Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shoulder News

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in my sight, You have been honored, and I have loved you.
Isaiah 43: 2-4

Eight weeks ago I had shoulder surgery. It has been a long eight weeks! 
Lots of pain.
Yet, God has healed my shoulder and my heart. And, it has been very good.
I saw the doctor last week and he said all is well. Nine more weeks and my shoulder pain level should be much less. (clap please)
Physical therapy is down to one  day a week, which I will find more manageable. (more cheers)
Last Saturday, I held my grandson. By this, I mean, I carried him around the room in my arms. This is a joy I have not been able to participate in for months. (cartwheels, cheers, and claps)
So, yes, it has been challenging. God has given me so much support through my husband. And, I have another friend that always takes the wheel when we go somewhere, so I get a break. 
And, so much more.
I'm praising God for His healing. 
I'm praising God for the support He has brought into my life.
I'm praising God for redemption!
Say That Again!

The Fountain

Last week as I was reading my Bible and worshiping, God gave me an image of a bubbling fountain. It was inviting, beautiful, and invigorating.
In Revelation 21: 6-7 He talks about the fountain:
And He said to me "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."
It says that He will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts!
I don't know about you, but I am thirsty EVERY, SINGLE. DAY.
I'm taking the drink; it's free!
If I don't take the drink, I won't overcome. 
Jesus is inviting. Jesus is beautiful. Jesus is invigorating.
Jesus is the Overcomer.
I have a shirt that says "A BLOOD DONOR SAVED MY LIFE"
that would be Jesus. 
His blood, on the Cross, has opened up eternity for me. He took my past, present, and future upon Himself, so I could be an Overcomer and live with Him for all eternity!
This is amazing news!
Take courage, my friends, and drink today from the fountain. He is there for you.
Say That Again, Sweet Jesus!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Deep unto Deep

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime, and the night His song shall be with me-a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalms 42:7, 8

This last week my husband and I took a step of faith. It felt scary to me in a lot of ways, and we had to pray through it. I also needed to ask a couple friends to pray with me, because I was not feeling calm, and I wanted calm. God brought this verse to me immediately and I began to feel waves of calm come over me as we moved forward with our decision. I even woke up in the night, feeling assured that God was with me, singing me His lullaby.
Near the end of the week, God sent a friend with a gift for us; it completely redeemed our step of faith! It was so incredible and once again I am amazed by what God does and who He is!
He continues to call me into deeper places, because He is deep. He assures me that He will be there all of the day with His lovingkindness. And, when  the nightfalls He will still be there, singing His sweet song over me. It will be so constant, it will be the prayer of my life!
Before this step, He kept repeating to me "Hope in God" and each time I would open my Bible it would seem to fall to Psalms 43:5
Hope in God
For I shall yet praise Him, 
the help of my countenance and my God.
Deep places require hope, and all hope comes from God. I am learning that more and more. Praises to the name of God!
So today I will Say That Again!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Progress

It's been twenty days since my shoulder surgery. In some ways it feels like months, not weeks.  Time can have a way of getting carried away, or just all mixed up. 
I've been moving very slowly, at least it feels very slow, the last three weeks.  Focusing on recovery with a positive outlook has been my goal, while still being real and honest about how I feel and what is going on inside my body and my heart. Sometimes those two positions collide with each other, and I'm left with a lot of crashing noises and messy pieces to sort through.
There has been so very much to be thankful for. God has abundantly blessed me with beautiful family and friends to surround me during this time and support me, my husband, and children. They have brought us food, given us rides, brought flowers, run errands, and visited often. 
There have been so many days that the pain in my shoulder has felt bigger than my courage. And, when I hear long term predictions of this being a 3-4 month intense struggle, I feel discouraged. Then, when the time is extended to two years before my shoulder is completely healed, I find that I really begin to struggle with feelings of despair. 
 This.Is.Not.Okay.

I cry out to the Lord with my voice;
with my voice to the Lord I make
my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
then you knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
they have secretly set a snare for me.
Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one
who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me;
no one cares for my soul.
I cried out to you, O Lord: 
I said "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise your name; the righteous shall surround me, for you shall deal bountifully with me."
Psalms 142: 1-7

At physical therapy yesterday he measured the stretch of my arm, and it is up to 80 percent! The last 20 percent is the toughest to accomplish, and I'm not moving beyond the 80 because of the pain I experience. The journey ahead, the 20 percent, could take as long as two years! 
When I woke up this morning, and I started to pray, the thought that  "it doesn't have to be that way" came to mind. God will stretch my arm in His timing, it's all in His control. I need to diligently do the exercises and rest in His care. Yes, it's going to be painful. And, yes I want to talk about that; it helps to process it. But, however long it takes, God will bountifully deal with me and my family. I feel afraid sometimes that it will be a long time, but if it is, He will replenish my strength and give me courage every day. He will give my husband all that he needs to manage as well, for this has not been easy for him.
There is so much to learn in the journey of life. God continues to bring me along and teach me about compassion, love, hope, trust, faith, and much more. Today I am asking Him to whisper words of hope over and over to me and I will continue to 
Say That Again!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Praise God!


We celebrated our 33rd anniversary yesterday. We went to the park with our kids. It was very nice. The weather was perfect. We walked through town and through the park and we ate dinner. For my husband and I it was so nice to be together and to think about all the years that we have enjoyed each other's company. 
We have had children in our home for 31 years, and they have given us a lot of joy as well.
There has also been much hardship, but God has walked with us and given us the needed support of each other. I feel very blessed to have been given the gift of family.
I believe the wings of God are sheltering us. He has lifted us up through financial struggles, health issues, a straining business, and ongoing issues. 

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be
in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in 
the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, 
And let us exalt His name
together.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my
fears.
They looked to Him and were 
radiant, 
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord
heard him, 
And saved him out of all his troubles.
Psalms 34:1-6

All these years, the Lord has heard me, and He has continually delivered me. I will praise Him, and Him alone will I praise! Because of Him, we have been blessed with 33 years, five beautiful children, three daughter in-laws, and five wonderful grandchildren!
Say That Again, Praise God!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Surgery and Beyond

Last Wednesday I had surgery on my shoulder. It had been causing me a lot of pain for several months, and I was unable to move my right arm above my head. Actually, my right arm was basically useless because of the pain and because my shoulder had become  frozen.
I was nervous about surgery. But, God being so full of compassion and grace towards me gradually brought me to a place of peace. The day of the surgery I did not feel afraid. I was eager to get the job done! And, even though I still needed to ask my surgeon whether or not he knew exactly what he was doing, he was more amused than offended.
In surgery more issues were discovered than originally thought. He first worked on unfreezing my shoulder, and that was a lot of effort  on his part. He said it was the worst frozen shoulder he's ever worked on. I believe it too after seeing all my bruises from his hands and tools after working on me.
He also found calcium deposits in the tendons of the rotator cuff which he removed. And, then he removed a bone spur and arthritis on my collar bone. And, repaired a tear in the rotator cuff.
It felt like a lot, but I then understood where all the pain was coming from.
The first few days of being home went very smooth for me.  Even with my trip to physical therapy the day after surgery, I managed to stay on my feet pretty well. But physical therapy is NOT fun!
Now, as I am moving in the second week, and I have reduced the intake of pain medication, I am feeling more emotional.  
My husband is traveling. My shoulder is hurting. My day yesterday was dripping with nausea and pain. 
This feels like a very long story!
Through all of this, I have learned to value certain gifts even more.
It is challenging to live with chronic pain. It's challenging to pretend like it isn't there, and I think some people do. I know several people that have chronic pain, and they walk a lonely walk. 
But now that I have had months of shoulder pain, I am asking myself the question, "What would have helped?"
 And, how can I help others that are in similar situations?
Can I help with the house work once a week?
Can I help with the laundry once a week?
Can I go buy groceries for them?
Can I continue to bring them a weekly meal?
Can I help with the yard work?
What are practical ways I can serve someone in chronic pain that will ease their way of life?
Today is a better day for me, than yesterday. I'm thankful for that. God has blessed me with many friends and family to help me through the next couple of weeks, and I am so grateful. 
I would not have been able to go through this surgery and the days following without their help and support. This brings me back to the many people living in chronic pain. I think they need more support, more daily help, more of God's Kingdom people to walk beside them day by day.
We are all searching for strength and nourishment. I am finding it is so much easier to choose the path of delight when faced with adversity if I am surrounded with the support and love of family and friends, then strength and nourishment fill my soul and my heart reaches out to others to give them all that I have received.
Jesus, You have deeply rooted me, and You continue to strengthen me. I praise you through the pain, and the gain. 
I will Say That Again!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ripples

This evening I received a phone call that was disturbing. It was one of those calls that brought bad news, and reminded me once again of the catastrophic damage of brokenness. 
I am broken, and I come from a broken family. 
Because of the sins of my father and my mother, I have experienced  abuse, murder, suicide, and addictions.
The phone call I got today was about suicide. And it was painful.
The enemy of my soul seeks to destroy me and everyone in my family. He wants all of us to bow to our circumstances.
I'm here to say that I am wearing a crown, the King of Glory has given me one! I am seated in heavenly places, because my Savior put me there. I have the Keys to the Kingdom, I am welcome there. I am praising my Father through the dark valleys.
Because of Jesus Christ the enemy of my soul does not have authority over me!
The ripples slide over my life and I'm amazed at all the experiences. I'm amazed at the directions God has pointed me in, the light He has shone along the way. 
I am blessed.
Today there was a loss, and it's hard to believe. I still believe in the plan of my Father.
Say That Again!