Off in the distance

Time is right

This is a tough one for me and likely for everyone reading this at some level or another.  Let’s add a Biblical perspective:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.  (Lamentations 3:25-26)

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9)

And there is more from my own experience in life.  Waiting on the Lord in the past was where my faith in Him was strengthened.  I remember a time when the crisis was so severe that the Pastor and Elders in my church kept asking me how I was doing with the basics of life:  eating, drinking enough fluids and sleeping.  Yes, they were all a struggle.  By the grace of God and many good sojourners I got through that season of life with sweet victory.  And here I am again in another . . .

March 26th is the day that Steve and I hope everything will start to change for the better.  As written in the potato chip blog, we believe that a dental procedure will vastly reduce if not eliminate the hours of daily convulsive episodes.  Yesterday it was on and off for 24 hours!  You know it’s bad when you see stars and are gasping for air.  Despite nearly a hundred episodes, somehow I read a book while in lying in bed.  It served to protect my mind from dwelling on the wretchedness when I could focus.  I am hoping it preserves a few of the neuronal synapses in my brain from damage.  And focusing despite the pain does carry me through the daytime, the nighttime.  Talking to Jesus a lot is a given . . . .

Thirteen more days and this hell could be over.  In one month will be the 3-year anniversary of when the tics began while thinking I needed to treat a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease with a fancy Rife machine.  The Beam Ray was a mistake for me.  It has taken 3 long years and many failed attempts at various treatments to figure out what is causing the tazoring of my central nervous system.  Lord willing with removal of the source of what could be “dental galvanism” in my head, I will begin to heal from so much.  And so in my weakness I rest at the throne of grace that delivers me each day unto the next.  Lord willing, I am going to get well.  Off in the distance is the hope of this new beginning for me and my beloved, Stevers.  We are hopeful that His goodness awaits.

Gentle Reader:  Just wait for the shining glory of His light through the words on this page as that day comes.  Are you ready for it?  Brace for impact!  It’s going to be a good day real soon!  Like the old Barbara Streisand song goes, “there ain’t no tellin’ what a satisfied woman can do!”  ;J

It’s only a matter of time

hellLet’s see.  If I had a timer going for a few events these past few days, this is how I would measure up:

  • Friday:  Made dinner.  1 1/2 hours.
  • Saturday:  Unloaded compost with hubby and tinkered with a few garden tasks.  Made dinner.  3 hours.
  • Sunday:  Sat outside.  Posted some new jewelry on Etsy and surfed the net.  All day.

The rest of the time was characterized by self care, supreme sickness and recovery.  Who knew that seizure attack episodes on Friday and Saturday could take on a violent, writhing character for 10 minutes straight of unbelievable hell?  I am so very glad that the other episode of 2 hours of non-stop seizing plus aftermath would not take me to the emergency room in the middle of the night, early Saturday morning.  Alas, my beloved got a few hours of sleep.  But today it’s just sad that I missed my husband’s shooting class.  All of this is a really big bite in the shorts, I tell ya.

As it turns out the most difficult issue for me to face during these last almost 3 years of illness is a “waste of time.”  I value the meaningful use of my time more than money, people, places, and things.  It’s just how I am wired and I don’t want to spend a 60-minute counseling session trying to figure out WHY!  This aspect of illness really cuts to the core of my being.  I will, however, submit my will to the wisdom of my Heavenly Father.  Perhaps it is a supreme opportunity to soften this issue of time measuring value for me.  Value is not measured by time in the eyes of the Lord.  Value is measured by simply being.  (Now that’s another topic for another time!)  Maybe today I should explore the topic of time in a walk through His Word?

God created time.  Genesis 1:14  14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,

Time will end, thereby increasing its value.  Revelation 10:6  King James Version (KJV) And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:

There is a time for everything, good and bad.  Ecclesiastes 3:1  There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Time is measured by God.  All things happen in His appointed time.  We are to wait patiently for His divine timing of both the events of our lives and the events prophesized in the Bible.  Daniel 12And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

We have no idea when things will really happen or not happen.  Better to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord our God.  The most important event is His return in glory.  Mark 1332 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

God ordains certain tasks in the lives of believers at certain times until our days are over.  When in doubt we are to fast and pray that the Holy Spirit may counsel us, lead us, comfort us through our days.  Esther Chapter 4.  14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Our time is to be spent gaining wisdom among other tasks He ordains for us to do.  Psalm 90:12  12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom

We are to spend our time in meditation on the things that matter most.  This requires  inactivity!  Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Time spent with the Lord is infinitely multiplied as He is timeless.  2 Peter 3:8  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

God orders the steps, the events of our lives for His divine purposes.  They are not random.  They are not without meaning or purpose.  Proverbs 16  In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. 

His plans include blessing, a future and a hope.  In this promise we can find rest.  Jeremiah 29.  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And yet we are to live fully in the moment and consider the future according to His will.  James 4  13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

Not only are the events and timing of our lives planned as part of His will.  They are ordained for His glory!  Ephesians 1.  11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

 O.k.  I think I’m getting a better perspective on things!  Not only does my Lord and Savior care for all of the details of my life (Psalm 139), He carefully constructs the timing of everything as well.  When I am up late at night writing this blog I remind myself that it is an honor when someone reads what I have written.  You, Gentle Reader, have chosen to spend some of your valuable time with me.  And if I have succeeded at any level to bring each of us closer to the throne of grace, the love of Jesus Christ, well that is time well spent indeed for both of us.  To Him be the glory.  May He mark our time for His purposes.  After all, it’s only a matter of time.  There is so very much more . . .  JJ

heaven

A Call to Build

The prophet Haggai in the Old Testament had to remind the nation of Israel that the current day was as good as any to rebuild the temple of the Lord.  They were preoccupied with the day-to-day events of their lives, much like we have with some variations.  These days we have Twitter updates flashing or beeping us the latest trivial matters we used to not care about to the stress of keeping up with the accelerating pace of life.  It takes more effort than ever to SLOOOOOW DOWN and smell the roses.

Ooops!  Did I fertilize them with Rose tone when I cut them down on Saturday?  Shoot.  I better fertilize the William Battin climbers now because they are growing and wait to feed the Knock Out rose bushes since they are still dormant . . .   And off I go again . . .

When Pastor Paul Mowery preached on the book of Haggai recently he asked the congregation a question about the things we once promised the Lord.  What did I feel led to do as a young Christian or during a time of spiritual growth that I am not doing today?  What happened?  Was the inspiration transformed into another purpose or forgotten altogether?  Hmmmm.  Even when facing times of crisis this is a question that benefits from our reflection.  If all things work together for the good of those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) then it is possible to further our ministry purpose even in fast-paced or challenging times.  And for most of us, these are challenging, fast-paced times!

Some of you know that my brother (Michael) had a stoke 9 days ago.  Today Mike will be transferred from an acute cardiac/telemetry floor in a hospital to the rehabilitation unit.  We are encouraged by this news!  This means that he is stable enough to tolerate up to 3 hours of physical, occupational, and speech therapy per day in addition to having his funding issues largely resolved.  (He does not have health insurance and is applying for the Medicaid Extension Program.)  Mike continues on a “pureed diet” and “thickened liquids” (aka Pepsi!) with one-to-one feeding for swallowing safety.  He has not moved his left arm or leg yet since the onset of the stroke one week ago.  While his speech slowly improves, I understand that his mental status varies in the finer points of reality orientation testing.  This has delayed the filing of his Power of Attorney for Healthcare status needed in case of an adverse event.  And lastly, there’s a decision pending of whether or not he will have surgery to place stents in his carotid arteries:  with high blood pressure, the occlusions were the cause of the right CVA.  All-in-all, Mike is embarking on the next leg of a long journey of recovery; we are grateful that that next step is beginning today.

One of the most significant events from my visit to see him last Tuesday was his statement through garbled speech, “I need Jesus.”  When he said that I was speechless myself.  I was still responding to the horror of seeing my brother so severely disabled as he lain in bed with his waxy bed rest complexion, sunken left side of his face, catheter-and-wires attached to his skinny frame, and lifeless look in his eyes.  I had to dash into the hallway as my eyes flooded with tears!  The night before we travelled out of State to see him had been a nightmare anticipating that moment as it triggered residual grieving from the loss of my last grandparent, parents, and youngest brother over the previous 11 years.  So the the next day in the midst of my own emotions, my dear brother reminded me of what was most important.  Yes, “I need Jesus too.”

What Jesus has for Mike will of course be different from what He has for me.  Our health challenges are different yet both bring significant physical weaknesses.  The seizure attack episodes have increased to over 4 hours per day now with the worst ones occurring after waking up in the morning and after dark in the evening.  I can do nothing but lie in bed and ride them out.  I no longer can tolerate the high CBD hemp oil that gave me relief last month.  It doesn’t work anymore anyways.  Another medical doctor has set me adrift after only 2 months of working with him!  Gratefully there is a Dr. in his practice (a biotoxin expert) with whom I am scheduled to follow-up with next week.  Gratefully I have already completed the preliminary lab work she requires.  In the meantime I have about 6 hours each day where I can function at a reduced level.  And now in the face of my brother’s devastating stroke, I see how very fortunate I am.  I am optimistic for a full recovery from the biotoxin illness that I once thought was Lyme disease.  Sometimes it takes 2 1/2 years to find the answers for which we seek, and for which the Lord may bring.  It takes what it takes as I wait on the Lord.  And in the meantime I have built a firm foundation in trusting Him through what ever may come.  I didn’t say it was a perfect one!  It is solid in Jesus Christ and His Word.

Mike is yet at the beginning of building his foundation.  Indeed he will need Jesus to do the tasks ahead of him both for his own recovery and to be a wise steward of the love relationships in his life:  that with his fiancé (Lisa) and Lisa’s son (Alex).  Gilbert the dog should be fine.  🙂  I am sad that his journey looks insurmountable in the beginning.  The obstacles appear tremendous in the humble opinion of an occupational therapist on a medical leave.  All of my training is rushing forth wondering about the potential for new complications and very real permanent disability.  I am going to need help lying all of that before the Great Physician for His wondrous omnipotence and care.  With Jesus, all things are possible and Mike’s illness will not be wasted.  Mike has professed faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  The Lord will meet him on his bed of sickness and redeem it for His glory.  In that we can be sure.  (Psalm 41:3)

The call to build can be a frightful one in our own strength.  I submit to you that we cannot build anything of lasting value in our own strength.  The outward man and the trappings of the stuff of his life will fade away in due time.  Only things rendered unto the Lord and completed with His leading will last.  Yes, Mike’s call to rebuild his body begins today with a transfer to the rehabilitation floor of the hospital.  My own call to rebuild comes with revisiting the biotoxin protocol I discovered over 2 years ago.  He and I are like every one of us who faces the question of what will consume our time, energy, and talents in the next 18 waking hours let alone the rest of our lives.  So what will we do with our discretionary resources?  How much discretionary resource does each one of us really have?  And are we spending it for what will last or for what is, in the end, meaningless dust in the wind?

As for me, I know that I am called to write about my experiences within the context of the will of the Father in my life.  Writing poetry was my outlet ten years ago when I could hardly write a complete sentence due to my emotional pain.  Today I leave you with the words of the second wisest man (King Solomon) to ever live after Jesus Christ. I left these words in Mike’s room in scripted on a tiny plaque that encouraged me so long ago when faced with the task of rebuilding my life. May they encourage you too, Gentle Reader. Let us both begin to gather ourselves that which is needed to build something of lasting significance, beginning today.

 

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1
Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

When the time is right

One of the hardest parts about chronic illness for me (longer-duration illness, not permanent, hopefully!) is the change in my relationships.  I’ve written previously about the loss of casual friendships, the ones based upon common interests or gathering places.  Today I’m talking about the one between a husband and wife.

Steve and I have been married almost 6 years.  I call him my “intended beloved” since I believe the Lord has blessed me with an amazing man of God as my life partner.  We came together in our late 40’s, having learned much about life, people, and the Lord’s enduring grace in the years before we met.  We’d both lost our youngest sibling and the last of our grandparents within the past 10 years, shared both similar and completely opposite interests, had to relocate due to divorce, seen plenty of changes in the world around us, and came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as adults.  Still when we got together we needed to work on a few things as a couple.  I believe these things have become our strengths and bonded us together for life.  Yes!

Steve and I share the “love language” of caring touch.  (For more on the 5 love languages, see the work of Gary Chapman.)  Therein the challenge of late lies.  The most noxious symptom of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome for me is seizure-like episodes, 3-4 times per day.  Most any sensory stimuli can make a seizure attack worse or even trigger one if it is intense enough.  An episode can become  worse after it starts if Steve or anyone touches me.  So imagine a loving spouse attempting to comfort his or her beloved at a time of severe illness, reaching out and discovering that the gesture actually makes the person worse!  And if this happens over an over again, despite the caution, precautions taken to be gentle or vary the type of comfort, the spouse can become discouraged.  In our marriage, we have decided to work with the symptomatology and find a firm touch or closeness by proximity that sort of worked for me.  Thankfully, Steve did not stop trying altogether.  I understand that could have happened.

After all, the worst seizure attacks and convulsions happen late at night.  Steve often needs to go to bed to get up for work or another commitment the next morning so he simply cannot stay up with me night after night.  Our physical intimacy suffers.  Oh and if the attack isn’t so bad and we attempt marital relations, it’s a crap shoot whether or not the noxious symptoms start again.  Can you imagine turning something intended to be precious into something so ugly?  We often don’t even “go there” if I’m feeling sick or I’m in “pre-tic mode.”  The heartache of frustrating my spouse isn’t worth the Russian roulette we must play to see if things are going to work out o.k.  Stopping a tender moment also wrecks my thought process; it wrecks “the mood” for me.  Steve just says, unbelievably, that he doesn’t mind or that we had a time of closeness anyways.  Where do they make guys like him anyways?  Certainly I had not seen any in my past . . .

And this is where I must trust the Lord to sustain me, to sustain Steve-and-me through this season of our relationship.  I am incredibly blessed to be married to a man who loves me truly, “in sickness and in health.”  I did not experience this when I was married before as a young woman.  The Lord allowed certain health issues at that time to challenge us, test us, deepen our faith and we both failed to lean on His leading to overcome the trials.  In the end, my former spouse turned to another woman for solace and physical intimacy.  She was an unlikely comfort:  wealthy, mother of 6 children, and spouse of a man about to be imprisoned for embezzlement.  Craig left anyways.  And what that left me was a fear of relational intimacy or at least of trusting another man to endure the inevitable trials of life.

In the time that followed as a single woman, I turned to my Heavenly Husband for comfort, protection, provision.  He was my constant companion and much healing occurred.  It wasn’t until a time of serious illness struck 2 years ago and 4 years into my marriage to Steve that I realized a little more recovery was needed.  Steve’s steadfastness strengthened by his true relationship with the Lord has never waivered.  Never!  I am humbled and grateful.  I often see in Steve:  “Jesus with skin on.”  Steve has been wounded by his past and an ex-wife who disrespected him terribly.  Regardless, he has rarely brought any vulnerability from that experience to our marriage.  He, too, has allowed the Lord to “restore the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25), rising up to become the spiritual leader God intended.  So glad he’s tall too.  I love looking up to my Stevers.

When the time is right, when we have submitted ourselves to the refining fire that can be the trials of life, when we are faithful to the calling the Lord lays before us, we too may be rewarded with blessings beyond belief.  Those blessings may not be what many think of as gifts or rewards.  For me and my beloved, those good things are the ability to overcome the wretched things of life in a way that actually deepens our love relationship together as well as our walk with the Lord.  My hope in writing this is that you are also seeking the One who knows your pain and loves you just as you are:  the person of Jesus Christ.  (Psalm 41:1-3)  He may indeed bring you an angel to minister to your needs, a “Jesus with skin on.”  He may bring you to the foot of His throne of grace a few times in desperation, alone.  I know that He will not frustrate you beyond what you can handle, however, and will fill your heart with unspeakable joy someday.  (Romans 5:3-5)

I am grateful to see the latter despite wretched illness.  I pray that you too, Gentle Reader, will be able to see all this and more when the time in your life is right.  (Ecclesiastes 3)  The sorrow will not be wasted, of that I am sure if we but keep our eyes fixed on the face of Christ.  We may even get a sweet snuggle with someone special too!

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Addendum:  A new medication is bringing new hope.  I’m down to about 1 attack per day and they are less intense.  We are holding onto hope as this journey of illness appears to be changing.  Praise the Lord!!!!