Just Julie Treatment Update

Brief update:  I seem to be in what an airline pilot might call a “holding pattern” lately.  When I can break through the perpetual feeling of sickness and get myself out of the house, even if it is to our backyard, there’s always a backlash of noxious symptoms.  Recently my chiropractor recommended a heavy metals blood test and after a month of getting the paperwork and procedures right we have the results:  high potassium and very high mercury.  Yipes!  So my husband and I are investigating chelation therapy.  I have an appointment with a Doctor of Osteopathy who provides chelation and other medical, nutritional interventions.  In the meantime I’ll check with my family practice physician and see if there’s enough data to proceed with caution.  We will be covering this in prayer.  For most folks chelation is a difficult journey.  But hey, I’m familiar with that already, eh?

More details:  The daily 2 to 5 hour waking seizure attack episodes continue.  One day each week the episodes exceed 8 hours on and off during which I am largely bed bound.  If I have pushed myself to complete heavy gardening tasks or more than about 2 hours of appointments outside of our home then the episodes can increase to 12 hours.  The rest of those days is pretty worthless.  I have at least two “worthless” days at home each week anyways, regardless of my activity level.  These are days where I pretty much take advantage of the lovely “3 hots and a cot” afforded by our home.  I may see you here at the computer and mope through other very sedentary tasks.  Dinner may or may not get prepared.  Thank goodness for my homemade freezer meals and frozen burritos for Steve on days like these!

The normal sleep-wake cycle remains elusive for me.  When I do go to bed around midnight it is usually because Steve has carried me there in the neurological collapse-mode of a seizure attack.  This happens twice per week.  I’ll pass out at some point thereafter only to awaken in less than 4 hours, usually with another episode of tazoring.  Many days the tazoring wakes me up in the middle of the night.  Good grief!  That’s what happened last night prompting this blog.  When I do wake up in the middle of the night I have to find a way to yank myself out of bed or they will continue indefinitely!  This also happens twice per week on average.  The other nights I endure an episode sometime between sunset and midnight then I am wide awake until 4:00 a.m. or so.  If I can wait until I feel sleepy then the episodes falling asleep will usually be shorter and sometimes not at all.  I love it when the latter happens!  The best schedule for me then is to be up late, go to bed and sleep until noon-ish, endure a shorter waking tazoring then attempt to move forward with the day.  I love days when I do not have any appointments that disrupt this schedule!

The only “treatment” I can tolerate at the moment is a strict diet, coconut oil, colon hydrotherapy to detox, and extreme mold avoidance.  Occasionally I can take a short walk late in the afternoon or use our elliptical for 5 minutes, usually in the middle of the night before bed.  My diet is mold-free, gluten-free, sugar and sweetener-free, dairy-free, and low oxalate.  The latter has produced some detox reactions that appear to be beneficial; bone broth is incredibly nurturing to my digestive tract.  Most medications, pharm-grade supplements, and typical detox/immunity foods (such as lemon water, probiotics, ground flax seeds or oil) produce convulsions.  Not good.  This syndrome has a name:  Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.  The good news is that my gut health is better than it has been in a long time.  That tells me that the dietary strategies are working!  There are times when I feel more alert and my thinking is clearer.  At times my memory is better.  To my delight the creative juices are flowing again as reflected in my latest designs at Trinity Jewelry by Design.  And sometimes I am even able to make jewelry during the daytime instead of just with the crickets outside the window of my cute little studio area . . .

October 11th will mark the 3 year anniversary of becoming sick.  (For more on that story, see the About Julie page.)  I’ve been off from work for 2 1/2 years now, the longest since I started working in at the Penny Candy Place as a teenager.  No work or disability income is in sight.   The Lord has provided for my every need through my gracious husband and His grace.  Through it all Steve and I have been challenged to the ends of our human strength through unbelievable trials yet somehow feel closer to each other and to the Lord than ever before.  Steve is my hero!  DSCF0245We trust in Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 41:3Psalm 71:14, Revelation 21:1-8 and more.  The Lord is faithful to His Word:  we have seen it, we hope in it, and His living Word carries us through it all.  Even in those split seconds when it feels like my heart, my breathing, and my brain waves have ceased to function and I do not know if life will continue for me, I am no longer afraid.  That’s how real the hope of heaven, the reality that my eternal life has already begun as a child of the King, the loose grip I have on the things of this earth are to me.  Oh Gentle Reader, can you say that too?

So many unknowns fill our days.  We can respond with woe and fear or we can respond with FAITH.  And our faith is only as strong as that to which we apply it.  I hope that you will join me or have put your faith in the omnipotent God over all.  Yes, I wrote all. 

Nothing less will do when faced with the next, er, bite in the shorts.  You know I had to say it didn’t you?!    :]

 

A Bridge Still has Value

Recently a friend challenged me on my reading of a popular devotional by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (2004, Thomas Nelson Inc.)  Since I have referenced at least two of her daily devotions in this blog, I thought I should discuss the book here.  Here is my reply:

Jesus Calling

I re-read the Introduction to Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling plus a few devotionals, listened to Warren Smith’s presentation last year on You Tube about the book (July 24, 2013), and checked out Hank Haanagraf’s remarks from one of his Bible Answer Man broadcasts (November 16, 2012).  I see valid criticisms.  Sarah Young fails to put a clear focus on the sovereignty of God separate from us; by speaking in the first person she blurs the line.  Missing is mention of a clear path to salvation (and the gifts of eternal life in addition to true peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control) that comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  She tends to bring God along with her instead of placing God as head of the body of Christ; this is often the sign of a carnal Christian or new believer.  The book also uses metaphors and popular analogies that are not necessarily Biblical to bring the reader into the perspective of how God might view our daily lives.  Her focus on these types of experiences can be problematic for many reasons including misleading a person who tends to be led by emotion instead of the immutable truth of the Word of God.  And lastly, the book does nothing to point a seeker to the Bible, a healthy well-balanced Christian church, fellowship with other believers, or educate him or her on the basic tenants of Christian faith.
If Jesus Calling were a Bible commentary, it would fail.  If Jesus Calling was intended as a tool for evangelism, it would fail.  If Jesus Calling was designed to be used by apologists to defend the faith, they would lose the debate.  While she quotes relevant verses with each devotional, her applications might not be universal to everyone (and Warren Smith knocks down many of them).  Perhaps she could be more accurate.  Perhaps she was taking a little extra literary license to illustrate the softer themes of life represented with verses that are more easily understood?
I am sad that a warm and friendly book that greases the seeker’s heart with a beginning understanding of the nature of God cannot also be more direct about essentials of the Christian faith too.  Perhaps a Max Lucado book would do better?  He uses poetry and prose with loving imagery to reach the broken hearted as well.  Maybe at some level both authors are similar?  You could say that their feel-good books distract a person from delving into the Bible yet they could also give another person a place to go when the Bible is just too intimidating.  A scholarly book (i.e. the Bible or a commentary) and a scathing review by a New Age fear-monger such as Warren Smith, will not comfort the heart of a person in crisis!
Sarah Young’s book could use some other improvements.  I don’t know why her testimony in the beginning does not include a salvation story per se.  Does this mean that she is not saved?  We just don’t know.  Again it is often literary license that an author uses more general terms of faith so as not to scare off wounded seekers that really need Him!  Jesus Calling may still be useful as an introduction to a more personal God for a lost soul who may have been hurt by religion or a skewed view of who He really is.  Seeing how God really does understand, cares about the details of one’s daily life, and is ever near is clear on these pages.  Reading this could help old wounds to heal.  Women often need this most.  Their minds will still need truth so the seeker should not end his or her search with Jesus Calling, however.  The book should have ended with an invitation to a closer relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ and encourage the reader in his or her next steps as noted in my first paragraph.  It does not.
Is it New Agey?  The fact that Sarah does not go deeper into essential matters of Christian doctrine could make it look like just another feel good book about a generic God.  One might begin to pick apart themes in the devotionals and say that the God in Jesus Calling is not the God of the Bible.  And if the God in the book is not the God of the Bible then it must be about Satan or some New Age alternative that is neither one.  So the next step could be to claim that Jesus Calling is a New Age book because of this and because of its use of terms reflective of popular culture, the New Age movement.  Yes all of this could be true and indirectly move a seeker away from the One true God that he or she had hoped to find in an empty book.  Or maybe not.  I have more faith in the Lord’s plan for those who earnestly seek after Him.  He calls His own.  Her or she will find Him in a babbling brook if that is His will!
Many would criticize my own bridge to faith in Christ that was built through the 12 steps of Al Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics.  The daily devotional, One Day at a Time, is quite vanilla.  The God of the 12 Steps is generic albeit consistent with the basic tenants of a Christian faith from the Bible.  Tis sad that many stop at “recovery” and faith in a Higher Power in these meetings and never find the God of the Bible.  But the Lord had a plan for me from that feel-good experience and used those 9 years for His glory.  I would have never approached the throne of grace had I not healed from so much while sitting around the tables, held in the basement of many churches and not in the sanctuary.
I make two references to Jesus Calling in my eBook, Hope Beyond Lyme:  The First Year.  In the first I quote a nice encouragement Sarah Young gives about:  1) many of us seeing only a part or the “tip of the iceberg” when faced with confusing situations and 2) our needing to trust God for that which we cannot see or comprehend:  mysteries.  The second time I quote the book I name both Mrs. Young’s devotional along with a secular book of comedy as books with some wisdom but that both are second to the Bible.  I wonder if my friend misunderstood me:  Jesus Calling is not my second favorite book!   I read Jesus Calling over these past 2 years when I was in crisis every day and struggled to hold a heavy Bible let alone concentrate on it.  Because it comforted me I included it when writing the eBook.  I read my Bible most days anyways, of course!  The centrality of the Bible for me and for the eBook should be clear by the over twenty passages of scripture quoted and referenced.
No book is a replacement for the truth, hope, and eternal significance of the Holy Bible.  Today I am grateful to have a Bible App on my smart phone that I can easily hold in the palm of my hand in bed during trying times.  The Lord has opened my mind to more of His Word and the ability to concentrate on it too.  I am grateful for a temporary tool, a small devotional book, that the Lord used to comfort my heart until I could read His Word again.  I pray for spiritual armor to protect me and wisdom to discern any unsound doctrine that would harm my relationship to my King, my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I also pray that the millions of readers of Jesus Calling would continue to seek the Lord and find Him in the person of Jesus Christ alone.  Thank you Lord for my friend’s willingness to dialogue on this important topic.  May it all be for Your glory, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.