Let’s be Real

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A couple weeks ago, my husband asked if I would speak during the message portion of a prayer and worship night. My initial reaction was a big loud “HECK NO!”, followed by a million excuses for why I’m the last person he should ask to speak.

I mean, c’mon, nobody wants to hear a story that doesn’t have a happy ending yet… That was the first lie.

Besides, God and I aren’t really that tight right now. Lie #2.

I can’t say anything meaningful while I’m still battling with my own doubt. Lie #3.

I don’t have any spiritual insight worth hearing. Lie #4.

I don’t want to burden others with my own suffering. Lie #5.

Need I continue? You get the picture.

My husband challenged me to pray about it, and as I sought for an answer, the Spirit lead me to 2 Timothy 3: 14-15

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

and then I turned back to 2 Timothy 2:13 and read outloud,

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful still.”

Even though I feel like my faith has been rocked, that I failed God as soon the road got tough, I KNOW IN WHOM I BELIEVE. My God has a relationship with me, and He has never once let me go.

And for that reason alone, I share with you now what I shared with them on that anointed Saturday night.

If you’ve got 30 minutes, sit down, grab your Bible and some coffee, and listen HERE.

While I do apologize for the blubbering and for the poor recording quality, I will not apologize for being REAL.

May God receive all the glory.

 

 

The Pre-Wedding Fall and the Battle for Joy

On October 4th, my fiancé took me backpacking up into the beautiful Bitterroot Mountain range in Montana. His friend Jake also came, and he brought his dog, too. The four of us set off into the winding mountain trails for a 3 day trek.

Prior to the trip, people kept warning us that we were crazy for going in October and that it was going to be deathly cold. This, however, was not the case. The weather turned out to be perfect for backpacking and never got lower than 40 degrees. The fall colors were especially vivid, including the fire-yellow Larch trees that got more populated the higher we climbed.

After 3 hours of trail climbing, we bush-wacked another 1 1/2 hours to a lake where we set up camp for the night. The rushing of the water calmed the adrenaline built from constant exertion from the hike, and as my muscles began to relax the hunger set in. We built a fire and enjoyed deluxe camp food and boxed wine.

Nighttime, though, was not my favorite… If you remember, my previous camping trip involved a bear-scare, so I still haven’t gotten used to sleeping alone in a tent with unknown natures separated by nothing but a thin sheet of fabric. The first night I did not sleep; the second night, Jake’s dog slept on my toes and I felt better protected:)

Overall, we had an incredible weekend of hiking and exploring. The summit we were hoping to reach was called El Capitan, but boy did El Capitan fool us! Right when we thought we were getting close to the top, we got over the ridge and were met by a giant cliff wall, making it impossible for us to summit without picks and rope. However, the view was still breathtaking, and it was a steep enough/slick enough ascend that the adrenaline thankfully succeeded in pushing out my crippling fear of heights.

The day sadly came when we had to leave the mountainous refuge, so we packed up and started back down. Our packs were lighter from eating all the food. This was going to be a piece of cake. Or so we thought… We made it down the roughest unmarked areas down to the trail and got going at a steady pace. Too steady. Before I knew what was happening, my foot slipped on a mossy rock, twisting underneath me and bringing me sliding down it’s steep slippery side.

So much pain.

Jake called ahead to Jesse and the two of them helped get my ankle taped and calm me down. 10 minutes later I still couldn’t put any weight on it. Still 4 miles deep, we tied mine and Jesse’s packs on top of Jake’s so he stood about 8 feet high and 100 pounds heavier. Jesse pulled me unto his back. Thankfully they decided they weren’t going to leave me for bear food!

At first it wasn’t too bad. We could go for 20 minutes without a break. But then the fatigue set in; Jesse’s legs turned to jello, my arms and legs went numb, and Jake could barely stand straight without tipping over. What made matters worse was that the trail didn’t finish on a decline, but an incline! Come on!

Finally, 5 hours later we collapsed at the car– any longer and we would’ve run out of daylight. Praise the Lord, we were out! My love for my fiancé, his love for me, and his heroic act of carrying me out of the woods was a sure sign I was completely ready to marry him and rely on him through anything!

Gear unloaded into the car, Jesse tried to start the engine. It wouldn’t go. He got out and spotted the problem: we had a flat tire. As if the guys hadn’t worked hard enough! The two of them put their hearts into changing the tire and we made it safely down the mountain into town. The Lord provided us with a place to spend the night, and the next day we were able to get the tires fixed and make the 4 hour drive back to Idaho after a good night’s rest.

I spent a couple more days with Jesse’s family before flying back to Minnesota to finish wedding planning. The woman next to me on the plane let me elevate my swollen foot on her knees, God bless her. Dad met me at the airport with crutches and we scheduled a doctor’s appointment for the next day. I was convinced it was a sprain. Well, I was hoping it was just a sprain. It can’t be broken: I was getting married in 25 days!

X-rays came back with the hard truth. My fibula was fractured on both sides. It was broken.

The next week was agonizing, both physically and mentally. Tears flowed regularly. The pain wasn’t getting any less due to the way it twisted when it broke, the bone’s edges were jagged and nerves screaming whenever the pieces touched.

My heart had suffered it’s own fracture. I was going to have to accept this injury and my circumstance. It is what it is…

But the thought of being on crutches or not being able to walk down the aisle on my much-dreamed about wedding day was more than I could bear.

The next week I went in for a follow-up checkup, and the doctor decided that I was going to need surgery. Noooooooooooooooo. I couldn’t believe it.

However, has he discussed it more, it actually looked like surgery was going to be my best chance at healing sooner and more of a possibility that I would be able to walk for my wedding. My hopes were lifted and I agreed to go under.

The procedure was over before I knew it. They had given me a “block” to numb my nerves all the way down my leg so when I came out of the anesthesia I wouldn’t feel the pain from the surgery. It was completely “unnerving” and scary not to be able to feel my toes. I checked every once and awhile to make sure they were still there!

The next day the block wore off and I could finally feel my toes, but I wished I couldn’t! Everything hurt. They couldn’t give me enough painkillers. To say it lightly, I felt terrible.

My parent’s had been through this before with both my brothers and their sports injuries. They were post-op care professionals. They took turns staying home with me, watching episodes of dated comedy shows from the 60’s, cheering me up with chocolate covered pretzels and prescribed doses of drugs to relieve my discomfort. I couldn’t have felt better cared for.

Yet it was still difficult for me to hang unto joy. This was supposed to be the most joyful season of my life. For heaven’s sake, I was getting married in two weeks and I’m being pushed around in a wheelchair! I let the pain and the uncertainty of being able to walk down the aisle or not control my thoughts. Fear took root.

There were some particularly low days when I was ashamed and frustrated by my attitude. I couldn’t recognize myself. Why was I letting this ruin my life and pushing out my excitement? Acceptance was huge. I had to accept that the plans I had made for my wedding might not be how my wedding was supposed to be. Oh how I prayed for Jesus be my joy!

Having to depend completely on my parents again for my every need was not easy after being out of the house the past 6 years as well as anticipating heading into married life. But as I got used to it, I really began to see what a blessing it was to be able to spend so much time, literally at home, with my parents, especially since I hadn’t lived at home for so long and was now officially moving out of their house and getting married. I cherished that time.

My broken ankle did indeed slow down the entire wedding planning process. I managed to do some small tasks on my own, and those small tasks I really enjoyed doing because I finally found joy again, and I think the pace wedding month had taken on was a huge part of that as God made his presence known during sweet time spent in acknowledgement that this was God’s will. Everything we did was intentional, and the normal chaos that precedes the Big Day wasn’t threatening simply because it wasn’t physically possible for me to move or go anywhere! For that, I was truly thankful.

The doctor said that usually when the stitches get taken out is when a patient tends to try walking. At my first physical therapy appointment I expected to walk, and when I didn’t, I remembered I needed to give myself grace. It was going to take some time. I had to work up to it.

Three days before the wedding I ditched my crutches and walked with a cane.

Deep down, I knew that God was going to heal me. All throughout my life I’ve had injuries, and all throughout my life God has always healed me. Only trusting in His promises and praying for faith was what helped me to push aside my fears and doubts and believe His glory would shine even more because of it.

What Joy

This morning I woke up from a text from my mom reminding me of the joy that is ours when our hope and strength is in the name of the Lord.

First of all, I just have to say how I am beyond blessed by this woman. To have such a godly influence in my life, a mother who continues to faithfully pray for and encourage me in every way possible even when living on opposite ends of the earth, that is something to indeed rejoice about!
What a gift!

And an even more meaningful gift as she points me towards a greater gift, timeless and true.

The very Word of God.

I jumped out of bed- a song of gratitude and praise in my heart. My spirit was hungry and eager to flip open to the words I know I would find smack dab in the middle pages of my two-inch thick, imperishable daily bread.

Let the feast begin!

What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD, who have set their hearts on the highway to Zion. Psalm 84:5

Hallelujah! 
 
Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever.  He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free,the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Hallelujah. Psalm 146 
 
This is my God. In Him is my Joy. My Delight. My Confidence.
Looks like I just might be singing His praises all day today, tomorrow, and forever:)