Archive for March, 2009

My Testimony

March 22, 2009

Today I had the honor of speaking at my cousin’s church in Alabama, to give my testimony. I thought I would share it also with you in my blogging world. I hope you enjoy!

My Testimony:

Hello, first I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I was very fortunate to be raised in a Christian home. I had that spiritual foundation of going to church, reading the Bible, saying my prayers at night, knowing who God is. But it wasn’t until I was in high school that I actually accepted Christ into my heart and became a Christian.

 

Music is a big part of my life, a big part of who I am. Its how I connect with the world, how I deal with emotions. There is a new song on the radio right now by The Fray called “You Found Me”. It starts off by saying, “I found God and the corner of 1st and Amistad.” What I think is so significant about my story is not how I found God, but how God found me.

 

When I was 20 years old I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Like anyone at 20 I already knew everything there was to know about life and could take on the world. And that is exactly what I tried to do. I had my ups and downs with the MS, but I was a fighter and nothing was going to knock me down. Then my MS took a serious turn for the worst and we could no longer control the progression of the disease or my symptoms. And when I thought I was still strong enough to take on the world by myself, God found me lying in a hospital bed in Atlanta, GA in 2003 with my doctor telling me he didn’t know if I was ever going to walk again. And lying there, I arrogantly smiled at my doctor and told him “You just don’t know who you’re dealing with, I will walk again.” As The Fray’s song goes on to say, “Lost and insecure – You Found Me, You Found Me.” What God found was a lost, insecure and scared soul that didn’t know what to do or how to do it, a soul that still felt she could take on anything by herself. And He took my hand and gave me the strength and courage to make some decisions no 25-yr old should ever have to make. Through chemotherapy, a whole lot of prayers and God’s grace I am walking again.

 

When things are going bad in our lives, we always like to question why God is doing this, or where was He when this evil was going on. But when the roses smell sweet and life is perfect, we often times forget to thank God for His mercy and see His grace. At least I did. I had a great job, a wonderful husband and my life was just about perfect. And the more perfect my life became, the less I depended on God and the further I drifted from our relationship.

 

Continuing on with The Fray’s lyrics, they say, “Where were you, when everything was falling about?? Lying on the floor, Surround Me, Surround Me.”  The next time God found me it was April 2008, I was lying on the floor of a hotel room in North Carolina screaming out in pain for God to just be with me. See my marriage had fallen apart, I was getting a divorce and my entire life as I knew it was being flipped upside down. And the pain and fear of that was more than I could physically bear. What God found was a severely broken soul who needed Him more than any other time in her life. And He wrapped His arms around me, picked me back off the floor and kept telling me over and over, “I’m right here, I’m right here with you. You will not go through this alone.” And I didn’t. He stood right beside me every step of the way. And from that moment on I made the decision that I would never walk alone again.

 

Sometimes I believe God has to break us down to our weakest to build us up to be our strongest. And maybe that was part of His purpose with my divorce. Because little did I know what was right around the corner. See, the next time I needed Him – when my Mom was rushing me to the hospital because my heart went into failure, God didn’t have to find me. He was already right there. After my divorce I made the decision that this time I wasn’t going to let the Big Man go. And when the doctor looked at me and said, “I just don’t know what is going to happen with your heart. I don’t know if we will ever be able to get it strong enough to function like it did before”, there wasn’t an arrogant little girl responding, there was a strong, confident Christian who politely smiled back and said, “You don’t know who you’re dealing with. We will get my heart strong again.”

 

The Fray’s song ends in saying “In the end we all end up alone. Why’d you have to wait to find me?”. I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me, but I do know Who holds tomorrow. And I know I will never be alone in anything I face. In Isaiah 42, God says, “I will guide them along paths they have not known, I will make the darkness become light for them and the rough grounds smooth.” And true to His word, He has done that for me. So no matter how shattered my heart is emotionally, or how broken my heart is medically, my heart has never been stronger or more whole spiritually than it is now and will always be with Christ in my heart. I live with the reality that I may wake up tomorrow and my heart decides to take its last beat, but my heart will forever be alive in Christ.

 

God tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us. And even when I turned my back on Him, He never left my side. He also tells us that He will never give us more than we can handle, and I take extreme comfort knowing that. So if I can ask you to take anything away from my story, it would be this. Don’t wait for God to find you, as the song says. Seek Him out in your everyday life.

 

Again, Thank you for allowing me to tell my story. And thank you God for what you have done in my life – I would not be standing here without you!

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Disclaimer

March 19, 2009

Hello everyone. Well as expected my last blog seemed to upset a few people. So I wanted to put out a few disclaimers. First, this blog is about me, not you. This is my avenue to let loose, to write, to vent, to pretty much do what I feel I need to do to keep sanity. So I hate to be rude, but if you don’t like what you are reading, then you have the choice to not read it. This website is not set up to attack anyone or hurt anyone. This is about my journey dealing with life.

Secondly, if I have offended anyone from Alabama with my blog, then I sincerely apologize. Again, last week was a tough week and I was simply venting. I truly meant no disrespect to the state or people who live in it. I have lived in South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia and can personally atest to the fact that we have rednecks, slow drivers, cows, pastures and lots & lots of camouflauge as well.

Thanks.

My Patience Tank is FLAT EMPTY

March 14, 2009

Last night a friend said to me that he didn’t want to stress me out anymore than I already was, because he could just see it on my face and tell by my conversation that I was extremely stressed. I couldn’t half way finish a thought. I realized this morning as I was thinking back on this whole week that my patience tank is completely empty. Right now I have zero patience or tolerance for stupidity, insults, whining, bitching, ignornace. And I hate that, because it is not very Christian like of me at all, and its not relying on God the way I should – by handing over my burdens to Him, or simply praying for empathy that is lost, praying for patience that is lost. I don’t know why I am so …… emotional this week? cranky? bitchy? impatient? What I do know is that if you don’t have thick skin then you just need to skip right over this blog. Because I know by writing it I am about to piss alot of people off. But I opened up this website as an avenue to rant, to vent, to learn, to grow, to be able to breathe. And while certain aspects of my personal life are simply off-limits, I really wouldn’t be doing this any justice if I simply talked about how freaking good the roses smelled all the time. Because this week – they stunk.

First, I literally felt like I was on the cusp of HELL this week in Alabama. It was a physically tough week work wise. I went from one end of that damn state to the other. And I honestly mean no offense to people from Alabama, but seriously – what the hell?? Do you not have regular interstates? Why am I having to continually drive on a two lane road to only get stuck behind tractor after tractor? Are there not enough stupid pastures for you to ride in? I came to the conclusion that people in Alabama must have their own language – I call it Bamish. I checked into this one hotel (which I seriouusly contemplated whether it would be safer or cleaner for me to just sleep in my own car that night). With the low sodium diet I have to carry most of my own food with me. I was out of paper plates, so I asked the guy at the front desk if they had any. He said, and I’m not joking, “No, I don’t have any plates, but I have a BAHWEL.” Um… I’m sorry, a what?? “A Bahwel”. He then pulls one out of the drawer. I looked at him and said, “Oh a bowl. See us in normal civilation call this a bowl. B-O, Not A, but O-W-L. Bowl.” I go back to my hotel room, try to get settled in. Oh – let me interject one thing here – did I mention that I had ABSOLUTELY NO CELL PHONE COVERAGE?? Does anyone in that damn state use a cell phone? Because AT&T and Sprint seemed to have a really hard time finding and keeping a signal.  Yeah, see I would get one for about 30 minutes then my phone would search for a signal for the next 2 hours. I could have been dead, stick a fork in her she is done, on the side of the road with no way to call for help. Just wanted to interject that little point. Okay, back to getting settled in my hotel room. All of a sudden I see this huge flame go across my window. I run outside and the damn sidewalk is on fire. Its on fire!! I screamed “WTF????” And this guy looks at me and smiles and says – about to throw a steak on the grill, you want one? Umm… you have the sidewalk on fire. There is a fire outside my hotel room and you want to know if I want a stupid steak?? What is wrong with you people?? I guess in a normal town maybe there would be a steak restaurant?? But not here. So if the stupid hotel had burned down, I couldn’t have used my cell phone to call the fire department. The next morning as I am trying to leave this town on the two-lane road that covers this whole freakin state, I get stuck behind a funeral procession. Because one of the 5 people that lived here died??? And you can’t pull over on the side of the road, as is customary in the South, because you may hit a damn cow. I get back to Atlanta only to realize I was in the part of Alabama where that man went crazy and started killing everyone. So I felt like a big Asshole for complaining about being stuck behind the funeral procession….. But none-the-less, I will be just fine if I don’t see another cow, tractor, pasture or Burger King that has camuoflauged seats for a very long time.

Now that was just the work part of my week. Lets talk about some of the other things that I have lost my patience for.

Why are people so damn pushy these days?? Its like when they want something, they want it on their timeframe no matter what, regardless of the implications it has on you. Who cares that you may already have plans those weekends? Who cares that you have a family to think about and obligations to take care of? They obviously don’t seem to care about that, because you see – they decided what they want, and they want it NOW. End of story. Even if it means you can now officially call them, oh – a stalker for how obsessive they are being.  Well… I guess I have just lost my patience for that. If you can’t have understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around you, then why should I?

No means NO! If I say I can’t drink alcohol right now, then quit asking me over and over and over and over again if I want a drink. If I say there are certain foods I cannot eat anymore, then quit asking me over and over and over and over again if I want to eat these foods. If I say there are certain activities I cannot do right now, then quit asking me over and over and over and over again to do them. If I say no, I mean NO. This isn’t like some little Weight Watcher diet where if I splurge and eat a few extra points then I can just work out an extra hour or two to burn off the calories. THIS IS MY FUCKING LIFE PEOPLE! I hate to be so blunt and vulgar, but damnit. This is my heart. This isn’t an extra pound I can get off, this is my hearts ability to keep pumping. Which just in case you forgot, KEEPS ME ALIVE. This isn’t a damn game to be played with. And for the life of me, I don’t understand why people don’t understand that???? I don’t mind if someone ask me if I want a drink. But when I say no, then drop it. Don’t sarcastically tell me, “Oh, one won’t hurt you.” (and this isn’t just with alcohol – I get it with food, with exercise, with everything I am not allowed or supposed to do right now) Really? Really??? Because you’ve looked at my last echo and can see something different than my cardiologist saw? Because if I can’t get my heart function stronger than I have to get a pacemaker to force my heart to pump correctly since it doesn’t seem to want to do it on its own. Now can you please tell me what part of that is a joke? What part of that is a laughing matter?? What part of that is not serious? Its exhausting. I would not ask an alcoholic if they wanted a drink, would you? I would not ask a recovering cocaine addict if they wanted a hit, would you? I wouldn’t hand a pack of cigarettes to someone who finally quit smoking, would you? I wouldn’t ask someone allergic to peanuts if they wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, would you? I wouldn’t ask a diabetic if they wanted a pound of sugar, would you? So why am I any different????

And please let me dispell a little myth that seems to be out there right now. Just because I have to travel every week with my job does not mean that travel is easy for me or that I just love it or that it means I can just hop on a plane and go see everyone. I would love for you to carry my damn suitcase now when I travel. I have to take my scale with me everywhere I go, my blood pressure monitor, enough pills to kill a freaking zoo, and most all of my food for the length of time I am gone. Do you realize how difficult that is? And lets not even touch on the fact of how tired I stay half the time because I still haven’t gotten back all of my energy I lost from my heart going into failure in the first damn place.

I honestly was going to let all of this just go this week until I logged on to check facebook, email, myspace and saw where someone had written a blog about breaking up with their boyfriend. This blog went on about how their life was just going to be over, they couldn’t breathe, what do you do when the life you envisioned for yourself isn’t going to happen?? Now again, let me remind you before you read any further that my patience tank is flat empty, dry as a whistle. Are you freaking kidding me? You and your boyfriend broke up and you think your life is over? And here is the ironic part, this blog set me off, but lately I have heard the dumbest complaints from people. Let me give you a little reality check. You want to hear about a potential life being over??? Let me tell you about a friend of mine’s mother who got diagnosed with cancer. She fought for her life through chemo and raditation, they didn’t know if she was going to make it. Finally gets into remission only to find out a couple months ago that the poisonous monster cancer is back and she has to go through this all over again, fighting for her life. FOR HER LIFE. And you think your life is over because you and your stupid boyfriend broke up??? GROW UP! Here’s another one for you – how about my friend from high school who stopped to helped a stranded pedestrian only to get hit by a car. She is a single mom who is in a wheelchair, can’t work, needs multiple surgeries to get better, still has a son to take care of and a pile of medical bills higher than you are tall. And you think you have it tough because someone who evidentally treated you like shit in the first place broke up with you??? How about my good friend who got diagnosed with a delibitating disease last year, only to find out 4 weeks ago that her entire life is falling apart?? Out of respect for her privacy I am not going to write about the details. But let me just say if you think you “can’t breathe” because of a “broken heart” from the little boyfriend leaving, then your entire body would SHATTER into a million pieces never to be repaired if you had to face her dilemna’s right now.

Like I said, my patience tank is really on empty right now. There is a saying to always be careful how you treat people because everyone has their issues. And thats true. But sometimes I think we all need to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around us, and there are people facing much bigger issues and problems than could ever go on in our lives. So before you decide to bitch and complain about your life, take a good hard look at it. You may already have the life that others only dream of. And you may have the very life that some people are about to completely lose. So instead of bitching, be thankful for it.

Failure

March 8, 2009

Ever since December there has been one point about my health that has been driving me up the wall. A “misnomer” I feel. See I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. But I should make something very, very clear – this does not mean I am a failure and it does not mean my heart is a failure. I think it should be called Congestive Heart Temporary Disability! My heart has trouble pumping blood on its own to the rest of my body. But outside of that, my heart still has every capacity to love and be loved. So how does this mean failure? No matter how broken medically my heart is, it will always be whole with Christ in it. So how does this mean failure? From a medical perspective, my heart takes a step back and I adjust my meds, my diet, my plan of attack to get it stronger as fast as possible. How does that mean failure?

God tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us. And I am living proof that God can step in where science ends. So how does this mean failure? Because God doesn’t fail.

And if you simply just look at my life over the last decade or two. How many times has life or Reality (my main opponent right now) tried to knock me down, sweep me off my feet, devastate me, push me around???? And every time, every time I bounce right back in Reality’s face with an answer. So how does this mean failure? Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That is the approach I am taking with my heart right now. I am not going to fail my heart, and I will not allow my heart to fail. I am finding a couple of approaches that aren’t working on keeping it pumping strongly on its own in the right manner. Great! Now I know a couple of approaches not to waste my time on anymore.

Elbert Hubbard said there is no failure except no longer trying. And I must keep my mom’s nickname for me always current – I’m a cork! You can push me down but I always pop back up.  Failure was never an option in my family and its not one now. I may try 10,000 wrong ways till I find the right one for my heart. But I will always keep trying.

Henry Ford said that failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. If you can’t learn from your past mistakes, then you can never grow stronger in the future. And the simple act of beginning again – how is that considered failure?

So you see, I think we need to petition the American Medical Association to rename this disease. Its not failure! Its simply finding 10,000 that aren’t working, till we find the one that does.  And everyday that I wake up and my heart takes just one beat, one pump – its a winner! Because it means I am still alive. And that my friend, is definitely not failure!