol' ready for it??

forty years for an eleven day journey.

forty years for an eleven day journey.

please God, i DO NOT want to take forty years for this eleven day journey.

being f.o.b. allows for a lot of time to question a lot of things...

why is God doing this to me?

is God doing this to me?

or is He doing something through me?

when will He allow it to be done?

what can i do to speed this along?

what have i done wrong to slow this thing down?

why me?

why now?

for goodness sake, why still?

the good news for me is, at least now....that i have blissfully gotten to the point in my faith that i do not need answers to all of these questions anymore. trust me, it took a looooooong time to get here. i still might, in the middle of the night, when i am lying here in pain....again....cry out with one of these questions....again....but i believe that there is a difference between occasionally needing to ask Him one, and feeling entitled for Him to answer them.

thinking back, i have literally spent the better part of the last 11 months f.o.b.

that is roughly 300 days that i have spent the better part of the day with the opportunity to look up. this is, of course, an estimation, because there were quite a few days that i only had to spend a few hours f.o.b. to rest, but then there were entire weeks and weeks at a time where i had to spend the entire day that way, because the pain was so bad. but always, with the opportunity to look up.

did i always? no. did i sometimes? absolutely. did i do it sometimes with frustrated tears in my eyes and a selfish or self-righteous heart? absolutely. did i do it sometimes with hands held high praising and thanking Him to a favorite worship song? sure.

regardless, i have been f.o.b. for a while now. and to be honest, i do not know how much longer He'll allow me to be this way. i have discovered that it is a whole lot easier to praise God when you are getting what you want, than it is to praise Him when you are seeing others live out the life you want, while you are, in fact...well, left f.o.b.

and i will be totally honest with you...listen up, cause this is for real....these last couple weeks in the hospital, when i have literally been f.o.b. all day every day, except for the quick trip to the potty (and some days i wasn't even able to get up for that....don't even get me started on the humility of the bed pan!!! :)) these days were leading me to a dark, sad, and hopeless place....a place where the enemy of my soul wanted to take me and keep me.

it wasn't until some dear friends spoke Truth back into my heart, splashed some cold water (John 4:10-15) on my face and slapped me around a bit (in the name of Jesus!:) that i realized that even in huge amounts of pain, with no clear answers in a stinkin' hospital bed...i could still be cheerful. i could still be thankful. i could still be positive. i could still find reason to believe that i would be ok. God was using this for His glory, whether i was enjoying my f.o.b. time or not.

ya see....those campers didn't always know it....but they really couldn't have made it through the whole week of camp without that f.o.b. time. their little bodies wouldn't have made it. ya know why? because we had soooo many amazing things planned for them that they weren't used to. they weren't used to spending half a day in the hot sun at the lake and then the other half in the hot sun riding horses, shooting bows and arrows, climbing ropes courses, playing games, etc. if they didn't, excuse me...have f.o.b. time, they would have been waaay too exhausted, and missed out on all the great things we had in store for them. you know where i'm going with this.....

this is where i'm at. i am choosing to take God at his Word. and i encourage you to do the same. maybe you aren't literally flat on your back. and if you aren't, i encourage you to take a few minutes and thank Him for that. but, maybe you are. and i am sorry for that. but, i am right here with you. i'm doing my leg and arm exercises so that i can rebuild what all these days f.o.b. have cost my wimpy little muscles. but, maybe you just feel like you are f.o.b. either emotionally or spiritually...maybe with your job, or your spouse, or your purpose in life. i don't know. but i know Who does know. and i guarantee that NONE of your time f.o.b., or feeling that way is wasted. not one tear. not one moment. Our God is a God who redeems. i am believing Him that i will be better. not in my timing of course (bummer!:) but in His. i just gotta hold on. yes, easier said than done. trust me, waaaay easier said that done. but it can be done.

He has a plan, friend. and it is a good one. maybe this f.o.b. is exactly what you and i need to get ready for what He's got coming. maybe He's really got to knock some more sense into me. (not you i'm are surely far less stubborn and far more obedient and faithful than me...but i know me) so, i'm taking Him at His Word and trusting for the good that is to come. will i be this strong every but that is why it is crucial to surround yourselves with other believes who can support you during this time. God knows my closest friends and family flat out have carpet burns on their knees thanks to me. and i couldn't be more humbly grateful. (sorry guys, it ain't over, yet!!) but, i think it is important that we trust Him and thank Him now, while we are f.o.b.....that takes true strength, friend. stand alongside me. well....nevermind...lie alongside me....let's be f.o.b. together. :)

jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

psalm 103:2-4 "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion"

1 peter 5:6 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

lucky 13

did you ever have one of those cheesey rabbit foot key chain thingy's when you were younger? creepy, now, when i think of it...but they were popular, so of course, i had one. it hung, with many other obnoxious keychains on the zipper of my backpack, because i was young and obviously didn't have a key to anything. there was a mini-magic 8 ball there as well....some sort of troll with poofy pink hair....maybe a mini-button of jordan from new kids on the block that i had pinned on as well. it was a large junk of mess rattling around, but it was popular, so i did it.

i didn't ever actually believed that the appendage that someone cut off of poor thumper would bring me good luck, whether they had dyed it hot pink or not, didn't matter. it was just something you had and saw, but didn't put much weight in. kinda like the title of my post today...lucky 13. today marks the 13th day i have been in the hospital. wahoo. so, one might say..."hey, lucky 13, maybe you'll get to go home today!?!" to which i would laugh and say, who knows if i'll get to go home today, but it won't be luck. i mean seriously....luck? didn't turn out to "lucky" for ol' thumper did it.

now, don't get me wrong, i would LOOOOOVE to go home today, i don't care what day it is. but i'd just assumed have gone home on "lucky 4" day or "lucky 5" day....but that is all silly talk anyway. and, after all, i'm still here. that's right.....still here. ya hear that God....still here!?!?!?

my husband and i did a lot of good talking yesterday and he brought up a very good point. often when we do this, and he brings up a very good point, it is often something i don't particularly want to hear. in other words, it is usually convicting and i've always been a fan of "pleasing me" type of conversations. not ryan. God knew what He was doing there.

yesterday started of with such promise. i got up out of this hospital bed and took a shower. which, by the way was beyond needed. i mean it. i'm talking, worse than when you have an infant and you are aimlessly stumbling around half-awake with spit-up all over you thinking "when was the last time i bathed myself?" ya, it was that bad. so, i took a shower and got up afterwards and didn't really have much of a pressure headache at all. i couldn't believe it! i was thrilled. especially since i had ended the night before so down in the dumps after getting up and having spinal pressure headaches after being flat on my back for TWO SOLID DAYS. but, here i was in the morning, feeling at least a little ok. Praise God! i still took it easy and stayed flat the rest of the morning, but then when i got up again, i still felt ok. it is so hard to differentiate how i feel, because i am so very weak and i get dizzy, from lying in a hospital bed for 12 days, and from the exhaustion of my adrenal insufficiency on top of all that....but i stood there and really focused and honestly couldn't feel that scary headache. Oh God-could i be healed?? could that second blood patch really have worked? my hope soared. i flashed in my mind to getting home, finally, and seeing my babies and them being soooo happy...home, finally! then the afternoon came and i got up , just to go to the bathroom (yes, i had parted ways with the bed pan, and was happy to do so) and within minutes it hit me. NO! please God, NO! but sure enough, the all to familiar swelling headache came on again. i hurried back to lie flat, almost wishing it away. telling myself it wasn't that bad. i lied flat the entire rest of the afternoon and early evening. then, once ryan got back up to the hospital, i knew i had to try it again. so, i did. this time was even worse. that swelling pressure feeling, like my brain will literally explode...i know that at this very moment my spinal fluid is leaking away from my brain, and causing trauma to i lied down again. and cried. and worried. and got angry. and cried.

then, i just checked out. have you ever done that? been so spent, so overwhelmed and exhausted that you just check out? i wasn't feeling much like talking to God about it. i wasn't even feeling like talking about it, analyzing it, or even giving one moment's thought to it. my body had betrayed me again, or so i felt. so i turned on the tv and just checked out. fortunately for me, that one of the 17 channels they have here at the hospital is lifetime and they were doing a movie marathon. so, for FOUR hours i just escaped. first, with drew barrymore in "never been kissed", one of my all time favs. then a bit later, with julia roberts in "knotting hill" another good chick flick. i gave up my brain energy to useless tv. could i have gone to God, laid myself before Him, once again....yes. should i have opened my Bible and found Truth to encourage me? yes. could i even have opened one of the great Christian books i am reading right now and been encouraged? yes. shoulda....but didn't. i'm not at all proud of this, but i just checked out.

later in the evening, as i was upset about the whole thing, ryan was trying to keep me positive and then he got a little "tough love baby" on me. he said "honey, you have got to calm down. you do this every time you start to feel worse, you get down, you worry more. then, when things get better, you get a good prognosis, your hopes go up and you are so much more positive. you can't keep doing this to yourself." ugh. it bugs me to no end when he nails me.

he was exactly right. i have been putting my hope in these circumstances, and not in my God. isn't my faith stronger than this? i ask myself. i am not a fair weather faithful follower am i? or am i? its been tough not to be crushed each time i've gotten my hopes up. but over these last ten months and especially these last 13 days, it has been very tough...

doc:' yes, this procedure should help and give us all the info we need, i bet we have you outta here in two days"
me: missing jacob's birthday (crushed)

doc: "now, because of your past history, this second procedure really should seal this leak and as long as you lie flat for an entire 24 hours, just to be safe, i bet it will be fine. you should be home by saturday"
me: missing bringing bday cupcakes to jacob's school and benjamin's meet the teacher night and missed the entire four day weekend with my fam

and here i 13, and as it looks from here, i will be missing my darling benjamin's first day of preschool tomorrow. i can't hardly even think about it.

but i have to stop. i have to stop putting all my hope in these circumstances. i must stop putting all my hope in the outcome of this. my hope should be in God, regardless of my circumstances.

psalm 31:24 "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."

isaiah 40:31"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

i can't lie here in a hospital bed day after day after day and not have my ups and downs. i have to be fair to myself. but, i'm not sure i can handle this emotional roller coaster anymore. (read my blog about roller coasters, i don't like them to begin with) and i guess the reason i don't feel like i can take it anymore is because i am not designed to take it. i am not supposed to take it.

psalm 55:22 "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."
1 peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

my burden is to get home. my kids are just dying for me to come home. they cry every day now, it seems. 13 days in their world must seem like two months! the normalcy of our home will not be returned until i come home. that is one heavy burden. one heavy burden i can no longer carry.

i want to jump right out of this bed and run home. literally run. but i can't. i have to get well. and each time i start to feel well, i can't put my hope in that. because that seems to fade away. we are at a huge turning point with my medical team, decisions have to be made. big decisions. going home and resting and just seeing if this will heal itself, not likely but possible.....or another major procedure and surgery to fix the problem (with only 50% accuracy) and at least 4-5 more days in the hospital. whew. burden. can't handle that one either.

so, on this day, 13....there is no luck. there is just me, lying in this hospital bed, again. and there is God, who is in complete control. my bets are on Him.

God- i blew it yesterday. i am so sorry. you know my heart. you know every cell in my body. i desire your will. please give me all the strength i need for this. i've been wasting the strength you give me on trying to carry too much. and i've been setting my hope in things around me. please forgive me. you are going to have to transform this heart. this mind. this way of thinking. i know you can. i thank you in advance for that miracle. and i thank you in advance for the day i do get to go home to my family. may i have not wasted this part of my trial, may i have learned what you sought to teach me. i am yours. amen

Sunday, September 5, 2010

wet feet

have you ever noticed how much easier it is for a friend or loved one to give advice, or be faithful, when they aren't the one going through "the thing" themselves? and who knows, maybe they did...maybe they didn't...but it is still not the same.

i is much easier for your friend to talk about being a loving and submissive wife...about having her husband's favorite dinner ready and on the table when he gets home and flirting with him, leaving love notes for him....encouraging you to do the same and how it will improve your marriage greatly....that is what she is supposed to do, encourage you in friendship and love. but it sure is easy when she doesn't go home to your man who rarely looks you in the face...never has a kind word to say and hasn't initiated a romantic touch...or a touch of any kind with you, i guess, unless you include the high five he gave you and the boys after tony romo's touchdown throw. her ideas sound great. they sound easy, from her world, not from yours.

or maybe you have a friend who has a great idea on how to lose weight. whether it is counting points.....or calories.....or carbs.....or sheep for goodness sake, who knows? she makes it sound sooo easy. and while you are lunch, you see her mouth moving and hear words coming out, but all you can focus on is how adorable she looks in her size 6 capris and adorable tank top. so you are smiling and politely nodding at her, but at the same time, trying to remember the last time you even showed your upper arms in public...was it before kids? before college? then you are jolted back to reality when she giggles and says, "i knew you would try it! good for you!" you aren't quite sure what you agreed to do, but you are thankful that the waiter has just interrupted the conversation and brought you your double bacon cheeseburger, fries and handspun chocolate milkshake. you purposely avoid eye-contact with your friend as she gets ready to bless her food, if you can call that food...looks like tree bark and grass to you...with oil and vinaigrette..... on the side, of course.

or, like are currently dealing with the faith vs. fear thing. worry vs. faith. whatever you wanna call too might be dealing with a very hard time in your life that you are having to trust God through. i know i am. and i have so many people, God-fearing, God-loving, God-serving people who love me dearly, who pray for me constantly, but who still, in the back of their minds, might be baffled that i'm still dealing with this "thing". STILL?? seriously? "c'mon, you need to just give it to God." "He wants to take it from you." "He can be trusted!" oh how i know this to be true. i would not have made it these past TEN MONTHS without these truths etched into my mind and soul. and i know people mean well, i really do. i am thankful for my dear friends and their love and support, especially during this time. but i must admit....that on occasion, i have wanted to say "ya know, cut me a little slack people...this has been such an unbelievably hard year for me, medically speaking, and i must admit that truly giving my life, my dreams, my plans, my children's futures, my husband, ALL of it....TRULY giving all of that up...isn't quite as easy lying from a hospital bed. would you consider that to be fair of me to say?" now, do i still do it? ABSOLUTELY!! i have to. i must. Romans 12:1 tells me to "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship." and like my pastor always says, the darn thing about a living sacrifice is that the thing keeps getting up off the altar. ding, that's me. thanks a lot, pastor bill. so, daily i have to give this thing to God. some days are easier than others. i am so thankful He hasn't given up on me yet. and I'm thankful He won't. but, you must admit, that from someone else's side of this, looking in, it may be a bit easier to say all these things if they weren't in the middle of this type of confusing unanswerable, painful, emotional, DRAWN OUT, medical drama. fair statement?

now, i know that everyone is going through something. your thing right now may be financial crisis, or addiction of some kind. you may be having serious and scary issues of safety with your kids. you may be struggling with your aging parents and the toll that takes on you. i could not relate to any of that. but, thankfully God can. and He's the only one we can look to who can truly help us and understand us. but i can try to be there for you, like so many have tried to be there for me. that is what we are called to do, after all. and i'm aware that my thing isn't the worst thing ever, trust me. i am thankful to God and He is good at giving me a dose of perspective, for sure. but for me, living it right now, it is a big deal, and it is hard.

this all reminds me so much of peter. (matthew 14) you know, right after the disciples saw Jesus feed the five thousand with the five loaves of bread and two fish....i mean...c'mon what a ministry high that must have been. they must have been praising and shouting and just jumping for joy that they were a prt of something so amazing, so big, so powerful!! so, they got in a boat and Jesus stayed back on the mountainside to dismiss the people and then to be by himself and pray. (sidenote: if the God made flesh needed to take time out to pray alone, i'm thinking you and i do too..just a thought) so then He noticed that the boat had gotten so far out from the shore. so, what did he do? did he take a jetski out and get there quick? nah. true, they weren't technically invented yet, but seriously, we are talking about Jesus here, He could have pulled anything off. did He ask them to come back and get Him? nope. He was worthy of a shuttle service but didn't ask for one. Did he just appear on their boat "I Dream of Jeannie" style? no. He did the completely unexpected and the thing no one had ever done, he walked out on the water. He met them in a way they didn't know He could. it was the middle of the night, and since they didn't know He could do that, they saw something and thought it was a ghost and THEY WERE AFRAID!! even though they knew Jesus was God and could take care of anything at all, their first response was fear. gee....i can't relate to that at all. (insert sarcasm) so he chills them out and says (v.27)"take courage, it is i. don't be afraid" personally i love this, for a couple reasons. one, he doesn't seem to get too mad that His own "bros" don't even recognize him, c'mon guys, it's me!! second, he tells them to TAKE courage....they still have a choice, it is still on them. they gotta take it. i gotta take it. you gotta take it.

so, peter does. he says, (v.28) "Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water." so, Jesus says, "alright dude, what's this "if" business, it's me, get out here, you chicken." ok not really, that's probably what i would have said. Jesus just says one word, "Come." and peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water. what in the world must that have been like?? this wasn't a calm little pond....or a kiddy pool he was dipping his toes in. it was a huge lake and it was dark....windy...rough....not to mention, something he had never experienced before. peter has his eyes on Jesus and was walking towards Jesus and he was fine...doing something that no one else had ever done before, except the Son of Man. but, then, just like me, and maybe just like you...peter began to look around him. peter looked at the uneasy surroundings....whooosh....peter looked at the wind....whoooooshhh and peter was afraid.....and peter began to sink.

man oh man, how many times have i done that?? taken my eyes off of Jesus and looked at my surroundings....whooosh.....ya see my wind does sound a little different right fact, currently it is beep, beep, beep, beep, beep....that sound means my iv fluid transfusion is almost complete...harmless enough, except that fear reminds me with those beeps that the reason i have to stay on this fluid is to make sure my spinal fluid is regenerating enough so my brain doesn't sink down into my head when they do finally let me stand up this afternoon. whoooosh....another of my wind noises is more of a wrrrr, wrrrrr, is the sound of the things i have affectionately named my "leg squeezy thingys" that alternate squeezin my calves and fear reminds me that this wind noise is to ensure i don't get a blood clot in my leg since i have been so inactive for 11 days now. whooooosh.

peter saw the wind. he took his eyes of Jesus and he sank. i have done the same. two nights ago i was so concerned about whether or not this procedure had worked that i lost sleep, tensed up muscles and got an awful migraine type headache and generally made myself have a miserable day......all because i took my eyes off Jesus.

now, keep in mind, that peter called out pretty quickly to Jesus, as i imagine any of us would, and as i know i have..."Lord, save me!" and Jesus did. in fact verse 31 says that "IMMEDIATELY Jesus reached out His hand and caught Him" but then i must admit what he says next stings a little for me, at least. "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" ouch.

ya see....Jesus' feet were wet. and so were peter's. peter should have known that he could have 100% trusted Jesus, because Jesus was out there with him the whole time! but man, sometimes when you are in the midst of the storm, and you got waves crashing around you, it is SOOOOO hard to drown out the whoooooshing sounds of that obnoxiously loud wind. especially because of John 10:10 and we know the enemy is standing right there with his megaphone yelling WHOOOOOOSHHHHH as loud as he can too!!

i would like to point out though, that the other disciples, ya know, the ones in the boat....although having been through a lot with both Jesus and had one thing no longer in common with peter...they had dry feet. once back on board, it would have very easy for them to say "oh, c'mon peter, you shouldn't have been afraid. your faith should be stronger than that. you just need to trust Him." and yes, they are supposed to build him up in the faith, don't get me wrong...but just remember, they are doing it with dry feet. sure, some of them were fishermen, they'd waded in shallow water, swum in deep water....but never anything like this. they didn't know what it felt like to walk upon that water. they didn't hear, with the same volume, or feel with the same fierceness, the strength of that wind. and they certainly didn't know what it felt like to sink.

so, i pray that Jesus will equip each of us with an amazing dose of empathy. to be there for our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ. maybe we have been through something so similar as they have been...i KNOW and FIRMLY believe God brings people alongside you to walk rough roads with you, and i thank Him for that. i personally have been blessed with a handful of people who have walked alongside me this entire, stomping along with my wet feet, sometimes stomping out of anger or fear, sometimes out of joy and submission....but they've stuck by me, with their dry feet in this area, but loving on me, praying for me and being there for me, as best they can from where they are. and boy do i thank God for them. i want to encourage all of us though, if you haven't been through it, remember your dry feet on the issue....and simply try to love them. and if you are the one, like me whose feet are drip, drop soaking wet and have been for a while....DO NOT forget the Only One whose feet are as wet as yours...our Jesus. and He will be there immediately. He will never let you down. you....and He....will remain with you and your pruny, wet feet together, until He's ready for you to get back in the boat. until then, don't take your eyes off of Him.


Joshua 1:5 "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Friday, September 3, 2010

crying out again

ok, so do you know that in the last year i have....

literally received probably 50 meals from friends, family, ryan's co-workers, church members...all just wanting to help us during this time and bless us.....

received FREE babysitting from countless friends, during times when they surely had better things to do that take care of my kiddos....

been chauffeured around town to appointments, Bible study, events, etc....because i couldn't drive myself, just so i didn't miss out on everything....

received very generous and anonymous gifts in the mail, just to bless our family during this tough financial time......

been prayed over multiple times, by multiple people, through tears, wanting my healing as badly as i do....

been prayed for by hundreds (who knows, maybe thousands) of people....some of whom don't even know me personally.....

been over-accomodated to make sure i was comfortable and as free from pain as possible...for instance, my "girls" always having the couch ready for me to crash on at Bible study....knowing there was no way i could sit upright and make it the whole time.....

grown so very much closer to my dearest friends during this time, as they have truly seen the good, bad and the super ugly of every side of my emotion throughout this all and they love me still....(that still baffles me)

grown leaps and bounds in my relationship with God through this a way i KNOW i could not have without this trial, this wilderness, this refining fire, this thorn.....i trust Him more, love Him more, rely and absolutely need Him more than i ever have in all my life....and i still KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, i have so much further to go....

PSALM 69:30 "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."

i truly do have so much to be thankful for. i can see. i can hear. my family is healthy and they love me. i belong to an amazing church who ACTS like Jesus and steps up to serve. i am surrounded by friends and family who support, pray and lift me up.

am i still sad? sure. but, this morning when i cry out, i have chosen to see all God has given me, all He has blessed me with. it is a choice how to view these things. often, i choose the wrong way, i get stuck in the thoughts of worry, fear, sadness, self-pity. but this morning, God has filled me with hope, peace and joy. i still miss my kids and my man and my home terribly. but i WILL praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. i will. and when i can't, when i am weak, He will lift me up once again. he can't be anything but faithful to me and he can't be anything but faithful to you, friend. rest in that promise, as i do.