But the old friend has no name

My hope went underground when the testing described in my last post revealed nothing of value.  I was crushed.  My beloved hubby had to take part of a day off of work and I had to take two drugs to be able to tolerate the contrast dye.  My doctor sent over new orders to the hospital on the morning of the test, creating further complications.  That new test was not yet authorized by my insurance company.  So would I have to come back and take more drugs, Steve take more time off of work when both tests could be done that day within minutes?  What shall we do?  The radiology staff nor us knew what to do.

We decided that since I do have a secondary insurance, to proceed with both the CT angiogram of the neck and the CT angiogram of the head that day.  The views would be with my head and neck in a neutral position, not in neck extension (which is the position that triggers convulsive episodes).  So I decided to lie on the exam table with my neck partially extended.  True to form, soon after they pushed the iodine contrast dye into my veins a tic then seizure attack erupted!  I couldn’t speak.  Steve let them know the course that these things take so the staff lifted me off the treatment table, onto a gurney, and into an empty room in the adjacent MRI suites.  There we were in the dark until my personal hell decided to stop.  (See here if you haven’t seen it yet.)  Steve helped me to the bathroom via wheelchair, the tech wheeled me out to the exit of the hospital, and we were on our way home.  Somehow I cleaned up once home and got myself to bed to sleep off the drugs for the next 6 hours!  The stress, the drugs in my body diminished thereafter.  All there was left to do was deal with the trauma of what had happened and wait for the test results . . .  No problem, right?

What followed represents the good and the bad of the patient having access to her own test results through the electronic medical record mandated by the Affordable Care Act.  I got my test results 3 WEEKS before the Doctor appointment scheduled to review them! The test was on a Friday and on Tuesday I was reading the radiology reports.  I was crushed.  There were no vascular anomalies that would explain why tipping my head backwards, certain chiropractic adjustments, sleeping on my left side, and a host of other identifiable kinesio/sensory stimuli trigger violent convulsive episodes.   Further, the question remained as to why these episodes are continuing, albeit of less intensity and duration overall, 6 months after treatment with specialized dental appliances?  This treatment brought me an 80% reduction in seizure attacks.  But after chiropractic treatment resumed, that number started to go down:  the episodes had started to increase again.  The “old friend” has returneth but still has no name . . . no cause.

In a future post, I may disclose the profound effect of this dead end in my seven years of battling a serious illness.  Last week after yet another difficult medical process revealed no answers, I really wanted to die.  Within a day that feeling changed and I continued on with my activities of daily living, some volunteer projects, and prepared to attend a women’s retreat within a few more days.  The time away helped some.  I don’t want to die I just don’t know really how to live this way anymore.  There may be some clues in the test results of what to focus on next related to a thyroid condition — or maybe not.  My veracious researching a cause, a cure has come to a screeching halt.  Right now is the time for me to dwell in the eternal space of my Savior, Jesus Christ and lie this illness at the foot of His Cross.  The lies of Satan and his tools of discouragement can go to hell with him, period.

Can’t say much more than that right now.  Tomorrow I need to be up and energetic at an event I thought I could volunteer at in preparation for another project of greater interest to me.  We’ll see how it goes.  My alarm is set.  But the get up and go, the drive in my heart is more asleep than I am at the moment.

Maybe something good will happen soon?  I’ll letcha know if it does, Gentle Reader.  You are always on my heart and the first to know as usual, k?  JJ

Known in the Gates: Part 2, The Inside Story

One of the movies that has really resonated deeply with me is, The Breakfast Club.  Please see my previous post for the catchy theme song that underscored the film and one of the most poignant scenes that is also pertinent to Part 2 of this 3-part blog.

In Part 1, I described the isolation that I have felt when enduring a serious illness and how the Lord still gets me through the toughest of days.  His Word is my greatest comfort; the leading of the Holy Spirit and His presence are my greatest companions.  I ended with a question,

But how well does he really know me?

Sure, my Lord crafted me before I was born and set forth all that I would be, all that I would endure and accomplish.  His Words in Psalm 139 declare that He knows my “innermost being.” Does this include the longing of my heart as well?  If it does, why has He allowed me to become so dreadfully isolated?

Maybe someday I will get to see why so many family and friends have chosen to “walk on by” me as it says in the theme song of The Breakfast Club.  Have I not been a good friend?  Maybe I was not.  I remember about two years into this ordeal someone contacted me and asked me about getting together for coffee.  I replied “yes” and then I never heard from her again.  My spirits had soared then crashed and burned.  For believers in Jesus Christ, the answer to the “why” question is usually left for eternity.  We simply may never know “why” this side of heaven.

Those of you not living in isolation may not have any idea how much Satan uses this experience to tear a person down.  He can prey upon all of our negative emotions and be allowed to create havoc in our lives.  (Yes, ultimately God is still in charge!)  Yet I know that it’s really not about resisting Satan or about losing the people in my life.  I resist the devil and his demons with the sword of the spirit:  the Word of God as described in Ephesians 6:10-17.  People come and go in our lives and that is the normal ebb and flow of life.  It really is about my response to the taunting, the loss of these relationships.

My challenge has been particularly great due to the effect that this chronic illness has had on my brain.  Responding to Satan’s lies and the loss of relationships has been affected by the change in brain chemistry that came with chronic illness.  My ability claim victory in the name of Jesus Christ and fully embody the companionship of my Lord have been affected.  Satan’s lies have been magnified.  My social skills have eroded.  My ability to think clearly has been altered.  And I struggled to override these skill deficits but could not, even if I tried.  Allow me to explain.

Only recently did we discover that excessive neurotransmitters called catecholamines (epinephrine, norephinephrine, and dopamine) are likely contributing to my mood changes, thinking and communication skills in addition to possibly causing the convulsive episodes.  This is happening due to the expression or “turning on” of polymorphisms (SNPs) or breaks in several enzymes that help form my DNA code.  The DNA code is the instruction manual or blueprint from which the body functions.  Everyone has a unique combination of broken SNPs that get turned on by illness or significant stressors in the environment (such as exposure to mold).  For me the factors included everything that I have written about in this blog:  biotoxin illness/hepatitis, latent Lyme disease, Candida toxicity, mold illness, infected root-canaled teeth, and mercury toxicity.  That’s a lot of stressors!  These illness and environmental challenges became a trigger for disaster.  I even have the data to prove it, all of it!

methylation cycle, Dr. Amy Yasko, SNPs, Lyme disease, mold illness, mitochondrial, mito disease, methylation, B6 deficiency, CIRS, mold illness,

One version of a methylation cycle from http://ihateticks.me/2014/10/06/methylation-for-dummies/

For some people this process manifests as a Mitochondrial Disease or a disruption in the methylation cycle inside the nucleus of the cells of our bodies.  My thought life was affected.  My mood was affected too.  I had waking and nightly nightmares not based in any reality past or present.  Those were internal things that my beloved husband, Steve, and the healthcare community could not see very often.  Several healthcare practitioners labeled me as having a mental illness of sorts, often without even completing a mental status exam or workup!  Gratefully, Steve believed me.  They all saw the wretched convulsive episodes that have plagued me for hours every day for 3 1/2 years.  And Satan was allowed to enter into the whole dynamic with lies and attacks that I will definitely write about at another time.  Absolute mental and physical wretchedness.

But now the gig is up!  Two days ago I woke up from a lovely nap after starting to treat this condition.  I had my first 16 hours seizure-free!  It’s as if someone turned on the lights in my brain!  Not only do I have a formula for correcting the brain-part of the process but the prayers of deliverance against the spiritual warfare are taking hold.  The cascade of negative mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual suffering is beginning to turn around. Lord willing, I am going to get well!

My Jesus knows all about every aspect of what I have described here.  He also knows the desires of my heart.  How do I know this?  My prayers long before this illness began was to become whole.  I had been broken by the consequences of a hard life:  events out of my control.  Many times during trauma the Holy Spirit would bring encouraging scripture to me that kept me moving forward.  Yeah, finding hope and finding myself has come through horrible, ongoing isolation and trauma.  I have worked hard to recover from so much suffering in my heart, my mind, my body.  Each step of the way has been both painful and meaningful.  Yet I tell you, Gentle Reader that nothing has been wasted!  I have learned to trust the process in EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE under the protection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  And now the desires of my heart are being realized.  Cool beans.

So how does one rebirth the desires of one’s heart?

Jer 29.11b

To be continued in Part 3 . . .

The knife in the soup pot

Just when I thought I could get my act together and get a little cooking done, some absent-mindedness took over.

It’s not that I meant to cook the paring knife in my stock pot filled with bone broth.   Oh no, that would not enhance the flavor or nutrition at all! Tee hee.  It’s just how it goes sometimes.  It fell in after cutting up the one carrot allowed on my low oxalate diet and I was too foggy in the head to pull it out.  “I’ll do it later,” was my thinking and later came in about 5 hours.  Sish.

Ever have a day like this?  Sure, we all have.   You find the salt shaker in the frig or your boots in the car.  After travelling with TWO 15+ hour stretches  plus another 10+ hour jaunt these past 8 days, this issue was actually our “new normal!”  Where is the hair blow dryer?  Well it’s behind the driver’s seat in the truck of course, attached to an extension cord.  (And this saved everything when multiple locks froze on the camper more than once!)

Sometimes a little insanity is just what a person needs.  Keeps things fresh, right?  Here’s an extreme example that is my reality today.  When I start convulsing it might just be due to a need to clear some satanic warfare and not the mold residuals from my husband’s breath and trip to a known water-damaged building.  After all, when the convulsions continued this afternoon it wasn’t long before we discerned that he had already de-contaminated and more was going on here.  We probably had chatted a little too soon after the exposure to the mycotoxins I cannot tolerate.  Yet I love talking with my beloved River Bear!  It’s so easy to forget the insane myriad of details that must be followed  in the normalcy of everyday life actvities.

This time there was a battle going on.  Not just at stake was a fluke of mismatched tasks in following our protocol.  This was real.  We knew from other episodes that Satan has used this illness to temp us with divisiveness, to misplace anger and bitterness, to doubt God’s soveignty and more.  Praying through it, keeping me from harm in the process, citing scripture verses, and singing hymns set me free once again.  We deal with this NOT because I am not indwelt the Holy Spirit by the way.  I belong to Jesus.  The Lord will always be the victor for those who believe.  Even Satan cannot snatch us out of His hand.

Spiritual warfare can sway us from the hope we have in Jesus Christ. So that is the test here.  Yet I will never be moved.  (Ephesians 6:13)  No amount of hassle, suffering, horror, or weirdness will ever change my mind. Such is the power of faith in the One who will trash Satan and his demons into the lake of fire someday.  Jesus remains THE VICTOR on the throne and delivers us from evil.  I just get extra doses that strengthen this spiritual gift needed for the life crafted for me.  And then you get to read about it!

Hey thanks, Gentle Reader.  And be encouraged.   THERE IS NOTHING that can separate you from your Heavenly Father’s love either:  no matter what happens on this earth.  (Romans 8:38-39)  Come into a personal relationship, a closer relationship with Him through His Son and dwell in His house forever.  And don’t worry.   While things will never be perfect here, they will be in heaven.  No knives in the soup pot!  Just bliss, joy, peace, love, happiness, and the spiritual food of the angels as we sit at the feet of Jesus taking in His glory.

Oh yeah.   And the Bear who loves me will be there too.  So glad.  :j

Perspiration, Inspiration, and a Some Exasperation

When I was going to college we used to say that many gals were there more to look for their “MRS” degrees than prepare for a career.  Then when I went to graduate school we used to say that our Master’s thesis was 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.  And as life carried on, while grateful for my education and degrees, I realized that what I would accomplish in life had little to do with either.  Who I became had more to do with what I was willing to endure in the refinement of my character as a believer in Jesus Christ than anything else . . .Jesus-shepherd-holds-lamb-in-arms1-281x400

Psalm 23 (NIV)                        

A psalm of David.  

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Yea for those who call Jesus Lord of their lives; ruler of their hearts; and the Way, the Truth and the Life we have so much goodness to see us through.  This was never more clear to me than earlier this evening.  Brace yourselves as this is not for the faint of heart.

Around 9:15 p.m. I was having one of the most wretched seizure attack episodes and spiritual battles since becoming sick 2 1/2 years ago.  Nothing in particular triggers these battles of late:  for the last month this has been my nightly rite of passage into the next day.  My screams of terror, violent writhing, head banging, and pleading for the Lord to deliver me continued non-stop for over an hour.  My beloved came near to check on me at a moment when my nerves were on edge like a dry ember along a raging fire.  I cried out in sudden frightfulness when surprised by his silhouette in the darkness.  Later he returned to check on me again, clarify what had happened, and continue to pray for deliverance from the hell that I was enduring.  I had a sense that more wretchedness was welling up inside me so he was willing to grab the camera and videotape the horrifying moment in time.  Then all was quiet.  I lain on the bed exasperated with exhaustion.  My voice was hoarse, my frame sore from the thrashing about.  I was fried yet awake at the same time.  Man did my neck and shoulders hurt!  (sigh)

It’s times like these I have to ask myself if I am even going to make it through the evening.  Sometimes I am not sure based upon what I am experiencing.  I have to push through the binding down as I am seizing to even breathe while holding a pillow around my head (to avoid injury).  What in the world causes this?  Sadly the worst was not over:  it just needed to take a new form.  The spiritual attacks ramped up next as Steve returned so I asked him to hold me tightly.  He prayed aloud, sang a few hymns, and made sure I was safe as I wrestled with the effects of the attacks.  The new seizures, vocalizations, gut-wrenching tears went on for another 30 minutes or so with a few breaks for us to catch our breath, thankfully.  And then the worst was over.  A few zips, tic attacks, and guttural utterances slipped through with some low level shaking that looked a lot like shivering.  The whole episode had started with shivering before it escalated into full body wrestling.  Good grief.

The rain started swiftly outside the bedroom window around midnight.  The rushing sound of the water hitting the glass sounded more like my truck going through a car wash than a summer downpour.  And then suddenly I felt a strong urge to go outside . . . into the rain.  I needed to get up out of bed to try to put some closure on all that we had endured in the past 2 hours.  Lying there could invite more aftershocks so I strained to get up.  Alas I needed cleansing from the darkness.

Now I know why I selected the new black-n-white header photo for this blog.  The picture shown above came into mind as I walked decisively outside and into the redeeming  waters from heaven.  Now I didn’t go crazy or anything with holy laughter or getting drenched by the chilly droplets pouring onto my weakened frame.  Just for a few moments I stepped into the night to feel the cool wetness and look up into the sky above.  Three times I retreated under the covered porch to warm myself slightly before stepping back out into the night.  It felt good!  My socks were getting really wet though so I removed them as I went back into the house on the way to a lovely warm shower.  A little giddiness slipped into my steps as I realized how many decades it had been since dabbling in a summer rainfall.  I thought of the girl in the black and white photo.  Yes, little one, I understand your smile completely.

Gentle Reader let’s be clear on one thing:  if there was a remedy for this illness of course I would take it in a heartbeat!  While these episodes provide rich fodder for spiritual lessons and blogging, I’m cool with someday writing about gardening instead!  Earlier today a root canal specialist doubted that there is any infection hidden in my gums causing systemic issues or chronic illness that would create waking seizures.  Hey, my upper left jaw has been sore for many years so it was worth a shot to have it ruled out.  Sure I’ll see an oral surgeon in a couple of weeks for a special scan just to make sure of things.  Looks like it might be another dead end to a “bunny trail.”  I guess I just need to wait on the Lord for a time until he leads me beside “waters” that will “quiet” the unrest in my central nervous system.  I’ll see my Lyme literate medical doctor on Friday for a status update.  We have so very much to discuss with the ER visit 2 weeks ago and recent worsening of symptoms.  The arduous process of managing my care thus continues.

And yet in the worst moment of this evening, the one where it’s as if Satan himself taunted me to give in to his schemes instead of trusting in my Jesus, a teeny tiny voice inside me uttered that I will continue to trust in the Lord regardless of the suffering.  Steve reminded me of how Job of the Old Testament questioned what was happening to him even as he waited on the Lord in horrible circumstances.  Then when God reminded Job who He is:  His mastery over all He created, His almighty power, omniscience, and omnipresence, Job fell to the ground despite his gaping wounds to submit in worship.  I wonder if he heard a tiny voice stir inside his spirit as well?  I am just so very grateful that this inner voice, the leading of the Holy Spirit within those of us who believe, remains no matter what the trials may bring.  I heard it today and His refreshing words comforted me like the healing rains outside my window.  Thank you Lord that You are here with me like You were with Job.  You are the same today as yesterday and worthy of our praise.  YES, I will trust in You!

So if you think you too are facing circumstances that create perspiration and exasperation I encourage you to hang on until the inspiration comes.  Specifically, Gentle Reader, I encourage you to hang on to the Shepherd who refreshes the soul and will bring comfort in due time.  We must remain vigilant in keeping our eyes fixed on the face of Jesus Christ lest the evil one gain a foothold in our hearts, our minds.  Put on your spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) with the holy scriptures and he will flee in the name of Jesus Christ.  I guarantee you that warm fellowship with the One who loves you more than anyone will minister to your needs completely.  Hang tough.  Greener pastures are coming soon!  JJ

Father Save Me From This Hour

Such was the cry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as He prepared to die a tortuous death on the cross at Calvary:  before His glorious resurrection and what we have come to celebrate as Easter.

The sins of the world hung in the balance that day, separating us from the love of the Father in heaven.  Until the time of Christ a Jew was required to bring sacrifices to atone for his or her sins and that of the family.  Bringing sacrifices, keeping the Sabbath, and a plethora of Jewish holidays dominated religious life.  These rituals and following the rule of law (including the Ten Commandments) was the only way to get to heaven before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Then God’s Word teaches us that He came to save the world if we but repented and believed in His saving grace, His death and resurrection.  He became the Passover lamb that was slain.  Gifts of eternal life, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, fellowship with other believers and more follows for those who come forward.  But it’s not all rosy living the Christian walk  . . .

Yes, there is much good in the world, much happiness in this life.  And then there is the bad stuff too.  The reason for the bad stuff is an important topic yet it goes in another direction than my discussion today.  Let’s just say that evil is here and it will always be here until Jesus Christ comes again.  When bad stuff happens, someone suffers.  Our Lord knew what suffering felt like as He was ridiculed, whipped within inches of His life, and sentenced to a horrific death for something he did not do.  He came into the world willingly from the eternal realm out of love for us.  Conversely, we rarely come to our suffering in the world willingly.  Our suffering comes as a consequence of living in a fallen, imperfect world as sinners.  Further, our suffering isn’t always fair.  Sometimes it comes when we are close to God, working hard, doing good, loving others, and making the most out of our finite lives.  Many times it just doesn’t make sense.

I just finished listening to a gentle message by the late Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa entitled, “Prayer of a Troubled Heart.”  Pastor Smith developed this topic better than I can so I would encourage you to listen to the audio sermon if the subject is on your mind these days.  I was comforted by his instruction that our suffering can be God working out eternal purposes in our earthly lives for our eternal glory.  If we could somehow change God’s plan for our lives we would be obstructing God’s eternal purposes.  “Even from the pain and suffering, eternal good is going to come.”  We can point to the life of the apostle Paul who endured physical infirmity and still carried or “deposited” the Gospel message to countless peoples throughout the known world of his time.

12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1

The apostle Paul encourages us to trust, to have faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter what our “light and momentary” affliction might be.   In light of all eternity, our time of illness is short indeed.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4

Relying on the scriptures brings the power of God into our weary hearts and minds.  We find stories of triumph over trials that encourage us.  Hebrews 11 describes several pillars of faith, empowered by God to endure, overcome, and bring glory to God as they saw His plan unfolding before their eyes.  Joseph was sold into slavery, imprisoned in a dungeon, mocked then ended up saving the nation of Israel from starvation as others recognized his Godly character and abilities.  There are many more men and women from whose example we can learn as well.

Drawing from the scriptures Pastor Smith guides us first to pray about the things troubling our souls.  Second, we are to “reason” that God really does love me and is wiser than I am.  I am not to base my understanding of His love for me on my circumstances but on who He is.  The events of my life work out His eternal purposes for both me and those around me according to His Divine plans for good, for His glory.  And third, I am to commit myself unto the will of the Father knowing that:

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28

This is difficult to do!  If it’s too difficult then I must first ask myself:  in whose strength am I trying to get through the suffering?  Do I keep asking the Lord to do this or that for me versus asking Him to help me?  Reveal His will for me?  Encourage me with His grace?  Strengthen me to endure?  Submit to His will knowing that His good is coming?  I must put on my eternal glasses even if I cannot see anything beyond my situation.  I need to ask Him to increase my faith and He will do it!

This insight came together after another and extremely wretched evening.  Only once before have I completely collapsed without warning at the kitchen table requiring my husband to catch me from falling.  Moments after he carried me to bed I cried the most guttural tears of my entire life.  The most violent convulsions I have ever experienced followed.  Steve prayed then cried too.  It seemed to me like I was “weeping and gnashing (my) teeth” as the Bible describes for those in hell.  It took a long time to recover.  I still do not know why all this suffering is here for me and Steve.  I do know how I am to handle it, however.  That insight came earlier in the evening.

Unfortunately I never was able to join the home group discussion in my own home tonight.  After welcoming our brothers and sisters in Christ and setting aside the goodies they brought for later, I attempted to walk to my seat in the living room.  I was aware that my speech had become strained already.  Then all of a sudden I felt sick:  the pre-tic set of symptoms ramped up quickly indicating that what was coming next would not be good.  I whispered into Steve’s ear from behind where he was sitting on the sectional that I wasn’t feeling well and scooted off to our bedroom.  As my head was hitting the pillow the seizure attacks began!  They were bad.  They persisted with vocalizations that risked alarming our guests down the hall.  Soon I heard a guitar playing and people singing.  The worship had begun and the sounds would cover my episode.  Thank you Lord.

I had hoped that the music would also quiet my tender frame in torment.  Not so.  The episode quieted into tic attacks and I was able to breathe more easily.  In my spirit I cried out to the Lord to stop the episode.  I feared many scenarios that could happen next in which others would end up horrified, witnessing some aspect of the seizures.  Our master bathroom toilet was out of commission for repairs requiring all of us to use the bathroom in the hallway between where I was in bed and the living room.  If I collapsed and was unable to walk, Steve would have to physically assist me to the bathroom partially in view of where everyone was sitting.  I would first need to scream to alert him beyond the closed Master bedroom door.  Nothing would be pleasant about the fact that I really needed to use the bathroom down the hall from me  . . .

It’s as if the Lord was sitting right next to me in that bed at that moment.  It’s as if I could see the slight scowl on His face as He “looked” me directly in the eye and wondered why I was telling Him what to do again.  Had He not been with me in prior episodes?  Had He not used this illness to reach thousands of people around the world with the Gospel through this blog?  Had He not gifted me to write and create in ways that brought joy to my heart even in the middle of the night?  Had He not provided for both Steve’s and my needs these past 2 1/2 years?  Helped me become an Advanced Master Gardener?  Strengthened Steve to win his first national kayaking award?  Yes, He had worked in both of our lives incredibly despite the extreme suffering.

No one in their right mind wants to suffer.  I don’t like this wretched illness and long for it to be over.  Yet if I miss the teaching moments that come along the way then this suffering will be no more than an endurance race with no prize, no glory, no hope, no real encouragement for others who will come after me.  The lesson I needed to learn this evening was to simply ask for the Lord’s HELP and let HIM do the rest.  He knows why this episode was timed during the heart of our home group meeting and I do not.  I need to trust Him on this one as I have during so many times of need in the past.  His answers, His timing, His purposes have encouraged me more times than I can describe here in addition to numerous other people watching the events unfold.  As Pastor Smith describes in his message:  I do not want to obstruct God’s eternal purposes that will be for my good and His glory!

I must persevere in faith no matter what the cost.  He will strengthen my faith.  I must ask my Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ for help then wait on His leading, His answers.  Jesus Christ did this very act of submission before the Father when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane knowing that His torture and death were imminent:

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”  Matthew 26

The God of the universe, living among us as a man yet fully God, submitted to the will of the Father, the purpose for which He was born into the world.  He cried out for the Father to save him from that hour in crisis, for help.  Most importantly He then submitted to the will of the Father and the world changed forever because of it.  I will live a life eternally with my Jesus because He died on that cross for me.  My time of suffering is not too much to bear with His help to live the life to which I am called.  Sure it feels like hell.  My faith transcends my broken frame and will bring an eternal reward that goes beyond my temporary affliction.  With this I can go on.

What say you, Gentle Reader?  He loves you too you know . . .  Might you call on Him too?  It just might rock your world in a good way.  No kidding.