I have not had much strength to write as of late. I do often in my mind; if only my brain came with dictation so I could get it written down. 😊
I am here still warrioring on with each of you who bravely get up each morning and embrace the good and the hard of your own stories.
One small treasure that I have been reminded of in this string of hard-fought days is that thankfulness if the key to peace. When my mind wants to run with with worry, I am practicing replacing those anxieties with thanking my Savior for the miraculous as well as the mundane, and He has been faithful to pour into me a peace too thick, too rich with the serenity of it all that it can only come from Him.
Is the roar of worry drowning out your thoughts? Try it. When anxiety creeps in, start listing the graces of your every day, and you too will find peace.
For months I have been praying about a situation, asking God to clearly show me His will so that I would have peace and assurance in making a difficult decision. Admittedly I grew a bit frustrated and impatient as I sought the right answer and did not hear or feel one way or another.
I am a planner. A list-maker. A lover of straight lines and hard-core committed to doing things ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute. Ha! Well, joke’s on me! Do you think God in His infinite wisdom knows this about me and perhaps wanted to work on my heart to teach me to be still and trust Him and His timing? *Sheepishly nodding my head*
Days ticked into weeks rolled into months and I entered the week of do-or-die, where I’d normally be in full blown panic mode. I feel like a lot of times I have gone ahead and jumped the gun; made the decision myself and put things into action. Strangely this time I felt a certain peace in waiting, knowing I had not yet heard the confirmation I knew came from waiting on God to move. So I waited. I reminded God why an answer sooner than later would be better for allll the reasons, but I waited.
He kept His promise from Jeremiah 29:13 where He said, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Down to the wire the answer came through. Clear as day, and from multiple different places He affirmed the decision I was to move forward with. One of the confirmations came in the form of a literal hand written note. There was no denying it.
Not only that, but I thought sure things would be screwed up from waiting so long, but every single piece fell into place with impeccable timing and not a moment late.
There was such a humbling in realizing God had it under control the whole time. He was not panicking. He was not making a mess of things by waiting until the last minute. And friends, it has been beautiful.
It has been beautiful because I know without a doubt I am walking in God’s will, and with that comes the assurance that He will bless this, because it was His idea not mine.
In what ways are you challenged to wait on God to move? Is it hard for you like it is for me? Us type A’s, we like to be in control and on time, and boy hardy is it a difficult, but so rewarding practice to be still and wait. Remind me of this the next time I’m ready to take things into my own hands, because I am sure enjoying the peace and success that comes from following what God wants for me instead of what my limited sight can see.
I know many of you that aren’t on my social media have been waiting on updates, and I’m sorry it’s been awhile. I need to teach my hubs how to post for me!
My first surgery went relatively smoothly. They were able to remove my gallbladder, and after some initial trouble getting me breathing on my own again I came back around and was able to breathe on my own with my normal oxygen and vent support.
Unfortunately during surgery they found my gallbladder had been backed up enough that stones were forced out a duct into my liver. The hospital I was at was not equipped to deal with that, so they packed me up in a mobile MICU ambulance and sent me to the bigger hospital in town, where I was taken back to surgery to clear out the tract and put a stent in my liver. This was a risky procedure, but was also a lot shorter, and they were again able to get me off the ventilator and breathing on my own once again. I’m so grateful for each of you that were praying for that for me; I truly believe God listened and showed me his favor through your faith.
The following days brought some pancreatitis as a result of the procedure. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone! I was blessed with frequent visits from good friends, which kept my spirits up, but made me long for home. With the days to Christmas growing shorter I was pressing my doctors to let me free. There always comes a point I get so desperate for home that I’d rather be miserable at home than miserable in a hospital room by myself.
I made it home on Christmas Eve, a wonderful blessing to be with my people in the comfort of home. I have mostly been in bed working on pain control and breathing, and my wing man has diligently been making sure to keep my tube feedings running, as my appetite seems to have left me somewhere along the way.
At times I get discouraged that I can’t jump up and mop my floors or pack up the Christmas decorations, and my mind starts running ahead of me too fast and wondering if my days like that are behind me. My kind Savior draws me back to His words though and promises to sustain me and my family in whatever capacity I find myself.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
It has been awhile since I have shared some of my favorite things, so this Fall Friday seemed Fit to do a Favorites post!
This is my favorite lippy ever! Not only does it do an excellent job preventing chapped lips, but it also has a little bit of a pretty shine to it when it is applied, which always feels fancy to me. I have only ever found it at the Big R farm stores in Colorado of all places, so I make sure to buy them out whenever I visit. I just did a search and found they are available to order at https://cvc4health.com/products/superior-source-lip-healer-lip-balm-3-pack.
These little caramel cremes or “bullseyes” pack so much decadence into one bite. I never have the self control to only eat one. Don’t go through life missing out on these!
My new favorite shoes. This may mean I officially dress my age, but I don’t even care because these babies make me happy every time I wear them. Amazon sells this for $50-&60, but I found mine on sale at Kohl’s for $35!
At first I thought these were just an Ohio thing, but I have now traveled and seen these in other states, so run, don’t walk to get yourself a bag of these. Hands down the best pretzel I have ever tasted! Their other flavors, not so much, but I do like their version of Cheetos as well.
I rented this book from the library thinking to read it to my youngest, but it turned out I was the one caught flipping through it for the second and third times. Funny title, but the words and pictures scratched across the pages are so tender and real and encouraging they speak right to the heart. Easily one of my favorites.
Before my brain cells even had the time to process the thought, my hand reached for my phone. I thought, “I need help. I will just make a post real quick asking if anyone can trade me shoes.” And then as the final neuron fired to let the thought become whole, I crumbled. Reality caught up. No one can trade shoes with me. These are MY shoes; the shoes I was trusted to wear. They are worn to the shape of my feet, and even those painful blisters they caused have been allowed because it was known that my feet would withstand the wounds.
I peek in on drowsy faces and memorize the tufts of hair and spatters of freckles that move with the rhythm of innocent peaceful sleep. Sleep is such bliss because you forget, and right now they are sleeping peacefully, hopefully dreaming of some beautiful far off land, or another enchanting adventure. Right now they have found solace from reality.
My light burned dim next to my bedside as the night hours stretched one into the next. The quiet of the house invited me to slumber, but the heaviness of my heart would not allow. I thought again on my shoes. This unflattering, beat up pair that I would have never chosen for myself, and yet they are the ones I find myself wearing most often. Even the times I have thought I am done with them, and slipped them into the donate box or the outside trash, they always seem to find their way back to my closet. That’s how I know I cannot simply ask someone to trade with me. No, they are mine to wear.
My mind is wild as I run through all of the possible scenarios for how the day could unfold. There is definitely no thought of sleep. I grasp empty air and plead with my Maker, begging for mercy, for grace, for pardon. He turns my thoughts back to my shoes and how as uncomfortable as they are they have always carried me to my next destination. They have provided shelter from sharp shards meant to slice tender soles, and they have kept me dry when my footsteps skirted troubled waters. These shoes have not always been easy to wear, but He reminds me that He has always given me the strength to do it. He has always filled me with enough to wake up and put on those shoes each next time, and make it each day walking a path I want to run from. His reminders bring peace, and my heavy eyes sleep, escaping the pinching narrow toe of my shoes, and running barefoot along a sandy paradise.
The next morning reality hangs in gray strings of fog from the tree limbs, but I confidently don my shoes. I step toward the hard thing, knowing it’s coming ready or not. That’s when I noticed across the way from me a young woman with frazzled hair and deep pockets of purple beneath her eyes. Her thin body seems to tilt back and forth as if it might fall and shatter at any moment. I almost dismiss her, but I happen to catch a glance beneath her long, dusty skirt the shape of a pair of shoes like mine. The same pinched toes and blistered spots, and while her shoes are not exactly like mine, they are similar enough to know she has been walking a lonely and grueling journey, just like me.
I smiled knowingly at her, and gave her a small fist pump in the air, as if to say, “stay in it! Keep going forward! You’ll get there soon.” And I thrust my pointy toe forward to show her; you were never alone.
Gifted an incredible gift to slip away just the two of us, my man and I took every opportunity to soak in the great joy held abundantly in the salty waters. Each afternoon he would tenderly inflate the vest to keep me afloat, and don his long fins to do the kicking for the both of us. As he gently pulled me along I marveled and squeaked with delight at the stunning colors and entrancing shapes of the sea creatures below.
One hot afternoon the winds had been stronger all day, and the choppier waves had churned up a hazy silt from the ocean floor. Just as we had done before, he held tight to my hand and pulled me along the surface of the water, snorkels upright amid the salty spray. This time I felt different. Even though my hand was in his, the murky water clouded everything from view, and when I looked straight ahead the sides of my mask obscured the rest of my view of my helpmate alongside me. As soon as this happened my heartbeat thumped frantically faster and I felt lost and panicked in the disorienting haze of the sandy water. Then I turned my face to the right, and clear as day I could see him right next to me guiding me along, and in an instant the throb in my chest slowed and a peace settled over me, knowing I was not lost or alone. Slowly though I would turn my gaze forward again only to be paralyzed repeatedly as his comforting presence disappeared from my view, and then look up again to see the comfort of his company right next to me.
This week I took calculated breaths as I tried to distract myself from the pain of a necessary procedure. With each new bolt of agony my mind would race through the what ifs, panicking myself into wondering if this would last forever. Then I would look up, and there squished in the corner where he could reach to hold my hand was my heartthrob, eyes locked, waiting to meet mine. Again that wash of peace and okayness would melt over me and quiet the pounding of my thoughts. As long as I held his gaze with mine I could do this.
There was where I realized… what a pertinent reminder; that when my focus is on other things I get lost, scared, and unsure of my direction. But when I lift my eyes back to the face that has never turned away from me, I find peace, safety, and belonging. I draw from that strength and it gives me the courage to keep moving forward, however foggy the future may be. Even though my Heavenly Father is right there holding my hand, it is I that has to raise my panicked stare and remember that with Him as my focus I have the courage to face whatever hard comes my way.
What about you; do you forget to look up when you’re in the panic of the moment? Do you find yourself looking for someone to steady in you? He’s always there waiting, just turn your eyes up.
We recently had family pictures taken, and they turned out beautifully. I’m so thankful for the extra time taken to capture moments of me with each one of my little loves, as well as the man of my dreams. As beautiful as they are, when I look at them I swallow a hard knot wondering what the future holds. As I’m fighting for another Christmas I’m overwhelmed with thanks with each moment of time I’m given; we’re all given.
As I poured over our photos and soaked in the soft background light and the beaming smiles, something struck me. It looks like such a warm Fall day; our faces lit with sunshine, and I look so strong standing beside my people.
Well let me take you behind the scenes. It was FREEZING. I mean nose-running, eyeball-gelling, goosebump-shivering cold. This kind of cold is especially hard on my muscles, escalating my normal spasms into arms and legs that lock up and refuse to move.
This is how that day really looked: I was in my electric wheelchair bundled in a coat and covered in a thick blanket. We would roll to each new backdrop and I would be helped to pull off my blanket, yank stiff arms out of my coat, take my oxygen tubing off my face, shuffle to where I needed to stand, and then prop me up for the next shot. Then back to the chair, coat on, oxygen on, blanket on, roll to the next place. It felt so messy and chaotic, yet you’d never know that looking at our pictures.
That’s what struck me. It was such an important reminder about how appearances are deceiving, especially on social media. We can all be really good at hiding what is really going on. Unfortunately that’s usually our default; pretend everything is ok. Remember that many people are fighting hard battles even though you might not see them, so offer grace, extend kindness, and never assume you know the whole story.
Leave me a comment; it lets me know you’re listening!
My heart feels crushed every time I remember that a hard goodbye is just around the corner. I am grieving having to say goodbye to an incredible woman. An Angel among us. I have been so blessed in life to have been given friends who leave such important footprints on my heart.
I met Sue in a roundabout kind of way; we were both following the same blog, and the blog author had asked for prayers for Susan’s granddaughter, Delainey, who was having complications from Trisomy 18. In the end, we lost our daughter Ellianna, and she lost her granddaughter Delainy just a few months apart. Thus began an unexpected friendship; raw, real, beautiful, and based on the bare bones truth of treating people gently when they need to be loved.
Sue and I carried the heaviness of grieving our little ones side by side even though we were states apart. She was always accepting of whatever stage I was in, and gave me space to feel and express all that I needed to. Do y’all know how rare that is? It is an indescribable gift to have a person like that! Even in her own grieving, Sue found ways to speak to my hurts and mend my broken pieces with her gentle words and kind heart.
Susan is a relentless encourager. If I look at my “friendship” on Facebook I will be scrolling through page after page of scripture, encouraging quotes, and meaningful articles she would send on to me. And that woman must have liked and commented on every one of my pictures for like five years. She was always looking for ways to build me up.
I only got to be with Sue in person one time, and that makes me a little sad. She was traveling near my town and made it a point to stop and meet up with us so we could finally meet in the flesh and have a good meal together. It is a treasured memory, an experience that really made me realize how gentle and kind of a person she is. She is calm and sure of herself, content in the moment, unlike how I sometimes come roaring in in a hot frazzled mess.
How blessed I am to have shared in such an uplifting and encouraging friendship at a time we both so deeply needed it. My heart aches that this world will not have Sue anymore, but my soul rejoices wildly at the thought of her scooping up her Delainey once again, and snuggling her close for all of eternity. How happy she will be. Once again she will be paving the way for me through a new unknown.