Sunday, October 21, 2018

In The Storm

A few days ago, before the diagnosis, I asked God "Where are you?"  I was struggling with yet one more test, one more "rule out or rule in", one more biopsy.  As I shared before, I immediately saw a lighthouse on a cliff with a beam of light radiating out from the shore.  I was in the stormy sea being tossed about, looking at the Lighthouse.  Jesus then said, "Keep your eyes on Me."

It was a simple but yet powerful message.  He did not cause this storm, but He sees it.  He wants me to seek and see Him until the storm ends.  And it will end.  I shared this visual encounter with our oldest and she sent me a beautiful picture that encompasses what I saw.

We all go through storms in life.  Some more difficult than others, but never do we go through them alone.  Jesus is our rock.  He is steady, loving, powerful, and faithful to His kids.  He is our Light in a dark world.

Today I heard a story of healing from a young woman at Bethel school.  She was struggling on whether she believed in healing or not because of her mom's physical condition.  God spoke to her and said, "I have not called you to always understand Me, I have called you to trust Me."  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.....  (Proverbs 3)  We can trust Him in the storms that come our way, and keeping our eyes upon Jesus makes that possible.  He is our Light!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Dammit Doll Unearthed

Three years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, our oldest daughter sent me a doll in the mail......a Dammit Doll to use when I was frustrated.  Today I dug that doll back out because yesterday I was diagnosed with another kind of breast cancer in the same breast.  It has absolutely stunned both Joel and myself.  How can this be?  I have now had 4 different kinds of cancer in just 8 years.  There are no words, and yet words are what I do best to express myself. 

Yesterday we were both numb.  I cried all day and still find my cheeks wet at times.  Yesterday I felt very sorry for myself.  Yesterday I "gave up".  Quit.  No more, Jesus.  Just take me home.  I am not afraid of being dead, I know where I will be.  I know my body will be whole and free once I move from the earthly realm into the heavenly one.  Weariness filled my body, soul, and spirit right now.  And where the heck is God in all this?  "Why" questions keep popping up in my brain, fear rises like bile in my throat and anger seeps out my pores.  Where is God?

I asked that question of Him two days ago...."Where are you God?"  I immediately saw a lighthouse on a cliff similar to the one on the North Shore  of Lake Superior, called, Split Rock.  I saw myself out in a stormy sea and I could just see the beam from the lighthouse.  God said, "Keep your eyes on Me."  It wasn't the answer I wanted, but it is the answer I received.

So, once again I am on a journey I would rather not take.  Tomorrow I have a breast MRI as this kind of cancer, Infiltrating Lobular Pleumorphic Cancer tends to move around.  Only 20% of breast cancers are this diagnosis.  It has moved out of the gland so the MRI with contrast will show the doctor whether it is in other areas or the other breast.  It is complicated with the lymph nodes due to the surgery and extraction of nodes three years ago.  I see a surgeon Monday and will get results then.  I am planning on having a double mastectomy.  Enough already.

Life is certainly to be treasured isn't it.  I expect there will be hard days ahead. Today I am almost ready to fight again.  Not quite, but almost.  I am a warrior by nature so I will not give up on this life. I expect that Dammit Doll may come in handy at times.  I know that I cannot walk through this journey without God on one side and Joel on the other.  Without the prayers of friends and family.  In
Job it says, Satan may "slay me" but I will serve Him. 

This is not from God.  Do I understand why He has not intervened here?  No I don't but I do know He did not cause this nor does he use sickness or suffering to bring Him glory.  He is going to use this awful experience for good somehow.  He is in the midst of my journey, and yours, whatever that may be.  He is with us always.

So today I am okay with not being okay.  I am okay with crying, with crying "uncle" in this situation.  I am not one to give up, and God has told me more than once over the years not to.  Am I mad at God?  Yep.  He can handle it. 

Your prayers for Joel and myself would be much appreciated.  For now I am working hard to live as my mother did for years as a recovering alcoholic.. "One day at a time."  I am keeping my Bible close by and the Dammit Doll I unearthed  within my reach, while holding tight to Joel and hanging on to hope for tomorrow. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Bumps, Bruises, And Hallelujahs

It could have been so much worse.  The what-ifs formed a long list, but the hallelujahs outnumbered them.  The story itself is funny, scary, and as old as time.  

On Wednesday afternoon I was taking something to the garbage bin in the garage, and as I walked briskly to the container I tripped.  I tripped hard over a solid plank of wood Joel has on the floor that guides him where to stop the SUV when he drives in.  I moved forward trying to keep my balance.  First one shoe fell off...........then the other.  As momentum gathered I went at least 10 feet ahead, slamming into the garage door as I went down.  I hit my right upper back and then my head against the garage door, coming down on my left arm and knee before rolling twice and coming to a stop on my belly and face.  My sunglasses flew off the top of my head, my glasses were half off my face, and I found myself laying in a puddle of rain water.  

Joel was watching from the kitchen door, and was frozen at first in fear as he saw and then heard me hit the door and floor.  He said he came over expecting to see blood or a broken limb, or even me laying unconscious.  Meanwhile, anger rose up in me.  and he heard me yell, "NO, NO, NO!  This is NOT happening to me."   It was just two weeks ago I walked into Joel's new office, forgetting you had to step down two steps, and I fell, this time landing on my feet and against a desk.  Now this??!?

If you found yourself giggling when you read my story, I get that.  Later on I did too, but Joel said it was not funny to watch.  It was really scary.........he checked me out before he helped me up and into the house.  It did not take long to be giving thanks that nothing appeared broken or badly hurt.  I got cleaned up, put on comfy clothes and we covered my back from top to bottom with essential oils mixed in coconut oil.  I immediately asked a few prayer warriors to pray and give thanks.  We watched and waited but nothing more came to light.  

Today we are giving thanks that only a few bruises are showing up.  My lower back is always an issue but it is holding and just achy like much of my body.  Stiff and achy, but nothing like we expected! We keep shaking our heads and giving thanks that this body is doing okay after such a bad fall.  Hallelujahs just keep coming!  I'm thinking a guardian angel cushioned my fall.  It could have been so much worse!  These bumps and bruises will fade.  Our hallelujahs expressed with gratitude and thankfulness will last forever!

And that plank of wood on the garage floor??  I have bumped into that before and this time, well, this time was the very last time that will be happening.  It is gone.  And a tennis ball hanging down from the ceiling of the garage has replaced it!  At least I can't trip over that!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Those Moments in Time

There are moments in time which we hold precious.  They are often brief and require us to delve right in while quietly praying they won't end.  Lately one of those moments has come to my mind over and over.

It was a holiday gathering.  Most of our grands come with their parents for 2-3 days once a year, maybe twice.  During one of those times that 3 of our 5 families were still hanging around, our oldest told us that a couple of the kids had some questions about faith, the Bible, and God Himself.  We sat around the dining room table that evening and listened to their questions and their thoughts, responding as best we could.  The parents were within hearing distance and a couple of them joined in once in awhile.

There were some hard questions that we did not have the answer for.  Like, "If someone does not believe in Jesus before he dies, will they always go to hell......or will they have another chance"?  One of our granddaughter's had a seriously important and hard question that she was struggling with.......and the answer was not there in black and white.  Only mystery.......we believe God's word so we go back to His Words, His promises and we step into trust.  We just don't have all the answers do we?!

Our one child says they have a notebook they are putting all the unanswered questions in so when they get to Heaven they will be able to ask God for the answers!  There is the thought that in Heaven those unanswered questions won't matter anymore.

We have learned over the years that we can take all our questions to Jesus and He listens.  From scriptures we see His answers are often told in stories, rather that cut and dried.  In my own experience there are questions that immediately are answered and other that just don't get answered to my satisfaction.  And in those times I try to find peace with that whole rest and trust action that God seeks from us.

I hope and pray that our honesty with our grands was a blessing for them.  We know what we know and we express that to them...our beliefs after 70 plus years, but there are also those questions we do not have a firm answer for.  And that is where we seek God more and rely on His word.  And when we can't make sense out of some of those Bible passages, we rely on His love.

In a few congregations Joel has taken the sermon time for questions. Even as adults we have plenty of questions don't we.  Joel's responses are usually what "the Lutheran Church believes, what the Scriptures say, and also a few "Joelisms".

I hope we have more of those precious moments with all our grands.  They are growing up so quickly, and shaping their own minds, while, as is our prayer,  standing firmly on the foundation their parents have laid out before them.  We are so grateful for those precious moments in time.  So grateful..............

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning from the Midwest where Fall is showing off its beauty.  The trees here are wearing the colors orange, gold, and rust, which is brightening up the sun-less skies.  It has been cloudy and rainy off and on all week and it appears it will continue another week.  Not good news for the farmers who are attempting to harvest their crops.

I just waved good-bye to my cowboy preacher as he heads north an hour to his favorite day of the year, actually another holiday for him ~ Rendezvous Days ~where he goes for 12 hours to step back in time to the days of trade, tents, Muzzleloaders, open fires and wood smoke.  He absolutely loves it and I am so thankful he can go.   We talked a bit this morning as I thought back about when he was so very sick with Lyme.  He would still go, but after driving an hour he would then have to nap when he arrived.  He would walk around a bit, find a place to sit, and then go back to the car and nap again.  And again.  It was no way to live, and we know so many people who suffer with that hideous disease.  Lord have mercy.

Looking back at Joel's health before his healing reminds me of my own journey and how much better I am.  Sometimes with the cancers and major eye problem I forget....I forget that I cam so much stronger, walking 30-45 minutes a day, doing housework, cooking, getting out and about and even learning to drive again.  Seriously a long way from being sofa bound or confined to the house.

Our granddaughter Abbi just turned 18 and celebrated Homecoming at the same time.  Eighteen seems so far away as I walk in my seventh decade of life, but I do remember it being an exciting time. It is amazing to watch, even from a distance,  as our grands do life.  Most of them are teens now, and busy as students, athletes, and musicians.  We are so grateful for the good people they are!

Even though we have lived here in Mason City for 22 years now, we have moved 23 times in 50 years, and have left friends behind in several places.  Having long distance friends seems to be "normal" for us, and this past week we Skyped with some friends who are just that.  It is always good to catch up and laugh together.  We talked to old friends on our Anniversary, too.  They called from South Carolina where they moved after George retired from the Air Force.  We met them while we were both stationed in the Philippines, and we have kept in touch since.  Helen and I became fast friends and "sisters in Christ" as she labeled us.  It was hard to say good-bye when we parted, and we have not seen them face to face since!  What a reunion we will have in Heaven.  Friends are precious, and not always coming in quantity.  Those we hold dear truly are sent to us by God and for them we are so grateful.

I hope my rambling has you looking at fall, at friends, and at family for the gifts they are.  Enjoy each and every moment with thanksgiving. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Trimming Trees and Attitudes

I was watching Joel trim trees today as he climbed up a ladder and used his tree trimmer to cut through small branches.  When he could not reach a few higher ones he went upstairs, took the screen off the window and went to work. 

This project was unearthed after last night when we listened to branches rub across the roof as high winds moved everything around that was not tied down.  Today turned out to be a good day to trim away the culprits before they did any damage to the roof or to our sleep pattern.  We kind like the 8 hours of sleep we manage most nights. 

It was mostly an easy fix, but it took effort, especially balancing out the window to get to the higher branches. At least Joel agrees to stay off our steep roof and leave those limbs to the professionals.  We also had someone come aerate our yard recently before Joel put seed down for next year.   It is all part of the fall work.  Soon we will wash windows one last time, mow one last time, and grill one last time before......Before.  Before winter comes knocking on our door.  Winter is not very welcome here by the two of us, but we will tolerate it.  Meanwhile we enjoy the beauty of fall.

Just like the trees, sometimes there are things we need to trim away in our lives.  Maybe it is a mindset.  Maybe it is an attitude.  A grudge.   Unforgiveness. God revealed to me last night that I need an attitude change.  That what is going on for us right now is not about me or us, but for others.  It is not always easy to trim away or remove what Holy reveals to us.   Trimming and cutting away takes some effort, but it is worthwhile o let go and let God. There is "work" to be done to prepare us for a better life, to help us be the best we can be according to God's plan for us and for others.  Today was a good day to trim trees and attitudes.