Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oceans

While on my run along the beach today, I realized something.  God opened my eyes to something new and wondrous about the ocean.  The calm, peaceful and repetitive ways seemed to echo the sound of my soul.  


Running is therapeutic for me.  A way that I can let go of what has been going on - whether it be the list of to dos, including packing for Australia to visit my baby sister (!), or concern for loved ones - I can let it go.  And as cliche as it is, I can let it go and let God.
Running is a time for prayer for me.  A time when I can just focus on God - and especially His goodness.  Because every time I run now, I cannot help but think about the miracle He did in my life. How the impossible not only became fathomable again but actually possible.
How I can get out of bed, slip on a pair of runners, and go.

But I also realized something else.  The oceans waves aren't always so mellow and therapeutic.  They can be harsh, fear-bringing, and life-threatening.
But regardless of what they bring, they always come.

And that got me thinking and praying about life. 
About life and what it has brought and what it may bring.
About how it will come.  It will always come.
And I have no control whether it will be peace or fear bringing.

But I do have a constant that I can rely on.
He is in control.
He knows what the waves will do now, tomorrow, and fifteen years from now.
He knows and allows them to be as they are.
But He also has the power to speak "Peace, be still" and calm them.
He has the ultimate control of the waves of life -
as well as the perfect goodness to hold us through it all.


And for that I can praise Him.
Praise Him all the day long.


(Oceans by Hillsong ... a song that seems fitting and has also been a constant in my morning routine and life really recently!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Remember

Remember.
Remember when things were different.   
When life was filled with confusion.  Darkness.  Questions.  
And death seemed all too real.


A week ago I was remembering this.  Remembering when the darkest time of my life all started.
November 11, 2012 my journey into the darkest and most confusing time of my life began.
After struggling for breath and the strength to stand, a dear friend of mine took me from church to the hospital emergency room.   I remember I had a poppy on my jacket and seeing services commemorating the bravery of the many soldiers who fought for our freedom on the waiting room television but the rest is a fog.  A fog of tests and questions.  A fog of unknowns and discomfort.   A fog of pain and confusion.
What was happening to me?  

But that question couldn't be answered that day.  Nor can it really be answered to this day.
But one thing I do know is that the fog of that day and the dark mist of the months to follow cleared.  The light shone in.  He shone in.

He changed my life.  He brought hope, love, and comfort in the most hopeless, dark, and desperate time in my life.
He came.  He saved me.  He freed me.

It was Him.
It was always Him.

Regardless if answers are there or not.  Regardless if clarity is there or not.  Regardless of it all. 
It is Him.

Regardless of what life may hold today.  Regardless of how dark or hopeless it may be.
It is Him.
He is the answer.
He is the hope.
He is all in all.

He frees us.  He holds us.  He bravely and scandalously came and freed us from the darkest depths of all.
He came.  He is here.  And He is holding us.
In the dark.  In the confusion.  In it all.

And sometimes He is hard to see.  But I think it may be because we don't want to see. 
We don't want to see the good that is promised.  To think that good is possible.  To think that there is a plan.
Because at points I honestly did not.  I did not understand it at all.

But He did have something greater in store.  And honestly my life would look drastically different today if it weren't for this suffering.  My faith would lack depth.  I would still be so desperately trying to control life and change things on my own.  I would continue to hide my suffering... my story.
But He changed this.  He changed me.
And I will always remember that.
I will always remember what He has done in my life this past year.
And I will celebrate Him and how He never left.
And how He will never leave.


One of my first blog posts was about this day.  And I am amazed looking back and reading of the work He was doing in me then.  Amidst my suffering.  So I want to leave you with my ending words from that post about Remembrance Day and the new hope and meaning I gained from it last year.  In hopes that these words may encourage you wherever you are on your journey this day - for even amidst the intense dark, it is Him and He is there.
So on a day when we normally celebrate our country's freedom, I was feeling more and more confined, confused, and helpless.  I do not like that Remembrance Day will now always remind me of my own struggles when I know that the people who fought for freedom went through much worse than this disease.  I pray instead that when I wear a poppy again, I would not think of my struggles or even their struggles alone, rather I pray that I would think of His blood shed for me, for them, for us all.  I pray that the poppy would symbolize freedom in Christ above all other freedoms.  I pray that the poppy would cause me to remember the pain but also the peace that Christ gave me that day but that I would not stop there.  That I would remember the fight that Christ has won through conquering the grave, instead of remembering my feelings of the grave or the graves of soldiers alone.  But more than that, the cry of my heart is that we would be able to wear our struggles, pain, and grave-like times on our shirts as we wear the poppy.
(Read more from this post here)

Much love and blessings.
xo 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Forever Held

It has been months now since I have been stuck sick in bed.  And these past few months have been absolutely incredible.  Full of learning, experiencing things I love, doing amazing activities with people closest to me, and choosing to rest and sit in His love.
I am running again, painting again, cooking again, traveling again and dreaming again.
And God is good.  So good through it all.


Even today as I sit sick.  
Sick for the first time since being truly sick.  And yes it is just the flu and I know I have no need to worry of relapse because the flu is normal, but it still makes me think things.  Less things of worry of becoming as I was, sick as a was, but more things of how I was.
The fear and reality of what being hopeless felt like.
How I did not know if 'better' would ever be my reality.
If I would ever go to Guatemala again, let alone get out of bed.
If my life would be filled with love and joy again.

I am officially weaning off of my antidepressants now - Praise the Lord! - and although I don't feel hopeless or depressed now, it reminds me of where I was.  The reality that was my life.  And yes He never left me and never let me go but it was still a dark valley... the darkest valley.
During that time I drew a picture of an old key and captioned it 'Locked Inside'.
That was a scary time for me.  Realizing that was what was happening. 
And although I wish I were never on antidepressants (and not because of the stigma but because I believe there a lot of other ways to heal from that low now), I recognize that coupled with intense prayers and the constant holding of my Saviour, that I was able to come through that. 
Into light.  Into hope. 
Into life and life to the full - even while I was still in bed. 

So although this time of feeling like I am run over by a truck is real and happening now, I don't need to worry.  
I don't need to fret because I know He holds me.  
He holds my future. 
And He will never let go. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Brutal Honesty

I went for coffee with an old friend yesterday after my art class.  Well I had peppermint tea because I'm doing a 10 Day Detox (check it out here! It's put together by my health coach Amanda Daley and it's awesome!  I am deconstructing cravings and also detoxing from all the meds I have been on throughout my journey this past year!  And I can excitedly say I am officially weaned off of all my sleeping pills now, which only leaves the antidepressant and I can probably start weaning that soon now that I'm off everything else!!)
Anyways, back to what I want to write about today... Sorry I have a bit of a tendency to go on rabbit trails when I am excited about something!

So we went for coffee/tea to catch up, talk about Guatemala and church.  And we ended up coming to the topic of brutal honesty.  And how far too many people say they are good when they are not.  So I was like "well let's do it - let's be brutally honest."  And we decided to hold each other accountable to a month of honesty - to everyone.  And I hope you will consider joining us too!


But I got to thinking how hard it was to answer the "how are you?" question when I was sick.  I didn't want to be flat out honest with how I was struggling with depression, not getting better, and wondering if I would ever get better.  Partly because of selfish reasons.  Pride is there and it's hard to admit you are really not doing well.  
But I also found I didn't want to share how I was really doing because people didn't want to hear anything other than "A bit better" or "Today is a good day!"  And this was really hard for me.  I didn't want to lie but it was way easier.  And to someone I wasn't close with, I just didn't want to have to get into it. 
But what good does saying you are well when you aren't do?  I don't think it does any.  Yes it's important not to get stuck in the bad and to focus on gratitude and reasons to be joyous.  But honesty also sets us free.
And it is freeing to share how you are really doing.  What is going on in your life.  What your struggles are.  And what your joys are. 

And yes it was really hard to answer honestly when I was sick but I find it almost harder now.  
Harder now because people expect I should be great - because I am doing better.  
Harder now because I don't want people to think I could be getting worse. 
Harder now because I refuse to go back to how I was.  To be sick again. 
Harder now because I know I have so very much to be grateful for and have such a story to share. 
Harder now but that doesn't excuse it. 

So in all honesty, I am trying to find my place again.  And it's hard. 
It's hard to find where I fit.  Who I am now that so much has changed in me. 
Where God wants me to be in this different season of rest - a chosen season of rest. 
And hard because of fear that sneaks in.  Sneaks in and says I shouldn't or cannot do something because I will relapse.  Or fear that I don't fit there anymore.  Or ... the list can go on. 

And so although in some ways I am really doing so great, I am also struggling. 
And that's reality. 
And that's honesty. 

And I hope and pray that striving to be honest about these things will help me work through the fears and realize that it is freedom I stand in.  
That He is in me. 
And I have no need to fear.  
And that honesty will set me free. 

Sets us all free.  
Accepting the Truth of Christ. 
Living in that Truth. 
And living honest lives with each other. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Home in Guatemala

"So do you feel at home?"
This was a question that my friend Les Peters, the founder of Impact Ministries, asked me two weeks ago, shortly after arriving in Tactic, Guatemala.
My answer:  a full blown yes. I didn't have to think about it.  I wasn't shocked by his question.  Or my reaction.
I was at home.  And I was experiencing it with my family.

I was at home.  Even though I knew I was only staying a week.  I was living in the guest house but I didn't feel like a guest.  I felt immediately connected.   Loved.  And filled with joy.



Guatemala is a place that holds a huge part of my heart.  It was so hard leaving and it has been hard writing this post because it makes me really reflect on what I left.  I wish I didn't have to leave because it is home there - in a whole other way than here.  
But I know that home isn't just a place.  But it is relationship.

Filled and healed relationship with God, myself, and people around me.
And God is doing so many amazing, incredible, and almost inconceivable things in that community.
He is working. He is shining down His love and blessings.  He is giving hope.
Hope to a people that have been oppressed and weighed down.
Hope to a people who don't know what it is to dream.
Hope to a people who live in a 24 hr cycle of hoping to be able to get food for their family.



But Hope is changing these cycles.  Giving dreams.  Instilling worth.
Providing a seedbed for growth.  And completely changing lives.
Including my own. 





Six years ago,  I never would have dreamt I would be where I am today.  Filled with a story of healing and hope.   Back from my fourth (and definitely not last - Lord willing) trip to Guatemala.
And witnessing change in incredible ways in my life and Guatemala that can only be explained by one things - God.

His life-changing, hope-giving, worth-instilling, and revolutionary Gospel.





While in Guatemala, I had many amazing and life impacting opportunities.  But a couple stand out among the rest... So if I may, I will share some of those things with you now..

I had the immense privilege to be able to stand before one of the school devotionals and personally thank each child there for praying for me.  While I was sick, every school was praying for me.  I knew one of the schools was, but I didn't know all 1300 amazing children were.  And you know, God heard those prayers.  Those prayers from hearts that physically are small, but emotionally and spiritually are overflowing.  Prayer is powerful and from the lips of all those children, powerful seems too weak a word.  I was able thank them for praying and encourage them that they helped changed my life because God not only heard but also answered their prayers for healing.  It was a pretty incredible moment. 




Another moment that stood out for me was the official Seeds of Tomorrow Greenhouse opening (you can read more about this in my last post here).   It was a surreal moment for me - Seeing how God worked and completely changed my dad's heart, gave him a vision, and then brought that dream into reality in 15 months!  It was amazing and such a blessing to be a small part of.  The gratitude was tangible by all in attendance (approximately 1000!).  It was a special morning indeed.  And all glory to God!








The last story I will share in this post is about my sponsor child - the one who left that special message months ago (you can read more about that here!).  Going to her house and seeing her whole family together with most of my family was so special.  Thanking her for all she has done for me - including earnestly praying for me - and sharing my love to her.  I bought best friend bracelets and had the joy of giving her one.   I know that forever is a long time but I also know we will be connected for eternity.  Being with her family and mine honestly felt like being in heaven.  The Spirit was so present as we shared love, tears, prayers, and gratitude with another.  It is a moment I will not forget. 
And to top off that amazing visit, I saw her twice after that - at church and at the greenhouse opening, and we were both wearing our friendship bracelets.  And she was also wearing the beautifully and lovingly knit sweater a dear friend of mine made for her. 




This trip was one I will never forget as I did not know if I would ever be back again due to my health.  But God is so amazing and has blessed me beyond belief. 
So I am thankful.  So very thankful to Him. 
Because I know it was Him and not me that got me back to Guatemala.  
It is all Him. 





Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5 ESV)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Seeds of Tomorrow

I have recently returned from an absolutely incredible and impacting trip to Guatemala.  I am still processing all the amazing and also extremely challenging things I witnessed and participated in while there with most of my family.  It was a huge blessing to be there with Impact Ministries for the fourth time and continue to build relationships.  Another surreal blessing was the grand opening of the Seeds of Tomorrow Project that was spearheaded by my father only 15 months ago after I convinced him to come with me.  A few months ago I honestly did not know if I would ever be back in Guatemala or able to see the greenhouse in its glory.  

But God is so unbelievably good and I was there.  Celebrating and rejoicing for so many things. 


Here is a short clip about the project and below is an article that came out this morning about it in an agricultural magazine!



I am continuing to process this trip and am working on a blog (with a lot of photos!!) but for now here is the amazing piece done by HortiDaily.com about the project and ministry!



With help of KUBO Greenhouse Projects and Monsanto,  a group of volunteers from Houweling's Tomatoes, one of North America's largest tomato growers, opened a greenhouse that will help feed children in the village of Tactic in Guatemala. The Seeds of Tomorrow project, which was spearheaded by the head of Houweling's, Casey Houweling, at the urging of his daughter Rebecca, celebrated the opening of their greenhouse last week.


“It was a beautiful opening,” said Monica Houweling. Monica is the sister of Rebecca, who suggested her father, Casey, to go forward with the project. “The crop cycle is now underway, and everything's working out well.” Rebecca got the idea for building a greenhouse in Tactic from her travels there as a student and missionary. At the urging of his daughter, Casey took a trip to Tactic, and after spending some time there he realized it was a special place.

Impact Ministries had grown a vibrant school community that serviced the region, with a special focus on the region's children. But Casey noticed a lack of access to nutritious fruits and vegetables, something that was especially confounding because of the region's good farming conditions. He discovered that one of the reasons for the dearth of food grown in the area was due to a torrential downpour every afternoon that washed many of the seeds away before they could take root.

 
Once back home in the fall of 2012, Casey knew he and the greenhouse community could do much to support the children of Tactic and the work of Impact Ministries. Addressing the need to supply access to nutritious and tasty fruits and vegetables, a small seedling greenhouse would need to be constructed. Casey sounded the alarm bells of urgency to Houweling’s trusted suppliers and employees to join the cause. A multitude of companies came on-board with dollars, goods and services. Kubo of Holland was a significant force, mobilizing their suppliers to have a brand new, fully-kitted greenhouse donated. In preparation for planting, Damian Solomon of Monsanto worked diligently to have much of the seeds donated.

The project was finished in less than a year, and now the community of Tactic has increased access to food, education and employment opportunities, noted Monica Houweling.

“This greenhouse will also help the parents of Tactic's children by allowing them to work the greenhouse and take some of the produce to market,” she said. “The program, run by Impact Ministries, will also offer agricultural courses for students.” She added that she's grateful the project will be able to offer so much for Tactic's children, and that Seeds of Tomorrow would not have been possible without the help of all who donated their time, money and resources.


The greenhouse is entirely built by the help of volunteers and locals. “The construction process was a remarkable, nice experience”, said Monica Houweling. “Especially because the group consisted of many nationalities, which caused some funny language barriers.”

The greenhouse is a modern Venlo styled structure that will be used for the seeding and propagation of vegetable young plants. Wouter Kuiper of KUBO; "The greenhouse measures 487 square meters. There is gable and roof ventilation with trip mesh to keep out moths, aphids and other species.


The entire greenhouse structure is sponsored by many Dutch greenhouse suppliers, the growth management is sponsored by Houweling’s, who will keep an eye on the cultivation process now that the structure is completed. “My father will return once in a while to see how things are going and growing at the project site”, secured Monica Houweling. 

“We're thankful for the many people who participated, because it was a great team effort from people in the U.S., Canada and Europe,” said Monica Houweling. “It resulted in such a positive outcome.”




Monday, September 23, 2013

Thread of Hope

I sit contemplating life.  
Life that seems too short.  
Taken too fast. 

The last two funerals I have been to have been for a 22 year old high school friend and 31 year old cousin.  My mind immediately says this should not be. 
This is not right. 
They should not be gone. 

But then I hear the whispers. 
It is right. My timing is always right. 
They are with me and are truly living now. 
Free from the struggles of this world. 
Free from fear, addiction, and pain. 
Full of joy, love, and freedom. 

After the service this past Friday, pie, ice cream, and herbal tea was served in memory of my cousin Jesse.  I wish I knew him more.  For despite his open struggles, he loved God and wanted to be free with Him.  He desired to be with God.  To know His love more and more. 
And though his death tragic, such beauty has already come. 
I know many have had to work through death. 
How scary it sounds.  How foreign it seems to our thoughts. 
Work through and accept that we haven't lost Jesse, but heaven has gained Him.  He isn't lost because we know where he is.  We know he is with Christ worshipping his heart out. 


This funeral sparked something else in me too.  Not just the hope of knowing where Jesse is but also the joy of the life I have been given.  While talking with family and friends last seen far too long ago, I found myself often recounting my miracle story.  My story of healing.  My story in which God moved in huge ways. 
While talking about my story, my dad piped in.  Told of how at some points he didn't know if I would even make it.  If I would remain in bed on earth, or my body need to be placed on an earthly bed.  
And in honesty, I did think of that too.  Would I make it? 
But further and darker than that, I too thought about if life were worth living.  If it would be better if I could be truly laid to rest rather than stuck on what seemed like coffin of a bed. 
But God never left my side.  Never took away the last threads of hope and comfort in Him that I desperately hung on to. 



He held me.  Saved me. Healed me. 
And always always loved me. 
Loved me with a love that is greater than life. 
That is life giving. 
And life freeing. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Trust in Me


The farther you roam along paths of unbelief, the harder it is to remember that I am with you.  Anxious thoughts branch off in all directions, taking you further and further from awareness of My Presence.  You need to voice your trust in me  frequently.  This simple act of faith will keep you walking along straight paths with Me.  Trust in Me with all your heart, and I will make your paths straight. 

I read this in yesterday's Jesus Calling entry.  And it hit me. Hit me hard. I have a secret to share.  One that I have only voiced with few. A secret that I am scared to share. 

I am scared of the possibility of what may come. This question full of lies and pungent doubt creeps into my mind, "what if I am not healed?"It continues if I let it. And it wraps around my brain constricting my joy. 
What if I am just in remission?  Chronic Fatigue syndrome doesn't just last 9 months... What if it will come back?  What if I hit November 11th (Click here to read about that day I will always remember) ...And my body decides to remember what happened that day and after that far too literally.  What if I am not healed?


Trust.  Trust in Me

These words are not just whispered but seem to be shouting out at me today as I sit by the river and rest in Him.  Look to Him.  Seek His beautiful face. And as I do these things, His voice - the voice of truth - stands out among the rest. 

Trust. Trust in Me. 







And so I sit in repentance and praise this morning.  Holding open my hands and my heart.  Opening my eyes to cry.  To look up.  And to fix my gaze upon Him again. My God who is always with me.  Who never leaves nor forsakes me. And promises to give me a hope and a future. 
So today is a day of redirection.  Refocus. Re-trusting. And of resting in that faithful pursuing love that holds me now and forever.  That I can trust and hold onto without fear. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

YOLO

YOLO
I never liked this newly loved and overly used word. 
You only live once. YOLO. 

I didn't say it.  I didn't honestly live it. 
I believed that yes I only have one life to live so I should live it well and to His glory. 
But I don't know how much of my life reflected that I only have this life. 
And that I should live it up. 
Live it up for Him. 

But that has changed.  I feel more alive than ever before. 
I am doing things I wouldn't have done willingly. 
I am dwelling in sacred quiet. 
I am rushing through the forest on my bike. 
I am jumping into life and so looking forward to what is around the next bend. 

I am relinquishing control.  My need to know what is happening now, soon, and later. 
What the next corner will look like. 
What I will do there. 

While being stuck in bed, I learned the lesson of taking each day at a time. 
Taking what that day held and doing what I was able to. 
Appreciating what was there.  In that moment. 
And not what I wished were there. 

And I am trying to embrace that now. 
To live each day with joy, spontaneity, and freedom. 


And some days that means exploring the wondrous bike trails around my new home. 




Some days that means jumping in the freezing ocean and swimming to the docked boat. 



Some days that means creating a painting inspired a phrase in my morning devotional - joy ecstatic.



Some days that means stopping to smell the flowers. 





And some days that means being open to what may come. 
Living it up. 
Loving it. 
And going for it. 
No matter what. 

Because really, YOLO... So why wouldn't you live it up while you can?
Why wouldn't you decide to live, and I mean really live?

So that is my challenge. 
Live it up. 
Live it up for Him. 

Love and blessings,
Xo

Monday, August 26, 2013

A God of Miracles

Miracles are happening my friend.
Miracles are in our midst.

God is a God of miracles.  He was, He is, and He forever will be.

Yesterday in church during worship, the Truth filled my heart.  
God performed a miracle in me.  I am a walking miracle.

Now, I wouldn't have ever told you God wasn't apart of my healing - nor would I have said you were wrong if you called my healing a miracle... 
But yesterday I accepted it for myself more than I have before.

God is good and heals His children.
His promises throughout Scripture of healing, they are true.   They are very true for me and I will never be the same because of that!  My life is forever changed.  I am forever new.  I am forever grateful and so blessed to be living and just loving my life.

While I was sick I read some of these passages with a doubt-filled heart.  With questions of why I would deserve to be healed?  Why would the Healer God heal me over my dear friend with cancer?  Or Tonya, a blogger I follow, who has had CFS/ME for many, many years?

I was holding myself back with fear, feelings of unworthiness, and doubt.  

I was trusting His truths but not wholeheartedly - I knew me to be universally true but maybe not true for me, not speaking of my healing.  I knew He is the God who heals but I didn't think I deserved it over any one else.  And, no, I am not more important than any one else who is crying out for physical healing, but He did heal me.  And it wasn't because I changed my thought pattern and decided I was the most deserving person there.   It wasn't because of me but because of His faithfulness.
It wasn't me.  It was Him.


It was the Lord who heals (Ex 15:26).  

Who promises to take away our disease (Ex 23:25).    
Who strengthens us on our sick bed (Ps 41:3).  
Who restores health (Jer 30:17).
Who is with us always and forever (Matt 28:20).

I hold on to those with great assurance.  With faith that is growing.
With trust that is holding onto hope.  With knowing that He says I am worthy and He healed me.

That the doubts and fears... those were not of Him.  They held me back.  I had to let them go. 
I have to let them go.
We have to let them go.

And because He is good and love, He helps us.   He holds us.  He stays with us no matter what.
And He whispers truth into our hearts.
Over and over, He gently engraves Him into our hearts.
He never stops.
And He never will.


Much love & blessings.
xo


PS.  I successfully moved into my new place and am LOVING it!  I was able to move in with energy and excitement.  This place is already feeling like home and I cannot wait to get to know this place more.  So here is to exploring and seeing where He takes my dreams this year!






Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Here's to Dreaming

At a loss of where to begin, I looked around my room.  
Looked around and saw memories.  Of good and bad. 
Of sickness.  Of health. 
Of my life before.  And where my life is going. 

I saw things still packed from my apartment last year that where graciously packed by my roommates after I left and was stuck at home.  I saw my box filled with my books for Integrative Nutrition. 
I saw Nursing textbooks.  Photos from high school. 
Art supplies.  Books to read. 

And I sat and wondered, Where do I begin?  

Today I started packing up my things (which truly started by unpacking from my trip to California where I helped my sister move into university and things from my apartment last year).  




I was amazed at how much stuff I actually have. 
So my packing also became sorting and giving away. Which was actually quite freeing. 
Especially as some of the things I packed to give to charity should have been purged a long time ago ... One of which may have included my grade 7 grad dress. Yep...
Anyways, as I began to pack I was texting my new and wonderful roommate as of this Saturday and she reminded me of something huge. 
As tedious and onerous as packing may seem, I was packing. 
I was able to pack.  Something I couldn't have done two months ago. 

I also FaceTimed with a dear friend who is recovering (marvellously and beautifully) from post concussion syndrome.    

From both these conversations, I was reminded of where I was.  How far I have come. 
How good God is.  And how blessed I am. 

I was in bed.  I was stuck in bed. 
And today I was packing my new bedding for my new bed in my new home. 

How crazy is that?
I shouldn't be doing that.  According to doctors and the label Chronic Fatigue places, I shouldn't be back to me.  I shouldn't be loving life and finding such joy. 
Dreaming of the future and actually being able to dream freely because anything is now possible. 
Anything is possible because of Him.  
Because of Him and what He has done in my life. 

Anything... Even waking up with the energy and motivation to jump in the pool and do some laps.... To go out this evening and do some errands... To do a yoga video that turned out to be a crazy workout (warning - if you want to relax and breathe without gasping for breath, don't try the Jillian Michaels yoga video... She is insane and had me doing things I barely did before I was sick!  Although I did take breaks and audibly told her "no way am I doing that!" ... )

Anything... Including dreaming of the future and what it will hold.  Sharing my dreams with dear friends.  And packing in order to make a step closer to making those dreams become a reality. 

Good night dear friends. 
Thank you for walking this journey with me.
And inspiring me to dream. 
To dream God-sized dreams. 

So here's to dreaming. 

Much love. 
Xo

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Poster Child {part 2}


"You are the poster child of all the bad symptoms of Chronic Fatigue"
Those were the words that came from the mouth of my specialist this morning after I updated him on how I was doing and told him about my new symptoms.  I didn't quite know what to think when he first told me that.  Was I supposed to be happy that at least all my symptoms are confirming that yes I have CFS?  Was I to be discouraged that I was dealing with so many of the horrible symptoms?  Was I to laugh off the idea of me being a 'poster child' (I know he didn't mean it literally but still!)?I don't know. And honestly I still feel all those things...
(Click here to continue reading my first Poster Child post)

Yesterday I returned to see my specialist at St Paul's.  I had not seen him since I started to feel better so I was really looking forward to sharing my exciting news and introducing him to the real me.  
The me who was missing.  Who lives in the joys of simplicity. 
Who dreams - and loves to dream big.  
Who can walk with a bounce in her step and engage in conversation. 
Me. 
Me who no longer was plagued with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.). 
Me who was loving and living life. 

My specialist, Dr. Arseneau, was amazed.  He couldn't believe how well I was doing and was so happy to see me.  He said it was the best way to end his busy day. 
And smiling big, he repeated those words that brought me confusion before.  But this time they brought me joy. 
"You are the poster child of true recovery!  I almost never see this!"
I was able to tell him that I had started implementing exercise into my schedule (low impact of course but exciting nonetheless!).  How I was down to less than half of the sleeping pills I was originally on.  How I was cutting and even eliminating other drugs.  How I was making plans for my immediate future and so excited about life.  How I feel like me again - and almost more than who I was before. 

So my appointment ended with gratitude and smiles on every face in the room.  He said he would leave my file open if I ever needed to come back but that he didn't think I would need to.  
That I was the exception.  The Poster Child of a completely different kind. 

And so we left St. Paul's Hospital and I was filled with gratitude, joy, and so beyond blessed.   As I walked down the stairs that I was unable to previously even attempt,  I felt a rush of what can only be explained as God's goodness and glory. 
And the last thing I saw of that hospital through the trees opening up to the blue sky, was the cross.  The cross on top of the brick building.  Shining truth to the community that was so evident through the compassionate and individual care I received there. 


That evening I was able to share this story with two wonderful friends who I have really only began to get to know.  The most wonderful people that I cannot wait to know even more.  Yesterday evening was a blessing.  Filled with delicious food, uplifting and encouraging conversation, wonderful views, and a beautiful hand crafted gift.  
It was there I realized all I had done that day.  
That I had been to Fort Langley, into Vancouver, and was then enjoying Tsawwassen.  And I still felt awesome.  Full of energy and excitement for life!
I was even referred to as the 'energizer bunny'!!  Haha what a glorious change!
What a blessing of an evening with amazing and uplifting people. 


But I cannot omit the absolutely wondrous morning I had yesterday!
I went into Fort Langley with my beautiful best friend.  We had a lovely breakfast at iconic Wendels coffee shop and then walked around Fort Langley. 
We ended our walk at OUR NEW PLACE!  (Sorry I cannot contain my excitement!)
We got our keys and enjoyed time with our landlord - whom we are so blessed by already!


So yesterday was amazing.  The perfect day. 
Even through some rain. 
It was wonderful. 
And I won't forget it. 

I am so blessed and so grateful for this life I have been given. 


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