Trials

Life has changed so much in a year. It went from normal everyday life and problems to crisis mode. I have felt every emotion from desperation, depression, anger, denial, panic and FEAR to peace, assurance and HOPE. Every day has it’s own trials. I’m having more bad days than good ones. Losing pieces of mom everyday is the worst torture I can imagine. The thought that this is only going to get worse as this disease progresses brings horrific nightmares. The Lord has graced me with gifts of peace that have lasted weeks at a time. I’ve felt hope and love from the Lord when things around me have crumbled into ashes.

Sometimes I think, ‘If one more person asks me how Mom is doing, I think I’ll explode.’ Then within moments I think, ‘I need people to feel the pain I feel so that they will know the kind of pain I’m in.’ I want to talk about it, and then halfway through talking, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Depression hovers over me like a cloud, ready to encapsulate me at any moment waiting for me to just say the word…or rather, draw the curtain and crawl back into bed. I have to remember that better days will come. Grief is a strange thing. One day life seems unbearable, and the next I’m ready to clean my room and take on a project.

Today as I sat listening to the Lord, He revealed some things to me. He reminded me that the Psalmists were very much aware of their adversaries surrounding them. They didn’t turn a blind eye to their surroundings or impending doom and pretend everything was fine. They didn’t respond to these trials and tritely say, ‘The Lord is just so good all the time.’ They accepted and acknowledged the reality of their devastating circumstances; but they didn’t stay there. They looked to the Lord for protection, for hope and guidance. Paul was imprisoned but found contentment. He didn’t ignore the fact that he was persecuted. He didn’t live in denial that he was unjustly treated. He acknowledged his circumstances but looked to the Lord.

No one can solve the problem of ALS or of losing my mother. Everyone says that they wish they could; but not even the doctors know how to fix it. This is unjust; it’s not right what is happening to my mother and to my family. But the truth is, is that if I’m looking for someone to feel the pain I feel so that I can be comforted, it’s the Lord. Didn’t He have to watch His SON be tortured, humiliated, nailed to a cross and then take on the sins of humanity? Is there be anyone else who could relate to me like He can?

But I can’t stop there. This is a trial, albeit the worst in my life to date, but this is one of the many trials I will face as I walk through this broken, sin-filled world. If my focus is ALS, broken relationships, death or sin, then I’ll be overwhelmed. Like Peter, I will sink into the ocean, though Jesus is standing right there waiting for me to look to Him, to make Him my focus. My life could easily turn into an excuse to become a victim. But the Lord doesn’t want that for me. He doesn’t want me to have pain either, but this world is broken; so it’s not escapable. But because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we don’t have to live bound to our pains and hurts and depression. No, we’re not going to leave this world unscathed. We are all affected by this broken world. We all have ways of coping with it, some good and some not so good. Regardless, the Lord’s way is for us to be able to acknowledge this pain, but look to Him as our Savior and trust that He is good and His plan is for us and only He has the ability to heal this pain.

Though this pain is unmatched in my life, though a little piece of me seems to die every day, the Lord gives me glimpses of the things he has been able to accomplish through this trial. He really is using it for good. He hates this pain even more than I do. He hurts more than I do. So everyday I have to remember to trust that He is in control. When I break down and weep, that’s ok. Sin is a horrible thing and it’s not fair that it has touched me like this. It should make me weep. But sometimes, in the midst of weeping, He reminds me of the good that He’s able to do. As I sit with my roommates and we wept together (I’m talking, ugly cry) we were still able to laugh and thank the Lord for His many blessings.

I have to get into the habit of responding to trials and suffering with praise and focusing on the One who cares, who is in control and has the power to heal broken hearts.

 

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Hope

I live in a strange place. It’s like a holding tank or maybe it’s more like straddling a fence. Regardless, it’s uncomfortable and I don’t have the proper training or experience to weather this the way I feel like it’s supposed to be done. Then again, who’s telling me that I’m doing it right or wrong, anyways?

On one side, I have to get to a place where I accept what all the arrows are pointing to but no one is talking about; however, on the other side, I cling to this idea of hope.

But isn’t this the walk of every Christian regardless of circumstance? We all have our things we have to face in reality and yet we are waiting and hoping in the Lord. But what does that even look like?

I can’t hope that the Lord will heal Mom. I have to hope in the Lord’s ability to heal her. If my hope is in the healing, and she isn’t healed, then is my God good? But if He doesn’t heal her and my hope is in His ability to, then I can assume He is choosing not to because His plan is different than what I want. He is still good, He is still Lord, He still has a plan for good; He is our Redeemer.

I don’t hope that the Lord will rescue me from my pain, hurt and depression. Instead I hope in His strength, knowing that He can if He chooses to pull me out of that. And if He doesn’t, then I can trust that He has a better plan.

So I guess hoping in the Lord looks like not hoping in the things He can do, but hoping that He is who He says He is and if things don’t go according to my plan/desire/prayers, I hope that when He says He is a Redeemer He will redeem. I hope that when He says He’s good, that He is. I hope that when He says He has good plans for me, that He means it and He’ll work out the details.

Mom's got Morgan (Woody at the time) on her shoulders

Mom’s got Morgan (Woody at the time) on her shoulders

Your Love Never Fails

Everything seems to be moving so quickly. I received a call from dad this afternoon saying that he had to call 911 for grandpa. Grandpa has been living at our home for a little over a month. Dad was hoping he could help strengthen grandpa by making sure he was getting fed three times a day and moving around a bit. Since grandma went Home in February of last year, grandpa hasn’t taken good care of himself. He’s weak and grumpy. Well, grumpy is actually putting it quite nicely.

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Missing Susie and Phoebe 😦 And Mom basically couldn’t stop crying; she is so proud of Morgan! And rightfully so, he’s the man!

For a while, we (the kids) have been trying to find a way for dad to feel free about letting grandpa go to a home where they can care for him allowing dad to focus his attention on mom. Yesterday he talked to an adult care provider and they said that the quickest way to get grandpa into a home is if he was checked into a hospital and discharged into a nursing home. Since dad has taken good care of grandpa, getting him fed and such, we thought this would take some time. But this morning grandpa wasn’t able to get out of bed, so dad called 911. Of course it’s emotional for dad to see his father moving into the hospital; but, what isn’t hard right now? We are all thankful that the Lord has provided a way for grandpa to leave our home and be with nurses who can provide him with the care he will need, and dad will be able to focus his attention on his wife.

Mom’s sister, Diana, came over last night to spend time with mom. Uncle Mike, mom’s older brother, was scheduled to come over today, but mom was feeling under the weather and requested he not come. She was also feeling too weak to make it to her swallow therapy session. Granted, if it was me, I wouldn’t necessarily be signing up for electroshock therapy on my throat either.

We are pursuing the Deanna Protocol therapy. I actually just found all of the supplements needed, and Lord willing will have them arriving at mom’s home on Monday. A lot of these supplements are used by body builders because the provide energy to muscles. Then of course, there’s the extra-virgin coconut oil massage we will have to give her. But don’t get me wrong, I would feed her mouth-to-mouth bird-style if it would save her life.

Prayer requests:

Healing is not off the table. We know that the Lord is able no matter how far along this disease is. 

Pray against infections in mom and for low stress, even though this is a highly stressful time.

Our family would continue to experience supernatural peace and sweet times with our mother and family.

We are moving ‘extra’ stuff from our house into a storage unit this Saturday so our home will be staged. Pray for organization over the process and for safety.

Pray for strength/peace as we have to continue going to work and doing our daily responsibilities.

But Even If He Does Not

As a kid I would read all these Bible stories and think of how silly the characters were for not believing in Jesus. Not believing He would provide a son, provide protection from the lion’s mouth, provide deliverance for His people from the enemy, provide food and water, raise the dead to life or even provide safety from the scorching fire. I would think, ‘Don’t they know that God is awesome and will save them?’ ‘Why can’t they remember that He fed them yesterday?’ I would almost laugh at the thought that God wouldn’t protect His children. Continue reading

“What is happening with my life?”

Last week we were meeting as a family on Wednesday night, though we thought it best for mom to stay in the den during the meeting. After she had enough TV and grandpa time, she came out and posed this question to us. We laughed together, and mumbled some things under our breath, but no one really had an answer. Now I’m posing this question for myself, one week later.

One year ago, we thought Mom was just tired and needed to go to bed early. Maybe it was some micro-nutrient deficiency or maybe a tumor at worst. We met with a neurologist late last month and he thought it was Parkinson’s. But, no, it wasn’t any of these things. So now, after a year full of tests and specialists, blood-work and needles my mother has been diagnosed. It’s a diagnosis no one wants to hear. My sweet, beautiful momma was diagnosed with ALS. My mom, who spent her life raising 7 little hellions, the mom full of life and love for her family and friends, has a terminal motor-neuron disease.

There was the initial shock of hearing the diagnosis. The shock that knocks you off your feet and hurls you into a vortex of darkness and pain. The ice-cold fear that grips you when you Wiki “ALS”. Then there’s the rebound nausea and stomach pain that comes after you tell someone and they can’t hide their terror. I can’t eat. I can’t stop crying.

There’s no rule-book or strategy to handle grief. It’s true what they say, I can tell that you are searching for something worth-while to tell me to bring me peace. I know that you have no idea how to comfort me. I can sense that you’re nearly as scared as I am. But it means more to me than anything else that you are trying. It means the world to me that you care enough to send me Bible verses and words full of hope, even if I can’t hear them. I think the best is when you just cry with me as you hold me.

As you can probably assume, my family is trying to bind together. Give us a hot second and we’ll give you better updates and ideas on how you can help. We need so much help, we just aren’t sure where to start. We will all process this news differently, and will all need to time and space.

But please hear this, we can’t do this without your support. Momma needs your prayers and words of encouragement. She needs your time and maybe a ride to the pool, or a walk around the block. We’re all scared and don’t know what our future holds, but we know The One who holds our future.

 

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