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

When you find your voice again

Perhaps it is a silent presence, a type of mindfulness that can speak as loud as a mountaintop yodel in a life-changing moment.  Or maybe you must shout it out, screeching through a resistant case of laryngitis just what is on your mind.  Then there are those measured words spoken through gritted teeth; oooooh, I hated when my mother uttered those when I was a child!  A crazy person makes sense only to his or herself when the disemboweled utterance emerges from the trouble soul within.  And the most agregious is the spine-tingling barbs of an angry person that can cut to the heart every time.  Sure wish I had more of the first one and less of the others in my history!

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.  (Proverbs 15:1)

Yes indeed.

The seizure attacks came quickly this evening as soon as my face hit the head of the bed, elevated with folded blankets to promote sinus drainage and ease the chest compression of a recent infection.  My left arm was tucked along my left side with my head turned to the right as I lain partially face-down.  This position causes less neck and shoulder pain so it is often my go-to position when I sense the episode ramping up.  The head-banging and shoulder trauma are minimized but the wrenching of my neck is nasty.  Oh well, that’s what the chiropractor is for, right?  Sigh.

Eventually I screeched out some “help me Lord” utterances with what was left of my voice box today.  That came whilst straining to cry out to my Jesus with an acute illness on top of the mysterious seizure-like tics that plague me every morning, evening, and after exposure to noxious stimuli.  I can’t even cry right!  Then things got incredibly darker.  In defense of my sanity I won’t go into details here so let’s just say that frightful images passed through my mind.  Then in my mind’s eye I could see the images on my arms.  Just then I noticed that Steve was stooping over the side of the bed beside me in the dark.  Holy crap!  His sudden appearance in the dark scared me further.  My body writhed with seizures, now lying on my right side with Steve behind me.  My arms flailed in the air, my legs flapped together then apart, and the screeching sound of my hoarse voice screaming holy terror would exceed any scene I’ve viewed from a psycho thriller for sure.  But this was not a movie.  This was ME!

A few decades ago some really bad things happened to me when I was a kid.  I spent about 12 years as a young adult in many kinds of therapy, therapy groups, 12-step recovery groups (Al Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics), faith-based and 12-step weekend retreats, and reading tons of self-help books.  True healing came when I got saved and the person of Jesus Christ showed me his love, care for me, and plan for my life if I would follow His lead.  He was restoring the years the locusts had eaten (Joel 2:25) when I met my intended beloved and married Steve.  I felt happy and free at last.  Four years later I got very sick with viral hepatitis, Lyme disease, and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (related to mold).  I haven’t been able to work in two years largely due to the seizure attack episodes multiple times per day.  They are heartbreaking for both of us in addition to many other folks who have witnessed them too.

Over and over again I have searched for meaning, a purpose for this extended illness.  The incredible expenses of remediating our home for mold in early 2013 surely tested our marriage for sure.  We were living in a hotel while navigating a myriad of details and tough decisions as Steve travelled between work, home, and the hotel; his daughter chose to continue living in the house and help us out during the entire process.  Eventually our dog joined us in the hotel.  Eventually we completed the remediation, opted not to sell our house, and moved back home.  However, the seizure attacks never stopped!  By summer of 2013 they increased to up to 4 hours per day!  No medical professional or online research has found an answer yet.  Somehow Steve and I grew closer through it all as our hearts were breaking; the pain and suffering has been great.

Recently the Lord did show me a few tasks that needed to be completed in our marriage.  The love between Steve and I over these past 2 1/2 years has become strengthened, deepened because of this difficult journey.  We have now turned our residence into a “safe home” which restricts visitors or the conditions under which others may enter our home.  This helps prevent exposures for me that could cause a negative reaction (aka seizures!).  I love that my beloved is helping to protect me in this way so that I can get well.  I love that he has been faithful to the Lord and to me through this entire journey.  Others are watching us and I understand that we are doing some things right!  My own restoration and healing from the past may have provided a foundation for the important growth in me that has happened of late.  I am grateful to be able to recognize the good that is here along with the challenges.  There is always good along with the challenges if we look closely enough . . .

Back to the scene in the bedroom.  I asked Steve to move from where he was stooped behind me to the other side of the bed where he would be in front of me.  The uncontrollable hell that was ravaging my weakened frame was frightening enough not to have a sense that someone, even someone I dearly loved, was lingering over me from behind.  Steve knows all too well that if he touches me during an episode it can magnify the symptoms significantly.  I just couldn’t risk a casual brush of a hand; my distress was already unbearable.  Then the breakthrough began to happen.  Speaking up despite the hoarseness of my voice rose up some inner strength I had never sensed before.  I had to ride out the frightening images and thrashing about, my estimation of what weeping and gnashing of teeth might be like in a Biblical description of hell.  Tears came.  Silence followed.  I was able to ask for what I really needed when scared.

Soon my gracious and godly husband was gently sitting beside me.  I’m not sure if he was more horrified or moved to compassion!  We processed the scene.  His eyes held mind for a long time in the darkness before I was able to reach out and touch his arm.  Soon he was able to reach out with comforting touch for me as well.  Somehow we knew that my intolerance to intimate touch for the past 6 weeks was finally broken.  I was able to lie in the arms of my beloved once again.

My writing this story includes a great deal of literary and intellectual license.  I mean that I think I might know what is going on, the purpose and meaning in some of this suffering, but there is only one person who actually knows the truth:  my Heavenly Father.  I am glad that I found my voice in the darkness this evening.  I am glad that I survived a wretched scene without too much damage or lingering baggage.  I am grateful to have reconnected with Steve and that he could look beyond the ugliness to the beauty imbedded in this crazy journey together.  I trust that the Lord will go before us in the next scene and lead us in His way everlasting for His purpose and glory.  Lord willing it won’t be so bad next time.

Thank you, Jesus, for your redeeming grace.  You make all the difference in the world for me, tonight and always.  Thank you for your enduring mercy, giving me have the strength to do that to which you have called me (Philippians 4:13).  Be my voice in the darkness and in the light.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

Father Save Me From This Hour

Such was the cry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as He prepared to die a tortuous death on the cross at Calvary:  before His glorious resurrection and what we have come to celebrate as Easter.

The sins of the world hung in the balance that day, separating us from the love of the Father in heaven.  Until the time of Christ a Jew was required to bring sacrifices to atone for his or her sins and that of the family.  Bringing sacrifices, keeping the Sabbath, and a plethora of Jewish holidays dominated religious life.  These rituals and following the rule of law (including the Ten Commandments) was the only way to get to heaven before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Then God’s Word teaches us that He came to save the world if we but repented and believed in His saving grace, His death and resurrection.  He became the Passover lamb that was slain.  Gifts of eternal life, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, fellowship with other believers and more follows for those who come forward.  But it’s not all rosy living the Christian walk  . . .

Yes, there is much good in the world, much happiness in this life.  And then there is the bad stuff too.  The reason for the bad stuff is an important topic yet it goes in another direction than my discussion today.  Let’s just say that evil is here and it will always be here until Jesus Christ comes again.  When bad stuff happens, someone suffers.  Our Lord knew what suffering felt like as He was ridiculed, whipped within inches of His life, and sentenced to a horrific death for something he did not do.  He came into the world willingly from the eternal realm out of love for us.  Conversely, we rarely come to our suffering in the world willingly.  Our suffering comes as a consequence of living in a fallen, imperfect world as sinners.  Further, our suffering isn’t always fair.  Sometimes it comes when we are close to God, working hard, doing good, loving others, and making the most out of our finite lives.  Many times it just doesn’t make sense.

I just finished listening to a gentle message by the late Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa entitled, “Prayer of a Troubled Heart.”  Pastor Smith developed this topic better than I can so I would encourage you to listen to the audio sermon if the subject is on your mind these days.  I was comforted by his instruction that our suffering can be God working out eternal purposes in our earthly lives for our eternal glory.  If we could somehow change God’s plan for our lives we would be obstructing God’s eternal purposes.  “Even from the pain and suffering, eternal good is going to come.”  We can point to the life of the apostle Paul who endured physical infirmity and still carried or “deposited” the Gospel message to countless peoples throughout the known world of his time.

12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1

The apostle Paul encourages us to trust, to have faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter what our “light and momentary” affliction might be.   In light of all eternity, our time of illness is short indeed.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4

Relying on the scriptures brings the power of God into our weary hearts and minds.  We find stories of triumph over trials that encourage us.  Hebrews 11 describes several pillars of faith, empowered by God to endure, overcome, and bring glory to God as they saw His plan unfolding before their eyes.  Joseph was sold into slavery, imprisoned in a dungeon, mocked then ended up saving the nation of Israel from starvation as others recognized his Godly character and abilities.  There are many more men and women from whose example we can learn as well.

Drawing from the scriptures Pastor Smith guides us first to pray about the things troubling our souls.  Second, we are to “reason” that God really does love me and is wiser than I am.  I am not to base my understanding of His love for me on my circumstances but on who He is.  The events of my life work out His eternal purposes for both me and those around me according to His Divine plans for good, for His glory.  And third, I am to commit myself unto the will of the Father knowing that:

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28

This is difficult to do!  If it’s too difficult then I must first ask myself:  in whose strength am I trying to get through the suffering?  Do I keep asking the Lord to do this or that for me versus asking Him to help me?  Reveal His will for me?  Encourage me with His grace?  Strengthen me to endure?  Submit to His will knowing that His good is coming?  I must put on my eternal glasses even if I cannot see anything beyond my situation.  I need to ask Him to increase my faith and He will do it!

This insight came together after another and extremely wretched evening.  Only once before have I completely collapsed without warning at the kitchen table requiring my husband to catch me from falling.  Moments after he carried me to bed I cried the most guttural tears of my entire life.  The most violent convulsions I have ever experienced followed.  Steve prayed then cried too.  It seemed to me like I was “weeping and gnashing (my) teeth” as the Bible describes for those in hell.  It took a long time to recover.  I still do not know why all this suffering is here for me and Steve.  I do know how I am to handle it, however.  That insight came earlier in the evening.

Unfortunately I never was able to join the home group discussion in my own home tonight.  After welcoming our brothers and sisters in Christ and setting aside the goodies they brought for later, I attempted to walk to my seat in the living room.  I was aware that my speech had become strained already.  Then all of a sudden I felt sick:  the pre-tic set of symptoms ramped up quickly indicating that what was coming next would not be good.  I whispered into Steve’s ear from behind where he was sitting on the sectional that I wasn’t feeling well and scooted off to our bedroom.  As my head was hitting the pillow the seizure attacks began!  They were bad.  They persisted with vocalizations that risked alarming our guests down the hall.  Soon I heard a guitar playing and people singing.  The worship had begun and the sounds would cover my episode.  Thank you Lord.

I had hoped that the music would also quiet my tender frame in torment.  Not so.  The episode quieted into tic attacks and I was able to breathe more easily.  In my spirit I cried out to the Lord to stop the episode.  I feared many scenarios that could happen next in which others would end up horrified, witnessing some aspect of the seizures.  Our master bathroom toilet was out of commission for repairs requiring all of us to use the bathroom in the hallway between where I was in bed and the living room.  If I collapsed and was unable to walk, Steve would have to physically assist me to the bathroom partially in view of where everyone was sitting.  I would first need to scream to alert him beyond the closed Master bedroom door.  Nothing would be pleasant about the fact that I really needed to use the bathroom down the hall from me  . . .

It’s as if the Lord was sitting right next to me in that bed at that moment.  It’s as if I could see the slight scowl on His face as He “looked” me directly in the eye and wondered why I was telling Him what to do again.  Had He not been with me in prior episodes?  Had He not used this illness to reach thousands of people around the world with the Gospel through this blog?  Had He not gifted me to write and create in ways that brought joy to my heart even in the middle of the night?  Had He not provided for both Steve’s and my needs these past 2 1/2 years?  Helped me become an Advanced Master Gardener?  Strengthened Steve to win his first national kayaking award?  Yes, He had worked in both of our lives incredibly despite the extreme suffering.

No one in their right mind wants to suffer.  I don’t like this wretched illness and long for it to be over.  Yet if I miss the teaching moments that come along the way then this suffering will be no more than an endurance race with no prize, no glory, no hope, no real encouragement for others who will come after me.  The lesson I needed to learn this evening was to simply ask for the Lord’s HELP and let HIM do the rest.  He knows why this episode was timed during the heart of our home group meeting and I do not.  I need to trust Him on this one as I have during so many times of need in the past.  His answers, His timing, His purposes have encouraged me more times than I can describe here in addition to numerous other people watching the events unfold.  As Pastor Smith describes in his message:  I do not want to obstruct God’s eternal purposes that will be for my good and His glory!

I must persevere in faith no matter what the cost.  He will strengthen my faith.  I must ask my Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ for help then wait on His leading, His answers.  Jesus Christ did this very act of submission before the Father when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane knowing that His torture and death were imminent:

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”  Matthew 26

The God of the universe, living among us as a man yet fully God, submitted to the will of the Father, the purpose for which He was born into the world.  He cried out for the Father to save him from that hour in crisis, for help.  Most importantly He then submitted to the will of the Father and the world changed forever because of it.  I will live a life eternally with my Jesus because He died on that cross for me.  My time of suffering is not too much to bear with His help to live the life to which I am called.  Sure it feels like hell.  My faith transcends my broken frame and will bring an eternal reward that goes beyond my temporary affliction.  With this I can go on.

What say you, Gentle Reader?  He loves you too you know . . .  Might you call on Him too?  It just might rock your world in a good way.  No kidding.

 

To Hell and Back: Part 2

Continued from To Hell and Back:  Part 1
Back by Grace
I had caught a glimpse of hell on earth with the most violent seizure attacks that I had ever experienced in my life in the wee wee hours of the morning on July 5, 2013.  Our mini family reunion and gathering for a memorial service was shaping up to be a living nightmare with no end in sight; something like, “weeping, gnashing of teeth” were now my living hell as the Bible describes hell for those eternally separated from God.  But I have Jesus in my heart!  Nothing made sense.  Surely I felt as though I was dying.  I found myself asking:  where is God now?
The story continues.
It was inching closer to 6:00 a.m. EST on Friday, July 5th.  Since we were now in the CST zone, my husband, Steve, and I figured out between the ongoing attacks that we might be able to get a little sleep before the sun came up if these episodes would somehow stop.  But how?
The inner voice I have come to know as the Holy Spirit in times such as these suggested that I ask Steve get my industrial gas mask out of my suitcase.  He did, I strapped that baby on, and within 5 minutes the episodes had diminished in frequency, intensity and duration.  Just a low grade intermittent series of tic attacks remained and I started to be able to speak without eliciting further attacks.  Steve was already talking about packing up and going to a hotel immediately or even driving home tomorrow!  We doubted how we could possibly find the strength to do either option at this hour and what if I reacted to the hotel room?  Then what would I do?  Sleep in the car?  I wasn’t even sure it would be good for me to go to the car for awhile parked in front of my in-law’s because of the hot and humid weather of Arkansas:  perhaps I would suffocate in my sleep!
Then my waking prayer led me to suggest to Steve that he try to get some sleep and I would just lie there in bed for awhile until he was more rested.  I needed to trust that after some sleep Steve could lead us in what to do next and in the meantime the Lord would somehow sustain me.  I was a mess anyways so I should not be trusted to make any big decisions!  It was becoming difficult to breathe through the large respirator mask with my sore, constricted chest.  I was also getting very warm further aggravating all of the flared up noxious symptoms like the massive neck headache.  But I must wait anyways.  Neither one of us in no position to make a rational decision at this time.
Turns out that I was able to sleep about 2 hours.  I woke up feeling like my head was in a vice!  My chest tightness was actually reduced however, perhaps by breathing against the resistance of the respirator mask fitted to my face.  Wow, just like loosening a tight muscle through deep pressure, the intercostal muscles of my rib cage had relaxed enough to allow both breathing and sleep!  And somehow I was now fully awake.  I felt terrible but awake.  Then the next steps came to mind.
I gathered my purse, got dressed in my clothes from yesterday, grabbed some food and water from the kitchen and headed out to our car.  There was no time to worry about clean underwear and the latent UTI I was still battling.  Surely I would feel better after some nourishment as it usually had helped after past seizure attacks, so these would be my next steps.
The fresh air outside felt good.  It was considerably cooler and less humid than when we had arrived.  But geez (!) did it feel weird to be sitting in the passenger seat of a Dodge Magnum at daybreak, loaded with 21-foot and 19-foot surf skis on the roof!  How the heck could I remain inconspicuous in a fighter jet set up like that?  I saw the elderly neighbor next door walk outside to get his morning newspaper.  I’d been sitting there awhile, his house was for sale, and I was insanely curious about the listing information in the box in front of his house.  My how the delirious mind wanders!  But at that moment I just wanted to sink below the window line of the car door, if you know what I mean!
I must mention here that my husband’s family knows the story all too well of a really really close female family member suddenly leaving a family reunion with the family car sans family!  The father and his children were stranded several States away from home without transportation or monies to get home any other way.  Turns out that a couple family members helped them out and the dad rented a car for part of the trip.  Now here I am, relatively new to this family, suddenly disappearing from the bedroom, sitting in the “family car” with my set of car keys, and no one knows what is going to happen next!  I knew that I was not going to leave to go anywhere until someone in the household woke up, even if I knew that practically speaking, I could take time to find a hotel while everyone was sleeping.  But leaving a “ransom note” simply would not be enough to remove the reminder of the old wound.  Leaving would just hit “too close to home” if you know what I mean!  I had to stay put.
Then I noticed that the neighbor next store had come outside again, this time to take an early morning walk.  He was now talking to another neighbor just up the hilly, winding street.  Taking a walk was one option I had considered to kill time so I got out of the car.  The H.S. was working again and the idea came to ask the gentlemen about other hotels or rental properties within the community.  I knew that my mother-in-law’s house had been rented in the past.  Perhaps there are other homes like hers, maybe one with hardwood floors?
Turns out that the men were very friendly and helpful.  The retired Baptist preacher told me that a house across the street was was a rental and there was a sign with a phone number posted over the carport.  We walked over to the house and I copied down the phone number.  I thanked him as we finished chatting and returned to my fighter-jet home base to start making phone calls.
My dearest Steve walked up to the car about then to check on me.  I updated him on the information that I had just learned and said that I felt awake enough to start making phone calls.  He was still so exhausted that he needed to return to bed.  I didn’t see a problem with that and kissed him goodnight once again.  Before long my in-laws, my “other mom” and “other dad” as I call them, were up and checking on me as well.  With tears I shared what had happened (and would learn much later that night that they had heard me crying earlier and knew something was wrong).  I did not want them to feel bad as they had graciously opened their home to us to stay with them for the weekend.  Later I found out that they never got the Facebook message about my sensitivities!  Sigh.
Within a few minutes, my “other dad” and I were checking out the housing options that sounded suitable for me.  Over the next several hours I had done a sniff test at the local hotel, had another seizure attack and mostly recovered, toured one of three rental houses, rented one, stopped at the library, and returned back to their house to pack up the car.  By this time my Divinely-sustained energy on two hours of sleep was waning.  Like a damaged war plane on auto pilot, I eventually got to bed after some food, supplements, spit bath, etc. around 3 in the afternoon.
The townhouse rental worked out reasonably well as alternative housing.  I could prepare all of my special dietary foods without inconveniencing or even offending my “other mom.”  My in-laws’ provision of a place within the gated community of Hot Springs Village even gave my husband’s sister and husband a place to crash closer to family for two nights with us in their own suite.  Staying with us saved them hours of driving and increased our time to visit with them.  Sweet.  Unfortunately my time was cut short some by some more attacks (cause I’m still on Lyme antibiotics that flares up the attacks too) but it was still more time overall than we would have had if they were staying an hour away where their vacation had started.
Steve and I had some very sweet respite in that townhouse in Hot Springs Village.  We got to share our surf skiis with our family at one of the beautiful lakes nearby too.  If you read between the lines, this means that I got back in my surf ski kayak for the first time in a year!  For that, I am also grateful.  It felt great!
“To hell and back” is my sentiment for this past long weekend.  Going forward, my antibiotic regime is about to change to better address the UTI.  Perhaps I will tolerate the Levaquin better this time than in the past, for having endured the wretched side effects of the Doxycyline I’ve been on the past 2 weeks.  As the long weekend continued, I ended up reacting to environmental toxins in more places than my in-laws’ home and generally recovered o.k. after each. Gratefully, the reactions were in private, my preference.
So the Lyme and the Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome certainly did not take a vacation this Fourth of July holiday!  And yet I can’t help but see that having the attack and spending time with my “other dad” brought us closer together in a way that probably would not have happened if everything had gone  smoothly.  I saw a tenderness in him on Friday that I will cherish.   Steve and I have only been married five years.  Sometimes it takes a lifetime to have a connection like that with your “other dad” . . .
There’s a saying that I’ve quoted in this blog before that bears repeating here:  When going through hell, don’t stop!  Yup, that’s a funny one!  The take home message is this:  if you but do as scripture leads, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ, our suffering (seizure attacks) will produce endurance (on 2 hours of sleep), our endurance will build character (to enjoy time with my father-in-law), and our character will produce hope (that our suffering will not be wasted).  I encourage you to mediate on Romans 5:4, where these themes are found in God’s Word.
When going through hell on earth do not stop.  The Lord is working and it will be for our own good and joy.  He promised for those who believe in Him (1 Peter 1:6-9) and in the end there can be great joy!
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