Monday, January 30, 2012


I'm glad I got the anger out in my last blog! That is a dark pit that's probably healthy to visit on occasion, but not to set up shop in. It's time to lighten up!

I melted down last Wednesday when Greg went out of town (really, this does lighten!). I almost like to meltdown most days, because it's so refreshing on the other side of the tears! I found I had two very eager companions desiring to share my burden. My dog Addie ran to my side and fixed her sweet eyes on me, not leaving me until my tears dried up.

When crawling into bed that night, Asher jumped up to join me (Greg was out of town, so he took liberty to keep that side of the bed warm). Usually independent and keeping an arms reach distance, he laid his head right next to mine. And if you've seen him, he has a huge head. As I wrestled out loud with the pain, even he let out a huge sigh. Maybe he wished I would be quiet so he could sleep, but it felt compassionate! I sensed even through the dogs, God's significant gentleness and comfort. And I gratefully drifted off to sleep.

This is a dog who needs some comfort....gotta watch!


I have been wanting to write about ways the Lord shows compassion in illness. I have a cute video I want to share.

But I was surprised by a wall I hit yesterday afternoon. The wall of anger.

I found I wasn't at all angry with God, nor of course with Mr. Wonderful-Greg. I wasn't even really angry with the presence of this disease. Well, maybe a little, but not predominantly. I became suddenly so so angry with the pain. The unrelenting jabs and stabs and searing shots in my upper arms & shoulders, day & night, for the last 3 months. (To be honest, my arms are fine sometimes and with no or minimal discomfort, but when they're not, they're not.) Anger that Greg was having to carry the full load of "us." Anger that I can't even dress/undress without Greg's assistance right now. Nor go for a walk.

I found that a rising guilt was accompanying the anger. "Where is my hope? Where is my trust in my faithful God who is only good? What attitude and mindset am I allowing dominance?" But pretty much, I just wallowed in an attitude of anger.

After a restless night, the 5:30am hour finally came and I entered my sanctuary, where I receive daily treasures. I felt absent of anticipation, low on the faith meter, and empty in hope. Yet as I opened my devotionals, my soul was slowly waking to the soothing whispers of the Comforter.

"In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in You...No one who hopes in You will ever be put to shame. Show me Your ways Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long." Ps 25:1-5

"Worship Me only. Whatever occupies your mind the most becomes your god....Anxiety gains a life of it's own, parasitically infesting your mind. Break free from this bondage by affirming your trust in Me and refreshing yourself in my presence...Guard your thoughts diligently; good thought choices will keep you close to Me." Jesus Calling, Jan 30

So I proclaim that I trust You Lord. I believe You are in this and that You are working this out for good. I again choose gratitude and name my unending blessings. Help me trust You. Thank You.

Friday, January 27, 2012


This is the world I come from. Intentional mission in life. Focused vision of what it looks like. As a life coach, I help clients create their vision of what they desire their lives to look like, through the filter of their relationship with the Lord.

This is a hard for me today, plunking out these words on my keyboard with one hand, to even dream of a day without pain, or at least pain that still allows me to function. But vision isn't for today. So I envision what I want my life to look like by the end of 2012. I envision it so I have something to aim at and look forward to, God willing.

- I have energy to do things every day - anything. (But I still take naps as I need or want  them)
- I hike 4-5 times a week with Greg and our dogs, at a decent speed
- We have Bend friends over for dinner, one that I cook
- I still get up at 5:30 am for "the hour of power" with my Savior and my Strength
- I walk among a new group of friends and clients who are or have struggled with pain
- I volunteer among the hurting in a useful capacity
- My pain is managed or gone
- I am off all medications
- When I look at Greg, I see in his eyes how happy he is that his wife is back
- I continue living in the present. Living at breakneck speed is a memory.

It's not for me to determine God's timing in this. I take today as a gift from my Creator, saying thank You. It's the only day I have to live. This an inspiring  6 minute video, oh so worth watching.


"Give up the illusion that you deserve a problem-free life. Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties. This is a false hope! As I told My disciples, in the world you will have trouble." Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy into seeking Me: the Perfect One." (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, January 26)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


If I'm blessed to move through this disease to a place of functionality and comfort again (which my Dr. encourages me that I probably will), I don't want to forget the place of chronic and unrelenting pain that many others struggle with or are given grace to invite in as a friend. I think this issue of pain may be one where there's a spot to serve hurting I write to remember.

From the very little I know so far, I'll comment on chronic suffering. I'm certain some or many have it way, way worse.
-Sleepless nights of sharp or dull & unrelenting pain = exhaustion
-Eagerness for the early morning hour to arrive
-Inability to do what was considered normal - or anything at all really
-Loss of ability to cope with the pain by the evening, if not in the morning
-Desperation for God to pour out more grace, as it is sufficient with the's just sometimes very hard to grasp His grace
-A constant pool of tears waiting to pour out
-Wearing only a select few items in the wardrobe, those that are least difficult to get on and off
-Reluctancy to commit to doing anything or even coffee dates, not knowing how one will feel
-Or committing to an activity, only to have to cancel
-Wanting to stay home almost all the time....very fun for the spouse
-Going to bed right after dinner....more fun for the spouse, which also means turning down dinner invitations and never inviting one over to your house for dinner
-Wimpy hugs to avoid pain
-An occasional question from one who doesn't know you well that goes like this: "Are you fine? You look fine." or "I hope you're getting better and will be on your feet soon" What do you say - such nice sentiments, but you know you're on a long journey and this is not a 24 flu
-Hoping no one will want to shake your hand at church (ouch)
-The spouse or caretaker finding each day to be ground-hogs-day, and the corresponding sadness to have the relationship be 0-100%

And then SO MANY blessings are given, a few of which are:
-People coming out of the woodwork telling you they are praying for you, and they do
-Sweet cards of humor and encouragement
-Phone calls
-Books of inspiration that are easy to hold and read
-Compassion to permit my tears
-Questions that indicate someone really does want to know, even though it seems like a worn out record
-Conversations that get one's mind off the pain
-God really showing up to comfort and encourage
-Devotional readings speaking just to you
-Comforting touch and light massages
-Talking with someone who is or has been in chronic's a club no one wants to join, but is a "fellowship" of suffering with others who understand

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." II Cor 12:9

"No temptation/trial has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted/tried beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted/tried, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." I Cor 10:13

Amen and amen Lord God!

Sunday, January 22, 2012




God is seeing fit to remove some obstacles in my life that distract me from Him. I'm not saying He caused this disease in me. I can't know, although I do wonder about my heavy use of spray paint in a sultry courtyard the day before symptoms steamrolled in in October. This morning, I'm finding it interesting and am curious about what hindsight, if I'm blessed with that, will look like in this journey. 

REMOVED OR SET ASIDE: Walking and hiking; Shopping; Cleaning our house (I know this sounds like a blessing, but after 4 months of Greg carrying this alone, I long to be the one running the vacuum and making broad sweeps with a dust rag.); Cooking much at all; Driving; Independence; Playing fetch with our dogs; Grooming Asher; Lifting or carrying anything heavier than one dinner plate. I'm really not complaining. I'm just curious.

THE EXCHANGE: Pain or discomfort that wakes me up by 5:30am for the best part of each day......sitting at the feet of my Savior receiving many gifts from Him; Hurry and busyness- my default distraction from the Lord......for rest and relaxation and the ability to watch someone else do the work; The addiction of doing for others......for the gifts daily of receiving from others, especially my Knight in Shining Armor, Greg; Desire for control.....for surrender to the Lord's deep work in my heart and soul; Aching and experience the unconditional love of my husband with countless foot, hand, neck (etc etc) rubs and words of comfort.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Mornings are my absolute favorite time of day....
I see the spectacular displays of God's glory in new ways each day!
Like this from yesterday morning, taken facing east from our front porch.
One of my favorite songs right now....

Friday, January 20, 2012


I crawled into bed last night, after painfully making my way downstairs from watching the season premier of Idol with Greg. "What is with both of my hips getting into the action now, to join my hurting ankles and feet?" I was discouraged again. I shuffled carefully like my 94 yr old Daddy did, down the long hallways toward our bedroom. I like to go to bed again, now that I can sleep much of the night without pain. But I was becoming overwhelmed with thoughts of getting worse and worse (pictures of being greatly deformed & of debilitation were flooding my mind), thoughts of Greg finding an active, healthy woman to have a fun life with, and thoughts of poor poor Barb. I crawled (literally) into bed, with Greg quickly joining me to read his novel.

I usually like to have my meltdowns alone with the Lord. I can be totally ridiculous, wail and sob out my self-pity and scripture verses of God's promises, which always end up lifting me out of the familiar but dark pit. But with my sweetheart next to me (well, the dog was between us, but we were in close proximity), I didn't want to subject Greg to my drama on top of all the rest of caring for me he is sweetly enduring (it's taking endurance for both of us on some days). He massaged my fingers sticking out of the wrist braces and rubbed my neck. I smiled towards him with eyes closed, trying to hold back the flood of tears ready to break through the dam. With drama of soul but not of outward expression, I gratefully fell rather quickly asleep.

I got up at 6am, having overslept my normal 5:30am rising. I stepped out of bed, and felt overwhelmed with God's new mercies this morning. My hips & ankles felt pain free, I could walk from my bed without shuffling. Eagerly I entered my "sanctuary" where I meet with the Lord each morning. Having set myself up for the morning the previous night as I always do, I boiled my tea water and sat down with my Bible, Jesus Calling devo, and iPad. I read my Joni Eareakson Tada daily devo & my Presidential Prayerline devo on my iPad. Sweet stuff. It always is.

When I got to the Psalms (ch 18, vs. 1-15) in the Scriptures. The psalmist penned my exact sentiments: "I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." I pictured each of these metaphors, heartily agreeing with each. "I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies." Yes yes, calling....worthy of praise....'being' saved from my ailment-enemies...And then it launched into the drama I felt the night before. Cords of death entangling me, torrents of destruction overwhelming me......and God coming from heaven in blazing fashion to rescue this poor, poor woman. I almost chuckled out loud. God has a great sense of humor! I didn't feel made fun of, but he was laughing with me in my fresh perspective of how small my issues are compared to so so many around the world and even in my city. When the drama pounds on my door, I need to quickly run to my Archer...."He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy." Yes You did Lord, You do that! And my enemies of pain, self-pity, exhaustion, self-focus. Thank you my Deliverer!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


My friend Kathy shared a devotion with me that I am thinking about....

Oh, magnify the Lord with me.....Fix your eyes on Jesus....If you seek me, you will find me, if you seek me with all your heart....

What I look at will be what my heart seeks. When I magnify the Lord, (as in a magnifying glass), it enlarges the view of my God in my eyes. As I tell myself and Him what I love about Him, as I think about my Savior and all He's done for me, He becomes greater in my eyes and heart and I become smaller. As John the Baptist said about Jesus, "He must become greater, I must become smaller." It was time for God's people to have a single focus, and it's time for me to have a single focus too.

Lord, help me fix my eyes on Jesus, intentionally magnifying Him and looking away from myself and onto Him. Especially when I hurt and am confused about increasing issues, I choose to look at You and worship...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



Such familiar words, but dig in!
Jesus goal for me: REST, not burden
Take action: COME TO JESUS, don't remain with my eyes on me, heaven forbid!
Reality: Weary and burdened......agree.
Proactive: TAKE Jesus' yoke upon me. Choose. Reach out. Bring to myself. Wear as a mantle or necklace. He is right here, by my side, bearing the weight when I give it up to His joy.
Learn: Jesus' yoke is a TEACHER. Learn from Him.
Character: Great opportunity to become more gentle and humble of heart, for that He is. he wants to teach me gentleness and humility.
Discovery: REST for my soul. My body? Maybe so or maybe not, but rest for my anxious soul.
Easy: Jesus' yoke is EASY. Really? This is easy? Oh, but not my way, but Your way Jesus. Wearing Your yoke, not the one my body wants me to display.
Burdens: its LIGHT.....Your burden. I still must carry something, haul this load, do the work. But it's not troubling. Not exhausting. It's light.

Your burden is light. You are continually helping me carry it. So I most gladly run to you Jesus. I reach out and take Your yoke upon me, every morning. This morning. I stand attentive to learn from you. To learn to wear the yoke. To learn Your presence in this. To learn gentleness and humility. to trade my burden for Yours. To discover the ease in this light burden. To find soul-rest.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Bed pillows
Soft throws
Lightweight quilts
Pan lids
Full glass mugs
More than one dinner plate
Drapes that need to be opened
Full jars
A coat
A full teapot
A car door
A little bag of garbage
My hairdryer
My burden, when that's what I focus on

Opening round door knobs
Steering a car
Buckling seat-belts
Opening new lids, small or large (so thankful for rubber grippers and kitchen hammers) Opening lids someone with a normal grip has tightened
Zip lock bags
Putting on socks
Any form-fitting shirt I used to wear 6 months ago
Pain, when my eyes stop there

Monday, January 16, 2012


It has been easy, finding myself suddenly hit with pain and suffering in my body, to long deeply and with many tears and groanings (really), for healing and deliverance. To be given my life back and have things return to normal has a consuming thought, prayer, and longing. But as the days have turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, (like many other's journeys, mine hasn't even turned into years yet) the Lord has found opportunity to purify my longings. Many have walked this way before and have wise words of encouragement to help.

 Lord, increase my longing for You. You long to show compassion to me, Your word says. Grant me longings to pray for Your word and truth to spread to all around the earth. Longings for the poor and hurting to find Your sufficiency and healing. For Your people to be zealous for You and Your word. Longings to reflect Your glory, as You reign in me Holy Spirit. Change my heart. And heal my body as You see fit.