What did you learn today?

And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.  Titus 3:14

I learned today that it pays to take good notes.  When I had to replace a healthcare supplier within a few days (or lose my mind!), I was glad to find my notes from the research that I did at the beginning of receiving home infusions 7 months ago.  Perhaps back then I should have gone with that other company instead?  Oh well.  I got to work with their Patient Care Coordinator this time and she is wonderful!

I learned this past week how being off from work and  having less income has helped me to find inexpensive continuing education credits that I never knew existed before I got sick.  Looks like NINE of the TWELVE hours required will be FREE!  Yeah God!  I will be able to keep my occupational therapy license one more year!

OT, occupational therapy, occupational therapist, work, medical leave, disability, license, licensure, renewal

I learned this past month a deeper definition of true love as demonstrated in the life of my husband, Steve.  First some background:  we had to cancel a trip to see his family this past summer when his dad was in too much back pain to travel cross-country to our rendezvous point in Branson, Missouri.  His mom was disappointed that the celebration of her 80th birthday was postponed until Thanksgiving.  Then our trip to meet up with his family in Texas in November got cancelled when I landed in the Emergency Room five days before departure with severe back pain.   I wasn’t even able to go out to dinner with Steve on Thanksgiving (which means I missed celebrating our wedding anniversary on the same day!).  As you saw from my last blog, Steve’s response was simply that we were, “saving money left and right!”  Well, yes and well, no.  His parents are aging.  Visiting them at their home in California is complicated due to my extreme sensitivities.  Perhaps Steve will be making a visit early next year and when my health is more stable.  In the meantime he just continues to be a wonderful loving husband.  I am so grateful for his love and devotion.  Often he is my “Jesus with skin on.”

I learned this past year the meaning of the phrase Carpe diem.  Each little trip, each tender moment between Steve and I, each time the garden got watered or weeds got pulled were realizations of moments when I could do a little more.  The numerous moments that were quite opposite just made “seizing the day,” more special.  We have learned to be more spontaneous to enjoy the good graces of the Lord even when they last but an hour or two.  Carpe diem baby!

I learned these past 5 years of serious illness to call upon the Lord for everything.

Proverbs 3:5-6 New International Version (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Whether it’s finding the money for medical treatments or getting myself up to go to the bathroom when seizing, my Lord and Savior cares for the details of my life and gets it done.  He is there when I am awake in the middle of the night.  He provided that relic airplane for me to sit under on a sweltering summer day so my husband could fulfill a dream at Oshkosh.  My Jesus will be joining us in celebration when I become well again someday too.

And lastly, I have loved learning the value of writing Hope Beyond.  It’s not quite an online journal but a way of looking from the inside out.  I hope to point you, precious Gentle Reader, to more than the saga of my situation but to the glory that awaits both of us when we place our trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  As Steve and I say in our Christmas letter this year:

No matter what our perspective may be, the most important view at Christmas (or anytime) is the one that brings us closer to the person of Jesus Christ. We stand in awe of His sacrifice for us that brings unspeakable joy, knowing Him as Lord and Savior over all.  He loves His own more than words can say:  the best Christmas gift of all.

Going beyond our temporal learning to the eternal love of Christ can be our gift today, next month, next year, 5 years from now, and beyond.

Gentle Reader, what do you say that you have learned?  Please let me know, k?  JJ

lake, couple, Christian, Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh, marriage

 

Starting Over

Start today and create a new ending

Might be my mantra on this date:

My calendar awash with the death of my phone

Leaving empty spaces in the blocks that measured time.

Oh how I valued my days, my worth by that thingy

When asked to justify this or that,

I could find the day/the hour when the lost hope began

From another closed door once opened with promise, no less.

(Oh why cannot I recall the goodies lain in there too?)

So many files on paper or electronic memory stored away

In my weighty storage that marks thy years, thy self

Perhaps defining who I was over the decades

Including these five years of hell that came to roost.

“But what if I forget?” was be my byline to save

The records of divorce, of deaths, of expertise, of treatments once lived . . .

I suppose I collected hoping to arise somehow better

And yet somehow as my receptacles filled my person emptied too.

Perhaps now is the time to infill on the inside

Not in a black metal coffin with folders numbered by letter

But by character and trust:

That the Holy Spirit within me holds it all in order anyways.

He knows what I will need, where the important things are in His care

When I draw on my Lord’s infinity —

Not the confines of my mind or spaces

Lest I limit my future by my past by carrying too many things.

Yes, let the purging begin.

Let the trusting run faster and freely.

Let the light of hope return even in the faintest of twilight.

Let me start over with a new ending:  this time Divine.  JJ

*****************

Gentle Reader:  This day for us both “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:17-19Niagra Falls, Buffalo, Canadian, falls, rainbow, trusting God

 

Where do you think I was taking you?

trust-in-the-lord-proverbs-3-5-6A dear sister in Christ shared with me a story today of another time in which she was struggling in her walk with the Lord.  A year later she ran into an old friend who was in a time of severe struggle.  As she listened closely to her friend she was reminded of how the Lord gave her victory the previous year and how he gave her an image that made a lasting impression. 

Picture this:  you are walking behind, faithfully following the Lord Jesus Christ who is walking in front of you.  Your hands are placed firmly on the back of His shoulders as He leads you forth.  You are not trying to get ahead of Him or push Him faster down the road.  But you are straining to look over His shoulders, attempting to peer around His sides, jumping to see over His head.  Where is He taking me?  Why don’t my circumstances show me what lies ahead for me?  Why can’t I see where we are going, the point to all of this agony? 

 

Now that doesn’t look much like following in faith now does it?  Yeah.  I have been there too.  Trying to get ahead of the One Who loves me and has carefully crafted my life as His own child, under the protection of His loving arms.  Instead I am going to remember the image that my friend said came next:  she gently looked down, perhaps drawing a little closer to His mighty frame, and simply walked behind Him in His footsteps.  She let the Lord lead her through the trials and in due time they ended.  And a year later her tenderness for her friend encouraged both of them.  I am sure of it.

My friend shared that in her heart long ago she heard the words, “where do you think I was taking you?”  Where indeed.  May our answer always be, “anywhere you lead my Jesus.”  Anywhere.  JJ