Archive for December, 2011

Up Late…Or Up Early?

Posted: December 31, 2011 in Bible, God Moments, Health

I’m still not sure which way this one goes. Yesterday (Friday) I was up until 4am…fell asleep and got up around 9am. This morning I went to bed around 1:30 and I was up again at 4am…and I’ve been up since. In a way its relaxing…everything is quiet and calm. On the other hand its annoying that my pain is keeping me awake…again. Unless its something worth going to the ER for, I let Steve sleep. The guys will be up soon enough anyway…and somewhere in-between Elmo and Sid The Science Kid Ill finally catch my ride to dreamland for a few minutes…but its worth it.
People have asked me to describe the pain I have related to my CIDP. The closest thing I know to compare it to is the feeling you get after your legs fall asleep…that intense, hard, numbing, burning feeling….can you relate? I get that starting in my feet, shoots up through my ankles, to my legs and then just stays there…constantly. I also have it in both hands that shoots to my elbows and into my shoulders. Tonight it is in both places and not stopping…yet I have discovered I can hold my cell phone at just the right angle as not to escalate the pain…but allows me to write…as I am updating right now. See, the glass is half-full.
I really can’t complain. Just a few short weeks ago prior to my pacemaker implant, I caught myself saying to a friend “I just need some quiet time for me…nobody but me!” ….and here’s my sign! Who knew our house could ever be this quiet…and in the dark it even looks clean too!
So, I vote for it being up early today…seems like too often Steve is up with the boys while I’m sawing logs. I’m so thankful for him. Steve never reads my blog, which is fine…he gets the real thing all the time…poor guy!
Everyone should be up in 30 minutes. I’m going to read through my devotional…perfect timing.
Happy New Years Eve! Ill post more on that later!
In HIM,
Bethany

UPDATE (just before midnight)
I ended up getting an hour to spend reading, thinking and just talking to God. My devotion led me to 2 Corinthians chapter 4. Keeping in mind that I was still dealing with intense pain and very sleep deprived…I soon read:
(Verses 6-7 NLT): For God, who said, “let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, bot we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. (I love this next part!!!) This makes it clear that our great power is from God, NOT FROM OURSELVES.”

Yep, that;s me! Stuck in a fragile clay body that falls apart so much…yet my joy, my smile, the thing that keeps me moving forward is that faith God has placed in me through Christ. It was SO beautifully summed up!

Have you ever needed God to say, “I get it. I know what you are feeling!” This was one of those times I felt God saying, ‘bethany, you need to read this TODAY, RIGHT NOW. I’m here always and I’m never letting go.”

And yes…those of you out there going – You LEFT OUT THE BEST PART of the passage…

Verses 8-10 NLT: We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Ditto…really, what more can I say that tops these Truths here? PERFECT! These Words have completely guided my day.

Happy New Year everyone!

Last thought: Surround yourself with people who know your worth. You don’t need too many people to be happy, just a few real ones who appreciate you for exactly who you are.

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Cardboard Laughter

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Family

Sometimes, you just got to do what feels right, regardless of what your sanity is telling you. Today was one of those moments for me. I was in my office trying to catch-up on some work and a family called me asking if I wanted to take my guys out…ready for this…cardboard sledding! Immediately I smiled. I had NO idea how I was even going to make it up the dumb hill, but I didn’t care. I called Steve, took my meds, dressed the boys (okay…I must admit, it was chilly here today…we were in LONG sleeves…that’s COLD for Florida!) and off we went! The hill was surrounded with people and this is the best time of year to find cardboard! WE HAD A BLAST (Thanks for calling Angie!)! I even enjoyed a few rides (yes…as in more than 1) down the hill…and I’m game for doing this again! My guys were all smiles and we didn’t stop there…we ended up swinging by Steak & Shake to use our gift card on the way home! It was a completely un-planned, spur of the moment kind of day that our family MUCH needed.

I really enjoyed seeing my boys running, laughing and playing. I enjoyed ignoring my sanity and being right down there with them! I’m sure I’ll pay for it tomorrow…but right now its all smiles here!

A Thought From 2 Timothy

Posted: December 28, 2011 in Bible

I’m in the process of trying to complete the Essential 100 reading plan from Youversion. It has guided me through 50 readings from both the Old and New Testament. I must admit, most days I’m really excited to see what’s next. Even the most known passages to me, have been given new light.

Today’s passage was 2 Timothy 2:1-26.

Smack dab in the middle of the reading, Timothy rubs his eyes and reads, “(verse 11) This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with Him,
we will also live with Him.
If we endure hardship,
we will reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He will deny us.
If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny who He is” (verses 11-13). NLT (my favorite translation).

Everything was going along great for me here, until I go to those last 2 lines dealing with HIS faithfulness and our lack of it at times. Ever been there? Ever been going through the battle of life, fighting on the front lines and then finding yourself going, “Am I all alone now?” Most of us have…I’ve been there several times.

I really enjoyed reading this. I pictured myself sitting and talking with my Coach. He was saying…
“Bethany, it you die with Me, you will also live with Me.”
ME…”Yep…right on!”
“Bethany, if you endure hardship, you will reign with Me.”
ME: “That sounds great…I’m there!”
“Bethany, if you deny ME, I will deny you.”
ME: “I understand. I never want to be ashamed of You.”
“Bethany, if you are unfaithful, I will always remain faithful, for that is what I am.”
ME: “I don’t deserve that…but I’ll take it!” (I still feel like I need to disagree more here…what do you mean you will be faithful even if I’m not? That’s not right…you can’t ALWAYS love me no matter what! Are you kidding me?)

But He is faithful. He does love His children, no matter what. There is nowhere you can go that can’t escape His love.

I don’t know about you…but that’s a pep-talk I could get everyday. It’s reality right in the face. Give it to me straight and don’t hold anything back.

He never does hold anything back from those who love Him.

I really enjoyed this reading today…hope you enjoyed it too! Have a great day friends!

What A Ride

Posted: December 24, 2011 in introduction
FIRST…to get the juices going, I thought I’d share a video from Yac…this guy LOVED youth ministry and though I never had a chance to know him, I enjoy listening to his past messages.

Some of you out there might be offended, others cheering and others completely caught in the dark. That’s okay. The portion of this video I wanted to capture was Mike’s use of the roller-coaster analogy…I LOVE IT! The first time I heard this was listening on an airplane headed to my FIRST ministry interview out in Arizona. I too had heard the boring hilltop and valley lifeline saga and I HATED IT! I was adventurous (hello…I lived in Kentucky and flying to Arizona for a ministry interview…that’s me!). I listened to this and my heart felt like it was going to take-off…YES…THAT IS HOW I WANT TO BE! One day, am I am dying falling to the floor, I want to say, “What a ride…what a ride!”

With that in the background, my life has thrown so many curve balls this last year, I decided to finally embrace the reality of blogging again. Though I might not share everything (you probably figured that) but I will enlighten on a few of my roller coaster moments.

1. Ministry – Obviously this is second nature to me. Those of you that know me well, know how I LOVE to talk about, read about, DO ministry…especially Family Ministry. I truly believe we have a culture that has completely taken Deuteronomy out of their thoughts and lives. The church is NOT in charge of your child’s spiritual development…PARENTS are! Somewhere along the line we missed it…I missed it, but that is my new focus and excitement. I LOVE guiding parents into a closer relationship with God by reading and actually…wait for it…UNDERSTANDING the Bible! Of course I love doing this with our kids…but when we as a church create an environment where both groups can learn about the same part of the Bible at the same time and actually READ and TALK about what they are learning during the week…it becomes a family grounding…something that will guide the entire family for life. I LOVE IT!!!!

Also, in my position here at Palm Bay Christian Church I really get to do dirty ministry…meaning GOING places, seeing kids and adults face-to-face, not confined to the office (and those who know me the feeling of being stuck is the most un-settling reality to me to date). I LOVE OUR CHURCH FAMILY! Never have I ever served in a place where our family has felt just like one of the bunch. Over this last year especially, PBCC has helped me redefine church as the body (living people) of Christ. It’s not about a building. It’s not about the staff. It’s not about the money. It’s not even about the programs. It’s about the hearts of the people that are apart of this congregation. We really do build one another up. We really do thirst for God. We really do want to make a difference in our community. I’ve not only HEARD these things, but I’ve seen them multiple times this last year. PBCC…you make me proud to be here…I really can’t imagine being anywhere else!

2. Family: I have a husband, Steve and 2 sons – Josh who will be 4 in January and Caden who will be turning 2 in June. Our family is anything but Boring…so undoubtedly they will become the topics of my posts! 🙂

3. Biblical Insights: This is excitement from my time with God. Every now and then I like to share portions of my journal with others. I thought I’d share here as well. It is AMAZING what the Youversion Bible app (www.youversion.com) can do for those who LOVE to be on their cell phone, computer or iPod. If you are looking for a creative way to get into the Bible, PLEASE START WITH YOUVERSION! It’s free, allows for daily devotions, has FREE downloadable Bibles, allows the Bible to be read to you…and that’s just getting started. Check it out…I live by this thing now and I now have the Bible wherever I go. It has really helped me share God’s purpose with kids, strangers and even my own kids. I say all this and guess what? The people at Youversion didn’t even ask me too! 🙂

4. Health: This has been a longtime coming. Most of you at this point know I have encountered health “issues” (conveniently titled that by most) the latter part of 2011. Let’s quickly restart the timeline. In July I passed out twice while sitting on a plane returning home from my grandma’s funeral. The doctors thought it was stress, so of course I continued on. Mid-August I start developing horrible headaches. They eventually got to the point where I literally came home and went to bed…around 12-14 hours sleeping a night. After the medication was getting low, I got smart and visited my doctor again. This time (after several tests) I was told that I had extremely low CSF (spinal fluid) and that I had a rupture in the brain. Off to bed rest for a few weeks because normally, this solves itself on its own. I start losing balance and really feel burning intensify in my feet and legs. My feet become numb. I return again to the doctor and immediately they book a spinal tap and a blood patch (to repair the low spinal fluid). I was also sent through several tests that checked for potassium levels, neurological pulses to my knees and elbows as well as energy in my muscles. In Late September/early October I was officially diagnosed with CIDP (http://www.gbs-cidp.org/home/cidp/cidp/). I was shortly thereafter placed on oral medication and IVIG (medication sent through IV). I went through a few weeks in a wheelchair, then to a cane and finally back walking again. In the beginning of November I was having severe chest pain and my passing-out spells started escalating to a few times each week. I had my gall-bladder removed and the cardio tests started. By the beginning of December it was determined that the CIDP was leading to my brain sending false signals to my heart, thus causing my heart to stop for a split second…or at the lease decrease in beats per minute. After more testing it was determined that I needed a pacemaker, which I got earlier this month. In January I start from the beginning with a different dose of oral medication and increased dosage of IVIG. Currently, I have a scooter that helps me get around (finally, nobody can PUSH me around!!!). I also still use my cane and I have not missed a Sunday since July.

You may read this and go…”Wow, what a strong person.” WRONG. My relationship with God has picked me up several times when I literally thought I couldn’t face the doctors again. I have an AMAZING church family that has delivered meals, played with our kids, watched our kids, took me out when I needed to talk, made us laugh…there when I needed to cry. When I couldn’t attend our small group, THEY CAME TO ME…bringing the ice-cream party to our family! We went through times where we had SO much food, I had to call our ladies and BEG them to stop! We even bought a deep freezer off of CraigsList. When money got tight, God provided just what we needed…even anonymously. God has brought people into my life that I have learned to lean on in a new way. Yes…GOD is still in control, because it is obvious in my life that I am not. Bought “as-is” and used as HIS. Its my new life motto. Its really always been a part of who I am, but never more than now. God cared about us when we thought we had it all figured out…when our little spec of the world made sense. HE saw us, realized truly how lost we were and bought us…as-is. He knew sin had defects. He knew what HE was getting into…and HE knew what HE could do through us. So, on this roller-coaster of life we scream together…but at the end, Only few will really say “What a ride.” Bring it…