Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006

I know everyone and their mom have already written a "year in review" post, and you probably won't read this, but I decided I couldn't be left out!

2006 has been an interesting year. Here are some of the highlights:

- I got engaged.
- My mom was diagnosed with cancer.
- God began to heal my mom of cancer.
- I thought I might lose my job.
- My friends lost their jobs instead.
- I got a roommate.
- My sister lived in Mexico.
- I discovered Soft Paws.
- I was diagnosed with Gilbert's Syndrome.

See? It's been a busy year!

Today, during my devotional time with God, I was praying through the things I have to be thankful for from 2006. One thing stuck out to me. God has shown me over and over again how He uses sufferings to draw us closer to Him. I can see how He has used suffering in my and my family's life to teach us about Him. What an incredible gift of grace! Last year I could not be thankful for hard times. Going through some minor ones, I am seeing how precious those times and the intimacy with Christ that they brought are.

For a Christ follower, pain does not prove that God is unloving, it generally shows the opposite if we let Him. It is in the midst of pain that Christ's hope is sweet. That his sacrifice seems so dear. That his promises are so real. That his peace truly is beyond understanding.

I hope that 2007 brings less trials, but if that's what is required to walk so closely with my Sweet Jesus, then lead me on.

If You Say Go

If you say go we will go
If you say wait we will wait
If you say step out on the water and they say it can’t be done
We’ll fix our eyes on you and we will come

Your ways are higher than our ways
And the plans that You have laid are good and true
If You call us to the fire You will not withdraw Your hand
We’ll gaze into the flames and look for You

Friday, December 29, 2006

No. You can't have a hug.

On Tuesday I had an ultrasound of my tummy done. After it one thing was known for certain.

I hate strange people touching me.

Family touching me? Fine. Ben? Sure. Close friends? Maybe. Strange people at a hospital? No way.

I mean seriously. They need to figure out a way to conduct ultrasounds without touching you and letting you leave all your clothes on. The twenty minutes of me laying on a table with my stomach bare and a strange woman touching me was horrible. The only thing worse was the 30 minute massage I got last spring. That was not relaxing. At. All.

I think the ultrasound lady gets some kind of sick joy out of making people worry too. I mean I'm not having a baby, so an ultrasound is not a happy occasion. She should know that I am already a little concerned about the results of this test and should not ask questions like "have you had any major surgeries lately?" while zooming in on a large black spot on my liver. She also should not ask if I have diabetes and when I say "no" go, "hmmm..." and adjust some knobs on the machine. These are the kinds of things that will make a person worry. Another thing she shouldn't do, (besides touch me) is dig the reader thingy into my ribs. MAN HOW THAT HURTS! Does pressing harder really make the image that much sharper?

Anyway, I've decided that I am never having kids because people will have to touch me again. Oh and those kids might want a hug every now and then and that much touching may kill me. (I know. Drama. Queen.)

So the ultrasound came back that everything is normal and pretty much confirmed that I have something called Gilbert's Syndrome (GS). Yeah! No more tests! No more people touching me! Doctors really don't know much about GS, but from what I have read you can manage it through diet and lifestyle. The good thing is that I think I just need to keep eating what I've been eating the last couple weeks. I do need to change somethings in my lifestyle and by that I mean that I need to live on the beach and not work. (Are you still reading Ben?) Otherwise I could get really, really sick. (You don't want me to get sick again do you Ben?)

Hopefully, this is the beginning of me feeling better! I would like that very much.

I should probably point out that GS isn't serious. It won't kill me, or put me in the hospital. It can just make me feel really sick but I think the beach will help.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Arms Full

If you had asked me a month ago if I regularly believed the lies Satan told, I would have said no. I didn't believe his lies because, can't you see? I wasn't struggling with drugs, porn, or alcohol. I hadn't taken the lies he told me about myself and made them a part of my life. I would have told you that I did not listen to lies. And I would have been lying to you.

Looking back I see now how the lies were not forced upon me. Instead they were laid out like cards on a table before me. I was not forced to read them or believe them, they were just there. Slowly I would pick up each card, read it, finger it, and hold on to it just in case it was true. The cards had just enough truth in them to be scary. I told myself that all the fears about the future, the "what ifs", really could happen and if I held onto them I would be prepared. I would not be one of those people who were caught off guard when the worst happened; I would know what to do.

But in the process of being prepared, I kept holding onto these cards. I was filling my arms and my hands with the "what ifs" and in doing so my arms became too full for the blessings from God. I could not stretch my arms out to God anymore because I had to hold onto these cards of fear and fear became a part of my life.

Most of the time I can trace my fear to a specific area that I don't trust God in. This past month God has been showing me how I have let fear control me most of my life. He's been showing me, through His word and other Christ followers, that He can handle all my fears and is worthy of my trust. I am reading scripture with new eyes and I am learning that this Bible is amazing! I mean it's GOD'S WORDS WRITTEN DOWN FOR US! Here are some of the verses that God has been using to speak truth into my life:

Psalm 139
Psalm 119:165
Colossians 3:2-3
Psalm 23
Romans 8:26-27
Psalm 121:5-8
Proverbs 3:25
Philippians 4:6-7

Slowly I am learning to let go of the cards of lies and replace them with cards of God's word. The best part about this trade is that the cards of lies were burdensome and heavy. God's word is refreshing and a guide. It is a light load and a joy to hold. What a loving God we serve!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Good Word

If Your law had not been my delight,
Then I would have perished in my affliction.

Psalm 119:92

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Letter From My Trip

Dear TSA,

Thank you for doing such a thorough job of keeping our planes and airports safe. I appreciate all the work you do and the people you put up with. You were very professional and helpful at every encounter I had with you on my last trip. I just have a couple questions.

When you searched my bag before loading it on the plane, was it really nessecary to remove the nozzle on my mousse? Is that really a danger? I didn't think it was, but since you took it from me, it must be. I never knew that a little peice of plastic could be that dangerous. I am glad you took that extra precaution, took the nozzle, and allowed the mousse to leak all over my clothes. Thank you.

Also, did you really need to empty the contents of my purse into my suitcase? I mean, I appreciate your thoroughness, but I don't appreciate picking earrings and loose change out of my dirty laundry.

I probably don't understand what it takes to do your job, because frankly sometimes it doesn't make sense.

- A confused Traveller

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Scopes, Blood Tests and Kansas

Yesterday I went to the doctor to get the results of my blood tests. Before I went I said to my roommate, "If they don't find anything in these tests, they may have to run a scope down my throat." To which she replied, "At least it's better than a scope up your butt!"

She has the amazing ability to put things into perspective.

The test results came back inconclusive. Well except it did show that I don't have ulcers. They are running some more tests to see if I have a hyperthyroid. Apparently a whacked out thyroid can make you feel sick AND anxious. So we shall see. It'll be good to finally know what it is.

Today I leave for Wichita for work. I've never been there before; it should be interesting.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Hard Lesson of Compassion

When I pray that God will give me attitudes like humility and compassion, I expect him to do it quickly and easily. I expect to go to bed proud and wake up humble. I expect that compassion will come easily for me after I pray about it. I do not expect that God will use the refiner’s fire to teach me these things. It’s true that God can grant us a change of heart over night, but many times he uses trials to teach us. I must admit that in the times when the trials come I get mad. Who am I to deserve such treatment? Doesn’t God know that I love him and seek to serve Him? Why must He deal with me so harshly?

But in reality who am I to say what I deserve? Who am I to question the road God asks me to walk? Don’t I know that God loves me and that He seeks the best for me? Don’t I know that His wisdom is far beyond mine? Don’t I trust Him? That’s the big question: Do I trust Him? Do I really, truly trust Him when things don’t make sense and are hard? I am learning to.

Recognizing that I am so broken is teaching me to deal much more gently with other people. Maybe they “can’t pull it together” either and who am I to stand above where they are in life? It is humbling to see that God is using me, in all my brokenness to minister to others.

Compassion is never really something I had for people. Through this brokenness God is teaching me a little bit more about His heart for people.

What a good God we serve!

John Piper:

“God ordains in the lives of his messengers that suffering severs our bondage to the world. When joy and love survive this severing, we are fit to say to the nations with authenticity and power: Hope in God.”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Hard Lesson of Humility

Through this time of… well, I’m not sure what to call it.... so I’ll just call it a time, for I know that is all that it is; a phase and a season to pass through. This will not last.

Through this time God is teaching me humility. There is nothing more humbling than realizing that I don’t know how to “pull myself together” and deal with this. Realizing that I can’t help myself and that I am broken has humbled me more than any other situation in my life. What have I to be proud of in myself now?

I am realizing that I can control nothing in my life and when I try to I get stressed and generally mess things up. I must give all control to Christ, for He is the only one capable of handling it all. Elizabeth Elliot said:

“God gives us material for sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice makes little sense to others, but when offered to Him is always accepted.... What will He do with these offerings? Never mind. He knows what to do.”

Right now my material for sacrifice is nothing great. It is worry, anxiety and fear. But with it comes complete surrender of my future and He knows what to do with it.

Through my brokenness I am learning of Christ’s strength. My Mom has been a great help through this. She wrote me this in an e-mail:

“I guess we just need to get past ourselves, broken, so we’ll really know it’s Him who leads us.

That’s what I am learning. To get past myself and surrender control. To know that it is Him who leads me. What a sweet lesson.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hard Lessons

I have been debating whether or not to blog about this. I was reluctant because I have no control over who reads this blog or what they do with the things I share about myself. I mean, you really don't want people you graduated with to talk about your problems because they read it on your blog, it's much better that they talk about the tree in your miata. But I am learning a lot about God through this, so I think I'’ll post.

My stomach problems have not gone away. They have lessened, but eating is still a chore. I have lost about 10 lbs through this and that puts me at 5'’7"” and 105 lbs. I didn'’t really want to lose any weight. With the stomach problems has also come some anxiety attacks. I think it'’s the stress from work, my mom'’s cancer and my engagement all catching up to me. Yea! (Any suggestions for high-calorie foods that are gentle on the stomach?)

The anxiety attacks are the hardest to deal with. I have decided that I will take physical problems over problems in my head any day! There have been times when I have felt like a trap door under me has been flung open and I fall quickly into fear and worry about the decisions I am making. Other times it feels like I am standing, or jumping, on the trap door waiting for it to fall open. It'’s a horrible, horrible feeling that I am tired of having.

And I think I can blame it on answers to prayers.

I have prayed to learn humility, compassion, dependence on God, how to pray, the importance of scripture, the gift of the cross, and complete surrender.

In the midst of this seemingly dark time God is showing me so much of Himself and myself. He is teaching me all of these things. I will explain more of these lessons in later posts as it would be too long to explain it all in this post. I can say that all of these things can be boiled down to one statement: Christ is enough. When I don'’t understand things or can't make things work, Christ is enough. When I can't "pull it together", Christ is enough.

I pray that these feelings will end soon, but I will walk through whatever I need to in order to remember that Christ is enough.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Isn't it ironic....

... that my parent's neighbors took down their christmas lights from last year when they re-did their roof last month and then put them back up this month. Any bets at how long they will stay up this time?