Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

I began a season of mourning for Noel in March of this year. I mean deep down gut wrenching mourning. It began after another sleepless night because of the severe pain Noel was experiencing. Her stomach was aching, she was nauseous and she couldn't sleep. So many of her nights are this way; simply put her stomach doesn't work and the doctors don't know why. I went to Google because that's where I have earned my "nursing license" to be able to care for Noel; when I don't know or understand something I Google it. Of course it was about one in the morning; isn't that the best time to learn? I started researching Myotubular Myopathy. Up until October of 2010 I had always been told that Noel's diagnosis was Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. At Noel's October muscle Clinic appointment a new Doctor saw her and said that she looked like she had the characteristics of Myotubular Myopathy. I stored that away in my brain but didn't think too much about it until that night in March. I thought maybe she does have Myotubular Myopathy and maybe that will explain why her stomach doesn't work. So I started researching; first I found a support group for kids with this condition, as I looked at pictures of two little boys I was convinced, they could have been brother and sister with how similar they looked. So I dug deeper and instead of finding a link between this disease and her stomach, I found that these kids with this disease don't live very long. Every story I could find or blog I went to ended very sadly; most the kiddos didn't live past 6 or 7. What? Could that really be? I always knew Noel's life might be shorter than most… but only to live until she's 6 or 7? My other daughter Lily would be turning 6 in April… That just wasn't enough time. At this point Noel's health wasn't very good; she was struggling to gain weight, to eat through her stomach, she wasn't constantly in discomfort and pain, she slept on a ventilator. I could imagine her being one of the kids who only made it to 6 or 7. I began to cry, to sob, to ach for my little girl. When I couldn't read anymore I crawled into the bed next to her and I mourned. I mourned the unknown, the possible, the "what if's." But that was only the beginning of the season. I didn't wake up in the morning feeling better, I woke up in the morning still mourning. I didn't know what to do with this feeling? I felt as though not many people would understand. I thought people would think I was supposed to believe in healing, that she will be restored, that she will BE HEALED. And I believe it to my core that Noel will be healed but what if it doesn't happen until she's with Jesus? It's something I understand but I was worried no one else would. I walked around heavy, full of emotion; I would cry and weep in the shower when I was alone. I would hold Noel so close, many nights I would go in her room crawl in her bed hold her and weep. Very slowly this new feeling brought me to a new place of vulnerability. Slowly I opened up to friends; I let them into what I was carrying. I invited them into the deepest places of my mother's heart; I allowed them to see what life was like for me. And slowly as I opened up during my season of mourning I began to receive comfort. I started to get help. Help with things as simple as help with laundry, as wonderful as a home cooked meal brought to us, and as deep as a prayer circle crying out for me, for Noel and for my family. And since then it's continued; the comfort has continued. During this last hospitalization with Noel I went to such a deep place with God. I was lying next to Noel in her hospital bed; she had looked horrible that day as sick as I've ever seen her. I awoke that night to the terrible sounds of her lungs. In those quite moments alone, when there was no nurse or doctor in the room, when it was just Noel, me and God I gave her to Him. I asked Him is this her time? Is she going to make it until the morning? Is this the day I leave the hospital without her? And in the depths of that place, in the midst of the deepest mourning I've ever experienced I was comforted. The presence of the Lord in that moment was so thick. I knew that He was there to comfort me, that no matter what the morning brought He would be there with me. That if I left the hospital without Noel I wouldn't leave alone, I would leave being carried in His arms. As you know that wasn't the morning I had to leave Noel, I know that the time may come but I know that no matter when that time is I will be comforted because the Bible says in Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." I also know because I walk every day carried by that comfort.


Here's a link to a great message preached on this verse: Blessed are those who Mourn

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Place to Call Home!

Earlier this year I heard an awesome sermon (click here to listen) about how we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Words of our testimony. The words of our testimony? Some may wonder why it's important to share what God's done in our lives. I knew it was important to share with you the words of my "big" testimony because I knew it was important to let people know how far God has brought me. That it wasn't myself that got me out of a hopeless life; but it was God's divine grace on my life that He brought me out and blessed my life abundantly beyond anything I could even ask, think, or imagine. But the more I think about it it's just as important to share everything God's doing in our lives, because it's all "BIG." So I wanted to share with you about the Blessing of our new Home! To start off I want to tell you how we found the house we are in now. We had been living in Fort Collins in a small three bedroom apartment. We came to a point and realized Noel needed a bigger place for her, all her equipment and her nurses. Since it's not easy to take Noel out-and-about we wanted a nice place for her to be Home. I looked day and night, craigslist, rental sites, anywhere I could think of to find a home. I got discouraged when I could never find the "right" place. Then one day I was picking up the kids from school, which also happens to be our church. I felt the Lord tell me to go inside and look at the bulletin board. It was one of those times when I wasn't sure if it was me or God so I kind of dismissed the thought. When I got to their school I had to go inside and get them, usually there is a pick up system but that day it was closed. So as I was walking by the bulletin board I remembered the thought I had to I look at the bulletin board and to my surprise I found the exact house I had been looking for! It was the price, number of bedrooms and the location we had been looking for! It was a true blessing and answer to prayer.

Now fast forward a year and a half; we found ourselves in the position of needing to move to provide a better Home for Noel. Again this time we needed a bigger house, (it's crazy the amount of "stuff" one 4 year old medically complex kiddo has; our house is a small hospital.) We also needed to be closer to city convenience; stores, pharmacy's, better schools and closer to therapy. So the search began, again. We knew our lease would be up in March so I started looking mid-December. In the beginning we were looking for a house that had a shop attached so the Dustin could work from home. We found a few options, all with house that weren't ideal but I was willing to settle. None of the houses ended up working out so again I got to a place of discouragement and I decided I had to give the House to God. At the end of May Dustin got a job that he had to have a shop to be able to complete it. He went out one day looked at a few places, came home looked on Craigslist and found two amazing options. To say I was a little discouraged would be an understatement. He found two options in one day; he got to pick which one he wanted? I was very happy for him but I was sad to think I'd been looking for months for a home and hadn't even come close to getting two options to pick from. I sat in my pity-party for a while and then decided to give it back to God. July came around and as you all know Noel was in the hospital and really sick. A house was the last thing on my mind; but in the little time I had I checked Craigslist out of habit, you know how that is: check emails, Facebook, craigslist. And again to my surprise I found an awesome house. I emailed the lady and was surprised when she emailed me back and asked me to friend her on Facebook so I could see more pictures of the house. At first I was a little weary to "friend" her but I thought hey I can always delete her if it didn't work out. Well God had bigger plans and He used Facebook. The first message I received from her was that she was praying for our family, she is a nurse and understands what we're going through and her family just wanted their house to be a blessing to another family. Wow, I was so encouraged and surprised when I read those words. At the same time another friend was renting their house and said we could go look at it. We got to take a short break from the Hospital and go look at two houses. I felt the Lord Say, "Tina you get two options and you can pick whichever one you want!" What a kind and loving Daddy to be so gracious to me even after I was selfish. We looked at both houses and realized the one in Greeley would be perfect! There was no settling; it had everything we wanted and more! So it's not just that we're moving to a new house; it's that our Heavenly Father blessed us with a wonderful Home! I hope this encourages you in whatever you're going through. Sometimes the "Weight of the Wait" makes us heavy, discouraged and frustrated; it's when we give the burden back to the Lord and let Him carry it that we can wait in His Peace.