(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 that...it 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. :)
anyway....so God gave us the deal of the century on our current home, He worked it out perfectly....and we LOVE it.....it 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 gold....cool, huh? :) or should i say, groovy, man, groovy. he, he. mini-blinds are not as "neat-o" as the faux (again...man, 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 like...um, 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 us...trust 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 year...it is forever slumped from where i have literally lived....but who cares, this is the good spot...it is "my spot") anyway....one 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 avenues...so 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 really.....mini-blinds 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. again...me, 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"...do 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 person....how silly would it be to have a screen door on a submarine? c'mon, take a minute...do 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 on....read 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 light....trust 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 about....faith 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 away....how could this work out....it 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 long...how 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 me....faith 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 not...it 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 DNA.....so 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."