Wednesday, June 30, 2010

strength and mourning...

The last few mornings I have been waking up and before I even step out of bed, between the snoozes, I have been praying.

It has been a really good way to wake up.

Through that, and trying to be intentional about praying in the car as I drive anywhere, my days have started out with prayer and worship.

God has been using these things, and others to build me up and strengthen me. I have been feeling a peace and a deeper sense of what I would call joy I guess.... even in the midst of depression.

My emotions have stabilized out somewhat.

To God be the glory, because I know where I was at about 3 weeks ago!

Now one of my dear friends, almost like a mother to me, Sandy, is facing losing her husband to colon cancer.

They have been through so much as a couple - I think I have mentioned them here before. Her husband, Henry is at home on hospice. He hasn't been eating or drinking much of anything. He had a really rough night last night.

This weekend the whole family was going to get together to celebrate some shared birthdays. However this morning Henry asked Sandy, in a clear moment, to call the kids and have them come today.

Sandy asked me to pray that once the kids got there to say goodbye, that things would happen quickly so that he would be free from this body, and pain.

They've been married 47 1/2 years.

I can't imagine what this is like - for either of them.

Now I realize why God has been strengthening me this week. So that I can walk alongside her, and our other friends who will be mourning our loss and Henry's gain... even if it doesn't come today, or tomorrow, or even this week....

Their most recent request that went out on the prayer chain follows.

"Please pray for Henry and Sandy who are gathered with their family. Pray that Henry will be able to be kept comfortable during this time. Please pray for the Lord's timing in Henry's life."

My heart aches for them.
And I am out of words.

Please join us all in prayer for them, and for their family.

On the road...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friends, family, hay, and trains... my life the past few days!

It's 7pm, and I actually have some moments of quiet.

I haven't been on the computer a whole lot at home because I loaned my laptop out to a friend who is pretty much out of comission with a knee surgery, and needed to be able to get at his email and do some work.

It's ok though, it just means that Dave has to share his computer with me! :) Not sure what he thinks about that yet. Especially when he finds that I have been "blogging" on HIS computer! :D

This week has been a week.

One of ups and downs.
Great conversations.
Difficult decisions for dear friends.

I have definitely gone "up" and "down" this week.

I started out my work week pretty low, and stayed that way all week, slowly getting better by Wednesday evening. I don't think it is my work itself that is pulling me down (I work at my church as the administrator) but maybe the enemy hitting me as much as possible to keep me from doing what I should be.... not sure on this, but feeling its a pretty good guess.

Thursday morning I spent on a friends porch. I was alone, just me and God. I was waiting to let in hospice to set up a hospital bed in their living room. My dear friends Henry and Sandy are going through a rough time. Henry has colon cancer. They have stopped chemo and are now home from the hospital, on home hospice.

Though it has been very difficult for them, I know they are totally at peace now with this situation, and with the decisions that have been made.

While I was at their house, I spent the time praying for them, prayer walking through their house.... and spent some great personal time with God too.

I had nearly 4 hours of uninterrupted time before things started hopping there, and people and equipment started arriving.

I walked into my friend Cindy's house on Friday, and after giving and receiving a big hug, she asked me how I was doing (because Tuesday was an awful day!!!!). I was able to tell her joyfully that I was doing really pretty good! Imagine her surprise and delight!

I had a great talk with her that morning, and a great conversation with my friends Peter and Donna the night before.

Yesterday, after getting home from spending time with Cindy, I mowed the lawn really quick and then ran to the farm with the kids, because my father in law was baling hay.

He had cut the day before, and side raked earlier in the day - he was trying to get it in the barn before dark, and it was supposed to rain last night (which it did).

It has been raining so much here that there haven't been 2-3 consecutive days without rain that were good for cutting hay. All the farmers are behind and trying to squeeze it in.

So, out to the farm we went.

I brought work gloves and jeans and borrowed a long sleeved shirt for helping out. I have never really been able to help before, because my allergies are so bad that I can't hardly breathe when I try to help. And usually there have been more than enough people to help, so I can back out and let someone else do it.

Not yesterday. My husbands cousin was there, and so my father in law, Joe and Dave's cousin Tom had brought in the first load and got it in the barn. I got there while Joe was baling the second load. So, I went into the house and made sure there was fresh watermelon and that the dinner was in the oven.

I came out when I heard him coming down the road with the loaded hay wagon. I wish I had some pictures to show you of the day and all the kids riding high on those mountains of bales!

I knew Joe didn't expect me to help, but I walked over with my work gloves on, hair in a bandanna, and long sleeves. I got up on the wagon and waited for Tom to get up in the loft and the elevator to start going. Thankfully the bales weren't too heavy this time, and I was able to pull them down, and line them up for my 6 yr old son who kicked and pushed them over to Joe to get them on the elevator. (He was thrilled to be helping that way when he realized that he couldn't swing them like grandpa!)

We did great until Joe needed to pull the wagon forward, to get at the bales at the back of the wagon, and got stuck on the end elevator, cause he pulled in crooked. At that point a friend of the family showed up and was able to help lift the elevator out of the way, and help unload the rest of the wagon. Since he could pretty much handle 2 bales at once, one with each hand, I was out of a job on the wagon.

I was relegated to "women's work" of making more juice and bringing out fresh fruit and stuff...

Though I am pretty sure it wasn't intentional, I am disappointed that I didn't get to really help unload more than I did. I wasn't really pushed aside, but when I was told I could go take a break, instead of speaking up and saying I wanted to keep on going, I backed down. I didn't mind running the errands for food and drinks in between loads, cause I couldn't help in the field. But I guess I am kind of mad at myself for not speaking up and saying I wanted to help out more.

I know I will probably get more chances as the summer goes on and the weather cooperates, but still. I wanted to do the work once I got out there. It felt really good to do something physical like that, that I knew was helping the family.

In the end though, with the help of the 2 other guys, Joe got in all his loads. Five in all from the 2 fields he cut. I don't know how much more he is planning on baling himself, but I know he will be helping others if he doesn't bail, so I may get another chance this summer to help out and prove myself.

Today, I went with my family for a train ride. The place we went was about 3 hours away from us, and we went with our cousins. After the 3 hours of driving we got to walk around the train yard. Then got on the train and had a pizza lunch, and rode for nearly 2 hours. Then the long ride home again.

My husband is tired (so am I) but he is sleeping right now (hence the reason I can "blog" on his computer!!!)

It was a good day with the family. I did get joy out of it, which is I guess, what the doctor and I want to see as the result of my taking the medications.

I still am finding myself very easily irritated, and frustrated. My anxiety is still very high. Some days it goes down - like on Friday... but today it was way back up there again.

It's hard to tell what is circumstantial, and what isn't. I don't know what to attribute it all to, but I guess even if I don't know, I have to roll with the punches and do what it takes to take care of myself.

I am tired out, but I am also hungry and thirsty, so I am going to go outside, where it is a bit cooler (rather than trying to go sleep right now - if I did that I would never sleep through the night) and enjoy a fire and some reading and maybe some hotdogs over the fire.

I guess that will be a way I can take care of myself tonight, as long as I don't stay out too late by the fire.

I hope to write more soon, to share more of what I have been learning through reading a book that Cindy recommended to me.

Hopefully that will come sometime this week.
I guess I just wanted to let you know what was going on, and how I was doing since that last post of mine.

On the road... walking with Jesus,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let this cup pass me by....

Well here is my update.


I was right. I'm back on the anti-depressant.

Not so sure how I feel about that yet. Still struggling with it I guess. Sort of in shock. Sort of numb.

I feel kind of like I failed, came up short, didn't really give it all I had to give.

I've felt that way many times in my life - like I just come up short of really giving it everything I have, not quite totally spending myself in something - always leaving something in reserve, rather than leaving it all out on the field.

I guess I kind of feel that way now.

Whether it's the truth or not.... I don't really know, honestly.

Maybe those few of you who have been reading my infrequent posts the past few months or so might be able to tell me, or give me a more accurate picture of myself.

I called in my prescription and will pick it up on my way home from work.

I am so done in. I am ready to call it quits... but I have about 3 tons of laundry to do.... and I work yet today and tomorrow. Too much to do, and no time to do it in.

All I really want to do is curl up and pull the covers over my head till it all goes away, or leaves me alone, which ever comes first and lasts the longest.

Not much chance of either, really, is there?

I hope God uses this medication to make me more functional again. I feel like I am faking it most days, when all I want to do is curl up in a little ball somewhere and cry (when I'm at work, I want to get under my desk where no one can see me.... at home, it's my bed....)

At least I haven't gone down as deep as I once did. I was at a whole different level of hurt then. I had a lot of past stuff to deal with. God has healed me from a lot.

When I doubt it, or doubt that it was God, I go back into my old posts and start reading.

So I know I am starting at a different place now. My feet have been on much more solid ground... more truth under my feet than there was before.... I am basing less of me on lies - and the sinking sand, so my footing is that much more secure.

But I still feel like I have fallen pretty hard.

One of the pastors that I work with encouraged me today to not give up, and to keep on pressing in towards God, to keep reminding myself of what the truth is.

I know he is right. When I am thinking clearly, or have more energy, I do that - I am able to refocus my mind, even a little and it becomes easier.

But when I am tired, when my brain is fuzzy, it doesn't seem to help to have that encouragement. I just feel even more dumb and tired and silly for even having these thoughts and feelings... which is totally NOT the result anyone has for encouraging me!

However, I do need the reminders to dwell on the truth.

I need the TRUTH like I thirst for water.

I need JESUS more than ever.

I am so thankful that He knew what it was to despair, to be depressed, and yet to still trust His Father and have a close relationship with Him, even when He was begging for the cup to be taken from Him.

Because I think that is what I have been doing. Begging God to take the cup away from me...... but I haven't been like Jesus in saying, "not my will but Your's be done."

I'm not there right now.

I have been there in the past as I have seen how God has used my experiences to help others, either through this blog or in personal, private conversations.

But again, right now, I am begging God to let this cup pass me by.

It seems I have to drink of it again.

It's very hard to swallow.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Doctors and decisions - prayer too...

I am going to be seeing my doctor about 2 hours from now.

It's a normal appointment that I have about every 3-4 months now. It's a basic med check appointment to see how I am doing.

How am I doing?

I know I am going to have to answer that question from him.

I'm not even sure that I can answer that here - right now - much less at his office.

I have my good and bad days, just like anyone else.
My ups and downs.

I just feel like I am getting slammed - pounded - as Cindy said to me earlier this afternoon.

I have a day or two where the days seem almost normal. Then the anxiety builds and with it depression. Then I get in a string of days like that.

Days I have no energy.
Days I have no strength.
Days I just want to cry.
Days I don't want to get out of bed.
Days I can't manage to keep my thoughts straight.
Days I struggle to pray.

I still spend time with God, I still read His Word to me. I still journal my prayers and thoughts the best I can. I seek the prayers and counsel of a few close friends. And eventually I get a few hours here or there of relief, and finally maybe a day or two.

Then the cycle starts over.

I have to try to share this with my psychiatrist, and share some of the thoughts I have had from time to time.

I know that there are many stressors going on right now that can be helping in putting me over the edge.

Just seeing a close friend's husband dying of cancer and walking through it all with her would be enough, and there are other things as well!

I know some of you may not get this in time to pray for me during my specific appointment time, but please do pray. I could really use it.

I need wisdom to sort between lies and truth, and the ability to communicate clearly and honestly with my doctor. Depending on what he thinks, this appointment may result in my starting up with anti-depressants again.

I honestly don't know what to think about that. Part of me thinks its not necessary, that I am blowing things out of proportion, and another part of me doesn't.

Thanks so much,
On the road... walking with Jesus,

Update on Concert Festival

I am going to keep this short, as I have little time, and still other things I want/need to share here - hopefully later today.

The weekend went very well. I was amazed at the peace that surrounded everyone and everything. Though everyone was extremely tired and at their limits, I didn't hear one complaint from anyone as they pushed through their exhaustion and kept serving and ministering and doing their assigned jobs. That includes all the youth!

It was amazing to see people come together to minister, do outreach, to worship and pray together.

I know of for sure 3 people who came to Christ for sure. However there were probably 50-60 people who came forward for the alter call on Friday night.

A rough guess is that about half of them received Christ, though not all talked to someone about their decision.

The other half were people who were hurting, or needing to lay something down, or in a spot where they were desperate in their needs.

They were met too, by our awesome God.

Our numbers were low. Our church is going to have to make up some of the differences. It has been a learning experience for all of us, but it has been oh, so important and impactful for all of us.

Please continue to pray for not only the youth (for encouragement, though their bigger vision didn't pan out as far as numbers of attendees is concerned) and pray for the rest of the church that they would be able to grasp clearly what God did this weekend, and not "grumble" about the end monetary result.

Haiti still gets money from the event.
People still got saved.
Our community was reached out to.

The goals and vision the kids had were met, even if not in as wide a scope as they originally dreamed.

Thank you for praying for us!

On the road... walking with Jesus,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Special prayers for an outreach concert....

Short update here - I have other stuff to post about, but wanted to share this bit.

Our youth group at our church had been going through a book called "Hard things." Basically it challenged them because it talked about how the world views teens, that they are unable to do much more than go to school and make their beds.... much less have an impact on this world. The writers of the book challenged them to stand above and beyond what society expects of them.

The kids started dreaming about what they could do together as a youth group to impact their world.... when.... Haiti was hit by the earth quake.

After much praying, they felt God was giving them a vision to put together a Christian Music Festival as a benefit for Haiti.

They started doing some leg work, and dreaming of headliner Christian bands they could try to get.

They got a person to help them contact and make contracts with some bands. They picked a date, searched out sponsors in local businesses. They have partnered with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They have raised funds to pay the bands, shared their vision with the community. They got food vendors coming in to donate some of their proceeds to the Haiti relief fund. They have gotten a comedian to be their MC, got local bands to fill time slots earlier in the day - and prayed like crazy.

Our local outdoor concert venue, Marathon Park is where it will be held.
This weekend.

These kids are ON FIRE for Jesus.

One of their visions was to raise funds for Haiti by selling enough tickets. They are weekend passes to get into the event for both Friday and Saturday. The grandstand and surrounding grassy areas can seat over 9,000 people. They are hoping to break the records for the park. The weather may affect some of this, but God can do anything!!!!

Another vision of theirs was to focus as well on outreach to fellow youth and young adults who don't know Christ. They are very passionate about this, and so purposely sought out a main line band, Seventh Day Slumber to be the final band tonight. They give an amazing alter call during their concert and have said that about 50% of the audience comes forward at most of their concerts. Probably half of those are rededicating their lives to Christ, or surrendering something to God, the other half are turning their lives and hearts over to Jesus for the first time.

Many, if not most of our adults are involved, one way or another.

Those who don't feel they "fit" with the type of music that is going to be at this festival are feeling called to pray for the event. They have a prayer tent set up. There are areas to pray one on one with someone, for people to pray over the country of Haiti, and for prayer counselors to talk through and explain the decision that someone makes to come to Christ.

I am so excited to see what God is going to do here. This is our little youth group of no more than 30 kids. They, along with their parents and other adults have raised multiple of thousands of dollars to even be able to host the event. We are praying that we will more than break even so we can donate money to Haiti...

.. but at the same time, one of the biggest things our senior pastor is praying is this.... So, what if we don't break even? What if our church ends up in debt because of stepping out in faith and supporting our kids? Is it worth it?

Is the possible debt, along with all the stress and hard work everyone has put in really worth it? How do you measure that worth?

What if 100 people come to Christ?
What about 50?
What about 25?

Or even 5?

Is any subsequent debt or exhaustion, or depleted resources worth the destiny of even ONE eternal soul.

I know how I would answer that.

If it cost me $20,000 or more for one lost person - who was destined for hell - to get turned around and have a personal relationship with Christ, to know they have eternal security, to know that they are Christ's forever.... and who knows what they will do in their life time.....


That's it.
The end.
No question.

I know that is the answer our senior pastor has come down to as well.

Please pray for us. There are supposed to be some storms re-developing this evening. I know the enemy would love to do anything and everything to stop Seventh Day Slumber from going on tonight and giving an alter call.
Pray for those who are there, no matter who they encounter, may they hear about Christ. Pray that people in the neighborhood around the park would hear the music and come on in... to find out what is going on, even if its only because they want to make a donation to Haiti..... but that they would find Christ.
Pray for protection and peace for our kids and adults helping. Pray that the members and attenders of our church who are not there for one reason or another would be praying and covering us in prayer.

Please - we need your prayer. The people coming need your prayers.

May God bless you!
Thank you for praying!

thank you for giving me a platform from which to share this.

If I get the chance tonight when I get home, I will try to update with a short note here to let you know how tonight went. I will be back up there again tomorrow, though not as late to help in any way I can.

Thank you all!
Love you, and I will talk to you all soon!

On the road.... walking with Jesus