Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Journey to 80: He is There!

This is Part 4 of my series "My Journey to 80".
Read Part 1: The Beginning.
Read Part 2: After Pregnancy.
Read Part 3: Answered Prayer.

Corrie Ten Boom quote... such truth!

Surgery came.

You expect that when you go in for surgery that you will come out all fixed and feeling better. You know there will be healing time, but you expect to... well... heal.

I followed directions. I stayed mobile as best as I could. Some days I barely made it one trip around the kitchen table, but I eventually grew stronger. I didn't lift anything heavy for 8-10 weeks. It was hard, mind you that I had a four week old baby that needed fed and comforted. Still, I was very careful. The pain was never completely gone from my leg. There were a couple of times that I laid in fear wondering about the pain and why it was still there!! I remember eventually admitting to Ben that it just didn't feel fixed. I was terrified when I thought that the pain could come back again.

"I sought the LORD and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4 (NASB) 

The doctor said it would just take time. In fact at my post-op appointment he basically scolded me for not having enough activity. What was I suppose to do? Push myself? It still hurt! Why did it still hurt? Oh...the fear...fear of the pain returning!
Time came and went. I went to physical therapy again! I made some progress, but I still had some pain. A new MRI was scheduled for December 2009.

The news??? My two disc herniations were just about the same size. Really?!?!?! A microdiscectomy and doing almost nothing...not even a load of laundry and another herniation in the same spot!!!

Devastation... shock... fear... How can this be?

I did some research and discovered that it was quite common.

They ordered another epidural shot. I hoped it would help more than last time. It actually hurt more for the few days after my shot. The epidural is a steroid shot, so I finally asked if I could just try an oral steroid pack. I wasn't going back for another shot after that. Plus, the shot was like $2,000!! 75 cents steroids kicked in and I started to feel better. I was so relieved.

I will be honest. The fear was stronger than my faith at times. I wondered how I could carry another pregnancy... how I could ever work again... how I could take care of my family when I still couldn't fill the dishwasher or do a load of laundry or even put my baby in her crib.

I found new ways to do things. A new normal emerged. I started to live my life thankful for the blessings God had given me. I couldn't take anything for granted. When I sat Indian-style on the ground for the first time in over 2 years... I was humbled... even when it lasted only 10 min. When I did my first load of laundry... I was so thankful...even though one load for that week was my limit. I craved to do the dishes. I craved to lay my child in her crib without help. Suddenly so many things mattered. So many things that would have been burdens or potentially annoyances were dear to my heart. God had changed my heart and my look on daily life. Soon the fear subsided and peace abounded.

"Thy loving kindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, thy faithfulness reaches to the skies." Psalm 36:5 (NASB)

It wasn't perfect. The pain would grow and the fear would pop up again. But something had stuck through the whole surgery and post-op time... the true knowledge that GOD WAS THERE! My God was a big God... a God I could see working... a God who was faithful. God had become more real to me than ever before. When the fear came or the doubts rose, I could look back at that time in my life and KNOW with certainty that... "...He will never leave you nor forsake you (me)." Deuteronomy 31:6b (NIV)

Deuteronomy 31:6 (MSG)
He created me. My 80 year old body is a result of this fallen world marred by sin, but it is the body He gave me.  He created me to give Him glory. He asks me to walk through trials (floods or fire or back pain) but I am not alone. He is with me. He is my Savior and I can trust Him completely... and SO CAN YOU!

"But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; ... Do not be afraid, for I am with you; ... everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glorywhom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:1-3, 5a, 7 (NIV)

Isaiah 43: 1c

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Making Memories during Christmas's such a blessed time of year!

Last year during Christmas time, LJ was 2 years old. Suddenly Christmas started to have meaning. She realized that there were gifts to open and special songs to sing. Of course the word Christmas was a little blurred. Every time she saw a picture of Santa Claus, she called him "Christmas". I found this very odd as we don't emphasize Santa.

Sooo...this year I was on a mission. I wanted to share the true meaning of Christmas...the babe in the manger that came that very first Christmas day.

We started by memorizing Matthew 1:21 together as a family. I love this verse because it emphasizes not only was Jesus born, but that He came to save us from our sins. This was the perfect verse to use with a 3 1/2 year old!

On December 1, we started Advent. The word advent means arrival. It's emphasis is on preparing our hearts for when Jesus comes back again. For the Advent season, from 1st-24th, we focused on the story of Jesus. Each day we read a passage and focused on one part of the Christmas story. We used a fantastic curriculum called Truth in the Tinsel.
We loved it! It was perfectly geared for preschoolers. We will be using it in coming years for sure! We did some crafts and sang some Christmas carols together, too. Every Sunday we also had a time where we lit a candle and were reminded of some simple truths: hope, peace, joy, love and Christ.
A larger version I used in Chapel.
I designed and made some felt pieces for our Advent lessons. I am still working on finishing the Advent calendar part. My inspiration came from a stained glass type look. I can't wait to finish the background and use it next year.
Here is the template I designed. Click here if you'd like a copy.
LJ loved learning the true story of Christmas! It was so neat to hear her talk about baby John, Mary and baby Jesus. In fact, after our first lesson about Jesus being the light of the world, she kept running to the door and saying "Jesus is here!" Every noise outside must mean that Jesus is here! It was so precious to my heart! What a reminder that He could come at any time...that we should be awaiting his arrival!
A friend of mine also wrote some lyrics to the ever famous "Jingle Bells". We sang it in Chapel and I couldn't stop singing it! Our family has enjoyed singing every night of Advent. It was such a blessing to hear such truth being sung around the table! Thanks Karin!

Lastly, we started a tradition of giving a family gift Christmas Eve and matching pajamas for the kids. We bought the book Song of the Stars by Sally Llyod-Jones! What a beautiful book about the coming of Jesus as the babe in the manger! It is wonderfully written. All of the animals echo that "it is time" and use the different names of Jesus!

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season!