Friday, October 25, 2013

Flashback Friday: Just DO it!

I am REALLY feeling this blog this week. Good reminder from myself...

Just DO it!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Struggles

I know I've blogged about this before, but it is a GREAT topic, so I'm doing it again.

I am thankful for my STRUGGLES. Yesterday morning I was really having a ROUGH time. [John is in a TON of pain these days. I am trying to rob Peter to pay Paul just to get through being on unemployment and then coming back to the land of the working. Noah is REALLY struggling with John's pain and impending surgery.] My troubles woke me at 5 a.m. so by the end of the day yesterday I was TIRED. Yet today I can still HONESTLY say, I am thankful for my STRUGGLES.  Why you say?

1. My STRUGGLES always bring me closer to God. 
Yesterday when I woke at 5 a.m. my heart was OVERWHELMED with sorrow. I fell asleep with tears on my pillow after consoling a WEEPING teenage boy who is terrified his father is not going to be around to watch him become a man. As I sat in the chair trying to pray, this verse came to my mind:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Romans 8:26

I just sat there whispering, "Jesus. Jesus. Jesus." and felt Him drawing me near and holding me close.

2. My STRUGGLES birth godly qualities in me (and my family).
While no one is actually EXCITED to go through struggles, we can all at least be grateful that they are never in vain. I have to say my children, my husband, and I possess compassion that we could NEVER have had without what we have been through. We TRULY believe that God can (and WILL) move mountains. We are able to PROCLAIM from the top of our lungs that His ways are better and that He has a plan and that He holds us firmly in the palm of his hands.  Without our struggles, I do not think we would be as sure, strong, steadfast.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

3. My STRUGGLES minister to others.
I'm not too excited to go through all of this again. I am so beyond weary of medical woes, doctor appointments, endless prescription management, and my dear husband in SO MUCH PAIN. But I am encouraged by the knowledge that watching us struggle through these tough things ministers to others. We get the honor of serving as God's billboard proclaiming to the world His wonders and mercies and love.

So go ahead.... think I'm crazy, but this Thankful Thursday I am thankful for my struggles.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Worship Wednesday: Oceans

I feel this song will be the theme song of this next season of my life... it grips me and speaks RIGHT to my aching heart.

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

See I might fall.... my feet may fail.... but my faith it will always STAND.  Through surgeries. .... through financial hardships... through heartbreak.... MY FAITH WILL STAND.

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

And when it gets tough.... when the waters start to rise.  When fears assail and worries come.... I will call Your name. I will focus on you... I will just rest in Your arms....

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

When the road gets toughest.... when the water rise highest.... when the tears flow abundantly then His Grace ABOUNDS.

You've never failed and You won't start now

This is my FAVORITE line of the whole song.  It WRECKS me every time I hear it. He has NEVER failed.  He has NEVER dropped me in my face.  He has NEVER let me drown. AND HE WON'T START NOW.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Trust that has no borders.  Standing when I should be falling. Deeper than I can even fathom.  How? By staying in His presence. By drawing near to Him.

I hope this song ministers to you like it ministers to me.  Please remember:


Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
Psalm 62:1

Friday, October 18, 2013

Flashback Friday: God doesn't play favorites

This blog really ministered to me today. ... hope it ministers to someone else too....

Friday, October 11, 2013

Flashback Friday: The hill....

This blog was on my heart this morning....

The Hill

Hope it ministers to others who are facing a hill in front of them.  You can DO it!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Roughing up my heart....

Ugh... I don't even KNOW what to title this post.... *sigh* I guess I'll just figure that out at the end. Here we go:

John is scheduled to have neck fusion surgery the third week of December. For those of you who are thinking, what? who? how? why?  here are the details... the rest of you can skip to the bottom if you want.  Just scroll down until you see the bolded words Well so here we are....

If you've been with us for the duration, then you know that 4 years ago John had to have brain surgery to relieve the symptoms of a chiari malformation. Because of that initial surgery, disk degeneration (which he has always had) is worsening and manifesting in some icky symptoms (he is on week 3 of a CONSTANT headache right now.... he is losing strength and size in his left arm... he has pain radiating from his neck all the way down his arm...) Today they told us that left untreated it could eventually result in him losing all function in his left arm.  [Okay that's pretty scary.]

I believe it was back in July of 2012 that we first started hearing about this idea of neck fusion, and then again this past summer it came up. As this appointment to discuss it again approached we started hearing rumors (which are still as of now unconfirmed) that the lovely Affordable Care Act is going to DECIMATE our current AMAZING insurance benefits and knock us down to what all the rest of you have been dealing with for insurance [not being rude, just saying that we have had FABULOUS health insurance every since John changed jobs.... if the rumors prove to be true that will be a thing of the past come January 2014]....  Sooooo these rumors got us thinking that we might need to just DO THIS before we cannot afford to do it because of our "Affordable Care".... When they told us that part about the possibility of it progressing to the point where he would not even have any use of that arm, we were kinda like, "Okay let's get this puppy on the books!"

Again for those of you who want the details.... the gory details.... keep reading... the squeamish... well you've been warned.

So we have been told that this surgery will be MUCH less invasive, painful, difficult than the last one... [although I have to tell you that back in 2009 I DISTINCTLY remember Dr. Ahuja saying, "This is the best brain surgery to have. If you have to have brain surgery, THIS is the one you want to have because it is the easiest one."  WHATEVER!] apparently because they will go in through the front of his neck, moving his muscles to the side instead of cutting through muscle (like they did in the back of his neck) it should result in a much easier recovery. They will be fusing his C4 through C6 vertebrae together in order to give his nerves room to "live" in there and immediately relieving his pain, weakness in his arm and stopping any further degeneration.  Here's the visual they gave us of what they'll be doing.... that black thing is a titanium doo-hickey (yes that IS I think the technical term... at least as I heard it)... underneath the doo-hickey will be some plastic thingys that replace his degenerated discs.

Well so here we are.... walking down roads... living out scenes... asking for prayers... explaining medical terms we have become too familiar with.... all like we've done in the past....  In the short span of just 8 hours since I found out, I have been through the following phases:

Phase 1: I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me....

The first introduction of this concept of a second surgery actually happening, left me almost cocky and too assured.... "We can do this!  It's easier than the first time. So much is different. We are different.  This is going to be a walk in the park!"  It was in this phase we told the kids, and they pretty much seemed to take it in stride just like I was.

Phase 2: I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me....

After we told the kids, John and I laid down to try to get a little rest. I fell SOUNDLY asleep, slept too long and arose late for cheer practice and a bit discombobulated. At this point the realization that we were indeed going to do this AGAIN was hitting me and I was left feeling a bit dazed and confused by the punch that realization walloped. I raced off to practice, forgetting Regan's shoes, forgetting a cup of the coffee I asked Noah to brew for me, and forgetting about a certain female situation which I will provide no more details of in case my brother is reading this blog for he will SHOUT, "FOUL!!! TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!" (In fact he is probably already shouting that.) I drove to practice kinda forgetting where I was and where I was going for a little bit. I felt as foggy and hazy as the weather around me.

Phase 3:  I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me.

I entered phase 3 as I pulled in the driveway after practice. I sat in the car for several minutes sobbing. "God I know I can do this with you. God don't leave my side for a second these next few months. God I NEED you!" screaming from my soul! My weeping left me in a place of quiet resolution. I can do this again. I can get through ANOTHER surgery. I can watch the man I love endure EXCRUCIATING pain. I can watch my dear babies trying to be strong with terror in their eyes. I can DO this.  And that's when God gave me my analogy.

When the surgical assistant was explaining the surgery to us, he said that at the end of the surgery they will "rough up" the bone (vertebrae) around the fusion site. He said they do this to signal the body, something is hurt here we need to fix it.  Then new bone will grow to "accept" the titanium doo-hickey and strengthen up that area.

God is roughing up my heart right now.  He is signaling my spirit that something is hurt and needs to be fixed. Over the next few days, His Holy Spirit will rush in and build "new bone" on my heart to accept this new situation and incorporate it into my reality and make me STRONGER.

As is typical when I come to you through the words of this blog... we NEED your prayers... for the big... for the little... for the seemingly inconsequential...

John is a little nervous/weirded out by this whole thing. I know he DESPERATELY wants his pain to come to an end but the fear that this won't do it or could even make it worse is assaulting him a little.

Noah seems okay right now, but he is the one ALWAYS hardest hit by John's health issues. #1 because John is TRULY his best friend and #2 because he tries to "step up and be the man" when John is down for the count and that is a tough thing for a 9 then and now almost 14 year old to do.

Details... our dr. is doing surgeries at a different hospital now we don't know if it is covered by our insurance.... we are hoping that the vacation time John has available will be enough to cover his recovery time... this will be happening RIGHT in the middle of cheer season, Christmas, etc... not the best timing in some ways but great timing in other ways.

I will try hard to keep you in the loop, but I expect that you will likely only hear from me when I'm begging for prayer or processing the tangle of emotions I am going through.

Thank you friends for your prayers and for always caring enough to walk with us through the dark times.

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