Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good-bye, Daddy

My Dad is dying. When I asked my sister about flying next weekend, she said he wouldn't last that long. I talked to his doctor and she did not give a good prognosis. He is 88 and has been in the hospital for the last couple of weeks, first for a UTI, then he got aspirated pneumonia. Last I heard, he was unconscious and on a ventilator. He went into cardiac arrest, but they managed to bring him back.

I am holding tight to my faith. It's the only anchor in this storm. While I'm not mad at God, this is a challenge to my new Reformed beliefs about election. It's all well and good until it's brought home to your family. I am wrestling with God over this.

God brought me through the whole issue with K. back in 2004. He held onto me when I had no strength to hold onto Him. He will bring me through this, too. I will be okay, but I am not okay now.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been praying for a grace from God that I would be able to see Dad before he dies to say good-bye. Starting the end of last week I felt that God was telling me to fly to Seattle now. Then the call came Saturday morning and I had to hurry to arrange a trip. Perhaps going now is the answer to that prayer. I know I don't deserve this (or any) grace from God, but I would very much like this, so I asked.

I have not lost sight of who my true Father is, one who does not die and will always be there for me.

I am leaving tomorrow morning (Monday, Feb. 28). I will be gone one week and plan to fly home on Monday, March 7. Today I stumbled over a YouTube video series of Steven Curtis Chapman & his family on Larry King Live back in 2008 after the death of their five year old daughter. If they can get through something as unexpected as that, I can certainly get through this. Death is a part of life, but that doesn't make it easier.

I have been encouraged by something Lysa TerKeurst said about death, that it is merciful of God to let us die. The alternative would be to live forever in this sinful, fallen world. We have a promise of a perfect world without sin or death, but it is not here now, so death is a mercy to keep us from suffering forever.

There will be no funeral, so the rest of the family will not be flying in. I will love and miss you all. I will NOT be online much, if any, for the next week (i.e. don't send any game requests).

I would appreciate any and all prayers. I will be staying with my sister in Seattle. Neither her nor my Dad are saved, and April and I are both suffering right now. Pray that God saves Dad and that I get a chance to say good-bye before he dies. Pray for my sister and I as we navigate this painful journey.

I cried myself to sleep last night. My grief was so deep that I couldn't even pray. The only words that came to mind were lines from the songs I listened to and just a general, "God, help me!" Thank God for Michael Card, Rich Mullins, and Casting Crowns. They have captured my prayers in song and it has been a great comfort in this time of sorrow.

"I will praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands,
For You are who You are, no matter where I am."
--Casting Crowns

"Hold me, Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf.
You have been King of my Glory, won't You be my Prince of Peace."
--Rich Mullins

"Jesus, hold me now,
I need to feel You in this place,
To know You're by my side,
And hear Your voice tonight."
--Casting Crowns

All praise and glory to You, Father. Please walk with me through this.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finding my "sweet spot"

Had a doc appointment today and saw my latest test results. So glad - everything is in range, my Free T4 was the highest I have yet seen, and my Free T3 was on the high end of the range without being over. :) The doc was so happy he high-fived me!

I feel good, symptom free, very pleased. I was dx'ed in August 2008. It's been quite the journey.

I currently take 150mg of natural thyroid with 88mcg of levothyroxine. Neither medicine alone worked well, but the two together are working! My doc and I have tried various doses of each medicine alone and together and it looks like the current combo is what every thyroid patient wants - their "sweet spot."

Thank You God! I asked You to help me on my thyroid journey and You have!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Call To Live

So I'm reading Deuteronomy and remembering my past as I read. There is the promise in 4:28-31 - my coming to God after serving other gods. Deuteronomy also contains the Old Testament passage that helped me answer the question, "Who is this goddess I used to worship?" As a new Christian, this was a question of utmost importance. I found two passages - one in the Old Testament and one in the New - that answered that question. The Old Testament passage is Deuteronomy 32:16-18. They sacrificed to demons... Wow.

I'm walking to work today, bopping to the music of my "Hope" playlist on my iPod. I should pause here and explain that the reason for the existence of this playlist was to create a list of songs that remind me who God is and what His promises to me are. I was going through a rough patch at work. My boss was trying to make my life at work a living hell, and that's when the playlist was created. Yesterday I added some new songs, and this is what I listened to today.

First I come across Casting Crown's song Who Am I? and hear last line of the chorus (and the song): "I am Yours." And so I say out loud as I am walking, "I am Yours." Because I am. And suddenly I have a flashback to an earlier time. I'm around 16 or 17. I am watching Shirley MacLaine in "Out On A Limb." It's based on her book. She stands on the shore of the Pacific Ocean with her friend and says, "I am God."

And it suddenly struck me how far I have come and how far apart those two statements are: "I am God" and "I am Yours." Once I would have chosen and believed the former. And then God came after me to show me who He is, and tell me who I am. :)

Another song I heard on my iPod today is along these same lines - Beautiful by MercyMe. The chorus reads, in part, "You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His." Yes, I am not God. I belong TO God. I am His.

After "I am Yours" I kept listening and soon another song came on that reminds me of my past, Strength for the Journey. I first heard it sung live my Jesse Manibusan and bought the cassette. It was a promise to me then; it is still a promise today. And listening always takes me back.

After this song was I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack. I realized that this is what God wants for me - to dance! To stop sitting on the sidelines and get up and dance! Pray! Praise! LIVE! "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14, NASB). He's calling me to life! Wake up and live! Live as you have never lived before!

I had one more thought that occurred to me on my walk. As many of you know, I have been listening to John Piper lately. He says that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." I believe that. But it also occurred to me that God didn't have to make it so. He could have created the world so that He is most glorified when He makes us robots who simply obey, or any number of other scenarios where He gets all the glory, but we don't get any satisfaction from it.

But He chose not to. He chose to create in a way where He gets all the glory, and we get ultimate joy in Him! That is love. He could have done any number of things, but chose to give us an awesome joy when we abide in Him. Praise be to Him who is so gracious to creatures such as us!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

When God Rocks Our World

I don't know what is happening. I only know that I have never felt such love for God and such a sweet ache of longing. Something is happening, but it defies words. For someone who loves words, that's frustrating.

I wasn't looking for change. I was quite content with my life the way it was. I didn't need my theological world to be rocked, and I didn't need to be confronted with everything. Or maybe I did. At least God sure thought I needed it.

I didn't ask for God to reveal more of Himself to me. But He chose to do so anyway. Little did I know that this unveiling was simply setting the stage for something else. Because if I had not been studying Reformed theology I never would have gone searching the Desiring God website for more info, I never would have found the "TULIP" series, I never would have watched the video on Perseverance of the Saints, and the aside about the necessity of forgiveness never would have reached my ears.

Those words - not more than a few sentences in length - hit my soul like a semi. It truly TRULY scared me. Through John Piper, the Spirit spoke to me. And it cut me like a knife.

I don't know everything that is going on, but if God wanted to get my attention, He succeeded. It it to my shame to admit it, but I have prayed more in the last two months than in the previous two years.

I have adopted a prayer of John Piper's as my own: "Fix me, change me, alter me, go down, kill me if You can't, but don't let me live out of sync with the Bible! Don't let my heart stay out of sync with the Bible!" Come and change me, God. Make me into a daughter You can be proud of.

These are dangerous prayers, but I think they are the only ones that will make us into people that show how glorious Christ really is. It's God's glory that is at stake, and He will not share it with another.

And that is why, after all my hard work to lose weight, God took away all the control I thought I had. He took it away to show me that He is in control. I was taking glory for myself in what *I* did, in what *I* accomplished. I tried to take God's glory for myself. And so He stripped me down to remind me that all the glory is His.

"For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another." -Isaiah 48:11 (NASB)

Help me, Father, to live worthily of being Your child, and give me the power to live out what the Bible says to do. In the final analysis, I really do love You and want to live for You, and I am frustrated that I fail so miserably every day.

Give me power over my eating and drinking, give me power over my unforgiving heart. Give me all of Yourself and never let me be satisfied with anything less. Amen.