I wasn’t ready for this

It’s starting to feel like I only write when I’m asking for people to give or when something bad has happened. And let’s be honest, today fits right into that mold.

I used to talk to my mom on the phone every day. She would call me on her way home from work, and we would chat for that 15 minute drive. Then my brother started working with her and since they live 1/2 mile apart, they started carpooling most days. That meant that my mom only called me on days when my brother wasn’t with her. It was hard (annoying) at first, but I’ve gotten used to it.

Normally on Tuesdays my brother rides with my mom so I was obviously surprised when my phone rang around 5 and it was my mom. She thought she was so funny telling me how sorry she was that she wouldn’t be able to see us the next day. She was sorry that I decided we wouldn’t be able to see her. (Wednesdays weather permitting the boys and I go to my mom’s house to spend time with Grandma Jo and then see my parents. The weather is a lot less permitting in the winter that the other 3 seasons.) Finally asked why “I” decided we couldn’t go over. My dad and Grandma Jo were both sick with the flu. We talked the rest of her drive home and said good-bye when she pulled in the garage. It should be a few days until I talked to her again.

You can’t imagine my surprise, my shock, my panic when about an hour later my phone rang and the caller ID showed my mom’s name. I had been messing around on Facebook and answered on the first ring. She doesn’t call me at night. My phone should not have rang.

My mom was a mess and the strongest she’s even been when I answered the phone. She said, “I think Grandma had a stroke. The ambulance came and got her. I’m on my way to the hospital.”

I can’t even tell you my reaction. I got this same call 2 years ago, but this time is worse because I know how that story ended. The last time I got this call Grandpa had brain cancer and died. And that was hard and I didn’t want to lose Grandpa. I wasn’t ready for that, but I’m really not ready to lose Grandma.

And as broken as I felt, I held it together. I got the information Mom needed to give me. I was strong for her. I hung up the phone, told my husband what happened and took 1 minute to fall apart. Then I made the calls that she needed to me to make.

They made it to the hospital and confirmed that she did have the flu. They didn’t think it was a stroke, but the flu was bad enough they were transferring her to a bigger hospital. Okay. I can do that. The flu is extra bad this year. They transferred her and did an MRI and EKG the next morning. She has the flu, and it was a stroke.

If you know anything about my grandma, you know she is so ready to be in Heaven with my grandpa. She’s been telling us all since Grandpa died that she just wants to be with him. So my first thoughts with all of this is that she was just going to give up. I’m not ready to lose her. That may be super selfish, but I need her for just a little bit longer.

But the one thing she wants more than to be with Grandpa is to not be a burden on her family so she keeps fighting. The location in the brain where her stroke was just affected mobility on the right side. It didn’t affect her memories or attitude or personality. She is as ornery ever. Her speech is slow and affected, but she makes jokes with the doctors that they don’t get.

Grandma and Grandpa always thought that she would die first. They planned for that. We know she has an aneurysm in her brain. Any day it could move and kill her. But it hasn’t. This week we learned things about her heart. It is bad when your aorta is enlarged. At 3cm they do surgery. Grandma’s aorta is 6cm. That makes your heart pump too fast and, instead of sending the blood out faster, your heart is pumping too fast and the blood can’t get out of the heart and instead pools around in your heart and starts clotting and that clot is what caused Grandma’s stroke.

We’ve been told that with the kind of stroke she had that with medication there is less than a 15% of her having another stroke. I guess if you must have a stroke, it’s the best kind you could have. Although that information came before we knew how swollen her aorta is.

Mostly we are being told that with rehab, Grandma will get back 60% mobility on her right side. She will be able to walk, but she will probably have to use a walker. They want to do heart surgery eventually. It’s hard for some people to understand but she is looking for quality of life over quantity. She’s been ready for Heaven for 2 years.

So today I’m feeling the same feelings I had 2 years ago. I feel selfish and guilty. I want Grandma to live, to be healthy and strong and for us to have years more of Wednesday visits. But I don’t get to make these decisions. I don’t get to pick. And my mom sits at the hospital all day and I think I should be doing something, but there is literally nothing I can do. Even if I drove to the hospital, they wouldn’t let me and the boys in.

So it’s all in God’s hands. And I pray for His will. For the right thing. If He chooses for us to have her longer I will rejoice in that and if He chooses for her to be with Grandpa, I will mourn for our lose, for the world’s lose, but rejoice in knowing that she is with Grandpa.

If you, dear readers, would pray for my family. The selfish part of me wants you to pray for healing and the unselfish part asks for you to pray that His will be done. Either way pray for Grandma to be at peace and for God to be with us all.

 

 

A Day With Grandpa

Yesterday was a really hard day. The boys and I went to see Grandpa for the first time since his diagnosis, and the first time the boys had seen him since he first got sick.

I have been talking to the boys about Grandpa John being sick. It’s hard to find the words to explain what is going on to them. I told them that he was sick. I told them he probably wouldn’t be getting better. I told them he wouldn’t be the same as he was the last time that they saw him. That he had a funny haircut and a bed in his living room. That he was in a wheel chair instead of his normal kitchen table chair. I told them that he wouldn’t be able to take them on a tractor ride or a walk to look for turtles. I told them they would have to give him soft hugs instead of the big, hard hugs that Connor loves to give that will knock a person down.

I asked if they had any questions. Connor told me that he had a question about animals. So I asked if they had any questions about Grandpa John. They had important questions like, “Why doesn’t Grandma fix Grandpa John’s funny haircut?” We covered what was going on the best that I could in one sitting. Connor told me that he need to just sit next to Grandpa John while he was sick.

We got to Grandpa’s just as the Hospice nurse was getting there. The boys became instantly shy, but we still got to see grandpa. And he behaved like he always did and asked Connor if he could run over Connor’s foot with his wheelchair to see if it would hurt.

We sent the boys out to play while the nurse was there, but eventually we did get to visit. I sat at the table with Grandpa. It was good. It was hard. It’s times like these that you just want to fix everything but there is no way to fix it. We laughed. These times are hard, but we aren’t just going to sit around and cry the whole time. Even though these aren’t the memories we wanted to be making, but we are going to make the best memories we can in the time we have.

Eventually Grandpa had to lie down and take a nap. And as he napped in the hospital bed in the living room, Connor sat quietly in the recliner next to him, reading his book and keeping watch. Grandpa woke to adjust and told us that he couldn’t find the light. We asked what light he was looking for and he replied, “The light of glory.” Oh, Grandpa, don’t worry. You’ll find it when it’s time.

Before we left, we all gathered around the bed, with Connor holding one of Grandpa’s hands and Cameron hold the other, and prayed together. We prayed for healing because our God is a God of miracles. Grandpa asked the boys if they know Jesus. (They do.) The most important thing to him right now is knowing that all of his family knows and loves Jesus. And then Grandpa gave both of the boys a dollar.

It was hard. It was good. It was emotional.

Once we were on the road, I asked the boys if they had any questions after seeing Grandpa John. They wanted to know why he gave them a dollar, and I told them it was because Grandpa John loves them. The only other question came from Cameron. He wanted to know why Grandpa John wanted to hold his hand to pray. “That’s not how you pray.” Then Cameron folded his hands and showed me that with folded hands is the right way to pray. I had to explain that there is no right way to pray and that sometimes people like to hold hands to pray.

Both boys put their dollars in safe places. Cameron slept with his by the bed with his hearing aids “because it’s a special dollar from Grandpa John.” They may not understand everything that is going on, but they do understand that something is different. That this time is different. And special. They are making memories, too.

It’s hard and we are all just taking it one day at a time. I’m trying so hard to find that fine line between absolutely believing that God could heal Grandpa and understanding that He probably won’t.

Hope For the Holidays *Update*

Just before Thanksgiving, WANA (a private project where strangers help strangers) was supposed to start again for the fourth year. However, this year it was on Facebook rather than a blog where people could share their needs in a more private way.

I felt moved and decided to host something similar here calling it Hope For the Holidays (since I couldn’t get a hold of the original blogger). I wrote a post and slowly but surely people have showed up with needs and strangers have helped us fill those needs.

And every time I get discouraged that needs won’t be filled, more givers show up to help. And while I have been told no that I can’t share our project in places that seem like they should be willing to help, Matt over at Must Be This Tall To Ride wrote a lovely post about what we are doing and asked his readers if they wanted to make magic with us.

Together we have helped moms and dads, aunts and uncles, families that need just a little help this year. We have sent toys and clothes and gift cards to help with food. Christmas morning there will be presents under trees in houses that Santa Claus would have been missing. Families that worry about how they are going to buy groceries next week can breathe a little easier.

Thank you so much. None of this would have happened without those of you who have helped, by filling needs, sharing the project with your friends and family, and praying for us.

But our work is not done. We still have needs that I would like to see filled.

There is Jo, a mom of two little boys (ages 4 and 6) with a baby girl on the way.

There is a mom who is “looking for an angel” with a 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. Santa won’t be making a stop at their house without help.

There is Wanda, a grandma taking care of her grandsons (ages 5 and 1). She left a violent situation and they had to leave everything behind.

Heidi is a mom of 6 with one on the way. Not only is Santa missing their house this year, they don’t even have a tree those gifts belong under.

There is Brian who is 16 and has a 13-year-old sister. They know things are tight this year and there won’t be any presents under the tree. They aren’t asking for gifts. They just want to do something nice for their parents and get some help putting food on the table so their parents won’t have to worry so much.

Sara is a single mom with a 14-year-old daughter. Because of illness and missed time at work, things are tight. She doesn’t need things but is wondering how she’s going to put food on the table this Christmas season.

Elaine and her husband have 5 kids, 2 girls and 3 boys. Their car broke down and any “extra” they could come up with had to go to repair it.

Every comment that comes in I read. Every need breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes. I wish I could help every person. We pray for the families that need help and those that are helping. We pray that God would send us help to meet the needs that are left.

If these stories touch your heart and you have a way to help, please go to the original post and reply to the person’s comment. If the stories touch your heart but you don’t have a way to help, please pray that the right people see the needs.

If you have been helped, please go to the original post and update your need.

If you have been helped and are willing to share that story, please email me at 2crazylittleboys AT gmail.com. I’d love to share all those stories (and pictures if you are willing to share those).

Thank you for giving. Thank you for reading and sharing. Thank you for praying.

And as a bonus, my crazy little boys decorating the tree:

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The Church of My Childhood

 

I spent the majority of my childhood attending a Church of Christ. We sang hymns out of a hymnal. We had traditional Sunday school that wasn’t called a fancy name. We had Sunday night services. My grandma played the piano. We had communion every Sunday. Baptism could happen any Sunday, no appointment necessary. Sunday nights, instead of having a specific list of hymns, they would take requests, and the kids seemed to pick as many songs as the adults.

There are days that I really miss all of that. Don’t get me wrong. I like the church we attend now. I enjoy the preacher. I love the music. However, we attend a contemporary church and sometimes I miss the traditional church.

I miss the hymns we used to sing. I’m trying to find ways to hear them and teach them to my boys. But even more than the hymns, I miss communion every week. I miss taking that time to reflect on what Jesus did for us.

I really don’t understand why all churches don’t have communion more often. My church has communion on Easter and Christmas and then a couple other times a year. And some of those times are on Wednesday nights instead of Sunday mornings. I know my church isn’t the only one like this.

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it amount yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’

“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.'” Luke 22:17-20

Do this in remembrance of Me. Why aren’t we having communion more often? Why isn’t is a regular part of all church services? Why aren’t we having that quiet reflection time of remembrance? Why aren’t we begging our churches for it?

I’ve had people ask it having communion every Sunday makes it more like a habit than in reverence. Let me tell you, if taking communion has become a habit for you, DON’T TAKE IT. Get back to your bible and your faith and your God. If your heart isn’t right, DON’T TAKE IT. Communion should never be something you are doing just because it’s offered.

There was a time when I was a part of a youth group. We were a close group of kids from high school freshmen to early 20s. We grew up our faith together. We wanted to reach our peers and for a time actually put together our own church services.

At one point there was some anger and hurt feelings among us, as there is with teenagers. We got together one night and were talking about communion and getting our hearts right. That evening we took turns getting on our knees, asking each other for forgiveness and then we washed each others feet as Christ did before the last supper.

It was an amazing experience that I will carry with me always. We left there whole and filled with faith.

Now I’m not saying for the church to get out there and wash everyone’s feet. But maybe it’s time to get back to the basics. I’m not saying ditch the band, but let’s remember our roots. I’m not saying we need hymns and communion every Sunday, but I’m looking for that feeling, that closeness with God.

There have been times that I’ve had the feelings I get from communion through the music and I could feel it affecting the people around me as well. And then what should be a moment of quiet reflection or prayer, is interrupted with applause. Could we have more prayer and less applause? Maybe less of a show and more heart.

I do want to be clear. I’m not saying that my church or any other like it are bad. There are just times I’m looking for more. I’m looking for the church of my childhood, and I’m not sure it even exists anymore.

This Worship Wednesday post is looking more like a Throwback Thursday so I’ll leave you with the song that we sang at the end of every Sunday morning service.

 

 

 
You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

Growing Your Garden of Faith

It’s the middle of the summer and vegetables are starting to become ripe in the garden. I love this time of year. I love the hot days and warm nights. Even though, with my red hair and freckles, I’m destined to burn to a crisp, I love the sunlight. And I love picking and eating vegetables fresh from my garden.

When we were first married, I tried my hand at a garden. The area best for it was a spot where the previous owners had a desert garden complete with sand and cacti. Needless to say, it did not go well. Very little grew there even after we removed all the sand. (10 years later it still gets the least amount of weeds.)

Last year we picked a new area for our garden and decided to try again. For years we let our neighbors grow flowers there even though it was on our property because it’s out of our normal line of sight. Those neighbors moved and we wanted a garden so we decided to try again. We tilled it all up and planted a garden.

We were so excited about the idea of a garden, the thoughts of fresh peppers and tomatoes, making our own salsa, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts. Sadly very little grew. The plants grew big but yielded very small results. The best thing we got from it was at Thanksgiving when I walked over to the garden as 2crazylittleboys were playing in the snow and saw the Brussel spouts had finally grown. I picked them, and they were a fun last-minute addition to our meal.

This year we got a late start to our garden. By the time I got around to buying plants, our favorite stores stopped supplying them. They told me I was one week late. This year there are no sweet potatoes or Brussel sprouts in our garden. We have an assortment of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. I already have more tomatoes growing on my plants than I was able to harvest all last year.

To get 2crazylittleboys involved in the gardening (other than playing in the dirt), I let them both pick one package of seeds to plant. The youngest picked spaghetti squash and the oldest jack-o-lantern pumpkins. They dug their holes and planted their seeds. I didn’t have high hopes for either growing but those seeds had other ideas. We have 4 spaghetti squash plants growing like crazy, and if you need a pumpkin for craving this fall, I know where you can get one. They are trying to overtake our little garden.

But the tomatoes and spaghetti squash and pumpkin plants aren’t the first thing your eye is drawn to if you walk over to our garden. It’s the weeds growing up in between the plants. Only I learned this year that those aren’t weeds and our garden isn’t neglected as it might appear.

If you walked over to it, you might notice that we don’t have a fence up. I’m not organic crazy, but no pesticides or sprays to keep rabbits and deer away have been used even though we live across from a woods. Our plants are growing and everything is leaving them alone.

Those weeds growing throughout our garden are actually a ground cover. The old neighbors planted it and tilling and weed killer didn’t get rid of it. It was so aggravating until I pulled it and caught the scent of it. I’m not sure what it’s called, but it gives off a scent that keeps animals away.

Because I know it keeps the animals away, I let it grow. It means I don’t have to spray. I don’t have to put up a fence. It may make my garden look neglected, but it’s actually keeping the plants safe.

 

Sometimes I think my faith is like my garden. Maybe it’s messy. Maybe it looks overgrown. Maybe to the passerby it looks neglected. But if they would get closer, if they really knew me, they would know that my faith isn’t neglected at all. Maybe what looks like weeds to you is the part of my faith that keeps the animals away.

I may not being in church every Sunday, but I know my God. I may not carry a bible in my purse, but I know my scripture. You may not see or hear me pray, but I talk to my God.

The youngest of my boys loves to pray. He never forgets that we need to say our bedtime prayers, and sometimes he reminds me if he’s afraid I’ve forgotten. He’s more likely to remember prayers than teeth brushing. And about half the time, he wants to lead the prayers (which means they included a lot more animals than when Mom leads).

My oldest is the opposite. He doesn’t remind about prayers and has even on occasion told me he wasn’t praying that night but is always respectfully quiet during prayers. And that’s ok. I can’t force him into prayer, and I won’t.

The oldest is also easily embarrassed. He’s more likely to hide his face. He refuses to show off what he knows to people when I want him to. Singing “Happy Birthday” to him will make him turn the brightest red, and he may tell you to stop singing. All though there are times he would like everyone’s attention, he wants that attention on his terms.

His faith is like my garden. A couple of nights ago, it wasn’t the youngest who reminded me we needed to say our bedtime prayers. It was the oldest, who then announced that HE want to say the prayers that night. And then he prayed from his heart, thanking God for our good day, for his family. Praying for our safety while we slept.

All those times when it may have appeared as if he wasn’t listening, he was. When his faith looked like my overgrown garden, it was really growing down low and all across and actually strengthening his garden.

Only God knows the condition of our hearts. Don’t be discouraged when people pass by the garden of your faith and thinks you’ve neglected it and have let it be overtaken by weeds. God knows your faith isn’t neglected. God knows those aren’t weeds but are strengthening the garden of your faith.

Pull your weeds. Let your ground cover grow. Your faith doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. I know my faith doesn’t. Work in your garden and let God grow it.

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Cameron is the biggest miracle in my life

It is so hard for me to believe, but my oldest turns 6 today. Time really does move faster the older you get.

 

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Cameron (in green) and his brother

 

 

All children are a blessing and a miracle from God, but Cameron has an especially miraculous story. Here is the story of Cameron.

If you’ve read my last two posts, you know I had two miscarriages. It was hard, really, really, hard. When I found out I was pregnant again, I cried. I was so scared that I would have another miscarriage, and I truly didn’t know if I was strong enough to go through that again.

God had a plan. The baby grew just like he was supposed to. I was amazed by the life growing inside me.

Cameron was stubborn even before he was born and wasn’t in any hurry to get out into the world. I was two weeks overdue (and scheduled to be induced) before he decided to make an appearance.

Labor was long and hard. Cameron’s heart rate started to drop. There was some nervousness around me. There was whispers of an emergency c-section. The decision was made to let me continue to push, and Cameron came into the world at 5:47 pm, May 9, 2008.

He wasn’t breathing.

Looking back on it all, it’s hard to know the order things happened. They took Cameron across the room from me and began working on him. There was panic and worry all around me. And no one was telling me what was happening.

Cameron was ten minutes old before he took his first breath. They moved him across the hall to the nursery to continue to work on him. My husband went to watch. My mother stayed with me.

I turned to my mom and told her that I needed her brother, she needed to call him and get him. (My uncle is a preacher.) She immediately pulled out her phone and started dialing. When he answered, Mom told my uncle that we needed him to come. He told her he was there. “No, Mike. We need you to come to the hospital. There are problems.” “I’m standing in the hallway with Chris (my husband).”

 

The phone call God made

 

A little addition background. The day Cameron was born my grandpa was in a different hospital having just had surgery. My grandma and aunt were with him and they all knew Cameron was going to be born that day. They wondered how things were going and why they hadn’t heard from us yet.

My uncle was at home with his family. His phone rang, and the caller told him that there was a problem and he was needed at the hospital. The first phone call we made was to my uncle when he was already at the hospital.

At the time, there was too much going on for me to even think about asking who made that call. Months later, I started asking. No one I talked to had made the call or knew who made the call.

May 9, 2008 God used an audible voice and a telephone to meet my needs.

(As I was writing this I learned of a second call God made that night. My husband’s parents were at home that night waiting to here from us. As everything bad started to happen, my mother-in-law turned to my father-in-law and told him they needed to go to the hospital. He told her they didn’t, that we would call them. She insisted and they got to the hospital just as Cameron was born.)

 

Newborn Intensive Care Unit

 

They got Cameron breathing and stable. He still wasn’t good. The cord had been wrapped around his neck twice. The hospital we were at was not set up to handle his problems so we had to transfer him to another one 45 minutes away.

At that point, I announced that I would be going with him. The doctor could either discharge me or I would just get up and leave. They agreed to discharge me.

At 9:30 that night, my baby got into an ambulance and I got into my truck and we headed to the new hospital.

We finally got there. My husband, my parents and I all finally got to where we were supposed to be. We walked (ok, I was wheeled) into the NICU and there was Cameron, surrounded by doctors and nurses.

It’s a moment I’ll never forget but find hard to describe. The lights were all down low except where they were working on Cameron. There were so many people standing around my baby, including the Russian doctor who would be Cameron’s doctor for the duration of his stay and who will forever hold a special place in my heart.

When it was clear that they would be working on Cameron for a while and I would be unable to hold him again that night, my family convinced me to go lay down and get some sleep. That night, my husband and I stay at the hospital in a room with a recliner and couch and got a little sleep.

 

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Cameron had a feeding tube and was on oxygen. He had an IV in his belly button and needles attached to his head to monitor his brain activity because he had seizures overnight. They were also monitoring his breathing, heart rate and temperature. He looked so helpless, but all I could see was how amazing he was.

 

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For the next five days we stayed at a hotel just blocks from the hospital. I sat next to him, holding him as much as I could for as long as I could. I would leave only when someone would force me to go eat, I had to pump, or shift change. In the evenings, my husband would make me leave to go eat supper and then we’d be back. Then he’d have to force me to leave again in a couple hours so I could get some sleep.

For the week after that we went home at night. First thing in the morning my mom would come and pick me up and take me to the hospital. We would spend all day there and then she would hand me over to my husband, who would meet us at the hospital when he was finished at work.

Cameron spent 13 days in the hospital. During that time he had all sorts of tests. He was poked and prodded. We learned he did not like a bottle. He “failed” every test the first time around. They talked about transferring him to Riley Children’s Hospital.

Our doctor believed in the decisions we made and in Cameron. 13 days after he was admitted, Cameron was sent home.

Before they would release Cameron, we had a meeting. They really wanted us to apply for disability. They told us that he would probably have developmental delays and mental disabilities from going so long without oxygen. They all but said don’t have hope.

 

I never lost hope

 

There’s one thing that we were told that I will never forget. After Cameron came home we had follow-up appointments at the hospital. My mom went with me and we stopped to see our Russian doctor while we were there. The doctor told us that he will never forget that first night either. He was so sure Cameron would die while we were standing (sitting) there watching.

Wow. That shocked me. It had never occurred to me. I was shocked by the idea that Cameron could have (really, should have) died.

He was born not breathing. I knew he would live.

It took 10 minutes for him to take his first breath. I knew he would live.

He had seizures, bleeding on the brain, wouldn’t eat from a bottle, and I knew he would live.

From before he was born until the moment it was said to me, it had never even crossed my mind that he could have died.

That’s how strong my faith was. I knew God had a plan. I knew we wouldn’t have gone through two miscarriages just to have a baby die at birth. I simply knew that Cameron would live.

I had no idea how strong my faith really was until it was said that someone thought Cameron would die. It really did shock me. Through all of it, I knew Cameron would live. I knew that God hadn’t let us go through all we had to lose the baby at the last moment.

 

Six years later

 

Those doctors were so wrong. Cameron isn’t normal. He’s better than normal. He is one of the smartest kids I’ve ever been around. He always knows a better way of doing something and will show you how it’s done. He is funny. He is sweet. He loves his brother and pretty much everyone else. He makes friends with people everywhere. He pays attention and picks up on everything.

Six years later, I have to laugh at all the things they told us would be wrong with Cameron, all the stuff they tried to prepare us for. They were just so wrong. My God is bigger than all their doubts.

All of the first year milestones, from rolling over to first tooth to walking, Cameron did them early. He is truly amazing and a miracle from God. The only sign today that Cameron had any problems at birth are his hearing aids. Cameron has moderately-severe hearing loss due to nerve damage due to his birth.

I can thank God every day for Cameron’s hearing loss. Knowing everything that “should” be wrong with him, hearing aids is an easy fix. There are so many more people in the world who deal with things that are much, much worse than hearing aids.

 

The big plan

 

I’ve said repeatedly throughout this blog that I know God has a big plan and it’s bigger than I can ever know. And every time I look at Cameron, I know Cameron plays a big part in God’s big plan.

I don’t know what Cameron’s part is, or if we will ever know what Cameron’s part is. But what I do know is that God has amazing things planned for my little boy.

Science can’t tell you why my boy is able to turn six tomorrow. I know everyone thought he was going to die. He went ten minutes without oxygen and has no brain issues.

My God is bigger than any of your thoughts or doubts.

My God heals amazing injuries.

My God has an amazing plan.

Happy birthday, Cameron. I love you and I can’t wait to see the amazing things God will do through you.

 

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Cameron at about 9 months old
 
 
 
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Cameron (age 3) has always loved babies

Jesus is hurting with you Part 2

In my last post, I talked about emotional pain and how Jesus not only experienced those same hurts, He is experiencing them now with you. So now lets talk about physical hurts.

Jesus knows about physical pains. Matthew 27:29-30, “When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head…Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.” He was beaten and whipped. He was nailed to a cross. He died a horrible death. Jesus knows about pain.

Along with the hurts that Jesus himself experienced, Jesus was also surrounded by people with hurts. The sick, the injured, the weak, the blind, the deaf, the mute, the lame, the lepers. Matthew 15:30 says, “Then great multitudes came to Him having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’s feet, and He healed them.”

Jesus saw the hurts in the people around Him. And through their faith He made them whole. Jesus felt His own physical hurts, and then rose above them and conquered death to make us all whole for all eternity with God.

A fake brain what?

In 2000, I was diagnosed with an, let’s call it, interesting condition. Its scientific name is Pseudotumor Cerebri. Basically it’s a fake brain tumor. Yep, fake, nonexistent, not really there, you get the point. It is an incurable disease that comes on with little to no warning. So at any point my body could start reacting as if I have a brain tumor. Obviously this is not a common disease and those of you who know me in real life may not even know about it.

My first symptoms were extreme dizziness and trouble with my vision (which could best be described as sunspots all the time only in funny shapes. I had elephant shadows dancing in my vision most often.). I had CAT scans and MRIs and was treated for a number of things including ear infections before a doctor figured it out and sent me to a specialist.

Pseudotumor Cerebri makes your body believe you have a brain tumor, and then your body begins to fight against a tumor that isn’t there. Your optic nerves begin to swell (which cause the vision problems and can even lead to blindness) and it puts increased pressure on your brain (causing migraine like headaches and other pains).

I had a spinal tap to measure intracranial pressure (ICP). It is measured in millimeters and normal is 7-15. I don’t remember what mine was that first time, but it was very high. I had vision tests and learned that the blind spot in my vision is twice the size of a person with normal vision (although not big enough to affect my everyday vision.)

I was put on medication that made all food taste bad (great weight loss plan). I went through a time of deep depression where I was extremely lethargic (which I don’t actually remember but have heard stories from). And eventually the symptoms just went away. We called it remission because there isn’t a cure and the symptoms can come back at any time.

In 2004, shortly after we were married, my husband got to experience first hand the “fun” of Pseudotumor when my symptoms came back. I found a new eye doctor who then sent me to a Neurologist. I had another spinal tap. That time my ICP measured at 36 mm (again normal is 7-15). More pills and less depression later, I was in remission again.

Remission didn’t last as long that time. In 2006, around the same time as my second miscarriage, my Pseudotumor reared its ugly head again. Although I couldn’t get a doctor to say it, I knew in my heart the two were related. Weight gain and hormonal changes can bring the disease on, and when your body starts fighting a war, it fights everything.

Not only had I just been through another miscarriage, I was alone when the symptoms came back worse than they had ever been before. My husband was away on business and my parents and grandparents were in the Caribbean on a cruise. I could barely see because of the fog in my vision and the pain was unlike anything I had felt before. It wasn’t only a headache. This time the pain was in my neck, back and shoulders to the point where it hurt to move.

I laid on the couch and cried. I cried out to God. And finally I managed to get my phone with the hope that my mom would be somewhere that had cell service. Looking back, I’m not sure the exact order of everything that happened next. I do know that eventually I got ahold of my mom, and she then called my cousin who came over, took care of me and took me to the doctor.

Later my doctor said that he didn’t know how I was able to stand, let alone walk that time. With that much pressure on your brain, you shouldn’t be able to function.

Jesus is still healing the sick

Eventually my symptoms started to calm down again. There were so many people praying for me. There were churches that I didn’t attend praying for me. And I know that God hears and answers prayer.

It was my mom who said to me that maybe we were praying for the wrong thing. Maybe instead of me getting better, we should be praying for my healing.

That thought caught me off guard.

There were two parts to it. The first part is to only pray for things you believe can happen. If I didn’t believe that God would/could heal me, then there would be no reason to pray for it. Did I truly believe that God would heal me? Not just make me well but rid my body of this incurable disease.

The second part is knowing that sometimes God doesn’t answer prayer the way we want Him to. Sometimes He answers with a no. I know He has a plan that I can’t see and sometimes the answers don’t make sense at the time.

That may have been the day that I changed the way that I pray, the day that I started to be more exact and more aware of my words. We started to pray for healing over just being better.

I can’t tell you what God’s big plan for me is, and I can’t tell you the reason any of this happened. What I can tell you is that I haven’t had another episode since September 2006, and I absolutely believe that God healed me.

Today I have no problems with my vision. Today I rarely get headaches. Today I have 2 crazy little boys. Today I am healed.

I don’t know why some people are healed and some are not. I don’t know why some people struggle with pain and hurt every day and some do not. What I do know is that God has a plan bigger than you and me.

And someday all who believe that Jesus is the Christ will be hurt and pain free.

This is what happens when you just flip open your bible

I was in the mood to write tonight, but I didn’t have anything burning to write about. Since I mostly write about my faith, I decided to just open my bible and see where God led me. I flipped my bible open to the New Testament and landed at Philippians 1.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have in my heart, inasmuch as in both my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 1:3-8

This feels like a timely scripture. It describes how I feel about all of you who take the time to read my words. For some of you, it is vague. Some of you, I don’t know or I do know, but I don’t know that you read this.

Some of you, it is specific. I pray for you by name. I think of you always. My best memories include you. You are my life and my love.

And I do greatly long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

Having a blog is a very strange experience. It’s a place where I write for myself. I write when I feel led, when I have something to say. And then a crazy thing happens.

You read it.

And it amazes me every time.

Now I know that it doesn’t matter what I write, my mom is going to read it. It could be just a bunch of random words, and she’ll click on it every time, along with my grandparents.

But the rest of you? You take the time to read this. You don’t have to and chances are high that I’ll never ask you if you’ve read it. But you do and this scripture made me think specifically of you that I don’t know (or know but don’t know read this) and my closest friend in Nashville.

So that was my first thought on this scripture. My second thought was on “being confidant of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”.

God has begun a good work in all of us and will continue to until the day Jesus comes to take us home. God has a plan bigger than me and you. God’s plan is so big we can’t even begin to fathom it. I know that he is working in me, and I know he is working in you whether you know it or not.

I know that everything that happens God is using for his plan. My part in God’s plan is so big in our terms that I can’t see it and so small in God’s terms that it’s hard to believe that I matter.

But I do matter. And you matter, too, whether you believe or not.

God is using us all, and we are all an important part of His master plan. And His plan is so big, you don’t have any idea what part you are playing.

I pray that you all know you are a part of God’s master plan. I pray you know the amazing power of Jesus Christ. Thank you for being part of my part of God’s master plan.

This passage made me think of you all so I shared it with you. If it brings someone to your mind, I hope you reach out to them, even if it’s in a really vague way like this.

I Pray

It has been an exciting week around here for our crazy little family. Doors have been opened, new possibilities are happening, and prayers are being answered. It’s been amazing to be a part of and to watch it all unfold.

And it got me thinking about prayer and the way we pray.

Prayer is an amazing thing. A way to talk directly with God. And He always answers. Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes it’s no. He answers with wait. Or trust. Or peace. 

Sometime God answers with silence or opportunities.

The more that I’ve prayed, and the older I’ve gotten, the more my prayers have changed. When I was younger, I prayed for things, for actual items, for stuff. “Dear God, Please let me get a bike for my birthday. In Jesus’s name, Amen.”

These days my prayers are much different. I still pray for specific things but it’s more people than items. And because I know that sometimes God answers prayer with opportunity, I’m thoughtful in how I pray. I know that if I pray for courage there’s a good chance God is going to give me opportunities to be courageous. Sometimes instead of what we normally think of as prayer, I just cry out, “Oh, Lord.” More and more I just pray for help.

I pray for my military brother that God would keep him safe at home and abroad.

I pray for the health of my parents, my husband’s parents, and our grandparents who are all in fairly good health and none of which am I ready to lose.

I pray for safe travel for any of us when we are traveling.

I pray that my husband and I make the right decisions for our boys so they grow strong in God.

I pray for the girls that my boys will someday marry.

I pray for my country, which I don’t recognize some days.

I pray for the President, for his safety and that he would make good decisions for our country.

I pray for vague concepts for people because I may not know what you need me to pray for but God knows.

I pray for Justina, a 15 year old girl I’ll never meet.

I pray for people I haven’t spoken to in years.

I pray for friends and family and strangers.

I pray that if something is right it will happen, and if it’s not, it won’t.

I pray for His will over my own.

And I know that God answers all of these prayers. And some of the answers, I won’t understand this side of Heaven. But I do know that He always answers. I may not like or understand the answers, but He always answers.

I pray.

Don’t miss the sign

This is the third post that I have started today. There were things that I wanted to talk about. Things that I thought were important about judging and salvation. But the thoughts were not forming and the writing felt forced. Apparently God has other things that He wants me to talk about today. And sometimes it takes me two or three (or a hundred) promptings before I hear God’s message.

I believe that God talks to all of us. It’s just a matter of hearing His message. Now I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard God speak to be in an audible voice. Mostly it’s a stirring in my heart. Maybe you’ve heard an audible voice. Or maybe you’ve seen a sign.

The Bible is full of God speaking to people in an audible voice and with signs, and I believe that He is still speaking to us in these ways. Some of the signs in the Bible are very obvious like a burning bush or the sun standing still for a day. Other signs, although as amazing, are much quieter: a star shining in the sky or a rainbow after the world has been completely covered by water.

These quieter signs are easy to miss if you aren’t looking for them. The world is so loud and always moving, and I believe we’ve stopped looking for these signs. God is speaking to us all if we would just take the time to listen.

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a rough day. I was running late for everything. The boys were tired and cranky and just making me crazy. We were in the truck, the boys were yelling at each other, and I thought I was going to lose my mind. And then I looked up at the sky. The sun was shining and there were some clouds. And there in the middle of it all was a very small and faint rainbow. That day it hadn’t rained (or snowed), but still there was a rainbow. I pointed it out to the boys, and we all looked at it and calm just settled over the truck. I followed that little square of rainbow all the way home.

That day God was speaking to me. He knew what kind of day we were having. He knew how I was feeling. And He knew what I needed.

I believe that God put that rainbow in the sky just for me. He knew I needed to feel His peace and He brought it to me in a little bitty rainbow that I would have completely missed if I hadn’t looked up at just that moment. I could have ignored it. I could have thought it was just another rainbow. But I chose to see the power of God and the sign He put out there just for me. It was an opportunity for me to see God that I almost missed.

How many opportunities are we missing? How many times is God calling out to us and we aren’t hearing Him? How many times does He stir in our hearts before we pay attention?

We pray for peace, for understanding, for help, but are we looking and listening for the answer to these prayers? I belive that day I actually cried out for help. It wasn’t a whole prayer. Or even a pretty one. It was, “Oh, Lord. Please.” But God knows my heart and he knew what I was asking for in that moment. If on that day you would have asked me what I was wanting from God, I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have said a rainbow. That’s how God works. He always answers, but those answers aren’t necessarily the ones we think we want.

One of my favorite movies is Evan Almighty. I don’t really care for the political message in the movie, but I think the God parts are fantastic. My absolute favorite part of the movie is when Evan’s family has left him. The mom and kids are getting something to eat, and she sends the kids off to do something. While she’s sitting there alone wondering how her life got to where it is, “God” sits down at the table with her. She doesn’t know he’s “God”, and they just start talking. She says that she’s been praying and then “God” says the best line of the movie, “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

We need to start paying attention. God is answering our prayers. We just need to listen for His answers. Watch for times to be patient, courageous, to love each other, to be understanding. And if you’re praying for peace or calm, don’t forget to look up to the sky. If He put a rainbow in the sky just for me, think of what amazing sign He is using for you today that you’re missing.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10)

Be still.