And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. ~ 1 John 4:16a
I had good intentions this week, really I did. I had intended on doing some writing on Tuesday but, just as I talked about in my last post, a monkey wrench was thrown in and foiled my plans.
It all began on Monday.
I woke up early Monday morning with a not so good feeling in my stomach. I had some pain in the right side of my belly. I thought I’d take one of my pain meds for colon spasms thinking it was just a colon spasm. Usually this works and this time it did. I went back to sleep.
Then at a more appropriate time to wake up other than…you know, when the sun is still sleeping, I got up and got ready to start my day. I stepped out of bed and limped, holding my stomach.
“Well, I can’t take another pain pill since it hasn’t been eight hours yet,” I thought.
So I made myself some peppermint tea which is also good for colon spasms. But I could not get rid of the pain. Not only could I not get rid of it, but the pain increasingly got more intense and soon was followed by nausea.
I had plans that day and it seemed I was going to have to cancel them. I made it through breakfast but only because I forced myself to sit in front of my cereal bowl and finish off what was before me. I had to stop and take a break to cry, but darn it…I was going to finish it!
The next symptom was vomiting.
This was a sign to me that the pain I was enduring was not my usual IBS colon spasms. “Maybe it was a bug or something I ate the day before,” I speculated.
After accomplishing my goal I went to lie down. A few hours later I took another pain pill. After a few trips to the bathroom to vomit I started feeling a little bit better.
“Great! Now, the worst is over and I can get back to normal and have a normal day tomorrow.” Clearly I had picked up a bug somewhere. I thought since I got better that was proof that is all it was.
Tuesday morning I woke up feeling ok until after breakfast. The queasy feeling began then, but I thought it would go away.
I went to work and as the minutes went by the same pain I had the day before crept up beside me and hit me again, but this time with more force, grabbing my insides and turning them. The majority of the pain was on my right side, mostly towards my back.
Finding a comfortable position was impossible. I could not sit or stand or lie down and find comfort. I was grabbing at my back as if my back was out, but I knew that I hadn’t done anything to injure my back. The intensity of the pain was horrendous and thus, the vomiting ensued once again.
I took a pain pill again and waited an hour to see if it would ease up, but it did not.
I could no longer think that what I had was a bug or a virus of some kind. I started thinking of other possibilities: my appendix ruptured or…an alien was going to burst through the right side of my back. All I knew at that time was I felt like I was going to die, and if I wasn’t, death sure did seem like a good idea compared to the option of living in that amount of pain.
Course, there was another option. Since I could no longer take the pain, I called my mom and asked her to take me to the ER.
After telling the nurses my symptoms they suggested a kidney stone as my diagnosis. A urine sample was taken and the nurses found blood. I had a kidney stone and a kidney infection, probably caused by the kidney stone. I had a CT scan done and discovered the kidney stone to be 4 mm. Holy Toledo! That’s a bowling ball! No wonder I was in so much pain.
The ER doc gave me the option of staying the night in the hospital or going home. Considering that I hadn’t finished passing the stone and the possibility of more pain to come, I decided to stay. Plus, the possibility of needing surgery to remove the monstrous stone led to my decision to stay close by some trained surgeons.
The nurses in the ER gave me some pain meds, and after numerous vomiting sessions and another shot of some stronger pain meds, the pain finally died down.
If you have been wondering where I’ve been this week, this is where I’ve been: recuperating from a kidney stone and contemplating the glorious gift of life. It’s strange that such a painful experience that didn’t include my life hanging on the brink of death can cause such reflections, but it has. Though I wasn’t going to die, I sure did feel like it. The pain seemed to be endless and in my mind the road ahead was death.
And you’re wondering what happened to the stone?
That monstrous stone disappeared. It never made it’s appearance in the toilet bowl. I never had to have surgery. Praise Jesus!!!
I am thankful to be back among the living. I am grateful to this life Jesus gives. Thankful to be able to enjoy His gifts in each day and that I am alive to His presence. I am made alive in His presence and to His presence. I have the ability to enjoy Him in each day.
The verse that came to my mind since being home from the hospital is this:
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:22
The lesson I want to take away from this experience is a reminder to enjoy Him. I want to remember in each day to enjoy His presence more and worry less about the tasks on my to-do list. I want to remember the source of my life is not in the things I do, but in the Person of Christ.
Maybe this can be a reminder for you as well. We are made alive in Christ. Now, live life as if you enjoy His company. 🙂
“Delight yourself in the Lord…” ~ Psalm 37:4
We have the tendency in our culture to applaud strength and despise weaknesses. In J.I. Packer’s book, Weakness Is the Way”, he reminds us of what the Lord spoke to Paul in 2 Corinthians.
When I was a student at Regent College, I took Systematic Theology with Dr. J.I. Packer, so I was curious to read his latest book, Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength. This small book of reflections focuses on 2 Corinthians, and this quote from the introduction provides a good summary (page 15):
We need to be aware of our limitations and to let this awareness work in us humility and self-distrust, and a realization of our helplessness on our own. Thus we may learn our need to depend on Christ, our Savior and Lord, at every turn of the road, to practice that dependence as one of the constant habits of our heart, and hereby to discover what Paul discovered before us: ‘When I am weak, then I am strong’ (2 Cor. 12:10).
I like the video trailer for the book even better, with Dr…
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I hate detours. It’s such a pain in the butt to have to redirect my path to my destination because often it is time consuming, and I’m in a hurry to get where I’m going. Sometimes it appears like you are moving in the opposite direction of your destination.
As your driving along, you see the detour sign because of construction on the road ahead, or maybe there was a serious accident, and the sign instructs you to follow a road going in the opposite direction. You curse the timing because you have some where to be, and you’re running late. Now, you’re going to be even later.
You’re plans are foiled!
It happens in all areas of life.
You had plans. They were good plans and plans you were sure were part of God’s desire for you. The plans didn’t fall into place like you wanted. Life happened and threw a detour into your plans. You wonder if you really heard from God.
I had plans.
I was going to be married at the age of twenty-six and start having children. My plan was to be a wife and a mother.
I’m not sure if I took a detour and I’m just taking a longer road to Marriedville or if I’m on a different road altogether that leads to a different destination.
Twenty-six was over a decade ago so I am definitely on some sort of detour.
I know marriage is a good thing. God made marriage and children are a gift from Him so why am I not married with children? To answer that question I have to shrug my shoulders and say I don’t know.
I had plans to become a counselor. I went to school for a few years of training and then decided to take a break and figure out if this was really for me.
While trying to figure that out, I thought I’d go to ministry school and see if ministry was for me. I felt sure God was calling me to the ministry somewhere but wasn’t sure where. Then I left my internship after a few months into it and decided this wasn’t for me.
I didn’t plan on getting sick and dealing with health issues either. Another detour in my life that I would at times also call a roadblock!
Detour after detour after detour.
In Hannah Hurnard’s classic book, “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” the main character Much-Afraid is led by the Good Shepherd’s guides for her journey to the High Places, symbolism for heaven. One day she turns a corner in her path only to find herself going in the direction of a desert place below away from the mountainous tops. Fear and anxiety grips her heart and she cries out in protest to her guides,
“I can’t go down there! He can never mean that–never! He called me up to the High Places, and this is an absolute contradiction of all that he promised.”
But the guides do not relent and continue to point to the undesirable path.
Finally, Much-Afraid cries for the Shepherd and pleads her case. The Shepherd comes to her and responds with tenderness,
“No, it is not a contradiction, only postponement for the best to become possible.”
When you’ve prayed and you’re sure of God’s promises to you and His plans, oftentimes, it appears our Guide leads us away from the promises. We cry out to Him in protest and He assures our hearts with these words, “It is not a contradiction of My promise to you, only postponement for the best to become possible.”
Through all the detours of my own life, I’ve learned to trust in the Lord’s character which means I trust that He is good and can only do good. If God can only do good, then whatever bad turns or detours I perceive as bad are not bad to Him, for His ways are not my ways, nor are His thoughts my thoughts. Furthermore, the clarity of my sight is a little near sighted and foggy. I can’t see the big picture like He can.
I am trusting that in hindsight I will see better how God’s plans worked through all the detours to bring me to His promises…the High Places.
Wherever you are, if you’ve circled around a detour or maybe you’ve reached that promise God has for you and are looking ahead to others, know this, Beloved of God, that He is good and His plans for you are all good. He isn’t going to steer you away forever from whatever promise you are seeking to see fulfilled. He is preparing you so that the best may become possible!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
“The dark riddle of life is illuminated in Jesus; the meaning, purpose, and goal of everything that happens to us, and the way to make it all count can be learned only from the Way, the Truth, and the Life…Everything that is comes alive in the risen Christ. Everything–great, small, important, unimportant, distant, and near–has its place, its meaning, and its value through union with Him (as Augustine said, He is more intimate with us than we are with ourselves), nothing is wasted, nothing is missing. There is never a moment that does not carry eternal significance–no action that is is sterile, no love that lacks fruition, and no prayer that is unheard.” ~ Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child
“And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” Colossians 1:27