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Not sure where I am tonight.

Health concerns and testing have me back in doctor’s offices, waiting rooms, and procedure rooms again. I write this from a hotel room near the hospital where I’ve received two injections in the last two days. Tomorrow will bring a small dose of radioiodine and Friday, body scan. Just routine, right?!

I’ve been trying to get a hold of my thoughts all day but I’m not sure what to do with them if I wrestled them all into submission. What should I think other than what I am – wondering what is wrong with me, frustrated to have to fight for answers in the medical world, longing for the body I once took for granted.

I’m at peace with God… just wishing and hoping and praying for answers. Wondering why, at 10am this morning, after 10 hours of sleep and a healthy breakfast why I would be wiped out.  Recent test results dispute what I’m actually feeling.  That’s a good thing…but then what’s wrong?  Long conversation with a nurse this afternoon gave me a smidgen of hope but more of me wants to stop being a loud advocate for myself and accept what is. My family wouldn’t support that decision.

There’s a lot I don’t know right now.  What I DO know is:

  • God has never left me but has only shown me great kindness and care. Ridiculous, extravagant, personal care.
  • Friends and family are praying for me and helping us in practical ways. HUGELY encouraging.
  • I am His in life and death.
  • It’s OK to be where I am. Right now, I’m uncertain, blah, and unproductive.  Pretty much the opposite of who I want to be.
  • This morning I prayed for help for the day, specifically in the form of someone who would pause long enough to listen, help, direct. That was answered in the phone call with JC, the nurse. He empathized and offered some hope for answers… that was huge and I said as much.

I’m thinking a lot about what unanswered questions may mean for my life and schedule.  I don’t know how that will flesh out but I know it makes me nervous to think about those conversations that would affect our family.  Lord, that’s too much to take on right now. One day at a time. For tonight, rest in the grace I have for today.  It’s enough.

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Anniversaries mean a lot to me. When a day comes that marks a week/month/year from something significant, it captures a lot of my attention. Today is one of those days! One month ago today we pulled our caravan of 3 vehicles and 3 trailers into Lake Geneva, WI. In some ways, I can’t believe it’s already been a month and in others, it’s only been a month?!

Tonight, I’m grateful. And to be honest, I’m feeling a little awkward about it all. I mean, is this for real? Why do I get to live in this place, in this house?

My parents so kindly helped us move here and I was having one of those moments a day or two after moving in. Just really feeling weird and even some guilt about the good in our situation. My quiet and caring mom pulled me aside and through tears encouraged me to accept it all as a gift from my Father. It’s grace. It’s a gift… because He loves me. His girl.

The feeling is familiar. I remember walking into the lake house at Beaver Lake for my week of isolation for treatment and losing it because of the grace and gifts God had poured out on me.

My mind has been filled with a pretty big amount of worry lately… just a lot about our house in Tioga, Rich’s health and strength with that, the boys’ transition here, getting to know the staff at the camp, etc, etc. It hasn’t been tearing me up but just a constant reminder that I/we need God so much, that this whole move is crazy without His leading. Why do I bring that up? I guess because tonight in the midst of those worries/concerns/thoughts, I’m feeling comforted by God’s care for me. I’m reminded by the passage in Zephaniah that says that the Lord sings over me.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
na mighty one who will save;
ohe will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. Zeph 3:17

Hmm. That’s good.

Huh!  New Year’s Eve.

It’s been months since I’ve written anything here. Life keeps marching on and doesn’t really look all that different than in did back in May when I last sat down to write. In some ways I guess it has, but overall, not really.  I think that’s why I’ve waited.  A while back I wrote something about what I tend to do. In the absence of what I would define abundance and fruitfulness, my rut is to run to the window of our life and jump at the possibility that something will change, that life will return to some sort of normalcy that I’ve known in the past. If something changed, I’d have something to say. I could give an update about the next season.  I’ve done a pretty huge amount of heart work in the past 2 1/2 years of wilderness but the rut is still there under the growing grass.  It’s still easy to run right into when I’m not watching where I’m going.  Am I making any sense???

The truth is that a TON has changed. I’m a different person. There are things I prioritized then that I don’t now and other things that I prize now but hadn’t even really noticed before this journey began.  Gut-wrenching loss, sorrow, rejection, loneliness, cancer, and powerlessness over situations will do that.  For me, it has. I’m starting 2015 in much the same circumstances I started 2014.  BUT. I pray that this year I will live with abandon to who God has made me and to enjoy Him.  I don’t want to spend any more time worrying/hoping/crying over what has been or what may be. I tell you, I’m exhausted.  I know it’s not the life that is mine as a follower of Jesus.  I still long for some sort of normalcy. I long for a home of our own to the point that it hurts.  I feel done with being a nomad… but I pray that as long as we’re nomads, I’ll worship my way through it.  I heard a while back that wilderness is a season of discovery… that the intimacy of it makes it hard to leave.  I can feel that.  It’s true that when your comforts have been removed from your life, you have to make a decision.  I’ve been frantic about that and I’ve rested. I’ve cried buckets of tears in both sorrow and surrender and thankfulness.

I feel like I’m rambling but this is where I’m at on this last day of 2014.  I feel a stirring in my soul for growth.  To throw off what entangles me and live in freedom.  Powerful words were spoken over me last October. There was an image of God as an eagle and me under His wings, being taken to new heights.  His invitation to me.  Recently, an addition/edit to the image.  A tether keeping me from reaching the heights of the Eagle and under His protection. The tether was holding on to past hurt/questions/betrayal and was my own doing.  Such an accurate portrayal of my heart.  There is a bitterness from the past that begs to stay in my mouth, to remind me of what I think is unjust or needs remembered.  And then there’s bitterness of life that can be sweet when I allow God to write the story, to change my heart, to prompt forgiveness and surrender.  Oh God, may it be so. May it continue to be so.   In this Christmas season, I’ve been reminded many times that God is, indeed, EMMANUEL. So personal. Always present. Ever inviting.

Lamentations 3:19-26

19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

“How’s the house coming?”
Since that question comes up several times a week, I thought I’d give a little update. 🙂
Yes, it HAS been a long time since we started building. 17 months to be exact. In our defense, 10 of those months were spent waiting for the deed but still doing as much as we could with very limited moolah. And then winter came and boy was it a winter! From what I’ve been told, coldest in 18 years. In North Dakota. QUITE chilly. We (but mostly just Rich) kept at it even through the cold with a couple heavy-duty diesel heaters. Trust me, it was still cold. But here it is May and today was close to 70! I can’t believe I’m even typing that!! 70. We’ll take it!
We’re so close yet so far away. If you saw it today you’d probably wonder if we have 6 months left. And I guess I shouldn’t say that we don’t… but it really shouldn’t take that long. I’m sure the summer will be full and possibly even the start of the fall with last minute punch lists, but we plan to be moved in by then. Rich is installing the last few windows (one as I type this!), finishing electrical, plumbing, and then will come the fun part in closing up those walls after insulating. The below pictures are of today’s work: straightening an outside wall and installing a window. A very high window. It will be beautiful but I do have to tell you that they’re not fun to clean. I did it last winter at our friend’s townhome and my knees were pretty shaky!
I’ll post more pics in the coming weeks. Actually, I hope to post an outside view later on after it’s installed.

We do appreciate your prayers as we continue in this endeavor. Perseverance is needed in massive doses and for that, I am definitely married to the right guy. Rich IS the energizer bunny. His sticktoitiveness is most definitely God-given.

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How is it that a broken heart can still explode in praise? Thank you, God, that joy has nothing to do with my circumstances. So often He uses music to steer my heart and mind and soul UP.

Ok, I love this couple. We miss them a ton. I LOVE this video they made because it’s just THEM. I love their expressions and how they sing this… I can hear them laughing afterwards. (Thanks for the smile, Kevin & Liv!)

It’s been a while since I last dug deep and shared what I found. Here goes.

I have a persistent melancholy spirit.
I struggle with a daily rehearsal of watching the horizon and reprimanding myself for it.
I am unsettled. Discouraged. Lacking in love.
I live with one eye over my shoulder longing for the Zion I knew and one ahead to take a day at a time.

Jeremiah 29 has come to mind several times in the last year and 1/2. These few verses have been a billboard lately.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

(Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV)

This chapter has been in others’ hearts, as well. It holds so much meaning and each interpretation is as true as the next. God has so much to say through his Word to each of us. Like a multi-faceted diamond. A dear friend wrote about God speaking to her about being scattered to sow seed in the different places we’ve all landed, to share what He taught us in different contexts with different people. I say, “Amen!”… although that is a much harder assignment than I ever dreamed.

In the past few weeks with circumstances remaining unchanged, I’ve been wrestling with the same passage, looking at that diamond from a different angle.

It goes back to waking up each day and running to the window to see if anything different is on the horizon. It’s been pretty tough here. Will this be the day He brings a new opportunity to consider? Will something drastic happen in our present situation that will force a change? Will the day bring dramatic confirmation of a home- either here or elsewhere? I can tell you, it’s exhausting. Why would I keep doing that when I don’t find peace? There must be pay-off in some way. There is, but it’s cheap and it’s fleeting. It’s a form of hope tied up in expecting rescue which keeps me going in a way. If I stop running to the window, will I miss it? If I allow myself to settle in and truly call this home, it feels like we’ve moved backward, not forward.

I’ve been meditating on thoughts from Matthew Henry’s Commentary…

“He bids them think nothing but settling down there; and therefore let them resolve to make the best of it. That they must not feed themselves with hopes of a speedy return out of their captivity, for that would keep them still unsettled and consequently uneasy; that they would… be tiring themselves with the expectations of relief; and their disappointment at last would sink them into despair and make their condition much more miserable than otherwise it would be…. If they live in the fear of God, what should hinder them but they may live comfortably in Babylon? They cannot but weep sometimes when they remember Zion. But let not weeping hinder sowing; let them not sorrow as those that have no hope, no joy; for they have both.”

Think nothing but settling down. Their disappointment would sink them into despair and make their condition worse. They cannot but weep when they remember Zion. Let not weeping hinder sowing. Let them not sorrow as those without hope or joy, for they have both. Yeah. Not what my flesh feels but I know it’s truth.

“Meek and quiet people, that work and mind their own business, have often found much better treatment, even with strangers and enemies, than they expected… He directs them to seek the good of the country where they were captives, to pray for it, to endeavor to promote it. This forbids them to attempt any thing against the public peace while they were subjects to the king of Babylon… Both the wisdom of the serpent and the innocency of the dove required them to be true to the government they lived under.”

Oh wow, that is a hard thing to hear. We feel definitely feel like we’ve endeavored to promote this place in different ways. We’ve worked for the good of the city. That definition of ‘good’ is not shared and the proverbial slaps across the face sting. But that’s not the point, is it? Be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. I’ll be honest- I don’t know what that means in each situation. I can be sure, though, that it won’t be the easy way. It will be the way that respects people and speaks graciously and forgives quickly and steps back in line to try again. It won’t feel like I’m ‘winning’.

I want to tie this up with a pretty bow. Make it look like it’s a lesson that I’ve learned and that I’m settled in it. I have days like that but I couldn’t say that my heart is generally content and settled. And that frustrates me about myself. It seems like after this long, I should be able to do that, to feel that way. What I can say is that I very distinctly hear the voice of Jesus inviting me to give Him my worries, hurts, disappointments and future one at a time. The past couple of weeks it has been one day at a time, and some of those days, one hour at a time. He takes them and assures me that there is a good and loving Plan behind all of the pain. He’s shown me some of the blessings He’s given along the wilderness road. He reminds me of his own sacrifice- in death, yes, but also in sacrificing his true Home to become human. Jesus endured. He had a home, a job, He constantly rubbed up against people who grated on him and still lived his life always pointing to his Father. I believe that I can live like that, that He came to show how to do just that. If I get too worked up about it, I’ll miss the point. What does it mean TODAY? Let not weeping hinder sowing…

My dear friend, Sierra, sent a link to a song the other day. It’s been on repeat since. I hope it brings encouragement to your soul wherever you are.

It’s been so fun to watch the boys play basketball this winter. It’s their first time playing and they’ve loved it. There’s been a fair amount of travel since the towns aren’t super close but I think they’ve enjoyed that, too. Tonight they played in Williston and lost by 1! Sad! They scrimmage the girls on Monday, one more game on Tuesday and then they’re done! Then on to baseball… Sports really are making a difference for them here and we’re grateful for the friends, the skills, and the distraction! Haha!!
By the way, Jack is #35 and Dylan is #12.

Yesterday was an anniversary for me. It’s been one year since starting my job with Gables Corporate Accomodations. I’ve been in Houston for the week so it made it all the more special as I was actually with my Gables family getting to know them better and learning more about the company and having a few more responsibilities added to my plate. Yesterday was a big day with work in the morning, their annual Spotlight Awards banquet in the afternoon, and then getting to attend a SIDS fundraiser for some friends-of-friends.

The weather? AMAZING. The driving? Not my favorite but I’ve done ok and have one drive left– to the airport in the morning. It will be in rush hour, so I know that by the time I get there, I will have had my fill of big city driving for a while! There was a moment yesterday when I had about 45 seconds to move over 5 lanes on the freeway that I thought, “THIS is why I don’t live in the city.” Haha! I made it and know that God takes care of His simple girl. 😉

I have to say- Gables is a great company. They’ve been more than good to me with allowing me to work from home, encouraging me to take medical leave in September and October, and investing in me as they have this week. I visited last May for their annual service day and it was pretty awkward. I had only started a few months prior, I didn’t know anyone besides my co-worker, Mallory, and I had never been to Houston. It was a good trip, but this one has been way, way better.

Thanks, Rich, for always encouraging me to “get out of dodge”! Winter is long in North Dakota and it’s been a very welcome respite to enjoy temperatures in the 70s. Tomorrow is back to reality- I think the forecast calls for a whopping 5 degrees! Woo hoo!

Good night! Time to get some rest so I’m up for that drive in the morning…

For the past couple of months, I’ve had a clear picture of a gift the Lord has given me.

“Out to Pasture”
out to pasture

Such a sweet picture.  I have felt like burdens have been lifted off of my weary body and that my Master has led me out to tall, lush, green grass. There he slipped the rope off my neck and told me that it was time to rest for a while. Work would come again, but my attentions have been turned to healing and rest and receiving… in many ways from Him and many very special people. And that’s exactly what I’ve done, which has been both wonderful and hard. For those of you familiar with the Myers-Briggs temperaments, I am an ISFJ. My world likes to revolve around serving others.   So these past couple of months my world has been turned on its head! I’ve been the one served… to the point where it felt unnatural and uncomfortable and relentless.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… 

1 Corinthians 12:25-27

(The Message)  The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this.

“A headache affects more than the patient’s head. Surgeries aren’t just about an incision. Chemotherapy impacts more than the cancerous cells.  Similarly, in the body of Christ “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).  Facing Illness with Hope, Tim Wesemann

YES!  I have lived that and am all the richer for it.

Prior to my diagnosis, I lived and worked at a crazy pace. And I was SO TIRED. Besides the normal activities of life that leave us all feeling drained, I was fighting illness. It all makes sense now.

In some respects, I’ve already left the pasture.  We got back to Tioga last Sunday night and I’ve been working at home since then, but it’s been for my family which I really enjoy.  Tomorrow I officially go back to work- to the job I get paid to do.  😉  I’m not excited, but I don’t dread it, either.  Going back to Ecclesiastes, there is a season for everything and right now, this is a season for me to work outside our home.   My tendency is to work at a pretty crazy pace. I push myself to limits I think I can handle, but my mind, body, and heart suffer.  As God brings me to mind, I’d really appreciate prayer in that area- that I would be faithful in the things God has brought me to do but that those things wouldn’t define me in any way.  Productivity can be a wonderful thing if it doesn’t enslave your heart!

As a farm girl at heart, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the pasture.  Thank you, Lord!

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