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Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Waiting Game

Here we go again...one more week of waiting.  The nurse told me it's like getting a vacation -- skipping a week of chemo gives the body a rest.  Apparently I needed a week off.  My platelet count is too low to receive chemo so wait till next week.  My levels last week were at 63 K/UL.  Normal range is 140/440 K/UL.  Yesterday I was at 81 K/UL.  So my body is making more platelets. Turn over time for new platelets is 5 - 9 days.  It is one of those things that just takes the body time to regenerate new ones.  Platelets are produced in blood cell formation in the bone marrow.  This is similar to white blood cell formation.  The platelets job is to aid in coagulation (blood clotting).  The white blood cells are important for immune system tasks.  At any rate the chemo poison is doing it's job -- killing all the bad along with the good.  The nurse told me no bull riding or jumping out of a plane for the week...haha! Basically if I get a bruise or a small cut or for that matter a large cut I could bleed a lot and not stop...it would require a trip to the ER.  The nurse also said you may bleed more while flossing your teeth so don't do that now...(don't tell your dentist I said this!)  Some of the nurses are very funny in light of the line of work they do.  They are amazing.

More waiting and trusting in the Lord...seems to be a common theme in my life right now.  As I wait I am pondering more and more.  I've been taking little cat naps through out the day. Resting my weary body.  I don't feel bad, maybe a little tired but on the outside things look good.  It's the inside that is a mess.  Isn't this how God looks at man?  God says I look at the heart.  So I examine my heart. Pretty on the outside does not count in God's book.  Those stubborn pharisees got a lesson about the condition of their hearts - their own outside appearance seemed clean, like a whitewashed tomb.  But their hearts were filthy as blood stained rags on the inside. (Matthew23:27) I guess on the inside right now things are just a mess. My blood levels are low, abnormal.  Chemo just makes things be abnormally low and off the chart.  The only thing I can do is wait.  Wait for the great Physician to heal, mend and clean up the mess.  Just like He does to my broken messed up heart on the inside.  It's a dirty job, but He does it because He loves me so much.  I come desperate for cleansing.  Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit with in me. (Psalm 51:10) He lives to take away my shame.  He is able. He is alive.  He restores me.  He hears my prayers.  It is in the waiting that strength is renewed.  He gives strength to the weary as they hope in Him.  Isaiah 40:31 "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they walk and not faint."  So the secret to my waiting is located in my Hope in a faithful God.  A God who promises me abundant blessings, who will never leave me or forsake me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fly Like a Bird

Preparing this morning for the battle before me once again.  Round 6 is here!  From this point on it will all be downhill--the halfway mark!  I am celebrating.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? the Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?  I am still confident  of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27: 1, 13-14 

"But those that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and grow weary, they will walk and not be faint". Isaiah 40:31

You can always fly like a bird when you think happy thoughts and believe that God answers prayer.  God is His infinite wisdom would notice me (for His eyes roam the earth in search of the righteous Psalm 33:18) -- my struggles and give me strength in place of weakness, hope instead of fear, grace instead of punishment, peace instead of calamity.  He is that star breathing God (Psalm 33:6) who spoke the very universe into existence. My name is written on the palms of His hand.  His endless love rests upon me as I wait in expectation. If I can only  manage to keep a thankful heart, a joyful heart and learn to trust God, then I will have peace all the time.

Enjoy this song from Chris August.  You may need to pause the live stream music on the page to hear this one play.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page and press the mute button.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trust Me

Taken from Jesus Calling by Sara Young

Trust me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song,  You are feeing wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength.  However, they are not today's tasks - or even tomorrow's.  So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you.  Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle eash task as it comes.  Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alonside Me.
Keep bringing your mind back to the present moment.  Among all my creatures, only humans can anticipate future events.  This ability is a blessing, but it becomes a curse whenever it is misused.  If you use your magnificent mind to worry about tomorrow, you cloak yourself in dark unbelief.  However, when the hope of heaven fills your thought, the Light of My Presence envelops you.  Though heaven is future, it is also present tense.  As you walk in the Light with Me, you have one foot one earth and one foot in heaven.

If you are a local friend and can attend my Birth Party please let me know you are coming! It is at 7:00pm at the Home of Alexis Daly in Twin Falls.  Send me an email or call.  For the record I am feeling much better and I DO have energy for a party!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finding Joy

This last week has been a busy one. I have not felt up to the so called "normal" activities of daily life so pardon the brief lack of posting. Between a new nephew being born (Luke Brian Luehrs to Mike & Sundae), my mother-in law having surgery and pipes bursting on the farm...well life just happens. Add the fact that chemo drugs just tend to linger in your body causing various energy depleting side effects. Things seem to be getting back on track and life continues to roll. Thank you for praying and upholding our family!

Some thoughts from my journal...

It's not depression but oppression. I am convinced. My heart and mind belong to the Father. Yet it seems that the little things around me blow up into huge obstacles. Testing and trying my patience. Like irrigation pipes bursting! Like my truck in the shop for the second time. My character is being refined by the fire. Through the flames I march once again. My plea is this: help me believe you are a good God, remind me that your love endures forever. I cast my cares upon Him and I begin to trust again in your faithfulness, step by step, little by little I regain my strength for battle.

You say I am blessed because of this
You get the glory in the midst of this
I choose to believe
As I carry this cross - you'll carry me
You love is an ocean wide
By Audresy Assuad

I can't see through the circumstances I face. I am floating along in a haze. Wondering across the desert. Just like those stubborn Israelite's. I cling to the only thing I can: Manna. It feeds my hungry soul. It sustains my frame and fills my heart with hope and prepares my feet for what lies ahead. I don't have all the answers to the questions I ask myself in the secret place. What is it about this Manna? What is it? That is the name the Israelite's gave to Manna - what is it? It is the WORD that provides hope, joy, clarity and wisdom. I am overwhelmed with the burdens of this life. Each day seems to bring more trouble. Didn't Jesus say this would happen? Yet in the midst of these so called troubles I remain vigilant to stand my ground. Arming myself with the weapons for spiritual battle. I will not be moved. I ask for grace again. Forgiveness only comes when I am willing to be broken - letting go of self, my pride, my ways. Yes the obstacles are present and they could stand in the way of my growth process. But I know better. This is the opportunity for elusive joy to make its grand entrance. Through the difficulties of deflecting flaming arrows my shield gets a work out. My belt gets tightened a notch tighter, my helmet is on and yes that sword is drawn and I stand tall and strong. Bring it on I say, waiting for the next sly and sneaky attack. It is the Devil's plan to steal, kill and destroy my joy. But not today. I will come out of the flames refined, better than before. He is doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:19). So I ask again the see the blessing in the compost of my crazy wonderful life. Compost is just here, there and everywhere. I love how Tri Robinson says it "Somehow God is able to do his best work in the depths of the compost of our lives. I am thankful for the compost in my life - not for the making, but for the growth that comes out of it." I am hopeful for an abundant crop of joy. In the murky waters surrounding my life I can choose my attitude. I can choose joy, embrace joy and be joy - only self kills joy.

"Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be withe you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1-3

These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perished even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:7-9

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Dare to Read

OK blog friends here is a challenge for you: read a book. Simple enough, right? I am starting a book club. If you want to join, email me and let me know. The first book is one I am only half way through--and I cannot put it down. It is raw, authentic and faith shaking. The first book to read is called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Thank you to my friend Shannon for gifting me with this amazing book. I want to tell everyone about what I am reading -- I want to share the experience with others. So the deal is this: first buy the book, second read the book and third well talk about the book. I am thinking once a month would work out just fine. So the first time to meet will be the second week in October. Depending on who wants to join my book club well meet in the mornings or evenings...well see. Also for those of you who don't live by me and still want to join we can conference call you into our book club meetings, no worries!

We will most likely pick books that encourage spiritual growth for a woman's heart. I like deep thought provoking books. This is not for the weak minded. It is for those who are spiritually hungry and seek a deeper love for Christ. Anyone is welcome. There will be no homework or extras associated with the club. Just simply commit to reading a book once a month and show up to fellowship (which means food of course!) and discuss what we read. Who will join me?

Email me at: aeldrl2@gmail.com
Link to Amazon: One Thousand Gifts

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Listening

I feel like I have been doing a lot of talking and not a lot of listening. So for the record, I am trying to listen more intently to what others around me are saying. I am also forcing myself to enjoy solitude. Only a mother can understand the sheer enthusiasm that comes this time of year: back to school. Yep, I said I can't wait for school to begin! Maybe I'll get more of those peaceful quiet moments that seem to be elusive these days. I hear Him knocking on the door of my heart...Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)...Come all you who weary and heavy laden for I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). It is the voice of Jesus calling. I can't deny He stands at the door and knocks, His Word says He does...Behold I stand at the door and knock (Revelation 3:20) I am reminded to slow down, ponder, reflect and listen. You can't hear what God is speaking if all you are doing is talking to Him. I feel like I bring my long list of complaints -- things I am working on with God to His feet daily. I know He must enjoy my attempts to get His attention. I fail miserably at this. He knows what I need even before I ask. He wants my prayers to be simple, heart-felt and to the point. Another words no flowery speech or long sermons about myself or to God explaining why things should work out a certain way I think. Just plain talk and nothing added to it. Why is that so hard? Prayer has been described as a conversation between two intimate friends. You know those awkward pauses between conversation when nothing is said, just silence fills the room? That is what I am after. It's okay to just be silent and listen. I am learning this. It happened to me the other night. I couldn't sleep. Mind racing. I made another one of those long lists in the dark--prayer requests, things to do in the morning -- and then I was gently reminded by that soft quiet voice. Hello: this is God calling you to be quiet right now...just sit and listen to me...no more lists etc. Just sit, be still and listen. Okay I get it Lord! My heart remains captive to the demands of this world. There is no freedom in the busyness of life. Only Jesus can provide that solitude my heart desperately desires. It is up to me to use the key (prayer) to unlock the door of my captive heart. I choose to believe He is standing at the door of my heart knocking...I will unlock my captive heart and let Him set me free. The picture is painted for us in scripture. It is Jerusalem--captive and chained. Isaiah 52:2 "Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive daughter of Zion." So why then do I toil and put off my quiet time? It is so refreshing, so energizing to my mind, body and spirit. This is what we were created for--relationship with our Maker. To communicate in a deep way with the one my soul loves fills me to overflowing. Mary discovered what was good...sitting at the Lord's feet listening to what he said...she choose what is better and it was not taken from her. Samuel discovered hearing the Lord's call. He too called out in the night, "Speak Lord for your servant is listening." (1 Samuel 3:9). The Lord continued to speak to Samuel through his word and Samuel obeyed. I don't want to miss that. God was speaking to his servant who was listening in the stillness of the night. He also uses His Word to convey His message. God still works this way. Just wondering if we truly are listening...