Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday - it's just me Lord

This morning a friend took me to breakfast before she had to be at school, and we played catch up.  I now know all the news, shared while we laughed and ate together.  She brought me some things from school staff, including a card signed by all of them and a gift card - how appreciative I am of those who are reaching out to me.  They are all so busy and things are so hectic right now so I am doubly blessed.

So after all this there is no conclusive evidence to point to what happened to me.  I can't believe that my insurance company is going to pay Wesley tens of thousands of dollars and there's not an answer to why I lost consciousness.  I am relieved, but am puzzled.  Thankfully, I am going to back to work January 4, however it seems I'm always thinking about it, hoping that it won't happen again.

We had our family Christmas gift exchange yesterday.  The old man and I so much enjoy watching our kids and kid in laws interact as friends.  Much of the time, we just observe them and marvel that they all get all so well.  The gifts that were given were thoughtful - they have truly learned the art of giving.  Of course, the "star" of the show was our grandson, who certainly knows how to rip paper off of packages.  That was almost more fun than what was contained in the box.  He enjoyed playing with his first remote controlled vehicle - a little train that wheeled around on grandma's kitchen floor.

 Speaking of Christmas, have you given yourself time to think about and ponder the meaning behind our celebrations?  The Eternal Son came wrapped in human flesh, born helpless and dependent - His life exemplifying sacrificial love from day one.  In my class at church yesterday, we "pondered" the entire chapter of Luke 2, and discussed the only record of Jesus' early years recorded in the gospels. Several times Luke says, "Mary pondered these things in her heart."

We need to spend more time pondering and less time pontificating.  More time praying and less time stewing about what we can't change.  More time thinking about how we need to meet God on His terms and less time about what our rights are.  The life we choose to lead when we choose obedience and adherence to a holy calling is difficult and not for the fainthearted.  Following up on commitment takes time and energy, and an understanding that it's not about self, nor about what we gain.  It's about what the kingdom of God gains when we give it all up for Him.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mom

Thirty years ago this December, my mother went to heaven to be with Jesus.  I think about her a lot, even daily at times, in spite of the fact that this event happened in 1985.  She was stricken with a stroke in June of 1984 and appeared to be able to benefit from rehabilitation, however, another stroke occurred a few weeks later which caused so much damage that she never again would speak, walk, sit, eat, or take care of her own needs.  She communicated with eyegaze and at times could squeeze your hand, but this depended on the day.  A vivid memory I have is on a day that my sister was here to visit, and came to say goodbye.  As Linda walked out the door , mom turned her head to follow her, her brow furrowed, and tears flowed from her eyes.  I hadn't at that point seen her turn her head, but I had from time to time seen moisture on her face.  At times, she was so aware of people around her but so unable to communicate - however, I think in this instance, she willed herself to try to express what she was feeling.

So today, I woke up and thought of her.  I was already bemoaning the long day which stretched before me - I am here pretty much alone from early morning on - and I wasn't looking forward to it.  But then, thoughts of mom came to the surface.  For more than a year, she laid in a bed, totally dependent on others to help take care of her every need, even moistening her mouth with swabs because it became very dry and she was not able to swallow anything.  (The last food I saw her eat was some green beans from her garden I brought her in the hospital after her first stroke.  "These are good!", she told me.  I remember thinking I was so glad I brought them for her - she loved garden green beans.)  So from first stroke to her homegoing, it was a few days more than 18 months.  My dad faithfully visited her two and sometimes three times daily, and others visited as they could, so I would imagine that every day she had at least one person from the family and community who came to see her, however, I still think of her lying there, day after day after day, night after night going by slowly with no one around except for an occasional nursing staff member to check on her, every day just like the previous one, with no end in sight.  And here I am, a daughter of this mother who suffered so much, impatiently waiting at home for the ok to return to life as normal.  Mom never had that.

Mom, you are after all these years still teaching me, still giving me an example of faith, of hope, of perseverance, and of longing for heaven and all that awaits us.  Your daughter at 61 years of age is still learning from you, and what precious lessons they are!  How grateful I am to be your child, and that you raised me to be someone seeking to know God and to be a part of His family.  And now I can see that my own children are continuing in this faith, and participate in this legacy.  There is no greater joy for me.

"Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not.
As thou has been, thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning, new mercies I see!
All I have needed thy hands have provided,
Great is thy faithfulness!  Lord unto me."

-Words by Thomas Chisholm
-Music by William Runyan
_

Monday, December 14, 2015

Day 14

I'm starting my 3rd week of being off work.  I feel pretty good almost all the time, and would like to go back, but am waiting on the doctor to look at all of the slides from the tests I had at Wesley and tell me what he thinks happened.  I hope to hear from him today.  In the meantime, I wait.

I could be all mature and tell you what I've learned so far, but it's a work in progress.  One thing I know - I'm an independent person and it's been hard for me to ask for rides or other accommodations. I would much rather be the person that gives to someone else - not that I'm so altruistic but because frankly, it's easier I think.   The other thing is that I have to work hard at staying in a routine and on a schedule.  I find it difficult to find "meaningful" work when I'm here at home, so having things planned to do, even though I don't necessarily WANT to do them, helps.

My study through the Psalms is continuing.  We're studying David's life in my class at church and knowing the background for some of the Psalms he wrote is interesting.  Lots of honest sometimes gutwrenching emotion there, lots of painful plaintive crying out to God is present in his writings.  Thanks be to God these writings were preserved for us today and are so meaningful to so many.

Today I think of those I know who are in far worse circumstances than I find myself in and my prayers are for them.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Verse for Today

"Praise be to the Lord,
  to God our Savior,
Who daily bears our burdens. "

Psalm 68:19

Day Seven Post Brain Reboot

Recovery is going slow but well - it's baby steps every day.   This never happens at a fast enough pace no matter what the injury - and part of it is to just learn to be patient and wait for healing to come.

I'm walking ok except for some veering in other directions and some balance issues.  Speech/commnication is still a bit odd and not quite "normal" - sometimes it seems to take me awhile to find words particularly mid sentence just in social conversation.  I'm also having some sensory issues but not to the extreme - I've found that taking naps when my body is tired helps with that.  All in all, it could be worse and as I said yesterday, I am profoundly grateful.  

Doctor's appointment tomorrow, and I'm going to try to see my district supervisor to discuss work related issues.  Also I will try to make it to church for Wednesday night dinner, so it'll be a full day.  

On the schedule today - playing the keyboard and just doing some housework.  I'm trying to work the crossword puzzle in the paper and just practice walking.  It's such nice weather that I might try to walk down the sidewalk to the end of the block and back.  

Encouragement for today comes from Lamentations:

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
   for His compassions never fail,
They are new every morning;
   Great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;
  therefore I will wait for Him."

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
   to the one who seeks him;
It is good to wait quietly
   for the salvation of the Lord."

Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV

Monday, December 07, 2015

Why me?

Dear God, I just want to ask you a question, which is, why me?  Don't misunderstand, not why me in the sense of, why is this happening to me, but - the opposite - why did this brain thing happen to me in just exactly the right place at exactly the right time?

Why was I not careening down Kellogg at 60+mph going to or from a school or downtown?  Why was I not babysitting my grandson alone, or why not a million and one other scenarios that are so dreadful and so tragic that I can't even think about them without my heart breaking?

Why did you look down on your millions of children and know what was going to happen to my little brain, and then orchestrate this event in such a way that there was no trauma to anyone else, nor was there worse injury to me?

I am overwhelmed with grief and sorrow at what could have been - it washes over me in waves.  The words "grateful" and "thankful" do not begin to describe my  heartfelt gratitude to the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, to the Creator of all and the Author of my redemption - how amazing and wonderful you are.   I know You know me.  I am reminded of an Old Testament passage - of Hagar saying, "I have now seen the God Who sees me."  Hagar gave God this name - El Roi - the God who sees.

In recent events, there's so many people who have been innocently going about their life's responsibilities when suddenly, out of nowhere, because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, there is gut wrenching agony for those who loved them.  Most of the time, life doesn't make sense..  And so, what choice for me but to rest in your unchanging grace no matter what happens to me, my family, or my brothers and sisters around the world.  Your faithfulness is great, you are a God who keeps all your promises.  My best and only recourse is to trust in You no matter what happens or doesn't happen.  This place is not my home, but you are the God who sees.    

"His oath, his covenant, his blood,
Support me in the whelming flood,
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay."

Verse 3, "The Solid Rock", by Edward Mote

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Little Square

In the mornings while we eat breakfast, we look out our front window and notice the sunrise.  Now don't get me wrong, we don't actually see the sun rise nor do we ever see the sun set.  We live in the middle of the city, and there are buildings and trees all around which limit our views of either horizon.  I should say that we see the colors streaked across the sky so we know the sun is close to either going to bed or getting up.

So in the morning, as we either look out the window or we sit on the porch swing with our coffee, we can see the sky in a square, framed by trees on two sides and the roof of a building at the elementary school across the bottom of the square.  In this square for a time in the morning, the sky is orange/pinkish and if there are clouds, the picture which is painted is amazing.

Although I can be a little unhappy that this is all I get to see, (and in the evening the view of the sunset is even more obstructed), I still get to see what's happening in my square every morning, which draws me to think of Him who upholds the order and functioning of the universe every second of every minute of every hour of every day.   The view of my square is a view of a Creator who invites me each day to trust in Him and to follow His voice, to be still and know that He is God.

I have many concerns this day.  I have much to fret and be anxious about but the square is a gift to me to remind me of Him who is faithful to keep all His promises, and this reminder is all I need.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Heart cries

The first few days of August, I injured my lower back wrestling with a heavy potted plant.  It's a month later and I still have pain - however - there's hope on the horizon as I'm getting a nerve block Friday.  I am so looking forward to this and am trusting that it will work.

But you know, what I have is minor compared to others I know who are suffering greatly.  It is almost overwhelming for me to think of people in my circle who are truly needing an intervention from our God.  I know He knows all, sees all, and works in ways we cannot even imagine to care for us, His children - I know He knows our sorrows.

I am going to be brave and try to put into words something I have not shared with many but if you know me well, you will understand.  I have always been tenderhearted, with a tendency to cry during coffee commercials, movies, TV shows - you name it.  When I tell people goodbye I choke up.  When I look at my friend and she's sharing her heart and I see tears, I'm there.  I've actually gotten to the point where I could not speak at a couple of memorable staffings when talking with parents about their kids.  When I have to deliver hard news to a parent, particularly that my findings are that their child is intellectually disabled (used to be called mentally retarded), I practice for days before ever meeting with them so that I can make it through that difficult conversation and maintain composure.

Today at school a friend needed someone to talk to.  As she shared a very difficult situation with me regarding her family, she apologized for "burdening" me, and I heard myself say to her as I hugged her:  "It's ok, I've got room for you to give it to me".

Tonight, it seems the weight of the world's sorrows are upon me.  My heart is broken for police officers affected by violence and for racial tension which is ever present.  I am sorrowful for those I know who are suffering from cancer, those who have been recently widowed, and those who are living with mental illness.   It is overwhelming.

And then, two days ago, I ran into this you tube video which someone posted on Facebook, of a flash mob singing Every Praise in downtown Birmingham Alabama.  I have viewed it several times.  I have sung it all day at work.  I have listened to it tonight again.  And I STILL cannot make it through without tears.  It for some reason, has resonated deeply within me, teaching me, reminding me, and comforting me that God is our Savior, He's our Healer, and He's our Deliverer.  Every praise, every word of praise, every hallelujah, is to our God.

A lot of the burden I feel is for our world today.  I have no solutions for the mess we're in, and we people living in these United States - we are truly in a mess.  No politician will save us.  No leader who arises will save us.  No government will save us.  Our only hope is to trust in the living God, who brings to power rulers and authorities as He wills and just as easily dismantles them.  What I'm longing for is a wind sweeping over the land, a holy wind, a Spirit of healing, hope, and of conviction - a Spirit who will turn our hearts toward our God so that every praise and every hallelujah is to Him.

I long for the Church to arise, and to boldly proclaim truth with great power.  I long for people to hear that truth, and to hear the voice of  God who loves them so dearly and who wants them to come into His family.  And as much as people would like to blame the Republicans for the mess Kansas is in, and the Democrats for the mess Washington is in, the truth of the matter is that the mess we're in is because we as a nation have strayed far from Truth.  We have not bowed our hearts to Him and thus, we have sinned.  We have proudly and boldly proclaimed error as truth and God as a fairy tale.  We have decided for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, and we are complacent and compromising, putting our trust not in God, but in those who lead us astray.

Every praise is to our God.  Every word of praise is to our God.  Every hallelujah is to our God.

If you believe this, then I challenge you to live it.  Here's a link to the flash mob at 5 Points South in Birmingham.  Copy and paste, or go to You Tube and search for it using that title.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRnMGWBa7Ko