Monday, May 27, 2013

Turning the Page

It has been a couple of weeks since I have written a post again. It has been a long, rough couple of months. I had my second treatment this past week. I have had more headaches and blood pressure issues again. After discussing all the side effects with my doctors, we have decided to stop treatment and wait and see. There is such uncertainty and yet, such peace, in this decision.

The doctors don't know the prognosis for this disease since it is so rare. The few patients they have tracked with Chronic Inflammatory Sensory Polyradiculopathy have varied outcomes: some having very little progression, others ending up unable to walk. In all noted cases, there is marked improvement of symptoms, sometimes as much as ten years after symptoms first appeared, when starting the IVIG or an anti-rejection medication (CellCept). Knowing that, I cannot tolerate 2-3 weeks of headaches, overwhelming fatigue, high blood pressure and several abnormal labs right now, after every infusion, knowing every 28 days the cycle starts over again. So, I am turning the page and moving on to the next chapter.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34). I won't stress and worry about tomorrow, I will focus on the Lord today. By His grace I will get through today and it's troubles. For now I will work on trying to get my blood pressure back down to normal, getting rid of these bad headaches, and being content where I am today. I am thankful that His mercies are new every morning!

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul,
'Therefore I hope in Him!'"
Lamentations 3:22-24

Are you living in today's worries, or stressed about the future? Look to Jesus Christ, cast all your worries onto Him, and rest in Him today, let tomorrow worry about itself.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Wisdom in a Mother's Last Words

“I had one plan, God had another. We are going to go with God’s plan because He knows best.” These are some of the last words my mother ever said to me. July 2011 my mother was battling stage 4 breast cancer for the 4th time in 14 years. She developed an intestinal infection because her immune system was so low from the chemo and was admitted to the hospital. Within 48 hours she went from doing pretty well to hospice care. We were told to say goodbye as she had only hours left. During one of our tear-filled moments together, she just hugged me and said “I know” and then said those words above.

I have dealt with sickness and disability for years by then. In fact, the week she went into the hospital I had my regular, full-length leg brace on my left leg, AND had a walking cast on my right foot and was using crutches! I didn’t know it at the time, but her words would be of great comfort to me since her death. I have been going through even more than I could have imagined at the time. “I had one plan, God had another. We are going to go with God’s plan because He knows best.”

I always wanted to run a marathon; wanted to travel and hike in faraway places. I never did. “I had one plan, God had another. We are going to go with God’s plan because He knows best.”

I never wanted to be in pain every day; never wanted to spend my days in doctor’s offices and testing labs; never wanted to have to take so much medication to get through the days, but I am. “I had one plan, God had another. We are going to go with God’s plan because He knows best.”

I find it peculiar that in the 40 years I had together with my mother, the words she uttered just hours before slipping into a coma, would be some of the most impactful. Of all the lessons she tried to teach me and in the ones in which she succeeded in teaching me, her last lesson rang most true. “I had one plan, God had another. We are going to go with God’s plan because He knows best.”

As I prepare to spend the 2nd Mother’s Day without her, I am comforted in God’s amazing sovereign goodness yet again. My heart aches for a little more time with her. I thought that we had so much more time together, thought that we had so many more talks to have, so many more places to go together, but we didn’t. “I had one plan, God had another. We are going to go with God’s plan because He knows best.”

God used my mother to help remind me to daily cast aside my plans, my dreams, and my hopes. Daily I am reminded to embrace all God has planned for me, to pray that His desires would be my desires. I am seeking to be comforted and contented in His plan, while I continue to let go of my own. Thanks be to God, whom allowed my mother’s last words to produce fruit and be a symbol of His goodness, mercy and grace.

“I had one plan, God had another. We are going to go with God’s plan because He knows best.”

Monday, May 6, 2013

What Color is Your Parachute?

Imagine your life as a plane ride. We board the plane, settle into our seats and prepare to sit back and relax. Shortly after take off, the pilot gets on the intercom and announces that when the plane reaches 12,000 feet cruising altitude, all of us will be required to jump to get to our destination; the plane will not be landing! You start to feel the anxiety build. This is not the scenario you anticipated when you boarded the plane. The steward walks down the aisle handing out parachutes. You grab one and put it on and cinch it very tight. You are so very grateful that you have been given a parachute to save you from the jump that is to come. You cling tightly to it and feel a bit of relief. After several minutes you start to feel the extra weight of the parachute. It is uncomfortable and is digging in to your shoulders. As more time passes, you start to look around and realize other people parachutes are newer looking, maybe color you prefer more than what you were given. You start to feel a bit of bitterness, and perhaps jealousy. Do you reject this parachute and jump without it? (I heard this analogy years ago from evangelist Ray Comfort. I am paraphrasing since it has been so long since I heard the original, but wanted to give credit where credit is due! I am quite certain I have left some of it out, but hopefully you get the picture.)

This is an analogy of our lives. We are all "traveling" through this life, brief as it is, waiting for the "jump" that is coming. The Bible is clear that all men will die and face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). We are to "put on the lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 13:14) and in doing so, we have confidence to stand before God on judgment day, not in our own righteousness, but clothed in the righteousness of Christ. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our lord." (Romans 6:23). You have been warned that the "jump" is coming, don't reject the One True Gift.

Do you look around at other's lives and wish yours was different? Do you wish your parachute was a different color, or maybe wasn't so tight? Are you content with the gifts God has given you? Has the gratefulness you once felt for the salvation you have received dissipated? Turn your eyes once more to Jesus, with a grateful heart that you have been given new life and rescued from the jump that lies ahead. Stop comparing your travel here to others, and be thankful for the life you have been given.