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Hoping for Light

Hoping for Light

MRI’s can be difficult for anyone, but imagine a busy, fidgety 10-year-old boy, and said MRI predicted to last 2-3 hours. Ugh! It just sounds impossible. It felt like everything was riding on this test though. We needed the results to be clear. We needed answers and having experienced a very similar situation previously, we knew sooner rather than later was vital.

We tapped every resource for prayer to help Garrett get through it successfully. This is one of those times I am grateful for social media. We shouted our SOS as loudly as we could and the response was overwhelming and powerful.

He amazed everyone with how well he handled himself during the test. They were able to complete everything they needed to in just under 2 hours because he did so well.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

Praise you, Lord, for empowering him with self-control for this moment!

Testing was on a Wednesday. I anticipated hearing from the doctor Thursday and planned on calling in the early afternoon if I hadn’t because I know many of his doctors take Fridays off.

When my phone rang at 6:20 pm that Wednesday night and the caller id indicated it was from the hospital, fear shot through my body causing my limbs to feel numb and tingly. They’d only be calling this quickly if it were bad news, right?

Wrong. The MRI was clear, “showing no marked change compared to the previous one – post recovery from the previous surgery in 2009”. Relief and confusion flooded my mind. If not this, then what? Grateful, but fearful of the unknown.

In these moments, we have a choice. We can allow ourselves to be overcome by our flesh and emotion or we can cling to the promises and truths of God. In the past, I have chosen flesh and emotion. My present choice is Truth and I pray it will forever be so.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16 NLT

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 NIV

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Faith, Family

 

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Day of Dawning

Day of Dawning

I’m a writer. I process and cope by writing.  Even though I, obviously, haven’t been posting here on the blog, I’ve still been writing. A few near and dear to me have asked, prompted, and encouraged me to get back to posting. The entry below was originally written  on April 22, 2015. I will be posting a few more entries to fill in the gaps, but wanted to let you know in two days we are heading into the operating room.

April 22, 2015

Garrett woke up around 2 or so, bad dream. He was extra whiny so hubby let him crawl in bed with us. An hour and a half later, he’s up crying because his head hurts so bad. I run to the kitchen to get some ibuprofen and upon my return Garrett says he needs to use the bathroom. I check and his diaper is full, unusual for him. We catheterize him every 3-4 hours during the day, but if we cathe right before bed, he’s typically dry all night.

“Let’s cathe Boo,” I say. I get the stuff ready and began emptying his bladder. He’s whining and crying, his head hurts and his tummy hurts. I finish up, put a dry diaper on him and his “cover up” underwear, but he can barely stand and walk back to bed.

“Can you carry me?” He cries. His right leg looks very weak and it’s struggling to support him. He’s so big now I can’t just swing him up like I used to, but I lift him anyway. We manage the short distance to my bed. There, I begin to put his legs back into the pajama pants. His right leg is spasming from toes to mid-thigh. I recognize the rhythm of the spasm as having a “clonus” feel. He settles in as close to me as he can manage to get, moaning from discomfort. After 30 minutes or so the meds kick in and he falls asleep, but my mind continues to spin.

Garrett was born with Spina Bifida, hydrocephalus, and a few other diagnosis for good measure. In his 10 years, he’s had 8 surgeries, ranging from the removal of his tonsils and adenoids to brain surgery. The above episode lead to a PJ day on the couch for him and while I held him, cared for him, and prayed for him, I started making a mental list of some changes Garrett has presented in the last few months. The concern grew. Sure, I could explain them all reasonably individually, but cumulatively it was unsettling. I had previously made notes to bring some of it up to his doctors during his bi-annual clinic appointment just a few weeks away, nothing seemed too urgent. Maybe even this most recent episode was no big deal. We’d continue to monitor and discuss at the upcoming appointment. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it might be a bigger issue. It was Wednesday, which I know to be a typical spina bifida clinic day. So, I called to chat with the clinic nurse coordinator, maybe we could get a couple of diagnostic tests in before our clinic date. It certainly had been a while since any tests were run to look at him neurologically.

Years back (2009) Garrett presented with some signs and symptoms that made me certain something was wrong. At that time, he was a year or so post-op from corrective surgery on both his feet. I noticed a decrease in his foot sensation and movement, particularly his right side. To me, it seemed most logical to call his orthopedic surgeon. Upon examination, the doctor told me he suspected a neurological problem. He detailed the reasoning why, one of which being an increase “clonus” pulse in his right foot during a routine reflex type test. He recommended we see Garrett’s neurosurgeon for further evaluation and testing.

Before I proceed, I’d like to preface by saying that our family thinks the world of Garrett’s neurosurgeon. Immediately after Garrett was born this man performed miracle surgery to close the open lesion of Garrett’s back and spinal cord. His approach with Garrett and with us, at that time, was gentle and patient. He gave Garrett, his body, and God the opportunity and space to correct the minimal hydrocephalus he had at birth before recommending we intervene surgically. At every follow-up, routine check-up, and interaction, I felt he and his nurse practitioners held a special affinity for my son.  Also, keep in mind, Garrett deals with few of the many possible life strains that can occur with spina bifida. Many who don’t know, can’t tell anything is different simply by looking or interacting with him.

After the neurosurgeon examined Garrett, he looked at us and chuckled. He said there was nothing wrong, not only did he think everything was normal, but expressed how lucky he thought we were to have such a high functioning sb child. The symptoms continued to worsen and I continued to call on the doctors that were listening to me and shared my concern. The orthopedic surgeon ordered long-term physical therapy in hopes that professional documentation would help convince the neurosurgeon to order some tests. It didn’t and Garrett continued to decline. Granted  the declination was minimal, it was noticeable, and when it’s your child, it feels magnanimous. After consulting with Garrett’s rehabilitation med doctor, the ortho ordered an MRI on Garrett’s brain and spinal cord. The test indicated that Garrett’s spinal cord was tethered, or attached to his spine, and due to growth was under duress from being stretched. If left untreated the physiological dysfunction would continue to worsen.

Commonly in persons with spina bifida, there is also a condition of a neurogenic bladder and bowels. In my terms, this means that they don’t function normally. There is often a decrease in the sensation of needing to empty resulting in incontinence, along with decreased capacity, spasms, and overall function. A tethered cord can cause this to worsen permanently.

As with any surgery, there are risks. Surgery on the spinal cord has some high ones. In spite of operating in hopes of correction and improvement, the patient can end up worse off and even paralyzed. We elected to have the surgery and had great results, largely due to the giftedness of the neurosurgeon.

My conversation with the clinic coordinator affirmed my instincts to call. She took the information I gave her to the rehab med doc and the clinic nurse practitioner and soon called me back to schedule an MRI. We were given two options for the 2-hour long test. There was availability the next Wednesday for an unsedated test or almost two months away if sedation would be necessary.

Ugh! I’m not sure any 10-year-old boy alive wouldn’t struggle to stay perfectly still for 2 hours without sedation. But for my son, it’s going to require divine intervention. On top of all of the above, Garrett also carries a diagnosis of ADHD and an anxiety disorder. He doesn’t just constantly move and have trouble focusing for longer periods of time when anxious he picks and chews his fingernails as a coping mechanism. However difficult I suspect this to be for him, we need information sooner rather than later.

I went ahead and scheduled him for the MRI next Wednesday and in the time we have leading up to the test, I will do everything I can to prepare my son to do well. We are talking about it, watching youtube videos of what an MRI machine looks and sounds like, and the importance of the information clear test results will provide. Ultimately though we’re praying. We’re constantly praying, when we’re alone, when we’re together, silent prayers, and out loud prayers.  We’re praying empowering words over him and we’re praying God’s word over him.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

For anyone interested in learning more about Spina Bifida please visit http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Blogging, Faith, Family

 

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Come Away With Me

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I can’t even begin to tell you how long it has been since I first implemented a daily quiet time of worship, scripture, and prayer.  Of course, I’m not perfect, it doesn’t happen EVERY day and it certainly doesn’t look the same from day to day either.  I haven’t been practicing Sabbath for near as long, although it’s been long enough still that I don’t remember when it began.  I do know that since my “reintroduction” to Jesus, I’ve felt a strong relational pull to spend time with Him.  I’m lucky enough to have been discipled well, but it truly feels like my hearts desire to do these things.

Then along comes the opportunity to retreat to “where the mountains meet the plains” and for many reasons I go…

It’s a great scouting adventure I can experience with my oldest son.

It’s a chance to unplug and decompress.

It’s a challenge in every way.

But most of all, I knew that not only would my relationship with my son grow deeper, so would my relationship with Christ. I knew I’d plug in and surrender to Him more fully. I knew I’d depend on God to be my everything.

He has a plan for me and this was definitely part of it. I’m so thankful that I heard Him calling me to Him, and that I answered.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Faith, Family

 

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I Need You

I was SO looking forward to my quiet time this morning!

My quiet time looks very different on the weekends vs the weekdays. Typically when I wake up, even before I fling back the covers and hopefully before I’ve even let my eyes focus on anything, I try to start my day with the Lord’s Prayer. I don’t have to think about what to pray, what words to say, nothing else has to even enter my mind because I’ve had this prayer memorized for almost as long as I can remember. But it quickly aligns myself with Him and His ways. Of course, days start and I forgot to whisper “Our Father”, and noticeably, I am a very different person!

You see, what happens daily after that moment is life. A life just like many of yours, or like it was or will be in the season of active parenting. Seven days a week, I wake up to my husband and my boys. The weekends hold less structure than the weekdays. So it’s the weekdays that hold a more predictable rhythm for my quiet times. Today is Tuesday, the first weekday of our week really, because yesterday was a snow day. And yes, I LOVE having my boys home, but I awoke this morning with an overwhelming desire to spend some alone time with my Heavenly Father. Once the boys left, the house became still and quiet, I started to play some worship music and with my coffee in hand, sat before the Lord.

Even before I opened my Bible or any devotional, the relief bubbled up and out in hot tears.

Nothing is “wrong”, I don’t feel like I’m in any pit or valley, nor do I see a mountain in front of me that needs moved or conquered. I just NEED Him. A moment surrendered to that. My stomach clenched for Daily Bread, my body shaking with sobs, and each gulp of air – filled with the hope of taking more of Him in.

After I settled a bit and begun writing in my journal and reading my daily devotional, the idea of sharing this with you all here came to me. Honestly, I’ve been working on a different post, but that life I mentioned earlier can get quite distracting! I don’t necessarily like sharing these vulnerable moments and tried to push past that thought. But it wouldn’t leave me. The Lord continually nudges me out of my comfort zone and as uncomfortable as obedience might be, I trust His plan. Maybe you were the one who needed to read this?  Maybe it’s just another moment that needs to be recorded for later remembering? Either way, will you join me in a moment of surrendering to our dependence on our Heavenly Father and Sovereign King?

 

 

My Father, My Lord and King, I love you so! Thank you for the ways you pursued me, to bring me this close to you.  Thank you for the ways you continue to pursue me, to bring me ever closer. Thank you for moments like these that breakdown every other desire and dependence so Your light can breakthrough and shine on what really matters. Thank you for creating me to need YOU! Amen.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Blogging, Faith, Family

 

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Resolutions – Comparison or Imitation?

Photo by ColinBroug via stock.xchng

Photo by ColinBroug via stock.xchng

I find the whole idea of resolutions very interesting.  I’m not necessarily for or against them per se, but our reasons for them often have some sort of relational root.  For many years I’ve set resolutions for the new year (and I’ve done it at different times during the year), as 2013 came to a close and the hope of a new year began to form, I ran through the laundry list of areas in which I need to improve.  I need to be more consistent with my exercise, my nutrition, being more intentional with family time, spend more time with Jesus etc. I trust you know the list just as well as I do.  Honestly, the idea of forming a grandiose plan around even one on the list was less than enticing!

Naturally, my next human reaction included downplaying the importance of making resolutions in the first place by questioning why so many of us seem to have the desire to do so sewn into our identity.  It must be our evil comparison ridden society!  At least that’s where I tried to conclude my self examination…

I did, in fact, table the discussion with myself to go pick up my boys from school.  After all, we had a busy afternoon ahead!  Homework, piano practice, making and sitting down as a family to dinner, Scouts, and then the start of the bedtime routine, which for my teenager included more homework after scouts and very little, if any down time.

Now, I understand that we can find ourselves in all kinds of seasons, but the season I currently find myself to be in includes very little self care.  I’m not referring to showering and brushing my teeth.  I’m talking about nurturing my soul! Somehow I was getting enough water to maintain, and that’s what my boys were doing.  I found this unsettling to say the least!

Yes, seasons existed where I modelled these things better, but the Spirit convicted me that if I wanted my boys to practice a different rhythm in their lives, in every season, then I had to first model that for them.

 

Just as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4

14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

 

Imitate me, by imitating my son/daughter who has spent time watching me imitate Jesus Christ.  Who doesn’t want to send out their children and be able to say this?  Who doesn’t want a life worth imitating?

 

Almost a month into the new year, I’m creating my plan.  A plan to renew my resolve, not to be a perfect example, but a living one.  An honest and transparent example, inviting those near and dear to imitate anything in me of Jesus and nothing that isn’t.

 

John 3

30 He must become greater; I must become less.

 

In order for Him to increase in me, what must decrease?  That which is worthy of imitation must increase and that which isn’t must go.

I don’t want to be a guide in Christianity, instructing and teaching on what was and what is supposed to be.  I want to be a Mother in Christ, with many spiritual children, helping to imprint the way of life in Christ on many.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Discipling, Faith, Family, Fitness, Food

 

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Living Chosen

Sunday afternoon, I enjoyed the companionship of some amazing women. We enjoyed a delicious meal, shared what God’s doing in our lives, and took time to pray and listen to Him. This time spent together is time set apart. The Spirit in me thirsts for this life rhythm. We retreat from our lives in this chaotic world, to rest in His presence. Our faith gets refreshed and our hope restored.The rhythm of these occasions has recently slowed and we seemed to slurp up every precious drop.

We’ve been on a journey this past year as the disciples of an amazing woman who has been chasing after Jesus for a long time.  It hasn’t been about learning how to be a good Christian, but more about learning how to respond to the calling on our lives – to be in relationship with Him and how to pass that along to others.

Matthew 28

“16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

She’s taught us by modelling it.  And I’m trying to do the same.

Our rhythm slowed from weekly to monthly in order to make room, to create a new rhythm that sometimes feels like a new life.  It’s our turn now.

Luke 10

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

Our mouths spoke His word aloud, our hearts overflowed with joy, and our eyes teared from the power of the anointed moment…

The moment seems to be present to me ever since, frequently causing my throat to thicken with emotion.  A day existed when I would not only dismiss this, but attempt to flee.  Now I recognize this as Him speaking to me, saying more than what letters can spell out.  I lean in, posturing myself to hear Him better… it seems the more time I spend with Him, the more I hear Him.

Though it doesn’t always work this way, today I heard Him, that voice in my head that’s obviously not my own.

Are you living as someone who is chosen? 

Chosen by your God?    

                              By your husband? 

                                                    By your family and friends? 

        By your disciples?

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I confess, I am not.

For the record, this isn’t about sin and shame, but about His love, His faithfulness, and His creativity.  Am I walking confidently in who He’s created me to be?  Walking in His holy confidence?  Are you?

Father, Thank you for who you’ve created me to be. For your glory, let my steps be faithful.  Because you are who you say you are, and I am who you say I am, let me stand with your holy confidence.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in Discipling, Faith

 

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My Heart Called Him Daddy

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”       -Romans 8:14-16

I had a hard time falling asleep last night in spite of my exhaustion.  I couldn’t get comfortable, my mind racing.  Beside me lay my husband, not feeling well.  I felt helpless and desperately did not want him to be sick as I was the week prior.  I prayed.  It started off praying for his health, then our little families health, then everyone I know, etc.  Now with something to focus on, my mind raced through all I pray about frequently and quickly moved on to an array of subjects.  Eventually, my mind slowed and the Spirit took over, leading me through a beautiful meditative journey.

An image of a toddler or small child held in great arms on an even greater lap rocking in a rocking chair.  I am the child.  I tilt my head up, trying to peak at the face of the one who holds me.  There were only eyes – eyes like I’ve only seen my earthly father have a handful of times.

The Quilt

Once when I was real young just the two of us were up watching Saturday morning cartoons in our pj’s snuggled together on the couch, at 14 or 15 during an honest, transparent conversation about my parents relationship and divorce and our own relationship, my wedding day, the first time he saw me holding my sons, when my mom died unexpectedly, and every time one of us must leave after a visit.

In these moments my dad’s eyes have shown with a brilliance of emotion – glossy, maybe sometimes teary, the outer corners lifted with pure joy.  In those moments it’s not about anything either of us said or did, but the powerful bond of relationship and love we share.  All of these moments have either been preceded or followed by him embracing me in his strong arms.  Arms that no matter how much I’ve grown – have always made me feel small and tender because that’s how he feels about me.

Then comes the moment of release.  Separation.  Where I must turn and go about my life.  And even though this part is the hardest, we both know it has to be done.  But it’s the image of his eyes and the feeling of his embrace that carry me through the weeks, months and sadly at times, even years that pass between these moments.

And with this image the Spirit said to me “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts (LOVE) to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts (LOVE) to those who ask him. -Matthew 7:9-11 (NLT, emphasis mine)

My head on His chest my heart whispered for the first time “I love you, Daddy.”  As He rocked me, I slipped into my slumber with similar feelings to the above, only unimaginably greater because my heavenly Father is immeasurably more than any earthly father.

Daddy, thank you for using these images to speak to me.  Thank you for my earthly father and providing the moments with him to convey to me how much you both love me.  Thank you for helping my heart capture something my mind knew not how to translate.  I am forever grateful for you both.  I love you!!

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Faith, Family

 

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