Category Archives: Faith

Waiting in Anticipation for What God Will Do

Last night I tried to capture the beauty of the sunset. What I saw on my drive home and what I was able to capture with my phone just minutes later was not what I was hoping for. I shared the image on FB with the following caption…

“I had to trudge through melted dirty snow and dog poop in my backyard to try and take this picture. In the end it didn’t turn out like I was hoping. You can’t quite see the beauty of the cotton candy pink skies that I was trying to capture.The big, barren trees are blocking my view. It’s there, I saw it on my drive home but it eluded me. Isn’t that a lot like life? Those times when we struggle to see the beauty because of all the Brokenness in front of us…. when we trudge through the crap of life. Those times when it’s difficult to see the light because the darkness is so overwhelming.

Today I am certain of two things. 1. The enemy has come to seek, kill and destroy and he wants to see people hurt and families crushed, he wants shame to rule and Truth to be buried. 2. My God has already won! It doesn’t matter how dark it seems, His light will always shine in the darkness. He is never more present than in those moments when it seems He is far away. He will never leave us or forsake us.

The sky reminded me tonight that His light has overcome any darkness the enemy may try to put on my path or on the path of those I love. No it will not always be easy, sometimes it is downright hard. But I have more hope in this momemt than I have in a long time. God is good. All the time, He is good.”

I have commented before that I am a negative person by nature. It is much easier for me to see what is wrong with a situation well before I can see what is right. I have a tendency to get bogged down in worry and what-ifs. Fear has long kept me in bondage.

But it isn’t a place I can afford to live right now and quite frankly I am tired of it and I am saying no more!

A few days ago I saw a post shared around FB about a young woman, I think from Australia, who was dying of cancer. She wrote a challenging piece about how we all need to stop complaining, stop getting upset over the little things and start enjoying life. As a woman who was facing her last days she knew full well all she was going to miss out on, all the things she wished she had not done and the things she would do differently.

It challenged me. How often do I find myself complaining about little annoyances? My kids do it too. Yesterday morning one of my kids had a boot that kept slipping off their foot. I get why it was bothering them but it was threatening to ruin their whole morning and it was ridiculous!

So I shared a little with that about what this woman had to say. How we have SO MUCH to be grateful for. We have a warm home filled with so much stuff, they have their every want met. They do not go hungry, we are warm and full and happy. But it is a choice! Life isn’t fair. There will always be someone who has it better, easier. There will be times that things happen that are cruel and not right. Sometimes we don’t have a choice in what happens to us, but we do have a choice on how we respond!

Trust me, it is easy to say these things when life is going along perfectly. It isn’t so easy to walk that walk when the road is hard. I know because we are walking it. There are some things that are really hard for us right now, not fair things, discouraging, worrisome things. I could start comparing our situation to other families’ and saying how unfair it is. Or I can start counting my blessings.

I can’t afford to do anything but count my blessings. I have no idea what will happen in the coming months but for once in my life, I am not filled with fear. Instead, I am waiting in anticipation of what God will do.

God has done some pretty amazing things in our past. He has restored and redeemed some incredibly broken places in our lives and made them whole. Some may say that our lives and our marriage are a miracle….I would agree with that. God is in the business of redeeming our broken places. I believe that for me, and for my family….and I believe it for you too.

I don’t know what you might be facing today, what hurt or fear or worry that is weighing you down. It is easy to run away, easy to believe in lies, to be consumed with shame instead of His Truth. Sometimes fighting to see Truth is the hardest thing we can do. But it is there. And so in those moments where I am uncertain about what is next, I will trust my God and wait in anticipation for what He will do. I have seen what He is capable of and it is pretty incredible. Don’t miss out on the miracle friends!!

2017 Year in Review!

I can’t believe that the end of the year is almost here! Since I am having a major surgery tomorrow afternoon and will probably be a little out of it for several days, I thought that I would share some thoughts about the year today!

Last year at this time we were wrapping things up and planning our escape to Tybee Island in January. While it was colder than normal the few days we were there, it was such fun to get away together as a couple and explore a part of the country that we hadn’t ever been to before! We really enjoyed exploring Savannah, GA and hearing the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach from our VRBO rental! We came home with full hearts and lots of lovely shells too!

In February we took some extra time to love on one another. I had seen someone else share on FB that they were going to do a  week of daily affirmations for their kids. So I ordered these foam hearts and every morning the kids came down to search for their newest heart. It was fun seeing them light up at the truths we were speaking into their lives. {I should do it more often I think!!} On Valentine’s Day our Elijah had a CRAZY situation happen where our dog knocked out not one, but two of his loose teeth! You can read all about my warrior boy here!!

In April our daughter made a very important decision and asked Jesus to be the Savior in her life. It was a special moment that Dominic was able to walk her through and we are all so proud of her. It is my hope that all of my kids would grow to have a deep relationship with God, and while we can’t force that, we do pray for them and do our best to show them how it looks in our own lives!

The rest of April and May ran together as I worked on a secret project that would become a gift for my mother and grandmother for Mother’s Day. A friend from church helped me to publish a large number of my old blog posts into a book format so that I could give them something to hold and read! It was really fun to do and exciting to have so much of my writing in one place!

In late May we anxiously awaited the end of the school year and I got to help plan for one of my favorite weeks of the year – VBS!! We always have fun doing the decorations and then I also help to lead the worship time and it is just a joy every year!

Oddly enough, I didn’t write a single blog post in the entire summer! Sitting down and writing at the computer just didn’t happen. Life did, that’s for sure but I didn’t document it here well. We did take a trip up to Northern MN in late June and loved exploring the beautiful country there!


We became die-hard agate hunters and had to fight Elijah for the best ones. He could spot the biggest best agates from a mile away!! Here were a couple of my biggest and best ones! It is addicting though, once you find one you want to keep looking in hopes of finding the true beauty!!

We spent a lot of time in July taking care of our garden and canning. We canned hundreds of quarts this year of tomatoes, salsa and refrigerator pickles!

We bought an outdoor cast-iron stove that has made the process so easy, we set everything up in the garage and then we don’t have to make a mess in the house!

In July/August we started a little home renovation project. We did work in two of our bathrooms and our kitchen and laundry room. We did a lot of the initial demolition ourselves to save on costs a bit and joked that a family that reno’s together, stays together!

In September I saw my doctor because I was having some issues and discovered that there was a cyst on my only ovary that was concerning. It was a scary few weeks as we waited for the surgery in early October. While the chance of cancer was only 30%, I found that I had a lot to learn about my faith during that time of waiting. Thankfully everything came back negative from that scare.

October 3rd was my surgery and my recovery was hard on me. I don’t rest well and found myself on quite the pity pot. It makes me chuckle now as I am hours away from a more serious surgery and one that will keep me even more “at rest.” We will see how this goes!

For those that don’t know, I am now having a total hysterectomy. During the surgery in October a D&C was done of the lining of my uterus and the results of that showed that I have pre-hyperplasia. While now it is not something I have to be super worried about, it could become something later if left unchecked. The only way to check is by doing a biopsy…which due to the way my uterus is tipped, is impossible in office and would require surgery each time. Having the hyst. removes any possible future cancer risk there and because I will be able to keep my one remaining ovary, I won’t be put into menopause early. So I have really felt at complete peace over this decision.

I have 11 freezer meals prepped and frozen and know that my family will take good care of me!

Right before Christmas, I had the fun opportunity to take a trip with Karlena to Houston to visit my best friend Gindi. It was such a gift to get away even for a few days and to laugh and see our girls connect. I can’t tell you how much I needed that before the end of this year!!

Christmas with both of our families went by too quickly and I didn’t take a single family picture. Every year I think I will stop and do it, and I forget! We had a wonderful time with both sides of our families and even if it was a fast trip, it was a blessing! We came back home to try and get a little more work done before closing down the office for a week and 1/2 for my surgery! And last night as a last hurrah, I met with some of my best friends here in Marshall for a ladies night out where we laughed and ate wonderful food! They even gifted me with some goodies to keep me warm and cozy while I recover! I am so fortunate to have good friends!!

I would so appreciate your prayers for tomorrow and will be praying for you as well as we say goodbye to 2017 and look with anticipation to what 2018 will bring!!

Calendar Photo Credit: DafneCholet

How Your Prayers Made a Difference

Well I am home and recovering from my surgery on Tuesday. The night before the surgery I had a terrible night’s sleep. The dog’s collar kept jingling when she would move and we had heavy rain and storms come through as well. Maybe it was nerves too, but I tossed and turned that night.

We arrived at the surgical hospital about an hour before the procedure and they got me in their system, handed me some pretty fancy hospital wares  and then we waited. My Dr. is an OB/GYN and apparently there was a potential labor emergency during the time the surgery was supposed to start so we had to wait almost an hour longer than we expected.

Dominic and my sister Beth kept me company until they brought me back. We had some laughs so it made the time pass pretty quickly. Once in the operating room they hooked me up to a heart monitor and started the IV. They said the meds would kick in pretty quickly and in one moment the ceiling was moving above me and the next thing I remember was waking up and asking the nurse if they had to take the ovary or not.

She said I needed to talk to the Dr. about that and honestly if I did, I don’t remember that conversation! But eventually they brought me to a second recovery room and brought Dominic and Beth back in.

Everything went better than I had imagined it would. No cancer, the ovary remains, my tubes are gone and the ablation was successful. Praise God!!!

In the weeks leading up to this surgery I had steeled myself for a different answer. I really did have a peace about all of it and knew that if the news wasn’t great that God would be with me on whatever path I would walk next. I had even stopped praying for specific requests for myself and instead just thanked God for giving me peace and for being my strength.

But so so many of you did pray those specific prayers on my behalf. It was incredible really, people from my community and local church rallied around me. Women that my mom knew from another prayer group she is in emailed me and told me that they were praying. So many of my Facebook friends sent encouragement and positive thoughts my way. And my parents drove up to make sure that we had someone to be with the kids while we were gone!

Each prayer, comment, text message…they made a difference and I am just humbled that you would step in and support me in that way. At a time when in so many ways our country seems like a dark and sad place, you my friends brought me light. Oh and a few of my dear, best friends from church worked it out with Dominic to come to our house when I was gone to redecorate the built in shelves in my kitchen/dining room AND the tackle the chair recovering that I just had not been able to complete!! Seriously it is overwhelming to be loved on like that!!

Thank you doesn’t seem enough, but it is what I can offer right now. That and the promise that I will intercede on your behalf if and when the need arises.

The last time I had a surgery I was so very sick from the meds, that recovery and coming out of the surgery were the things I feared the most. But my Dr. was proactive and prescribed a little patch that I placed behind my ear 3 hours before the surgery. In addition they offered me a pill to take right before the surgery, that when paired with the patch usually resulted in very little nausea.

So thankfully when I woke up I wasn’t really sick. I am uncomfortable today and need to stay consistent with my pain meds, and I already over did it this morning when I got up to help the kids get ready for school. It proved to be too much and I have since spent the majority of the day in bed.

I don’t “rest” well. I don’t accept help well either. Ha! But we have friends from church scheduled to bring us a few meals, and our neighbor brought us over a meal this afternoon as well that we can have later this week. What a gift that will be for our whole family!

I don’t remember if it was my dad or someone else that said to me that when we deny  people the opportunity of helping us, we are denying them the use of their spiritual gifts. I like that way of looking at it and so instead of believing that I should be able to manage it all, I step back and am humbly accepting  the gifts of others.

The anesthesiologist said that they would make a list of everything the used to help control the nausea  so that next time we could do it again. I told him that I would prefer there not be a next time..but if there is I will remember this experience too. How so many people gave us support and encouragement.

Because we know that there will be trials, we often don’t know when they will come, but they will come in some shape or form. I know that next time I can hopefully be that gift to someone else.

This experience has reminded me that when I become ready and willing to turn all of it, whatever it is (fears, worries, doubts etc,) over to God, that I can walk through a situation confident that He is with me even if I can’t comprehend what will happen. I have this hope that is an anchor to my soul….

This experience has also reminded me about the value of community. Of having a church family, good neighborhood relationships, family and friends that you can confide in. So that if there is ever a time when you don’t have the words to pray, you can know someone else is interceding on your behalf.

Once again I have been a bit long-winded, thank you for sticking with me. And if some of this doesn’t flow well, I am blaming it on the meds I am taking. I feel a bit foggy with my thoughts and my words. But it was important to me to take a few minutes and post an update here.

Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to me and my family. I am so very grateful for each and everyone of you!!

Photo Credit: ThienLong

Even in the 30%

Yesterday was my pre-op appointment with my doctor and while I did share this information on Facebook, I want to share it here as well. I want to continue to keep a record of all of this and writing helps me process, so thank you for allowing me to be real and personal here.

So the doctor initially decided to try and see if she could feel the cyst because she said there was a possibility that it went away on its own, but it was definitely still there. She also attempted to do a biopsy of my endometrial lining for the ablation that they will be doing as well (a kind of buy one get one free part of my surgery – Ha!) but apparently my uterus is tipped and it made that quite difficult and pretty darn painful. And I thought I had a pretty high pain tolerance. Ouch!

So after that fun, we talked about the surgery and the risks etc. There are some things about the cyst that are “good” and not indicative of stage 2 or greater cancer. Like there isn’t fluid around it. But there is something abnormal with the cyst, there are 2 cysts or possibly one that is split, but they can’t tell for sure and it has thick walls. So they have to get in there to see it with the scope to know for sure.

She said that if she had to put a number on it she thinks there is a 70% chance that the cyst is just a normal cyst and then she might be able to just remove the cyst. A 30% chance it is not typical. If it looks abnormal at all she’s going to take the cyst and the ovary, call in the oncologist and they will take lymph nodes as well to check for cancer. This is apparently standard protocol.

They take it all if there is any chance at all it is abnormal so they avoid the risk of breaking the cyst open and possibly spreading cancer cells into the uterus.

Regardless of how the cyst looks, they will remove my tubes for sure to help decrease the chance of cancer. If the ovary has to be removed then I will have to look at some hormone replacement therapies. There are lots of options and we will discuss those if/when that time becomes necessary.

We talked about the side effects that I had from the meds I took for just 10 days (they weren’t pleasant) and reassured me that there were lots of options to try. When this all first started I was so panicked about the HRT’s, it bothered me so so much. Today I can say that I am confident that if it is needed, she will help me find the right balance of meds.

Oddly enough, I feel at peace about everything. She said she would treat me like she would her own daughter. I trust her and more importantly I trust God. She is a Christian and said she is doing Gods work, and so I know I am in good hands.

And no matter what happens, God will be my strength. I do so appreciate all your prayers and messages. Surgery is next Tuesday and I am ready. I almost wish I didn’t have to wait a few more days because I just want to get onto the healing part of this process!

I voxed my best friend all of the details later yesterday afternoon and she messaged me back that I sounded like a different person. She could hear the peace in my voice. Part of that does come from knowing all the details and options, yes. But more importantly I think, that peace has been poured over me because of the prayers of all of you.

So many of you have interceded on my behalf, praying against fear and for peace. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. The prayers are heard and they are felt.

I am the type of person that could easily get stuck in the “what-if” of that 30% number. And let’s just be gut-level honest here….I have a real vanity about my hair. The thought of the possibility of cancer and chemo and losing my hair. Oh my goodness, I can’t even fathom it. I know I shouldn’t joke about that but I have dreams nightmares about losing my teeth and my hair. It’s not pretty guys!!

So even a week ago I could have easily been stuck in that place. Spinning over all of the negative possibilities. Filled with fear and anxiety over what might happen if I was in that 30%.

But yesterday God met me in such a tangible way, such a take-my-breath away moment, that I realized it doesn’t matter what percentage I fall into. It really doesn’t. God IS with me. He so specifically made His presence known to me in a way that He knew would minister to my heart, I have no doubt that whatever happens next Tuesday, He will continue to be the God that ministers to me. (Hair or no hair!)

I shared that I was honored to be a part of the (in)courage A Moment to Breathe 365 devotional. It is no coincidence to me that the release date for that book was THE date of my surgery (October 3rd). A day that would be remembered by joy and not fear.

But yesterday when we got home from the doctor’s office I wanted to read the devotional for that day (I was sent a few advance copies to give away!!) and so I googled what day of the calendar year it was. Day 270.

I opened up the devotional to day 270 and saw this.

I instantly started to cry. Words I had written, words to bring encouragement and hope to another now speaking life into me. A reminder that I can trust the journey. That I don’t need to know the future, I don’t have to know the answers but instead I can trust God in the process.

There are 79 other authors in this devotional book. I had no input on where my posts would land, or on which days. I have 4 other posts in the book and this one specifically is JUST what I needed to be reminded of.

These are words He gave me a long time ago. He hasn’t changed and He won’t. It doesn’t matter if I wake up next Tuesday and discover I was in the 30%. God is still God and I trust Him fully.

Certainly, I am praying for the 70% results. But even in the 30%, there is hope. And whatever it is, the next steps I take will be with Him leading me. I have confidence in that. I have peace.

I told my kids this morning on the way to school that mom wasn’t scared. I trusted God and He was with me. And they could trust Him like that too. If nothing else I want them to see that they don’t have to walk through life filled with fears and what-ifs. They can put their faith in Him and He will guide them.

I don’t know what you are facing today. What unknown you might be struggling with. Can I encourage you to turn it over to God, ask some trusted friends to pray for you and with you and then allow His peace to flood your spirit. I would be honored to pray for you, so if you have any specific prayer needs, please leave them in the comments and know I will be lifting you up!

A Moment to Breathe

I shared last week some of the scary stuff that is going on in my life right now and you were all so encouraging to me, offering prayer and support. Thank you. I know that no matter what, I am not going through this alone and that is so comforting!

That said, I have certainly had my moments of crazy-town as early on I spent waaaay too much time consulting Dr. Google. Let me tell you that Dr. Google doesn’t always have the best bedside manner and may often leave you in a fit of panic.

At one point I voxed my best friend and lamented my woes to her and I almost spent $449 on a mattress cooling pad thingy without talking to Dominic because I was certain that I would be recovering in a pile of sweat after my surgery and didn’t want to be in pain and drowning in my own nastiness. I tend to have a flair towards the dramatic….

Thankfully I did not purchase said mattress pad and she lovingly but sternly told me that I was banned from Dr. Google until after my pre-op appointment that is still a LONG 9 days away, and I was not allowed to purchase any products right now to treat something I am not yet dealing with! She was right though. And as I laughed about it with Dominic later that evening he reminded me that I was essentially “paying the fine for a ticket I hadn’t even gotten”….I have a tendency to jump the gun a little if you haven’t noticed.

The next morning I got up and found an empty prayer journal. I had been really good about writing out my prayers a year ago and then I got busy and I stopped. But I knew that in this season especially, I needed to take a few moments in the morning and focus on centering my life and my heart in prayer.

When I write the prayers out I can go back and see all the ways that God has answered those prayers, and it keeps me focused. My mind can’t wander as easily and I am forced to put my phone down {ahem}.

It doesn’t take much time in the morning, but it’s a moment to breathe, to focus on prayer and to spend time with God.

I recently shared on Facebook that I was blessed to be a part of a new devotional that is coming out from (in)courage called A Moment to Breathe. 365 Devotions that meet you in your everyday mess. Well isn’t that just perfect for me? And even more exciting is that the book will be available for purchase on October 3rd. The very day of my surgery.

A day that I will be waking up hungry and scared and nervous can now instead be marked by excitement and honor to be featured as an author alongside some of my most favorite authors! It really feels pretty unbelievable to me still!

Right now, and while supplies last, when you order your copy of A Moment to Breathe here though Lifeway, Lifeway will send you this beautiful mug (pictured above) for free! And the mug ships right away, I know because I ordered several to give as gifts and they are HUGE and beautiful!!

It is a perfect gift and the book is something that you will be able to read again and again!! I hope that you will order a copy for yourself and maybe a copy to share with a good friend, I know we all can use a moment to breathe in the midst of our mess can’t we?!

Yes, But….

I know when it has been too long since I posted last when I have forgotten the password to log into my own site! Hello friends, thanks for being here with me today. It is funny how much changes in a year’s time. Last year at this time I was writing away, planning for my 31-day challenge on Fervent Prayer. And then somehow after that, the words just stopped. I am not one to force words out just to have a post, thus the long lengths of silence here. I can’t promise that things will be changing soon but I do want to share a little bit of what is going on with me and ask for some prayer in the coming weeks.

Part of my reason for sharing this more personal information is so that I can look back at it and remember, and also because as I have done some of my own research I am finding that first-hand accounts are rare and quite honestly, I get lost in the complexity of medical terminology. When I had my PRK surgery I blogged honestly about my experience and so I thought I might do a little of that here today.

Some back story for those that don’t know it…it will become important to the rest of the story in a minute.

Sometime in 2001 I believe I had a very scary experience when a large cyst, that I didn’t know was growing on the underside of my left ovary, burst and basically tore my ovary and fallopian tube to shreds. I remember feeling a funny “pop” in my gut and then feeling uncomfortable all day at work. I didn’t know what was going on but I was stubborn and ignored the symptoms.

It wasn’t until later in the day that I started to black out as I would stand up. Someone called a women from a neighboring department who was an EMT and she came and took my blood pressure and it was really low. I decided to drive myself (I know I am that stubborn) to the local acute care to be checked out.

At this point I was in terrible pain in my abdomen and could hardly stand up straight. They did an X-ray and couldn’t figure out what was going on. They wanted to send me to the ER and thankfully had me call my mom to come and get me because it was unsafe for me to drive. In the ER they did a CT scan and discovered I was filled with blood and figured it was some sort of “female” problem. My OB/GYN doctor was called in to do an emergency exploratory surgery.

I remember being on the table as they prepped me, being ready to be put to sleep and she came in. She has long red hair and it looked like fire to me next to her blue scrubs and the white walls and lights. I begged her to save my ovaries so that I could have more babies. We only had Isaac at that point and I knew I wanted more kids.

She told me that she would do her best but that if it was a decision between my life and my ability to have more kids, she would save me. I woke up and the first thing I asked was if I had lost everything. I hadn’t. She had been able to save the right ovary. They had removed blood clots the size of lemons from around the my lungs. I had bled internally from approximately 11am to 9pm. I was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion but they decided to wait and ultimately I didn’t need one.

I credit my doctor for saving my life. They said if I had ignored the woman at work and decided to drive home instead I likely would have died. After that surgery I was able to have 3 more children. It wasn’t necessarily easy, but we had Gabe in 2003, a miscarriage in 2007, Elijah in 2009 and Karlena in 2010.

After Karlena I went on birth control. I hadn’t used it for years because we stuggled so much to get pregnant it wasn’t necessary, but then our girl was a surprise to us so quickly after Elijah and we knew after 4 that we were done…so I decided to take something.

I didn’t love how the birth control made me feel. I know for most people there aren’t side effects, but I felt big emotional swings and developed dark melasma patches on my cheeks. A few years ago I started using essential oils more, started replacing many of our products with more “nautral” ones and tried to eliminate products that used parabens etc. from our cabinets. In 2014 I decided to have my tubes tied so that I could eliminate the need for the hormones all together.

10 months ago I started working out consistently with the Beachbody programs. I am consistently doing something at least 5 days a week if not more. I have lost and kept off 10lbs and also lost 10 inches from my hips and waist! I stopped drinking sugared juices in October and drink only water now. I don’t eat 100% “clean” but I know that I am healthier today and in better shape than I have been in years.

Since my tubal, my cycles have been a little funny. When you take a hormone to control them, they come on a specified day and typically end on a specified day. When you leave your body to naturally handle that on it’s own, it doesn’t always do it the same way. That has been the case with me. I have been tracking my cycles each month for over 2 years and while they have been somewhat consistent, recently I was noticing some changes. It was an extra extended cycle that brought me into my doctor last week for a check.

They ran some blood work and did an initial check of me and scheduled an ultrasound for this past Tuesday. I thought it was possible that my symptoms were a result of perimenopause. I had been told that women can go through some of the menopausal symptoms for up to 10 years before they are finally through it. (Great right?!) So I thought maybe this was my deal. Not ideal, but manageable.

The ultrasound on Tuesday revealed that there was a little more going on than just perimenopause symptoms. The doctor ran a CA125 blood screen to see if that was elevated. She explained that if it was it “may” be an indicator of cancer and the growth that was seen on the ultrasound would likely need to be removed. If not we could probably just watch it, but she wanted to get the radiologist’s full report to determine that as well.

They called yesterday and thankfully the CA125 was in a normal range, as was my thyroid and my FSH test. But the cyst on my only ovary has “focal thickening” and apparently that is concerning and it needs to come out.

The surgery itself is pretty simple. The doctor does it over her lunch hour. Bad for me because I am going to be STARVING since I won’t be able to eat after midnight the night before…but what do you do? Anyways, the biggest problem I am having right now is that depending on IF the cyst looks benign she may be able to remove it without taking the ovary. But IF any of that isn’t the case, it will all have to go and I will effectively be put into what is called “surgical menopause”.

Google that for some fun stories if you want to cry a little with me. Nevermind, don’t. Basically when the ovaries are removed the body immediately loses all estrogen production and so unlike a typical woman going through perimenopause who slowly loses estrogen, mine would immediately stop. From what I am reading it is very likely that ALL the symptoms of menopause could happen, like right away at any time. (Google was NOT my friend yesterday, I’m telling you!)

So the doctor mentioned that I would probably have to be on hormone replacement therapy. This is exactly what I wanted to avoid. When someone says “Oh those side effects only happen to 1 in 5 women”…well I am the 1.

But if I don’t take the HRT there are pretty huge and scary risks especially for women that are under the age of 45. Like being 7 times more likely to develop heart disease, increased risk of osteoporosis, and a doubled risk of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. All scary stuff.

Can I tell you that my heart starts beating fast and I get a little nauseous thinking about all of that! And there is so much info out there, how do you trust what is true and what is hype? I start to get in a panic and things spin quickly out of control.

Breathe, just breathe……

Dominic reminded me last night that we should be grateful that she didn’t call and say the CA125 was elevated. Yes, but…

And I realized that even though I had stopped to ask some close friends to pray about it for me, I hadn’t myself stopped to give it over to God.

Do you trust Me?

Lord, Yes, but….

I do, and I am grateful…but I didn’t want this.

I do, but I am scared and I don’t want to make the wrong decision.

I do, but I would have been happier if the answer was even simpler.

I don’t know yet (today) what is going to happen. My surgery is tentatively scheduled for October 3rd. I will meet with my doctor on the 27th to discuss all the options and risks etc. I am praying for wisdom and discernment, and for peace that whatever happens will be right for me medically speaking.

I am grateful that the blood test was normal. I do not want a repeat of what happened in 2001, even if it means surgical menopause.

Last week two of my closest friends whom I vox with every day were in Houston facing the terror of Hurricane Harvey. I have never in my life been so invested in fervent prayer for someone. I prayed over and over that God would spare their homes. I prayed crazy, bold prayers, that His army of angels would surround their homes and that not a drop of water would be allowed to enter their door frames.

At one point last week it seemed that all hope was lost, one friend was being evacuated by FEMA and the waters were rising fast. They were told that all the homes in the neighborhood would be covered. And yet by some miracle, the water stopped rising, and held and didn’t enter their homes.

God hears prayer. I was a first-hand witness to it. I also know that there are times those prayers don’t get answered in the way we would hope. I can’t explain why so many people did lose their homes, and others were spared. I can’t explain why my blood test would be negative but I know that there was likely a woman receiving different news yesterday.

I believe that the God that held back the waters, is the same God that will be there for me. But I have to be willing to let go of the outcome. I don’t want to have a “Yes, but…” kind of faith. In any of life’s storms I want to be able to say “Yes, Lord I trust You.” Regardless of the outcome. I won’t always get the answer I am hoping for. But I can look for the many reasons to be grateful along the way.

This has gotten incredibly long, and kuddos to anyone of you that has stuck with me. I will probably try and share more as I go through this. I know my experience will be unique to me, but being able to read someone else’s real life experience is so much more helpful (in my opinion) than 10-year-old forum chat boards that become quickly overwhelming.

So as I have more to share, I will do that and thank you in advance for anyone who is praying for me, I appreciate it so much!!

A Very Important Decision

Parenting has proven to be one of the most difficult yet rewarding aspects of my life. There are days that I am failing and need to ask for grace over and over again. And there are days that we count as a win, when our kids surprise us or act on a teachable moment.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the should-do-this and don’t-do-that whispers that come from all around us. If I am not careful and prayerful I can get caught up in those. But there are those rare and amazing moments that are God-filled and I want to share one of those with you today.

I should be having Dominic write this story because it is really his to tell. I wasn’t even there, but it was such a beautiful example of parenting with God’s leading that I wanted to document it.

On Saturday I had a special day planned with some of my girlfriends from church. We were heading to Sioux Falls for some shopping and then a evening conference featuring Lysa Terkeurst. It is rare that I get away for days like this so I was really looking forward to it.

Dominic took the kids over to get haircuts before I left town and then had a full day planned filled with work, a motorcycle ride and grilling hamburgers for the kids. It would be a pretty typical Saturday or so we thought…that is until lunch.

We have a 6 and 7 year old right now. We have been working with them on their understanding of communion. In our church there isn’t a specific “class” on why we celebrate communion, it is something that the pastor explains on the Sundays we have it and as parents we are encouraged to talk with our kids and help make the decision about when the time it is right.

For a long time Karlena has been asking about it and wanting to take communion but really just thought it was a time to snack at church. We knew she didn’t understand the significance of it all so we continued to talk to her about it.

After the last time we had communion at church Dominic took home a few of the little cups the juice comes in so that we could talk more about it at home. The cups have been sitting on our counter for a month or more but for some reason on Saturday Dominic got them out at lunch time and he and the kids started talking.

He told them again the story of Jesus, why He came and why He made a sacrifice for us. He talked about the significance of the last supper and why it is the reason we recognize the celebration ourselves today.

Then he asked the kids if they wanted to take communion together. So they got some crackers and he filled the little cups with some of his opened Monster energy drink…to which they all said it was “delicious and mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about”…they are on to me and my lies about how terrible sugared drinks taste!

Anyways, together they took communion and celebrated the gift that we have been given through Jesus. Dominic felt confident that they understood the significance and that they were ready to participate in church.

Then he asked them if they had ever asked Jesus to come into their hearts? Elijah had and so he said yes but Karlena shook her head no. Dominic asked if she thought she might like to say a simple prayer to ask Jesus into her life and she said yes!

So he called everyone together and they knelt down and he led Karlena through a prayer of recognition of who God is, confession of her sinful nature and then asked Jesus to come into her life and lead her. She repeated the words after him and was so excited that Jesus was now in her heart!

I got the news through a text after it happened, and I have to admit that I was a little sad that I wasn’t there, but I was so grateful that Dominic was able to share this incredibly special moment with his youngest and only daughter. And I am so glad that Dominic followed the Holy Spirit’s leading to have the conversation in the first place!

On Sunday morning when she got up, Karlena came to find me to tell me the good news. Wonderful news indeed!! Such an important decision, one that we all need to make. I know this doesn’t guarantee that her life will be easy. As much as I wish ease and comfort for my kids, more than anything I want them to be drawn to a personal relationship with Jesus. And if they are anything like me, they may need some hardship before they come to that place of surrender and being fully ready to let God lead them.

But regardless of what happens in the next 10, 20 or 40 years of my daughter’s life, she has the assurance that she is saved and loved by God. She is sealed by the blood of Jesus and her name is written in the Book of Life.

I am so proud of her and it is an honor to be a parent to the amazing kids God has given us!

Remembering the Gift – A Deeper Waters Guest Post

Recently my friend Denise Hughes reached out to me and asked if I wanted to participate in her study of the book of James over at her Deeper Waters site. It is always an honor to be asked by fellow writers that I esteem to join in their ministry and so I happily said yes.

We each had to choose a set of verses in James to study further and write on. I knew immediately which verses I wanted or should I say needed to write on.

James 1: 19-25 specifically addresses anger. This has long been a struggle for me. My temper has caused hurt and pain and I continue to have the opportunity to practice a different response.

It just so happened that I learned from one of those opportunities recently and I am sharing my heart over at the Deeper Waters site this morning. I would love if you would join me over there and I encourage you to sign up for the daily emails and keep walking through the book of James with us!

Happy Monday!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Deeper Waters website

Where’s Your Mission Field?

I used to think that I needed to be called overseas to be on mission for God. I used to think that I needed to publish a book to prove that I was writing for Him. When those things didn’t happen, it was easy for me to believe that maybe God hadn’t called me to anything special.

But I was wrong.

This morning my daughter came to me with her backpack. The liner in it had ripped at the top and she didn’t want to use it anymore. I told her that I thought I could fix it, at least enough to use it. So I got out some thread and a needle and with just minutes to spare before leaving for school, I repaired her bag. Sometimes my mission field looks like a bad sewing job on a broken backpack. My girl was so grateful for the fix and it took me less than 5 minutes to serve her well.

Yesterday I spent 3 hours in a hospital room holding a very sick baby boy. His mama (with strong encouragement that she wasn’t being a bad mother) went to support her husband at his grandmother’s funeral. She struggled with leaving, but as a mom who has spent days in a hospital with a baby that almost died from rsv…well she knew I understood what to do. For 3 hours yesterday, this boy was my mission field. I took pictures and sent them to his mom to reassure her that he was just fine. I got to rock him and sing to him and even fed him his first bottle! What a gift that was to be of service in that way.

Every day my husband and I go to his office. We work hard to help people plan their estates so that their family doesn’t have to worry or fight once they are gone. Sometimes the days get long and we are at the office into the early evening. Sometimes we have projects or plans that are mentally taxing and it feels overwhelming. But we have the honor of helping people. We don’t take this responsibility lightly. Even though we aren’t a church or don’t serve people in a foreign country, we still have a mission field right here. 

I have always been someone that struggles with comparison. I see my friend who is leaving on a mission trip and I wonder if she is doing it better for God than I am. I watch as more and more of my author friends are releasing yet another book, or signing their first book deal…while I struggle to get posts out on a consistent basis. I wonder if God knows He can use them more than He can use me. I see those involved in the church and leading in ways I am not and believe the lie that my past failures make me unqualified.

It would be very easy for me to see myself as not valuable and unworthy. But that is crazy! God whispered to my heart this morning and reassured me that I was on a mission for Him.  My mission field is found in the ways I serve my family in love, in my prayers for others, when I find ways to be an encouragement to someone who is struggling, when we go to work each day and strive to do the best job we can for our clients.

Friends, we each have a mission field. Find ways to be of service to those around you. And do so with a happy and grateful heart. When we love others well, we are sharing the love of God. And what a mission that is!

Pieces Woven Together

Our pastor has been teaching on the life of David and we have been walking through a good portion of 1 Samuel for many weeks now. I love this type of Bible teaching because we, for the most part, are going through this book verse by verse.

We did this in Romans and Acts too. It helps me get a feel for what was really happening. He gives us background about the time in history etc., and I can put myself into the story and see it from all angles.

David has an incredible story doesn’t he?! A shepherd boy, the unmentioned of many brothers who is chosen and anointed by God to be the king. A boy who then waits YEARS from the time of that anointing to the time he is actually appointed king.

Talk about waiting to walk into your calling!

And we see that David struggles. He makes mistakes, he runs from God, he sins and falls short. God knows David’s heart though and he uses him anyways. What hope stories like this give me. I too can be the chief of sinners and yet God has found ways to use my story for good. How we should fall on our knees grateful that He loves us that much to redeem our story and allow us the opportunity to share His grace with others!

Today our Pastor was talking about dark times. The bulletin referenced 1 Samuel 2 (or I thought it did)…we were actually in 1 Samuel 28. But I happened to turn to 1 Samuel 2 and started reading. I have to admit, I don’t have a full grasp of the entire Bible, and how things are woven together. But today I discovered a connection I hadn’t made before and it so encouraged me.

Back in 2013 I shared a post about a woman named Hannah. I was so moved by this woman’s faith. Childless for years, tormented by the other wife, she begs God to give her a child. In exchange she vows to devote that child to the Lord’s service.

God hears and grants her a son. And then she follows through and actually gives her son over to the priest at the church. I said it before, but can you imagine the pain of having to follow through on that promise? I’ve found myself bargaining with God, making promises I probably didn’t intend to keep. But Hannah followed through.

When I wrote about it a few years ago I was amazed at her faith…but I didn’t fully understand the rest of the story. I didn’t read on through the rest of 1 Samuel to see what happens. Today it came together for me in a new way.

You see the Bible tells us that Samuel grows as a man and in his understanding of the Lord. So much in fact that he becomes a trusted advisor and a prophet. Samuel eventually anoints Saul as king. Saul the very king that we later hear is to be replaced by David. Samuel becomes David’s trusted advisor as well. He has become a man of great influence.

Our pastor said today, “Samuel had been a spiritual anchor for the people for 50+ years.” Isn’t that incredible?! And my thoughts immediately went to Hannah once again. A women who desperately wanted a son. A woman that was true to her promise and let her son go.

Do you think she had any idea the man her son would become so many years later? That he would be a spiritual anchor? We don’t know for sure, but I honestly don’t think so. It may have been easier to give up her son had she known the outcome…but so often we don’t know what will happen.

But like Hannah we take those bold steps of faith and do the hard thing anyways. And when we do the results are often more than we could ever imagine they would be. This connecting of stories gave me hope today. It was a reminder that the trials I have gone through and the lessons that I continue to learn may not only impact me and my kids…but generations to come!

So we keep walking forward, taking those hard steps and allowing God to use us, knowing that we may not see an answer to our prayers in this lifetime, but that they may continue to bear fruit for years and years to come.

Isn’t it amazing how God works?

Photo Credit: ame h

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