Archive for December, 2010

A Brand New Year

I cannot believe it is nearly 2011! When it turned 2009 we were in a hospital room. I think Chris was still in an isolation room but I don’t really recall anything specifically about the New Year 2009.

In 2010 Chris was in a nursing home here in Oklahoma. But this year he is in our own apartment! Even though I really thought he’d be tons better by now I have to at least consider the improvements that he’s made! Plus he’s had two or three really alert, active and productive days. That helps me out immensely!

I’ve got lots of things going on really. I’m working on a new website design, finding new places to earn online and even considering doing a special page that advertises the places I’ve learned about on line that are legit! But the business type decisions are not all that have to be made.

I’m trying to secure a vehicle to be able to transport Chris in and trying to figure out how to move to a larger apartment – one that is handicap accessible and has a washer and dryer hookup! And it needs to be in Oklahoma county so he can get physical therapy at home! ( he could here but the agency won’t do the paper work for it… it’s too cumbersome!…wow)

Even while the year is changing and our calendars are turning another page for us, I am truly in a great transition myself. My new word for this year is “freedom.” I’m working on a poem that I will publish at a later date.

I’ve begun to uncover different agencies that can help Chris. But I have to admit that he’s handicapped. That’s a hard one to swallow when my faith is trying to hold on to the promise. How do I get help and hold faith? Just crazy isn’t it? But each day I have to deal with what He’s given me to work on at that time…

My head and heart go back and forth a lot with all this…but for now I am at peace, waiting on God for a miracle. I still believe…even at the end of one year marking a new time – I’m still waiting on Him to act on our behalf.

So I will enter the new year the same way I am leaving the old one behind… I am waiting on Him…

And it will be said in that day

Behold this is our God for whom we have waited

that He might save us

This is the Lord for whom we have waited

Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation (Is.25:9)

 

Those who hopefully wait for Me

shall not be put to shame (Is 49:23c)

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Behind and Before

I am filled with very mixed emotions as we are leaving one year behind to embrace a new one. On one hand I am troubled because I really thought that “by now” we’d be going on about our lives. I really in my wildest dreams thought that we’d be looking back and saying, “Whew! I’m glad that’s over with!” And just be reminiscing about Chris’ wonderful, miraculous recovery. And as you know, that just hasn’t happened.

However, I am so very happy at the progress he has made this year. He is swallowing very well, no worries about him choking when I am feeding him. He’s eating lots of different consistencies well too. He can eat pudding, soups and anything mechanically soft pretty much. He can also drink liquids – if you give them a little at a time!

He is standing and doing more on his own all the time! This helps me so much with transfers. He will use all his own muscles to sit and also to stand. He turns and sits when he’s ready not just when you ask him to! He’s using his left hand a lot more. And he is initiating a lot of his movements on his own now. Even though they are still limited.

But the future is somewhat ominous. Going into yet another piece of time yet afraid to say, “This is the year.” We’ve been saying that all along. “Oh he’ll surely be better by”…this date or that time…but he’s not. He is still needing 24/7 care for personal stuff. He finds no pleasure in anything as far as I can tell. And so I have to embrace another year knowing that from here it looks about like the last one.

I have made some determinations though. I want to secure a vehicle so that I can get him out more. I think it will help both of us somewhat. I know I might not feel as trapped if I know I can load him up and run to walmart! I also want to get a bigger place – specifically one with a washer and dryer hookups! That’ll help us out a lot too!

But no matter how dark the next year looks with his recovery trickling in, I know I will care for him. I have not known a love this deep, nor a pain this great. In both, I know He is holding me. Whatever the future may look like, I know He holds it and me…and Chris. I’ll go forward in all He says to do no mattr how slowly I must move to accomplish it. Eventually, He’ll move on my behalf!

And so while I sit here contemplating what most would call a “new start” …I am right back to waiting on God. And I wait right here between behing and before…waiting for Him to come get us. Waiting for Him to act on Chris’ behalf…waiting for His salvation! Perhaps it will be this year.. and if not… I will continue to wait…on Him alone. If where I am is alright with Him, it must be alright with me as well! I will trust Him and wait for HIm!

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Waiting…one more day

Well, we are finally beginning the crawl to recovery from too much Christmas! Friday night I had my kids here and it was a load of fun. Then Sunday I took Chris out to my sister Tina’s house. He really did well. He was a little overloaded but not stressed out; so that was really good.

I can’t really explain how I feel, or why I feel how I feel write now. I just have this renewed “ready to kick it” sense about me. It’s like I am ready to get back to pushing him a little harder. I don’t know when or why it started or what it’s about, but here we go!

Waiting on the Lord has been a large part of my studies over the last few weeks and perhaps that is all this is. As I have continued to wait on Him – He has renewed my strength. That’s really the only explanation that makes any kind of sense.

There haven’t been any super big changes with Chris or our situation, but I just have this sense of peace and forward motion now. I really think that is something only God can give. I’m ready to work his arms more today and to begin trying to encourage walking. You know, it’s so funny (sort of) I was terrified when I brought him home. I didn’t think I could stand him or anything like that. Now we work on that all the time and transfers are so much easier – I can’t believe I’m ready to walk him by myself! lol! I just know it’s time – for a step or two!

I study time a lot in my studies too. Maybe this is one of those “fullness of times” where time catches up with eternity! I’m ready for the ride! You know what I mean – when Jesus was born – time caught up with eternity. When He was crucified time caught up with what had already happened in eternity! I have the sense I am stepping into one of those “times”. Because Chris is already healed – it’s just that time hasn’t caught up with what God has already done in eternity!

And so…

We continue to wait! I can wait on Him without fear. And I really believe right now that this is what has “renewed” my strength and is giving me that determination to put one foot in front of another for one more day!

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Home Sweet Apartment…

I guess I have finally found that I am “home” in one way. It’s really been crazy for me for quite a long time. I lived with people for about three years before Chris’ accident. The first couple I lived with was a move so I would be free to go about and work the ministry. Then when I made the move to Chicago I was staying with people and working to pay for the trip to Africa that was planned.

Well, here it is Christmas Eve and I have people coming over for a big Christmas dinner. It’s been literally years since I got to do that! And I am really excited about throwing a turkey in the oven here in a bit!

I’ve started doing a lot of experimenting with cooking, trying out lots of new recipes and ideas. I started out with healthy alternatives to muffins and cookies and branched out from there. A couple of days ago it was like it hit me that I am “home” and I have my own place again. It’s been a long journey!

I stayed at the hospital for 3.5 months while Chris was there. Then we moved to a nursing home and I literally stayed in the room with him for six months. From there we went to a rehab facility for only a little over a week in New Orleans. And then we moved him to Oklahoma – that was a long day trip! I’ll tell you about it some time!! Poor Chris!

When we first got here  I stayed at my daughter’s house for about a month but she was about ready to have a baby and they really didn’t have the extra room. We made it, but it wasn’t the best! Then I stayed with some very cool friends of theirs. They opened their house to me and I even had my own room for the first time in a long time! I was there about 6 months. Then in May I got my apartment.

It took from May to September to gather what little stuff I had here in the apartment. I had to go to Chicago to get a load and back to Louisiana for the rest. I had a couple of pieces of furniture mama and daddy had stored for me when I moved to Chicago. They are part of the family. My great-grandfather’s trunk and a dresser that’s been around forever! And that’s all I had.

My friends in Arkansas had given me a small chest of drawers, a little kitchen table and a toaster oven. They even packed up a box of dishes for me too! And that was about it! But people began to give…and give…and give!! Until my little one bedroom apartment is full to the brim! Yesterday one of my neighbors came by and said, “You’ve got a nice home here.” I thought of how I had almost nothing when I started over here! And now I literally cannot get one more piece in here and am seriously thinking of moving to a larger apartment!

It’s been an interesting emotional journey even over the last couple of weeks as I am rediscovering my space. I am just so thankful to be able to hostess again! God has begun such a restoration for me even in the midst of the trial. I have seen myself grow in Him, and ministry be more than I could imagine. I literally talk to people from all over the world many days. I had a pastor from India call yesterday to wish us a “Merry Christmas!”

So I settle into my new “home” I am making and yet realize that probably since I am getting comfortable it’s about time to move again! lol! That seems to be the way it works…

I am just thankful to have a Christmas dinner here tonight. Chris is more awake – has improved this year, even though it’s been slow… and it’s all good from here…

 

Thanks for listening in and riding with me on the journey!

Merry Christmas — My you have a Christ-filled holiday!

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Waiting For His Strength

Days like yesterday wear me down. It had many ups and downs. The morning was good as Chris was very alert. But then in the afternoon my parents came and got no visible response from Chris. It’s so hard for them and me as well. I know how Chris has shared with me about how much he loves and respects his grandpa. Yet there seemed to be no response even when daddy played the banjo for him.

He did squeeze daddy’s hand and when we handed the banjo to Chris he made an actual chord. I said, “Chris make a ‘G’ chord.” And he slid his hand down to the proper fret and formed it! But other than that – nothing while they were here.

These times wear on my emotions. Simply devastating really. I feel other’s disappointment because they really want to see something spark in Chris. And then it gets heavy!

I really can’t give up as it is just not in me to do so. I know He is faithful period!He has promised and I will not deny what He has said concerning Chris and his recovery. And at the same time I must deal with today. One way I have thought about why the emotions are so difficult is it’s like Chris died November 8,2008; but he’s still here so I cannot fully grieve over his loss. It’s like it hangs there in the balance – never any closure – but not getting better fast enough to heal!

Today I will wait for His grace to sustain me and carry me through.I am reading Andrew Murray’s Waiting on God and it is very touching.

I will wait for Him and not despair!

I will wait for Him – and on Him cast my every care!

I will wait for Him and rest in His love.

I will wait for Him to send His strength from above.

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Chris’ Testimony

I don’t know exactly what sparked this memory but this morning my mind went back to early 2007. Prior to that Chris had just gone way out there. He decided to try to live without God since he’d always been a “decent church boy.” And boy did he go to the opposite extreme. My mother’s heart was broken. Here I had raised him in the Word and even in ministry since he was about 8 and he left it all to go explore the world.

I sought the Lord as to what to do. I knew all his teaching would not be in vain. I also always went for relationship with my kids no matter what was going on with them. That always was rewarded in the end. I had this Holy Spirit idea! I took several scriptures and rewrote them with Chris’ name on them. I had some I had written out on a piece of paper and put o n the fridge. I prayed them every morning for a long time.

I don’t recall all of those scriptures but a couple were :

Restore in Chris the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:12)

Now may the God of hope fill Chris with all

joy and peace in believing, so that Chris will abound in hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

As I said, I prayed them every day for a long time. Then Chris actually accepted an invitation to go to Passion with a group of us. That January it was in Atlanta. I was simply shocked that he said he would go. It was a great family time as Ronella, Chris and I went with a group, but all stayed together in one room. We had some great times together on that trip!

I figured he would hate the whole thing as he had avoided anything to do with religion for several years. But he actually attended all the services. (they are not “churchy” or I wouldn’t have gone either!) He heard music and preaching that was simply soul stirring. And never gave any sign that any of it meant anything to him.

Then the night of the “silent service” occurred. I wondered where he was as I stood outside holding a small candle. Young people came and filed into the grassy area in front of a huge stage. But they all remained silent! It seemed like they poured in for hours! There were only about 24,000 but I thought how massive it was when the children of Israel came into an area. And how moving it was as they all marched silently around Jericho! But I never saw Chris.

Chris had actually gone back to his room to catch a quick nap. He woke abruptly and thought he had missed the silent service. (these times were powerful as we all waited before the Lord in unity and silence!) As he told it, he came running up to find everyone and stopped to listen to try to figure out where the crowd was gathered. Then he was like, “Duh! It’s a silent service!” so he climbed up on some embankment to try to find the crowd.

That’s when he saw the throng of about 24 thousand strong standing in front of the stage. He said the scripture immediately went through his mind every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Then he though how awesome and overwhelming that glorious day will be! But then his next thought as he related it to me was,”And where will I be?” He glanced at the stage as he thought maybe he’d be standing there with Jesus on that day! Then he thought, “No, I’ll be in the crowd confessing that He is Lord!” And that’s where Chris’ world changed!

He became radically passionate about pursuing God! He quit all the bands he was in and his world turned upside down. I was totally unsuspecting as he never said a word about the trip. Then one Saturday he called and asked what time my church started. He said he was coming. I thought that was really odd!

I was leading worship when he and his friend, Jonathan, came in. I had a hard time concentrating on the music as they marched all the way to the front and began to join in. I was in shock and actually wondered if he was mocking us! – sorry, but that’s what I thought!

Then when we got home he began to share this whole story with me. He played me a song called “Redeemer” that he wrote when we got back! Then he took me to the fridge and pointed to those food stained scriptures. He said, ” I don’t know how long you’ve been praying those scriptures, but here I am!” We embraced and shed a few tears together! It was an awesome moment in time. And he never was quite the same!

So this morning I am getting some scriptures together to put on my fridge again. I will be calling my son back from a very different place… but I long for the day when he tells me once again, “Here I am!”

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All He’s Done…

It’s funny to me how I can be borderline depressed one day and so upbeat another. Yesterday was just rough once again and I can’t even say why. But after some prayer time and a half a dozen cookies or more I realized I was trying to “comfort” myself. And in the process of the day I figured out that I was actually just simply feeling sorry for myself.

I do not want to walk through this part of the journey in pity. I chose to care for Chris at home just like this and I want to go on in confidence that I made the right decision and that we are still in His hands…

I am rereading Andrew Murray’s Waiting on God. It is such a wonderful book and I am finding it very helpful during this trying time. It helps me remember that those who wait for Him will not be ashamed! And just being reminded of that helps me mentally navigate through another day.

I really don’t know what people do – or how they cope – when going through something like this without knowing Him. He is indeed my only strength and He has even been my song in the night throughout all this ordeal. I am so glad that He is still quick to correct me when I overstep His boundaries. This is all part of my refocusing on Him.

I have spent a little time looking back over the last two years and have seen His handiwork. For one He has literally connected me with people all over the world. Chris has been prayed for via skype from Germany, Pakistan and India. We have brothers in Pakistan who pray for him every single day. They have been such an encouragement to me during this journey. Always reminding me that He will raise Chris up.

I had nothing when the accident occurred. I never dreamed I would have an apartment and it would be full of so many things. He has surely blessed and reestablished me as He has begun the restoration process in my life.

I cannot spend the time here to go on with all He’s done but sometimes I just need to remind myself! Thanks for listening!

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Our Journey In Time

So I am still reading my Bible through in alphabetical order. I am actually enjoying it as it mixes it up a little bit! I finished up Ecclesiastes this morning and can’t wait to start Ephesians! I found Ecclesiastes very oddly comforting. I would have never thought about it before as it sometimes seems kinda mixed up in there. First there are several mentions to time and those of you who know me know I love to study this whole “time” thing…

There is also a lot about wisdom and of course fearing God (which is what wisdom is).It seemed strange to have some things really stick out to me this time though. I guess what I got was it’s okay to just enjoy stuff. Yes, we work, we eat and then it’s okay to “play” some too. Sometimes I get hung up on the work end of things. Well, there’s a lot to do every single day. There’s so much that is needed for Chris which is my top priority and then I have so much to do online to “make a living.” I forget that it’s okay sometimes to just relax and breathe.

I loved the scripture where Solomon said time and chance happen to us all. I thought about that quite a while really. We all have exactly the same amount of time in a day, no one can gain an “unfair advantage” we all get exactly 24 hours no more, no less. But inside of that 24 hours lots of “chance” things can happen. We really do not know what a day will bring.

It could be a cold Chicago morning when a life is taken captive. November 8, 2008 my life was pretty much snatched out of my hands and became totally dictated by what Chris needs. No more freedom to come and go as I desire. And over the two years it’s been interesting living in this cave. I think the most troubling thing to me right now is to not be able to see the end. I know how it’s supposed to end but right now it sure feels like it will be like this forever. And so I adjust…my desires and dreams which are pretty much non existence at this point.

But The Preacher finished up Ecclesiastes with the perfect summary for all of us no matter what we are facing.  We all may have very different circumstances we are dealing with. Everyone is not in my situation – thank God for that. But I am thankful I am not in some of yours as well! But no matter what we are facing today Solomon summed it all up:

The conclusion when all has been heard is this:

fear God and keep His commandments,

because this applies to every person.

No matter what comes our way during this journey through time we all

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Who am I to defend God?

Sometimes I feel others discouragement and disappointment with God. At first we really thought He as going to preform some great miracle and raise Chris up. This was our own interpretation of course based on His promises. Well, eventually, you realize that’s just not happening this time.

But He did give us two promises concerning Chris – totally unsolicited! I had the dream about a month before the accident occurred and in it Chris was on the road heading in the same direction he was before the wreck in the dream. Daddy is not one to solicit anything from God, he would never be presumptuous like that. The heavenly visitor who came about two years ago this time of year promised Chris many good days. And can I say that these are not good days?

But time wears away at the promises. Day after day tends to drag us further away rather than closer to them. Time passing by seems to nag at  us and mock our belief in what He has said. I believe His promises…but who am I to defend Him to others? Can He not protect His own name? And if He cannot, how then could He be God? And since we know He is God, how would I defend Him? Silly I suppose…

Then this morning I am reading during my study time and happen to be in Deuteronomy 27-28. Looking at this I have to wonder if I have committed some grave sin against God. Has His mercy toward us ended that we are now here? Have His compassions failed? If there is any injustice it cannot be with Him, it has to be with me. Is there something that He has not shown me in my quiet time? His nearness has been so sweet the last few weeks, is He being nice in spite of something I have done? Have I omitted something?

If God does not hear us when we pray how is serving Him any better than the pagan gods? If He does not offer protection and comfort and healing on this side of eternity…why not just say a prayer and “get saved” and live our lives however we want while waiting for the end of time?

I cannot defend God, but I thought He would defend me. He has been my rock and my shield throughout all this time and I could not have made it without Him thus far…but my faith wanes as I read the discouragement in the questions ans statements and body language of others. Our shoulders are sagging…does He see?

Does He see that I still believe with all that is in me although I am like Daniel in that I am weary with weariness? I am sure He will understand that I really do not have the strength to defend Him.. I can only wait for Him. And Isaiah 30 says that in our waiting is the strength.

If He is waiting on high to have compassion on us…what is He waiting for?

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Now That’s God!

This is such a crazy place I am in. On one hand I am very excited about each small improvement. And of course on the other hand I am so tired and discouraged from the longevity of this journey. I guess I am getting a little unnerved about how “whole” he will be when this is done.

So the last couple of days I have decided to look at previous victories to encourage myself. I’m guessing that this tactic is used by warriors gone before! Right before a fight they always give the accolades of the fighters, perhaps it is to boost their own confidence. If I can go into a fight knowing others have won and my own track record I can find some sort of logical comfort and confidence to face the opponent. Now I also know that I do not have the strength on my own to win, I must cling to Him with all my strength and let Him do the fighting!

But for now I encourage myself with previous battles. Some are immediately in my mind. I had my own battle with illness in 1986-87. It was about a year long ordeal and the doctors could not find out what was wrong. We really thought I was dying. I couldn’t eat and was wasting away before everyone’s eyes. But during that time is when I really learned how to cling to Him. He promised that He would renew my youth like the eagle’s and He did! It was slow but I recovered! Now that’s God!

I also recall the wreck with the bus that almost claimed my life. My injuries were serious but not as bad as Chris’ are. Again, I learned to cling to Him and to trust HIm.

Other’s triumphs can bring encouragement too. My mother had a total nervous breakdown when I was born. She was told she would spend the rest of her days in an institution. But you know what, God totally healed her! She is not in an institution and she’s not on any meds! Now that’s God!!

My uncle had an acute case of Leukemia. He was on all kinds of machines including life support and the doctors gave up. My aunt told them to wait for the weekend. This was after a very long battle with the malady. He was all but gone but God raised him up! He has no leukemia and tells the story of his healing literally around the world! Now that’s God!

When Chris was in the nursing home my uncle brought a visitor from South Africa by to see Chris and pray for him. He looked up during the prayer and said, “you don’t have to go far to find a miracle.” He made a gesture towards my uncle.

Well, I feel better! I think it is important sometimes to remind ourselves of the things God has already done in our lives. I will trust Him for one more day! I will trust Him to fulfill what He has said pertaining to Chris, no matter what I see with my eyes! His Word is true – Now that’s God!

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