Archive for September, 2010

What ever happened to “peace be still”?

Today I am just tired! Can’t explain it, but it’s just when you are too tired, through and through. I am not even going for my run this morning, decided to let the poor ole body rest!…now you know I am tired!!

But no matter how I feel, I will make another day. I will learn to wait on Him more today and in the waiting there is strength. What an opportunity to test some of the things I have learned.

But I was thinking about this storm (and furnace) I am in. I thought about the promises we have had about Chris. God has given us two unsolicited promises. One of them was an angelic messenger who just appeared in my dad’s bedroom one night. He told my daddy that Chris had honored his father and mother (and this is true) and that Chris would have a good long life. The promise was to restore Chris. When it gets dark it’s hard to grasp these types of things.

I choose to believe the promise. The thing is, he didn’t mention how long it would take! I thought we’d be back on our way by now with this fire simply a thing of the past. But God has not erased the fire. He hasn’t caused it all to just stop. He never promised what the middle would look like, only the end.

Then my thoughts went to Paul in Acts 27. He had advised the men to not even go out on the ship but they were determined to make the trip and they got caught in a terrible storm. Paul had a visit from an angelic messenger that night too. The angel assured Paul that they would all be okay but the ship would be lost. Now see, my thoughts are like, why didn’t he just make the storm go away? But in this instance Jesus was not standing saying Peace be still. He was simply assuring their safety through the storm.

Wonder what they were thinking as the storm raged on that next night? Did they trust what God had spoken to Paul? Paul even encouraged them to stay in the ship when logic and experience told the sailors to abandon. Paul knew the story of how Jesus stood up in the boat and said, “Peace be still.” But he did not see the Father doing it in his situation. Perhaps he thought about that story that night.  Perhaps he had considered jumping ship too! How many times I would love to have abandoned ship, but my love for Chris held me like an anchor by the heart.

I must rest in the calm assurance of His promises today. No matter what I see, no matter what I feel, no matter how Chris does today. I will trust that no matter how long the storm Chris will be restored.

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Loving the Chris I have today…

My mom and I were talking last night and she asked if he had some drum sticks. I told her he has a set here and occasionally I will put them in his hands. She asked if he watches some of his marching videos and I told her we really do not watch them very often. The truth is I just can’t handle it emotionally. It’s tough seeing him as he was and then as he is today.

I miss Chris greatly. We used to sit on the front porch, drink coffee and talk for hours. We could thoroughly hash out all the world’s and church’s problems! He was considered by many of his friends as a philosopher in his own right! ..indeed!

He usually didn’t call very often. I finally adjusted to that. I figured if he didn’t call there wasn’t a problem! But that changed after I moved to Chicago. He was so excited about my moving there! He felt like I had the world at my fingertips and I would just be jumping off from Chicago. He even started a financial venture and they had him write his goals. One of his goals was to make enough money to live moderately and send me wherever God said. He wanted to just be able to say, “wanna go to the Bronx? I can get you there!” That was one of our last conversations. He grabbed onto the vision of me traveling and believed it so he wanted to help…

But now he hasn’t spoken in almost two years. I miss our talks. I miss drinking coffee with him and making that…one more pot! I think part of the fire is grieving who he was while seeing who he is today. I get lost wondering what he’ll look like, who he’ll be when this is all done. I can get bogged down in the fact that it’s been almost two years and this is all we have…yet I must encourage myself with the progress I see him make each day. It’s so small compared to where I want him to be.. but it is progress nonetheless.

I have loved much.. but never felt a love this deep, this strong. I wish that was enough to heal and to make him better…but it is not. But is does keep me taking care of my son, the one I have today. I want him to enjoy something, want a burger and fries, get a corona with a lime and smile once again! But he doesn’t “enjoy” anything. He seemingly has no desires…he just sits, or stands, or whatever I tell him to do taking no initiative for such movements on his own. But I love him still…this Chris I have today. I don’t understand it, I don’t get anything back for it…but this love has a grip on my heart that I cannot understand or explain.

I tell him over and over how much I love him; how proud I am of all the work he’s doing to get better. And every once in awhile he smiles this little spontaneous smile, and it makes my day!

I have dreams about him playing the drums again or talking to me. But then I wake up and glance toward his bed and see that he’s still there. Again I am thankful for the progress he’s making and the progress he’s even made today. It seems like it’s better…it’s just been so long.

I miss Chris and all he was (frustrations included!)… but I love the Chris I have today and I simply cannot explain it!

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Changing today’s perspective

Today is not too bad so far. It may because I got to run this morning. I left my watch at the house and just ran as far as I wanted. It seems my head gets pretty clear while I am out enjoying the neighborhood.

Running does several things for me. It helps my body put all the negative energy produced by stress somewhere constructive. It lets me set goals and reach them so I can find a measure of success! And it helps me feel better physically overall. And somewhere in there my mind seems to be able to settle down. It seems like I can solve all the world’s problems while running! … yeah I wish!

I heard the aid reading Chris a very familiar scripture this morning. I immediately recognized it as Psalm 77. The psalmist is trying to figure out if God’s pleasure has gone away. I can say I have had these questions myself during this furnace.

“Will Adonai reject forever? Will He never show His favor again? Has His grace permanently disappeared? Is His word to all generations done away? Has God forgotten to be compassionate? Has He in anger withheld His mercy?”

Wow, I thought I was the question queen!! Those are a lot of questions that sure seem to come from pain. I have to say I have asked many of them and more. It is difficult when in the furnace to see God’s favor. I wonder if I’ve done something to cause Him to turn His face away…since He doesn’t seem to hear.

Having to live in government housing and eat by using food stamps do not seem to be His blessing..at least not on one hand. Is this His “plan of hope” for me? Yet I must also realize how He has provided for this entire journey. That takes away any of my reasons to doubt.

How can this furnace be God’s grace? How can this be a place of compassion as I struggle watching my son. Has He rejected us? Sometimes I feel that way…

But then the psalmist goes on to say that his weakness is in thinking that God’s right hand could change….and begins to remind himself of the things God has done before.

These are the moments that I have to make a choice. I can either be engulfed in the sorrow of today or I can choose to think about the things He has done and find some things to be thankful for.

Immediately my whole outlook changes. I can be thankful that right now as I write this Chris is sitting in the recliner actually watching the Stargate dvd that is playing! I will be thankful for the yogurt and peaches he ate earlier without choking. I am thankful that he is awake more and more all the time. He is not sleeping 24/7 anymore….

This is the way I will make it through today… thanksgiving for what ever I can find to be thankful for! And I will get through one more day …in the furnace…

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The three Hebrew children…in the furnace

My friend, Vickie, left a comment yesterday about the three Hebrew children, This morning I turned my thoughts to them and Daniel. The thing with the 3 who were thrown into the furnace that sticks out to me was their statement to the king. They told him, that God was more than able to deliver. However, even if He did not, they would not bow to worship another. I love that dedication and devotion!

But then my mind went to Daniel and how he “made up his mind” that he would not defile his body. Here he was a captive, he’d lost everything but he was determined. I have made up my mind that I won’t give up while in this furnace. Actually, there just is no other choice for me. The word is too ingrained in my spirit! Besides, where else would I go?

So then I thought about the end of the book of Daniel. He had been reading Jeremiah’s writings. Jeremiah had said they would be in captivity for 70 years. Daniel did a little counting and realized it had been the allotted time and began to pray to ask God what was up.

There were a couple of things that stood out to me this morning. First he was reading the word! That’s so key to being in the furnace. Sometimes all I can read is one psalm over and over! And at times I can only read one verse again and again. But I cannot let up on putting the sustaining word into my spirit…

The other thing that I thought about with Daniel is that it had been 70 years. 70 Years! Wow, and I am run down and weakened at trying to hold on and endure only 2 years! For all that time in captivity he never let go of God or His word. I pray that as I face this day, I will have this same spiritual tenacity.

I know I must have His word to sustain me during this time. Today I will hold to Isaiah 54:10. His covenant of peace will not be shaken. It’s not that it won’t move or be disturbed, it will not even shake! I have to choose to hold on to His promises no matter what my eyes see. I will cling to Him today as I try to walk through it keeping my faith all in one piece!

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Bedtime in the furnace!!!

Bedtime here is pretty crazy. I actually put Chris to bed around 6 pm. I bolus him and make sure he is dry. I also have to turn him every little bit.

I talk to him while I am feeding him. Sometimes I get tired of hearing my own voice and no others. I talk about random things to him. I tell about my mom who was taken to the hospital tonight, talk about the grandbaby and just about anything. Today of course my team won so I also talk about the football league. (and my fantasy league)… I talk to him as though he understands every word.. but of course there’s never a response… Oh how I long to hear his voice one more time!!

I have some of his music and such. I play it sometimes but honestly, I cannot stand it. It breaks my heart to see all he has done and then to see him lying there helpless like that. Can’t fix it, it’s gut wrenching… every night.

But no matter what I am feeling I tell him how good he is doing. I point out every little tiny progress he’s made today and let him know how proud I am of him getting better. I tell him how he is getting better all the time….. then go to the other room to cry….

That’s when I have to get my heart and mind together or it will get me down… I have to go back to the things God said about Chris before he was born. I think about the things God told Chris specifically when he was just a child. Then I go to the promises he’s given even since the time of the wreck… and faith is there to lift me out of the pit for one more minute…

I know God is with me…but sometimes it seems like I am in hell.. but of course I think of Psalm 139 where the psalmist said, “If I make my bed in hell, even there you are with me”… I cannot doubt His presence, I just don’t understand and that makes it hard to hold on for very long…

So I settle down to writing online. Trying to make a few pennies here and there to help out. And I look around and marvel at God’s provision… surely the God of Jakob is with us…there is no room for fear or fainting….

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September 26, 2010

This is my first blog from the furnace. I have been asked to write a book about what I am going through. However, it is difficult to get my head around that thought as it seems as though there is no end in sight. It is also still too emotional to try to write about it presently.

So I will be writing from the furnace, while I am going through the fire. Each day I must decide how to make it through and attempt to keep my faith intact. That is not always as easy as it seems. If I could get away and “get my head” about me it would be much easier it seems. But I have to be here face to face with the situation that is warring at my soul.

I watch my son improve a tiny bit each day. But sometimes the pain of just seeing him in this state is so great I cannot carry it alone, although I must. As I watch him sit, unable to do even the smallest things for himself my heart weeps.

Sometimes I rejoice when he reaches out with his usable hand, or lifts his leg on his own. There are the times of brief exhilaration when he smiles spontaneously. Only to be sucked back into the reality of now. He has to have assistance to do anything…and he has not spoken in almost two years now.

How do I make it through while my heart is breaking? I cannot let him see me cry, I must be strong for his sake. I also try to make sure I am always positive to him, in my motions and my words. I tell him how good he’s doing even when I am having to do for him.

So how do I function in the furnace? Perhaps it is simply because I have no other option! Each day I must try to figure out how to get my faith in motion and make it through the day without falling apart. This blog is directed to those who are going through. We get to hear stories all the time about how people made it through, but rarely do we get to experience it with them, watching them gather strength each day for the journey. We just hear about the journey past.

I hope in some small way there will be those who are living in their own furnace who can find hope, help and encouragement by reading about my journey while I am still in the fire.  I draw my strength from the Word of God. I know of and am not looking for any other source.

Today is a medium day. I take it easy on Sundays. I already bathed Chris and he is resting for his two hours of no stimulation. He is awake today. Actually most days now he is very awake and alert. That is a plus. But even though this is our rest day I feel like I fall far short of what he needs, mostly because I am not sure of what I am supposed to be doing! Later I will get him up, which is getting easier and I hope to take him outside for a little while.

Today is one of those days I can only put one foot in front of the other for this journey. I must look at how far Chris has come and not how far he has to go. I remind myself that God is faithful no matter what I face, or how hot the fire is.  I read from Isaiah this morning. In chapter 41 verse 10 God is assuring His people that He is with them. He says do not look anxiously about you and that is my choice today. I will keep my mind from wandering onto all the things I wish I could change. I will embrace this day, do what I can and not worry about the rest

The last part of this verse says I will strengthen you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. I must chose to rest in that today. I am in His hand, and I will trust Him just like Job. He trusted the Lord so much that he stated: though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. That’s where I am today…though it’s heavy, though it’s tough and I see little progress, I will trust that I am in His hand. I trust that He is with me on this journey and the promises He made are not void! That is what I will hold on to today….

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