Land Ho!

Three years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic health condition called Torticollis, also known as Cervical Dystonia. It took about nine months to even receive that diagnosis. I tried Botox injections hoping they would give me relief, but they ended up making me worse. I left my job, and many parts of my life were left in pieces. The simplest of tasks, such as using a computer, eating, and applying makeup, along with the more difficult task of caring for my son, became increasingly difficult to do. By the following Fall, I was sick and had no answers.

It took me longer to find an answer because all I could see was my life in pieces.

As I was reading Diagnosis Dystonia, by Tom Seaman, I came across a chapter where he talked about the Spasmodic Torticollis Recovery Clinic in New Mexico. This program helped him to recover, as well as many others who stayed faithful to the program all the way through. I was very excited after visiting the website and decided to do the remote distance program.

Finally, I saw rays of hope on the horizon.

As of today, I have been working hard at the program for two and a half years and I can finally see land in the distance! This has been the most difficult battle I have ever faced, and yet I have grown closer to Jesus Christ and learned things I would have never learned without going through this. I have learned many lessons about patience, faith, perseverance, trusting God, and the importance of knowing God’s love. I have also experienced being at one of the lowest points in my life and in the darkest nights of the soul. This battle of battles will become my testimony.

Knowing that God loves us is one of the most important parts of healing.

Sometimes the home stretch is the most difficult and I am working harder than ever on my program to reclaim my life. Just writing in this blog is a huge step towards the finish line! I am so very thankful for all of you for sticking around even though I have not posted for years. My writing is a bit rusty, but I am keeping at it and I know it will be even better in the end.

I look forward to sharing what I have learned and what it means to trust God with everything. I also had to overcome the worst fear I have ever faced. The Lord has given me strength to do the program every day and take care of my adult disabled son. This has not left me with a lot of free time, but in order to achieve victory we have to pay a price for a while. Once I am on the other side of this storm, I will be stronger, healthier and wiser. I will be better able to serve others and be who God created me to be. Like Joyce Meyer said, “Let your test become your testimony.”

We go through difficulties and trials to come out at the other side ready to share our story and give hope to others.

What Faith Can Do

This past week I listened to some great Christian music.  The song that has been in my head is What Faith Can Do by Kutlass.  This song started playing on my Pandora feed just when I needed to hear it.  I was feeling some pain and loneliness as I thought about Christian and I was doubting my strength to do all God had given me to do that day.

Official music video

We all come to places in our lives when we fall on our faces, face health issues or financial uncertainty, or we lose loved ones and face unspeakable heartache.  This song is about rising from the ashes to find beauty, never giving up, and not being afraid to take that first step to make a new beginning.  God is always by our side and He hears our prayers, even the silent prayer from the heart.

Our valleys may seem deep and unending but the sun will eventually shine.  God gives us strength to keep going and because of this we are much stronger than we know.  He helps us get through difficulties to get to the side of victory.

Faith gave me courage to get out of bed every morning of the first year after our son passed away.  I barely had the strength to pray, but I still did even if it was a simple “God, help me!”  Faith gave me the strength to continue caring for my family even though I thought the weight of grief would crush me.  Faith helps us see the silver lining during a health challenge and gives us never ending hope.  Faith can move the mountains in our lives if we trust God completely.

I hope you enjoy the video.  I enjoy almost all of their music and this song will always have a special place in my heart.

A Year of Blessings

 

In the book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I am on gift number 548.  I started writing down God’s gifts last fall.  I have asked myself repeatedly why I haven’t reached 1000.  I admit that over the last year I have had a tendency to complain instead of offering praise to the Lord for His many gifts.

I did not fully understand the meaning of bittersweet until we lost our boy.  He suffered for the last year of his life and I felt relief (for him) mixed with profound heartache (for me) when he passed away.  Christian spent the last year of his life tilted back in his wheelchair to relieve his chronic pain.  He was able to read books on his iPhone because it was so lightweight and he played video games for limited amounts of time every day.  He lost the ability to play video games the night before he passed away.  He drove into the kitchen, held up his hands and said “Mom, my hands are not working.”  He didn’t want to be resuscitated or to live with a breathing tube and he hated hospitals.  Christian told me weeks before his passing that he wanted to die at home, in his own bed with his bird, Kiwi, in the room.

The pain we endured during the weeks and months that followed was unimaginable.  How was it possible that I experienced joy when I looked at the sky as it turned red and orange at sunset?  Why did everything look so much more beautiful after I lost my son?  It was like a layer was peeled away from my soul and everything that looked beautiful before now brought tears to my eyes.

Being thankful makes the pain more bearable – the pain of losing a loved one, of the violence in the world, the constant stream of negativity in the media – the pain of living in a broken world.  God gives us little presents each and every day and if we open our hearts and our eyes we will find them:  the chitter of a chickadee, the glint of sunlight on a soapy plate, steam rising from a hot cup of tea or an unexpected call from a loved one.

I have so much to be thankful for and I am making more of an effort to focus on blessings instead of burdens.  The Lord has given me strength to put one foot in front of the other on days when the loss feels fresh, He has blessed me with a loving husband and son, with an accessible home for Drew, a wonderful job, and a long awaited trip to California this past summer (thanks to my sister who came up from Wyoming to care for Drew).  God continues to bless us with His love, grace and healing.  He blesses me with the guidance and strength contained in His Word each and every morning.  As we thank the Lord for His goodness we become lights in a dark world and we give hope to those who are suffering.

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Battleborn

Ever since the tragedy in Connecticut, I have felt lost, betrayed, sad, anxious and in other ways that I have trouble finding words to describe.  I am sure many of us feel this way.  I have been unsure of what to post until a few minutes ago when Battleborn by The Killers came on while I was finishing up the dishes.  I stopped mid track to really listen to the lyrics:

You lost faith in the human spirit

You walk around like a ghost

Your star-spangled heart

Took a train for the coast

This is exactly how I have felt at times.  Anyone else?  How about:

When you shine you’re a hilltop mansion

So how’d you lose the light?

Was it blown by the wind,

In the still of the night?

I have felt like my light has been blown out and I caught myself cursing the darkness last evening when I went on a rant about guns.  All it did was make me more upset.  Cursing the darkness is futile, wasteful thinking and speaking.  The song goes on to say “We’re up against the wall” and this is good:

When they knock you down

You’re gonna get back on your feet

In the community where this tragedy took place, in the state of Connecticut, and in our country, we will be there for each other and we will get back on our feet!  And finally:

When they break your heart

When they cause your soul to mourn

Remember what I said

Boy you was battle born

This tragedy broke our hearts and we grieve for the little ones, teachers and principle and their families and the entire community.  We need to remember that we are battle born.  We will never stop loving one another, caring and reaching out.  We are strong and will never back down against the evil and injustice in this world!

Check out this song on Grooveshark or Spotify and listen along and see if it doesn’t make you want to get up and shine your light instead of cursing the darkness!

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Just keep swimming!

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I am having one of those days when my body does not want to cooperate with my mind.  Sometimes, despite my best efforts in my diet, I still experience inflammation.  Unfortunately, this does not mean that I can stop moving.  On days like today, I need to motivate myself and Dory from Finding Nemo is always there for me.  Remember when Dory and Marlin were descending into that deep pit in the ocean?  She started to sing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.  I used to keep a little plastic toy of Dory close by so I could be reminded to just keep swimming!  I also often have to remind myself that it is all right if I am slow because at least I am moving forward.

Maybe more of us need to be like Dory.  She was curious, joyful and full of life.  I find myself to be like Marlin, fearful of trying new things, a little uptight and sometimes needing someone like her to hold my hand as I swim down into the unknown.

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If I need a good laugh, I can listen to her try to communicate with whales.

thI think that many of us can identify with at least one character in a Pixar movie or any movie and sometimes that can motivate us to keep on trudging towards victory no matter how we may feel!  Is there a cartoon/Pixar/movie character that you can identify with?