THROUGH FIRE AND DELAY

Have you ever felt like you were studying for a test through the things that repeat over and over during a week or season? This past week, I was starting to get that feeling through the repetition in the devotionals, sermons, verses, and songs I was reading and hearing.

Devotional, sermon and verses on Delay! Delay! https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/even-when-it-hurts; www.crosswalk.com/devotionalsdesert/streams-in-the-desert-august-10th.html; and John 11:5-6 “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” (NOTE THIS: Jesus Loved them, SO, therefore, He delayed going to them!)

And multiple devotions, verses and a song on walking through (or being in) the fire: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3; The Refiner’s fire song + Malachi 3; and Isaiah 43:1-2. (NOTE THIS: GOD is not only in the fire with us, but He is the one who is stoking the fire to make it hot enough to refine us!)

The week was also a hot one in San Jose – we were in the 90’s five days in a row (which is a lot for us). On our hottest day, I went out for a walk right before the sun went down. I was amazed that despite the heat, a majority of the flowers were a more vibrant color than I had remembered them being the morning before.(NOTE THIS: the flowers were more vibrant after 5 days of 90 degree heat!)

I found myself talking to GOD about all the devotionals, sermon, verses and song that had come up in the week + my awe of how beautiful the flowers were after the heat. “LORD, should I be preparing for something? I really want to be able to walk or even ‘dance’ through the fire knowing You are with me. And I want to believe that You allow delay because You love me. Please help me to be more vibrant because of the heat if that is Your plan for me.” (NOTE THIS: DON’T pray a prayer like that if you really don’t mean it, because GOD will answer it!)

Since my last post, I had a CT

Myelogram (CT scan after dye is injected into the epidural sac of the spine). The prayer i was asking agreement for was “for GOD to clearly shine His light on whatever issues were going on in my body in a way that they would be clearly reported”.

The report shows I have issues with L3-L4 and an epidural lipomatosis (fatty mass) at L5-S1. On August 5, my doctor’s office sent out a request for authorization (RFA) for a 3 part surgery, hospital stay, commode, walker, medicine, back brace, bone stimulator for purchase, and post-op 12 session aqua therapy.

I was so excited to think I might be moving forward in my health situation. I also had an awesome dream several days after my surgeon said he would send out the RFA. In the dream, I walked without a cane. And it seemed so real that I was questioning if it was real or a dream.

Ohhh, and I forgot to mention, not

sure why I was asking prayer for “issues in my body” to be highlighted, but the CT scan also showed that I have metal surgical clips in the right upper quadrant of my body from the liver resection.

This is extremely interesting to me

since I still have pain since the liver donation surgery (from 10/22/15, see earlier posts). After checking details in the surgical report and asking the doctor at UCSF, I found out that there are clips and staples made of titanium. It was suggested that I get tested for titanium allergy.

It would be very weird to find out

that the continued pain is from a metal allergy, so very interested to find out if that’s the case. My Primary Care Physician is in the process of requesting the allergy testing for titanium.

It just seems like everything is going along on track and I am finally getting the much needed help I have been praying for…

Then they showed up at my door!

They being 8 large white envelopes from the insurance review board. )0; I knew instantly the bad news within. Sigh!

I wanted to cry, but instead took some deep breaths and prayed for GOD to help me to be strong. I opened each envelope that revealed another item on the RFA was denied and the last one opened revealed that the surgery itself was denied too. Yep, it was bad news. Denial hurts!

So how can I apply what I learned

earlier in the week? Jesus allows delays because He loves us. Maybe this is just a delay and not a complete denial. And even though I had already been walking through a fire due to increased pain again, it feels hotter now because once again I have no idea how long it will be before I experience some relief. This because I have had all the treatments available to me already except surgery (or healing straight from the LORD).

I have asked my attorney to appeal

for surgery and several other items that were denied. And the titanium allergy testing should be soon.

I know GOD is on His throne and He

is in control. I am trying my darndest to trust GOD. I know He loves me and ultimately, I want Him to get the highest glory from denials and delays.

“God heard. God remembered. God

saw. God took notice! Because we serve a God who never changes, you can be sure that God has heard your particular groaning and prayers. God hasn’t forgotten His promises to you. God sees what you’re going through, and God has taken notice of your individual life.” (From a devotional I was reading.)

Psalm 27:13-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 I would have despaired unless I

had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.

14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

GOD’S JUSTICE IS LIKE THE OCEAN TIDES.

In GOD’S Strength

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 The Message “I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size — abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over. And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

I didn’t realize that I have not been on here for almost a year!  I have not known what to write because there has been so much pain, opposition, frustration and well, bad breaks. I don’t even know where to start…

I thought my new career was underway, but there’s been yet another detour in my life. I’m betting that in GOD’S economy, it’s not a detour, it’s probably just part of the planned journey that I was not expecting.

In mid-July I woke up with 8.5/10 pain in my spine that didn’t drop below a 7/10 until an epidural in early October.

The end of July, I had to put my fur-baby Bebe down because she was not well.  I thought I could just work through these things, but I found myself crying all the time and unable to even think. By August, I realized that I had a mental breakdown!

It was near impossible for me to look for a job so I sought out help.

In December, I was expecting to get back surgery but the insurance company denied it 5 times (maybe I will write that story another time).

Since then, I have had progressing disability – February 2019, I became weak in my legs. I was given a walker and medication and told not to drive. Then in about March, neuropathy started in my left foot.

I am getting medical help, but it has been slow going and extremely frustrating.

I am not saying all this for sympathy. It’s been a hard road and I have no idea when or how it will end. BUT, one thing I can tell you is that GOD has been so faithful to provide for me every step of the way.

I have an understanding housemate and no fear of losing the roof over my head. I have an abundance of groceries and food between Calfresh and the many people who bless me with food. I have had money to pay bills between short-term disability, the IRS auditing me and sending me money they owed me, blessings and gifts from friends and sometimes unknown people. I have been blessed with a Christian PCP who prays for me, an awesome counselor who builds me up and affirms me, friends who encourage me and drive me everywhere I need to go and…

I know that I am in a desert place, but GOD has provided an oasis in the desert. He has become more real and present to me than in any other time in my life.

Sigh. It’s been hard to admit that I have a disability.  I am unable to go wherever I want to go by myself, unable to drive and have freedom of coming and going. I am unable to do the things that I want to do – to work and earn a living, to garden, to volunteer more than I do, to give more than a widow’s mite. I sometimes can’t even get up the stairs!

BUT I am starting to see that GOD can and will be glorified if I focus on Him instead of the disability. Do I do this perfectly? No. I am trying hard to find the gift in this, to take the limitations in stride and find joy in the midst of suffering. And as I get weaker, the stronger GOD shows Himself to be.

Are you wondering if you should pray???

In early July I got a nudge to pray for the local airports – specifically that there wouldn’t be any accidents in the air or on the ground. A thought flashed through my head of a plane landing in San Francisco just shy of the runway and lives lost. I prayed right then that there wouldn’t be anything like that again at our airports (San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland – LORD adding now that won’t happen at our small airports either) and no more accidents in the air.

The next day I read a brief article that there was a “near-miss” at San Francisco airport, but it gave no details. I started wondering if my prayer changed anything. More and more of the details started coming out about the “near-miss” explaining that it would have been one of the worst airport disasters in the history of aviation. It turns out that a plane loaded with people nearly landed on a runway that had four loaded airplanes waiting for take off!

Could my prayers have made any difference? Was the accident diverted because I chose to heed the nudge to pray???? I started asking God for confirmation Monday. I just wanted to know if my prayers were that important.

When I got home from class, I had an email in my inbox from a friend entitled “26 Guards”

Have you ever felt the urge to pray for someone and then just put it on a list and said “I’ll pray for him or her later?” Or has anyone ever called you and said, ‘I need you to pray for me, I have this need?’
A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in Michigan.
“While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies.
This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point. On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital. Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured.
I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord Jesus Christ. I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident.
Two weeks later I repeated my journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said, ‘Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards.’ At this I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite.
The young man pressed the point, however, and said, ‘No sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone.’”
At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the Michigan congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day this happened. The missionary told the congregation the date, and the man who interrupted told him this story:
“On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong, I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand up?”
The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. The missionary wasn’t concerned with who they were; he was too busy counting how many men he saw. There were 26!
This story is an incredible example of how the Spirit of the Lord moves in mysterious ways. If you ever hear such prodding, go along with it.
I don’t know if anyone else was stirred to pray for our airports or not that day – and if so, if they prayed.
Could my prayer have made any difference??
I won’t know until heaven, but I don’t believe in coincidence, so I will believe the power of prayer!
What about you? Have you ever been nudged to pray? If so, did you?
If you don’t pray much, I challenge you to ask GOD to show you the power of prayer, that He would nudge you to pray and that you would see answers to prayer.

Wow, forgot to add something!

Not sure how I forgot to add this, but I did (blame the pain medicine I guess!). When I posted the video from Encouraged to Write another Psalm, at the end I mentioned that I was expecting to get a van given to me by a friend during the summer and was just looking to see how God would provide until then. Well, she ended up buying a van earlier and was going to need some of the money from the sell of the old van, which we decided would not be a good fit for me, to pay off the old van. So I was expecting to have a little more money to possibly get into a newer car. But then almost immediately she found out that the van had transmission issues so she had to drop the price of the van. All in all, I praise God that she was able to buy a new van before the transmission went out on the old van. I am also very thankful to God that I didn’t get the van with transmission issues either! So God provided for both of us and it ended up much different than either of us were expecting or planning!

Encouraged to Write another Psalm

I have been enjoying the “Sweeter Than Honey study of the Psalms” in Bible Study. Last Fall we were challenged to write a Psalm. I drew a picture but I also wrote a Psalm. This year we were encouraged to once again write a Psalm, but this time, we were given full reign to make it our own because last year brought some creativity. I drew a picture, another lady had an “Ebenezer” rock that she wrote on, another lady sang her Psalm, others were short, some long, etc.

So this year I went way out of my own comfort zone and I created a video. It ended up being so much fun to make and I have had several people ask me if I had ever considered going into media! I laugh – it was fun – but no…I will leave media to others.

So, without further ado, here is my Psalm and Ebenezer….”Thus far has the LORD helped us!” My Psalm and Ebenezer, my story of God’s provsion! (Here’s the backstory to my Psalm)

Challenged or encouraged to write or create your own Psalm? Check out: Challenging you to create a Psalm.

Is there a blockade trying to stop me – trying to take steps toward a sacrifice

It’s so weird what goes through my head sometimes. Is it just me or does God use the things we’ve had around us in our life times to speak to us? I would feel like it were more from Him if it were something from the Bible. But then, Satan knows God’s Word and can use it against us too.

For the last couple weeks, I have felt like there is a blockade in my life. It’s blocking my drive to get to work, it’s blocking any progress to find a place to move, it’s blocking fund raising, it’s blocking my health, it’s blocking my faith. So, I prayed about it this morning only to get a song from a Christmas movie playing in my head. “You put one foot in front of the other.”

On Easter Day, my Primary Care Physician acknowledged that I have prayed and encouraged me to move forward in the process of possibly donating part of my liver to my friend Lupe.

In order to move forward in anything, we have to first stand up and then take a step. We need to take a first step. I have done that. In fact, this whole series of blogs has been about taking steps of faith.

So, what do you do when there seems to be a blockade? Well, it seems that God is telling me to keep stepping in faith. Keep taking the next step. Keep walking it out.

In a devotional entitled “Faith Is More Than Believing: Take The Next Step,” Rick Warren writes, “I don’t know what your next step is, but I do know this: You have one. God will never be finished taking you deeper in faith. There is always a next step.”

So what is my next step??? Today, October 2, 2015 is going to be a special day of stepping in faith! Lupe and I go to UCSF today to meet our surgeons and I will also meet with my anesthesiologist. It’s exciting for me. I have looked forward to this for months and now it’s here.

More than anything, I think I am learning that it’s a process – it’s a journey, not a destination. The day has come and it will pass. Where there have been blockades, they will be moved – I’ll get to work, I’ll find a place to move and get moved, funds will come in, I’ll get over the cold, and the surgery will happen. Then recovery will happen, and I’ll get back to work…each day taking a step of faith to allow God to lead me.

What’s your next step of faith?

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http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/faith-is-more-than-believing-take-the-next-step

Live Liver Donor Assistance fund for Michelle Wilson