Month: April 2017

Defining moments.

Proverbs 24:16

” The Godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overflow the wicked.”

Some of the most defining moments in our lives are simply when the fire is hot and you are in the frying pan. You know the times when you simply do not care who is watching because you are so stressed that the “real,” you shows outwardly. Bad things happen and people want to know how other people are going to react. That’s not a pretty thought but none-the-less, it’s true.

I am not defined by what I do necessarily, but I am defined by how high I rise after I have fallen. When people see me at my worst, they want to know what am I going to do next, they want to know how am I going to handle the situation, they want to know what I am really made of.

Go ahead, show the world what you are made of today, show them who you really are!

Lupus a Tough Disease to Spot, Treat — Health News / Tips & Trends / Celebrity Health

MONDAY, May 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Lupus is difficult to diagnose and treat, but scientists are working to learn more about its genetic causes and to develop better treatments. The autoimmune disease affects between 300,000 and 1.5 million people in the United States, and as many as 24,000 are diagnosed with lupus each year, […]

via Lupus a Tough Disease to Spot, Treat — Health News / Tips & Trends / Celebrity Health

“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4: 11b-13

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Being content is not being passive but it is about being comfortable with who God made you as a person. We can all look at ourselves and think, “I could have done better,” and allow that to motivate us to be a better person, that is a great motivation to action idea.

To be comfortable with who God made us, is not an excuse to do nothing, it is saying, “I have been created for a reason, even in the situation that I was born,” God has a plan. It is never too late to fulfill God’s plan for our life. God does not make mistakes and we were not a mistake in any way, God has a reason for our existence, it is up to us to find that reason and do the best we can for Him.

Being content is a spiritual state of mind. That state of mind looks beyond the natural into the supernatural and says, “despite what I think about myself in the flesh, God has a reason for who I am and where I am, I will do what He has called me to do.”

 

Praise you in the Storm.

 

“If you spend your time waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”

Morris West

Yesterday was a bitter-sweet day. I went to the cardiologist for my test results and I received answers from testing at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville FL. I didn’t get the news I wanted, I expected a beautifully wrapped box with a big red bow on it with a cure for all my ailments. I wanted a fix, I wanted an answer.I have lupus, and I know that there are no definite answers for that.

Lupus has devastated my body,with fatigue, musculoskeletal inflammation, arthritis, joint pain, burning, pins and needles, my digestive system, weekly INR checks, iron infusions, my heart and lastly my brain.  I have been having arrhythmias, where my heart flutters all the while in the middle of a lupus flare in my chest. It feels like my heart is doing somersaults and it is an unsettling and an uncomfortable feeling. I fainted last week when my heart fluttered as I was loading the dishwasher. After going to the cardiologist, the next day, I wore a heart monitor for 48 hours. It revealed some things. My blood pressure drops low when I stand for a period. I am at risk for fainting after a brief period of consistent standing. I have some conductivity problems that keep my heart from staying in rhythm. My brain just doesn’t communicate with my heart to stay in rhythm. It’s called neurocardiogenic syncope and it’s common with Lupus patients.

Although, I didn’t get the shiny box with a bow and a cure inside, I still consider it a blessing from God. Yes, I have Lupus and yes, it’s affecting me neurologically and my heart but it’s not going to kill me. My heart is strong. I have good blood flow. The neurological problems make me slur my words when I get tired and when my heart flutters. I am going to feel that awful flutter of my heart and be uncomfortable. However, I am going to adjust a few things and I will be ok.  I must listen to my body and not push through even though that is against my nature, pushing through will only make matters worse. This is how it is, it’s Lupus, the invisible mysterious disease.

The test that I had on my stomach should have shown narrowing, it did on the last test months ago, but it didn’t this time, I absolutely believe God had a hand in that. My digestive system is not functioning normally and it takes a long time for my system to digest anything I eat. I must be on a special diet to keep everything working and it consists of mostly liquids. I cannot eat anything that I want, and I will still have to take medicine to make my digestive system work because I am sure my digestive system went on vacation for a while. I am just very thankful that I don’t have to have any surgeries, every surgery that I have had has caused many new issues each time.

Even though this wasn’t exactly the shiny box with a bow and a cure inside, even though it wasn’t how I pictured how I wanted it to be delivered, God gave me answers according to what I needed. God is still working miracles, and although I cannot say that I am healed completely, God is making this bearable. I am going to praise his name and thank him for never leaving me or forsaking me. 

 

 

 

Listen, and stand in the gap.

 

Life can sometimes hit us hard with situations, it can knock the breath right out of us. It can deliver bad news when you least expect it and can leave you with no words to express your hurt. I have been thinking about this for a while now and the way that we respond to others that are hurting. It’s funny even my dogs know when I don’t feel good, and suddenly the house will get still with silence and I will find myself surrounded by some of the best and most expert comforters. They say nothing. They are just with me.

 

 I have categorized myself as a fixer, when I see someone that is hurting I want to fix it. I want to listen and offer my encouragement, and I have always thought that as a pretty nice quality about myself.  Last week, I had a unique perspective though and I learned something through my husband. Sometimes the best thing you can do is say nothing at all. Sometimes the one thing that a hurting person needs is stillness, but also know that there is someone there ready to fight the battle when it’s time.  We had to go to the Mayo clinic again, just to get some tests that the doctor ordered for my ongoing stomach complications. It was quite disappointing when I found out that David would have to take an entire day off just to drive me to get my blood drawn and have an MRI and then we would leave Jacksonville without even seeing a doctor. David didn’t hesitate though. We dropped our son off at school and we were on the road. We got there early, they got my blood in less time than it took to park. My MRI wasn’t scheduled until 12:30, it was a fasting test, so we had time to waste. We decided that we would drive over to the beach. David knows that is my place of serenity, he hates the sand, but he put me first that day and let me go out to the water and just be. He never said a word.

 

When I was first diagnosed with Lupus and I was in the middle of a monumental overload meltdown when my spiritual father said to me, “I am standing in the gap for you.” Let me explain what that means, I was devastated and heart broken and vulnerable. The enemy, Satan, knows my every weakness. When I found out I had Lupus it hit me like a ton of bricks, and it crushed me. I was sad and disappointed. Satan could have beaten me with this devastating thing happening to me but my spiritual father stood in the gap for me. That meant in my moments of weakness he was lifting me in prayer. To this day, 3 years later, I know that when I am facing my giants he is standing in the gap for me. That’s all I needed, I didn’t need the I’m sorry’s, or the pity, I was already sorry and didn’t have the words to explain anything I was feeling. I just needed someone to stand in the gap and listen.

 

Sometimes, I think we think we must jump in and say the right thing way too fast when we come across someone that is facing something difficult but sometimes there are just no words to be said. Sometimes the best thing to do for someone is to just listen and say nothing at all. Stand in the gap. People can mean well and say a whole lot of somethings or a whole lot of nothings…. when sometimes there are just no words.   

stand in the gap img1

 

 

An encouraging word for today.

Every morning my Pastor takes his time out to send everyone in our a church and few others a personal devotion via text. I appreciate the time that he takes on these because sometimes his words are exactly what I need to see. This morning was no different, as I am heading back to the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville for testing today.  If you need a little bit of encouragement today this devotion is definitely for you. Feel free to leave a comment or a thought.

Matthew 10 : 29b-31

“But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

God knows everything that is going on with you. If He sees every sparrow that falls, if he knows every hair of your head, He is concerned for you. Nothing catches God by surprise. He was not surprised when sickness came, He wasn’t surprised when sorrows came, He wasn’t surprised when the bank account said zero, He isn’t surprised or caught off guard about anything in your life. I know the next question in your mind, “Then why hasn’t He done something about it?” I will tell you this, He was in action before that situation happened, we just don’t see it at times and then other times we are too busy doing stuff that we failed to see God’s warnings and God’s signs. No, He doesn’t just automatically stop every situation that happens, we live in a fallen world, but what He wants to do is be your strength, your deliverer, your hero. I have seen God move in incredible ways in peoples lives that were on their death bed with cancer, not healing, like we want, but do incredible things in the persons life and those around them. I have seen Him move spiritual mountains and provide ways for His people when it looked impossible. But what is impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18: 27). Faith is believing when you can’t see it, touch it or feel it. Faith is a knowing God has been on the move before anything ever happened. Nothing catches God off guard. NOTHING!

Trust

Satan is always trying to push back and make me fall, the closer I get to God, the harder he pushes.  God never said it was going to be a cake walk but as long as I fix my eyes on Jesus he is always right there. Trusting the unknown is hard to do, I do know that, but when it looks impossible to get through another day, don’t look back, don’t look around the corner to find out where this leads to, trust that there is a plan and purpose just for you. Trust that even when it’s looking like there is no hope, God is going to step in and save the day. He is the hero, he is the Master, the creator of everything, and God is in control.  God has never left me, he has never forsaken me, and even though I have my trials and challenges, he has always found a way for me. Even now when things look scary, and it looks impossible, God is still my only hope and my salvation. I am putting all my eggs in one basket today and that’s in Jesus to catch me if I fall.

“My Grace is sufficient is for you, for in your weakness I am made strong.”

 I am going to be real, I have had a rough few weeks. Lupus has inflamed my entire body, feelings of pins and needles if I get touched, heat radiating throughout my body under my skin, chest tightness and pain, body aches, fatigue, sleepless nights.  I was recently admitted in the hospital overnight for chest pain only to find out that Lupus is affecting my heart and that Lupus is causing a lot of inflammation. It’s hard enough for one illness but it is even harder to take on multiple. I struggle each day to get out of bed but I try to make sure I accomplish at least one thing. It takes great strength. I am not superhuman, I have the same fears, and worries as everyone else, I am just learning to handle it with less of Tabitha and more of God.
While I was in the hospital I had a stress test, it was only four minutes long and it was medically induced. I had been forewarned of what it would be like, I was told there would be discomfort, I was told all the scary things that may or may not happen but I knew that I had to face this four-minute test just to make sure my heart was strong. After all I had chest pains, and I had been told I had partial blockages. The first part was easy, they injected medicine into my veins an hour before and I didn’t feel anything. They took me down to the scanner, and I was asked to lay down on my back. Sounds easy so far. Right? I even took a short nap on the scanner as the machines ran with white noise in the back ground.  Next they took me to the “table”, where the tech said, “This is perfectly safe. ” There is something already unsettling when someone looks at you and says that.  He told me some people feel symptoms and some don’t but we want to know what you are feeling at any time.”  Again it is only 4 minutes. I was ready, it’s been easy so far! I looked at him confidently and said, ok, I’m ready, it’s just four minutes.  
Four minutes doesn’t seem that long when you are looking at it from the outside but for me that day, four minutes seemed like four hours. That day I had to rely on God for all my strength. Within seconds I began feeling the effects of the medicine, my head started pounding, my heart started pounding and my chest tightened up and it was hard to breathe. The heat radiated throughout my entire body and it felt as if someone had lite a match inside of me. I lay there in agony, praying that this torture would stop. They reminded me to breathe and counted down the last minute. They wheeled me into a dark room where I was to sit for 45 minutes for the next test. I did not want to go through that again, but I knew that I would have to dig deep and get through this.
I found myself in self-therapy afterward eating graham crackers and water with positive thoughts running through my head and remembering scriptures that I had read before.  I didn’t know what was ahead but I knew I needed all the strength and bravery I could get. It was there that I had realized that all of God’s word that I had in my spirit was coming to the forefront of my mind. In the midst of the worst test of my life, it was there that I realized that God was clearly speaking words of strength and encouragement to me and he had never left my side.  That day was a perfect reminder for me that in MY weakness, he is made strong and he will see me through the next time around as well. 

 

Give it to God. — Tab’s Journey

Most days I find myself in a lot of pain, from Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Raynauds syndrome and so on, yesterday was not an exception. Sometimes it is hard to always stay positive in the middle of your own pain and know that, “this too shall pass.” Whoever made that saying up anyway?!! It certainly didn’t apply to me […]

via Give it to God. — Tab’s Journey

Heart Troubles.

 

I have heard this a lot lately, “I don’t understand why God allows such hard struggles to happen to good people.” Let me first say this, God doesn’t make bad things happen, this is not heaven, things in this world are not perfect and if you are a believer in Christ you will know that Satan is going to test your faith in God because he wants you to turn. He has no reason to test the faith of an unbeliever, he already has them where he wants them. 

 

 It was only last week that I found out that Lupus is beginning to affect my heart. I have had arrhythmias for a while now, and I have struggled through dizzy spells and chest pains for some time.  Last week when the new cardiologist did another EKG and it came back abnormal, reality struck. I don’t know, maybe I subconsciously hoped that all the others were wrong, but it was like a massive wave of reality hit me in the face and still I had some peace with it at the same time. He confirmed what I already knew, that Lupus was attacking any part of my body that was healthy.  I can’t say that it’s not overwhelming to face so many things at one time, I am human, and to be honest there are a lot of moments I wish it would all just magically go away but I have learned something through all of this.  Without the hard times, where is my strength going to come from? I have a choice to run and blame it all on God for not healing me right now or face the challenge head on. I choose to face whatever comes my way, head on, because I know who my hero is and who is going to win the challenges that I face.   I choose to run to God, because,” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

 

I learned that verse the first time I went to Guatemala about 7 years ago. I climbed my first mountain, with swollen ankles and legs, in the dead heat. I couldn’t make it without a lot of struggle. I was unprepared physically and mentally for a mile hike in the dead heat on the side of a mountain. It took every bit of strength out of me to get to the top and then even more strength after a long day in the heat getting back.  I didn’t know then but my autoimmune conditions were kicking my butt.  I learned something that year though, anytime something went array or unplanned, and there was quite a bit, we prayed.  We prayed with everything we had anywhere we were, for little things like a lost bag, to big things for security in another country to let our group ahead of us in and God answered every time. You know why, He Had A PLAN and we were following his plan, we just had to ask for his will be done. He likes to talk to us!! I have learned over the years to trust in him in all things that I face. Life isn’t easy and you are not going to have anything handed over to you without work involved. God is the same way, there will be trials, and struggles and work. You will have to trust and have faith. But I promise you, God will see that you get to the other side. As for me on this journey that  I am on, it is just another mountain I have to climb, the only difference now is I well-equipped because I know who my strength comes from.