Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What does it mean to have faith?

So I read today the three account of the miracle where Jesus calms the storm and it raises some questions and curiosities in my brain. I tried to reason them out in my head, and nothing was making sense, so I'm here to write it out and hopefully He'll give me some answers this way.

So, there's three accounts of this story in the Bible. Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:37-41 & Luke 8:22-25. They all say that the disciples and Jesus decided to go across the lake in a boat. No biggie...we all make everyday decisions like this that seem to make the most sense in that moment of our lives. We decide to drive to the grocery store, or go for a walk, or take a trip. Everyday life kind of things.

So they're sailing along, no problems. I've been on a boat and it's peaceful! I love being in a boat on the water and just cruising along. It's so beautiful on the water, so relaxing. So Jesus laid down in the stern and fell asleep. He worked hard! He had to be exhausted! Constantly performing miracles, healing people, teaching people, being harassed by the pharisees and the other religious leaders. He was God, yes, but in a human body, and that human body had to get tired! So He took a nap.

So Jesus is snoozing and suddenly a big storm swoops down on the boat. The Bible calls it a "squall"which is defined in dictionaries as "a sudden strong wind or short violent storm, often accompanied by rain or snow". So it's not a massive system moving through the area, it's more of a very small storm pinpointed on their location. Hmmm...I've experienced these in my life, as many of us have! You know, when you're cruising along in life and all of a sudden everything goes to pot very quickly, and it seems like God is picking on you cuz of how bad everything is. And all around you others are still cruising through their lives just fine, it's just a "squall", right over YOUR boat of life. Ugh! I hate those!

So anyway, cruising along just fine, Jesus sleeping, short violent storm swoops down on them, and they're freaking out! I would be too in a literal version of this story, and I do often in the symbolic version of this story! The Bible itself says that "they were in great danger" (Luke 8:23). So they had good reason to be worried as the danger was very real.

They wake Jesus up in their panicked state and politely ask Him to do something about the storm, Him being the creator of the world and all. Right? No, and we wouldn't either. They were panicking! They freaked out on Him and accused Him of not caring about them! "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" it says in Luke's book. "Teacher, don't You care if we drown?" says Mark (4:38). And Matthew 8:25: "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!". I've cried out similar sentiments to God before. "Don't You care at all about what's happening to me?!?" and "Do You even SEE what's going on in my life? Do You CARE?" and "God, I'm DYING here! Help me!!!". Sound familiar? Have you cried out to God in dire situations before? I do it every time. That's what He's there for!

And Jesus' response? "You of little faith, why are you afraid?" Why were they afraid? "We're dying here" is probably what they wanted to scream back over the howl of the wind as a big wave comes up over the boat and smacks them in the face. Then He orders the wind to stop blowing and the waves to settle back into the sea. And they, of course, obey, because He's the creator of the world!

Here's where my questions come in. What does that mean? "Do you still have no faith?" (Mark) and "Where is your faith?" (John). Yeah, they had faith..that's why they went to Jesus in the first place! Isn't it? Or did they do like I would have done, tried to ride out the storm and let Jesus sleep. After all, they knew how hard He worked and how tired He must have been. Maybe they tried to get through the squall on their own? Maybe they had been bailing water out of the boat for an hour, trying to rescue themselves? I don't know, it doesn't tell us. But Jesus said they were not using their faith in the situation. So what should they have done differently? That's my question. How were they supposed to use their faith?

Does "having faith" mean sitting out the storm and letting it go by on it's own? That doesn't seem like the right answer to me! I mean, isn't that what they were doing? Jesus didn't wake up until they woke Him! So would Jesus have slept right through the boat capsizing? Or would He have stopped that from happening so they didn't all die?

Did He say they didn't have faith because of how they asked Him for help? Because they were freaking out? Maybe they should have asked politely when they woke Him? Would that have been having faith?

I'm a logical type of person and I like do-lists. So my logical brain is trying to find a very direct plan of action in this scenario. A "when this happens, do this" kind of thing. A "they did this - wrong; they should have done this - right" plan.

The only answer that makes sense to me is it's the how that was the problem. They (and we) probably should have gone to Jesus before they were to the panic point? Like, ok, the storm hit, things aren't going well, we've tried to ride it out but it's getting worse. We've tried to bail and rescue ourselves, but we're not keeping up. More water is coming in than we're bailing out. It's time for some Divine help guys! Let's go ask Jesus since He has told us He's the Son of God. He's healed people, thrown out demons from people, turned water into wine. He can probably handle this situation too. Hey, Jesus, could You help us out here? We've done what we can, and it's more than we can handle. Could You solve this problem, whether it's move the boat beyond the storm, stabilize it so we don't capsize or sink, or quiet the winds and waves. You know the best solution, we're trusting You to take care of it. Thanks Jesus!

I don't know. That's the answer I come up with. What do you think? What does "having faith"mean? What does it look like?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chatty Update

Quiet night. I'm loving the spring weather! After this looooong, cold winter, I am so happy to feel the warm sunshine and the 80 degree temps today! I got my flowers in the ground, my tomatoes planted, and love watching my hostas come up every year.

I leave for North Carolina in two day! Thursday morning at 4:30 I leave my house to head to the airport with my brother. My heart is torn with this trip. While I'm excited to go, my heartstrings are tied tightly to home and my son who struggles so when I leave him. He's been bumming about this trip ever since it was decided I would go. I'm trying to come up with ways to make it easier for him, even as I know that it's good for him to struggle with missing someone and having to find ways to self-soothe. But I'll be making him a paper chain to countdown the day until I come home (with Katie, Dominic, Mom and Tony!). I think I'll write a message inside each link, so I'm brainstorming ideas for messages. Mom suggested "go outside and look up at the stars at 8pm...I'll do the same, and we'll be looking at the night sky together!" and the Bible verse "I'll never leave you or forsake you. God loves you so much and so do I! Just as Jesus is always with you, I'm with you in my heart too.". Kate suggested "draw or paint a picture for Katie to hang in her new apartment". Just little things to help him remember that he's loved and the time is passing until I get home. I also picked up notecards today that I'll fill out and write messages to him. I'll hide them in various places so he can find them throughout the 12 days that I'm gone. And of course, thanks to the wonders of technology, there will be text messages, phone calls and facebook comments sprinkled throughout the days to close the distance. :-)

Mostly, though, it will be good to get a break from the daily routine, to spend time with my darling nephew and favorite sister, to spend time with my mom, brother, and brother-in-law. To enjoy the WARM WEATHER in North Carolina. We'll be going to a NASCAR race, I guess. And a pedicure/manicure is definitely on the list of MUST-DO's! And, as they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, the mom in me obviously hopes that me not being here doing the hundreds of things that I do for them daily will lead to them not taking me for granted as much when I return.

If you're wondering about Cassie and how she's doing, let's just say that no news is good news. She seems to be mostly on tracke these days. She hasn't skipped school in a few weeks. We haven't found any empty cold medicine boxes or evidence of cigarettes in her room lately. We've got lots of safety nets in place to try and keep her stable. Her social worker meets with her about once a month. Another Nicollet County worker is meeting with her to work through a book about cutting and how to better manage her emotions. She'll be starting a class this summer called "On My Own" to teach her skills to manage life as she nears adulthood. She still sees her psychologist regularly and her psychiatrist every couple months to make sure all is going well with the meds.

I think the thing that has helped the most has been this 24 hour plan that her psychologist and her dad and I put into place. Every 24 hours she has the opportunity to earn her priveleges for the next 24 hours. If she meets our expectations (which she rattled off quite thoroughly, so she knows them!) then she earns her priveleges for the next day. If she doesn't meet them, we have the option of giving her one warning, and then she loses ALL priveleges from that moment until the end of the next day. That includes cell phones (thanks T-Mobile for Family Allowances!), friends, computer, movies, music. The day after we put this into place, she tested us, and ended up losing everything for almost two days (because of the time she chose not to meet the expectations). She did NOT like not having a phone for that long! And because the very next morning she had the opportunity to earn it for the next day, I think that helped cement it in her brain the link between choices and consequences.

Well, the boy is aking me to tuck him in (love that he still wants that at age 11, almost 12!). So I better go do the mom-thing! After all, I won't get to for 12 whole days!

God bless :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Boundary Lines and Territories

I just got home from having coffee with a friend. Well, she had coffee, I had Diet Coke LOL. (I'm not grown up enough yet for coffee ha ha). Spending time with her was a blessing from God! She's one of those friends that we can go months and months without seeing each other, or even talking or emailing, and when we get together, we're immediately comfortable with each other and pick up right where we left off. Sharing our hearts, laughing over our lives, venting about our challenges. :-) I'm so thankful for the friends God has placed in my life!

He just keeps showing me over and over and in different ways how pleasant are the boundary lines He has placed around me! The territory He has given me is filled with blessing after blessing! Spending time with this dear friend clarified some of those boundary lines and how generous God is!

So on the drive home God and I chatted and I thanked Him for the many blessings He's given me. My family rents a hundred year old home, complete with crooked floors and cracks in the walls, but full of character and history. This home has been a blessing to us for six years now, and hopefully to others as well. We jokingly call ourselves "The Mohlenbrock Home for Wayward People, Animals and anything else that shows up on our doorstep". LOL. We've hosted friends, relatives, cats, a dog (that's still here!)...hopefully they've all found the space within our four walls to be a refuge, a place where Jesus Christ and His corresponding peace and love reign supreme!

Our cars are fifteen years old and on their last legs, but every car we drive has been a gift from my Father in Heaven and I couldn't be more thankful for them! My van, now fifteen years old, was literally given to us for free, and for three and a half years now has toted many, many souls to my Father's house, and our family across the country and back. I'm SO thankful for it! My husband's car, while currently incapacitated in the garage, has brought him faithfully to many workdays and will someday do so again, and in the meantime, God brings us other vehicles to transport him so he can provide for our family.

I have an amazing job where I get to create daily, work with wonderful people, and get off in time to care for my family, friends, and myself in the afternoons/evenings. They are very good to me and I get to have fun to boot!

My husband is a man chasing after the very heart of God and there isn't a blessing bigger than that! He has a heart of gold and loves to help other people.

My children are awesome! I love them so much it hurts sometimes. I have no doubt that when they are adults we will be great friends. I also have complete faith that they will serve the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and with all their minds all the days of their lives. I love the time we spend together as a family...talking, laughing, having fun, watching movies, playing games, walking, bike riding, hiking, fishing (I can't wait to go fishing this summer!!!).

I am so blessed, that it's going to start sounding like I'm bragging if I don't stop. I don't mean it like that at all, and it's not as if my life is a few blogs back and you'll see that! However, when one stops to truly count their blessings, the trials and challenges dim in comparison. (in the reverse, if one stops to count their trials and challenges, the blessings will quickly be overshadowed. It's all in what you focus on).

See, God's been working on this boundary/territory issue for a while now. I saw a video about "Jesus" giving a girl an 8 oz can of Coke, and she loved it! Was thankful for it! Until she saw a friend who had been given a 16 oz can of Coke. And another friend who was given a 24 oz bottle. And so on and so on, and she got jealous, and she got angry, and she got disrespectful to her friends, and to Jesus because she thought that because He had given her "less" than the others, that it meant He loved them more. But, that's not it at all! Jesus personally picked out that 8oz can of Coke for her because it was perfect for her, it was exactly what He had chosen for her! And He was really hurt when she dissed it by desiring the others' Cokes.

I've done that! I've wanted more "Coke" than what God's given me! Wanting more than my allotment in life. When I need to celebrate how attentively and personally Jesus picked out my boundary lines just for me. I need to be content with them, and to celebrate them because they are pleasant, they are generous. And I am thankful!

Jesus gave me these verses as we've worked through some of these boundary issues. First:

"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." (Psalm 16:5-6)


"Oh that You would bless and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." (I Chronicles 4:10)

and then, a week or so ago:

"Love the Lord your God and keep His decrees...It was not your children who saw what He did for you...but it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done. Observe, therefore, all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land...It is a land the Lord your God cares for, the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today - to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul - then I will send rain on your land in its that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied." (Deut 11)

See, it's all about loving Him, seeing what He has done, how He has laid out the boundary lines in pleasant places for each of us, and as we appreciate them, and love Him, and obey Him, He keeps His eyes on the land He has given each of us, and continues to provide for our needs. But just as I'm not likely to shower my children with gifts and privileges if they are being ungrateful and complaining, neither will He grow our territory or bless our current territory if we are being ungrateful and complaining about the "Coke" He has given us!

And just a few days ago He taught me about taking care of the territory He has given me. Being honest with it, and responsible for what He has put me in charge of. To be dishonest with it means I am putting it before Him, trusting myself for provision instead of trusting God to meet my needs. I want to honor God with the territory He's given me, I want to keep Him first so that I am blessable!

So, basically, He's teaching me that instead of looking at others' Cokes, and coveting them, I need to turn my eyes to my own Coke, see how personal it is to me from my Jesus, thank Him for it, care for it, be honest and responsible with it, and trust Him to grow my Coke as He sees fit, and as He sees me caring for it as the treasure it is. Anyway, that's one of the things we've been working on together. Thanks to all my family and friends for being inside of my very, very pleasant boundary lines! Love you all! :-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Professional or Rookie?

Thoughts taken from my hand-written journal this morning:

I feel like my life is a car flying down the road at a couple hundred miles an hour! It's go-go-go from the time my feet hit the floor at 6am until I fall into bed close to midnight. The machine feels barely under feels like one slip or wrong move and it will be careening, spinning and crashing.

I guess it's a matter of who's in control of the machine, eh? Take a race car, for instance. If I was driving a race car on the track, it'd crash within minutes of the start of the race. Yet in the hands of a professional driver? No worries! Obviously, God is the "professional driver" and I'm the I have to make sure HE is the one in control of the car of my life!

I found a couple Bible verses that talk about this principal.

Galatians 5:25 - Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Proverbs 16:9 - In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Jeremiah 10:23 - I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.
Proverbs 16:3 - Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.

This is why it's so important to spend those first waking moments with Him every morning! It keeps my spirit in step with His, it's me giving the firstfruits of my day to Him, thereby dedicating the whole of the day to Him. What better way to keep Him in control of the car and keep me safe!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just a couple of things to share

I wanted to share a couple of things that I thought were cool.

I was at Worship Team practice last Thursday, and, as always, we pray for anywhere from ten minutes to a half an hour before we start worshiping. And, as often happens, I was struggling as thoughts and events from the day were sneaking in from the sidelines and invading my brain while I was trying to focus on Him. I asked God why it's such a struggle for me to enter in to His Presence sometimes and He showed me that it's as easy as stepping from one room into another. All I have to do is open the door and walk in - easy as that, I'm there! And so, in my mind, I did just that! And as I entered, my first instinct was to bow before Him and honor Him as my God and my King. He's so awesome, so beautiful, and holy, and mighty sitting on His throne! My very next desire was to run into His arms! To jump on His lap and throw my arms around His neck and just love on Him. :-) And He told me that I'm welcome to do just that! He is not a King who holds His people at arm's length, who is dared not approached. He is a King whose lap I can jump into! What an awesome God we serve, that as holy and righteous and amazing as He is, that He is still so personal that we can run to Him and love Him and be loved on by Him!

As I reflect on how awesome He is, this is my favorite image that captures some of His amazing-ness!

The next thing I wanted to share are a couple more designs I did up as I reflected on a few of my current favorite Scripture verses. :-)

This one I did after my last blog where I mentioned this is my favorite version of this verse.

This one I did after my friends pointed out to me that I'd been walking under a black cloud and it was time to enjoy life...even the "crises" that hit on a daily basis!

I did this one on Monday. Our church encourages us to fast every Monday through dinnertime as a firstfruits offering to God. Every day I get an email sent to me from KLOVE radio station with a Bible verse in it. This was the verse for Monday and I thought, "how appropriate!". God's timing is perfect! So I did this design for my desktop to remind me as I fast of why I'm fasting.

Anyway...that's it for today. Be blessed and be bless-able! :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Colors, dark clouds and vipers nests

Ok, so I got reprimanded for not updating my blog lol. I have been remiss in writing online of late. In my defense, I do write a lot in my journal...with an actual pen and paper!But alas, it doesn't end up online, and most of it won't :-)

So I'll start by saying I WANT SPRING!!! I cannot express how absolutely sick I am of looking out my window to white and brown everything! I want green grass and blue skies and the orange breast of robins. Perhaps a cardinal or blue jay thrown in for a splash of color. Definitely the purple and pink and yellow of tulips. I'm even looking forward to dandelions! Anything for color!

God has been moving in my life in very cool ways. Not only has He been showing me the many, many blessings He has bestowed on me, He's also been teaching me about being bless-able through obedience and being passionate for Him! I'll start to complain about someone and I feel the Holy Spirit nudge me, asking me if, at that moment, God would want to bless me. Or I get sassy with other drivers, grousing because they're in my way, and the Holy Spirit shines His light on the absolute arrogance in that thought pattern. I get angry over something stupid (in the past week Dar and I have argued over cookie dough...I wish I was kidding) and again, the Holy Spirit shines His light into my heart, and I see that I'm not bless-able when I'm disrespecting my husband.

God has blessed me so much and yet I wonder what thoughts, behaviors, words, and actions make my Heavenly Father choose to not bless me in those moments. What blessings have I missed out on??? I don't want to be the kind of person that He can't bless because I'm not listening to His Spirit when He shows me wrong thoughts and actions in my life.

I also see so much complacency and apathy in my heart that I desire to be eradicated by Him. This week our pastor's been sharing the verse that says our God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24), and that God wants us to love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5) I love "The Message" version...

Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.

So that's my focus right now. I want God to absolutely consume any part of me that is not wholly dedicated to Him. I've learned, over the past five years, to trust Him completely for provision. He has provided for us unceasingly! I've learned, over the past two years, to trust Him completely with my children. He loves them so much more than I do, or can. He is the ultimate Father! Amazing, awesome, loving, perfect, full of mercy and grace. When He disciplines, it's not a harsh, punishing discipline, it's loving, directing, guiding discipline. Sometimes it's hard, that's for sure, but never harsh. I'm learning to love His discipline! I love it when He teaches me new things. when He reveals areas in my life that need work.

Just a few weeks ago He revealed to me through two very good friends that I'd been allowing the circumstances of my day to rule my emotions and words. My mood had been dependent on what "crisis" or events came up in the day. The smallest things grew in my mind to be a huge catastrophe and I was walking around with a black cloud over my head.

Following is an exerpt from an email from my friend that woke me up to this:

I may be overstepping my bounds, but I hope not. (she wasn't!) Often I hear you tell about an aggravation you’ve gone through and then you’ll say something like, “Welcome to my life.” Last [week] you told the story about running out of gas at the gas pump, and then expressed a desire to trade lives with someone (anyone!) else. And I thought, “Would you want to trade lives with Tina (who lost her 3 year old son a year ago after a 2+ year battle with illness) because of that? Or Gina (who has a child with a heart condition)? Or Ann (who's daughter has a muscle disease)?” I don’t want to see you empower our enemy by losing perspective on things that are really trifling matters of everyday life.

You are God’s favorite – and mine! – but you’re not special in this: We all encounter problems and setbacks on a daily basis – kids missing the bus; teenagers (or me) not finishing the laundry; cars running out of gas; having to cancel credit cards because of unauthorized charges; losing an hour of productivity because office equipment isn’t working; being stuck in an email volley for half an hour, explaining the same problem to four different people; and on and on and on. I’m learning from my own experiences that there’s no God-given benefit in dwelling on ordinary inconveniences and allowing them to rule my emotions and define my life.

And she was absolutely right! They were such minor, ordinary inconveniences that I was building up in my mind to be these huge crises! I had been opening my arms to a victim's attitude and crying "woe is me!" So I've changed my reaction to these things..instead of throwing my hands up in despair, I've been lifting my arms in thanksgiving and worship. God showed me that I'd been trying to appear self-righteous like "oh my problems are so horrible, look...I trust Jesus!" when in reality I'd been trusting only in myself. So I've laid down the "super-Christian" and "super-mom" and "super-wife" mantles. I'm not super anything! While I'm special in God's eyes, and loved by so many awesome friends, so are all of God's children. I'm an ordinary human being with ordinary problems and challenges and anything "super" about me comes from God!

So that's a glimpse of where I'm at spiritually. There is so much more I could share, but that's the most recent, foremost in my life right now.

Last week Dar and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Thanks to God, my mom, and my brother Dan, we were able to get away for the weekend just the two of us! We didn't go far...up to Chaska where we stayed in a hotel on the river. It was lovely! We didn't do anything too elaborate, just enjoyed spending time together! So much of our time is spent apart, and when we are together we're dealing with teenagers and finances and schedules, just like most families. So it was wonderful to have the time to enjoy each other. We relaxed in the hotel room and then went out for appetizers at Applebee's late Friday night. Saturday was a short walk (it was only 5 degrees!), a movie, a bit of wandering around a mall, relaxing in the hot tub at the hotel, ordering in pizza and watching some tv (which is novel for us since we haven't had tv in our home for over 5 years). Sunday we got up and drove home to attend church at our church in St. Peter. We were going to visit a church in the Cities, but when it came time to go, we decided we'd rather go "home" :-)


You may be wondering how Casi is doing? I think she's doing awesome! I went to conferences at her school last Thursday and every one of her teachers had glowing reports about her. She comes to class prepared, takes awesome notes, does well on her assignments and tests, helps other students, is such a pleasant girl, they love having her in class...and on and on :-)

She's getting A's, B's and C's in every class except one, which she's getting caught up in, so that will be improving as well. So different from a year ago when she was failing every class but one! I stood there watching her interact with her teachers and was amazed. Who is this poised, confident, wonderful young lady standing before me? When did she grow into such a young woman?!? I'm so proud of where she is and how far she's come! God is SO faithful!

Pastor taught last week that we let "vipers" into our homes. Vipers are sin personified. We let them into our homes when we watch a show we shouldn't watch, look at websites we shouldn't see, commit sinful acts that we know are wrong. And once we "clean house" spiritually, repenting of those sins, there are still nasty viper's eggs in our homes and they hatch and then we deal with more vipers! And the only way to clear out the eggs is through prayer and fasting.

Last week was our church's 3-day fast, which I participated in. My main focus of prayer was freedom for my children from the chains that are holding them down. For Casi it was her past, her non-understanding of delayed gratification, and her disrespect for authority. She's come so far, yet we still have battles occasionally that wear us all down and wreak havoc on our family unit. I believe a breakthrough occurred through the fasting, yet when I walked into her room, I could still feel the old "spirit" of all that we've dealt with.

It all came to a head Friday night. Mom usually sleeps in Chris' room with him, but since he had a friend over, she wasn't very comfortable with that. Casi was at a friend's house, so I suggested she sleep in her room. Mom walked in and came out almost immediately. It smelled so bad in there, that she couldn't sleep in the room! I determined then and there that I would clean it the next day. I did it as a gift for my daughter. I did it as a physical symbol of wiping out the final remains of the viper's nest that she's been living in spiritually. And it turns out I did it as an emotional cleansing for myself.

It took me six+ hours! I cleaned out her closet where she keeps the litter box and food/water for my mom's cat, who Casi is watching. I don't think the litter had been cleaned for a verrrrry long time! And of all the nasty things I've done as a mom in the past 15 years, that's by FAR the grossest thing I've ever had to do. I shudder to even think about it! I swept and scrubbed her floor, sorted through her clothes and hung them all up in her closet. I picked up all the garbage strewn on every surface of her floor, washed all of her bedding and pillows.

I found some things I would rather not have found, and had a good cry in the middle of it all, but overall it was a "cleansing" activity (pun intended!) physically, spiritually and emotionally.

So I've been working on this post now for 8 hours on and off. There is so much more I could write about. But I'll just have to try and write more often! :-) I'm off to bed with my handsome hubby...God bless you all and good night!

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's Monday and All Is Well!

Well, life is back to normal (whatever "normal" is) and all is as it should be once again.

Dar was released from the hospital on Friday. All his many tests came back good. He had an EEG, a catscan, an MRI, and MRA, an echo-cardiogram and I'm not sure what all else. I got to watch the EEG and echo-gram, they were cool! The echo is like an ultrasound for a pregnant woman but on his heart instead. It was amazing seeing how the valves in the heart open and shut, allowing the blood to flow through, seeing it pump steadily. There's no way I could question if God exists after seeing that! It's just so complex and awesome there's no possibility that it's and accident!

In any case, his heart is healthy and strong, his brain is fully-functionatable and he's back at home. They said it was probably a combination of the mild concussion he had last Sunday, his sinus being swollen and his typical low-blood pressure dropping even more. Whatever it was, I pray it never happens again! I did NOT like being thrust into that situation and much prefer having my handsome hubby at home with me, his strong arms wrapped around me, fixing things that get broken, maintaining the lawn, garage and computers, and being there as my partner and my friend. It did make me realize how much I love him and appreciate him more.

Friday after he got home we went out to a move with the kids and saw "Fireproof" about a fireman and his wife and their probable divorce and how they handled it. It's a great movie to see if you're married, but even if you're not, it's a great story. My 11 year old son loved it and has already told us that it WILL be sitting on our movie shelf once it's out on DVD. LOL. 

So today is Monday and Dar and I are both back at work, the kids are out of school early for a snow day and, as I said, all is as it should be once again. 

Thank You God!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today (and tomorrow)'s been two months since I've updated! Crazy! I had no idea it'd gone so long. Sorry about that, but typically no news is good news! 

So that means it's not good news that I bring as I visit my blog tonight. It's been a roller coaster of a day and I just need to type out what's been happening in our life the past 18 hours. It started out amazing! Last night at church we had a special speaker and he was talking about prayer. He mentioned a book called "The Hour That Changes the World" and it's about a challenge to spend one hour a day in prayer. And, like he said most people would think, I thought "yeah, right, an hour?!? What would I pray about for an hour!". He also mentioned that if you ever feel the desire to pray, that it's the Holy Spirit calling you to spend time with God in prayer. I don't remember often feeling the "desire" to pray, although I talk to God continuously through my day. But this morning when I woke up, I really felt the urge to spend an hour in prayer. So I set my alarm for an hour, turned on my newly-burned worship mix CD and entered into His presence. It was awesome! I can't say I could have gone on forever, in fact, right at the one hour spot my LIFE started to intrude on my thoughts and time. But it was a great time with the Lord! 

So I come out of this spiritual "high" to a call from Dar that he's on his way back to St. Peter. Apparently he was driving to work this morning (at 65 mph!) and blacked out. He was still conscious, but everything went dark. He was able to pull the car over to the side of the road and stop when he felt the wheel hit the ditch. It took about a minute or two for the blackness to go away and for him to see again. He waited about ten minutes more and then drove the twenty minutes to the St Peter Hospital where they ran some tests and then transferred him to ISJ in Mankato. I got to Mankato about 10:30 and sat with him while they did a chest x-ray, and an EEG (see pics of that on Facebook!). When I left him at 6pm they were just taking him down to do an MRI with the plans to do an echo-cardiogram (?) in the morning. 

I came home, fed the kids and went to worship team practice. When I got out of that at 9pm I had a friend from church bring me from my house up to the St Peter hospital to get the car that Dar was driving this morning from the parking lot and bring it home. On my way home from that Dar called me. Apparently a spot showed up on the MRI that the neurologist wants to take a closer look at, and she's concerned that it might be an aneurism. I came home from that news to help the kids finish their homework, calm an explosive situation with Cass, and keep myself together until they were in bed and I could process the events of the day. 

And it was at that point that I broke down in tears after keeping it "together" all day long. I think part of is that the word "aneurism" is a huge trigger for me since that's what mom had when I was pregnant with Christopher 12 years ago. I almost lost her then and after she came out of the surgery alive, watched her life disintegrate into pieces. She went into a deep depression, hers and dad's marriage fell apart, she lost her ability to hold a job. She and Dad had such dreams! Their marriage was the one that everyone thought would last forever and the aneurism triggered the events that would destroy the "indestructible" marriage. So I think I'm afraid that the same could happen to Dar and I and I'm terrified! I LOVE my husband! He's my friend, my life partner. We laugh, oh, do we laugh together! We cry together. We love together. Together we are raising our kids and working through the issues of raising a very strong, high-spirited daughter with ADHD and a son with some serious anger issues. Together we sing on the worship team. Together we work through our spiritual battles and keep each other accountable on issues of integrity, character, purity, salvation and faith. We have dreams together! We want to get at least one motorcycle (preferably two!) and travel the country. We want to operate a Christian nightclub with live bands and karaoke. We want to finish getting out of debt. We want to take the kids to see the mountains in Colorado or Montana. We want to take them to see the desert. We want to go back to Duluth to celebrate our 16th anniversary. 

I don't want to lose him. God, I really, don't want to lose him! 

And so, I turn to God. Because He's the only one who can handle this anyway. He's had it in the palm of His hand since before Dar was even conceived by his parents. I didn't know yesterday what today would bring, and I don't know today what tomorrow will bring. But I will put my hope and trust in the One Who holds my tomorrows in the palm of His awesome Savior & Friend, Jesus Christ. He's everything I want and everything I need! Even if everything else in my life falls apart, I've still got Him and no one can take that away from me. Who else would I even dream of turning to with my fears and pain but the One Who created this amazing universe in the first time, Who set time in motion, Who established marriage and families for us to enjoy companionship and fellowship with other humans, Who brought Dar and I together 18 years ago and kept us together through some really hard times in our marriage. Who else would I turn to now? Only Him. Always Him.

So now I'm off to bed and as my mom suggested, I'll picture myself curled up in His mighty hand with His other hand covering me and protecting me, and I'll rest in His hands. Only He knows what tomorrow will bring...