Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Challenge

For anyone who doesn't believe in God, come to my house and let's talk for a few days.

I feel awful. Like I can either muddle through or give in, curl up and wait to go to the hospital. I WANT to give in and curl up. My flesh is screaming, imploring me to just give up. Yesterday I was on oxygen all day because I couldn't breathe. Add to that the MG is kicking my butt because of the cold. Barely made it up the stairs last night.

Add to THAT, Jacob is sick. And crabby. And demanding. And 2 1/2. And heavy. (Praise God his fever is gone). Doug's got a lot going on at work, and though I beg him to come home as early as possible, he has things that come up that he has to deal with.

So how, you're thinking, how does this have anything to do with whether or not there is a God?

Because I am telling you from the depths of my soul that if there were NOT, I would not be sitting here typing this note, about ready to bawl. I could NOT do this on my own. No human could. Yet I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I beg Him to take it away, yet He chooses not to. I beg Him to not get colds and flu, but He allows it. I beg for Jacob to stay healthy, to understand, to not demand so much from me. God says, he's 2 1/2. Some days, like today, it is as if God Himself is picking up one leg and placing it forward. Then the other. Then back to the first one. He will make a way. He has to.

There IS a GOD and His name is FAITHFUL. His name is STRENGTH. His name is GRACE.

True, the human spirit can endure more than one may think. But I'm telling you, I could not. So many days I want to give up, but I hear, "My grace is sufficient." I want to yell and scream at the heavens and plead for God to just come and take it all away. But I hear, "I will never leave you or forsake you." I say "But I feel forsaken!!" And I hear, "Because you're looking at the wind and waves, not the Water-Walker."

There IS a GOD and His name is SAVIOR. His name is POWERFUL. His name is HOPE.

And if you think you could possibly deny Him, come and talk to me. If there has ever been proof, it is living in my flesh and blood.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Prayers Please

Hey all...

I'm worse than yesterday, Jacob has a fever, and Doug is getting whatever this is too...
Ann Arbor is cancelled for Friday...rescheduled for next Friday, hopefully.
Please pray Doug doesn't get it bad, that Jacob gets better quickly, and that I don't end in the hospital!

Thanks...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Trying to Lift the Fog

Okay, here's another "I-feel-like-crap-and-just-want-to-whine" post, so I have to list things I'm thankful for....

1. I am thankful that for the first time in 8 years, I was able to go to a meaningful event that I had posted on my calendar three months ahead of time.

2. I am thankful every day that my husband is a wonderful, Christian man, who loves me and has a stable job! (Everybody poops).

3. I am thankful that my mom and dad will be home from Florida in a week!

4. I am thankful for godly friends.

5. I am thankful for a precious little boy who, even when I'm a dork, loves me like crazy.

6. I am thankful that God's love for me is Measureless!

7. I am thankful that I have been able to go to Bible study twice this month.

8. I am thankful that I have a wood burning stove and a warm house.

9. I am thankful for living in the country where Jacob has room to roam. (And chase our 32 chickens, 4 turkeys, and 3 ducks. We have 2 dogs, now all we need is a partridge....we even have pear trees!!) Although 12 of our chickens, the 4 turkeys and 3 ducks are still in the mudroom.

10. I am thankful for technology that keeps me in touch with my friends.

What are YOU thankful for today???

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Measureless....

WOW. I was able to attend a women's conference through InTents Life Ministries yesterday. The topic was Measureless love, and we used Beth Moore's DVD sessions. First of all, if you don't know who Beth Moore is, PLEASE check her out. She is an honest, down-to-earth, what- you-see-is-what-you-get, God fearing, God loving, passionate, powerful teacher of the Word. She is phenomenal! (And just so you know, the leader of InTents Life is a lot like her, so check out the button on my blog).

Anywho....If you are at all familiar with the Old Testament of the Bible, measurements were very important. Starting with the very creation of the earth. The "chance" of our earth being able to sustain life means that it had to be the right kind of planet in the right galaxy (there are literally BILLIONS of galaxies, only one of which is the Milky Way, of which earth is a tiny speck). It had to be the right distance from the sun, at the right tilt and rotation, with the moon a specific spot, not near a black hole, the right magnetic field. The "chance" of that happening is ONE in 150 million millions. That's like a 150 with 18 zeros or something. Just a side note, science is it's own downfall when it comes to proving evolution! It takes a lot more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in the Creation by the Creator!

So the "heavens" mentioned in the Bible are really an incomprehensible distance from earth.

Noah's Ark had very, very specific measurements. The temple or tabernacle that the Israelites worshipped in and sacrificed to God, where the very presence of God was held in the ark of the covenant, all were very specifically measured. Solomon's temple. Measured. I'm sure there are many more examples but you get the point. These things were very important to God. The ark of the covenant held the Spirit of God Himself! But the point is, all of these things were limited because they were able to be measured and made. They could have been duplicated, because the "blueprints" are in the Bible.

But when it comes to God's love for you...God's love for ME....it is MEASURELESS. It's unable to be replicated, it's one-of-a-kind. It is UNLIMITED.

How far are the heavens from the earth? That's how much God loves you.

How far is the east from the west? That's how much God loves you.

This is the passage the conference was based on: Ephesians 3: 14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Just remember that.....MEASURELESS.

No matter who you are.

No matter what you've done.

No matter what you haven't done.

No matter how healthy or rich or poor oryoung or old you are.

God's love for YOU is Measureless.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Surprises

There are lots of surprises that come with chronic illness. Some, if you can believe it, are actually good, while others, as you imagine, are not so good.

My biggest surprise, of course, was on December 4, 2000, when a team of doctors from the neurology department at the U of M came into my room and said, “We have a tentative diagnosis. You either have Myasthenia Gravis (MG), which is not curable, but there are treatments for it. Or, you have bulbar palsy, which is degenerative and terminal. We are leaning toward bulbar palsy.” Ouch.

Another kind of sad surprise is how quickly you understand who your true friends are. How much your church REALLY supports chronically ill people…But we’ve already been down that road too many times, and are not going back there. I had very few friends stick by me when I first got really sick. One even told me I was just being selfish. SELFISH! I was almost dead. Oh, how selfish of me. Please. People who REALLY love you are there for you, no matter what. Remember that. I sure do. And therefore, remember to let them know how much you appreciate them for standing by your side. Being ill is difficult, but so is being a care-taker!

An amazing surprise is how God prepared my husband ahead of time (when we didn’t even know each other) for every skill that he could possibly need when it came to taking care of me. As I said before, I came home in a hospital bed, and he slept on the couch for SIX MONTHS to take care of me during the night. I shouldn’t have been surprised, I guess, because my God is all-knowing, and He loves me, and my husband is an honorable man. He is a tremendous provider, care-taker, and the hardest worker I’ve ever known. He’s a cross between Daniel Boone and MacGuyver…he can hunt anything, live outside indefinitely, and probably make a rifle out of a few sticks and some chewing gum. He’s just a genius that way.

I think the biggest surprise of all is that I wouldn’t change anything. I wouldn’t go back and never get sick. Some of you may have your jaws on the floor…but I’m a different person now. I’ve been connecting with some old friends on facebook, friends who only knew me before I was diagnosed. They can hardly believe I’m the same person.

I used to be wound tighter than a drum. I was working at a trucking company making GOOD money. I had a powerful position, and I loved it. I loved going to the city and immersing myself in the city life. Chicago was one of my favorite places to go “clubbing” with a friend. I cursed like a sailor, drank too much, and smoked cigarettes. I was impatient, and didn’t have a close relationship with God. I believe I was still saved, but I was NOT walking the walk.

Now I truly realize it’s only because of God that I got through all this. God, and the prayers of His faithful. I am WAY more patient. Little things just don’t bother me…I don’t have the energy to waste worrying about them. I love deeply and quickly. I let people know how much they mean to me, because after all, that’s really what it’s all about. Relationships.

It’s not about who has the most. It’s not about climbing the corporate ladder. It’s not even about who can do the most good things…even for the Lord. It’s about talking to that friend in need. It’s about visiting that shut in. It’s about clothing the naked and feeding the hungry. It’s about visiting the sick and imprisoned. It’s praying when you say you’ll pray. It’s encouraging someone when they feel all hope is lost. It’s all about love. About being the hands and feet of Jesus.

If you know someone who is ill, or having a hard time, please make a commitment to show them you care…pick up the phone…send a card…bring a meal…let them know you are praying them.

For someone on the receiving end, it can make all the difference.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

For My Husband

Myasthenia gravis is not degenerative, per se, nor is it in and of itself terminal. It IS, however, challenging, can be, at times, life threatening. Sometimes I can't hold my son. Sometimes I can barely make it up the stairs, and Doug has to be right behind me in case I fall. He has been my earthly rock. He has not ONCE complained about my disease or what it has done to me. This story reminded me of his love for me, and I want the whole world to see it.

It's from Dennis Rainey.

For Better, for Worse

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.Philippians 2:4

I've been doing daily radio since 1992, and I can recall only one time when I was weeping so hard I couldn't speak. It was the day I interviewed Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyr.

At the age of 30, Charlie began experiencing the early symptoms of ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. A successful high-school football coach, he was given one to three years to live.

Even now as I reflect on our time with them in the studio -- with Lucy reading his lips and speaking for him -- the emotion is profound. They recalled a day when Charlie, his care becoming more and more demanding on his wife and children, whispered to Lucy, "Maybe it would be better if I just died."

Lucy took a deep breath, asked the Lord for just the right words, and said to Charlie, "We'd rather have you like this than not at all."

Having him "like this" has meant more than two decades of continual life support. It takes Lucy three hours to get him ready each day!

Lucy is a model of what we promised to each other in our wedding vows. In sickness and in health. For better or for worse. Keeping our covenant means more than avoiding divorce -- it means we'll be there, living out our love, no matter what.

Don't wait until you get in a dramatic situation where you're facing something like Lucy and Charlie before you cement your promise to care for one another through any circumstance. If you don't prepare for it today by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over your life and clinging to God's blueprints, you'll be unprepared when -- not if -- your crisis comes.

I love you baby. You have been my rock. Thank you for loving me just as I am.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

You know, it's our fault the country is in the shape it's in. Ouch...I know. But it's true.

Remember when a handshake sealed a deal? Now we have prenuptuals and 600 page contracts.

Remember when we used to borrow a cup of sugar from our neighbor, not sue him?

Remember when we got a good wage for a hard day's work, instead of wanting more for working less?

Remember when your mom or dad would give you a good whooping if you were disrepectful or disobedient? Now it's child abuse.

Remember when our elders were treated with respect, and dignity? When we took care of them in their final years, instead of neglecting them and making them "someone else's problem?"

Remember when gay meant happy and marriage could NEVER have been considered outside the one man one woman thing?

Where is our honor?

Remember the concept that government is BY the people FOR the people?

PEOPLE, when did we stop fighting? I know some of you personally have not. But as a whole, we are pathetically inept at perseverence. Why do the radical liberals get their way so often? Apparently they want it more than we do. Apparently it's more important to them, and they fight harder and work longer to see that their agenda gets across. And I'm not talking parties here people, I'm not talking Republican verses Democrat, I'm talking AMERICANS.

We may not have a lot of money to fight City Hall, as it were. We may not feel that we have the "pull" of a celebrity. But almost all of us can write letters. We can send e-mail if we have computer. We can make our voices known. We can get off our high horses and get in the trenches and starting waging the war of the righteous.

I for one, am committing to start making my voice heard. I may be one voice, but I can no longer, in good conscience, sit on my hands and watch the world go to hell in a handbasket. It may be headed there anyway, but it won't be because I did nothing.

I am encouraging you to start making noise. The government works FOR THE PEOPLE. ALL the people. That's us. That's you. That's me! Don't give in or give up the rights that you have to protest, or to make YOUR opinions known.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Never Say Never....Again! : )

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I was thinking about the events of the last few days, and I thought of some more "nevers"....

"I'll NEVER live in the boonies.".....Have you been to my house? 'nuff said.

"I'll NEVER say, 'I need to run to town'. I'm not from Little House on the Prairie.".... "Running into town" is now part of my vernacular.

"I'll NEVER live in an old (older than say, 1990's) house!".....My house is pre-1900, and I love it.

"I'll NEVER, NEVER live on a FARM or have FARM aminals."...Well, Sunday we got 3 ducks, and yesterday, 12 more chickens. A rabbit and goats will be next, then probably a cow when Jacob gets a little bigger. (As I'm typing these words, I'm still a little in shock...) For those of you who haven't known me longer than 10 years, my favorite place in the world used to be Chicago....I wanted to go to Mardi Gras, and NYC for New Year's Eve. Now I think of doing that and I'd rather plan a heart attack.

"I could never kill anything."....If you haven't read my rooster story, check the archives...

Just another reminder that we DON'T know everything, and we don't have all the answers. (I was close...) HA! Not even. I'm glad that God's plans are better than mine, because I really wouldn't trade my life, illness and all, for anything.

People talk about having a "do-over" and I honestly wouldn't. I didn't much like who I was before I got sick. My priorities were WAY out of whack, and my lifestyle was NOT pleasing to God. Well, I guess I might do ONE thing over...I NEVER EVER (and oh, I mean this!!) would have gotten that blasted flu shot that started this horrific chain of events!!

Oh, quick update: I finally talked to my doctor about the specifics of my bone scan...my lumbar spine (middle of my back) has moderate bone loss (thinning) and increased risk of fracture. My lower spine has a HIGH level of bone thinning (for my age) and a high increased risk of fracture. My hips show arthritis, but no thinning. So even though the high level in my lower spine is scary, I'm glad my hip bones are okay, because when old people fall, they usually break a hip before their back. (Yes, I'm being serious....)

Also, I'm still having nasty side effects from the Fosamax...if you could please pray that they stop, because I haven't been able to go back to that church I went to ONCE...and I'd really like to. I have to take the pills on the weekend so Doug is here to help with Jacob.

Thanks...and NEVER say NEVER! : )

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Round and Round

Maelstrom. Vortex. Confusion. Chaos. Turbulence. Life.

I tell ya. I KNOW there is a God, because the simple truth is, if there wasn't, I wouldn't be here. He, through His strength, His faithful followers, His mercy....I read a quote a while back that really stuck with me.... "It takes more courage to suffer than to die." Well isn't that the truth?!? I never thought of myself as particularly courageous. (I'm kind of a wimp, truth be told). When I read this I thought, Wow...I do have courage...because dying would take MUCH less courage. To not fight. To not struggle or strain. Giving up really is the easy thing, isn't it?

That's why I'm glad that God gave me a stubborn, bull-headed personality, and the will to fight. I'll fight about whatever I believe in, and I won't give up until the last breath is ripped out of me. That fight has kept me going more times than I can even tell you. Sometimes it's not even conscious, because everything in me is saying "Just give up. It's not worth it." Yet deep inside, the spirit will not cave.

For example, even in the hospital, when I should have been dead...medically there was no reason I lived....I was quite heavily sedated, yet I fought. If I did not have that quality from my Creator, I would not be here.

There are many days, like today, when I'm just tired of it all...But God just won't let me give up. I guess there's more I have left to do...I think of Job...if He can do it, I suppose I can as well.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers. As hard as it is for me, I'm sure it's tough on Doug and Jacob too. Jacob may not yet realize that Mommy is different, but he will. And Doug has been forced into the role of caretaker since 6 weeks after we got married. Thanks...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Never Say Never

And no, I'm not talking about a James Bond movie.

I am (slowly) learning to never say never:

"I'll never quit smoking." April 1 will be 11 years ago that I quit.

"I'll never get married." Look at my amazing husband!

"I'll never get out of this hospital." Well, I'm here, ain't I?

"I'll never be able to walk far without using this stupid walker or wheelchair." A few years ago Doug and I went to Tequomenon Falls, and I walked about 4 miles in one day!!!

"I'll never be a mom." Oh! My precious, precious Jacob. Where would my life be without him?

"I'm not going to make it through this day." And yet every morning, the sun comes up, whether I see it or not.

Why do all these things happen? Why do I always doubt? Why can't I stay optimistic and positive? Why can't I rise above my circumstances BEFORE I sink to the depths of the bottomless pit?

All I can say is DO NOT LOSE HOPE. I'm less optimistic than I used to be, but Halellujah GOD is still my hope. Don't take away my hope, because I would not live. Simple as that. Read this carefully:

"Our Hope Endures" by Natalie Grant

You would think
Only so much can go wrong.
Calamity only strikes once.
And you assume that this one has suffered her share
Life will be kinder from here

Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years.
Sometimes the sky rains night after night.
When it will it clear?
But our Hope endures....
The worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged!

How do we comprehend peace within pain?
Or joy at a good man's wake?
Walk a mile with a woman whose body is torn
With illness, but she marches on...

Oh....sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night..
When will it clear?
But our hope endures
The worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged....

Emmanuel: God is with us
El Shaddai: All Sufficient

Emmanuel: God is with us
El Shaddai: All Sufficient

Emmanuel: God is with us
El Shaddai: All Sufficient

We never walk alone
And this is our hope!

Our hope endures...
The worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake...
Let the earth quake...
Let the earth quake...

OUR HOPE IS UNCHANGED

Do not lose hope, please! I have to tell myself this over and over. If I didn't have Hope, I wouldn't be here, I can promise you that. God IS OUR HOPE. And He never changes. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD. Believe that. (again, I'm still talking to myself!!) Let's all continue to remind each other!!

OUR HOPE ENDURES!!!!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Need Prayers Today

I've had close to the crappiest 6 months of my life and it's starting to get to me. I've had my trach in and out FIVE time in the last 24 hours. I think I finally got it in right. I've got something on the right side of my actual trachea, (the natural trachea in my neck) that looks like cartilege or something. It was pushing the trach out too far and sideways, causing tremendos pain. Which is turn causes pain to go all the way up in to my right ear, and gives me a horrible headache. I feel like poo, and my attitude is matching today. I'm exhausted, the Fosamax makes me feel like crap the day after I take it, and I just ache all over. I'm down to 10mgs daily of Prednisone, so I'm praying the aches aren't from that.

I just overwhelmed and sick of it all.
Please pray for me today.
Thanks.