Friday, April 30, 2010

Medical update

Today is just a quick note to update you on some medical stuff. I headed to the Doctor on Wednesday to address the increasing headaches. He increased my nightly headache regulator medicine (called Topamax). He gave me a prescription for Vicodin, which thus far has had no effect on me whatsoever, and lastly he gave me a referral to a neurologist. My OB/GYN has written the prescription for the birth control pills which will eliminate any hormonal imbalances that might be contributing to the migraines.

Please keep praying for some relief, and ultimately that we get to the root of the problem. I am still convinced that there is a spiritual side to all of this, and so I am earnestly in pray for God's will to be done, and His greatest glory to be shown.

Much Love

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shining is Always Costly

Good morning all! It has been over a week since I wrote my last post. Usually when I write something about things God is teaching me I am well into the process of learning it! Well God surprised me this time (I don’t know why I should be surprised though… He’s God!), and the lesson from my last post was brought up over and over in the last week in many different forms. When I least expected it God would reveal another aspect of what it meant to trust him fully.

For example, we were at the Salter’s house for dinner, and there was a devotional book sitting on the table. Will opened it to the days date, and read it, knew it was not meant for him, and quickly handed it to me. There it was, clear as day, God pointed out the lie that I believe that makes me not trust completely. I make planning an Idol. When there are idols in our lives, we are unable to fully obey the first commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength”. When my mind is busy planning all future possibilities, I am unable to hear the Lord’s voice.

The Spirit has confronted me over and over through the psalms about my worrying over what the future holds. I realized that if I go to the Lord in Prayer about a circumstance and walk away still anxious, I have not really exercised trust. If I have trusted I will have laid it at his feet and be able to walk away in peace that the Lord is in control, and no matter how it turns out, it is to His glory.

Will and I stopped by this giant Christian bookstore on Monday. I am not usually one to decorate with outright Christian artwork. But we were walking through the home d├ęcor area anyway. As I turned a corner I came face to face with an oil painting that took my breath away. It was Jesus in the desert, sitting down with his head on his knees. The sky above him had a sunset in the far background, but a dark cloud over Him. The scripture reference was to Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to understand and sympathize and have shared feelings with our weaknesses and infirmities and liabilities to the assaults of temptation, but One who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.” I was in tears as I stood before this painting. My savior knows my pain. He has been in darkness, in isolation, and felt loneliness on this earth, and it was for His good , and part of the defeat of evil. He spent His time in prayer, seeking intimacy with His Father, should I not do the same?

Also this week I got the results from a Uterine Biopsy. All was clear, so I am very thankful for that. On the flip side, my headache seems to be getting worst again. There is not a point in the day when I do not have a headache. What was once subsiding slowly is coming back with vengeance. To be honest I am not sure how to proceed from here. I am praying fervently for some relief, and yet for God’s greatest glory. I have often thought that once I am healed I will be a great testimony for God’s grace and providential mercy in our lives. But I ran across this in my QT this morning…

“Shining is always costly. Light comes only at the cost of that which produces it. An unlit candle does no shining. Burning must come before shining. We cannot be of great use to others without cost to ourselves. Burning suggests suffering. We shrink from pain.
We are apt to feel that we are doing our greatest good in the world when we are strong, and able for active duty, and when the heart and hands are full of kindly service. When we are called aside and can only suffer; when we are sick; when we are consumed by pain; when all our activities have been dropped, we feel that we are no longer of use, that we are not doing anything.
But if we are patient and submissive, it is almost certain that we are a greater blessing to the world in our time of suffering and pain than we were in the days when we thought we were doing most of our work. We are burning now, and shining because we are burning.
Many want the glory without the cross, the shining without the burning, but crucifixion comes before coronation.”

I don’t know how this works. I don’t know how I am shining in my current state of constant headache. But I do know that it is not me who gives off the aroma of Christ, but it is Christ in me. And if I believe Galatians 2:20 as I do (I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me) then I expect no less than God’s glory to shine brightly through my sufferings.

Please pray for our little family… a few things to keep in mind…
1- Wisdom for interactions with Doctors and with medications
2- That the headaches would subside
3- That William would be given an extra amount of strength as he cares for me and Caleb
4- That we would all grow more intimate with our Savior through the process

Much Love- Teresa

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sailing with Sealed Orders

I thought this morning I would share one of the larger lessons that I am learning through this process. As I have said before, I believe that the Lord has allowed this time of affliction in my life for my good. I cannot point to a specific reason why, but I can say that He is working on things in my life that I did not even know were there, and I am so thankful. I have spent most of my time in the Word in the Psalms and Proverbs, and then in the devotional I introduced awhile back called Streams in the Desert.

One day all my readings seemed to line up with the theme of waiting. The devotional was speaking of how the Lord will often use times like this to make us wait on our calling because there are either lessons to be learned or it is not yet God’s timing. I immediately took this as a moment of Hope and thanked God that I might in fact be in a pattern of holding. BUT, I added to that prayer that if only God would let me know what it was I was holding for. A baby? Adopting a baby? Writing a book? I spoke with Will about it and how excited I would be if God would just let me know, and that I thought I would ask Him. I knew He most likely would not tell me, but I would ask anyway. Nothing too bad yet, right?

The next morning as I sat in prayer and read through God’s word and the devotional I found this paragraph:
“By faith Abraham, when He was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed.” (Hebrews 11:8)
Where he went, he knew not; it was enough for him to know that he went with God. He leant not so much on the promises as on the Promiser. He looked not on the difficulties of his lot, but on the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, who had deigned to appoint his course, and would certainly vindicate Himself. O glorious faith! This is thy work, these are thy possibilities; contentment to sail with sealed orders, because of an unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the Lord High Admiral; a willinghood to rise up, leave all and follow Christ, because of the glad assurance that earth’s best cannot bear comparison to Heaven’s least. –F.B.M.

Did you get that?? Contentment to sail with sealed orders? I can say that I am willing, if I have to, to sail with sealed orders … but contentment? Just the day before I had displayed that I was not content to do this! If you know me well, you know that I research each available possibility for the future. I go out of my way to know all information ahead of time. I have told myself for years that this is part of my personality. But is it really? As we awaited our next military assignment, I checked the assignment portal (or asked Will to) several times a day. I have looked at every possible rental house in the Belleville area, even though we do not move for months. I cannot tell you how many times I have said to Will, "If only God would just tell me if we will ever have more kids!" You see, I can trust that God has His best for me. That’s not my struggle. It is that I want to know ahead of time what that best is.

That brings us back to contentment…realizing that God has provided everything that I need for my present happiness. In 1 Timothy 6:6-8 “Godliness accompanied with contentment is great and abundant gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and obviously we can take nothing out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content and satisfied.”

So here is my lesson. Trusting God is more than knowing he has the best for me, it is resting in it enough to be content with where I am today. (anyone else seeing the connection here between discontentment, and anxiousness?) This is not easy for me. In fact it will take an act of the Holy Spirit to change my heart, to teach me to lean not on the promise, but on the Promiser. And in case you are wondering, at times God does reveal future plans to us, but it is in His timing and to His glory alone. Please pray with me as I learn to trust, and learn to be content day by day with the provisions of the Lord.
Much Love -T

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Good Company

I am so blessed in the midst of this whole thing to be in good company! There are many of you out there who have had similar experiences and have given words of encouragement and wisdom. I am forever grateful! It seems this Anxiety/depression phenomenon is more widespread than I realized. A few years back this fabulous preacher in Texas, Tommy Nelson, went through the same thing. He was later interviewed by Family Life Canada about the whole ordeal. It has been great to hear such a wise man (that Will and I often listen to online), share the same struggles and thoughts that I have had in the past few months. Interestingly, in older times this imbalance of brain chemistry was referred to as Melancholy. Obviously they didn’t know it was brain chemistry at the time, but they were aware that it was more than simply a negative mood or inadequate coping behaviors… they knew there was something medically wrong. And again I find myself in good company with the likes of Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, Lord Tennyson, Sir Isaac Newton, and Charlotte Bronte.

Why do I share all this today? Well, I was feeling very thankful this morning as I dropped Caleb off at preschool and headed to Starbucks by myself to read. This is one of my favorite past times and I have not done it since 2009. That’s right; nearly 3.5 months of not doing one of your favorite things… and today I got to do it. It shows how far I have come since January. I thought to myself, “There have been so many who have gone before me in disorder, and they have survived and paved the way, I will do the same!”

My reading today brought me to 2 Corinthians 12, a very fitting chapter for sure! Paul has been given what he calls a “Thorn in his side”. He begs the Lord to take it away, and here is the response… vs. 9-10 (This is in the amplified so it is a bit wordy)

“But He said to me, ‘My Grace (My favor and loving-kindness, and mercy) is enough for you (Sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully); for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and complete) and show themselves most effective in your weakness.’
Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
So for the sake of Christ, I am pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak (in human strength) then I am truly strong (able, powerful in divine strength).”

How incredible is that?

Here is what A.B. Simpson wrote about it:
“Here is the secret of divine all-sufficiency, to come to the end of everything in ourselves and in our circumstances. When we reach this place, we will stop asking for sympathy because of our hard situation or bad treatment, for we will recognize these things as the very conditions of our blessing, and we will turn from them to God and find in them a claim upon Him.”

So where are you dear reader? I know where I am! I have nothing left to give or to manipulate in my circumstance. My hands are off and are instead turned heavenward in praise and supplication. What a place to be! Having a “thorn” in your side is not fun, in fact it is often painful, but I can honestly call it a blessing. How about you? Is there a trial, a suffering, a circumstance, a pain, a “thorn” in your life? Are you ready to take pleasure in it as Paul did or call it a blessing as Simpson has? Thoughts to ponder. Love u -T

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Great is Your Faithfulness

Well, we have good news on the medical front! The cardiologist has said that my heart is completely healthy. All the palpitations and pain that I was experiencing was completely related to the Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This is fabulous news… especially since my chest pain has sent us to the ER 6 times in the past year. (Side note… if u want to get to the top of the triage in the ER say “Chest pain!”) I also saw my internal medicine Doc this morning. We adjusted some meds to try and work on this headache (we are going on 80 days of headache now) and also to try to get me off the anti-anxiety drug and solely on the anti-depressant. He did say that often people with GAD that has been undiagnosed for so long can tend to be resistant to the low level anxiety drugs. SO… there we have it. I will continue to see the Doc and take meds to level out my brain chemistry. Since I am literally wired incorrectly, I will most likely be on meds of some sort for life. On the Fertility front, I had my uterine Biopsy last week, and it will take up to three weeks to get results. From there we are probably looking at some form of hormonal birth control to help the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and this will also help the headaches. Obviously this will not be a long term cure since the point is to get pregnant! All in all I feel well cared for and I pray daily for the wisdom of my Doctors.

Now on to something else!
One of the very first verses that stuck in my head as the fog of depression and Percocet cleared was perhaps one of the simple truths of the faith. God’s faithfulness, mercy, and compassion to us does not change. It comes from Lamentations 3:22-23. I memorized it years ago in the NIV version, which will sound familiar to many of you:

“Because of the LORD’s great Love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Now I want you to read it in the Amplified Version through verse 25.

“It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His tender compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. The Lord is my portion and share, says my living being, my inner self; therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him. The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him (inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word).”

I cannot tell you the magnitude of this truth. God is faithful to me whether I am serving others, cleaning the house, or taking a handful of pills simply to function that day. I especially love these verses because it reminds me that no matter how bad my yesterday was, my today can be different. As we work to get my meds leveled out, I find that I go in cycles… often feeling the best in the morning, and doing a nose dive in the evenings. This is when my headache will come back in full force, and the feeling of adrenaline rushing through my fingers or legs tends to bother me. But it is OKAY… I reboot over night, and so does the Lord’s compassion and faithfulness to me. What a blessing it is to know that even when I am a mess, the Lord is faithful and stable. I will “hope and wait expectantly” in Him!

“When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be,
I do the little I can do
And leave the rest to thee.
And when there seems no chance, no change,
From grief can set me free,
Hope finds its strength in helplessness,
And calmly waits for thee.”

Love you guys!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Christ's Victory

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph (as trophies of Christ’s victory) and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance and the knowledge of God everywhere, for we are the sweet fragrance of Christ…” II Cor. 2:14-15a

I learned long ago in Sunday school that God gets his greatest glory in using something lowly to defeat something high. He uses someone common like Abraham to establish a great nation, He uses a single poor teenager to carry His son into the world, and He uses common fishermen to take His Gospel to the ends of the earth.

What often seems like a great defeat for God is actually His triumph. Can I explain? For the past two years I would say I have been in a trial, suffering silently as we try to conceive another child. The more recent addition of anxiety and depression magnify the suffering. But oh how sweet the time has been! Hard to understand? Believe me, I know! Maybe these two writings will shed some light better than my own words can.

“If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than a conqueror, and a glorious victory will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places God brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His name” - Life of Praise

“Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
When the great oak is strained in the wind,
The boughs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
To stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.”

Will and I started this journey over two years ago thinking it was about fertility, and then getting good doctors, and then solving the puzzling mystery of my new symptoms. But it really is about so much more. It is our chance to address some heart level things in our marriage, in our walks with Christ, in our parenting, and ultimately it is about asking the question of whether we will claim Christ’s victory as our own.

Thank you for reading. Sorry it is less about the medical stuff. No fear, the tests are progressing, meds are being adjusted, and when there is something of significance to share, I will share. But, I hope that you find, as we have, that it is less about my body’s malfunctions and more about God’s glory! Love u. T