We said good-bye to our dog of 16 years this week.
To be honest, it was time, but that does not make it easier. She was deaf, blind and like her sister suffering from kidney disease.
We knew it was coming, but still not ready. It all happened quickly while we were in the Bahamas, but thankful we could make it back home so we could be together.
Explaining death to a 9 year old never is easy, but it gives us more opportunity to talk about God and heaven and Jesus.
The hurt is real, but so is the beauty of a best friend. The creature at my feet each night and the unconditional love in the loneliness. The loyal companion of my adult years. I miss her busting through the closet or barging in on my bathtime. Even miss the way she did anything to get to food…I miss her. But the pain is worth the 16 years of joy and the happy times of her youth.
One of my favorite things to do is work in the preschool at church. I get to love on babies, play with toddlers, tell little ones about Jesus and SHOW them God’s love on display. Tell each kid that Jesus knows his or her by name.
I get to give parents an hour to worship undistracted by little ones. My time with their children help ls them to feed their souls. Is it loud and crazy…oh yes. But is it important?
Nothing else matters.
The kingdom belongs to these littles. We must be careful to train up the next generation so the church carries on until He returns.
Be the church wherever you fit in using whatever gift He bestowed upon you.
Today I go to two doctors to check on symptoms of inflammation. One is an eye doctor…my eyes have been on fire lately and the second is my regular check up to see if the Methextrate is working or we need to try something new. Many Lupus drugs have serious side effects, so I need to be careful and check blood work often.
Going to the doctor today got me thinking about all my flares the past ten years. I often get asked “What does a flare feel like?” My response is “Which one?”
My first flare was my worst…achy joints, high fever always, weight loss, fatigue, cold all the time. We started Plaquenil and within three months I was feel good again…a new norm of anemia, infertility and fatigue always, but not hurting.
My second big flare was achy joints, fatigue and hair loss. Patches of bald spots and an itchy scalp that kinda surprised me since I did not know my hair was connected to auto immune issues
My third big flare was my scariest. Lung inflammation. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. I could not catch my breath and my chest hurt. Again, no clue my lungs could be connected to my Lupus.
This one has lasted the longest…mirrored more Rheumatoid arthritis than Lupus. It caused me to change my meds to focus on joint pain rather than fatigue. It caused my hands to go crooked and surprisingly has impacted my eyes. No clue if it is inflammation or allergy or random coincidence but my eyes have been burning. This flare also impacted my weight and fatigue and now thinning hair. A big surprise is the new inflammation in my stomach…food does not process which makes me feel malnourished.
The crazy thing is insurance causes me to need referrals and it is hard to know what can be treated with a GP versus a specialist. So much is determined by Lupus and is just confusing. So my goal today is to get answers and maybe a better plan. I feel good mentally, but Lupus can cause depression too and I have had that this time as well. Pray that God leads me to answers and wisdom today!
I am blessed with all the advancements in this tricky disease. I am learning to accept myself at my lowest weight, infertile, bruised from blood thinners, thin hair that does not grow out and feeling tired all the time. Learning I am who I am with this disease. No one can truly understand it through my eyes and what I go through each day to make it to the next as a mom and teacher and wife…but God is using this for His glory! Adoption and more has been a gift in this and I am not dead. I have felt like dying is near at times or even frustrated that my quality of life at 42 is so different …if this is 42 what will 62 feel like…will I live to see 72? Does my child get the mother he deserves?
In it all, I will take this life and live it awake. I will appreciate what I do have through a support system and medical team. God is good!
Today I am focusing on Psalm 136:1. I am giving thanks to God. Thankful for my body. Thankful for my medical team. Thankful for prescription drugs. Thankful for a supportive husband. Thankful for prayer. Thankful for days to take off for the doctor. Thankful for the beauty in the ashes. Thankful on purpose.
I fail at this daily. The author of the Bible Recap says “You are a person that reads her Bible, wants to read her Bible or wants to want to read her Bible.” I fall in the middle.
I am on Day 102 of a Bible reading plan, but should be on Day 175 I think. I started strong then stalled. I thought summer days would catch me up and I failed at that, too. My problem is distractedness. I sit down then lose focus. I am a failure.
Now, I celebrate that I have read 102 more days of the Bible than I read last year, but I can do better. I want to do better. I feel better and can handle life better when God’s truth is poured into me. I strive to be more like God.
But believing God is where the joy is at is much different than living it, so I continue to pray and do more. Truthfully, every time God has called me to study His word…he ends up preparing me for a battle where His word has sustained me. I will see if this time is different, but I know I am armed with the truth and that is enough.
I count having my first child in my mid-thirties a blessing because I had a lot of time to think about cool things I wanted to do as a parent. One cool thing is dressing a baby up like a man.
That hat was my grandfather’s so that look is extra special to my heart.
Another fave thing was taking the month to month pics the first year. This process was super hard and only got harder each month but love looking at the 12 months all together.
Poor kid endured big dress ups on every holiday! Here are some faves:
But two more cool things that I only do because I had lots of time to think about kids is….1. I have a Dr Seuss book that each of his teachers sign and I will give it to him at graduation. It is a great reminder of all the teachers that poured into him each year. I keep a school picture from each year so we can see how he grows. 2. Keep a frame with those school pictures as art on the wall.
I want this to be a daily reminder the time goes fast so make the memories and track them for the future. Thankfully I started these early so I have the keepsakes needed.
I am sure there are so many other ways to track the memories. Do you have any special ones you do?
2020 was the year of being stuck. It even shows it in the numbers…not going up, not going down…stuck with two of the same numbers: 2020. Stuck at home, stuck out of the gym, stuck out of the bar…stuck without family. Stuck!
So here we are in 2021 and I would like to believe this is the year of moving forward, making progress taking the next step…it is even in the numbers as well. What comes after 20? 21! Turning a new year does not magically change things in our lives, but it gives us new hope and new vision and I pray that for all reading this, 2021 gives you more of the good stuff.
I pray it gives more opportunities, more clarity and more more promise of the good things yet to come. For me, that is more therapy in the areas I need to develop new habits and mindsets; More working out and putting into my body the fuel that sustains. More quality time with the relationships that feed what is good, noble, honest and true. Finally, more falling in love with my Creator and King. More knowing who He is and how He created me to serve Him.
The year of 2020 had great purpose in our stuckness…but 2021 is of great significance too! No accident the numbers fall in line in an order of progression. It is time…progress is waiting!
This is how my kitchen looked all day yesterday. I should have been cleaning, wrapping presents, maybe baking a yummy dish but instead this was me all.day.long.
I binge watched Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies. The trick to doing this is neglecting your child by letting him play all day and making sure your husband stays at work. It was a huge success and I feel ready to conquer the holidays. In the midst of the hustle, follow God’s lead and rest, be still and choose joy with the people God has placed in your path.
If you are experiencing grief this season, know you are not alone and covered in prayer. Merry Christmas!