Friday, September 25, 2009

It's All in the Attitude

My last post was a beginning, if you will, into that small window called "My Life". I have so many things I need to start talking about in that life. It seems the last few months the creative energy in my head has been put in high gear. I eat and sleep writing. Some say it is venting, some say it is a release, honestly...I say, it is God reviving in me the things He has been teaching me for so many years. Now, I have a place to put it down on paper to remember and share some of my struggles, miracles, and spiritual journey with my friends so hopefully they can see God is a different way. And in seeing Him, that they might be a little stronger, have more hope and believe more in this wonderful Father we call God.

How many of you read the old testament?  I personally, love it. I pick up those chapters and just breath in the Word. I walk into the chapters and they come to life in my head. I see the Israelites struggling in the desert. I see Abraham struggling with some of the choices he made. I feel the pain and desolation of being disconnected from God. And then I see the vast great pleasure of who my God really is.

In the old testament there are some powerful lessons.Lessons that take a lifetime to understand. And mountaintop lessons we may never understand. The biggest lesson, God loved his people enough not to leave them where they were at. So, he taught them how to completely and abandonly depend on him.And when the lesson was fulfilled he wanted them to remember, Neveer to forget. So much so that the Israelites  would stop and build an altar in rememberance of what battle they just won, what provision God made for them, anything of importance that God did for them. I love that. That is why I write. Because I want to remember, not the pain, but the Majesty, the Holiness, the incredible Dad I have in God.

What I have learned from this small concept is attitude. It is amazing what your attitude can do to your perspective. Maybe the bills are higher than the mountain, maybe your heart is so broken you think it will never mend, maybe you need answers but there are no answers to be found,. Whatever the circumstance, attitude is what is going to get you through. I am not saying you have to be perfect. I would be the last to say that. We do get mad, frustrated, angry, hurt, scared, unsure. We go through all those emotions at once sometimes. But, we start little by little and remember what God has done in the past. What miracles did he perform to help us walk to the next step. Then, as we remember our attitude changes,. And as our attitude changes, so does our perspective. And out of that, something that was lost is now found, hope.

Right now my life stays in a rollercoaster. I really have to spend time with God everyday to keep my perspective. And boy, I have to fight the enemy away that would love to steal my joy. When Olivia is hurting and there is not enough pain medicine. When neither one of us is sleeping because she is hurting. It really can take a toll on you. But, when I sit down and get quite, that still small voice reminds me of all that God has brought us through. How He is the physician for Olivia. That all of this is in His control. Not the Doctors, not my bill collectors, not my lack of sleep, and the one that really gets to me all the time....the frustration of not being smart enough to figure it out. That is the thorn in my side. I want to figure it out so I can have a place to control it. Wow, the lessons that are in that one statement. I hear you talking and the wheels turning already.  And after 40+ years, I am just now learning to let it go and let God handle it. That one lesson is a lifetime of learning and maybe not until we get to heaven will it be perfected. It is just too hard for our human brain to not want control. So back to attitude. Back to remembering what God has done through His awesome love and I can lay that control on his altar and ask forgivemess and be renewed in my heart. My attitude gets so much better overall. Towards Him, my friends and family and I have a new perspective and joy on life.

I hope I did not bore you today but thought I might write out some of my musings :) Have a wonderful weekend and as always

In His Grip

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In His Grip--starting the book

Has it really been 10 years already since that first day in the Doctor's office?

It’s a hot, muggy Atlanta day in July, and I’m standing at the kitchen window with my mid-morning cup of coffee. Peering out into the backyard, I can see the swarm of kids that have invaded our pool--laughing, splashing and making the most of the summer.

My dark-haired 12-year-old daughter Olivia is right in the middle of it, giggling and keeping up with all of her friends. The only sign that she isn’t just like them is her thin frame and the pale skin that doesn’t go away no matter how many days she spends outdoors.

Her unbridled exuberance as she cannonballs into the pool makes me laugh. Nothing is stopping her today. She is going to be the last man standing by sheer willpower. I see it in the way she is trying to race her friends, and how they gather by the edge of the pool, daring each other to try the next crazy dive.

There’s so much life in those eyes of hers, even rimmed with dark circles. They’re full of determination as she stands by the pool edge ready to take off yet again--this is her "normal" day and no one and nothing will take it away from her.

She has so much fire for life. I had a friend say one time that Olivia squeezes more out of sixty seconds of life than one person gets in a whole day. It makes me laugh. Bless her--she is so much like her mother.

But when the last guest leaves, this energetic almost-teenager will fall like a heap in her bed and not move for days. No one would believe it, she was going so fast. How could she be sick? But they have just never met Olivia--that real girl.

It’s so easy for the tears to start flowing. Words can’t describe how much I love my little girl, who is already becoming a young lady with her long legs and crazy style. What a treasure she is to me. And the miracle that God has allowed her to stay in my life this long keeps the tears coming, because each and every day is an irreplaceable moment.

They say that a life can change on a dime and I know this to be true. Ten years ago, our lives changed in a second, in a doctor’s office in Nashville, Tennessee. We walked in as a whole family with a little two-year-old cherub-faced toddler who seemed to just keep getting sick. We walked out broken, fractured, and scared. Afraid to quite look into the eyes of a lifetime illness, treatable but not curable.

No longer just our daughter, Olivia, but, our daughter Olivia, who has Cystic Fibrosis.

What’s a mother to do? Sometimes I think this might be the hidden treasure for Moms. We helplessly watch our kids go through all the "stuff" that engulfs their lives, but stand beside them, and walk with them through it a step at a time. We can’t live it for them, as much as we’d like to take their pain away—whether it is a broken bone or a broken heart.

In those times, we drown in every emotion we have inside of us. It can be overwhelming.

You know, when we set out on this journey called life, we are just not sure what to pack. We don't get the list of things to bring to make sure we have everything we need. Hiking shoes, check. Energy bars, check. Tissues, check. Bandages, check.

And just to keep things interesting, not only do we not know how to dress and what to bring, but we also don't get the map or to be the navigator. It’s like a surprise birthday gone wrong, where you show up blindfolded in a slinky black dress and heels, only to pull off the mask and find out you’re going to climb a mountain.

The only thing I know for sure we have in our pocket is a compass called the Holy Spirit and a loving Father to guide us. We never know where the road is leading. All we can do is to take our Father God's hand, taking each step with a blind trust. He knows the path--the obstacles, the heart aches, the treasures, the mountains and the valleys we will face. We just hope those stilettos will hold up and the blisters will be bearable, and start walking.

I slide into a chair at the kitchen table with a pile of medical bills to attack and my battered checkbook in hand. What could seem like an insurmountable task instead gives me a moment to reflect.

In the laundry list of tests and hospital stays, I see the path that has now been cleared with a lot of hard work. The mountains I have climbed with a lot of effort, skinned knees, twisted ankles and lots and lots of training. The times that I have gotten lost along the way looking for that small glow to light my path. But eventually I always get back on the path and keep going until I reach the top. Giving up isn’t an option. You can see where Olivia gets her fight.

How I savor the moment that I reach the top. The light on my face, the breeze--and the view is now so much clearer. I can look down and wonder how I strayed off the path. It all seems so obvious now.

And then the walk back down begins. Down into the valleys, that seem to be so deep and never-ending. In the valley I can't even help but think I may never make it out--and then comes the sunshine on the mountain top. My spirit is renewed and refreshed as I take those last steps digging my way out. All the while, fervently praying I will never have to see that valley again.

And I won't. But there will be another valley, rest assured. Because standing on the mountain top always leads to walking down the other side.

So as I start this new journey, in writing this book, my thoughts go to my Heavenly Father and why He would have you pick up this book. What is His desire for you as you read?

I think that getting through this journey called life, sometimes we need a friend that can give us a hand up to the next step. Someone that has been there and can say with all integrity, I want to help because my heart breaks that you are walking through this.

Because I remember that skinned knee. Do you want to see my scar?