Angry Birds . . . Angry CHRISTIAN

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I don’t know what I’m more embarrassed of: the fact that I have never, not even once, played the game Angry Birds or that I’m such an angry christian that I play my own version of Angry Mom on my way home from work everyday. The game consists of a very angry 40 year old woman, who when she sees youthful, healthy people jogging on the side of the road. The goal:  run ask many joggers off the road as you can! 10 points for a single runner, 50 points for a couple and 100 points for a whole track team! (and I drive by a local college on my way home, so I could rack up a lot of points)

I’m kidding! I’m not really going to run anyone over. But it does make me realize that I’m definitely grieving my old, fit, healthy self. I’m going through all of the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It’s funny because I feel like I’ve gone through all of them a few times each. Maybe I’m lucky enough to be circling around again for a triple does of each . . .  hey, at least multiple mom is keeping up with her theme!

Aside from anger stemming from my grieving process, I find myself going through episodes of intense frustration and irritability (which I believe are also side affects from my invisible monster – aka Lyme/Bartonella co-infection). There’s something very NOT funny about catching myself screaming at the top of my lungs, “THAT’S ENOUGH! NO MORE YELLING! THERE WILL BE NO MORE YELLING IN THIS HOUSE!” It makes me want to scream even louder!

We’ve had quite a few melt downs this week. Between the kids having homework meltdowns and my breakdowns, we’re a Family Fondue! This morning after my tantrum, I stormed off into the family room, paced around the room for a few minutes, then plopped on the couch, threw my head in my hands and just recited the words, “God I need you,” over and over.

When I first got saved, I heard this song and it really hit home. I know God is with me. I know he always has been, but sometimes I just need to literally cry out loud to him and beg for his help. When I read Greg Laurie’s daily devotional today, I knew it was all part of God’s perfect timing – His perfect plan.

“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t treat them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.”  ~ James 1:2–4

We talk about believing this and believing that and about the truths we hold dear. But I can hear God saying to us, “You know, you have a lot of really great beliefs. You talk about them all the time. You talk about how you believe I can provide for your every need. Okay. Let Me put you into a situation where you have no other resources and really have to trust Me for that provision.”

You see, God can allow these hardships and trials and shortfalls in our lives so that we will exercise our sometimes flabby faith muscles and step out on trust alone. We need to transfer our faith from the realm of theory to in-the-trenches reality.

Flabby faith muscles – he must be talking to me! But it makes me realize that I need to let go of the anger and put my money where my mouth is. It’s time to get fit . . . not with my physical body, but with my faith. I need to be stronger than ever and stop thinking about running done those joggers and stick to a strict regiment of getting into the word, praying and strengthening my faith. I need to stop playing ANGRY CHRISTIAN and start playing __________ (insert cool game name here . . . . with a christian twist name of course!) Pathetic, I know!

Shipwrecked? Where is your life vest?

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I read my daily devotional from Greg Laurie today, he quoted 2 Corinthians 11:25: Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.

We all have our hardships in life – some more so than others. I’ve been catching myself questioning God, asking Him when my hardships will end. Almost pleading with Him to take them away and prevent any new ones!  In my last blog, I mentioned that I knew the areas of my life that I needed to improve upon and I felt God speaking to me about how to resolve them, but that it’s like he’s allowing all of these obstacles in my life, to make it that much harder for me to follow through. (Reason: to bring me closer to Him)

I wondered . .  if I only followed the Lord more closely . . . maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe this is happening because of all of the crappy BC decisions I made. But if Greg Laurie a world renowned evangelical christian would have to suffer the loss of oldest son, the worst possible thing that any parent would have to endure, then surely little old me is going to have my own wrecks – BC issues or not.

No one is perfect. No one is sinless. So, why are we surprised when we find ourselves rocking frantically in a choppy waves? If we know that the storm is temporary and that we have our life vest on – why the fear? Why do we long for a calm, peaceful sail along the Caribbean?

I’ve been off my meds for almost a month now. The same antibiotics that are killing the Lyme/Bartonella co-infection are also damaging my liver. Do I dare compare myself to a cancer patient? The chemo kills the cancer cells, but also makes them sick, makes their hair fall out etc . . . But in the end, as long as the cancer is gone, I’m assuming they all agree it’s well worth it. In my case, I don’t have much of a choice. My doctor has given me instruction to stop all meds until my liver enzymes get back up to where they need to be. In the meantime, the infection is taking over my body once again.

I’ve written before about convenient memory . . . how mom’s who go through pain-staking labor suddenly forget those previous 36 hours of pain, when they hold their little one for the first time. That’s how I am with my Lyme symptoms. I conveniently forgot how debilitating my pre-antibiotic days were. I had forgotten that I was literally bed-ridden due to my exhaustion. That is, until . . . it came back and slapped me in the face last week.

I was literally falling asleep in the car waiting for the kids to get off the bus at 3:15 in the afternoon. I was nonexistent as a parent, spouse, co-worker and friend. It is no way to live your life. It made me miss my “herxing” days of rashes covering my legs and abdomen and intense migraines. I didn’t think it was possible to miss those!

But it also gave me an appreciation for how far I’ve come. Sometimes it’s hard to see the shore line when you’re out at sea during an intense storm. But when you finally see land (even if it’s just a pit stop) it’s nice to know that you can get off the boat for awhile and enjoy some peace. Maybe some stability. Even if its the difference between debilitating fatigue and flu like body aches . . .  that little bit makes all the difference.  And those are the little things that we need to hold onto.

So, whatever your storm may be (drug addiction, depression, alcoholism) don’t get sucked under by the giant waves of your storm. Keep your head above water and know that Jesus is really the only life vest you need. He provides everything you need . . . joy, peace, strength, the will to go on . . . He provides all of it.  He’s waiting for you to reach out to him. What are you waiting for?

My glass is half full, but my tool box is half empty.

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Do you ever feel like you’re thrown into situations, where you try to fix the problem at hand, but you don’t have the correct tools? Or maybe the tool that would totally fix the problem is broken? I feel like I’m going through these trials and God is specifically shining a light on all of the areas of my life that I need to improve upon and he’s even showing me the way . . . but then when I try to fix it, I can’t.

My parenting skills is a big one. He has shown me the error of my way. I need more patience, I have to stop raising my voice . . . so I see the problem, I know what the answer is BUT I have four kids, triplets, Autism, Oppositional Defiance Disorder and now Lyme disease aka debilitating fatigue and migraines. I can talk about how I want to parent parent, I can explain it to the children, even map it out on a behavioral chart, but after an hour or two into “life” I fail . . .  and I mean epic fail!

How is an exhausted, stressed out mom with a pounding headache, supposed to put on her Behavioral Therapist hat and strategically diffuse temper tantrums and entertain children when she can barely take care of herself. Not to mention the role of wife, marketing manager, friend, daughter, sister . . .  all the roles that I play. How am I supposed to pull it all off when my tool box has been run over by the Lyme truck?

It’s like the fruit dangling in front of my face. I can see it. I can smell it. I can practically taste it. But it’s just out of reach . . . . and it is sooooooo very frustrating. The funny thing is that I know what the answer is. It’s the same answer to every question. Jesus.

I have given myself to the Lord. I have given my life to the Lord. And I am slowly learning one by one to give him not only my trials, but every aspect of the trial: the arguments, the temper tantrums, the melt downs . . . . and everything in between. I learned a long time ago not to worry about the future and to take life one day at a time and even one moment at a time. But what I’m learning now is that I have to give God not just one trial at a time . . . but every single solitary step involved in the trial to him. It’s the only way. It’s THE tool to fix every problem.

Psalm 37:5 
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.

What do you see when you look up?

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During my morning commute I always try make time to pray and focus on the beauty of the sky, (instead allowing myself to become obsessed by the traffic). As I sit in the car and look at this beautiful earth, I realize how much I take this world for granted. But other times, I sit in awe as I look up at the sky and ponder the fact that the same God that created the sky, the clouds, the trees, the sunset . . . is the same God that loves and cares for me. It’s mind blowing.

The last few days, I’ve been paying close attention to the sky. When I left this morning it was super foggy, so I didn’t expect to see much. To my surprise as I looked up, I saw something pop through the soupy fog. Was it the moon? It looked like a full moon, but seemed odd that I would see the moon on such a foggy morning. Before I could catch another glimpse and try to figure out what it was, it was gone.

Then a few minutes later, it popped through again. This time shining a bit through the fog. To my surprised, I realized it was the sun. Usually so bright, that you can’t look at it straight on, this particular morning it was just barely peaking through the clouds and fog. So much so that I didn’t even realize what it was or that it was even there.

It was like Jesus reminding me that no matter how foggy the trials of my life can be, He is always there. Sometimes it is blazingly obvious that He’s there. Other times, I forget and it seems like He’s nowhere to be found . . . until I realized that all I have to do is look up. He’s there. He’s always there.

So, don’t let the weekend go by without looking up and thanking God for what you have and taking a moment to admire His creation. Also know that whatever you are going through, you are not alone. You have ME and better than that . . .  you have the creator of heaven and earth on your side.

Isaiah 41:10 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

How BIG is your giant, really?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that such a small little being was capable of wreaking such havoc on my body the way it has . . . .

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Then I think about God  . . .

And all the joy that he has brought into my life. He can not be measured by inches, yards, feet or miles. But what I do know is that his love (and forgiveness) is unmeasurable.

I am so thankful that my husband brought me back to the Lord. Together we have put Jesus first in our lives, allowing us to drawer closer and closer to him. Which helps us to endure the trials of life.

Thank you husband! I love you my da!

Fast Forward for a Time Such as This!

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Flashback  . . . . three sports seasons ago, I laid on the couch every night while my husband took my oldest son to basketball practice. Most mothers would be excited to watch their children practice, especially if it’s their first time playing a particular sport (I’m not talking about you soccer mom’s who have sat through thousands and thousands of hours sitting in your soccer mom chair with your favorite book in hand). This is new and exciting . . . and I was missing it all.

Tonight, I sit at home in a quiet house while my children are out practicing their new sport . . . football. In fact, I just received a text that the boys are actually scrimmaging EACH OTHER! That’s a double whammy! I would only have to look at one field instead of sitting in between fields and constantly straining to watch both teams at the same time. But instead, I sit at home, because I’m too exhausted to sit in my soccer mom chair. I need to lay down and have the convenience of being able to close my eyes and drift off if the need arises.

Seriously? That just sounds pathetic . . . but that’s my past and it is once again my present. So, why am I this pathetic? This week’s excuse (sorry, feeling a bit of a whine coming on) Bartonella. Not herxing from the meds, but strict Bartonella. Joint pain, migraine, back pain, debilitating fatigue and TMJ are the symptoms that come to mind. Last week I started getting sharp pains in my side. They seemed to be worse right after I took my antibiotic. I googled, WHERE IS MY LIVER and the pictures that came up confirmed what I thought.

It was the holiday weekend, so I knew my doctor wouldn’t be in, so I made an executive decision to stop taking the antibiotics until I spoke to the medical team about what was going on. If you recall, a few weeks ago my blood work showed that my Liver enzymes were a bit out of range, so my doctor wanted to keep an eye on them. He also added a few extra supplements that were supposed to balance out my wackiness.

After talking with the medical team, I was advised to stay off of the antibiotics, until I can get more blood work done. Just like with any medication there are pro’s and con’s to taking these particular antibiotics. They have done amazing things to my body, killing off so much, but the human body was not designed to endure 8 straight months of antibiotics. And my Liver is telling me to stop.

So, who do I listen to? My Liver is screaming at me to stop killing it, but today my entire body is screaming to go back on the antibiotics. I feel like an addict detoxing. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I know God is getting me through this, but it’s so hard. I want to be there to watch my boys sit the bench (haaa just kidding – sort of!). I don’t want to miss out on any more of their life than I already have.

I know that without this treatment, I wouldn’t have been as healthy as I’ve been over the last eight months, but I just wish that I knew how to fix this problem and how to ultimately get healthy again… for real! Not just a temporary healthy . . . but a REAL healthy. Lord, when will this trial end? When will I finally be free of Lyme and Bartonella?

I know we’re not supposed to have the answers or even understand the WHY’S. We’re supposed to trust the author of the book of our lives – and I do. I don’t doubt it, I don’t doubt His plan. I guess I just get tired of waiting. I guess that’s the importance of learning patience. These trials teach us to be patient and know that everything will happen on His timeline.

Rejoicing in Trials

(Philippians 1:12-20)

2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

That’s my problem. I want to be healed. I want my life to be like it was before. I have to learn to be happy and REJOICE in what I have right now. I need to be just as joyful in my “lymie state” as I would be in a healthy state.

One of my favorite books of the bible has become Esther. I often quote it to my children when they have to do something that they don’t want to do:

Ester 4:14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

I can not sit back and be quiet about this. I must fight and fight hard and share my story with you or anyone who will listen. Maybe I was brought into this world, formed in my mother’s womb just for this moment? To share my story with you, show you that without God I would not have been able to survive this trial, and share the Good News with you . . . Jesus loves you!