Tag Archives: surgery

Be of Good Courage, Christian Graduates! God Promises You a Great Future!

It’s graduation time! This year is especially meaningful to me, because my twin sons are included among the 2017 graduates. As homeschoolers, my husband and I have watched them pursue their interests from a young age, with the freedom and time to really develop and excel at their God-given gifts and talents. For that, we are immensely grateful.

It hasn’t been an easy journey, and it’s been far from perfection. In fact, our family has suffered greatly over the years. My husband and I have had to allow Jesus to heal us from abuse, abandonment, and neglect experienced in our own childhoods. Yet, during these stormy times, we found the silver lining: God taught us important truths to pass on to our children. Now our children won’t have to enter adulthood believing the same lies we were led to believe; lies which cause God’s precious children to struggle with depression, fear, anxiety, rejection, and more. Our children won’t have to build walls to protect themselves. Instead, they will have the tools to help them properly communicate, and they will understand that Jesus is a true friend who will protect them, and he will always be there to help them get through the trials in their lives.

Our twins had the combined experiences of some extremely difficult and painful circumstances: fighting for their premature lives at birth, a near death experience from an asthma attack which involved being medivacked from one hospital to another, a traumatic dental injury on a boat, and chronic illness with severe pain and suffering.  And there were more hard times. Yet Jesus was there for my boys. God saved them, healed them, and the whole time… had plans to prosper them! God has plans to prosper you too!

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God prepared our family for what we were going to endure, by giving me a desire in my heart to homeschool my children. I already had more than seven years of teaching experience in the public school system, and the school system where we lived continued to let us down. Homeschooling relieved so much of our stress, and it gave our boys more freedom to explore their own interests. They could move ahead or take their time. They had more breaks, no extra homework, lots of field trips, new friends, and much more family time. They could eat when they were hungry, and they could even do their school work in their pajamas! However, our plans were not to get sick and have our lives turned upside-down.

But God had a different path, and therefore, a different plan for us. The devil had planned a disaster, but God had given us homeschooling; so instead of “getting behind,” we were able to adjust our schooling to fit our chaotic lives. Our boys were miraculously able to learn above and beyond what they would have learned had they attended public school. It wasn’t that they did all the same curriculum as everyone else; it was that they learned things that were different… more like quality over quantity. They still took all their regular subjects, but did so without being overloaded. There was more time for exploring subjects which really held their interest, rather than choosing from a list of electives. There was more time for building elaborate Lego villages, or using the bricks to make actual working clocks. It was such a joy to see what they’d come up with next!

All of this was occurring as we desperately shuffled our calendars, attending never-ending specialist appointments with the whole family in tow; including a new baby. There were many days when school was done in bed, and days when it took every bit of strength just to force down a health shake while lying on the couch. There were many days of dumping bags and books onto the floor, grabbing more bags and books, and heading off to yet another appointment. The house was trashed; and we were exhausted, sick, overwhelmed, isolated, and often… hopeless.

In the midst of the hard time, and at the beginning of the hardest time of all, God had given us our beautiful, baby girl who brought us the brightest sunshine and joy during our darkest days. Before she came, I was excruciatingly ill with my pregnancy; almost as ill as I had been with my twins, except this time without the ruthless, never-ending vomiting. Even back then, my nine-year old twins were using their gifts and talents to teach themselves music, art, computer skills, outdoor survival skills, and so much more. They also helped care for me when I was ill, and when their baby sister came, they eagerly learned life skills; how to carefully care for an infant, how to cook, and how to do laundry. Most of all, we learned that we were meant to be a family; we needed each other, and we loved each other.

During the stormiest trial, God had been creating the silver lining just for us. Our boys taught themselves piano, guitar, and drums; and they practiced everyday. They both enjoyed art. Our son who was then ill, was into video and visual effects. He splurged on an expensive computer program with a student discount, so he could teach himself graphic design, animation, video editing, and more. He was allowed the extra screen time, because the computer helped to distract him from the pain he endured from his disease which had no cure: Eosinophilic Esophagitis.

Our other son began drawing intently for hours up in his room. As we dealt with his brother being sick, along with his own long-awaited dental surgery for a serious injury, he found an escape into the beautiful world of art. He explored drawing with different types of writing instruments, and shocked us when we discovered the fine, detailed drawings he had created with pencil, colored pencil, and pen. He also was into studying wilderness survival skills. He read best-selling books on survival and prepared a backpack full of everything a hiker would need for an emergency. He loved spending time in the woods and could identify all types of trees, snakes, and bugs. He was an encyclopedia of knowledge about all kinds of wild animals.

Today, I stand here even more amazed! After my son received a miracle healing from Jesus, curing him from Eosinophilic Esophagitis, we still had to deal with my own chronic illness. God gave us answers there too, using a couple of specialists who confirmed its root; severe allergies to more things than I could have imagined. Hence, immunization therapy began for three members of our family. Recently, came the long overdue surgery for a collapsed disk in my back. God has brought us through so much, and He will continue to bring us through whatever else comes our way. We only need to trust Him. We are so excited about the plans God has to prosper our young men as they graduate. We know God’s plans are always good! My husband and I are in awe over the art, photography, music, web design, and entrepreneurship presenting itself as our young men graduate; especially with everything they have been through in their past.

We know our sons’ accomplishments are not because of us, but rather in spite of us; and that everything given to them has come because of the grace of God. We are now discussing business plans, and the recording of an EP. They now play drums; along with bass, acoustic, and electric guitar in our church worship band. Our son who is an artist has now advanced to beautifully crafted drawings in ink, and a vast knowledge of art history which blows my mind. Our son who is a computer expert has now advanced to learning code, and is getting paid for web design. All my anxiety, worry, and fears were for nothing!  Why am I even surprised at what God has done? After all, God always keeps His promises! And God has promised my sons a bright future as they walk with Him on the path which lies ahead!

Even in trials, God promises to take care of all of His children, which is why I’m so excited to see what the future holds for my young men! This is why my two young men can graduate, while walking towards the future with strength, courage, and confidence in Christ. This is why all Christian graduates can walk towards the future without fear, even if they don’t yet know what they want to do with their lives! God already knows what you will do in your life, and his plans for you are always good! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,”plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11 New International Version).

Thank you, God! Thank you that no matter what hardships we go through here on the earth, we don’t have to carry doubt, or be afraid. Your plans are always good, and you always prosper those of us who are your children… those of us who have a relationship with your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the confidence we have in him; both for today, and for the future! 

Related posts:

GOD PULLS US THROUGH TRIALS OF SUFFERING 

TWO COCOONS: A LOVE POEM… MY PREMATURE TWINS ON THEIR TEENY TINY MIRACLE JOURNEY 

WHEN YOU’RE SICK, GOD SHOWS UP… BECAUSE HE’S ALREADY THERE! 

Two are Better than One… The Healing Joy of Friendship

Today I am one month into my recovery from back surgery. While I still have pain, I’m getting around a lot better. I love my home, but I start to go stir crazy if I don’t get outside to breathe in some fresh, clean air. I’ve been getting that slightly overwhelming feeling of wondering how I will ever catch up on things that were never caught up on in the first place; especially when it’s still too early in my recovery to even begin the catching up! 

But I’ve been faithfully sharing God’s love with others. I’ve been meeting some wonderful people in the process, following where God leads me, and learning a bit more about the direction of my ministry; along with the plans God has for me and my family for the future. All this is because God has provided me with rest. 

This week God said it was time to get outside! He immensely blessed both my daughter and me with a sunshiny day at the park! It was one of those “God Moments” where you just know He has his hands all over it, so you can have a slice of joy! 

With a last minute weather check, on a whim we invited several friends to join us, and were delighted to find that almost all of them could meet us there! Since I’m unable to drive yet, one of my friends kindly picked up half of us at my house. My other friend had dropped her girls off at my house, so they could come too. Even though she couldn’t stay, I was blessed by her smile and huge hug. My sweet friend who was the driver, patiently waited as we searched for shoes, because we couldn’t find the ones my daughter needed for the playground. She also carried my cooler and my other bag, insisting I didn’t need to be handling them. 

She cheerfully got all the girls into the car, and still doesn’t know how grateful I am that she was such a good sport about us not being ready to go when she arrived. She just smiled and chatted, as my daughter made her jelly sandwich for her little picnic treat. My friend didn’t seem phased at all by the mess of toys and shoes, which had been slowing building over the last two days. It felt like a fresh spring breeze had just entered my home, and her joy gave me a peek at the fun day we were going to have at the park. I felt myself relax, as my friend patiently adjusted the seats in her car, so we could all fit. I wasn’t able to help, and just felt incredibly grateful for her willingness to go out of her way to pick us up out in the country. 

We were late to the park, but thankfully I managed to remember to check my phone, because my other friend wasn’t sure which park was the meeting place. I told I was sorry we were running late, and we were happy to find her already waiting for us when we arrived. I cherished her warm hug, and as an added bonus; she had brought me two dozen fresh eggs from her farm! 

Soon my other girlfriend was pulling up with her energetic, lovable crew! She lives farther away, and we’d been wanting to get together for a while now. I had ordered some of her beautiful handcrafted soaps; because pure,  handmade soaps are the only kind I use. They are a tiny slice of happiness, because they’re good for my skin, look pretty, and smell wonderful! I decided to see if my friend would be able to bring her girls to the park the next day. She could bring the soaps with her. My daughter and I were so excited when they said they would be coming!

As my friends got to know each other, our children did too. They played in the beautiful sunshine; climbed ladders and flew down slides, chased each other, blew bubbles, and giggled as they tried out the baby swings! We moms talked about homeschooling, family life, friendships, and farming. Everybody said they wanted to meet again soon, and have another day like this together. It was finally time for my friends to go to soccer games, prepare dinner, and attend to farm chores. Even though I had arranged a ride home, each busy friend still offered to make herself available to drive my daughter and me back home. This made me feel loved and cared for, in a way they probably don’t even realize. 

I was incredibly grateful for my husband, making his way through town, doing some errands for me, before he came to pick us up at the park. He was making sure prescriptions were filled, and grocery runs were complete. He even offered to pick up take-out, though he’d offered to make dinner already. So many times he has done these things for us, but it seems so much sweeter, when he’s doing it to help me heal, and so we can enjoy some time out with friends. 

I still have this deep sense appreciation and awakened joy for all the little things that add up to make a God day, into a great day. I know it’s from God; the silver lining of sweet joy to keep me going through the pain and redundant routine of recovery.  I thought about how some people don’t even have cars. They have to navigate rides all the time. I felt so grateful that God had navigated all my rides for me, so my daughter and I could enjoy a perfect day at the park. We’d had fun giving out packages of colored chalks and bottles of bubbles to our friends. They were leftover prizes from our church’s  Easter in the Park. For me it was a small way of continuing the celebration and joy of Easter with the precious little people in our lives. For, aren’t we always ministering to each other in our friendships, as we seek to be all Jesus calls us to be?

My husband who always takes care of us, picked us up in perfect timing, and assisted my daughter with some tricks on the monkey bars. We went home tired and happy, with sun-kissed cheeks. The joy of friendship filled my heart, and my daughter’s eyes were bright with happiness from all the fun with her girlfriends. She’d even met a new friend, before we left. She’s like that; she makes friends wherever we go.

When I got home, I was hit with a migraine. I’ve been battling them for the last two months. And unfortunately, I get them after spending time in the sun. The pain was intense, and it wiped me out. Though I was now toast for the rest of the evening; it did not take away from the joy of our wonderful adventure that day. We had come home with a stash of farm fresh eggs,beautiful handcrafted soaps, plans for additional fun homeschool classes with friends for next year, and a reminder of our lovely day with treasured friends in our small town. More healing occurred in a day with friends, than could happen in a week without them! Thank you God for friendship!

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Eccles. 4:9-10 New Living Translation).

Be a friend; gain a friend!

                                 

                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Related blog posts:

Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials
Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…
Recovery Week 2: The Unexpected Joy of Rest
Recovery Thoughts: Healing is a Journey
Recovery Week 2-1/2: It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice!
Recovery Week 3: The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I’m now three weeks into my recovery from back surgery, and more appreciative than ever, of what God is doing in my life! Because of the many prayers, great care, support and encouragement I’ve received; I’m healing really well for someone who went home from the hospital after a lumbar fusion just three weeks ago.

Does love heal? You bet it does! Love was in the delicious foods brought to my front door, over the last two weeks! With cheerful smiles, my sweet friends greeted me, afraid to hug me; because they didn’t want to hurt my back. But I grabbed them into a bear hug and said, “Yes! Hug me! Your hugs are my favorite part!” And we laughed like children, as I told them the hugs have been helping me to heal! 

When you’re healing, every little thing seems like a big thing: every hug warms you deeper inside, every tasty morsel tastes extra delicious, and every visit makes you appreciate the fact that your friends have chosen to give you some precious moments of their time. The travel was for you, the meal was cooked and baked in love for you, and the laughter and kind concern was for you

When you’re healing, it’s a struggle when you can’t get in the car and drive yourself to your appointment and grab some groceries on the way home, and sneak in a quick stop at your favorite thrift store, Hope’s Treasures. But wait! God has already planned out everything, and His plan is even better!  One of my teenagers volunteered to drive me to my appointment. We enjoyed lunch nearby, at TooSso a kitchen-style restaurant, which quickly serves up delicious Pakistani favorites. TooSso means “stuff yourself!” I asked for its meaning the first time I visited. There is an entire cool wall covered in bottle caps…  I love interesting, artsy things!

Then leaning on my cane, for my daily walk, we went into… YES! Hope’s Treasures! There were records and books which kept him interested, even though he’s always patient with me, so I can look around! The money spent there goes to help the homeless community of Loudoun. I like the spirit of compassion at the center of this place. There’s always something fun and inexpensive to take back home, like this funky collection of beads, which my daughter used to create into party hats for her Oobies! 

Meanwhile, my other son, was at home, caring for my daughter. She is very social and constantly  needs to be learning and engaged. She’s like a beautiful flower that needs to be sung to, along with being watered and set in sunlight. If you didn’t sing to her, she’d still be beautiful, but it’s always a shame to miss out on the extra blooming of beautiful flowers, just because you didn’t stop and take the time to give them that little something extra that they need. My son did that for my daughter. They did one of her favorite things; which was to create a movie together using her stuffed animals, their voices, and his editing software on his computer. It was my favorite movie yet! 

Our family came home at different intervals, to a delicious home-cooked meal, made by my precious friend, Sharon, who attends our church, and is famous for her delicious pies! We enjoyed slow-baked chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus, fresh salad, and oh; my husband’s favorite and mine… a real old-fashioned strawberry rhubarb pie! The message was lovingly carved into the crust, “Happy Easter, Pellemans,” with a little heart as the finishing touch!  I could have cried when I took my first sweet and sour bite! But Instead of tears, I was laughing at the movie my kids had cleverly created while the rest of us were out. I took it all in… the joy of it! I knew it was part of the gift of the healing God has been bestowing upon me. 

After the last scheduled meal, all of which had been perfectly planned to assist during my most difficult time; my husband made a stop at Costco to get us set up for the coming week. He does this all the time, but this time it was so much sweeter. It’s like God has been showing me everything through a finer lens of appreciation. For this is something I absolutely cannot do at this time. He got all our favorites: ice cream, mango salsa, Asian salad, filet mignon, salmon, strawberries, sweet n salty popcorn and more! He topped it off by bringing us hotdogs, which we enjoyed outside that evening, picnic-style. Picnics are my favorite. They contain all things beautiful: family and friends, food, fun, and the freedom and beauty of enjoying all of it outdoors! 

Yes, healing is tough. But the silver lining is that there’s joy along the journey if we remember to praise God and thank Him for all the good things we have in our lives. I may not even have had the chance to enjoy a strawberry rhubarb pie for Easter, if I had not gone through a surgery! These sweet touches make it all worth it! “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18).

Thanking God for the sweet things in life, is kind of like biting into a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie… perfectly delightful!


Blog posts related to this surgery:


Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials

Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…

Recovery Week 2:  The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Recovery Thoughts:  Healing is a Journey

Recovery Week 2-1/2:  It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice!

Happy Palm Sunday! Here’s my crooked little cross made from a palm branch. It’s far from perfect; just like me! But I’m redeemed, and Jesus lives in my heart! Therefore, I am forgiven; washed in the blood of the lamb, as clean as purely white, fresh fallen snow! 

I am 2-1/2 weeks into recovery from a lumbar spinal fusion, and I joyfully went to church today! I was so thankful to participate in Holy Communion with my own precious family, and with my church family filled with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many loving people, who have supported and encouraged me through this time of healing. I truly cherish every single prayer, hug, and meal which has come my way!

Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the cross for my sins, so I can live eternally in Heaven with you, and my loved ones who know you. Let me be a living testimony to how you can taken someone’s broken painful past, and change it into a joyful love story! Thank you for being my King!

“They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the king of Israel’ ” (Jn. 12:13)!

An imperfect being; saved by a King on a cross!

The Unexpected Joy of REST

I never expected God would fill me up with so much joy, at the exact same time I’d be recovering from major back surgery! I’m two weeks into recovery, and God has been lighting up my life! Now don’t get me wrong… it hurts! The pain is intense. Just when I think the pain is beginning to diminish, it either comes back, or starts up again somewhere else!

But God has a sense of humor, and He knows what He’s doing ALL the time! I wasn’t listening as God tried to convince me to slow down. I needed rest, and it just wasn’t happening. As my body kept breaking down, God continued to urge me to rest in Him, but I believed rest was a waste of time. I did NOT believe God was a waste of time, and I’m so in love with Him for being patient with me. I just could not sit still and allow myself to soak up His Holy Presence; but I needed it… His rest… more than sunshine. I know that now.

I wrote about God, I looked up His verses and studied them, I listened to the words He said to me and wrote them down to encourage others, I sought counsel for things I didn’t understand, and thanked God for my elders wiser than me. I humbled myself and admitted my shortcomings, forgave others even when it hurt, and continued faithfully trusting God, even when it didn’t make sense… but I refused to… rest

I told myself there wasn’t time; there was too much to do, and moments of rest were moments I could be accomplishing something. But the accomplishments were never enough, and every night I was still filled with self-condemnation, even when I had worked my fingers, or my back, to the bone.  The voices from my past always left me feeling guilty and unworthy, like I must keep going to prove myself. But I was now at the breaking point. I was exhausted, and truly tired of suffering, and I just couldn’t break the cycle. No one in my precious, immediate family pressured me to keep going; in fact they all insisted I take a break and… rest. So did my dear friends. And I knew they really meant it. And I knew they were right. But the green light always said, “GO.”

And finally I began to get the message. I wasn’t taking care of myself, because I had never really learned how. During childhood, I’d been made to feel ashamed for doing well and for doing nice things for myself. So somewhere along the line; a long, long time ago, I had given up. I hadn’t given up on caring for my family, but I realized I had stopped caring for myself. I didn’t take the time to enjoy a book, write poetry, eat healthy, paint my nails, and just “stop and smell the flowers.” 

I was doing everything for others, and nothing for myself. When I had time to myself, I didn’t use it wisely, because I felt it was useless. As a child, I’d taught myself not to get my hopes up, because I was constantly let down, and penalized for doing things that made me happy. Of course my children gave me great joy, so my focus was there. I just found our family seemed to be always doing something on everyone else’s agenda, and never anything on our own; or mine. If I didn’t start taking care of myself soon, I wouldn’t be able to take care of those I love the most…my family members. And I wanted to be there for my friends and sisters and brothers in Christ, the way God has helped me to be there for them before. 

I began to make the necessary decision to take things off of my plate, and get serious about my surgery, and get serious about dividing my time equally in caring for both my family, and myself. This meant saying no to lots of things. I wasn’t concerned about not being liked, for I had discovered boundaries a long time ago, and am no longer into people-pleasing. I’m into pleasing God!

The hard part was giving up the couple things I had chosen to keep, like my Sunday School class and freelancing for Child Guide magazine, where I’m both a columnist, and a regular contributor. But God met me here too! I saw my daughter light up when she went to my friend’s Sunday School class and was welcomed by name with a cheerful smile. Yes, she wanted to go back! And my friend and editor of the magazine, kindly worked with me, as she always has, so I could have this season of rest and recovery, without any pressing deadlines.

Even though I was getting the message, the week before my surgery, I was frantically cleaning the house and calling in the troops to help me. Though I knew I should probably be relaxing, because my body would be enduring a lot of stress from the surgery, I stayed up late into the night two days prior to my surgery, instead of… resting.  Though my family promised to take care of me and did indeed do everything  I requested, I was determined to make sure my bedroom would be a sanctuary of peace for my recovery. When I got home, I wanted to make sure I would be able to… rest

Besides,  Pshaw! I could rest in the hospital after my surgery! Um… no. I didn’t realize then, that the post-operative pain would be so unbearable, I wouldn’t sleep a wink! Yet, I found myself joyfully writing a blog in the hospital that night instead. But this time, in spite of the excruciating pain, I could feel my body… resting. Even though I couldn’t sleep, I felt relaxed in my mind, because I knew that I was finally going to get a chance to… rest… and I was desperate to do so. 
 
If I could easily kneel down; all the love, support, and encouragement (which is still coming my way) would have already humbly brought me to my knees. Instead, our family has appreciatively gathered, and bowed our heads each evening, thanking God for warm home-cooked meals;  made by loving hands, and serving hearts. We’ve asked God to bless these beautiful women and their families, from my church and town. We’ve told God how very grateful we are for His provisions of delicious food, enjoyable visits, and playdates for my young daughter who is homeschooled; so she can remain happy, busy, and active with friends while I recuperate.

I’ve been able to bask in the warmth of the sun, while enjoying God’s beautiful flowers as they spring forth during my favorite season;  in anticipation of my favorite holiday… Easter!  What could be a more perfect time for rest and rejuvenation?  I’m so thankful that Jesus died for me, so that no matter what lies ahead; my future, my family’s future, and the future of my Christian brothers and sisters; lies secure in our salvation through Jesus Christ!

Why am I so surprised about the immense joy which has come my way in the midst of pain? This isn’t some crazy coincidence; for God’s timing really is the best; and He knows when we most need the presence of joy. He prepared me for it, and without a doubt He gets the glory for the healing he is bestowing upon me, both inside and out. Because, the fact is, hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ have been praying for me for a long time, and I’ve been anointed by both my pastor and my husband. Anointing is powerful, and we should expect good things when we receive the gift of it. After all, it’s a holy blessing from The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit!  

In the pain and suffering, God has provided the silver lining: family, friends, fellowship, food, and… rest. I hoped for it… and it came… just when I needed it most! So as I heal, I continue to TRUST HIM, because hope in Jesus does NOT disappoint! “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:1-5 New International Version).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).


Spring is a time of joyful, new beginnings! I pray you know the truth; that our hope lies only in Jesus, so you can find healing, joy, and freedom in Christ! May you enjoy the warmth of the sun, the beauty of colorful flowers, the hugs from friends, and the joy of holding a soft, downy baby chick! May you receive Jesus, and have peace in knowing you have eternal life! AMEN!


Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Family that Prays Together…

The Family that Prays Together…

Yesterday marked one week into my recovery from back surgery. God announced His goodness by giving me a beautiful, sunny spring day to enjoy! I was so happy and excited! My twin young men cleaned off the umbrella table, and untied the chairs which had been stored for the winter, hoisting them effortlessly onto the back deck, so I could sit and breathe in the fresh, clean air. My daughter was suddenly more interested in her school books, which were filled with clocks, verbs, and Venn diagrams. She cheerfully grabbed her pencil, because we were going to have school outside for the day. I gazed at the breathtaking view of our backyard, thanking God as I soaked in the blooms on the pear and cherry trees. My favorite was the brilliant cobalt of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which will be barely visible when the trees become dressed in their shiny, green summer leaves. 

What a lovely day for my daughter to play on her swing set, and jump on the trampoline. It was ideal for my husband and me, as we walked down the driveway, for my first outdoor excursion since the surgery. Perfection! NOT! … Because Christian families who pretend that everything is perfect and merry all the time are… well, quite frankly… lying. For suddenly there was strife and squabbling, unexpectedly, out of the beautiful deep blue. There was anger, pride, rudeness, and a black cloud where the sun had been shining only moments before. And then from Mom (yeah, that would be me) there were some not-very-nice-words,  and no… not the tears! There can not be tears from Mom; she never cries in front of anybody! She learned it years ago… people don’t care about you… so do not let them see your tears! For if you do, ferocious wolves will rip you to pieces! But suddenly I didn’t care that they saw the tears. I knew I was hurting inside and out; and I needed to cry, even though the tears made me vulnerable to… (oh no!)… REJECTION!  Brave, courageous, strong Mom, had succumbed to a sobbing, inconsolable mess of… tears

But this time, I recognized the attack for what it was… a spirit of strife. I also recognized the lies: The day was NOT ruined, my family was NOT going to let me deal with this alone, this was NOT my family from childhood; so my precious family here at home was NOT going to make fun of me or be mean to me for crying, and the devil was NOT going to ruin this day for my family or me! I pondered the truths: This is my family who supports, encourages, prays for; and loves me unconditionally. This is my family who helps me run my blog: proofs and edits my drafts, rescues my computer crashes, updates my computer, gives me ideas, creates special images, poses for my photos, and patiently gives me tons of time… while I write my blog! This is my family, and they support my ministry, as I do what I love! They are on board with me, and I am on board with them! We are in it together

We gathered for an amazing dinner; one of my all-time favorites; chicken tacos and chocolate chip cookies, which had thoughtfully been prepared for us by my sweet friend, Rita. We told the devil to “Get out of our home, and off of our property, in the name of Jesus.” You see,  even my little girl has the power and authority to tell the devil to get lost. Why? Because we are God’s children and we have… privileges

Because we recognized the evil spirits, which had come to do battle on the land God gave us, we were prepared to fight. We repented of our sinful nature, asked God and family members to forgive us, and repaired some issues which needed to be dealt with, so that our bond will remain unbroken, and more closely knit than ever. We are a family unit, which God has put together for a reason, a purpose, and His calling. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that there is a spiritual battle each and every day, with the intention of destroying each one of us, and ripping our precious family apart. That old saying; “The family that prays together, stays together,” is true! It’s our family… and it can be your family too! We are a force to be reckoned with, a bond which is to remain unbroken, because God is our Father, and we are His children. 

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9 New International Version). This verse applies to marriage, but it applies to our children too. Because, when it comes time for them to leave us and create their own families, we will also be grateful for the ones God has chosen to be a part of our lives, and we will fight for them too. Hence, our strength in numbers will be even greater, and there will be even more love to go around! 

Pretending everything is perfect isn’t doing anybody any favors. But knowing who is at the center of your family, and keeping Him there… IS! The rest of the day was filled with the sweetness of apologies, forgiveness, relief, comfort, laughter, laughs, cuddles, and hugs! We also repaired something that had broken down in our family… a way of communication which was, in actuality, hurting everyone. But it wasn’t something that could just simply repair itself. It is something that requires the never-ending mercy, grace, forgiveness; and unconditional love of Jesus Christ; who is alway invited to our table, and welcome in our home. For we are children of God! 

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).


#knowyourrights  #eliminatestrife #childrenofGod #Jesusbemycenter

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

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When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!  

Exactly one week ago, was the big surgery day. For a while, I’ve thought the surgery was long overdue, but now I can see that God planned it to be this way all along. I want my family, friends, readers, writers, church, and even very kind strangers; to know that last week God showed up… He heard all your prayers, answered many of them, and more answers are on the way! 

I already know Jesus is the Great Physician, and I know He is a Miracle Maker. I’ve witnessed miraculous recoveries among my own family members. So I know God is good… and I know He shows up. But I needed your prayers, and I want you to know that prayer is powerful! I want the people in my life to know that there is great power in being anointed by your pastor, and your spouse, and any Christian who comes faithfully asking for your healing in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is because we do the serving, but God is The One showing up. “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas. 5:14 New International Version).


I first hurt my back in 8th grade. My best friend and I were choreographing a dance, and as I moved to bend over at the waist, I was shocked to find myself stuck. I couldn’t straighten up into a standing position, so I lay frozen, awkwardly flat on my back, on her bed for a half an hour. I was terrified. She was worried about me, so she said she was getting her dad. I was afraid of her dad, so I managed to stand, while wobbling and leaning against her, and she walked me home. There was no attention given to my injury, and no doctor appointment. I just remember gradually getting better over the next several days, and hoping that this scary event would not happen to me again. 

God must have had mercy on me, because it didn’t seem to be big deal to anyone but me and my best friend, and she couldn’t help me. God gracefully healed me, so that I remained active in gymnastics, volleyball, and cheerleading. I had more problems with asthma, and my bad knees, than with my back. But over the years, my back would give out, and I’d be out of commission for about three days. I got used to it. It was just a familiar part of my life. I finished college, got a job teaching, got married to my husband, and finally became pregnant with twin boys. 

The double pregnancy was in itself, its own trial, forcing me to continuously keep my eyes focused on the silver lining that lay up ahead. It felt like death was at my door; I vomited for five months straight, 30 times a day, losing weight fast. Though my precious boys were very tiny at 2 lbs. 15 oz. and 3 lbs. 5 oz., my back was never the same after that difficult pregnancy, which at 29 weeks, brought forth immense joy… I was blessed with the most beautiful premature baby boys I’d ever seen! 

I began to exercise in order to get back my trim figure. I’d always been skinny, but I was just looking to get back to the size I’d been before my pregnancy. When I threw out my back again, the doctor told me to stop doing the exercises where I had to lie on my back. Unfortunately, this meant most of the ones from my routine, which was actually beginning to flatten my belly. I became discouraged and stopped exercising altogether. I couldn’t go walking either, not until my husband got home from work, and by then we were both exhausted from caring for two babies who continued to fight for their lives. To go anywhere, we had to lug a heart and lung machine monitor for each one, and an oxygen tank for one of them. It was just too much. Even with staggered help and support, our new, little family was so very tired. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28).


When my boys were two years old, I threw my back out and ended up stooped over, unable to stand straight. People around my small town knew me by my young, stooped figure. Physical therapy got me standing agaian, but it also began years of constant MRI’s and X-rays, physical therapy, chiropractors, pain management, steroids and epidural injections. One office told me they weren’t giving up on me, but they just didn’t know how to help me find pain relief from my herniated disk. A trial run of burning the nerves in my back, showed the right spot had been found, but since the practice run gave only short-term relief, the official procedure wasn’t considered long-term treatment for me. I was so discouraged, because as the lidocaine ran through my body, I was exhilarated to be able to bend over and touch my toes with no pain whatsoever for an entire hour. It was short-lived. 

I headed “over the mountain,” towards the city, where most people from my small town tended to find higher quality care, when facing more serious medical issues. I found a great doctor; one I really liked, who was compassionate, honest, and thorough. He was also truly dedicated, and determined to find alternate procedures in an effort to prevent the inevitable… surgery. I was diagnosed with lumbosacrial and cervical spondylitis; a painful condition resulting from degeneration of intervertebral disks in the neck and lumbar areas, myofascial pain, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and more. There were steroid and epidermal injections, trigger point injections for muscle spasms, and lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy to treat facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain caused by my degenerative disk disease. My doctor performed a discogram, and the extreme pain confirmed that my damaged L-5 disk was indeed the culprit, along with the S-I joint. He even injected methylene blue, which surprisingly brought about 30 percent relief, for just a couple months, but overflowed and spilled out, because there was so little room in the shrunken disk. 

After the procedure, my body got chilled, and I had to lie under warm blankets for an hour. I shook, and my teeth chattered. I don’t know if it was shock, or the effects of the procedure, but I knew I didn’t want to ever have a discogram again, or go through anything like it.  There were other possible procedures which we decided against. My doctor didn’t feel confident enough that they would work, and didn’t want to waste my money. I was sent to one of his colleagues for Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments, where so many vials of blood were taken to use my platelets, I lost count. Neither procedure took; in fact one damaged the ligaments in my coccyx area, and three doctors verified it was because mistakes had been made. I had another extremely painful procedure to try and repair the damage. I was basically bedridden for three weeks afterward. I was tired of hurting. All. The. Time.

Right after my precious daughter was born (thankfully I had survived another bout of unrelenting nausea, which left me bed-ridden for four months) my son became extremely, chronically ill with Eosinophilic Esophagitis; a debilitatating disease with no cure. He was my main focus, and I put my own health on hold, as any mother does who earnestly prays and diligently searches for relief for her beloved children. Our new baby girl brought us joy in the storm, a beautiful distraction from the sadness and pain of the sickness. Three years later, God chose to miraculously heal my son, when I was out of state caring for my father who had cancer. It was emotionally and financially draining to be away from my family for three flights out of state that summer. My surgery and our addition would have to wait; for God had something else in mind.

I was away for a sum total of two months, but God is faithful. He healed not only my son, while I was away, but my father too. Both had been anointed and both had approximately 500 people praying for them. God showed me the healing power of forgiveness that summer, and He showed me that my children are in the best hands always… His hands! I went home exhausted, and in chronic pain, but with love in my heart, and no regret. I went back to teaching Sunday School, but finally had to take a break. I’d become very, very sick; unable to do anything at all. I knew I had picked up something serious from being at the ICU at the hospital, and from being sole caretaker for weeks at a time, around so much sickness and suffering. I was right; the diagnosis finally came: a staph infection in my sinuses. I was truly running only on Holy Spirit fumes. 

My back surgery had already been put on hold several times. I was still dealing with plantar fasciitis, which caused severe pain in my feet when I walked. I also continued to battle pain from the degeneration of the two disks in my neck. I also had emergency shoulder surgery, because of rotater cuff syndrome, along with a bone spur and arthritis in my shoulder, which prevented me from lifting my arm above shoulder level. The shoulder surgery was successful, though it required prolotherapy treatment to fully heal. During all this time, I continued to homeschool my children, run to even more doctors appointments for all of us, and teach Sunday School. It seemed there was no relief in sight. I began to wonder if I was supposed to sacrifice my life until I dropped. If Jesus did it, maybe I was supposed to just keep going, even though I felt like my body was breaking to pieces. But how would that be good for my family who needed me?

God told me it was time to rest. He let me know that Jesus already sacrificed his life for me, and I was not meant to run on empty. My husband supported me, and said it was time to take care of myself.  I realized I’d put things off, because I’d been taught to feel guilty for doing nice things for myself. It was so ingrained, I even felt guilty doing the very things I needed to do to save my own life. There’s never a perfect time, yet the time was perfect. I’d already met with several surgeons over the past few years. I met with two more, and chose the surgeon my doctor had highly recommended I talk to, before making my final decision about going through with the surgery. He correctly insisted I needed an expert, someone highly proficient and skilled, experienced and specialized in complicated back surgeries. I was grateful to both of those last two surgeons on my list, who had confirmed a completely collapsed disk, validation that there was nothing there to support the bones which rubbed against each other every time I moved. The rubbing irritating nerves, and my spine’s instability was indeed causing excruciating pain. 

So here I lie, writing while recovering, grateful for the love and care being shown to me in the midst of this trial. I want those who have been praying for me to know God has heard your prayers, and is already giving answers (good ones, because it is the only kind He gives!). My surgeon said the surgery went “perfectly!” Well, Jesus was there, after all, so perfect is a great word choice! My surgeon said I will now be taller, because I was missing a disk before; and adding space has given me more height. How cool is that? My daughter is tall, and I love that I can tell her that I’m now taller too!  

I’m doing well, in spite of being tired and dealing with pain. I’ve had a cage inserted into my spine with screws to hold it together. The cage is made of bone grafting material, which will grow into my own bone.  I’m very, very sore! The site of the injection hurts like crazy, and I can’t twist, bend, or lift more than five pounds. It’s going to take a while to feel like myself again, but… Praise The Lord! He brought me through it all! He even took away my anxiety, which is HUGE considering my past major struggle with the spirit of Fear! “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jer. 17:14).


I’m appreciating all the prayers, along with both the big things and the little things; because little things to me, are big treasures! May God bless everyone who has been here for me; near and far, who has taken time to offer up a prayer for me, and my family, in the name of Jesus. I’m taking you on this journey, not for attention or pity or popularity; or whatever other silly reasons are out there, but because I want God to be glorified in all of this! I don’t even know the end of the story, but I’ve chosen to JUST TRUST HIM! 

I originally wrote this the day after my surgery but did not complete and edit it until one week afterward. I now realize that God has wanted me to rest, while enjoying the love, support, and encouragement from family and friends. He has given me this time to prepare to write words centered around a theme of “healing” during the rest of Lent, and to provide others with hope in the midst of trial and storm. God has even led me to explore and share some wonderful writings from other gifted and talented writers, and I’m excited to see what He is putting together! He continues to provide confirmation via wonderful feedback from brothers and sisters in Christ. What joy it gives me, to be reminded that God is always in control; using every seed we plant to bless and minister to others, and grow His Mighty Kingdom. During this time of trial, God has been showing me the silver lining; connecting me to special people, giving me more ideas for the future of The Silver Lining, and letting me peacefully soak up the joy of how much He has already healed me, how He is healing me now, and the healing He is going to do in my future! It’s been a long time coming, but in God’s timing, everything is, well… just perfect! “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’ ” (Mark 5:34).

Pursue Jesus! Trust him to heal you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually according to his good and perfect will. Give God your body, heart, mind, and soul. Don’t miss your divine appointment; The Great Physician always shows up on time! 

Your healing can only begin through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Anything else is temporary, and short-lived. That’s because a good physician finds the root of the problem, and starts there. Jesus knows the answer to all our illnesses and ailments. In addition, he is a Miracle-Maker; someone no doctor on earth can truthfully claim to be.  For more, join The Silver Lining Facebook page, where encourage them, truth, and wisdom are posted every day! Also, visit my website. It is there as a gift to you! When you visit The Silver Lining homepage, click on the topic: Healing. Subscribe or follow, so you don’t miss truth-related blog posts that could lead you in God’s direction, which could actually help to save your life; both eternally, and here on earth! 

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

The Family that Prays Together…

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Healing is a Journey

It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

Trusting God through Trials

Dear readers of The Silver Lining

Today is my surgery day! I’m finally headed in for a lumbar fusion, after years of suffering with severely intense, chronic back pain. My God is in control, and I have peace and hope, because Jesus is at the wheel! Thank you to everyone who is praying for, supporting, and encouraging me; may God bless you in Jesus’ name for lifting me up to The Great Physician! 

I’ve been anointed by my pastor and by my husband. My family, friends, and church have prayed for me. I’ve prayed for myself! I’m ready! Please continue to pray for quick and complete healing for my entire back, so I can keep caring for my family and ministering to God’s children (that’s you!).  I want to give you hope in Christ, so you can find the goodness of God’s healing, freedom, and joy; as we keep pursuing Jesus in our lives. 

God gave me this verse for my surgery:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer. 29:11 New International Version). Pass it on to a friend who needs The Lord’s comfort today! 💙

Here is a past post depicting a small part of the suffering my family and I have endured: God Pulls Us Through Trials of Suffering; but the silver lining is that it’s nothing compared to the HUGE REWARDS God has in store for us, including eternal life! 💙 

Trust God!



“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).