Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ephesians Chapter Six

Our neighborhood church group came over this evening and we studied together, prayed together, and finished out the evening with a hot apple crisp and ice cream.  After reading Ephesians chapter six, we shared the joys and struggles of family life, and what it means to "put on the full armor of God."  It seems that around the circle we could each remember times in the past week when life became very difficult under the circumstances confronting us.  Yet, we were able to recall the times we felt the strength that comes from trusting God for the solutions, remembering that in every challenge we face, the battle is the Lord's.  I love that living the Christian life gives us a spiritual family.  As brothers and sisters in Christ we can share our concerns and then lift our heart in prayer to our Heavenly Father Who holds us and our universe together.

Qavah is a happy girl.  She was given a new wardrobe by a friend of mine whose daughters have outgrown their clothes.  Her favorite piece of clothing is a new plaid cape.  Her imagination has once again been stirred to re-enact scenes from Narnia.  She could be seen flitting through the house today with her cape flapping in the breeze.  I wasn't sure if she was being chased or the one doing the chasing.  It is so much fun to have a child in the house along with all of her imaginary Kingdom.  While Kathryn and I cooked and prepared for our guests this evening, Qavah was Queen of Narnia.  Here we are at bedtime, feeling content, each of us having made the most of this fine Autumn day.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6: 10-11

Monday, October 17, 2011

Checking the Mail

Years ago, in my home state of Michigan, I remember as a young girl of seven or eight running to get the mail from the little silver box anchored to the front of the house.  Our home at that time was just outside of Detroit.  The postman carried a big bag and to see him walking up the street was one of the exciting times of the day.  I have been checking my mail again with that same kind of hopeful expectation.  Only this time it is email, and I check it about ten times a day waiting for news of a donor match for Qavah.

I finally sent out an email last Friday asking the nurse in charge of Qavah's case to tell me when I should expect to find out something about a possible donor from NIH.  I got an answer back that a realistic wait would be about another month.  I replied and said, "Thanks, I will stop checking my email ten times a day!"  In this world of "instant" I have discovered something about myself. Although everything happens much faster by way of the internet, I still have just as hard a time waiting for anything.  I've concluded that waiting is just plain hard for me no matter how long or short the wait may be. Sometimes, just booting up takes way too long!  Do you know what I mean?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wellness of Mind

Kathryn went to her Bible study last night and is planning to go out tonight to the Blue Ridge Women's Center fundraiser.  Last week at this time she was getting a bag of electrolytes and wishing for physical relief.  Seven days later, with the right antibiotic, she is doing very well.  We are all so very grateful for the many people praying for her.  Your prayers help sustain her spirit while everything else may appear to be falling apart.  

Can chronic problems such as the ones Kathryn has experienced be attention seeking?  Possibly, but one cannot fake broken ribs, osteoporosis, complete blood count results, endoscopy studies, and adrenal insufficiency; just to name a few of the events of the past five years   It is one thing to have to live life this way, but still another to hear cruel statements from those without understanding or mercy.  We just studied Ephesians chapter four with our church group and I thought about the words Kathryn has had to endure and forgive.  Kathryn has wellness of mind.  She is amazing, and I am so proud of her.  In many ways she has taught me how to accept hardship with grace, and let the small stuff go.  I am not always as successful as Kathryn, but I still have a loving God working on my own heart.  

I once thought a woman I knew had an eating disorder because of her extremely thin frame.  I discovered many years later that she had a profoundly diseased GI system that was not allowing her to absorb nutrients.  She had no control over her body weight, but simply lived the best she could.  When I found that out, I felt terrible about making a snap judgement that I had no business making about her.  I asked God to forgive me for being judgemental, but have to admit it was a very easy thing to do.  When I hear criticisms directed at Kathryn for the way she is handling life, I have to remember how easy it was for me to make comments unbecoming a Christian.  In an age where people say whatever they like without a thought of how it destroys those who hear it, I think I'd rather live by the words of Ephesians 4:29 and experience the peace He promises.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

The Window from which we look

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they are eating breakfast,
The young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

"That laundry is not very clean," she said.
"She doesn't know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry,
The young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
Nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:

"Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.
I wonder who taught her this."

The husband said, "I got up early this morning and
Cleaned our windows."

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others
Depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Kathryn is Resting

The week was long and we spent a lot of time at the hospital.  Kathryn had problems with electrolytes and pain in her limbs that caused a great deal of distress.  Through a series of events, which included leg muscle spasms, she was given electrolytes by IV on Thursday.  On Friday, her pulmonologist diagnosed her with bacterial pneumonia.  After just three doses of an antibiotic, she has started coughing productively, and spent today in bed letting the antibiotic do the work. 

Although it was a tough week, we have had some great times of prayer and Bible study together.  The title of my post is "Kathryn is Resting."  While it is true that she is in bed and very tired, Kathryn is resting; in the knowledge that she is eternally secure by the promises of God. She believes God sent His son to die in her place for the sins she could not redeem by her own  merit.  We have had some very good conversations about salvation recently since we are studying Revelations.  That particular book in the Bible speaks of the end of this world as we know it.  By faith she believes that last and final day will dawn, and death will be swallowed up in victory.  Kathryn is resting in a way that goes beyond relief of symptoms; it is resting in the joy of knowing the One Who gave her eternal security on Calvary's cross.

She is a well balanced young woman living her life to the fullest.  She may be able to overcome many more obstacles for many more years, but still, she has one eye on the horizon.  She has found The Cure.  It isn't a secret hidden in a vault, or genetic blip yet to be discovered.  It is in the pages of her Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  It is the redemption plan for all diseased humans.  That is the cure that has made her more alive than ever.  It has enabled her let go of the trappings of this world to embrace the amazing life to come.  The cure is written in John 3:16, and is there for all of the broken and broken-hearted.

No matter which disease is diagnosed, or which miracle cure is found, the end result for all of us in this life is the grave.  No matter how healthy we are in this moment, no one escapes their "final" day.  For those who put their hope and trust in God through the saving grace of Jesus, the final day on earth is just the beginning of joy everlasting. There is such simplicity in the way we are invited to receive eternal security.  We need only to acknowledge that we are sinners and we can not save ourselves.  Then we can picture Jesus holding out His nail-scarred hands saying, "Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.  By taking His hand, and accepting the invitation to believe Him, He has shown us how to let go of this life.  As the sun goes down and Sabbath begins, we are reminded that Sabbath is a day of rest, offered to mankind in Genesis, and is a foreshadow of eternal rest, which begins when we are at peace with God.  Rest, sweet Kathryn!

I, even I, I Am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.
 Isaiah 43:11

Monday, October 03, 2011

Moving Along

Moving along is easier today. I am able to run up and down the stairs, and accept for a few remaining stitches, my leg is much better. I am very thankful for a good pathology report and the assurance from the surgeon that it isn't likely that the calcified growth will return. I am very, very, thankful.

The bone marrow donor base is being checked this week and we will soon find out if there is a bone marrow match for Qavah. I found out today that matches are made at the National Institute of Health. It shouldn't be long now before we know for sure weather Qavah has that option.

Kathryn is having some continuing problems from the bone building drug, Prolia. She experiences shooting pain in her left leg that often has her awake at night. She is taking more calcium and vitamin D according to the directions and has some relief at different times during the day. She has had enough trouble with electrolyte imbalance, leg pain, and back pain, that she has decided not to use the drug again. We have a small microwave in her bedroom and rice bags which can be heated up and placed on her legs for relief.

Paul and I are working on a plan to take a vacation with the girls soon. We all need a trip to the Sunshine State to relax and enjoy the gulf breezes and unusual birds. We need to wiggle our toes on a sandy beach, and have a picnic with Aunt Lil and Uncle Tony. We also feel sure that our Great God is smiling on us as we continue to wait on Him and hope for miracles.