Dementia And A Miracle

 

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Hello friends!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been here with laptop in hand, ready to write.   Guess I needed this time of reflection to process a life changing news.  And so, the best thing I knew to do was to push the pause button on this blog.

If you have been following for the past several years, you know that I write about life, struggles, and how to stay faithful and positive.  What you don’t know is what prompted me to begin this blog in the first place.  I believe now that hearing a medical diagnosis, either for you or a family member takes time to accept and come to terms with.  News like this can paralyze you THIS MUCH!

In His still, small voice God prompted my spirit to speak and open my soul up to everyone who reads this.  And I know I had to be obedient to His call.

Several years ago, my husband, at the young age of 52 was diagnosed with dementia.  To say this news rocked our entire world is an understatement!  We were crushed on every side and hopeless.  How in the world does a young, vibrant, healthy, retired paramedic, firefighter get this kind of news?    How does this kind of thing happen to us?

We spent the next year in a complete blur. My husband and I had no words, only deep sorrow.  Several times a day our eyes would meet for several seconds and then we would just walk away.  There was nothing we could say, and felt like there was nothing we could do.  All we had were raw emotions to feel and many tears to shed. We were doing the things that needed to get done around the house and that’s about all the strength we could muster up. We were numb!

As the weeks progressed I didn’t know where to turn, but the one thing I knew is that I was going to fight and fight hard!  I took a leave of absence from my job and began looking into stem cell studies that he would be eligible to participate in.  Shortly thereafter, we were informed that he was eligible and several months later he was undergoing extensive testing to prep for the study.  Then on November 8, 2016 he received stem cells.

It’s has now been 3 years since that November day and he remains stable.  By the grace of God, the disease hasn’t progressed much.

Today, we continue to fight the good fight.  We continue to walk our journey as best as possible with the changes that have occurred thus far.    It has taken some time, but I now enjoy life again with a “new” guy by my side.  I’ve finally learned to embrace his new personality and to feel joy again.  The joy of the Lord is OUR STRENGTH.

My increased patience, the strength I carry, and the peace I experience daily I know all come from God.  He walks alongside our little family and sticks by us through it all.

My family, friends, and church community continue to pray for a miracle in this situation and believe it will happen.  God’s promises are true and we hold on to each one of them.

Each day I wake up with an expectant heart that today will be the day our miracle comes.

 

 

 

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The King Of My Heart

 

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There’s a battle out there called anxiety and it’s a very real battle.  The lies we tell ourselves, the lies we accept and believe, and living for tomorrow are all part of the problem. The enemy wants us to live in worry and fear.  He wants nothing more than to take our minds.  You see, if he can accomplish this, then he can take everything else.

With anxiety running rampant these days, the best way to tackle this problem is to turn to God. In the pursuit to help myself and others, I have found some bible verses that speak refreshing truths we desperately need to hear.  Replacing the lies with God’s truth is how I fight my battles and how we should all be fighting.

Here are some of my favorite verses that have pulled me out of the pit on several occasions.   God has provided practical truths for our daily lives.  That’s the kind of love God has for me and for you!  He wants us to not only read these promises, but to live by them.  Read them aloud and let them sink in.  Allow God to be the King of your heart. I promise his words will help you!  I know on many days, it has saved me.

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.                                     (Deuteronomy 31:6)

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the one who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.           (Psalm 3: 3,4)

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  (Psalm 139: 23, 24)

I remain confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.             (Psalm 27: 13,14)

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.                                                              (Matthew 6:34)

When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.             (Psalm 86:7)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.       (Philippians 4:6,7)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.             (1 Peter5:7)

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”            (Matthew 14: 27)

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand I will not be shaken.(Psalm 16: 8)

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.                                     (Psalm 40: 11)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

(Isaiah 60: 1)

Even though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.                                                 (Psalm 23:4)

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?                                                 (Psalm 27: 1)

 

 

Don’t Confuse A Season for A Lifetime

 

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When going through difficulties, we often wonder if this season will ever end.  During this time, we tend to get desperate, become blinded, and lose all hope.

When things are bad, it will pass!  But the fact that it will get easier doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt right now.  For those of you hurting and walking through a difficult season, here are several reminders I’d like to share with you.

  1. Pray without ceasing!  God hears you and He is carrying you through it.
  2. Nothing last forever, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
  3. Get your focus off your problem and focus on helping others,  It works wonders!
  4. Spend time in the beautiful outdoors.  Exercise, read a book, or simply take time to be still in a quiet spot outside.
  5. Remind yourself, that although your situation may be a difficult one, you are not the only one.  There is always someone going through similar situations, or even worst.
  6. With God ALL things are possible!  God doesn’t tell us, “some things are possible,” rather he promises that  “ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.”   Remember that!
  7. Consistently, hope in the Lord and soon your perspective will shift.
  8. And, finally, don’t confuse a Season for A Lifetime.  Things will change, they will get better and this season you’re walking in, without a doubt, will come to an end!

Have a Blessed Easter my friends!

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“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

 

 

An Expectant Heart

 

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I am learning to live a life of expectancy.  Living life in a space where I not only hope for good things, but I boldly expect them to happen.

I haven’t always been this bold, however.  Several years ago, 3 ½ to be exact, I was consumed by fear.  Afraid of my future and my now.  Feeling conflicted, confused, and disoriented, not knowing whether to look left or to look right, I became tired of being tired.  In my darkest moments, I asked God to help me and to show me, and that’s when I began to look up.

I made a conscious decision to keep my eyes fixed above and I surrendered everything. I began to trust at a deeper level, embracing the idea to expect the good each day.

At first, my shift was gradual.  I was expecting good things some days, but then others my focus was off.  But slowly, each day I began to transform from the inside out, within my soul and my heart.   In time, I came to the epiphany that surrendering was the key, and I was elated I had found it!

I’ve learned so much about navigating through difficulties since then.  So much so, that today, like the “Monday morning quarterback”, I attempt to offer hindsight solutions to my old problems.  A lot of good that does now.

Today,  I just keep moving, following the trail set before me, trusting even when I cannot see, and keeping my eyes on the prize with an expectant heart.

 

I Am Called To Trust

 

“You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;

You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

 Psalm 30:11

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What a beautiful promise from God!  He will wipe every tear from our eyes and bless us with joy, once again.  Troubles may come our way, but we shall dance once more.

When I’m relying on my feelings or not trusting like I should, time after time God reminds me that we are to walk by faith, not by our feelings.  I am called to trust and then hold tight to God’s promises. Even when in the natural things seem unlikely to change, I am called to trust and believe in God.

Believe that He loves me.

Believe that He is good.

Believe that He will help me.

And believe that He has the power to turn things around.

 

Ebb and Flow

 

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The movement of water is a continual Ebb and Flow.  A rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth.  We experience this ebb and flow in our own lives also.  If you notice the pattern, we too are in constant movement, experiencing phases or seasons of ebbing and flowing.

There was a time in my life where I was easily agitated by any degree of change. The moment there was change, my mind would immediately go into what I call “story telling mode”.  The stories would play out in my head, usually negative of course, which in turn would cause my anxiety to grow with each passing moment.

The only constant is change

But, I soon realized, that change is inevitable whether we choose to be anxious about it or not.  At any given moment, we will experience some degree of movement in all facets of our lives.  People change and situations change. When, how, and why situations end and another begin is unknown and certainly out of our control, so might as well accept them.

Reasons and Seasons

Eventually I began to look at my life in the bigger picture.  I stopped looking for the reasons why things evolved, turned directions, or ended.  Instead I understood that we all go through seasons, which ultimately meant the situation was here for a while, not here to stay.

Whether I like it or not, that isn’t point

I admit, acceptance and surrender doesn’t come easy.  It has taken me quite some time to understand that it isn’t about liking the process or even my own comfort. The game changer began when I whole heartedly believed that God allows things with a bigger plan in mind, and I don’t have to like it, see it, or even agree with it!

In life, circumstances will continue to change.  Relationships will come and will go. Emotions fluctuate. Perspectives shift.

But I will embrace it all and release control, to the ONE WHO KNOWS IT ALL.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

Jeremiah 29:11

 

The Word Alive

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This weekend my friends and I attended our first ever Word Alive Women’s Conference with Lysa TerKeurst and what a weekend it was!  These past 2 days have been nothing short of life changing.  There is something to be said about sitting alongside women with similar stories and with the same hunger to hear the truth that only God’s word provides.

Lysa TerKeurst was full of wisdom and love.  She showed much humility when she shared some personal struggles she experienced the past three years and I felt a connection. I believe we all did!

First day of the conference we were handed a small interactive booklet where we wrote our own personal notes as Lysa made the bible come alive.  And as she quoted scripture, she also provided beautiful stories and healing words that penetrated our souls.  So, I’d like to end this post with an encouraging story she shared with all of us.  I pray it encourages all of you as well.

Let me set the stage for you.  In Mark 14: 32-36 Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane located at the base of the mount of olives among the olive trees.  In this verse, Jesus had been betrayed by Peter and in verse 34 Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”  Back then, Jesus was experiencing the same sorrow we experience here on earth today.

So, what is it about the olive tree?

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First, the olive tree must have both the brutal winds from the east and the refreshing winds from the west in order to produce its fruit.  In other words, it must have both good (refreshing winds) and bad (brutal winds).

And the same is true with us.

Next, once the fruit emerges, you can’t instantly pluck the fruit because at that point the fruit is bitter and hard. It needs time.

And the same is true with us.

Lastly, what’s most valuable about the olive tree is not the fruit, but rather it’s the oil it produces.  The interesting thing is that in order to extract the oil, the olive must first be pressed and crushed, and pressed and crushed until finally the oil is produced.

And the same is true with us.

Could it be that much like the olive tree, we too can be pressed and crushed on all sides by life’s circumstances?  And much like the olive tree, when we endure the pressure, when we endure the pressing and the crushing, something so much more beautiful and valuable will emerge.

Friends, don’t be discouraged by life’s pressing and crushing forces, for if you endure, in time, a new and beautiful “you” will emerge!

Wisdom Is Built From the Ground Up

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I awoke to 2019 with new insight.  This awareness wasn’t reached overnight however, but rather it’s a culmination of many deep conversations, reflections, sorrow, laughter, and in some instances weeping until sleep took over.

As it’s often the case, one doesn’t become wiser with a snap of the finger, although I so wish that to be the case. Attaining wisdom is a slow process that is built from the ground up. It is learned in small digestible bites oftentimes out of very difficult experiences.  And although it can be an arduous road, I can say I am finally embracing it with open arms.

This morning it hit me, as I reflected on a brand new year, that my growth has been in part because I’ve done things wrong.  Because many times, I really didn’t know better and because in my quest to help others, I often forgot to help myself.

As I see it now, the road that led me to this moment is irrelevant, since what’s ahead is so much more important than what’s behind.

So as I move forward into today, I am braver and stronger than ever before. Peace is finally entering my heart and soul, because I’ve learned that I must trust without seeing. I have finally let go of second guessing myself and worry since I now know that doing my personal best is and always has been enough.

Yes, today I can say I am wiser.  But I’m also acutely aware that I have so much work to still do and so much more to learn.

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And so, for the next 364 days, if God allows, I will run my race, in my own lane.

Asking God to lead the way.

 

 

 

Come As Is

 

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We all have irritating habits. No one is perfect, but oftentimes we tend to focus on others’ faults more than our own.  Why is that?   First, it’s much easier to see faults in someone else rather than admit to our own faults.  It’s much easier to point the finger at someone else rather than to reflect on our own shortcomings.

But the beautiful thing is THIS . . . That is NOT how God sees us.  God accepts us just as we are, expecting nothing in return.  He knows our deepest self and has knowledge of our worst thoughts, and yet He still loves us!

So why can’t we learn to get along?  Why can’t we accept others just as they are?  Because we need to see people thru the eyes of God, with love and acceptance.  When dealing with difficult people, we need to pray for discernment so that when they “hurt” us, we can focus not on WHAT they did, but rather on WHY they did it. Keep in mind that hurt people, hurt people.

Starting today, let’s begin to humble ourselves so that we can be more accepting of others, knowing we ourselves are flawed. Open your mind and your heart.  Have a “come as is” attitude when meeting people or dealing with the people God has placed in our lives.  Learn to love them for who they are today, not who we think they should be.

After all, many of us are trying to do the best that we can, with the trials that we face, in an oftentimes chaotic and uncertain world.