Saturday, December 22, 2012

No More Lyme Disease?! And Irrational Fears!

 Yesterday David (who does my Lyme treatments, plus some) tested again for the Lyme, and he could not find it! Lyme Disease hides in the red blood cells and goes into remission with antibiotic treatments unless it is caught very early and treated very aggressively. It lives in the blood cells, and most people have problems...sometimes crippling/life threatening.... with it their entire lives. The testing/treatment that we have used picks up and treats the disease even into the red blood cells. That means that he can't find it in my body all...anywhere. There is a slight chance it could be hiding out and not picked up because yesterday it picked up the Epstein Barr virus in me : P , but he doesn't think so. He doesn't think it would hide behind that, unless the EB was very strong, perhaps. What he said to me is, "I believe in a God who heals."

This is enough to make someone scream with delight. Do a happy dance. Hug and kiss strangers! But, what did I do? Just sat there, staring into space, fighting tears. But, not tears of joy. Tears of fear. I'm strange.  

I got in the car and cried. I did the same thing back in Oct, when my numbers for the staph and Lyme got dramatically, unexpectedly better in just 2-3 weeks time. I think it just stuns me, too. 

I hope in God, in Him sustaining me, but I hope in His healing, too. And, then I turn around and am afraid to hope. God has been my strength this past year and a half (and the 6 1/2 years before that when I just always felt fatigued from doing much), and He still is, but a weariness has tried to settle in the last 2 weeks. I believe that God is bringing all of this to an end and we're on that path.  My fickle emotions (and the enemy of my soul) have to be fought, though. 

I think I have this fear that this result is wrong. That it isn't really gone. That next week, he'll say, "Oh, no. Sorry. It's still there." This is fear even though I believe fully that God has said He will heal me, and even though I KNOW he led me to this treatment, and even though I believe in this treatment and have seen God use it to cure many other things in amazing ways. Afraid to hope. But, shouldn't my hope be in the Lord? In what He said? In who He is? (rhetorical question) He doesn't lie, and He said He would heal me. And, you know what? Even if David did say that next week, God still has me and is still working. I would just still need my eyes focused on Him and not the healing. But, my human emotions have a whole lot invested in being well, in being a hands on mom again, in getting out of this house and living an abundant life. And, I think that's a God given hope and desire. 

I realized another reason for my reaction yesterday is that I just still feel horrible. Worse again lately. Lyme being gone is a very awesome thing, but it left behind all of it's damage that I want gone....yesterday! Yet, I know that with it gone, it can't do any further damage, and we are making steady progress on the damage it's done. Back to that human/flesh struggle is the fear that I will be left with some of that damage. Damage that makes life very difficult. Again, a whole lot of emotions tied up in the hope. But, God didn't say that He was going to get rid of Lyme. He said He was going to heal me. So, again, that's where my hope needs to stay. Not in the emotions, not in the current situation. In Him and His Word.  
This has been a tough couple of weeks for me emotionally. Harder than it's been the last entire year and a half. I don't know why, except an enemy who wants to discourage me, and maybe that whole "darkest before the dawn" thing. But, it's like the closer I get to being healed, the more fear tries to control me. Thankfully, I have a Savior who has been walking me through it, showing His faithfulness, and showing me where some of those fears are coming from, helping me trust and lean on Him, and not give into those fears. Some days it has been just putting one trusting foot in front of the other, and it hasn't always been pretty, but we're making it and growing in it. 

Ashley posted a quote yesterday that fits so well for me right now~
"Oh, what an ache wanting can bring, when I know that the wanting is good, right, even God-granted, but realize that for now it is God-denied, and that He has not let me know all the wisdom of the denial. But I believe, and it is this that lets the living go seems to say, 'Take it easy; we are not through the story yet...'"
(Jim Elliot)

I pray this chapter of the story is coming to a close, and I am praying steadfastly that God will help me be ready for it, and know the steps to take when the next chapter begins to unfold (...another irrational fear!) A vacation...or 2... is first on my list! : ) 

For today...I feel more like doing that happy dance. And, I will trust that God is working and fighting on my behalf, and that next week David will say, "Nope. I still can't find it." 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fighting Discouragement

I just got up from a nap feeling really rotten, so exhausted that I feel like I could just wilt onto the floor, just sitting here. So exhausted, I almost feel nauseous. So exhausted that I have been having trouble making complete thoughts on anything of any depth. 

 I sat on the couch next to Marissa thinking, "I have no earthy desire to decorate for Christmas." I really don't, especially knowing I'll mostly just be able to watch. I can reach into the recesses of logic, and know that probably in a day or 2, I will begin to get some energy back, and perhaps the desire will change. That it probably stems from the exhaustion.

But, as I sat processing the lack of desire and digging for that logic, I realized I am very discouraged this afternoon. And, I know that will pass, too. But, right now, it's a struggle. Many people will say they know how I feel, but only a few really do. To know that all I did to get to this totally sick, exhausted place was to: take a shower 3 days in a row (no, I can't do that, and normally don't, so don't drop by without a day's notice), go outside and enjoy watching my family play, and helped with a very few things in the kitchen for Thanksgiving preparations. This is day 2 of nothing but rest, and it's no better.

This is not a daily struggle by any means. Just sometimes when the biggness of this disease hits me. When the knowledge that so little causes this. That's when the walls start closing in, and the enemy tries to convince me that life will always be this way. And, if you want to know realistically, for some people with Lyme disease, it IS always this way. The enemy tries to convince me that I am no different, there is no hope in having a life outside these walls again, that I am alone, that God and everyone else has forgotten me. 

On the good days, I have not accepted that this is all there is, and we believe the Lord has led us to this path and to His healing. We know I have made some progress, and believe He has made promises. But, some days I have to say, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." This afternoon is one of those times. One of those struggles. One of those days that I just need a good cry. And, He will help my unbelief. He will strengthen me again. This disease is evil and God did not give it to me, but He is using it for good. I have seen it. I have experienced it. I am even thankful for it, because what He has done for me in the spiritual has been worth the cost. And, yet, some moments are weary. I will be very happy to move on and out of this season. I will thank Him for it, and thank Him for it being over.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Seven and a Half

#1 I am absolutely in no way superstitious or consider this superstitious.
#2 I don't know whether any of this has any relevance to anything except to be quite interesting.
#3 But, God...... I don't begin to know at this moment what He has going on. Maybe they are significant numbers that I may or may not ever know. (I know 7 is the number of completion in the Bible, but 7 1/2?) As for this post, it's just to share the funness of how things have played out so far. 

For some unknown reason back in the earlier summer, I counted how long it had been .... I don't remember what....from the time I got sick in July 2011 to the time we discovered I had Lyme disease, maybe? Then something made me count another time period. Odd. So I counted another. And, this is how it played out~

~From the time we are pretty certain I got my deer tick friend in 2004 until the time I started having health issues in 2005, was right at 7 1/2 months.  
~From the time we are pretty certain I got my deer tick friend in 2004 until the time I started having health issues again in 2011 was  just over 7 1/2 years.
~From the time I got really sick and my body shut down in 2011 until the time I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2012 was 7 1/2 months.

Weird. Amazing. Huh.

So, naturally, the next thing my mind did was count.... when would 7 1/2 months be from the time I was diagnosed? End of October. I shared it with James, and we both pondered it, but in the end, I decided I didn't want to try to be putting something there that wasn't, so I put it out of my mind. Until last week. It struck me. 
It was the end of October when I had my jaw dropping news that the Lyme and Staph numbers suddenly jumped and not traceable in my body (and we now find out the Staph was totally gone). 7 1/2 months. 
~And..... from the time I first started having health issues in 2005 until the time my numbers became untraceable is right at 7 1/2 years.

Not one to leave well enough alone, I had to know when the next 7 1/2 months would be, even though I have no desire, and hope I don't have to, wait that long for another milestone. So, what is 7 1/2 months from the end of Oct.? My birthday. : ) Really. June 15th. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Very Good News

Well, I kept a lot of people in suspense today. Sorry! It wasn't intentional! 

My good news..... I am getting better! Now you're thinking, "Well, why didn't she just say that?" Because it was a dramatic afternoon for me. Not in the drama sort of way, but in a mind boggling sort of way. Today's results were totally least today.  And, I tell you. God didn't just do something. HE was dramatic. 

We don't test my number levels every week. Just on occasion. I won't bother to try to tell you what the numbers mean, but I'll say that the higher the number the better. At 0.... well, maybe you're dead at zero... ha, but that's the worst. At 500+, it means that whatever it is may still be in your body, but it is no longer there in traceable amounts. 

I actually don't remember what the Lyme Disease initially tested at in March. In July, it tested at 100. We tested it again about 3 or 4 weeks ago, after 6 months of treatments, and it was at 300. I actually left pretty discouraged, because, although it was better, it wasn't much better compared to my hopes after that long. Today, she tested again, and ..... she can't trace it! It is over 500! It went up at least 200 points in just a month or less. 

Not only that......In July the staph infection that I've had since July 2011, tested at 70...pretty low. A few weeks ago, it still only tested at 90. VERY discouraging.  Today..... over 500! She can't trace it! 

This evening I am rejoicing and so thankful. So looking forward to the continued healing! Earlier today, not so much. I was in complete shock...speechless....when she told me. I told her that I was in as much shock then as I was when she first told me I had Lyme Disease. I went from shock to an entire cobweb of confused emotions that I can't even begin to explain to you. Everything from disbelief (just that it was so sudden) to fear to an awe. They took a while to sort through. I just kept crying and not understanding why I wasn't excited. After talking to Briana and Ashley, I think I have a mental handle on why all the emotions.

Some of it is hard to process because currently the reality of my body does not line up with the reality of the knowledge. There is still damage to treat, I am still very tired, I still can't do much. And, of course, we will still keep treating both diseases to try to get them fully out of my body. That is our hope and belief.... complete healing. I can't just get up and go now, but I have hope that soon I will. 

Having said that, I have had several much better days in the last 2 weeks. Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (and maybe Monday), I did not even lie down. That's huge. I was able to do a few more light things around the house... a little extra laundry, playing games with the girls, and I even cooked a very simple dinner one night. (VERY simple!) I have up and down times a lot, but I did notice these up times the past 2 weeks were more .... up. Still, I never dreamed that when I went in there today, she would tell me "untraceable". In fact, she commented and said something along the lines of, "Let's test these numbers again. Maybe they'll just be gone." To which I replied, "That would definitely be a miracle of God, because just a couple of weeks ago they were no where near." Yep. I said it. 

And, that's exactly what has happened in the last 2 weeks. I won't go into details, but God has had me on a journey.... well, the entire last 15 months, really, but  a deeper, indescribable journey the last 2 weeks. As I sat on my knees 2 weeks ago tomorrow and worshiped, I questioned God about where He was taking me in this new place. As clear as you could ask for, He said to me, "This is what I have prepared you for." That is the day He gave me my miracle. It's still a miracle in progress, but I am certain that "He who began a good work in (me) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." And, I believe He is my healer, Jehovah Rapha, and that He will continue that good work as well. Yes, I have fear that tries to rear it's ugly head, but I am choosing to believe "for I, the Lord, am your healer."

Thank all of you for loving and supporting me. Please continue to pray. The battle is not over, and in fact, in some ways it may be harder to come, but God already has the victory!

Friday, September 14, 2012

An Epiphany~Yes, I Have to Slow Down!~ Lyme Update

I've had a few people ask me lately how I'm doing. I'm okay...I'm good...I'm blessed...I'm really, really tired. The last few days I've been trying to figure out why I've been so much more tired lately. It occurred to me recently that I no longer feel up to playing games with or reading to the girls very often, and that has been discouraging me. Just being more tired, not feeling progress, has been discouraging to me. Call me slow....we'll blame that on the fatigue! ;) ....but, it finally hit me this morning. I've been "going non-stop" this summer. Feeling the need to get out of this house a little, and feeling the need to not miss out on some things, I have pushed, not realizing how much it was affecting me over all. Of course, I knew for that day and a few afterwards I was more tired, but it has just now occurred to me that in general it has worn me down more. 

I think I was pretty good between Marissa's birthday party in mid May until the end of June when James and I celebrated our 27th anniversary. That weekend, we went to Gatlinburg, which is very close by, we stayed at the room a lot either sitting on the balcony, or me napping, and when we went out I used a wheelchair, but I was up, dressed, and out 3 days in a row, which was my fault for pushing instead of having him bring dinner to me. You may have seen me say that even taking a shower and getting ready completely drain me. So, that was the end of June, and the next week we had guests for 2 days...once again up and ready, not lying down much and doing more. A week and a half later, I went with the family to the airport to see Ashley off to Kenya, then went to 2 stores and to eat after, a week or 2 later went to the mall to 2 stores and to eat after an appointment, couple of weeks later went to Crossville/Nashville for 5 nights, came straight home and went back to the airport to pick Ashley up at 11:00 pm, had another guest for a couple of days, went to the fair last week, which was a killer, and have had 2 eye doctor appointments in the last 2 weeks. Add in riding an hour each way to Knoxville every week for an hour + appointment. That's a lot.  Add to that normal life stresses (and a few not so normal) when I'm supposed to be avoiding stress. Stress wears on the immune system.

I am very thankful that the Lord has helped me get through all of this, and some of it was good, but I list that all off more for my benefit to see why I am more run down even at home. It helps me to see the reason, rather than being concerned I am just getting worse. It also helps me see, that I need to stay home more and rest more, if I can. Whether I will is a little more difficult! But, I have to remember that getting well and being able to be present and enjoy my girls and to have a better future with them is more important than whether I get to get out of the house or run by a store or eat out when I'm already out. Choosing the best over what's good. I have got to learn, at least for the time, what is most important emotionally, and continue to lean on God to get me through the cabin fever. Outside the spiritual aspects, what I long for the most is to do things with my girls...all of them...but, probably the best way for that to happen is to stay put as much as possible, and that means making more hard choices. If I'm honest, that makes me sad. Very sad. 

Otherwise, we think I am making slow progress. Many know that I am not going the antibiotic route. After a TON of research, it is clear that antibiotics will not help, mostly since I have had this for so long. If you catch it right away and treat it long enough, then antibiotics might help (or put it in remission, where mine has been most of this time), but not after 7 years. After a time, or if antibiotics are not given correctly, Lyme Disease gets into the red blood cells, and they will not touch it there. The route we have chosen has shown great success with healing Lyme, not just putting it in remission, and my practitioner has treated someone with it, although hers was not as severe. In addition to the Lyme, I still struggle with staph infection in my left shoulder that I have had for over a year.  With my immune system weak and them fighting against each other, it can't heal. We continue to hit both of those as hard as we can, and at the same time are "slowly" tackling all the damage done to the rest of my body..... nerve and tissue damage including peripheral neurothapy, several intestinal issues, several eye problems, comprehension/processing problems, etc. We are making some progress, but the damage is great, and it takes time. I have finally comprehended, too, that unless the Lord decides one of these days soon to answer with a sudden healing (which I trust fully He can and may do), this damage will all take time to heal. But, I do trust He WILL heal.

Even though some days are really tough physically and emotionally, the Lord has encouraged and helped me in so many ways. He has given me peace and insight at times I have been very lonely and felt forgotten, He told me He is using this time to show me "great and mighty things which (I) did not know", and He has given me a husband and children to love, encourage, and take good care of me. He is working all of it that was meant for evil...the sickness, the isolation, the aloneness...for good. Do I look forward to the day when I can "run and not grow weary; walk and not be faint?" You betcha! But, I know there is growth and strength to be found in the process. But, I NEED prayers for all of that, and if you ever want to just drop me a note or phone call to let me know you're praying and/or just to chat, it does wonders for the spirit. It's *very* great for me when I ask for prayer that many people pray, and I appreciate that more than you can ever know, but one thing I have learned...for myself and from is awesome to have someone to remember and take the few minutes of time to reach out to you when you've not asked. 

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Follow Up~ Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Our Mission

I am sure I disturbed (alienated?) quite a few people the other day with my post. As I said then, my intention was not to accuse or judge why anyone did what they did, but to speak the Truth that God spoke to me. I am learning to accept that....that speaking the Truth in love is what He has asked me to do, and it's going to offend some people..even Christians, or those who think they are Christians. Any doubt of whether that's what He wants was removed this past month as He opened up my Bible, pointed my finger to a passage, and clearly said in that scripture, "You will speak the Truth in love, and some people are not going to like it. You will sometimes walk alone." Yeah. I've been getting that part!! :) So, He gave me an entire week to accept it and get ready!!

I'll just say really quickly here, thank you to those who sent messages, likes, and comments in agreement. It was very encouraging!

I want to follow up on, and maybe clarify what I said, in the last post. After posting an article of something vile that homosexuals planned to do in "retaliation", it was asked (I assume of me, since it was my exact words), "So do you still want to hug them and tell them God loves them?" Do I WANT to? As in does my FLESH want to? No. Their actions are just as offensive to me as they are to everyone else. They offend God; why shouldn't they offend me? I don't watch tv shows with gay couples, I want to shelter my children from that, I vote for politicians who have pro-Biblical values. I certainly do not want our country over-run with what God calls depravity! Someone posted a video of a man harassing a CFA employee, and my immediate reaction was, "JERK!" So, yes, my flesh gets it.

Here's the key, though. What does it matter what *I* want? God didn't call me to do what *I* want. He called me to deny myself, and to take up my cross and follow Him. He didn't say following Him would be comfortable. In fact, He says it will be downright uncomfortable at times. Just like scripture tells us to put away other desires of the flesh, I have to put away my desires and love the ones that some would say are unloveable. Isn't that what Christ did? Isn't that how we are saved? We are black with sin, but Christ loved us, when we were unloveable, and saved us.

People keep saying, "But we must fight them."
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph 6:12) We can fight evil on this earth through laws and other means, but that's not where the real battle lies. The only way to fight and win this battle is on our knees, on our face, petitioning OUR King, with our mouths and hands praising. The only way we are going to win the real battle is to be the feet and hands of Christ and love those who walk in darkness enough to be uncomfortable. To stop looking at gays (or any other group/person) in disgust and see them the way Christ does. To put away OUR flesh and take up our cross. 

The other big phrase is, "But, we must defend our rights!" Really? "
But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." (Matt. 5:39) Your right of free speech? That's a man made right, not a God-given one. Your freedom of religion? Man made. We have been blessed to live in a country where we do have those rights, and we can fight in the courts and law to keep those rights, but the true battle is on our knees. And, the gay people are not our enemy, but the enemy of our souls is our enemy. 

If you wonder, yes, our family has been acquainted with those who are gay. Most are just people like you and me. People who are nice and caring and who love. But, people who are lost from the Truth. There are those who are in-your-face, I know. The extremists, who want to flaunt, and want to attack Christians. Just like there are in-your-face Christians (or so called) who want to pound God's Word into the lost and who blow up abortion clinics. See? The ones you see on the news, are not necessarily the norm. They are everyday people, searching in the wrong places to fill that void. The void has been filled with dark sin and the desires of the flesh.

Not everyone will be called to directly show God's love to a gay person. But you can love them enough to put down your disgust and care for their eternity. To pray for their souls. No one is a lost cause until death. We have become so angry at their sin that I wonder if any Christian ever grieves that they are lost to an eternity of damnation. 

Supporting CFA and their pro-family values (which actually also covered divorce!) was good intentions turned bad. Had it just stayed as, "Let's support a business that is run by people with Christian values and show them our support", that would have been fine. But, it didn't stay that way for many. It became, "See THAT, world! You aren't going to step on our RIGHTS. Liberals, you should tremble in fear. Watch out in Nov." That's where God's voice left. What started out as one man's focus on God, turned into the mass' focus on US...our rights. And the good intentions of many, were drowned out by the shouts. I don't believe any real good was done. Yes, we showed our numbers, yes we showed we would not be stepped on. But was anyone's heart reached? That's where true victory lies.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Am I SO Happy Chck-Fi-A Day is Over?

I seriously thought I might scream if I saw one more photo or post about Chick-Fil-A yesterday. At first I wondered if maybe I was just grumpy and tired of seeing every other post being about it. I couldn't figure it out, and it nagged at me all day. Something inside me just would not settle, and I finally realized last night it was the Holy Spirit. The reason it took me so long is that my brain kept asking, "Isn't this what we're supposed to be doing?" Defending Biblical values? My Spirit kept grieving. Why wasn't I on board and wishing I could run to get my chicken?

Let me say right off, I am not saying you were wrong to go to Chick-Fil-A. I am not saying we should not defend Biblical values when they are under attack by the government or press, even. Our family completely supports Biblical values, and we support free speech for all beliefs...not just theirs. I am not pointing my finger directly at you, either. I am simply addressing why my Spirit was grieving yesterday, and the words that God gave me to express.

The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is WRONG. That's not ME judging, that's GOD! Not only that, He has some pretty strong words about it in Romans 1:26-28. He gives them over to a depraved mind. God is not playing around. "Those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."  BUT, GOD! Look at Romans 2:1. He tells us to be VERY careful about judging others. Watch the hypocrisy! When we make a judgement that someone is in sin, and GOD (not our own self righteousness) puts it in our hearts to confront that sin with them, we'd better make very sure that we are doing that in love and in order to bring them to, or restore them to, a right relationship with God. Not to pass judgement. Then look at verse 4! It speaks of God's kindness, tolerance (with people~not sin), and patience, and that His kindness leads to repentance. 

He gives them (and quite a few others listed there) to their depravity, but He gives time to come to repentance.  How will they come to repentance? By the love and kindness of God. How do they know the love and kindness of God? Yep. Through His children. How will we show them the love and kindness of God if we are pointing our fingers, calling them names, pumping our fists in the air because, by golly, the good guys scored a point yesterday?

Mr. Cathy did nothing wrong in answering a question about his company's beliefs. He answered in a Godly manner. I admire that. The press took off with it and twisted it. But, did God's people respond in such a way that showed the love of God to those who will anguish eternally if they do not turn away from the depravity and to their creator?

I can tell you. Those who are or support homosexuality did not see the love of God yesterday. I saw the comments. They grieved me. I am not naive. I understand that they always say we are haters just because we don't agree with them. But, do they have a point? Do they ever see anything but disgust from the Christian? Do they ever see love from the Christian? While we may not hate them, do we turn our nose up at them? Do we form relationships with them in order to share the Good News (that we never would have had except for the mercy of God)? While we're condemning their actions, have we ever been the light of Jesus, instead of the finger pointer? "Love your neighbor as yourself." The second greatest commandment. Have you ever hugged a homosexual and told them God loves them? Have they ever seen love and worth from Christian eyes? Have you ever prayed...committed and long term...for a homosexual? The 2nd greatest commandment! It's our commission from Christ! 

Love does not mean we accept the behavior, it does not mean we don't hold them accountable. But, just like every other sin in this fallen world, it is going to come through relationship. We are not going to post anything on facebook or stand in any line and win the hearts of the lost. We will win their hearts for Christ when they consistently see our love of Christ played out in our lives through loving them. Then we will have their ear.

Our voice was heard yesterday. Was God's?

I do believe we must take a stand against sin in this world. We must not allow it to take hold of our lives and our country. But when we take a stand, we must make sure that that stand is accompanied by the words or actions that tell the lost world of a Savior who died for them. They must know that He loves them and longs for them to turn to Him.

Don't feel you need to defend yourself here. I am well aware of the defense. Go before God. Get into His presence. Talk to Him about it. Ask Him what He wants your response to be. If He says, "Well done", then that's all that matters. I do not judge that. I have only expressed what I believe He has spoken to me and the grieving of my Spirit about our witness to a lost and dying world.


Friday, July 20, 2012

In Hindsight

You know how when something happens and you don't realize until later how dangerous it was? You might know that it was intense, but not like THAT. That feeling of what could have happened, and the fear and tears that can come when you realize in hindsight? And, then, that awe of what God did to protect you. That happened to me today. The difference is, the event was 25 years and 7 months ago.

September 1986, Ashley came into this world with a bang! I had been having labor pains for 32 hours, although it didn't get intense until the last 15. :)  I had been into the hospital at 3:00 that morning, but was sent home about 7:00 AM. We later found out that was a mistake. Our baby girl was having heart trouble. We had noticed the heart monitor and the numbers, but when we asked about it, the nurse told us that was just her moving around, away from the monitor. We didn't know any better. They sent me home to eat, take shower, and nap, and told me the pains would probably go away. (I'm not sure I had fully convinced them I was due. :) I was so thin still, they didn't want to believe I was 9 months. Oh, the days!) At 6:00ish, we went back to the hospital with the contractions just 6 min. apart. This time when her heart rate plummeted, then shot up high, then dropped again, this nurse flew into action, screaming to get the doctor on the phone, flipping me on my left side, applying an oxygen mask, 2 nurses at once racing to see who could get the IV in first (into my tiny, rolling veins). They quickly had us sign emergency C-section papers, and told James if we wanted anyone there to call now, because the baby would be here fast. And, she was. Our beautiful baby girl. They called her condition during birth, tri-cardiac arrest probably from being so exhausted from trying to come for so long. (I was never more than 3 cm. after those 32 hours!)

Today as I was talking to 2 dear ladies during my appointment, one of them a medical person, someone brought up birth trauma, and in the conversation, I told my story. That's when I find out just how scary our situation really was. I knew it could have been dangerous for Ashley, but she told me that both of our lives were in danger. She went on to say that when her heart rate was dropping down to 40...those are numbers where babies are stillborn if they are not delivered FAST. 

As I told James about it on our way home, that's when I got a little teary. The realization of how close we could have been to losing our daughter and all the joy and laughter and love of the last 25 1/2 years. The realization that GOD WAS WITH US as we sat in that apartment all afternoon between hospital visits with her little heart in such distress. He was protecting He had a plan for her, just as He does for all of us. That even though an ...uneducated?  ...unexperienced?.... careless?... nurse shrugged it off and sent us on our way, God did not. He had a plan. He put a very competent nurse in that room that night, and His plan began in this world for her. ....and as it has for all my children. 

Sappy post, yes. :) But, that momentary what if, even so long ago, is replaced by long term gratefulness.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

You Are What You Eat?

Food. We all love to eat. The yummier, the creamier, the sweeter, the more flavorful....the better. We are a nation consumed by consuming.....junk. The question is, is what I put in my mouth affecting my spirit?

We know from scripture that what we eat is not a salvation issue. Plain and simple. Food does not sanctify or un-sanctify me. So, is what I eat important? What is the purpose of food in my life? 1 Corinthians 6:13 says, "Food is for the stomach.." The purpose of food is to nourish our bodies. What is the purpose of our body? Isaiah 43:7~"Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory," We were created for God's glory. Romans 12:1 says that we are to present our bodies "a living and holy sacrifice". 1 Corinthians 6:13 says the body is "for the Lord."

Contrast what scripture says the purpose of food is...for our the way we use food~for pleasure, for indulgence, for cravings, for addictions, for an emotional crutch, for satisfying the flesh.

Contrast what scripture says the purpose of the body is to the way we treat the body~filling it with things God did not intend as food to nourish our bodies, but for our pleasure that in the end leads to suffering. Whether we know , admit it, or accept it, what we eat affects our bodies, and, in turn, affects our ability to glorify God with our bodies. We are a nation crippled by chronic fatigue, arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and many other diseases. Many of these are directly caused by the processed sugars and other foods that we put into our bodies. I was recently told by a health care practitioner that the underlying cause of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia is yeast....sugar.
Not every disease is caused directly by food, but even then, these foods weaken our immune systems so that our bodies cannot fight, and they make the disease worse and progress faster. If consuming higher amounts of sugar, fast food, processed breads and pastas, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, etc. has not caught up with you yet, it more than likely will. (We were all young, healthy, and invincible once!)

The question becomes, can I glorify God with my body if I am plagued with a disease that is the result of my own lust? Can I serve in the capacity that God intended for me if I can't function because I do not treat my body in a glorifying way? HEAR ME! Not all sickness is a result of poor choices or sin. As long as we have breath, we can glorify God!!! I do believe that God is more glorified when we are treating our bodies as His temple, and seeking to honor Him with it. If someone is doing drugs, is an alcoholic, is mutilating themselves in some obvious way, we are quick to point out that they are not treating their bodies well and this is wrong. But, we don't want to acknowledge that the food we eat is destroying our bodies, whether we see it at the moment or not. God can use us wherever we are, but how much more could He use us if we were dying to self in the area of consuming foods that destroy our bodies?

Another question we must ask ourselves is, why am I eating what I am? Is it for the stomach, or are we enticed, with no self control. I don't think it's harmful to have that occasional splurge, but are we controlled by our lusts for unhealthy foods? Are they the staple of our diets? 1 Corinthians 6:12, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything."

Several years ago, I was faced with giving up soft drinks for my health...or them at least becoming a rare occasion.... and I was not willing at that moment. I was actually a little hostile about it. The next day God made His position clear in Proverbs 12:1, "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." He shot that flaming arrow right into me, and I knew exactly what He was talking about and why.

This is not a post about judging people about their food choices. It's what God has shown me over the years, especially this last one. We are a society that lets our food master us. We shun the whole foods that God made for us, and we lust after those that destroy us. It's not a salvation issue, and it's one that each person must reconcile with God only. Are the foods I eat keeping my body healthy, pure, holy, and ready for service?

One last question. If we are constantly giving in to the
enticement of these unhealthy foods, because we have no self control, has this become sin for us? "But the fruit of the spirit is....self control.."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Desires Of Our Heart

The desires of our heart....always a sensitive subject. Especially when we long for something; when we want it so badly for ourselves or for others; when we have a long-time dream that we don't want to give up. The first verse people go to is Psalm 37:4~ "Delight yourselves in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart." Many people use this to say, "See! If I love God, He will give me what I want." Some people see that this is not what God is saying, and they have said what it really means is that if we love God, obey Him, seek Him, He Himself will put HIS desires in our heart....He will give us the desires of our heart. I think that is true. But, every time I hear this verse, I think, "There's more. I just don't know what." I've just honestly never taken the time to really look and see what God might be saying. I'm not going to tell you I have it all figured out now, but I do believe God has shown me some glimpses of things this week that this verse speaks about. His Spirit will teach us, as He promises, if we seek Him and ask Him (...a desire of our hearts?!)

The first problem is that, like many verses, we pluck the one we like out of the middle of a passage or chapter. This is verse 4. What about verses 1-3? If you back up to verse 3, there are more IFs to our THEN.
"Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord....." So, our "of course I love God", becomes, "I love God, I trust God (in all things), I do good for God, I DWELL in the land He has given me, I cultivate faithfulness, I DELIGHT in the Lord." Wow.

If we back up to verses 1 & 2, it tells us not to fret about evildoers or be envious of wrong doers. Wait. What does this have to do with God giving me the desires of my heart? As I studied the entire 37th chapter, I noticed that it switches back and forth contrasting evil doers with the righteous. The other thing that I noticed was the phrase "inherit the land". Verse 2 told us to dwell in the land, but look at this~
v.9~"But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land."
v.11~ "But the humble will inherit the land"
v.22~ "For those blessed by Him will inherit the land,"
v.29~ "The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever."
v.34~ "Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land;"

As I read the commentary on this chapter, it states,"The central issue addressed is: Who will 'inherit the land', on to enjoy the blessings of the Lord in the promised land? Will the wicked....Or will the righteous, who trust in the Lord, and are humble, blameless, generous, upright and peaceable, and from whose mouth is heard the moral wisdom that reflects meditation on God's law?" ....."Those who hope in the Lord~ i.e., trustfully look to Him to bestow life and it's blessings as a gift~will inherit the land, not those who apart from God and by evil means try to take possession of it and its wealth."

The more I meditate on these verses, the more I think the "desires of our heart" have to do with inheriting our promised land, not getting the earthly things in life we want.

In her book Believing God, Beth Moore talks about our Promised Land. These are just some highlights from what she says.

God has made promises. Real Ones. Numerous ones. Promises of things like all surpassing power, productivity, peace, and joy while still occupying these jars of clay. Many of us are wandering in the wilderness with the Promised Land just on the other side of the river.
....Your promised land is the place where God's personalized promises over your life become a living reality rather than a theological theory.

1. God promised us a place of blessing for obedience. Blessing is defined by neither ease nor worldly possessions nor stock market successes. Blessing is bowing down to receive the expressions of divine favor that in the inner recesses of the human heart and mind make life worth the bother.
2. God promised us a place we could live~ not visit, but to settle and dwell in blessing.
3. God promised us a place where He brings forth a great harvest. John 15:8 gives the New Testament Promised Land parallel. "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." God wants to show His glory through my life to bear tremendous fruit. My personalized Promised Land is the abiding place where I get to see God keep the promise of a great harvest through my life.
4. God promised us an abiding place of great victory over our enemy. Promise of victory, not the absence of opposition. ...Much of what is worth having is proved worth fighting for.. If you're not occupying your Promised Land, Satan is.

The Israelites couldn't get to their Promised Land. We can be delivered from bondage, leave our Egypts, but never make it to our Promised Lands, left in a desolate wilderness between. Hebrews 3:19 tells us why. "So we see that they were not able to enter because of their unbelief."

As I look at Psalm 37:4 in the context of the rest of the chapter, he is telling the people to not fret because those who do evil seem to prosper, to trust in the Lord and wait on Him, and they will inherit the land. In this, he says that the Lord will give them the desires of their heart, which seems very much tied to inheriting the land.

Does the Lord care about the daily desires and longings we have? Very much. Does He put desires within our heart if we ask and trust Him in it? Yes. Does He use our talents and gifts to bring us fulfillment in our lives? Yes. But, it doesn't always look like we think it will. Matt. 6:33 says, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." The desires of our heart should be His kingdom and dwelling in our Promised Land. This is where "all these things" will be added to us, and where the desires of our heart will be fulfilled, even in our daily life. Even as we pursue and allow Him to direct our earthly desires and dreams. Sometimes that means giving up what our flesh desires, but in obedience and dwelling in the land, there is abundant blessing and fulfillment.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Everyone is Waiting

That's the way it is in our family right now. Everyone is waiting. Don't we all hate it....waiting? In our instant society we want to know, do, go right now! But, God teaches us trust and patience through waiting.

What does the Bible say about waiting?

"Yet those who wait
for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:31

"Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

"Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield." Psalm 33:20

"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7

"For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land." Psalm 37:9

"My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him." Psalm 62:5

....and, many others.

When God called James out of building several years ago, we waited about 5 months before God gave him any kind of word on what to do. We've done lots of waiting between now and then, and now we still wait to see what this ministry is going to look like in detail. (Will we ever know that?! Or, will this always be a step by step ministry?!)

I'm waiting to get well! Seven months and counting...actually years and counting, but on a much bigger level for 7 months. We think God has shown us a place for me to find healing, and now we wait for it to work.

Ashley is waiting. Waiting on God to show her where to go next in her ministry. She knows it's time to move on, and she has resigned her job, which takes effect in May. She has been offered several jobs, and the possibility of others, but either she was not interested in the type of work, God has closed the doors, or He's shown her that is not where He wanted her. She has such a heart for youth and serving, and we all know He's got the perfect spot for her. Just have to wait for His perfect time. Ashley also waits for the man of God that He has for her. Again, there have been opportunities, but none that God has given the okay, or she has had the interest, in pursuing a relationship. So she waits for that perfect timing.

Troy and Briana wait. They wait for God to show them the next step in their lives. They are both working faithfully in their jobs, but we all know this is not where they are supposed to stay, the jobs they are supposed to keep working. Neither of them are working where their hearts are calling them. They serve the Lord where they are, and are both good at their jobs, but we know He has more plans.

This is not a "down" post. It's just a "this is where everyone in our family seems to be" post! How can we be down, when the Lord is speaking, promising, and filling our lives with rich blessings? Of course, sometimes the waiting seems weary, but we keep coming back to the truth, and knowing that we cannot go wrong in waiting for God. Waiting for God does not mean stuck in a rut. As we wait, we serve, love, and bless where we are. We use the opportunities that God puts before us, and we are thankful. Is it perfect? Nope. Some days we are not thankful, and we fail to walk that path, but our God is patient and understanding, full of compassion, and He encourages us.

Does God have you in a "holding pattern"? What is He wanting to teach you there? If His answer keeps being, "Wait, My child", then waiting is where the ultimate blessing is. It's where you'll find Him, find Him working, find the growth He wants you to experience.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9.

PeaceMAKERS, not peaceKEEPERS. As I pondered this at 4:30 this morning, I thought, "Peacemakers. PeaceMAKERS. MAKER. What does a maker do?" A maker creates. And, what happens when you create things? Unless you're God, chances are, you make a mess. You get glue on your fingers. You get glitter on your forehead and in your hair. You have fabric scraps laying on the floor where you cut away undesired pieces. You stick yourself with a pin or burn yourself on the glue gun, and it hurts. Scraps of paper lay about. You get flour on your apron or chin. Paint splatters on your clothes. Creating makes a mess....a temporary mess. It may be a small project and small mess. Or, it maybe a huge project and a huge mess.

Peacemaking. But, everyone says, "Oh, we aren't supposed to stir up trouble. We don't want to hurt anyone. We're just supposed to love." That's peacekeeping. Make everyone happy. Putting out fires, so that someone is not upset. What happens when we run around trying to put out all the fires, all the hot spots? They just keep popping up if we don't get to the source of the problem. Peacemaking.

When there is a lack a peace, it usually means someone has crossed a boundary. Someone probably sinned against someone else. Is it healthy to just ignore that and smooth over so no one is upset and KEEP the peace? No. It isn't healthy for anyone involved, and in fact, causes more dissension (hot spots). The only way to MAKE peace is to pursue it, to lay the offense out in the open, gently, not in anger. If someone is continually crossing a line (sin), in order for there to be true peace, they must be gently restored and problems must be addressed.

Hebrews 12:14 says, " Pursue peace with all men..." But, look at it in context. As I looked at the verses prior, I kept seeing the words, "therefore" and "but", so I kept backing up. God has a lot to say. Is it coincidence that "pursue peace with all men" follows this? Maybe, but I'm having a hard time accepting that. Look at what it says, starting with verse 4~

"You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

I don't know about you, but that sounds messy to me!

Verse 7~
"It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. .... For they (earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;"

God disciplines us. Parents should discipline their children. We are called to discipline ourselves. We are called to discipline others (see also Galatians 6:1, 1 Thess. 5:14, 2 Thess. 2:14-15, 1 Cor. 5:11, etc.) Without discipline there can be no peace. Even if only one person in a group is undisciplined, there is a lack of peace...sometimes chaos...whether that is a church, a family, a classroom, etc. Pursuing peace, being a peaceMAKER, means pursuing discipline within that group. When that happens, there might just be a mess. If it's smaller infractions, and the person (whether ourselves or others) has a teachable spirit, then it might just be a small clean up. The problem is addressed, repentance made, forgiveness imparted. A little glue on the hands, and we just wash it right off. If, however, there is an unteachable spirit, selfishness, pride, or an overly sensitive person, the mess is going to be bigger, and the clean up will take longer. Does it mean we avoid it? Does it mean it is unBiblical just because it makes a mess. Not at all. Peacemaking is not fun. Go look at Matthew 5:1-14. "Blessed are the peacemakers" is lumped right in there with "poor in spirit", "those who mourn", "those who hunger and thirst for righteousness", "those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness". Peacemaking is hard, which is why it is so blessed.

Look at verse 11 again. "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Discipline, though it seems sorrowful, yields peaceful fruit, if the person is wiling to be trained by it. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison," In context this is talking about our outer man decaying, but it applies here as well. See, peacemaking isn't just for those who are suffering the consequences of an undisciplined person. It is even more important for that person. It "is for our good, so that we may share in His holiness", it yields fruit, and it produces "an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison". When you see it like that, why on earth would we want to run from it?! That undisciplined person will never find their own peace and joy if someone doesn't point them toward Godly behavior and repentance. Their relationships can never be whole and authentic. If we love the unruly, undisciplined person that God has placed directly in our path (or if we need that correction ourselves), then we will embrace the opportunity to gently, but firmly, hold them accountable and point them to God's peace, which comes through discipline.

What happens if God calls you to be a peacemaker in a situation, but no matter how much prayer and love you attempt to pour into that person, they rebel? It may be the time that you have to "shake the dust from your sandals", or "not even to eat with such a one". This may seem harsh, but the goal is restoration. Take it to the Lord in prayer as to what must happen in that situation, but whatever the response, do not allow that person to carry on in your life without accountability. Continue to pursue peace. Continue to be a peacemaker. For that person, see what Proverbs 15:10 has to say. "Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die." The person who rejects discipline will die a spiritual death. If saved, he will not lose his salvation, but he will lose his fellowship with God, and the blessings God wants to give. He will lose peace and unity with others.

In contrast, if that person is willing to hear God's voice, and submit to His discipline, then as the mess is all cleared away, we are left with a beautiful masterpiece that God Himself has used us to create, and it is worth all the pain. ...... an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."