Wednesday, January 20, 2016

In Adversity and in Ease of Way.......


Yesterday was a day that could have changed the course of our lives.....but it didn't.  It didn't.

The enemy tried to seed my mind with fear while we waited for the test results, and my thoughts went the route of anticipating the "worst," though I battled against it.  I had done really well until the day before when I got a call from the doctor's office saying he wanted to schedule me to go over the imaging.  I'd already been scheduled, so it kind of threw me.  You know how the mind can take off and go bad places.

But the sonograms showed nothing at all of concern.  Nothing.  The abdominal "mass" wasn't there on the imaging.  The doctor thinks maybe he felt a muscle in an unusual position.  There is nothing kidney-wise that would indicate cause of back pain, either.  Nothing at all.

So, we are grateful.  So very grateful.  Still no answers about my back pain, but that's better than what it could have been.

In the midst of our own blessing, yesterday held a lot of challenges for others we love.  My aunt called to tell me my uncle is in the hospital, having had a seizure.  He has Alzheimer's, and is failing.  It is so hard to watch from a distance.  And a well-loved lady in our community had surgery for ovarian cancer.  There is just so much heartache here on earth.

But, in the midst, He is teaching us that He is the Author and Finisher of our faith and our story.  He is still writing, and has not lost the plot line.

My dear daughter Jessie, also in the midst of the "hard" of life, wrote this poem yesterday and shared it with me.  She has been given such a gift.  I wept as I read.

Dear Father, sore disgruntled do I find
My heart, my mind, my spirit on this day
Upon which overt cloud does ne'ry wind
Blow over the bright sun to cause this grey.

Oh Father, 'tis but life on earth below--
That footstool in the space before Thy throne--
Which agitates and wounds me even so,
With forked tongue asserting I'm alone.

We walk in pain, we rail, we even die;
We fail, we lose our way, become undone;
We founder, yea, and ask the reason why--
Full-knowing it's because we're Adam's Son.

"Sweet child," You say when finally I pause,
"Does't thou forget there is another truth--
The Dayspring Who has taken up the cause
Of Adam's race and spent on it His Youth,

His sole ambition, power, and His life?
These darkened days prolong for purpose one:
To make of thee a strong and noble wife
Fit finally to be wedded with My son."

In silence then I sit with hand on mouth
Like Job before the whirlwind as of old
Lest there escape my lips a word uncouth
To contradict this myst'ry I've been told.

Let, then, this timely chiding be our bliss:
We are but players half-way through our play.
So gird we up like men our loins with this:
Our faith is pledged unto a brighter day.
Copyright © 2016 Jessie Erickson

Amen.  And amen.

Thank you so much for praying with us.  I say it again and again, and I mean it more every time.



Monday, January 11, 2016

Imaging this week....

For you formed my inward parts,
You wove me in my mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

Not only did He form my inward parts, He can see them when the rest of us can't!

I was able to visit my new primary care provider at the end of December and he has ordered some imaging which will be happening this Wednesday.

He doesn't think there's anything going on structurally with my back, and because of that he couldn't order imaging for my back, but he found an abnormality in my gut that he wants to explore, and also to re-check some pelvic stuff.  So in the end, the same things will be accomplished.

We'd appreciate prayer that if there's anything to be discovered, it will be clear and plain as to what is going on.

Thanks so much for your prayers!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Brief Update......

"Therefore, the LORD will wait that He may be gracious to you."
Isaiah 30:18

This morning, Charles Spurgeon spoke to me across the decades from his devotional "Morning and Evening."  I am so grateful for his faithful service.  His ministry continues, though he has been with Jesus for over 100 years.  If you are struggling with unanswered prayer, you might like to read the passage below.  I'll give a brief update after it.



"God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day—he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that "the thorn in the flesh" might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but instead thereof a promise that God's grace should be sufficient for him

If you have been knocking at the gate of mercy, and have received no answer, shall I tell you why the mighty Maker has not opened the door and let you in?  Our Father has reasons peculiar to Himself for thus keeping us waiting.

Sometimes it is to show His power and His sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold.

More frequently the delay is for our profit. You are perhaps kept waiting in order that your desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if He keeps you waiting you will see your necessity more clearly, and will seek more earnestly; and that you will prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying.

There may also be something wrong in you which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps your views of the Gospel plan are confused, or you may be placing some little reliance on yourself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes you tarry awhile that He may the more fully display the riches of His grace to you at last.

Your prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to your delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make you silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication."

Our good and His glory.  Amen.


Since last time.....

Blood test results have come back.  Nothing is showing up that would indicate there's anything wrong with any organs that might be causing back pain.

After a long process, I once again have a primary care provider who can refer for imaging, etc.  I have an appointment with him at the end of this month.

I'd appreciate prayer that he would agree that imaging would be helpful in determining causes for my back pain, and then that if there is anything that can be revealed by imaging, it would show up.

If there is no explanation, then there's no explanation, and that in itself is helpful in giving peace of mind, knowing we've done all we know to do.

Thanks so much for praying with us!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Prayer Request.......

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
Keith Getty and Stuart Townend



Just a short note to ask for prayer.

About a week after I wrote my last update, I started having problems again.  Some are familiar - my gut is back to its old tricks - and some are new - I'm dealing with foggy brain, light headedness and dizziness, as well as back pain and leg weakness.  Today I had to come home from my normal activities of the day.

I have started walking the medical pathway, starting first with my neck doctor.  All was clear there.  Tomorrow I see Dr. Matt to get his counsel.  My suspicion is that I'll to need to see an MD (because of insurance) and get some imaging done.

Please pray for us as we walk yet another unknown path.  And for wisdom for the doctors as they try to figure out what's going on this time.

I love the song, "In Christ Alone," and I lean on the truths it holds.  Please pray that I can keep that truth ever before me, and my heart tethered to His.

Thanks so much for praying for me and for my family.

Bless each of you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Update.....

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped:
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
Psalm 28:7 & 63:7


Keep me within Your shadow,
Lord, tether my heart to Yours.
I want nothing without Your presence.
Hillsong

It has been on my mind and heart to write an update of the past year and what the Lord has done.

In my last post a year ago, we had just begun to understand that my issues are largely neurological, my system having "jumped the track" as a result of major stress 5 years ago.  We have worked on trying to retrain my system so it will function properly.  There has been some limited progress on that front, but the unrelenting nausea continued.

In February of this year, we met a gal who has helped a lot of people succeed in losing weight. I started going to her in the hopes that she could help me gain.  I am delighted to report that over several months I have gained 8 pounds, putting me over the 100# mark, which has caused great rejoicing!  An unexpected thing happened in the process.  While eating way more than I feel comfortable eating, the nausea ebbed away and I now seldom deal with long bouts of feeling as if I have the flu.  For this we are incredibly grateful!

I have also been able to do some mild exercise, which is wonderful.  I have loved getting outside and walking during our lovely Northwest summer months.

There are a couple of things that remain for which we are seeking solutions, and for which we would covet your prayers.

My back has been doing pretty well as long as I manage stress judiciously. But I took a fall a few months ago which messed up my normal adjustment and alignment, and we're having a bit of a struggle getting the adjustment to hold.  As a result, I've been troubled with back pain again. We are praying for adjustments to hold without having to go through the whole x-ray process again, which is costly.

The other thing -- and this is the one that limits me the most -- is the Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) affliction.  Rather than improving, my sensitivities have intensified, making it difficult to be in public places -- so I don't get out much.  We recently started attending a church we love, and have mostly worked out a way for me to be there without having to leave because of reactions, but sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the fragrances around me.  The root of the problem is that my body can't detox normally.

We have a two-part plan that we hope to implement.  My doctor has prescribed something that we hope will help my body detox properly, thereby enabling me to be around everyday toxins like others are able to do.  We also need to get the mercury fillings out of my mouth and replaced with less toxic material.  Because mercury leaks out of fillings, there's a constant influx of toxic material into my system which contributes to the MCS.  Removing and replacing the fillings is a process that is difficult on bodies that have detox issues, so it's a double-edged sword, so to speak.  And it's costly, as well.  We're praying for a pathway through this forest.

Throughout this year, the resounding theme for me has been the recognition that infirmity tethers my heart to His.  I don't ever want to lose that tether.  I don't want anything without Him.

Last week in our study of Job at church, one of the illustrations shared was that in the midst of suffering, children cling to their mommy or daddy, trusting them implicitly.  They don't want to be anywhere else.  That is the picture I want to keep in my mind and heart in the midst of whatever suffering I endure....clinging to my Abba Father and trusting Him completely, not wanting to be anywhere else.

Thank you for your prayers for us.  I still can't imagine where we'd be without you!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!

I will give thanks to You
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are your works,
and my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14

When our kids were little, I remember making for each of them a set of 3x5 cards strung on a binder ring with each card holding a verse of Psalm 139.  We worked on memorizing the Psalm.  It has stuck with me!

Tonight I watched a video depicting the journey we have all taken from conception to birth.  It was incredible.  Truly the miracle of our creation shows how fearfully and wonderfully we are made.

Earlier in the day I had an appointment with Dr. Matt, which in itself is an answer to prayer.  And as we talked, it became apparent that this "fearfully and wonderfully made" aspect of us is so far beyond anything we can comprehend.  Science scratches the surface, and the little bits we can fathom are mind-blowing.  

Matt had read my test results from earlier this year, and once again they are pretty normal.  Nothing to indicate major problems anywhere.  He then started to explain that he thinks my issues are based in an autonomic nervous system (ANS) that has jumped the track, so to speak, and just doesn't know how to function properly anymore. (In my case, this is due to major stress 4 years ago.)  The simple explanation is that the ANS is comprised of two branches; sympathetic and para-sympathetic, and is responsible for regulating most of the body's automatic internal functions. Like digestion.  Where it gets so fascinating to me is how the heart plays into all this.  Here's a quote that says it better than I can:

"Most of us have been taught in school that the heart is constantly responding to “orders” sent by the brain in the form of neural signals. However, it is not as commonly known that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart! Moreover, these heart signals have a significant effect on brain function—influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. In other words, not only does the heart respond to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to the heart."

So what does this mean for me?  The nutshell version is that the heart and nervous system (physiological) and mind and emotions (psychological) are so intertwined that when they are not synchronized properly, there is imbalance and illness, both physcial and/or emotional.  Matt's recommendation is to pursue using a treatment that has been developed to help re-train the body to synchronize all the systems (in my case, get the ANS back on track) and thereby achieve better health.  It's something I can do at home, which is awesome.  So, we're praying about it and looking into it.

Thank you for praying for me.  For us.  Your kind words and support have been a balm for all of us and we are so grateful.

I will keep you posted on how things go from here.

Bless you, each one.

If you are interested in more information and trying to get a better understanding of what I've only touched on here, the "Science Behind HeartMath" link above will take you to an article about it.

ALSO.....

For you local people, Matt has opened his practice here in Chehalis at Thorbeckes, Room 105.  Here is a link to his website.  I highly recommend him.  I've never had a better doctor.  Seriously.

Angove Family Medicine




Saturday, September 20, 2014

He is the LORD.....

"He is the LORD;
let Him do what is good in His eyes."
1 Samuel 3:18

"If I see God in everything, He will calm and color everything I see. Perhaps the circumstances causing my sorrows will not be removed and my situation will remain the same, but if Christ is brought into my [situation] as my Lord and Master, He will "surround me with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7). To see Him and to be sure that His wisdom and power never fail and His love never changes, to know that even His most distressing dealings with me are for my spiritual gain, is to be able to say in the midst of my [situation], "Blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:21
From Streams in the Desert
September 17

Indeed, He is the LORD.  Let Him do what is good in His eyes. For I/we cannot see as He can and His sight is perfect.

I have delayed giving updates this summer during this waiting time.  But as it continues to extend, I had the prompting to write today and at least give a short status report.

Dr. Matt is still setting up his new practice and as such has not been able to see me yet.  We are grateful that he will be closer to us, in our own city even, and look forward to his care for our family.

In the interim, I have tried a couple of new things in the hopes of taming the nausea.  Earlier in the summer, I tried essential oils, which kept it at bay for 9 days.  It was wonderful.  But then it came crashing down again.  In the past 3 weeks, I've also tried acupuncture.  After the first treatment, I felt amazingly well for 3 1/2 days. The best I've felt in about 4 years.  And then it came crashing down again, and after subsequent treatments, I have had very rough days.

In reflecting on the various treatments I've tried over these 4 1/2 years, there have been several times that I've felt better briefly, but then the nausea returns.  Still no clues on what is causing it.  Humanly speaking, it seems there should be a discernable cause that can be treated, but no light yet.

In the midst, I am, as always, so very grateful for my wonderful family members who stand with me through it all, showing their love and care in so many ways, and for my friends who are an extended loving support network.  Thank you all.

Yesterday, in the midst of a very difficult day, I had the blessing of this loveliness, through the hand of my dear daughter and the gardens of friends.  Bless you all.  You know who you are. :-)


I think what we would appreciate prayer for right now is perseverance and endurance in the midst.  We, of course, don't know what the future holds.  We don't know when I'll be able to see Matt again.  We don't know if anything will ever help.  But we know that James says, "Count it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,"  and we want to appropriate that truth.

Thank you for praying with us through all these years.  You are a great blessing to us all.