Special Prayer

prayer3Dearly loved Sisters-in-Christ and of the heart, once again I come asking your prayers for my mother. She is physically stable, now, praise our Lord, and her open-heart-incision has fully healed. Now that her body is more stable, however, the chemicals  of mental illness are again overtaking her. This has been a constant presence in my mother’s life since she was in her early 20’s.  She is again swamped in anxiety that drives her to scratch deep furrows in her scalp. Depression is settling over her in a heavy fog.  Mom is not being given the levels of medicine that she was taking before her January 1st hospitalization. She has been told that even if she sees her long-time psychiatrist,  the presiding doctor will not dispense those medicines in the dosing she needs. This new information has taken overwhelmed her with even more fear. Please pray for my mom’s mental health and her ability to feel God’s perfect peace rather than this flood of depression. I am deeply concerned for her and truly appreciate your prayers, your support, and your love.  Thank you!

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Joy Has Come!

Daisy-flowers-34758616-1440-900Good news! My mother has been approved for nursing home Medicaid coverage! Praise our God, who is good, just, and cares deeply for each one of His children! Praise Jesus, who is working out His life and ministry through our simple, ordinary lives! Praise the Holy Spirit who gives us inner strength, comfort, guidance, and a strong sense of God’s presence with us! Praise His Marvelous Name!

Now that the financial aid is in place, mom must again qualify medically for long term care. This determines where she will settle in for this next season of her life. If she qualifies medically for skilled nursing care, she can remain where she is, and she has grown contented there. If she assesses for a lower level of care needs, she will have to transition to an assisted living home that accepts medicaid. I know that God is working in my mother’s best interest, so whatever answer He sends, we know and accept it as His best answer. She has a new roommate over the past 10 days or so and they enjoy one another very much. Her roommate is also a long term patient, but is mentally strong. We have been thankful for God’s grace in even this seemingly small detail, which is no small thing in mom’s world. Imagine having to live with a perfect stranger with no real privacy. That’s when the right match becomes a very big deal!

Thank you for your prayers for us. I cannot imagine how we would have made it through all of this without them. Mom appreciates your prayers, too. She will, Lord-willing, be joining us in worship this Easter Sunday morning at Riverbluff at the 9:30am service. She is happy to be coming and we are excited to finally share Easter with her. We share very few holidays with our family members, so this is a sweet treat.  Again, I thank you all and ask you to join me in praising our Father for His marvelous goodness and grace to us all. May God richly bless you for all the love and kindness you have poured out upon us.

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A Glimpse Behind My Front Door

front doorHello, sweet friends and thank you for stopping by to read this. I appreciate every prayer, note, call, and hug you have sent. And a special thank you to a friend who eats Dove chocolates for me with prayers in her heart.

There is nothing new to report about my mom’s situation. We are still waiting. Medicaid requested some documentation that sent me scrambling for documents I did not have. So there is movement, but no answer yet. We continue to wait and trust.

I am opening my own front door to you today, sharing some very tender areas of growth in my own life, if you’re willing to come on in. I have been in constant physical pain throughout this 11 week ordeal. I have fibromyalgia. I was actually diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 19 years old, when my wrists became so inflamed I could no longer turn them outward, tie my own shoes, or put my car key into the ignition. Although my blood levels always say that I have rheumatoid arthritis, my rheumatologist cannot find any evidence of the arthritis having overtaken any specific joints, for which we are deeply grateful. I do, however, have fibromyalgia. I never knew that such slight pressure to specific points on the body could send me springing almost out of my skin. Intense pain, like a lightning bolt! Analgesics have been my main therapy, but in May of 2011, my rheumatologist gave me a small, old-fashioned medicine that helps my brain quiet down and relax during sleep so that I can get into the deep sleep a body needs to replenish itself. This has made a world of difference in my daily life. If God had not sent this when He did, I would never have had the strength to write the Journey Bible study.

My muscles and joints have ached beyond belief throughout the past 11 weeks. After thinking it would pass, but never did, I finally saw my rheumatologist last week and he put me on a medication that has helped the on-fire nerve endings to be quieter. I am grateful that God has given us doctors with wisdom and medicine that helps the body.

I have also been taking Welbutrin since 2003.  I am so thankful for it; it allows me to be my better self. I know that some of you may strongly oppose these medications, but this is the truth about my life. My mother is bi-polar which was uncontrolled in the 70’s and 80’s. I have lived in mortal fear of having mental illness myself, so I cried when my doctor first prescribed the medicine. I never wanted to need this kind of help. But I did and I do. My primary care doctor has known what I am going through and urged me to let her know if I needed her help. After having only days here and there of feeling like my old self, I finally called her. I felt better the first day of the new dosing. It allows me to take a deep breath in my soul. We are all better able to hear God, feel Him, and respond more bravely to Him when we are not inwardly overwhelmed.

Which brings me to my final thought. I’ve been so disappointed in myself for not having more strength, more resolve, more courage. This season has been deeply painful for me personally, and I always wish that I could be better than I am…  I’ve increasingly had to make peace with the fact that my own standards for myself are unattainable, and that while I may disappoint myself, I do not disappoint God. I am doing my best and leaning into Him. This is all that I can do. I have increasingly found greater peace with my weaknesses and limits. Truly, I have learned to accept much more of myself and to appreciate what I can do.

God has been stripping away many of my layers in this season, but before He ever led me back to my doctors, He put my feet more surely and strongly on Himself. I have felt so overwhelmed by all of this, like it was crushing the life out of me. I actually drew a picture in my journal (I draw stick figures or gingerbread-man looking people because it is the best I can do) of how I’ve felt: like a person who is on their knees, bowed with their head to the earth and their legs and arms just barely able to pull themselves along- because a mountainous burden (think the Grinch’s giant stuffed sack) was on top of me, blocking out the sun… with no end in sight. It felt as though I had to put my own hopes and dreams away entirely.

One day I realized that I have been utterly convinced that this storm particular storm would do me in, send me over the edge, break me. And I think the enemy of my soul has hoped it would. But it hasn’t!! I have NOT broken. Somehow, as God showed me this revelation, the unhealthy soil that grew the lies (certainty!) that I would break has been replaced with spiritual soil, and a freedom that now knows I will NOT break under any storm ahead as long as I always lean into my God. He has brought me through many storms, and no storm will ever have the power to excavate me as deeply as this one. I know with all my heart that God has ordained this season for me. This is the area of my heart and mind that was most deeply devastated for so many years, and it is in this freshly excavated area, along with the healthy, spiritual soil that He is bringing in, that new growth and His love will flourish. The inner and outer pain is only the breaking up and replacing of the old; it is making room for all the fresh, new plantings.

I have not broken. The enemy has not won and will NOT win, because I am grounded upon my God and He really is with me and for me. And for my mom. He is working things out for our good and for His glory. God also humbled me so that I would get the medical help I needed to recover, heal, and grow. This medication is part of the soil additives He has for me. As for me, I am continuing to face certain fears and accept my limitations; such as the fact that last year’s warm-weather clothes are more snug than I would like. There have been some great sales and discounts recently, and using birthday money from my dad and a couple of gift cards that I’d squirreled away, I got a few new capris to give me a little grace where I need it. I hope that you will find a way to give yourself the grace you need. If God gives it so liberally and consistently, perhaps we should, too.

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… and wait some more…

heavy-sigh1Today was the day. Well, today was supposed to be the day.  We had been told  that we’d have an answer by March 9. Today we were told that the real deadline for the decision is March 24. Deep breath. Okay…?  >sigh<  So we wait some more. And we wait with the firm assurance that God’s timing is never late, even when it feels late to us.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us as the Lord lays it upon your heart.  I would also appreciate your prayers about my mother’s wound. She had open heart surgery on January 15 and by around February 12, the bottom of her incision had opened up and became infected. It has not improved, despite antibiotics and specialized wound care procedures and materials. She will be seeing a cardio-thoracic surgeon tomorrow (Tuesday) for further help.

I want to thank you for your prayers for me and for our family, as well. I don’t know exactly how you may have prayed, but I want to thank God publicly for a sense of restful peace in our home and in our spirits over the past couple of weeks. I really enjoyed some days this weekend where I felt downright happy again. After an awful lot of gray days both inside my heart and outside in the weather, it was wonderful to feel sunny and happy again. Thank you. Thank you for helping carry our burden.  Thank you for loving us through your prayers, your words of encouragement, and your concern.  Thank you.

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Waiting

waitingI wanted to share with you where we are in this process: we are still waiting. It has been close to 45 days now of waiting for the funding process.  They are supposed to render a decision by next Monday, March 9. Everything else hinges upon that one decision.

Waiting. Not easy to do, but we are learning that we can choose how we wait. If we let ourselves imagine the different outcomes we begin to feel worry settling in. When we can redirect our thoughts to remembering that only God holds the answer (not a human, although He usually sends His answers through human hands) then there is greater peace. We can rest in today’s grace because it is only sufficient for today.  Every day, many times a day, we face this choice between worrying or resting.  Our natural default seems to be to worry, to feel the strain of the unanswered questions, and as we feel the strain again, we remember to place those unanswered questions at Jesus’ feet… again.  Jesus is the savior who continues to save all the pieces and parts of our lives, the only one through whom the answer can come. And we acknowledge in our waiting that God is God of all things, including this thing.  Again and again, this is what we remember to choose.  And we wait.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I promise to let you know as soon as we know the next answer. Meanwhile, I do believe with all my heart that your prayers have already given us the strength to wait as gracefully as possibleThank you, dear friend!

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God’s First Provision

holding handsTo all of you who are standing in the gap with us as we look to God to do what only He can do- He has provided a part of the first need! Mom needed to medically qualify for long term care to also qualify for it financially. She was assessed on Tuesday and we received word late yesterday that she met the requirements and qualifies medically for long term care. This means that once the financial side is approved, we will be able to choose a longer term home for her. Praise God!

Thank you for your prayers, love, and support. Our family has also had a far more peaceful week, and I have savored the inner restfulness.  Thank you for your prayers for our family and home. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. We join you in looking forward to how God provides the remainder of the needs in the days and weeks ahead.  All glory to God, may His name be exalted!

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Needing Help

hand reachingI need your help. Even if you’re not sure you have anything to offer, I’d like to ask for your help.  I’m asking you to pray for my mom, for me, and some huge needs in our lives. My life has been turned upside-down and inside-out for a couple of months now. My mother has been overtaken with long term physical and medical needs and is unable to care for herself. She has already been on disability for 20 years. I am overseeing everything about her care, including her relocation to Summerville, although she is not living with me.

My normally busy, full life has been expanded in a tremendous way. God has allowed this season to overtake and overwhelm me- all my natural and personal spiritual resources, that is. God’s power is not limited by my limits. But me… the real me… the best me and the least me… is wrung out and exhausted.  Yet I have hope, not in my own resources, abilities, or even my best efforts. I have hope because God is never exhausted or overwhelmed or wrung out. We cannot need Him too much.  In fact, from all the previous experiences I’ve had with Him, I know that the IMPOSSIBLE situations are precisely what He loves to use to reveal Himself. When every answer is “No hope,” it gives Him an opportunity to sign His own name to the answer He brings.  My hope is in Him alone.

Which brings me back to why I am asking you for help. Most of us don’t particularly like to ask for help.  We desperately hope that our best will at least be good enough for us to get by.  My best is not good enough for this challenge. We need God’s direct intervention. I have faith in God’s good heart and in His love. I know that I am not responsible for the outcome of this situation- He is. It is His job to take care of my mom, of me, and of the world. And He is and He will continue to do so. But He has pressed me into the position of needing to ACT in tandem with Him, in accordance with His guidance, wisdom, and leading.  I have done all that God has placed before me to do. Now we wait for Him to send His divine intervention- those things that only He can do.

Would you join me in prayer- in simply asking God to step up and bring His will to earth in this matter in a way that glorifies His name and fulfills His good purposes in our lives? Mom needs funding. Mom needs safe and responsible care. Mom needs a place where her extensive needs can be met, but in a pleasant environment. I’m even asking that God place Christian caregivers around her. I need prayer for continued strength, His divine wisdom and discernment, and His comfort. My family needs prayer for God to restore some sense of normalcy to our lives, to calm the strain and stress, and to provide pockets of respite and even joy. Every area of our lives has been impacted in one way or another by this. Pray for my boys as they adjust to this new division of my time, attention, and resources. Pray especially for Jake, as he is anxious because his normal routine has been jostled about. And pray for my husband as he is dealing with this while moving through his own tremendous transition within our church.

I know God loves us and will ultimately provide. But we have been overtaken by a constant barrage of attacks, all types- the kind that leave you shaking your head in disbelief. The intensity of the struggle has taxed us. We also know that when God leads us through an extremely hard season, it means that He has something that is extremely valuable to give us, reveal to us, do in us- something that cannot be gained any other way. This season is necessary and good, although brutally hard. We need Him. But we also need you. To know we are not alone, to know we don’t have to always stand out in front doing battle for others, but that we can be surrounded by your faith-filled prayers. Terry and I would rather have some encouragement or gift to offer you than to ask for something from you. But we need right now. We need prayer. Would you just join us in prayer for these needs I’ve outlined above, and watch with us as God sends His answers?  Thank you.

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