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!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

God Delights in You

In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from his temple. And my cry came before him, even to his ears.
Psalms 18: 6

I saw the surgeon  yesterday for my shoulder.  He examined my shoulder, looked at the MRI, looked at the x-ray, and asked me lots of questions.  He concluded that, yes my shoulder is frozen, yes the tendons have inflammation, the rotator cuff has large deposits of calcium, and yes, I am in pain. I agreed with him on all accounts. 
He suggested that I agree to a cortisone injection to try to unfreeze my shoulder and ease the pain, and go back to physical therapy 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Then, at that point, depending on my progress, have surgery to remove all the calcium from the rotator cuff which is responsible for the pain. 
It all made perfect sense, but when he mentioned the cortisone injection I began to feel afraid. I did not want a shot! It didn't feel like an option to me, and I wanted to skip that part. At first, it was hard for me to voice my fear, but then I remembered the promise of Jesus promising to be strong and mighty in battle when I praise him!
So, I started to praise him.
As I began to repeat the name of Jesus in my mind and call upon him, the fear dissipated. I was calm.
The doctor gave me the injection, and it did not hurt.
Jesus destroyed my enemy, which was fear.
But then, later, as I was driving, my shoulder and my arm began to throb, and throb, and throb. It was horrible.
And I began to feel angry.

....and my cry came before Him, even to His ears
and the earth shook and trembled...
Smoke went up from His nostrils...
He bowed the heavens also and came down with darkness under His feet....
He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe...
He delivered me from my strong enemy.
He also brought me out into a broad place: He delivered me because He delighted in me.
Psalms 18: 6-19

God loves me, and you, so much that he will come down here and shoot His arrows at the enemy when you call to Him! And the enemy will scatter. 
He shot my anger; it was not helping me, it was my enemy. He delivered me and brought me into a broad place. 
He did this for me because He delights in me. 
Do you know that God delights in you?
Say That Again, God delights in you and in me!


Monday, April 20, 2015

The King of Glory


Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Psalms 24:7-9


Each day brings a new challenge, I'm sure you all know exactly what I'm talking about. Life is full of busy schedules, kids, household stuff, etc. Then, sometimes bigger things come along. A friend calls and says she has cancer, abuse becomes a reality in the life of someone you love, or chronic pain begins to wear on the edges of your heart. It can all take a toll on everyday life, and it can feel like life is just too much.
This verse in Psalms was a soothing reminder to me all week long. What do I need to do?
Lift up my head to the God I serve and praise him!
When I praise him, He will come in.  And, when he comes he is mighty in battle, and he is strong!
I don't have to be mighty.
I don't have to be strong.
I just have to praise!

To you O Lord, I lift up my soul,
O my God, I trust in you;
let me not be ashamed:
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on you be ashamed;
let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
Psalms 25:1-3

When I praise  him, I learn to trust him. In that intimacy with him, he takes my shame. 
Shame is my enemy. 
Fear is my enemy.
Rejection is my enemy.
What are the enemies that try to triumph over you? 
The King of Glory will come in and you will see truth. His truth. The King of Glory will come in and with praise your life, my life, will forever be moving closer to him.
Say That Again!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Crevice

For several nights I've had a difficult time sleeping because of some damaged tendons in my shoulder. So, it has given me ample opportunity to think and pray. One of the words that has come to mind numerous times has been crevice.
I looked up the word crevice in the Bible, and I read this in the NLT version in Exodus 33:22:

As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.

This verse is God speaking to Moses.
I've been asking God, what the word crevice means for my life. What is He saying to me?
And He answers me with the crevice of my mind. There was a time, that I would hide there. Yet, even when I was hiding in the deep, dark crevice of my mind, the glorious presence of God was there. His hand was there to cover me and protect me as He continued to pass by. The bright light from His presence would shine into the deepness of the crevice, and there was life, hope, and love.
Where are the crevice's in your life?
His hand is upon you. His glorious presence is there.
Say That Again!