Tag Archives: Prayer

Amazin’ Grace

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I went to a funeral service on Saturday, a younger childhood friend of mine who had left this life too early. The message was simple and sweet and the point of it all – we were there with the purpose to remember, grieve, and love, not to cast our judgment.

I left with the phrase, “There but the grace of God go I,” ringing in my ears.

I am a bull in a china shop when it comes to relationships and life! I thought, “I am sure one person that needs a lot of grace to be in people’s lives.” I trust very few people and let very few into my innermost thoughts. If you think I overshare, here, there is actually MORE you don’t get the privilege of knowing!!!  How about that?  And even if I let you in, you’re on, like, a 10-year probation period to see if I can really trust you. It’s part of my past, part of something I am working on, and if you can’t accept it, I am sad, but I am okay with it. Very cautious with my heart.

For two days after my last post, on changing the negative thought life I was condoning for so long, I felt awful.  I could not combat the dark voices in my head and wasn’t feeling supported in my environment.  It was so hard.  I had just written about overcoming negative self-talk and the process by which God was showing me to do it.  There seemed to be a cement veil between what I knew when I typed my blog message to when I needed to act on my message.  I was crushed.

My consolation was to hide, to isolate, to protect myself.  I know that pattern isn’t right, but it’s self-preservation.  We go back to what we know our brain tells us we’re in fight or flight.  I muddled through Monday, still not quite able to bounce back.  Monday night posed an even bigger struggle as I was challenged and defeated.  I didn’t understand.  I didn’t do anything right – I didn’t talk right, I didn’t listen right, I didn’t apologize right, I should have done this, I should have done that.  I was bad.  Very, very bad.

Tuesday came in with a busy day and I slumped my way to the dentist for a tooth extraction.  Ugh, right?  As I sat, I texted, and when I got home I couldn’t sleep.  I was just so disturbed by my bad feelings and overwhelmed with confusion.

I am 100% confident someone prayed for me about 2 on Tuesday afternoon.  Thank you to whoever did this!  I am aware of the Spirit manifesting its presence in me and I knew I felt God.  I felt His peace, spirit, and power come back to me and I knew, with certainty, I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was.  I got confidence in myself because of God’s confidence in me, through the mercy of Jesus, and by the work of his Holy Spirit.

I went home and tested His will, and found that instead of approving my confidence, it disproved what I had been feeling so sure of moments before.  And just when I thought I was a real whack job, the mystery unfolded.  The light came on.  In a precious little twinkle of His love for me, He gave me a glimmer of His sovereignty.  God gave me the chance to show pride, arrogance, and the muscle of how I had been wrongfully accused and treated.  He also gave me the opportunity to be His very precious daughter who is gracious, abounds in mercy, and chooses love.  I chose love!  I chose to speak softly! I chose to speak life!

My confusion about how bad I had been quickly withered away.  “There, but by the grace of God go all of us.”  We are not here as judge and jury.  We are here to love.  We may do things differently than others, but if at the heart of it is love, the intention will always be revealed as pure.

God’s love never fails.

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:8

UCSD, say whaaat?

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Though there were hurdles, it appears as though we are getting one step closer to figuring out the cancer this round.  Through heartfelt emails and sincerely apologetic phone calls from our contact at UCSD, we found out we are on schedule with the exam and laparoscopy this Friday.  As in two days from today.

With humbled hearts we accepted plane tickets from cousins Scott and Terra, using up most of their air mileage because of the last minute flight and that whole spring break thing we intercepted.  We will arrive in San Diego and be greeted by my childhood friend, Mischa, who is offering us taxi service and a place to stay for the weekend.  We will use a debit card with funds given to us by loved ones.  It is overwhelming.  Hard to comprehend.  Something about ‘every good and perfect gift is from above…’

Even though we know this test may not bring all the answers we want, we will know, with certainty, that we tried every surgical avenue possible.  As an advocate for my mama, that makes every ounce of effort I have put into this worth it.

Tomorrow we will play in the California sunshine and make a memory or two.  Friday, we do work.   My questions and concerns are ready.  Mom’s got her stretchy pants packed!  Exam in the morning, laparoscope in the afternoon.  We should know that evening whether the cancer is treatable.  Late Saturday we will be home.

We may not have the answers, but we’ll probably have a different point of view.

Continue praying.

So, this is cancer.

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My poor mama is still waiting to hear what the doctor thinks about this cancer business.  Because the scans the doctor needed could not be done all on the same day, but four days apart, records were also sent four days apart.  Which means half of our material missed their weekly meeting times.  I was being gracious when I said last week that hopefully by Tuesday, as in today, we would have an answer.  I think God took it as an invitation to strengthen my patience.

And, the answer we’re waiting for isn’t even an answer.  It’s just the next step.

This is chronic cancer.

You brace yourself repeatedly with one foot ready to adjust and move forward with the next treatment step, while the other foot is still trying to keep things stable where you are in case the news isn’t what you want.  As the deadline to the mini-surgery approaches, it is seriously scheduled for Friday in San Diego, and we don’t even know if she is eligible, or the if the cancer is too far advanced, there is certainly a heightened sense of stress and tension.

Trying to choose peace.

Wanting to relax and rest in Him.

Super hard for me.

My brain is mostly a mess.  My home is 68.7% mess.  The flower shop is 65% mess.  Easter has arrived in the store and fragrant lilies are taking up lots of space.  Not knowing whether or not I will be there this weekend also weighs on me heavy.   How do you prepare a flower shop for the florist to be gone?  That’s a good pickle you got yourself in, Dana.  Not enough time or finances to train someone.  I have surrendered to doing my best.  My mama will come first, that is my choice.  I believe God will honor that and protect the rest.  Dude, that sounds so good in theory.  Application is the bugger.

As we wait to hear the results, please pray.  Pray for us to respond to the doctor’s decision with ease and grace.  Pray for us to be patient.  Pray for my mom as she deals with so much hard uncertainty, once again.  Pray for healing and hope.  Amen.

 

 

Crossing the Jordan

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I’m almost afraid to type today.  Afraid too much of the truth might come out.  Such a difficult time of my life.  I feel terribly alone and scared and sad.  Trying to cling to the Lord.  It’s hard.  It’s hard to breathe.

My marriage has seen better days.  Toby and Dana.  Two peas.  We’ve been together since we’ve met, less the one week it took me to lure him away from his long-time girlfriend.  Best friends.  Able to do pretty much anything together.  Despite everything against us – dysfunctional childhood homes, divorced parents, financial distress, health issues, and the regular chaos of life – we made it 12 years, or so.  That’s amazing in this society.  They should give out big trophies to people who make it to another anniversary.  People like trophies.  Maybe people would like marriage if there was a trophy incentive.

Most men do not hang around when the lady is sick.  It’s a fact.  Right now a lot has fallen on Toby’s shoulders.  I am unable to keep up with the kids and stuff.  Tears fall off my cheeks as I type today.  Heartbreaking in black and white.  I think all of the little stresses in life have just added up and completely overwhelmed me – to the point that my plate is overflowing and I’m dropping oranges to pick up grapes, ya know?  A constant juggling act.

I think the biggest issue at the core of all of this, is the inability to schedule – from one day to the next to one hour to the next!  If you’re up all night in pain, you’re less likely to want to be busy in the morning and the morning is typically your best time… and you don’t always have a rhyme or reason to what is causing that pain to stop it.  Once it gets out of control, it’s more difficult to calm down.  In addition – there are other symptoms besides pain – I’m having cognitive issues – speech, speaking, short-term memory, inability to do regular tasks – I have to write down every step to complete a day of chores.  I’m emotionally different.  I’m withdrawn, irritable, and sensitive, at times I feel no emotion where I know I should feel something.  The fatigue is really intense right now.  I went out to shovel a bit in my garden a few days ago.  I got two scoops tossed and my arms and legs were done.  I cried.  Yesterday I was able to get a few more licks in and that made me happy.  I feel so restless.  So much I want to do.  I suck at this.

I suck at trying to deal with this and I’m a terrible wife.  Trust me.  Toby feels so unloved and unappreciated.  I complain, whine, and feel sad all the time that he wants to be out living.  I am constantly asking him to be home because I need him here to help with kids or so that I can go to work or because I’m just fed up and past my threshold for the day.  I am jealous of jiu jitsu.  I know, I’m a brat, huh?  I am very selfish and somehow make everything about me.  If I don’t change, and allow him to escape for training and his life in Boise, I’ll probably lose him forever, because he is at a loss of what to do.  Our marriage is very fragile right now.  He is a fix it person.  How do you help someone so lost as me?  I’m not fixable on this earth, I don’t think.

I am dealing with so many issues past and present – my dad, my mom, excessive self-loathing, a disease I don’t know how to fight, how to run a business, educate my kids, keep a home, and raise a husband with his own life and hopes and dreams.  It’s hard not to feel so stuck.  Wanting to go run and play and work hard and make my way, but only physically being up to rest on the couch.

If you know me, you know the person I am right now, is not the person I am.  Please, please, please know that I am not myself.  I don’t know how to get through this.  I’m going to go visit with my primary today and get some anxiety medication that should help settle things down up in my brain so I can get some rest in the other parts of my body.  I am uncertain if the diet is helping, and I’m at day 27.  I do not feel any change in energy level or pain this week.  I got a monster flu-bug and spent most of Wednesday night on the floor of the bathroom.  Haven’t done that since my early 20’s.  Ugh.  I’ve had a couple of other infections come up since doing this clean eating, healing diet.  They discourage me in the sense that my body should be able to easily fight them, but my immune system is super shot down.  Wondering if it’s worth it.  I’m pursuing medical specialists, but it all takes time.

Still unsure what to do with my business.  There are employees there relying on income, but I am just so tired of spending all of my energy there when that is what I am doing – getting my employees paid.  It does give us a lot of financial freedom.  I am able to purchase groceries, help with a bill here or there, and it’s my source of my personal money.  The money we do get from it is not worth the stress and headache of it all right now.  I went down there a bit last night, paperwork stacked up, chores to do, open house to prepare for, weddings, funerals, prom in a few weeks, Mother’s Day without my mama, graduation, Memorial weekend, Fiddle Week…  I came home and felt like I was going to have a nervous break down.  I told Toby I would rather just close the store than go through the Jordan… because it feels so big.

Please, please, please pray for me.  I need God to do a big work in me.

 

 

T-7

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Who has two beautiful gerbera daisies and gets to see a neurologist next week?

This girl!

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I am relieved and excited!  When I think about it too much I get anxious.  Here’s the thing.

I cannot put all my stock in this neurologist.  I did that with the Mayo Clinic and it was really defeating.  I have to set my mind on Jesus and thank him for the progress that will be made at the doctor next week, whatever that is.  I pray that no matter what I will be joyful, continue praying and have a thankful heart.  I cannot come up with the number of different outcomes that next Tuesday might bring.  Definitely MS and still on a progressive slope?  A different, treatable form of MS?  Not MS at all???  Do I still have to have another spinal tap?  Are there really lesions on the left side of my brain now?  Is that what has caused the dysphagia?  How severely can this problem progress in MS?  What can I expect the tremor to do over the next five years?  Can we do anything for the pain?  Am I crazy?  I almost wish she would tell me I really am actually just crazy and this is a hallucination.

My grandma was 36 when she lost the use of her legs because of her severe and progressive MS.  Her name was Franka.  I didn’t know her as a granddaughter ought to know a grandmother.  I knew her as handicapped, drooling, in a wheelchair, confused.  She was on her horse and my Papa Roy told her to get off and get the gate closed.  He saw the cattle getting out and came over to where she was and she couldn’t move her legs to get off of her horse.

This last month I had my 34th birthday.  That morning I chatted with a friend who happens to have the same birthday as me.  His mom had MS and she died when he was 15.  It’s hard not to be scared of my disease progressing to the state of being paralyzed.  On my 23rd birthday I went to a neurologist because the tremor, muscle fatigue, and pain had all started the November before.  That was the day that he told me that we were first doing a scan for MS.  My scan came out with lesions on it, smaller than would be expected, and the week after that neurologist told me that I was a mental patient.  He said there was nothing wrong with me and that Toby needed to get me to a psychiatrist IMMEDIATELY.  There was screaming and chaos and people gawking.  Straight out of a movie.  Crazy.

Two weeks later, I wake up one day and I fell multiple times trying to stand up out of bed.  I didn’t understand what was going on and I realized I couldn’t bear any weight on my right leg.  It’s not that it was painful or there was something damaged, I just couldn’t walk on it.  I finally figured out how much of a stride I could take and though it wasn’t much, I was not going to waste it.  I called Toby and told him what was going on.  Then, I hobbled down our apartment steps and went walking.  I walked and walked around the busy Boise city blocks surrounding our apartment.  Toby came home from lunch and tracked me down.  From the way I was walking he knew I needed assistance.  We went and bought a cane.  I had to use it for several weeks and then tapered down to months until I finally was strong again.

Sometimes I wonder if I was actually spared.  I really think that if I had laid there in my bed, crying, and grieving I’d still be in bed.  Progressive MS typically starts in older patients and it usually does involve walking difficulties as the onset of the disease.  I wonder, if my choice to get up and walk was honored by God before I even knew Him.

There are so many outcomes of my doctor’s appointment.  So many possibilities.  I’m afraid to hope for comfort.  It may be in God’s will that I am meant to suffer.  We may not be able to slow down or stop this disease from happening.  I am prayerful that whatever the doctor tells me, if she tells me I’m crazy, tells me she can’t do anything, can or cannot give me medication…  whatever it is…  let my hope and my faith and my strength be in my Master and Healer, Christ Jesus.  Please pray for me.

My get up and go might be busted.

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Feeling a bit stuck today.  Not just today but lots of days, but especially today.  Stuck in a sort of good place.

 

I’m puny right now.  Been on the couch quite a bit.  I’m not very good at this “listening to my body” crap and normally I do what I want or have to do regardless of my body.  These days, I feel like I don’t have the gumption to get up and go.  Sucks.  However!  I was stir crazy enough by yesterday evening that I was excited to go to Bible study last night!  That’s a good sign I’ve learned to recognize in myself.  When I *want* to get up and go and have the motivation to do it.  A real good thing.

 

I’ve left my last two shifts at work early.  I sent out a message to get another florist hired to replace me ASAP.  It’s not what I want to do, but it’s what has to be done.  I know who I want to hire.  I’d appreciate prayer that the flower shop continues to thrive, that I am able to give it over to God in every way, and that my team continues to make it happen while I’m absent.  Thankful that my mom is there to oversee a lot of the day to day operations.  Thankful for my Barbara and her loyalty to me over the years.  I love you, B.  Thankful for Shannon, Alexa, Greg, Kelsie, Toby, and D’Ann.  They all make the shop what it is. 

 

Blessed.

 

In an effort to understand God’s love for me, I’ve decided to start documenting stuff about God and His love.  I’ve been wrestling with some ideas.  A lot of us look at “love” as one blanket term.  I’ve learned that with God, love is revealed in different forms.  They even have names that I don’t know how to pronounce.  As a parent, you can identify some of them without knowing that there are scientific psychological scholars who were paid tremendously for making up a word we can’t pronounce, but know is there.

 

See, if you put yer kids in time out, you love them in the way of discipline.  You want them to be better human beings so you choose to punish them to correct behavior.  Welcome to my relationship with God!  Seriously.  I have a lot of discipline left to learn before I am an acceptable human.  I’ve gotten a lot better, but I still need so much refinement in this area.  Doing what needs to be done even if you don’t want to do it.  I suck at discipline.  And, I respond to it in anger toward God, a lot, which He doesn’t really honor so much.  I look at it as rejection and being disliked.  Regardless of how *my* brain interprets things, I think we can all agree that discipline is a difficult form of love. 

 

In contrast, some of the more obvious forms of love – affection, time, and gifts – are the way that most of us have learned to receive love.  When God plays the ole switcheroo and suddenly love is not in the form of provision or protection, but in the form of discipline…  um, it’s a stinky baby.  Ha.  Not that I haven’t been provided for or protected, because I have.  But, the physical withdraw from God and His replacing that physical love with spiritual love, has been very difficult for me to understand.

 

This is how I think God would be talking to me right now. 

 

“Dana, we need to talk.  (*sigh*)  You’re going to sit in time out and think about things because I need you to realize that my love for you hasn’t changed.  I still love you the exact same way I love all of my kids.  But, I want more for you!  It’s ready and it’s yours!  But, you’re going to have to go through some tough crap to get there.  I promise that it’s going to be worth it.  But, I guarantee that at some point you’re going to want out because, girl, the tough stuff hasn’t even started.  Here’s the thing – whether you choose to acknowledge me or not, I’m there.  You can choose joy, because I am there providing you with joy when you have none.  You can choose peace, because I am always there offering my peace when yours is rocked.  You can let go of those negative, scary, anxious thoughts and think about me and my stuff.  My stuff is way more powerful than anything you can contrive.  My stuff, added onto your uniquely made self, is a pretty rad combination.  You are where you are for a reason.  Look at those babies, look at your adorable husband, Toby.  I’ve given these gifts to you.  Look at your beautiful mother and sister.  They may not make it to me, without you.  You need to be here.  You need to get over yourself.  You have a purpose.  You better buck up, pull up your big girl panties, and get’rdone.”

 

Yesterday Toby held the kids and they were all crying over me.  It really sucked.  We all know my health is getting worse and they are so scared.  My throat issue is pretty intense.  It’s actually kind of funny because it feels like the sensation of being choked.  Not painful, just awkward pressure.  I have to gulp extra sometimes.  Food doesn’t seem to bother me as far as choking on it, but I get tired eating meat or cheese type of textures.  Yesterday, it was as though every 30 seconds to two minutes, I get these waves of choking in some parts of my throat or esophagus.  If this is an MS thing, it basically falls on the mercy of our Lord.  I don’t think that there is much in the way of treatment and it’s associated with more severe forms of the disease.  The 28th can’t come soon enough!  My friend, Elise, has some of the same swallowing issues and she is warned against eating alone and stuff.  I’m not ready for those types of restrictions!  Like I would really obey that. 

Anyways, the funny part about it is that my husband is a purple belt (?) in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  A big part of this sport is submissions and choke holds.  It is the goal.  It is what Toby works so hard to learn how to execute and what I am seeking so hard on how to avoid.  Irony.  God is grinning right now.

 

Until we know what is next, the girls have been asked to step it up a notch in our home and that is difficult for me.  I know I rely on my Q a lot already.  She doesn’t complain.  Toby doesn’t complain.  Sometimes he gets frustrated, but seeing how statistically men tend to bail ship when the wifey gets sick, it’s pretty profound that he’s still here.  I am not a big ball of sunshine, so the only reason I know I have him is because God loves me. 

 

God loves me enough to give me three amazing, healthy children.

I know God loves me because he blessed me with the best mother on planet earth.

I know God loves me because he gave me D’Ann, aka “thebestbigsisterever”

God loves me enough to bring me the most loving, supportive church family a girl could ask for.

I have a flower shop and more importantly, my Barbara.

I have a house, car(s), and more than I physically need. 

I am blessed enough to have to deal with 1st world problems.

A door opened to get me into my neurologist much sooner than expected.

I know that God loves me because he has taught me to be more obedient with my money which has helped with a lot of stress in my life. 

Today is my real day off.  Which is really a day at home with my babies.  Homeschool.  Housework.  I’m so thankful the Lord has given me a rest.   I could get used to this “love” thing.

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Deeper

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I am one hour and fifteen minutes removed from doing one of the most ridiculous things I never ever thought would do in my life.  I was an adult leader in a  weekend retreat for a group of 12 teens from our church.  We fasted.  Seriously.  I did not eat for approximately 38 hours.  I could have never done that on my own, but in the presence of the kids and the five other adults, it was ridiculously easy.  I ate a bit at lunch, but haven’t been back to the trough, yet.  The realization that nothing is going to satisfy me, even the best food I can think of…  the enjoyment will quickly fade.  

I’m different today than when I left – mentally and emotionally.  I’m different in one way because my perspective on God has changed.  The first night we were there our Not-Youth-Pastor, Hunter, led us in a lesson, worship music, and prayer.  During the prayer he said, “God, we love you.”  I realized quickly in that moment that I didn’t even feel love for God.  I want to serve God, I want to please him, but I’m not sure how to love Him in the right way.  In the way that a daughter ought to love a father.  That should concern me and it does.  I do not know how to fix it right now.  I am willing to learn.  

That night we split up into girls and boys groups and it started to become real about what we were doing.  So, we’re really going to bed hungry?  We’re just going to read the Bible, talk shop, and pray?  For a day and a half?  I did not know what that looked like.  Who does that?  

Saturday morning was quiet.  I could tell that some of the kids were struggling and becoming restless and I was sort of concerned.  Were they able to get passed the hunger, lack of cellular devices, and awkwardness of this retreat and find the Jesus behind it?  I am so happy to say that, YES!  Yes they were able!  It was a day filled with Biblical lessons, life application, inspiration, motivation, and prayer.  My Toby gave a lesson.  I never thought he was more handsome.  I was proud of him.  It wasn’t just delivering his message, but the preparation that I saw him do in the weeks ahead of the retreat.  He is a good man.

My Shannon and I were led by the Lord to make some pretty powerful “prayer stations.”  There were 12 different themes to each station and the kids were asked to go to them and interact with the station.  For instance, there were candles and matches at the “Light” station.  At that station there was scripture of God creating light, Jesus being the light, and how we are a light to others.  The kids were asked to pray and meditate on the scriptures while they considered how their own lives reflected the light of Jesus.  We also had things like forgiveness, strength, wisdom, and discipline.  This could be something easily used in Sunday school or at any revival.  They were fun to make and the Lord worked through them well.  At the “You” station, the kids read about God being their maker and they had play-dough, a globe, and a model-statue thingy.  This activity was really meaningful to me, for some reason.

We did have a few breaks throughout the day and we tried to make it a light atmosphere, but the thing I think I like the most about these kids and their response to this process was – it was not designed to be fun, entertaining, or for their a-musement.  It was a hard core, Jesus in yo’ face, what are you going to do about it challenge.  It would be us leaders that would finally be the ones to crack Saturday evening.  Okay, it wasn’t all leaders, it was me.  

We had read and discussed Elijah relinquishing his spirit to Elisha.  As one generation of leaders to the next, we wanted to pray over the kids in a special and meaningful way.  We each had drawn two kids that we had been praying for leading up to the event.  Even before I got to my first girl, I was crying.  I just knew it would be a hard prayer.  Relinquishing some of my hopes and dreams over to my Kelsie.  Realizing that my time with my hands is limited and that, I am so thankful that I was able to use them to spend time with her at the flower shop.

I am not getting better.  My symptoms of spasticity, tremor, and pain are very difficult to treat.  The progression of my illness into my upper body has really slowed me down.  I am uncomfortable, now, in any position.  I usually don’t sit for too long because my legs ache and now that my upper body is crappin’ out on me, it’s really put me in quite the pickle.  My neck, shoulders, and arms are just tired.  Just lifting my hands up to lay on the kids, was a struggle for me physically.  

I’m normally very excited to go to work and get to “play.”  It is a burden now.  Dana is tired.  I pray for miraculous healing.  I am hopeful that my neurologist will help me.  I get in to see her the 28th.  I can hang on for 23 more days, right?  After that, Toby and I will assess the situation and see if the shop does need to be sold.  It makes me cry.  It might be what the Lord is asking me to do though.  Maybe I have to get rid of the shop to get somewhere else.  I’m just not sure.

Perhaps the most challenging part of the entire weekend was signing an agreement with all the other attendants – a contract, a call, a commission to serve God wholly and completely.  I am good with that.  We were asked to commit to Bible study, devotional time, scripture memorization, and to seek the Lord first everyday.  I am good with that also.  The part that didn’t feel so good was committing to use my suffering for the growth of the Kingdom.  From the outside, it’s like, “Yes!  I will do anything for the Lord!”  But, when you are IN the suffering, you want nothing more than to get out.  

I have been trying to recondition my mind to understand that this illness and the problems it creates can help me and are actually a good thing.  I’ve been trying to accept that healing may never come.  I’ve been living and waiting as though I would feel better someday and as I realize that it may not happen,  I grieve for the dreams and experiences I haven’t had.  I am sad to be limited by this stupid body.  At the same time, I know I can offer the world a completely different perspective on things because of the uniqueness of my walk.  I might help someone.  And, if I can, but instead I choose to sit and feel sorry for myself…  that is not the legacy I want to leave.

The difficulty in signing the agreement, for me, was a few words.  Bryon presented the lesson and gave us a beautiful message on a friend he had lost years ago.  The friend died, full of life and love for the Lord, and his character not only impacted his immediate circle of friends, but generations of family’s now.  The friend, Bryon illustrated, lost all of his lifeblood in one moment.  The rest of us who struggle, serve, and work for the Lord may not lose our blood in one foul swoop, but one drop at a time.  

One drop at a time.  

Can I be okay with that?  For me, to be OK with it would mean that I could face my pain and illness with strength, with a good attitude, and joy.  As it is, I don’t have that mentality about it.  I don’t trust that it will all be OK.  I’m seeing these little droplets of blood everyday and I’m freaking out and well, freaking out isn’t really helping anyways.  But, dang it!  I just wish I had the ability to carry this cross for the Lord with a happy heart.  I want to change in that way.  I want to pursue His will for my life because I know that is the place that I will be used most.  If his will for my life is for me to weaken in body slowly, yet ever so surely, how can I accept that for really reals? 

I am interested to see the ripple effect that continues in me, the other leaders and in the kids.  The retreat is like a big rock getting plunked right in the middle of a quiet pond.  We’ve only just dropped the rock.  The first wave of reaction is in the works and I’m thankful.  I’m tired.  Our prayer as leaders was that this experience might cause a chain reaction that didn’t just end with the teens leading church today, but continues to envelop the kids in their homes, with their family’s, friends, peers and the generations that follow them.

I am thankful that I got to shut the whole world off and focus on God.  That is a rare opportunity.  Happy to be home with my monsters and as I type in my chair, watching all four of them cuddled up on the couch, I have tears.  If this is the only way that I could have them, I would do it all over again.  That makes me glad.