Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Nontraditional Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving has come upon us, and I am so very thankful!  I did not cook this year, not a single thing, and it was a little weird for me. My main contribution this year was a purchased pecan pie from Costco and whip cream from a can. It was good.  Our daughter in law did most of the work, she made Spaghetti Bake. We didn't have a turkey this year, or stuffing, or any of the traditional foods we normally sit down to.
We had each other though, and each time my children come home I feel so blessed. My grandchildren were here, Two of my oldest sons were here. I had a good friend here. It was fun. We played games, we talked, and we watched the children play. Clean up was quick and easy. I was thankful.
As I watched my family today, and thought about all the years my husband and I have had together, I prayed for God to keep penetrating my entire being. I know that I am weak. I know that without Him, I will fail to be thankful, I will fail to be loving, kind, and true. But, with Jesus, I am so very loved, and His strength is the blessing. If I rely on Him I will be thankful. If I rely on Him, I will love, because it is Him loving through me, and Him being thankful.
I know I need Him, because I have so many of those imperfect moments. I need Him to live His grace through me. I am not going to live life in a traditional way, Jesus doesn't. The more I know Him and the bigger He lives within me, the more nontraditional my life becomes.
What about you? How is Jesus working in your life today and how are you living it out? Does Jesus need to Say That Again to you?

Some picture from our Thanksgiving Day:

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Loving Community

It has been just over a week since my surgery, I have had an adventurous recovery. My trip back to the hospital, after coming home from surgery was not a fun adventure for me, but I did reap many lessons from that experience. And, my gratitude to the God I serve for life and breath increased significantly. As I've been home, every day getting a little better, I've been very blessed with loving friends coming to see me. Someone has always brought my family dinner. Someone has gathered my children from school, or from soccer practice. There has been someone to check in on me and just sit with me and visit, or bring me ice cream. My house and laundry have been kept up.
All of my dear friends have deeply loved and blessed me and my family. They have lived in community with each other, and given me opportunity to rest. This makes me want to do this all over our city, in every church, for every person willing to receive. There are so many blessings in giving, but also so many in receiving when there is a need.
The first verse I saw in my bible this morning was  in Colossians 2: 6-7

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Each day as I continue to get better and move through this life God has blessed me with, I want more and more to live my life in Him. All that I do is through Christ Jesus, not me. His power, His strength. None of it has anything to do with me. Jesus, overtake me! I am so weak, but He is strong. Jesus imitate Yourself through me, be so full in me, that your strength shows through to others in loving community. Say That Again, Dear Jesus, Your strength, not mine!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Daughter of the King

When I went back to the hospital the second time because of the air pocket behind my rib cage, I didn't get a lot of sleep that night.  I really liked the nurse that I had, and I remember asking her a lot of questions about her life. She wanted me to call my husband and ask him to drive back in to be with me, but I decided to let him sleep. I kept repeating out loud "I'm the daughter of the King, I'm the daughter of the King."  And, then I would remind myself that I am the one He loves. As I think back on it, maybe my nurse wanted me to call my husband because she didn't know what to do with my constant daughter of the King repeat.
I know for me, I felt like I was in a battle, and it was time to speak truth out loud. I was alone in a dark room, but God was there. My body was weak, but my position had not changed. I was still His daughter and still the one He loves and adores. I was feeling very weak, but God was very strong, and through His strength He gave me grace to make it through.
I've been thinking about grace a lot. God in His wondrous amazing love, gives me grace. I don't have to do anything to get it. He just gives it to me because He loves me. This is why the Bible is called GOOD NEWS. Because God sent His Son to die for me while I was still a sinner, and because of His amazing grace, He saved me. HE SAVED ME. I can't do it. I'm too weak. But, because I am the one He loves, He wants to rescue me, He wants to save me, He wants to fight for me, because I am the Daughter of the KING. And, because I am the one He love, He will never leave me, He will never forsake me. Because I am His Daughter, He wants to be with me, He wants to listen to me, He wants to walk beside me, and He wants to sustain me all of my life! This is GOOD NEWS!
It almost my birthday again, I will be 51 years old. My year of being 50 was not my best, most of it was spent in pain. But, the rewards from that pain have been immeasurable. I have prayed for healing in my life in several areas, and because of this pain, God has brought a lot of healing. He has shown me new ways to minister to others as well, and I feel so blessed to learn this. If God had taken the pain away quickly, I would not have had the opportunity to learn some of the life lessons that I have learned, nor would I have benefited from God's amazing grace in the ways that I have. He has a plan and a purpose for all things, learning to trust Him with that plan is the biggest challenge.
Jesus, I am going to continue to Say That Again, I am The Daughter of the King, the one that You Love!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Trip Back to the Hospital

It was so good to get home from the hospital on Friday, and to know that my surgery was a success. On Saturday, I wrapped myself up in the warming blanket my husband purchased for me, and cuddled on the bed. My husband was beside me most of the day, and a close friend came to spend the day with me. I was blessed with visits from other closer friends, and also from my adult children. I was given blankets, candy, and flowers.

As evening approached, I was finding it difficult to breathe and to stand up straight. By the time I started to eat some dinner, I was in a lot of pain, and each time I tried to take a deep breath, there was a lot of pain in my rib cage. My friend began to notice that I was having issues and was asking how she could help. Then my husband got in on the action and he helped me back to the bed. My children and my dog also thought it best that they help, and piled on the bed too. Let me just say that difficulties breathing, chest pain, children, and the dog, are not the best evening combo.
It didn't take my husband long to call the doctor, and before I knew it the phone was up to my ear and he was asking me to give him a number for the pain on a scale from 1-10. Next thing, my husband and I were driving in the car to the hospital, AGAIN.
There was such a flurry of activity in the hospital ER. The nurse came in and started an IV right away. Another nurse came in and did an EKG. Before I could think about those two things the room was swirling with three or four doctor, each with their job to do. I was given several different pain medications, none of which helped me. I was taken to X-Ray, and to a CATSCAN.  The doctor from my doctor's office came, and said I needed to stay for the night, then listed all kinds of things that they wanted to do. 
The night wore on and finally my pain was controlled. But, nausea set in. The next morning, I was given anti nausea medication, and it completely knocked me out! It made me so tired, I couldn't wake up! My husband, friends, daughter, the doctor, and the nurse, were all yelling, and poking at me in an effort to wake me, but I was completely out! My husband and family were distressed. I did finally wake up, after the doctor poked my chest several times.
I am home again, but I have thought about my trip back to the hospital a lot. It was scary. Not just scary for me, but for my family and some of my friends. It was also lonely. I felt like I was in a battle all night long, but I didn't have a clear understanding what was going on, and neither did anyone else. It was revealing. I learned about myself, and how I want to respond to others in the future and in my ministry.
Jesus, when others feel sick, give me the ability to minister to them in the way that they need. Enable me to touch their lives with healing words and with a healing touch. Say That Again, Jesus, use me to bring healing to the one that You love!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Day of Surgery

Yesterday was the big day for the long-awaited surgery. I was anxious when I checked in, and my body was feeling a lot of pain and nausea.

I got to do all the usual things to prep for surgery. They gave me a blue garment bag for my clothes, and a fancy gown with triangles to wear instead. The nurse asked me piles of questions about my history, and the IV nurse came in and stuck my vein. The anesthesiologist introduced himself and enjoyed talking to my husband about Canada!

  I was relieved to be given some medication that helped me relax. It also felt good to me when my doctor came and we were able to pray together. I was happy not only to have my husband there, but my friend too.  My nurse gave me a cool silver cap to wear, and called it fashionable.

I was wheeled away to the operating room and the last thing I remember hearing is that it would take about 15 seconds for me to fall asleep. I don't think it even took that long. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room.
 I asked for my husband, but he was not allowed to be in that part of the hospital, so I had to wait until they took me to my room. Even though I could feel the pain from my surgery, I also did not feel the pain that had been tormenting me the last 6 months.
 When I was ready to check out and go home, I had a ride in a wheelchair to the car where my husband safely drove me home. Later on, a friend came and brought me beautiful flowers.
It feels really good to be on the road to recovery. I can look at my experience and know that God has taught me so much, and for that I am praising His Name. He has brought me on a trust journey, and He still is. He is growing my heart in many ways, and sometimes that is painful, but always it turns out good.
Jesus, I am the one You love, and bring praise before You today for Your timing and Your healing hand. I will Say That Again, because I know You will continue to do a good work in me!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Seat

Friday morning I am scheduled to have the long awaited surgery. I have been anxious. It's hard for me to imagine, after all this time, that the pain my body has been in will actually be gone. It's also weird for me to think of body parts being moved around and removed from my body. I have all these veins inside of me and they have made a huge twisted web inside my abdomen, squeezing my ovary and pushing my uterus. It does not feel good. I'm not a very big person and there's just not enough room in there for extra stuff! But now, because of these destructive veins, my body will be changed forever, and that is weird to me. I'm not sure what it's going to feel like. 
Today, I didn't feel as anxious. I prayed a lot. I keep coming before Jesus and reminding Him that I am the one He loves and adores and I need Him to calm my fears and I need His healing hand upon my body. Not only that I need Him to guide the surgeons hands on Friday as he skillfully cuts through my body.  I am the one He loves and I need Him to enable me to trust the physician and his ability to do the job; I need to trust the physicians judgement as to what is best for my body!
 As I studied with Warrior Sisters today, we talked about being seated in the Heavenlies. Jesus has seated me there forever. He hasn't given me a place to stand, but rather a place to sit. I can relax, take a breath, and let Him be in charge. God has it all under control, He is the One with the strength, not me. I can remain seated and rest in Him. 
Say That Again, Jesus, You have seated me in the heavenlies, so I can relax in You.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The One Jesus Loves

When I went to Women of Faith I heard Judah Smith preach. I enjoyed listening to him, so I purchased his book, Jesus Is. I've been reading his book, and have found it very enjoyable. He's honest, and I like the way he continually points the reader back to Jesus.
He brought up John, the favorite disciple of Jesus. Five times, John calls himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved." In his book, he goes on to say, that he now has started to pray differently because of this. When he prays, he reminds God that he is the one that Jesus loves!
As I was reading this chapter to my husband, it occurred to me too, that I haven't actually thought of myself as God's favorite, like John did. I know He loves me, but John was bold enough to say he was the closest to Jesus. Both my husband and I like the intimacy of praying to God in this way, boldly coming before the throne in love.
So, because He says I am the apple of His eye, and I am His friend, and His love for me is beyond anything I could ever comprehend, I'm going to Say That Again.
Father God, this is Bethany, the one Jesus loves, today I need You, I want You, and I surrender to You. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Faithful

This weekend I was blessed with a trip to Women of Faith. It was nice.
Sometimes it was difficult, because my pain saga continues to challenge me. 
I have found that through this journey of  illness, my heart is seeking more. More depth. More honesty. More love. More relationship. Really, my heart wants more and more of God. 
We also went to Pike Street Market. We sat by the water and ate dinner. We had grilled salmon, fish taco's, and pumpkin sausage soup.  We cruised the Market and my favorite thing was the cabbage rose. The sights, sounds, smells, basically everything made me want to live back in the city. But, I live in the country, and it is peaceful there. 
Today, we visited church. For me, I needed to be in church and just listen. God continues to remind me that He is Faithful. As I journey  through life with my Faithful God, I also pray to be a Faithful and true woman of God. 
Jesus, thank you for being Faithful through all things. Thank you for giving me weekends with good reminders of Your Faithfulness.  I'm going to Say That Again, Jesus, You are Faithful.