Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Testimony

Depending on your religious background, you may or may not know what a testimony is.  Basically, it's the story of how you came to faith in Jesus Christ.  I wanted to share my faith journey or story with you.  Some of it will be repetitive, but hopefully reading it will give you a different perspective on some of the other things I've already shared in previous posts and what I plan to share in the future.

If you’ve been keeping up on my blog, you already know that my life began with a lot of excitement …   One night when I was only two months old, my chest started retracting every time I would breathe.  My parents rushed me to the ER at Mayo Clinic.  That night, the doctors found a strawberry birthmark tumor in my windpipe.  From that point on, I spent the first year of my life, in and out of Mayo Clinic.  During that time, I underwent several bronchoscopies, two laser surgeries and took massive amounts of medication, but I was still having a lot of breathing problems and the tumor kept coming back.  In Mar. of 1981, my mom was really struggling.  The doctors were talking about having to do a third laser surgery, which was very risky.  To get away, mom and another sister visited yet another one of her sisters (she comes from a family of 15 siblings!).  While we were there, mom and her sisters decided to take me to a revival.  A woman put her hands on me and prayed that God would finally deliver me from my tumor.  That day, on Mar. 17th, God healed me!  A couple weeks later, the doctors couldn’t find any trace of the tumor – it was completely gone!  What a wonderful experience my parents got to have!  It’s also a faith-building story for me to treasure and pass on to our kids about how God answers prayers and can heal even when conditions look bleak.
My dad came from a very dysfunctional, un-churched family.  He was, however, baptized and confirmed as a Lutheran.  My mom was from a very Catholic family.  When mom and dad got married, they went to both types of churches.  After having my siblings and I, they decided to baptize me and then my brother as Lutherans and my younger sister as a Catholic.  We continued going to both churches for several years - sometimes we’d go to the Lutheran church and sometimes we’d go to the Catholic church.  When I was in second grade, we moved to a new town that had a Lutheran parochial school.  My parents decided to send me and my siblings to it.  So, mom converted into a Lutheran and both of my parents became members of a WELS Lutheran church.  From that point, I grew up in a WELS Lutheran home.  I attended the church’s school from 2nd – 8th grade, which gave me a lot of training in the Word.  We did a lot of Scripture memorization and had a Christian curriculum.  I continued to grow as a Christian into my teen years, even though this church didn’t have a youth group.  My parents took the WELS foundation a little further and made sure that we had a personal relationship with Christ.  I can’t remember a specific date that I gave my life to Christ during my childhood years, but I can tell you I was actively going to church, reading my devotions and the Bible, praying and walking with the Lord all the way through my H.S. graduation.
After I graduated, I entered UW-River Falls.  Prior to going there, I prayed about where God wanted me to go to college.  After visiting River Falls, God made it very clear that was where He wanted me to go.  I couldn’t wait for my new adventure to begin!  The whole summer before my freshman year, I made preparations and prayed constantly about finding good Christian friends while at college.  God answered my prayers and sent me some wonderful Christian friends my first semester of college.  There was a problem, though…my sinful nature was getting too curious about worldly things. 
Most of first semester of college I hung out with my Christian friends and I attended a local Lutheran church on Sundays.  But, being an extrovert, I knew several other people around campus and slowly I started attending parties and drinking.  When I was with my Christian friends I’d act one way and when I was with my non-believing friends, I’d act another way.  I was living two lives!  I slowly started doing less and less with my Christian friends and more and more with my un-believing friends.  By the end of my freshman year, I had crossed the line in many areas of my life and had thrown aside many of my beliefs.  Somewhere by the end of my freshman year, I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want anything to do with God.  I was sick of being the “perfect” firstborn, the high-achiever, the  people-pleaser.  I wanted to do whatever I wanted and to have fun while I was at college.  Since God had all of His rules and none of them would allow me to live the fun, party-lifestyle at college, I reasoned that I wanted nothing to do with Him.
The remainder of my college years were spent partying and making very bad choices.  If you would’ve asked me, I would’ve said I was having the time of my life.  But, deep down I knew the things I was doing were wrong, so I dealt with a lot of guilt, which wasn’t fun at all.

During my sophomore year of college, my husband and I met.  Both of us weren’t right with God and were both in the partying mode, so at the time, we were a perfect fit.  We had a lot of other things we had in common, so in Nov. of 2000, we officially started dating.  In June of 2004, we got married.  Unfortunately, when we got married, we were still both living very spiritually reckless lives.  In Oct. of 2004, we got pregnant with our daughter which was a huge surprise.  Because of the medications I was on when I was a baby, the doctors told my parents I probably wouldn’t be able to have kids.  So, we weren’t very careful and low and behold – we got pregnant only four months from being married!

Up until I got pregnant with our daughter, or during my six years away from God, I had a major drinking problem, I struggled mildly with anorexia and bulimia, and I didn’t live a sexually pure life, just to name a few struggles I dealt with.  I had a horrible self-image and dealt with a lot of guilt.  Several things amplified my drinking and most of my nights were a blurry mess, even though I had a fulltime job.   Getting pregnant was a turning point in my life and, honestly, probably saved my life!
Somewhere during Nov. of 2004, I remember thinking about my lifestyle and saying there was no way I was going to bring a baby into this mess.   I prayed a very short prayer, something to the effect of ‘God, help me!’.  It was at that moment that I recommitted my life back to Christ.  Almost immediately, I began reading the Bible and doing my devotions again.  I started going to church.  I started praying and asking God for godly friends or a Christian moms’ group.  By the time our daughter came into the world the summer of 2005, I was a changed person and I’ve been growing closer to Christ ever since!

 I'd love to hear your testimonies!  Please share...

Did you notice that I didn't just wake up one morning and decide I wanted nothing to do with God?  It happened little by little, slowly, until I made a conscious decision to turn my back on God.  I love the reminder this song gives us...

"Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coffee Talk

So far I’ve posted several times about the tumultuous first year of my life, but then I left you hanging.  I wanted to pick up where I left off and tell you a little more about myself.  Grab a cup of coffee and let's chat!

I grew up in the Midwest and was raised by two wonderful, Christian parents.  I’m the oldest of three.  Due to my dad’s job, we moved around a lot growing up.  By the time I hit college, I had already moved 20+ times.  Although it wasn’t always fun moving around, especially when we got somewhat settled and met some nice friends, it made our family very receptive to change and showed us God at work many times. 

I can remember when I was about fourteen years old, we came back from being away for the weekend and our landlord of six years left a note saying we had two weeks to move because they had hired a new worker for their farm and he needed a place to stay.   My parents were devastated and tried to figure out how this would even be possible.  They set a very good example and prayed about it.  Guess what – everything fell into place before the two weeks were up!

Growing up, my family and I spent lots of time together!  We traveled the country, showing Herefords.  Unlike many other families who went on vacations to Disney World and other amusement parks, or went camping, our summers were filled with cattle shows.  The hours we spent together getting our show calves ready, driving to cattle shows, hanging out in the barns and spending time together in hotels, were some of the most memorable times of my life!

My school years were filled with a lot of variety, since we moved several times.  I went to several public schools in my early years.  During second through seventh grade, I attended a parochial school.  My mom got offered a job, so we ended going to a different Christian school during a portion of my seventh and eighth grade years.  I finished the last couple of months of eighth grade back at the parochial school I attended before.  Then it was off to a public H.S. in a small town! 

My high school years were fairly typical.  I was involved in volleyball, band and I was a wrestling cheerleader.  My years flew by since I was very active in many organizations -  the National Honor Society, FFA, the Student Council , the yearbook committee, just to name a few.  The first couple years were filled with lots of girl drama.  I’m not going to lie – none of that was fun, but it taught me to lean on God and to be a stronger person.  Then, the last two years I finished on a stronger note.  I was crowned Miss Congeniality and was one of our town’s pageant Attendants.  During my senior year, I was honored when my peers voted me on the Homecoming Court.  Overall, I enjoyed my high school years, but towards the end I was definitely ready to spread my wings and head to college.

My college years were also very busy.  I majored in Agricultural Marketing Communications with an Animal Science minor.  I was involved in Block and Bridle, Association for Women in Agriculture, and the Dairy Club.  I was fortunate enough to hold a work-study position the whole time I was there.  I had a very active social life, but I still graduated early in just three and a half years, mainly due to the internships I had.

My internships were great!  The summer after my sophomore year of college, I was a sales intern for a dairy pharmaceutical company and sold their products to dairies around the Midwest.  The next summer I was an intern for the American Hereford Association, down in Kansas City, where I wrote articles for their magazine, helped design the magazine and attended trade shows and cattle shows around the country. 

After college, I was offered a job in the insurance industry.  I spent four months studying for my licenses.  I’ll be honest, though, my heart wasn’t in it and I was just going through the motions.  Luckily, and, yes, I say luckily, I failed my tests.  If I remember right, I think I tried taking them again and passed, but I couldn’t pass my Securities test.  I decided this industry wasn’t right for me, so I thanked the company for their time and went on a job search again.  Within a few weeks, I found another job, this time in the dairy industry.  I was hired as a Sales and Marketing Coordinator and sold a feed management system to dairies around the country.  I also had the opportunity to put my degree to work and designed all of the marketing materials.  It was a very glamorous position, but after a year and a half of living out of a bag four to six days a week, I decided I needed a slower-paced job.   I found a job at a vet clinic, which I loved.  Then, since my husband and I needed benefits, I took a job in a bank.   I was a loan assistant, but my duties went far beyond this position’s job description.  Honestly, I was thankful to have this job, but the two and a half years I was there, were not my favorite.  When my husband and I felt we were financially secure, I quit this position so I could be at home with our daughter.  This was the best decision we could’ve made - I loved being at home with her and focusing on being a mom!  I took several months off before sub-teaching at several schools in the area.  Since then, I have been sub-teaching for six consecutive years and I love it!

We need to back up…  I purposely left out telling you about my husband and my kids, because I wanted to set them apart.  My husband and I have known each other since 1999.  We didn’t start dating, however, until the fall of 2000.  We dated a couple of years before getting engaged on Valentine’s Day in 2003.  In June of 2004, we finally got married.  Then, only four months into our marriage, we unexpectedly got pregnant with our daughter.  This pregnancy came as quite the surprise, because my parents were told I would most likely have problems getting pregnant since, as a baby, I was on so many medications.  My husband and I weren’t sure if we’d ever be able to have kids, so we weren’t very careful.  Low and behold, we got pregnant, which was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to us.  I’ll tell you more about that later…  During the summer of 2005, I became a mommy to a beautiful, little girl!  Two and a half years later, we welcomed our little boy into our family only a couple days after the Thanksgiving of 2007.  Both of our kids are such blessings and teach us so many things!  We love them more than words can describe!!!  Our family life has had some challenges, but I can honestly say, my husband is one of my best friends and our kids keep us going every day.

Do you need a refill on your coffee?  ;)  I’ll be getting more personal in my upcoming posts, so stick around.  If you haven’t had the chance to read my other posts, please, feel free to catch up.  Until next time, God Bless!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?

When I was pregnant with my son I had a rash of all rashes that lasted for three months!  It was horrible - my whole body was covered in an itchy rash and nothing soothed it.  Itching didn’t help, crèmes didn’t help, herbal remedies or the “old-fashioned” remedies didn’t help, leaving it alone didn’t help.  All day I would itch until I bled.  At night, I couldn’t sleep because my whole body felt like I was covered in mosquito bites or poison ivy.  Several times during the night I would wake up itching myself.  This rash consumed every aspect of my life!  The worst part was the doctors couldn’t figure out what it was.  After seeing several doctors and a couple specialists, the best answer I received was that I must be having some sort of allergic reaction and my pregnancy hormones were amplifying it.  Because I was pregnant, they couldn’t give me certain medications so I came to the conclusion that I’d just have to deal with it.  There was no relief in sight!  One night about a month or so into the ordeal, I remember crying and crying because I couldn’t take it anymore!  Thankfully, about a week after I had my son, the horrible rash finally went away.  Those three months of itching and pain were agonizing!  Dealing with health issues and other obstacles in life can be very challenging!

I know I’m not the first to ask these questions, but why do you think God allowed me to get that rash when I was pregnant or to have a tumor when I was just a baby?  Why does God allow people to get cancer, get into bad car accidents, or die too young?  Why does God allow Christian persecution?  Do you ever wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people?  

Think about the stories of real people we read about in the Bible…  Jonah, Daniel, Esther, Joseph.  Each of them had some pretty big obstacles they had to overcome.

Let’s look at Jonah…God wanted him to preach to people of Ninevah, but he didn’t obey and actually tried to run away from God.  He hopped onto a ship to try to get away.   While Jonah was on the ship, God sent a bad storm.  Everyone on the ship was terrified so they cast lots to see who was responsible for the terrible storm.   Eventually, at Jonah’s request, the sailors threw him overboard.  God sent a big fish to swallow Jonah up for three long days and nights.  During that time, he had some time to think.  Eventually, he cried out to the Lord and repented.  After he admitted his sin, God commanded the fish to vomit Jonah back on dry land.  Jonah overcame his fear and obeyed the Lord, but it wasn’t until he had to go through several interesting difficulties.  Getting swallowed by a fish and being vomited out of it is one hurtle I hope I NEVER have to overcome!  Jonah 1-2

Then there’s Daniel…He was thrown into a lion’s den!!!  Have you ever thought about the reality of that situation?!  These weren’t cuddly, little pet lions – they were starving, vicious lions who were ready to devour anything in sight!  I can hear their growls and roars!  I’m sure they were deafening the closer Daniel got to them.  And, I can’t even begin to imagine how time must’ve stopped as he was falling down into the den.   As terrifying as that whole moment was, Daniel got to experience something many of us will probably never have the opportunity to experience.

Daniel 6:16-17, 19-21

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight.”

I love this story because Daniel got to see an angel of God close the lions’ mouths and then see the amazing work of God!   Even at the brink of death, Daniel trusted God.  When Darias saw that Daniel’s faith ultimately save him, he immediately sent out a decree that everyone in the land should give reverence to Daniel’s God.  God received the glory and many were saved through Daniel’s experience.

How about Esther?  This is my favorite story in the Bible!  If you want drama, read Esther.  It’s honestly like reading a movie script!  Here’s a little girl who loses both of her parents as a small child.  Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything more traumatic for a child to go through!  She’s an orphan who gets adopted by her male cousin.  Mordecai was a very loving cousin, but he would never take the place of her parents, especially her mother.  The poor thing wouldn’t have a mom to talk about the changes going on with her body or to ask advice or to have that special mother/daughter relationship.  To make matters worse, she gets picked in a beauty contest and is thrown into the king’s harem.  She spends a whole year going through rigorous beauty treatments before the king calls for her.   She was only a teen girl and she was “called” to spend a night with the king!  Each girl had to take her turn with the king and if she pleased him, she got to go into his special harem.  If not, she was sent to the “unwanted” harem.  I’m not sure which would be worse, but the king finds favor with Esther and crowns her as queen – his wife!   God placed her in this position “for such a time as this.”.  In the end, she ends up saving the whole Jewish race!  What started out as a very bleak situation tuned into a miraculous ending.  God took a bad situation and used it to accomplish his bigger purpose.  See Esther 1-10

Although there are many more Bible characters we could look at, I wanted to mention Joseph.  He was the favored boy and his brothers were very jealous of him, to the point of hating him and wanting to kill him.  One brother speaks up and persuades the other brothers to sell Joseph to the Egyptians instead of killing him.  As if being sold to a foreign country wasn’t bad enough, Joseph has many other challenges he goes through in Egypt.  While in the palace, Potiphar’s wife kept trying to get Joseph to go to bed with her.  I’m sure it was very stressful for him to have these awkward confrontations day after day with his boss's wife.  Then there was the temptation to actually go to bed with her.  He resists this temptation, but ends up being falsely accused and is thrown into prison.  Being in prison in those days was torture.  After two years, God ends his suffering and Joseph is rewarded for interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams.  He’s put in charge of all of Egypt, which allows him to help his family during the famine.  Genesis 37, 39-41

When looking at Jonah, Daniel, Esther and Joseph’s challenges, I noticed some similarities:

Jonah’s Challenge(s):  Lives in the fish’s belly for three days and three nights.

Purpose:  Teaches Jonah to obey God and to repent of his sin.  God uses Jonah to save the city of Ninevah.

Daniel’s Challenge(s):  Gets thrown into a lion’s den.

Purpose:  Daniel’s faith is strengthened when he sees God’s angel shut the lions’ mouths and is saved from the lions.  It teaches him to trust God in everything.  God receives the glory for saving Daniel from the lions.

Esther’s Challenge(s):  Becomes an orphan and gets adopted by her cousin who lives in the pagan city of Babylon.  Gets sent to the king’s harem for a year.  Has to make a decision to reveal her Jewish nationality or see her people perish.

Purpose:  She accomplishes God’s will, saves all of the Jews, and fulfills her destiny.

Joseph’s Challenge(s):  Gets sold to a foreign country and is eventually falsely accused and thrown in prison for two years.

Purpose:  Brings God glory when he interprets Pharaoh’s dreams and saves his family and many others in the famine.

From these examples, it appears as if God allows us to go through an obstacle or challenge, whether it was self-induced or not, to teach us something and to accomplish His purposes.  Hmmm…o.k.  I can live with that!

But, what about Job?  Job is probably the most famous person we talk about when we’re discussing trials. 

Job 1:6-12

6 One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

I’ll be honest, there are two verses that really bother me.  In verse 8, God actually tells Satan to consider Job.  Then in verse 12, God gives Satan permission to do whatever he wants with Job’s possessions.  Why would God give Satan permission to destroy Job’s life?!  Horrible things happen his servants, his livestock, and his children all die.  Job gets the news about all of these tragedies within minutes of each other.  Because God allowed Satan to take away his earthly possessions, including his family members, Job’s life was turned upside down in an instant. 

Later, Satan goes back to God and asks if he can do even more to Job. 

Job 2:6-7

6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

God gave Satan full permission to do whatever he wanted to Job.  The only restriction was that he couldn’t kill him.  Knowing that the devil is like “a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), it’s very unsettling that God would allow the devil to get near one of His chosen children.  Job was already grieving all of his loses and then he has to deal with some pretty major health problems.  Why would God allow the devil to put him through anymore pain?!

Looking at Job, there are a couple of things we can conclude: Satan has to get God’s permission before he can do anything to us and God allows or gives permission to Satan to do certain things to us.  He’s our loving Father who sets up Satan’s boundaries to ultimately teach us something or make us more like Himself, to bring Himself glory or to accomplish his plans.  “Even when we’re blind to the evidence, God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” Ephesians 1:11

I’ll admit I don’t fully understand why God does or doesn’t do certain things, but what I can say about all of our trials in life is that God doesn’t allow these circumstances to punish us for our sins.  Just like earthly fathers lovingly discipline their children “…God disciplines us (not punishes us) for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” Hebrews 12:10.

Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?  Just like Daniel, they were on the hot seat because of their faith in God.  They were thrown into a fiery furnace!  I can almost smell the coals and feel the heat.  I can hear their pounding hearts.  I’m sure they were crying out to God to save them.

Beth Moore proposes in her Daniel Bible study when Christians face fiery furnaces in their lives, they have three scenarios they may endure:

Scenario A:  They can be delivered from the fire and, as a result, their faith is strengthened.

Scenario B:  They can be delivered through the fire.  They may experience some pain, but in the end their faith is refined.

Scenario C:  They can be delivered by the fire straight into His arms.  In other words, their earthly bodies die, but their souls go to live in Heaven with Christ and their faith is perfected.

No matter which scenario we’re given, we have a choice on how we’re going to deal with that challenge.  Will we defiantly disobey God and try to run away like Jonah?  Will we do what I tend to do and start crying or yelling?  Or is there a better option?

Beth Moore further suggests that every person will always do one of three things:

·         We panic or do the wrong thing.

·         We become paralyzed and do absolutely nothing.

·         Or, we pray.

Beth, also, says:

“We have opportunities…

·         To experience gloriously, intense encounters with God. 2 Tim 4:16-18

·         To emerge from a terribly, hurtful situation unhurt. Dan. 6:22; Jer. 10:19; Jer. 30:12, 17

·         To see the world become impressed with our God.

Every choice has an outcome or opportunity to experience God on a deeper level.  When we’re at our lowest point, it sets us up to see God work miracles!

As I grow as a Christian, I’m slowly starting to choose the latter option more and more.  I have to admit, though, I usually fail miserably – I yell or cry or try to handle the situation myself. I want to be so in love with Christ and be so captivated by Him that the first thing I do when I face a challenge is drop to my knees and pray!  How about you?

We may not fully understand why God allows really painful things to happen to all of us and the rest of the human race but, like Jesus said, “… in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33. 

A Letter from Jesus

If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a Healer?

If you never had to pray, how would you know that I am a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an overcomer?

If you never felt sadness, how would you know that I am a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake, how would you know that I am a forgiver?

If you knew all, how would you know that I will answer your questions?

If you never were in trouble, how would you know that I will come to your rescue?

If you never were broken, then how would you know that I can make you whole?

If you never had a problem, how would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering, then how would you know what I went through?

If you never went through the fire, then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things, how would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you, how would you know that I love you?

If you had all power, then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect, then what would you need me for?!

I love you!  Love, Jesus


God “works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So I'm Not Perfect...

I forgot to pick my daughter up from school today…  Yep, I forgot…

This whole day I was out of it.  I was dragging from being up too late last night.  I had that cloudy feeling in my head and just couldn’t get it together even though I had a million things to do.  Clean the house from having a sick kid the last few days, do the laundry, do my banking and a few other things on the computer, prep for a class I teach every week, play with my son, be there for my husband…  The list could keep going!  A mid-day request took me on a “quick” road-trip to a neighboring town but when it was all said and done, it was an hour later.  Strangely, when I returned home I felt like it was much earlier than what it really was.  I returned to my To-Do list and didn’t look up for about 2 hours later.  The time that read on the clock didn’t register right away - 2:55. I went back to my list.  Wait – 2:55?!  That couldn’t be right!  I rushed to another clock.  Yep – 2:55.  Normally I was pulling into school at that time!  We live 20 min. away from school so there was no way I was going to make it on time!  Shock and panic!!!  With adrenaline pumping through my veins, I picked up my phone and happened to catch a friend who occasionally picks up our daughter.  Luckily she hadn’t left yet and was able to hand her phone over to the aide who checks the kids out.  My blood pressure went back to normal.  Instead of going to school, I would pick up my daughter at our friend’s house on time.  Phew!  But, that didn’t take away the feeling that I actually forgot I needed to pick up our daughter!  Had I not looked at the clock, I have no idea what would’ve happened!  All I could think about was my little girl sitting alone in the cafeteria wondering where I was.  Eventually I would’ve gotten a phone call from school, which would’ve been mortifying.  What would’ve I said?!  What kind of mom does that?!

I guess a mom who has a lot on her plate might do something like that.  A mom whose head was spinning from life’s challenges might do that. A mom who isn’t perfect might – do - that…   

This is the second week of January.  For those of you who know my full story, you know what this week is.  For those of you who don’t know my story, you will in the upcoming weeks and months. I didn’t want this week to be any different than any other week.  Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about any of it until my husband asked if I was o.k. this past weekend.  My initial response was that I was o.k.  But something was off…  I wasn’t o.k.  To make matters a little more complicated, in the last couple of weeks, we had the holidays, which due to the other situation we are dealing with, was a bit stressful even though we had the most relaxing break we’ve ever had, we received an email that was hard to take, we attended a party that was difficult to be at, and we had a phone call last night that was very disappointing.

I’m not even going to try to end this post with an inspirational message.  My head is still a jumble.  I feel like I’m on the verge of crying and no, luckily, it’s not from PMS. 

No one’s perfect.  Actually, that’s somewhat comforting.  No one’s perfect…  It’s o.k. to screw up.  It’s o.k. to have days that we’re a little off.  It’s o.k. to forget things.  Hopefully I don’t forget to pick my daughter up anytime soon, but I know for a fact, I will have another day where I’m less than perfect.  Momma said there’d be days like this…  Ha!

Oh, by the way, I’ve decided that trying to post everyday was a little too ambitious, so from this point on, I will post once a week.  My posts will go online every weekend.  Watch for the next one soon!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More Posts Coming!

This week has been insane!  More posts will be coming sometime this week.  I'm studying up on a couple things to make sure I hit my next post correctly.  Thanks for your patience!  God Bless and we'll "talk" soon...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Before you read any further, go back and read all earlier posts.

January 1st, 1981
We rang in the New Year with a trip back to the ER.  You had gotten a new cold, an ear infection and a set of new teeth.  This combination made it really hard for you to breathe.  Unfortunately, the doctor had to give you a large dose of prednisone.

January 2nd, 1981
We had an appointment with the doctor.  He instructed us to put you on 25 mg of prednisone for four days and then to wean you slowly back off.  You did fairly well, with no major retracting episodes.

January 10th, 1981
You did the best you ever had with breathing while being off of prednisone!

January 20th, 1981
You started sounding a little raspy.  You caught another cold and had to go back on prednisone. 

February 1981

This whole month you were on and off of prednisone.  Whenever we would get close to taking you off, you would start retracting really bad.  And, you kept catching what we thought were colds.  Just when you would get over one, you would catch another one.  We were so exhausted and wanted this to end!

March 1981
You were now a year old!
You weren’t doing very well again, so we called the doctor.  He said he didn’t think you were catching colds that frequently and that something else might be wrong.  He decided to put you on prednisone again.  For one week, you were on a very high dosage.  If after that week, you couldn’t get weaned without retracting, we would have to see the surgeon.

March 16th, 1981
We had an appointment with the doctor.  You weren’t able to get weaned from the prednisone.  Before scheduling surgery again, the doctor wanted to look down your throat by going through your nose to see how the tumor was healing.  This was less risky than going into surgery again, but it wasn’t going to be an easy task with a one-year old.
First, the nurses strapped your head, arms, and legs down very tightly into a papoose-looking thing.  They turned the lights off and the doctor put a hose with a light on the end of it down your nose.  The doctor was happy to say that your vocal cords looked good without any visible scaring.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t see the area where the tumor was.  He had no choice, but to keep you on prednisone for another week.
Since you were doing fine on the prednisone, one of Mommy’s sisters and Mommy went to visit another sister.  We left later that day.

March 17th, 1981
While we were visiting Mommy’s sister, we decided to attend a revival meeting.  A lady put her hands on your shoulders and prayed for your healing.  It was at that moment Mommy knew God finally answered our prayers!

March 30th, 1981
You were taken off of cortisone and prednisone without any retracting episodes.  The doctors confirmed your healing had occurred on March 17th.  There was no trace of the tumor anywhere!!!

June 1981
You became a big sister this month!  You’re doing great!  You have such a sweet and loving personality.  You are very affectionate and love to hug.  You’re goofy and silly and love to act crazy.  You’re finally able to act like any other 15-month old would!

Looking Back...
The three of us went through a lot during this past year – lots of trips to the ER, lots of tears, lots of medicine, several bronchoscopies, two laser surgeries and finally one miraculous healing.  This time was very hard, but a lot of good came out of it.  Mommy and Daddy’s faith and love for God was strengthened so much more.  It was a hard time, but it’s all behind us now...  We can't wait for many more years to come with you!"

After suffering for over a year, my parents experienced divine light sent down from Heaven through the hands of a praying woman.  This healing was the light that broke forth like the dawn.  Healing came.  Healing appeared!
Healing isn’t always God’s will, but in my case, He allowed me and my parents to go through this trial so the light of dawn would be even more spectacular when I was healed. 

There will be more stories like this one coming…
Please tell me your stories.  I’d love to hear how God has revealed His divine light to you!

Jerimiah 17:14 “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed…for you are the one I praise!"

Psalm 30:2 “LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.”

Jeremiah 30:17 “’But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD.”

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Tumor Part 3

Before you read any further, be sure to go back and read all previous posts.

November 18th, 1980
Your trach got corked up.  You did very well until about 6:45 p.m.  Mommy laid you down to change your diapers.  Immediately you started to retract very badly.  This meant they had to uncork your trach.  You had the trach put back in so you could breathe through the night.  The doctors would try again tomorrow.

November 19th, 1980
At 7:00 a.m., the doctors corked the trach.  Immediately you started to retract.  You had to struggle on your own until 7:30 a.m.   Then they put the trach back in.  At 10:00 a.m., they tried to cork it again.  This time you did fairly well until 11:45 a.m.   You started getting tried, which made you retract again, so the trach went back in.  At 1:30 p.m., they corked you again.  You did o.k. until about 3:45 p.m.  They put the trach back in.  By this point, Mommy was a wreck.  I felt so bad for you!
The doctors kept the trach in since all the previous tries failed.  They noted that you shouldn’t be having this much difficulty weaning from the trach and breathing on your own.  They determined you would need another bronchoscopy.

November 21st, 1980
We hopped in a cab to head back over to the original facility you started at for another bronchoscopy.  You were laughing and giggling the whole time.  Mommy’s pretty sure you thought you were going home! 
This time Mommy got to go up to the surgery waiting room with you.  We waited with you until the anesthesiologist came to get you.  We gave you a kiss good-bye.  You immediately started to cry.  I wanted to cry, too.  You have no idea what it did to Mommy to see you go through so much and there was nothing Mommy could do to protect you from all of it!
We waited for over four hours for the procedure to get done.  Eventually the Gold Cross came out with you on a stretcher.  You were crying, but no sound was coming out again.  All Mommy could do was to hold your hand.  The doctors told me they found that some of the tumor was hidden and they had missed some of it during the last laser surgery.  It was such devastating news!
We rode back to the other facility in an ambulance.  When we got there, Daddy was anxiously waiting for us.  Mommy got to hold you the rest of the day.  The doctors wanted to wait until that Monday to try and cork the trach again.  This made Mommy nervous since she didn’t want to see you struggle again.

November 24th, 1980
Monday came and when they tried to cork the trach, you retracted.  The doctors said we could go home with the trach and suction machine to let me heal.  It would be great to get home again!
It took all morning to get your supplies together and to get your suction machine ready.  Finally at 1:00 p.m., we left for home!  You smiled the whole way home.  You were very happy to be home.
For the most part, everything went pretty good, except at night.  You would get so dry and had to be suctioned a lot.  Mommy hated to suction you because you hated it so much.  Every time I would put the suction tube down the trach, it would take your breath away.  There was no way to explain to you what was going to happen.  Your eyes would fill up with such fear whenever I suctioned you out.  It was hard to do, but Mommy needed to do it or you wouldn’t have been able to breathe.

Thanksgiving 1980
We went to Mommy’s mom’s house – your grandma.  We had a fun day and you did well.  Things changed when it was time to go home…
Daddy had a load of stuff in his hands, plus your suction machine.  He put the machine on the top of the car, while he loaded everything else up.  We got you in your car seat and started off.  As we were driving away, one of your cousins saw it on top of the car and went in to tell the adults.  Your aunt came running out yelling to get our attention, but of course we couldn’t hear them.  One of them even jumped in their car and raced after us, blowing their horn and flashing the lights at us.  Still, we didn’t see them.  After about three miles and three turns, the machine blew off and shattered on the road.  That was when we finally noticed.  Daddy felt absolutely terrible!!
We stopped and tried to look for the missing parts and even went back to grandma’s to see if maybe one of them was there.  No such luck!  We had no choice but to head into the hospital on Thanksgiving Day to get a new machine.  Daddy felt so bad!
Once at the hospital, we checked into the ER.  This began the search for a new machine.  The nurses called Respiratory, but they didn’t have one.  Then we were told to go try Pharmacy.  They didn’t have a suction machine available either.  We tried Respiratory again.  Finally after two hours of searching, they gave us a different kind of machine.  The only drawback was it was very expensive. 
We hopped back into the car and headed for home.  At this point, you were having a hard time breathing since you needed to get suctioned.  Luckily this machine didn’t need to get plugged in, so Mommy suctioned you in the car.

End of November 1980
After a few days, you started to make noises which meant the swelling was going down.  You sounded so funny and yet it was such a thrill to hear something from you again.

December 3rd, 1980
We took you to the hospital to get your trach out.  As soon as we hit the halls, you started crying.  You knew where you were and you didn’t want to go back.  This was very hard for Mommy and Daddy!  We felt so bad and, again, it was so hard to see you go through all of this.  But, we kept reminding ourselves that God had His reasons for everything that was happening.  We knew God loved you and He would care for you in His own way.
After you got checked in, the doctor took the trach out.  You did fairly well.  You started retracting a little bit, but nothing too bad.  We were there for another three days, which didn’t seem bad at all, since all the other times you were there for one to two weeks.

December 7th, 1980
We left for home – again…  When we left you were retracting a little bit.  That night you had problems breathing, but nothing too severe.  Since you were home, you were pretty happy.

December 17th, 1980
You caught a cold.  This one was a really bad one.  I sat up all night with you, rocking you, and holding you up so you could breathe a little easier.  What a long night!

December 18th, 1980
I called the doctor as soon as I could.  He told me to get lots of humidity on you all day.  By that night, you were having a really hard time breathing and we knew we would have to take you in again.  We took you to the ER.  They admitted you and shortly after you were transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.

December 20th, 1980
You were having a really hard time.  Things had taken another turn for the worst.  You were retracting quite severely, so they were forced to put you on prednisone again, which we hated to see.  You had been off it since they had put your first trach in.  We had hoped that would be the last time, but we also wanted to make sure you could breathe and didn’t have to have another trach put in.  So, they started you on prednisone.

December 22nd, 1980
We were able to leave for home, just before Christmas.  We were told to keep you home and that’s what we did.

December 23rd, 1980
Mommy started to wean you from the prednisone.  You did o.k., for the most part.

Christmas 1980
We celebrated with Daddy’s parents and siblings and a couple of your cousins.  You thought it was fun to open your presents!

New Year's Eve 1980
It's been 8 months since they found the tumor...  It's been a really hard and long 8 months!  We keep trusting God and hoping and praying for healing in 1981. 

Psalm 31:24  "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD."
Psalm 62:5  "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him."

Psalm 130:5 "I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope."
Isaiah 40:31 "...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."