Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tis me again, bless your hearts and thank you for praying for me ... I am feeling better this morning, thank the good Lord. His mercies endure forever....what a blessed, tremendous truth that is ... His mercies endure forever!

Each episode of asthma is a reminder that I am going to leave this earth one day ... the Bible tells us in 2 Cor. 4:16 "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." Who I really am is being renewed, regardless of what goes on outside. And one day, this body will be made new and it will better fit the inward 'me' ... for eternity. I will one day be able to not only walk, but run! I've so wanted to be able to run. There won't be any more breathing problems ... that's almost hard to grasp because I've dealt with asthma for 49 years. There will be no such thing as Bronchiectasis, or Essential Thrombocythemia, or Fibromyalgia, or Silent Migraines or Depression, or Neuralgia or arthritic changes in my spine.

In light of eternity, our time here is like one drop of water taken out of a vast ocean. It helps to look at things this way, it puts into perspective what I go through here. The health problems will not last forever, but I will!

I so enjoyed reading "The Journey of Desire" by John Eldridge... I recommend it to all who haven't read it. It reinforced the truth that we're made for something higher than ourselves, for Someone who loves us and desires us to desire Him. And it shed needed light on the fact this isn't all there is. There is SO much awaiting us!

It is my hope to do a study this next week and I'll post it as I go along. I want to research what the Bible says about who we are in Christ, and I'm excited to find out just how much Scripture has to say about that.

May you have a God-filled day and may needs be met. You are precious to me and I thank God for each of you.

Till later ... bye!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hi Ladies, just want you to know I am once again not feeling well. Sore throat, asthma, lots of pain in my old faithful right lung (the one with the most damage from Bronchiectasis) and just over-all not feelin' good. Went to the dr. this afternoon, I'm on another antibiotic and another Prednisone Dose Pak. Hopefully will find out tomorrow if there's pneumonia in the right lung.

I sincerely hope you're all well. I think a good dose of some outside warmth and sunshine would help us all. All last week, when my Fred was sick, I kept thinking "Please Lord, please don't let me get sick" .. and here I am. Hopefully I've caught this early enough that it won't get serious. The dr. told me to go to ER if I get worse ... Lord willing and breathing treatments, that won't happen!

Count it all joy ... even when it hurts and it's the last thing you want to do.

I love you all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dear Friends, I felt I needed to share this with you .. not sure if it will speak to anyone in particular, but it surely spoke to me. I am putting my earlier journals into a file in my computer and this is one I want to share today. Please note that the words in italics are what I sensed God speaking to me that morning as I wrote.

Wed. 11-3-1993 6:45a.m.
Good morning Father. This is the day that You have made - I will rejoice and be glad in it. Regardless of the weather, I should (or have the ability to choose to) rejoice and be glad in it.

“You don’t realize the abilities you do have. I’ve equipped you to meet anything a day might hold when you realize I am your source and your strength. There’s no need to be 'stressed out' in what a day holds if you will behold Me in that day.

Much illness comes from the failure to look to Me in your daily situations. I am the greatest ‘Day-Timer’ and stress handler You will ever meet. Why try to get through on your own - in your own strength - when I’m here to help, guide and assist?”

Joy and rejoicing are two of the greatest ‘tools’ any Christian can possess … yet’ they’re both choices we must make.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise utters knowledge rightly, but the mouth of self-confident fools pours out folly.
15:4 A gentle tongue with its healing power, is a tree of life, but willful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit.

Be slow to speak today - ask for wisdom - seek for wisdom - be quick to sing to God, and always allow your tongue to offer praise. Praise is to be a way of life - not something you do on Sunday.
Develop an attitude of praise and thanksgiving … there is everything to be thankful for.

A gentle tongue has healing power and is a tree of life -

Willful contrariness in the tongue breaks down the spirit - of the one speaking and the one hearing.

I’ve assaulted my own spirit for a long time. I’ve assaulted others' spirits for just as long.
God, forgive me and help me change. Please.

As I’ve told you before, what you 'eat' or take in, is what has to come out. Good or evil, once partaken of, you cannot contain it forever - it will come out. Be cautious of what you’re ‘eating’.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A quick update ... David had to go back to the surgeon Tues. morning .. two stitches had opened and they had to be re-stitched. He learned the 3 hernias are all 'new' ones ... the repair surgery for the first one is still intact. He also told me his landlord is talking of selling the house they're renting .. and they can't afford to buy it ... not sure what will happen next.

My Fred is sick ... started with sinus, but he's now doing breathing treatments due to asthma ... yes, he has it too.

I am tired ... and have felt as though I've been mentally assaulted this week ... have you ever felt that way? I realize it's the enemy of my soul, doing his job, but boy, some days it's just rough going.

I need to take me to bed .. been up since 6am and this body is telling me it's time to lie down and rest.

My love and thanks to you all.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thank you precious friends for your prayers for my son and others! Thank you! It is such a blessing to know people are praying. Think about that for a minute ... it is a blessing to have the capability to KNOW people are praying for us. We are not alone, we have each other and our Lord 'ever lives to make intercession for us' ... Hebrews 7:25.

I spoke with David a few minutes ago. He said he's alright, just tired and sore. He said he would need me or his Dad to take him out to his work one day this week and I told him to just call, we're here to help.

I have been reading at today. This, among other articles, really hit home for me:

Richard Baxter's Guide To The Value Of A Book
While reading ask oneself:
1. Could I spend this time no better?
2. Are there better books that would edify me more?
3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?
4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?

Rev. Baxter lived from 1615 - 1691, long before television was even thought of. His concern then was books and what people were reading. I found myself asking 'what on earth would he think of the books, magazines, newspapers, television, movies and the Internet if he could walk on this earth right now?' He would be astounded and ashamed I think, of all that's open for just about anyone who has eyes to see. If he took such great care to scrutinize the books he read, what would he think of ours?

For me, I could change Rev. Baxter's list to this:
While reading, or watching television, I need to ask myself:
1. Is there a better way I could spend this time?
2. Are there books or programs that would edify me more?
3. Are the lovers of such a book or movie as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?
4. Does this book or TV program, this movie, increase my love of God's Word. Do they kill my sin and prepare me for the life to come?

I realize this may sound very legalistic to many, but I'm talking to ME. I know me far better than anyone who reads this; and I know what my short-comings are. I know that once I sit down in the evening to 'just catch the news' .. I could be there till bedtime, watching 'just one more show'. And I know that I'll feel badly for doing it, but I will have the attitude "Jesus understands ... He knows my flesh is weak ... I can confess and ask Him to forgive me and He will ... and tomorrow, I promise myself, tomorrow I'll do better!" And tomorrow is usually a repeat of today. That's how I am.

I listened to a minister last week say that anytime we place more emphasis on anything more than we do God and His Word, it usually means we have a hardened heart. That sentence also caused me to give serious thought to how I spend my time. For ME, I must get away from excessive TV. I started to say the programs I watch aren't 'bad' ones, but when I stop to really see what's in them ... how do I commend them? Is there anything praiseworthy in what I watch? Is there anything that honors the Lord? Do they edify my soul and make me hunger and thirst for more of Him? There are decent, God-honoring movies on TV from time to time. We watched one just yesterday ... 'Saving Sarah Cain'. Sadly these types of movies are the exception, not the rule in today's media.

If you think I've gone off the deep end of religion, please tell me. All I know is I keep sensing a prompting deep inside that says "There's more to life than this ... Redeem the time for the days are evil ... Turn off the television or leave the room if you have to ... but do something edifying and constructive with the time you've been given ... and that might just mean, quietly sitting in the presence of the Lord, learning to be still and know that He IS God".

We've all been given a path to walk and a cross to bear. I won't impose mine on anyone, I'll just be grateful I have friends who will help me along the way ... who pray for me and care about me in spite of myself. And to the best of my ability, I'll help them as we journey toward Home.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

David came home this afternoon. His wife said he was hurting, but resting. He'll go next week for a recheck with the surgeon. Many thanks for praying for him. My concern now is his job ... please pray that his employer will give him time to recover and he'll be able to keep his job. He's only been there 3 weeks.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Update on David ... surgery was done this evening ... there were 3 hernias and one was bleeding into his stomach, causing much pain. If all goes well, he'll come home tomorrow. Thank you all for praying for him.
Please pray for these folks:

Our son David ... may need surgery today for a ruptured hernia.

Rev. Rick Locklear - Bone cancer
Lona Shaw - Cancer through-out her body (she is Rev. Locklear's sister)
Theresa Sykes - Cancer
Mr. Pickett - a member of Rev. Locklear's church, was in a serious auto accident and is in serious condition at U of M hospital

Monday, January 12, 2009

Update: My voice is nearly back to normal ... I sang with others in church yesterday and it felt so wonderful to praise the Lord with a loud, but still crackly voice! I sang till I couldn't and that was a good thing. Thank you all again for praying for me.

I read this in my journal from 1997:

"John Macarthur said this morning that You supply the power and the strength, but we have to put forth the effort." I'm finding that to be absolutely true. I'm also finding that if I wait to 'feel' like doing something, most everything won't get done. From brushing my teeth (what's left of 'em that is) to getting dressed to housework and on and on it goes. My motto the past couple of weeks is "Do it anyway". Run the vacuum, dust, clean, do it whether I feel like doing it or not.

We're a generation of people who were taught to work, but we were then taken down a primrose path of 'self awareness' and 'if it feels good, do it' ... that came along in the late 60's, 70's and 80's I think. It's even worse today. So to many, if they don't 'feel' like doing anything, they don't. At least to my way of thinking that is.

I was skipping thru TV channels the other night and saw a show about housewives in CA. Not sure of the shows name and don't really care ... all I know is I saw a group of spoiled, selfish women, trying to be the 'hottest' member of their group and doing whatever it takes to be that faux person ... by the way, does any woman in CA have the breasts they were born with? According to that show, they don't. One lady spent $8,000.00 for a set of bed linens and her reasoning was "everyone deserves the best you can afford in life". $8,000 for a set of sheets and a comforter & shams ... unreal and yet, sadly, too real in our world today.

As I thought about the waste of spending that kind of money for a set of sheets, I was reminded that the tendency to be that vain and prideful and wasteful resides within me too. It's there, just waiting for the right time to pop out and say "I deserve this!" Oh, my expenditures don't compare with that woman's ... how could it on our income? But still, I can justify anything I choose to if I keep myself out of God's word long enough. It's there that I find balance and reason and sensibility to meet today's world. Thankfully God has graced me with wisdom that says "No, you don't deserve a set of $8,000 sheets ... but you can be grateful for the ones you bought on sale at Kohl's and see them as a blessing from above. You can remember that there are homeless folks who might give their all to have the home you have, so be grateful, not envious of anyone in the make-believe world of TV".

I don't want to be a faux anything. I don't want to do something just because someone else is doing it ... and that pertains to the religious realm also. I want to walk the path God has given me to walk and the only One I want to hear say 'well done' is Him. It's good to have Christian friends commend me from time to time, but all honor, all praise, all thanksgiving must go to Him. Without Him, I wouldn't be here. I'm thankful He gave me life ... not once, but three times.
I'm thankful for each day, even those when I don't feel like cleaning the bathroom!

Friday, January 9, 2009

An Invitation ... once again Sara has spoken what needs to be said at the conclusion of this week's wonderful posts.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I believe ... Again, read Sara's post on this topic ... I agree with and believe everything she's written. I couldn't say it better, and I'm not going to try.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When it's been hard ... read Sara & Deb's posts as I can see me in both of them.

It's also been hard for me to trust God with my sons and their children.
It's been hard to trust Him when well-meaning people are telling me to 'claim my healing' and it doesn't come and that leaves me wondering 'what's wrong with me?'
It's been hard to accept that I will most likely live with health problems as long as I'm on this earth, and that it's okay. God knows and that's all that matters.
It's been hard to accept ME with all my faults and doubts and irrational thinking from time to time. How could God love ME anyway?
It's been hard, indeed it has, but in the long run, it's all been worth it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Witnessing ... I have greatly enjoyed Sara's rendition and experiences with that topic ... after I was saved, I too was in a pentecostal church and learned first-hand how they attempted to scare people into getting saved. I believed that for awhile too. As I grow older I understand that it's love that draws people to the Father ... the love I have for them relates directly to how I see the love our Father has for us.

My salvation experience was one of the scariest I know of and yet, on the day I accepted Him into my life and meant it, it was love that won the battle. It took me many years to understand that I couldn't save anyone .. and as far as witnessing, I felt like a 5'10" failure.

I don't have the gumption or the gifting to walk up to a stranger and begin talking about heaven, hell and eternity. I will however, stand near them, as I did today in the grocery store as we waited in the check out line, and pray for God to bring them to Himself, if they're not already there. I ask God to work in their lives for their good and His glory. And I smile.

There have been folks who have come to faith because of my life and my testimony. During the time I was dealing with severe asthma and all that led to, our next door neighbor knew us and saw all that went on. After I was home and recovered, she & I were talking over the back yard fence one day. She said "I have to admit something to you." As I wondered what on earth she was talking about, she then said "I've been watching you Louise, since you got home from the hospital and told me you had been saved, I've been watching to see if it was real and it is." I was then able to talk with her further and we ended the conversation in prayer. She prayed for the Lord to forgive her and come into her heart.

She attended church with me for awhile, but her husband wasn't happy with the changes in her and he let her know it. She couldn't drive and was dependent on me to take her to church. One day we got home and she saw suitcases on the front stoop of her house. Her suitcases. Her husband had warned her that if she left for church that morning, she'd find them packed & waiting for her when she got home. I felt badly for her, and angry at him. I should have pitied the man but I was young and too quick with words way back then.

He eventually opened the door and let her in the house, but just a few months later I learned they had to move. This man had deliberately stopped making house payments just to get her away from me and my church. What he didn't realize when they moved, was that they were moving even closer to 'my' church. I smiled and told her not to worry, she'd be on my way and I could pick her up if she wanted me to. She did. And he became angrier.

Not long after all this, she told me they were moving again ... this time out of state. I thought to myself "He can take her from me and the church here, but he'll never get her away from God". For a time it seemed he had won as I didn't hear from her for a couple of years and when I did, it was to learn she wasn't going to church anywhere. He refused to take her.

This story began in 1979 and I'm pleased to tell you that she and I reconnected and we now talk about once a month; she's still living out of state; and she's rededicated her life to Christ. She's a woman of prayer and reads her Bible openly in their apartment, because as she said, "The place is too small for me to have a place of my own, so I read at the kitchen table and he hasn't said a word". Better yet, he will now take her to church when she asks him to; but, as he told her, "don't ask me to go down front, sitting back here is just fine with me". The man who did his best to run from me was really trying to run from God and hopefully he's learning he can't do that successfully. I still pray for him and their children and trust the Lord to bring them to a saving faith in Christ.

One other thing, her words "I've been watching you" have never left me and serve as a reminder that people watch what we do to see if our actions line up with our words. I am so very thankful mine did for her and I'm careful to walk as befits a child of God yet today.

No, I'm not an in-your-face witness-er type person. I'm more of a love my neighbor as myself; bake & share cookies with them; send uplifting emails & tell them I'm praying for them; invite them to church and do a lot of smiling type person. I send or give cards and books too. And when the door opens, tell them about the love of Jesus that transformed my life. And then, trust that God will indeed bring to faith those whom He has called to be His.

Monday, January 5, 2009

When I came to know Christ as my Savior is a long story ....

I have dealt with asthma since the age of 13. Back then all a doctor could do was give me cortisone and put me in the hospital until the attack eased up. I was in and out of the hospital many times from 1960 - 1979. Medications had changed over the years, but the asthma worsened. By the time 1979 arrived, I had a large oxygen tank in our bedroom and two machines to do breathing treatments. 1977 to early 1979 were some of the most difficult months of my life.

I had had two severe attacks in 1977, both of which put me into ICU for a while. I stopped breathing the first time and remember having a mask put over my face as a nurse pumped air into my lungs .. all the while I was being rushed from my regular room to ICU on the hospital bed. That episode lasted two weeks. I came home about 25 lbs. heavier than when I went into the hospital; I was swollen and didn't recognize myself when I looked into a mirror. Cortisone / prednisone is a good medication when it's needed, but the side effects can be treacherous.

A second severe attack happened a few months later and I again spent time in ICU. I began to wonder if I would die like that.

During all this, I knew I needed to get my life right with God, but I seriously didn't know how. I knew to call on Him, but I knew next to nothing about prayer; and since we didn't go to church, what was I to do? That was my thinking back then.

In early 1979 I was again taken to ER for another asthma attack and once again, I was admitted. This was nothing unusual, but there was something going on that I didn't understand. I learned much later that my oxygen level became so low I was "hallucinating" and the nurse called my husband to come back to the hospital. They called it hallucination, but I knew I was dying and I knew I wasn't ready and I was scared out of my mind.

My husband came; and then my brother George & my sister Kay. I was begging them to pray with me, to pray for me, and I felt absolutely lost when they couldn't. My sister asked if I wanted her to call a lady from her church and I said Yes! You must understand, at that time my sister Kay was just a young teen-ager and newly saved and most likely scared witless to see me in the shape I was in. And neither my husband or my brother were saved at that time. I didn't understand their reluctance to pray, but understanding did come later.

The last conscious thing I remember was a lady named Glenda holding my hand and praying for me. I don't remember her face, just her hands holding mine. I then slipped into unconsciousness and then into a coma. The first days (?) in the coma, I was in a very dark place ... it was a blackness unlike anything I had ever experienced and I felt as though I was wrapped in black velvet. I learned later that about a week later a minister friend of my parents came to see me. I remember his putting his hand upon my forehead and praying for me. When he finished praying, a voice spoke to me, inside of me and said "It's okay now, you can go to sleep." And I did sleep, on and off for the remainder of the time I was in the coma.

After that minister prayed for me, I began to see people and I tried my best to communicate. When family members noticed movement, they were told by nurses or doctors that it was simply a reflex, that I couldn't voluntarily move. I remember being hungry and wanting a vanilla milkshake. I craved ice water and orange juice. I remember a respiratory therapist being in my room just as a nurse brought in liquid nourishment. The therapist was talking to me and said "She's brought your dinner, we hope you're hungry." I laid there thinking "Finally! Food! I'm starved!" But nothing came. I then felt something cold inside my throat and realized I was being fed through a tube. I wasn't happy, but decided to pretend I was getting the milkshake I wanted that way.

During these two weeks of being in a coma, my family was being told that I wouldn't come out of it and if I did live, I would be in a vegetative state for the rest of my life. They said it would be best for my husband to consider taking me off of life support and 'let nature take it's course'.

On Good Friday I remember seeing my husband and my brother George standing at the foot of my bed. George held a single rose and he was reading to me from a card he had bought. Later that day I was moved from the local hospital to U of M so a CT scan could be done of my head ... to prove that I wouldn't recover. I remember part of the ride in the ambulance and the precious nurse who sat and held my hand and talked to me all the way there. She didn't know I could hear her, but I did.

On Easter Sunday, 1979, I began to wake up, to the utter amazement of everyone, I began to wake up and I wasn't a vegetable! I was so grateful to be alive and awake. It was on that day that I first heard the words "Be still and know that I am God" ... and they seemed as audible as any other voice. I was alone in the room and couldn't move anything but my head ... the respirator was still helping me breathe and I was paralyzed from the neck down. Those words were spoken twice more and then I realized it had to be God and He was talking to me.

I laid there and cried and asked Him to forgive me and let me live for Him. I told Him that if I never walked again, that would be alright, just please, don't ever leave me alone. I told Him I was sorry for every bad thing I had ever done. I told Him how grateful I was to be alive. And you know, in writing this, I remember that I didn't have much of a voice then either. I whispered those words because the respirator was breathing for me and when you're on one of those machines, talking isn't easy.

There is much more I could share, and perhaps one day I'll continue this story of how God not only saved me and let me live to go home to my sons and my husband ... He also allowed me to regain full use of this body and let me walk when doctor's said that was unlikely. He restored my vision and truly let me "see" for the first time in my life, what His grace looks like.

Easter is my favorite holy day ... I know what it is to be dying and not be ready ... I know what it is to be declared clinically dead and then be brought back to life ... I know the despair and the joy of Good Friday and Easter and I deeply appreciate our Savior and all He's done to make us His children.

I love Sara's post about her salvation and her healing, and I wished I could have had that ... but that wasn't my path to walk. That was for Sara and I'm happy for her ... she's a blessing to each of us. I thank her for doing these special posts this week .. we need to look back and remember and share where God has brought us from. We need to recall His blessings and tell them to all who will listen.

Thank you Sara ...
Thank You Lord....
My voice is even more understandable this morning. I thank you for praying for me during these past weeks.

I attended the funeral of a dear friend's Mom on Saturday. She was a precious, Godly woman and will be missed by all who knew her. She leaves a legacy and a heritage of Godliness and goodness for her family and that is such a blessing.

The room was filled with family and friends and her pastor made a comment that has stayed with me ... we all have a date with death and are we as prepared as Virginia was for when that time comes? I've thought about those words often since Saturday and just last night the thought came to me that while Virginia is absent from our presence right now, she's not dead by any means. She is more alive at this moment than ever in her life.

She is in the presence of her King and her Lord and nothing bad shall ever touch her again. Her trials are over and she's truly free to be the person God intends for her to be. I told her daughter Nina that I could imagine the reunion taking place between her & Roy, and perhaps his saying to her "what took you so long?" Theirs was a relationship seldom seen in today's world and one we could learn much from. Roy's death was so sudden and unexpected and it was so difficult for the family to come to terms with. Virginia's home-going took longer and gave people adequate time to say "Good-bye for now, we'll see you again soon." And we will if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We all do have a date with death, unless the Lord returns for His bride first, we will all come face to face with something we know little about. Something we don't want to know about if we're honest with ourselves. What I'm seeing however, is that death is but the avenue that will take us Home to be with our Lord, and we need not fear it as the unsaved must fear it.

A former Pastor of ours, in explaining death to us, said this "Imagine you're a small child and you've spent the day with family on an outing. On the way home, you fall asleep in the back seat of your father's car. Rather than wake you, he carries you inside the house and puts you in your bed. When you awake in the morning, you're surprised to find you're home; but then you learn your Dad carried you while you slept. That, for the Christian, is what death is like. It simply carries us Home."

What wonders await us! What glories we'll behold! What blessings we have to open today!
My love to you all.

Grace remits sin and peace quiets the conscience. Sin and conscience torment us, but Christ has overcome these fiends now and forever. Only Christians possess this victorious knowledge given from above. These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity. Grace involves the remission of sins, peace and a happy conscience. Sin is not canceled by lawful living, for no person is able to live up to the law…the fact is the more a person seeks credit for himself by his own efforts, the deeper he goes into debt. Nothing can take away sin except the grace of God. In actual living, however it is not so easy to persuade oneself that by grace alone, in opposition to every other means, we obtain the forgiveness of our sins and peace with God.

Martin Luther

Friday, January 2, 2009

My voice is improving! You can actually understand what I'm saying some of the time! Praise the good Lord for His unending mercy and grace to us!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

To all my sweet friends, may this New Year truly be a happy one. May it be filled with the goodness and grace of our Father and because we are His, it shall be.
My love to you all, will write more tomorrow, Lord willing.