Tag Archives: hope

When You Can’t Breathe

  Steven Curtis Chapman says it best…

“I don’t even wanna breathe right now
All I wanna do is close my eyes
But I don’t wanna open them again
Until I’m standing on the other side

I don’t even wanna be right now
I don’t wanna think another thought
And I don’t wanna feel this pain I feel
And right now, pain is all I’ve got.”

It was a hard day.

I waved good-bye to my son, his wife, and my two grandchildren as they drove down the street, on their way to Northern Idaho to a new home, new jobs, a new life. Now instead of twelve minutes away, it was fifteen hours.

My two grandchildren, one five and the other – one year old. My two grandchildren, who I had watched almost since day one. Every day. All day.

I helped them learn to walk. Eat with a spoon. Drink from a cup.

I sat in that rocking chair over there, and rocked them to sleep. Sang to them hymns. Read to them about the pants with nobody inside of them. Held them when they were sick or well or when they just wanted to be held.

I sat at that table over there and played games with ‘Boo’, colored, painted, had tea parties.

And then one day, my son announced a new job opportunity and you can guess the rest and that’s why I stood outside one Sunday morning, waving good-bye to a car filled with precious ones.

And after they left, I went to the rose garden and everywhere I walked I heard Boo. I saw her chasing the blackbirds. And I could hear her excitement upon finally seeing the elusive jack rabbit we’ve been tracking for months – if she had been there.

And the next day, I worked in the garden and watered her garden – a garden filled with volunteer larkspur, bachelor buttons, poppies. She is so proud of her garden. I worked out there most all day. I worked out there until I couldn’t move. I worked out there so I didn’t have to think.

And Tuesday, yesterday, I still couldn’t move. I moved too much on Monday and paid for it on Tuesday. I had lost mobility and.. gained pain in its place. I sat on the couch and worked on my pictures and cried. My digital albums are filled with children’s smiles and I could almost hear the giggles behind those smiles.

And then there was Wednesday. At one point I felt like I had been locked in a blackened room – hopeless, lost, empty. And I wept. For something lost. And it felt as if my heart was literally breaking in two. The crack I could live with a week ago became a bottomless crevice. The strength that held me together a week ago had become jello.

And I wept.

God, how am I going to do this?, I whispered through tears I hadn’t spilled out so hard in so long.

My head told me those two little ones were not mine to hold onto. I was not even their parent. Can a Grammy love her little Grammy-grandchildren so very much?

Yes. Yes – she most definitely can.

As I sat on the bathroom floor, I cried some more and through the tears whispered, God, I lived for those kids.

They were my daily dose of laughter, love, smiles, hugs, joy. God used those two little ones to bless me over and above in so many ways I never deserved. I viewed them as my little disciples and we talked about God everywhere we went. In everything we did.

How I found the energy to do it every day, only God knows. I napped with John and napped when they went home. I fought through the pain within my body and refused to not hold my grandkids or change diapers even when I didn’t think I could stand it another minute.

My body was screaming to let go. My heart was screaming to hold on. My head was saying it was time. Time to listen to the body. The disease that strives to claim more ground with each passing day was doing its job. Time to let go.

It was the grace of God that intervened. But oh how it hurt. After all, I lived for those kids.

And then, I heard it. That still, small voice that you can hear when you’re sobbing uncontrollably because your not busy talking and making incessant, unneedful noise and chatter. The comforting, life-giving voice of God.

God, I lived for those kids, I had whispered through tears.

And before I could go on to the next thought of despair, He whispered back.

Live for me.”

The uncontrollable sobbing became controlled. The tears dried up. A tiny ray of sunshine, a tiny grain of hope took hold deep inside my heart and the crevice began to close and return to a crack. A few more tears fell. Not from grief but because of grace. The grace of God. The trustworthy grace of a merciful God.

I don’t know what living for Him looks like in the days ahead with PD – His plans, His dreams for me – but as I live for Him, I will trust Him completely. I’ve been through too much in my lifetime to do anything less.

Like I said, Steven Curtis Chapman says it best…

I don’t wanna feel this pain I feel
And right now, pain is all I’ve got.
It feels like it’s all I’ve got, but I know it’s not
No, I know You’re all I’ve got
And I will trust You, I’ll trust You
Trust You, God, I will
Even when I don’t understand, even then I will say again
You are my God, and I will trust You.

Trust You. I will trust You. 

Even when I don’t understand the physical, emotional, or mental pain, I will trust Him

Trusting Him always,
Sherri

When Life Is Overwhelming 

 

There is a pair of yellow flip-flops on the front of a blue t-shirt. Below them it is written: “Life is good”.

Some days, life
is

good.

Other days, it can be so overwhelming.

Yet, from the good day to the days that are filled with feelings of despair and discouragement, emptiness and apathy, nothing has really changed. Nothing seems so different in our circumstances that should cause us to feel as if things have chnaged.

It’s all familiar, but the difference of only a day can bring a dark, haunting feeling that causes me to feel overwhelmed. Struggles that were present yesterday but gave no real cause for concern, today give way to distress.

There is a song entitled, “Here”, by Kate White and it speaks to my heart in so many ways.

Here,
In this place,
In this moment
I will praise You.

And here,
In this place,
I will glorify Your name.


Here,
without fear,
I will climb into Your lap.

And here,
bathed in tears,
You embrace me as I am.

My life is overwhelming me.
It’s hard to see the things You see.
Your spirit comes to comfort me.
I will praise You.

Here.

Here, in this moment, in this place, I am overwhelmed. My life is overwhelming me. It’s hard for me to see the things God sees. It’s hard for me to see the way God sees – how my disease will progress. If my friend will find a place of remission with her fast growing cancer. If my opportunities to see my grandkids will get fewer and farther between. If our income will be sufficient month to month. If we will be able to care for our parents the way they will need to be cared for when the time comes. If… when… how… where…

On days that are overwhelming, the list can seem endless.

Because I make it endless.

It’s quite easy to add to it when you’re in a state of mind that seems like everything is overwhelming you. One dark, discouraging thought after another.

But, it is here, in this moment, in this place, I will praise Him.

For here, in this place, I climb into His lap and bathed in tears, He embraces me as I am.

Whether faithless, concerned, overwhelmed, or whatever defines my feelings, my world.

His spirit comforts me. And the darkness dissipates into light. And the light washes over me in the color of warm. And the warm soothes my soul so that I know that once again, He is God. He is here, in this moment, in this place.

The very least my heart can do is to praise Him. And so I praise Him.

Here.

In this place.
Journeying with hope – sherri

Songs In the Night

It’s only natural to wonder why things happen the way they do. Some things can leave you in a state of confusion. Some things can leave you dumbfounded. You may not understand. You are lost in a sea of torment and wonder if you’ll ever find the way out.

All of us have experienced pain of all sorts. Pain of a broken pain. Of childbirth. Of a bee sting. But physical pain doesn’t hold a candle to the mental and emotional pain some of us find ourselves experiencing. The pain of divorce. The pain of watching someone you love suffer. The pain of a wayward child.

There is one pain I have never experienced and I pray that I will never have to. A pain that I can only imagine is so great, only the tender fingers of God can wipe the tears it produces. The pain of losing a child.

A year ago my son and daughter in-law moved from Oregon, where my husband and I live, back to Idaho in anticipation of a better job opportunity. It was a good move – for them. For me? I has spend the prior five and a half years watching my granddaughter every day, all day long and the last six months watching and caring for her little brother, my grandson. When my son and his wife moved, along with mygrandchildren, I truly meant it when I told them they had my blessing. What I wasn’t ready for was what it felt like to have them gone. I literally felt as if my heart had been torn out.

I have a dear friend who had her heart torn out almost two years ago this next February when her daughter was suddenly, unexpectedly, tragically killed. Many of you may have heard. Many most likely know whom I speak of.

Judy Hensley. Mother of Carol Michelle Hensley Singletary.

I have just finished reading Judy’s book, a memoir of sorts, of Carol’s life. A tribute to her spirit. The fire inside her. But as I read it, it became more than that. Throughout this past year, the times I have spoken with Judy, my heartbreak over my loss seemed menial. After all, my kids and grandkids merely moved away. They weren’t taken without my consent. I can visit them, talk to them on the phone, see them through Facetime. Judy can’t. Carol’s gone from this world – a hard fact Judy can’t change.

During our late night or wee hours of the morning chats, there have been tears. They have been prayers. There has been searching. One thing I remember thinking and may have said out loud, is that God is going to use this amazing woman for his glory. Through the pain, the searching for answers, the tears – the grief – he is going to use this woman.

He’s going to bring about something beautiful…

Life is full of messy. Messy relationships. Messy jobs. Messy diseases. Most of which we have no control over, but because sin is a part of life and always has been, life is and always has been messy. But I continue to learn that there is a reason for everything. I may not ever know what the reason is, but there is one. If you believer in an almighty, sovereign, omniscient God (I do), then you most likely believe that thought we may not understand, God allows things to happen. And sometimes those things are not welcome.

Like losing a child. No matter how old.

But, because life is continually messy – and has been since the Adam and Eve episode – there will always exist someone who has gone before us and ‘been there, done that’. Someone who never signed up for messy but was thrust into the heart of it and in the process had their heart torn apart.

Someone like Judy.

There is beauty in the broken and I have not seen it more evident than in her life. Broken, crushed in spirit – wondering and asking why – still she sings.

In her book about Carol, Judy shares a conversation she had with a friend who has gone through a similar experience. They reference the biblical account of when Paul and Silas are imprisoned and how at the midnight hour the two men are praying and singing praises to God. Judy and her friend talk about the verse that says, “…and the prisoners heard them.”

Somehow, the prisoners heard them… they were not simply singing like we might do in the shower. They were not singing a bar or two to themselves. For the other prisoners to hear, they had to have been singing with spirit (quite literally!). I am in awe not at the fact that the prisoners heard them, but that they were singing praises and most likely – singing them loudly.

In her own strength (and she will tell you this herself) Judy has not survived but it has been only by the merciful compassion of a heavenly Father working through His presence in her personally or through the outreach of others toward her. And it’s because of His relentless mercy that she is learning to sing in the night hours. The times that are so incredibly dark and the sun seems it will never shine again. You know – the times when you feel imprisoned to the pain of this world and it feels as if it will never let up. Songs in the night are miracles of praise because when you least feel like singing is when you need to do it most.

Sometimes having a chronic illness leaves you feeling imprisoned, broken, and grief-stricken in its own messy way. But there have been those who have ‘been there, done that’ and are a bit further ahead on the journey and will come alongside of us in order to encourage and teach us how to learn to sing in the dark of the night.

Judy has been nothing short of a illuminating light in the midst of a horrendous storm. She has been proof that while we may never understand why God allows certain things to come about as He does, He does not nor will not abandon His children in their time of need. She is proof that praise is possible in the darkest of times because the light that had already been shining in her life is even brighter now.

If you want to be uplifted, encouraged, and given a renewed sense of hope in a great God,, her book, Carol’s Smile, is available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble stores. And no, she didn’t pay me to write this. She’s sending me Oreos instead.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. …you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:1-5

We Are Not Home Yet

Today it is raining here in Oregon, the state where everyone thinks it rains all the time. But, you know what’s good about so much rain? Everything stays green. All year. Sometimes, I know – it can seem (and can be for some) depressing. But not today. Today it’s raining and… it’s a beautiful day.

  • The birds are still singing. Nothing stops them. Even in the rain, they find something to sing about.
  • There are jillions of puddles to jump in. And that’s exactly what Boo does. And loves it. She even gets Grammy to do it, too.
  • The leaves on the trees and bushes are always a bright, spring green clean.
  • The air smells fresh (they who can smell), they say.
  • The flower’s roots are always refreshed.

I remember a time when there was no rain. I lived in Northern California and it was the year(s) of the big drought. You could only water grass/landscape once a week or on certain, specified days. You couldn’t wash your car. Residents were asked to cut back on laundry washing and shorten showers. Energy saving faucets were stocked in hardware stores and signs that said, ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down’ were selling like hotcakes. Drought tolerant landscape was in big demand. People were trying to conserve water everywhere they could. And in that conservation, things began to die. Lawns and shrubbery were replaced by often less colorful species, guaranteed to survive the heat with less water. Kids were disheartened when summer sprinkler fun ceased. Guys with an obsession to wash their trucks weekly were frustrated by the new policies set in place.

No rain meant saying no to many other things. River rafting. Skiing was affected. The list could go on and on. We longed for the days when rain would come. We prayed for days on end for the rain to fall.

One day, the skies clouded over and there was a hint of hope. The hope turned to joy when the drops began to fall from the heavens. People opened their front doors and walked out into the uncommon liquid sunshine and danced (at least I and one other person I know of did). The rain fell, a wet welcome to a thirsty and dry community.

The past “winter of life” seems to have hung around for many in many different ways…

  • The wet is becoming intolerable. But let’s face it – before long the popular complaint will be that it’s intolerably hot.
  • Medications that once worked wonders, aren’t so wonderful anymore.
  • Falls are more frequent and frustration is growing over what else will begin to increase in this debilitating disease – whatever it is.
  • Concentration levels are failing, your speech is getting more difficult to understand, and you can’t remember anything.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? It is raining, but a new day is coming. It may, for some, feel like a drought infested summer deep within their spirits, where they long for a refreshing, cleansing rain. Take heart… A day is coming when there will be no more pain. No more tears. No more sorrow. A new day when we will run with new feet, hug with new arms and smell the beautiful roses with brand new noses. A day is coming when we will see that these days of discontent will have been okay because we were never made for this world anyway.

We are taught to be content in all things and well, for the most part, we should be. However, to have a hint of discontentment can also be good – if you believe there is something better and the best is yet to be. I don’t want to get so settled here, that I forget to remember there is something better coming. I don’t want to get so comfortable that I forget this earth is not my final resting place. I want to remember that at any moment, my Prince is going to ride in on a white horse and take me Home. My discontentment and sorrow will be that I didn’t share that hope when it was raining or hopelessly dry in someone’s life. Because without that hope, there really isn’t anything more to this life than living and dying and that hope then, becomes hopelessness.

It’s raining here today, but in the past week, my hope has been restored in many ways and the sunshine is burning bright and warm within me. God has not forgotten. He has not failed us.

We are not home yet. Thank God – we are not home yet.

It’s A Wrap: Bringing Parkinson’s Awareness Month to A Close

Even though Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month will be coming to a close as of today’s end, we can still continue to spread the word. To celebrate the last 30 days of an attempt to educate, inspire, and bring awareness to this little monster and its ability to change the course of one’s life, here are my top 3 favorite awareness items from the month by three different sources: Sheryle Klingelhofer, Beth Bjerke, and PJ’s most popular “Top Ten”. 

 

 

PRICELESS! 

This one’s from Sheryl Klingelhofer, Facebook page “A Life with Parkinson’s”:

OK, MOST folks talk about the support they get from friends and family with their Parkinson’s and dystonia difficulties…however I hear of some who say that after their diagnosis, they are often rather abandoned or even get griped at over the disorder. And while we HOPE that insight and education through gentle sharing would work, well, it often doesn’t.

It may be from a movie, but if you get bugged by insecure or unfeeling individuals, try this little quote…it sums it up for them nicely!

 

 

Next, we have the popular

THE TEN THINGS PARKINSON’S PATIENTS WANT,

(sort of)


1.  To feel good.


2.  To smell (what’s baking in the oven).

 

3.  To have people believe that the person with PD isn’t pretending to have a chronic disease.                                Really. We have better things to do.


4.  For others to understand that although they can’t see all of the effects, the disease is real.

 

5.  More dopamine. We gotta have more cow bell dopamine.

 

6.  To not shake all the time. It would be so nice to stir our coffee because we want to.

 

7.  For others to be aware of the struggles and invisible symptoms people with Parkinson’s face so that they are better able to understand the fervency and urgency of a cure.

 

8.  To find a drug that doesn’t knock you out for half the day, but instead, knocks out PD.

 

9.  A plastic bat to hit others over the head when they make thoughtless comments.

 

10.  A cure



and then last, but not at all least, a plea from Beth Bjerke:

“Last week I changed my profile picture [on Facebook] from what was a symbol of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, to a picture of myself. As nice as the comments were, I was taken by surprise by how many took the time to say something nice. Yyet on the other hand, I’ve posted something about Parkinson’s [most everday this month] and it [seems] to go unnoticed. I, like so many others, am fighting a progressive disease that has no cure.

There are many three- or four-little-words sentences we all like hearing: “You look nice…” or “I love you…” or “Have a nice day…” 

However, there is also another four-word sentence I so hope to hear, not only for myself but for those inflicted with the disease and those yet to come.

Four simple, yet complicated words…

THERE IS A CURE.”

I do believe that one day Parkinson’s disease will only be a memory. That is called having hope. Without that hope, what do any of us really have?

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. We are at the end an I am reaching out to all – take a moment and help bring awareness to Parkinson’s disease. Please let me know you’re behind me, that you truly care, and that I’m not just another face.

Beth”


How about you? Is there something YOU can do?


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