Let the numbers tell this story

While the numbers in my college statistics courses were fascinating and I applied them well in my Master’s thesis, I must admit that math was never really my forte.  I’ll blame it on Mr. Courtright!  Our Algebra II/Trigonometry course in high school was a constant source of frustration!  John and a couple of the other male students would pour over the text book with him at the front of the room trying to understand the lessons he was supposed to be teaching that day.  Yeah, you got that right:  high school seniors trying to figure out advanced mathematics on the fly!  I am so very glad that I never again had to sit through a traditional math class after that one!

Statistics are a different genre though.  Statistics often tell a story that we can use to make sense out of the stuff of life.  For example, landing one standard deviation from the mean (the average) in a bell-shaped curve can help us feel like things are going to be o.k. most of the time, in the right scenario of course!  Enter here special numerals applied to my recent trip with Steve to Georgia and South Carolina that will tell this story better than I can even without a calculator!  Oh how I wish some of these were more comforting than the majority of them though . . .

Over 7 days of camping in 2 locations, I was unable to leave the travel trailer 3 of the days due to illness.

My beloved Steve attended 2 of the 3 family wedding-related activities in Georgia and I attended zero.

We travelled over 2,000 miles in my truck with our 67-pound German shepherd, Elle, settled sweetly behind the jump seat of the King Cab.  Such a great traveler she has become!

I prepared about 96% of all of my own meals making this trip more of a “business as usual” affair than vacation in the realm of food.

One hour of the five that I spent in our friends’ home on Monday was spent in continuous convulsive episodes on their couch.  Thankfully the two young children had already gone off to bed when I crashed; graciously the three adults prayed over me for the Lord’s tender care as we all go forward from the significant stressors in our lives.

The kids and I planted 32 daffodil bulbs the morning we left South Carolina, overplanted with dozens of anise hyssop seeds.  Hooray!  By Springtime the view from the kitchen window of their log cabin will be alive with flowers interspersed amongst the numerous towering pines.

daffodils, mini daffodils, buttercup flowers, Spring flowers

A threatening wind storm with gusts up to 40 MPH forced us to leave a day early for safety towing our Camplite on the highways to get back home.  Just a few minutes after we arrived home at 4:00 a.m., the winds increased again closer to the estimate of 50 MPH by morning.  We had blown in just in time, praise the Lord!

Nearly 4 days have passed since we got home and I have yet to clear out, clean out the rest of the trailer as needed after a week of travel.  Steve completed the first 5 loads of laundry and about 3 more are left to go.  I have been sick in bed for most of the past 3 days, sleeping in late to recover from the nasties which characterize this wretched illness.

Over a dozen doses of a new anti-microbial treatment (Biocidin LSF) have brought both relief and a flare up of symptoms at times:  begun when travelling and continued back home when seeking a new direction, new relief, new hope for a future without illness.  Two violent convulsive episodes followed on Friday after an appointment with a new specialist and a new lab test, respectively.  Many more filled the 2 days that followed.  Perhaps this week (and 2 weeks shy of the 4-year anniversary of the first waking seizure attack) there will be an answer to end this suffering?  The odds are wearing thin lately for sure.

Yet through it all, I am reminded of the 3 days that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ died and paid the price for all the negative numbers, the heartaches from what is not right in our world.  He knows the mathematics of it all greater than I can ever imagine and holds it all tenderly in the palms of His hands, ready to redeem it for good when He comes again in glory.  I choose to believe the promise that His precious thoughts towards me and you too, Gentle Reader, outnumber the grains of sand on the earth (Psalm139), giving us hope for a better tomorrow.  For as He thinks fondly of the ones He loves, He also promises to wipe away our every tear someday (Rev 21:4) when the time is right:  when time is no longer numbered in eternity with our Heavenly Father, God.

And that my friend is a story worth writing about.  A world without limits.  A love beyond measure.  I just hope that when all is said and done, when it is time for rejoicing in the heavenly realms, that you will be there with me there too?  Let not these numbers be wasted!  Won’t you accept the love of Christ into your heart this day, this night too?  Oh how I hope so dear one.

With love, JJ

The love in my comb

Gently he pulled the brush through my hair as if each stroke was a special salve for my soul.  You could hear nothing in the silence, not even his breath or mine.  The darkness fell between us.  The moment hung there in time.  We had just witnessed so much . . . there was no need for words.  Only love moved from his hand to me, gently freeing the hairs once tangled in the madness that had just gone before us.  You might see this as an act of romance I suppose.  But this night no romance would explain this kind of tenderness that now drifted between us.  We simply enjoyed the silence, the calm, the love lain there slightly wounded just up from the floor.

That love was near me that night alright, well within my grasp.  Oh I felt it with each stroke of the brush that was the tool he could reach first in the awkward darkness.  I felt it from his warmth standing closely behind me as I sat with my legs uncomfortably collapsed underneath me on the hard tiled floor.  The rug, marred with uneven loops from the dogs paws underfoot where she slept each night, gave little warmth.  My hair was wet and so were my shoulders.  The stuggle that came with forcing myself to wash my hair in the tub at the tail end of a convulsive episode had subsided into a senseless stupor.  With my broken sentence my beloved found my grooming basket under the sink.  It made no difference what implement he chose.  His love would find its way to me with soothing swiftness followed by the tempo we might take one fine day, walking along a seashore somewhere beautiful.

Oh that I should have such an opportunity again!  Will his capable hands finger their way through my auburn hair blowing in the warm sunshine of a summer day?  Would he tighten the drawstring clasp beneath my chin of the paddling hat matched with our tandem outrigger canoe as we headed out onto the glistening lake?  Or when his arm slips around my waist as we laugh at our pup racing along the stream of a wooded path, will I forget that our tender moments were once matched with sorrow so deep?  I do hope so, Gentle Reader.  For all of us who suffer what we ought not to endure, I do pray that restoration, healing, and mercy will cover what was once ugly with that which is lovely again and again.

Until that glorious day for me, I shall keep my eyes fixed on the sunshine streaming through my bedroom window.  I know by Whose creation it shines and that one day all will bow and marvel in His glory, fully well, fully at peace.  The love of our Lord, Jesus Christ will comfort and redeem our suffering beyond what the ones we cherish could ever do for us.  And yet their heartache for sharing this journey with us shall be rewarded too.  The darkness shall fade away forever for all of us one fine day.  Only His light will reign and the darkness shall be no more.  In that day my friend, we will comb the heavens never finding an end to joy for all who believe, for all who hold out for the hope of heaven.  Together we will dwell in the presence of the King of Glory!  Yes, indeed.

Sigh.  That day is not here yet.  What is here is the love of my life holding my comb in the shadow of night.  He lifts me gently into bed and covers me with love that I could never imagine in the past.  He is my Jesus with skin on when I need them both.  I am so blessed.  How could I ask for more?

He knows me so well

There comes a time when you know that you just don’t know what the plan is.  There you go, Mrs. Wesolowski, my late English teacher and queen of everything in life but the dangling participle.  Forgive me but in 11th grade I would have no idea where I would land just past mid life.  The dangling participle is apropos.  I am lost as to my exact location.  All I know is how I got here.  I have no idea what the game plan is.  Thankfully, to Him I am right where I am supposed to be.

I don’t believe I have ever had so many noxious symptoms at the same time for such a long period of time.  Just when I believe that the Lord is bringing me some relief or leading me to some new insight into what to do, I find that I am still clueless.  I am working hard to no avail (i.e. extremely restrictive diets, daily treatment logs, internet research, networking, and so on).  And then a new problemmo emerges.  Perhaps if I could scope my own gut or brain I would feel a little better about things, more in control I suppose.  That won’t happen of course so I am left at the hands of overstressed and overworked medical professionals who need to make sure their butts are covered and tracks are documented in a government database.  Type, type, type during my appointment, noting the results of some test.  “Look me in the eye!”  is all I am asking.  Just once look me in the eye and ask me, “how are you feeling today?”  After all, that is why I am there!  I know that I “have a lot going on,” and am “sensitive” to virtually all of the treatments prescribed.  Then again who really knows if just one more test or consultation will really make a difference at this point.  While I do believe that I will be well someday  even if it is in heaven, I have no idea how to live until then anymore.

The bottom line for me is this:  I am not well and it is not changing.

Now with that out of my head and onto the page I find that there is nothing left to write.  There is nothing left to say.  I am at my wits end with a beat up body and depleted spirit.  There is only one place to go since crashing in the bed did not bode me well earlier this evening.  That place is the foot of the cross of my Lord, Jesus Christ.  You know my aching heart.  You knew me before I was born and all of the days of my life.  You saw this breaking point long before it came.  All the breakdowns that have gone before were just a warm up.  I give up.  Take me as I am.   crucifix

Sorry, Gentle Reader.  This blog has no insight or answer by its weary end tonight.

So where ya been?

O.K. so I’m still sick and that isn’t my excuse this time!  So where have I been?  Editing, that’s where!

This past month I’ve poured and prayed over the decision to turn these blog postings into an eBook.  I want to make sure I have the right intentions and that the end result will be something useful to others as well.  In the process of reviewing this past year of New Hope Beyond Lyme on WordPress, it became clear that my followers enjoy messages that are particularly encouraging to persons recovering from a serious illness.  Matters of faith generate the most comments and I’m pleased for that.  To Him be the glory!

I did some research on various publishing formats and have decided to proceed with a no-cost eBook format where I can do virtually all of the formatting of the manuscript and cover art myself.  I have a lot to learn about all of this, for sure!  Lyme Disease will be prominent in the text since the treatment of Lyme was my primary focus for most of this past year.  But the take home message won’t be about a disease . . .

The truths borne out of the trials, struggles, illness, and strife these past two years have once again served to strengthen my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  About a year into this season of illness, I began blogging to keep myself sane!  Now looking back over this past year of blog posts, I am grateful to write, has actually brought more hope than tears.  I was so scared of everything in the beginning, particularly when the tic episodes began escalating into full-blown seizure attacks.  I didn’t even write in complete sentences most of the time back then.  The crazy thing is that I generally have more hope and peace now when the attacks exceed 3 times per day, than when they were less!  I have the Lord’s work in my heart to thank for that!  He works in amazing ways for sure.

While I am grateful for the gift of writing, keeping my eyes fixed on the Lord through reading His Word continues to be the most important survival strategy for me in this season of life.  The cool part is that I get to look up all kinds of scripture verses as I pour out my heart onto the computer screen.  I do hope, however, that the New Hope Beyond Lyme eBook will never be a replacement for a fellow sojourner opening His or Her Bible.  Reading a verse here or there in a blog or eBook, on a Facebook Newsfeed, in the signature line of a friend’s email, Tweeted, or in a Pastor’s message is not as valuable as soaking up God’s Word in our time alone with Him.  We can’t dwell in His presence, linger before the throne of grace in the same amount of time it takes to hit, “delete!”  His grace requires a bit of time to reach our weary souls . . .

I do hope, Gentle Reader, that your own faith in God and in the person of Jesus Christ has grown as you have joined me on this journey.  I was reading today in the first chapter of 1st Corinthians where the apostle Paul teaches how we come to understand God through faith and not through an intellectual discourse.  We choose to believe that Christ died on a cross for our sins so that we may become forgiven for our sins, right-with-Him, and begin an amazing spiritual journey rich with meaning as sons and daughters of the King.  To receive the blessings and the promises of a relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ requires faith.  If we have faith in Christ crucified, it will make a difference in our lives for all of eternity.  That will help us cope with virtually anything, today and tomorrow.

With the testimony of God’s Word as my witness, I submit to you that only with a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ will any of the stuff we endure in this life make any sense at all.    If we do have this sweet fellowship with Him, the lover of our souls, all of this stuff will be worth it.  And for me, all of this suffering will be worth it as well.  I would not be writing anything if I had not gotten sick two years ago.   Nothing I write will make any difference either if it doesn’t point someone, somewhere to something more than recovery from an illness.

How humbling that Lyme Disease may be used for good.  Such is the, “new hope beyond Lyme,” after all . . .