Into the wintry night a knock cometh at the door

The gals knocked on our front door unexpectedly tonight from the cold of night.  Do you know where the Murphys live, they asked?  We did not but sure noticed the cheerful nature of these young ladies.  Could they share a special Valentine’s Day message with us just the same?  Of course, answered my husband.  What followed was a friendly banter of the differences between the Mormon faith and a Biblical belief in Jesus Christ alone as Lord and Savior of the world.  It was too cold for the chat to go on long and our home is a safe zone for fragrances-n-chemicals so we could not invite them inside.  They understood.  Gratefully, I was able to locate our neighbor’s correct address before they parted which they accepted after my hubby engaged them in a sweet chat of everyone’s hometown.

Later Steve and I prayed for these two.  Certainly their friendliness and encouraging messages were a breath of fresh air on a chilly wintry night in the Midwest.  They were far from home on their 18-month mission trip rite of passage, so to speak, of their Mormon culture.  We hope that they will look beyond their culture and traditions, however, to a saving faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ who brings eternal redemption and joy through the foundational truth found in the Bible.  We find evidence of our faith in verses such as:

Romans 3:23New King James Version (NKJV)

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 Timothy 1:15New King James Version (NKJV)

15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,

Romans 5:8New King James Version (NKJV)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23New King James Version (NKJV)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16New King James Version (NKJV)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

In these truths we believe in Him alone as the perfector of our faith, His work on the Cross, and then build the foundation of our faith.  I am proud of Steve for engaging these gals with his personable style and sharing of some key points that we hope they will reflect upon further.  We hope they will find hope in Jesus Christ and not their religion.  In sharing with them, Steve moved beyond standing in frigid temperatures in an open doorway and got into the most serious of conversations with two total strangers rather quickly.  What topic could be more important for a Sunday night chat?

On this Valentine’s Day, I submit to you that the greatest love offering of all was given by our Lord, Jesus Christ when he demonstrated that love through His death and resurrection on the cross at Calvary.  Salvation and eternal life come through Him alone.  May He be glorified for the good that may come for being willing to stand and speak when a knock at the door cometh . . .

Gentle Reader, if you are wondering who God is and how to have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ alone, please write to me here or comment at the Hope Beyond page on Facebook.  Or just pray this simple prayer and let me know if you do, k?  With love, :JJ

Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and have fallen short in my life.  I am sorry.  I recognize that you are God and came to earth to save me from the ultimate consequences of my sin through Your death and resurrection.  Please forgive me.  Be my Lord and Savior this moment for always.  In Jesus Christ, amen.

cross of jesus

So much to consider

Phil 1:12, Philippians, trials, suffering, endurance, Christian, crisis, long term, illness, chronic, humor, gallows12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.”  Phil 1:12

Just as this picture and this scripture present two extremes of perspective for the activities of life, they are united in one theme:  we shall rejoice with Christ as our guide!  Yeah, I know that is a stretch . . . but we do know that the God of the universe has a sense of humor too, right?  I mean he created aardvarks, zebras, and tse tse flies!  What’s up with that?  Oh I know that the Original Adam named them all but just how did he do that?  They were all such weird creatures!  So it follows then that humor can help us endure many kinds of extremes, even the ones you and I are facing today.

Take for another example the thieves that attempted to steal gasoline from an RV.  This is a true story:  instead of tapping off the gas line they ended up tapping off the septic line instead!  When the fluid started flowing it was not fuel it was the polar opposite:  stool!  So sad.  Such a righteous punishment I must admit!  And as a grateful owner of a travel trailer all I can say is:  Tee hee with a smirk.  ;}

I cannot say that I can relate to the paradoxical themes of life with much right now with much lightness of spirit right now, however.  I’ll just keep it simple:  there’s some good and there’s some that is not.

On a good note I am grateful to report a widening of social contacts of late.  I’ve reached out to some old friends and some newer gals have jumped back into my world from my local church.  I appreciate the friends that I’ve met online (and you know who you angels of mercy are) and hope we can extend our fellowship.  All of this is good.  It’s amazing how all believers in Jesus Christ share a common unity even when the circumstances of our lives can be so different.  We all have our daily wants and needs; our Lord cares for the desires of our hearts tenderly and for these we can pray in earnest for one another.

On a less good note, new I.V. antibiotic treatments for chronic Lyme disease are going quite roughly.  Yup, revisiting Lyme since the persistent seizure attacks sure look like the episodes of others dealing with the neurological complications that can happen long after the acute infection has come and gone.  It was 4 years ago that I first started treatment for Lyme when things got sidetracked for treatment of mold and mercury toxicity, dental issues, Candida, parasites, and a possible oxalate burden exacerbating fibromyalgia pain.  Use of a Rife machine brought daily seizure attack episodes and treatment of Candida escalated them from 2 to 5 hours of convulsive episodes per day!  I was bedridden the better part of about 4 days each week this past Spring, Summer, and Fall.  So beginning in January I was started on high doses of IV Rocephin (antibiotic) and I remain sickly but out of bed more of the time.  This treatment coupled with the wintry temperatures below freezing have brought incredible pain.  However, the days that I am up until daybreak every night of the week has cut down; tinnitus, brain fog, and other executive functioning skills are sloooooowly shifting for the good.  Sometimes even the pattern of convulsive episodes shift as well (thank you liposomal melatonin!).  Just maybe these past 4 years have not been wasted after all!  It appears that each new treatment has prepared me for such a time as this:  we just might be able to treat this remaining beastly diagnosis and its co-infections to get well . . .

There is so much to consider.  Will I continue on antibiotics long term?  Will my health insurances help us out or cut us off next week?  Will I be able to get a port to spare my aching skin and forearms from repeated pokes and dressings that trigger more wretched episodes?  When would I transition back to more herbal-with-pharm-grade supplemental interventions?  Will the reactivity to mold and fragrances ever come down or do I have to go live in a pristine environment somewhere for a few months later on to fully detox?  How much more stress can my beloved husband, Steve, be expected to bear?  And how will we pay for all of this?

As the frigid Winter temperatures of the Midwest bring more of a sense of retreat than charging forth into the unknown, we are choosing to press on anyways with my treatment for chronic Lyme disease.  I just wear long underwear everyday to keep warm!  We are starting where we are with a local, Lyme-Literate Medical Doctor who has treated dozens and dozens of cases successfully.  I know that to be true.  I have met many of them when we had a local Lyme disease support group.  I noticed that each of us facing this dreadful disease had chosen a somewhat unique path to his or her recovery based upon the damage the infection caused to our bodies and our individual resources.  (See this link for more info on chronic Lyme.)  Perhaps my case was one of the more severe.  Perhaps the Lord had more than “recovery” in mind when He allowed this serious illness into my life.  There is so much to consider that simply was not on my radar over 4 years ago.

If you have found this blog by way of your own journey through chronic Lyme disease or some other serious illness, know that I am praying for you.  There is hope!  You are not alone, Gentle Reader.  Please comment below and allow me, if you like, to connect you with a larger community of those finding meaning beyond his or her diagnosis.  Our Lord, Jesus Christ, grieves for your suffering, your fear, your broken heartedness.  He sees you and will see you through what you are facing as He has done so for me and Steve.  He loves you more than anyone (including the furry pup above who has found his prize squirrel in the sunshine of a better day).

May we both smile some day in the arms of our Heavenly Father for having connected this day, for His glory.  And, um, when we get our prized prey I’ll just say, “please pass the catsup.”  Squirrel on the Bar-B-Que anyone?  Ewwwwww!  :JJ

Known in the Gates: Part 1, Not Forgotten

For those of us around when the iconic movie of the 1985, The Breakfast Club, came out, we probably asked ourselves which character we liked the best.  Was it the one called Sporto, the jock?  Carl, the criminal?  Brian, the brain?  Molly Ringwald’s character, the princess?  Or maybe it was the outcast gal in black?  (what was her name?)  Here’s a little refresher with the song that still gets my heart rate going, my feet tapping!  How about you?

This is one of those songs that once you hear it, you won’t be able to get it out of your head for about a day!  Sorry.  I really like this song!  I really liked the movie too.  The character that resonates with me these days is Allison Reynolds played by Ally Sheedy.  If you don’t want to watch all of the clip below, kindly forward to the scene in progress around the 5:00 to 6:15-minute mark.  It’s where she confesses her deepest sorrow:

Yes, I get this type of sorrow.  Try being sick with a serious illness for coming up on 4 years and see who remembers your name?  See who identifies with your struggles?  See who bothers to ask, who bothers to call?  The numbers have dwindled for me for sure.  I have kept in touch with my closest friends from Illinois and made new friends in the recovery-from-this-or-that communities online.  My beloved husband (whom I met then married here in Indiana), Steve, has hung in there through with me the worst of the torment, the lifestyle changes, the failed treatments, and the thousand-plus nights with disrupted sleep.  (Watch these videos if you want to know what I am talking about.)  Some folks I know have graciously followed this blog through it all.  Thank you!  I am always delighted when I hear from one or two of them now and then.  Nice.  Well sort of.  It’s just not the same . . .

There is a place where I am known very well and keep in close contact.  There is a place where I have not been abandoned, ignored, discounted.  The place where I matter most and my closest companion is always there, always here with me.  That place is in the arms of my Heavenly Father through my personal relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ.  He never forgets about me!  I savor His words He speaks of me (and you too, Gentle Reader) from Psalm 139:

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Oh how I wish I knew these words as a young woman when I first saw The Breakfast Club!  What matters now is that I get to lean on these words all of the time now in the quiet, dark places I have visited when alone with my Lord.  He has never forgotten about me.  I have always felt His presence even in my greatest hours of suffering.  He has spoken through the Holy Spirit often.  I have never felt “lonely.”  The Creator of the universe loves me!  I am so grateful.

But how well does he really know me?

To be continued in Part 2 . . .

The moments that matter

child with umbrella, boy, boy in the rain, blog about sorrow, overcoming sorrow, rainy day, hope beyoneWhen things are not right or even worse

We cry out to the air and wonder, “who is there?”

“Can anyone hear me on my bed of sorrow?”

“How long will this go on, how long?”

Oh the angst for enduring what simply should not be . . .

I could bemoan much pain in my heart this day:

From my spirit through my tender frame.

But why?  What will I gain by wallowing here?

As I listen to a friend who sounds like me over the waves,

I hear wisdom that comes with her years.

She doth declare that in her own time of prayer

The Lord spoke to her so gently.

In all of those times of suffering,

When surely no one cared He said,

“I was there with you.”

And her heart was full, no place untouched.

So today let’s heed this wisdom

Should we, too seek and hear His voice.

Don’t just want for the pain to end.

Reach into the moment to His love so grand.

Find people with mercy for the darkness of our lives

For we all have a burden to carry, each one.

And let us come together in prayer, in fellowship, in praise.

But most importantly

Kneel at the throne of grace often

In adoration of the Person who sees you always.

For Jesus loves you always.

And turn these into moments that matter for all time.

They will be sweet, and soften the burdens we will endure.

We can go on when held by His hand.

Yes, we can indeed.

JJ