Friday, August 13, 2010

Psalm 145:13b-14

It has been a little while since my last post. These past few weeks have been a bit of a haze and I feel like I'm living in a fog. I've had trouble with my memory, but it has been especially bad in the last little while. For those of you who know me, please don't be offended if I forget something I'm supposed to remember.

I always wondered what it would be like to lose a parent. It was so beyond what I could imagine and now that it has happened, I realize that there is nothing you can do to prepare or compare it to. But I guess that depends on the relationship you had with your parents as well. I loved me Dad dearly and he was my hero, if you want to call it that. I looked up to him as he was such a wise, patient man who took time to listen to those he met. He really was one of the good guys and I miss him terribly. I am so thankful that I will one day be reunited with him! We serve an awesome God!

During the whole funeral planning process, someone asked me how I was feeling physically and it dawned on me that although stress is a trigger for my tremors, I had no symptoms at all like that. I was very tired, but that could also have been atributed to not sleeping well during all of that. God totally sustained me and upheld me through the entire process! I had tremors and shaking show up after the funeral was over but within a day or two, they were gone. I continually felt the support of all the prayers going up for me and my family and thank you all for praying. God is good and I will continue to praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness!

Through this whole process, there are a few lines from a song we sing in church that have run through my head over and over and they have come to have new meaning in my life.

"All along you have been so faithful.
All along you have been my refuge.
You are my refuge.
And I'll praise your name
and love you the same.
You're my refuge."

It has struck me over and over that God IS faithful and His ways are perfect. The part where it says 'love you the same' made me realize how easy it is to lose our love, zest, or zeal for God when the tought times hit. It's easy to blame God or ask how He could do this to us, but I have realized that I need to ask Him why He did this FOR me, not TO me. My love for God needs to remain constant and although I think it's normal to ask questions, there comes a time where we need to realize that God's plan is perfect and He knows what He's doing. Keeping up with my devotions has been a struggle in these last 3 weeks - I must admit. I have felt very dry at times and the sadness wants to completely take over. Was it Bon Jovi who sang 'Livin' on a Prayer'? That's how I have felt. Like I've solely been coping by living on the prayers of others. But what I have discovered is that God wants to meet me where I am. He knows exactly how I feel and comes to me, gently takes my hand in His, and just walks beside me. When I opened my Bible yesterday, I really didn't want to read. I started to feel angry that I had to focus on something other than my own grief, but God patiently reminded me that He was beside me and that He honors our intentions. I did read, and although it wasn't the deepest spiritual time I've had, I did feel peace afterward and a renewed sense of purpose.

The Monday after my Dad died, I got a call from the MRI clinic saying that I could come in for my MRI sooner than expected. I was there on Aug. 4. Since my neurologist is out of town for the month of Aug., I still need to wait until Sept. to get my results. I have felt very frustrated with all of the waiting, but through all of this, that has been God's theme. Learning to wait patiently. God's timing is perfect. Just before my Dad's death, he and my Mom went on a vacation and brought back a plaque with a saying on it "Faith in God includes faith in His timing". I will choose to keep giving this over to Him. God has been so faithful to me up to this point, so why should I give up trusting now just because things aren't happening the way I want them to.

One last thing before I go - here's a verse that impacted me today.

Psalm 145:13b-14
"The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down."

Even though I am walking through one of the most difficult times in my life, I choose to keep trusting the promises that God has given me and leaning NOT on my own understanding.

God bless you all.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Sad News

I have had quite a weekend. On Saturday, my Mom informed me that she had not heard from my Dad yet that day and that she was quite concerned about him. My Dad is a truck driver and was on his way home. He had called her the night before and told her that he was having a lot of indigestion and heart pain any time he ate. My Mom knew this wasn't good, since we have been down this road before. My Dad had a major heart attack 11 years ago, July 25.

Since my parents communicate through calls and text many times a day, it was unusual that he didn't greet her with his usual good morning text, or reply to any of her calls or texts. By evening, the authorities were involved in Wisconsin, which is where his truck's satellite last tracked him. State troopers in Wisconsin and Minnesota searched all night for him, but he could not be found. Sunday morning, he was officially declared a missing person.

A friend of my Dad's happened to see his truck and Sunday morning, he knocked on the window to see if he could have breakfast with my Dad. When there was no response, he knew something was not right and managed to get into the truck. Sadly, he found my Dad. My Dad had passed away from a massive heart attack. He was lying on his back with his hands on his chest and his Bible at his side. It was open and he had been reading.

This has come as a huge shock, but I feel so sustained by the prayers of many loved ones and friends around the country. I have no anger in me about this as I TRULY, TRULY believe that this was God's plan for his life. I loved him a lot and will miss him more than I can express, but our prayer as a family has always been that God will be glorified no matter what.

No verses come to mind right now, but I feel God's presence in all of this so powerfully. Just before his death, my parents had given me a piece of artwork with this saying: "Faith in God includes faith in His timing." That is so true. God's plan is bigger than mine and I don't see everything. If my life is a tapestry, I am only seeing one side of it right now and God, the weaver, sees the other comleted side. He sees and knows what my life is to become. And so, I will continue to put my trust in Him. I refuse to live in anger about this, even though I know it will be normal to have periods of anger and frustration or misunderstanding.

Please pray for our family right now. This is a difficult time for all of us and a HUGE adjustment for my Mom.

God bless you all.


Friday, July 16, 2010

1 Peter 1:8b,9

1 Peter 1:8b,9:

"...and are filled with an inexplicable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

This verse spoke so clearly to me the other morning. It is EXACTLY how I feel! I know that the world says I should be worried about what is happening, but I'm not. I have moments of worry, but then I am reminded that I'm not in control of this all and I can either worry the whole time and get the end result, or I can keep giving it over to God and live in joy and still have the same result (or better). After reading this verse, I felt like running down our street shouting about the joy I've found! Even though my body is failing me at times, God is renewing my mind and really, isn't that the best part?

1 Peter 1:6,7 say this: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed." In all of this, I really do greatly rejoice. I saw the neurologist again yesterday, and he did not like the fact that I've developed this head tremor and is pressing hard to get me in for an MRI within the next week. He also gave me a plan to get it done if his plan didn't work. I left my appointment feeling like I should be really concerned, and I am concerned, but not worried. I choose to give this over to God. He is doing a work in me that I don't yet fully know, but He promises to carry it through to completion. I choose to keep giving this over to Him for His glory.

This morning, as I sat praying about all of this, I felt God telling me to raise up a prayer support group about all of this. I am asking that you would join me in praying for my healing and that God's purpose for this would be revealed.

These are my specific requests right now:

1. That I would be able to receive the MRI I need quickly so that a treatment plan can be put into action.

2. That I would have the strength and energy I need to enjoy our upcoming holiday. We are going to Minneapolis and Duluth for a week from July 25 - 31.

3. That I would be healed enough by Sept. to return to work.

Thanks for your support. I appreciate it a lot!

God bless you all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

email #3

This a third email that I sent to some supporters.

Hi guys! Thought I would update you again. This last week has been one of stretching and growing for me. I have had more new symptoms pop up which has really challenged me in my faith. It's hard for me to not just run to the internet and try to figure out what that means, but I have not done that. God has really been working on me to just trust Him and know that I'm in his care. 2 nights ago, I was overcome with fear about all of this and wept because I did not want to leave my boys without a mother. I still get teary when I think about that. But, as my husband prayed with me, I realized that Satan will use WHATEVER he can to destroy our faith and my prayer has always been that God will be glorified through this. He is not glorified when I live in fear. That fear came after spending an evening with my sister-in-law who's father-in-law (other side) has ALS - a disease that kills you in 2 to 5 years - and she told me to ask about it because my symptoms are the same as her father-in-law's. As I was reading this morning in Hebrews, I read this: Hebrews 12:4,5,6 - "In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." " The chapter before that lists all of these people who acted in great acts of faith and then talks about Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. It put it all into perspective for me. I have not suffered as He did, and I HAVE forgotten his promise. Then, verse 7 goes on to say, "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons." Wow! That gave me such a renewed sense of hope this morning. I do want this all to go away, but more than that, I want to have the right attitude in all of this and pray that I learn the lessons that God has for me during this time. Verse 11: "... Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Yahoo!

So, you're probably wondering what my new symptoms are. While my left leg seems to have improved a lot, I have developed a tremor in my head/neck/jaw that comes and goes. It is not always present and seems to show up when I've had too much activity in a day. I also have had a lot more fatigue lately and am learning how much activity I can do in a day. My voice is at times affected and I have some difficulty getting words out at times. I am still waiting for an MRI to address all of this. I am anxious to get going on all of this because I know how long it takes to get treatment started for these types of conditions (6 - 8 months because they have to rule out all kinds of things before setting a personalized treatment plan).

Here are my prayer requests:

1.That God's will would be accomplished and that I would be a good and faithful servant through all of this. I want to be a shining light for him, not a black hole that sucks people into my misery.

2. That I will wait patiently for the MRI and NOT be filled with anxiety as I wait.

3. That there will be an opening for an MRI in the near future.

I praise God for the joy that he has given me! He has been so good to me and I can't thank him enough for his loving kindness and patience with me. I have let go of going to university for this year and will be returning to the jr. high, provided I am well enough in Sept. God continues to show me his plan for my life and I look forward to the next piece of the puzzle.

God bless you guys and thank you for your support. Please feel free to pass these emails on to others if you feel led.

In Him,


email #2

This is another email update that I sent out.

I sit at home with a lot of time on my hands, so i thought I'd let you know what's been running through my head lately.
I continue to have strong days and weak days, but each day keeps me on my toes because it's never the same. I have spent a lot more time reading lately and I just finished reading Sandi Blad's book. If you haven't read it, you need to! It spoke to me in ways I can't describe. I related to her in so many ways, although I am not facing what she faced physically. Her vulnerability touched me as she openly shared her struggles with her faith. It inspired me to be more open with people about what's really going on inside me. There's a healing that comes from being vulnerable and I want God to heal me completely - physically and emotionally.

This song has been running through my head the last few days and I've brushed it off as a song I used to sing and perform. Today, God reminded me of the words and their deep meaning and showed me how he is ALWAYS speaking to me. This was not just a memory, God was showing me something that I had learned many years ago. This song is sung in German and I'll give you the rough translation as well. I'm sure the spelling is incorrect as I couldn't find my sheet music to copy.

Schaffe Keunen Siche Weiden
Wohl ein guter hierte wachte.
Wohl regenten wohl regieren.
Kann man ruhe und frieden spuhren.
Und was lander glucklicht machte.
Ruhe und frieden.
Ruhe und frieden spuhren
und was lander glucklicht machte.

(very) loosely translated as:

Sheep may safely graze where the good shepherd is watching/awake. He gives them peace and rest to their soul.

God has really been getting a hold of me lately through hymns and I recently bought an old hymnal from the MCC along with a book that explains the reason the hymn was written. There are SO MANY amazing hymns out there and just singing them brings incredible peace to my soul. One that has really touched me is "It is Well With My Soul". This song just excites me to sing it - I have to share it with you:

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul!"

It is well with my soul.
It is well, it is well with my soul!

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin! Oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh, my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight.
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
"Even so," it is well with my soul.

The writer of this hymn was Horatio G. Spafford and the circumstances surrounding him writing this bring me to my knees. He was a lawyer in Chicago and during the great fire, he lost almost everything. On November 22, 1873, he lost four of his children when a ship that his wife and the four children were on sank midocean. His wife was rescued and when she landed at Cardiff, Wales, she cabled him the message, "Saved Alone". Upon hearing this, he fell to his knees and worshiped God and wrote this hymn. He moved to Europe to be with his wife and their one remaining daughter and they eventually moved to Jerusalem to witness the second coming of Christ. Immediately after connecting with his wife, Rev. Moody asked them how they were doing, and their response was "May God's will be done".

Wow! Not sure I'd be inspired to write a song praising God after losing my fortune and then my family. We truly serve an amazing, gracious God!

Here's just one more song that has touched me lately:

Mourning to Dancing

He's turned my mourning into dancing again. He's lifted my sorrows. I can't stay silent! I must sing for the Lord has come!

Based on Psalm 30:11,12:
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!"

Recently, I found out that I was denied funding to go to university. I long to be a teacher. I feel that God has given me these gifts and abilities and I ache to use them to inspire kids and lift them up. I definitely had a day of pouting, but some words that were spoken to me resonated deeply and I have a much deeper understanding of the fact that God's ways are not always our ways. As was said, this may not be a stop sign, just a yield sign. And the story about David waiting MANY years to finally become king made me realize that God may still honour my desire to teach. Just, in HIS time, not mine. Right now, my health has to come first and when the time is right, God will give me what I need to take that step. Teaching may not even be what God has for me. Who knows? Maybe he wants me on staff at the church! Ha Ha! Anyway, I just feel so joyful inside! I don't like it that I can't always walk normally, and I hope that I don't become known as "Jacqui - you know, the one with the limp?", but if I do, I guess it just gives me opportunity to share how God has worked in my life. That I'm learning to love him through adversity.

There is so much more that I want to say and share, but I feel I must stop here. After all, I'm not trying to write a novel (although you may be thinking that by now). I would like to share a few prayer requests with you.

1. Please pray that I would be able to have an MRI in the near future. My official appointment is Oct. 4, but I am on a waiting list to get in sooner if there's a cancellation. I could go out to Calgary, but I don't have $1500 kicking around for a private MRI.
2. Please pray that I would be able to effectively take care of my family. Lately, I have been very tired and my arms feel like they weigh 100 lbs each. Even my chest feels heavy as I breathe.
3. Please pray that my family would still feel my presence in our home. When I am very dizzy, I hardly feel present myself, and I pray that I still have an impact on them in a positive way.

Thank you for your support. It means the world to me.



Email #1

This is an email update that I sent out to a few people that were praying for me.

Hi guys. So I saw the neurologist yesterday and he was a wonderful Christian man who talked the whole hour long appointment about God's plan for us and how nothing happens for no reason. My husband was with me and we both left feeling so positive and encouraged. It was my prayer going into this that I would be taken seriously and that even if it was a good day, that he would see my symptoms for what they really were. I have had better days lately, but my thinking is very muddled, I have a constant dizzy buzz in my head, and my left leg has weakness in it that comes and goes. I'm not in pain, though, and the vomitting from the medication is completely gone!

Anyway, he did a whole barrage of tests, asked us a million questions, and said that I was very symptomatic of MS. As it turns out, my MRI was rescheduled from Aug. 29 to Oct. 4, so I'm on a waiting list to see if I can get in earlier. Crazy! I guess God is really teaching us to be patient. He did admit that demyelination can happen from Lyme Disease, so this could still be Lyme, but if that is what it is, then I will likely deal with it in the same way as MS.

I feel that God has given me a joy inside that only comes from Him. I feel completely in His care and know that he has a plan for my life no matter what happens. This verse has really been encouraging me lately:

Phil. 3:20,21

"We , however, are citizens of Heaven. We look forward to the Lord Jesus Christ coming from Heaven as our Saviour. Through His power to bring everything under His authority, He will change our humble bodies and make them like His glorified body."

Have a great day,


The beginning

Hi there. This blog is here to bless you as you read it. This is the journey that God is bringing me through right now as I wait to find answers as to what is wrong with my health.

For the past few years, I have had bouts of dizziness, fatigue, and muscle weakness, but for the most part ignored them or chalked them up to low blood sugar. In early January, I went to a doctor because I was experiencing more dizziness, a constant nausea, and some short term memory loss. The doctor decided to send me to an allergist, but said that I was vitamin D and B12 deficient and suggested I take high doses of these vitamins.

Initially, I noticed some improvement, but that soon faded. When I saw the allergist in May, we found that I had Hay Fever, but no other allergies. She immediately ordered an MRI after I told her my symptoms and said that it sounded like one of two things to her - Multiple Sclerosis or a brain tumor. She told me to see my family doctor immediately and tell him what she had said. So, the next day I got in to see my doctor, and he checked a few things which showed some kind of infection in my blood. Based on the symptoms I had, he diagnosed my with Lyme Disease and put me on some very potent antibiotics. These made me very sick initially, but after a few weeks, my body got used to them. After little improvement after the first month, he sent me to a neurologist saying this could be MS. He also doubled the dose of antibiotics in case it was still Lyme, and recommended I take time off of my job since my symptoms were now interfering with my work. Also, the side effects of the new dose would make me very sick (lots of vomitting, etc.).

The neurologist said that I was very symptomatic of MS and was a little surprised at my other diagnosis, but admitted that it wasn't completely wrong, though. He was such an encouragement to my husband and I and we left there feeling very positive.

We are now in a time of waiting for a final diagnosis. I have an upcoming MRI (although not for several months, yet) which should give us a better understanding of what's going on. This time of waiting is so much more than just waiting for a diagnosis. God has called me to wait on Him and I've realized that the only thing that I can control right now is my attitude. I can choose to worry, or I can choose to be joyful. I choose to be joyful.