Wednesday, July 13, 2011

i changed my mind...

"i just want to be normal again," i have said through tears over the past month and a half. yes, i have been known to throw a pity party or two. i really am a brat. i have been slow to blog, because to be honest i have felt a bit discouraged, and who wants to read a depressing update, by a depressed person, using terribly depressing adjectives. but the truth is the truth. life has been a struggle. no quick easy pill to pop, no magic solution to make it pass quickly; just a slow, snail-like seeming path that i have been walking. praise be to God that i have been feeling better every day and that i am progressing (that's where the impatience and my bratty-ness really comes in), but there are times that i will take two steps forward and then two steps back. isn't that a paula abdul song? no, janet jackson? anyway, back to being normal.

today i changed my mind. today, as i often do, i realized how little i actually know myself. i don't want to go back. i don't want to be "normal"...i want to be better than that. i want to go deeper. i want to be closer. i want to live in a way that counts more for the gospel and less for myself. i want to have a relationship with my heavenly father that far surpasses what i could have imagined without walking the journey i am on now. i want my desires to be his desires. i want a heavenly that understands and anticipates my true home. i want ears that are sensitive to the only voice that matters. i want a heart that replaces fear with trust, and insecurity with everlasting and unconditional love. i want to really, actually begin to count others more significant than myself. i used to look back longingly on my "normalcy" and now i want to look forward, to a new chapter that i know holds much more than i had in mind for myself. my father knows what i need and his desire is toward me. now my prayer is that normal would politely take its seat in the past, and that a renewed heart would rise up in its place. i want a relationship with my father that is so secure and so intimate, that it becomes the mark of my life. that is the healing i need. that is the life that i truly want.

God, my precious heavenly father, be gracious and don't allow me the type of normal i have been asking for. give me the courage to ask for much more than that, and to be much more than that. draw me near, whatever it takes, and mold me into your image. draw me into your love in whatever way is best, and then help me to spend myself pouring it out. to you be all glory and honor, forever and ever.

"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

diagnosis...and God's love

Let's cover logistics and then we will get to the important stuff. I have been diagnosed with dysautonomia. Do yourself a giant favor and don't Wikipedia it, or you will end up in a disparaging state, much as I did yesterday morning. There are all types of the disease, and my precious and believing doctor filled me with hope of great quality of life. It is a central nervous system disorder that can affect you in many different ways. I am now on medications, a high water and high salt diet to combat my symptoms, which include severe stomach issues, these tingling rush feelings that last about 45 minutes to an hour, and lots of other things you don't really care about (so let's just skip ahead). The hard thing about the meds is that they will take some time to kick in and might need to be tweaked, etc. This requires patience, and the continuation of symptoms, which I must say have taken me to the darkest places of my life. Even last night I had one of the hardest evenings yet. I have struggled with small anxiety all of my life from the inability to watch a preview to a scary movie (much less the movie itself), to an occasional fear of a storm and the air raid sirens that go off in Birmingham at least once a week in a typical Alabama springtime season. Now I am having those feelings, but they have multiplied "times a million", as my sweet almost six year old would say. This anxiety is supposed to be a manifestation of the symptoms, but I believe there is a spiritual element to it too. Which brings me to the the only part that really matters.

Jesus is alive and he has forgiven our sins. Truly! I had yet another morning of waking up with tingles, feeling like I was coming out of my skin, so I came outside to stare at the sky and ask God for relief. I begged. I pleaded. But as usual I didn't know exactly what I was asking for. I watched my lizard friend scurry along his morning path and then picked up God's word. You want to know something crazy? I actually BELIEVED what it said! I have always believed in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. God's goodness, even, I rarely doubt. But my biggest struggle is believing that he actually loves me, that he actually cares for me. Yes, I know he cares for the tiny sparrow, but the sparrow is sweet and beautiful and so innocent in it's goings about...just like my sweet lizard friend. Me, I am a different story. I bet I could out sin most of you on your worst day. I have had a life of guilt and shame, in my eyes, even (I think) as a believer, so how could God truly love me? How could he truly care for me in this dark time? I have felt his presence through the prayers of so many faithful, I have seen him at work in all the encouragement and friendships and ministry opportunities I have had through my doctor's visits (stories I would love to share in another post that have made my husband, who is not even a crier, tear up). But still, there are times I have doubted his love for me; still I haven't truly been able to believe I am loved by such a righteous and just God.

This morning he answered my prayer for relief. I am still physically struggling this morning, but God is healing my heart. His word, his powerful and effective word, told me this morning what I had heard over and over, but walls seemed to be blocking my view. This morning God broke down walls, and he showered me with his love. He told me, through his word and his spirit, that it was not because I have been good enough, or that I have handled my illness the way I should that he loves me and cares for me. It is because of the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. "Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forebearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed." Romans 3:24-25 Through Jesus he has passed over sins! (You may be saying, um, yeah Emily, haven't you ever been to an Easter service?), but I am screaming, Praise God! Glory! Hosanna in the highest! Oh God how my lips praise your holy name! I have been slinking to your throne, through shame, and asking things of you. But you have commanded me to come boldly to your throne of grace, because of your son. God, believe me, I am going to come running! I have been asking for things, trying to muster the belief, and you have been faithful in the midst of my struggle, but now I will ask KNOWING that you are with me always to the end of the age. Because of Jesus, You love me. You care for me. You have my best interest at heart. When I am in those darkest of times, you literally hold my life in your hands, when I pass through the waters you will be with me, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because you are with me, and when I stand in the fiery furnace, you stand there with me. God, I not only believe in you, I believe in your unfailing and never ending love. I truly believe I am free, and as the breeze passes through this morning, my sins are forever passed away with it. You have heard my cries for help and you have come to my rescue. Your will be done in this hard season, and your name be lifted high above all else. Please help all who have the opportunity to pass by this blog, to believe you too, and to believe your love. Help our unbelief. Your will be done in this hard season, and your name be lifted high above all else.

...If you are reading this, please continue to pray for endurance through symptoms, please continue to pray for relief, and for healing, but most importantly healing of souls, which seems to come through these most difficult trials. I am so very ready for this one to be over, i will not lie, but he will sustain me to the end of it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

thank you.

I honestly don't know how to express the depth of my gratitude. Your calls, your food, your service, your child-watching, your hospitality, your fervent prayers, your encouraging words and texts, that have all given such hope. What a beautiful and magnificent thing to see the body of Christ at work. I would exchange a chance to see any form of art in any museum in all of the world, for the portrait of Christ I have seen in all of you...and I love me some art. So thank you again and again and again and again. I thank you through tears of gratefulness.

your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This is not the way I would have started being an early riser who took time to meditate on God's word and commune with him, but I am ashamed to say it may not have happened any other way. I go to bed with a severe nervousness (even on medicine), wake through the night and fight to calm myself down, and then wake with a nervousness that won't allow me to rest anymore. For some reason, I get terribly nervous even writing it down, like it might make it stronger or last forever. That, I know, is a lie. The father of lies has led me to believe a lot of those kinds of things lately. Like, I am on a hopeless road, like I am crazy, like I have an illness that can't be cured. I feel like I am fighting in the deepest darkest valley of my life. When I look at the life of Job, I am reminded to see my suffering with some perspective, and in Paul's words the suffering of this life is light and momentary compared to the eternal glory that awaits us. Though I know this, it seems at times a heavy a load as I can bare. I have these spells that can last close to an hour, where chills seem to come over my body and I can't stop this terrible feeling, enough to play with my sanity a little. I am just praying for endurance and deliverance.

Lord, I beg you to take it from me, but if it is your will, then I pray for an extra measure to bear this load. God make me a pillar along the way; a light in a broken world. There are many faces that I would never have seen, many stories I would never have heard, many opportunities for prayer that would have passed me by, even for my children and my husband. (Please pray for my EEG technician, Janice, who has recently had a surgery that she is having difficulty recovering from.)Father of all creation, down to the tiny lizard now crossing my fence post, being exactly who you've created it to be, I am weak, and I need your strength. Would you be my strength today, and and would you give me peace? Would I boast in you as my life giver, and my sustainer? I am desperate to keep food down, to have an appetite, (oh how I took everything for granted), but if it doesn't come today , God will you give me what I need for today, and help me to trust you for tomorrow. I pray for answers. I pray against hopelessness, and unbelief and I pray that as the sun rises, today is a day where you are lifted high and your praise is on our lips. You are good.

"Fear not, for I am with you."

"This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, May 16, 2011

i'll be there.

  1. When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
    And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
    When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
    And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

    • When the roll is called up yonder,
      When the roll is called up yonder,
      When the roll is called up yonder,
      When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
  2. On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
    And the glory of His resurrection share;
    When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
    And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
  3. Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
    Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
    Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
    And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.