Goosebump Faith

Your faith is so strong you give me goosebumps.

I read that on my Facebook page this morning and I wasn’t sure what to think.  I’m sure it was meant as a compliment.  As a matter of fact, I know it was.  The woman who wrote it isn’t just some random somebody.  She is a friend, and I am confident that she was trying to be uplifting in her words.

Problem is, reading the words made me feel sort of like a fake and a phony.

Strong faith…ME?  I sure don’t feel like I am very strong in my faith.  I feel SCARED, more scared than I want to admit.  First the back.  Then the stroke.  And now the doctors tell me there are two masses on my thyroid.  I found out about the masses on Monday, and was told on Tuesday that more tests need to be done to determine just what the masses are.  My doctor did say that he thinks it is very unlikely that either mass is cancer.  Thank you, Jesus, for that!

Back to the faith thing….  My friend posted the above comment because I’d something along the lines of being scared but trusting that God will get me through this.  I don’t know that it is really some deep seeded, strong faith that made me do that.  It’s the fear.

I can’t do anything about what is happening, so I have no choice but to let God handle it all.

On my own, I am too weak to handle this.  Trying to be strong—for my husband, for my kids, for everyone around me—is so tiring.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t even admit out loud that I am scared.

But I am.  My name is Lynn, and I am scared of what is happening inside of my body right now.

The way I see it, though, I have two choices.  I can give in to that fear and hide in my bed with a box of Girl Scout Cookies and a tub of butter pecan ice cream, avoiding anyone and everyone who loves me.  After all, if I don’t see them, I won’t have to pretend to be strong.

Or I can admit to the fear and hand it off to God.  Health issues aside, I have a great life.  My husband is the best I could ever have hoped for.   I swear, he makes Prince Charming look like an ogre.  My sons are full of life and full of love.  My parents are awesome.  And I have the most wonderful friends a girl could want.  And I have a ministry through my writing that I can feel God moving through.  If I give into the fear, I could never enjoy and appreciate any of that.

This song by Matthew West has been on my heart all week long.  It says just what I am feeling.

God, I can’t do this on my own—I don’t have the strength.  But I know that I can do ALL things through Your strength.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A Stroke of Blessing

The last six months or so have been one physical struggle after another.  First it was a heel spur and stress fracture on my right foot.  Next came these terrible back spasms that popped up out of nowhere and got progressively worse.  The spasms, I learned right around Thanksgiving, were caused by three herniated discs in my lower back.  One disc was so badly herniated that I had to have the disc removed.  Nerves to my lower body were pinched off.  Once the disc was out, the pain was gone but the numbness remained.  While going through therapy to help “wake up” some of the nerves that were damaged, I developed a blood clot.  That cleared up, and I ended up passed out on my kitchen floor.  I’ve been on blood pressure medication for about 2 years to keep it regulated.  The dose was set before I began losing weight.  The medication brought my blood pressure to a level so low that it caused dizziness and that led to the fainting spell.  From November 23 to January 9, I was hospitalized four different times, at two different hospitals.  I was pretty much trapped in my house, unable to drive and at times barely able to walk, for nearly 2 months.

I used a lot of the time off my feet to write.  One novel, Miracle Play, was finished and sent to the publisher, while a second novel (my sixth novel overall), To Love Again, was nearly finished.  Miracle Playwill be for sale on April 5.  To Love Again should go on sale August 13.  Being off my feet left me plenty of time to focus on God and on writing the stories He wants me to tell.

Even with the new blood pressure medication, the dizzy spells have continued.  My doctor ordered a CT scan of my brain to see if there is a reason for the dizziness.  When he got the results, he sent me to a neurologist.  It took about 3 weeks for me to get in to see the neurologist (closer to 4 because he had a family medical emergency out of state to attend to) so I assumed the test, though possibly abnormal, couldn’t be anything serious.  If it was serious, they would have rushed me in, right?  Well, I finally saw the neurologist yesterday.  The news wasn’t good.  It wasn’t as bad as it could be, I suppose, but it wasn’t good.

The CT scan shows a spot on the left front of my brain, a small spot the size of a pea, that was caused from a stroke.

Me and my son, Seth. He sure keeps me smiling!

I have had a stroke.  I’m 36 years old, I have three young children, and I’ve had a stroke.

My doctor thinks he knows what caused the stroke.  After my gastric sleeve last May, I had an episode of atrial fibrillation.  A-Fib causes the top two chambers of the heart to beat faster than the lower two chambers.  This makes the blood not pump correctly out of the heart, so it doesn’t circulate through the body as it should.  If the blood pools in the heart, it can cause a blood clot.  My doctor believes that a tiny blood clot broke loose of the heart, traveled through my body, and lodged in my brain.

This shook me.  My mother-in-law passed away from stroke complications.  So did my grandmother, I believe.  I’ve had a stroke.  Now I am going to die.  That is what was going through my head.

The doctor stressed that this is a very, very small stroke.  So small that we didn’t notice it until it popped up on a CT scan ten months after it happened.  He ordered some more tests, to be sure that my heart isn’t still beating funny and to judge the likelihood of another stroke happening.  I feel confident in the medical team that I have working for me on this one.

Last night, I decided to do a little research on the type of stroke I’ve had.  I learned that a stroke caused by A-Fib is very common and is the most deadly kind of stroke.  This is what I found at about it…..

An A-Fib stroke is worse than other causes of stroke. Half of all strokes associated with atrial fibrillation are major and disabling.  23% of A-Fib stroke patients die, and 44% suffer significant neurologic damage. This compares to only an 8% mortality rate from other causes of stroke. Strokes in women are more
disabling than in men.

This just confirmed to me that satan is attacking me.  He is trying hard to stop me from writing what God wants me to write, from doing the work that God wants me to do.

But do you know what else this tells me?  It tells me that I serve a Big God.  So what if satan is after me?  The devil may hate me, but my God loves me even more!!!

Avoiding Bible Study

I love to read.  Most anyone who knows me knows that.  I don’t think that is a particularly unique statement.  A lot of people love to read.  And I honestly don’t know how anyone could be successful as a writer without having some sort of passion for writing.

Most of my reading is novels.  Outside of my children, there is very little in life that gives me the same joy as becoming lost in someone else’s life.  That is probably why the non-fiction I am most likely to pick up is biography.  I love to read about the choices others have made a learn from their mistakes.

What I don’t like nearly as much is looking at my own questionable choices and mistakes.

I think that is why I avoid Bible reading as much as possible.  There is no way to read God’s word and ignore my own shortcomings.   At least, not without feeling tons of guilt fort trying.

At the beginning of this long, nh church started reading through the Bible together.  Well, reading through the New Testament as a group.  Our pastor found a special edition of the New Testament to read and discuss.  We are supposed to read 6 pages per day, 5 days per week.  When Pastor Clive first mentioned it, I thought, “I can do this!”  After all, 6 pages is not a lot.  And since I’d been meaning to read my Bible more often, this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  Yet here we are, 3 weeks into the project, and I have yet to take part.  Sure, I have a lot of writing-related things going on, but is that really reason enough to NOT spend time with God?

I am good person.  Not perfect, but there has only ever been One perfect person.  But I know I am a good person.  I also know that being a good person isn’t enough.  Knowing God and believing that He sent His only son to die for me isn’t enough.  My faith is a good thing.  It’s an awesome thing, actually.  But even that is not enough.  I need to believe that Jesus died for me, have faith that God has forgiven my sins, and put action behind that faith by living a life He is pleased with.

How can I know that He is pleased with my life if I don’t know what He wants me to do to please Him?  And how can I know how to be pleasing to God if I don’t study His Word?

I need to get past the excuses and, as Nike would say, Just Do It!  I need to show my children how to put God first in their lives by making sure that He is first in mine.

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