Friday, August 31, 2012

Peace, Love, and Hospital Karaoke

Well, I came home late in the evening after my surgery. My gallbladder is out, and I'm pretty sore. I guess that's to be expected when someone pokes holes in your tummy, right? But I'm apparently feeling well enough to blog, and I really want to tell you about my day.

I had a great peace about the surgery. I was terrified of the almost-surgery on my spine in late 2010. Terrified. I couldn't get peace with it. Thank goodness it was cancelled!

Today, I had nothing but peace. All. Day. Long. It was amazing. I think there are several reasons for this:

  • Per my post the other day, I am spending more time in the Word and more time with God. I started a Bible study at a local church. It's called Me, Myself, and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. It talks about cleaning out your "thought closet" from all the lousy things we think about ourselves and making our thoughts and minds more like God's. It's fantastic, and I love spending time with it! It helped me to stop thinking about all those episodes of Grey's Anatomy where someone died on the operating table because they had a bad reaction to anesthesia or something. Because that's what I think about the day before I go into surgery. Naturally.
    I totally felt like I was the one in a smushed smooch
    sandwich today. So. Much. Love. Thank you!
  • I was absolutely, positively covered in love. Drowning in it, even. In a good way, of course. My friends, loved ones, and even some of my readers sent me texts, Tweets, and notes on Facebook that they were praying for me, or even just thinking about me. I know not all of my friends pray, but I really appreciate the time they took to tell me they were thinking of me and wishing me well. And I fully believe in the overwhelming power of prayer, so I felt the prayers of my friends like a blanket around me. It was amazing!  While I was saying goodbye to my son before I left him with his grandparents, he looked up and said, "Dear God, please protect my mommy." I loved all of your thoughts and prayers, but I do have to say that his was my favorite. 
  • I took it to God. I prayed for myself. I've always felt selfish doing it, but my friend Julie Gillies has an amazing new book coming out called Prayers for a Woman's Soul. I was fortunate enough to read some of it in advance, and believe that I'm going to be giving some copies away when it's released. It encourages us to pray for ourselves—not in a selfish way, but in the knowledge that God wants us to show him our hearts. He wants the best for us, always, and it's so encouraging to know that if we pray for ourselves in a right spirit, it's not selfish—it's essential. I can't wait for all of you to read Julie's book! It's so freeing.
  • I sang. I totally did. My husband laughed at me, and the nurses who walked by my pre-op room laughed and shook their heads. I'll be honest: I'm not big on Christian music. I think a lot of it sounds the same, so it's rare that a song catches my ear. But I stocked my iPod with some of the worship songs I do like to sing. And I sang. Not too loudly, but apparently loud enough for people in the hallway to hear me. I just knew that having praise on my lips just before going into surgery would calm me. Praising God in the middle of even the worst situation just brings peace and hope to my heart. I've only just discovered that, so I took full advantage of my new-found knowledge. And I totally have the patent on Hospital Karaoke© now. Don't go stealing it, yo.

Despite someone poking holes in me and taking out one of my internal organs (the thought of which is so weird, by the way), today was a great day. I knew I was loved by God and by my friends, I did things in faith that I typically wouldn't have done, and I felt the results of spending time in the Word and with God.

Has an awful day ever become a great day simply because of God's love and/or intervention or the love and prayers of those around you? I want you to tell me about it! E-mail me at thelazychristian (@) yahoo (dot) com, and I'll share some of your stories here! Be sure to send me your blog link (if you have one) and tell me how/if you want your name included.

I can't wait to hear your stories!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

C'mon, Prayer Warriors!

Today is the day! This gallbladder is coming OUT! It's kind of strange: I had back surgery, but they didn't take much out. I'm losing an entire organ this time. Weird. My son asked me if I was getting a new gallbladder, and I said no. And then he asked if I can still be alive without one. I assured him I could be. What a thoughtful kid! But what a weird conversation.

I would appreciate any prayers you're willing to send up for me today. My surgery is at noon (EDT). Prayers for the surgery as well as the recovery would be appreciated.

Thank you, Prayer Warriors! I'll try to send an update just to let you know I made it through.  :)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Attack of the Gallbladder!

My body is at it again. No, it isn't back surgery. Again. It's not pancreatic antics. (I think it's hilarious that I have posts to go with all of these ailments.)

But, no. It's my gallbladder.

Apparently, pregnancy can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body, and your gallbladder can go all wonky because of it. Who knew? Not me. I didn't know until after it was a problem. I had a horrible gallbladder attack on Friday. Crazy pain, vomiting. Crying because of the crazy pain and vomiting. All because I went out for ice cream with my family. Blecch. An ultrasound revealed that my gallbladder was, "Just full o' stones!" as the tech put it. The only reliable treatment for gallstones is to have the gallbladder removed.

This is a pic from my back surgery in 2008. Kidding!
Surgery! *gasp*

What's funny is that I was so anxious about the back surgery I was scheduled to have in late 2010. I was awake-all-night-and-crying anxious. Head-for-the-hills-it's-Godzilla anxious. I've been thinking about the possibility of this surgery since my discussion with my doctor on Saturday morning.

And I'm not scared.

I'll still have to go under anesthesia. I'll still be having surgery. I'll have two kiddos to take care of when I come out of it (including one who's still nursing, so that'll be interesting). But I'm feeling OK about it.

I can't figure out why, though. Is it because I don't really have time to think about it? Most likely, it's going to be this week. Doesn't give me much time to fret and create awful scenarios in my head of what could happen. That back surgery was scheduled a month or so out. I had a month to get worked up about it.

But it wasn't really like that. I was scared from the get-go. I was uncomfortable with it from the start.

For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. 
- I Corinthians 14:33 (ESV)-

Yes, I'm taking that verse a little bit out of context. It's really about speaking in tongues, but I don't think it's any less true in a global sense. God doesn't cause anxiety. He tells us not to be anxious about anything. But he can prevent us from having peace if he knows something isn't the best decision for us.

We can follow his prompting or ignore it; we still have free will, of course. God may just enact a different game plan, since we know that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28). We may have to take the long way around to get to the good, but it'll be there somewhere.

Personally, I'd rather listen a little harder in the first place and get to the good a little faster.

Have you ever had two similar situations in which you felt God had different directions for you? How did you know what to do? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Running on Fumes

I've been a believer since I was a kid. I remember announcing to my third grade teacher that I had asked Jesus into my heart, so, generally, I say that's how long I've been a Christian. I wasn't baptized until my husband and I moved to Indianapolis seven years ago, though, so is that supposed to be the start date? I've never been clear as to what exact moment starts the clock, but I'm pretty sure the decision is the main thing.

So third grade it is. How long has it been? How old is a kid in third grade? It was in the spring, so I was probably nine years old. That means I've been a believer for—hmm, borrow from the three, subtract there—23 years.

Dude. I feel super old now. Not because I'm 32, but because I had to do long subtraction in my head. Do kids even do that anymore? This new math. Hmph.

So after 23 years of following Christ it took me until yesterday to realize a truth that I'm sure I've been living for a while now:

I'm coasting.

I'm running on fumes. I'm coasting. I'm Michael J. Fox on a skateboard behind a Jeep.

The most active part of my faith seems to be behind me somewhere, and I'm just doing the bare minimum to maintain my relationship with God. I'm trying to get by on what I've already done instead of trying to do anything new. I pray throughout the day, but study? Meditation?

Surely, you jest.

Granted, I have a lot going on right now. I'm still adjusting to having two kids and all that. But what was my excuse the year before that? And the years before that?

I'm not saying I've been a complete waste of space all this time. We all go through a period of growth followed by a plateau of sorts, then we go through another period of growth. Or sometimes we have a period of growth and then just ride the plateau. Indefinitely. Which is what it feels like I've been doing.

I'm not going to ditch God; he knows that. He's not going to ditch me; I know that. But should that ever be good enough? Should I ever settle for, "Well, as long as I don't become a worse person, do I really need to become a better person?"

Not according to Scripture. So here's the part where we see how much trouble I've gotten myself into:

Psalm 1 says that the person who meditates on the law day and night will be blessed and prosperous.

Hey, I want blessings and prosperity! That sounds good! What's next?

Colossians 1:9-10 encourages us to grow in "the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Oh. I need to have spiritual wisdom and understanding. And I have to bear fruit (we all remember that poor fig tree, right?). And I have to keep increasing in knowledge. OK, this is sounding like work.

2 Peter 3:18 says I need to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

More knowledge. That comes from studying Scripture and actually spending quality time with God. Yep, definitely work. I probably don't even need to read that verse in Revelation about being lukewarm. I think I get the picture.

*sigh* So I apparently can't stay here and expect to ride this life out. I knew that, of course, but sometimes it's just so easy to rest on the laurels of the title "Christian." Like my pastor always says, you need to grow up in the faith, not just grow old in the faith.

So now I will attempt to refill my tank. Prayer. Study. Consistently, which is really the key. I have a game plan. Now I just need to put it into action.

Are you coasting? What do you do when you need to refill your spiritual tank?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

From the Safety of My Nest

I'm going to bite the bullet and write a post, since I've been writing this in my head for three months now. And I need to stop rewriting it in my head every night before I go to bed.

I haven't felt like writing a post. There are several reasons why, but the main reason is that I've lost the feeling that my blog is a safe place.

I've tried to make it a safe place for me and for my readers. A place where I can be myself and talk freely about what's in my brain. A place where people don't feel attacked or judged. A place where ideas are welcome and intelligent conversation is encouraged. I have Christians and non-Christians who read my blog, and I like that. I like you, dear reader. You who encourages me, you who challenges me, you who enlightens me.

The post I wrote on the day I went into labor with my daughter got some mean comments. Comments attacking me, mostly made from an anonymous source (but a few others as well). I know they were made from a place of misunderstanding, but they hurt. I'll be honest—I spent the first day of my daughter's life crying over those comments. I only logged on to see what encouragement my pals left, but that's not what I got. It took me by surprise, completely. I hid comments for the first time so I wouldn't have the reminder.

Many of my readers came to my rescue and shot back at A. Nonymous, but I took those comments off, as well. Two wrongs don't make a right, you know?

What strikes me is that, in the two or so years I've had this blog, I've gotten one out-and-out negative comment. One. And on a day of such joy, I suddenly get smothered by them. Ridiculous.

So here's what I'd like to say about that post: If you read the few posts before it, you'll see that I specifically felt that God was asking me to wait on his timing to have my daughter. I tried everything to get labor started myself because I was miserable, and I felt God telling me to stop that and wait for him to get things moving. He didn't want me to ask my doctor for an induction. I was trying to be obedient——mostly failing, but trying.

No, I do not think being induced is "against God." Me being induced before I was in labor was going against God's timing in my life. We all have to listen to God and what he's asking us to do, and he asked me to wait instead of asking my doctor to induce me. It's not a stance on induction; it was God's request of me, personally. Even though I started labor on my own, I still needed the assistance of the labor-inducing drug Pitocin to help me along. But I let God start the labor instead of trying to make it happen. That was the thing I was instructed to do, so I did it.

No, I don't think there's anything wrong with having an epidural. I'm not even sure how that came up in the comments, since I didn't mention it in my post. With both deliveries, I tried to avoid them. My reason being that I had back surgery when I was pregnant with my son, and I don't like people monkeying with my spine if it's unnecessary. But with both deliveries, an epidural ended up being the best choice for me.

Babies get here all kinds of ways. Sure, I have personal preferences on how I'd like my babies to get here (we all do, hence the idea of a birth plan), but that doesn't mean I'm taking a stance on how other babies get here.

I made a comment about choosing against God's wishes for me and then having that thought negatively attached to the birth of my baby girl. Well, that didn't happen. But now I have the thought of those mean comments negatively attached to the birth of my baby girl. So...awesome. I pray constantly that God will erase it from my emotional memory. This post is a step in that process.

You're probably thinking, "Toughen up, girl! If you want to have a blog and put this stuff out there for the world, you're going to have to deal with the occasional meanie!"

True. And I can handle people who don't like my ideas or disagree with me. But this one just hit me on such a sensitive day. It really struck a nerve, and I can't seem to shake it off.

Cuteness cures all.
I'm not certain what this means for me. Do I think I'll blog regularly again? Probably. In addition to this soreness, I'm still trying to balance having two kids in the house, finding time to recover from midnight feedings, and trying to take care of myself in between. That's not really conducive to blogging. I've also been dealing with postpartum depression (there, I said it out loud), which kind of exacerbates the issue at hand and probably makes me more sensitive than I would be otherwise. Maybe. There's no way of knowing. It's been a pretty good sting from the start.

So that's where I am. It's possible that you have thoughts—supportive or otherwise—on this post and would like me to know them, but I'm not really up to it. I just wanted to have some peace by clarifying things, which I've done, so I've disabled commenting on this post.

I'm grateful to my bloggy friends Heatherly, Patti, Carey, Shannon, and Teri for being supportive of me during this difficult spell. And I'm grateful to my other non-bloggy friends who have come alongside me, as well.

And hopefully I'll talk to you again soon.