Friday, October 28, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I started my blog post yesterday about Robyn's birthday around 5:00 a.m. and had saved it to go take care of something before I finished it up.  Time got past me and I still hadn't had a chance to go back and post it before I got a phone call.

It's was Robyn.

I could tell by the tone of her voice something was up, so I asked her what was wrong.

"Ummm ... I don't really know how to tell you this."

"Just tell me."

"I'm pregnant."


I didn't know if I should laugh or cry tears of joy.  So I just sat in awe for a moment.

This pregnancy was a complete surprise.  As I was finishing up my blog post yesterday I wanted so badly to shout to everyone that she was expecting miracle number three, but I couldn't just yet.  It is so hard to stay quite when you have news that just makes your heart dance.

She has now made her announcement to everyone and I'm now free to shout ... I would dance if I could.

Not everyone ever gets to experience a miracle, but Robyn is waiting to give birth to miracle number three.  Isn't it just like God to give us far more than we could ever imagine?

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us," ~ Ephesians 3:20

Robyn, guess what verse is going on your next baby quilt ... and I think it's going to be pink!  : )  Love you and I am so, so honored to have had a front row seat to what God has done in your life.  This was certainly a birthday you will never forget!

Being An Example

Tonight we will be giving a bridal shower for my friend Connie's daughter.  We are putting together a book of prayers and encouragement for her.  As I've thinking through exactly what I want to say, it hit me.  I'm old enough to be her mother.  I've really never thought about it before now.  I know it should be obvious, but I often forget just how old I really am.  It's certainly not because my body doesn't feel older than my age.  Maybe I'm just in denial.  I never really think about how much older I am than the younger mom's in my church.  Occasionally it will cross my mind but hardly ever.

I most certainly did last weekend though.  Our WIC Committee (Women In the Church) had a coffee on Saturday morning.  We spent some time talking about how we each can serve our church.  I seriously could not remember how many and what committees I am on.  I knew most of them, but I kept thinking I was forgetting one.  I asked Cheryl to remind me, but somehow we got preoccupied and didn't around to it until she was driving me home later that day.

"You do remember you are on the Titus 2 Committee, right?", she asked.

"No, I forgot."

"Well, do you want to stay on it?"

I admit my heart skipped a beat and with hesitation I said yes.  Not because I've I felt somewhat overwhelmed lately.  It's because it's a big responsibility and one I'm not so sure I'm good at.

Actually, I know I'm not good at it.

It's one thing to be on the Covenant Celebration committee (a.k.a shower committee).  I had given it up for awhile but agreed to do it again.  I love giving parties, even though it does become a challenge at times when you have so many opinions and different ideas.  The Church History committee is pretty simple.  It just requires putting together a book of all the events of our church for the year.

However, Titus 2 seems like a much bigger responsibility.

It's based on Titus 2:3-5.  The older women teaching the younger women.

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may [b]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 

I certainly don't think of myself as a good example of this.  I've sat across the table so many times from younger women and had them ask me for advice.  They've sat on my couch and poured out the hearts asking what should they do next.  I try to always point them to Jesus.  I say it with my words, but I so often fail in my walk.  I'm a hypocrite.

And what kind of example is that for my daughters?  I makes me panic and sick to my stomach to think about how I've failed in my walk and how hypocritical I've been.

Shouldn't the committee be made up of women who are better examples than I am?  Women who are better at walking the talk.

Maybe so.

But maybe ... just maybe ... being honest about my own failures will help someone else realize we all mess up, and we have to keep running to Jesus to confess where we messed up and ask Him to show us how to do better.

I think it will help me to be more accountable and put a deeper desire in my heart to seek the Lord.  We all should realize we are being watched from afar.  People are looking at how we behave and how we react.  I watch those around me.  Some more closely than others.  I need to remember someone, especially my daughters, are watching me closely.  Being on a committee that is responsible for coming up with ideas of how we can learn to be better friends,sisters, mothers and wives will make more deligent to fall to my knees and ask Him for His guidance.

I desperately need to being doing that.

I would not have chosen me to be on that committee.  I don't even understand why I agreed to it.  But I do know that the greatest example I can be to anyone is remind them that we all fall short.  They aren't alone.  None of us are the perfect example.  That's why we need Jesus.

Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. ~ Psalm 25:4

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Roybn!

When I entered the 5th grade I had to change schools.  I was so apprehensive about this school because there were things about it that were different than any other school I had attended.  I really didn't like it.  I dreaded going in the beginning, yet it turned out to be something that would change my life forever.

I met one of the best friends I would ever have.

Robyn and I prefer to say we met in the 5th grade rather than say we were 10 years old.  Somehow we tend to think it makes us sound younger.  She was in a different classroom than me, and I don't even remember how we started talking.  Probably the playground.  I had never met anyone with my name.  For years would argue back and forth over who spelled their name correctly.  She spells hers with a "y" and I spell mine with an "i".  When we would pass notes we always would underline the letter we thought was correct.

The older we got, the closer we became.  We loved having classes together, although our teachers weren't overjoyed to have us.  We always got in trouble for talking and giggling.  It was inevitable we would be separated within a couple of weeks after school started.  Our 9th grade algebra class we stayed in trouble.  Mrs. Reba Medley was our teacher and I can still here her voice telling us to be quite.  I always seemed to be the one who ended up in the hallway for talking though.  Robyn was just better at hiding and I was the loud mouth.

Our most memorable class was our senior year.  Economics with Mr. Eugene Hunter.  Oh my, the memories!  Green polyester pants, "Frank and Earnest" cartoons and overhead projectors.  We still laugh so hard to this day that we cry over the things that happened in that class.  I'm not so sure who was more amused, us or him.

Robyn and I have literally grown up together.  We have lived so much life together.  She's been such a joy to me.  She's loved me when I've been unlovable, been nonjudgmental when I've made terrible mistakes and has been quick to forgive when I've offended her.  She's been longsuffering and sacrificial when I've needed her the most.  The girl drops everything and drives 2 hours to see me when I'm in the hospital, and even when I've been so sick I could only visit no more than half an hour at a time, she still came.

She's one of the most compassionate, loving people I know.  She loves Jesus with all heart.  Even though we may have different theologies, we have the most important thing in common.  Jesus.  We know He died for our sins and paid our ransom, and we have the privilege of spending eternity together with Him.

Life has had a lot of twist and turns, yet through it all we've been side by side. She's been the keeper of my secrets and never broken my trust.  She's trusted me with her the most fragile parts of her heart.

She amazes me.  Her strength.  Her courage.  Her faith and trust she has in our Heavenly Father.

It's seems like we've always done everything together.  We met the love of our lives at the same time.  We were engaged within 8 days of each other, and married in the same month.  But starting our families at the same time wasn't God's plan.  Although she struggled with infertility, she sat on my hospital bed with the birth of each of my girls and held them with such joy.  She would often tell me she knew God was going to bless her with a child even though the doctors said it was impossible.  She never wavered in her faith, but I doubted it would ever happen.  Thirteen years, almost exactly to the day, after Sara was born I sat in her hospital room and cried while I held her miracle.  

This picture almost makes me heart burst with such joy!

Sixteen months later I got to hold her miracle number two.

Today is Robyn's birthday.  It's taken 38 days, but we are finally the same age again. : )


You are my dear friend that I treasure deep in my heart.  You have been such a sweet gift to me from the Lord Jesus.  You've been my encourager, my confident and the one to give me a swift kick in the rear when I've needed one.  I love you more than I can possibly wrap words around.  I can't imagine life without you even if we have to live two hours apart, and I'm so grateful we get to spend eternity together.  You can make me laugh harder than anyone else.  Our road trips are some of the best memories of my life.  Thank you for letting me sing to the top of my lungs even though I can't carry a tune, and for taking turns freaking out with me when we would get lost.  Thank you for making me laugh at something that would otherwise make cry.  For milking my chest tubes that time I had surgery.  For remembering when it's your turn to buy the snack and my turn to buy the drinks as we reach the checkout lane at Target.  For holding my hand and praying with me when I've been scared.  For pointing to my source of Hope when it seemed hopeless.  Thank you for just loving me.

Happy Birthday my precious friend.  I pray this next year is overfilled with blessings for you.  I love you.

p.s.  This is the last year we can honestly say we are 39. : )

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Must Remember He Is Sovereign

I am seriously having to reconsider whether I should be going to bible study today.  I fell this morning.  I'm sore, but I don't think I've hurt anything.  I haven't felt quiet right for the last few days.  I can't really put my finger on it.  I've had this nervous flutter in my chest and I've been extremely tired.  I almost fell asleep several times in church on Sunday and I've had a hard time staying awake for very long this week.  I've been fighting a headache, but I am thankful I've not had a fever.  Every little thing that happens causes me to have to fight against fear.  I wonder if it's the beginning of another attack.  I can quickly work myself up into a panic.  I have to constantly remind myself that God is sovereign and no matter what happens He will give me the grace to get through it.  It's hard though.  It's hard to trust even through in my heart I know what is true.  I always seem to lay it at His feet, but before I walk away I pick it up again.  Or if I do walk away I go back and get it.  Why do I do that?  I am so grateful to be surrounded by people who will remind me what I know is true.  You will point me straight back to the cross when I waiver.  Not only do they point me there, they will walk with me.

I'm going to have to be intentional about reminding myself He is sovereign and that whatever may come, He has a plan.  I just have to trust.

I am praying I'm only overreacting.  I have times when I fall often and times when I become overly tired.  It doesn't always mean another attack is looming.  Most of the time it's just my body crying out for rest.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Victory In Jesus

October always seems to be a melancholy month for me.  October and January are the two months out of the year I dread.  I love Fall.  I love the change to cooler weather and when the leaves turn to vibrant colors.  I can't say the same about January though.  Winter is my least favorite season.  October and January are full of memories I can't seem to forget.

October was the month my Nannie got sick.  I don't know that they ever truly figured out what caused her to become so sick, but we really thought she was going to die.  She didn't at that time.  She woke up one day trying to spit the ventilator out of her mouth and mad as a hornet.  We were given more days with her.  We were able to spend one more Thanksgiving and one more Christmas with her.  We were given more time to tell her how much we loved her.  And then January 18, 1988 the Lord took her home.  That night is forever burned in my mind.  It's been almost 25 years and every time I think of that night I'm brought to tears.  I remember the phone call and hearing my mom scream out.  Just hours before I had ridden in the back seat of the car with her as my aunt drove her to the hospital.  The last words I ever said to her were, "You know how much I love you."  And the last words she ever said to me were, "I love you too."  I will forever be grateful for those last few minutes, but I will never forget the sick feeling in my stomach as we dropped her off at the ER.  It was getting late, and I had school the next day, so I had to go home.  I didn't want to leave though.

I remember the sounds when they were lowering her in ground and crying asking my aunt Teresa, "What am I going to do, what am I going to do?"  My aunt Bobbie kept saying over and over again, "She's not in there, Robin.  She's not in there."  For the next couple of years every time I would visit her grave I had this urge to want to dig her body up.  I couldn't stop thinking she was suffocating.

The cliche' that it hurts less as time goes on is just that, a cliche'.  For me it's not true.  My heart still aches, and I would love to have her give me a kiss on the cheek again and hug me tightly.

She was the most amazing women I've ever known.  I was so blessed to have a very close relationship with her.  I loved staying at her house.  There were times I would stay for days.  My mom would call and ask if I was ready to come home and I'd beg to stay just one more night.

My Nannie was about my height and weighed no more than 110 pounds.  She was feisty and had a temper.  We have a saying in our family, "They've got that Ruby temper."  When she loved you, she loved you with her whole being, and she loved her family.  Nothing stood in the way of her taking up for them, and at the same time nothing stood in her way of telling them just was she thought.  I remember her getting so mad at people she would hang the phone up on them.  She would slam it down and then pick it up and slam it again.  After awhile she would get to thinking about what she had done.  She would call the person she had hung up on and ask if they were upset with her and say she was sorry ... well, there were exceptions.

While my mom worked we often stayed with her.  My brothers were so mischievous and would purposely aggravate her.  They never did what she told them to, and she would call my aunt to have a talk with them.  She always threatened to tell our mom, but as my mom was pulling up they would beg her not to and promise to be better the next time.  She never told on them and would say, "Okay, but you better mind me the next time."

I never saw her more proud than the night my mom graduated nursing school and the afternoon my uncle graduated college.  I never saw her more worried than when my cousin was diagnosed with leukemia. She loved her family ... each and everyone of us.

Probably my most favorite time with her was the morning.  We would wake up and eat breakfast.  She always had oatmeal and apple sauce.  She would scramble me eggs and fix me toast.  After we were finished, she would take her coffee and I would take my hot chocolate and go back to bed.  We would sit there and talk for the longest time.  One morning I asked about her baby boy that had died when he was only six months old.  She began to tell me about him, but quickly stopped when she started crying.  Sometimes she would talk about how much she missed her mother.  She passed away when I was five.  I got to know her heart in such a special way.  What treasure those times were!  

She always made me pinto beans, hoecakes (fried cornbread) and instant potatoes for dinner.  I know instant potatoes sound gross to most people, but I've always had a thing for them.  What I didn't know until after she died was she didn't like them.  She never told me that, but she always made them for me.

She always wore dresses.  It was a rare occurrence for her to wear pants.  She would stand in the bathroom mirror and primp.  She would cover her face in Oil of Olay, pick out her hair and look herself over as she turned her head side to side.

She washed dishes once a day and it took her all morning.  She would run the water scalding hot and let them soak until all the water drained out.  She she would slide her watch up her forearm as she waited for the sink fill back up and then scrub each and every dish.  She would then run more scalding water for them to sit and rinse.  She would be pouring with sweat from the steam of the water, and while she waited for the water to drain once again, she would sit down in the living room and take a break as she cooled off.  It literally took her all morning long, but she was always done in time to watch "The Young and the Restless".

She was a creature of habit.

Every time I left her house she would hug me so tight I thought I would break into and then she would give me three slobbery kisses on the cheek.  I would always wipe the slobber off when she wasn't looking.  Then she would stand on the porch and wave as we pulled out of the driveway.  If any of us ever forgot to give her a hug and kiss she would chase us to the car, lean in to give us kiss and always bump her head on the top of the car.

When I was old enough to stay by myself she would call several times a day when my mom was at work.  She would always ask if I had the doors and windows locked.  She would tell me I didn't need to be answering the phone, yet she kept calling back.

It makes me sad to think about how some of my cousins never got to meet her.  I really wish she had been able to meet my children.  I used to wonder if she was really as great as I had her built up in my mind and heart to be, and then one day I met a man who confirmed everything I believed her to be.

His mom was a patient where I worked.  She probably had already been there for two years when one afternoon I was working late.  He stopped by the nurses station I was sitting at and began to talk.  He asked me about my family and his face lit up as he said, "You're Ruby's granddaughter ... you are her Robin!  I knew since we kids.".  We spent the next hour talking about her.  He talked about what a strong, amazing women she was ... he validated everything I felt and thought about her.

I could write pages upon pages about my memories of her, but the memory that sticks in my mind more than any other was something she said one Sunday I went to church with her.  They sang, "Victory in Jesus" and as she sang that song tears streamed from her face.  She had this peaceful smile and the tears confused me.  I had seen her do this before.  We were sitting at red light after church and I asked her, "Nannie, how come every time you sing "Victory in Jesus" you cry?"  She reached over, patted my hand and said, "Hunny, I pray that some day you understand."

It took me years to understand and every time I now sing that song, I too have tears in my eyes and can so vividly see her standing in that country church singing from the depths of her soul.

I miss so much my heart physically aches, but as much as I miss her there is no other place I would love for her to be.  I know she is singing in Heaven and now she fully knows what having victory in Jesus truly is.  And some day I will too.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Do It With a JOYFUL Heart

I have thought all night about whether or not I have bitten off more than I chew.  Have I over committed myself?  Is this another example of how my mind thinks my body can do more than it can do?  Or is it simply I'm a bit bitter and prideful?

"Look at me and everything I do?  Look at them and how lazy they are ... they just want to be a seat warmer."

I know I'm not the only one who has ever had those thoughts.  Nevertheless, it's sinful of me to think those things.  I should be more concerned with where I am failing, rather than pointing out where I think my neighbor is failing.

I had to spend quite a bit of time confessing my sin to the Lord last night and asking for forgiveness.  I've had to ask for His help with my prideful heart.  I've asked Him to help me change my attitude.  Nathan and I are quick to point out to our girls when they are giving us attitude about doing something that they are to do it with a joyful heart.  I am such a hypocrite.  Another sin I've had to confess and repent.

As I was praying, the Lord quickly brought this to my mind ...

Earlier this week I was telling my mom about running into my great aunt this past Sunday.  She was with my mom's brother and his wife.  My mom told me my great aunt had just joined the church my uncle pastors.  She was so excited that she now has four jobs in the church.  She told my mom she had never had a job in the church before and now she has four.  She was so joyful about it.  She was full of eagerness to server the Lord and the church.

Maybe I have bitten off more than I can handle, or maybe I just feel overwhelmed right now because this week has been abnormally busy.  Irregardless, I need to be doing those things joyfully.  I should be severing my Lord and others with gladness.  My attitude most certainly needs to change.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed this week and starting to wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew.  This week has been such a whirlwind that I can't seem to catch my breath.  I mean that figuratively and literally.  I feel somewhat panicky this morning and like the world is closing in on me.  Sort of like I felt on Sunday when the chairs were arranged so close together I could hardly stand up straight or lean over without knocking myself in the head on the chair in front of me.  The reality is overall I'm really not doing that much, but my body just can't keep up.  This weather is not helping.  The cold and the rain have me in a lot of pain.  Add in exhaustion and all I want to do is stay in the bed.

I have been reminded repeatedly I haven't given an update on my appointment with Dr. Gaw on Monday.  I just haven't had time during the day and by the time things slow down at night I am just too tired to even hold up my head.  Since Monday I have attended two bible studies, had two church committee meetings, had a doctor's appointment and worked for Darryl.  I was so exhausted from Monday, that I slept all day on Tuesday.

My appointment went very well.  I'm stable.  No worse, no better.  He wants me to let him know when I get in to see Dr. Peltier.  He said he wants to make sure I keep seeing her.  He doesn't think it's urgent I get in, but he wants me to keep following up with her so we will have her on board if the time comes we have to start the retuxin.  That's still on the back burner.  I absolutely hate the idea of having to start that treatment, but there is some comfort in knowing there is a plan if things were to start going south.  It is a risky treatment, but that is just where I am.  For know, it's the only option for treatment if I begin to regress.  It may be an unpleasant option, but it's an option.  My next scheduled appointment is in four months.  I am still waiting on Vanderbilt to call about my appointment with Dr. Peltier.  Praise the Lord I have a friend who has volunteered to take me.  That is such a relief.

I ask that you pray about my energy level and that the pain in my arms and legs will settle down.  Please pray I have some wisdom about whether or not I need to give some things up.

And pray for my emotions and that I will stop over analyzing everything ... just a recipe for a disaster.  I need to keep my eyes on Jesus ... not on how I am disappointing other and how others are disappointing me.

Alex the wonder dog is laying beside me sound asleep and whining.  Ever so often he keeps nudging closer and closer to me.  I should follow his example.  I should be nudging myself closer and closer to Jesus.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What a Day Yesterday Was

My appointment with Dr. Peltier did not go as planned yesterday.  

I couldn't see to get myself up and going yesterday morning.  I had intended to get my shower early so I would have time to rest a little before heading out.  That didn't happen.  I ended up putting us about an hour behind.  Traffic was horrible the entire way there.  It was insane.  Every time I would freak out because I was sure we were going to crash, Nathan would say, "I told you we should have left an hour ago."

We did get there safely, and I signed in at 1:03 p.m.  Not bad.  My appointment was at 1:00 p.m.

Or so I thought.

I signed in and took my seat.  There were only 2 other people filling out paperwork in the waiting room, and I thought that was sort of odd.  It was right after lunch, so I just reasoned they hadn't had time to get behind yet.  Within moments the lady at the check-in desk called me over.

"Umm ... Robin, who are you here to see today?"

"Dr. Peltier"

"Well, she's not here today.  She doesn't work in the clinic on Fridays."

"Seriously?!?!  My card says 1:00 p.m. Friday, October 14."

I just stared at her for a moment.  I wanted to cry.

"I don't understand.", I finally said.

"Are you in pain?"

It must have been the horrified look on my face that caused her to ask me that ... or maybe it was the tears welling up in my eyes.

"I'm always in pain."

"I'm sure.  From what I understand CIDP can be very painful."

I just kept staring at her.  I was afraid to really say anything because I didn't want to be ugly to her.  After all, it wasn't her fault.

"From what I am reading on the computer it looks like I need to get you put on the a.s.a.p. list.  Let me put you down for them to work you in at the first available spot.  And if they ever try to give you an appointment for any other day than Thursday, they are giving you the wrong appointment.  She only works in the clinic on Thursdays."

I just kept standing there staring at her.

"So I guess I'll see you in 6 months.  This was supposed to have been my 6 month check-up from my last appointment.  I scheduled it the day I was last here and it took over a year for the first available appointment.  I know it's not your fault, but I seriously want to cry."

"I am so sorry.  I am making a note for the scheduling department to call you just as soon as they can work you in.  Maybe even next week."

She's overly optimistic in my opinion.

I love Dr. Peltier and it would devastate me to have to see another neurologist.  I've had to deal with other neurologist when I've been in the hospital at Vanderbilt and St. Thomas, and it not been a great experience.  I hate dealing with her office though.  The people are super sweet, but it's so frustrating that every little thing has to go through another department.  There is usually someone sitting just around the corner who works for the scheduling department that schedules your next appointment as you are checking out.

I kept thinking, "Why could she just not take care of it then?  Why does she have to make a note in the computer and wait for them to call me?"

Oh yeah, Dr. Peltier DOESN'T WORK ON FRIDAYS!!!

I turned around to give Nathan the happy news, and we left.  The valet had not even had time to park our van yet.

I fussed all the way down the road.  I fussed non-stop.  I panicked over traffic.  After about half an hour later I looked at Nathan and asked him where were we going.  It finally occurred to me we had passed the interstate.

"I am going to get you something to eat."

Every knows that when I get hungry and my blood sugar drops, I turn into a monster.  Just ask my brother-in-law.  We were on a family vacation about 13 years ago and we drove way past lunch time.  My behavior was not pretty.  Finally Matt said, "If you will feed her she will be fine."  It was just funny how he said it.

I was so upset over the mix-up with my appointment and I was getting hungry.  Not a pleasant situation.  So Nathan took me to The Cheesecake Factory to make me feel better ... I love that place.

And just give you an example of how bad traffic was ... The Cheesecake Factory is about 10 minutes from Vanderbilt.

I had planned to try and take advantage of the day and do a little shopping.  I was even prepared to use my walker.  I was just so frustrated, and after stopping at Ross, I was ready to go home.

I did score a few fabulous finds though.  I regret putting back a sweater and a couple of shirts I found.

So, now I wait for a phone call, and I pray I can find a ride when the time comes.  Transportation isn't always so easy.  Nathan could take the day off, but we try so hard to save his days as much as possible because we never know when he might need to use them in an emergency situation.  We've had plenty of those over the past 3 1/2 years.

At least I do have an appointment with Dr. Gaw on Monday afternoon.  At least I think I do.  I have 2 cards that say I do.

And to add to the confusion of the appointment mix up ... when Sara got home from the ballgame at midnight last night she asked how things went.  After I told her all about the ordeal she said, "I wondered why you had your appointment written on your calendar for Thursday, but you were going on Friday."

What??  She picked my calendar up off the table and showed me.  Sure enough, in black ink it said "Dr. Peltier 1:00 p.m." written on Thursday, October 13.  My card says Friday, October 14.  I have no idea why I wrote it on Thursday.  I asked Sara why she didn't point it out to me.  Any other time she would have.

"I just thought you were having another one of your moments where you get confused and don't know what you are doing."  She just kept laughing and shaking her head.

At that point I had to laugh to.

Maybe it was one of those times the Lord was trying to show me something I didn't pay attention to.  After all, I look at that calendar every day and I never noticed I had done that.

I am praying they call me Monday with an appointment very soon, and that I am able to work out transportation easily.

Life is so complicated.  It makes me long for Heaven even more.  Maybe Jesus will come back today.

Yes, I still pray for Him to come every day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Is a Miracle His Will?

My Wednesday morning bible study group just began a study over a book written by Nancy Guthrie, "Hoping for Something Better".

It's a study over the book of Hebrews.  We have only had 2 weeks of the actual study thus far.  We had one week covering just the introduction, and I missed that week because of the fever I've had.  Although it has only been 2 weeks, I really think I'm going to enjoy this study more than our last one over the book of Philippians.  This one seems a little harder to me, but I love how it makes us dig so deep into the Word.  It shows us how Scripture backs up Scripture and I just love that.  I am grateful we are going to take it slow going through this study.

Without even knowing I was going to do this bible study, my friend Lacy recommended the devotional "The Year Book of Hope".  Nancy also wrote this.

When I ordered the books for my every other Monday night and Wednesday morning bible studies, I decided to go ahead and order this book also.  If you know me, you know I hate to read.  I might read a book every 10 years or so.  I'm not kidding.  My friend Mary reads a book every few days, and she finally decided it was easier to just send me excerpts from books she wanted me to read rather than expecting me to read the book on my own.  So ordering 3 books was a bit ambitious for me ... overly ambitious is probably more like it.  I justified ordering all 3 books by reasoning I would be slowly reading through 2 of them during the bible studies.  I do read devotionals because they are usually only one page long, and I only have to read one a day.  I also got free shipping by ordering all 3 at one time.  How could I possibly pass up free shipping when the cost of the shipping was going to be almost as much as the devotional?

I cannot stop reading "The One Year Book of Hope".  Seriously.  I can't seem to stop at only one a day.  I find myself wanting to read 2 or 3 weeks ahead.  She writes so beautifully and in a way that is so easy to read.  Her style of writing is a way that speaks to my heart.  She shares so much of how it applies to her own life, so it becomes more than just words in a book.  You know she truly dug deep in the Word and is able to communicate how to applies to real life.  She knows what it is to hurt, so you know she's not just blowing smoke.  It is packed full of Scripture.  Somehow I am going to have to find a way to exercise some self-control and only read one day at a time.  I need to spend some time chewing on what I've read.  Who would have thought I would ever say that about a book?  I've not shared with Lacy how this book is such perfect timing for me.  I don't know why I am so surprised by that.  God's timing is always perfect.  We have plans for her to visit us half way through the study we are doing on Wednesday's, and I am so excited.  I told them this week I have so much I want to ask her.

Tonight I was reading and this paragraph jumped off the page at me:
"Often I see the body of Christ put so much into pursuing God for physical healing.  With great boldness and passion and persistence, we cry out to God, begging for healing of the body.  And in these prayers, there is often a tiny P.S. added at the end where we say, "If it be your will."  But shouldn't we switch that around?  Shouldn't we cry out to God with boldness and passion and persistence in a prayer that says, "God, would you please accomplish your will?  Would you give me a willing heart to embrace your purpose?  Would you please mold me into an instrument that you can use to accomplish what you have in mind?"  And then, perhaps, we could add a tiny P.S. that says, "If that includes healing, we will be grateful."
Maybe one of the reasons this jumped off the page at me is because I've been thinking a lot about healing lately.  I had a friend tell me this week she was praying for a miracle for me.  I thought, "How sweet of you.  But what if that's not God's will for me?"  I didn't say it.  I didn't want to seem ungrateful.  I would love nothing more than for Him to heal me and to have CIDP no longer.  But what if it never happens?  Don't misunderstand.  There will be a day I will have the ultimate healing.  I will have a new body.  No more weakness.  No more pain.  No more trying to decide what's the next step for treatment.  No more wondering if cellcept is going to my demise or not.  I have that promise to hold tightly to, and God never breaks His promises.

I have an appointment at Vanderbilt with my neurologist there this afternoon.  Darryl and I were talking about it the other day, and he said, "I think she's going to be pleased."  Really?!?!  Why is it I'm not pleased with where I am at then?  Why am I so dissatisfied with my progress?

Maybe because I truly am longing for a miracle.  I don't know if it's God's will to heal me of CIDP this side of Heaven, but I want it to be.  Desperately.  So when I read that paragraph tonight, it struck my heart.

I don't know what Dr. Peltier will have to say this afternoon.  I hoping she has some answers about some of symptoms I've had lately, and she will have a plan on how to best deal with them.  I have a tremendous amount of confidence in her.

But my confidence should not be in her.  It should be in the Lord.  He is our Great Physician and she is only an instrument He is using to accomplish His will.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Swift Kick in the Rear

I had literally just hit "publish" after writing my post yesterday, and had not even had time to close my computer yet, when the phone rang.

"Hey, Robin!", he said in his cheerful phone voice.  "This is Caleb.  How are you doing?"

Here's the thing about Caleb, you don't have to pretend.  I didn't have to hesitate and wonder how am I going to answer his question so he won't think horrible of me.  I didn't have to pretend to be all "holy" in my suffering just because he is my pastor.  I can just say it like it is and not have to "pretty it up".

"I'm not okay ... I'm in a terrible mood ... Have you ever read the book "Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day?" ... well, that's where I am at."

"I was just thinking about you and wondering how you were doing.  I just want to remind you that He loves you and that He hasn't forgotten about you ... and He is sovereign..."

"Well, I'm glad you called, Caleb.  Maybe next time I'll be in a better mood."

"That's okay ..."

He meant that.  It was perfectly okay with him that I was in a terrible mood.  I didn't have to pretend.  He didn't want me to even.  I could just be real, and the reality was I was in a terrible mood.  I was angry, sad and having an all out self-pity bash.

"... He hasn't forgotten about you ..."

I had no idea I even needed to hear those words until he said them.  I know He doesn't forget about us.  In my heart, I am well aware of that truth, but sometimes my head needs to be reminded.  I have friends that would say I need to be reminded over and over again ... and then again.

I have a friend who has said to me ... I'm not kidding ... thousands of times, "You're feelings will betray you, Robin."  They are not reliable and they most certainly aren't the litmus test for what is truth.  I felt like He had forgotten me.  I didn't even realize that was what I was feeling until Caleb reminded me He hadn't.  It's so hard to be all consumed with our feelings and not be able to see with clarity. 

The truth ... the absolute truth ... is He hadn't forgotten me.  I hadn't been left all alone.  He heard every prayer and as the bible says ... which is the litmus test for the truth ... He holds our tears in a bottle.  That's how precious each and every tear that falls from our eyes is to Him ...

"Thou numberest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle; Are they not in thy book?" ~ Psalm 56:8

And here's the thing about God, just like with Caleb I don't have to pretend.  He wants me as I am ... the big, blubbering, angry mess I am.  And trying to "pretty it up" with God doesn't work.  He knows it all.

When we least expect it, He gives us a big swift kick in the rear.  That's what my phone call from Caleb was yesterday.  He knew I needed to be reminded of what was truth, and He also knows I don't always catch on to those gently reminders He gives He children ... sometimes I need a big swift kick in the rear!

Monday, October 10, 2011


My day started out yesterday morning by finding myself face down on the floor.  I remember sitting on the couch watching "I Love Lucy" ... Lucy and Ethel had secretly bought "Hansens" dress shop and were trying to hide it from Ricky and Fred.  The alarm went off on my phone, so I got up to go wake up Nathan.  The next thing I knew Nathan was saying my name over and over.  I had passed out.  My first thought was ... "How am I going to get up off of this floor?  I really don't want to have to call the ambulance again."  And then I thought ... "He's not going to let me go to church now."  I was able to get up with Nathan's help.  I was so dizzy and my head hurt so bad.  He said I had hit my head on the door.  I was determined I was going show him I would be okay to go to church.  I started cooking breakfast,  but I got so dizzy and my head hurt so much I could hardly stand up.  So, yet again, no church for me.  And I missed having lunch with Nathan's family.  His brother was in town this weekend for a wedding, and we were all meeting up for lunch before he headed out yesterday afternoon.  I really wanted to see him.  We had plan to visit my sister-in-law and nephew this weekend, but it didn't work out.

And just on a side note ... I scowl every time I read on Facebook that someone else has headed to the beach or out of town to visit family and friends.  I feel like a two-year-old kicking the ground and screaming, "It's not fair!!".

Ugh!  I'm in a terrible, terrible full of self-pity mood.

Darryl came by yesterday afternoon.  There is no definitive answer to why I passed out.  Could be from being overly tired.  Could be from not getting enough fluids ... which doesn't make sense to me since my body retains so much fluid anyway.  I laughed when he held up his hands about 12 inches apart and asked if I drank one of those big drinks from Sonic every day or just when I could get my hands on one.  I suppose I could get him to write it as an order so someone would have to bring me one every day ... although he would probably just write for the contents to be water.

I am so frustrated.  There doesn't seem to be any answers to much of anything right now.  No answers to why the fever comes and goes, no answers why the pain is worse, no answers why I passed out ... no answers at all.  Sometimes I think if I just knew why it would be easier to handle.  Knowing why just might give some insight on how to make it all better.  I'm so irratable these days.  My poor family.  I want to cry, I want to scream.  I'm so emotional everything seems to either hurt my feelings or make me angry.

Friday I will see Dr. Peltier.  Maybe ... just maybe she will have some insight.

In the meantime, I have to trust the Lord.  It's so hard to remember all those things I know in my heart to be true when I've missed so much church.  I need so much to have that time to be reminded of the absolute truth.  I did get to go to bible study last week, but I left feeling worse than I did when I went.  I shouldn't have.  Physically it wasn't a good idea, but it was another one of those times when Robin thinks she knows best.

Somehow I'm going to have to focus on other things.  I need to get out of the house, but I don't even feel like taking a shower.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

And The Fever Still Lingers On ...

I realize it's been awhile since I posted.  I've actually started several post but haven't finished any of them.  It's not that I don't have anything to say.  I always have something to say ... I actually have a tendency to say too much.  I just haven't felt well.  I am still running a fever off and on and by the time I sit at the computer working, my eyes are just too sore to do much more.

The fever is still somewhat of a mystery.  It began when I had strep.  I've had 3 rounds of antibiotics and it's still lingering around.  Other than a headache, fever and body aches from the fever, I have no symptoms.  My blood work is back to normal, except for my hemoglobin.  It seems to hover just below the normal line most of the time and will occasionally drop lower.  I'm tired.  More than usual it seems.  My pain level has also been a bit higher lately.  There is thought I've contacted some sort of virus that I just can't kick, but knowing all the risk with cellcept, there is a part of me that is concerned.  The fever has been around for almost a month now.  I've had a fever more days than not.  I see Dr. Peltier at Vanderbilt on Friday.  Maybe she will have some answers.  I'm hoping.

I am at home most of the time now.  I do get out in between breaks in the fever.  I've missed 2 Sundays and 2 weeks of bible study.  I also missed Grace group this week.  So imagine the space I'm in right now.  Not a good one.  I am praying I get to go to church tomorrow.  It may require me to break down and comply with one instruction Dr. Gaw has given me for the past 3 years ... one I have proclaimed I will never do.  I just may have to eat those words though.

I was able to make it to Bunco this past week.  I didn't have a fever for a little over 24 hrs, so I was determined I was going.  Our friend Sarah, who is teaching in South Korea right now, had come in to attend her brother's wedding.  We moved Bunco to this week so we could spend some time with her.  Since she was coming, our friend Rebecca, who moved to another city last year, drove up to visit also.  And Rebecca brought her new addition, Mary Katherine!  It was such a sweet, fun time to be together.  None of us wanted to leave.  I didn't get home until after 11p.m.

I LOVE these girls!!  I have said it so many times before, and I will say it many more times to come, I have the absolute best friends ever!  Each one of them in this picture has done, and continue to do, so much to help my family over the past 3 years.  They have all rolled up their sleeves and been the hands and feet of Jesus.  They have cooked us meals, cleaned my house, done my laundry, picked my girls up from school, taken me to doctors appointments, taken me for my treatments, stayed with me while Nathan worked when I can't be home alone, sat and held my hand while I've sobbed, brought me Sonic drinks, etc, etc, etc.  They are so precious and I love all of them so much!!  I look forward to being able to spend one night a month with them.  I've had so many people ask me what exactly is Bunco.  Well, it's a great reason to get together to eat and laugh. : )

Sarah was so sweet and brought us all gifts from Thailand and South Korea.  Isn't this beautiful?!?!

It's handmade ... and pink!  I love it!!

After Sarah let us all pick out what gift we wanted, she made the announcement she had a special gift for me.  These are what she pulled out of her bag ...

Dr. Gaw has told me for the past 3 years that I need to wear a mask during flu season.  I have always said I would never do that.  People look at you like you have some horrible disease that you might give to them.  Of course, as my friend Cheryl would say, at least it would keep them away from me.  Sarah had the idea that if she got me some that were cute, I might just wear them.  So she found some in pink!  They are washable and I can reuse them.  These may just be what is going to help me to not be homebound the entire Winter.

These mask represent much more than just that though.  The gifts that mean the most to me are those gifts that have been given much thought and the giver has put their heart into them.  How precious is it that Sarah thought of me while living on a whole other continent?!?  She cared enough to go looking for something that she knew would help me and was thoughtful enough to know pink is my favorite color.  She even made sure they would be reusable.

Sarah, thank you!  You are precious and I love you, friend!