Monday, August 26, 2013

A God of Miracles

Miracles are happening my friend.
Miracles are in our midst.

God is a God of miracles.  He was, He is, and He forever will be.

Yesterday in church during worship, the Truth filled my heart.  
God performed a miracle in me.  I am a walking miracle.

Now, I wouldn't have ever told you God wasn't apart of my healing - nor would I have said you were wrong if you called my healing a miracle... 
But yesterday I accepted it for myself more than I have before.

God is good and heals His children.
His promises throughout Scripture of healing, they are true.   They are very true for me and I will never be the same because of that!  My life is forever changed.  I am forever new.  I am forever grateful and so blessed to be living and just loving my life.

While I was sick I read some of these passages with a doubt-filled heart.  With questions of why I would deserve to be healed?  Why would the Healer God heal me over my dear friend with cancer?  Or Tonya, a blogger I follow, who has had CFS/ME for many, many years?

I was holding myself back with fear, feelings of unworthiness, and doubt.  

I was trusting His truths but not wholeheartedly - I knew me to be universally true but maybe not true for me, not speaking of my healing.  I knew He is the God who heals but I didn't think I deserved it over any one else.  And, no, I am not more important than any one else who is crying out for physical healing, but He did heal me.  And it wasn't because I changed my thought pattern and decided I was the most deserving person there.   It wasn't because of me but because of His faithfulness.
It wasn't me.  It was Him.

It was the Lord who heals (Ex 15:26).  

Who promises to take away our disease (Ex 23:25).    
Who strengthens us on our sick bed (Ps 41:3).  
Who restores health (Jer 30:17).
Who is with us always and forever (Matt 28:20).

I hold on to those with great assurance.  With faith that is growing.
With trust that is holding onto hope.  With knowing that He says I am worthy and He healed me.

That the doubts and fears... those were not of Him.  They held me back.  I had to let them go. 
I have to let them go.
We have to let them go.

And because He is good and love, He helps us.   He holds us.  He stays with us no matter what.
And He whispers truth into our hearts.
Over and over, He gently engraves Him into our hearts.
He never stops.
And He never will.

Much love & blessings.

PS.  I successfully moved into my new place and am LOVING it!  I was able to move in with energy and excitement.  This place is already feeling like home and I cannot wait to get to know this place more.  So here is to exploring and seeing where He takes my dreams this year!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Here's to Dreaming

At a loss of where to begin, I looked around my room.  
Looked around and saw memories.  Of good and bad. 
Of sickness.  Of health. 
Of my life before.  And where my life is going. 

I saw things still packed from my apartment last year that where graciously packed by my roommates after I left and was stuck at home.  I saw my box filled with my books for Integrative Nutrition. 
I saw Nursing textbooks.  Photos from high school. 
Art supplies.  Books to read. 

And I sat and wondered, Where do I begin?  

Today I started packing up my things (which truly started by unpacking from my trip to California where I helped my sister move into university and things from my apartment last year).  

I was amazed at how much stuff I actually have. 
So my packing also became sorting and giving away. Which was actually quite freeing. 
Especially as some of the things I packed to give to charity should have been purged a long time ago ... One of which may have included my grade 7 grad dress. Yep...
Anyways, as I began to pack I was texting my new and wonderful roommate as of this Saturday and she reminded me of something huge. 
As tedious and onerous as packing may seem, I was packing. 
I was able to pack.  Something I couldn't have done two months ago. 

I also FaceTimed with a dear friend who is recovering (marvellously and beautifully) from post concussion syndrome.    

From both these conversations, I was reminded of where I was.  How far I have come. 
How good God is.  And how blessed I am. 

I was in bed.  I was stuck in bed. 
And today I was packing my new bedding for my new bed in my new home. 

How crazy is that?
I shouldn't be doing that.  According to doctors and the label Chronic Fatigue places, I shouldn't be back to me.  I shouldn't be loving life and finding such joy. 
Dreaming of the future and actually being able to dream freely because anything is now possible. 
Anything is possible because of Him.  
Because of Him and what He has done in my life. 

Anything... Even waking up with the energy and motivation to jump in the pool and do some laps.... To go out this evening and do some errands... To do a yoga video that turned out to be a crazy workout (warning - if you want to relax and breathe without gasping for breath, don't try the Jillian Michaels yoga video... She is insane and had me doing things I barely did before I was sick!  Although I did take breaks and audibly told her "no way am I doing that!" ... )

Anything... Including dreaming of the future and what it will hold.  Sharing my dreams with dear friends.  And packing in order to make a step closer to making those dreams become a reality. 

Good night dear friends. 
Thank you for walking this journey with me.
And inspiring me to dream. 
To dream God-sized dreams. 

So here's to dreaming. 

Much love. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Poster Child {part 2}

"You are the poster child of all the bad symptoms of Chronic Fatigue"
Those were the words that came from the mouth of my specialist this morning after I updated him on how I was doing and told him about my new symptoms.  I didn't quite know what to think when he first told me that.  Was I supposed to be happy that at least all my symptoms are confirming that yes I have CFS?  Was I to be discouraged that I was dealing with so many of the horrible symptoms?  Was I to laugh off the idea of me being a 'poster child' (I know he didn't mean it literally but still!)?I don't know. And honestly I still feel all those things...
(Click here to continue reading my first Poster Child post)

Yesterday I returned to see my specialist at St Paul's.  I had not seen him since I started to feel better so I was really looking forward to sharing my exciting news and introducing him to the real me.  
The me who was missing.  Who lives in the joys of simplicity. 
Who dreams - and loves to dream big.  
Who can walk with a bounce in her step and engage in conversation. 
Me who no longer was plagued with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.). 
Me who was loving and living life. 

My specialist, Dr. Arseneau, was amazed.  He couldn't believe how well I was doing and was so happy to see me.  He said it was the best way to end his busy day. 
And smiling big, he repeated those words that brought me confusion before.  But this time they brought me joy. 
"You are the poster child of true recovery!  I almost never see this!"
I was able to tell him that I had started implementing exercise into my schedule (low impact of course but exciting nonetheless!).  How I was down to less than half of the sleeping pills I was originally on.  How I was cutting and even eliminating other drugs.  How I was making plans for my immediate future and so excited about life.  How I feel like me again - and almost more than who I was before. 

So my appointment ended with gratitude and smiles on every face in the room.  He said he would leave my file open if I ever needed to come back but that he didn't think I would need to.  
That I was the exception.  The Poster Child of a completely different kind. 

And so we left St. Paul's Hospital and I was filled with gratitude, joy, and so beyond blessed.   As I walked down the stairs that I was unable to previously even attempt,  I felt a rush of what can only be explained as God's goodness and glory. 
And the last thing I saw of that hospital through the trees opening up to the blue sky, was the cross.  The cross on top of the brick building.  Shining truth to the community that was so evident through the compassionate and individual care I received there. 

That evening I was able to share this story with two wonderful friends who I have really only began to get to know.  The most wonderful people that I cannot wait to know even more.  Yesterday evening was a blessing.  Filled with delicious food, uplifting and encouraging conversation, wonderful views, and a beautiful hand crafted gift.  
It was there I realized all I had done that day.  
That I had been to Fort Langley, into Vancouver, and was then enjoying Tsawwassen.  And I still felt awesome.  Full of energy and excitement for life!
I was even referred to as the 'energizer bunny'!!  Haha what a glorious change!
What a blessing of an evening with amazing and uplifting people. 

But I cannot omit the absolutely wondrous morning I had yesterday!
I went into Fort Langley with my beautiful best friend.  We had a lovely breakfast at iconic Wendels coffee shop and then walked around Fort Langley. 
We ended our walk at OUR NEW PLACE!  (Sorry I cannot contain my excitement!)
We got our keys and enjoyed time with our landlord - whom we are so blessed by already!

So yesterday was amazing.  The perfect day. 
Even through some rain. 
It was wonderful. 
And I won't forget it. 

I am so blessed and so grateful for this life I have been given. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A New Friend

Yesterday April, my sister, and I were driving down Granville Street and we saw a man on the street.  He was homeless and appeared to be struggling with health issues.  
We drove on by, but I couldn't seem to get him off my mind. 
I even woke up thinking about him.  I wanted to talk with him.  Learn his story. 
Give him food and friendship.  Show him someone cared.  That someone would stop and not just walk by him as if he were invisible. 

I had planned to go back to Vancouver today so I hoped I would see him.  He wasn't where I remembered seeing him yesterday.  I was a bit disheartened as I really felt God place him on my heart. 

But then I met Don. 
He too was homeless.  On the side of Granville Street.  At first I walked by him in hopes of finding my other friend to be.  But then I realized he was just as worthy. 
Was worthy of attention.  Of a meal.  Of conversation. 
So I asked him if I could get him something from Starbucks.  Asked what he wanted.   How he liked his coffee.  And his face lit up. 
He asked for a breakfast sandwich and coffee with cream. So I went on my way and came back with his order and a gift card. 
He was really kind and beyond grateful. 
It made my day. And I have a feeling it may have made his day too. 

So although I didn't meet my other friend, I made a new one.  
And instead of having one new friend to pray for, I now have two. 
One whose name I hope to one day learn and Don.

And God touched my heart too.  Opened my eyes wider.  Reminded me of more.  Of how blessed I am.   
I went to Vancouver to buy bedding for my new place.  My new place that is warm, dry, and filled with comfortable furniture.  My place where there will (almost) always be food to choose from.  A best friend to talk to.  And any TV show to watch. 

Today was humbling, joy-filled, and gave me hope.  
Hope that love can change the world.  
That Love has changed the world.
And continues to radically change it each moment of every day.
And I am blessed to be able to be a part of sharing that love that has completely shocked and filled me. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sing Like Never Before

Sing like never before oh my soulAnd worship Your holy nameYes I will worship Your holy name. 

This morning has been beautiful. The sun came out early and kept the usual morning fog at bay.  The waves are crashing 'Hallelujah' on repeat.  
My Spirit is lifted higher and higher. Filled more and more with His love and joy. 
Filled with longing to be closer and closer to Him - every single day. 

Music was playing in the background from my iPhone but the songs that played were ones I haven't really listened to much before.  Christian artists who are Spirit filled but yet to make it big.  All that to say I didn't really know the songs but instead was able to soak them in and pray along with their heart cries instead of singing along because I knew them. 
This led for a Spiritual morning.  One that I recommitted to open my hands wider and wider so that I could reach up to Him in praise.  So that I could see empty palms waiting for Him instead of closed fights grabbing for whatever around me. 
This morning was beautiful.  Serene.  Spiritual. 
I walked along the beach and felt something in me saying to pick up rocks along the way.  And the more I did, I realized they were to become a pillar or altar of worship. And maybe it was nothing more than my desire to create but regardless it led to something Spiritual and beautiful.  Signifying my meeting Him and committing to Him more.  Committing to be more Spirit filled and led.  To receive more of Him and be less of me.   More of who He created me to be, shining His light of love and glory.  

So I stacked my rocks one on top of the other onto the biggest rock I could find.  The one that seemed immovable.  The one that was flat and ready to hold my prayers.   The one that had life already on it.  Life abundant growing on it in glorious and vibrant green.   
So I placed my altar of prayer on that rock.  The Rock.  
The One who is immovable.  Freely giving of life to the full.  

And I prayed.  And slowly the waves came and washed my prayers out to sea.  But the Rock remained.  Unmoved.  There by me.  Willing and always open for more.  
For more cries for help.  More cries to be closer.  More cries to see Him. 

And then I needed to dance.  I danced in the waves, without a care of who was around.  I danced and sang praise to Him.  
For He has filled me with joy.  With hope.  With perfect unconditional love. 
With longing to be with Him.  

He takes me again and again.  Filled with grace and forgiveness, He takes me. Holds me and promises to never let me go. 
So I dance and sing. 
I am filled with joy. 
And I begin to see, hear, and smell Him all around me. 
He is here.  He is always here. 
For He is immovable.  Constant.  True. 
And love. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Where is God when it hurts?

Where is God when it hurts?He has been there from the beginning, designing a pain system that, even in the midst of a fallen world, still bears the stamp of his genius and equips us for life on this planet.He transforms pain, using it to teach and strengthens us,  if we allow it to turn us toward him.With great restraint, he watches this rebellious planet live on, in mercy allowing the human project to continue in its self-guided way.He lets us cry out,  like Job, in loud fits of anger against him, blaming him for a world we spoiled.He allies himself with the poor and suffering, founding a kingdom tilted in their favor. He stoops to conquer.He promises supernatural help to nourish the spirit, even if our physical suffering goes unrelieved.He has joined us. He has hurt and bled and cried and suffered. He has dignified for all time those who suffer, by sharing their pain.He is with us now, ministering to us through his Spirit and through members of his body who are commissioned to bear us up and relieve our suffering for the sake of the head.He is waiting, gathering the armies of good. One day he will unleash them, and the world will see one last terrifying moment of suffering before the full victory is ushered in.  Then, God will create for us a new, incredible world.  And pain shall be no more. 
I finished Philip Yancey's book, Where is God when it hurts?, as we flew over Los Angeles.  I would without a doubt recommend this book to anyone.  It covers the hard questions, working  through how Christianity answers them not with a solution to pain but rather the answer of who.  Changing our focus from ourselves and our own pain, changing our focus from the why of pain and redirecting our gaze to the King who loves us and also knows suffering first hand.  
Changing the question from why to who is a life changing and extremely powerful question.  I wrote more I about this and Britt Merrick's sermon, When Sparrows Fall, in a post. ( Click here to read more)
Trying to answer unanswerable questions, like 'why me?' become 'who is with me?  who has been here before and understands?'  
When my eyes move from me to Him, it changed everything.  
Everything is seen with different eyes.  I am comforted by the one who suffered far worse for me.  He knows pain and sorrow and even asked God to take it away.  Seeing that, that Christ the perfect son, asked God to take about His cup, if it is His will, that gives me hope.  Suffering isn't about it's joy but rather growing closer to God - even when it is through desperate cries for help and another way. 
So where is God when it hurts?

Where is God when it hurts?  He is in us - not in the things that hurt - helping to transform bad into good. We can safely say that God can bring good out of evil; we cannot say that God brings about the evil in hopes of producing good. 
His is not there in the sickness or trial, He is there in YOU.   No matter how bad it may be, He is with you and holds to His promise to bring good to those who love Him. He is there and always will be. 
 He knows suffering.  Knows loneliness.  He knows what it is going through the desert valley.  But He chooses to come because of us and walk with us in those times so that we may not be alone.  So that we can make it through.  So that hope can be found.  So that He can be found in stronger ways. 
Sure He is powerful enough to stop it, to heal you, to bring you out of suffering, but sometimes we focus too much on that end goal or accomplishment.   We want to be free of the pain and lack to see the growth that occurs in the journey to being healed.  We want these different things gone, but somehow in the process of living in times of suffering, our souls grow and change in us, making us closer into the true people God designed us to be. 

In some ways it would be easier for God to step in, to have faith for us, to help us in extraordinary ways. But he has instead chosen to stand before us, arms extended, while he asks us to walk, to participate in our own soul-making. That process always involves struggle, and often involves suffering. 

(Another good and powerful read.... I hope to soon get my Resources page filled with books that have changed my life and could change yours as well.  I hope to do that soon and hope you get a change to pick up this book!)


Friday, August 2, 2013

Really Living and Loving Life - Because of the Waiting

Arizona was amazing.  Absolutely wonderful.
I felt like I was becoming more and more like me again.  
Accomplishing "firsts" since being sick.  
Really living and loving life. 

The drive from Vegas to Lake Powell was incredible and awe inspiring.  As we drove through Zion Park, my breath was literally taken away.  Everywhere I looked, I saw the paint strokes of our Creator.  His beauty.  His creativity.  His wonder. And His glory. 

The trip continued this way.  Marvelling in wonder of our awesome God. 

I saw Him everywhere.  He face shone bright with the sun hitting the high canyon walls.  Reflecting like dancing diamonds on the lake surface.  In the arch of Rainbow Bridge.  In the wonderful hot summer sun wrapping around my body like a hug.  In the midnight stars shining with all there might not disturbed by any air or light pollution.  In the shooting stars that filled me with joy.  In splashing water onto my face from jet ski rides.  In the laughter and making of new friends.  And in the quiet times of sitting on a rock and reading His truth about me and all He has made.  About the dreams He has placed in each of our hearts and how it is time to act on those dreams. 

For such a time as this.  

It is time to pursue what He has placed on my heart.  
Not to wait for the next great thing, but to actively pursue Him, His glory, and the passions He has placed on my heart

November to July marked the biggest time of waiting in my life.  Not necessarily because of the expanse of time but rather because that is what I was told to do.   Basically wait and see.  Wait and see what comes.  How things change.  If this or that will help.  

My focus became on the unknown and waiting in that.  Nothing was for sure anymore.  My degree seemed forever out of reach.  Some friendships dwindled.  Church going was no longer an easy option.  Simply going for a walk felt impossible. 
But you know, I was focusing on the gifts instead of the Giver.  I was waiting and hoping in health and healing instead of waiting and hoping in The Lord. 

While on Lake Powell, I read a book by Holley Gerth called "You're Made for a God-Sized Dream". It was filled with truth and pushed me to really dream.  To dream without the limitations of health.  To dream the dream that God has placed on my heart.  But more than just dream it, seriously pursue it.  

My heart absorbed her words filled with His truth.  I couldn't stop reading.  I felt fuller.  More joy.  More peace for the future.  More loved.  More the me I was created to be.

After reading Holley's book, I started reading Jeff Goins' brand new book, "The In-Between". 

It was a perfect transition.  For my heart was fired up and now I am gaining even more perspective.  
More perspective on my time of waiting and how it has led me to where I am today.  More perspective one what God was teaching me, how He was growing me, and how I am more me than ever before - all because of the waiting. 
His book relates to my life in such tangible nd crazy ways.  Ways I never would have imagined possible only one year ago.  Sure, we all wait.  There is always something to wait for.  
But never before had I considered such a period of time in my life as a time of waiting. 
Waiting for something.  Any kind of answer.  Even if it was a bad one.  I just wanted to know what was going on and how I could help myself heal.  I wanted God to intervene quick. 
And considering the course of many with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, He intervened very quickly.  And for that I am so grateful.  And totally blessed. 
He has used the time of waiting as a huge gift.  One that has blessed me immensely and changed my perspective, my hopes, and my goals.  It has taught me so much but I will not stop singing and praising Him for His healing hand!
I will leave you with a quote from "The In-Between".  And once I am finished I am sure I will have many more to share! (Click here to read more from Jeff on "The In-Between")

“Waiting is the great grace. It’s a subtle sign for those with eyes to see, reminding us there is work yet to be done—not just around us, but in us. We are still in progress, unfinished masterpieces full of incompletion. And although I know this, I resist it. For the fruit of waiting—the outcome, the resulting growth—I am grateful. But for the process—the part that causes the growth—I am not. Waiting is hard. It forces us to acknowledge our imperfections, our own unfinishedness. It is the long ride home; the journey, not the destination. We see the shore but have not arrived. This is why we hate to wait, why we feel taunted by these delays and slow-downs. They force us to rely on patience and faith to fill the gap between where we are and want to be.”
Jeff Goins

Love and blessings. 
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