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Archive for the ‘From Why to What’ Category

Today is Part Five of the story for the week.  If you missed the introduction on our Given the Time site, click here:  From Why to What. For Part one through four  go to this link. 

“Remember the wonders He has done…”  Psalm 105:5

The other day at a follow up appointment hopefully winding up my whole blood clot saga, the ultrasound tech asked me questions about my condition.  She was writing a paper on Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and was curious about what I had experienced. At this point, now months down the road of recovery, I had to think hard about the details because what I most easily remember are the spiritual lessons God taught me through this time.  The little and big ways He showed up for me during that time far outweigh the memory of the pain or the medical details that arose.  The way He took me from asking why to what is what I want to remember.

Is there a challenge in your life that qualifies as a trial? Maybe it isn’t a physical illness, but is there a challenge that causes an emphatic Why, God? to be a common question in your conversations with Him? Why may not be the wrong question, and God absolutely wants us to come to Him with our questions and our hurts.  But from my own experience, I would encourage you to take the question a step further. Perhaps like me you may need to begin seeking for the what that God wants to reveal to you in your challenges.  Or perhaps there is a different question God will lead you to ask of Him.  You may well find His answers give you a completely different perspective on the trials you are facing.  You may find that your personal relationship with Him will never be the same!

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and the mire;

he set my foot on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:1-3

Thanks for letting me share my story with you this week.

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“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.”  Psalm 105:4
The story continues with today as Part Four. If you missed the introduction on our Given the Time site, click here:  From Why to What. Part One through Three are previous posts on this site…or go to this link.

The sweetest answer to my what question during this time was revealed in my husband and his faithful example of looking to the Lord for strength.

He cared for me night and day during my hospital stay. While the nursing staff did their best to help me, they simply were not staffed to be available as much as I needed them.   So, in response to my need, my pain and discomfort and unable to leave my bed without assistance, my husband patiently took on a huge portion of caring for me.  He slept folded up in a tiny hospital bed, waking up multiple times in the night to care for me as sleep was elusive and I sometimes needed help just to turn myself on the bed.  During the day, he did as much of his work as possible from the chair by my bed and left only when necessary or to be with our children.

God wanted me to be reminded that He had given me a precious gift in the form of my husband.  During this time, my husband was an example to me and to those around us of what serving someone else looks like…selfless and humble.  His daily example of looking to the Lord for strength, through prayer and time reading the Bible, reminded me to do the same.  That time of discomfort bonded our hearts together like nothing else has in the many years of our marriage, teaching me how someone can serve another selflessly even while in their own uncomfortable circumstances.

Tomorrow I will finish up my story with a final lesson I learned that I hope will be encouraging to you.  Hope to see you then!

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“Glory in His holy name;  let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”  Psalm 105:3

The story continues…  If you missed the introduction on our Given the Time site, click here:  From Why to What. Part One and Two were Monday and Tuesday on this site…or go to this link.

At some point in the middle of the hospital stay, my heart sensed that in asking God why I was asking Him the wrong question. Well, not really the wrong question so much as there was a better question I should ask of Him. I needed to ask what.  What can you teach me in this?  What was most important in my life?  

And so I committed to pass on the why’s and look for the what from that point on.  Answers to this new question began to filter into my heart from God’s heart. In fact, there were many answers, too numerous for this story, but a couple of my favorites I will gladly share with you.

This time of enforced separation from my world as I knew it caused me to evaluate some of the commitments and goals that I held dear. What commitment was important and what was not?  What did I need to let go?  Some of my commitments and goals I needed to let go were actually really good things, but just not what was most important for me right now, not God’s best for me in the season of life I was in.  I sensed I wasn’t to stop at letting go of some things, but also look for what God would have me do next.  If I was in a rut in God’s path marked out for me, now was the time to step out of it and move forward.  It took enforced separation from “my world as I knew it” for me to see this.

Ends up, both the giving-up and the adding-on were a little scary and even emotionally painful, yet very much the right course of action. Old habits are hard to change, and change in and of itself can be difficult.  2 Corinthians 12:9 tells me that God’s grace is sufficient. In fact, His power is perfected in weakness…when I am weak, He is strong. Outside of faith, this is such a hard concept to understand…strength in weakness doesn’t make sense in our rush-about do-it-yourself culture.  But through this challenging time, I have experienced this to be completely true and it is a faith lesson that I don’t ever want to forget.

Tomorrow I want to share another sweet lesson learned.  See you then!

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“Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.”  Psalm 105:2

The story continues…  If you missed the introduction on our Given the Time site, click here:  From Why to What.  For Part One, yesterday’s post, go to this link.

After further tests, the doctors found the cause of the blood clot.  This was a good thing to discover, but it would require surgery and a procedure to restore blood flow. I had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a rare find for a 40 year old woman since this typically is a condition young athletes suffer.

My hospital stay ended up totaling an unexpected and rough 9 days.  If there was a negative and slight statistical possibility, I had  it.  I had 4 hour-long procedures in an effort to restore blood flow and reduce swelling when only one was expected to be needed. Following that first procedure, I dreaded being wheeled back to that sterile room to undergo yet again a procedure I knew was going to be uncomfortable.  I had a dangerous reaction to morphine, at one point waking up to find a nurse seated at the foot of my bed with a syringe ready because my heart rate had dipped so dangerously low. And the surgery ended up taking five hours instead of three due to a  “difficulty” encountered with my anatomy…whatever that means.   Instead of shrinking, my arm grew several times its normal size as additional clots continued to form and nerve damage caused my left hand and arm to be numb and useless. I was unable to eat for six days out of the nine because I was continually sick to my stomach and I couldn’t hold anything down.

Emotionally, I was at a low to say the least.  I had very little contact with my children due to the extent of my complications and the fact that I was so ill.  I missed them terribly.  But it would have been frightening for them to see their mother in such a poor state and so we kept them away.   I received no visitors except my husband, my parents, and a nurse friend who would not take no for an answer.  I could barely talk on the phone, so I allowed calls from my friends to go to voice mail.

Through the pain and the fear and the confusion, how can God be praised?  How can I sing of His wonderful acts with this level of physical discomfort?  During the worst of it, honestly I admit, I struggled.  But God led me to take a baby step forward towards Him as I cried out to Him.  He brought to my mind Scriptures I had memorized as a child and I recited in my mind over and over the 23rd Psalm.  I still struggled, but it was a step in the right direction.

Tomorrow I will share more of how God held my hand during this time that make me say now, without question, God has shown Himself wonderful in my life.  See you then!

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“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done.”  Psalm 105:1

The story this week is my way of giving thanks to God and an attempt to make known just a little of what He has done in my life.  If you missed the introduction at our Given the Time site please click here so you don’t miss out on the beginning:  From Why to What.

For 3 days I sat in the hospital connected to an IV drip of heparin.  I was the healthiest patient in the hospital, without any painful symptoms to keep me pre-occupied.  I was bored!  Even with visitors coming occasionally to entertain me, it was mind-numbing to just lay in the bed staring at the wall or the t.v. screen.  I had things to do, places to be!  And the worst of it was I was missing the first scrimmage for my son’s senior year.  The fact that I had a blood clot with potentially life threatening complications seemed distant and un-real.

At last, after three days, I was released to go home and just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family. But there was a catch. I could only go home if I was willing to give myself shots in the belly every morning and every night for the next couple of weeks.

May I just say, I am a card-carrying baby when it comes to pain!  And with every shot I added another ugly bruise to the growing collection on my belly making it harder to actually put the needle in the next time. I went from pep talks, I can do this…I’v been through child-birth for heaven’s sake, to faking myself out, I am not really giving myself a shot right now…oops, there it went in, to personal threats,  Do you WANT to go back to the hospital for the next two weeks during the holiday season?  Pathetic…I know!

And always there was the little whiny voice in the back of  my mind saying, Why, God? Why?  I am really uncomfortable!  How can this be a good thing that you have allowed in my life?

Have you heard that voice in the back of your mind too? Perhaps not over a physical issue, but over a life situation of some sort?

Please join me tomorrow for more of my story and how God held my hand through some of the hard stuff yet to come with my recovery.   It took time for me to see the purposes of what God had done for me through allowing this kind of personal struggle and I can’t wait to share with you some of those lessons I learned.

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