It’s just not my turn that’s all

Another day slipped into history as I pondered the gratitude I felt for a recent task accomplished.  It’s no matter that the wrapping of Christmas presents got done from about 2 to 6 in the morning on Saturday.  That’s just how I roll these days . . .

Social media is one of the ways that I employ to counter the tremendous isolation I experience while overcoming a serious illness.  I used to be shy about it.  Many folks write about their need for a sabbatical occasionally when Facebook and the like become too big of a time eraser.  My life is structured differently I guess . . .

My brother, Michael, often talked about the support he felt from fellow poker players online.  Really?  How can you experience anything valuable from an anonymous side chat in a gambling venue of penny poker through the internet?  Flash forward ten years.  Now I get it.  Mike was home all of the time caring for our mother who was struggling with lung cancer, chemotherapy, and alcoholism.  The things that he endured were very difficult.  He would say that he never knew what he would find when he returned home from running out to the store or anywhere at all, making it difficult to get things done.  Those little touch points with his fellow poker players gave him the assurance he needed to do what he had to do the rest of the day . . .

Should life return to “normal” one day for me then my time spent here with you will naturally diminish.  I’ll be sleeping in the wee hours of the morning instead of wide awake in the recovery phase of a hellish nightmare earlier that evening.  I have already grieved about it, the loss I mean.  So much time has passed with so little getting done in my own life.  Perhaps the tasks that have been completed are not measured on a calendar or my “To Do List?”  For those in Christ Jesus, we know that to be true.

Romans 8:28, encouragement, encouraging scripture, all things work together for good, hope, hang in there

Another example is how I finished reviewing a copy of a canoe and kayak paddling magazine last night for which my husband is the Editor.  I guess I can now add “Assistant Editor” to my resume for my contributions to the first four issues.  Cool beans.  I could list a bunch of crafty Christmas things that I would rather be doing yet that was not my calling for those hours.  Many will be blessed by this sacrifice including me.

Ever feel this way when sidetracked from your dreams, Gentle Reader?  In ways big and small we may struggle to discipline ourselves to do the tasks we must do when our hearts are in another room or time zone.  Know what I mean?

The bottom line for me on this subject tonight is that the sooner I rest in the promises of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the sooner I will realize that I am perfectly where I need to be.  He will provide everything I need from the breath that is not coming easily to the assembly of a Christmas gift still in boxes strewn here and there.  I know from another tumultuous time in my life that the Lord does answer our prayers in due time.  The waiting, the setbacks, the anticipation make the rewards sweeter.  How can I expect to make it to the finish line with style and grace if I give up on the last leg of the race?  I will not!

So don’t you give up on me either, k?  And please hang tough if you are going through challenging times as well.  If you need to cry out for help then please do so NOW.  Our God promises in His Word that:

The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness;
You will sustain him on his sickbed.

Psalm 41:3  New King James Version (NKJV)

He will see us through to our last breath if we but call upon His name.  My Heavenly Father has done so for me a thousand times.  He will do so for you too.  Tonight I am praying for us both.  JJ

Dog in bed

How do you measure a year?

September 18, 2014 was a day when I rediscovered the power of friendship at a new level.  ‘Tis fitting that we would spend our time reading the Psalms as we shared our lives with each other then tenderly prayed together.  Perhaps this is what women who love the Lord Jesus Christ do, eh?  Except that we were not meeting for a weekly video Bible study at church followed by coffee and treats.  This one touched our hearts more at home . . . literally!

In the past I have enjoyed Bible studies the best when we all meet in each other’s homes.  There is no better way to fellowship than to be immersed in the family pictures, dog hair, and dirty dishes of the ones you come to love in Christ.  In due time the host and hostess let go of having a clean house for everyone each week as we focus on what is really important:  opening up the truth of God’s word.  Prayer time was always my favorite.  The bonds between us became palpable as we lifted up each other’s hurts and victories before the Lord.  I do hope we glorified Him in doing so.

When serious illness struck my life October 11, 2011 my life slowly changed to one of almost total isolation.  Oh there were many visits to medical professionals, clinics, labs, hospitals, and pharmacies.  They were all very nice people, of course.  Going to Walmart became a rare “date night” with my beloved husband when I could not drive myself.  The highlight of my week often became buying groceries; somehow I ended up spending a little more money there than I probably should have perhaps in an attempt to find some alternative type of comfort.  Somehow new pair of sweats or comfy top would jump into the shopping cart on occasion as well!

Then the Lord inspired me to break the isolation beyond this blog.  I had some casual connections to a few of you Gentle Readers which delighted my soul, by the way.  How could this become more personal?  I published a blog in September of 2014 asking if anyone would be interested in starting up a Bible study/prayer time via Skype?  Perhaps there were other gals out there who were largely homebound like me and ready to connect before the Lord’s table.  Two gals graciously responded:  YES!

Each of us had different reasons for coming together.  Each of us had our own blogs and followings, outside interests, and experiences with our health.  We represented 3 different decades of life, 2 different countries and States, living situations either outside larger cities or in the country, and only one blonde.  (She is gonna kill me for writing that!)  We bonded quickly.

One gal who joined our group to be an encourager ended up facing one of the biggest health battles of her life this past year.  Two of us went in and out of relapses with illness and one endured a major upheaval in her husband’s job situation.  Two of us have also met face-to-face twice with hopes of a giggly reunion of all three of us perhaps this year?  I hope so!  Together we (have) cried, we laughed.  We prayed; we shared silly stories.  There were exchanges of recipes, websites, scripture, and more. We were encouraged by the love stories of the Psalms ministering to our feminine hearts.  And most of all we became friends.

So how do you measure the value of a year in life?  As this passionate theme song from the movie Rent speaks of sunsets, cups of coffee, laughter, and sighs, I do know that on Thursday night we three have shared them all this past year.  I agree with the chorus line to:  measure your life in love.  Because of you my dear ones, my year was richly blessed!

Thank you ladies for changing my life and ministering to me in a way that has made a difference.  May the Lord be glorified in all that we say and do, all that we write, and in the prayers that we lay before His throne of grace each week.  In the meantime,

“I am going to Rome.”

You two know what that means!  Happy one year anniversary!

Seeya next time ladies.  Love you, Julie

Don’t confuse happiness with joy

In the words of Billy Graham:

Some people think Christians should always be smiling and happy, and something is wrong if they aren’t.

But this isn’t necessarily true.  Jesus stood outside the tomb of his friend Lazarus, and we read that, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  As he approached Jerusalem “he saw the city and wept”  (Luke 19:41) because of it’s spiritual blindness and guilt.  He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and was, “. . . in agony [and] his sweat became like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44)

Don’t confuse happiness with joy.  Happiness comes with happy circumstances; joy wells up deep inside our souls as we learn to trust Christ.  Joy does not mean that we are never sad or that we never cry.  But joy is a quiet confidence, a state of inner peace that comes from God.

Life’s troubles will rob us of our happiness, but they can never rob us of the joy God gives us, as we turn in faith to Him and seek His face.

The joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

From “What is joy?”  in Hope for each day, (2002).  Thomas Nelson, Inc.  p. 338.

I get this and hope you do too, Gentle Reader.   Few things can rob your happiness like waking up in the middle of the night 8-10 times with convulsive episodes and a massive headache.  It probably wasn’t nice for my beloved husband Steve either, awakened from a sound sleep lying next to me.  The aftermath for me felt like I banged my head in every direction against a wall.  Not fun at all!  Gratefully the dream I later woke up in the middle of (after more seizure attacks falling asleep)  was a reasonable one.  I mean that we had experienced something similar just under 2 years ago so it wasn’t that bad really.

I dreamed that Steve and I had moved temporarily into an apartment while some work was being done on our home only to have all of our belongings and the inside of the apartment become covered cascades of dust!  Yeah, that was not good for someone multiply chemically sensitive like me knowing that mold is often lurking in dust.  The situation was beginning to resolve when I woke up.  Phew!  It was just a dream!  This time the headache was less and the convulsions were replaced with less violent seizure attacks.  They actually helped clear my head some . . . and yet I still felt beat up.  The next few hours were meaningless . . .

Regardless, I have joy!  How is this possible you may ask?  Well, it’s just like the quote from Billy Graham noted above.  I have learned to trust Christ in all things, wretched or not.  Of course I cry in sorrow when a new treatment intended to help me makes things worse for awhile.  Call it a healing crisis, herxheimer reaction, or the like.  It’s a bite in the shorts any way you slice it!  But that doesn’t change anything between my Savior and me.  He meets me on my bed of sickness and weeps for my suffering.  This is not His intention for me yet at the same time my suffering will not be wasted because He has a plan for my life.  Maybe one part is this:  I am hoping that my suffering provided an illustration here of HOPE IN ACTION.  I pray that it will encourage someone out there who is suffering too.  HE CARES FOR YOUR SUFFERING TOO and will see you through it!

One day all of our strife and worry will be over as He makes our joy complete when He comes again in glory:  with unimaginable happiness too!  This promise holds true for those who love the Lord and call Him Savior.  If you are suffering, please do not let that stop you from seeking the best hope you have in your pain:  the person of Jesus Christ.  His love covers ALL.  In Him, you will find a joy that will transcend it all.  Gentle Reader, please do not confuse happiness with joy.  JJ

Jer 29.11

The Waiting Game

TREATEMENT UPDATE:  The new doctor I saw on Monday ordered more tests.  My treatment plan is thus delayed.  My response to high CBD hemp oil waxes and wanes.  At least it prevents seizure attacks most of the time when I am in a completely controlled environment and can arrest them some of the time when they break through.  But if someone enters my bubble at home with but a speck of perfume or exposure to mold in a water damaged building then there are fireworks!  So I’ve got three more weeks of guessing what the heck to do . . .  Holding on and talking to the Lord a lot.

Or holding it?  Gotta laugh too.

The Waiting Game
The Waiting Game