Thursday, August 11, 2016

100 Days of Silence Under His Wing

On November 16, 2015 my husband and I got ourselves ready to drive to Flagstaff for an "outpatient" surgery that I needed to have on my throat. We didn't need to be there until about 10 in the morning so we kind of took our time. We packed out little overnight bag because we were told we would be there for a couple of days to receive antibiotics after the surgery. I was having a Zenker's diverticulum corrected. Here is the link if you are interested on what that is.

We really enjoyed the time together before we left the house, we laughed and made fun of things like talking like Darth Vader after surgery.  Unfortunately that is the last memory I have of that day.

After I had the surgery, within the first few hours we knew something was terrible wrong. Then it turn from we are having complication to I don't think she is going to make it. My esophagus had tore open and everything that went into my mouth was now going into my chest cavity. Usually when this happens, if it not corrected within the first 24 hours, infection sets in and your chances of survival drops to about 20%. If it is not corrected within the first few days, your chances of survival drop to 0% because the infections has now taken over your whole chest cavity, heart, lung and your airway will close due to swelling. I was kept comfortable for weeks in ICU because no doctor was willing to try to fix the problem. I was now just waiting to die. That is what my family was being told.

I was in and out of a coma, had up to 6 chest tubes, a tracheotomy, feeding tube, up to 4 different IVs in my arms and legs, and was unable to let my family know I was ok.

The reason I know I was ok was of where I had placed myself. I crawled up under God's wing and had taken refuge. No one could hear me, or see me there. It was quiet under His wing.  I never heard God's voice, but I could feel His heart beat. I never saw any bright lights to run to, but I was never in the dark. I could see fear in my husband face, but I never felt afraid. My body felt so much pain, but my spirit was comforted by God's awesome presents.

I stayed tucked under God's wing for 100 days. During those 100 days God brought me two doctors that were willing to try. They were young enough not to go by the book or stay within the box, but I also think they could see in me that I didn't want to give up.

100 days in the hospital and I got to come home to live, to love, to rejoice in God's almighty hand.

Friday, October 23, 2015

I am A to Z Unique

I have been sitting on the sidelines for a little while because of my back surgery. I am all healed up and my back feels great. I can actually feel my legs again and haven't fallen down since surgery. For several months I felt unstoppable. I felt like I had been given a second chance to "feel" better, do things I wanted to do. I hadn't felt that good in a very long time. For a period of time I honestly felt no symptoms of Elhers-Danlos or at least none that totaled me out. It was wonderful to feel that good.

About five or six months after my back surgery, sitting at the dinner table eating dinner, I noticed something strange in my throat. I noticed what felt like food getting stuck in my throat, just happened that once, but it was enough to notice it. I honestly thought to myself, "Slow down piggy, you are cramming food in too fast." It didn't happen again until the next day. 

This problem with getting food stuck in my throat progressively got worse and I finally went to the doctor. At first they thought it was my thyroid and I went through all the tests. The doctor even sent me to an ENT to have it removed. The ENT doctor wasn't positive that was truly the issue. He did one more test and sure enough, there it was, Zenker's Diverticulum. He was actually shocked because I don't fit into the category to have this problem. I am not old enough, I haven't had a stroke or neurological problem, and it didn't build up over a long period of time. I actually had a blowout in my esophagus that had created a pouch in my throat. This was most likely caused by the Elhers-Danlos. 

After finding out about the problem I am having and knowing I have to have another surgery (number 32) to fix it, at that moment I have to make a choice on what to do. My first thought was to remind myself God made me unique! He covered the whole book on me, A to Z. He knows exactly what is going on inside of me and will guide me on this journey. He will show me what I am to do with this time, before and after surgery. 

God has made me unique, one of a kind, perfect in His eyes.

I saw a funny card one time and thought that is for me.  It read:
He broke the mold after He made you, too bad He didn't take you out first before He did that. 

I am not broken, damaged or even flawed. I am unique and God will shine through my A to Z's no matter what. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Delay in the Game

Sometimes we all need to sit on a bench for awhile
It is a new year and I can definitely say I went out of 2014 with a bang.  I had a major back surgery on the last day of 2014 and started out 2015 with new hardware.  The surgery itself went as planned and the doctor was pleased with the outcome. Now it is a long, quite, I’m sure boring at times of recovery.

I have had other surgeries in my past and I understand what it means to set and heal up. I don’t remember having trouble with that idea in the past, but it was definitely a problem this time. Let me back up.  At the beginning of 2014 and that New Year I had set goals for myself to reach in 2014 and I actually reached most of the goals I set out to reach. There are a couple of goals that I wanted to reach so bad that I could see it right in front of me, but couldn't quite get to it. With the acceptance of having to have back surgery, I knew it would be impossible for me to reach the last two goals. I did question God about this because He was the one who gave me the list to begin with.

When I came home from the hospital I wanted to get back to doing my usual routine as a housewife and mom. It quickly became clear that wasn't going to happen. I could hardly walk much less do what I did before. My husband reminded me, “You aren't going to be able to pick up where you left off.”   With those words, I felt defeated and lost.

I had to stop and really ponder about that statement. I felt like I had someone slam on the breaks of a fast moving car and I wasn't wearing a seat belt. Now what do I do with myself? Where do I express myself and do what makes me me. I expressed my love for my husband and family daily by what I did around the house and caring for them.   I had to ask God how I was going to express who I am now.   I know this is just a setback but it will involve a lifestyle change also.

In the mist of prayer and questioning God, He is always faithful with a word or pictures for me to lean on.  That picture started out with a football game. Yes, God likes football or at least I think He does.

He reminded me of the daily disciple I did last year to reach some goals I needed to reach and He also knew I hadn't completed my list. He showed me that some of my goals could not be reached without this surgery. I was going backwards before the surgery. I was unable to reach the final steps even if I wanted to in the condition I was in.

Have you ever watched a really close, intense football game? I think about the 2014 Super Bowl game, it was exciting, the crowd was loud, the sports announcers were getting people into the game, and the players on their feet cheering the other players on, you get the picture. Then suddenly the power went out. Not at our house, but at the stadium during the high point of the game. Everything went black.  This didn't mean the game was over or someone lost, it was just a delay in game. I am in a delay of game.

God has plans for me. He would never ask me to reach for something and not give me a way to get there. I realize now that without this delay in game that I am in right now, I could not continue on later to complete the goal He set in front of me. I have a choice in this delay, I can pack up my dreams and give up or I can strengthen other aspects of my life in the middle of this delay. I may not be able to physically reach goals right now, but I can reach spiritually to strengthen my heart.

How many times have you been in the middle of the game and it suddenly stopped? Are you there now? What do you do with delay of game?

I choose to stay in the game no matter if that means sitting on the side line for awhile or even going to a different playing field. I will not quit because God does not quit on me. In fact I am excited about the outcome even more because it will be better than I ever dreamed. God makes the game exciting and complete, but I must choose if I stay in the game or not.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

God's Carpet Ride

Have you ever heard the expression: “Having the rug ripped out from underneath you?” I have!  I have felt like I have had that happen to me way too many times in my life. I can just picture the pain that someone would feel if they were standing on a rug on a hard tile floor and having it pulled so hard that they fall to the floor.  I don’t know about you, but adults don’t fall down as easily as they did as children. Why does life make us feel that way or do we just assume that our feet are so tightly planted on the ground that we can’t be moved?

I just recently found out that I have to have another back surgery. I know what this surgery entails, what the purpose of it is and how long it really takes to recover from it.  I had one of those moments where I felt like the rug was pulled out from underneath me again. So many thoughts ran through my mind about the recovery time and how I would care for my family while I am down for that long. Taking care of my family and our home is a blessing to me and I am going to have to let go of a lot of the details of doing that for awhile.

The day after our doctor’s appointment I finally stopped and talked to God about all of this.  I still felt like I was lying on the floor after the big pull on my daily world rug. Then after a few tears and questions of how can I do this, He showed me a picture. A vision that made me realize, again, God is in charge of everything if I hand it over to Him.

God gave me a picture of a little kid sitting on a large rag rug. Remember the rugs that were oval shape and made from tightly wrapped rags? The type you would see at grandma’s house? This little girl was sitting in the middle of this rug with her legs crossed and giggling. She was being pulled around the floor on this rug like a ride. Sliding from side to side, going from room to room. That little girl was having so much fun on that rug.

Then God asked me a question. “Why is this rug so different from your rug?”

I realized then it wasn’t the rug that was different, it was the person on the rug. It was me on that rug. I can chose to stand up with my feet planted on what I think is unchanging ground and fall down when it moves or I can sit down and have God move me with excitement of what is coming next. I choose to sit down and let God pull my rug around to a different room, to a different place, to a different plan. I want to be childlike and have no fear of the movement, but see the excitement of where it is going to take me.

No matter what we are facing, no matter if it comes on suddenly or it is planned out, we have a choice as to how we will react to it. Do we see God move in it? Do we allow God to move us during that time? I know the surgery and recovery time isn’t going to be pleasant, but I am going into it with my eyes wide open because I want to see God move. I want to sit down in front of God and let Him pull me where He wants me.

Father, forgive me for having fear and loss as my first thought. Thank you for reminding me that you are there in the middle of everything all time. Thank you for replacing the fear and loss in my heart with your reassurance and excitement of seeing you move in my life, and also in others around me during this time.   Father, pull my rug around wherever you want it to go; I’m ready for the ride.  Amen.

Friday, November 7, 2014

What makes a sunrise different?

I never really was a morning person when I was younger, but that seems to have changed over the past twenty years. I’m not sure if it was me that changed or just life around me which helped me change. We started to have early mornings in our home getting our boys off to school and my husband off to work. I was the organizer, lunch packer, clothes picker outer, cheer leader, paperwork gatherer, you get the idea. So my days started out early. Now that the boys are all grown up, I still pack a lunch for my husband and cheer him on for the day.

My husband and I have a routine every morning before he goes off to work. I get up and make sure the coffee is done, turn on the computer, kick on the heater or air conditioner depending on the weather outside, and wake up my husband. We sit and have coffee, read the news together and visit with each other. I love our morning together.

There was one particular morning I got up just a few minutes earlier than normal, not sure why, but I could tell it was a little stormy outside. It was still dark, but you could just feel the weather was different.  I did my usual routine and while standing in the kitchen, I noticed that the light which slowly filled up the room was orange. I knew what that meant, a beautiful sunrise. I grabbed my coffee and went to window and watched.

As the sun started to peek above the red rocks in the distance; I began to thank God for the beautiful sunrise, even though I hadn’t seen all of it yet. I just knew it was going to be wonderful and amazing. Just as I predicted, it was breath taking. I thanked God for waking me up early to see the amazing colors that changed with every second and for beauty that only He could create.

After the sun had completely come up and all the sunrise show was over I had a question for myself; why don’t I get that excited about every sunrise, no matter what it looks like? God creates every sunrise, every morning, no matter if I am asleep or not. How many sunrises did I look at and thought, nope nothing special about this one. If God makes it, it is beyond worthy of my praise! No matter what the day starts out looking like, no matter how it finishes, it is the day the Lord has made.

I realized that I was determining God’s awe by what I thought was worthy of an awe. Just because something may look the same day after day, doesn’t mean God didn’t create it or have His hands and heart among it. I realized I missed so many “ho hum days” that actually had God all over it, just not the way I thought God should be in it. I want to wake up every morning no matter how it starts, no matter what it looks like, no matter what it feels like, and know that God is right there in the midst of it all. Just like the beautiful sunrise, I want to be excited and thankful before it is even finished!

Psalms 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Father, forgive me of missing the daily presence You give me. Please fill my heart with the excitement of who You are. Let me be able to see You in the midst of everything and everyday in my life, no matter what it may feel like to me. You bless me every day and I want to thank you for that. Thank you for loving me and for opening my eyes and my heart to who You are! Amen!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pocket Clutter

I was doing laundry the other day and in the mist of getting the laundry ready to be washed I had a strange thought go through my mind. Here I am sorting out the clothes, separating the darks from the colors, digging for the whites to make sure they don’t get mixed in with the wrong pile and most importantly checking the pockets for anything that might be in there. I don’t care how many times I check the pockets, something, mostly a tissue, gets by me and I find it all over the washing machine drum. It also has to blow up into a thousand pieces on dark colored blue jeans. I have come to the conclusion that if you could really pick up all the little pieces you find after a tissue explosion and put it back together it would be the size of a queen bed sheet. I think they expand way beyond the normal size of a tissue when it enters a washing machine.

Ok, back to the pocket digging during laundry. In the mist of getting the blue jeans ready for washing I always go through the pockets at least twice to make sure it is ready for the washing machine. This particular time I was going through our youngest sons pockets and I pulled out an employee badge, Sharpie pen, truck keys, a wallet, pack of gum, and I think an old gum wrapper (at least I know he doesn’t litter). As I pulled these items out one at a time and set them on top of the washing machine I stopped and looked at the pile and realized, he is all grown up and I am getting older. I really pondered this thought for awhile as I looked back at all the different pockets I have cleaned out over the years.

I think I miss the time when both of our boys where home and I was pulling out items such as a really cool rock, rubber bands, Nurf darts, GI Joe parts and Hot Wheels. Thank goodness we never had the frog or worm thing. That was from our youngest son’s pockets. Our oldest son’s pockets had things like, guitar picks, drum sticks (yes, even in his pockets), school ID and an occasional candy wrapper. Our boys are eight years apart so there was a gap in the important items that were stuffed in their pockets.

I honestly had to laugh and then I went into the kitchen and dug through my purse to see what was in there. I thought if the pockets of our sons had changed so much, what about my pockets. I pulled out my wallet and looked at it. It kind of looked the same, but the picture on the driver’s license had changed a lot more than I wanted it too. I glanced down to the bottom of my purse and saw the tissue stash and a bottle of Ibuprofen, Chap Stick, and possibly a wet wipe. Oh my how I realized how my pockets have changed over the years. When we were young we always have the makeup, hair brush, feminine products just in case (now all they are used for is if you are going somewhere you might laugh to hard or the bathroom is on the other side of the building.) You were prepared for life in your pocket or purse. It was a reflection of who we are.

I am one of these people that I almost always ask God to show me what I am to see in a situation. As I looked at the pile of pocket clutter on the washing machine my heart had mixed emotions and I suddenly realized I am having an identity change. God reminded me that He is always making a way for us on His path, that means we are always moving hopefully forward with life. He reminded me that He wants us to mature, grow up and clean out our pockets. We don’t need to carry stuff with us that is no longer needed or “immature”. How many of us have things in our heart pocket like unforgiviness from something years ago, or a hurt we refuse to let heal. I think sometimes we also carry things in our heart pockets that won’t let us move forward with joy that were actually a happy time, but we can’t go back to that. I have had moments that I wanted to push back the clock so bad that it actually hurt. I was happy when I was a mom that was needed for the simple things in life. I felt needed when I had a busy schedule with school functions, sports, band, bake sales and “can you volunteer for this” times. I felt important keeping up with our boys in their lives as they grew up. I felt important to my husband as I helped keep up with the football schedule, hauling equipment from game to game and making sure the water jugs were filled with ice and water.

I suddenly realized I had stuff in my heart pocket that was no longer needed in there. I needed to embrace the memories and let God remind me, “you did a good job and now I have something new for you”. I am looking for the new identity as I mature, get older, age gracefully, push over the top of the hill, or whatever you want to call it. My role in life may change, God planned it that way. Can you imagine if David would have stayed just a shepherd, or Peter just a fisherman, or Jesus just a teacher. All their lives had changed, matured and reached a path that God had set in front of them. It wasn’t easy, but it was God’s plan.

I am looking for my new name tag. I will always be a wife and try to be the best I possibly can. I will always be a mom but with a different level of need. I wouldn’t want my boys to not grow up. I have realized that I am now that older lady in church that will be an example to the younger ladies.
There are two scriptures that came to me and they both talk about the future, tomorrow, the change in our maturity. Even our life role changes are a test and require perseverance. I am slowly realizing God had everything put in place for me to grow up and grow older.

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 hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 
James 1:2-4

God, help me embrace the new role in my life you have for me. Help me remove the items in my heart pocket that I no longer need to carry. Remind me of my time of joy from the past, but don’t let that be a block for my steps into the future. Father, I know I can’t go back in time and do it again and I can make the choice to hold Your hand as I walk into the future. You already know what plans you have for me, so help me embrace it without fear or worry. Replace my junk in my heart pocket with a giggle and excitement for what we have coming up. In your precious name. Amen!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Standing in the doorway

It's Thursday morning and I have to admit I feel like I am standing in a door way of the day trying to convince myself to step outside to see the world. I think the issue I am having is, if I can see the world, they can see me. Oh how that sounds too scary for me right now. I don't want the world to see me, not necessarily the physical me, but my heart in words on paper (or screen now a days). Once the words are out there, you can't pull it back in.

I have had a stirring in my heart for some time now about writing, but I thought I couldn't do that because you need to be "good" at it. How can you be good at anything if you don't try it first, then practice it and then embrace it completely. I can honestly say, I'm on step one. The first step in the doorway. With lots of encouragement from friends and family, I have decided to open the door and take that first step. So here I am God, I am all Yours and may my words be Your words and pleasing to Your heart.

I had to go back and look at some of the people God used to express His Word to others and honestly I think they felt like I do right now. "Why me God, what makes me qualified to do this for You?"
I looked at Moses, Noah, David, John, Peter the list goes on and on. I realized one thing with all of this stirring in my heart, I was looking at this all backwards. I am not qualified within my self to do God's work, but God in me qualifies me. It is all about Him and what He has shown me over the years. My story about me doesn't change anything for anyone, but what God has done in me, that is the words He wants out there for people to hear. People can quote the Bible, teach classes, memorize scripture, but it is the testimony of the heart that reaches out and gives hugs.

I guess it is my time to step out of the doorway, look the world in the eye and say "let me give you a hug"