Archive for November, 2010

Now That’s Faith!

There have been a couple of things happen in the last 24 hours that I think for me are noteworthy. For one I had some visitors yesterday! That was a very nice surprise! One of the ladies had a son who was hit by a drunk driver and sustained head injuries. It was encouraging to hear of her journey and his back to health. It sounds odd maybe but it was helpful to hear of the times they dropped their son and the mishaps they encountered while caring for him. Sometimes I tell Chris that I’m like the Jerry Lewis of caregivers and if I can get it tangled or wrapped up wrong or in some kind of weird bind I will!

Then this morning I was studying for Sunday’s topic of worship. I always start in Genesis 22 since in the KJV this is the first mention of the word worship. Abraham told the servants we will go worship and return to you. What was he thinking? He knew he was told to sacrifice his son, how could he be inclusive and say “we” will go and return?

Abraham was laying more than his son on the altar. Of course that in itself is a huge thing. My first thought was I couldn’t do it! He was laying down his own future, his descendants, his promise! Everything God had promised him was embodied in his son, Isaac. Abraham did not know how God was going to do it, but he knew Isaac was the promise to all the nations. Romans says that he believed God could bring back the dead. He was so sure of the promise that he figured when he acted in obedience God was able to raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill His promise!! Now that’s faith!

He didn’t worry about the details, Isaac was the promise! It was not important to Abraham how God did it, he KNEW He was going to fulfill His promise!

Sometimes I look at my own situation and wonder about the hows. I know God made specific promises for me, Chris, Ronella, and my whole family. How He is planning on doing it from here, has to be less important that trusting in Him to just do it! It won’t matter if He has to raise the dead – His word will not be void. Situations and circumstances cannot over rule what He already said! …and that in its simplest form…is faith!

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Because of Love

This is going to be a very busy week. I am really excited about what it might bring though. I’m trying to get a lot done and get sitters arranged for my first weekend away in FOREVER! Not really, but it sure feels like it! I am very thankful for all those who have stepped up to help while I am gone. They will never know how much I appreciate it! You know, he’s grown, but he’s still my baby and I feel assured of his safety, care and pure love from each person who has committed to stay with him while I go minister.

And he also has the appointment at the rehab hospital this week. I need to write down all the questions so I don’t forget them. I hope for some really good news and a date they feel he’ll best benefit from the 24 allotted days he’ll have before the end of June.

Sometimes it seems to be going so very slow! Even on days like today when he is sleepy again and doesn’t seem to be doing too much I know things are connecting back up in his head. He is really helping so much with transfers and I can tell he’s getting some of the control of key muscles back.

I wonder if this is how God views us sometimes. We just sit and He patiently (not that I am patient by any means!) works with us as we slowly progress toward maturity. I never knew the depth of His love before all this happened. But I have learned so many new levels of His love – and there’s still so much to learn! It is unfathomable.. beyond comprehension.

But sometimes I look at Chris and see how willing I am to just wait…because of love.

I am willing to work with him and rejoice in each little step of progress…because of love.

My life is meaningless and can’t go on – refusing to go on without him…because of love.

 

But then I’ve learned from many others too. Like a grandmother’s love – now that’s a wonderful new experience in love! And how my daughter and I grow to love one another more in the midst of trouble. How much better is it going to be if the trial is ever gone!?!

I think of how I love without chains, and how He loves us the same way. He loved us so much that He made a way for us to get back to Him before we ever fell away. He patiently waits and gently leads us until we find it … until we find Him and all of His fullness….because of love – it must be the strongest force anywhere.

It holds me here with Chris-

It held Jesus to the cross…He stayed there for me…for you…because of love…there wasn’t another option to Him, because of love.

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The Rest of the Day…

That’s what I keep telling myself…just make it through the rest of the day. Somehow I think tomorrow will be better or at least more manageable. But I think I kept telling myself that all through yesterday too. I can’t even start with how rough I feel right now… it’s a hot day in the furnace for sure!

I know some of it is I am just on overload, and I probably genuinely need a break.  That should be coming this weekend and I am looking forward to a long drive to just unwind. It will be worth it I am sure. Being with people will be good too, as well as seeing some good friends! Lots to look forward to for sure…but it’s not here yet and there is much to be done to even get it all lined up.

That’s where the struggle begins. Someone told me I could take their car and then forgot! No big deal I am not stranded – I can take the truck just didn’t want to spend all the extra money on gas. Then there’s lining up all the people to sit with Chris. Right now no one can come before 2 or 3 in the afternoon. This means the 12 hour drive will get me there about 2-3 am. But since the time will change it will be more like 3-4 am. The meeting’s not until 1 pm but that’s still pushing it if you ask me! Everyone has to work and I really do understand that! So 3 it is! At least I get to go then!

I am really struggling with little things – it’s my own emotional baggage. One person has to stay two nights – that’s a burden….One wants to do something else on Friday night now… I feel everyone’s weariness with the whole thing. I don’t like that – I feel like it’s my fault!

Ronella and Shawn have done so much during this time but I know that they are getting so tired. They come on Monday nights so that I can tutor – they do that for me every week. And that’s really the longest time I have out of the house and it brings in a little money too.

I’m thinking of being a recluse. I may quite tutoring on Monday and not worry about getting out except when the aid is here. I don’t like feeling “needy” and i hate asking for help. this was my decision to stay with Chris. No help was promised…I shouldn’t expect anyone to volunteer! Well, of course that hasn’t happened  yet! No one has ever called to see if I need a day off! And I have never had a whole day off! …still my choice!

Even though Chris is improving he feels so far away still. I hope for good news when we go to the doctor this week, but fear bad news. I’m always afraid they will stop believing! It’s not that I am free from discouragement but I have not stopped believing. I really don’t have the strength to stop believing.

However, since I cannot see past this moment, I feel I must learn how to live in it like it will always be like this. It could still be years in the making (and I am no spring chick!). I have to emotionally prepare as though I will spend the rest of my life like this….

Ps 42:1For the Chief Musician. Maschil of the sons of Korah. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, So panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
4 These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me, How I went with the throng, and led them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him For the help of his countenance.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: Therefore do I remember thee from the land of the Jordan, And the Hermons, from the hill Mizar. 7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterfalls: All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8 Yet Jehovah will command his lovingkindness in the day-time; And in the night his song shall be with me, Even a prayer unto the God of my life. 9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10 As with a sword in my bones, mine adversaries reproach me, While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God.
(ASV)

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He is still…I am still…

I have some really mixed up emotions right now. Last night I took Chris out to my sister’s house. I knew it wouldn’t be his best time of the day but hey, it’s Thanksgiving! I really thought about not going at all as I knew it would be difficult. But I also knew that it was one of those tasks that once completed would be encouraging. You know the kind – you dread and dread it and then after you do it you know you can so it’s not a big of a dread anymore?!? That’s how I felt about loading Chris in Shawn’s car and heading out that way.

I guess for the most part my thoughts were right. It was a chore but I did it and felt really good about being able to get him in and out of a vehicle on my own. I am not a real “dependent” type of person anyway and having to ask for help has really been new to me in all this. I am still uncomfortable with it!

I guess I was prepared for the physical challenge but I wasn’t expecting the emotional fight that I had. I was excited that Chris is able to go to family functions now, but he’s still not “with” us. He shows almost no emotions. As I was getting him ready I kept thinking that these are not the pictures I’d had in my head when I would think about the future in days gone by.  You know? I’m not supposed to be dressing him, and taking along tube feeding supplies and incontinent supplies for him at 26. It simply broke my heart to get him ready to go…much more difficult than getting him in the car.

On one hand I am so excited that he’s progressed enough to at least do some things outside the apartment. I just wish he could enjoy them. And you know, maybe he is but he just can’t express it yet. But it’s much safer (especially emotionally) to just be a captive here in the apartment. My emotions were all over the place; some good, some bad.

I don’t really know how to work through from here. There seems to be no end in sight except that I do know he continues to improve each day. It just takes so little to wear him out these days. I think it bothers me that I can feel other’s doubt. They may not call it doubt but I can sense their shaking heads when I talk about how much he’s improved and then they only see him sleep! They just don’t understand all the little milestones he passes as days go by.

For today – to make it through today – I must remind myself of several things.

  • He is still able. period.
  • He is still faithful…
  • He still loves me
  • He is still in control
  • He still heals
  • He leads me beside still waters
  • He speaks in the still small voice
  • He still remembers us…
  • He is..

As i think about the “stills” of God I can think of a few of my own “stills”

  • Be still and know He is God
  • I will stand still and see His salvation!
  • I will still remember His words of old
  • I will still trust HIm!

And so here are me and God..still standing together after all this time!

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Knows vs Don’t Knows

There are lots of things I just don’t know. I was thinking earlier this morning about just having the don’t knows. I don’t know why Chris is sleepy again – yet oddly more interactive. I don’t know if his medication is playing a role in that or not. I don’t know why he’s so loose…

I don’t know if I can get him in the car by myself to take him to my sister’s house..and I certainly don’t know if I can get him back out of the car when I get home! lol. I don’t know if I’m feeding him right – or enough. I don’t know why he has stopped smiling. I don’t know a lot of things as you can see…

When I am filled with all these questions (and I am the question queen!) and I feel so unsure about so many things pertaining to Chris and even other situations there is only one thing to do. I must decide what I do know!

I know that God is walking this out with me, no matter how slow it seems to be going.

I know that He is faithful and will not abandon us, His children.

I know that His love endures forever even through the things I see with my natural eyes.

I know that He is holding me!

I know that my whole intimacy level with Him has changed.

I know I don’t want to go back to the way it used to be.

I know I want to reach out and touch other’s lives (and I do have a plan!)…

I know that no matter how intense the battle – or how long it seems it has been – this won’t last forever…

This is how I can flip all my “don’t knows” around and find faith, strength and courage to make through another day! I love the Nicole C Mullen song – I know my Redeemer lives!! And that’s it – I’ve got Him walking through my today with me… gotta love this walk of faith!

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Humbly Thankful

What a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! I have so very much to be thankful for, as we all do. Two years ago I spent Thanksgiving Day in the ICU waiting room. It was my home for aver 3 weeks, I basically set up camp! It was a community and I saw so many parallels to what the church should look like during those days.

It was outside the hospital trauma unit. Two different ICU centers were on either side of the waiting rooms. All of us sitting with family members had become like family in a very short time as we were there to comfort one another in our trying time! Circumstance had forced us together and we were making the best of it!

That Thanksgiving will always be a memorable one for me. It was only me and Chris’ dad as far as any relations were there. It was a holiday – so no visitors. But I had a friend in another state who was concerned about me not getting a Thanksgiving Day meal! She actually found the number to a church nearby and called them. She told them of the situation and asked them to provide us a special meal! They did! (of course we never saw them after that!)

Another family who had a son in the same ICU unit as Chris was local. They had a huge family day planned and were in and out during the day.  They brought a huge box of food for everyone to share. It was loaded with good Thanksgiving Day goodies!

Then another lady whose husband had been there for some time, he had been moved to a floor but she frequented the ICU waiting areas since she was still using one of the lockers to store her things. That evening she brought in even more plates of food. Someone had provided for her and she wanted to make sure everyone had a “piece of the pie!”

The churches in the area came through as well at noon. They brought boxes of meals! They were handing them out to everyone! It was an awesome time to show people His love…giving for no reason and not looking for something in return!

It goes down as one of the most remarkable Thanksgivings I have ever had! I think I consumed the most food of all Thanksgivings put together too! lol!

Yet at the same time it was certainly one of the most trying as Chris was still in ICU and was in isolation because not only did he have pneumonia, he had the dreaded MRSA.

So today I am thankful for many things. I’m thankful for his life, the one he lived and the one he has before him. Thankfulness abounds that I am in my own place for this holiday season. It’s been a long time since I had my own space!

Though the last two years has been full of trouble, I am very thankful for the place I’ve found in Him. Perhaps it’s been the trouble that has pressed me into Him this far…maybe simply the intense desire I’ve always had to know Him…I have learned many things about Who He is during this time. He’s corrected much error in my religious thinking and I’ve found a new freedom in Him…

Two things I’ve always heard – during a tough season you find out who your friends really are (and I have indeed)…and you find out who He really is when you’re going through…So today as weird as it may sound I am thankful for this trial…

I love the way Oswald Chambers put it in “My Utmost For His Highest” – June 25th entry:

 

The way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow.

You always know the man who has been through the firs of sorrow and received himself, you are certain you can go to him in trouble and find that he has ample leisure for you. If a man has not been through the fires of sorrow he is apt to be contemptuous, he has no time for you. If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.

May this always be true for me…I am thankful He chose me to go through the furnace with HIm. It has changed me from the inside out. When my uncle Calvin had cancer I saw his relationship with the Lord go so much deeper. In a sermon one Sunday (one of his last) he stated that he was not happy he had cancer but he was happy with the results he saw in himself. He said he wouldn’t trade for what he had found…”my relationship with Him before was a hamburger and some fries, but now it’s fillet Mignon!” Thanks Uncle Calvin – I’m with you on that one!!

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Trusting His Provision

I don’t even know where to begin. Actually, Chris is really doing well so that’s encouraging. I wanted to take him out yesterday but he has become so loose the last few days that he’s not helping me with transfers as much. I didn’t want to tackle getting him in and out of the car myself if he is not helping…I know once I do it I’ll be okay with it. But I am just so afraid of hurting him…just goes along with it I guess.

This week has been trying in many different ways. For one his supplies have not come in and I’ve had to go buy his incontinent supplies myself. I don’t even know how much I have spent, I just know the money is about gone! It’s funny though, I am not really so much stressed as I am mad. I want to know how to fight for us but have always been afraid I’d go in knocking people over without a good knowledge base. That’s how innocent people get hurt. But at the same time there are some things I know the gov’t programs we are on provides. They provide diapers, gloves and his formula. But we haven’t even gotten that this month. I am down to three cans of formula, which isn’t enough to make today if he doesn’t eat well. (and that’s something we just don’t know until he decides! )

One worker told me I could blend up anything (food wise) and put it in his tube. I know that but I shouldn’t have to! It’s been a struggle all along. I’m supposedly saving the state all this money by having him at home instead of the nursing home and they say they want to help. But then everything is “we don’t pay for that.” I get the runaround – that’s handled by DHS. Then DHS says, “Call your advantage worker.” So it’s a stale mate and I am tired and honestly mad as hell.

I’m going to find the right person to talk to soon. It’s so frustrating though and it just isn’t right that it’s all added in on top of an already stressful situation! My understanding is that there are several other things that he is supposed to get that we have not received.

So from right here in the heat of the battle where do I find faith? I have to go back to something that is rooted deep in me by His word. He (not DHS, not Advantage, not the gov’t, not anyone or any institution) will provide all my needs according to His riches in glory. I have watched God miraculously take care of us the last two years. And that’ s not even considering all the years before! He is not bankrupt yet! His riches in glory far surpass the tiny little need of formula and incontinence supplies!

He has never failed me yet. I did not always get exactly what I wanted when I wanted it; and sometimes didn’t get what I wanted at all! But He has never failed to supply my needs! I trust He will bless our bread and water and take sickness away from us… He is Jehovah Jireh – our provider! He is the many-breasted one who is and has more than enough!

You know, when you think about it… there’s nothing to worry about at all! (But I’m still up for a good fight when the time is right! )

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A yo-yo sort of a day…

For real, today has been very back and forth for me. Yesterday was difficult because Chris slept all day. But I can work a lot and keep my mind off it and give him a day. This morning he woke up doing the same thing. Then he wouldn’t eat for me! That’s when I get so frustrated. I want to push him to eat more but with the brain injury that just doesn’t work!

I get worried because supplies haven’t come yet this month and formula is low. Then I am stressed when he won’t eat. I go ahead and give him some formula in his tube feeding.  This frustrates me as well even though it’s best. I want him to eat!!! And I want him to eat good, but until he’s ready — he ain’t gonna! So I have to wait…some more! 🙂

But then when I am sinking into the mire and fighting off the despair of the longevity of the situation, he does something spontaneous! I am putting him in bed and I asked him if he knew how pretty it was outside. I said, “It’s beautiful! Would you like to go out for a walk before you go to bed? Nod your head yes or no.” And he looks straight at me and smiles! Man, I love it! So now I am soaring!! It was totally unsolicited!!

A walk outside is good for both of us I find out. He looks around at everything and all the sleepy is far away! Yeah! Mission accomplished!

That’s what it’s like a lot of times for me. Just about the time I think it’s not getting any better he steps up and does something amazing! That’s the deal with TBI, it’s back and forth and you can’t look at how far you have to go – you have to look at how far you’ve come.

This is probably a good life lesson…stay out of worrying about all that has to happen – it hasn’t happened yet! Keep focused on what you know and what you’ve already come through….Yeah, that’s it!

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It’s How You Wait…

What a night! Oh, we’ve had far rougher ones that’s for sure. Chris seems uncomfortable but it’s so hard to know. He prety much moaned most of the night. I had to change him more often too, so it was lots less sleep than I’ve been getting. The thing is though that he’s so vocal when he’s uncomfortable. And just about the time I was getting frustrated I turned it to thanksgiving because he’s at least attempting to use his voice! What a great problem to have, he’s making noises all night long!

The frustration for some might not be understood. However, as a mom, I want to help him be comfortable. If he is hurting or not resting I want to be able to fix the problem so that he can rest. That’s where the frustration lies, in that I cannot find out what to change to make him happy!

His right hand being so drawn up is a source of frustration too. So I figure I will increase my concentration on that area. I have been more diligent about moving it around for him each day. He does not like this, I am sure it is painful. It breaks my heart to know it hurts him but I must do it so he doesn’t lose the use of that hand. Last night I put the roll in his hand that helps hold the fingers out. It’s like using a slow stretch method. He moaned the entire time it was in his hand…and this breaks my heart. The good thing there was that he actually got mad at me. I took the roll out and was trying to explain one more time and he tried to take a swing at me! That’s actually improvement!

It’s so frustrating trying to figure out how to help him. And I guess no matter all my efforts, it’s still just going to progress at the same speed! I cannot force the brain to plug everything back in. No matter how much I want it and him to be better, it is happening on its own time and not mine.

So I have to come back to the promise and faith once again. There is much to be said about waiting…and waiting…and waiting! And there is much to be said about HOW we wait! So I must relinquish frustration and learn to rest in Him and His timing once again. That’s how we wait…allowing Him to work in His timing. It works much better that way as He can see all of time all at one time while I can only see this one little piece I occupy.

So once again I rest in Him, and wait for Him. Learning to be patient in the process – all in HIs time.

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Trusting His Favor

I have been reading the Bible through in alphabetical order. (don’t laugh, sometimes you gotta mix it up!) I just started so I am just now in Deuteronomy. This morning I was reading in chapter 5 where He was admonishing the Children of Israel to not turn aside from Him or His word. Then he said the benefit of this would be “that you may live and it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess.”This sparked lots of questions once again.

When Chris first had the wreck and I was living in the ICU waiting room I had so many thousands of thoughts and questions. I wondered if we had missed God that He had allowed it. Did we do something wrong, did I not pray enough? Was this some sort of punishment…and they went on for weeks. The oppression and crushing was unbearable.

This morning as I read this passage about His blessing I had to ask once again, did I offend God that He let this happen to my son? Is this the living well He spoke of? Doesn’t He protect us? That has been a big one from the start. How does He protect us? I hear others say things about a close call and how blessed they are that the worse didn’t happen. But for me the worse did happen. And I will tell you it shook my faith to the core.

Through much study over the last couple of years I have learned that God totally protects our spirit and our soul which is hidden in Him. Our bodies are here on this earth and He lives/dwells in us. But they are dust. They will break, bend and become unhealthy if we do not take proper care of them. He does not offer that kind of protection plan. However, what He does do is protect that eternal part of us. And there is absolutely nothing that can reach us there! He will not let the enemy have our soul! We are hidden in Him. We have thought His protection was for our bodies, but it’s for the real us! It’s so much deeper than the physical.

I am learning that this pressure life has brought my way has driven me deeper into Him. It has crushed me but only serves to press me harder into His heart. Through that intimacy I know I have His favor. I cannot measure it by what life brings my way. I must listen to His heart and fully move in Him. There is a level of trust and security there that I know if I do something outside of His plan or thoughts my heart will immediately let me know. And beyond that, He will tell me!

So once again I am learning to trust that I live in His favor. And I cannot measure His favor by natural means, it is spiritually discerned. Trust His favor today…

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