Put your behind in your past…

At least that’s what Pumbaa said.

Man, I sure know a few of us that need to turn our heads forward sometimes.  I honestly wonder how we get around at all with our eyes firmly fixed on what is behind! You’ll notice that I am including myself in the mix.  It’s a pattern I can quickly fall into if I’m not careful.  It’s the pain.  It’s always what hurts that keeps us turned the wrong way.

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We have a ridiculously fat, old cat named Rhetta.  She is embarrassingly large — so large, in fact, that she can no longer wash her own back and has mats that form in her fur.  We call them dreads so as not to make her feel ashamed.  We feed each of our cats the same amount of food per day.  Rhetta, however, is sneaky and discovered the dog food years ago, and helped herself a bit too often.  She is also scared of everything.  She’s been kind of a nasty personality for years now.  You just never know when you’ll get bitten — even if she seems pleasant.  She HATES the other pets and prefers her dark, little corner of the world where she hides and growls and spits at anyone who gets too close.  We think the addition of each pet and each life change (including the 12 hour drive to a new home a few years ago) really messed with her.  She just seems broken.  We just love her and shave her back now and then and try to get her through.  Sad, isn’t it?  She just can’t step out of what hurt her into enjoying even a little bit of life.

I look around and realize we all have things that scarred and tried to break us.  Tricky mommy and daddy issues, folks who promised to love us and didn’t follow through, physical and emotional abuse, folks who pointed out our flaws and created ugly thoughts that seem to stay on repeat, the loss of someone we loved deeply, insecurity…this list could go on ad infinitum.

No one is immune.  But some have found a way to move on.  Have you noticed that?  Some folks seem to take it stride or heal faster or something.

As I’ve looked around with this in mind, I realize that folks tend to use their pain to either justify their behavior or as a catalyst to change.  Yeah, that’s tough stuff, but if we’re being honest, we know it’s true.  Either we repeat patterns or we break the chains.

I have cross-country skied since I was three years old.  It has always been just for fun and I’m too out of shape now to want to let anyone see me trudge/glide along.  I had stopped for decades and recently came back to it thanks to my kids and their gift of equipment.  Then some stupid health stuff gave me excuses to sit instead of ski.  My husband got me out the other day and in the middle of a winter weather advisory, we went for a walk/ski together.  We got about 16 inches of fresh snow that day.  The plows couldn’t keep up, and since we live in the middle of absolute nowhere that was no surprise.  Our area is mountainous.  I was on the last day of one of the worst colds I’ve ever had and had been coughing ridiculously for days.  Perfect set-up to get back into things.  Haha.

A half mile in, huffing and puffing, I had a decision to make.  I could turn around and go home (which sounded mighty good).  Or, I could commit to the next three legs of equal length and make *the square* which would bring me back to my driveway.  The square consists of huge inclines and I was already sucking some serious wind.  But darn it, I wanted to have proven it to myself that I could do it.  So I committed.unblazed trail

I've got this

halfway

{I had to document it with photos because I could just feel my thoughts brewing as my lungs burned!}

This journey we are on is daunting!  Pitfalls and mountains and the overwhelming-ness of it all can make us just want to go back to somewhere safe and easy!  Sometimes, we gloss over the pain of our past and live there emotionally just to not have to face what is in our front view!  Often, it’s just too hard to breathe where the path hasn’t been broken for us, and we quit and take off our gear and camp out.  I get it!  I’ve done it!

But the past has passed!!!  It’s just our catalyst to a great story!  It’s not a dwelling place or a camp or a place we even want to stay!  The mystery, the beauty is in the new trail!

The triumph is in only the glance back where we see our tracks and rejoice in the accomplishment!  When we see that there was always at least One Who walked alongside us, cheering us on!  When we get a new story — a renewed sense of victory and hope.

a glance back

No one wants to continue to hear my sad stories.  I have a million.  They’re getting old though, and it feels just like stench at this point.  Those stories are just my stepping stones into who I stepped up to be.  Yes, they hurt, but I worked hard to survive and I am determined to look forward to the new, unblazed, fresh and beautiful path into who I am now — despite and because of those obstacles!

I glance back only to be thankful for how far I’ve come.  I refuse to trip over them any longer.

Anyone with me?

 

The Storm has passed…

This is Part Four in a series.  For it to make any kind of sense, begin on Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

We now had four days until it was time to close on our current home.

Per the contract we signed some three months ago, the date could not be changed.  Almost felt laughable as we sat in an ICU pod 200 miles from home, needing to be present to sign papers in four short days.

Christian was still exhibiting the same symptoms of sickness.  Though his color was improving after all of the transfusions, he was still on a liquid diet and not moving a whole lot.  He was also still bleeding internally.  His platelet count was slowly coming up as were his hemoglobin levels.  As we received each positive new number from the lab, I would write it on the white board as physical proof and celebration of what God was doing.

The staff at Henry Ford!!  The nurses!  I don’t even know how to begin to describe them.  They became our cheerleaders, and friends, and advocates, and nurturers.  We have many to thank.  The care they gave was over and above what we were used to–simply exemplary.  Each one became a face and a friend we will never forget.

We got some test results showing a parasite.  This nasty guy had found its way into my husband and set up shop.  Not uncommon, this parasite had been found near our area recently.  Acting alone, this guy could cause some upset, but nothing like what we were seeing.  Still stymied, doctors kept searching.

Three days until closing.

I am sitting in the room with my husband.  I get a text from my favorite new doctor in our hometown–the one who sent us here.  The same one who offered to help my family in our absence.  He had gotten some lab results back and texted me to get the number for our ICU pod to talk to the doctors.  He gave me a name of a bacteria.  Google translated it for me.

This nasty bacteria had been found.  It is similar to E. coli.  This one caused low platelet count and bloody diarrhea.  Yup.

As the day progressed, our favorite Detroit doctor with whom we had great life conversations came in to tell us that it seemed that the parasite and the bacteria both present in Christian’s system had been having one heck of a party.

This was our answer.  Though unheard of, and baffling, the great news was the bacteria was treatable with a strong five-day antibiotic!  The doctors would continue to boost his system and make sure his numbers climbed, but when they did, we would be released.

I cannot tell you the relief we felt.  We rejoiced as a family.  We put all of our kids on speakerphone and praised God together.  We did happy dances.

And then, I left the room for a few minutes while my husband used the bathroom.  When I returned, my husband was furious and the beeps on his monitor were going crazy.  Some young resident doctors had come in during the few minutes I was gone and misread a report, scared Christian into thinking he was back in danger and tried to bully him into more invasive testing.

More proof of the spiritual attack against us.  The minute we had the victory in view, the enemy swooped in for one final attempted blow.

But it didn’t work.  We praised it away.  We spoke truth and life.  We rebuked fear.  The battle was over.

We all slept that night, he in his hospital bed, and I in my hospital apartment with my friend.  No more transfusions.  No more fear.  We were on our way outta there and we could feel it.  The spiritual tides had turned.

Two days until closing.

By the end of the day Saturday we were moved to a regular room. (!!!!!!)

One day until closing.

New doctors came in to be sure what we wanted was to be discharged.  “Shouldn’t we wait and get the numbers higher?” they would ask.  “Who will you follow up with to make sure he is okay if you’re moving?”

“Let us out!” we exclaimed.

“This case is incredible!” they said.  “You could sell your story,” they said.  “Residents will be doing case studies on you,” they said.

“This is our miracle!  Only God.” we said.

By Sunday at noon we were released.

exit

We drove straight to Five Guys Burgers and Fries for a burger.  Yup!  From jello and ginger ale to a cheeseburger and fries.

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And my friend drove us home. taxi

We hugged our children like never before.

On Monday, with bruises looking like tattoo sleeves up and down his arms and needle holes too numerous to count, and ankles swollen like balloons, we showed up at the title office to sign off on the sale of our home.

We never even unpacked.

On Tuesday, we loaded into our 26 foot box truck so incredibly packed by just our son and daughter and left with Load Number One on our 500 mile drive to our new paradise–with me behind the wheel for the very first time and my husband in the passenger seat with his feet elevated.  Thirteen hours later, we were reunited with our beautiful daughter and granddaughter.

Wednesday, we showed up at the title office in our new town to purchase our dream home.  You should have seen their shocked faces when we actually walked in!

Thursday and Friday my kids and I unloaded the contents of our truck into our new garage.

Friday and Saturday we drove back.

Sunday–ONE WEEK after our release, our beautiful friends and family came over to help us pack up the mess we were so behind on so we could drive again on Monday for Load Number Two, this time with my husband behind the wheel!

Let’s talk about how big our God is.  You cannot deny this miracle.  You cannot read our story and refuse to see the hand of God in every step.  The timing!  It’s simply miraculous!!

As bad as things got, as scared as we were, is exactly how good it is, how amazing it is on this side.  Once He put a stop to the attacks, everything turned around.  If we needed to show anyone that we would always acknowledge His love, no matter what the circumstances, we did.  If God needed to walk us through the valley of the shadow of death to draw us even closer to His heart, so be it.  Though it may have looked like we were unprotected, we were quite the opposite.  God only let the enemy so close before He put him square in his place and took His kids to our promised land.

Here we are.  A brand new start.  Resting and basking completely in the love of our God–through the storm AND on the other side.

And by the time the new owners got our former home, the basement had dried up.

Not one detail was missed.

The amount of love shown by our friends and family has been overwhelming.  We missed every single going-away dinner and gathering leading up to our move, but we got to hug so many necks that last day.  Some friends followed us on our move to help us unload!  We have had beautiful houseguests help us settle in almost all of these first days.  They are truly an extension of the love of our God.

This is His story–used only for His glory.  If you take even one thing from our story, see His love.  His love is beyond measure.  No matter what circumstances look like with our little eyes, God is working things out for the best for those who love Him.  It doesn’t mean things always go our way.  That’s not being loved, that’s being spoiled.  It means that He would lovingly do what it takes to draw us close to His heart;  to pull us in to a place where we know Him more.  More than houses, or good health, or things looking great on the outside, the whole point is to know where we stand with the One Who longs for a real relationship with us.  That has value far beyond this life.

I leave off for now with photos from our new home.  Stay tuned for more adventures from the farm.  There are sure to be many.

It is, of course, always an adventure…

 

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