Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pain Journal continued

When I began the draft for this post I was still waiting for the cortisone injection treatment. The fibro flare continued unabated. The Lidocaine patches numb the area for a while, but the nerve pain begins again almost as soon as I must remove the patch for 12 hours. Recently we saw the IMAX movie about the Hubble Telescope. The video that was used with this song reminds me of that. When I use this song for worship I apply it more on a personal relationship basis, rather than the vast expanse of the universe. The song works, either way, to bring me out of myself and back to His grace and mercy.

And now, after the first injection and waiting to experience its effects, I will be scheduled for another as the pain is still present, though not as debilitating. I continue to need worship songs to keep my focus upon the Eternal and not on myself. And, amazingly enough, pain or no pain the universe continues in its orbits. The sun rises, the moon rises and each set in their due course. The seasons change and the Lord expects me to invite Him into every situation and challenge I face. He who created the universe surely cares for each of us. Trust Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He will not disappoint you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pain Journal #2

This is a long post, but it includes two quotations the Lord has been using to heal me from the inside out. Bear with me and I hope you are blessed.

On February 9, 2011 I journal-ed: . "The virus then wiped the floor with me several times. I am not on my game as far as physical activity. The pain and hourly aches have dragged me to a new low as far as hope for this body." And even as I wrote about the need to center and turn to the Lord, I kept avoiding Him. I did turn again to "A Prayer of Trust." I think it was published in Forward Day by Day.

LORD, I WILL TRUST YOU. Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You. Christ of the mysteries, can I trust You to be stronger than each storm in me? So I still yearn for Your glory to lighten on me? I will show others the care you have given me. I determine amid all uncertainty always to trust. I choose to live beyond regret and let You recreate my life. I believe You will make a way for me and provide for me, if only I trust You and obey. I will trust in the darkness and know that my times are still in Your hand. I will believe You for my future, chapter by chapter, until all the story is written. Focus my mind and my heart on You, my attention always on You without alteration. Strengthen me with your blessing and appoint to me the task. Teach me to live with eternity in view. Tune my spirit to the music of heaven. Feed me, and, somehow, make my obedience count for You.
O help me, sweet Jesus.

So I learned again over a couple of days that "the only path for me is practice centering, watching, using my pencils to attempt a glimpse of what I see in prayer and meditation, Glimpses of Eternity."

I also was using a meditation from Thomas Keating's Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, Sept. 10.
“Redemption Means to Heal You from the Roots Up”

“[Jesus] healed those who needed healing.”
LK 9:11 NIV
Until … basic childhood programs for happiness are repented of, that is to say changed, we’re engaged, all of us, in an addictive process which will show up if you live long enough in a specific addiction unless you take the spiritual journey to heart and as a practice to heal that situation. The Gospel is about the healing of our conscious and unconscious wounds … It is into this melodrama of everyday life that Jesus has come with the Kingdom and that’s where it works. That’s where it’s powerful. That’s where it’s to be found on an everyday basis. Right where you experience it and feel it. And it’s the gift of Jesus. And this is the full meaning of redemption – to heal you from the roots up. So that instead of self-centered motivation and a world in which you see everything from the perspective of the big I am of your ego, you see it from the big I AM of God’s selfless-self … That is the true view of reality. (Who is God?)

“Put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.” PS 130:7 NIV

For several days I copied the first sentence in my journal, not realizing just how deep that healing work would go. By February 19, 2011 I knew the pain was out of control. "Sleepless and then awakened with pain. Even with Ambien I awoke 1 or 2 times. Woke up this AM & on leaving the bedroom burst into tears.
How can I travel to Ireland and change beds from day to day and TRAVEL period?
How can I handle Rowan as his little body grows?
This is a hard place to be...pain like broken glass in my body - burning acing UNRELENTING pain and knowing my added weight might be making it worse.
"Calm down, YIELD." It took multiple meditation tapes before Ambien brought me sleep. So uncomfortable, no relief."
And then I copied again
"Until ... basic childhood programs for happiness are repented of, that is to say changed," The repent word kept drawing me to it. To change and go the other way. So I had to admit that I was /am powerless over chronic pain and I admit that my life is unmanageable. I am willing to surrender to YOUR love and not my fears.
More on that next time!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Unfailing Love and A Pain Journey

Years ago the Lord showed me this song and I have received healing many times from Him while centering in the lyrics and truth therein.

Recently I have had yet another crossroads in my health and am currently waiting for an appointment at the Spine Clinic to get help managing pain. I hope you will be encouraged in body, mind and spirit by the song.

The poem that follows was my attempt to relate to someone with debilitating illness and pain. She was nevertheless determined to serve the Living God until He called her home. The quote from Natalie Goldberg describes one technique for writing about feelings. That was the technique that brought the poem forth. Hope you enjoy it.

"You must be a great warrior when you contact first thoughts and write from them. Especially at the beginning you may feel great emotions and energy that will sweep you away, but don't stop writing. Write right through the tears so you can come out on the other side and not be thrown off by the emotion."
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

98-12-25 Ogre of Pain by Molly Lin Dutina

"If I let myself feel the pain will I become intoxicated with the pain? Overwhelmed by the pain, will my life then become JUST PAIN with no other sensation, value, or purpose? Will I be consumed with gauging the pain
sitting in the pain
walking in the pain?
All my perceptions dulled except to the pain
under the pain
in the pain
pain through and through
pain behind me
ahead of me pain
on all sides of me pain
above me
beneath me
My life reduced to pain.
In every cell pain.
Sleeplessness because of pain.
Poor rest when sleeping due to pain.
If I feel the pain will I have the fortitude and courage to live beyond the pain? Somehow given grace to override the pain
not censor it or
ignore it or
deny it but
live a life in the midst of pain, always haunted by pain?
Pain of bone deterioration, unexplainable muscle pain,
unwarranted from any strain or excess.

my life
drugged or not
my partner
companion in my genes
product of ancestral history.
Exercise - interesting idea when every step hurts.
Could enough endorphins be released that I'll desire exercise even when most pained?
Jesus awoke in the boat and said, "Why are you so afraid?"
For nine years my life has been pain denial pain drugs pain hope pain drained all hope pain denial. I am afraid that no, the pain will never end, or, even worse, the pain will get worse and envelop, dictate, & control my life.

There, I've written it. Many marvel that I'm so busy and try to accomplish so much. They are not acquainted with my relentless task master who drives me on in fear that my capacity to accomplish anything will one day be diminished to near zero.

And then, I'll rise a phoenix intercessor on behalf of God's children
engaged perhaps in the biggest battle of my life to date. With bones cracking, muscles aching, nerves shooting red hot signals to nowhere and everywhere
outer body diminishing
while inner woman draws upon her experience with
a living, dynamic, omnipotent Father and
she is renewed, remade in His image,
inhabited daily, hourly, in every cell of her being
by His Holy Spirit
overshadowed, indwelt
in spite of all this carnal container can develop -
a woman of God
passing through
journeying towards a home
where all sorrow, all tears, and
all pain will be no more.
Forever inhabited by His Spirit
in rapturous adoration
of His glory
and mercy.
Even so, Lord Jesus, I offer my self a living sacrifice unto You. Renew my mind according to Your word and transform even this pain.

The ogre crumbles,
rivulets of plaster dust
falling from its once daunting facade
gathering in powder clumps
revealing its paltry nature."

I will try to make entries the next few days regarding how the Lord has been leading me and what Scriptures and events He has been using to encourage me along this path through Lent. If one person is encouraged, it will have been worth my time!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Amaryllis

The Amaryllis delighted us with three huge flowers. We took the flower pot outside for the best light that day and to our delight Bob and I got the wind chime music! Unfortunately, I spent several hours and several revision to try to upload the video to blogger with NO success... :-(

I am SO behind in sharing this, as usual. What did Lennon say? Something about life is what happens to us while we are making other plans?

My life lately has been a continuous game of 52 Pick-up. I leave the house with the plan for the day and before I am one hour into it, things change and the cards get thrown up in the air by a cosmic nail-scarred Hand that is so sacred to me. I am having to learn to stay flexible whether I want to or not! This is not the teasing, taunting game that we played as children. His goal is not to frustrate or madden me, but to instill in me hope that no matter what comes my way, He is with me and He is in control, even when I may think my life is out of control.

I was enchanted during Advent with Macrina Wiederkehr and Velma Frye's song: "Ever Flowing" The lyrics are:

O, ever-changing God,
protect us from congealing,
Ever flowing, ever flowing,
ever flowing, ever flowing.
'Til we flow into a Sacred Stream,
"Til we flow into that Eternal Drink
which is You.

Then pour us back into the world and
let the flowing begin again,
And again, and again, and again.

The frequent lesson of 52 Pick-up has just been a constant reminder to me from the Lord that things are changing in my body and with my age. My expectations about life activities need to change,too. Things I used to take for granted are no longer easy. There have been times when I have wished for one of those mundane "usual" days when nothing seems to be happening. All of this at a time when my back has actually become less flexible without unrelenting pain occurring. In 2-1/2 weeks I see a pain specialist to get some help controlling sciatic pain, arthritis and a bulging disk. Until then, I am enjoying the rain ( several inches in several days!)as it reminds me crashing off rooftops and down streams to be Ever Flowing like our God. He has assured me there are plans and a future for me. Change is never easy. Just ask the earth as it yields to spring and the fields as they yield to the plows.