Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A not-so-normal Normal

Things haven't been "normal" for us since August 2008. That's when my back first went out after SaraRose was born. She was 9 months old. It's been almost 2 years since then. *Sigh*

I've had two surgeries, tons of tests, lots of doctors, months upon months of waiting, more medication than I can count, and many, many tears. And things still aren't right. After all we've been thru I'm in intense pain. And I've already gone thru so much to try and correct it. What does this mean? More doctors for sure. Definitely more tests. Potentially more surgery. Lots of unknowns.

One of the quirkiest, hardest things about living with unknowns is that they are ALWAYS there. The elephant in the room. We've learned to try and live around it anyway. To just ignore it, or we'll lose our minds having to look it in the eye all the time. But it's a weird way to live. It's with us on family outings. It wakes me up at night. It came with us on our Disney trip. Even when we are really happy, reality is just around the corner. And of course there are those moments when we HAVE to face it and talk about what's been just under the surface all the time. It takes a toll on a person, a family, a marriage. I'm find myself on edge more often than not. My softness and levity is replaced with a more jagged, uptight, volatile wife-mother-friend.

I know there are lots of people that have to live this way. I think specifically of our friends, the McRae's, who's little 5 year old, Kate, has brain cancer. But in between treatments, they just got back from a family trip to Universal Studios. To read their story click here. Definitely a not-so-normal normal, living with fear but going on anyway.

But I've learned that's the key. To keep on moving. Life certainly does. Why let the stress and pressure suck all the good out of potentially sweet moments? It's hard. Sometimes the energy to even carry on a conversation can be overwhelming. But sometimes you have to just do it. Put on a smile. Put one foot in front of the other. And try to enjoy the good things that exist amidst all the bad. Don't "let it lick you," to quote Scarlett O'Hara! And hopefully if the terrible season ever comes to an end, you'll be able look back and say.....those were some awful years, but we had some good times thru them anyway, didn't we?

SaraRose's first fair ride!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Goals to have in mind

The thought of making any sort of New Years resolution has been laughable. That would mean I had a little bit of control over what happens this next year.
But today I saw something that made me think......
And I decided to make an itty-bitty promise to myself. Not a "resolution," which gives the impression that at the end of the year I've conquered something, but just a reminder, a hope:

To pray for my husband more

To pray for SaraRose more
To keep on reading the Bible

Those are the three things that regardless of anything else I am going thru, I don't want to put on the back burner.

I've always wanted to be a homemaker that diligently prays. Someone who goes about her housework lifting to the Lord each aspect of her husband's work and family life, and as she rocks her child to sleep, prays for all their little life will become. But since SaraRose was born---- YEA RIGHT! I've had to put so much effort into just keeping my head above water, that I pray for myself ALL THE TIME, but any prayers for my family have become sporadic at best.

And the reading the Bible thing.....sheesh. You KNOW I've been trying, people, but
I. am. struggling.
I find myself rolling my eyes at the thought almost every day. And I hate that! It is just weirdly difficult. I don't want to do it. I go to pick it up and my burden seems heavier. More like sand in my mouth than living water. Maybe I'm not doing the right thing by trying to read the Bible thru. Maybe I'm angry with God and am having a hard time really believing and holding on to anything there. Probably it's both and more. I don't know. All I know is that I could very easily see this slipping again.

So, there you have it. My three little wishes for myself in the New Year. I know I can't do it without the Lord's strength, so---

Have mercy on me, Lord. Help me to desire and even gain pleasure in following thru with these little goals. And Lord, it would be amazing if I even saw some answers. That would really do wonders for me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For good

How many times have I been wowed by the life of Joseph? Only every time I read it. But today it seems extra vivid and close to home. His life is true integrity in adversity. Adversity that drags on and on and on. Adversity he did nothing to deserve. Adversity that just when he thought it might be all over.....NOPE, IT'S NOT.....and then he didn't know if it ever would be.

But the most amazing thing about his story is the end. Years and years later. After so many terrible unknowns, it was all working towards "proving him true" (Ps. 105:19). And for the greater blessing of Joseph, his family, and Egypt. I LOVE and cling to his response to his brothers: "What you meant for evil, God meant for good." (Gen. 50:20)

As Christians, we have the promise that every day we face has a purpose, that "EVERY thing is working together for our good."(Romans 8:28) Especially the hard times that throw us into a pit. Really, if we read the Bible properly, suffering, hurt, pain is all part the plan to see who we really are; to help make us better. That doesn't always make sense, but it is a fact that that's how God works. He "sits as a purifier and refiner of silver." (Mal. 3:3) He never tricks us, is never surprised by something the comes our way. The Bible promises"He knows the way I take, when He has tried me, I will come forth as gold." (Job 23:10) In fact, we are to "consider it all joy, because the testing of [our] faith develops perseverance. [And] perseverance must finish it's work so you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4)

I want to be mature and complete, not lacking anything! And I know for a fact that God has started a good work in me. And since He has, He "will be faithful to complete it." Like Joesph sold into slavery, and sitting in that horrifying prison for years on end, who in the world knows where all this pain is leading? But I hold on to the hope, that as long as I keep trusting, believing, and doing the very best I can to hold onto Him thru all of this, that some day, I will be able to say "See? He meant it for good. He meant it for good! Praise God! I couldn't see it at the time, but He meant it for good!"

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Year Bible in 6 and counting.....

Today I found the read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year Bible I've been searching for! I've rummaged thru closets, torn apart bookshelves, and asked everyone who's in and out of my house if they've seen it. I truly thought it was gone, but I'm so glad I found it! Here's why: I started reading the Bible thru in a year about 6 years ago. HA! It one of those ones that has the Old and New Testament squished together for a daily reading, so I needed this particular book to know I wasn't leaving something out when I stopped two years ago.
It took me fours year to read to Jeremiah and Philippians, and then my back problems began--- and reading about the plummeting of Israel just wasn't cutting it for me. Then, my health problems grew worse, a surgery didn't work, pain became a daily battle, there was another massive surgery, pain still there, worry and fear, and life spinning out of control. I stopped reading all together. I just couldn't take it. Click here to read more about that struggle for me. But then, after praying about the hard time I was having even opening the Bible I felt the Lord answer: "It's not about you." I needed to read just to hear and learn about Him. Not for anything that I would necessarily get out of it.
So, I've been reading again, but just snippits here and there with no real direction. Now that I've found my Bible I'm going to pick up where I left off. And hopefully finish thru to Revelation this time, dangit!
It's very interesting looking back thru the Book. The fire, the energy in my highlights and underlining. The "WOW, Lord!" comments I've written in the borders.
It seems like a lifetime ago.
But it's also a little resfreshing to remember the days when I felt that alive and free. Will I ever be there again? Oh, how I hope so.
But either way, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A little dose of Disney

By now it's no secret that I LOVE Disney. And last night, as I sat down to watch one of my favorite movies since I was a little girl, I was again reminded why. It's ultimately the ideals held by Walt and the way he went about sharing them with the world.
Have you ever seen the movie "Pollyanna"? As much as I loved that classic film as a kid, it means even more to me as an adult. Because I understand more of what it's saying. One film critic said, "Pollyanna is a near-perfect movie; it should be required viewing for everyone." I agree. Hayley Mill's performance is remarkable, as are the adult performances in it (Karl Malden imparticular). But it's the story that does it for me every time. It's just so lovely. So wholesome. So kind. So full of all the good things in the world. That's what I enjoy the most. And I appreciate that Walt Disney saw that too and took the efforts to make such a sweet story known.
I was watching a "Making of" featurette and Walt was quoted as saying he only made movies "that show forth the best in all of us." I'm so glad he did. You can see that mission in almost all the old Disney pictures, but especially this one.
It is good for me to watch "Pollyanna." It's good because I can hear myself starting to get cynical these days. And I need to be reminded of that Abraham Lincoln quote in the movie ---"If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." And that works the other way around too.
Thanks, Mr. Disney. I needed that!

Friday, January 1, 2010

COPING SPIRITUALLY: It's just not that easy

I am having a hard time putting into “bullet points” ways to cope spiritually when you’re living in pain. I do have lots of ideas written out. Things that have helped my spiritual journey during this painful year and a half. But it seems like right when something is working for me in this category, I am blindsided by some new scenario and my spiritual life ends up taking a toll. And it’s hard to just say, “ok, A. B. C. this is what I need to do….” No, I usually end up on my knees, crying, not understanding, and begging God for mercy. Yes. I have lots and lots of ways I have held onto my faith and my God throughout this ordeal, but it isn’t easy and it's usually hard won. So much is believing in what I cannot see. And trusting in promises that seem far away.
But I do know that it’s worth it. The only power, strength, truth I find is in Jesus. It’s the only thing that gets me thru. It’s the only thing that promises me there is a plan, there is a purpose, and that the God of the universe will help me no matter what.
So forgive me if I never post the last section of the “Coping” blogs. I may get around to it someday, but right now, the little tidbits seem trite in comparison to the serious business of living when you’re in a painful place.
God, send Your best to us this New Year. Let us see Your glory, goodness, and love in very real ways. We boldly ask that you would bless us indeed, let Your face shine on us, and show us Your glory in the land of the living.