Archive for October, 2010

Never Too Far to Believe?

I’m not even sure where to begin today. So much has happened over the last couple of days and I am somewhat overwhelmed. I am kinda backwards to most people. When I get overwhelmed I tend to shut down instead of writing it all out. My personal journal can go weeks without an entry when I am running on overload! Then when I get it all processed I may sit and write five or six pages on one day! I’m kinda feeling overwhelmed today.

My emotions have been up and down and back and forth the last couple of days. I still see marked improvement in Chris every single day. This is in spite of the fact that he has not felt well for the last several days. Turns out it is just a pretty decent little asthma attack. But we are back to steroids and taking breathing treatments every 4 hours! Just like when he was 5! History does tend to repeat itself huh? lol!

Well, in the midst of all the stress of him not feeling well I saw something that really disturbed me yesterday. First, let me say even though he didn’t feel well he did so well at the hospital. He didn’t flinch when they took his blood pressure and stuck his finger out so that they could put the sensor on it! If you know the journey, you know those are both very major advancements from where he’s been!

But in the middle of it I noticed his right hand seemed more drawn than normal. I felt like a total failure like he’d gotten worse under my care. On the inside I was devastated! I have been working with the right hand but had slacked off while he’s not been feeling well. If I wasn’t feeling well the last thing I want someone to do is start messing with the most painful part of my body!

But it was real obvious it was all pulled in, more than I had ever seen before, and my heart sunk. I battled back and forth with my emotions and feelings of failure. I had too much at hand to let it drag me down too deep. And I made a new commitment to double up working with it today. I’ll also figure out a way to make the brace work somehow. That’s all real frustrating because I don’t know what I am doing or how long is effective…etc….Plus it tends to break down skin in other areas… but I will figure it out!

Anyway, in my thoughts I went back to God’s promises of restoration. Last night as i was doing his tube feeding I looked at Chris’ hand and was somewhat angry at this whole thing. I miss Chris and I cannot bring him back! I had a few moments of just deep heart felt pain for who Chris was…wondering who he will be…but my heart took me back to God’s promises.

As I looked at his shriveled hand I thought, “How far is too far?” Since God promised restoration it really doesn’t matter how “far” Chris appears to be from that point. God promised it and I must figure out how to get my heart to hold on to it no matter how far away it seems. Chris cannot get so far away that God can’t handle it.

The promise is never too far away to believe!  Trust HIm.

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Praying Without Words

I’ve been reading and meditating on Hebrews this week. I’ve taken my time as I found there have been lots of “little” things I’ve missed before. Some mornings I have read only one chapter and just thought about some particular verses in the chapter. I have also studied some thoughts a little more deeply.

So this morning I finally reached chapter 11, our Wall of Faith for the Christian world. You know, lots of people faced lots of things and held on to faith. Toward the end of the chapter it says that they didn’t even receive the promise they’d been waiting for (Christ) because they were waiting for us, so that we all together can be made perfect through Christ.

But what stuck out to me this morning lies between verses 32 and 38. Through faith they experienced scourgings and mockings. They were stoned, sawn in two,and imprisoned! I don’t think that matches our Western idea of faith!These warriors did not receive houses, new cars and live elaborately on this earth. On the contrary it says they lived by wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground! Wow!

Faith doesn’t “get” us stuff, it takes us through stuff!

I really needed to read this particular passage this morning for that morning lift. You know I have looked back over the last 2 years (really most of my life) and seen God provide when I thought there wasn’t a way! He has taken care of us no matter where we were staying, from hospitals, to nursing homes and rehab, etc! He has been an excellent provider. I have no complaints.

Last night I was still concerned about Chris as he was wheezing terribly. We had done the inhaler every four hours and all the meds I dare give him. But at bedtime he was breathing noisily. I placed my hands on him and really prayed with no words. I can’t explain it any better than that. I don’t know if you want to call it lack of faith or full of faith – but I am pretty sure it wasn’t the latter as I just am in a place that I don’t sense faith in myself. Because to me, faith would say, “Lay hands on him, pray, and he’ll be well.” Too many unanswered prayers over the last two years have brought me away from that perspective.

But I laid my hands on Chris, and thought of the scripture “They shall lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” And my hope was there although I cannot say I had faith for God to do it. However, the true faith was in the fact that if He didn’t touch my son, I still knew I’d be trusting Him through the night.

So I didn’t really “pray” or say anything..more like hope I think. The next thing I knew as I was getting ready to go to bed – there was no wheezing and Chris was sound asleep.  Some might say the meds kicked in, but I think God had a hand in it. Chris slept all night. I got up twice when he coughed to turn him and that was it. They were real good hardy – move it all out – types of coughs!

What today will bring is a mystery…but I will be trusting in Him to carry me through!

Praying with or without words…

is still prayer!

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Pour Out Your Heart

Whether or not it is vocalized I think we all have hopes for each day. Our goals are set and we are hoping to achieve them all.  And so here’s today and I feel I fell far short in all my goals yesterday. There is so much to do and Chris is sleeping less during the day and requiring more time. Trust me, this in no way is a complaint! Yeah for progress!

But last night was very frustrating. He was making all kinds of sounds (which of course is a bit more progress) and I could tell something wasn’t right. I was having a difficult time with our little game I call “Guess and check.” That just means I guess what he needs, do it and check to see if he’s happy. If not, I guess something else! I will be so glad when he can speak!

It seemed like last night’s game of guess and check went for hours. He was moaning and uncomfortable, wheezing and coughing and I knew he probably just didn’t feel good. When I was in the bedroom he’d be fine but if I came to the living room as soon as I sat down he started up again. It was like there was a button on my back side that told him to start making noise.

This wore me out! In those moments I am likely to lose it! I want to make him comfortable, I don’t want him to be in pain. I cannot do one thing to make him better faster. That’s when frustration hits, when I don’t know what to do. We played this little game for probably two or three hours last night; I grew tired because I couldn’t fix anything.

I tried to soothe him with all the medicine I thought might work, talking to him, playing music for him, and singing the songs I always sang to my kids when they were little. Absolutely nothing helped. This is where God sees my anger. I become frustrated because any of this had to happen to Chris, I can’t fix it, etc. I begin asking lots and lots of questions like, You are still here right? Did we commit some grave sin that You no longer hear us? Has Your grace moved away? And there’s lots more that come out in the heat of the moment but I can’t remember them now!

Finally after all this I stood in the doorway of the bedroom and sighed. I have not felt this helpless very many times in my life. I just stood there longing for Chris to be better. Then I began to sing. I just sang from my heart asking God all my questions, like if He could still hear our prayers, did He still care or had He moved far away….I just poured it out there.

Time had passed enough that I could feed Chris again and I could give him a dose of pain medicine again. I guess it worked because he went to sleep shortly after that. But I didn’t meet my goals for the day. I need to do so much more writing and working on line, on my web page, and the list goes on. It seems like I cannot ever get ahead!

As I look back on yesterday I must look at the things I did get done and not the things I left undone! And in the midst of yesterday’s battle I found Psalm 63:5-8 to be true:

My soul wait in silence for God only

for my hope is from Him

He only is my rock and my salvation

My stronghold; I shall not be shaken!

On God my salvation and my glory rest;

Teh rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, O people

Pour out your heart before Him;

God is a refuge for us.

Selah

May we all learn how to pour out our hearts before Him and continue to trust in Him through life’s storms. He does care, and He does hear our deepest cry.

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Don’t Throw It Away!

Is it another day already? Wow. One more day toward recovery I suppose. Chris has actually had a couple of pretty good days and that seems to really help me a lot. But my heart still hurts to see him like this. I look at his body not able to function as it did and just want to cry. ( I don’t because that will not change a thing.) But my heart weeps for who he was, the Chris I miss immensely. And I have to wonder who he will be when this is all done.

Even though I know God’s promise concerning Chris I wonder if he will be like this forever. It’s what I see that wears away at my faith. I have to try to care for Chris’ needs and not look at where he is and all the things he cannot do for himself.

I raised my kids to be independent thinkers and to act independent of others. And now he is dependent on me for every little thing. He cannot even voice what he needs or feels. And my heart breaks once again. But I tell myself I don’t have any choice but to make it through one more day. And as I make it through one day at a time, there surely will be an end some time…

What if it takes 5 years? What if it takes longer? I have to be okay with God’s decisions since my efforts cannot speed the process up even on second!

One struggle is to decide to not take on a “victim” mentality. That would have been easy for Joseph to slip in to, and no one would have condemned him for it! Who knows if he struggled with those types of feelings or not. I am learning that the emotions of life are real, feelings are real and there is a struggle against depression. Joseph (and other Bible heroes) must have struggled with some of these things – they were human you know!

But faith isn’t in the struggle, it’s the fight of holding on to what He said in the struggles that life brings. It’s not a sin to have to fight off depression and we didn’t necessarily do anything wrong to invite it in. But I don’t have to invite it to stay for supper like a long lost friend! lol! I am learning when my thoughts shift to oppressive thoughts, I must turn them around.

When I begin to be drug under the what ifs pertaining to Chris and this lengthy journey, I have to decide what to do with today. I can’t work through the next few days, months or years today and I really don’t have to. I simply have to work through today and end up on top.

So today I will keep my focus on His promise. I actually have a lot of writing to do today. Some wonderful things are unfolding from Hebrews and I am excited to begin to write about them! Hebrews has some great scriptures on not casting away your confidence. So today, I choose to not throw it away! I will hold on to what He said for one more day, I won’t throw it away!

There are several things we tend to “throw away” when the going gets tough. The first thing to go is faith. We just toss it aside no matter what He said. It is a fight to hold on to sometimes but it’s worth not throwing away! Peace can be tossed quite easily too; and sometimes it’s harder to hold on to it can slip right out of your fingers and leave you a crumbled mess. But don’t throw it away! Whatever you need to do to keep peace in your heart even in the turmoil of life, do it. Some may sing, or pray, or go for a hike and be swallowed by nature’s serenity.

Don’t throw away your confidence in Him today! Hold fast to what He has said.

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God’s Individual Education Plan!

I’m having one of those mornings where thoughts are pretty random. Maybe I’m just on thinking hyper-drive or something! I really wish I knew what I was doing. I bought a book about physical therapy for TBI patients. I also finished the online course to be a physical therapy assistant. (I won’t get the diploma until I get the course paid for! :-)) It didn’t have as much information as I had wished, but some of it was beneficial. Some will help more when Chris starts walking.

I have also been reading a book on the plasticity of the brain. ( not my normal genre!) It’s really been very beneficial. I’m really in a fix since I feel like I’m not offering enough stimulus at this time. It’s such a delicate balance it seems between too much and too little. I’ve purchased several puzzles, games and other items I feel I can use. It’s so difficult deciding what to do each day.

Anyway, with that in mind I have been thinking about how God deals with each of us on an individual basis. He knows just what each of us need for any particular day. He knows the test we need (sheesh!) and knows just what to send to help us achieve His goals. He doesn’t stumble around wondering what to do with us. He has known us intimately since before the foundation of the world. According to Psalm 139 He already wrote about all of our days…and He orders our steps!

That’ is my comfort today. He’s already ordered today for me, I just have to follow Him through it. And of course this even includes how I care for Chris. It’s kind of like we all have our own special “Individual Education Plan!” He has designed our course. And even though I don’t particularly care for where I am right now I can also rest in the truth that since He already planned it, He also planned a way for me to walk through it to the other side!

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The End of His Promise

Well so far this morning I have had the extremes of about everything! I look at Chris and wonder when and even if he will be okay. My mind battles against me with thoughts about how long it’s been since the injury occurred and the likelihood of a full recovery. I also battle thoughts about if this is the way it will be for the rest of my life. Is this it?

And while I know down in my heart God’s promises, I still struggle with how to deal with this from day to day. I mean come on, it’s staring me in the face. My sore muscles won’t let me forget what a day has to offer! I have to choose to face the day head on and give it all I have one more time. After that, there’s the sleepless nights. I must put my hand to what is in front of me without considering emotions or what might or might not happen tomorrow.

The struggle here I think is that it has been so long. Time has a way of wearing us down. But I must take my mind back to scriptures and remember that we can read a passage very quickly without consideration of how long it took in real time.

Abraham waited 25 years for the fulfillment of his promise. Joseph waited many years. Daniel had a 70 year wait. I feel so weak when I compare my situation to theirs. They did not let go of His promises no matter how situations fought against their minds. You know they had to give some thought to the when of God’s promises. Abraham more than likely had to explain why he changed his name from father to the father of a great multitude when he had no children to show for it. He walked around childless for years proclaiming that he was the father of many.

Job held on through a very serious illness. He also lost all of his children, his crops, his sustenance and his pride. He had nothing but a wife who nagged him to curse God and die. But he still held on.

So today, my heart tells my brain to deal with the day and shut up! Today is a day in this journey of faith. Today must be dealt with and handled the best way it can be. But it’s not the end of His promise. And there ya go… I think I can go one more day clinging to Him in this furnace of life.

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Joseph’s Journey

This morning I have been struggling with the situation again. Yes, Chris is having really good days and yes, he’s making a little bit of progress all the time. But I think as we approach the two year mark from the accident I wonder how long it’s going to take? I look at him still not able to move his right side, still not speaking, and I just have to wonder how long?

Mentally, part of the way I’ve talked myself through much of the journey is to tell myself he’s making small steps each day. (I can’t wait until he can literally do that!) But the time part nags at my heart and mind. I have to give room to the consideration that this could still be years in the doing. I could live the rest of my life like this. That’s a troubling thought really. Yet I must think about that scenario being a real possibility as I do not know when God will move.

One of the most troubling things I have to work through is knowing God can heal and wondering why He won’t. It’s like, are all the New Testament miracles there to just show us what he can do? Are they just teasing us with His vast capabilities without them being really demonstrated in our lives? Jesus healed paralytics; he healed a withered hand…why not Chris’?

Then I have to reign my thoughts back in because I can get very frustrated and feel very abandoned by God. Time can be our worst enemy. A lot has happened in these two years. Do I still have two more years to struggle in this journey? Do I have more than that? When will God come for me?

These are some real questions that I have to deal with every day. It’s actually getting easier to talk myself back to faith and trust. That’s really my only alternative anyway! I must trust Him no matter what a day brings. I will trust Him if every day looks like today.

This morning I was rereading Psalm 104 since that’s where my Bible was opened to from last night’s broadcast. I completed it and found myself reading on into Psalm 105.  This psalm basically gives a run down of Abraham all the way through the Exodus. He talks about the covenant God made with Abraham…and to a thousand generations! (if a generation is about 40 years that gives us like 40 thousand years worth of covenant!)

Then verse 16 says that He (God) called for a famine; He cut off the bread of the land. Then He sent Joseph before them. He did that? Wasn’t there another way? Couldn’t he have just told Joseph to pack up and move?  Joseph went as a slave – sent by God. Why would God choose to send him that way.

It says Joseph was afflicted, and in irons. We know he was unjustly put in prison and suffered in Egypt. Until verse 19. Until the time that his (Joseph’s ) word came to pass. The word that the Lord had given him tested him. Maybe that’s where I am right now. God has promised full restoration and time is a valid enemy of the mind! His word that He has spoken about Chris will come to pass, although for the time being we are in this prison of sorts!

Well, there ya go. Just talked myself back to faith! I am encouraged! I can trust Him for another day…

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He is Faithful…

Here I sit ready to face another day. I have no idea at this point how Chris will do today. He has slept pretty good the last couple of nights and that helps me a lot!! Will he completely tone out on me or be limp again?!? Right now all I can do is guess. Many times I am troubled because I fear I am not doing enough with him, or thinking I am not doing it right. That’s all since I don’t really know what I am doing! Then sometimes I wonder if I am pushing him too hard driven by my desire to see him improve…it’s still a guessing game!

Though basically shut in (except for two hours each morning) I am still busy. My hands are pretty full with writing and working on line. But I miss contact with people. Yesterday I did turn skype on for awhile and visited with a pastor from Kenya. Before we hung up he prayed for Chris..that was cool. Then I called in to my friend’s radio broadcast (out of Arkansas) and they prayed for Chris as well…other than that there was no contact with people yesterday. I can literally go days without any physical touch…

When I feel alone and alone-ness tries to swallow me I have to remind myself that He is here with me, helping me with day to day struggles. He won’t abandon me mid trip! He never says, “I just can’t handle it today.” Just like I don’t tell Chris that! God has the same faithfulness toward me (and more) as I have for my own son. He never washes His hands of the situation and says, “Do what you think best.” He’s hear to constantly guide me in every decision. And I guess really that even includes the therapeutic things I attempt to do with Chris.

Well, there ya go I talked myself into being fine for one more day! lol! He’s with me and that is worth a lot. He’s not too busy with a job or other responsibilities to walk with me through the fire. Because it can get complicated real fast! Like last night when my grandson was ill. I lay awake praying for him and for Ronella and Shawn to know have wisdom for the situation. It’s not just Chris that I deal with each day, although that is heavy. Life still goes on too! I have all the day to day stuff to deal with too. And He remains faithful…

Today that is what I will hold on to tightly…He is faithfully walking with me just as I am walking through this with Chris.

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Wasting today…

I started this blog to share how I find faith each day although I am going through the fire. I thought it might help others who are in tough or tight situations be able to talk themselves into faith as well. Then there are days like today where nothing comes to mind. Really? Really.

I’m kinda blah-ed out. It’s hard to describe really, and it’s unusual for me since I usually live in hyper drive! I do not lack faith and don’t feel that I need to go looking for it. I know He’s with me and I find great comfort today just knowing that Holy Spirit is here to teach me, and to comfort me.

While I was running this morning (thank God once again for the aid who comes!!) I was thinking about my goals. It kinda struck me funny that I was even thinking about that. I can’t even see what’s at the end of the day, how could I set goals? Then I had a minister from Kenya ask me this morning what I was planning on doing when Chris is better. I had some immediate answers come up out of my spirit. It was kinda funny since I really can’t see that far, which troubles me.

But as I was running I was thinking about how I set goals for my running. My intent is a minimum of 10 to 12 miles per week. And along with that about 20 miles on the bike. That one’s pretty easy since I run my errands on the bike! I was sort of congratulating myself on reaching these goals, especially since I never know what a day will bring. Most mornings I just want to sit, drink coffee and stare at the wall. But I get my running shoes on and head out the door since it is my only chance for the day.

Planning my goals for running has actually become a big part of me over the last couple of years. I started running while Chris was in the hospital. I figured I didn’t have to pay for a gym membership and I could run anywhere we might end up. As it happened I have now run 11 races. (and won third place in two of them!) It’s been so good for me to release tension and burn up excessive energy caused by stress. And I found out I love it!

I set goals for the amount of miles I desire to run for the week. I will continue to bump it up a little at a time. My real goal is to run a marathon. It’s kind of like, if you can do that, you can do anything! I’m probably going to try to sign up for a half marathon (only 13.1 miles) in May. That gives me plenty of time to work on distance and speed.

But I have goals in other areas as well. I have to have several each week to get newsletters and other writing done. I work on getting music ready for the live broadcast. Which starting that again was just a goal not long ago, and now I am doing it weekly once again.

Living without goals is like shooting in the dark and hoping you hit something; you don’t know what, but something!

If I can assess my present situation and the load I am having to operate from beneath to come up with some goals I am doing good. Actually, setting goals even if it’s just running is very helpful. It is also beneficial if I can have a sense of success about something….anything – it helps my overall attitude!

I am thinking if I can function here, in the furnace, in the cave, then I should be able to function anywhere else I may find myself. It’s about hanging on with that last bit of strength and believing He’ll see me through. Some of the writing that I have been able to do is kinda what got pushed out when the crush was on! But as I set new goals for myself and begin to reach for them I am finding it easier and easier. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me…

So I encourage myself to reach just a little further…there’s no telling what He wants to do with me from here. I think I’ll stop looking for tomorrow…or I’ll only be wasting today…

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New Levels of Trust

I have never doubted God’s ability to heal. As one man put it, I don’t have to go far to find a miracle. People in my immediate family have been healed of some big stuff, such as Leukemia. The trouble hasn’t been the if God can heal. It’s been the will He heal Chris? And for some reason He has not reached down His hand and just touched Chris in an instantaneous way. I do not doubt that He can, I don’t understand why He won’t.

Believe me, I have had some intense moments of total anger at God. I simply haven’t understood why this happened to Chris. And although I truly believe God will use him in a powerful way, it does not make today any easier to deal with. I still have to do everything for Chris and trust that one day he’ll be able to do it for himself once again. But it moves so slow!

It comes down to not so much do I believe God, but do I trust Him? Can I look at today while not worrying about the tomorrows and just deal with what He’s placed in my hand for today? That’s difficult sometimes. But I am learning to just trust Him.

Job said a couple of interesting things. He said though God slay me, yet will I trust Him. Can I trust Him when everything is not going my way? Can I trust Him when the bank account is running on “E”? Will I continue to trust Him when He doesn’t answer me with the answer I want to hear? I have to say that I can say “Yes!” now. But it wasn’t always so.

Sometimes the faithers try to put undue pressure on us like if we are going through we do not have faith. Tell that to Paul. I’ve heard it said that when you are in the perfect will of God you are safe. Paul was beaten for his faith. Sorry, that doesn’t sound real “safe” to me! His soul and spirit were safe in God’s hands, but his body took a beating. Yet Paul continued to trust, through ship wreck and thrown into prison. These are things that the faith-o-meter of the church would say indicate his lack of such. But, his faith in God was not shaken by the things he went through.

It’s too easy to look at someone and think they lack faith because of their circumstances. Who are we to condemn another man’s servant? (Romans 14:4) We can never judge the faith of the heart by what we see. If we use the faith-o-meter even Jesus would fall short as He endured the cross. Faithers (not real faith) indicate by their teaching that He if He had faith He would not have faced such a trial, He should have been able to avoid it.

But I am finding that in much adversity, faith abounds. It’s all about learning to trust Him no matter what is dealt you by life. And that takes me to the other statement by Job Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity? We cannot measure faith by the adversity at hand.

So the question to be asked here is what comes out when the squeeze is on? I have made lots of mistakes in this trial of faith. I have been angry, frustrated, tried to give up, tired, short tempered, impatient…and the list could go on! But I have also found that in the squeeze i have a new level of trust in the Lord.

My heart is set on Him and I will not waver. He will carry us through. In the furnace I have found that He is there with us. He won’t leave me or abandon me but he will walk with me. He may not keep it from happening but nothing escapes His eyes…His eye is on us and though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

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