A Call to Grace

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.  (Gal 1)

butterfly, Galations, serve, burdens, break free, servant, let go,Christian, heart, image

From the perspective of the supernatural power of grace bestowed by my Lord, Jesus Christ, I write to you this day.  For my flesh is more broken than before, hopes beaten up from the road, and spirit exasperated from the waiting.  Yet I am compelled to look beyond my angst to the call to grace . . .

If I have fallen short of praising my Lord then I am sorry.  Please forgive me.  The alms and adoration to my Savior is what shall draw me nearer to Him and lift my sorrows.

Should I have focused too much on my own needs and not those of others then my selfishness has thus blinded me.  The trials of life have more to do with our response to these trials (and more importantly to others) than to their resolution.  I cannot serve others when my mind is full of woe.  There is always room to love on others.

When I act to make my own plate o’ food and have not called upon God’s infinite power to feed my family then I have shorted all of us to the weakness of my own hands.  My Lord is sufficient for me, enables me to serve beyond my ability.

Where my face has turned to the shiny distractions of this life, pining after them (or worse coveting that which I have been blessed) then I have really made my world smaller.  Who knows the blessing that will come from sacrificial giving?  Gratitude?  And proper placement of my gaze to the Cross?

How much better it is to wait on my Heavenly Father than to cry out my need only to act thereafter in my own strength?  Oh Lord, help me to wait, to listen, to dwell and nothing more during these times.

That about sums it up right now.  Thank you to those who prayed for me last week and who remember me in your prayers.  Please let me know how I may serve you too, k?

JJ

Gratitude for the little big things

So it’s Thanksgiving and nothing went as we had hoped: our trip to Texas to be with my hubby’s family got cancelled after my recent ER visit with severe back pain, alternate plans never materialized, and we had to cancel dinner reservations for tonight due to seizure spikes for most of the afternoon. Today is our wedding anniversary too. When I apologized for wreaking havoc on my hubby’s holiday, his response was, “well we’re saving money left and right!” And now you see who I am so thankful for this holiday.

I love you Steve.  Happy anniversary!

And Godspeed Gentle Readerfb_img_1480031316027. :J

Little blue booties ring true

The little reminders that things are going to be o.k., that the Lord is in charge, and that you have all you need are quite an encouragement to me today.  I am seeing this more clearly as my head clears after a whirlwind “Plan B” long weekend.

We never made it to Branson, Missouri for the celebration of my Other Mom’s (aka mother-in-law’s) 80th birthday celebration.  Family was scheduled to land there from 4 States for a long weekend including the 4th of July.  My Other Dad (aka father-in-law) had an acute worsening of multiple joint pain and was unable to drive the two of them cross-country from California to Missouri so we made the decision to do what was best:  cancel and reschedule the trip for the Fall.  We all scrambled to cancel various reservations made for camping, cabins, the Dixie Stampede show, watering of the garden in our absence, etc.  Then this wifey-poo decided she still needed to get away . . .

Meanwhile, my life continues to be dominated by the treatment of chronic Lyme disease, a serious fungal co-infection (protomyxzoa rheumatica), and the complicated detox/supplement regimes that go with it.  While I am grateful for a solid treatment plan, the making of our home into a hospital plus the tangible reminders at home of thousands of hellish convulsive episodes begs for a change of scenery when possible.  Sure looked like the enormous effort to get away was going to be worth a bit ‘o respite from all of those reminders.  I reacted selfishly when everything changed.  I was more crushed for my own sorry lot than my mother-in-laws cancelled family gathering, big birthday celebration.  Maybe I need less of “poor me baby,” sentiment, eh?

Steve and I thought through our options.  We had cancelled supporting a paddling race in a town about 100 miles away since we were going to be gone so we re-volunteered to help out and bring our Stellar kayak display.  But travelling a total of 200 miles plus standing out in the hot sun all day recording race times and hosting Steve’s booth seemed a bit much after 3 straight days of IV antibiotics.  So what about camping afterwards?  In the end we worked into the wee hours of the morning the night before the race to make Plan B a reality!

  • Supporting the race.
  • Finishing up all shopping plus cooking within a day for my special diet.
  • Making new reservations to camp in 2 places over a holiday weekend beginning north of the race and en-route to a new destination.
  • Continue north to Silver Lake Dunes and the campground adjacent to a Christian camp where a young couple we know has worked for about 7 years.
  • Return home after the 4th of July for Steve to return to work, allowing him to finish some important training and projects that we would have missed had we gone to Branson.
  • Resume treatment at home after a 5-day break.
  • Commence about 8 loads of laundry, post-camping melee, etc. too!

So with a tremendous effort, the ebb-n-flow of violent reactive episodes that followed being off of my treatment schedule, and some sweet memories sprinkled therein we had a decent weekend overall.  At some level I exclaim:  how crazy!  And: Is it worth it?  Well my answer this time is different than in the past:  NO!  There still are too many noxious exposures from campfires in any campground to succeed at avoidance even inside a modest travel trailer.  There is always some type of breakdown that ends up stressing us out, creating conflict even nearly 5 years down the road from dealing with this serious illness.  When we got back I was ready to sell the travel trailer the Lord had provided the resources for almost 3 years ago.  What were we thinking back then anyways?  Trying to continue with a normal life was my focus then when I did not have a clear treatment plan.  Killing the beasts within me at an extraordinary cost is my focus now.  The proceeds from the sale could pay off some of our debt.  I was ready to let it go should the Lord be leading me to do so.

In a Christian marriage, the husband is the God-ordained spiritual leader of the home.  His headship is God’s design for the protection and provision of his wife and family as he follows the leading of the Lord.  I have come to trust this, be blessed as well in submitting to Steve.  As it turns out in the scenario I have shared here, Steve suggested that we wait to make a decision about the trailer until later this year.  We have a couple more trips planned and it is clear that he wants me with him on all of them.  How sweet!  His love is amazing.  We will make some further adjustments in how we handle things next time and hope that I will be doing better as my treatment progresses; going with a partial treatment holiday could work out better for travelling than dropping everything, Lord willing!

Oh did I mention the blue footies yet?  I bought a large box of disposable medical shoe coverings in anticipation of developing a new product this past Spring.  (I could earn some money to pay for the development of my real invention by my company, Two Step Solutions, Inc.)  Attaching a Swiffer-style duster with Velcro to the bottom of a disposable slipper makes a great foot-broom for dusting wood floors.  This saves a lot of time and effort as compared to other cleaning methods, IMHO!  Then when I continued to have difficulty functioning, the idea got shelved instead of developed.  Dang!  Flash forward 2 months later and those cute booties are part of the garments I ask my home health nurse to wear to avoid chemical/dust exposures when administering my IV antibiotics three times per week.  Works great!  And in thinking through all of this today I am reminded of these truths:

John 16:33 New International Version (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 6:25-27 New International Version (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

My Heavenly Father and Husband is so good to me.  He loves me so and I get to feel it everyday in the arms of my beloved Stevers.  The Lord is there in times of wretchedness, times of joy . . . none of it will be wasted as He leads me home to dwell in the heavenly mansion of many rooms, near the river of Life, with the saints who have gone before me sheltered in His majesty beyond imagination.  Thank you Lord that you sprinkle some of that goodness into my days to encourage me, to encourage my beloved.  Thank you for caring about all the details of our lives.  I submit them to You.  We will wait upon the Lord, Jesus Christ, until You walk us home to sit at Your feet in awe and wonder of all that has gone before us:  from blue booties to a lighthouse along the shore.

This rings true above all else:  You are so good to me.  Thank you Lord.

Dunes Harbor, Sleeping Bear Dunes, lighthouse, just julie writes, Julie Horney

Kayaking at Lighthouse Beach along Silver Lake Dunes

 

 

 

To be small

To be insignificant . . . is to be small

Yet being small is not insignificant.

Finding yourself last . . . is like finally getting up to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning

Yet the last at bat is not insignificant.

Not having gotten a word in edge-wise . . . can be an involuntary holding of the tongue

Yet avoiding many sorrows is not insignificant.

Remembering too late to make a difference . . . fuels the fire of regret in one’s belly

Yet preparedness at the Divine second chance is not insignificant.

Letting go of keeping score . . . might not win an argument in the moment

Yet grace under fire is not insignificant.

Waiting on the Lord for His perfect timing . . . feels like an eternity instead of the days

Yet joy in the morning is never insignificant when it comes.

And so I pray this night to be the humble . . . as one seen and still heard

By the One who makes me significant after all and says well done!

Jesus, warms, my, heart, penguin, faith, cute

From the side of the bed

8th Anniversary 11.24.15

Celebrating our anniversary November 24, 2015

 

2015-11-28 23.11.54

Sick in bed November 27, 2015

He has seen it all

My beloved, the one with soft blue eyes;

In the medical facility or on the road as we pass across the miles

He looks to me with a precious love that makes me swoon all the time.

It doesn’t matter my status that day:

The screams of terror, the gentleness of a warm embrace,

He just looks at me as if we were lying under a canopy, shielded from the hot sun

By the lush branches of a mighty oak one summer’s morn along the way.

But that is not what has gone before me once again these past 3 days and more

His vacation was spent caring for me in ways neither one of us would choose.

He steps forth to do what must be done just the same

And says of our time:  “we had a nice week now didn’t we?”  I guess so, maybe in some ways we did my love.

I sigh in awe, something short of disbelief.  How did love like this find its way to this place between us?  This bed is marked more by sickness than passion night after day after night?

Surely it goes beyond that which either one of us can see!

This walk was borne from the One who made us thus and so

The One who set this path for goodness, for purpose yet unknown.

While wasted days is all that I can see very, very late this night

(With tensions mounting, wills weakening under the weight of it all)

I see that my Heavenly Husband carries our hearts with His special sip of tenderness

Bringing sweetness to our lips when we need it most as he has so many times before.

From the side of the bed

I look up and know more than my Love,

Surely I humbly receive care from more than the one I can see.

Thank you Jesus for my Steve.  Thank you Jesus me loving so!

So if ever you are graced by a love like this, dear Reader, and I hope someday that you do:

Hold tight, hold fast with praise, with alms beyond your brokenness to discover what the Lord alone can bring.

For you are witnessing more than a miracle in the midst of hurricane:

You are finding grace that will see you through anything, truly, truly with love I say this to you.

JJ