Anticipating Victoria Nicole

These past seven months since my last posting have been focused more on Victoria Nicole than on my own personal victory over my health problems. Of course, that has involved finding out more of how to treat my problems so my body will function better to support her tiny developing body, although some of what I need to do must wait until after she is born. Now I’m quite literally just sitting around waiting for Victoria’s arrival. The doctor has been telling me for a couple of weeks now “any day….” Any day will someday become today, and we’ll finally get to see this miracle baby that seven months ago I really did not expect to live. God is so good to our family. We can all hardly wait to meet our newest treasure. After spending only a day or two researching adrenal fatigue and pregnancy, I stopped reading when I found a list of could be’s of a baby born to a mother with adrenal fatigue and began trusting that Victoria will live up to her name and my present theme in life (Anticipating Victory), no matter what her future holds. She could, in fact, be completely healthy and normal—that is certainly what we are praying for! Her very life is a victory in itself, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for our precious Victoria Nicole.

I Peter 4:12-13 has been on my mind recently: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. I don’t know why the Lord allowed this health trial to enter my life, and I must admit that I’ve often thought of it as “strange.” I have come to the point of understanding that even though I feel like I’ve been put on the shelf, rendered practically useless, God has a reason and He will be glorified in it if I will allow Him to glorify Himself in me. After all, the life verse I chose as a teenager is still my desire: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven. Matthew 5:16

Update on what has been going on over the past seven months:

In December, we realized that I was not really making any improvements and only growing weaker by the day, so we made the tough decision to take a one-year medical furlough to look for some help in the United States. Realizing we were expecting another little one played a big part in that decision, as it became not just my life in danger, but the baby’s as well. By the time we got here in mid-January, I weighed the same as I did at our wedding 8 ½ years before, after 4 children and at 17 weeks pregnant. I was so weak I could hardly stand without leaning against the wall, and my appetite was almost non-existent; really, I only ate to keep the baby alive. If I took a look in the mirror (which I tried to avoid doing), I had the feeling that a ghost was staring out at me with paper-white skin and lips, sunken eyes, and a look of despair and confusion. I could hardly hold a reasonable conversation and usually rehearsed in my mind what I wanted to say to someone: heaven forbid someone change the subject on me or throw out an unexpected question! For the first couple of months after our arrival, if I went out with the family, we borrowed a wheelchair; mostly I stayed home and pushed myself to go to church and sit in the balcony, as far away as possible from the overwhelming crowd of people and dangers of perfume.

It was good to get back and let my Mom help my husband take care of me. The children are definitely not suffering for love, even if Mommy can’t do and be all she wants to for them—there’s Nana to fall back on. My oldest got to go to “real” school (even though I must argue that homeschooling IS real school), and all my kids are enjoying their individual classes at church. I do appreciate the opportunity to put the littlest ones into nursery so I can put my full attention on the church service. It is been a blessing to be surrounded by people who love and pray for us, even though we all terribly miss our home and the people we minister to in Moldova.

Our first step once we got here, after getting over the flu we managed to pick up enroute, was to find a natural doctor that could help me. We prayed much, and the Lord kept pointing me to one in Rocky Mount, so we went. He was a direct answer to prayer. As a Christian doctor, he prayed over me and assured me that he would continue in prayer for me—he has even called to check on me and remind me he’s praying! He looked over my hair analysis results and did his own diagnostic testing, which was in agreement: my adrenal glands simply weren’t functioning and my body simply wasn’t digesting what little food I was forcing myself to eat. Looking back now, I realize that I had been slowly dying. I’m so glad the Lord spared me and directed me to a doctor who recognized what was going on and knew of a supplement company that would be safe for me with all my allergies (did I mention that I was allergic to the first brand of supplements I tried, recommended by the lab for the very problems I was diagnosed with?). After only a short time of taking food enzymes and adrenal support supplements (later adding in a few others until I’m up to 6 kinds, with a total of 13 capsules per day), I began to gain weight—yay for baby!—, got some color back into my face, and was able to drag myself out of bed more frequently.

The next step was a very special type of chiropractor, one who focuses on the nervous system and opening up the nerve pathways so that natural healing power from the brain can move downward to work on sick and failing organs. This doctor, by the way, is also a Christian, and his goal in life is to help people live up to their full, God-given potential in order to better serve Him. Just the kind of attitude I like to see in a doctor, since that’s what I want as well! A thermograph test showed pressure on the nerves leading to each of the organs/systems that were failing or not functioning properly, and he began making spinal adjustments three times a week (I am presently down to twice a week). Much of the pressure is due to a mild scoliosis that a previous chiropractor had diagnosed but told me it would “never cause a problem.” Hah! While researching adrenal fatigue, I discovered that I’ve had underlying signs of adrenal problems since my early teen years, but we just blamed it on my not being naturally strong physically. It’s kind of interesting to know that all these little idiosyncrasies about me are all related!

Now, I would like to share a list of “small” victories with you. I put “small” in quotes because these are all BIG to me, but I realize that for most people, each of my victories is just part of ordinary life.

  1. I’ve been migraine-free since my first spinal adjustment.
  2. I can walk around the store for more than just a few minutes at a time.
  3. I can hold a conversation without completely losing my train of thought (most of the time, anyway).
  4. Confusion is kept at bay (until almost time for the next dose of my adrenal supplement).
  5. I can go into a store and purchase what I need and leave without wandering around trying to decide exactly what I must buy and without being so overwhelmed I just leave with nothing.
  6. I can read with understanding, and I actually want to read again.
  7. I can tell you about yesterday.
  8. I can drive 4 miles down the road to the library/Walmart/Food Lion and drive home, all by myself or just with the older kids.
  9. My eyes don’t constantly look wild (only when I’m at the end of my adrenal supplement), nor are they sunk back into my head.
  10. I don’t have to put on make-up to try add some color to the ghost-skin or to cover up blotchy allergy rashes.
  11. The heart palpitations have calmed down, occurring only at explainable moments. Please don’t wake me up when I’m sleeping!
  12. My thyroid numbers are in the normal range.
  13. My body is digesting food again, my weight gain is good for the baby, and I have re-established hunger patterns.
  14. I am better able to control my emotions. I still struggle sometimes, but no longer feel out-of-control. Praise the Lord for that one!
  15. I am not overwhelmed in a crowd.
  16. I no longer panic at every turn.
  17. Reactions to perfumes and chemical odors do not control me; I am usually able to overcome the reactions rather quickly.
  18. The suddenly terrible seasonal allergies I suffered with last year early spring till late fall were almost non-existent this spring.
  19. The allergy rash on my forehead and cheeks is gone.
  20. I’ve been able to a few delete a few things off of my very long food allergy list, such as cinnamon, apples (organic only), and strawberries (organic only). Every little bit I can add back into my diet does make a difference in the monotony! It also helps that there is a greater variety of vegetables to choose from here in the States than what I can get in Moldova. I now LOVE sweet potatoes!
  21. My pupils dilate and contract according to lighting, rather than staying permanently dilated.
  22. I can step outdoors into the sunlight without a hat and sunglasses.
  23. Even though I still struggle daily in this battle, I can look at my future with hope rather than despair.

All glory goes to God, the one Who has saved my soul, preserved my life, and directed me to just the right doctors to put me on the path to healing. Whether I spend my days counting long lists of “small” victories, or at some point get to combine them all together into the desired major victory of complete healing, I will live the rest of my life victoriously, praising God for the great things He has done! Why? Because God is GOOD, He loves me, and I belong to Him!

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Living the Other Part of Our Vows

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33

We’ve always been serious about our wedding vows. Not only did we repeat the English vows after Pastor, but we also made up our own vows in Romanian and spoke them to each other at the altar. Our bi-lingual, bi-cultural marriage started with vows from both directions, and we’ve been serious about them from day one.

Recently, I was apologizing again to my husband for being so useless. There are days when he has to do practically everything in the house and for the kids, and this came after two days of my getting out of bed just for meals, which he had prepared. I was feeling really guilty. Actually, the two middle children had been sent to their grandmother’s house for a while, so the load wasn’t quite so heavy, but I still felt bad for being such a burden. That was the last time I’ve apologized for my illness, and I don’t intend to do it again. He asked me not to. He told me there is no reason to apologize, because he didn’t marry me just for the good times. Then he said something that made me appreciate him more than ever. He told me we are living “the other part of our vows.”

When we were married 8 ½ years ago, we were so healthy, and one of us was young (the other not quite as young, but not old, either)! We were full of energy, excited about our new life together, about blending two cultures into one harmonious family, about the prospects of growing old together while rearing several children to serve the Lord. Now the cultures are beautifully blended, we enjoy the pleasures of knowing and understanding and serving one another, one of us has more gray hairs than ever and the other is realizing the baby will still be a teen when she hits the half-century mark, and we are in the process of rearing four precious children to serve the Lord. Times have been good, and we were both healthy until a few months ago.

I am thankful that we are living “the other part of our vows” today. I can’t say that I’m thankful for the ill health that has put us in this position, but I am thankful that we are living this united life, united by the Lord and by those sacred vows. To me, that means that my husband doesn’t resent my weakness and isn’t impatiently trying to prod me back into semi-good health so we can get back to normal. He understands that it’s going to take time, patience, and a lot of effort on his part as well as mine, and he’s willing. He doesn’t blame me at all, nor does he blame God. As he told my doctor recently, we accept good from God’s hand, and we love God and trust that He has allowed this into our lives for some good that we have yet to understand. He has a reason for allowing difficulties into our lives, and we are going to trust Him regardless because He loves us. What a testimony! He strengthened my faith right there in the doctor’s office. It was nothing I’d never heard before, but to hear the doctor’s response—that most people look for a person to blame, but we accept the bad as well as the good as part of God’s plan for us—that made me realize we are set apart even in illness and strengthened my resolve to glorify God in the midst of this trial. So, I am finding that my role in “the other part of our vows” is to maintain a sweet spirit, to encourage with my words, to be thankful and kind, to keep the right perspective, and to allow and appreciate the extra work my husband is putting into the housekeeping and wife-nursing right now, all the while honoring and respecting him and his day-by-day decisions as he cares for the family.

I’m more relaxed since realizing that we are living “the other part of our vows,” and I believe it will contribute greatly to the healing process. No more feeling guilty that my busy husband is having to take care of me when I’d much rather be taking care of him. No more anxiety about not being able to do all those things I enjoy doing for my family. No more fear that my husband will get tired of taking care of me. I feel more than just loved. I feel cherished. We are serious about our vows—every word of them. With God’s help and for His glory, we are living “the other part of our vows.”

Update:

We have received the results of my hair analysis. The whole report is long and quite complicated, and the list of problems is just that—a list. However, they seem to fit quite neatly into three categories: adrenal gland not functioning properly, thyroid not functioning properly, and aluminum toxicity. The source of these problems is elusive—it seems to be a vicious cycle where the above problems and the many resulting issues affect one another. I’ve seen the recommended treatment plan from the lab but am still waiting for the personalized plan from the nutritionist. I’m planning to see my doctor tomorrow about it as well, and I’m really hoping to begin treatment soon. Really, REALLY hoping. An humble thank you goes out to those who are holding us up in prayer.

A couple of weeks ago I started having heart palpitations. My doctor sent me to a cardiologist, and my heart is fine.  We’ve run some other tests and haven’t found a reason for it, although there are some results waiting to be read tomorrow. The worst of the palpitations were about a week and half ago when I spent a couple of days in bed, and now they have eased up to just occasional discomfort, which lying down for a few minutes seems to take care of. That’s okay, as part of the recommended treatment is lots of extra rest, and 20-minute naps throughout the day as needed.

In the meantime, I’ve continued taking diatomaceous earth and am beginning to see some results. I’m nowhere nearly as sensitive to smells (although PLEASE don’t wear perfume around me, as chemical smells still overtake me). Last week I ate carrots and peas with no reaction, and this week I’ve had apples and cashews with no reactions. Praise the Lord for those victories!

We are still “anticipating victory.” And I am convinced that God is good.

Stay Away from the Edge–It’s Slippery

I recently wondered why I ever named my blog “anticipating victory.” It has seemed so hopeless. It seems that whatever treatment I try either backfires or helps only minimally, and as I keep reacting to new allergens, my “safe list” shrinks. I thought to myself that I just need a new body, to put the same ol’ me in; then I remembered the line from a song that goes: “I’ll have a new body, I’ll have a new life.” Well, there you go! One way or another, there will be victory!—if not in this life, then for sure in the next. I have a sure hope that I will meet my Lord someday and live in a glorified body, even sit down to eat whatever I want at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (You can know that for sure, too http://www.ahomeforyourfamily.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=77.) I’m hoping for lots of garlic, herbs, and sweet red peppers—and let’s not forget my beloved peanut butter for dessert. The best thing about that new body is that there will be no more temptation, no more sin, no more sorrow, no more weeping over what we’ve lost down here. When I think about all that, then brown rice and some protein today (and tomorrow, and the next day, etc.) isn’t so bad. Which leads me to my next thought.

I have found that wallowing in the mire of self-pity doesn’t help. You can really get stuck there. While you’re stuck there, you tend to get the ones you love dirty, too, and then joy disappears from the home. No fun at all!—especially in a house full of dramatic little girls. The big girl (aka Mommy) has to keep her glasses clean in order to see hope for tomorrow. I’m so thankful for the ones who recently worked so hard to pull me out—my husband, my mom, and my oldest daughter. They are so patient with me and kind to pray with me, show me love when I’m not exactly being nice, and remind me of all the good in my life. The three of them made a good team to help pick me up after a couple of really difficult weeks, but do you know Who was most responsible for getting me out, putting me on the rock, and cleaning me up? The Lord Jesus, of course. He’s the One who lives inside of me in the person of the Holy Spirit, reminds me of verses from His Word, and brings songs to my mind. I’m so thankful for all those verses I memorized as a child and for all those great hymns of the faith that I grew up singing in church and at home. When He reminds me of one and I sing it for days on end at home, one of my girls invariably asks where I got that song. Well, it’s in my heart! It’s a part of me!

Having said all of that and in spite of today’s positive attitude, I must admit that I keep finding myself on slippery ground these days. Fatigue, headaches, frustration, disappointment (I’ll stop there because I don’t want to complain)—they all strike daily blows and it is hard to stay on my feet. So, I thank you for praying for me and ask you to please continue. If you think of me, just assume the Lord brought me to your mind specifically to pray for me—if I’m not struggling at that moment, I very well may be soon. Along with praying for correct diagnosis, treatment, and healing, please also pray for my attitude. I want to live to rear these children for the Lord, which means I’ve got to be living for Him daily myself, not just when I feel good. My desire is that the following verses become true of my life: I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. ~ Psalm 40:1-3 I am fully aware that the problem is definitely not in the Lord’s power to put me on the rock and establish my goings; it is in my staying there on the rock and not wandering back to the slippery edge of self-pity. I’ve got to stay away from the edge!

Update:

Tomorrow is a big day for me! I’ll have samples of my hair clipped off at the root and sent for analysis—hoping to find out what is “really” wrong with me. The diagnosis of “pollen-related food allergy syndrome” doesn’t make much sense anymore—especially since I reacted to mushrooms, which don’t produce pollen. There seems to be more than just pollen confusion involved in my situation. Apparently, a hair analysis can determine metal/mineral ratios in the body and point to a deficiency/imbalance, which can guide a knowledgeable doctor to prescribe a treatment plan for the allergy to be “permanently eliminated.” Let me say that again—“PERMANENTLY ELIMINATED!” I never knew hair could tell such a story! I’m consulting via email with a doctor in Cyprus, sending my hair to Arizona for analysis, and praying to the God of the universe that I’ll be cured right here in Moldova. Whether I am cured or not, I am determined to praise the Lord with my life!

Being Still in a Whirlwind of Activity

Let me begin this by saying that I am NOT a “be still” kind of person. It seems I gave up afternoon naps before I was a year old, and I can clearly remember hearing my K-5 teacher reminding me during naptime “Hold still, Shanna.” Until I started getting migraines a few years ago, I felt guilty if I didn’t work on a cross-stitch piece or other type of handwork while watching a movie. Unless I’m asleep, I feel compelled to be moving and working.

Right now, I am being still, just waiting to see how things are going to turn out. That certainly doesn’t mean I’m not moving! It’s taken me literally days of going over this post in my mind to come up with a few moments to sit down and type it, and that’s only because Benji (6 months) is the only one that got up on time this morning. Everyone else is still asleep almost an hour later. They keep me hopping, but the first part of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God,” has become my comfort over the past couple of weeks.

Shortly after receiving the “nothing but baked goods, meat, eggs, and dairy” sentence from the allergist, I found what I hope to be the solution to my sudden food allergies. You have to use phonics in order to pronounce the word: Diatomaceous Earth. I felt compelled to go visit a missionary friend that I rarely see after that fateful doctor appointment, and she had some good suggestions for me, including the above-mentioned “dirt” (another word for it is fossil shell flour, which gives a hint as to what it actually is). I found a great explanation of how it could help my allergies on a blog http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/2013/02/foodless-friday-health-benefits-of-diatomaceous-earth.html, did some more research on my own, and decided to give it a try. We thought we’d found it, and I started taking it, along with the allergy shots and medications the allergist had prescribed. The shots were supposed to make my reactions weaker, and something has certainly done that! But we finally realized I’m taking some other kind of “dirt,” not diatomaceous earth. A woman here claims it helped her with pollen-related food allergies (my diagnosis as well), but it took about a year, not a week or so, and she also used a list of other natural treatments, some of which I am presently allergic to. Oops! I need to get hold of the right “dirt.”

I started to worry. The Lord whispered “Be still, and know that I am God” to my heart, and I finally got still. No, not that kind of still. I get up running! Formula to prepare (those allergy medications meant no more nursing), the family to get to the breakfast table, the rush to get dressed by 8:30, the daily attempt to start homeschooling by 9:30…I’ll stop there for now. In the midst of my daily whirlwind, I am learning to be still in my heart and mind.

What does being still look like to me? It means that when I start to worry about not finding the right “dirt” for my treatment, I am stopped short—be still, God is in control, and He will help me get what I need in His timing. It means that when I start to worry that I can’t eat healthy meals with my family, nor can I prepare food the same yummy way I used to, I stop again—be still, and be thankful for brown rice (after a 10-day brown rice fast, would you believe I still like the stuff), meats, eggs, dairy, and baked goods. It means that when, out of the blue, I react to cocoa on my ice cream and am ready to cry—be still, God is my ultimate comfort. Chocolate has been my comfort food this past month—though allergic to all my favorite foods and spices, at least I could have a bite of chocolate now and then. Now I’m afraid of it because sometimes I react, sometimes I can handle a tiny bit. But I can be still and remember that lots of other people can’t have chocolate at all! For me, being still means that I leave my worries in the Lord’s hands. He knows all about me and my allergies, and He is here with me at each moment. God is good. He is God. He is my God, and I am His beloved child. I can still my mind and heart and rest in Him—which means to me that I can continue my whirlwind of activity in the strength and peace that He gives my stilled heart.

I conclude with an update for those who are praying for me and desire to know better how to pray: I have been off of the brown rice fast for about a week and a half. I still eat brown rice once or twice a day, but I’m also eating meats, white sauces made with milk and cheese, eggs, dairy, and some baked goods. Praise the Lord, the reactions to smell have lessened to the degree that I can walk around the grocery store and even prepare many of the foods that I’m allergic to for my family. I’ve tried eating a few vegetables, but small reactions in my mouth scare me away from them most of the time. What if the next time brings a big reaction? Basically, if I feel repulsed by it and force myself, I find that a reaction occurs, so I’ve come to the conclusion that the repulsion is my body’s warning that it’s not for me, at least not at that moment. I’ve had to add garlic (oh, no!), cocoa, at least one of the spices in gingerbread cookies (which one, don’t know yet), and apples to my long list of allergens within the last week. I’ve had cinnamon and broccoli safely, but feel repulsed by them the last few days, so I’m staying away. So far, carrots are safe, but yesterday I reacted to something in the “safe” meal I had, and I don’t know whether it was the carrots or the bay leaf used to season the rice and pork. On a positive note, we have finally ordered some diatomaceous earth! We didn’t have it shipped here because of the high shipping costs, but a group that is coming in October is bringing it to us, and I intend to begin treatment as soon as I get it. Praise the Lord for the group and their willingness to bring it to me!

You can best pray for me that I will be content with my boring diet (I do love and crave vegetables, fruit, and spices—and peanut butter and chocolate), that reactions will remain mild, and that the right “dirt” coming in October will arrive safely with no trouble whatsoever in customs, and then that it will be an effective treatment. I can hardly wait to get started, but when I feel impatient, the Lord is faithful to remind me to “Be still, and know that I am God.” What a personal Saviour He is!

A Brother is Born for Adversity

When you suddenly go from healthy (albeit permanently tired) to dangerously allergic to who-knows-what, you start thinking about death. I must admit that my first few days after the initial pepper reaction, especially after researching that specific allergy on the net, I sat around expecting to die at any moment from some kind of allergic reaction.  Just as I was trying to move past that, in stepped my brother.

The verse “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17) seemed so enigmatic to me as a teenager. My brother and I had always been close, and I considered him my best friend. Sure, we occasionally fought some, as all siblings do, but why did the Bible seem to say that my brother was born for me to fight with? I was a young adult before I finally understood that this verse means that while a true friend will be there all the time for me, my brother is the one who can best help me out when I’m in over my head in difficulties. Sure enough, the Bible has once again proven true.

My brother called to talk with me a few days into my thoughts of morbidity. In typical brotherly fashion, he kept saying things like, “Well, Sis, I don’t know what to tell you…I wish I could fix it for you, but I can’t.” I smiled to myself, remembering all the times he’d protected me while we were growing, all the times he’d fixed things for me or taken over difficult situations for me. There’s nothing like a “big-little brother”! My childhood hero is now a full-blown hero as a WV state trooper, so he knows better than I do about how quickly life can be cut short. At least he could empathize with me. Shortly before we hung up, he commented, “Well, you didn’t die last Monday night, so the Lord must not be done with you yet.” That’s what snapped me back into really living again.

It’s true! I could have died that Monday, or any of the days since then. People do die of this kind of allergy. But the fact is, I didn’t. Now, I have no idea how much the Lord wants to work in and through me before I meet Him face to face, but I do know that I want to finish whatever plan He has for me, and I know that He will not take me from this earth until He is done with me. To me, that means that if He does choose to take me before my children are grown, then He has a better plan for them (that’s kind of hard to swallow). The worries about me not getting to help my husband finish rearing these four precious babies are null and void. Why do we want to rear them? For His glory, of course! I rest in the peace that passes all understanding, knowing that He is in control, and He loves us more than I can comprehend.

I did learn something important while wallowing in my morbid thoughts. All of a sudden, everything I said and did took on a new significance. What if this comment is the last one I make to this child? What if this is the last touch she feels from my hand? What if this is the last question I answer? I became very aware of every response, every instruction, and especially the tone and inflection in my voice. This is a lesson I do want to hang onto–not that I want to be morbid, but I do want each interaction with my children to be precious. It is too easy to slip back into just a quick, short answer or a hurried pat on the head or adjustment of the hair or clothes. I have a new focus on trying to make each of my children feel precious and loved during each interaction with me, not just in the feel-good times. It isn’t easy, but I’m working on it.

Well, my friend, you’re not dead yet! What might the Lord still have for you to do? If you have a have a sibling going through some type of adversity right now, He just might want you to give him or her a call as a reminder of why you were born–one of the reasons, anyway. Even if you can’t fix it, the Bible says you were “born for adversity,” so you just may be the hero he or she needs today!

Love ya, Jerry! I’m so glad you are my “big-little brother”! (Mary, please make sure he reads this.)

I’ve got something to say!

Several people have suggested I start a blog. I really didn’t think I had anything to say. Sure, I love to write, but only when I have something to say, and it’s usually something “big” that gets me started. Something “big” happened last week, and I’ve got something to say about it!

Probably the biggest single obstacle in my life has always been fear. I was the little girl hiding behind Mom’s skirt and refusing to speak. I was the junior-age kid with only 3 friends because I was afraid anybody else would hurt me. I was the teenager who, though older than my brother, was known as “Jerry’s sister.” I was the college student who started opening up to people, but remained convinced that I didn’t measure up to anybody else. I was the graduate who, in spite of some remaining fear, flew far away from home and found my own niche–one that lets my wonderful, supportive husband do most of the talking for me (just like I let my brother do all those years ago). I really had nothing to say!

Last week, it happened. Not the thing I’d always feared, but the thing I had never even known was possible so I couldn’t possibly have feared it! I became allergic to normal life–my favorite foods, hand lotion, my husband’s cologne, cleaning supplies, house dust–I’m stopping because the list would be way too long. Suffice it to say, this mother who loves to cook healthy, balanced meals for her family, can’t even eat fruits and veggies anymore, and this wife who thrives on keeping the house a little bit of heaven for her husband has been told to have her husband do the dusting (okay, that means we’re hiring someone to do it, because my wonderful husband is also a busy one). Add to that the fatigue that came from recent allergy attacks and the FEAR of eating, and I was feeling pretty much useless, which IS actually something I’ve always feared–being useless. But, that is not what I have to say.

I want to say that God is working in my life to replace that spirit of fear I’ve always so easily slipped into with one of power, love, and a sound mind. In fact, 2 Timothy 1:7 has become my theme for verse for this season of life: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Couple that with my life verse, Matt. 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven”, and I can see that there is great potential for the Lord to bring glory to Himself through my life in a new way.

My wonderful husband can’t help but be victorious, since his name is Victor! And he lives victoriously, always seeing the best in a situation and expecting the best outcome possible. He certainly isn’t crippled by fear and worry, although sometimes my fear and worry may hold him back a bit. Last week, I was crippled by fear, and he kept trying to pick me up. I honestly thought my sudden food allergy, which had manifested itself in an extremely strong form, was a death sentence. I started worrying about who might help Victor rear all these sweet babies after I die, and if I had enough time left to teach them what was most important to me. All of a sudden, I didn’t care about the house or meals (I couldn’t eat anyway). All I wanted to do was to look at, touch, read to, talk with my children–between frequent rest periods I suddenly needed. In four days, I lost two pounds and became weaker than I ever had been (except, of course, immediately after delivery of each of these four precious bundles). Then I decided to ask people to pray for me, even though I hardly knew what to say. If you were one of those that lifted me up in prayer last week, THANK YOU!

Finally, here is what I really have to say: God is good. God is in control. He has a reason for everything He allows in my life, and for the first time in my life, I am determined to conquer fear. My life will no longer be characterized by fear, worry, or even shyness. God will bring victory into my life, of that I am sure. So, while I anticipate eventual victory over this turmoil we are experiencing in our lives right now, I intend to celebrate daily victories.

For starters: The day after I asked friends to pray for me, a new peace stole over me and I could finally hear the Holy Spirit bringing encouragement to my heart. Yesterday, Benjamin, almost 6 months old, took a full bottle of formula for the first time (the treatment I began the day before that necessitated sudden weaning). Today, Victor has been gone all day and I did NOT panic! Since my first attack, I haven’t wanted him out of my sight for more than a few minutes at a time, and when he has had to leave me for a few hours, I lived in a state of panic till he got back. I’m sure it helped that his sister came to help me this afternoon and is spending the night, but still, I’m rejoicing in a day of no panic and minimum worry. I’ve been singing all day, “God is good to me, God is good to me, He holds my hand, He helps me stand, God is good to me!”

Now, I’ve finally had my say.