Saturday, December 27, 2008

Seeing Miracles

Yes, I am alive!! I've been wanting to come here and talk with all of you but have struggled with the words. A couple of posts ago I wrote about "Christmas Hope and Miracles" and talked about what I was praying for and asked how I could pray for you. What a privilege that has been to ask God to bless you and to show Himself to you in huge ways. I plan on continuing to pray through those things, believing for those miracles with you.

For myself I was praying for complete healing, for Don's salvation, that there would be the beginning of reconciliation between Don and the kids and that my heart would be open to what God is asking of me. Those of who you "know" me understand that is hard for me to come and share victories because that is where satan trips me up. I don't want to speak about it because then what will I say if the miracle ends? I know, it may not make sense to you, but it's my reality. Anyway...I want you to know and experience with me the answers to your faithful prayers for us.

I believe that I am beginning to walk out my healing. This has been the best I have felt since June 2007. I did almost all of my own Christmas shopping (of course, I have someone go with me, but you know what I mean)!! I have grocery shopped a couple of times. My "bonus" daughter is here with us. Christmas was basically symptom free! I feel "normal". Yes, I feel normal. Ellie and I have been doing Wii Fit. For someone who has struggled to stand without feeling like she would pass out - stepping on the Wii Fit and actually doing it - THAT IS A MIRACLE!! My kids are sensing that they might be getting their mom back!! Praise God.

Don. Well what to say. He has been going to counseling. Yes, you heard that right. He has been going by himself to learn what he can do to have a relationship with his children. This is huge. This is God. I am so proud of him. So impressed with the way he is not giving up. God rewarded him. Yesterday, ALL THREE of the kids went with Don and spent a couple of hours just having fun. I am not saying that it is all better, but what a giant step they have taken toward healing.

Healing. God is healing me physically and He is healing my heart. The love I have for my husband right now is one that I don't know I have known before. It is not one that is missing him and wanting our family back together. But it is a love for the man. A love that cares deeply. A love that desperately wants healing for his soul. I know what the Lord is going to ask of me. I believe that He will ask it of me in this new year. Don't think I am crazy but I believe that God will ask me to take my husband back. I know I've said it here before and you know that Don has NEVER said he wants to come home. But I believe God is working toward restoration. He will not be the same man that left here in February. My heart needs to be willing to obey and be open to whatever God asks me to do. I feel movement in that direction within myself.

Scared? You better believe it! Excited to see all that God has in store? You bet! Praying that I am in the center of His will. HE is performing miracles right before our eyes. He will perform them in your lives too. Look for them. I know I will be.

HE is restoring the years the locusts ate. The years will not be wasted. Good will come. It already has.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

You Inspire Me

Although I hadn't planned on writing any more posts before Christmas, I feel drawn here. Who knows, maybe this won't be something that I push the publish button on, but I am "obeying" the pull. I really felt like I wanted the last post to be one where I give back to all of you. By asking for your prayer requests and faithfully praying for you. That is still on my heart, so if you haven't already done so, please leave your request on my previous post. I do believe that God is going to perform many miracles this Christmas. I am believing it!!

Today I have been overwhelmed by the blogging world. This is not a place I ever saw myself being. Who would "make friends" and share their souls with people they do not even know. Certainly not me!! Well here I am, some 10 months after beginning this blog and I don't know what I do without all of you. Many of you have become some of my dearest friends. I truly mean that. You have walked with me through one of the darkest times of my life. Without your prayers, comments, love, support and encouragement, I do not know where I'd be.

One of my "blogging buddies", Robynn , went home to be with Jesus today. I have cried like I really knew her. The thing is...because of her willingness to share her journey, I feel like I really did know her. She became ill in February. That's the same month that Don left. Through her fight to stay alive I have learned to be grateful for whatever sense of "normal" I may have in my day. I embrace the things that I am able to do and try not to focus on what my illness has robbed me of.

Then there is the joy that I share with another "blogging buddy", Courtney. She won an amazing camera in a contest! I am thrilled for her. You may wonder how I can talk about someone who lost their life and someone winning a camera in the same post. Well, here's the deal...Courtney has been dealt more than her share of tragedy in life. However, she faces life with such zest, such an attitude of joy. She knows how her Heavenly Father has blessed even though He has allowed some heartbreak. Yet she trusts and points others to Him.

There are those of you who have emailed me and shared your heartaches. Shared your words of encouragement at just the right time. Sent me links to sites you felt would help me. You've prayed for my children as if you know them. You are believing with me for my marriage and for my physical healing. Who would have known what God was up to when He started connecting people through the internet in such a unique way. Who would have thought that I could feel so deeply for those I may never lay eyes on this side of heaven.

I am overwhelmed with emotion today. There are miracles happening in my life that I am still keeping close to my heart (for now). But you know that when I feel led to share them, you will be the first to know. Please know that this comes from the deepest place in my soul today...I love and appreciate you all more than words could ever convey.

You inspire me!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Hope and Miracles

This is the season of hope. Of miracles. Christ is the embodiment of what a true miracle is. Born to a virgin. Living life as fully God while fully man. Sinless. He is a miracle and He is OUR miracle. He brings me such hope.

This Christmas there are many things that I hope for. Not things that I am asking for as gifts but intangible things that I hope for. I got to thinking that it's great to have hope, for sometimes that is all that keeps us going. But hoping can often be like wishing. We need to ask. The Bible says we have not because we ask not. That does not mean that we are going to get everything we ask for. But we need to ask!!

In this season of hope - I am asking for some Christmas miracles:
  • physical healing of my body
  • healing for Don's heart (oh, how he needs Jesus)
  • the beginnings of reconciliation between Don and the kids
  • that my heart would be open to all that God is asking of me

God is already at work in our lives in some miraculous ways. Things are happening that I am going to keep in my heart for now, but please know that prayer works. Your prayers are one of the greatest gifts that God has given me this year.

What are you "hoping" for this Christmas? I would count it a privilege to go before the Lord on your behalf and ask for your Christmas miracles as well.



Sunday, December 7, 2008

Random Joy

This post is going to have nothing to do with either my illness or divorce. You will not see those words again (well, at least for today).

There are great things happening in our lives right now. I want to celebrate those!! Ellie and her friends had a Christmas dance at school on Friday. So we had a houseful of 7th graders all getting ready together. Assembly line fashion doing each other's hair. What fun!! Thank you God for giving me a home where kids want to be. Thank you for giving me a daughter who still thinks I'm "ok" to be around.



Ellie is the one in the polka dots!


Another blessing in this family is how much my kids love each other. David and Ellie really do adore one another! They laugh together more than almost anyone I know. Rarely is there an argument. For that I am so grateful!!


As many of you know I also have a "bonus daughter". Don was married before and they had a beautiful daughter, P. He was not a part of her life for almost 17 years. Last Christmas she came to meet us and her brother & sister. This Christmas she will again be coming to spend a week with the kids and me. How cool is that? Isn't she the sweetest thing?



There is much for us to be grateful for! Jesus is alive and working in our lives. He is working out His will as we get out of the way. He is blessing the kids and me beyond anything I could have possibly ever imagined. Life can be tough. But for today I choose to focus on the joy. There is much joy. Get out there and look for it and then....praise The One who gives it!



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Part

What is my part in my marriage ending? It sounds so cliche' that it takes two. But it is the truth. I've spent a lot of time in my mind (hopefully not much on here) spewing about Don and what God needs to fix in Don. Well, what about me? What is my part? If Don meets Jesus in a very real and personal way. If God then asks me to take Don back...what about me? I've got a lot of changing to do too. I am sure I am less than easy to live with. Does God really hold the number one position in my life? Would Don get the respect, forgiveness and wife that he deserves?

As you can see, I've got a lot of questions, but not a whole lot of answers. I just know that God is asking me to do some digging in my heart. Some confession needs to take place. Introspection. Looking closely in the mirror. Being real. Getting real with what kind of wife I really was to Don.

I want you to know that Don is going to counseling tomorrow. He called me a week or so ago and said he would go and talk with David's counselor. Not for himself but to see what could be done to start repairing his relationship with the kids. He doesn't think he's going there for himself, but as any of you know that have been in counseling know, he will soon realize that he truly is there for himself. This is huge! This is God! Not by my suggestion. I haven't told the kids (yet). It hasn't seemed the right time and I am just leaving that up to the Lord to work that out. David will go and see Rich (counselor) on Thursday anyway, so maybe it's for Rich to tell. Can you imagine what that will do to David's heart to know that his dad went to counseling. Oh, thank you, Jesus!!

Now, let's start digging out this root - this forest - in my heart! Prepare me for whatever it is you have for me in the future. It may be a future without Don but I know I cannot go forward in what you have for me without getting my heart right. Please, Lord, be gentle. But let's get to work. I am excited to do my part.


Friday, November 28, 2008

The Battle After Victory

Isn't it so true that often when we experience a victory, a battle is right behind? I was prepared that this was was going to happen. Well...I don't know if prepared is the right word. Anxious. Fearful. Yeah, those are better words to describe me in anticipating the battle that would ensue once satan realized that God and I were making progress. I even alluded to it in my previous post that I was hesitant to write about any victory because it may not last. Well, it didn't take long for satan to come after me with a vengeance!!

Symptoms are back. Bearable. But they are back. It's discouraging to get a taste of all I've been missing this past year and a half and then have it taken it away again. Boy satan was waiting there to taunt me and get me to feeling sorry for myself. Just that fast!! Man, that makes me mad. Makes me mad at him. Makes me mad at myself. I do not want to be so easily moved from faith and praise to doubt and discouragement. But I have been. Good thing that our God is a god of mercy. He knew where I would be today. He's not surprised. But He is waiting here for me and He says "Game on, Sheryl. Let's fight!"

Fight is just what we are going to do. Back to battle. Praying for continued healing. Praying for protection of my heart and mind. Praying against the attacks of the evil one who is not very creative! You are not gonna win this one satan. Right now I am putting you on notice that God has already won the victory. He has overcome you and all your wily schemes. I am His child and His will, will be done in my life. I know you are hearing me. God has big plans for my life and you will not thwart those! Get behind me, satan. There is no place for you here!!

Please join me also in praying for Don. I was so thankful yesterday that God has given me the desire to pray for my "husband" again. Here is what I am praying: That the God of all comforts would comfort Don. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give Don the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that he may know him better. That the eyes of Don's heart would be enlightened to know the hope to which God has called him. (Eph 1: 17 & 18) Don is more alone than he has ever been in his life. His parents asked the kids and I to spend Thanksgiving with them yesterday. This meant that Don could not be there as the kids are still not willing to see him. While we spent time with his family, I would imagine that Don spent the day alone. God is taking him where He needs to in order to work the miracle that I KNOW God is going to perform.

Game on, satan. You are NOT gonna win. You may win tiny little battles but the victory in this war belongs to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Victory

Once again I have been absent from here because God has not given me anything to share. Well, maybe it is that there is so much to share but I don't know how to organize it. So, we'll just start writing and see where it leads. Last time I left you with the victory God gave me while attending my uncle's funeral. Victory. Ok, that is a word that has rolled around and around in my brain this week. Let me tell you why...

It has often been said during the 18 months of my illness that I might have to "walk out my healing". In other words, believe God for it and start living my life like I really do believe it. Attending the funeral was truly walking in faith that God would provide what I needed when I needed it. And boy did He. The really cool thing is what I believe happened to me at the end of the service. During many of the hymns the congregation was asked to stand, however, I remained seated. That is, until the last hymn. Victory in Jesus. It was impossible to not stand up. I just had to! I believe God is healing me. I really do. It was almost as if I had to stand in faith knowing where my victory comes from and the healing began.

This has been the best week "physically" that I have had since the illness began. I gotta tell ya...I walked around downtown last night with 5 teenagers and my 2 little nieces. I went in some very crowded stores. I drove a car!! God and I, we did it together and we had a blast! I've been hesitant to write about feeling better and the prospect of a healing. Why? Because I am afraid that it won't last. That is satan. Ya know, it might not last but for now I need to proclaim the victory God is giving me. Life. Living it. It's great. What a joy.

And then...as one part of life seems to be healing the other part falls apart worse than ever. Things with Don (almost former husband) are horrible. It's not been this bad throughout the entire 9 months that we've been separated. However, if God promised me beauty from ashes, He did not say it would be easy. It may take me really, really having to forgive and show God's love and mercy. Not that Don is asking for it, but I know God is. Shoot!! I'd just rather stew and be mad. Help me to pray for Don's salvation and his healing. There is victory in Jesus. I live it!!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Heart is Full

As many of you know my uncle died on the 7th. His funeral was yesterday. It was so important to me that I would be able to attend. I knew with my illness that this would take a miracle (if you aren't familiar with my illness, you can read about it in the sidebar). Our family would need to travel to the other side of the state, stay in a hotel, eat out, attend a very long visitation and of course, be at the funeral, graveside and luncheon. Whew...I was overwhelmed just thinking about how any of this would be physically possible for me. Thus began the prayers of many!! We were asking God to give me the physical ability to do all of these things without symptoms. I need to tell you that the past two days exceeded anything I even thought about asking God for.

We had a ride across the state. Attended 7 hours of visitation. I stayed up late at night playing games with my nieces. I walked down the aisle of a church without assistance and sat through the service. It was even possible for me to walk up & down stairs many times!! When I tell you that I only had a few "whirls" - THAT is a miracle!! God blessed me with being able to say good bye to a man that I loved dearly. To be able to stand in his church and sing his favorite hymns! What a privilege to be with my family and sing "Blessed Assurance" and "When We All Get to Heaven". There were no shortage of tears on this face. Yet at the same I was overcome with joy and gratitude at the gift God had given me.

This outing was the first thing that my kids and I have done together in 18 months. (yes, we have gone to my parents, but you know what I'm sayin') Funny that God would bless us with fun times together at a funeral. Isn't that just like God? Doing the unexpected. I missed Don (hubby) while sitting in the church. I knew that he would have been one of the pall bearers and it was hard not to sit and feel his arm of comfort around me. However, I cannot help but feel that the prayers my uncle has been faithful in praying for Don all this time will be answered in a mighty way. May Don come to know Jesus, may he mend the broken relationships with all of his children, may God begin to heal his broken heart!!

Thank you to those of you who have been lifting me up in prayer these past several days. Your prayers were physically felt by me. How great to be able to talk with the kids and have them realize that they witnessed a miracle in their mom's life just by the fact that I could be in attendance with them. God is in the miracle business still! The same God who raised His son from the dead. He has not changed. Lord, help me not to doubt or limit you. I am still asking for a miracle - for a healing. In my health and in my family. Thank you, Jesus, for being beside me each step of the way. May your name be ever on my lips. May I point to you like Uncle Art did. Thank you for his life and for the miracle you are performing in mine!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Legacy

My family becomes smaller and smaller. We have lost yet another member. My Uncle Art went suddenly to be with Jesus on Friday. (my birthday) He had just been here for a visit less than two weeks before. Oh I am so grateful for that time! He was older and had lived a full life, yet the sting and the hole he has left in our family...it will never be the same. We will never be the same for having had his example in our lives. I am not sure I have ever known someone who exemplified what is means to be "Christ-like" as much as my Uncle Art. Always with a verse or a hymn on his lips. Never shying away from sharing his faith. Oh he loved Jesus and longed for the day that he would be there with my Auntie Jean. (she too died suddenly, just two years ago)

He has left a legacy for anyone who knew him. Many came to know Christ because of him. Lives were saved because of him - in the war. (he has a purple heart) I have just this moment realized something! There has been a "deep sadness" over my life since Friday. This is to be expected with a loss but I knew it was more than that. It just occurred to me that with Uncle Art's death came the passing of someone who daily lifted me up in prayer. That is what is missing. He was heartbroken over my marriage. He and Don shared a bond like no other. It's one that I cannot explain and he was devastated to learn that Don had left. Writing a letter to him and lifting us up in prayer fervently. He and my aunt were vigilant in their prayers for their family. That covering will be physically felt.

What kind of legacy am I leaving? Will others know of my God because of my life? Is my life about me or about HIM? Do I take my responsibility and privilege to pray for others seriously? I want to leave a legacy...Lord may I take what you taught me through my uncle and leave a mark on those who you have placed in my life. Teach me to pray for Don, David & Ellie. Help me to live my life as a display of your grace. Thank you for those who you surrounded me with. Thank you for the heritage.




Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Something Bigger

Remember this blog is a place for me to record what God is doing so that I will never forget. If you're tagging along on this journey with me - thank you! I need to record more of what could not have been if hadn't become sick. For me, I need to see reasons for the suffering. God doesn't always allow us to see it but He has been so kind to let me see purpose in this illness of mine.

As I have said many times before, I would never have started a blog, never spent time online, never really saw the bigger picture of "the church". Boy has God opened my eyes.What an amazing privilege it has been to get to know so many of you. I have not laid my eyes on one of you (oh except the few of you that I know in real life) and yet I feel as if I really do know you. Your lives have inspired me. Your love of the Savior has spurred me on to want to love Him more. The way many of you have walked through deep pain and loss has taught me how to cling to God. You've shown me how to really trust. How amazing of God to bring people together this way.

God also has put some very unlikely people into my life. People that in my "normal" life I would have passed by. They did not fit my mold. I can be one to make snap judgments about people. "Nope, she is not like me." She and I have nothing in common." "Her shoes aren't cute!" Yes, I said "her shoes aren't cute", that actually mattered to me. (might still a little bit) Anyway, I have grown to love some "unlikelys" in my life.

I want to tell you about one of them. Her name is Vicky. I met her on a Christian forum. When she would post her responses I could not read them because of the misspelled words. I did not take the time to try to figure out what they said. I judged that maybe it wasn't worth reading. THEN God brought her into chat one night about the Bible study we were doing. She was up front about her learning disability and the fact that she could not spell. SLAP! And this woman...oh does she have a story to tell. She is one of the brightest, sweetest, grace filled people I have ever had the honor to call my friend. A life of pain and heartache that would have made most bitter has become a life that wants nothing more than to bring glory to God and happiness to those around her.

We matter in the lives of others. What we say, words we speak over them, they matter!! We are all a part of the body of Christ. We may look different, sound different, go to different churches but we are all part of one body! Oh I am so glad that the Lord saw fit to keep me home so that I could see outside my box and truly understand what it means to mean be part of something bigger. This journey of ours is far from over. Thanks for letting me in on your lives and thanks for taking an interest in mine.

Just more beauty...


Friday, October 31, 2008

Worthy of Praise

God is worthy of my praise. Period! He is worthy of it. Not because He answers one way or another. Not because He gives what I ask. Not because of anything except because of who He is. I had decided that no matter the test results of my biopsies, I would praise Him. He does not change just because my circumstances do. He is the same God that I praised yesterday and I would continue to praise Him.

However...the biopsies are BENIGN!! I sobbed. Not sure that it was relief, gratitude or just what caused the tears. But this I do know. God will use this, it will not be a wasted experience. He has already used it. Because of the impending tests, Don stopped the divorce and decided it would be best if we just remained legally separated. This way there would be no issues with my health insurance. He is not intending to ever get back together, but we don't know what God is up to in this!! My heart had become hardened toward Don. I was not praying for him or for the restoration of our marriage. I miss him right now though. Wish he was here with me to celebrate God's faithfulness.

If we don't think God is in control of ALL circumstances...let me just tell you how it went when I got the phone call from the doctor today. My phone rang, it was Don (hubby) calling to see how I was doing and if I had heard anything. The other line beeps in and I can see it is the doctor. So I tell Don that I will call him back and let him know. Of course, after I hear the great news I knew I had to call Don right away because he would be sitting there wondering. So even though our marriage is "over", God still made it so that my husband would be the first to know. Isn't that just so like God?

Thank you all for your prayers. They were physically felt by me. God is still holding me in His refiner's fire and bringing beauty from the ashes. YOU are part of that beauty.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sweet 16?

How can it be that my first baby is 16? That is just impossible to me. It seems like yesterday that he was the baby that NEVER slept. The one that had to be driven around in a car mile after mile just to get him to shut his eyes. The child that slept in one of these so that he could not get out of his crib. (it was for his safety, I promise) Yes, we pushed his head down and quickly zipped him in. But I digress...


I love this boy. Cannot even tell you how much. God certainly knew what he was doing when he gave me David. Man, am I blessed. He is a joy to be around, so funny, considerate, sensitive, strong, loves his sister, full of life, shares his feelings...guess he is just about perfect. And I am so proud to be his mom. His life hasn't been a whole lot of fun lately, but I don't hear him complain much. He will take these trying circumstances and be better for it. Wow is some girl gonna be fortunate to get him for her husband.


My prayer is that this year would bring David much joy. Not just happiness, but joy that lasts. I pray that he will open his heart to his dad. That his heart for God will grow. I pray that he does not get sick of driving me around - ha! Oh yea, I finally have a driver in the house again. You didn't think this was all about him, did you?


Love you, David. I'm so glad to be your mom. Happy Birthday!!!!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Elsie Survives

Alright - I am just going to get right to it. Many of you know what my week was supposed to look like. Today I would go in for one biopsy on my right breast. Tomorrow for two on my left breast. My prayer has been that my "dizzies" would be manageable and that the procedures would not take as long as expected. (it is to be one and a half hours per biopsy) So many have been praying with me. We stormed the gates, let me tell ya!!

So off I go this morning. Dizzies were raging when I first woke up, but completely manageable by the time I get there. The doctor gets me prepped for the right biopsy and after reviewing the films, he decides that one is not at all necessary. He then asks if I would like to do the left side today and just be done. Oh yes I do! Let's get it over with. So...I am done. There is no going back there tomorrow. Not only did God reduce the time it would take, He reduced the days. What should have taken 4 1/2 hours over two days ended up being less than 2 1/2 in one day! HALLELUJAH!! He IS watching. He IS listening. He gives greater things than we could ask or imagine.

However...He did not spare me my dignity. If you don't care for details and don't like my sense of humor, then you probably should just go back to what you were doing. But I think this is about the funniest thing that has ever happened to me so I am sharing it. In my last post, I joked about going to the milking machine and calling myself Elsie. Now, in order to understand why I felt like a cow being led to...you really need to see the table that these biopsies are performed on. I was having a stereotactic biopsy performed on one of these . Be thankful I did not post the picture of one in use. Ok, anyway, as you can see there is a spot just for my "you know what" to HANG down. Oh yea, lovely isn't it. So after all of this joking, I am completely set up to have the right side done when the doc decides to just do the other. Do you know what that means? I am already on the table and I have to "switch sides", which mean I have to get my head to the other end. Picture this with me. My girls are basically exposed (oh, of course I am wearing a lovely tie front top that is no longer tied) and I have to switch ends. How do I do this? I am on all fours on said table, girls are doing their thing and I am slowly turning around. I could not have looked more bovine like if I had tried!! I laughed out loud and said "this is great material".

God has a sense of humor. God gave me laughter in the midst of what should have been a scary experience for me. I had no fear - zippo. My results should now be in by the end of the week. Those are completely in His hands. I trust Him. No matter what, I trust Him.

Gotta get some more frozen corn for my udder, I mean...breast,
Elsie


Saturday, October 25, 2008

He Lasts

Once again I've been asking the Lord what He wants me to read in His Word. Thankfully He isn't telling me to read Psalm 119 any more! Now I've been spending my time in Isaiah 40. Love Isaiah, probably my favorite book in all of the Bible. So, I was more than happy to read. For me it's not just a one time deal. I am usually to read it over and over until I hear something clearly. This is what keeps screaming out at me. Verses 28-31. And it's the way they are worded in The Message that really caught my attention.

Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch His breath. And He knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.

Love the bit of sarcasm and the rhetorical questions that come out in the conversational style of The Message. GOD DOESN'T COME AND GO. GOD LASTS!!! There is not a moment that He is not aware of what is happening in my life (or your life). He's not going to work in my life today and then take tomorrow off. He Lasts!! If I wait on God He will give me fresh strength. He wants to strengthen me. And that is not just for one day, this is strength that will allow me to soar like an eagle.

I am sorry if my sick sense of humor offends you in what I am about to say. But God knew what I would be facing this next week. He knew before He created anything. He will be with me as I go through these biopsies. And as I've told my friends...it is like a cow going to the milking machine. I've never seen such a contraption in all my life. Now, I got quite a kick out of seeing the table that the biopsies would be performed on. I know...I'm twisted. But really, who comes up with this stuff? A man obviously!! It really is funny. Please know that I am not joking about cancer, at the moment I am only have biopsies. And I have renamed myself Elsie for the next few days. (hopefully you know who Elsie is)

God Lasts. Through today. Through Tuesday and Wednesday. He lasts through my current illness. He lasts in the lives of my children. He lasts in my marriage. He lasts in my alone time. He Lasts! How cool is that? No need to worry or fret, He's got it!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Out of Control

Happy Monday! I have no idea why I said that, it was just the first thing that popped into my head. This ought to be an interesting post - I am scared already. Yesterday I was realizing that I am going through many major things all at one time. (I know...I'm quick like that!) Chronic Illness. Separation & upcoming divorce. Kids who don't want to see their dad. Biopsies. Seems like a lot at once. But I'm sure many of you have lots of big stuff too. The thing about the "big stuff" is that it is all out of our control. To me - that is a good thing!

Many have asked me how I am handling this. And the truth is - I am not! God is! He has to be. It's all too big for me to even attempt. And it is all "out of my control". In an odd way, that is a relief. I cannot stop any of these things. I cannot change upcoming test results. I cannot force my kids to have feelings they don't. I cannot stop a divorce. I cannot make my sickness disappear. I do my part and let God do the rest. You know what? He knows what He is doing. The fact that I have peace is evidence that God is hard at work. Boy am I grateful for that.

This relationship with my God has not been a dull one. If you've been with me long enough you know I had my prodigal years. (and I do mean YEARS) I'm not saying that I wouldn't go back and change anything but those years have proven to be a source of strength. Let me explain. If God would continue to pursue me and keep His hand on me during years where I wanted nothing to do with Him. Years where I ran from Him. If He would protect me then when I did not even ask for it. How I know that He loves me and will not take His eyes from me - He has to be in control. He had a plan for my life and NOTHING I could do would change that. He is sovereign. The road may have had a few more twists & turns than it needed to, but in the end it led right back to Him.

Right now the road is tough, but He is not surprised! This time I'm letting Him drive (most of the time). He is in control! Ya know, He's in control whether we believe it or not. We can fight to keep our hands on things and "try" to work them out. But why? He seems to have a pretty good handle on how things should be. Let's just let Him.

Out of control - and OH so glad!!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Intentional Living



In my last post, I talked about living intentionally. I had made the decision to get out and enjoy life as hard as it was. One of the things I've missed most since I became sick is going to the beach. We live just moments from one of the prettiest beaches in the country. (yea, I can say that, this is my blog)

A week ago I decided to go with my parents as they were taking my nieces to the beach one night. I had not set my feet in the sand in two years!! Oh what a great evening God gave to me. I just want to show you the beauty that He had waiting for me. I would have missed it had I not decided to live intentionally.

And the joy on the faces of these two precious girls was worth all the trouble in the world to me...




Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What Now?

I have debated about putting this out there but here goes. To those of you who I know in real life, I am sorry if it bothers to you to find out this way.

Last Friday I got a call that my annual mammogram showed some changes and I would need to come back in for a diagnostic mammogram with the radiologist on site to read it immediately. That happened yesterday. The radiologist came in with two other people so I knew I wasn't going to like it. She was unable to rule out malignancy so I will be having three (3) biopsies done at the end of the month. They are microcalcifications which can go other either way. No way to know without the biopsy. I will have have one biopsy done on the 28th on one side and then two biopsies on the 29th on the other side. Stunned. What more? Why? But then, why not me? God is still in control. He is not surprised. Fear - I want no part of fear! I've chosen to walk this out in faith that God loves me and will not allow it if it won't somehow bring Him glory.

There is a very good chance that they will all be benign. I know that. But there is the chance that it will be cancer. For now I am not telling my kids - there is NO reason to worry them for 3 weeks until I find out. Don knows. I called him. I miss him like I have not missed him. It's hard to face this without him. I realized how much of me is missing since he is not here. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe I should have been missing him more than I have. Life has just gone on. Haven't been praying for marriage restoration. Haven't been praying about the lack of relationship the kids have with their dad.

This is a wake up call. Cancer or no cancer. I need to be living intentionally!! Praying about what God places on my heart. Praying that only God's will be done in my life, Don's life and the lives of my kids. God would want my marriage restored. I need to pray HIS heart and not my own.

What does that mean for me to live intentionally? Decide I am going to make the most of each day. Enjoy the times where my symptoms are more manageable. Get out there and live life in my "new normal". It may not feel comfortable, I might not feel great but I need to try. Spend time really engaging with those around me. Speak into the lives of others. Learn more truths. Be in The Word. Praise Him more. Trust Him.

Father, you are not surprised. Keep my mind focused on you and not on the unknown. Overwhelm me with your peace. Use this Lord, please don't let it be wasted. Get me out of the way. I know you are working in Don's life. Give me the words to speak to him. Bring us your comfort. Forgive me, Lord. This is just one more step in the process of bringing beauty from the ashes of my life. My flesh wants healing. You know I do not want a cancer diagnosis. But I am getting to the point where I really do just want you to have your way in my life, however difficult that may seem to me. Love you, Lord.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pride?

Pride. Nope, not me. It is not an issue for me. No. Not a problem. I don't care if people notice me. It doesn't matter if others compliment me. I do NOT need accolades or recognition. Nope, not me.

Lies. All lies. Can't stand it when I see pride rear its ugly head. There are many who tell me how humble I am and I think "you do not really know me then". The thoughts that come into my mind remind me that pride is really lurking there. I don't like it. I hope that I do not do things just to get the "atta boy" but sometimes I wonder. Often, I wonder. What is my motivation? Is there anything in what I'm doing that is about me? It is so hard to do it all for the glory of God. As humans we want a little glory for ourselves to. Who does not want to be told that they did something well? Or how great they are? You want to be chosen and picked.

Actually all those things are fine in and of themselves. But are they my motives. Do I write because I like to or because I want people to notice and compliment? Do I dress to be comfortable or for others to tell me I look good? When I talk about my kids, is it really out of a mom's pride or is there any part of me that wants others to just know how great they are? Motives. They are so important. Why do I do what I do? If I know the motive I can usually tell if pride is involved.

You'd think that someone who has been home for over a year, someone whose marriage has fallen apart, someone who is dependent on others for so much...you'd "think" that person would have dealt with her pride issue. Wow, can't believe it when I see it so plainly. Lord, I want to say thanks for revealing it again but I can't stand to see it. How can my life be about you and not about me? Keep chipping away at my sinful nature that wants to puff myself up. The one you esteem is the one who is humble and contrite in spirit. Oh, I want to be someone that YOU esteem. One who does not do anything out of the wrong motive. Lord, I know what you've asked me to do now. I'll do it!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, Don

Today is Don's birthday. For those of who don't know, Don is my husband. He and I are in the process of divorcing. In February we separated and in April he filed for divorce. We have been married over 17 years. This is not a place where I ever wanted to be. Single. Mom. Sick. Sad. Disappointed. You know what I'm sayin'.

But I'm not dwelling on that today. It's just a bit after midnight and I want to start this day by acknowledging his birthday. The firsts are hard. And this is the first birthday of Don's that I have not celebrated with him since 1990. I won't physically be with him today but I do want to pray a special birthday blessing over him. The kids probably won't call him and that makes me terribly sad for him. Many say that he doesn't deserve a phone call but I cannot imagine the pain he feels (no matter who brought it on).

Father, Don is loved by you as much as you love anyone else. You desire a real relationship with him. His pain is not something that goes unnoticed by you. Today, I just ask you to meet him at his deepest need. Bless him, Lord. Just pour out your blessings on him. Make it so clear that it is you that he cannot question. Prompt the kids if they should call. May they take the iniative and do what they know is the right and loving thing to do. Father thank you for taking any bitterness that may have started to take root and yanking it from my heart. You know my love for Don is a love of deep compassion mixed with so many other emotions. But this is not about me and our marriage. It's not about the "what if" and the "I don't want to", Lord I am praying for him because that is what you call me to do. Father, I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give Don the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that he may know you better. I pray also that the eyes of Don's heart may be enlightened in order that he may know the hope to which you have called him. (Eph 1:17-18) What greater gift could Don receive this year than to really know YOU. Take me out of this. Lord, you have your way in his life. Come to him Jesus and bless him. I love you and I pray these things in your Son's name. Amen

Happy Birthday, Don!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Thanks & More Stuff

First off, thank you for indulging me on my last post. There were many of you that I had never heard from before and it is so great to meet you! I appreciate you all. I have only a handful of "in real life" friends that have my blog address, so it's good to meet all of those that God has brought into my life through blogging. Just a quick shout out to Tym...I know you're reading!!

Okay, now back to my regular writing. Which you know is not regular at all and we never know where it's going to take us. Today is no different but I need to journal some things that have happened so that I will never forget.

God amazed me once again with the way He answers prayer. Over and above my expectations. Many of you have been faithful to pray for my son, David, as he deals with all that is going on his life right now. (especially where his dad is concerned) I had decided to take him to a different counselor and told him the night before we were going. All he said was that he was not happy about it. (that is him being mean - ha) That counseling session was so God ordained I cannot put it into words. David thanked me for caring enough to take him, made another appointment, and told me when we got in the car - "that dude's pretty cool". Isn't God GREAT!! Your prayers are necessary and appreciated.

It has been made very clear to me that I have been forsaking being in The Word. Funny when you have so much time on your hands you never do the important things. At least that is the case for me. I know that His Word is life, yet I haven't been in it. Not sure why. Just felt that same disconnect to reading my Bible as I've had in praying. It's satan, I know that, but I've been letting him win.

Today I decide that I am reading my Bible no matter what! Not to fill out answers in a study. Not with any agenda, just read. So I figure I'll read the Proverb for today and read Proverbs 3. Good stuff. All about wisdom and how important wisdom is. Then I think, well I'll read a Psalm and I ask God which one. In my head I hear 119. (now those of you that know The Word know where I'm going, but I was oblivious). I open up to Psalm 119 and laugh out loud. Oh sure, take me to the longest chapter in the Bible. Real funny, Lord. YOU have a sense of humor. So I read all 176 verses. (I had a lot of time to make up for so He was making sure I had plenty to read) Boy, did I need to be there.

Psalm 119 is about the importance of His word, His precepts, His laws and decrees. How will I know them unless I read them? So verse 16 says "I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Ok, ok, I get it!! Verse 71 "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees". Quit shouting at me Lord. And I know He is not shouting out of anger but with that love that wants me to really understand how important it is. You see, I have been "basically" home bound since June 2007 because of my illness. Sure I leave the house some but for the most part my life stopped. That is 16 months that I could have been learning His Word. Really eating it up. Don't worry I'm not having a guilt trip here - now I know what I should have done and will be doing it from here on out.

Verses 153-154 "Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise." What awesome words. Yes I am suffering but He will deliver me. That may not be through healing but I know He knows! And He is defending my cause in the break up of my marriage. He will redeem me and preserve my life. Life hurts. I need wisdom. God has all the answers. If I will look to His Word first He will show me the way.

Isn't God great? I mean, really! He speaks to me personally. In a way that I would find funny and just a bit sarcastic. It's not the same way He would speak to each of you. God doesn't just love all of His children...He loves you...He loves me. And He will speak to you one on one. I am saying these things to myself so that I won't soon forget. Lord, keep drawing me to yourself and to your Word. Your words are life. They are alive and active. Don't let me miss what you have just for me.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

YOU

Okay this post is completely self-serving. I have noticed that there are many of you who visit me (and I appreciate that). But I do not know who you are. I realize that there are lots of people who don't feel comfortable leaving comments, but the thing is I like to know who my friends are. Would you mind doing me a favor? Don't navigate away from this page without leaving a comment. PLEASE???!!! Would you please just say hi and tell me your name and where you're from. Of course, if you want to tell me how wonderful I am or anything of that nature that is perfectly acceptable as well! Oh, one more thing...if you happen to have a life verse or a favorite verse I would love to hear that too. I promise I will get back to my regular posting soon and let you know how things are going. (some of you are relieved for the break from my saga)

Okay, start commenting..........thanks!


Friday, September 26, 2008

David


Just a quick post to ask your prayers for David. His heart needs healing desperately. I want to honor his confidentiality but just know that he is really struggling with his feelings toward his dad. He also questions God and why He is not answering any prayers. (yes we know He is answering, but you understand this coming from a 15 year old boy). Anyway, please just pray as God leads you. Thank you so much for being friends that I know I can come to and you will intercede on our behalf.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Running and Chasing

Chasing and Running. Running and Chasing. That's been the theme of my life hasn't it, Lord? Running from you and chasing after other things. Chasing things that do not satisfy and that leave me feeling empty. But at the moment they meet whatever need I think I have. They meet it quicker than I think You will or I wouldn't be chasing after them. I wouldn't be running AWAY from you, I would be running TO you if I thought you would really satisfy. Wow, the things I have chased in my life! And most of the time I have caught them and have paid a pretty big price. Odd that I had to chase them...even in that, You were trying to protect me from reaching them. I had to work to get them.

I ran to you as a child. With no reservation. Nobody had to coax me to believe You. I had that childlike faith and I loved you Lord. Everyone who talked to me got an earful about You and how they should love You. That changed so quickly when I felt that You had really let me down. Why was I so easily moved from my sure faith? Looking back I know it's because my roots hadn't had time to grow deep enough. I was still too young to really understand You and your sovereignty. How was I to know that through my dad's death you would do amazing things? How did I know that you really meant it when you said "all things work together for good"? Looking back I am so sorry that I began my running and chasing - what desperation I would have avoided!

Lord, I am still suffering consequences of that chasing. And you know...I am glad that there are scars. Otherwise I may have never learned the lesson. The lesson that You are the only One who satisfies. Not men, addictions, approval, being chosen, friends, living without boundaries, none of those things satisfied me! But I sure chased them. Chasing things that were off limits. Chasing things that would bring death. Chasing things that would lead to deep anguish. Chasing a life that I thought would bring healing and instead brought pain unspeakable.

BUT...You do satisfy. You did not give up on me. I ran. I chased. But You stayed right where you were waiting for my return. Grieving for what You had in store for me but letting me run and learn what I needed to learn. Without these lessons I've learned I would not be who I am today. Would I choose the same path again - no way. But thank you that You never stopped loving me. Lord please show me what True satisfaction is so that I will never again feel the need to chase after the lies.

Here's my life...it is Yours! You are in the process of making me whole again. Father, forgive all that chasing. I need to confess how many I must have caused to stumble because of my running and chasing. Many lives hurt along the way. None more than mine. But if You can bring beauty from this life it should be a testament to everyone that You really do satisfy. You love like no other! You are the meeter of ALL needs if we'll only let You. Lover of my soul - that is where I need to be satisfied, deep down in my soul.

May I stop chasing. Stop running. Unless I'm running to you.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Pieces

Every time that I come here thinking I am finally going to be write something that will let you know how truly hysterical I am (and humble) God doesn't release me to do that. He and I are still on a very intense journey and that is the path He wants me to stay on for now. Trust me though, I really am hilarious!!

There are pieces of my life that I guess I am not letting God into. I am asking Him to show them to me. They need healing. As someone who "stuffs" things I think I'm doing fine and then...bam...I am overcome by some emotion I thought I had dealt with. Many of you are probably like me in that respect. Wondering, where did that thought or feeling come from? I thought that was taken care of. As I've said before, putting the band aid on it doesn't make it better, exposing it will be what brings healing.

Lord, you know what is in there. Get it out. I do not want to be in the same place spiritually a year from now. I truly do want to know, trust, love! Give me the desire to continue to know you better, so I'll trust you more and understand your love. It is unfathomable for my little mind. You have given me your Holy Spirit to help me to understand those things which are beyond me. Why do I take all that for granted Lord? Oh, I know we've come a long way and I am so grateful. But I know how much more you have for me. I want that peace and that joy and that contentment, that only You can give.

Broken pieces of my life...there are many. Sins, choices, suffering, loss, consequences. But you are putting them back together. You've shown me that. Help me to get out of the way and not to hinder your work in my life. That seems to come up over and over. Do not let me or my actions hinder what You are up to. I do not want to live in your permissive will but in your perfect will. Thank you for trusting me with this pain. You believe in me and you believe that we will come out stronger. You believe that I will be more of the child you created me to be. You're molding me and that's painful but Lord I want to say that I am willing to be willing.

Heal me Lord. The pieces. The pain. The doubt. The heartache. The sin. The brokenness. Just pieces, but in your hands...a Masterpiece. I love you Lord, thanks for taking this journey with me.



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Are You Willing?

God is asking me that question. And as I try to stick my fingers in my ears and go "lalalalalala" that does not block Him out. The question is resounding in my spirit. Really what He has been saying to me is something along the lines of "why are you not still willing"? So easy for me to say whatever you want Lord, but far different to actually DO it.

Months ago I would have said I am willing to reconcile with Don. Not so sure about that any more - not that Don is asking. It's God that is asking me. He may not be asking that of me because it's going to happen but because my heart has moved from one of openness and obedience to HIS leading. "You used to be willing, why are not still willing?" Because my life feels better. Because there is less stress. Because I am selfish. Because I am afraid. Because I am...

Does not matter what my reasons may be, they are not okay with the Lord. I must stay open to His leading whatever that holds. We all must. And sometimes that leading takes us down a road we would just as soon not travel. What is He asking you to be willing to do? He may not ask you to do it, but are you willing? Is there someone out there that needs to be forgiven? Fear you need to set aside? Relationships that need mending? Habits that need to be set down? A comfort zone that needs to be walked out of? A dream that needs to be let go? Are you willing?

We say things all the time like "I believe He has plans to prosper me and give me a hope and a future". I believe "that all things work together for good". I believe "He would not allow this unless He can bring something better". I believe "He is trustworthy and loves me". Okay....we say them but do we believe them? If we truly believe them then we would be willing. I want to "stay willing". Oh Lord, that scares me. That means I say I am yours, I give up control, I will not hinder your will in my life or the lives of others. Yikes! That means I am not in control...and what a lie to think we ever really were. And that we could do it better than He who holds all things.

Be willing...He may not ask it of you or of me...but BE WILLING.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Um...I Have No Idea

You all that have been with me over the past several months are used to me just coming here and spewing it out. That's what I'm doing again. No idea what to write yet feel compelled. I'm not sure how that works but here goes anyway.

I had two friends send books to me the other day. One is a real dear friend, the other one - well, not so much! (I am kidding, just want them to wonder which one they are). By the way I have never met either of them in the flesh. Isn't it amazing how God brings us friends that we may never meet this side of heaven? Anyway, both of these books happened to deal with loss and starting life over in your "new normal". Curious. I am several chapters into the one when I decide to just read the prologue of the other. Well what book do you think is quoted in that prologue - oh yes, the first book I am reading. Okay these kind of things have the tendency to freak me out. Like, God is literally yelling something at me and I better listen. So, I did what any reasonable woman would do and quickly slammed the book shut!

Out to my kitchen I went to do...well, nothing. And I said "okay God what are you trying to tell me, what am I missing?". I am pretty sure in my spirit He told me that there are areas I need to slow down in (the grieving process) and areas that I need to start moving forward in (my new normal). Well, they don't seem to go together but oddly I get it. My marriage is going to end (I know it's not over til it's over, but just go with me here) and I will be single. Something I have not been for a very very long time. That deserves a time of grieving and mourning. Truly to acknowledge the death of a dream and a life that I thought I would live. However, in acknowledging that I can move ahead in my "new normal". Make the plans that are necessary to be a single parent - especially one with limited physical abilities. Make the most of the life I have - it is sweet, it truly is a sweet life.

My "new normal" is one where I get to be attentive to my children more. They need me more than ever - even though they're older. They need me because they have hearts that hurt and question, but I am offered the opportunity to pour more into them. Because I'm home (all the time) they have me when they need me. I am the only disciplinarian in the house, that is not always a bad thing - embrace it. Even though single, God is providing more than our needs. I am grateful to Don for his generosity in that respect. This "new normal" means the kids ask things of the Lord they may never have had the need to ask. They can grow and learn things that most people never get the chance to learn. Sure it's through very difficult circumstances but let's look at these things as a blessing instead of a curse.

I loved my husband as best I knew how. God walked with me during some very difficult years yet continued to give me a love for Don. If it's over, I will know I did all I could. Single? Me? That is not something that sits well with me, but being single does not mean I am alone.

Mourning and rejoicing. How can they possibly go together? They can go together because God is in it. Right in the middle of each and every circumstance that comes my way. And that comes your way. I am sad yet I look expectantly toward the future knowing that my "new normal" won't be normal at all. It will be a life filled with the power of Jesus Christ! That is not normal!!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aha! It's Peace

Is is possible that since I feel peace that satan is getting me to think there is something wrong with my relationship with God? Just occurred to me today. I'm not saying that there is not a struggle to pray...there is. BUT maybe I have misunderstood the peace I feel as a disconnect from the Lord, when really it is a gift from Him. I am grateful that I'm not an emotional wreck about my marriage. Yet I have been looking at that and thinking there is something wrong with me. God has given me peace about it!! Oh satan I am so tired of you and the ways you are trying to distract me from MY GOD and His purpose for my life. I'm tired of falling for it too, so I must be ready for battle and know what God has said to me and keep running to Him.

Peace is a good thing. Why have I seen it as anything other than it is. His Word says He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Why was I missing the promise. I've been intent on keeping my mind on the Lord and not my circumstances and He gave me peace. Man, I am a slow learner!! Many keep telling me not to settle for less than complete healing, that God wants it for me. As much as I appreciate that and understand that, it may not be what God has for me. So I am learning to be content. I'm not giving up on God, just trying to rest in the place He has me right now. (let me reiterate, I am LEARNING to be content...you will hear plenty of complaints in the future, I am sure)

Not being distraught over my marriage falling apart is nothing short of a miracle and a gift and once again I thought I was slipping. God is giving me peace in that as well. By no means am I saying that He does not want my marriage healed but He does want me to know His peace and I do right now. I am one who can obsess and think too much and let my mind wander to things it shouldn't. That has not been happening for me and I know that is only the Lord. Thank you for that! Oh what freedom to not be bogged down by being an emotional wreck. It's not that I don't care, it's not that I have given up, I'm just experiencing the promise of His peace.

How many times do we miss what God is giving us? This relationship between us and God is really quite simple, yet we make it harder than it was intended to be. We over analyze, question our faith, let satan weasel his way into our minds...Well I am done with that (at least for today, you know I am a woman and I'm sure I'll change my mind again) I will accept what God is giving me right now. He is giving me peace. My relationship with Him is not suffering. It is growing. It is alive. It is becoming what He always intended for it to be.

Lord, thank you for showing me today how I was believing the lies. I am in awe that you would be talking with me, yet you do that with each one of your children. Listen for Him, He is speaking. Listen only to His voice. It is still and it is small, so listen well.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Touch the Hem

The phrase "touch the hem of His garment" has been going through my head on an almost continual basis. It is my first thought upon waking as well. So, Lord, what are you trying to teach me? Obviously it refers to the woman in the gospels with the issue of bleeding who touched the hem of His garment. But what does that have to do with me. She had this awful condition for 12 years and because of it was seen as unclean at all times. Can you imagine the loneliness! But she had determination and faith that day to press her way through that crowd just to touch His hem. What did she possess that I need to learn?

Do I believe in the power that Jesus possesses? Do I believe that He can heal? YES! I want to be close enough to Him to touch Him. When she touched Him...He knew it. So many others around Him had to be touching Him, yet when she did He knew it and said His power had gone out from Him. What was so special about her touch? So filled with desperation. Filled with faith. Filled with love and devotion. I wonder? I want to be made whole. And no I am not just talking about my physical healing and the deterioration of my marriage. I want to be whole and complete and content in Jesus alone.

I need to reach out and touch Him. Draw myself close enough. With determination I need to fight through what is holding me back and make my way to Him. Push away all that is getting in my way. People. Circumstances. Doubt. Sorrow. Fear. He is worth the fight to get to. HE is!! Oh to believe so strongly that if only I would draw close He will make me whole in ways I never even considered.

Lord, I know you're trying to show me something. Help me to fully understand what it means to touch the hem of your garment and then to cling to it. I don't want to touch it and go away, I want to cling. Grow up my faith, forgive my unbelief, give me the strength to fight through this battle. Thank you that you are waiting for me to reach out and touch, you aren't moving away from me to make it harder. You are in the same place knowing the gift you have for me if only I will reach out and touch the hem of your garment. What an amazing Savior your are!! I'm reaching out, Lord.




Friday, August 22, 2008

My Prayer

For those of you who have been with me, you know the struggle I am having with praying. You also know that this blog is somewhat my prayer journal. So I have decided to come here today and just pour it all out to God. Who knows how it will look but it'll be real. You're welcome to peek in on my prayer...

Oh Father I am in a bad place right now. I just looked at my Bible and thought that I should pick it up, but what to do with it. You know how I'm feeling like I am forcing this relationship between you and I. What is happening? Where did this come from? Have I shut you out from somewhere? Please show me because this is not where I want to be.

Did I stop having faith that you are watching out for me, that you are in control? Do I just speak the words that you wouldn't allow it, if you couldn't bring something better - but I don't really believe it? You know I am just spewing questions because I have no answers. I know the truth is that ALL things pass before you and you choose whether to allow them into my life. But just because I know that to be true does not really make it any more of a comfort to me. I still keep asking why are you leaving me like this? Why won't you take at least some of the symptoms away so that I could have a life? I don't get it. I want to be healed! I want to be involved with my kids. I know, I know...I don't have it nearly as bad as some, I know that but it doesn't change how I feel about my situation.

Lord, please know that I'm not questioning if you are all powerful and sovereign. I know you are, but I do wonder what is the purpose of me being like this. Show me yourself today Lord in a new way. Can you give just a glimpse of hope that I may get some of my old life back. I am glad to be rid of some of the busyness, time filled with worldly things and some of the things I used to choose to do to escape. But I want to get back out there and live life. Be a part of what's going on. Drive. I just want to drive. Wow, I sound pathetic to myself, do I sound that way to you too Lord?

If there is sin that needs confessing, reveal it. I don't mean that you're withholding healing because of sin, I am just wondering if that is why I feel such a disconnect from you. I do not want this relationship with you to be one of duty or obligation. It can be real and alive, I know that. Show me the way back. Get my attention when you are speaking to me and I don't realize it. Give me a renewed desire to be in your Word and to spend time with you. These are things I know you want as well, so I can be sure you will answer.

Lord, I pray for my family. For David and Ellie that you will give them hearts to love you. That you would become the most important one to them. You and I know they are hurting. From my illness and from Don leaving, but only you really see their hearts. I ask that you provide what or who they need. That you would bring healing to their souls that they do not even know they need. Make me the mom that they need. I love them Lord with everything in me. Thank you for blessing me with such amazing kids. I don't know why you were so good to me there but I love you for it.

You know I don't want to pray for Don so I ask that you raise up people who will. That you will give him the spirit of wisdom and revelation. That your will be done in our marriage. Wow, that's hard for me to say because I truly don't know if it will end or survive and you know my heart...I'm not even sure I want it any more. You understand my heart and the pain, so I know you don't fault me for feeling like that. But, Lord, if I need to be or do something I am not, please show me that. And then give me the strength to carry out what you ask.

I know you are good, holy, loving, just, merciful, full of grace, all powerful, the healer, life giver, burden bearer, the Truth, light, wisdom, creator, lifter of my head, the alpha and omega, the ONE TRUE GOD. I know you hear me when I cry out to you. That's what I'm doing, Lord. Crying out. Come to me and give me rest. Give me hope. A heart to love you. Desire to do what you ask and desire to be with you. I'm sorry for how that sounds. It seems like it should just come naturally out of a grateful heart, but right now it's just not there. And I'm sorry, Lord.

Thank you for loving me. For putting up with me through times like this. For being the only one who truly loves me and the only one who will never leave me. Thank you for your salvation that you would save a wretch like me and pursue me all these years. I don't know what you see in me but I'm glad you keep after me. I know this is all part of the process. We are too far in to go back now. Fire is still burning, I know you're still refining. But would you mind speeding it up a bit so I can learn the lesson and get back to living? ha. Love ya Lord Jesus, really I do!!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Grieving Giving Getting

Feeling like I need to give an update. Clarify some things. There were a few of you out there really worried about me after reading my last post. With a title like "Grieving the Loss of my Life", I guess I can see why - ha!! It does sound a bit dramatic. But it is where I am in the process right now. Gotta go through the grief to get to the glory on the other side. Grief isn't always a bad thing either. It is cleansing and healing to truly grieve. If you've ever read my list of favorite movies, you obviously realize that I even do things that would intentionally make me cry. Nothing like a really good, loud, sobbing cry to make me feel better. (I think I'll go watch The Notebook right now)

But seriously, I am in a fine place just finding it hard to pray. Like so many of you commented or emailed, it is a place where most of us have found ourselves at one time or another. Thank you for standing in the gap for me while I am at a loss for words! Being honest about my marriage and how I feel about it was actually quite freeing for me. Because I know that GOD would want all marriages to be healed that was what I was praying for. Yet my heart wasn't in it. I was praying for it because I felt it was what I was supposed to do. Maybe that's when our prayers get blocked. They are not coming from our heart but from our head. My heart really says I don't want my marriage but my head says it's not okay to say that. This is between me and my God and He is praying on my behalf anyway. If my marriage is to be restored, God will do it and I will be obedient to His call.

So...after my last "less than cheery" post, I need to tell you of God's love and faithfulness. (As you know this is really my prayer journal -some of you just happen to be peeking in). Finally being honest before the Lord - which was praying - even though I felt like I couldn't pray, He lifted the cloud of darkness for awhile. That night I spent many hours with "my girls". I was a youth group leader for many years. Got them when they were 11 and they are now juniors in college. They came and made dinner, we ate and laughed, shopped online (yes, they made me purchase things from Forever 21) and had the best time I have had in months. God was showing me He will bless me even in the darkness. That's just who God is. We may feel like we're unable to talk with Him or feel distant from Him, but He never moves.

It's okay for me to grieve right now. I want my health back, I want to enjoy my life...but in the meantime I MUST see how the Lord is working. Cannot focus on my circumstances but on what God is doing through them. As I have mentioned here before, I facilitate a Christian forum where we do Bible study together. We share our lives, we "talk" in the chat, we pray, we sit back - amazed at what God is doing! He is doing great things and I am thankful He has allowed me to be a part of that. (and to get some great gifts from the women I have the privilege of facilitating !!) This is not meant to be a plug for that forum but if you find yourself wanting fellowship with other believers or wanting to join us in our next study, go to http://forums.delphiforums.com/siestas/start. I would love to meet you there.

When I wrote the last post I hesitated before pressing the publish button. So glad that I didn't hesitate for long. The truth needed to be exposed to the light so that He could start to bring healing. Satan wants me to keep those things inside, to feel badly because I am not praying, to feel like a fraud...but God knew how I was feeling already He just needed me to be honest with myself and with Him. Thank you Lord that you love me no matter what. Thank you that when I am weak you are strong. Thank you that you still use me even in my darkest hours. You amaze me! Truly you do. Not sure how it could be that you love like me do, but I sure am glad!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Grieving the Loss of my Life

Not sure what's happening with me lately. But I am just going to come here and lay it all out. There is a block somewhere. A disconnect between me and the Lord. I am not praying. That is not like me, but it's where I am. I've been here for awhile actually. Been trying to figure why, asking God if there is unconfessed sin, asking why every time I begin to pray it just seems futile? And you know what, He is not really answering me. Maybe I am not earnestly asking.

Told someone the other day that I'm not praying for Don, not praying for restoration, not praying for his salvation.I don't really care. Truly, I don't. And it's not out of bitterness, there is just nothing! Nothing! I feel nothing. Please understand that I know we are not to be directed by our feelings, what I am saying is that I don't feel any compulsion to pray for him and I don't really even want him back. There. I said it!

So it dawns on me yesterday that maybe I am numb. In part of the grieving process. Grieving the loss of my life. The life I once knew. The life I loved before my illness. Full. Fun. Free. That is not my life any more and I miss it. Please know that all the words I've written on here over the past several months have been true. Because I know there have been times I've said that I wouldn't trade this year of illness for anything. I still believe that but for right now I think I need to grieve and mourn. That was a step I just kind of skipped over. Like I just resolved that this is my life now, get on with it, quit the pity party....

It is okay to weep. Jesus did. It's okay to be angry as long as I don't sin in my anger. Jesus did. It's okay to ask God to take this from me. Jesus did. It's okay to ask God why He has forsaken me. Jesus did. I can ask and then to immediately remember His great love for me. IF He gave me nothing else but forgiveness and salvation I should be content.

Should be!

So I am numb. Can't pray right now. Feel distant from God in a way I haven't felt in a long time. Hopefully this will cause me to cry out to Him! Beg Him to draw me closer. Ask Him to pray for me when I cannot find the words, even when I don't feel like finding the words. I don't want to be apathetic, I want to care about my marriage....but right now I simply do not. There is peace that it is ending. I don't know if that peace is a gift from God or a tool of satan. See what a mess I am right now. Maybe I just need to shut off my brain and stop thinking.

What is the point of this post? To any of you that read it, it probably is pointless. To me, it is healing to write out my thoughts. Get them out so they don't have power or control over me. Pray for me as I grieve the loss of my life. I think that's a normal part of this process. By no means am I saying God cannot heal, but for now He is choosing not to and I am grieving.

He is the God of miracles. The God of unconditional love. The God of mercy and grace. The God of restoration. The God of truth. The God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

I know that when I am through this process, He will not be any different...but I will be!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Grace

Update below:

Remember awhile back when I was telling you about my son, David. I even wrote a post about him and said "this is my son, in whom I am well pleased". Well, this morning, he is still my son but I am not well pleased! He went to camp this week as a counselor. His favorite place to be on earth. Not long ago I received a call from him that he is being sent home. Oh great!! For those of you who don't know what they are, this will sound a lot worse than it is, but he made an Axe bomb. (it's a guy's body spray and they duct tape the button down so that it continuously sprays and throw it into a girls cabin). Harmless, yes. Something they do every year, yes. Behavior fitting a counselor, no!

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I sit here waiting for him to get home wondering what my first words will be. Praying for widsom and divine parenting skills. Then the word "grace" keeps running through my mind. One of the definitions of grace is God's forgiving mercy. It is getting something you don't deserve. Is it punishment enough that he is having to leave his favorite place? That he has to say good bye to his campers before the camp is over? That many of his friends are there and they all will know? That he has to come home to me and face me? I don't know.

But I do know the grace and mercy that God bestows on me day after day. Minute after minute actually! It's a good thing every time I make an impulsive, stupid decision God doesn't let His wrath out on me. He does not turn His back on me. I need to come to Him and ask forgiveness and be repentant for my actions but He doesn't throw it up in my face. It is dealt with and over.

I am still well pleased with my son just not this decision. God is well pleased with us because He loves us and He knows we're human. We will make mistakes and some of them on purpose. This was no mistake on my son's part it was a choice he made and a bad one. Boy have I been there. I choose anger over self control, bitterness over forgiveness, selfishness over selflessness, envy over contentment, okay I think you get the point. I don't want to give all my secrets away! Yet, when God looks at me He still sees His son. He doesn't see the yuck. He extends grace and mercy.

Today I get to choose. May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord. (Psalm 19:14) Lord I pray for wisdom to parent well, for grace and mercy if they are to be extended. Get me out of the way. I know you are well pleased with David. I know I am well pleased with David. May he know that today. Don't let us waste this teachable moment. May I learn something from it as well.

Here's the update I know you all are dying for. Did I extend grace or wrath, a big hug or a kick in the pants, smile or frown, forgiveness or bitterness? You're on the edge of your seats, aren't you. Well first I want to thank you all for your kind words of encouragement and your prayers. I know this situation was not life threatening but it had the potential to be life-altering. I know that a parent's words and actions can speak life or death into their child. Okay, already....I extended grace!!!! I love my son, he knows it, he knows he made a very poor choice, he also knows that his mom does too. Being sent home from his favorite place on earth, indeed was punishment enough. Thanks for caring about David. (and aren't you so proud of me, ha!!)


Sunday, August 3, 2008

She is 13

My daughter is 13 today. And I am blessed! She was to have 25 kids here for 4 hours of fun yesterday. Being the only parent here and one who isn't well, I was just a bit concerned about getting everything done. I asked many to people to pray for me, most of them I have never officially met. Well, God showered me me so much more than I even thought to ask for. It was about as close to symptom free as I have been in the 13 months I've been sick. Thank you Jesus!

What a great time we all had. The kids were great. Ellie had a fabulous time. I enjoyed myself! And my little girl is now 13. Sure do love her. She is a joy and so much fun to be around. Boundless energy she has! She had just spent a week away at camp and came back really on fire for the Lord. She has made commitments to the Lord that are just between the two of them. I love that.

She sent a text to her dad to thank him for the birthday card and they have made tentative plans to get together this week. Again, thank you Jesus! David is now gone to the same camp to be a counselor for the week. This camp is their favorite place in the whole world to be. How did I get to be so blessed. These kids amaze me and I am so grateful! God has done a huge work in both of their lives this summer.

Still counting all the good that is coming out of the bad. There is so much. Please take the time to look around and see what God is up to. Often we get caught up in what is right in front of our faces and miss all the blessings. I have new friends, doing Bible study again, my kids are a blast, my in laws are more involved with my kids than they have ever been, opportunities to pray for others than I didn't have before, being used even in my weakness.....blessings!!

You have them too, don't miss them! Father continue to open my eyes to see you better. Forgive my unbelief and create in me a deeper faith. May your Word not be something I take for granted but plant deep within my heart. Don't waste the suffering or the tears, use them to bring life and bring it to the full!! Lovin' you Lord! You amaze me. Thanks for the blessing of being Ellie's mom. May she know you better and love you more in the next year.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Broken and Poured Out

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. Philippians 2:17

I know I am taking this verse slightly out of context but it is what God is teaching me today. Am I willing to be broken and poured out like a drink offering for someone else's faith. Will I allow God to use my life to bring someone to Himself? For me to pour out what is within me I have to be broken. That is how it pours out. I am not one who willingly will say "oh, let me pour out of myself as a sacrifice for YOUR faith". No, God needs to break me and then it pours out.

Well, Lord, I am willing. Willing to be broken. Willing to poured out. Others may come to faith and in that I will rejoice. Can't believe you want to use me, that still amazes me. But there again, is the story of your great love and mercy. And who am I to say that I won't go through the breaking process. After all You sacrificed for me, I cannot say no.

It's easier to not feel the pain. Easier to just be at peace with my circumstances. But for some reason you don't want me to stay there. Don't get complacent. Keep learning, Sheryl. I can hear you cheering me on , Lord. But it's hard. Use my pain to reach others, let's not let it be wasted. Use my pain to take me to a place where I can feel the pain of others. Where I can learn to see them as You see them, to love them as You do and to be willing to be poured out for their faith.

Once the pieces of this broken pot are all put back together, I know it won't look beatiful on the outside. But that is not what you're concerned with. It's what is on the inside. Your beauty will shine through all those cracks. It is really you who will reach those around me, not me. But I am willing now to be that vessel.

I am breaking, Lord. Pour me out as a sacrifice. May others come to know you through my brokenness. Right now I can think of no greater joy.

Broken and poured out. Are you broken today? Have you stopped to think that God is breaking you so that you can be poured out in order to bless others. Breaking is painful but the process is so worth the end result of looking more like HIM.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Here We Go Again

This is one of those posts (once again) where I am compelled to write, but I don't know what. That's when I really know God is teaching me something or showing me something. So, you're along for the ride and will learn with me I guess!!

Don (my husband) has been gone for 5 months now. Honestly, the time has flown and that in itself is a little scary to me. You would think the days would be dragging by and I would be missing him and sad. I don't know if it's God's mercy that the sadness hasn't set in, if I was just ready for the heartache to stop or if I am once again stuffing how I feel. I'm asking God to reveal Himself to me and if there is anything that needs changing in my heart, I want to know.

This is what I do know...God is softening my heart towards Don and I want to cry out "stop it, please don't make me go there". But HE knows best and I will follow -maybe with a little kicking and screaming. For some reason I have found myself defending Don lately. (you know how it's okay for YOU to say something bad about a family member, but nobody else better do it?) Well, that's me right now. I am seeing him as a hurting man who needs Jesus. He is trying with the kids, he really is. It may not be what I would do but it is what it is. And yet the kids don't respond. There's been a little movement but they still haven't seen him. Honestly, I think he deserves their time and they need to see him. That is when I wonder "who am I, and who has overtaken my body?"

Please pray for Don that He would come to know Jesus. Pray that God would reveal Himself. That Don would put his guard down long enough to let the Healer in. He needs healing. But don't we all? I love my husband, I just don't love his behavior. I love my children's father, I just don't like how he parents. Well I am not the judge! Who cares if I like it, I am still called to pray! I cried today for him. My heart breaks for him and not so much for myself. Yes, I miss him, yes it's lonely, but he is a broken man. I have the assurance that I am a child of The Most High God who is slowing putting the pieces of my life back together.

Soften me Lord. Give me a heart of compassion. Take away my pride. (oh I hate it) Put me back in that refiner's fire for another opportunity to look more like you. I feel it happening deep in my soul, something is shifting. I am scared but I know you are in it. Wherever you are is where I want to be.

These are the verses God has shown me over and over from Isaiah 40:28-31...Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

HE does not grow weary. His understanding we cannot fathom. He will give us strength and power. I can soar on wings like eagles, I can run and not grow weary if I hope in the LORD.
I want to place my hope in the LORD, how about you?


Monday, July 21, 2008

Random Beauty

Beauty from ashes...you know that's my "life verse". It's what I am waiting for. The other night I realized again, quit waiting and count the beauty now. That's what I plan to do. Tell of the beauty...thus far. Had I not gotten sick, had my marriage not fallen apart most of this beauty would not have occurred. I am still holding to that promise for my marriage but I want to share the beauty along the way.

David (my son) left on his mission trip to Mexico a couple weeks ago with a heavy heart. You would never know it unless you were his mother. He is a kid with a permanent smile upon his face but I knew his heart was heavy. He hurts for me, he hurts for his sister and he hurts for himself. I had prayed that God would just bless him in a huge way and that he would come back changed. Well, boy did he!! David had an amazing time. God worked on him while he worked on building a home. All of the beauty from this cannot be counted because it will be life-long. But for now I will tell you this, David sent a text to his dad. That is huge. That is the first contact that David initiated in 5 months. I'm not saying anything more will happen, but to me that is beauty. Here are a couple pictures of my son, in whom I am well pleased.




Now to give equal time to all members of this family. The other beauty that God has brought forth involves my daughters. Yes, that is plural. Even though P belongs to Don from his first marriage, I still call her my own. Awhile back I told you that was a long story, so here is the short story....Don and his first wife divorced when his daughter, P, was less than 3. He moved many many states away and never saw her again. (He did all the "right" things, child support, etc. but no contact). Our children had been in contact with her over the computer so last Christmas I invited her to come and stay with us. Even though she hadn't seen her dad in 17 years, she came. Isn't God AMAZING!! This summer she came back and stayed here. She feels like the kids and I really are her family. There's no relationship (yet) with her dad but it will come. In the meantime what beauty to have another daughter and for my kids to have an awesome older sister. Here are Ellie and P. Beauty, huh?


Now for some other random beauty....believe it or not before my illness I really did not spend time on the computer. I did some work on it and I emailed but I would have never spent time on it for pleasure, to read blogs and certainly wouldn't have thought I could "meet" friends. What a surprise!! God has led me to help facilitate a Bible study online with a forum that has over 200 women. Through that I have met some of the most amazing people ever. We are sharing, taking off our masks, getting real, praying and finding freedom. And God is letting me be a part of it all. Beauty. I've seen women really leave their pasts behind, others have cried out in loneliness and found friends, old ladies are learning to type again (ha), addictions will be overcome, God is so good!! I'm not saying this is happening because of me, I am saying that God is showing me beauty in the midst of my ashes. And I love Him for it.

Don't wait for the storm to clear. Don't wait for the wounds to be completely healed. Start looking around now for the beauty. It is there. Let me tell ya, I would not trade the beauty God has bestowed on me and my family over this past year for anything. Not even my health.

Beauty from ashes.....




Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Do You Have Faith In?

Really, what DO you have faith in? When you go to sit in a chair do you stop to think about if it will hold you? (no jokes here) You get in your car and turn the key, you don't stop to wonder if it will start. You set your alarm and you don't stay up all night worried about if it will go off. You plug in a lamp, no worries about if the electricity will work. There are so many things that we have faith in. We don't fret about them. It is just known, believed in, taken for granted that it will be as it always has been.

I've been thinking about my faith. Real faith. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I think that describes a lot of those examples above. We are sure of those things happening even though we don't see how they work. How can I have such faith in those things and then question God. Will He come through? Does He really understand what I am praying? Maybe I should just keep control over this situation because I'm not sure I fully trust God. Are you kidding? What is my problem! When I fret and worry and hold on...I have no faith. I don't trust Him.

Has there ever been a day when God forgot to tell the sun to rise? Has there ever been a day when God said He was taking the day off and would not be hearing your prayers that day? Do you remember any verses in the Bible that say there are certain situations that He just cannot handle? Has He ever, even once, really needed YOUR help to solve a problem?

It sounds ridiculous. But I know it's the way I behave and I bet it's the way some of you behave also. Let me just hold onto this one situation and worry about it. Let me keep fretting and controlling....God has too many other things to worry about.

When I pray, I want to pray in faith. Not that God will answer my prayer in the affirmative. But faith, real faith, that He is listening, that He cares, that He loves, that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The same God who parted the Red Sea - that is the God I am talking with, praying to.

Lord, keep growing my faith. After all these years, I still have a long way to go. I want to be a person who takes you at your word. One who places everything into your hands and trusts you completely! I want to be certain of what I hope for. What I hope for is a closer walk with you, less fear, security in your love and to be used by you for your purposes not mine.

Faith...what do you have faith in today?