Just sitting at the table

 

My beloved opened the door

And my evening suddenly brightened,

Knowing he would be close with a listening ear

Makes handling the “nasty” less bad and more good afterwards.

I just don’t get used to

The evening ritual of torment

When my world goes dim from sickness

No matter the resting gone before, the mini successes (or so I thought?).

sitting, chair, upset, anguish, grieving, prison, torment, grief, hurt, person, woman, man

I was just sitting at the table

When my eyes pulled closed and shook

My head and neck followed next then I knew

There were just seconds to get lying down before all hell broke loose.

So I did run to the bedroom

Head turned to soften impact bedside

Eventually pulling the comforter over my broken frame

As the sputtering gave way to shouts of terror, gasping for air, legs drawn up too.

In waves the torment continued

Just when I thought I might cry for help

No words came when Steve came to my rescue

Trying to figure out how to get a remedy inside me as I twisted before his eyes.

Tis trauma for us both

When a Monday night isn’t anyway alright

For I will never accept that fifteen hundred of these nights

Are the way it should be forever, oh Lord deliver me please!

Try again the new this or that

Until we or the Docs get it right or even better

Til that night we will sit talking about our day eye to eye

Then ready ourselves for bed with a tender embrace as it should be.

Oh I know others have their trials

And I grieve for theirs with ours in there too

Let me know your need for prayers, Gentle Reader

Allow me to make good use of this time before the altar:  His throne of grace.

My Jesus cares for me, for you

He loves us and lives for our coming to Him

No matter the reason TRUST:  all will be new one day

Until then pray for me too, k?  I am tired from this ungentle cross at my tableside.

JJ

 

You not Me

If my eyes can gaze upon you not me

To care, to serve, to pray, to worry some

Then maybe my burdens will soften a bit

For I have fixed my angst off my tender frame.

If I can plan my day to give more away

My time, talent, and resources to you not me

For a new challenge that maybe stretches me a bit

Then we shall both emerge stronger when tomorrow comes.

For what good is a man if he gains the whole world

And weakens his soul by burying it deep in self-pity

When we can travel together for awhile

You and I, carrying your bags then you lifting mine.

Seems like a better deal dontcha think

For the moments when I do return home to rest, to reflect

Will find new meaning in what it means to live

When the Lord dwelling in my heart spills over to you.

He is the One Who makes all these things possible

These ups, these downs, these trips veering off that away

We must but trust in His gracious plan, every detail

As He is the reason for you, for me, for glory and goodness too.

Waiting

Psalm 130 New King James Version (NKJV)

Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

130 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

Psalm 130

Like a River Glorious

In his first solo CD, Huntley Brown clinked the keys of a grand piano with such magnificent flow that it sounded like  the rushing waters of a mighty river.  Check it out yourself on You Tube at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up1ygB0ZYes  I first heard this amazing piece when he was first performing in churches across the United States about 20 years ago.  This native born Jamaican had surely witnessed the glory of majestic waters crashing upon the sandy beaches of his homeland.  Yes!  I can picture it.  How about you?

The imagery of a river is meaningful to me.  When I was a child I fell into a river when helping groom a trail along the Clinton River in Michigan.  It was part of a day camp experience and I was scared then upset because I had to stay in my muddy, wet clothes for the rest of the day!  Oh the trials of childhood!

Trials indeed.  When I would break down into tears as a young girl my brother, Mike, would taunt me mercilessly.  He stood in front of me with the palms of his hands facing upwards and sneered, “cry me a river!!!”  I burned with anger.  He had no idea the pain underneath those tears that finally spilled down onto my face after holding so much hurt inside:  hurt with no safe place to go.  I had endured two of three sexual abusers by this age:  the damage was done.  No river could contain my tears, or at least that is how it felt, should the “dam ever break open.”

Flash forward 40 years.  The abusers are now deceased and forgiven; my heavenly Father has filled the hurt with His amazing grace and love.  I married my intended beloved and he introduced me to kayaking on the rivers of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We began on the water together in a Hobie Oasis (i.e. a pedal-driven kayak) until I progressed to a solo Think Fit Sea Kayak.  By October of 2011, I was in the best physical shape of my life despite an underlying chronic pain condition and had upgraded to a beginner surf ski kayak:  the Stellar SR.  For almost three years my husband and I had enjoyed  kayaking with a local recreational group on Tuesday nights all summer through the early Fall.  The wonder of the rivers and waterways we explored together eventually changed my perception of them; after all I had grown up by the polluted Detroit River, downriver from the steel mills!  Rivers?  Yuck!  Boating on the water back then for me meant exploring the Five Great Lakes and clear blue inland lakes of Michigan by speedboat not human-powered slo-mo vessels!

DSCF8629

Me in my Stellar SR

Well who knew that Indiana was so beautiful?  We witnessed young deer up close, sneaking to the edge of the water for a drink and Great Blue Herons feeding their young in the tops of trees.  Paddling with a gaggle of 20 or more colorful kayaks with double-bladed paddles gently sliding through the water was a really cool sight to see.  For the first time in my life I felt “cool!”  The evening excursions were sweetened by the chocolate chip and peanut butter monster cookies from a fellow kayaker as the sun was setting over the boat launch at the end of the day.  The sunset is simply glorious on the waters of a river winding through the woodland . . .

It sure is a curious thing that the most significant episode of illness in my life would begin after kayaking in a local reservoir and river.  The complicated course of events that followed prevented me from all but limited excursions on the water for the next two and one-half years.  I’ve now sold both kayaks mentioned here and we have replaced them with  solo and tandem outrigger canoes.  My balance skills have suffered of late so the Hawaiian-style outrigger provides stability with maximum performance.   After all, Steve is a competitive kayak racer so we are grateful to have fast and great gear along with really cool looking boats!  Lord willing, I look forward to getting on the water again sometime this year.

And so I was praying, crying out to the Lord recently when the most difficult parts of this illness had led to feelings of despair.  Perhaps you read the previous blog entitled, “Psalm 71?”  Yeah, I hit rock bottom a couple of nights ago.  Within a day the Lord led me through His Holy Spirit to an understanding of where I am and where all of this might be going.  This did not come with exacting answers of time or place initially.  I came to understand that the process of searching a new treatment option was like that of waters moving from one place to the next.  The Lord placed me in the middle of the stream of new research and methodically led me through the steps of discovery to a new treatment modality.  I will write more about what it is another time.  What I will say here is that I am in awe that there were no barriers along the way just an open current, if you will, of information even when I could not see where the research was leading me.  When I finally landed at a decision, like putting-in or taking-out at a boat launch that both sends you on an adventure or returns you home, He showed me the symbolism of a river, glorious.  The image of a river made sense to me.  The residual pain from my brother’s comments so many years ago finally faded.  The Lord gathered my cries for help like a gentle stream at the mouth of a river leading to His heart.  I believe there will be a significant measure of healing this time.

Psalm 98:7-8 

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;

Song of Songs 8:7

Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
    all the wealth of one’s house for love,
    it would be utterly scorned.

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

Lamentations 2:18

The hearts of the people cry out to the Lord. You walls of Daughter Zion, let your tears flow like a river day and night; give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest.

Amos 5:24

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

John 7:38

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

Revelation 22

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Tonight I rest along the banks of my Heavenly Father’s river of life.

Thank you, Lord, for carrying me downstream as far and as long as was needed to bring me to this new place of hope. Oh my Lord, forgive me for my desperation, for not trusting You.  Help me to trust you, to continue to abide in your streams of righteousness, wisdom and grace. Renew my faith, strengthen my sea legs if You will, until it’s time for me to come home.  I love you.  Julie

river at sunrise

They came, they went, and life goes on

Here is the reason that living in the moment is so very important:  the good ones soften the others!

I am so grateful for the first meeting of our church home group that met this evening.  Steve and I volunteered to host a group to try to break up the isolation that I have experienced since becoming more homebound these past two years.  Sometime in the early Spring of last year I made the difficult decision to stop attending worship services because the building is water-damaged (WDB).  Every time I was inside the structure for Sunday worship or an event, I paid dearly with violent seizure attacks.  The kind that are triggered by mold ramp up quickly.  Most of the time I was barely able to make it back to our car before the shaking began and it quickly became convulsions one seated inside.  A perfect electrical storm let loose inside my head.  Gratefully they did not last for more than 30 minutes most of the time.  However afterwards I was beat up with a sharp headache, profound fatigue, ringing in my ears, increased upper body pain, and emotional devastation for hours thereafter.  To suffer like that was not what the Lord has called me to do . . .

Thus began my practice of listening to our pastor’s messages at home on the internet.  Thus became me living my Christian fellowship through Steve as he would attend two services per week in addition to the men’s prayer breakfast on Saturday.  He came home each of these days and shared a detailed review of Pastor Paul’s verse-by-verse teaching of the Old and New Testaments in addition to updates on our church family members.  I felt humbled and sad when he would tell me of individuals who had asked about me.  This was a mixed blessing.  I appreciate others asking and praying for me.  Rarely did anyone contact me thereafter.  Such is the nature of things in contemporary America.

One couple couldn’t make the meeting tonight as the wife was having medical tests and likely being admitted to the hospital.  Yipes!  We prayed for Ellen and hope that she recovers soon.  Our group was small yet the fellowship was rich.  I stressed about getting everything ready before 7:00 p.m. as my medical-day ended at 5:20 p.m.  That barely left enough time to shower, clean, and prepare snacks before my husband came home.  Everything came together shortly after our guests arrived; it always does.  Our group conversation was meaningful and even personal for our first time together, discussing John 18 that was preached this past Sunday.  Before we knew it the evening was over.  Before I knew it the evening noxious episode that awaits me around 10:00 p.m. was set to begin, following me late into the night.

And so it goes.  Life goes on.  Now I’m awake at 4:00 a.m. recapping the night:  at least once per month I’ll get to break bread with my brothers and sisters in Christ during our home group.  This is good.  I am glad and it was worth the wait.  :J