Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Next Day

I woke up this morning after a restless night of sleep. The first thing I saw was the beautiful flowers my friend brought to me yesterday. It was definitely a better start to my day.

My husband and children left early to go with the rest of my family on a float trip down the river. I walked outside with them to say goodbye and I was greeted by a beautiful sunflower in my flower pot.

I have had a quiet day, with a lot of rest. A friend brought food for my family to eat later, she gave us fresh vegetables from her garden. We sat outside together in the swing, and enjoyed the sun.
Then, later in the day, another friend stopped by and brought me a more flowers.

She put them in my button vase and sat them on the coffee table. I think they are beautiful.
My husband and children came bursting through the door around dinner time, my adult children were close behind. We ate dinner together and talked. My family played a game, and I watched. I was pleased just to see them and be with them.
Life sure can throw some curve balls, and it sure can be hard. Even so, life is beautiful. It is full of color, love, laughter, joy, and the hope of something more! There is always another day. Say That Again, Jesus, You are in my days, my nights, my everything, and I am blessed.

The Surgery

My husband drove me to the hospital yesterday morning so we could check in for out patient surgery. It was my big day to hopefully settle my pain issue.
The day before my surgery, I also went to the hospital for lab work and an EKG. Here's my picture to prove it:

I did not feel anxious at this point. All I could think about was the possibility of getting rid of my pain, and how great that would be. I wanted surgery soon. So, even though I feel cautious around doctors and I do not like the hospital, I still moved ahead hoping for the best.
But, as the evening before the surgery approached, doubts crept in, and I considered calling the whole thing off. I was afraid that maybe the doctor would get inside and find something so horrible that he couldn't fix me, or the other extreme, he would look inside and everything was totally normal, and I would be told I was crazy! I wasn't so sure I could put my life in the hands of so many other people, strangers. How could I know it would be okay?
I battled the questions and the fear for awhile, and had a restless night. I prayed a lot asking God to give me the peace I needed and the ability to do the right thing. The next morning, day of the surgery, I got up, got ready, and went to the hospital!
It was a smooth process, my husband and I drove up to the hospital and they parked our car for us. We walked in to the elevator and went up to the out patient floor. They asked me my name, checked me in, took me back to a little cubicle, gave me a gown, and I put it on and got in the skinny little bed.
There was a constant buzz of activity with nurses coming and going and papers to sign. The IV guy came and put in my IV, and I hardly noticed. That's how good he was! There was blood pressure stuff, and lots of talking, and explanations.
I was feeling anxious after hearing about all the risks, and signing my life away. So when the IV guy said that he was going to give me some medicine to help with anxiety I was good with that. He also said that if I had any questions or anything important to say, I should say it before he gave the medicine because I would not remember anything. I didn't have anything to say, so he shot the medicine in my IV and the next thing I remembered was waking up in recovery!
But, the next thing that happened was pictures with more people!

This is the IV guy.

This is my nurse in the operating room.

This is my husband by my side.

 This is me waking up after surgery! I'm wanting coffee, and I'm grateful a friend has promised to bring me some, along with ice cream a little later.  My husband is telling me that the doctor found the source of my pain, but he was not able to fix me. I will need to have another surgery at a later date. But, at least I have an answer. The nurse is also asking me about my current pain level, and asking me what I want to eat so I can take some pain medicine to help. I vote for toast, but when it arrives, I cannot get it down my throat, so I trade it out for pudding instead.
My husband drove me home and I laid down on the couch. I dozed in and out of sleep. Then I went to the bed and I did the exact same thing. My friend came and brought me flowers, chocolate, coffee, and ice cream. We sat on the bed together and ate ice cream. It was good.

Another friend brought us chicken and salad, with other yummy treats for dinner. I felt loved and taken care of after my long adventurous day at the hospital.
God showed me again, that through Him there is peace and strength to do the things that seem impossible. He has given me the strength to trust at levels I didn't think I could, and the peace to know that He is in control. He is on the Throne and He is the One that has my life in His Hands all the time, so I can rest easy. When anxiety creeps in, I will pray, and pray, and continue to pray. Because I know, believe, and trust that He loves me. Jesus, Say That Again, You love me and You have my life in Your Hands.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Day at the River

We spent the afternoon at the River yesterday. It was very nice. Most of our children and grandchildren were there, and a close friend was there too. We sat in our chairs and on the rocks down by the river, and watched the kids swim. My husband and two younger children swam across the river and then jumped off the large rocks, they had a great time. The water is warm this time of year.
Our conversation was easy and relaxed, the sun was perfect. I think, for all of us, it felt delightful in many ways, and then in some ways kind of sad. Summer is coming to an end, school starts next week. My kids are not happy about this change. They like the long summer days, the ease of play, and the lack of school schedules. So, our day at the river confirmed to them even more that summer was the best thing ever and should never end!
Our experience with the wasps was not as fascinating to me this time as we ate our lunch. There were so many of them, and they would not leave our food alone. We tried to distract them with food on a different table, but they were determined to eat our food, and they were simply obnoxious. The wasps at the river are hoarders, and I felt completely different about them because the day before I was stung by a wasp. One came up behind me and stung me on the leg. It did not feel good to me at all, in fact, it hurt the rest of the day. And, I noticed that because of my wasp experience, my river experience was laced with some fear.
I did not want to be attacked by a wasp again and experience pain. So, I retreated in fear. As I was enjoying the riverbank, after the wasps had gone elsewhere, I began to think more about my experience and apply it to my life and relationships. How often do I retreat or isolate in relationships because I'm afraid of being hurt and I don't want to experience the pain? I think of the other person as a wasp?  It's easier to isolate. It takes courage to be bold.  I know for me, I have to work at being bold, and I have to pray for God to give me the strength to move forward in His will. I want to live in a place where I have river experiences more often than wasp experiences, and I've come to see that the only way to accomplish that is through prayer!
So Jesus, Say That Again to me, You are my boldness, You are the River of Life, You are my Armor, and You will be my Keeper that protects me from all attacks.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Summer Day

It's already the end of August. When I get up in the morning I can feel a nip in the air, and soon my children will be back in school. The days are getting shorter. Summer is slipping away, and in some ways I'm ready for all of these things, but in other ways I feel like I'm just getting warmed up! It's been a busy summer and I'm not sure that I'm ready for it to end yet, I'd like a few more lazy days. I would like to fit in more ice cream, more park days, more reading in the rocking chair on my deck, and a lot more iced coffee!
My kids and I went to the park with friends yesterday, it was a delightful day. The park is very big, with beautiful flowers, and a splash pad for the children to play in. We took the day nice and slow, enjoying the play ground first, then a picnic lunch. As we sat down to eat our lunch the wasps decided to join us as well, many of them. They loved the platter of meat we had, and so we broke off pieces for them to distract them away from our food and keep them busy. They busily worked at gathering the meat and flying away with it, we watched them as we ate, and questioned why God created them. I realized that by giving them our food, we had prepared a table for our enemy, and God was protecting us.
I marveled at all the flowers in the park. My children didn't really seem to noticed that part. They were far more interested in gathering the coins out of the fountain, then throwing them back in. To them, it was a challenge to get all the coins without actually getting in the fountain. Initially, my son thought that if he gathered the coins, he could keep them. Finders keeper, right? But, when I informed him that he had to throw them back because he was not on some kind of treasure hunt, he was a little disappointed. What is the point in finding money if one has to throw it back? He didn't seem to be bothered by this at all, really, and I was grateful he was able to let go.
The kids cooled off at the splash pad. I watched the children run around in the water, laughing and being silly. I wondered what it would be like to see adults on a splash pad behaving like the children!  Children are so uninhibited, they don't look all around to see if someone else is looking, they aren't thinking about the judgments of others.  They just want to have fun, so they have fun.
Our afternoon was topped off with ice cream. We sat on park benches and at picnic tables and everyone had scoops of ice cream. The children had conversations about their favorite games, and I soaked in the beauty of the surroundings.
It was a good summer day, the kind that was filled with friendship, love, laughter, and fun. It was the kind of day that reminded me of Psalms 9:

I'm thanking you God from a full heart, I'm writing the book on your wonders.
I'm whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; and singing your song, High God.

God continues to show me that even when there's stress, or trials, or I do not feel well, He rescues in wondrous ways, like summer days. He brings relief through my children, though friends, and through the flowers in the park. He shows me that even the wasp can work in a fascinating way and not hurt me.
Jesus, Say That Again, You will continue to bring summer days into my life!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Women's Retreat

Yesterday was the Women's Retreat for Agape Celebration. It was a very good day. For me personally, I felt blessed to see so many women relaxing, crafting, playing, praying, eating, laughing, talking, and enjoying God's beauty.  I was able to meet new people. I experienced generous hearts, tender moments, nostalgia, frustration, fatigue, pain, hope, love, joy, and a new level of belief in God.
The theme of the retreat was "Do You Believe?" and I think that question presented a challenge for each person on our team. For me, it brought up all kinds of things. But, for the day of the retreat, I had to ask myself the question, "Do You Believe?" My body has been stressed and not feeling well, and as I have pushed through, I continue to ask God the big questions. Do I believe He will get me through?
On the morning of the retreat I reminded myself that God's calling is not irrevocable. He does not ask His children to do something, and then not equip them to do it. He clearly sent many people into my life to help me, He has equipped me with great strength.
God's promises stand true forever, I don't need anything more. His Spirit surrounds me, and those around me, mighty is His Name!
So, yesterday, as I watched God work among all the beautiful women, I was in awe at His Holiness!  His Spirit was moving in our midst and we were all standing on holy ground. He was speaking through each one of us, holding us, racing around on the scavenger hunt, sitting in the chairs, walking up the drive, His presence smiled everywhere. The words "Do You Believe" continued to run through my mind, and it took me back to several years ago when I knew God was asking me to start Agape. It was scary to step out, but He walked by our side, and He has stayed there.
Now, Agape has grown, and is growing. God is asking me, "Do you believe?"  He will continue to root His Spirit deep within our team and love others. He will speak truth and grow each one of us. He will bring us to new depths of intimacy with Him and with each other, and we will truly know eternal life here on earth.
Yes I do believe this is His calling. My friend asked what the adventure would be this year, well, I don't know what that is, but I do believe it will be an adventure!
Jesus, Say That Again, You have an adventure!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Super Day

Today was a Super Busy Day. It is the day before our women's retreat, and there was a lot to do. I am at the end of the day now, and I am praising God for the many blessings He brought into my life today. All day long, people flowed in and out helping with the preparations for the retreat. I felt very blessed. God works in beautiful ways, and I love how He uses His children to further His Kingdom. I love how He uses His children to further His Kingdom in my heart.
There have been days that I have wondered why God called me to do this job in this ministry. I am not a people person, I'm a quiet person. I find it challenging to talk, challenging to be in groups of people, challenging to do a lot of things, yet He chose me and I choose to obey.
The theme of our retreat is "Do You Believe?" This question has challenged me to new levels in my relationship with Jesus, and with others. It's opened up His Word for me as well, and challenged me to look at it from a different point of view.
So, today, He spoke to me through many friends, and I believed Him. Today, I walked with Jesus, and it was amazing. Today, I believed that when tomorrow comes, something powerful will happen.
Jesus, Say That Again!