Gyrations of health: a Testimony

If a cyanobacteria exposure in a reservoir creates the same biotoxin illness as mold exposure, then why did I not tolerate the Shoemaker protocol to recover from both?

Tis the gyrations of health, I guess, like a drone spinning out of control from the pond beyond to the one drowning in our own backyard.

If latent Lyme disease reared its ugly head but resisted treatment with 3 increasingly costly protocols over 5 years, then why do I keep barking up this fallen tree anyhoo?

Tis the juxtapose of stealth bugs who hide, change their DNA, become resistant or move from my big toe to deep within the brain raising havoc all the while.

If a chain of serious viral infections can hang their shingles on my weakened frame at Christmastime, then why does not 30 days of treatment make barely a dent in one of them, huh?

Tis the nature of complex illness when antibiotics awakens a sleeping class of infection, pushing me to a sideline call more spectacular than a Super Bowl play in overtime.

If heavy metal toxicity met its match with the best testing, detox protocol, and success, then why is it still possible that more mercury, lead, and maybe aluminum may linger undetected in me still?

Tis the nature of blood, urine, and hair sampling that only captures that which is circulating or secreting not the poisons imbedded in tissues only a needle in a haystack would find.

If I can gain 34 more diagnoses with one trip around the calendar trying to get well, then why would we even question that there’s a need for a new tune, a break, and yet more prayer?

Tis the nature of hopes dashed while waiting and seeing what may come (not wasting time asking “why” instead of professing “I will trust you Lord.  Show me how.  See me.  And love me through it too.”)

If when married in the past and health challenges that now look like child’s play came but crushed life as I knew it, then it would be many years later that my intended beloved would show me true love:  how true faith conquers all, overcomes.

Tis the nature of fake religion which fails when life gets hard.  A God-fearing man seeks the Lord.  A God-fearing woman does too and this will be our calling card when this chapter of our lives is through.

And if my writings, my research, the doctoring, trial-n-error, or treatments really worked for something good, then why the heck would I still be seizing each day with “the flu” and pain that has marked 5 years of disabling suffering?

Tis the mystery of bothering to recover, trusting in the Lord who has saved me from far worse knowing that one day we shall rejoice, you and me Gentle Reader, if we but hang in there a little longer with hope beyond the gyrations of this life.

I’m in.  How ’bout you?  JJ

 

I was made for you

You looked at me with the bluest of eyes and said that we were going.

The ugliness of illness that had proceeded that moment held the rest of the day in the balance —

Obligations awaited us yet all the precautions, procedures, special preparations, and planning getting to this moment made no difference.

I could not move until you moved closer towards me and spoke into my moment of sickness.

And in a scene borne out of love that many will never find,

You gently lifted me to the edge of the bed so that I may dress, may push the mangled hair from my own eyes.

As if time itself breathed slowly from one moment to the next, I became able to sit up on my own again.

We chose the adornments to fit the occasion; we got me standing then walking forward.

I drank some water from a bottle nearby.  My brain moved more quickly and the next tasks came alive.

And as if what would be horror to a fly on the wall just minutes beforehand,

You tenderly called to me our next steps as we prepared to go meet the rest of our day.

We both had a bite to eat, groomed ourselves, and moved closer to the door:

The events of getting ready now no different than what has become the routine of trials endured many times before.

But this time it was your love that called me forth, moved me on; yes your tender words alone helped move me on.

And when we were along down the road a ways ready to meet the others,

I sat in awe of the life the Lord had crafted for me, for you.

Never would we have asked for heartache and sorrow that looked like this

Yet in a dreamy place would we have designed a magnificent love made just for me, just for you.

It doesn’t matter how we “getter done” when the Lord sits with us at His table

When His grace transcends the stuff of life, when I am carried by redeeming grace from both of you.

So when the happy couple says their vows at their own marriage supper in a day,

May they somehow come to know what true love lives like:  He looks like you dear one:  the Father of the Bride.

I love you Steve.

Just Julie

It was the Lord’s decision

O.k. let’s loosen up a bit first for a funny story that my beloved told me today:

Steve was having his hair cut by an older stylist who shared with him a little something about back hair.  Yes, Steve already “knows” about back hair and somehow his stylist found out about it too.  I’ll call her Mabel to increase my comfort level with another woman musing about my husband’s body hair.  (My apologies to anyone named Mabel out there!)

Mabel said she had a client one time that wanted her to trim his back hair.  You see, the furrier gentlemen types can have hair that sticks out of their shirt collar horrifying the fair skinned, younger female crowd for sure.  (I’m thinking of Steve’s daughter here who usually helps Steve out with this kind of thing when she is in town.  It’s some kind of daddy-daughter thang.  Yeah, no problemmo.  Keeps me from having to do it!)  So Mabel did her duty and trimmed up the guy only to have him ask her to do a little more please.  Then he must have asked for the shave to go further down his shirt because the story goes that she had to profess, “If I go any lower sir, you are going to have to tell me your middle name and buy me a drink!”  Tee hee.

Steve and I cracked up for a long time after he told me this little ditty!  Then my intended beloved confessed that his chest hair was getting a little long.  I reminded him that his daughter would be visiting in a couple of days.  Nuff said.  Besides, I already know his middle name!  Lol.

There’s no clear segway from here to the topic on my heart tonight.  Today was Mother’s Day and technically I am not a mother of anyone.  Steve has four adult children whom I all met when they were becoming independent adults so the step——- term never seemed appropriate.  I was left in an awkward ambiguous role of “my dad’s wife” as if I was an expendable associate to whom they would have to be polite until one of us went away again.  They are all well-trained young adults in politeness, avoiding difficult topics, and loving their dad just the same even after their parent’s divorce.  The silence was still deafening, the emotional distance between us palpable.  In time I would discover that the fact that I never had children would be one of the reasons their respect for me would remain superficial for a long time.

Only the Lord knows why I did not become pregnant when every indication at one particular moment in time suggested that a child would be in my future.  Conception never happened.  Four months later I discovered that my husband at the time was having an affair.  The affair had lasted almost a year before I found out about it!  If we had conceived a child at that time, the precious new life would have been dragged through a painful divorce process and horrific life challenges that I ended up enduring in addition to the divorce.  In my humble opinion, both that little life that was never born and I were spared a multitude of heartaches.  Surely if I had gotten pregnant the Lord would have provided and guided our lives, taking care of important details like finances, medical care, and a place to stay.  The stress would have been unbearable for me, however.  At times I did not function very well at all for a couple of years just taking care of me.  My spirit was so broken . . .

The Lord knew what He was doing when He placed me in another “broken” family with a Godly father with four children four years later.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;  Psalm 68:6-7a

Over and over again I have witnessed the special role that the Lord intended by my presence in Steve’s family, my family.  Those musings may rarely if ever be spoken to the children.  I will not say more about that here lest they read this one day.  I am honored and blessed to be here in this family.  And when the grandchildren started coming, I was delighted to be welcomed as “Grandma!”  So sweet.  So worth navigating the older kid’s awkwardness that came in gatherings during of our first seven years of marriage.  Grandkids are fun!

Tonight I decided to post a message on my Facebook a message that speaks to my heart this Mother’s Day.  Many of us come from broken homes, broken marriages, childlessness, or the loss of children in our lives for some reason.  Love is like that sometimes.  Things don’t go right and it hurts terribly yet I hope we still choose to love again anyways.  I can tell you this night that I am glad that I did not give up too soon.  I hope that you do not give up too soon either Gentle Reader.

The Lord never blessed me with my own children then he blessed in other ways instead. I count it all joy to be related to Christina, Patrick and Kate (Jackson and Warren), Rebekah and Daniel, and Daniel and Elizabeth. Know that I pray for you often, whether it’s in the shadow of your amazing dad or trying to find my way when I do get to see you. I think I now understand a mother’s heart. She just loves. Me too. Hope your day was meaningful . . . :J

dad, father, father of four children, divorced dad, adult childen, Christian father, Christian family

My Testimony: Salvation in a Laundrymat

Salvation in a Laundrymat The Testimony of Julie November 27, 2005

Originally published on http://www.fellowshipchurchonline.com/

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table in a laundrymat

When the trials of life got me down

And my angst led to seeking and a new church

It was the outstretched arms of the laundrymat attendant

That led to a decision washing me clean, indeed.

 

That was 1988: I was single and a Christian man had just entered my life. My life was stuffed at the time with full time work in healthcare and graduate school. Dabbling in church attendance and regular Al Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings were fueling a desire to learn more about God and the person of Jesus Christ. I had so many questions, so many unresolved hurts from my childhood. Sitting in the audience of a very large, non-denominational church brought tears and stirred something deep inside me. Something I hadn’t felt in years . . .

I grew up attending a local church, complete with first communions, baptisms, lighting candles, going to the confessional, and the like. As a teenager and in college, I attended other churches of the same denomination and the routine, the rituals, were pretty much the same. But where was God? I could sense Him sometimes on Sunday mornings and in one particular baptismal service for my Godchild, Tommy. Why wasn’t He helping our family on the other days of the week?

My family life was in shambles. My father developed a mental illness and left our home when I was 9 years old. I would later understand that his struggle to overcome his mental illness exposed me and my brothers to sorrows beyond belief. There were inappropriate experiences with other adults as well.

We struggled to survive. My mom went back to work to support us and a few people tried to help where they could. The weekly allowances, ice cream from the Good Humor truck, books from the South Elementary School Book Club, and chocolate milk for lunch ended. My mom struggled in her identity as a single mom. The church fell short in meeting her needs, our needs and we were shamed by others. Some of the neighborhood boys weren’t allowed to play with my brothers. I felt rejected too. We kids fought a lot. And God bless the babysitters who risked losing their sanity by coming to our house!

My brothers, in time, would turn to alcohol or drugs to endure life. Both would eventually spend time in jail and never quite make it in the work world. Neither one married. One died of alcoholism and the other is devoting himself to care for our mom. Amazing! By the grace of God, I was given different responsibilities and opportunities.

A neighbor introduced me to the Warren Jayteens, the teen group of the Warren Jaycees (in our city just outside of Detroit, Michigan). That was the first of many new interests, part time jobs, and classical guitar lessons, and the list goes on. I became a “human doing” instead of a “human being.” My worth came from my activities, my accomplishments. And on the outside, I excelled.

Inside, I was hurting. I sought comfort in dating relationships and dabbled in alcohol and marijuana. My tolerance to alcohol increased. The partying continued when I moved to Illinois after college to start my first job in healthcare. I would later see that my profession was a gift from God. He gave me the insight to pursue a profession in which I would teach others the skill of adapting to any circumstance. I personally benefited from this as I entered graduate school, found Al Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics, changed jobs, moved a few times, and met a Christian man.

That dear man helped me with my many questions about God and the Bible. The witness of his upbringing in a Christian home spoke volumes of what it really looked like to grow up in a stable environment. His father was a leader in his childhood church. The witness of Craig’s life and of his family, showed me more of what it was like to have good clean fun and led to a decision for Christ.

On our third date, he brought me to a very large, non-denominational church. There were 4,000 people at each service! I thought it was a cult! I was wrong. My soul got fed for the first time. Some months later, a laundry mat attendant sensed my needs, my readiness, and witnessed to me. I will never forget that day. I can still see her face. She had so much love in her eyes. That night, alone in my apartment, I prayed to have Jesus come into my life. I repented of the mistakes of my past. I was truly washed clean by the blood of Jesus.

Two years later in 1991, Craig and I were married in that large, non-denominational church. We worshipped there five years. I grew in my understanding of the Christian life. I tried to be a “good Christian” wife and fell short a bit. My walk with the Lord would really begin several years later when Craig led us to a smaller Bible church. It was there that I began to unravel the part of the pain of my childhood that had created a barrier to developing an intimate relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. More tears. More healing. And a faithful man to walk with me. Very cool.

Things changed March 4, 2003. Our marriage had endured several trials and disappointments by then. Craig’s father had died, I was injured in an auto accident with lingering effects, Craig was laid off twice, we lost the court case related to the accident, and my work-related injuries created financial and emotional hardships for both of us. I always returned to work after a setback. I adapted. Craig pursued a new career direction as well in aviation and we felt the Lord’s blessing and provision. Then he had to stop suddenly and was never quite the same after that. He began to withdraw from me. At the same time, he threw himself into church service and became a Deacon. I tried to start a second business and return to work in healthcare. God had other plans.

On the morning of March 4, 2003, I prayed a desperate prayer for the Lord to intervene in my life. Intervene he did! That night I received a phone call and learned that my husband had been in an affair for about a year. I asked Craig to leave for awhile that night and he did. He never came back.

Standing in my living room, very late at night, very alone, I was in shock. I knew my life was about to change but had no idea how it would. A verse came to me from 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.” (NIV)

That verse would come back to me again and again at key times over the next three years – at times when no other words could possibly sustain me or give me hope. Like the night of the fire . . .

Let’s just say that major changes occurred in rapid-fire succession from that day forward. (Riddle: What day of the year is a command? Answer: March “fourth.” Geez!)

My grandmother died. I refinanced our home. My brother died. The divorce process became eminent. I sold my home. I moved. I lost my job due to an injury. I was promoted in my home business. I moved again. I got a temporary job then a permanent position. My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. The divorce was final at Christmastime. Geez! I was in a fire. I moved twice to temporary housing. I moved to a beautiful condo where I now reside. The healing work has begun, from the inside out!

Whew! I thank the Lord for walking with me and for bringing the Army of Believers who have been there, led me, and carried me on this journey to today. It takes an Army and an unshakable faith in Christ to rise from the trials of life victorious. I pray daily for Craig’s repentance and return to the Lord. And I do know this: the choices we make each day determine where we ultimately land in our walk with the Lord, our walk through the days of our lives. Since my prayer has always been for my own sorrows not to be wasted, I remember to seek the face of Jesus each day, especially when the mud flies. I pray that Craig will too. He has incredible gifts of teaching, of reasoning, of physical health, and of loving. May these be used for God’s glory soon.

As for me, I’m called to do what I can with what I have, where I am. (At the time of this writing in 2005, I’d) just had a “Thanksgiving” party to thank all the people that helped me; the evening was wonderful! I pray that the Lord continues to restore me. Through this process, my purpose has become clear: to build something of significance that blesses other people. Gee, that’s what I’ve always wanted in my heart before I could put the words together! To know this purpose is the intervention I prayed for March 4, 2003. I am closer to this dream now more than ever before. And it came this way. This way? Yes, it came this way.

And since this has proven to be true in my life I must say that I really wouldn’t want it any other way!

Thanks.  Just Julie

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ADDENDUM:  It is now 9 years later when I have come across my testimony in an old computer file.  I am amazed at all the Lord has walked with me through!  My mother passed away in March of 2007 and I married my intended beloved, Steve, in November later that year.  I moved to Indiana to marry Steve, to slow things down, to rediscover so many rich outdoor activities, and to enjoy a loving relationship with Steve like none I had ever experienced before.  Even a serious personal illness, my brother’s stroke, and a medical leave from a lifelong profession that I love could not deter the love I experience from my Jesus and my Stevers.  After all:  life goes on.  I am exceedingly grateful that the Lord never changes.  I am exceedingly grateful for so much!

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The most important element in all of this, in all of my life, is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Thank you Jesus.

That is all.  JJ

Left behind. Not forgotten.

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One of the great things about Facebook is that it is timeless.  Your event lives on after it is posted and no one knows what happened before or afterward just that you were there online at one moment in time.

The wedding of my husband’s son, Daniel, is a great example.  I am delighted to have worn a gorgeous dress to the outdoor ceremony at the Lakeside Rosegarden downtown near where we live in Indiana.  The weather was idyllic:  sunny and 80 degrees with a slight breeze in the abundant shade.  The nuptials were exchanged in front of the fountain and reflecting pools:  the groom dressed impressively in his Marine blues and the bride aptly adorned in white chiffon and satin.  The red roses in her hair were a lovely touch in the regal garden setting.  A small contingent was invited to witness the event early in the afternoon and an even larger one would attend the reception 5 hours later.  In the interim we snapped a myriad of photos then headed off to various restaurants in the area.  A few crashed at their hotel rooms in anticipation of the reception at a restored train station called Baker’s Street.  Surely there would be dancing, eating of gourmet finger sandwiches and cake:  festivities that are the hallmark of American wedding traditions.

You wouldn’t know that the reception is happening right now and I am not there.  I am sitting here in a Polartec sweater, pajama bottoms and my evening dress shoes (as the daytime slides have already made their showing in the soft grass around the park nearly landing me into a wardrobe malfunction!).  This was my comfort garb I selected for a short rest before I redressed for the evening.  Yeah well you can probably guessed what happened instead:  the tic attacks that had begun at the quiet restaurant I selected and enjoyed with select family members escalated into a continuous episode as soon as I lain on the bed at home.  Nope.  No nap just some more shakes.  Crap.  Crap.  Crap.

Just because we have hosted 2 gatherings (doubling the wretched symptoms over these past 4 days), got Skyped into a bridal shower (to minimize exposures to 2 dozen ladies wearing fragrances of all sorts), and attended one of the most lovely outdoor rehearsal-style receptions followed by an equally lovely wedding the next day, why would I be too weak to go to a reception?  “Why” indeed.  All of this celebrating was way too much for me a few days ago!  Such is the nature of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS):  a complication of Lyme disease and biotoxin illness.  The fact that I made it this far is a miracle for me.  I am grateful.  And I am also sad that I could not finish the festivities with everyone, dancing the night away in the arms of my beloved.  So my beloved and I did something else instead.

Just before Steve left to join his family for the wedding reception back downtown, I asked him for 5 minutes.

That’s when I put on my other pair of dress shoes so we could dance.  Oh how I love my Stevers.  (We played this song at our own wedding DURING the ceremony, before the Lord and all of our guests 6 1/2 years ago.)  Afterwards with a kiss more passionate than many of late, we parted this evening.  Later I looked at the photos we had downloaded from the wedding and posted a bunch on Facebook.  Clearly there are more memories being created at the reception as I typed.  Oh well.  I had the most romantic dance of the evening right here in our living room.  My beloved will return and all will be right with the world.  Have I said that I love Steve so very much?  My heart broke and the tears came easily as he prepared to leave.  Rest assured I needed to be left behind in the comfort of our home tonight to rest for the eighth large gathering of the week that is tomorrow night:  the wedding of a son of some dear friends of ours.  This evening Steve will have danced with his lovely daughters and mother (here from California).  Tonight it will be his turn to sit alone while his ex-wife dances with her new husband.  So much not the way it should be.  I’m sure Steve will be fine.

Perhaps another one of those great kisses will be coming my way a little later?  Hope so.  We each do what the Lord calls us to do on a night like this.  At least the pictures are really nice, eh?  Thank you Lord.  How could I ask for more?

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