Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bats, Birds and Busy Little Bees

2:14 am, Monday night. The soft red glow of the numbers reminded me of how late it is. Sighing, I slowly swung my legs over the side of my bed and picked my away across the cluttered floor towards the door. I was going out. Managing to remember my phone to light my way down the stairs, I quietly walked across the hardwood floors of the library and the kitchen. Pushing the sliding door open, I took a deep breath. Most of the heat had left, as had the humidity. Even the wind had died down, leaving an almost desolate feel to the unusually calm evening. The grass was wet as I wound my way to the trampoline. I climbed onto it and laid down on the damp black expanse, staring at the sky. Orion was just visible above me, and an occasional plane flew by, it's lights blinking yellow and red.

That day had been better than the 4th of July. I was happier, and much more content with my situation in life. Friends had responded to my last post with emails, facebook posts and messages, comments on the blog, and phone calls. Who wouldn't be happy at all that attention? *chuckle*
But as the evening wore on, I began to reevaluate myself. What kind of person was I? Where was God leading me? How closely was I walking alongside Him? And so I prayed. I prayed out loud, pouring my heart out about my fears and concerns about my diseases. Asking Him to give me the strength to walk strongly in the faith, growing instead of settling for the status quo. I asked that, if it be His will, the doctor would have good news for me that day. And, crying, I praised Him for his goodness to me while I all to often shelved Him and His will for me in favor of what I wanted, felt, and thought. It was good to unburden myself, and I found peace again.
Every time I go through one of those "cleansing talks" with my Father, His peace always seems new and fresh, always different and more fulfilling than the last time. It's a wonderful feeling, one that I hope each of you has felt at some time.
After about 15 minutes of talking to Him, I just lay there. I listened to the small fountain gurgling and splashing in my neighbor's backyard. I heard the tall grasses gently sway as small animals went about their way. And I heard the occasional echoing chatter of the bats darting too and fro above my head. Like shadows, they flitted about, first five of them, then ten, and then I lost count, reveling in the thought that I had infiltrated their world, watching them go about their nightly routine.
A quick flutter here. A whisper over there. A breath of air near my ear. They flew all around and I could sense them near me.

All too soon, my allergy to mosquito bites urged me to retreat indoors. As I slid off the trampoline's edge, I flipped open my phone. The light was of no use, but it attracted a few more bats, their dark forms almost imperceptible against the navy sky and the shadowy hawthorn winding upwards in front of me. God's creation is awe inspiring. It's one thing to see a wild creature in captivity. But to see it in its natural habitat is a whole other experience. It was only with great reluctance that I shut the glass door behind me, sparing the realm of the night one last, fleeting glance.

As I padded slowly up to my room, I was able to mostly ignore the spasms wracking my limbs. Stairs are an enemy I have yet to conquer, I'm sad to say. With my door closed  behind me, I sat on the edge of my bed and thought about that day. My time with God had put it all into perspective for me, to the point that I no longer cared about the acute loneliness of the night before. I only remembered the feeling of closure that I was given during my spiritual rendezvous a few minutes before. Opening up my newly started Gratitude Journal (Thank you Callie and Ellie!), I jotted down these thoughts:
"July 5th,
The Holy Spirit directed me to Psalm 34:4, "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears".
What a relief, to know that God is there to hold you, to rescue you, to deliver you. I do so love Him.
I am realizing this more and more now.
Psalm 34:3 also says
"Glorify the Lord with me,
Let us exalt his name together"
I think that is why I enjoy imagining singing worship songs and other christian music for a crowd, with a crowd, and/or as a crowd.
God is Good!
He deserves our Praise!
Praise His Name!"
And lastly, I wrote down my next two areas of gratitude, my list now numbering in the hundreds.

113) Knowing my God is always here for me. He never leaves.
&
114) When my email shows a new message in my inbox with a note that makes me smile, or know my friends are thinking of and loving me. Thank you God!

I closed my journal at that point, and placed it with my bible on the desk next to my bed. As I struggled to fall to sleep, a thought passed through my head concerning something my therapist had said to me a couple of weeks ago.
Trish - "Have you ever read Ezekiel?"
Me - "Yes, but it's been a while. And I've never really studied it."
Trish - "I wonder what you would think and come up with if you did study it. Your mind is able to grasp such abstract concepts."
Me - "Well, maybe. I'm not really sure if I'll read it right now or not. But thank you for the compliment"

I decided then and there, having remembered that conversation and having been filled with God's peace, that I would start the study tomorrow. There was obviously something I needed to hear in the pages of Ezekiel.
And with that, I fell asleep, having done more reading in the bible than I had done in weeks; having renewed my closeness with God; and having been given a portion of scripture to challenge me and help me grow. Monday was turning out to be quite a good day after all.

Tuesday arrived. Today I was to see the doctor, and find out why I was so sick when just two weeks ago I had been showing signs of improvement.
I woke up at 11 o'clock, which has been pretty normal for me these days. A quick shower, as cold as I could stand to numb the pain in my back, and some styling of my hair, and soon I was interacting with my family. Michael calls up to me as I stand on the landing, saying "Hello Rae-Rae!", and waving from the base of the stairs with one hand, his other tightly grasping one of his many firetrucks. "How are you feeling today, sweetie?" he asks. His high voice uttering those words caused me to break out into a wide grin. "I'm ok, Baby" I tell him. Once I reach the bottom of the stairs, he grabs a hold of my leg and hugs me. Then he turns a dimpled grin up at me and starts to tell me all about his swimming lesson earlier that day.
It's times like these that I am happiest.

Later, I help my mum find the density and molarity of several acids and bases for a neutralization equation my dad needed for some clients in Pittsburgh. That done, I sit down and start my study of Ezekiel. I fill three and a half double sided pages with notes on just the first chapter. Charts and pictures sit among my scribbled handwriting, ending with my 115th thing I was and still am grateful for: "I am thankful for all of God's efforts to reveal himself to us!"
That simple, yet powerful fact, astounds me still. That our God, so powerful and beyond mere human understanding, would stoop to show not many, but just a single man, visions of His glory, His being, His spirit, and His creatures, amazes me.
I am extremely grateful to my therapist for mentioning Ezekiel as a possible study, as I have a feeling that it will impact me greatly. Just thinking about it makes me sigh with contentment-abstract concepts, glorious creatures, the Lord's radiant throne, and His words of wisdom and prophesy, all rolled into one package. The book was made for me, or me for it. Either way, we are a perfect fit. You'll be hearing more about my study into Ezekiel in the future, I assure you. It's such a wonderful thing that the Bible never grows boring with time, only more interesting, comprehensible, and applicable!

Shortly after I finished my first foray into the world of biblical visions, I went to Dr. Fetter's office. Mum had been on the run ever since 10:00 that morning, never having a break between events except a brief stint at lunchtime. She had gotten slightly behind schedule. So, arriving a few minutes late, we got seated in the waiting room, and in no time were in the comforting blue and white exam rooms. I feel far more comfortable in those rooms than in the sterile white rooms of Cleveland Clinic, or even our general practitioner's exam rooms.

Once Dr. Fetters comes in, he starts going over the results of my Bio 101 blood and fluid test, then begins his examination of me. I test positive for all of Fibromyalgia's tender points. That was a major setback, as it meant my pain levels had gotten extremely higher since our last visit. My blood toxicity was also still an issue.
One thing was good at least. My Cortisol levels were much improved! Instead of the almost undetectable level of 2, I was at 14.9, almost within normal range. But that was the only good news. Dr. Fetters told us to dramatically change my diet as soon as possible, and to add 12 new pills to my daily regime. (I told you I was expecting more pills! Still. Drat.).
He also had some news that I was not expecting, and was definitely not happy with.
I will be back to see him in two weeks to try and confirm the diagnosis, but he thinks I might have Type 2 Diabetes, or Diabetes Insipidus. Instead of dealing with insulin and sugar in the body, my type deals with water retention. My cell membranes aren't retaining enough water, thus causing me to be constantly dehydrated, showing symptoms of a normal diabetic such as dizziness, shaking, fainting spells, and the like.
I had suspected something else was wrong...wrong enough to cause my slight improvements over the past few weeks to reverse themselves dramatically. But I had not expected a type of diabetes to be that problem.
As I have said before though, Life happens. And I will just roll with the punches, as always.
Now is the "wait and see" part, something I'm all too familiar with. I could use some prayer about this new development. Pray that my recent setbacks are just further symptoms of my other diseases, symptoms that will be reversed by the time I next see the doctor. If that doesn't happen, I may truly have to add "Diabetes Insipidus" to my growing list of ailments. Lucky me.

So, after leaving the doctor's with more bad news than good, I get home. I sit back and relax with a Poirot mystery. I share some sister time with Sarah. I talk with my friend Amber Lane for a short while, laughing over crazy customers in the retail business. I have a long snuggle with Michael in my lap as he watches Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, watching him enjoy it far more than I was watching the movie.
Finally, I got to read him his bedtime story, a children's paraphrased, book length version of Psalm 139 "Oh Lord, You see me and You know me. You know me when I sit down and when I stand up." He laid his head against my shoulder as I read, and ended with a gentle shove, a mischievous smile, and a flop back onto his bed.
I more often than not go to bed with a smile on my face after I put Michael to bed. He says "I love you!" when I close the door, and gives me a little wave. My heart flutters, this time for a good reason. God has given me a precious gift in Michael.
Goodness, I love him.

And so, I come to the present. I am finishing writing this long litany of the past two days, hoping that I am not boring you all with my words.
I have recently found out that I have many more readers than show up just in my "Followers" column. All I can say to that is "I hope you think well of me after reading all this, and I thank you for your interest.", all the while gulping in slight trepidation at the thought that a few of my mum's friends are also reading these words.
My last prayer tonight will be that I can be a Godly example and write in a manner that honors both God and my parents. Your feedback could also help with that. *wink*

And now, I will close with this:
Life has many twists and turns, and will deal you hands that are not always favorable in the "Game of Life". But God is above and beyond such things, and can help you through every bend along the way.
Remember to constantly surrender yourself to Him, and to keep both your devotional and your prayer life alive and consistent. There is no better way to stay in constant contact with our Lord, and no better way to grow spiritually.

So, World, here I come. Armed with a stubbornness that could make a mule hem and haw, my underlined and dogeared bible, and the knowledge that I have friends and family standing behind me, I march into battle.
And I pray that you all will be strong in the Lord as well, for there is no better way to weather this life than with Him always by your side.

May you all be well, and far better off then me!
Love,
-Rae

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