Some Passion for You

Passion stems from the Latin work pati, meaning “to suffer.” The stem pass comes from the word passive meaning “capable of suffering.” Pass was coined in the early 16th century to denote “the suffering of Christ on the cross.” English also acquired the word through the Old French word passion meaning “strength of feeling.” This has been transferred in our modern times to denote sexual attraction and anger.  (From this website.)

I was watching an interview of actor Jim Caviezel who portrayed Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson’s movie Passion of the Christ.  Jim has a powerful testimony of the physical trauma he endured during the making of that film.  The movie came out in 2004 when I was in the beginning stages of divorce after my former spouse left me.  I was devastated.  Also within that year my grandmother and youngest brother had died, I lost my home, I had to change churches to begin the healing process (distancing me from my support system), my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent a serious surgery out of State, I lost my job, and had to store my things in 5 places while I began the first of what would become 5 moves of residence.  One of these was after a condo fire which displaced me into a temporary apartment with only the clothes on my back for a time.  Talk about suffering!  Still this was nothing compared to what my Lord had suffered on the cross for my salvation.  But I tell you, I simply could not watch that movie during that time in my life.  I was too traumatized.  It would just be too painful on too many levels.

This week marks the 5-year anniversary of when I first started having wretched seizure attack episodes on a daily basis.  I had gotten sick with a biotoxin illness for 6 months before then when an “alternative” treatment modality triggered the onset of seizures.  (These continued today although gratefully the pattern is changing some again and this could become a good thing.)  The suffering with these often violent convulsions has been tremendous.  Never would I have imagined such a terrible, terrible illness.  (See them here.)  Even the tumultuous years around 2004 do not compare to what I have endured more recently.  Even those who agonized with me during the various aspects of the stress 13 years ago do not compare to what my beloved husband Steve has endured with me during this illness.  Suffering of this magnitude brings hell to earth for a part of every day.

There are other periods of time that I would characterize as suffering:  the incidents of abuse in my childhood.  Some were sexual, others physical beatings, and several involved satanic rituals.  All were profoundly damaging and required years of help, love, and the healing grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ to overcome.  The abuse kept my mind, body, and emotions trapped in various ways for decades affecting my ability to function as an adult woman.  Somehow I did find my way out when I found Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; eventually the pain, the “suffering” largely went away.  Self-destructive habits and negative thought processes faded.  Forgiveness and healing took its place.  I became more whole, interestingly surging even now to a new level of peace as the seizure attacks lessen.  Suffering from abuse no longer troubles my spirit.

The Lord doesn’t waste anything in His plan for our lives.  After 2006, I got to experience a magnificent restoration from the “years the locusts had eaten.”  (Joel 2:25) For example, the insurance settlement from the condo fire (where I was renting an apartment) ended up paying for beautiful décor in a condo of my own where I could rebuild my life as a single woman.  Flash forward to more recently and I wrote here of the blessings that have come despite enduring a serious illness including meeting all of you through this blog!  And all that childhood sorrow gave me a compassion for others that has served me well caring for others for decades as an occupational therapist.  Despite my suffering, I am grateful that my Heavenly Father and Husband has allowed me to see His hand, His plan that has masterfully created goodness from the suffering He ultimately allowed for His glory.  I now believe it was all for my good too.

unyru paper, collage, art, wall, Romans 8:38, Jermiah 29:11 Christian, artist

Collage art wall mural in the hallway of my condo with a self portrait too.

And what about the more contemporary definition the word “passion?”  The connotation of emotional, physical, sexual energy?  Let’s just say there is much in my life now to be passionate about in having a wonderful husband (my “intended beloved”) who loves the Lord and me too.  Then there’s my love of growing things in the garden (from my mom) that has kept me moving forward on my worst of days in addition to my best of days.  I love digging in the dirt!  Perhaps most importantly is my passion to champion the calling of the Holy Spirit when He compels me to:  serve someone, encourage someone, love someone, share the hope found in Jesus Christ with someone.  When I hear the call of the Holy Spirit moving me in a particular direction, I move forward with a razor-sharp focus that consumes whatever energy and resources are available to me at that moment.  Whether it is in the middle of the night making my husband’s lunch for work the next day or baking cookies (despite a terrific headache) for that service dude who is having a really, really bad day.  Me and my Lord getter done!

This I have come to know:  that if the Lord calls, He empowers us to respond.  That is what passion is all about, good or bad.  And guess what?  He made the suffering, all of it, good for us on Easter morning.  How about if we keep this in mind the next time he calls?

JJ

The Proper Blend

Like a fine wine that melds flavors as it seasons in an oak barrel over time

Everything I do is a mixture of good and the other from meals to enduring “it” all.

My beloved likes his hot sauce, his cheesy toppings and bold flavors along the way

Mine’s gotta be subdued, seasoned with salt from the sea and little else but with ghee.

In the area of health my River Bear gets on the water even on a late wintry day

Where I rejoice if I can wander outside with the pup or try the more mundane of little things inside.

Steve puts up with so much:  dashed plans, travels alone, a romantic night turned into caregiving

Wifey-poo’s illness cancels plans, sours the embrace, changes everything we once held dear, I sigh.

There is no proper blend when dark symptoms fend off many moments of goodness again and again

We just Cape Diem my love, for we know not how long we have anyways as we pray and pray and pray.

Tis a lesson learned to live in the moment, capturing each breath expanded with gentle care

For we never know what may come before the movie credits roll . . . beyond the edge of what we once held so near.

Will deliverance come tomorrow or much later than that with this new thingy again to try?

Like the windows that saw the sun shine on them today, I will wait expectantly on my Lord with my Gentle Hero at my side.

Hydration is Key

dehydrationHydration is key in health and down to the other

It makes everything better from one end to the other.

When I thought a drug might be my saving grace

I found that it was water that was my Lord’s gift of grace.

In 3 days and 2 nights 4,000 ml ran through my veins

In addition to many drugs in my tummy not my veins.

There was sparing of upsets from what I could not tolerate before

That number of drugs with Pepcid became my friend now like never b—–.

My Lord knew then showed my naturopathic Doc a few days later

That I would need to push fluids like never before for now and onto “later.”

So Smart Water and minerals in our Big Berkey will be my constant friend

When isolation of this Shingled hell keeps me from family and friends.

The Lord makes up the difference (as He always has) and grants me sleep

These last few days have been for rest and recovery and the deepest of sleep —

“To die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…”

Hamlet does question if even death will bring dreams that will prevent peace when it comes.

But he is wrong for peace is granted here and now for those who believe no matter what may

For those who believe in the Lord who conquered death and knows the beginning from what may.

So once again, a thousand times I shall again proclaim

Alone in my Jesus I will drink the victory only He can proclaim!

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If you are struggling this night, Gentle Reader, please hang in there.  Let me know your needs and I promise to pray as I lay your alms before our mighty Lord of Lords.  He cares for you, He cares for me.  And Lord willing, we are going to get well sometime between now and the day of His return.  Oh how I do hope you know Him this way?  JJ

Slow But Sure

What will it feel like to be almost normal again?

Will the days fill with meaning, the nights rest with pleasure?

Alas I know not what tomorrow will bring —

So it’s it will be in the smaller moments that I will define who I am, who I will be.

At least as long as it is up to me . . . and little is of course . . .

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An important decision came to me today that surprised me.  Oh there were the impossible ones that came in the hours beforehand which could be the subject of a tragic drama-blog here (ie. how to handle the seizure attacks overnight, sleep deprivation, heavy burdens, pain) but all that changed when I was catapulted awake at 8:17 a.m.  Could I make it to that appointment after all to the eye doctor?  They didn’t really cancel my appointment from that frantic message I left at 4:57 in the morning did they?  Well I was about to find out!

I pulled on some clothes; rushed back and forth throughout our humble abode; threw together the records, food, and drink I had loosely assembled the night before; and was practically out the door before my hubby emerged from shaving in the bathroom!  I’ll call the office on the way, I thought to myself.  And lucky for me my appointment time was still open for 8:45 a.m.  Holy cow.

Lord only knows how I function on days like these.  The headache pressed sharply into my skull with the plethora of medical testing and related tasks that fill my very full (medical) “work days” lately.  (That is a story for another time!)  Diarrhea delayed the first few steps of my eye exam as the technicians escorted me to rooms with various equipment, administered those dilating drops, etc.  So now my vision had become as blurry as my mental status.  Neat huh?  Sish.  Soon it was time to make some decisions about contact lenses and the potential replacement of eyeglasses.  Three years had passed since my last exam.  Clearly vision care has not been my priority of late!

I don’t even know her name yet her face will be memorable for many weeks to come.  The Optician in the big room with all those designer frames was an older lady with exquisite taste, professional temperament, mastery of her craft.  She quickly knew that I would benefit from some coaching in my selections and did so with style and grace.  I liked her eyeglasses, Silhouettes she called them, and decided it could be a new style that would work for me.  But was I ready for it?  Suddenly I realized that I was deciding about more than a functional facial dressing . . . no, I was crafting what presentation did I really want to make with my eyes, my facial expression to the world these days?

Makeup doesn’t work for me most of the time.  I do keep my hair colored and trimmed fairly regularly, styled about half of the time.  My clothing is rather casual favoring comfort not the fashion trends of the last decade.  Rarely do I adorn jewelry even though I had my own business making and selling colorful macramé jewelry for almost 3 years. My face has aged considerably.  The summer tan has faded.  I no longer wear contact lenses which used to give others direct visual access to my eyes, my soul.  My current eyeglasses with red and black frames are my only adornment, providing a little bit of covering behind which I can hide.

Soon I excused myself to the bathroom yet another time for a little moment of reflection.  Would I choose a new style behind which to mask my true self a little longer?  Yes it really does feel like that.  Would it be frames where the focus is on the shiny rhinestones or metallic finishes instead of the tender woman peering out from behind them?  Only after a few tears later did my choice become clear.  I selected the ones like those my teacher was wearing today.  Kind of like I did with Mrs. Heitkamp back in the 5th grade.  (Oh how I loved her so!)

Far be it from me to miss a moment where I can slowly but surely find a little extra meaning in what is happening and move forward too.  I really do want to be well some day and by golly I hope that my attention to the little things will help me to get ready for that day.  It’s just a pair of eyeglasses right?  Maybe so.  Behind them this time will be a little more of me and a little less of something else blocking the view of the woman inside coming back into view.

1 Peter 3:3-4 New International Version (NIV)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

If you are in a battle right now too, Gentle Reader, please do not lose hope.  Please don’t hide.  Our Lord Jesus Christ yearns for fellowship with each of us as He dresses the heart, infuses the spirit, loves the broken, and leads us to His throne of grace full of splendor beyond compare.  We are beautiful in His sight!  One day I pray that we will see these truths ever so clearly as the pains of this world give way to His richest glory forevermore.

And for that we are definitely going to need sunglasses, eh?  JJ

sunglasses, hiding, worth in Christ, Christian, woman, identity, self worth, self esteem, illness, disability, overcoming, recovery, getting well

 

 

 

 

I Survived

I survived.  A little traumatized, perhaps, nonetheless I survived.

aliens, survived, lousy t-shirt, survival, trials, suffering, overcoming, Christian, endurance

Medical testing needs to advance to the level of the scanner once flashed on classic episodes of Star Trek.  You know:  the kind where the Doc runs a device much like the handheld bar code readers of today up and down all the areas of your body that are amiss.  Sure would save a bit o’ grief, a bit o’ money too.

Poop and pee tests are gross.  So was the Lasix Renal Scan for me this past week when I decided NOT to be catheterized.  Eeeeek!  Jared, the nuclear radiology technician, was as nice as he could be and even said that I “looked fit!”  How sweet!  But inside this frail frame of mine are weak bones and an aching backside/kidney area for largely unknown reasons.  I am sad.  Just when I thought that a myriad of toxicities and stealth infections were my worst nightmare, it turns out that there are other complexities to explain why I feel so unwell.  But hey, the Lord still appears to be orchestrating a mysterious journey through it all.  And I lived through this last event to tell my story . . . again!

I’ll bet that Joseph as described in the book of Genesis knew everything there was to know about “survival.”  Sold into slavery then rising to be the head of the Pharaoh’s (President’s) household was cast into a dungeon for years when falsely accused.  He still acted righteously over and over again only to be forgotten until one day vindicated; he praised the Lord for the marvelous goodness that would come after his years of suffering.  Joseph is a model for  me of what it means to be a faithful steward of the experiences God allowed in his life.  He did not lose heart, he kept going despite severe trials then gave glory to the Lord when good things happened.  I want to be like Joseph.  His words to his brothers who had started his torment were:

Genesis 50:20New International Version (NIV)

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

And the Lord’s promise to His children are that one day:

Revelation 21:4 New International Version (NIV)

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I hope that someday my lessons from life will be centered more on the wonders of God’s creation in my garden and such than the saga of enduring a serious illness.  Until that day I will not lose heart.  Please don’t you lose heart either, Gentle Reader.  God is still on the throne and will make “beauty from (our) ashes” one day.  (They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor!  Isaiah 61:3)  Until then let’s look to the face of Jesus Christ who has promised to make all things new one day, one day soon.  Truly this is our source of “hope beyond,” no?  JJ