Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Precious Words

Well, I think I'm slowly recovering from my trip back from Dallas. I still don't have energy for doing much of anything, much as I wish I could. It's a daily battle to be content with all my limitations, knowing that God has put me in this place for a divine purpose and reason. I know that in my head, but it's hard to accept it at times when I'd rather be doing 100 other things than laying on the couch.
I love the following poem by Amy Carmicheal. It makes me cry every time I read it - partly because I can identify with it so exactly, and partly because of the tender love God showed her in giving her these precious words. I could never say it better, so here it is: (from "Rose from Brier")

"Thou hast not that, My child, but Thou hast Me,
And am not I alone enough for thee?
I know it all, know how thy heart was set
Upon this joy which is not given yet.

And well I know how through the wistful days
Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways,
As unregarded as a breath of air,
But there in love and longing, always there.

I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow
A rose for others. If it were not so
I would have told thee. Come, then, say to Me
My Lord, My Love, I am content with Thee."


My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

rubix cube

At the moment my life feels like a rubix cube. All the colors are messed up, nothing is in line, etc. I work hard to turn the right corner and voila! one line of colors matches up! Then I turn the next corner and things are jumbled again. So I keep turning corners. Sometimes the colors line up, other times they seem more confused then ever. Some days I wonder, 'Why do I even bother? These colors will never be set straight.' But then God reminds me that the rubix cube is in His hands. I may think I'm the one turning things, but in reality He's the one who's in control. I can only trust that one day He will line up all the colors and everything will be made right.
As I've just illustrated, it seems like every day there's some new direction or change in my situation here. Last week I saw 2 new doctors, both of which had totally different ideas of what's wrong wtih me and what to do. After a misunderstanding over my bloodwork, one of the doctors dropped me. So now I'm down to one doctor again. He wants more bloodwork still. It seems every day I pray for wisdom about what to do with all these decisions. Tomorrow I'm supposed to get the bloodwork done, so tonight I have to decide which blood tests to do and which to leave out. I've also started the allergy skin testing for molds, which hopefully will be helpful once I get on the allergy shots. However, it will take at least 2 more weeks for me to complete the skin testing just for molds. So I have to make decisions about that too.
I've been talking with other patients here, which is also helpful, though at times confusing. The general consensus is that most of the doctors here have actually made people worse. There's only one doctor who so far I've heard good things about, but he's also the one who can see certain things around people (a little scary if you ask me). It's frustrating to see how many people have gone through so much and still not been helped. Most of them end up doing their own research and essentially treating themselves. I really don't want to earn my amateur doctor's degree through extensive study...but maybe that's something I should be doing.... Only God knows. I know He wants me to be willing to do whatever HE wants me to do. It's just a lot easier in theory than practice. =/ I have learned a lot since we've been here, but as far as what the outcome of all this will be, I'm still uncertain. I know my Father knows, and I trust His care even when it doesn't make sense.
Anyway, that's how things stand today, but you never know what will happen, 'As the rubix cube turns...." =)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Time

I spent most of Thursday afternoon talking with another patient here. He's extemely sensitive to anything electrical (thus he can't use a computer, cell phone, etc.), so he spends a lot of time reading. He's very knowledgable about a lot of things related to his health problems. I basically just picked his brain for over an hour. And we talked about other stuff too. It was a good way to spend the afternoon. On Friday & Saturday I didn't feel very well, so I spent too much time watching TV and started to feel like a couch potato. It's funny, but since I've been sick, I've had more time on my hands and less energy to do anything with it, than ever before. It gets pretty frustrating thinking of all the things I'd like to do, but not having the energy to do any of them. So then I just start thinking about all kinds of things, and pretty soon I'm tired of even thinking at all! So the easy way out is to turn the brain off and watch TV. Then, of course, I feel like I've wasted the whole day, and it's time I'll never get back.
Time is such a strange thing. We are bound by it, we measure our lives by it, we can't live sanely without it. How it boggles my mind to think that God exists outside of time. It is His creation (invention), something He controls, not something that controls Him. I can't imagine God ever sitting around doing nothing, just waiting for time to pass. I'm very thankful that God is always at work, always available for me, always good.
I keep praying God will teach me to "make the most of every opportunity" even if the opportunity is to do nothing, wisely.

Tomorrow I'm seeing a new doctor, Dr. Kathrine. I hope she'll be a good listener and that I'll be a good patient. =) I also have my first appointment with Dr. Johnson on Wednesday, so it'll be a busy week. Hopefully in the in between times, I'll spend less time watching TV and more time talking with Jesus. I'm glad He always has time for me! =)
Thanks so much for your prayers!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Attitudes

"On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'" -Mark 2:17

I read this verse today and felt convicted by the obvious truth in it - that those who are sick need a doctor. After so many years of going to doctors who couldn't help me or even made me worse, I've developed a bit of an attitude toward doctors in general. Yet, the Lord reminded again that I do need a doctor. So I prayed He would lead me to the right one and help me to have a right attitude about it.
And of course, I immediately got an opportunity to put my prayer into practice. Yesterday my mom called a doctor who works part time at the clinic here, but she also has another office about 15 minutes away. She wanted us to come to her office today to see if I'd be ok there. So this morning we drove over. It had some chemical smells in it (carpet, etc.), but it didn't make me nearly as sick as the clinic does. Dr. Katharine was there, so we met her and talked for a few minutes. Unfortunately, in those few minutes she made a very bad impression on me, and my bad attitude quickly returned.
It's very difficult to explain to anyone who hasn't been through a similar experience what it's like to walk in my shoes. (I'm sure that's true of every individual going through hard circumstances.) Some of the doctors I've been to have been sympathetic and kind, even if they couldn't help me. Others have been insensitive, thus adding to my dislike of doctors in general. This doctor made the mistake of asking me if I really want to get well. (I told my mom if one more doctor asks me that I'm going to throw something at them!...well, maybe I won't....) It's just so frustrating to talk to a doctor for 3 minutes and have them imply that I don't really want to get better, that my negative attitude is what's making me feel sick, not an actual physical problem, etc. How can you expect a patient to have confidence in a doctor who thinks like that?
Anyway, after being mad for a while and venting to my mom, the Lord reminded me I needed to forgive. And I need to trust Him that if this is the doctor HE wants me to work with, then He will give me the grace for it. After all, it was kind of her to agree to see me at her other office, and maybe I misjudged her in those few minutes just like she misjudged me. (At least I hope so.)
Sometimes I get so sick of all the frustrations in my small life. I long to be set free from them. But I suppose in essence, that is a selfish attitude, because I know that God can display His grace through them, if I let Him. I definitely need prayer to keep a right attitude, mainly that it's not about ME. It's about God and what He wants to do. And even though doctors are far from perfect, I know God can still use them, if I can keep a good attitude toward them. =) Attitude truly does make all the difference.
So, my mom is typing a long letter to this doctor all about me. Maybe it will help her have a more accurate picture of my situation. She said she'll try to schedule an appointment for me on Monday. In the meantime, I didn't get in to see Dr. Johnson this week, so I'll be seeing him on the 13th after all. In view of that, and Dr. Katharine's comments, it looks like we'll be here for a couple more weeks at least. It's not what I wanted, but I know God's grace is sufficient to change my attitude so that I will want what HE wants. I sure am glad He puts up with me, bad attitudes and all. =)

In the meantime, we've been trying to find things to do here in Dallas so we're not cooped up in the apratment all day. Yesterday we went to see this special mustang sculpture in Irving. It was really amazing! I told my mom I need "horse therapy." =) I'd love to find a place where I could ride a horse for 15 minutes, but I doubt we'll find anything. We'll see. The adventure continues...guided by God's loving hand.
Sweet dreams!

Mustang Sculpture

Yesterday we went to see a mustang sculpture in Irving, TX. It was great! The horses are huge! Hard to get good pictures of all of it though. There's also a museum, but it wasn't open yesterday.



Saturday, August 2, 2008

the maze

We've only been in Dallas one week, and it's been a crazy one! I feel like I'm in a maze. I turn one corner, think I'm getting somewhere, then hit a dead end...go back a few steps, try another route, hit another dead end, etc.
Yesterday was supposed to be my second appointment with the doctor at the clinic. He was going to meet with me in the hallway since I can't go into the offices there. I'd been waiting about 30 minutes when I started smelling something in the hallway too! I ended up sitting in front of the elevator while my mom had the appointment with the doctor. It actually worked out pretty well I think. My mom took notes on everything he said for me. Basically he recommended a few things I could do, but said to try those and then come back to the clinic in a few months and see if I can tolerate being in the offices then. So even though we were discouraged that there's nothing else they can do for me at the clinic at this time, at least we had some other options to try. BUT then as we've been researching the things he recommended, they don't look like good things for me to do.
So then I spent some talking with other patients about different doctors and felt like I could try a couple of them, UNTIL we talked to a few other people and found out more about those doctors. I know all this sounds rather nebulous, it's hard to explain, but apparently several of the doctors people are recommending might be dangerous in a spiritual sense. At least two of them say they can see energy fields or auras around people. That right there scared me enough to say, No thanks! I really had no idea that this kind of thing had creeped into the medical field so much. It's sad too. People aren't getting help from normal doctors, so they're desperate and willing to try anything.
Anyway, I praise the Lord for protecting me so far from actually having an appointment with one of these doctors. It's hard to know what to do next though. I'm still waiting to see if Dr. Johnson can get me in earlier than the 13th. If not, I was hoping to have something else to try this week, but we'll just have to see what the Lord brings up. Even though I feel like I'm in this maze, getting nowhere, I know He is in control and has a purpose even in all the 'wrong turns.'
Yesterday when I was waiting for my mom at the clinic, another patient asked if I was ok. She was very interesting. She said she was a Christian, but she also talked about having a few drinks, and she smelled like cigarette smoke. She was really sweet though and starting encouraging me to have faith. I was very humbled that God would send me such an unlikely encourager. I felt like I should have been the one witnessing to and encouraging her, but there she was reaching out to me. It was just the expression of God's grace that I needed to get my attitude back on track. God is so kind and merciful to us weak creatures. As Psalm 103 says, "He knows that we are dust." Yet His love is higher than the heavens! Praise His name!
So after we left the clinic yesterday I was still feeling pretty toxic. We ended up going out to this park by the lake that we found the other day. It was so nice to breathe fresh air and just watch the water with the Dallas skyline in the background. There's nothing like God's beautiful creation to restore a right perspective on life. =)
I hope when Monday comes and we have to make more decisions about what to do, that I'll remember that the one who takes care of the birds (and the squirrels) is taking care of me too.
Thanks for your prayers!
Keep following Him through the maze. =)
-Joanna

Dallas Pictures

Here's some pix from our time so far in Dallas.



Cool house, eh?



My new friend. =)




We found a nice park by a lake.




Our 'allergy-safe' appartment.