Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Sweet Charlotte

During the 9th grade AHL year, the students study the Book of Psalms.
They also have the opportunity to write a few psalms of their own.
So, Charlotte, being understated Charlotte, simply handed me her finished assignment and said,
 "I finished my psalm."
This is what I read:
A Psalm of God’s Influence in My Life
Since the day of my birth You have been present,
Through trials and hardship, You have guided me.
Even when my tongue was restrained, You could hear my prayers,
When my eyes were wayward, I could still see You,
When my hands could not grasp, I continually felt Your presence.
Through the years, You have remade me,
Through continual supplication You restored me,
Only through You am I made new.
You have renewed my speech,
May my lips only sing Your praise night and day.
You have restored my sight,
May my eyes only see what is pure.
You have made my hands anew,
May my works glorify You.
For You have made mute speak, the blind see, and the deaf hear,
You are the great Physician.
I cannot even put into words what was happening in my heart when I read this.
I was overcome with emotion because she had been in speech therapy 3-4 days a week for years and years learning to speak.  I could see, in my memory, the little girl struggling to get words out and in the next second I recalled her standing and singing to a room full of people at a voice recital last year.
 When the speech therapy was completed, the occupational therapist worked to strengthened her hands so she could hold a pencil, cut with scissors, and tie her shoe laces. A decade later and she is an amazing artist, violinist, and has the most beautiful handwriting!
A few years later we discovered her severe food allergies which reduced her diet to meat, rice, rice milk and some strawberries.
Months and months of treatments with a naturopath enabled her to eat a varied and healthy diet.
We all remember the day she was told she could eat a slice of bread with peanut butter on it.
Bread and peanut butter was one of her most favorite things.
We, with Benadryl in one hand and an Epi pen in another, watched her eat with grateful, joyous tears trickling down her face.
We thought she was finished with therapy.
And then we learned about her ocular motor dysfunction.
Back to therapy and back to work, this time to help her eyes work together.
It was exhausting work, yet she did it, as she had done all the hard work with every other therapist over the years-- without complaint, without excuses, without self-pity.
She now reads at 343 words per minute.
Do you see the pattern?
In every area of weakness, the Lord has shown Himself strong in her.
She didn't just get a little better in each area. She was victorious!
She was victorious in Him.
Every delay and every deficiency and every lack was brought before Jesus in prayer.
Before every single therapy session, there was prayer. Before any visible result was evident, there was thankfulness for what we knew He would do.
And He did.
And He has, and He does, and He will.
Because He cares so much and loves so deeply and He gives, of Himself, so very faithfully.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pain Was A Good Thing/Introducing My Pet Rock

So, funny thing...
Almost two weeks ago on Monday, I was in ER for severe flank pain and it turned out I have a kidney stone.
(My aunt has dubbed my kidney stone my "Pet rock." hee hee)
 Unfortunately, the stone was blocking the transition from the ureter to the bladder so I had some "back flow" going on.

 A good description of the pain-- the pain is like having a hot breathed animal chewing on you from the inside out. This experience has made it into the top 3 of most painful things ever. But here is the funny part. I am SO grateful for this kidney stone! Like, actually happy about it!

Why? Well, with the other stuff that has happened over the last year, the side effects of the prednisone, and having chronic rheumatologic symptoms, I always have some level of pain. Usually it is joint pain, but other types as well. 

Having chronic pain isn't fun and it's constancy was really sucking the joy right out of me. 

Chronic pain wanted to swallow me up and I had to really fight and choose to focus on what I could do instead of mourning all that I can't do.

Enter Monday. It's been a long time since I've had that kind of pain. Pain that left me feeling close to passing out because it was so intense. Pain that kept me from sitting or standing. Pain that made me not care I was in a very crowded ER to the point I asked my Dad to get the "car blanket."  

Yes, I stretched out my mother's purple fleece blanket with Snoopy and hearts on the ER floor and laid down in between the rows of chairs.

What is so wonderful is that pain has given me a practical perspective. By that I mean, even though my daily pain is a drag, I now know how much pain I'm NOT in every day. And I am so, so grateful! 

Now that the kidney pain is managed, the every day pain seems quite dim in comparision.

I was telling Karl about this and he said it reminded him of the Apostle Paul and the thorn in his flesh. Although, he asked for it's removal and healing, The Lord promised that His grace would be sufficient. Paul also suffered acute bouts of pain from beatings and stonings. Through all of it he was able to rejoice in the Lord and the power of His grace. And he considered it all momentary affliction.

Although I would have never chosen the kidney stone, I am grateful that in God's mercy, He allowed me to have it because  I have such a joy in both the intense, acute afflictions, as well as, the chronic afflictions, knowing that both are momentary and light in comparison to the joy awaiting me.

p.s. If this doesn't make sense, I had a lot of pain meds on Monday. Brain is a little slow ;)


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