Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Secrets Of A Housewife... Part V- DRINK THAT WATER, SISTER!

Have I ever shared with you that I have this irrational fear inside of me...

It's the fear that if people really get to know the real me, they won't like me?  Crazy, I know.  I mean, who wouldn't love me?  I'm so gosh darned cuddly and all...

2 Timothy 1:7 says this:
"For God did not give us a spirit of fear or timidity but of peace, love, and a sound mind."

So why do I wrestle with this???  I mean, The Hottie knows me- ALL(most all) of me and he still loves me, right?

When I was growing up, I was that doormat friend. I was the one who people walked all over.  And I'd let them just so long as they would still be my "friend".  I put up with ridicule, with sarcasm.  I was the butt of all of the jokes in some of my friendship circles... and I allowed it.  If they said I was too loud, I'd become quiet.  If they said I had ugly eyes, I believed them and agreed with them.  If they made fun of me or anything about me, I'd laugh along with them, so as not to offend or drive them away- which, in reality, is likely why I make fun of myself now, as a 32 year old woman.  I guess I feel like if I can beat people to the punch or point out what they must already be thinking or feeling, then maybe it won't hurt so badly.

But my whole life I wanted love so badly that I put my self out there as a rug and people took advantage of that.  I found that the people who would "care" for me, or call me friend, were those people who needed someone to belittle or those who needed to use me for whatever purposes.  And I thought I didn't mind.  I thought it was okay...

But it wasn't.

And I got hurt.  Over and over again... I got hurt.

I started to look for new ways to find acceptance and approval.  I threw up walls left and right and found the masks that people wanted me to wear.  I covered up any real feelings or emotions I had so I wouldn't be shunned. I carried these habits into adulthood- into my marriage and into my adult friendships.  Before I was married, I found that I could get "love" from my boyfriends by making myself available physically.  I figured that if I was pretty enough or sensual enough, THEN they'd love me.  If I gave into their demands for physical intimacy, THEN I would be loved.  But I was not... at least not by them- which, in turn translated long term into thoughts and fears that I was ugly, unlovable, and several other really damaging lies.

I put the ideal of marriage on this pedestal and set unattainable goals for myself.  I was convinced that if I became the perfect wife, then Kyle would meet that deep seeded need for love and then he would never leave me.  I started to look for ways to show him love- whether it be affection, friendship, "stuff", hard work, a clean and perfect home (HA!), clean and perfect children (HA, again!).  I was convinced that if I could just get it right, THEN I'd be happy and know that love I'd been so desperately longing for and trying to get from him.  And when I performed and he didn't respond, I became discouraged and angry and bitter.  I took it out on him and continued to beat myself up for not getting it right.  And when I sensed he was looking for love from me, rather than praying for God to show me the best way to love Him, I continued to do it all in my own strength... often failing and growing more and more frustrated with myself.

When it came to friendships, if I sensed that someone wanted a friend who was mellow, I'd become that person.  If someone needed to laugh, I'd be funny (or at least I'd TRY to be funny, often times unsuccessfully).  If someone needed advice, I'd become the know-it-all (gag).  If someone wanted a listener, I'd transform to become that.  If I needed to be "cool" to fit in, I'd try my hardest... which, as it turns out is so not cool.  If someone needed help with something, even if I didn't have the time or money or physical energy to help, I would MAKE a way to help.

And eventually, I just reached the end of me.  And I was exhausted.

Have you ever read THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein?  I'm not her- but at some point I felt like her.  Like I'd given everything to everyone and what was left was a stump- worn, used, and feeling very unloved.

And in the process, I never really made an effort to find out who I was- like who I REALLY was.  I think there are little pieces of that person somewhere inside of me.  But try as I might, I have sucked in (worn a girdle), colored my hair, dressed up, dressed down, talked, kept quiet, studied, written, played the game of pretend... and still this square peg won't fit into that round hole.

We are designed to crave love.  All of us.  It's really frustrating, but it's true.  Each of us was created with a God-shaped void inside of our hearts- a design that would set the world in motion, searching for love.  What God intended to be a tool to keep man from being satisfied by anything else besides Him has also become a tool that the enemy uses to try to keep us looking everywhere else EXCEPT the one place where we know that thirst will be satisfied.

Isaiah 55:1 says:
"Come to me all you who are thirsty.  Come to the waters."

John 4:10-14 Jesus is speaking to the Samaritan woman:
"10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
 13 Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

I don't know about you, but I'm awfully tired of being thirsty.  I know the well I've been drawing from will always leave me thirsty- leave me longing for more.  I know there are times when I turn to The Hottie or to other friends to quench that thirst.  I'm pretty sure everyone does that at some point or another (some people search their entire lives and are never satisfied)- it's part of the idiot cycle.  

I know I'll never be good enough, smart enough, perform well enough, be funny enough, or pretty enough to satisfy the deep desires that people are looking for... so why don't I just give it up and stop trying to be something I'm not?  Because I'm human and I'm prone to wander.  Knowing the truth doesn't mean I always live by it- it just means that I have the head knowledge, understanding the truth and the power it brings.  

The practice of becoming who I was designed to be is a life long process.  I may stumble and I may fall.  I may pick those masks up again when I'm feeling lonely.  But the most beautiful lesson I have learned in all of this mask wearing is that underneath it all, I am His and I am loved.  Even if I choose to put on the mask.  Even if I forget whose I am.  Even if I wander and make a mistake (or in my case, MANY mistakes).

There will not ever be (nor has there ever been) as time when being myself will be too much for the one who created me.  There will not ever be a time when I have to earn His love, His acceptance, His approval.  There will not ever be a day where He uses me or only loves me because of what I can do for Him- but rather loves me even when I seek only His hand and not His face.  

So, dear friend- today's housewife secret?  Drink.  Drink deeply and drink long. Instead of trying to pull what you think you need from your poor husband, give him a break and DRINK!!!  "Come to me all you who are thirsty.  Come to the waters."

He loves me.  He loves you.  Nothing can change that.  Period.  

The enemy will always be out there trying to convince us that God's love will never be enough. He keeps trying to tell me I need to be stronger, perform better, work harder...  He tries to convince me that I'll never be good enough for anyone or anything...  never be good enough to fulfill the calling God has placed on my life, never be smart enough to be respected, never be pretty enough to get the attention I think I want, never be talented enough to do anything other than blog and raise babies and run my mouth.

Remember this- he's a liar.

Remember this as well- when you feel alone in your marriage, when you feel like you can't do anything right,   when you feel like no matter what you do, your spouse just isn't meeting your needs and he/she never will...  when you feel like all hope is lost, when you feel like you just can't go on, when you feel like no one could ever love you...

He is there.  And HE deeply, desperately, intimately loves YOU.  Drink. 

Ephesians 3:14-21
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

No longer thirsy,

No Longer I,

The Real Life Mom

Secrets Of A Housewife... Part IV PRAY FOR YO MAN!

So I know that when Shepherd had to go into the hospital, I abandoned the Secrets of a Housewife series.  Instead, I shared photos and stories of our never-ending drama.  Now that the drama is over (praise the Lord!!!) I'm moving on to writing about other things.  As I was trying to think about what to write, I actually received a couple of requests to re-start said series.  I know... seriously.  I was shocked, too.  I've never gotten a specific request before and I hate to leave you all hanging.

Aaaaaaand, seeing as how I spent so much time working out the details of this series I'm somewhat excited to move on with it.  I mean, you all can only read so many posts about my ever-so-entertaining-(but only in hindsight)-grocery store trips.  So, here she is- the housewife!

In case you are just now joining us, in Part I of the series, FOUND HERE, we discussed the importance of playing with your man... and I don't want to get into too much trouble, so I'll just say read the blog... and go play. ;)  I know it's been a while- take some time to re-read it.  I just did and it was a helpful reminder for today.  In Part II, I reminded each of us (yes, myself included) not to sweat the small stuff.  You can check it out BY CLICKING HERE.  Part III was a very helpful reminder (one I'm sure your friends will also appreciate) about making an effort- bathing every once in a while (and so much more.)  Read about that HERE.

Now on to part IV.  There are so many specific topics I want to address.  Some funny some not-so-much.  Today I'd like to share a little something that I have been learning.

Prayer.  I know I've blogged much in the past about prayer.  I've read dozens and dozens of books on prayer and sat through countless studies and sermons on prayer.  But the thing that has really rocked my world with regards to prayer lately is this- a friend asked me to organize a group of women from our church to pray for the men in our church who were going to retreat.  At first I was confused- I thought surely she'd chosen the wrong girl.  I mean, I am only 32!  I am just a normal girl.  I'm not anything special.  Shouldn't that be handled by someone who is like "in" with God??  Shouldn't that be handled by an elder or someone more mature?!??!

There were 12847123 questions and doubts in my mind, but I felt like in spite of those questions and doubts, I was supposed to do this.  So I agreed.  And I don't think I'll ever be the same again.

As with anything I put my name on, I try to make it excellent- like every detail perfectly planned and carried out.  You want a meal?  I'll do it, and I'll go all out.  You need help planning an event or throwing a party?  I'm your girl- expect perfection.  That's how my mind works.  If I am going to put my name on something, I want it to be EXCELLENT.  And this prayer shield was no different.   I was convinced I had to make this fantastic!

I know you're thinking- what's the big deal?  You pray. With people.  Over e-mail.  While in your jammies- you don't even have to bathe!  Why is this so complicated?  Here it is, sister...  I love to pray.  I love to pray for my friends, with my friends, and with people I don't know.  I'm all about that.

But still I worried.  In spite of the internal drive to make it perfect, I wrestled with doubt.  This- this husbands and men thing was so much bigger than me- than just praying for a minute or two and walking away.  It was greater than sending out an e-mail or two and then going on with my life.  This was me, submitting to God, fully- and allowing Him to work through me in one of the major areas where I was still trying to hold on to "CONTROL".  My husband... and my church.

And so what if retreat didn't go well???  And what if none of the men experienced change?  What if they all came back exactly the same as when they'd left?  I wrestled with these thoughts and in doing so, I took on a burden that wasn't mine to bear.  I thought that if something went wrong and it wasn't the greatest retreat ever, that maybe God was trying to send a message- that I wasn't the right girl for the job or that my prayers weren't "good enough".  HA!!!!  Yes, you read that right...  I seriously worried that if it wasn't completely perfect, God would hold me accountable.

But as I began this journey, I started to write out prayers specifically for The Hottie... and then it grew to some other people I knew who were attending retreat, and then, like wildfire, the passion inside of me ignited and I wanted to pray for everyone would would even step foot on that retreat campus.  I don't know why, but I became impassioned with a desire to surrender every single one of these men to The Lord.  I wanted God to move in a way I had only imagined before.   Re-read that.  I wanted God to move....

Somewhere along the way, it hit me.  It's never been my responsibility to change The Hottie or to change the men of WoodsEdge.  It's never been my burden to bear.  It's all fully, and completely God's.  But I had to be in an active attitude of submission and surrender before I could see that.  I can remember reading Stormy Omartian's book- THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE, and thinking... yeah, yeah... but you don't understand....  my situation is so different.  But it was really I who did not understand.

You see, that weekend, God was not waiting for me to pray or to organize a large group of others in prayer so that He could begin His work.  I'm confident He would have moved even if we hadn't prayed.  But praying for The Hottie and the other men changed me. No, it didn't cause a tremendous revival....  at least not yet, anyway.  But it CHANGED ME.  God did a work in me during those few days that I will not soon forget.  He stirred the flames inside of me, causing me to hunger and thirst for HIS WORDS (scripture) and HIS PLAN for our men... not my own.  He opened my blind eyes to see His hand moving in the hearts and souls of the men at our church- especially my own precious husband.

I challenged myself and others to fast during this weekend- going all out in this commitment to pray for our husbands.  I chose to fast from several things, but one huge sacrifice for me was fasting from my online TV shows.  Instead of playing on Facebook or watching my shows, I dove into scripture with a hunger and fervor that I haven't experienced since college.   I prayed while I was cleaning.  I prayed while I was doing the ordinary, mundane tasks that are associated with my particular role.  I prayed as I was going to sleep and when I woke up.   I went on with life that weekend, but at most any given moment, my heart was in an attitude of prayer.  And I don't say that to boast- not at all...  I say that because I expected myself to fail.  I expected to get distracted or to forget.  I expected to let myself, God, and others down...  but after spending so much time preparing and praying for that weekend, my expectations changed.  Instead of expecting things from myself or from others, I expected God to move, and trusted that He would.

And when Kyle came home, I experienced a peace and a joy that I haven't felt in such a long time.  I felt like everything I'd tried to control in the past- everything I'd tried to change about The Hottie to make him into who I thought he should be....  it felt like none of that mattered because God was doing a work in Him- so much greater than anything I could have ever done on my own.

Psalm 127:1 says 
" 1 Unless the LORD builds the house, 
   the builders labor in vain. 
Unless the LORD watches over the city, 
   the guards stand watch in vain."

So basically, I've been laboring in vain for a reeeeeeeeeeeeally long time.  As long as I tried to change my husband into who I thought he should be, I was laboring in vain.  But the moment I chose to fully surrender all of my hopes, dreams, desires to The Lord, HE CHANGED ME and he revealed to me that His plan for Kyle is SO MUCH MORE AWESOME than anything I'd ever be able to accomplish on my own!!  And better yet- His plan was for me to love Kyle RIGHT NOW.  RIGHT WHERE HE IS and then let God do the work of transforming The Hottie into the man God created him to be.

And I know I've said it before, but I don't think I really got it.  Until now.  God wanted to change both of us and He wanted me to be in a place of surrender so he could do just that.  

All 8973 paragraphs of that to say this.  Today's secret- pray for your man.  It's not like I've never prayed for Kyle before.  I pray for him all of the time. But I've surely never completely let go of that "control" that I thought I had...  I've never fully surrendered him to God.  And when I say this, I want you to understand.  I don't fully "get" everything there is to "get" about prayer, but I know that when there is a life-threatening illness or we can't afford to feed our children, I pray with a desperation that comes from deep within my soul.  I cry out, pleading with God to move- and I BELIEVE with everything that is inside of me, that HE WILL!

I think instead of just "talking to God" about my husband, I had to reach that same desperate place...  And we have a great, fun-loving marriage.  But I wanted more.  I wanted God to be the center of US... and so I reached that same desperate place and I cried out from the depths of my soul!  I pleaded with God for my husband and for all of the men in our church.  I petitioned Him for marriages, lost souls, children, and so much more!  

I've spent years and years and years and countless hours trying to figure out in my own humanness what to say to him or how to manipulate or encourage him into becoming the man I wanted him to be (or thought he should be).  And the things I wanted for him were all good things, but not necessarily God's ideal for him- for this man that HE created.  He knew what Kyle needed.  I didn't.  In my own pride, I was blinded to God and to truth and continued to follow my own plan... and it got me no where.

All God wanted me to do was give it over to Him- COMPLETELY and watch Him work.  In the past I've considered counseling, divorce, and so many other nonsensical options.  And I say nonsensical because none of those would have been a solution for the real issues.  I thought if Kyle couldn't change, then we could never be truly happy or experience God's plan for our lives.  But clearly he wasn't the only one who had some growing to do. ;)  And God knew this.  He is working His plan and changing both of us.  And it is, perhaps, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  

So give it a shot, sister...  you might be surprised.  

God has things up His sleeve that will blow your mind... if you let Him.

No Longer In Control,

No Longer I,

The Real Life Mom

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Y'all Gonna Make Me Lose My Mind... "

Love the title, eh?  It's from a rap song. I personally am not a huge fan of rap, but this is what I was just singing to my kids as we laughed about what happened a few short hours ago...

So here's a little piece of real life for ya...

Today, the Hottie had to study (as in- there is absolutely no time for anything else but studying today), so I decided to be the wife-hero and took all four (sleepy, hungry, grouchy) kids to the grocery store.  Yes.  All four.  No.  I'm not mental...  not clinically, anyway.

So I made my list- I went all admin on myself and typed it in excel, outlining each item so I could check it off in the little box provided as I put it in the buggy.  Yes, I have OCD... why?   Anyway, I was excited to get out of the house and not be in a hurry.  I know I'm sick, but I LOVE to go to the grocery store- not all grocery stores, but HEB in the Woodlands makes me happy.

That being said, I will acknowledge that after nearly three hours of shopping, I have never been more relieved to make my exit from said store.

During the course of our shopping trip:
* my heel was mauled by Timmy's shopping cart (which, might I add, happened while he was driving at full speed).
* Shepherd decided that this particular shopping trip was as good of a time as any to not be constipated any more (and I gagged all the way through the rest of the store).
* I was given several dirty looks by some lovely "Woodlands" people who clearly think they have more rights than my children and I to shop in that store- and all just because my children were being loud, or barely in the way.
* I lost my temper with my children 120934871 times.
* I cried twice.  Don't judge me.  You know you've done it, too.
* Forgot much and had to make my way back through the store... about 23847 times.
* I ran into several people I know (while I looked like death)...
* And the icing on the cake- forgot cash for the girl scouts

And I STILL didn't get everything on my list.

I share all that to say this:

2- Just so you know, I'm so not perfect and you are so not alone.


So glad I'm home now so we can laugh about it.  So glad I have the most fantastic children who forgive and apologize as much as I do... who are still laughing about the fact that mommy cried in the HEB.

Here's to being a wife-hero to one of the greatest husband-heroes ever created!  (And by the way, the whole "crying in HEB thing"  that's our little secret, mmmmmk?   The Hottie thinks I'm super woman and that MIGHT taint his current view.  ;)

Still growing.  Thankfully.

The real life mom.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lessons Learned

So I learned a little lesson in obedience this weekend.

You see, there was this thing that I really, really, really wanted to do.  I sing.  I love to sing.  I love to worship- especially with other people.  I just love that feeling when harmonies are just right and the atmosphere is just right and suddenly it seems like everything else around you fades away and you are part of a heavenly choir united in worship to God.  I have several friends who are like-minded in this, and together, we made a sort of community worship choir.  This weekend was going to be our first official Sunday to sing together.  We were invited to join a friend at a fellow church this morning as a part of worship.

I was so very excited to sing and to be a part of this group.  I marked it on my calendar, I got excited and tried to get others excited.  Everything was set for me to go be a part of this... but then God used a friend to speak some words of wisdom into my life.  This friend challenged me to consider staying at our church this weekend to show support to my husband and others who had attended the men's retreat this weekend.  At first, I ignored the thought because I knew, and my husband knew that we'd be going out to this sister church because I wanted to.

But then God spoke again.  In almost audible words, I could hear Him telling me that I needed to stay this weekend and be with my husband.  I didn't understand, because I knew the Hottie knew how badly I wanted to go and be a part of this, so I knew he would understand.  So I wrestled with God.  I reasoned with Him.  I tried to explain to him that I "needed" to be with my friends, worshiping this morning.

But He continued to impress this word upon my heart "UNITY".  I felt like (for whatever reason) He was telling me I needed to stay and be with the Hottie (and other families who had been involved in retreat) at church this morning.  So... I stayed.

But I had to pray over my heart.  I didn't want to go to church with a bad attitude or with an attitude of resentment for the fact that I had to be there.  As I prayed, God turned my sour attitude into an attitude of joy.

As we got ready and left for church, I grew more and more joyful.  I felt happy to stay and support Kyle and the other men of our church.  I was so excited to watch as some of the men came forward and were baptized this morning.  It was a beautiful morning all the way around, but the lesson still didn't make sense to me.

And then Kyle spoke.  (That's The Hottie... for those of you who didn't know).  He said to me "Thank you so much for choosing me over the choir.  You have no idea how much that means to me."

Lesson. Learned.

I had been praying that God would show me how to love Kyle, to give him what he needs.  I have been trying to figure out choices that demonstrate respect, love, admiration.  My prayers were answered when God called me to obey.  Although I didn't see the answer right away, I did finally see it.  It spoke volumes to Kyle that I gave up the one thing that used to be my favorite thing in the world just to be with him and support him.

And Kyle wasn't the only one who was blessed.  My heart pounded inside of my chest when he said that to me because I realized there have been so many times in our marriage that I have chosen things or other people over him.  I have followed my own dreams and goals, often leaving him behind.  He's always been "that hot guy that I married" but I felt like he needed to know he was so much more than that.  I felt like he needed to see me sacrifice something that was truly a sacrifice for me, to really begin to understand his true value in my eyes... Ephesians 5:1-2 "1 You are God's children whom he loves, so try to be like him.2 Live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.

We are called to unity.  Eph. 5:31 The Scripture says, "So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body." Those "things" that I have chosen in the past are good things, but they didn't necessarily honor God, as they drove a wedge between my husband and myself.  He said he always felt like choir and "church" were my priority... over him.  Don't get me wrong.  Singing with a worship choir is a great thing... but today, it wasn't a God thing- not for me anyway.  Today, the God thing for me was to obey and trust that He was working even when I didn't understand.

And in the end, I worshiped. in church. united. with my husband...  and I was so blessed.

No longer self-serving (at least not today anyway.  Baby steps...)

No longer I,

The Real Life Mom

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mammograms, and Boobies, and Scans... OH MY!

So I went to the breast and bone imaging center today.  I was scheduled for an ultrasound on the right breast.  Instead, they decided it would be ever-so-much-more fun to have me do a mammogram first.  You know, squeeze the life out of your girls before they scan them.  I'm convinced the doctors do this so your girls don't put up a fight during the scan.  So much fun.  Like trying to make balloon animals out of your breasts while you stand there and try not to breathe.  I think I'll plan one again soon- like a vacation for my boobies (there's a word I never thought I'd use in my blog).  

But seriously.  It really wasn't that bad.  I kept hearing all of these horror stories about mammograms, and that just wasn't my experience.  I had a great technician who made me feel very comfortable (except for that whole "I think my breast may explode" thing).  And when all was said and done, I felt good about having had my first scan out of the way.  

Of course, I could have done without the awkward waiting room.  It was like sitting in a spa with a room full of half dressed women.  Only there was no spa portion of the afternoon.  I wrestled with my robe so I wouldn't flash the entire room and I think I finally found a position that only exposed half of the girls to a small portion of the room.  It was my Pamela Anderson moment... only there was no beach and I wasn't jogging in slow mo with a fake tan and too much hair spray.  But other than that...  

So anyway, we finished up the mammo and then I waited.  Again.  And then they brought me back to the ultrasound room where they scanned the breast area and the lump area and the radiologist came in to discuss her findings with me.  She said she believed what she was seeing was a nasty infection.  Seriously.  After waiting three hours in this place filled with breast cancer posters and literature, I was 100% CONVINCED that when she came in, she would tell me I had some form of breast cancer. No, not because I'm a hypochondriac, but because I had read so much on the internet and in the waiting rooms, that I had convinced myself that all of my symptoms were related and I was going to be told I had breast cancer.  But instead, when she came in, she said the boobies are all clear!  (Yes, I'm a little immature and I just said boobies for effect).  

But that's right.  NO CANCER. NOTHING SERIOUS!!!

I mean, the infection is deep enough to require a small surgery to drain it, but it's NOTHING compared to what my brain was prepared to hear!  :)  Can I get a hallelujah?!?  

I thought I might feel silly if I found out it wasn't serious because there has been sooooooo much going on with me the past few months and surely people were over the drama, right?  But in reality, it was scary thing to go through and people were right there, praying with me/for me, walking through this with me.  It was real-life and really terrifying.  It was a week I'd like to never again repeat.  But it was also a week where real prayer warriors showed up stood in the gap, helping to bring peace to my heart and to our home.  

So I wanted to take a minute to say thanks for walking through this with me.  Thanks for praying.  I mean it.  I've been overwhelmingly blessed by your e-mails, phone calls, texts, and FB messages.  

So for now- have a wonderful evening!  I'm going to go cuddle up with my zebra-print snuggie and a book and thank the Lord for my health!

No longer paranoid.

No longer alone.

No longer I,

The real life, healthy mom.  :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

In Good Hands

Have I  ever told you that I'm a control freak?  I'm certain there's a better term for it, but control freak is the best thing my mind can compose at the moment, so let's go with it.

Anyway, I forget exactly when I discovered the nuisance under my arm pit.  I do remember it was only this past week so I didn't think it was anything of concern.  But then I realized what you can see is somewhat like an iceberg.  Surface level, there is an infection- this much I can see.  But I think this infection might be there to signal us to what is really going on.  There's a Cadbury Egg shaped (and sized) lymph node under this little cyst-type thing on my arm.  So when I say it's like an iceberg, I mean that what's actually there is so much larger than what is on the surface. It's a little intimidating- especially at night when the house is quiet and I have nothing to do but sit and let my mind wander.

The cyst-like thing on the top is tender, but the lymph node is large, very hard, and not tender.  All of this combined with a few other symptoms makes one a little more on edge than normal.  I'm not sleeping, definitely not resting, and just...  disturbed.  This week seems to be going by in slow motion.

Monday at 1:00 is the ultrasound.  That's 48 hours away.  48 hours to sit and think... and wait.  They said I should know a little more after that and hopefully the blood work will return by then as well.

In the mean time, I'm going CRAZY!  I do not like the feeling of not being in control.  Have I ever mentioned to you that I don't drink?  Well, I do on occasion- when we're celebrating or enjoying the company of our friends, but I discovered at an early age (I think I was 17... and I don't think I ever told my parents until right now) that I didn't like the way being drunk made me feel, so I resolved that if I chose to drink, it would only be one or two drinks at the most.  I. like. control... or at least I think I do.

I don't like the unknown is probably a better way to put it.  In reality, none of us is actually in control (and so thankful we are not).  Control is an illusion that I like to play into when I let my mind wander.  I like to imagine I've got it all "under control" when really our world can be spinning out of control at excessive speeds.

Thankfully, though- I can remember this.  The maker of the Heavens and the Earth- HE is the one in control and HE knows what I will find out this next week.  HE knows if there is something legit going on with me or if I'm just over-reacting.  HE knows what will happen today and tomorrow and everyday until the end of time.  So please tell me- why am I worried again? He's got the whole world in His hands, right?  And I'm still in that world... so...

So no more worrying.  NO more freaking out.  I mean, I'm human, so the thoughts will come.  I know worry will come, but I'll choose to take back these thoughts and process them in a healthy manner- by surrendering them and combating them with scripture and with truth.  Yes, some ideas of what could really be going on are scary, but even if something real is brewing in there... He's got this.  HE'S. GOT. THIS.  And even if I'll look like a fool in a few days for being so paranoid about it, HE'S. STILL. GOT. THIS.

Here are some scriptures I found while trying to approach this from a healthier mind set.  I was in the process of trying to surrender some of my thoughts and I stumbled on this.

Matthew 6:25-27  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:34  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 11:28-30  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Luke 12:25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his  span of life?

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you;my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

So, my friend- you may not be dealing with silly armpit lumps, or control issues, but I wanted to encourage you as I was encouraged.  He's got this.  I don't have control and neither do you.  No matter what happens, HE'S GOT THIS.

And now I bet that song is stuck in your head, too...  He's got the whole world in His hands...

Trying to surrender- fears, thoughts, control... and trying to get that song out of my head.  :)

No longer I,


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Waiting. And WebMD

Have I ever told you how much I despise WebMD?  I used to think it was very helpful- especially when times were tough and I couldn't afford to go to the doctor every time my child sneezed.  And then I'd have a couple of completely unrelated symptoms and WebMD had me completely convinced I was dying.

I mean, we're all dying right?  But there have been times where I have been absolutely convinced that I have only a few months to live and then I go in to my doctor and I've got a cold.  I mean, seriously... can you say hypochondriac? (totally used spell checker for that one).

So since I've been a hypochondriac in the past, I was absolutely convinced that this time I'd play it "cool".  So when I noticed the enlarged lymph node under my arm, I TRIED to avoid WebMD.  I didn't want to know what they had to say about it, but somehow I ended up on one of their cousin websites.  When I inputted my symptoms, the results came back as either HODGKINS LYMPHOMA, BREAST CANCER, OR LUPUS.  None of these sound appealing.  Usually WebMD will give you about 20 options of what it could be (including the common cold)- but not this time.  This time, there were three- and these were them.  About four different web sites all told me the same thing.

But I ignored what they said.  I've over-reacted emotionally so much in the past that I thought surely this one would just be "nothing".  Never-the-less, I went in to my OBGYN this morning... just to make sure.  I shared all of my medical knowledge with her (much to her entertainment, I'm sure).  She felt the lymph node and got a concerned look on her face.  She checked the breast area just to be sure and then we had our little chat.

She said her instinct is to say that it's nothing but an infection, but because she is somewhat concerned about the size and hardness of this thing (whatever it is) she ordered more testing just to cover all of her bases.  She took four vials of blood and ordered an ultrasound for the breast and armpit (lymph) on Monday.

All of that to say- I'm glad my doctor is so thorough, but... I still have no answers.  If I was in charge of things, people would be able to get same day results so they wouldn't lose sleep on mild infections...  but, thankfully, I'm not in charge.  I'll have answers when it's time, I know.  I guess I thought I'd walk in, the doctor would laugh at me for making a mountain out of a mole hill and then send me home, but that's not what happened this time.  I thought she'd reassure me that I was still very much a hypochondriac, and share a laugh, but that didn't happen either.

In my heart of hearts, I truly believe it's nothing, so I'll take my antibiotics and hope to see a difference next week.  But in the mean time, I know some of my friends and family are worried, so please pray for peace for them.  I am in a really strange place- at peace with whatever the outcome.  I know that peace is from The Lord and I just want the same thing for them.

Thanks for reading and thanks for praying...  I have a strong feeling that this time next week, I'll be feeling really idiotic for even writing about this thing that is nothing.  But it's something to the people who love me.  Even if it's just an infection, it's enough to make you reevaluate things...

Anyway, I'll keep you posted.  :)

Waiting. (sort of) patiently.

The real life mom.