The Bend in the Road

 

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“When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lays beyond the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend….I wonder how the road beyond it goes-what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows— what new landscapes— what new beauties–what curves and hills and valleys further on.” –Anne of Green Gables

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Tragedy and trials strikes us all at one point in our lives. We can choose to see beyond it and believe that days will be better or we can wallow in pity and despair and give up on dreaming all together.

There are moments I want to give up on dreaming big dreams. Fear envelopes me  like a heavy coat and I have to choose to throw it off and believe the bend in the road has beauty and sweetness and treasures that I would not have been dazzled by had life not taken me down this road. When my body feels weak and aches and I am limited by what I can physically manage, my natural eyes can see myself in a wheelchair unable to do anything. It is at that moment that I say, “NO! No. That is not me. I will keep getting up. I will keep fighting the good fight of faith and I will keep claiming God’s promises of healing.”

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I am choosing to believe there is beauty in these ashes, life from the grave, healing of the broken and busted up things.

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Isaiah prophesied of Jesus that He would take up our infirmities, carry our sorrows, be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, punished that we may have peace and by His wounds we would be healed.

Diamonds come from the fire, wheat grows from busted, broken and dead seeds, flowers come up from the dirt.

What is your bend in the road, that situation that has thrown off your “groove”, taken away something you thought you would have or dampened the pages of the story you were writing? Keep holding fast. Keep dreaming big dreams. Keep believing God to bring forth beauty from the ashes.

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”     Isaiah 58:11-12

God is not done with you. Keep fighting the good fight of faith and keep your eyes on that which is unchanging. There is beauty on this bent road.

Cryotherapy (Days 6-7)and Normatec Compression Therapy: Continuing to Fight Inflammation Naturally

Veins poked, punctured and prodded with years of drawing of blood and  steroids pumped through them are often tender and damaged. My arm and wrist veins are so tender, sometimes they ache. My heart does not behave like it used to. Breathing does not come as easily as it once did and I often have to remind myself to inhale and exhale deep. I do not know if that is from the Copaxone I was on for a few months or the steroids but I know what I experience is not normal and I do not want to cause any more damage. This is why I choose other options for decreasing inflammation. I know I could get steroids and I would probably be back to driving quicker and maybe feeling better sooner but I am fighting to do this as natural as possible.

Charise with Norma Tec
NormaTec Compression Therapy

My sixth visit of cryo was followed up with Normatec compression therapy. It. Was. Wonderful! Especially after exiting the “freezing chamber”, legs chilled atop and then resting in a chair with leg coverings on them and the pulsing of pressure rotating throughout my legs. This therapy helps to circulate blood flow more efficiently and to detox the body. Both of the therapies together help the inflammation in the body to calm; thus, enabling the patient to experience less pain and quicker recovery time from workouts or injury.

I am convinced this is helping me! This “time of month” is usually the more difficult to move, less strength physically and increased pain. Since my first Normatec compression experience, I have been able to drive a little more and I have had less pain. We had a storm come in and surprise us today. Usually, I would know a few days in advance due to the pain and achiness in my body. I had no achiness bothering me. I am so thankful and I hope I can keep doing the compression therapy. I also love the location I am going to. They are super nice, helpful and pleasant. If you need a recommendation, I would highly recommend the place I go. (Reach out to me and I will share the location).

Something to remember- My hope is not in Cryotherapy or Normatec compression. My hope is in my God. My hope is in eternity. My joy is founded on that which is unchangeable and everlasting, not on how I feel today or how I think I will feel tomorrow. Place your hope on Him alone. He, alone is unchangeable and constant.

“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.”

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”

“Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous. The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! ”

“The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success.”

“You are my God, and I will give you thanks;  you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Psalm 118:5-9, 15, 23-25, 28-29

Wholebody Cryotherapy

I have to start out by telling you my eyes are burning and I am beyond tired  right now but I know that if I do not write now and share now, it may not happen.

Life has been more restful for me as of late and I am thankful for the rest. I am not driving more than  one mile away in a very slow speed to take the kids to music lessons once a week. I still can control my foot but longer periods of driving only causes pain and weakness.

My right side has been heavier and my right foot wanting to drag when I walk for any length of time. The heavier my foot, the harder it is to drive safely, so for now, I am staying off the road, laying low and allowing my hubby to take over the errands and grocery shopping. Thankful for him stepping in.

A darling sister of mine shared Cryotherapy with me and after researching it I decided it was worth trying. Steroids would be the normal option for an M.S.er at this point of inflammation and I am trying an alternative to see if this helps.

You may be asking, “what in the world is cryotherapy?”. Here is an explanation from one website:

With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to extremely low temperatures (-200° to -250°F) for 2-3 minutes at a time. This rapidly lowers skin temperatures and triggers cold receptors to activate the body’s survival mechanism. The brain then reacts to the skin sensors and stimulates regulatory functions of the body, like releasing anti-inflammatory proteins, endorphins, and rapidly circulating oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

Today was the first day.  The tech was delightful and sweet and very helpful. I left on my panties and put on a sports bra (no metal allowed in this chamber). I put on their comfy gloves, big manly socks, masculine robe and entered the chamber.

 

Here I am in the machine. You are seeing little bits of the Nitrous Oxide. I can’t say that the initial experience was lovely and pleasant. It was already cold. Once I entered and the door was closed, I took off the robe and handed it to the tech. IMG_3252

She warned me that first timers do not always reach the three minute mark. It is usually something to work up to. I wanted to make it to the two minute mark at the least. That was my goal. Time flew by and yet the pain was hard to endure. You are supposed to slowly rotate your body while in the machine. I was doing so but because my body IS already numb, getting more numb made it more difficult to steady myself especially while turning. You are not supposed to touch the inside walls and you are not supposed to look down or breathe in the liquid nitrogen so I kept my head up and breathed slowly in and out to calm my body down. The cold and I don’t mix and this was no different. It was mighty uncomfortable. I do feel that this is better than an ice bath. Ice baths make you experience a different kind of cold because your skin is wet and cold. It is different. Maybe I will have a better explanation when I am not so tired.

When I reached the two minute mark, the tech turned it off and handed me the man robe. When she opened the door my babies were waiting anxiously for me. They could see my face above the machine and could tell I was uncomfortable. When I stepped out my oldest embraced me  and held me close to him to warm me up and the rest of the little ones clung to me too.

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My babies love me! 🙂

Cryotherapy-kids embracing me

My skin was freezing and my legs were weak. I am not sure if that was due to the stress of the new experience or the extreme cold. I could not feel the pain so that was nice. As the day went on I could feel the normal pain, normal fatigue, normal weakness. I am going back tomorrow and praying the continued visits will help in the long run. I picture this experience like an athlete would ice a bruised or injured leg. It takes time for the healing to take place but I am going to persevere to experience the healing.

Here are some links for those who want more info on Whole Body Cryotherapy:

Take your time on this site. There is information for lots of different ailments, diseases and more.    http://wholebody-cryotherapy.com/en/cryotherapy/multiple-sclerosis.html

This is a place in Riverside, CA- http://www.cryofixwellness.com/

Pubmed on MS. and Cryotherapy- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20299758

Blessings to you all,

Charise

The “Monster” May Not be So Bad

close up image of space trilogy book oneMaybe the monster in the water isn’t such a bad thing.

I have been chewing on C.S. Lewis’ words from the first of his Space Trilogy.  The main character was conversing with an intelligent being on another planet about a violent creature that lives in the water. The creature will demolish and tear apart anything that comes in its path. The human’s response was that there was no place for this monster and the “higher power” shouldn’t have made this creature or allowed it to be here for the sake of the good creatures. The intelligent being said the words that have had me mulling over and over and over, ” The hanakra (monster)  is our enemy, but he is also our beloved…………..I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lake”. 

No danger in the lake? Isn’t that what we want? No danger. No financial strain. No health issues. Nothing that shakes us.

What is the monster you are facing right now? There are so many options of monsters to choose from and each of them can devour us in one way or another. One way or another we can let anything swallow us up and spit us out.

But what if we chose to see the monster in a different light?  What if  we saw it as a means to reach a deeper love, cherish the people God has placed in our lives more fully, experience a more full enjoyment of the simple things, an opportunity to put the first things first? What if the very monster meant to destroy you by the Enemy could be used for your greatest purpose through God and His strength.

In Lewis’ wonderful, philosophical, fictional story the alien beings were trying to kill  the monster but they had a deep appreciation for it. They appreciated more because of “it”.

When our eyes are fixed on that which lies beyond this mortal earth and we live for God and eternity, couldn’t we see our circumstances in such a different light?

The enemy of our souls uses the “monster” to steal away our moments, our peace, and our joy. But when we are surrendered to God and dwelling in His presence, we have peace and joy and see the monster for what it really is. It has no power over you. The “monster” cannot take your JOY but joy can be found in the midst of places where “it” lurks.

God says to me and to you,
“I formed you. Fear not, I redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you, For I am the Lord your God……Fear not, I am with you.  ” Excerpts from Is. 43:1-5

His presence is enough for you. I am praying for healing for your body today. I am praying for Joy in the midst of your present circumstances.

P.S. I am resuming ‘Motherhood with an Illness’ next blog entry but I am going to broaden it to ‘Parenthood and Illness’. I realize I have amazing fathers who follow this blog too.

If you are not receiving this blog in your email, please put your info in  at the top right so you don’t miss any of my blog entries ( no worries-they will not daily flood your mailbox). Also, “like/follow” me on Facebook as well. We are in this together!

God’s Heart toward You

God’s heart has always been to be with you.

He does not need you. He freely chooses you.

His communion with Moses in the dry of the desert sun-tabernacle full of glory. Son of God come in the flesh, God in our very skin to walk among us, to be with us- tabernacle among us. 

His intimate covenant with you and me, His blood shed for you and me, was it for His own fulfillment? His only reason was LOVE. He chose us. He loved us enough to want us to have whole hearted devotion to Him. And when we are wholly connected to the Holy God we are holy. We are whole. We are complete.

“Because I live, you also will live”, Jesus said. “I have come that you may have life, life more abundant!”

When the Son went to the Father, He did not leave us alone. He sent our Counselor to be with us forever. Forever. With. Us. The Spirit of truth. 

He does not leave us as orphans. He welcomes us and calls us His own, special, royal, BELOVED.

He loves to be entwined with you. The Vine and branch melding together and bearing fruit. Do you glimpse the intimacy of the Father God with you? You are His. You are loved.

Write this on your hands. Write it on your walls. Dry erase marker it to your mirrors. Drill this in your head until the lies of the enemy fade away.
You are loved. And you are enough because you are His. 

Life is Messy

Life is messy.

Messy can be beautiful can’t it? Sometimes it’s hard to see. The mini Picasso six year old painting is beautiful. Bright orange seaweed tangled in bright green algae=beautiful.  Messy people that love in the messes=beautiful.

 

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My longing for order, for control, for keeping all things together can prevent me from experiencing the blessing waiting for me, the beauty waiting for me. The blessing doesn’t always come through wide, green pastures. It often comes through dark, narrow roads with a glimpse of light peeking through to guide. His tender hand guiding, directing through shadow filled badlands. Blessing comes through the messy.

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Moses didn’t want to speak to the Pharaoh.  He could speak. He just didn’t feel himself adequate enough to do what God was calling him to do. “Who me? I can’t do that. Don’t you know my disability, my lack of ability?” We make excuses and miss His power enabling us to do what He asks us and prepared us to do in the midst of what He has allowed.    The expectation Moses placed on himself was not what God had placed on him, but his own fallen perception of God’s role in his calling.  Focusing on the messy causes us to miss the masterpiece He is making.

The Israelites were scared to take possession of the land God had promised. The land was EVERYTHING that God had promised but there were giants in the land and they chose to focus on the giants. They chose to allow fear to keep them from trusting God’s promise and the blessing in His provision. They focused on the messy and missed out on the beautiful.

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God gives promises and sometimes we have to fight through opposition to fully enjoy the promise. Is it worth the fight? You bet it is.

There is always blessing and beauty on the other side.

 

Quiet Dancing

The words dance in my mind and urge me to dance with them onto these pages, on this blog. I have been fighting against the dance. Heavy eyes and weary body, I have resisted sitting and pouring out my heart here on this endless outreach. Even now, I feel like I have so much to write but I feel stifled, muffled, held back. I am aching to pour out the ointment God has been so faithful to pour over me.

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In a world full of derision and anger, hostility and brokenness I keep hearing HOPE. “Hold Onto Hope”. The  family vacation isn’t my hope. The new home or the next plans for our family is not my hope. Jesus Christ the Righteous, He is my hope! In Him is refuge, fullness of joy, confidence. My mouth is full of His praise, because my life is perfect? My kids perfect? My marriage perfect? Not even close. I praise Him because He is perfect, perfectly loving and good, kind and patient with me knowing all of my imperfections and still loves me just the same. I hold onto hope that my friend “T” who is battling M.S. symptoms will fully regain her sight. I am believing it for life on earth and knowing it for eternity in heaven. HOPE. I am believing healing of my myelin sheath for this life and knowing it will come some day-HOPE.

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When we walk through storms and we keep our eyes on the Light House we come out the other side of the storm with powerful proclamation of  victory and we shine for the next generation walking at our heels, listening to our words and watching our every move. They will see our falls but they will also see us rise up and keep pressing on toward the prize. Hope.

“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” Psalm 71: 18

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I recently read this quote by Mark Batterson, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, your dream is too small.”

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I am dreaming of big things. Things too big for me. Too big for someone with M.S. Too big for someone home educating four kids and fighting to do it well.  I am dreaming of BIG things, too big for me but NEVER TOO BIG FOR GOD. He is calling me, stirring my heart, calling me to a place of rest and renewal so that I can be poured out again. He. Will. Not. Forsake. Me. He will carry me into and through the lows and the highs, the storms, rains of refreshment, sunshine and desert. He will enable me to do what He has called me to do and I will know that it is not I who walked victoriously because of my might, no, it is all because of His might, His strong arms carrying me.

What is He calling you to do today, stirring up in you? What are the passions and dreams you have long suppressed? Rise up Dear One! He will carry you too.

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Jars of Clay and Full of Treasure

My body had been doing so good with minor issues off and on, a routine I could easily get accustomed to. I was settling into a new normal until unwanted symptoms came rushing in, Unexplainable weariness, heavy eyes, heavy head, heavy body, just plain heavy. Now it is numbness on most of my left side and some of my right. My knees and feet feel like I have pads on them.

It’s all strange to me. Before diagnosis, going back eleven and twelve years ago I went through similar symptoms. As the years went by we found it was common in the spring. We assumed it was allergic reaction and the doctors assumed so too. I went through a series of antihistamines and when those didn’t work they pumped me full of steroids. The steroids helped a little. Time is what my body needed. Odd how life goes, a disease attacking my body from the inside and I continue on the same path, unaware. Why do we wait until it smacks us in the face before we change our diet or how we live life? Why do wait until our sin ruins our lives before we become broken and let God heal?

We are jars of clay, perhaps not noticeable to the world’s eyes, weak, fragile, dependent on something else to make us more….oh, yes, we have a hole in the middle waiting to be filled with something useful, something beautiful. It’s Him. He is that treasure that fills us and makes us whole, worthy, complete and we are now useful for great and mighty works! Great and mighty works dear ones!

We, these clay objects, made from the dust are hardpressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down (how many of us feel struck down?) and yet we are not crushed, we are not in despair, we are not forsaken and we are not destroyed! The enemy seeks to destroy but He can not destroy us when we are in Christ! The power is not of us, it is of Christ! He gets the glory. He gives us the power and we are beautiful in our simple state, humbled by our brokenness and made whole by His hand.

“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Remember dear ones, we may be clay pots, broken being restored but we are full of Treasure and in Him we are unstoppable! In Him we are worthy. In Him we have purpose!