Recently, I began contemplating the phrase ‘walk on the water,’ after a friend of mine informed me she was considering and praying about whether to go to Israel with a group from our church. I had, myself, grabbed a brochure from the back of the Church sanctuary, a few weeks earlier, but did not pursue it mostly because of health concerns and all the added preparation that goes into traveling with diabetes, as well as the price of the trip, which is a nice amount.
So, There I was texting my friend, encouraging her to ‘walk on the water’, and believe for the trip, and that she would never regret it. At this point I’m not thinking at all about going to Israel myself, when she text me back, and said, “I want you to go.” We text back and forth for a bit, and I gave her all my excuses, which in reality, were all my ‘fears,’ only I didn’t recognize that at first. She finally text me back echoing my own words to her… “walk on the water”, whereas I burst out laughing, much like Sarah must have when faced with an impossibility of having a baby in her older age.
Then I decided to call her, and pretty much that was the ‘hook’ the Holy Spirit used to open my eyes to the fact, that indeed, it was a trip that I wouldn’t want to miss, and God was compelling me to go. It was an epiphany moment! I could feel the Joy of the Lord well up, and could hardly contain my excitement that this trip to Israel was going to be life-changing. He’s doing a new thing, He’s birthing something. God further showed me that I had been walking in fear, and trepidation because of some traumatic health issues over the last two+ years, that had kept me bound up, but as I stepped out in faith, and ‘walked on the water,’ He would indeed be holding my hand.
I began to realize, I was behaving like Peter in Matthew 14:22-33, when he began to walk on the water towards Jesus. Once Peter’s eyes focused on the rough seas and took his gaze off of Jesus, he began to sink. God spoke to me, it’s time to rise above the fear, and its time to declare and decree, and cling to to promises of God. A friend of mine shared this quote on Facebook, and it resonated with my spirit:
“If you spend all of your time dwelling on what’s wrong in your life, you will forget to rehearse and meditate on what God says, who He is, what He has done for you and what He has promised to do.” – Sean Dunn
Isn’t that amazing? So simple, and yet so profound. It’s time to stop dwelling on the problems in our lives, and to begin to rehearse and meditate “on what God says, who He is, what He has for for us, and what He has promised to do.” It’s time to rise above the rough seas and walk on the water. Are you ready to walk on the water? I am!
Facebook Memory: November 5, 2014. Six months later after this posting, mama fell in rehab, hit her head, attempting to get to the bathroom, 3am in the morning. Hours later she was rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage from which she never regained consciousness. She was recovering from hip surgery and it was going well up until this point. Prior to this, she had been struggling with Alzheimer’s for a few years; 2014 was a turning point as far as the severity of the disease. When I came for an extended visit to give daddy a break and spend sometime loving on mama she hardly recognized me. It was then that I truly started to grieve. I will always cherish the time I was able to be there. In spite of the heartache at times, I experienced a deep joy in loving them and pouring into them. I was very aware of the faithfulness and goodness of God during this difficult time. There were tears and laughter, but love was always in the mix. :
“Wednesday, November 5th, 2014. We went to the Senior Citizen’s Center for Spaghetti and bingo. I took a picture of the last of some of daddy’s flowers that he brought in for mama. Pretty with the yellow deck in the background. After bingo we head out the door and drive down the road to Uncle Billy’s Barber shop. We usually sit around and chat while he cuts hair. Sometimes the customers join right in with the mini ‘ family’ reunions. Laughter and tales of days gone by oft come up. I learned this day for instance from Uncle Billy, that their mom, my grandma Atwell…or granny….had no sense of smell. He said it was because of a run in with a skunk…a direct hit in the face. I love these little meetings….and I love his barber shop where he has been cutting hair for about 30 years. The building has been there since the early 1900’s. Most of the adjacent storefront shops are empty, including the Crawdad Hole where many of the locals came for years to grab a bite in the little cafe and then listen to a little bit of bluegrass, country and gospel. Uncle Billy said this little strip will soon be a relic of the past. It truly feels like you’ve walked through a time warp into the past….a lot of history there.”
Over the last week or two I’ve been struggling to find time to sit down and write a blog. We are in transition right now and when I finally think I have time, something comes up. A lot of things are being put on the back burner or falling through the cracks. I haven’t had time to read blogs or connect with others much, as I’m just a wee bit overwhelmed with life right now (maybe I shouldn’t confess that) but I AM being pulled in many different directions. It’s not all bad, mind you, and God is definitely in the midst of it, answering prayer in miraculous ways.
There are ongoing medical visits for me as I try to get the diabetes back under control, and though I am on an insulin pump, it’s been scary at times, especially at night when my sugars have dropped, and now they are often elevated. I was given an opportunity to have a one week trial of a Dexcom: a Continuous Glucose Monitor which tracks the blood sugar. It will set off an alarm if my sugars go too low, or begin to climb, and it also indicates how fast or slow it is dropping or climbing. I was approved by my insurance company, and my Dexcom arrived a few days ago. On Friday of this week, I am happy to say, I will be getting hooked up, and I am hopeful this will help me to regain some control. The doctor also wants me to have a ‘gastric’ test to see if I have any neuropathy (nerve damage) in the gastric tract, as that could also affect my food and insulin absorbtion. I also, requested that the doctor change my insulin from Humulog to Novolog, as I began to suspect my body was beginning to resist that particular insulin after years of use. So, yes, that’s been an on going stress factor in my life, but I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
The other major transition, and it’s a biggie, is the process and ultimate moving of my precious mother-in-law to assisted living. As of now, we have just found a beautiful, Christian facility. That in itself is a true miracle. I had put her name into a couple of places over a year ago but the waiting list was at least two years, and even then, the fact she would be on Elderly Waiver, meant there were limited spaces available. It did not look like anything would open up. We were working with an organization, looked at two places, and the second place left my husband, myself and my mother-in-law feeling discouraged. In fact, she teared up.
I had sat in my office earlier that week, and though we were working with a great organization, I had seen Auburn Manor online, and thought to myself, and said out loud to the Lord, ” That would be the perfect place!” I began praying that somehow God would open the doors. So, against all odds, I wrote them an email. To my surprise, I received an email and a phone call from the manager. I missed the first call, so I called back right away but had to leave a voicemail. The weekend came and went, and on Monday the manager called me again in the morning. I asked him about rooms and the fact LaVera, my mother-in-law, would need to be on Elderly Waiver (government assistance). He says, ” We have two Elderly Waiver openings.” At that point, I could hardly believe it, and asked him if there was a waiting list. He assured me there was none. I knew God was answering not only my prayer, but that of our friends and family! I knew I needed to act quickly, and made an appointment for the next day. LaVera was near tears, and I just felt this overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude towards God. After we met with the manager at Auburn Courts, it was confirmed, this would be LaVeras new home; a place that I am sure she is going to shine bright with the love of God. When I returned home, I called the organization we had been working with, spoke to the owner, Rick, and told him we no longer needed his services, he was very happy for us but shocked at the same time! He said that just a week and a half ago he had talked to Auburn Manor and there were no openings! Honestly folks, this was a miracle, there are less than 50% of assisted living places that take Elderly Waver, and on top of that there are few openings available period! I would say, God’s timing was and is perfect!
Here is the lovely lady herself, and though it will still be difficult to let go of what was, she knows that God loves her and is working everything out to her good. She can come and go as she pleases (she is still very independent) will have a great community to thrive in, Bible Studies, volunteer opportunities, events, ladies luncheon’s, three meals a day, nursing on staff at all times and more. Truth be told, this is not easy for any of us and I’ve shed a few tears grieving for her, too, but my heart is at peace. ❤ I know hers is too, she slept like a baby for the first time in days that night! I’m so grateful God is with us through this journey called ‘life.’
This is me through the years starting as a baby – high school graduation (last picture). A lot of life, love and laughter. I look at these pictures and wonder, where did the time go, and who is that ‘stranger’ looking at me in the mirror every morning and every night: Okay, okay…sometimes I look more often, but at my ‘age’, I see every line and wrinkle; perhaps against all odds, I’m hoping that the latest ‘anti-wrinkle’ cream I am using is REALLY going to produce a miracle like it says it does. So far, no such luck. Nope. Not til Jesus comes to take me home will I be without ‘spot’ or ‘wrinkle’, says so right there in the Bible. 😉 Well, maybe I’ve taken it out of context…but sometimes if I don’t laugh, I think I might cry, and believe me, after the cataracts came out a couple of years ago, I came close. One day I thought I was looking pretty good for my age, and the next day ‘bam’, right between the eyes…, I mean right between my eyes, those little crinkly lines, not to mention every crevice and spot on my face suddenly became much clearer! Of course, the up side was seeing colors and everything more vibrant and alive…who knew that the ‘orange’ facial scrubber I was using, was actually ‘hot pink’, and the shirt I thought was orange was a ‘hot pink’. Thinking how many times I thought I was wearing black with matching black shoes, to find out one was black, the other blue?
Let’s be real here! In a few days I’m going to turn 64 years old. I’m trying to embrace who I am NOW, not yesterday, bite the bullet (we really don’t have a choice), continue to laugh, love and live. The Bible says there’s enough trouble today, so don’t worry about tomorrow (paraphrased), He’s going to be there for all my tomorrows as He was for all my yesterdays, and today! I think it is wise to plan for the future, but it’s never wise to worry (and this is something I have to lay at the feet of Jesus daily…some days I win, others I really struggle).
Forgive me for rambling just a little bit today (you know us ‘old’ folk do that from time to time, eh)? I got to looking at some of these old photos today of myself through different stages of my young life. I started out pretty cute; chubby and wrinkly…and I was thinking to myself, how ironic that I’m probably gonna end up that way too, yeah…chubby and wrinkly, though if someone calls you ‘cute’ when you get older, it’s usually more about your ‘behavior’, or some quirky habit you’ve picked up unknowingly as you’ve aged . Not too long ago I read a police report about an ‘elderly’ woman, 63 or 64 years old, whose car was rammed into by a desperado who was driving a stolen car. I thought to myself, “Elderly?” What were they ‘talking about?’ I was 63, and that sounded so foreign to my ears! Never would I consider myself or call myself ‘elderly!’ I cringed at the mere thought of being called elderly at the ‘young age of 63.’ NO WAY was I going to accept what the dictionary (and some of our society) labels ‘elderly!’
(of a person) old or aging.
“she was elderly and silver-haired”
advanced in years,
long in the tooth,
past one’s prime;
hoary; in one’s dotage, decrepit, doddering, doddery, senescent;
over the hill,
no spring chicken
Hmm, Some of these descriptions I can accept, but long in the tooth? Getting on? geezer? decrepit, doddering? I think NOT! Doesn’t sound like me at all, nor most of my ‘elderly’ friends! Not yet anyway, and when that time comes, and I do see it coming, I’ll let you know, or as my sister once said to me, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you!’ 😀 In the meantime, I’m going to dance the dance of life, and celebrate everyday as a gift from God. As His Word says…I will rise up as an eagle, and my youth will be renewed as I wait on the Lord.
In all seriousness, though, aging gracefully is a struggle for many in our youth oriented culture, and has been for me too at times, especially when you feel ‘young’ but the ‘number’ keeps creeping upwards. Inevitably, we all age but one of the most beautiful of women I’ve ever known was my mother…she was graceful, her smile, the way she moved, gentle. She was always there for my siblings and I, and knew when to call and when to come. This is true ageless beauty; to love others and have a giving heart. God’s word says it best in 1 Peter 3: 3-4:
3 Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; 4 let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights.
You Are So Beautiful To Me
The wrinkles on a time-worn face Can be symbols of God’s grace, If through our laughter and our tears His love has freed us from our fears. —D. De Haan
“Even to your old age, . . . and even to gray hairs I will carry you!” (Isaiah 46:4).
Yes, we can be assured that God will always be with us through every season. My advice: Love Deeply, Forgive Quickly, Laugh Loudly, Be Thankful. In our lives things are constantly changing, but we can be assured that our God NEVER changes and that His love for us is not dependent on our performance, nor what we look like on the outside, or even the crud on the inside. He just loves us. God used this song, ‘I Am’, along with the picture of mama touching my heart gently, to reassure me when I was in the throes of grief, that He is always with me. He is the one constant in life. The words to this song say it all.
Oh gently lay your head
Upon my chest
And I will comfort you
Like a mother while you rest
The tide can change so fast,
But I will stay
The same through the past,
The same in future, same today
I am constant; I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy; I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires
Oh weary, tired and worn,
Let out your sighs
And drop that heavy load you hold
Cause Mine is light
I know you through and through;
There’s no need to hide
I want to show you love
That is deep and high and wide
Oh gently lay your head
Upon my chest
And I will comfort you
Like a mother while you rest