Friday, January 28, 2011

What I WANT and What I NEED When I Pray

I forgot to load this when Lexie went for her black belt in Tae Kwon doe, the holidays were crazy. I was so proud of Lexie as she did receive her black belt on Braxton's 4th birthday. It was a very good day all around. I think I'd fall over on my face if I tried this ha ha.

I've had an interesting week so far concerning my prayer life, which has been pretty non existant since we left our church to go back to our old one. I was listening to my spiritual mentor on her webcast (her site is being hacked these days since her new book Made To Crave has come out so it's down today again. Stupid hackers.) and she was talking about "Wants" and "Needs". Here is the freaky twist to that. If you've been reading the posts below, I blogged about Sunday's sermon at True Life where Jesus says to blind Bart "What do you want me to do for you?" Pastor made a big point that Jesus usually asks a question very similar to this when he heals someone. Knowing Jesus can read the minds of every person around him it is critical to note that he ALREADY knows what the person wants and needs. But, he asks. Pastor said it is important to know WHAT we want from Jesus and WHAT we want Him to do when we are seeking help. I thought that was interesting but didn't pause on that too long. Then the next evening Lysa was on talking about Wants and Needs. I may have this next part mixed up a little because God has shown me so much this week my head is spinning. I may get the begging part from Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl or maybe that all was Monday. You know, I get this much information mixed up sometimes lol. She was talking about how so many times she would pray begging "God I NEED you to do this..... God I NEED you to do that." and how we mess up our WANTS with our NEEDS. I marinated in that for a bit and then I prayed the next day and as I was praying about Amber I realized I was doing the exact thing Lysa was talking about. "God I NEED you to please heal Amber. God I NEED you to help us pay for her treatments. God I NEED....." and I paused very quickly. I said "Okay Lord, I get it now. Jesus, I WANT you to heal Amber but more than anything we NEED you. I WANT the funds to pay back my dad quickly and be able to pay for future treatments and the new wardrobe for Amber but more than anything we NEED to feel you. Jesus I WANT you to make the stress go away with the work pressures so we can focus on kitty but we NEED you directing our lives foremost. We NEED to be in your will. We WANT you to make this better and heal Amber." I redirected my requests quickly into wants and needs. I redirected a needful begging into a faithful request to Jesus and God. You know, I really liked it. Every time I said an "I WANT" I was immediately mindful of what I also NEEDED more than my "I WANT". It made my prayer more focused on Jesus than my requests. It made my requests faith filled requests and not begging and pleading, it made my prayer more centered around my need for Jesus and the Lord to be my main love and focus and my relationship with them as the top priority and everything else was second. I NEED God, I NEED Jesus. I WANT healing for Amber. I WANT the finances to be plentiful so that stress is gone. I WANT the guys to work hard and get the jobs done quickly so they are more profitable so the company can be in the black. It just really shifted my realities into looking at what I truly do need first.

I love Lysa TerKeurst. I cannot wait to get her book Made To Crave. You know that's how I lost over 30 lbs last year, her book kind of. She was in the process of going through everything she did where she ended up being able to write Made To Crave and how the whole diet process needed to be one that she invited God into and how she relied on Him for strength. I thought she was a little kooky at first but as I saw it work for her, I tried it. I invited God to be my strength and my "portion" in my quest to be skinnier. Dude, it totally worked. I would want a cookie and I would pray for God to be my portion. Lamentations 3:24 The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. I focused in on Him when I was weak towards food. When I didn't want to work out, I prayed for Him to give me strength. Well, 4 months later over 30 lbs were gone and I had been trying to get that 30 something off for 10 years. So, I REALLY want to get this book. I cannot even imagine how much goodness is packed in that book. I've read most of her books and each one has changed me in dramatic ways. The best book EVER is What Happens When Women Say Yes To God. Oh my, best book she has written. This new one may be better.

Well, I just want to say again how unique this praying experience has been separating out what I NEED and what I WANT. Also, you know Jesus was never one to let anybody slide by without being completely genuine with Him. Remember the father who was asking Jesus to heal his son? Jesus told him that he needed to believe because the father said "if you can" and that all things are possible for those who believe. (Remember my post earlier where I read that Beth Moore said God corrected her one time and told her to not just believe IN HIM but to BELIEVE Him. Believing In God is different than Believing God.) Then the father said "I believe. Help me with my unbelief." Then Jesus healed his son. Jesus wants us to believe and be honest with him. He knew the man wanted his son healed. He knew this man served His Father. He knew the man was struggling with the he can but will he thought pattern and I wondered why he said he believed and then immediately said help me with my unbelief. Until, it was mentioned to picture the scenario, Jesus is standing in front of the father looking him straight in the eye. Jesus tells him to believe. The father, wanting his boy healed says "I believe." while looking Jesus right in the eye. There must have been a pause, Jesus is still looking at him. The father desperate for help realizes he does not fully believe and gets truthful with Jesus. "Help me with my unbelief." Jesus is no marshmallow. He wants us to believe and he wants us real. After saying what he WANTS Jesus to do, he activates his faith but his faith is not complete. He reaches out to Jesus instead of turning away and asks Jesus to help him with that too. And, that's when we see Jesus's supernatural meet up with the natural.

I WANT kitty healed but I NEED the peace of Jesus more. I'm glad He is helping me get all of this worked out. God is pretty amazing. Although, I can't lie, I'd be pretty okay for all the bad things to stop happening. That'd be nice. Lost $800 yesterday because one of our employees broke something and we had to replace it. NICE. It's this daily poo that messes me up but hey, I'm on the upside of not being aggimatated with God anymore so it's cool. None of kitty's pants fit her anymore either. I discovered that factoid this morning. I sent her in a dress and leggings yesterday to school for comfort. Her jeans do not go over the brace. So I sent her to school in her sisters black gauchos with sequins across the waistband, lol. Her shirt was long enough to cover it. I guess we will be spending grocery money on pants this weekend, lol. It will all work out. I am the queen of cheap. I think I have a check waiting for me at the consignment store too. Thank goodness.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Scoliosis Treatment

This is the brace Amber was fitted with last night. It is a SpineCor flexible brace and I think it rocks over the plastic/fiber glass ones the pediatric orthopedics use. She will wear a under armor type shirt under the brace and then her clothes go over the brace.
We went to this appointment believing that Amber had a curve of 30 degrees to 40 degrees. Unfortunately when the specialist actually measured the curve we got the shock of our lives. She has a 70 degree curvature of the spine. When you get around 50 degrees they recommend seeing a surgeon. That's really not an option for me with my 11 year old girl. Since Amber has not started her period yet that's really bad and her prognosis is for the spine to keep curving. As she grows so does the curve and not having her period is a really bad thing for us right now. We are actually praying for her period to start ha ha. I told her I'm gonna pump her full of hormones which realistically means having her drink lots of milk and eat more meat. They pump those cows full of hormones which starts little girls on their periods quicker. Oh my. Anyhoo, I cried my eyes out again. It was such a shock and after I cried for a bit I just went into survival mode. Mike really liked the doctor which made me really happy. Mike has this unique gift of being able to sense things about people. He is never wrong about anybody he meets. He just knows when someone is shady and he got good vibes about this guy.
So the prognosis isn't good for Amber. He gave us some options.
1. We could brace her with the SpineCor brace and see him for therapy and let him work on her spine with the brace and a very strong home physical therapy program. Her curve is such that he wants to do a 2 week physical therapy with her starting Valentines Day. We would pull her out of school for that time also. She would go to physical therapy from 9:30-12:30 and again from 3:30-5:30 Monday thru Thursday. Friday she will be too exhausted and they only do the morning therapy. Since the office is an hour away we will just hang out somewhere for the 3 hours in between sessions. We will have to purchase a traction chair and after the intense 2 week therapy she will do the traction chair for an hour a day. Picture an electric chair and that's what the traction chair looks like. After traction at home we will have to do physical therapy together and also I have to work her out on our home exercise equipment in addition to the physical therapy because she needs to be pulled out of P.E. (they can't have her sweating in the brace as it retains the moisture and is not hygienic and the moisture makes the brace less effective.) and also she needs to lose weight. The bands are cutting hard across her stomach and she is uncomfortable. Lovely. So basically she will be tied up in home physical therapy 2 hours a day. Also 20 minutes before bedtime he wants me to use some wedges that he will give me to put her into positions and use the wedges to keep her that way for that 20 minutes and then she can go to sleep. Good thing she has a TV with a DVD player in her room. She can only take the brace off 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night. Monday through Friday she has school so she will miss that 2 hours in the am. He said with this therapy we can realistically expect her curve to decrease from 70 degrees to about 50 degrees which is still a bad curvature. Now I also know that people defy odds all the time and this is a general expectation based on past cases. She may do better or she may do worse. Every body responds differently. But, we also have Jesus and I have faith in Him. If He wants to heal Amber and we have faith she will be at a zero curvature if He so chooses. I won't put limits on Jesus but I also must process realities and say that Jesus can but make the best choices here in the natural while we pray for a miracle. Here is the website for the SpineCor brace if you know anybody with Scoliosis as I really like this brace.
2. Option 2. See a surgeon and he recommended that we do so. We can have the surgery which the Shriners will do for her for FREE because we have no health insurance. I love those Shriners. Surgery on an 11 year girl is not good and he said they'd probably brace her in their fiberglass/plastic braces until she grows more so either way she is going to be braced until surgery if we choose the surgery option. I really hate the surgery option. What parent would love the surgery option? None of course and it may end up being necessary. He said we need to make the decision for ourselves. Before he braced her he said it was a 70/30 odds for her that she would end up needing the surgery by his best guess.
We opted for therapy and the SpineCor brace first before surgery. I am not even going to make an appt. with a surgeon until we give this therapy a go. I feel like I need to try this first and Mike agreed. Before he braced her he said that he did not expect to see an improvement in her spine curvature when he the took the X ray of her in the brace. He said at 70 degrees it should not be expected to see improvement and if there was it would be maybe 5 degrees or less upon just putting her in the brace. If she had a curvature of 30 degrees or so she could be put into the brace and when the brace was on she would be at zero degrees or less than 10 degrees. He said at this point the brace would be stopping progression and then the therapy he would do with her for the two weeks and then the home therapy would be helping to start improvement in the curve. So, this next part was the only ray of hope in the whole 3 hour appointment. After he braced her and took an X ray with the brace on her curve went from 70 degrees to 60 degrees. He was very optimistic and surprised that he got a 10 degree improvement from her considering how bad the curve was. He said that means her spine is still very flexible, something critical to correcting this disease, and that now instead of a 70/30 odds of ending up in surgery we are now probably 50/50. Hey, this mama will take those odds. Thank you Jesus already for that miracle. This doctor actually designed and invented the shorts part of the brace pictured above and SpineCor uses them now. He was really honest with us and I like that. I'll take honesty any day. So, I feel full of hope for kitty. I just can't take an 11 year old girl to see a surgeon, not without trying this first. Before the month is over we will have borrowed $14,000 to treat Amber. As a side note, I had a great laugh when my Grammy who is in no way hurting for cash and is always traveling and going on cruises from which she just returned from one, informed me that she won $500 on the cruise she just came back from and since we would have to purchase lots of new clothes for Amber to fit over her brace she would be sending me $10 in the mail. I laughed and laughed and laughed. We were skyping her from my parents home and Grammy kept yelling "What's so funny?". Oh my, $10 Grammy, really? What the hell am I going to buy for $10? My mom got pissed and told her she would send her the bill for the $14,000. I thought it was hysterical. Fricken $10, keep it you old bird I wanted to say. But I was just in a bad mood at that point and I'll be happy for that $10 to use it for an under armor shirt for her. The school nurse just called. Amber's brace is rubbing her neck, the cami I put her in isn't working. We will be purchasing under armor at Dick's this afternoon. Yep. My poor little kitty poo.
Some friends are asking us about doing a benefit concert to help pay for kitty's treatments, the brace and the traction chair. We were against it when we were just looking at the initial $4300 for the brace but now that we are up to $14,000 for Feb alone, I'm thinking that concert option sounds good. I want Mike to put together a couple of baseball tournaments to raise money too. Since he is President of the local rec league he helps people do that all the time and rents out the field. Well, maybe it's our turn to put on our own tournament and raise some money for kitty. Baseball is huge around here and teams will always pay to be in tournaments if they are good ones. So that is another option. My mother in law called the United Way and that was a huge joke. Did you know that the United Way doesn't actually help anyone? The lady told me that they give all the money they receive minus their administrative costs which is probably around 35% to charities. The only thing they do for people when they call for help is advocate for them. In other words they will tell me who they work with and if any of those charities they give money too can help me then they will contact that charity and see if that charity can help me. What a joke? Why even give money to the United Way if they don't actually help anyone and they keep $3.50 of every $10 you give. So the charity receives $6.50 from your $10 donation and they have administrative costs of around 25 to 30% so by the time the United Way who doesn't help anybody takes their cut and everybody has paid their expenses your $10 donation is really $4. Yeah, just give straight to the charity you like. More people would get helped that way. They also told me they don't help anyone or work with any charities that help people with medical costs. Whatever. Also, I cannot be helped if I am current on my bills. She told me not to pay my rent or utilities and I might get some cash for being behind on my bills. And, that would be what's wrong with so much of America. If you aren't responsible you can get help. If you are responsible and do your best to do what you have to nobody will help you. If I was illegal this would be free I suppose? Or if kitty commited a crime and was in juvenile detention she'd get free care too. Weird. No thanks lady.
Amber and I talked about prayer last night on the way home and I told her to call on Jesus to be with her. She said she had been. It was a nice chat. I told her that her faith was important and to be honest with the Lord and Jesus. She said she would ask them to help and heal her. That's my girl. I'm just asking everyone to pray for a full recovery. She has already beaten the odds by getting a 10 degree correction when the doctor didn't' expect hardly anything.
It's hard to know what the right thing to do is. Well, all I can do is go with my instincts and research as much as I can. This stinks. It could always be worse but I'm sick of saying that. Trying to stay positive today and not cry or fret. Talking to Jesus and the Lord a lot and being honest with them. What else can I do? Thank you for your prayers.

Update: 8/31/16 The brace did not work. At all. In fact, she got worse while wearing it. Total waste of money!!!! After wearing the brace just a month or two, we were told she had to see a surgeon and have the surgery. Her curve worsened wearing the brace, it was better for appearances than the hard plastic one she spend a couple of weeks wearing in between surgeries at Shriner's but at least the plastic one did not allow her curve to get worse like the other one. Shriner's was amazing!!! We went to the one in Philly and although she still retains a very large curve due to her spinal cord having become flat in her mid spine and her cord would not tolerate the curve correction of 35 degrees they were able to achieve from being over 100 degrees at the start of surgery; she stands looking perfectly straight and not one single person can tell by looking at her that she has any issues with her back at all. They did some things with her ribs and were able to manipulate her body so that although she has a 70 degree curve, it is not at all noticeable. Her shoulders are straight, everything is aligned beautifully. Only when she bends straight over is it noticeable at all. Yay for that!! My recommendation....get the surgery. You can't stop scoliosis. It was not at all what I expected, she dealt beautifully with it and when it was was over. No more pain. She could just live again, and that makes me so happy for her.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Would You MInd Praying For Amber Please?

This is my sweet little Amber cat. Amber will get her Spinecor flexible scoliosis brace this Wednesday at 3:30. I would love it if you would say a prayer or two for little Amber cat. Compliance is key to the brace correcting her scoliosis and since Amber has curve greater than 30% and 40% is where they generally recommend doing surgery, well, this brace just HAS to work. Also, we have Jesus on our side and the Bible does say that the Lord hears the prayers of the righteous. Therefore, I would greatly value and treasure your prayers on her behalf for healing, a corrected spine, increased faith for the whole family during this process and whatever else may glorify the Lord through her scoliosis and healing process. I would love kitty to have a testimony of how the Lord healed her but that is up to Him.

I want to say that I will fight for kitty and as a momma that is natural I suppose. But more than anything I want Jesus at the forefront of this battle she faces. I can be Jesus's armor bearer if you like. I have been sitting kitty down with me every Monday night for Lysa TerKeurst's Made To Crave Webcasts at 8pm.
If you haven't been tuning in please do! This Monday is week 3 and they do rebroadcasts on Tuesdays several times a day. I have enjoyed doing this with Amber as we learn about Jesus, the Lord, food issues and nutrition. She has enjoyed it and requested several healthy items that Dr. Ski Chilton suggested from last Monday nights webcast. I myself purchased some Fiber One bars this week instead of the chocolate chip granola bars from Quaker that I usually do. I haven't tried it yet but Dr. Chilton says Fiber keeps you full so eat more fiber. Okay. I also purchased whole wheat spaghetti from Barilla and tried to keep that on the down low but the entire family caught me! I had me a George Lopez moment in the kitchen when I exclaimed "I can't do nothing!". We all got a laugh out of that and if you never watched George Lopez's sitcom that probably went way over your head :) BTW, nobody could taste a difference. So, I hope you can join in the webasts too. Also, last weeks webcast was a great catalyst in what I have been needing to hear. Lysa's pastor talked about the man with the mat who was at the pool and how Jesus told him to get up, pick up his mat and walk. He also asked him before that if he wanted to be healed. Now, we always have to look at why Jesus says what he says because Jesus knows the minds of the people he is talking to. There is a reason for every single word Jesus speaks when he is speaking to someone. So, what I gleaned from that is whilst I piddle around with my confusion and anger towards God and Jesus I must ask myself, do I want to be healed of this first? Answer, yes. Then what happens is Jesus tells the man to get up and do something in his natural first and his supernatural will be there. So first I must make the decision and commit truthfully be being healed and set free. Yes, even from a deep confusion with the Lord and Jesus. Then I must get up off my mat and walk. I must have the faith that Jesus will be there to meet me and show me what I am missing here. Where my belief systems didn't match His truth. I must just get up and do my natural so that I can meet up with his supernatural. I must always make the first move. Even in salvation we must initiate first contact. When we release our faith in the natural, Jesus is there with his supernatural. Sounds simple but you know, living out the word can be tricky.

So after last Monday and that truth setting in I was also contemplating this nugget from Beth Moore as I was studying in her Breaking Free workbook, "before the prophecy of physical captivity was fulfilled there was already evidence of an internal captivity." That hit me as truth I am living out right now. While I marinated in that I really believe God has had a word for me, a theme that keeps popping up if you will on Sunday and today even. Our Pastor dressed up like Bartimaeous, the blind beggar Jesus healed, (it was a hoot y'all) and he preached a great message that really spoke to me. He was preaching about releasing our faith in Jesus, not as Jesus the man who walked this earth but as Jesus, the son of the living God whose blood was shed for me and know that His anointing is all I need, His power and to call on that Jesus, not the Jesus of this earth that I can easily relate to and picture in my mind. It was interesting in the scripture that the people were saying that Jesus of Nazareth was coming and yet when Bart knows he is near he does not yell out of Jesus of Nazareth to have mercy on him. He yells out Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. Bartimaeous was one of thousands around Jesus and I always supposed that Jesus called for good ole Bart to be brought over to him because of his loud yelling over and over for Jesus to have mercy on him even though he was told to shut up. But, Pastor had a great point, Bart was calling up Jesus as the messiah, he was calling upon Jesus as the son of God and his power to have mercy on him and don't you just know that moved the heart of Jesus, that got Jesus's attention. This man was saying loudly, Jesus, son of God, have mercy on me whilst every one else was identifying Jesus as a human, the son of a carpenter and viewed him from an earthly perspective. And, Bart was asked, what do you want? What do I want from Jesus? And, have I been just believing in Jesus and knowing that he can and is able without calling upon his anointing to do all that he is able to do? Hmmm, great sermon.

Today I listened to Creflo Dollar on the TV and his sermon was basically the same theme except it was about calling upon the blood of Jesus to be my answer to everything. Make it simple he said. Whatever my issue I need to pray by faith to Jesus to release the anointing and power of His blood over my situation and by faith believe that He is able to do all things. Whatever the issue, Jesus is the answer and to just pray for the anointing of Jesus to have all power and authority over it. He said many of us know all about the gospel, but rarely use it's power. It got me thinking.

Then I picked up Beth Moore's book "Praying God's Word" a birthday gift from a friend and I decided to study it a bit before I got to working for the hubs downstairs in the office. I went to the chapter on unbelief. I am not sure why I did that because I have never stopped believing in God or Jesus or their power, but I am just really confused why my life always sucks and there is ALWAYS something going horribly wrong, like Amber's new diagnosis of scoliosis for instance. Anyhoo, I'm just really confused why the good stuff in God's word doesn't ever seem to apply to my family and I put Him first and yada yada. But that's where I felt like I should go so I did. Well, Beth said something that really impacted me too and I'm glad I listen to my instincts or still small voice. This is what she said "I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart, "Beth, I want you to believe Me." I was apalled. "Lord, I answered, "Of course I believe in You. I've believed in You all my life." I felt He responded very clearly. Adamantly. "I didn't ask you to believe in Me. I asked you to believe Me." Shivers.......

So, honestly that just happened about an hour ago or so and I don't know quite yet what God wants for me to get in that. If you asked me at that moment I would tell you that I believed every single thing in the Bible and that when I asked for help and wisdom I knew without a shadow of a doubt that He was able and trusted with him with all of us completely. That wasn't an easy place to get to but I honestly feel like I was there. I could be wrong. Or, it could be that God is simply telling me now to believe Him. I know He is putting all this in front of me for a reason. One of the people I was listening to said to call upon His promises and believe and Jesus would have to show up. So, I was like , okay. I can do that. I can. I am going to call upon His promises once again and not just speak the words but fully release the blood over my family once again. I won't just believe in Him, I will believe Him. Beth then went on to say that God would much rather have our "Help me with my unbelief." statements like the father uttered to Jesus after he said he believed and then Jesus gave him the look and he restated what was really going on internally "Help me with my unbelief." That made me feel better. I already knew that God could handle my honesty and would prefer that to any kind of fake pious I am good with the Lord statements because that would have been a big fat lie. So, thank you Beth.

I am going to a Place of Praise Conference this Friday in Jasper. A pastor I really love and respect is giving it and it is about coming back to a place of Praise after not doing just that. Which, I have not been praising while I have been sulking about wanting to know what the whole point of serving is if I have to live a life of poo while I treat Him like a treasure. Okay, so I have a little attitude left, but it's not much and it's disappearing which may I say is wonderful. Once again, I treasure your prayers for kitty and would love for you to ask your churches to pray for her. She has a lot of back pain. My poor baby, she does not deserve this and she is definitely going to need her faith and her Jesus. Mama too.

Love y'all,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scoliosis Diagnosis

My last post was on Monday. Today is Wednesday. Well, Monday afternoon my 11 year old daughter Amber complained once again of her back hurting. She has been asking me to take her to the chiropractor for about a month now. In the first week of December my 18 year old daughter came and told me to look at Amber's back. She said Amber had a hump on her shoulder blade and she thought her spine was curved. I looked at it and I had a hard time following Amber's spine between her shoulder blades. She did indeed have a slight raised area over her shoulder blade. I was freaked out to say the least. I had my husband look at it and he said Amber was fine and we were all crazy. That sounded good to me and I lived in that happy denial for a few weeks. Then Amber on Monday said something about her back again. I had already committed to her to taking her during the week to see about it but when I looked at her back that morning I could not believe the size of the hump. I swear it was a significant hump then and there was not a doubt in my mind that my daughter was going to be diagnosed with scoliosis. I made the appt. that day. Sure enough, he diagnosed her with scoliosis and I balled my eyes out. Amber was in shock.

I told one of my friends who had been at my home that same day to chat with me and she immediately sprang into action. She called her chiropractor who has X Ray facilities which ours did not and had an appt. for Amber the next day. She discussed our financial circumstances with the doctor and the doctor said she would see Amber for a free consult and to please come in. So I pulled Amber out of school on Tuesday after I was done babysitting my mom who is disabled while my dad went to the doctor. The second chiropractor we saw said she wanted to X Ray Amber after looking at her. I said go ahead even though I was scared to death I could not pay for the X Ray. She took one X ray and let me see it. I promise you that when I saw Amber's spine my eyes about fell right out of my skull. IT WAS BAD. So the river of tears began again. She said Amber has a greater than 30% curvature of her spine. Her hips and her ribcage are rotating and her jaw line is even off. She said Amber has moderate scoliosis at this point but she is bad enough to need a specialist and she will have to wear a corset type brace immediately. From what I see on the Internet the brace is plastic or fiberglass and should be worn 23 hours a day. That is going to be ugly and I am wondering how painful this is going to be for my little Amber cat. How do you sleep in that thing? The effectiveness of the brace depends on the patients follow through on wearing it. We are talking a 11 year old girl here.

So, the doctor immediately said she was going to do full X ray's on Amber so we could take them to a chiropractor she recommends. She said all he does is see scoliosis patients and she has sent him 5 or 6 patients and he has straightened every one of them and then sent them back to her to maintain them. You see, this is a condition for life. Amber will have to deal with this forever and stay in shape forever, which the in shape thing isn't a bad thing for sure. Pregnancy will be tough but doable if we deal with this quickly. She did the X rays and you know I was freaking out because I had no money. It turns out that my friend had explained that we had no health insurance or money and the doctor did not charge for me a single penny for anything she did to Amber or the X rays. Again, the river of tears flowed. How could she not charge me for anything? She said she didn't need my money and Amber's back needed immediate treatment. Her curve is pretty bad. She has an S curve. Money did not need to be an issue getting Amber treatment. I was highly impressed with her compassion.

I am scheduling an appt. with the chiropractic specialist today for a consult. We are getting Amber peachcare ins. but the specialist does not take peachcare. She said that this specialist has an excellent success rate in getting the spines fairly straight again and that he is the only specialist like this in Atlanta. She called to get a ballpark cost on the European brace and we were told $3200 to $4000 and that we would need to do monthly adjustments on the brace to push her spine properly. Cash money, credit card (don't have any), regular insurance (don't have it), or they finance. My dad gave me a blank check. Again, the river of tears.

Mike wants us to schedule a consult with a pediatric orthopedist doctor to see what he would do in comparison to the chiropractor scoliosis specialist. I think he feels more secure with Amber seeing a doctor doctor versus a chiropractic doctor. But, my thinking is that this is not treatable by medicine. It is going to be treated by bracing by both doctors and by manipulating her spine. So, doesn't it just make sense to see a doctor whose sole job is manipulating spines? He only sees scoliosis patients and that is all he does for a living? The pediatric orthopedist does everything. I want a guy with a high success rate who only does scoliosis. So, to make Mike happy I will schedule consults with both. The lady chiropractor we saw yesterday said if we go to her recommended specialist that in order to save money she will do all X rays and adjustments to Amber's back and she works with the specialists office to know and do what he wants done as she has done with the other patients she refers. She will not charge me for a great deal of these adjustments because it would be too expensive for me and she does not want money to be an issue in Amber's treatment. She said her X rays will be cheaper than his so Amber would be seeing both of them and they would work together. You know, I like that. These people obviously care. Also, she called my home last night around 8 o'clock to see how we were all doing and taking the news. Holy cow, are you kidding me? NEVER had that happen before. I love this lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know I have to mention that when we left the chiropractors office on Monday afternoon from the initial diagnosis I forgot to make a turn to get me home on the quickest route because I was distracted and on this road as I came to my next turn there was a big brand new sign at a stop sign that said "Jesus Loves You." I laughed so hard and I sarcastically said "Thanks Jesus. I'm so glad that I am blessed and highly favored. If I wasn't I could have a daughter with a debilitating lifetime disease, a disabled parent dying a slow and painful death, a business with cash flow problems, customers who constantly don't pay us or cheat us, a church that spoke harshly to my family, financial problems, a stressed out husband..... oh wait, I do have all those things. I'd sure hate it if you didn't' love me Jesus."

I feel bad about that now. I truly do and I think perhaps God understands my frustration. I just don't understand why my family can never just be okay. Something is always wrong, never ending wrongness. It's not just one valley we walk through, we seem to live in the valley and never leave. I'm sick of the valley and I just feel so frustrated that I do what the word says and the stuff that says good things just don't seem to work. There are wonderful devoted followers rotting in Chinese prisons right now. They are beaten, I know of one beaten with a sledge hammer. His back and legs broken and he was just left there in his pain and misery and nobody ever took him to a doctor or set his bones. He just laid there for years. Can a dude like that not get a little angelic help? Anyhoo, I have been in the last day or so reconciling life with God's word. I'm wondering more if God just simply intervenes only when we are in danger of going off the path He has for us whether it is our choice or outside influences that will take us off that path. I am wondering if He is just mostly concerned with the plan He has on our lives for the gospel work He has for us to do and not so much everything else. In other words if we are on our path perhaps he only intervenes in our wordly lives in things that take us off the path. If I am doing His will for me and I get sick or my kids get sick with something really bad but God knows it will not take me from my path, maybe he just doesn't intervene. If my finances are a mess but He knows I am still sticking to the plan He has for me, maybe He just does not intervene. Maybe He is all consuming in our spiritual and relational lives and will direct us and give us His wisdom concerning ministry, sharing the gospel, and being about His business and the rest of our stuff is just up to us unless it is taking us out of His will and plans and then He steps in to say "Oh no child, I need to step in here." I don't know.

I do know that I was much happier and peaceful before we left our church and I felt angry and abandoned by God. Right after I decided to remove my family from a church that I felt was harmful everything in our business went to the dogs. I really felt alone and betrayed by God and may I say, extremely pissed that He would just leave me to rot. I was operating in His will, teaching ladies and kids and happy as a clam to do so. Our studies were awesome. Why did people have to be doody heads and ruin it all? And, as far as I can see my family did all the suffering and for what? Well, that's not so important I guess and one would think that I would be even more enraged that we have now been given the lovely blessing (NOT) of Amber's scoliosis diagnosis but I am too numb to be anymore of anything that I already am. I watched Joyce Meyer Tuesday night and she was so funny and I really needed that. I love that lady. I know that I want my peace back and that means getting myself right with God again. It's not like I can abandon Him. I know He is real and yes I am pretty upset with why He allows my life to stay in complete horribleness for YEARS. I can't even remember a time when things were just okay. I can remember lots of time spans when I didn't worry and relied on the Lord to get through and we got through but still, it was never okay. We just got through and I don't think I serve a God of just getting though. So, I wonder about Him. But, I just can't be mad at Him anymore. I don't have the energy or the inclination to do so. I've decided to get right and I made that decision Monday before I took Amber cat to the doctor so I feel good about that. It may be slow but I guess that's okay. It would be lovely to get some relief from the constant stress. It would be lovely not to watch my mom suffer daily anymore.

The upside to things is that our business is almost out of the caa caa poo poo and we are so busy that we are going to need to hire a guy or two. That is a mega blessing and one company we sub for has just fired the other two contractors they had working for them and are giving us all of their business and we just picked up another company to do the construction restoration work for them too. Sweet mercy, we may just actually be okay this year. Whoopty doo, I won't know what to do with myself. I think I'll be giddy and laugh and be happy and I really look forward to not having to worry about paying bills and making payroll. I look forward to seeing my husband smile more and not having to worry about paying kitty's medical bills. That would be a sweet sweet mercy ;)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heavenly Interactions

For the past week I have been focusing on my experiences with the Lord and His realness. It's all I've pretty much got at this point to keep me going. I know He is real. I just don't understand Him anymore or how He works or His word. I was flickering through the channels on TV this morning and stopped at the 700 club, which I never watch, and a man was explaining that the guy Gordon ( I think that's his name ) was praying for a man who was watching who had pain in his left knee and that God was going to heal him. He said he was that man and that he was healed at that moment and he was on telling his story. He said it was God's goodness that came down and healed him. My instant thought was well then what the heck is it when God does not come down and heal you? Is it his badness? Which just goes to show I still have some major attitude issues me thinks. My mom is laying at home unable to walk, filled full of pain on a daily basis, oh Lord I could go on with her issues and us tripping over her oxygen cord daily and jerking it out of her nose or pulling on her ears and her howling, that part isn't funny but it kinda is ha ha. Well, she is a great lady. The best I ever met. So then I thought, where is His goodness there? I could go on to spout numerous theologies and scriptures that explain the guy's healing and my mom not receiving any even though she is a devout worshiper and avid good deed doer, etc. The point still remains from my last post in this......he was healed, my mom is not, where is God? He is in the man's life and health but not my moms. Again, I just don't understand how He works and it just hammered home to me again that if my mom had taken better care of her body when she was young she would not be suffering so much. So, it's still the point of we get what we have based on our own personal decision making and if we are supremely lucky God intervenes as he so chooses. It's the as he so chooses thing that messes me up. I can't imagine choosing here and there to help my kiddos. I would always help them. Yes, I know, Jesus was His son and He let Jesus suffer and die for us. Why should we not have to suffer......I never said we shouldn't. I think I am just mainly confused as to what part God plays in our life and how we can trust that any scripture other than salvation scriptures are truly applicable to us since He deals with us so differently.

I clearly remember my first heavenly conversation. Yes, it was an actual conversation. I was riding along in my green van in metro Atlanta listening to Star 94 and a thought popped into my head to turn it onto 104.7 The Fish. 104.7 was a brand new Christian radio station in Atlanta and I never EVER listened to Christian music on the radio. LAME-O music. After that thought popped into my head I clearly remember frowning and thinking "Where the heck did that come from? I'm not putting it on The Fish." Again it popped right back into my head "Put it on The Fish." I shook my head, confused. "I'm not putting it on the fish." I thought. I was getting a little confused at this point. Again it popped right back in "PUT IT ON THE FISH AND DON'T TAKE IT OFF UNTIL I TELL YOU." and this time it was like a shout in my head. I got angry with myself for these stupid thoughts and I said to myself "I'M NOT PUTTING IT ON THE FISH . I don't even like Christian music!" Why am I thinking even thinking these thoughts anyway? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn't thinking those thoughts and having an argument with myself. I mean, who does that anyway? Certainly not me. Those were not my thoughts. Somebody was talking to me. I knew it like I knew my name. When it registered that this was something heavenly speaking to me I just nodded to myself and said "OK." I put it straight onto 104.7 The Fish and the thought was there again. "Leave it on The Fish and you can listen to regular music when I tell you." Thankfully, The Fish plays contemporary Christian music and I actually liked it. I listened to nothing but The Fish for years. That was not me talking to myself. I had never argued with myself before and never have since. No, it was a heavenly conversation and a conversation it was. It spoke, I spoke. As a really funny side note, as this was in January I believe, every November after Thanksgiving The Fish plays nothing but Christmas music. Good heavens, I can't take more than 3 minutes of Christmas music so when I couldn't take it anymore I prayed and asked the Lord if I could listen to Talk Radio too ha ha. Almost immediately the word Yes popped in. Now, anyone can say I did that answer myself. But, I know I didn't and I was really thankful for Neal Boortz and a much younger Glen Beck who amused me with all his yelling on the radio. It was years later that out of the blue a thought popped into my head with this "You can listen to regular radio now." I laughed so hard. My kids were very grateful and I did a 80/20 split on Christian/regular radio then. That time for me was time of long commutes as I worked downtown by the Governor's mansion and lived an hour and a half up north. I spent 3 hours a day singing worship and having fellowship with the Lord and I think that's pretty cool that God invited/told me that I need to do that with Him. It was a special time and I grew a lot during that time of singing in the car. Yes, I sing in the car, quite loudly when I am alone lol.

Most recently though in the Spring of 2010 I would guess an old church acquaintance posted on FB to please pray for Bishop Johnson who was in the hospital dying. He was a great man of God with a strong passion for mission work. He was a pretty cool dude too. I immediately began to pray in earnest for him. I was in my living room and my kids were sitting on the couch near me watching TV. Not long after I began to pray for Bishop a very intense strong smell began to invade my nostrils and my mouth. It was the sweetest strongest smell of roses I had ever smelt. It was so strong I could taste it. It began to be so overwhelming that it was hard to pray anymore and I immediately thought "Oh great, Amber has gone and sprayed too much perfume AGAIN and I am trying to pray here." I stopped praying and opened my eyes so I could tell Amber to leave the room and go get in the shower. Yeah, no Amber in the room and the smell was almost instantly gone. I still had the taste of sweet roses in my mouth though. I asked my kids if Amber had come in the room. They said no. I asked them if they could smell the roses. They looked at me like I was nuts. They said they couldn't smell anything. The taste in my mouth went away quickly and I was freaked out beyond belief. I immediately FB messaged my Pastor friend lady who had posted the request to pray and told her what happened to me and that no I was not a crazy person and what the heck in Sam wheat had just happened to me. She told me that it was a scent from Heaven and that an angel must have come to collect my prayer directly. I googled the smell of roses while praying and it took me to Catholic sites that explained that the scent is believed to accompany angels and Jesus. Well, I am such a logical person and a realist, you know I just don't believe every thing I am told. I study and I research and I am no pushover so it's not like I just say oh, okay that's what it was and believe it at that. But, I promise you, I felt something while I was praying and completely overcome with the most strongest sweetest scent of roses you can't even begin to imagine and I don't need much convincing here that something from Heaven was in my living room that night as I was praying and I will treasure that experience forever. That must truly be unique and I treasure it as so.

So, I know God is real. Knowing all this you would think I shouldn't be having this problem but yet, here I am confused about how to be a Christian and what part of my life God is active in. I think I am almost decided on re reading the Bible for the fourth or fifth time, I can't even remember anymore and I am going to focus in on scripture that is a blanket statement by God, Jesus or a prophet that applies to everyone and not just a specific person or group of people. I am not entirely sure if I came up with that idea or if God put it there as I have a somewhat sarcastic attitude problem at the moment and there may be some static on our communication channels. But, it can't hurt and I hope I can grow out of this and stop being stupid. I don't think I have a problem being Christian or believing. I just don't get how to do it as I was living a false reality before. Or I think I was at least. I do know one thing now though, I have to just believe in myself and my husband and we have to do everything ourselves and rely on our wisdom and I have to try to fit God into that daily reality. I used to make God my reality and believe that He would give us the wisdom and instruction on what was the best thing to do. I see that in our case at least, that is not true and evident. So, I think I am really frustrated and confused on switching to relying on our abilities and not God as much. I appreciate all the prayers on my behalf. I really do because I tell ya, with all truth there is something that whispers to me daily that it is all just lies and nonsense. I'd like to believe that is my attitude and not something evil paying attention to me and talking to me. But I do wonder.....and I will NEVER stop believing in God and Jesus and I just tell it to shut up and go away.

p.s. We are snowed in day 2 here in the Atlanta area. I don't know how you Northerners do it. Tired of snow but we had a blast sledding down the backyard yesterday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I do not know how to be a Christian anyore.

If Satan asked to sift Peter as wheat I feel as though he may have asked to run me across a cheese grater. Seriously. You know how you have a nice whole block of cheese and then you run it across a cheese grater? What happens to that whole, solid and firm block of cheese? It is turned into a pile of seperate bits, completely unwhole. Just little bits and pieces scattered about. I feel that like spiritually.

I cannot even fathom how I got to this place of being completely unable to do Christianity anymore. I want to do it. I just don't know how to do it anymore.

I feel like there is this huge battle being waged in my mind over whether the Bible is even all really real or not. This from the girl whose read the dern book several times and teaches classes. Well, not anymore. I feel myself having to fend off thoughts that the whole thing is just a bunch of bull poop. It is horrible. Unbelievably horrible.

I am so grateful that I have had so many experiences with that God that I can fend that off. I know He is real. I have experienced things and answer to prayer that was so specific that there was just no way it was anything other than God. Prayer answerings aside, I have experienced Him in ways that I know for a fact that he is undeniably real. Thankfully.

Why don't I know how to be a Christian anymore?

First, there is an out for every promise in the Bible except salvation and even a lot of Christians will say that your salvation is contingent on staying in relationship with the Lord and you can lose your salvation by not worshiping. So. What do you do with that? I'll get more into the outs in a sec.

Secondly and most importantly, I have always been taught that I should rely on the Lord for everything. He is my source and strength. He is my healer. He is my provider. He is my help. He is my shield. I should walk in His ways and He will make my paths straight. He is my light. He and the Holy Spirit are my Counselor and Teacher. If I seek Him with all of my heart, I will find him. Let's just have a little lookey at the good old standby of Jeremiah 29:11 &12.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 (New King James Version)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

Here's the rest...
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

We all just love Jeremiah 29:11 but I have always thought it was important to include the rest about doing it with your whole heart part too. BUT, I ask myself this question now "What if that Scripture was not for all of us?" "What if, that was only meant for the Israelites who were in captivity at that time that those words were being directly spoken to. Because that was not a blanket statement made by God. He was directing those words to a specific group of people, the Israelites who were in captivity and God wanted to bring them back. What if it was just meant for them?"

Here's the real deal. I have spent years and years believing that if I put God first, worshiped him wholly with a heart of just wanting Him & not what He could do for me but just wanting Him, and being a sweet little Christian girl, trying to follow His will for my life that God would direct me. He would take me down the path I need to be on. He would help me. He would give me wisdom when I need it. He would give me knowledge when I do not know what to do or how to understand something. I don't think doing all that allows me to have a life that is a bed of roses because my life has never been roses. I've never had it easy since I left home at 16. NEVER. So, my confusion is not that I do what the Word says I should do and my life is not a bed of roses. My complete and utter confusion is that I do not find any of that to be true in my life. The above promises.

What I have come to realize is that I have to do everything for myself. I have to rely solely on myself for every little thing. AND, everything the bible teaches me says the opposite. That God should be what I rely on. That I should look to Him and what I see is that the only thing I can look to is me. So, if I am trusting in myself how am I trusting in God? If I have to rely on myself for everything what am I relying on God for? If I am my only source of security based off my own decisions and actions then how is God my security? I mean seriously, this has really rocked my Christian world. I have come to realize that the only way you get anything is to get it yourself. The only way you have security is to secure it yourself. The only way is by ourselves and I see absolutely no favor or help extended towards Christians. What I see is people get what they have based on their own personal decision making and actions, not by having a pure heart of worship and putting God first and then God guides them to give them that peace, hope and a future like Jeremiah says. Jesus talks about wanting to give us an abundant life. Why do so many Christians lives suck then? Which leads us into the out for all the promises which highly confuses me. I'll do this if you do that. Oh, well they aren't really devoted we say....those promises are only for those who passionately pursue God daily. Well, I know plenty of people including myself who do that and our lives suck too.

Then we have this out, my favorite out, God does not promise our rewards in this lifetime. OH, okay, so all the stuff in the Bible that talks about anything good is meant for when we get to Heaven. Okay, well not true. There are plenty of references about God and Jesus caring about our welfare right here on this earth. God seemed to love to bless and give abundance to the people in the Bible.

This out confuses me too, I will have mercy on whom I choose to have mercy. This tells us a lot. There is no blanket procedural standard for which God deals with us. We are all treated differently. My last post on David vs. Moses I really started to deal with my confusion over how completely differently God deals with each of us. Two people can commit the same sin and be dealt with completely differently. One can commit a sin we may think is pretty minor and forgivable and have to die for it. Another can commit adultery, murder, etc and get to be king and thrive in abundance. So if we are all dealt with differently how can you look at a scripture and reasonably assume that if you follow it that it will apply to you? Because lets' face it too, most of scripture is being directed to a certain people or person. What was being said may have actually been just for them.

The root of this is the horribleness of what happened at my last church and us having to leave. The effects of my old Pastor's actions and the congregation continue to shake my Christian world. So, my old Pastor gets to nag and drive someone away from the Lord and my husband has to be hurt, have no community connection to the Lord and gets emotionally destroyed and the Pastor gets to continue on and thrive. Why is that? Why? What I see is no dealing with us at all, I see us doing what we want and the results we get are based off what we do and nothing else. I see people have good marriages or bad marriages based solely off the good or bad decision making they did when they chose a partner. I see people thrive or fail based solely off their own personal decision making. And what about that Christian community anyway? Not one phone call, not one anything from anyone asking what happened to us? I poured my whole self into prayer and study and listening to the Holy Spirit guide me as I wrote the ladies bible studies and the ladies who came to the ladies bible studies told me how much they loved them and that they impacted their lives. They all loved to tell me how much they loved me. Bull poopy! I disappear and not a word. So, wow, thanks for loving me people.

Then I look at how my husband and I are struggling with our business and how hard my husband works and I ask myself.....where is the favor of the Lord? Why doesn't he help us? It's not that I even want Him to do something supernatural and make us rich or anything. I would like a little help, a little protection. We are plagued with people who continually cheat us, don't pay us, take advantage of us, and want everything in the world for nothing. I have served and put God first for years and years, where is our abundant life? If we want anything we have to use our own wisdom and go do it for ourselves. We work, with the exception of the last 2 years where I work from home for my husband I never worked less than 50 hours a week and that was the minimum. So, never let it be thought that I just want to lay around and wait on God to tell me what to do and then I go do it and he blesses the poo out of it. I am not like that. I worked like a freakin animal my whole life. I'm not sitting around waiting to be blessed. But what I have come to realize is that my life is not what it is because of anything I do with God or my faith. My life is what it is based off of the people in my life, the decisions I make and the people I come into contact with and nothing else.

So, what I am supremely confused about is what role God has in my life here on this earth. I have spent all day every day focusing my trust and direction coming from the Lord. What I see is that I have to do everything myself. So, if my happiness, my good marriage, my finances, my parenting all are based off of me, my decisions, what am I relying on Him for? I have to do it myself and I have spent years and years believing that I should rely on Him and not myself. That my security should lie in God and not me and my wisdom. But what I see is that my life is great or stinky because of my wisdom.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 is my life scripture. I personalize it and say it all the time. I will trust in the Lord will all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I will acknowledge you and you will make my paths straight.

I am not supposed to trust in my own understanding. I am supposed to trust Him and believe He will guide my path. I should place myself in His custody and rely on Him to take me where I need to be. Well, I've done that and still am not on any path that is good and beneficial for me or my family. The only path I can see God has taken me on is a spiritual path. He has guided me to places that I could do His will in church or help others. What I also see is that perhaps this path is a spiritual one and not a worldly one. Perhaps, what happens to me worldly wise is based off my own doing and what happens to me spiritually is based off my faith and interaction with the Lord. I am not sure. What I do know is that my life is hard. My life has always been hard. I know I honestly can say that I worshiped out of love and sought the Lord just because I wanted more of Him. I wasn't looking for results. But, I do get frustrated at the fact that I see promises in the Bible and I think I fulfill my part and yet, I do not see the promise. All I see is the out for the promise. I see mean nasty people, even mean nasty church people thriving and beautiful people inside living crappy hard lives.

So, my realization, my reality is that I can no longer live my life placing my entire trust that whatever happens to me is in the Lord's hands and rely on Him for everything in my life. I don't know how to do that. And, if God is the supreme ruler of the Universe, if He is sovereign and we were created for relationship why wouldn't He be fully involved in our worldly lives. I am just supremely wildly confused as to what part God plays in my life. I don't know how to worship relying on me and trusting in me and also trusting and relying on Him. How do I do both? How do I know whatever happens to me is based off my actions and yet place my life in His hands? I don't get it. I don't know how to do both. Was I taught wrong? Did I understand the Bible wrong? Hmmm, I have no answers. I can't pray and I don't anymore hardly at all. I pick up my Bible still a couple days a week. I am torn and a wild hot mess. I just don't know how to not look to Him and me. I just know how to look to Him. UGH. Well, let's see how this goes. It should be interesting.