Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wasted Faith--or Was It?!?

This topic-this subject-in our OBS of the book Greater by Steven Furtick-was a difficult one for me. For any who have read the 'Our Story' blog posts here on this blog, you will understand where I am going here. Could I be the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings? Yes--our similarities are striking. Including her son crying "My head! My head!". The first observable seizure my son had, these were his words, "Ow! Mom! My head" and out he went, almost to the point of being intubated because he wouldn't breathe. My life changed forever that day.

All of my life I grew up watching mighty miracles from God in both my family and my church. I had SEEN His provision, His healing, and His protection. Heck, I was the recipient of those blessings many times, but unfortunately, had my own agenda and didn't take the time to notice it.

Prior to this event with my son, about 5 months to be exact--a postpartum illness and sick newborn--drove me straight into the arms of Jesus. I was never so serious or so dedicated in my WHOLE life, to live for Him.  I wanted to live for Him (not felt threatened too as many in our church made us feel). Regardless of the cost. I often prayed for Him to make me a disciple. To teach me. Well, it has been a tough road but can I say I am thankful? YES. Am I still learning? DAILY--I make a lot of mistakes. I am one of those students most professors dread. ;)

My son's seizures went from bad to worse the more medicine they poured into his little 11 year old body. I was still struggling with health issues. I had a 6 month old baby to take care of (I had lost her twin when I was between 9-11 weeks pregnant)--I also had a 2 year old and a 9 year old. He just kept seizing. This kid would seize over 50 times in a day. The medicine was making him an emotional zombie--he would either be crying, angry or drugged out. We had taken him to the church to be prayed for, he was anointed with praying oil by the church, my grandma, and my family. One day, things came to a head and he went into a massive seizure that almost killed him--he was in the hospital at the time. But GOD was right there. Bryce came up out of the bed praising Him!! is where the Greater study struck me. On pg. 98 of Greater, Pastor Furtick says, " And instead of being given beauty for ashes, they are given ashes for ashes."

Bryce's condition got worse. We were facing 2 brain surgeries. The EEG showed continual seizure activity, even though we didn't always SEE them. 24/7 seizures for a month. BUT THEN GOD....Bryce started to get better. The 'lesion' on his brain causing the repeated seizures 'disappeared' about 1 WEEK before surgery #1, but I thought I had lost the sweet, caring, helpful, beautiful child I once had. . Instead, he was moody, angry, rebellious, sneaky and getting into a lot of trouble. I prayed for not only restoration of my son, but one who was better than before. For God to restore, as He did for Job and to restore what the locusts had taken (Joel 2:25).

Shortly after this, by about 3 months, my other son, Logan, developed extremely high blood sugar. The tests were working him up for Insulin Dependent Diabetes. His tests were touchy, and he was rushed to a specialist. Mamaw grabbed the praying oil and we prayed for him. BUT THEN GOD.......completely healed him! His next round of tests (and those since) have come back normal. He is such a sweet blessing to me.

So, now, sitting here 3 years later can I say that faith was wasted? I was so AFRAID at the time, and crying out to God, "Why? After I gave my life back to you, why?". And do you know, in all of His MERCY, He answered me. I 'wrote' Him a 4 page letter, and do you know that I now know the answers to those questions? Do you know that I now 'know' Him, and not 'know of' Him? I love Him with all of my heart.

Wasted faith? NO WAY!! My boy Bryce? The one with all the issues? HE is twice the kid he ever was. HE counsels me. He is more caring and compassionate than he ever was. AND!! He just informed me that He feels called to ministry! This child, who the doctors said would have MASSIVE brain damage and virtually be a vegetable when the seizures were over........scored NEAR genius level on an IQ test DURING his 24/7 seizures. They didn't even let him finish the test, so we don't know his 'full IQ'.  He is now 15, taller than his mama and about 175 lbs! He lives a happy life! (He was a runt lol) He is hopeful, as are we, to God for full healing, but he accepts these 'trials' as he calls them. He said he had learned, as Paul said, to be content in all things. His favorite to quote? James 1:2-4. The Lord uses my son to teach me about faith almost daily.

And again, WASTED FAITH?!? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Could I say that then? No, it did 'feel' wasted. But you know what? FEELINGS ARE FICKLE. We serve an unchanging, compassionate, merciful, and loving God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baby Steps...or Leap of Faith?!?

Small steps of obedience....or a leap of faith? One. By. One. Doing the OBS over at on the book Greater by Pastor Steven Furtick has really stretched me. In more ways than one. 

According to my Bible dictionary, obedience is "the carrying out the word and will of God." and then, "obedience is a POSITIVE, active response to what a person hears." (caps mine). Growing up I was a pretty rebellious teen. Obedience, to me was never seen in this POSITIVE light. I wanted to do my own thing. Perhaps that is why God is calling me to take small steps of Him. Those who know me, I mean really know me, know what I am talking about. I am literally a modern day Saul to Paul transformation once Jesus got ahold of me. So when the term obedience comes up-I shrink back a little. Not in rebellion this time, but because I love Jesus so much that I don't WANT to disobey anymore. My problems, or 'nets'? Confusion and fear.

God has been working on a lot of areas in my life and in my faith walk. To trust Him in big things, not just the small things. As many of you may know, we suffered a year of devastating illness in our family. The last 3 years have been some of the most uncomfortable and unsure years of my whole life. I am a woman who needs structure. Who needs control. Who needs to know what is expected of me. Which leads me to thankfulness for the next scheduled OBS coming up: Let.It.Go. Yeah...He's a working on me. ;)

His whispers to me then, are the same as they are now, "Believe". It is difficult to say what 'small steps' he is asking me to take. From my viewpoint-they seem pretty big. The NUMBER one step, of course is obedience. To hearken to His voice. The second one that I can identify is fear. Fear in general and fear of man (and man's opinions). It is paralyzing my ability to do what He has called me to do. This Scripture runs through my mind often:

Joshua 1:9

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Hmm. Obedience and fear...they go together, no?

I am a pretty shy person 'in real life'. Not because I am stuck up, not AT ALL! I associated with many of Lysa's thoughts when we did the Unglued study last time. What people 'may' be saying or thinking about me. It has been difficult for me to pack up, move to a new place, and find 'godly girlfriends'. But, you know what? He has provided in spite of me. Sweet friends whom encourage me in my walk in Christ, and who are not afraid to 'gently rebuke' me either. Most especially to pray for me--even over the phone!

He has really been calling me to step out of my 'comfort zone' lately. To 'dig ditches' towards my heart's calling--Women's Ministry. All the while digging deeper ditches for my highest calling--as wife, as mother, and as homeschool mom. I dropped a lot of the hats I wrote about in Unglued. Willingly. It's my Martha WHILE being Mary time. To focus on what is important. Instead of working with what I ALREADY had, I was looking for 'greatness' that Pastor Furtick describes. Not working with what I already had. Not thankful for the opportunities already in front of me. Three ditches were dug this week, with possibly a fourth one tomorrow. I am so looking forward to how HE can bless and multiply my loaves and fish when it looks like a hungry crowd is drawing near. How HE can work in me, despite my limitations. All it takes is: SMALL STEPS OF FAITH....working my way towards Him while walking on this stormy water. Not taking my eyes off of Him for a moment.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Burning My Plow AND Dropping My Net

This study couldn't have come at a better time. Honestly. I was beginning to get stuck in what Pastor Furtick refers to as "Spiritual Monotony" (pg. 26). I had prayed for so long to be used by the Lord and then WHAM! Several opportunities came and I jumped at every. one. of. them. Sound like a recipe for disaster? Or burn-out? Absolutely!
 As I mentioned in a blog post for Unglued, I wear many hats. I homeschool my four children, attend seminary classes on-line myself, and was leading two on-line Bible studies. One was made up of mostly local gals and some of their friends/family back home in Ky. Things were starting to clash. I no longer remembered why I was doing some of the things I was doing. I began to murmur. (I didn't want to spend 40 years in the wilderness either--wink wink). As I was doing the homework assignments for this week (along with a 10 page research paper for class), I stumbled upon Matthew 4:18-22. You know, the ones where He told them to come and they IMMEDIATELY dropped their nets and FOLLOWED Him. Ouch. Things got worse, (despise not the chastising of the Lord, right? I LOVE the way He deals with us), when I dug into the notes in my handy NIV84 Life Application Study Bible recommended by Melissa and several other OBS gals (thanks so much!). It says: "They left immediately-they didn't make excuses about why it wasn't a good time." Double ouch. I had felt the Lord calling me away from leadership of the second group. I obeyed and called in a co-leader. Then, I felt Him wanting to change the direction of that group but I was too busy reasoning about how 'important' it was to so many people. *blush* (I am thankful we serve a long suffering and merciful God). After reading that today, I knew immediately what I had to do. And oh, how it hurt! It was where I got my start, my fire, my energy, my love for journeying with other women into a relationship with the Lord. It was an inductive Bible study I reasoned; it's different than what I am doing here in this OBS. *see the excuses here?*
Today, I burned one plow (I know there are others) and I dropped my net all in one action. I felt called to have more passion and be greater in what He has already given me and He provided a tremendous blessing with this OBS opportunity with Melissa and the others. I need to be greater with my family. I need to be more passionate in learning about Him. And I need to quit holding onto the old things, 'just in case', and prepare for the new things He is calling me to.
Now, the other group can focus on where He is truly calling THEM. To exercise THEIR spiritual gifts He has given them. To use that group as a place of prayer (which, since the scheduled reading stopped--really amped up), a place of encouragement, and a place for us to discuss, as able, what we are learning in our journey with Him no matter where we are or what we are reading.
Praying God gives you the strength AND courage to let go of whatever it is that you are holding onto so tightly.

Joshua 1:9

New King James Version (NKJV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (from

Jennifer Newsom
OBS Group Leader

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lifted Up! My 'Greater' inspiration

I have been extremely blessed to have my grandma Callie in my life as long as I have. She is a sweet, spunky  83 year old woman. It is a little ironic that this would be one of the blog topics, especially how much my grandma loves the stories of Elijah and Elisha (however, she is more of an Elijah fan, wink wink).

For as long as I can remember, my grandma always talked to me about God. She talked about Him in a way that you don't hear in most Sunday sermons. It was as if she literally WALKED with Him. She depended upon Him for everything and spent so many hours in prayer for us and for anyone else who needed it. My grandma lived a hard life growing up--abuse, neglect and poverty--among others. She married my grandpa when she was about 14 years old. Only able to attend school for one full year--3rd grade--she didn't read or write well. She had to help take care of the house and her siblings.

Flash forward--years later, she would give her heart and her life to Christ. She perfected her reading and writing skills by reading the Bible and, what we would call 'journaling' today, the Bible. She spent much time in her 'prayer closet'--her bedroom--drawing near to Him. Honestly? I learned more from what I SAW out of her then I ever did in what she said to me.

She would give her last bit of money to anyone--even now on a fixed income. She would go to the jails to minister to people. She would minister to you in Wal-Mart parking lot (wink wink)! Complete strangers stopping by her house got to hear the message of Christ too.

My grandma never lived what the world would term a 'rich' or 'fulfilling' life. She always had just enough money to get by no matter how much she gave to people. God took care of her every. single. need. And the stories she could tell of how He helped her. The relationship she has with Him. The unshakable faith she had in Him.

The 'greater' life for her? WALKING WITH GOD. He permeated every inch of her. She showed me that this is possible. One can have a true relationship with the Lord. Not just a mediocre walking into church on Sunday, waiting for the sweet by and by relationship. But one of constant dependence on and conversation with God. A life lived in love. A life of serving others. A life of complete surrender. And, that IF you trust God, greater things are possible--far greater than you ever imagined or asked for. They just may not look like what our perception, or the world's, of what greater truly is.
From Chapter 1, "Because the call to be greater is the call to walk with God Himself."~Pastor Steven Furtick.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dear Lysa-not Dear Abby by Jennifer N

Thank you for openly sharing your life-your heart-your story. The enemy tends to make us feel alone-isolated-crazy...... But, by sharing your story-you have instilled new life into something that was beginning to fade for me-hope. Hope for change. Hope for a 'new beginning'. 
A soul searching question from page 24 caught my attention, and begged to be answered. "Could I trust God and believe that He is working out something good even from things that seem no good?" My oldest son has been through some major health issues the last 3 years. Did I trust God to work out something good from that? Yes. When our world was being turned upside down financially did I trust God to work out something good? Yes. So why is it that I believe He can work all those "major things" out for good--but not my 'ugliness'-the scars I hold inside-the stresses I face-the things that make me come unglued? That "Feeling unglued is really all I've ever known. And I'm starting to wonder if maybe it's all I'll ever be."? (p. 14)
The same shame you mention, slithering up close (DAILY for me)-"Look at you and all your Bible studying...what good is it all?" Your "what a lie" statements went right through me, pierced deep into my heart. Yes, I had been believing a lie for so long. Living a lie for so long. I am not a sum of past mistakes. I am not a sum of my short-comings. I am not a 'victim' of poor temperament. I am a beloved child of God-and He has supplied me with all I need to live a life pleasing to Him. The Holy Spirit-my Comforter, Counselor, Advocate, and Teacher.
Thank you for being so real-for allowing us to see that-to give us hope.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (NIV 84)

Rev. 12:11: They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony....(NIV 84)

Thank you for sharing your testimony. Please keep sharing your testimony. May God bless you abundantly for it.

With Love,
Jennifer Newsom
OBS group leader (Melissa Taylor's OBS)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Negative chatter and the 'J' woman collide--Jennifer N

Negative self-chatter. Comparison. I could write a book on this. I was blessed by Lysa's take on it in Chapters 9 and 10 of Unglued. To see that I am not alone.

No matter what I do, it's not good enough. No matter how much progress I've made, it's not enough. Self-defeating thoughts. And on....and on....sound familiar?

I tend to listen to it far too often. From myself. From 'well meaning' friends and family. Either way, I listen far too often.

You see--I'm a mama with many hats. Some would say too many hats. But, for this season of life, this is what He has called me to.

  • I homeschool 4 blessings--ages 14, 12, 5 and 3. I love them dearly.
  • I am a wife to a man who works hard and works long hours. A man who is my best friend.
  • I am a nurse. Although I am currently not working for 'pay', I am working in other ways.
  • I am an on-line Bible study group leader for 2 amazing groups of women. Melissa Taylor's OBS, which has been a tremendous blessing in my life (these women are real and have beautiful hearts y'all!) and a group that is mainly made up of local Ky gals who read through and discuss parts of the Bible together. And pray. A lot.
  • I am a student. I recently started Liberty University's Wilmington School of the Bible on-line. For enrichment. For what I feel is a new direction for my life. 
In all this, I remember my life verse, Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (NKJV)

My mission looks 'different' than many people. My personality is different. My 'calling' is different. So why do I often compare myself to others? Why do I allow myself to not 'feel good enough'?
This is what His word says, and is one of our memory verses for this week:

Galatians 6:4-5:
Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. (NIV 84)
*Each should carry his own.....hmmm.......

My wise 14 year old told me to look this verse up last night:

Colossians 1:10~that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (NKJV).
*For a really neat application to this verse (that answers many of my questions) check this verse out in the Life Application Study Bible if you have one.
My works, my WALK, is to be pleasing to HIM. Not to myself. Not to someone else's idea of what my walk should be. To be fruitful in EVERY good work. Whatever it is He has called me to do.
Is it easy? No. Did He promise it would be? No. His burden is light, because His yoke is easy--He is yoked to us and will help us. But He did promise to never leave nor forsake me. As we learned in another memory verse for this study:

Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (NKJV)

In my 35 years on this earth, I have been through a lot. Not as much as some people, but enough to know that it has to serve some purpose. That the trials were not in vain. To bring God glory through my life as has often been my prayer.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (NKJV)

1 Corinthians 15:58

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (NKJV)

My answer to my negative self-chatter and comparison? To those 'voices'?

1 Corinthians 15:10

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (NKJV)

Jeremy Camp: My Desire

The voice that needs silenced--Jennifer N

Negative inside chatter? Sounds like fodder for a visit from the men in white coats huh? Why is it that society is so quick to place a label on everything as either 'normal' or 'abnormal'? I used to joke to people and say, "Of course I talk to myself! I was an only child!" But the truth is, those words are not always nice words. Kind thoughts. I am my own worse critic. Reading Chapter 10 in Unglued, I see that I am not alone. Lysa's exact thoughts could be my own:

"Why did you say that? Everyone thinks you're annoying."*
"Your kids just illustrated inadequacy you have as a mom."*
(Unglued, p. 141)

One of my biggest battles always has to do with motherhood and my role as a wife. My role in my heart for talking about all Jesus has done for me--for walking through the valley with women facing many of the same issues I have faced.

2 Corinthians 1

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

So, how do we silence these thoughts? As an ongoing daily battle, I am still working on this. Imperfect progress. Moving the line in the sand. Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace....all words we learned from Unglued and ones we should remember.
The first place we *should* go when we have these thoughts is straight to God's Word. Let's see what He says about us:

Jeremiah 31:3

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting lovehave drawn you with loving-kindness.

1 Thessalonians 1:4

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We know how important the Word of God is in any battle:

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Ephesians 6:17
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Does it surprise you that the only offensive weapon we are given is His word? Does it surprise you that one of the weapons used AGAINST us are words? In looking at the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, satan used and twisted Scripture (Psalm 91) to tempt Him.
True change, lasting change, comes from a renewal of our minds-asking God to sink His words into our hearts and minds.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Praying for and with you sisters. May we keep pressing forward with His help, His grace, and His mercy. Silence the voice. Silence it with the weapon you were given by God. Look to what He says about you, not the voices...........

Big Daddy Weave: Redeemed

Blessings to you,
Jennifer N, OBS group leader

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our story part 4

While we were at the other hospital, I received a call from the well known Children's Hospital we were awaiting to get in for a second opinion. Once they heard the seriousness of the situation we were facing, they bumped up our time to come in. We were hopeful.......
Sometime later, we set off. My husband, myself, my son and my mom. Making an 8 hour drive. Bryce was drowsy and 'out of it' from all the medicines coursing through his body and weak from the repeated seizure activity. Rather, the constant seizure activity. We pulled up to the hospital and had to call for a wheelchair. My strong boy was tired. And weak. These seizures left the right side of his body almost paralyzed. They actually did paralyze his right hand and arm up to his elbow, the rest was just so weak. I was so tired, yet hopeful. Hopeful that they could find some treatment, anything but brain surgery. This hospital was highly ranked in the US News and World Report's list of best children's hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
Fast forward. We got him settled in. We thought we were to see the main doctor--the reason we came. Rather we were told we would see an associate through the weekend. Someone not familiar with him. Someone who had her own 'plan' of how to treat him. I was not happy. More meds were started. More lethargy as my child slept away most of the day and night.
Monday came. The doctor finally came. He didn't want to run too many more tests and instead 'wait' for the other hospital to send the ones they did. I was under the impression they had their own tests to run-different tests--wasn't that why we came? He did mention a few--some sounded pretty dangerous, almost as bad as the surgery itself. I was disappointed. More meds started. We weren't as close to the nurses and staff as we were at the other hospital and I felt alone. Except one sweet nurse and one EEG tech we are forever grateful for. Each day brought the news "We are still waiting for his test results from the other hospital." Still seizing. More meds started. IV and oral. He went from sleeping all the time to suddenly being unable to do ANYTHING for himself. He didn't eat much. We had to help him use the bathroom. We had to give him bed baths. We had to turn him every two hours and apply cream because his skin was getting compromised. As a nurse, I knew if we didn't do something, he would develop bed sores and maybe atrophy. I tried to do exercises with his limbs. I asked for specific creams.
My husband and I kept 'shifts' with him. He did the nights, I did the days. (We both worked night shift at our jobs). I spent much time in the room crying out to God and begging Him for healing. Begging Him to guide us. Bryce was getting worse. Was I being stubborn? I questioned myself AND my supposed nursing knowledge greatly during this time.
When they seen we were getting upset, they finally decided to order some tests. The other hospital had yet to send any. So, we went for another MRI and a few other tests. By this time, the list of 'bad' meds he was on was astounding. They were trying their best to get him medically under control. I understand. But I am a mama first. And I didn't like what I saw. I went to the bathroom and called his other neurologist from the original hospital. I was scared. I didn't like what I saw. I wanted to come back 'home'. He said not only would they accept Bryce back, but they would hire a plane to meet us at the airport and fly us into their home airport. The hospital we were at couldn't get a helicopter out for a few days and they would have to stop and refuel before arriving at the other hospital. I couldn't take that chance. And I couldn't afford the private plane the home hospital offered-I knew insurance wouldn't cover that. Since I was a nurse, our home hospital said to release him to me for the drive back. I had been dealing with him through it all and they felt it was ok for me to bring him in.
We told them about it and the social workers were not happy. They didn't want to release him. They hadn't been able to get ahold of the neurologist and wanted to know how I did and what 'connection' I had. (The home hospital is a world wide known hospital too). I told them I had the neurologist's personal cell phone number and I would have him call them. A couple hours later, they came in with release paperwork and said they still didn't know how I did that-the neurologist told them about the offer of a plane to come get him. Well, honestly, I don't either. All I know is the 'home' hospital has always showed love for my family and Bryce. And I was praying often for the right decision. That is the only answer I can give anyone.
When we finally arrived at the home was a sight. We were admitted by some interns and resident. One of our favorite nurses came in and made everything stop. She was calling his neurologist right away. She was deeply disturbed by what she saw. She said, "This isn't Bryce. What happened to him?". He was on so many meds that he couldn't function on his own. AT ALL. We did everything for him. And I mean everything.............

Friday, October 19, 2012

BOP--Biblical Operating Procedure

Doing the Unglued study with Melissa Taylor's OBS has been a blessing. Leading a beautiful group of ladies in this adventure has been an even bigger blessing. Seeing the things they go through is an example of a 'perspective-magnifying opportunity' that Lysa talks about in Chapter 8. Two of such ladies in this group are foreign missionaries. Their lives and what they face have been both an inspiration and a perspective changing opportunity for me.
While I trudge through my 'unglued' experiences, it is important for me to remember several things, aka my BOP--Biblical Operating Procedure, to keep me 'glued'.

1.) Focus. "Keep your eyes on Jesus". I must do this first and foremost. I taught my girls this in homeschool last year with a craft. Rather than look at the storm around me, I must look at the one who calms the storm. (Matthew 14:29-31)

2.) Remember and Rejoice. Often times the same things I prayed for seem to be the things that cause me to be unglued. Be thankful for them! (Eph. 5:20)

3.) Pause. As we learned from Deborah Pegues, "there is power in the pause!" Let the heat of the moment fade. React to the situation--not to the emotion I am feeling. (Prov. 15:1)

4.) Think. How would I like to be spoken to in the same situation? (Romans 12:3)

5.) Respond. Appropriately. (Ps. 19:14)

While I am still making 'imperfect progress', I can see how much this BOP is going to help me. First and foremost crying out to Jesus for His help, His perspective into this situation. This helps for the explosive moments. The stuffing moments? Still working on those..........chisel.........chisel...........

God bless!
Jennifer N, OBS group leader

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our Story part 3

Trying times were soon a coming. After that wonderful event that happened in part 2, things didn't just 'get better' right away as I was hoping....and *blushing* expecting them too. No, we would have to walk through  what seemed like 'the valley of the shadow of death'. At the same time my son was experiencing these things, I too, was undergoing some health crises of my own. After the delivery of our precious 4th child, a daughter, I had developed some health issues and old ones started flaring up. I refused to pay too much attention to them. I refused to do anything besides take care of my son and my family. We have a wonderful family doctor. Not only was he there for me and treating me, but he was there for my son as well. We all spoke by phone while in the hospital. Asking him for advice--him seeking out as much information as he could find--always looking for 'the best' in healthcare for our dear boy-speaking to his son who was in neurology rounds at the time. He also encouraged all of us and answered his phone when we needed him. We thank God for him. He narrowed our search down to 3 hospitals to choose from when we decided to seek a second opinion. We took one closer (can you call 280 miles close?) and he was trying to reach them to get Bryce in.

Bryce was soon sent home from the hospital. Still seizing. Still often. We would make trips back and forth to the local Children's hospital. During our time there, they ran so many tests. Injected him with so many medicines both for his seizures and for tests. I was so scared and calling out to God, "Please, this is my fault! Please don't let these medicines hurt him. Please let him be normal.". They began to tell us that every time he seized it was dangerous to his brain. He could have brain damage. To them, the only option was surgery. We had tried a lot of meds and now they were sending in people from the surgery team left and right to talk to us. Social workers, nurse practitioners, assistants, etc. I had so many business cards it was awful. I just wasn't ready for that. I was still praying for God to 'miraculously intervene'. I read the New Testament often-most especially the miracles of Jesus. I knew the Bible said that He was the same yesterday, today and forever. I had hope. I knew surgery had to be the last option and at that point, he seemed 'stable'.

Boy, do things get darker before the daylight. We would soon find out just how dark.

Bryce was still at home.Then, one day we noticed something 'different' about his seizures. Mainly confined to his right arm at this point, with occasional spreading, we noticed that his arm was locked. Bent towards him. He was crying in pain. It was red from all the muscle work and warm to touch. Something was not right.  It wouldn't loosen--it wouldn't stop. I was hesitant to return to the familiar Children's hospital because we were waiting to get into the #2 children's hospital in the nation for neurology and didn't think we had time. I called our family doctor, whose son was in medical school and doing neurology rounds in another local Children's hospital. He sent us right away to the ER there and warned the ER doc and his son ahead of time we were coming. The son was to be notified when we were there so he could tell a certain doctor. As things often do, the bottom fell out. Actively seizing, we were sent to the waiting room for hours. But 'if his seizures get worse we will pull him in right away'. HOW MUCH WORSE CAN HE GET? The seizure won't stop!!
Long story short, due to poor communication by the ER, neurology went home for the day when we finally got pulled back and seen by a Nurse Anesthetist  who was 'training' in ER. All of the usual ER docs were busy. She was very unfriendly and didn't seem concerned. *Disclaimer--I love Nurse Anesthetist's and some of my great friends and the colleagues I had from work taught me far more than I can ever describe. This is not a rant on a particular career or type of doctor. It had to do with the gravity of the situation and the way she acted.  *

Luckily, while I went out to the car, the #2 hospital we were waiting for called me. They had a bed for him!! The problem? It was a week away! I told her the situation with him and the horrible ER care we were receiving and she called the doctor then immediately called me back. Her response? "Bring him as soon as you can--we will make room." Oh! I was so thankful at that moment and ran back into the ER and said "Let's get him out of here!". More time later, we finally had someone grace the door of our ER room. It was a Pediatrician who wanted to admit him to the Pediatric floor. I said "Absolutely not! He is having a seizure, he has a seizure disorder, and he needs to be on the Neurology floor not Pediatrics." Even though I am an RN (ED myself) AND most importantly his mother, she just looked at me blankly and said, "No--he can go to Neuro tomorrow if they want him to. Pediatrics tonight. Neuro has gone home." I was livid and told them we were leaving and he was heading to another hospital. More hours later, the new 'night' shift came on (I was a night shift gal myself so I love those types haha!). She took better care of us in one hour than we had been treated in the previous 5. Never saw a doctor after the initial "So, what seems to be the problem?". Never saw a nurse. The poor Paramedic felt sorry for us and came in several times to check on us. The supervising doctor checked on us twice but he couldn't do or tell us anything. I had to beg for test results--they drew blood but were going to discharge him without telling us anything. If they weren't building onto the hospital behind us and had bullet proof glass, we would have went through the window to get out of there! The arm had let up. A little. It would soon return....

 I was thanking God and so excited for this chance. I was still full of hope.

My 'bubble' would soon burst. The hope would remain though not as bright, the elation would turn to fear and anger. But NEVER did Jesus leave me. As a matter of fact, He became more real to me in the coming months than He ever was (sadly) and more faithful than anyone I had ever known (He didn't sleep-when I cried out in the middle of the night or I couldn't or wouldn't sleep, He didn't leave. He didn't  need to sleep.)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our Story Part 2

The next day, we were transferred to the first of many children's hospitals-in search for answers, second opinions, just support in general. What we soon found, were doctors just as confused as we were and MANY varying opinions. While writing this, the verse James 1:8 comes to mind: he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does. (NKJV). That would describe the doctors, interns, residents, students, as well as myself. I am an RN, had been for 5 years up to this point. Mainly working the Emergency Department. I knew what they were saying. I questioned many things only to get, "Oh, that's not important!". Hmm...brain asymmetry NOT important? Soon, they began to warn others about "that nurse mom in room...". I became what I thought was my child's leading researcher. I spent so much time on the computer looking up things it 'could' be, things they were saying, tests, and the US News and World Report rankings of children's hospitals for neurology. My family doctor stayed in close contact with us as well, advising as he could--his son was in Neurology rotation at the time, and trying to get us into other hospitals for a second opinion. You see, at this point, my son's seizures looked strange. Finger twitching. That. Was. It. Try typing that into a search engine. The residents all said it was not seizure activity and perhaps he was faking. Well, they didn't have him hooked up to an EEG monitor so how would they know? Finally, we went home. Once home and off the massive amounts of IV medications, his 'true' seizures began to manifest. Mainly contained to his right arm. My child is a DOMINANT lefty, and for this, I found myself thanking God. Even when it would paralyze that arm for hours at a time. But, this would be our 'best days' for a long time. Soon, the seizures amped up to almost 50 a day. He had been in and out of the hospital. Tried on every med. Declared allergic to most. One med, the one that seemed to help him, caused a horrible blister like rash that almost went into what is called Stevens Johnson Syndrome--not a good thing for an 11 year old to have. God was faithful. He heard my many cries, and I was comforted. Several people commented on how calm I seemed given his condition. I can only attribute that to God--I haven't felt that before.

One night, not long after all of this started, he was having really bad seizures--lasting longer, still his right arm but his leg was starting to bother him too. We rushed him up to the children's hospital (over an hour away). While waiting for the intern, Bryce got a scared look on his face. He said he heard screams. Suddenly, he went into a long seizure and was grabbing at his neck--he couldn't breathe. The nurse and intern came in the room and were filling his IV with meds. Actually, ever the nurse, they were pushing them way too fast which was contributing to his inability to breathe. I began praying and asking God not to let him go this way. I was preparing myself to say goodbye. He looked horrible! Finally, after much meds and the interns screaming "Stop fighting the medicine! Just go to sleep!", the seizure calmed down. At this point we had a resident and several of our 'favorite' interns in the room. We will never forget them. I heard Bryce mumbling something I couldn't understand. Our favorite resident, Dr. White, looked at us and said "Does anyone in your family speak a foreign language?" I didn't initially know what she was talking about and jokingly said, "Well, my grandpa IS German." Lo and behold I turn around and Bryce IS speaking in a 'different' language. He was walking around the room, (this child had enough Ativan and Dilantin to put a Clydesdale down), singing, "I'm saved, I'm saved!". I said, "Your safe?". He said, "No, I am saved". The rest of the night was spent with him singing his way through all the stories of the Bible, how the sacrifice of animals only covered the sins of the people, praying, and speaking in this 'foreign' language. I knew right away that NO MATTER WHAT happened, my son was going to be fine. That is when the peace that surpasses all understanding was guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
Philiippians 4:6-7~~Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God; (7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV).
I had already memorized these verses, and they had seen me through very trying times. God had heard my supplications. Soon, I would come to not only understand this 'peace' but to KNOW the peace giver in ways I never had before.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Our Story part 1

I will never forget September 11th. However, that date now has new meaning for my family. On that date in 2009, our whole lives changed. I dropped my sons off at school like everyday, then came home with their two sisters, who were 2 years old and almost 6 months old. I remember watching footage of the attacks on our country via television that day, it was a remembrance special. That afternoon, I went to the school and picked them up. My oldest son got in the car and started telling me, "the weirdest thing happened to me today". As he described this "episode", (I am a Registered Nurse), my mind immediately screamed "he has had a seizure...or a stroke!". Seeing as how he had no residual damage, I assumed the former and told him so. I then called his doctor. They were booked, but one of the other doctors could see him that day. We dropped the other kids off with their Granny and headed straight in. We were only in the exam room a short while when he screamed "Ow, my head!" and went into a large seizure, causing him to loose consciousness and begin to turn blue around his mouth. I hollered for help, and they arrived. The ambulance rushed him next door to our local hospital and into the CT scanner. (This is the same hospital I was employed at). That night, my precious, intelligent, handsome, strong 11 year old son lay in the bed zonked on medication. This kid has such a big heart. His dad worked nights then and he always tried to "fill the role" of 'man of the house'. Helping me put little ones to bed, helping with meals, and constantly peeking into my bedroom saying "Are you ok mom? Do you need anything?". For a long time, he and his brother slept on the floor of our bedroom to 'help if needed'.

I got down on my knees that night in the bathroom of his hospital room, crying my eyes out to God. Begging Him to heal him. Begging Him to take the seizures away. We had only recently returned to church and I had rededicated my life back to Jesus, a few months prior, and had been through many battles before this one. I developed multiple post-partum issues, not to mention a very traumatic birth experience with my then almost 6 month old, and she had developed a large hemangioma on her hand and major bowel impaction.

I even 'wrote' the Lord a letter of sorts, pouring my heart out to Him. Begging for answers. Seeking His healing hand. And, yes, asking why? I couldn't understand it. I wrote out Psalm 91 for my son and during the next few months (I will describe later), he carried it with him every time we were in a hospital. He would soon spend A LOT of time in children's hospitals. My mom and I could barely sleep, we just watched him and cried, so afraid we were going to loose him. So afraid that this was a "life sentence" for him. Not knowing where to turn next. I was just hopeful God would intervene somehow. Little did I know then, how much He would intervene, but not how I thought He 'should'.
Isaiah 5:8-9~ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (NKJV).
I would learn very much, how this verse would apply in my own life..........