Tag Archives: Healing

Merciful Days: Beautiful Words

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Ps 119v103“Your test results are really good.” My doctor smiled.

Oh what words!

I am one year and five months into a medical treatment that is projected to last for three to five years.  It feels like each day of the past one year and five months has been giant.  It’s been a fight.  One step forward and two steps back.  Battling an illusive monster.  It’s been quite a year… and five months.

My doctor is the only human who really knows what my past one year and five months has been like.  She has become very precious to me.  I long to see her.  She is my coach.  My trainer in this long race.  My cheerleader.  My advocate.  She knows my enemy.  She knows my story.  She knows how far I’ve come.  She is in the valley with me.  I have come to love her.

Her smiling words were so full.  Full of understanding and celebration. I have been so desperate to hear words like this.

Her words mean so much because she knows so much about me.  Her words carry more weight than any others.  Her words give me strength, joy, energy, focus, hope.

I’m thinking about my true Coach. Trainer. Cheerleader. Advocate. Guide. Mentor. Savior. Father. Shepherd. Hope.

[Continue…]

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Merciful Days: When There Is Pain

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Pain squareTheir giggles should have brought me joy but this morning I desperately needed silence.  Pain has wrapped me up.  Out of nowhere all my symptoms are back.  Such is life with chronic illness.  I asked my babies to “please stop” and play a quiet game instead. Their sweet blue eyes welled up with tears. Now my heart hurts just as much as my body does.

It is so deeply frustrating.  Because there is literally nothing I can do to change this. [Continue…]

 

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Tended To

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Heb 12v13bThe pain was sharp but short-lived. I didn’t even look to see what had happened. But a few miles later as I turned the steering wheel, there was blood. Something had sliced the inside of my thumb as I drove along.

The cut was not terrible but deep enough to bleed nicely.  Like a paper cut on steroids.  A bothersome, silly, superficial wound. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

A little pressure helped the bleeding to stop.  And I went on with my day.  Or, I should say, I tried to go on with my day.

Turns out, I use that left thumb a lot.  Diaper changing, meal preparing, clothes laundering, house cleaning, kid bathing.

The flap of skin kept catching and reopening. An infection started by the end of the day. Puffy and red and painful.  Turns out, little wounds like this are no small thing.

Thankfully I am married to an almost-Eagle-Scout who is highly proficient in the essential survival arts including owie-fixing.  Thankfully, he taught me how to tend to little wounds like this.

Owie ointment. Check. Band-aid. Check.

Clean and cover each morning, night, and any time it gets wet throughout the day.

This week I’ve been on a mission.  I have been dead-set on getting this owie healed.  I do not want the bother to go on longer than it needs to.  I need it over and done with.  And so, religiously, I have tended to this little wound.

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Last night as I wrapped a band-aid around for the last time, I thought about the bothersome, silly, superficial wounds of my heart.

The little offenses. A word that lands wrong.  A friendship strained.  A situation that skews weirdly. And suddenly my heart is sliced and bleeding.

Ok. Here it is. Would you consider something with me?

What is our response to little emotional wounds?

Do we spring into action to stop the bleeding?
To cover with healing ointment?
To keep the wound from festering?
To protect it from reopening?
Are we dead-set on getting our little owies healed?
Are we dedicated to tending to the little wounds so they do not go on longer than they need to?

Or … as hard as it is to admit…
Do we indulge the bleeding?
Allow an infection to take root?
Stand by as the wound festers?
Let the emotional slice get puffy, red, and oh-so-painful?
Leave it vulnerable to reopen and become larger than it was?
Leave things untended and go on longer than they needed to?

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Do I, with my own actions, allow little emotional wounds to become bigger and last longer?

I know.  It’s not this simple.  I know.

These kinds of hurts are complicated.

But I’m just considering my part in the healing process.

What if I tended to my little heart wounds like I tended to my thumb this week?

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I’m NOT talking about minimizing pain, or dismissing grief, or ignoring gaping wounds, or “bucking up.”  And I’m also NOT talking about over-obsessing, or dramatic misery, or garnering a gallery of sympathizers.

What I am talking about is being excellent at the art of wound care.  Of being mindful and dedicated.  I’m taking about being engaged and active.

Praying for the Holy Spirit to point out my little emotional wounds.  Praying for Him to teach me how to be purposeful to tend to these little emotional owies that are bound to happen often.

Because, without being tended to, wounds like this are no small thing.

Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13 ESV)

At Home

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Australia

Wattle trees in bloom. Thick air laced with tropical smells. Glorious bird songs. Heavy warm rain that falls from giant clouds. Everything bursting with life. Sunshine fuelling the land. And its people. A fuel for joy and creativity. Australia is a special place.

This time at home has been so good for me. For five weeks, I have shared life with my parents and my children, together, in the city of my childhood. My yesterdays and my todays walking hand in hand. My heart is soaring!

“It’s my impossible dream come true. My parents have met my son! My children and parents are together!  Right now, my sweet 4-year-old is sitting on my Mum’s lap and they are chatting away.  It is medicine for my heart.  These days are so precious. Each moment feels like a not-to-be-missed photo opportunity but all my energy is being used simply to keep my eyes open to see it all.” – Journal, March 4, 2013

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Literally two days before I heard my dad had been ill, Yahweh had been healing some deep layers of my heart about the guilt I feel about leaving my family.  I had shared with my husband that I felt God had freed me from the desperate emotional need to go home I had been feeling for some years.  Then, two days later, Mum sent an email about Dad being sick.  After I no long “needed” to go home, I needed to go home. My church family and dear friends heard about his illness and gave sacrificially for the kids and I to go.

I landed in my homeland with a totally new state of mind and heart.  Our Father God had prepared me for this trip.  And the whole time we were there, He kept peeling away at the layers of my heart.

The Holy Spirit spoke the same thing to me over and over through family, friends, church sermons, and some strangers too: It’s a new season with fresh beginnings. Let go of yesterday and step into the new day.

He has uprooted old stumps and is planting new things.

It was not easy to leave my family again. Same airport. Same view of my sweet parents waving through the glass security wall.  But this time I came “home” to the US with anticipation for God’s plan unfolding in my life here.  No longer feeling so stuck in my past, I’m leaning into today and tomorrow with new hope and new joy.  Moment by moment, day by day, year by year, Yahweh is transforming me and bringing me into His freedom.  I am expectant and excited.

Yahweh is my home.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6 NASB)

Layers

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Jeremiah 33“It’s just another layer.  An issue revealing itself in the right time.  It’s the next layer we need to deal with.” My doctor’s words breathed vision, encouragement and hope.

Going backwards.  That had been my fear.  When the pain increased and the hand tremors started again.  I thought the past 10 months of treatment had been a waste of time.  It wasn’t working.  I was back at the beginning.  And discouragement clouded over my heart.

Layer by layer!  Layer by layer we are beating the Lyme bacteria and its co-infections. I wasn’t regressing!  We hadn’t wasted time and money!  The pain was not a repeat of the past.

This is beautiful inspiration:  A layer of pain emerging is not an indicator of failure, it is a sign of progress.

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This week an issue popped up in my heart.  A long-term heart pain.  I keep thinking I’ve dealt with it but it keeps popping up over and over.  And here it was, consuming my heart, once again.  And discouragement clouded over my heart.

It happened during our Beth Moore’s “Law of Love” Deuteronomy study this week.  It’s an awesome study.  I’m loving every second of it.  This week she talked about liturgy and the way our most “treasured” memories – the memories we daily pour over and meditate on – determine how we live today.  As she walked us through the amazing words of Deuteronomy and shared about her horrible “treasured” memory, tears ran down my face.

Long story short, the Holy Spirit showed me that I have an obsessive memory treasure of the day I left my family behind.  I clutch it like a treasure.  I dwell on it.  I am tethered to it.  I so clearly remember the awful airport moment.  They stood waving in a huddled trio as I chose to walk away and leave them.  As I sat there, God opened my eyes to see that it’s a terrible treasure that produces fruit of guilt, remorse, and the inability to embrace/love/enjoy my life here.  I cried from the deepest places of my heart.  My hands have been clutching the regret of leaving my family and I haven’t been fully embracing the joy of my life here.  Half-stuck in the past.

“You didn’t leave them,” I felt the Spirit say. “I sent you here.”

And His peace tore off the layer.  He spoke more to me.  Vision and purpose.  About my children.  About His plans.  About His mercy and love for me.

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Yesterday I shared my emotional journey with my doctor.

I’m amazed at how much the Holy Spirit is speaking to my heart through my medical treatment journey.  It’s like my body and my spirit are being healed at the same time.

My Iranian doctor shared the pain of leaving her family and country 30 years ago.  We nodded together knowingly.  No words needed.  It is so hard to let go of those treasured memories of our homelands and our families.  She broke the sweet silence with affirmation, “This is hard work you are doing.”

This is hard work.  Being transformed.  Being renovated.  Being healed.  Yielding my heart to the Lord.  Surrendering my illness and body to Him. Allowing Him to heal me.  Layer by layer.  Being changed into His image.

“It’s just another layer.  An issue revealing itself in the right time.  It’s the next layer we need to deal with.” 

Thank you Holy Spirit.

Reminds me of the promise given to Jerusalem via Jeremiah:

“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God:  ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ … “I’m going to give this city a thorough renovation, working a true healing inside and out. I’m going to show them life whole, life brimming with blessings.  I’ll restore everything that was lost to Judah and Jerusalem. I’ll build everything back as good as new. I’ll scrub them clean from the dirt they’ve done against me. I’ll forgive everything they’ve done wrong, forgive all their rebellions.  And Jerusalem will be a center of joy and praise and glory for all the countries on earth. They’ll get reports on all the good I’m doing for her. They’ll be in awe of the blessings I am pouring on her. … The time is coming when you’re going to hear laughter and celebration, marriage festivities, people exclaiming, “Thank God-of-the-Angel-Armies. He’s so good! His love never quits,” as they bring thank offerings into God’s Temple. I’ll restore everything that was lost in this land. I’ll make everything as good as new.’ I, God, say so.  (Jeremiah 33:2-3, 6-9, 11 The Message)

Oh The Stains

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IMG_2060The carpets in our apartment are covered in stains.  Black spots on cream-colored carpet.

Last night, as water dripped from the table to the carpet, my friend said, “It’s only water. Not a big deal.”

Actually it is a bigger deal than she realized.  When any liquid, even just water, gets on the carpet, it dries with a black stain.  There is something bad underneath the old carpet.  The cleaning company says the only way to fix it is for everything to be pulled up.  The source of the problem could be the pad or it could be the sub-floor.  But something beneath the carpet is bad.

Even when we get a professional clean with commerical-strength equipment, the carpet dries with long stain streaks.  Any liquid causes grossness to be drawn up to the surface.

Makes me think of the warning about Mogwai in “Gremlins.”  Never get it wet.

It’s to the point now that there is zero satisfaction when I vacuum.  You can’t tell the difference between not-vacuumed and vacuumed.  The carpet is so gross.  I force myself to vacuum it but I have to say, I barely care anymore.  No love lost between us.  The carpet is an annoyance that I would get rid of in a heartbeat if I had the power to do so.

Actually, that’s not totally true.  It’s not the carpet that I’m mad about.  It’s the grossness beneath.  I really think the carpet could be saved if it had a new subfloor and pad.

Poor carpet.  I’m sorry about the grossness you are living with.

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Sometimes I feel like that carpet.  Something touches me… a comment, a situation, an experience… that should be no big deal.  But it ends up being a big deal because of old things that lurk deep in my heart.  And instead of water-off-a-ducks-back, I become a spotty, stained carpet.

Sometimes I feel like there is no point in even trying to vacuum myself.  There’s nothing that can be done to fix what is visible.  The issue is deep.

This is why I am a lover of God’s Word and why I find such value in daily Bible reading.  God’s Word changes the things I cannot reach.  The living Bible reaches deep into my subfloor and heals the grossness.

This is not out of obligation.  This is not out of a works-mentality.  This is out of a desire to be whole and free and a blessing to my family and community.  I know God loves me as I am, but staying as I am would mean never getting to experience the beauty and joy of all that God has for me.

I am aware of many of my streaks and stains.  But there are many other problems that I don’t know about.  Poor carpet.  Poor me.  Affected by the things that are so deep.  An emotional bomb triggered by things that shouldn’t be a big deal.

If there is one thing in life that is worth my full energy and commitment… it is being a devourer of God’s Word.

May I always hunger for the Bible’s life-giving words.  May it be more vital to me than everything else… including coffee. 😉

May the carpet of my life be a reflection of His grace and healing and beauty.  May the stains and problems become less and less as He transforms me with His Love.

We’re ending 2012… heading into a new year.  May each year of my life be full of transformation and healing.

[Christ] gave up his life for [the Church] to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God’s Word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.  Ephesians 5:25b-27

This cold is a good thing

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“This cold is a good thing.” My doctor’s words confused my snot-filled brain.

This cold had hit me hard and fast.  On Monday I felt fine at work.  I came home to our sick kids and within an hour I was huddled on the couch in misery.  What is it about the common cold that is so debilitating?!?

AGH. I could NOT afford to be sick this week.  Huge meeting on Wednesday.  Singing and playing keys on Thursday night and Sunday morning.  Huge event on Saturday night.  Sick kids who need my care.  I don’t have time to be sick.

I was ten years old when my raging tonsils were removed.  After that, all colds travelled to my lungs.  Bronchitis stayed with me long after the colds were gone.  Eventually I was diagnosed with asthma.  As an adult I was put on a life-long daily dose of inhaled steroid.  I’ve been taking this expensive medication for almost 15 years.  Four months ago, my new doc took me off it.  It took me a month to trust her and actually do it.  In the past, when I have run out,  I would have a chest infection within three days.  Also, I’m not able to take cold medicines because I get high heart rate and palpitations.  So I have to just let them run their course and run me down.  Getting a common cold means I’m knocked out for about a month.

And so, here I am, terribly sick with a cold having been of the asthma meds for four months.  I was worried.

“This cold is a good thing… because you can personally see that the treatment is working… your lungs are 100% clear!” My doc was right.  This cold is a good thing!

We’re heading into our long Fall, Winter and Spring Cold & Flu season.  Each year, even on the medicine, I would get several boughts of cold and flu.

This cold I’m battling now, that came to me at the end of summer, is a gift.  A gift for me to see that my body is healing.  A test to show that my immune system is so much stronger.  This cold is giving me evidence that this treatment is worth it!

Reminds me:

These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. (1 Peter 1:7a NLT)

Humankind seems to be on a constant quest to avoid discomfort.  When hard things come our way… we squirm.  We question God. We wonder what we did to deserve it. We do everything we can to get away from it.  We get mad.  We get sad.  We really hate pain.

My cold is reminding me that discipline and trials are gifts.

A 3rd-grade math exam is to test whether a student has mastered the content and is ready to take on the 4th-grade math.  The student is not being punished.  The student is being given a gift: the evidence that they have what it takes to move on to the next level.  My cold is evidence that I can make it through the winter and that my expensive arduous treatment is actually healing my body!

The disciple and trials God allows into our lives are gifts.  They help us see how far we’ve come.  They show us how free we are from the past.  They prepare us for what’s ahead.

Do bad things happen to good people?  Yes.  Is God punishing them? Is God good?  Is God sovereign?  As I walk through this chronic lyme craziness with my Father Yahweh, I am being tested in so many areas.  Tested physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.  Layers of fear are being peeled away.  Life-long questions are being answered.  My relationships are being stretched. My life joys are being boiled down to simple purity.  I am being stripped down, fortified and rebuilt.

Oh terrible snotty, sore-throat cold.  I really hate you but I’m grateful for you.  God is so good.