Category Archives: transformation

The Beautiful Wait

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock….

And as time unfolds by the second, we wait.

How does one wait graciously, peacefully, beautifully?

I am not positive. I don’t think I’ve arrived yet.

All I know is that I must. I must wait.

In the meantime, I try not to think of what is growing in my brain. I try to think of this time as an opportunity to soak in the beauty of the moments. Trust me, there have been UGLY moments in this wait.

NORMAL moments. The regular type I-am-waiting-for-a-surgery-that-could-prolong-change-or-shorten-my-life-and-family-life-and-regular-life-just-goes-on moments.

We aren’t sure whether to make plans or not. We live every day, day to day.

So life goes on like normal and yet not normal at all.

And we wait.

In the meantime, the waiting can be beautiful because if I wasn’t waiting I’d be recovering or in treatment and that will be the hard. So I take these moments as beautiful or ugly as they may be and just live. Living is good.

Too much to say – Part 3

I’m going to attempt and put part 1 and part 2 in a final act, of sorts.

Perspective comes in strange ways. Our life has had it’s strangeness…that’s for sure.

Two and a half years ago, we were feeling really good about where our lives were headed, the direction the church was going, confident in relationships and, for the most part, pleased with our decisions in personal life. At the same time, my physical health was going down hill and we didn’t know our way around a stick. Life was good, bad and all sorts of NORMAL…for us. It was a winter I never wanted to repeat. Does that sound confusing? It really was a confusing time of life.

Pivotal moments seemed to line every part of the race of life. Moments like the loss of friendships, the gaining of new ones. God teaching me how to pray more effectively. Showing me that spiritually I had a long way to go. Areas of sin that were blatant and screaming for attention.

God was moving so many parts of the picture our heads spun. He was doing such a deep work of renewal that I felt I would drown at times.

One of the pivotal moments happened on our 20th year anniversary celebration trip to Jamaica. Anxiety was trying to knock on my soul and when I stepped on the plane I chose not to take it with me. I left it, like a bag of dirty clothes outside of the plane. I decided right there that I couldn’t stop anything bad from happening so why take all that baggage with me? If something terrible was going to happen all the worrying in the world would not stop it.

Relief.

Then I went snorkeling.

My brother drowned when I was five. Since then water has had  a certain grip on me. I could swim but didn’t like it. I could put my head under water but it wasn’t fun. Being without breath scared the bejeebers out of me. I had dreams when our oldest was a toddler that he had wandered away from me near water and we couldn’t find him.

When I decided to go snorkeling I knew it would be a test. I looked at everyone else surviving on just a little tube of air. I pumped up my air life vest as fat as it could go and stuck my head under water. It was liberating! I survived! It was a feat of the mind.

Fear. It’s hounded me.

And on that trip I let a lot of it go. It was amazing! I didn’t worry about what to make for supper, whether my kids were ok (because I was 10 hours away and couldn’t do anything anyways) and I didn’t lose any sleep, besides what should be lost on that kind of vacation.

We came back and I set off to train myself to run a 5 km in the fall. I don’t run for any reason. Not even a bear. With a bear you best lay in a ball and stay put. Well, that’s what I’ve heard.

When I started to train I didn’t realize how much of an exercise of the mind it would be. The first time, I jogged for 30 seconds off and on. By the end of the summer I was jogging for 30 min’s straight. Say WHAT? It took a lot of mental grit but God, in his strength, led me through it. So very cool.

I completed the 5 Km and was so excited that I finished that challenge! It changed me forever too. All that time breathing deeply and being in the fresh air. It renewed both my body, my spirit and my mind. It was beautiful!

The winter after that run was when I started the new ladies group. What I didn’t know then was that God had a hand in that too. It created a community I would need through the tough times ahead. It gave me a business that I could be challenged by, in different ways.

You see, what I’m trying to say is that all the threads of my life, of your life are being drawn together in a beautiful pattern. Even now, as we face another monumental challenge, our lives are being woven by the Master Craftsman.

I prayed for God to restore us in many ways. I prayed that he would bring people back…to us… but mostly to Him. He has restored some relationships that I cried over losing. How great is THAT? He is restoring that which has been broken.

He is working in ways that are mysterious and so very amazing. In your life too. You may not see it now. You may not see it in a year. You may never see the beautiful pattern that is being knit together. But have you given it a thought? Have you given HIM a chance? It is a matter of choices. He gives us all that. You get to choose to get better or to get bitter. You make the choice to let anxiety kill you from the inside out. You can let it go. You choose to let him work in the hard places. You get to choose so many things even when things seem out of control.

A lot is out of my control right now. But I get to choose how I react, how I live the rest of my days. He’s given me so much. How about you?

What are the choices you need to make?

Too much to say – Part 2

You know when you can look back and see things from such a clearer perspective than when you are actually going through it? I feel like looking back is giving me such incredible clarity.

I wrote this post yesterday but lost it all. Maybe that’s a good thing. I’ve been (probably) over-thinking in the last day about the last two years. But it’s been healthy…good even, to rethink it.

I am going to start in a different place than I had originally started from.

Two years ago I was driving in the beautiful autumn weather and God impressed something on my heart. We had been going along very well in church. There were new people coming in the door, our kids program was humming a long, the youth program had been started and people were EXCITED!! It seemed that God was doing something BIG. We were on the precipice of something grande. Hope was alive everywhere. We weren’t perfect but it was good.

Then I received a word from the Lord, driving down that road. He impressed in my heart that it was going to get hard. He gave me some specifics about what that would look like. When I get a word from the Lord, I do not pretend to assume that what I heard was correct until after it passes.

This word was hard because it included people I cared about deeply and I begged God to work a different way. I hoped it would just be proven that I had a crazy imagination.

Then Christmas came and a situation arose that had far reaching implications. In being a pastor to a few, The Reverend found himself in the middle of a difficult situation and seemed to get the short end of a big stick. We ended up hurt and confused and grieving. And we kept it to ourselves. There was little we could do.

It was one of those situations, like in movies where the character finds himself on a precipice and the ground starts to give way, in a shattering pattern. The hero runs for his life as the ground falls into nothingness behind him. Running to stable ground is an all out race and looks death defying and yet, with a leap, a bound or by a catch of a branch the hero snags on to stable ground. He would pick himself up and then realize how close to death he had been.

This year has been one of those years for our church and for us personally. Through loss after loss, due to many reasons we saw people fall away from us. Some through difficult choices they made, some through the choice of moving. Families and couples that have been a steady place for our church started falling away behind us and we began to run for life. All along the way, grieving. Reaching out for the next safe piece of land, only for another piece to be falling away. We were not the only ones left feeling breathless and wondering. The faithful and loving loyal  around us also seemed to lose their breath as the ground gave way.

We felt Broken.

There were some very specific times that we asked God what he would like us to do. Should we leave? Should we stay? Where did he want us to go? Self-doubt and grief clouded our vision. We sought the Lord in brokenness. A few times we looked at ways to escape the drama and trauma. Very specifically God told us to STAY. VERY SPECIFICALLY. We could have looked for writing on the wall and it would have said ‘STAY’. We love the church, friends and family here, but we wondered if it was God’s timing for us to go. It wasn’t. It SO wasn’t. I can’t tell you all the ways but it was miraculous and crazy things.

So, we stayed because God said to. Also, in him telling us to stay, in so many ways, we KNEW that there was a greater purpose at work here. We didn’t know what, but we knew there was SOMETHING.Maybe something incredible. That was my feeling.

I felt at peace. I knew God was up to a bigger picture here. I felt peace.

Then, we went to a Pastor’s Retreat in Lake Louise this last November. We were blessed to make it to this event that was incredibly healing for us. In front of 500 people I told them it had been a hard year. I told them that I believed we were on the precipice of miracles. It had been tough but I was looking forward to seeing what God would do in our town, in our church in MY life in the next year. They prayed for us.

As I was worshiping in the presence of the Lord, one morning, I sensed that the Lord had another hard word for me. I had just been praying for restoration in our church, our community, our little family and in our relationship with each other. I just spread my hands out and said “Do what you need to do to restore us.” At that moment, I felt in my spirit “It’s going to get harder than this year was. You think that was hard…. It’s going to be the biggest test of your life”. Knowing that I was speaking to the Lord of the Universe who holds everything in his capable hands I said “Ok.”

And I knew. I knew it would be big. I didn’t want it to be big… but it seems that growth/healing and restoration comes through the difficult. Tears streamed down my face as I realized I TRUST the One who made me. I wanted him to be at work in me. NO MATTER WHAT THAT MEANT.

I didn’t quite want it to be brain tumor big. I mean, that’s big. Too big for me.

It scares the crap out of me. But I still TRUST. I trust because he is Good (don’t worry I will address the question that almost everyone wrestles with which is “Why do bad things happen to good people?” another blog).

I write this to tell you how much God loves us. How he sees the big picture, how he’s working it all out together. He is at work and he works in mysterious ways. He works in different people in different ways because there is a plan. A good plan.

We didn’t move because he didn’t want us to move. There is a bigger thing going on here that we need to stay around for.

From the beginning of my life, God had a plan for me as he does for every person that ever lives. Not every person chooses to live in the potential that he created in us. He has been so good to me. HE is going ahead of me and preparing a way through the hard stuff ahead.

I see incredible promise in this whole thing. I know it sounds strange. Super strange. But I look forward to seeing the beauty of how this whole thing is going to play out.

Would you like peace? A sense of hope? A clear cut purpose or reason for your life? Oh dear ones….ask me how. Through all the crazy ups and downs of this year, we’ve been broken but I’ve had peace. I’ve had hope. I’ve had a crazy sense of purpose…and it is GOOD! It’s not ME. I’m not the strong one. He is. It is supernatural. From Him.

March 2013

Ahoy Matey!

Is it summer yet? All I see is a lot of melted snow, otherwise known as rain, and puddles. The rain hasn’t got me down yet, though. Probably because I’m not living in Calgary or Canmore and I haven’t had to evacuate my home.

When I started this blog last year, I was going through some really scary physical issues which knocked me back so far I couldn’t see where I had been. I named this blog Emerging from the Chrysalis in hopes that my life would be transformed and that beauty would arise on beautiful wings, like those of a caterpillar who must twist, turn and fight to come out of it’s pod and spread it’s wings. Hope was barely glimmering when I wrote the first words, but it was there despite the pressing darkness.

When I asked God to change me, root out whatever was making me sick, tired and anxious, I knew that it would probably be painful. I just didn’t really get that it would be physically more painful than I had ever experienced. Chronic physical pain has long been a part of my life, but this winter it amped up to a level of intolerable. There were days I would rock back and forth in my bed and beg God to take me HOME. I felt like a useless blob of chicken fat. I couldn’t do anything besides just survive and pray.

There were transitional moments throughout the last 8 months. I can’t even begin to explain what they were. Some of them are moments I hold closely and treasure in my heart. Other times were mundane yet extraordinary. There were friends and family who said things at strategic points. There were decisions made by me that set me on courses that I had previously thought impossible. God was there the whole time guiding, directing, pushing and coaxing. He led people into my life that have been a source of encouragement, counsel, truth and love.

One of the transitional and transformational moments was when I dipped my head into the warm, tropical water of Jamaica. Snorkel in my mouth, mask on my face, I decided right then and there that I would conquer this fear of mine. The intense fear of water/being without air.

I saw other people were surviving and then so did I. Anxiety gone, fear conquered. Transformation!

Oh the places I’ve seen

Through the last few months I have had a lot of blog posts percolating in this mind of mine. The problem is that they stay up there and rattle around too long and then they are gone.

Truth is, I’ve been going downhill for a long time now, and I didn’t really recognize it until I couldn’t balance when I walked, couldn’t focus on what I was reading and what I wanted to say seemed just out of reach. The words…just not coming. I thought it was something…something big. I’ve been told for a lot of my life that it’s probably nothing. It gets into the mind and rattles around and gets the old thought processes making no big deal about having spells that disorient me or falling into a wall or forgetting what I was going to say…a lot. It makes me think it’s all my fault for not being organized enough in my thoughts that I can’t pull this house together. I mean, it’s always a battle, but lately a real BATTLE. Chaos has been blooming and growing for 2.5 years and I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was nothing…just me being a failure. Now there are some answers for all of that. Awful answers but answers nonetheless.

The thing is, I was getting really amazing things going on in my life. Tea business was taking off like a slow but powerful rocket. I LOVED it. My kids were learning even if my teaching wasn’t perfect. We held down out chaotic fort. Our non existent youth group burgeoned up to 16 kids one night at youth. Wow! We are on the edge of miracles here. I was all kinds of busy and feeling like I was really on FIRE!!

Then God happened. Since Dr’s had been ignoring my pleas to check into my migraines and “spells”, for years and God wasn’t having it, he saw a way to get me into a pediatric neurologist in Edmonton. A friend of mine was seeing him with her daughter. She told him about me and said “sure, you can send her to me!” Really? Wow! cool. Funniest Dr. I’ve ever had. Maybe I get him because I am childish (in a humor sort of way) and short, and he deals with children most times. It’s a good relationship. He got me into an MRI but wasn’t very worried about it. When Dr’s tell you “it’s probably nothing” it’s most likely SOMETHING. Lesson learned.

Shoot, a week later we found out I have a big ol’ tumour on my brain. Freaked my GP out, Freaked the Neurologist, it freaked US OUT!!!! and didn’t FAZE the really-difficult-to-communicate with Neuro surgeon a bit. Not a bit. He wanted to wait and see what changes happened in a few months. We changed neuro surgeons for a second opinion in Saskatoon and I believe God moved for that to happen too. We will not be waiting around to see if this blob on my brain is growing, he’s going into my Marcy brain and taking bits out of the ugly sucker to test it out and see whats up in my head. We will find out what we are dealing with after that and possibly commence treatment and whatever else they recommend.

We were in shock. The week that we found out, we thought I was dying within a moment’s notice and it was nothing I can describe. I was a mess, My big strong guy, the Reverend was a mess. My kids were messes in their own ways. We didn’t know what was facing us. The fact that he thought it was an astrocytoma means he thinks it’s been there quite a few years, maybe decades. No rush for a possibly slow growing monster on the brain. No sweat. WHAT? We knew enough that a biopsy would be helpful. The original Neurosurgeon didn’t think any of our questions were relevant. What we took from that was that I was not immediately dying and Christmas would not have that hanging over us. We can celebrate Christmas together!! Yay! Enjoy the moments we have. The normal crazy moments. And we would wait for a second opinion and wait some more for a biopsy.

I had friends help me in ways I didn’t know I would need, and I did need it. I needed it so much. I have spent a lot of time crying about how people have touched our lives with the way they’ve loved on us this last 6 weeks. Incredible! We’ve had our freezer stocked, a few times, gas cards, grocery cards, gifts given, money handed off secretively…floors washed, cupboards organized, moments with people I’d never take back. Free hair cuts… We were entered for a Christmas Wish from a friend and we WON a few sweet prizes like a housekeeper, a bunch of gifts, money for groceries, and money for a TRIP of a lifetime!! I really want to go now. But we’ve been loved by so many in so many ways and it’s humbling and amazing. We found out just how truly great our little community is in a crisis.

This has been a wild ride already but in the end I know it will ALL BE WORTH IT. During my quiet, resting moments, Jesus has given me some incredible times with him. Times I have felt him close, speaking to me in hushed tones. Comforting me. He has covered me with his peace…the kind that is impossible to understand unless you are lying underneath his beautiful wings of protection and love and you KNOW it. He was there all along, I just KNEW it in those moments.

I’ve already  had an ER visit due to bad meds reacting with my heart. Scary moments. And yet He was there. In the form of people who didn’t know me well, running to my house to see if I was ok, through really deep snow. People wiped the feet of snow off of their trucks to bring me a blood pressure cuff and gave me really good medical advice. People who care but don’t know me well…they cared.. That touches me in places that make me tear up every time. That God loves me that much to provide in ways that mystify me. I love that he’s so near. Working in ways, behind the scenes that we aren’t privy to.

In the ER room that night the Internal Dr who saw me and when I heard that my husband was a pastor, he said “Well, since you mentioned it first, I’m a Christian too!” He proceeded to pray with me, give me a prescription of scripture and was generally very compassionate. One lonely night in the small and noisy ER God heard my cry and answered it with a beautiful African Dr.

And I know it’s what I prayed for, way before this all went down. I prayed that God would move in an incredible way in this church, in this town….in our FAMILY. I prayed that it would have an eternal impact. That others would know his incredible love. I didn’t want it to be me possibly dying or having a tumor…but I knew as soon as we heard it, that this was what he gave me life for. For others to know him. And I am blessed to be used in such an incredible and difficult way. If what happens in my house and in my family and in my church furthers the Good News of Christ then I am a willing vessel.

Some people may ask…why you? Why NOT me? Don’t I feel like I’ve had enough in my life? Well, yes. and no. I live to love Jesus. As LONG AS I HAVE BREATH. Lord give me the grace and strength to do it all as you would have me do it. People are having tumors and cancer every day. Why not me? It’s ok. It happens. It sucks but it happens. My kids will go through things many kids won’t. My husband is going through things that no husband should go through but he’ll be ok. Because I know Jesus holds them too. He goes before us. He’s been there with us back there in the other places. He’s going ahead of me, to make a way.

And I am looking Forward to seeing what he does. Because it’s going to be AMAZING!! No matter if I live or die…it’s going to be down right INCREDIBLE!670313088

Finding the words

I haven’t written much lately. You may have noticed. I’ve had trouble finding words. That’s not normal for me.

While I am super stoked that I made it through the winter and pretty much accomplished my goal of not complaining about the weather ALL WINTER. Woo hoo! I never promised a Spring complaint fast…but I’ve been doing well. Caught myself once or twice. But seriously, it doesn’t help to complain so I swallowed it. You know what? I think it made it feel like the cold weather passed more quickly. Also, I didn’t look at the tropical pictures people like to torture others with. That helped too. I especially am NOT Looking at them this week. It helps me not complain 🙂 Of course I had to torture others last year when we went to Jamaica, so all is fair in love and holidays.

While this winter was, by a thousand miles, better than last winter it was another kind of painful for us. Last winter (2012-13) was a long and dreadful winter filled with pain and fatigue that I have NEVER experienced the like of before. I spent days, weeks and months begging God to take away my pain and to allow me to get back to “normal”. My normal is a healthy person’s sick day. God has been so amazing in giving me the strength for many years. I wonder, at times, if I went so hard for so long that my body just up and had to have a reboot. I entertained thoughts I had never thought I would let jump around in my head. When your body is that rebellious your head starts to think crazy thoughts.

I am thankful that I had family and friends who put up with the nutty talk and prayed me through it. The Reverend still has a little PTSD from how hard it was for him. On my bad days, this winter, he had the look of sheer terror in his eyes. I know that he was a super hero and got this family through some of the most difficult times we’ve faced. On those days he wondered if this time it (my inability to deal with life) was back again. I’m thankful to say that, for the most part, those days lasted only a few days at most. It was never as intense as it was before.

This winter was different. Oh man, how thankful I am for that! I can truly say that God has allowed me to see a bit of the normalcy back, though I am far from what I used to be, even still. I think part of it is that he worked on my heart so much that I just am NOT the same as I used to be. None of us are. The “Bad Winter” was a changing time for me spiritually, physically and mentally. I cut out food that was making my body more stressed than it had to be. I started running (OH MY WHAT A MIRACLE!!). I had friends urge me to think outside of my spiritual box that I had put God in. God worked through it all. Wow!

I am healthier in so many ways.

But…then there is a different sort of pain.

The pain that people in ministry are not supposed to talk of. The type other people cause.

I had a feeling that something was coming. Call my weird but it’s true.

The church we are in has been so amazing and so full of grace for us as a family. We were growing, thriving, excited. I felt like we were on the cusp of something amazing for our little community. I still do. I think God is up to something. But that makes Satan (and yes, I think he’s working hard) upset. When the people of God are on fire and full of purpose there is sure to be backlash. He doesn’t want people to be victorious. He doesn’t want people to be SAVED. He doesn’t like people to feel the love of the Father for his created.

And there has been backlash.

And that’s all I can say. It’s been tough in ways I can’t speak of.

I know that the battle is NOT lost. I know that there are incredible things happening in people’s’ hearts around this place. If the battle is this fierce, then it must be something crazy good. I see the seedlings of something.

Just wait. It’s going to happen!

 

 

March Madness!!

All winter I’ve been waiting for this month! The month where everyone complains about the Canadian Prairie weather and I will be tested in my resolve to stay positive for the first March since, well, probably since I moved to the wide open prairies. I promised myself and God that I would not complain about the weather. I was very specific about that. I didn’t say I wouldn’t complain at all 🙂 but about the weather? Nada negative word would cross these lips. I think I’ve almost done it too.

You see, right here where I live, March is NOT spring, almost never. Winter drags on longer here than a rash on a baby’s bottom. Oh sure, we get tricked into thinking that the snow will be gone soon by the weather forecasters promising a week of above zero temperatures. It makes us all a little loonie. We have a few days of melting, then kabam! it’s the Blizzard of the Century and temperatures at record-setting lows for the first time in history.1960095_10151932139966190_238625747_n

I’ve caught on to the prairie winter weather thing now. It’s only taken me two decades. I’m not fooled this year! And that’s why I’m so darned positive. I moved here willingly, along with my man, and here we are going to stay for as long as the Lord sees fit. I keep trying to convince Him that we are supposed to move to Mexico, or Jamaica or Hawaii but so far it’s a no go. In fact, I’ve met some people from other HOT and tropical lands who chose to live HERE and they are NOT complaining about the weather. If someone who grew up in the tropics or desert can handle these harsh winters then certainly a born and raised Canadian can too! This is a fabulous country and I chose to live here. I am dealing with it! Life is good here too. I have a warm house, a loving family, a peaceful country and friends that make life wonderful.

I won’t complain about the weather. It’s been sunny and cold and I am not down about it. It’s SUNNY!! Yipee!

But the ups and downs in weather have my body in a cranky mood. My spirit is light and happy but my body is in a very dark place. The ups and downs in barometric pressure as the cold and warm fronts make their way into and out of our lives test me. Oh my do they test me. That’s why I promised not to promise about never complaining about my body and it’s cranky old ways.

It goes to show you, fibromyalgia is NOT all in the mind because, besides the hormonal mood swings of peri-menopause, my mind is GOOD. I feel great about getting through winter with God’s strength and positive outlook. I know that determining to not dwell on the negative and instead dwell on the positive my outlook about winter has been awesome. I get those long johns on those cold days and I wrap myself up so I don’t feel the cold as badly.

You see? It was in March that I married the man I still love passionately, the month that I welcomed two of my babies home, the month that other dear family members have birthdays in. Easter is sometimes in March, though, not this year. It’s a time of getting through the last of the challenge of winter and moving onto the hope of spring (sometimes) and it’s just a good, all around month.

It’s MARCH!! Yipee Skippy! I’ve made it through most of the winter and soon it will be spring. Even if it last through record-breaking months or weeks. Last year was the longest one ever so chances are spring IS just around the corner.

I am not going to wish I was somewhere else this last bit of winter! I will be thankful for a WARM house and HOT water. I am incredibly thankful for the way God has provided for us so that we can have a great March! We get to have 2 birthdays, an anniversary, another big 50th anniversary celebration (my in-laws!!) and many other special times this March.

It’s ok if March came in like a lion. It’s ok if it doesn’t go out like a lamb! It’s going to be spring SOMEDAY and that someday is closer than it was last month.

The only March Madness I will feel will be the birthday party and anniversary celebration prep and all it’s insanity. But even then, we are celebrating people we love and I am thankful for them.

I love March!