The Slow Healing Process

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So I’m going to be very transparent today. I’m feeling discouraged and a little like I’m on my last hope. Last week I had an appointment scheduled with my Orthopedic back doctor. I went in hoping he would send me for an EMG on my foot, thinking that was my next step, but instead he told me there was not much else he could do for me unless back pain returns and was referring me to my neurologist. Thankfully I see my neurologist later today, God has perfect timing, but I’m hoping he can do something other than tell me that I need to just give my foot time to heal.

The Orthopedic back doctor believes I have something called sick nerve syndrome. Basically the nerve has been compressed for so long that it needs to wake back up again. That waking up process is painful. My nerve pain has increased significantly since the last set of epidurals I have had. Driving is hard. In the past week I’ve also begun experience heat sensations in my leg where I did not even have numbness or tingling in a few weeks ago.

So I’ve begun to feel like my appointment today is my last shot, although I’m still holding out on God to miraculously heal me. But If he plans on healing me the medicinal way I am praying my neurologist will jump on board and begin something.

We also had a crazy car thing happen. Since all of this has begun the more my foot hurts the more I have a fear of driving. I’ve stopped driving the interstate all together. I just don’t trust my foot’s reaction time or its ability to hold the gas and the break down quickly. Longer drives, 30, 45 minutes cause me to have pain and fatigue in my foot so they also cause me anxiety.  Our van began leaking oil last week and I had to take it in to the dealership. What I thought would be an easy fix (we initially thought it was leaking antifreeze.) Has turned into a possible week long without the vehicle. The dealership did give us a loner SUV which I am so thankful for. I was pretty terrified to drive it but it is actually really easy for me to drive, even a little easier than the van so God is good. We have an extended warranty on our van so I am praying that it covers whatever is wrong with the van.

I like to write poetry and I thought I’d share one that God put on my heart this week as I was going through all the emotions I felt with the doctor appointment. I hope you enjoy it. I’d like to make it a little longer at some point. But below is what I have so far. I know God is good and will provide in His timing. It’s natural to feel that His timing is so slow but He is faithful and available to us in the waiting.

Do you like my shoes?

So, Do you like my shoes?

There not exactly classy, but they feel timeless…

Don’t match the outfit huh?
I look like an old woman?

Am I missing some flair?

Well, I didn’t pick them. No,

My taste is a little, higher and blacker

Maybe with an open toe…

They picked me. For 26.9 months.  619 days.

They’ve picked me every day.

In fact I can’t walk around my house barefoot, without them.

 

I said Lord, I don’t like them. Not every day. I want variety. Bare floor on my feet. Feel the grass, the sand at the beach. Not every day.

I want to wear black thigh high boots in autumn as I hike through the pumpkin patch. Or even hiking boots as I play with my kids on the trails.

I want to wear flip flops, high heels, cloggers, muckers, or nothing at all.

I don’t want to be trapped any longer.

See when I walk its like when your foots asleep and doesn’t know its time to wake up.

Pins and needles and pain. That tell me where I can go and and when I have to stop.

They have limits and their bossy

They tell me

Where to go

What to do

What I want to be

What I have to be

What I can’t be

The desires of the heart are still there even if the body can’t deliver

And you promised you put those desires there…

So how am I supposed to fulfill my purpose, no your purpose in these shoes?

He heard me, my whining and wailing. All 619 days of it.

Lord please, just heal me.

Cinderella, I am healing you, He says.

I gave you these shoes for a season and for a reason. You need to learn to rely on me.

619 days, Have I learned yet Lord? Have I learned enough?

Because I’m tired, of limping and leaning.

I want to learn how to run again.

Just a little longer, he said so very gently

And I will replace your pink tennis shoes with slippers of glass.

I’d be happy with bare feet Lord. On that day everyone will know. Because I will be dancing before my King in Joy.

 

 

Jehovah-Rapha, The Lord Will Heal

 

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Have you ever prayed for something you really wanted to happen and then it doesn’t? You really wanted things to go that way and your answer was a clear no or maybe you got no answer at all and things just kept continuing along. What did you do? Did you stop praying for it. Did you beg for it? Were you angry or hurt, did it change your perception of how much God must love you?

I came to the realization this week that in may I will have lived a whole two years without a dependable, working pain free right foot. I’ve lived 1 year and 8 months in this state of recovery from a back injury. I’ve had 4 sets of epidurals, 10 total months of physical therapy and been treated by 3 different doctors. My therapist has described my current mental state as grieving a loss. I know there are others, who are caring so much more pain and grief than me but I also know that for me this is a lot. So everyday I pray God please heal me. Please heal my nerves and some days I get no answer, and some days I get “I am healing you.” even though I don’t see it and some days I get “No, not today.” But I keep asking because I know He alone has everything it takes to heal me.

Healing is weird. Lots of people I’ve know and talked to who have received healing directly from God have just miraculous, weird testimonies. I have received healing from God and my testimonies are so weird that doctors didn’t believe me.  I can remember three major instances prior to my injury where God just put his hand on me and miraculously healed me. One time I didn’t even realize it had happened until after the fact it was so gentle.

I volunteer at a convention call Karitos based in Chicago, Ill. In 2016 we were having a mini version of it in Indianapolis called Karitos-Indy. I had been seeing a doctor for a pinched nerve in my neck that was causing pain and numbness running down my arm. I had injured my neck in a car accident years before and the disc’s were swollen and pinching the nerve. We had tried two types of medications for nerve pain and I did not do well on either so I was just bearing it. I was also in physical therapy for it. The day before the conference I had to load my van with supplies and had no help. I pulled my back trying to take apart the car seat and put the seats down to load it. The first day of the conference I was in tremendous pain. I had to have my friends help me lift and carry the registration tubs I needed for the conference. I can remember about an hour after registration sitting on the floor sorting files and realizing that my arm didn’t hurt and my back wasn’t in pain from how I was sitting. I thought back and realized my arm didn’t hurt at all while I was registering guests for the conference. God had healed my arm and back. The pain in my arm has never returned. I went to my follow up visit  with the doctor and told him about my experience at the conference and he was very skeptical. I told the physical therapists, they were in awe at how i could move without out pain but skeptical too. It didn’t matter, I believed I was healed and haven’t had the same kind of pain their again.

A year before at the same mini convention we had decided to have a worship night just for faculty a day before the conference started. During worship one of the leaders was speaking healing over the audience. I was standing next to my daughter who had sprained her ankle a few months before and was having tremendous pain from it off and on. I began to pray that God would heal her ankle. But I heard the worship leader say “Someone in this room is Bi-polar, God is going to heal you of your Bi-polar.” I was diagnosed with Bi-polar 2 in 2010 and had been on medication every since. When I heard that I was dumbfounded. At first I didn’t believe it could be me, I was surprised, and a little angry that God didn’t heal my daughter’s ankle ( But looking back he healed it enough for her to dance all weekend at the conference, ) and I didn’t know what to do. After talking to my best friend and my therapist at that time, who is a christian, I received and believed he was going to heal me. Within 6 months I was off all medications and no longer having episodes of depression or mania. I was medicine free until recently. The episodes haven’t’ returned I am being treated more for depression and trauma from my accident.

The third healing I received is very different from the ones before. I had suffered since high school with severe migraines. I’ve been thru a slew of medications to try to find out what might work to slow them down or stop them. If your a migraine sufferer you know how debilitating they can be. The January before my accident my OBGYN put me on a birth control to treat endometriosis episodes I have had. We had tried the Merina and my body had rejected it so she was trying a low dose of estrogen. I had told her that birth control pills had always cause me to have more migraines. The pills gave me migraines that lasted 2 and three weeks at a time even after stopping the medicine. When I reported it to the OBGYN the nurses answer was always just to give it more time. I was also experience numbness in my hands as well as missing work and my neurologist at the time wanted me to take a EMG to see if I may have fibromyalgia. At the prompting of my parents I went to the elders of my church and asked them to pray over me. In two weeks I saw a new neurologist who put me on different medications. The numbness stopped. I saw a new OBGYN who changed my medicine to a hormone, progesterone and since all of this I have had maybe one headache, not debilitating migraine but manageable headache every few months. I count this as a healing. Yes it took doctors prescribing the right medicines but thank God for those doctors and those medicines and for leading me to the right doctors for this healing.

So I know God can heal. I’ve seen it in my life so significantly. I think that is why I can pray for it every day. I don’t know why this time I’m having to wait longer, struggle more but I know God has a purpose for it, maybe just so I can tell my story to help you with yours. Is there something in your life you need God to heal? Don’t be afraid to ask. The journey to healing is never easy, its not. The woman mentioned in the Bible in Mark chapter 5 had a bleeding issue, she was unclean and was supposed to yell, I’m unclean! when anyone got within 10 feet of her but she entered the city, entered the crowd surrounding Jesus and touched his outer robe. She broke every mosaic rule just for her healing. Friends of a paraplegic had to climb on top of a house, break open the ceiling and lower their friend down thru the ceiling in front of Jesus for him to have healing. Another man laid by a pool for 38 years unable to climb in first before Jesus came to him and healed him. Can you imagine laying in the same place for 38 years! Its not easy to wait on healing friends, but it is worth it. God promises he is the God who heals and I am so thankful for the times in my past he has and that he promises to do so again. I feel that we need to start giving him credit not only on the miraculous hearings but the inmiraculous ones too because he is the orchestrator of it all.  I challenge you to comment and share of a time when God has healed you, miraculously or not.

Vision of Hope

Hope is still something I’m holding on too. I had my last set of epidural injections about 5 days ago. I have experienced a lot more pain this time around and I hope it is because the nerve in my foot is finally waking up. Walking and driving have been a struggle but thankfully I have loved ones who have helped me. I did make a vision board and wanted to share that process with you in case it is something you might inspire to do.

I started by drafting out my new years resolutions on paper. I was very descriptive about what I wanted to accomplish and even gave myself some deadlines. The main areas I was focusing on was the state of the house, I want to declutter and organize, and my own goals with making jewelry. I also focused on my spiritual and family goals. Once I finished that I got a bunch of old magazines from my mom and started looking thru them. Any picture that looked encouraging or was an area I was focusing on I cut out. I also cut out a lot of words.

God truly catered my pictures around the idea of hope as I even found a page of quotations about hope in one of the magazines. I went through about 6 magazines till I found all I wanted to include. Using Modge Podge I attached the pictures in a collage. Below is the result. img-0169

I kind of separated the picture into four quadrants. In the top left I put organizational ideas and how I’d like my work space and our entry way to look. In the bottom left I put my focus on my family and children. The lower right is how I’d like to work on my music and gifts God has given me and the top right is how I’d like to to work towards being healthy again. The pool is because I’d like to begin swimming and water aerobics again soon to strengthen my core and back so that all these injuries can heal. I did enjoy making this vision board and found it a very encouraging activity. I do hope some of you try it. If so let me know in the comments.

Have Hope in 2019

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all of you. I took a break last week as Christmas Eve was a very, very busy day for us. It was a good Christmas with family. It’s funny how in a week you can move on to other things. I have all my Christmas decorations put away except for the tree.

After the holidays I’m scheduled for another epidural injection in my sacra hip joint and the piriformus muscle on my right side. The hope is still that the muscle is possibly pinching my sciatic nerve and by blocking the area the nerve pain in my foot will go away. This, my doctor told me, is his last attempt. If it doesn’t work he is sending me to someone who does acupuncture. I’m hopeful, though its hard to be hopeful when I’ve now been through this process four times without out much improvement in my foot. Thankfully it has helped my back pain, each time.

When you facing a challenge or a disappointment in your life its important to be hopeful. Joyce Meyers calls it, Bible hope. You have to decide for yourself that the outcome will be good, regardless of the outcome. That may not make a lot of sense but I want to move forward in life, not be stuck thinking about all the things my foot won’t allow me to do. So I have to decide, ahead of time that this will work and I will have a good outcome.

New Years is also full of that fresh idea that this year I can make changes and things can be different. I’m not usually big on new years resolutions. In the past I always thought I was setting myself up for failure. But this year there is so much I want to change, I want to do I went about setting some goals for myself. I’m currently reading about and studying the idea of vision boards and I hope to actually acquire the tools to make one this week. Perhaps when it’s done I’ll share the process with you all. My friend who does vision boards says you have to have a word that God gives you to center yourself around for the year. I don’t know if God has given me a clear word yet but I like the word hope, I like that I can decide to hope regardless the outcome. Joyce Meyers also said “It is better for me to have hoped for something and never got it than to have never hoped at all and got everything.” I like that thought. I think God wants us to hope, I think something happens in our spirits when we do, Something bigger than just having faith. I think Jesus had hope, he gave hope but I think he had hope too that his love would change our lives.

So whatever it is that your facing, however big it seems start this year having hope that it will bear a good outcome. That through it you will grow into who God wants you to be and that its not the final word, it won’t last forever and it’s not constant.

Please share with me what you do at the beginning of the year. Do you make a vision board or new years resolutions? Leave me a message in the comments below.

 

“Just Like Me” an Advent Lesson

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“Look Mommy, he has brown eyes, just like me. Jesus has brown eyes just like me.” Was what my son exclaimed yesterday at church when he walked up to the life-size manger in the foyer. My son is 4 years-old. He’s just learning about baby Jesus. This is the first year that Christmas is also Jesus’s birthday to him and that Jesus is a baby. The baby doll in the life size manger at church just happened to have brown eyes.  I’m sure Jesus is two people in his mind. The grown up on a cross and the baby were talking about at school and during Advent at home. He was so excited that Jesus was like him. For a small moment Jesus was more than a story about someone he couldn’t see, He was real.

What he said stuck with me more than even the sermon yesterday morning. “just like me.” I don’t often think of Jesus as “just like me.” I’m often more focused on how different we are, how much harder I have too work to be like him. But there are similarities that we forget about that we don’t have to work to be like.

We were all babies, just like Him. We all grew, just like Him. We will all die, just like him. Not on a cross but we will all experience death. He grieved like us when Lazarus died, when his father Joseph died. For me in my most painful moments, the 10 days I laid in bed with a ruptured disk before surgery I often thought. He experienced pain like mine.

You see we worship and serve a Lord who loved us enough to spend 33 years being just like us in so many ordinary ways. So that we could meet his challenge to live just like Him. How many times have I felt despaired and alone in my pain or disappointment only to realize He felt these same things and promised not to leave me alone. He loves us so deeply he was willing to experience life, all aspects of it, just to give us common ground. I believe that is why He is such a great comforter, father and friend to those who love Him.  This season I challenge you to let Him be more than just a Holy baby in a manger, untouchable and revered, let Him also be close and real, just like you.

 

DIY Memorable Sea Shell Ornaments You Can Make With Your Kids

I like to collect things when we go on vacation. The two things I like to collect are spoons and Christmas ornaments. I love thinking about all the fun trips we’ve been on when putting up the tree. This past year we had our first real beach vacation at North Myrtle Beach. I decided that instead of hunting for a Christmas ornament among all the souvenir stores I would use the seashells we collected on the beach to make our own. I came up with these three simple ways to display them on our Christmas tree.

When your working with shells the first thing you want to do after their cleaned is spray them with a clear coat. This makes them have a shiny wet look and allows the colors of the shells to stand out more.

The first was very simple and easy to do, especially if you have kids who want to help. I purchased some sand and plastic craft bulb ornaments that split in half from Michael’s. You also need a small piece of ribbon that will fit through the hole of the ornament and a paint marker or dark sharpie. First I wrote on one half of the ornament Myrtle Beach 2018 wit a red sharpie and let that dry. Then I filled one half of the ornament with sand and set 5 pretty small and medium sized shells in the sand. I popped the other half on and tied a ribbon through the hole. That simple and a great craft to make with your kids.

IMG-0040Next I had some really pretty long shells that looked like they used to be tiny conch shaped shells, most were broken. For this you will need jewelry wire, jewelry loop pliers and wire cutters. I took about 10 inches of jewelry wire and wrapped the wire around the conch shaped shell leaving a tail about 2 to 3 inches at the top. When the wire was wrapped from top to bottom around the shell I made a loop at the bottom of the shell with the wide part of the jewelry loop pliers and then another loop at the top of the shell. I secured both loops with a twist. Next I took a medium shell and wrapped about 5 inches of wire around that making another loop at the top but i did not close the loop. I attached the top of the second shell’s loop to the conch’s bottom loop and then secured both loops closed. I made three of these total and  in one of them I wrote the year 2018 on the inside of the lower shell. I think they look very pretty hanging on the tree.

IMG-0032The third set of ornaments I made were the most fun. What you need to make these is a a white wooden or white ceramic ornament, they have them at Michaels. Some pre-set thin mixed Mortar which you can find at any hardware store. A Popsicle stick or plastic knife and an assortment of small seashells. I love making crafts with pre-set thin mixed mortar they come out so beautiful. You can check out another craft I made with it in my blog How To Make Memories Out of Seashells.

This craft is so much fun to make, First you get a good amount of mortar on your Popsicle stick or plastic knife and just like your spreading peanut butter spread the mortar on your white ornament in sections. Once you’ve spread a section simply press the small seashells into the mortar and let dry. The mortar usually dries in about 2 hours. You can lay your seashells out ahead of time or randomly place them. Make sure you do this project in a well ventilated area as the mortar does smell. Kids love to make these kind of crafts just make sure you protect clothing and wash hands afterwards.

Want to see a step by step tutorial of these crafts? Check out my YouTube video. Part 2 Christmas Traditions at 2BecomeBrave.

My Christmas Craft Traditions

I look forward to one day every year with my kids. Its the day we make our stockings. I started this tradition when my first child was about 2. I could’t find a set of stockings I liked. So I decided why not let her make her own. So with a little glue and pompoms our tradition was born. She is 13 now and last year was the first year she did not make her own stocking. Instead I purchased a pretty sea themed one for her. My 10 and 4-year-old still make their stockings. We made them last night. My 4-year-old son was so excited to use glitter he poured out two containers of it. It was quickly cleaned up both times and I was amazed how not upset I was by it. Its true your third one doesn’t get you as riled up as the first.IMG_0004

The other tradition we do is we add hands to my tree skirt. This tradition started in 2008 my middle child’s first Christmas. I saw an article in Parents magazine that had it listed as a fun craft for kids and fell in love with it. They recommended buying a plain felt tree skirt but I made my own.

Here is how you do it. Since I made this in 2008 I don’t have step by step pictures but to make your own no-sew tree skirt its fairly simple so I will give you step by step instructions. First I purchased two yards of fleece in a candy cane stripe and two yards of fleece in plain white. You can use any Christmas pattern and just make sure what your going to use as your bottom is a plain color.

Next take the two pieces of fleece and lay them wrong sides together. Cut a circle out of both pieces (you need sharp scissors) approximately 58 inches in diameter. Once the circle is complete cut a line straight into the middle of the circle and then cut a smaller circle. This is where it will slide on and around the tree. Once that is done cut strips about 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches apart around the entire circle.  Try to make sure they are even and uniformed. Do not cut strips in the area where you made the slit to fit around the tree. Then go around the circle and tie the bottom strip to the top strip in a knot, just like you would a no-sew blanket. You not have a plain tree skirt for your project.IMG_0010

Next is the fun part. You can use any color or kind of felt you wish. They even have felt with a sticky side that makes this part even easier. Get your child or grandchild and trace their hands on a piece of felt. Cut the hands out and with a marker, puffy paint or I’ve even used iron on letters put their name, age and year on the hands. I’ve even let my children color and decorate their hands. Then hot glue the hands to your tree skirt. If you want to maximize your room and have a lot of little ones don’t start in the middle like I did. Start on one end and work your way around. I started in the middle and not only am I running out of room now  my years are all mixed up. I wish I could have put them in order. I love seeing their tiny hands and how much they have grown and yes my 13 year-old daughter has agreed to continue doing the hand prints which makes me happy.

Do you have a crafty tradition? Why don’t you share it with me in the comments below.