Just Me

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thoughts in the Journey...

The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind in our journey. Dave experienced some terrible side affects from his drugs and finally got some relief today. But last night was rough!! I was up until 1:30 and I don't think he slept much at all. This has been another one of those moments when it really hits me. THIS is where we are. THIS is what we are facing. THIS is real. 

There are times that I sit down to blog and my thoughts are very scattered and it is hard to focus on one "theme". I have been all over the place today in thoughts and emotions. So, I am going to give you a glimpse into those things...the things I am experiencing in this journey...

1) Cancer is a vicious beast and NO ONE should have to go through what we are going through.
2) Jesus meets every need. Sometimes it is in a huge, obvious way. Sometimes it is as simple as a hug. 
3) Jesus is ALWAYS enough...
4) There are times when Jesus is not enough...and then I have to CHOOSE to believe #3.
5) Sometimes I just wish life was normal. That I could go on a vacation as a family. That I could celebrate our 8th anniversary on June 17th with a date night. That I could go to wal-mart without worrying about who is home with Dave. That I could go to church and not have to keep my phone handy in case of an emergency. Sometimes I get very jealous of those leading normal lives. I miss normal. I REALLY miss normal.
6) It is excruciating watching my husband die. What used to be strong arms of security, at times now need to hold onto me to get out of bed.
7) I miss kissing my husband. Yet another struggle with jealousy for me. Kiss your honey tonight...
8) Music is an amazing mood enhancer. How can you not be encouraged when you sing of God's holiness, his love for us, the promise of heaven and redemption...Feeling down?? Plug into some good Jesus music.
9) Another great mood booster-encourage someone else. It is amazing how giving of myself has come right back at me!
10) God gives me gifts I didn't know I needed...such as new friends...you know who you are! ;)
11) God has increased my desire to serve more out of my pain, than when my life was smooth sailing. 
12) New passions can be birthed through the toughest of times...you are reading one of mine right now!
13) I have learned that I DO NOT WANT to do this life without the body of Christ. If you are not part of a church, you do not know what you are missing. Want to visit a good church? Message me...I know of a GREAT one!
14) Death can be a celebration when we know Jesus and have the wonderful hope of heaven! 
15) I have learned to say, "I NEED HELP!" Not easy for this independent, usually strong woman. And I will have to learn to say those words again...because those words are really hard for me to say.
16) Words are my #1 love language and the words of encouragement and reminders of Jesus have been a life line for me. This is me asking you to remind me of the truths in the word...because, well you read #15!  I NEED HELP!
17) I struggle with being real...it is hard to admit "I can't do this..." but that is when we all can see what only Christ can do! It is when we are beyond ourselves that He gets the most glory.
18) Sometimes I just need to cry.
19) Sometimes I want to cry alone. And sometimes I wish I had someone to sit and cry with me. 
20) I HATE mowing. I REALLY HATE mowing the hill around our house. And I get VERY angry when the strong man across the street sympathizes with me about mowing my hill...ummm thanks??
21) Some things are just more important...
22) Life is hard...but God is faithful.
23) God is good. All the time. No matter what. 

Just some thoughts...they are scattered but so am I! 

Thankful that His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. 
Thankful that He uses me. 
Thankful that He redeems and restores. 
Thankful that on the darkest day, He is the light. 
Thankful that when I am weak, He is strong.
Thankful that I am not alone.
Thankful that He can give me a new normal.
Thankful that he works all things together for my good.
Thankful that He pours himself out all over me.
Thankful for the gift of song to encourage and draw my thoughts back to him.
Thankful for my friends.
Thankful for the hope and sweet assurance of heaven with Jesus!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Memories...

I was not looking forward to this weekend. Many times, we have traveled to Michigan to visit family and friends for Memorial Day weekend. When we didn't do that, we had a cookout with family or friends here at home. Today, was different. I knew we would go no where. Dave is not up to it and I can not leave him and take my kids. So I was feeling very sad about today. 

But I was blessed with other things this weekend. I have had a lot of down time which has been good for me. I have had a FULL few weeks and I needed a mental and emotional break. So, low key was very beneficial to me. 

I have had the joy of messaging a friend in Colorado a lot this weekend. Strange thing is, we have never met. We were introduced via Facebook by a mutual friend. She said, once we talked, we would see why she felt the need to introduce us. As time passes, we have realized more and more why our friend (and God) wanted us to meet. We have very similar life journeys. We have a passion for Jesus. And we value our friends...and each other. She has walked the journey I am walking and lost her mother about 2 years ago. It has brought a lot of comfort to my heart to know she knows. She is a HUGE encouragement. She has answered some questions for me during this time and most important, she prays for me. It has been fun spending "time" with her via our computers this weekend. We both hope someday soon to meet face to face. I am thankful for my new friend! She added some fun to my weekend.

Saturday, Dave's mom and sister came for a visit. We chatted for a while and then Dave mentioned that my mom had given him some Beatles 45s. His sister wanted to see them, so we got them out. Of course the next thing was, "Do you have a record player?" So, we started playing a few. Since Dave and I have lived our lives together here in Ohio, we don't have many memories with his family. And since we met later in life, it is as if he has a life that I am not at all connected with. As we sat and listened to the 45s and I interacted with his mom and sister, I felt a connection that I had not felt before. I was part of their past and their present. I looked at Dave, attempting to sing and strumming his air guitar with the Beatles, and it hit me...this is one of those moments. One of the memories that I will look back on when he is gone and say, that was a good day. He smiled and enjoyed that day. It was a gift. And it was a gift I was able to share with his mom and sister as well. I know each of us walked away from that visit with a treasure. 

Yesterday, my son was wanting to use our fire pit. We have often done a hot dog roast and had s'mores for a treat with the kids. Makes for a fun family evening. So, we hit Wal-Mart and I got all of the necessities-graham crackers, marshmallows, hershey bars, and reeces cups. We were getting ready to go out and as I always do, I asked Dave if he wanted to join us. I told him I could take the wheel chair outside and he could sit for a little while with us. He said "Sure!" I was shocked. I always ask, but he has not done anything like that for a long time. So, we got him all set up outside and he came out and joined us. We all smiled and laughed together. He didn't share in our yumminess-too much for him, but we got him some fruit and some drink and he was out for about an hour with us last night. Yet, another gift...another one of "those moments"...

I dreaded Memorial Day...but it ended up being a weekend with some wonderful, cherished moments for the days ahead. It was a weekend to treasure.

Friday, May 24, 2013

When You are Facing a Mountain...

This week has been one of the hardest I have had to process and work through. The issues are deep and personal and so it is hard to write about in a general sense. 

I have struggled with many things this week-Anger, Love, Heartbreak, Confusion, Pain, Shattered Dreams, Hopelessness. 

I have been in the Word, listening to music, praying, crying-basically everything I know to do to work through what I am dealing with. 

I did better yesterday, but last night a tidal wave hit. And I am experiencing SO MUCH sadness today. So, now what Lord??  I have a strong faith, you have proven faithful over and over in my life so...

...why can't I JUST BELIEVE???

I could really beat myself up and I honestly struggle a LOT with doing things right...gotta get it right...don't mess up...keep the faith...be strong. 

But the truth is, I am weak. I feel. I hurt. My heart is breaking. I have been very angry. I have withdrawn. I can't think or process easy tasks. (then I beat myself up for not being able to) I haven't been able to hear his still small voice. It has been as if God has been silent. I have carried a load this week that no one should ever have to carry. I have struggled feeling his arms. I have felt like Job must have felt at times.The enemy has danced around so much in my mind all week long. I have been in warfare with him. I have had friends doing warfare for me as well. I have found myself visiting "What-if-Ville". It is so easy to not only visit, but to take up residence there and I have really struggled with that.

Through this process with Dave and hospice, I have grown to love the Word of God in a deeper way than I have ever known. I have been clinging to the hope that his word promises for our pain. The hope of heaven when he is gone. The hope that he has a purpose and a plan for my life and it doesn't end when I become a widow. God has done amazing things for me in my life. He has always come through. I never once have looked back on any situation and thought, "You know, God got it wrong on that one!" 

 I don't want to guard against what I need to process through. Guarding against my emotions will lead me into bondage. So again, it comes down to "Trusting with a Broken Heart".

This is a time of pain for me. There is not avoiding it. But the pain does not define my situation. It is not the core of my situation. And what could I be missing if I try to work through the pain myself and not let God what only he can do??

Today, I need the truth while walking through the pain...The Truth Is...

God is good!
God Loves me!
God is in control!
God keeps his word!
God gives strength!
God NEVER stops working it all out for our good!
God's ways are best!
God is my Strong Tower!
God sees me!
God weeps with me!
God is the Redeemer!
God is a promise keeper!
God has a plan!
God's plan is good!
God LOVES to give us beauty for our ashes!
God loves those that I love, even more than I love them!
God is faithful!
God is light in my darkness!
God still answers prayers!
God holds me in his arms!
God is my Abba Father!
God is my bridegroom!
God never fails!
God restores!
God heals our broken hearts!
God is GOOD, ALL the time, No matter what!

The list is truly endless. And nothing that I face will change who God is or what his plan is for me. When we face struggles that seem to have no possible good outcome, we need to remember that when we give that over to our Jesus, he can create the most beautiful work of art, a masterpiece, that we never could have imagined! I know when today is over, and the future has unfolded, I will look back and say, "God was good. He got me through it. And he did amazing things through it. 

Ephesians 4:16-21
"...out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lord, I Need You

Time to write...mostly because it is therapy for my soul. I have had a rough couple of weeks. The enemy has been full throttle attacking me. He is hitting every way he can, to shift my focus and grab my heart and mind. I am so thankful that I have dear friends who encourage and point me to Jesus!

It has been a while since I shared about Dave and where he is in this journey. For about 3 weeks now, I have seen some changes. He is sleeping a LOT...like 21-23 hours a day on average. He is eating little. He will say that something smells good, take a bite and it turns him off, he can't eat it. He is eating cream of wheat and fruit, but not much else appeals. He is drinking little and at this point is dehydrated some. About 3 weeks ago, he was diagnosed with a UTI, which could have explained the changes in him. But the UTI is gone and these symptoms have not changed. Now he is dehydrated and I am again wondering if things are progressing or if it is circumstantial. There is just a difference in him. I look in his eyes and I see a weary man, there is a hollowness in his eyes. I rub his shoulders and feel his bony shoulder blades. I run my hand down his back and feel his spine. I give him injections each day in his stomach, it is getting very hard to pinch some belly to inject the medicine into. Changes...

He has also become confused. He says things that make no sense. He has had some hallucinations that are funny, but not funny at all. He is getting very weak and has almost fallen a couple of times. So, I spoke with our nurse yesterday and she said I should not leave him alone any more. I knew the day would come. 

But I really didn't comprehend how it would affect me. 

Immediately, I had to find someone to sit with him so I can attend my son's baseball game tonight. I have 3 kids here that can stay with him and make sure he is safe and has what he needs. But two of them are very busy teenage girls with schedules that vary. My son could stay with him for a short time while I run an errand. But I don't want to put that responsibility on him for long. I have been trying to get out of the house each week and do something for me-coffee with a friend, go to Springfield and run around a little-something that seemed more normal. That is gone now without a lot of extra effort, both on my part and that of someone else to come and sit here. I suddenly feel very trapped with all of it. This has already been a life consuming process, and it is even more now. 

On top of it, I see the affects of losing Dave on my kids. When this is over, a whole new struggle begins-the mourning process. This woman is weary and honestly feeling very over-whelmed with all of it.

Sunday we sat through another great message and amazing worship. We ended with a song that has become one of my hearts cries. As we sang, the tears flowed while I prayed that song to my Savior...

There is no way I could have made it this far without my family, my church, and most important, my Lord. I know the hardest days are still ahead...but I also know Jesus is going to carry me. I am thankful for this journey, as hard as it has been. I have grown to know my Savior in ways that only this journey could teach me. God has a purpose. God is good. His ways are not my ways, but I can trust Him. 

Lord I need you! 
Oh I need you. 
Every hour I need you. 
My one defense.
My righteousness. 
Oh God, how I need you.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A VERY Blessed Mother's Day!!!

Though I just blogged yesterday, I could not let today go without blogging...God is so good to me! So, just sharing some of that goodness with you...

I mentioned that I was able to attend the ladies breakfast yesterday. It was such an encouragement to me on many levels. First, I met several ladies...strangers who are praying for me and my family! When you become a child of God, you don't just get the Lord, you get his huge, wonderful family! Isn't that just like him? He doesn't just give us more than we deserve, he goes above and beyond our human comprehension! 

The speaker and message was right where I am and have been. I have had a rough couple of weeks and have been in this blah phase...just kind of numb, but stressed at the same time. The battle is the Lord's. So many things she said hit me right where I am. I CAN NOT win this battle that I am in! God was so good to speak so clear to me and give me what I needed to hear. 

I also sat there looking around at the women. My heart is for women. I saw what "could be" at my church someday...I SO desire to minister to women. I am in a waiting season. I am waiting on God's direction and patience is not my strong suit...OY! I know I have to wait on him to open the doors. This is HIS ministry not my own. And done in my time and my strength, it will fall apart. But I am struggling. I have to remember he has a ministry for me where I am. I can pray, seek, prepare, and encourage when the opportunity is there. I am a willing woman...ready for a great God Adventure!

So, as my heart was stirred yesterday, and I started thinking...the Lord laid on my heart the hurting. He removed the focus off of me and shifted it to others. And my heart broke for the hurting ones. Ministry...yes, he is still able to use me in this season of my life! And it is amazing to me that when we give to our God and minister to others, it always seems to bless the one who gave...I was blessed through it!

I woke this morning with my "plan" for the day. I knew Dave was unable to do anything for me. My kids did share that they went shopping and were quite excited about what they got me. I was blessed a while back by someone in my Bible study, with a gift card to Olive Garden and I decided to save it for Mother's Day so we could have a nice dinner out. I also had my oldest take her camera and we went and took some pics of me and the kids together. I was determined that it would be a good day! 

Church spoke deeply to me again...I have a story and I want to tell it. God is amazing and I love to share how amazing he is and what he does for me! We had great worship and I left encouraged and once again, fired up for my God Adventure!

We went to lunch and it was nice to be with my kids. We smiled and laughed...and anyone knows with teenagers, that is not a frequent thing! We enjoyed each other! Not an easy thing with all we have been through lately...

We got home and my kids were SO excited about their gift. Then they got their ipods out to video it, which REALLY scared me! Wondered if I should expect a snake in the bag or something! They said they got me something I have always wanted...I am pretty simple...there is not much materially that I want...I was quite confused. As I opened the first gift bag, I pulled out a can of sliced beets...my kids are weird...there was also a new "mom" charm for my pandora bracelet. It was really cute! Then the BIG one...I pulled out tissue paper and there they were...MY PINK BEATS!!!! "Did you rob a bank? How did you pay for these?? Did you steal them?? NO WAY! I am speechless and that does not happen!" I was stunned! You see, I had a wish list for my 40th birthday that had 3 things on it: 1) A Cruise 2) Pink Beats 3) Pink Sequence Converse tennis shoes AKA my princess shoes! I got the shoes...half price! I also got a weekend away by myself, it wasn't the cruise, but it worked and was very beneficial for me! I have looked at Beats numerous times...put them on...thought about buying them...argued with myself about buying them...NEVER bought them...I am a mom and way too practical for such a purchase!

My kids do not have regular jobs that gives them income like this. My daughter saved her money for quite a while to bless me with this gift! It goes far beyond a "Mother's Day gift"! My kids sacrificed for me. It was humbling and moving in this momma's heart! I am still speechless when I think of it. 

Music is HUGE for me! God uses it in really amazing ways in my life. So many times I find myself humming a song, even when I am heavy hearted, and then I will realize what I am singing...it will be exactly what I need. These headphones are AMAZING! They block out all sound around you and all you hear is the music. I am using them as I write this...I have a feeling these will be used often in my ministry days ahead as I sit and write the story God is writing in my life...or as I prepare to lead a study or bring a message...my kids did more than they realized! 

So, as I sit and reflect on this blessed Mother's Day. One of the BEST I have had in a LONG time, probably one of the best ever! This could have been a day of dealing with my "reality". I could have had a day filled with a hurting heart and time spent weeping...but God poured himself out over me...AGAIN! He was real and near. He wrapped me in his arms today and poured his goodness over me. I cried tears today, but they were tears over my Abba's goodness! My heavenly Bridegroom loved on me a whole bunch. He hasn't forgotten me and he has a plan for me and it is GOOD!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Tomorrow is the BIG day...the day that your little angels deliver breakfast in bed, your husband goes out and buys the beautiful jewelry and the PERFECT card telling you that you are the most wonderful mom on the planet! It's the day that you get to sit back, put up your feet, and let the world around you do what you normally do every single day for that same world around you...or maybe it isn't...

I had the privilege of attending a ladies function today at my cousin's church. It was a wonderful experience. They had a big breakfast for us, worship, and a speaker. And I got to attend with my 2 cousins, my Aunt, my sister-in-law, and of course my mom. The message today was "The Battle Belongs to the Lord"...oh honey!!! SO SO needed!! I could rehash my notes for you, but we all know the story of David and Goliath! And it is not where my thoughts are tonight. Some of the things she mentioned though have stirred my mind and my heart...

God has called me to a ministry with women. It is my heart and my passion. I love to encourage and point them to Jesus! I want to be a messenger of hope in a woman's dark time. 

My thoughts tonight are with those women who are lacking...
Maybe you have a wayward child and you just want them to run back to the Lord and to your arms...
Maybe you are a Hannah and you are pleading for a child of your own...
Maybe you are in a marriage in which your husband does not realize the gift he has been given and you anticipate an empty day tomorrow...
Maybe your mom is no longer here and there is an empty spot in your life with no one to buy the card and gift for and in order to spend time with your mom, you have to make a trip to the cemetery...
Maybe your mom has never been a good mom and your heart aches for what should have been...
Maybe you have buried your child and this day brings such an ache, an ache that only our Savior can carry with you...
Maybe you are a single mom and there is no one to make sure your kids say, "I love you, Happy Mother's Day!"...
Maybe ____________ you fill in your blank...

I want you to know, that I have thought of you and my heart aches for you. But more than that, there is a loving Father that has open arms to hold you and love on you like no one else in this life can. And he DESIRES to do just that for you. He wants us to experience HIS redemption for our pains. He wants to give us the beauty for our ashes! He sees us ladies, as his Princesses, his brides. He sees EVERY single act we as mom's perform for our families, day in and day out and day in and day out... Single mom, he sees the burden that you carry as mom and "dad" and the extra load you have to do it all...literally! 

So, no matter what you are facing, GOD SEES YOU! He has not let go of you! Let your heavenly bridegroom, your loving Abba Father, hold you and comfort you! You are not forgotten and YOU ARE LOVED! 

Praying you have a Blessed and Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lots of Tears Tonight...

Tonight has been a hard night for me. And honestly, it is issues too personal to air in "Blog land". I have cried lots of tears and had some deep heartache. 

The first sob session tonight was just pain from words spoken. Oh, how our words can wound...and thankfully our words can be a sweet salve to our soul as well. I needed an ear, so I called my cousin and she reassured me of things and promised prayer. I am so thankful for people that I know will not just be there, but encourage me first and foremost, spiritually. They point me to Jesus! I have to admit that the tears were cleansing...I think they needed to spill. Maybe it is possible to need to cry even when you don't think you do!

The next set of tears were over pain for someone I love dearly. Again, too private to reveal here. But the ache is deep and my heart is heavy. The tears flowed and have not stopped flowing. I think it may be a long night...

One reason I write, is it helps me to redirect my thoughts! So, how do I end this deeply personal, yet very vague post??

First of all, confession is good for the soul...so here is my confession. I EASILY fall into bitterness. The things that happened to me tonight are a breeding ground for anger and bitterness. I truly believe, that if I give in to those thoughts and follow my aching heart, I have an open door for the enemy to come in and steal what God is doing in my life. I am asking you all to lift me in prayer. Pray that the enemy is bound! That the only voice I can hear is the truth from the word of God. God has done so many amazing things in this process and I believe he has many more to do. Nothing would please the enemy more than to minimize what God wants to do in my life. So, please pray for me to CHOOSE God's way. To not give the enemy even a pinky toe in the door of my heart!

Now, some positive truths to focus on...

GOD loves me. 
Tonight when I lay my head down to sleep, He will embrace me. 
He sees me. 
He is collecting every one of those tears that fell tonight in a bottle! My tears are that precious to Him...
He promises to never leave me nor forsake me. 
He carries my burdens. 
God LOVES me!!!
He promises beauty for my ashes. Dancing for my mourning. A garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. 
He will redeem what the enemy steals.
He is hope. 
He is my sure foundation.
He is the Comforter and my peace. 
God loves ME!!
He is a sword and shield. 
He is my deliverer. 
He is strength. 
He is victory. 
He has a purpose and a plan for me and IT IS GOOD!
He is my provider. 
He heals! 
He died for me and I am promised eternal life because I have trusted him as my Savior!

Thank you dear friends! Thank you for reading my words, for praying for me, and for sharing my story! I really do love to tell what God is doing in my life! I am thankful for those of you that are on this journey with me!