I’m still here

A brief update:

A second trip is now behind me to see my Craniomandibular Specialist in a southern state and the problems plaguing me for 6 1/2 long years are significantly less and yet my progress has plateaued.  Maybe it’s still the fatigue of travelling alone for the first time in 11 years?  Holy cow, I did it!  And ugh too.  It was hard.   Regrouping and resting now, changing up a few things, and I am noticing that those changes are already helping, for example, to  reduce the daily headaches to a trace level.  Amazing!

I am tempted to be discouraged about the plateau in progress and some setbacks but I will choose not to be so.  Both happen in the jagged line of recovery from serious illness.

Life goes on and the care of a family member in that same southern state began before the first medical trip.  Looks like the Lord had more planned than we originally thought when my hubby and I took a leap of faith to seek treatment 1,000 miles away from Indiana!  We are now preparing to welcome my Aunt into our home for 2 months this summer after many hours of preparation, work, and communication with multiple parties.  There is much to do!

Seems that the Lord wants me to keep moving forward as he has created a new role for me with increasing responsibilities:  caregiver.  I never thought that it would be harder to care for one tiny lady than the TWENTY I served in a day in my professional role as an Occupational Therapist.  Right now it is!

My Doctor’s office cancelling 7 medical appointments already this year due to chaotic scheduling issues confirmed my pursuit of a new integrative medicine specialist.  My Doc is upset and I am proceeding to transition some of my care to her anyways.  The change is refreshing and creates hope in some areas not addressed of late.

Steve and I have several decisions to make should my family member decide to move in with us later this year after her summer visit.  Some parts of our life could accommodate her easily, others not so much.  We will have some financial decisions to make involving vehicles, housing, and several lifestyle choices.  Could be good?  We are exploring many options and leaning on the Lord as we go . . .

I am a bit overwhelmed with the new modalities that have come since pursuing specialized Temporal Mandibular Disorder treatment, from application of a TENS unit to switching out dental appliances every time I eat or sleep.  Wonder where I have been instead of writing updates on the Hope Beyond blog?  I am still here, flossing my teeth 4 times per day!  Spitting mouthwash into a baggie in my truck after eating between appointments when away from home is not that unusual for me now . . . from the back of the parking lot where no one can see me of course!  Oh my!

The biggest change of late is having a bit more energy and mental capacity to do a little more a few days per week.  I am exceedingly grateful for this.  Thank you Lord!  We anticipate a lot of changes, projects, and the need for both physical and mental stamina this coming year and looks like it is coming little by little.   I hope the finances for everything will follow as my Go Fund Me campaign has also plateaued!  We will figure it out, so no worries.  The first of the two medical trips is now covered, gratefully.  God is good and the Great Provider has always cared for our needs.  I can see a possibility of working some within a year a so depending upon the needs of our “new” family member; she may move in with us permanently or choose to live closer to her adult children in Michigan.  Just not sure yet.

I am tired.  Healing takes sooooo much energy from healthy food and rest, good supplements, time with the Lord, and restoration activities with my beloved Stevers.  Sunday was my birthday so we did that last one.  A simple day was a great gift with my bestest buddy.  I love him so much.  I am so very glad that you are still here too.  I could never have made it today without you Babe.  Thank you Jesus for Steve.  Please bless him this week and encourage him as he works so hard for both of us.  Infuse him with your Spirit to lead us through this maze of life in which we bumble along.  Help me to love him, respect him better and better too.

woman, birthday cake, birthday, carrot cake, celebration, lunch, with husband, Christian, woman kissing cake, table by the window, lake view

Carrot cake was my birthday treat at the Oakwood Resort on Lake Wauwasee

I know that the Lord has gone before me and been with me, drawing me to Himself and bringing me to the moments He planned for me yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  I lay everything named here in your mighty hands as I prepare to go to sleep.  I know that You are still here too.

And on that promise all of us here may rest.  You too.  Godspeed Gentle Reader, JJ

 

Staying true to our calling

I love staying connected with other Christians around the world through the newsletters that come in the mail from various organizations.  The December 2014 issue of PGM News (of the Pacific Garden Mission, Chicago, Illinois, USA) provided much inspiration and perspective that I needed before heading into 2015.  Here is a story quoted by PGM President, Philip Kwiatkowski in his column entitled, Staying True to Our Calling.

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a little life-saving station.  The building was primitive and there was just one boat, but the members of the life-saving station were committed and kept a constant watch over the sea.

lighthouse in storm

When a ship went down, they unselfishly went out day or night to save the lost.  Because so many lives were saved by that station, it became famous.  Consequently, many people wanted to be associated with the station to give their time, talent, and money to support its important work.  New boats were bought, new crews were recruited, a formal training session was offered.

As the membership in the life-saving station grew, some of the members became unhappy that the building was so primitive and that the equipment was so outdated.  They wanted a better place to welcome the survivors pulled from the sea.  So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged and newly decorated building.

Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members.  They met regularly, and when they did, it was apparent how they loved one another.  They greeted each other, hugged each other, and shared with one another the events that had been going on in their lives.  But fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this for them.

About this time, a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought into the life-saving station boatloads of cold, wet, dirty, sick, and half-drowned people.  Some of them had black skin, and some had yellow skin.  Some could speak English well, and some could hardly speak it at all.  Some were first-class cabin passengers of the ship and some were the deck hands.  The beautiful meeting place became a place of chaos.  The plush carpets got dirty.  Some of the exquisite furniture got scratched.  So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the house where the victim of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting there was a rift in the membership.  Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities, for they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal fellowship of the members.  Other members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station.  But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all those various kinds of people who would be shipwrecked, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast.  And do you know what?  That is what they did.

As the years passed, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old.  It evolved into a place to meet regularly for fellowship, for committee meetings, and for special training sessions about their mission but few went out to the drowning people.  The drowning people were no longer welcomed in that new life-saving station.  So another life-saving station was funded further down the coast.

History continued to repeat itself.  And if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of adequate meeting places with ample parking and plush carpeting.  Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

Wedel, T. (October, 1953).  Ecumenical Review.  Paraphrased in Heaven Bound Living.  Stanton, K. (1989), pp. 99-101

Gentle Reader, I ask you the same question that I have asked myself after reading this story:  what is your calling today?  JJ

(For more on this subject, check out this brief article by Pastor John Piper.)

 

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