Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 6 of 6

RLLBS.2019.19What a beautiful and hypnotic day You gave on this day that would be our last night of the ladies bible study we have been doing for the last 6 weeks.

Rachel & Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us About Combating Comparison.
Written by Nicki Koziarz.

Our last week is
Truth Six: Let the success of others encourage you not discourage you.IMG_20190324_153610And the supporting verse to combat this comparison is 2 Corinthians 10:12 KJV
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
How incredibly wise we would be to realize it is so futile and foolish to compare ourselves to those who are commending themselves. We should be more concerned with what You testify of us.

I was blessed with time to arrive early, and I was looking forward to some time to do some of my puzzle book. However, Your warm sun, Your bright day, and Your gentle breeze continuously playing with my hair was far too much for me! 😉 I was out like a light with those windows down, and it felt so nice.

It would be a nightmare ( or I guess daymare) that would wake me up. I found myself saying so frantically, “OH NO!” I quickly checked the time and figured I better go in before I fall asleep again. Marilyn was walking the parking lot, and happened to be near my left window. She playfully said she thought she was going to have to wake me up.

On the way in, I got to say hey and get a Keitha hug. Then I went to get my badge,6.2

my prayer card for my new request, my ticket for door prizes,6.4and then found my seat at the table.

I was wearing my Ready Wraps on my calves. It had been a rough day at PT. The Lord blessed me with determined and caring physical therapists, but the compression equipment we attempted to use on my legs just wasn’t working. It’s not designed for lymphedema patients, and my lymphedema specialist says I’m a very small case. I can’t tell You how long it has been since I was called small.

We’re trying to use my Ready Wraps at home to prevent having to use the more extreme measures like a year and a half ago (pictured above). With all all of this strenuous and exhausting physical day, my soul is ready for a fresh drink at the well of living water.

I am actually more saddened about it being our last night of Rachel and Leah. I had made connections this time from trusting You in being more open and more honest. It feels like I have done nothing but whine about my health, yet my sisters in Christ are so loving and supportive to call it sharing, and assuring me of their prayers. I can definitely tell You have had so many praying for me… in this study… in the blogging community… among church family… and so many others. Thank You, Lord!

Ellen comes to sit on my left and we begin to fellowship, then Latricia on my right. These have been two of the dear friends You have blessed me with. At one point Keitha brings me my badge! :O In getting the picture for my blogging family, I forgot to put the badge ON! 😉

We begin discussions as we do door prizes and snacks. Keitha lets us know she has exciting news to tells us. Nicki Koziarz (the author of this study) will be visiting Keitha’s church in June! They are all so excited. It is pretty cool at the idea of meeting the person we’ve been watching on the videos. Especially since she was sharing with us in the videos that her mom was in the process of passing while we were studying. By this last night, she had let us know her mom passed. Unfortunately, many of us had gone through the same misfortune, and some are in the process of it still coming to pass.

How timely, that You would have this happen in her life about the same time Rachel would be passing in the material. We’re all left to wonder our own opinions on how Rachel’s passing affected everyone. But we all can come to the same conclusion… life is not always fair. Honestly it’s just a reminder to never expect life to be fair. Instead, we are to be thankful for everything and everyone, and every second we have with them.

Last week our theme was Her Gain Is Not Your Loss and the verse was Romans 12:15
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”  It seems so odd this week to be focusing on comparison when it feels like it’s also all about loss. You know what You’re doing, Lord. Isn’t that when we most judge and compare?? At funerals??

We also got news on our Nickey from our group who is fighting metastatic breast cancer. It’s not good, not good at all. Yet Nickey is determined to hang on to her faith regardless. Only You know, Lord, what Your plans for her are. It is our job to keep praying and having faith with her.

All of this comes at a time when our family will be reminded of so much loss. So many birthdays of loved ones gone home with You. And Mom and Gran’s birthdays both fall on Easter this year. The 24th will remind us of my granddad being gone. The end of the month will remind is of not having my baby brother anymore. He was 10 months younger than me, but was killed at 37 years old. And we have more than one friend signed into hospice who could pass before Easter does.

It’s amazing how many aspects of our lives are so deeply affected by comparison. It is a battle with our self, and the world we must live in and deal with, trusting our struggles will strengthen us. You strengthen us, even when we don’t feel like it or believe it. You carry us in our weaknesses. You are our strength.

We did the video and our prayer groups. Latricia and Marilyn were so sweet and patient enough to wait for me to return from the restroom to start. That was so touching. We did pray for our requests, and Marilyn even had a praise for her friend Etiska whose tests showed she did not have cancer after all! We kept our own prayer cards.

I then was able to get that Sprig of Joy fundraising can Keitha had mentioned before. (Having to wait for device to charge to get pic for the blog). There were many things I have forgotten or cannot remember well enough to mention… like our snacks… other announcements… and lots of deep discussion on our material.

I will miss the daily prayer and devotion, but I am still working on copying the bible by hand. I just went into 1 Samuel this week.

And, Lord, don’t let me forget about YOUR loss… or so it seemed like. YOUR pain was real in watching Your Son suffer. YOUR circumstances were not trivial. There was a reason. And for Rachel’s sake, for Nikki’s mom’s sake, and my mom, and grandmother, my granddad, my brother, and so many more, I am grateful.

We are grateful You’re agony conquered death. You’re pain conquered comparison. Your identity conquered ours. Your obedience conquered our disobedience. We’re sorry, Jesus. We dismiss or carelessly overlook Your suffering, Father, in watching what was happening to Your Son. How many times have we agonzied in watching our child suffer the loss of their innocence over something they did not do. How it must pain You to see it. May we never forget Your sacrifice.

Lately, I pray over these campers.6.6Help them to raise their funds, and have a blessed time.

 

Gift of the Year 2017: Therapy

Lord, you know you are my greatest gift ever, and you gave yourself through your Son Jesus Christ, the love of my life! Yet in praying about this past year, you began overwhelming me with the generous blessings you gifted me with throughout the year. While I am letting you help me get that post together by still taking time to look over everything, you absolutely pointed out my gift of the year… therapy.

When I began therapy 19 months or so ago, I could hardly walk, move my neck,  struggled to lift my legs to get in and out of the car, the tub, or to change clothes. It was so painful to sit, stand, walk, or even lay down, or allow my back to touch anything. I was clinically sleep deprived. I went from hardly ever taking meds to strong meds that were not doing a thing. When I began therapy several hours a week, every week, for the last year and a half, Blake did the hand work to my back and neck that finally allowed blood flow, which allowed my medicines to work, and any shot to have better circulation.

When Dr. Buzz began to do blocks, after the first one I went straight home and fell asleep for the first time in months… yes months… years since I could sleep more than 3 hours… and without pain! I was able to improve on personal hygiene, lay on my back, finally elevate my feet, start attending church more often, and tolerate standing better for singing at least a little bit.

In the last year, I have had more types of therapists than I even knew existed. The number of doctors, therapists, specialists, and procedures were just too much, though I kept a daily record. Between medicines, surgeries or procedures, vigorous therapies, medical tests, medicine changes, all while struggling with memory, concentration, the ability to focus, got the best of me several times. I was told it was metabolic, but I needed (and will probably need for life) the medicines just to function.

If it were not for therapy and blocks, I would be in such a miserable state, IF I were here at all. While I wanted answers and relief, and did whatever was asked of me, I had given up in many ways. I had no energy at all because it was all going into doing simple things… sit, stand, walk, use the bathroom, shower, sleep, dress and undress. I thought I was surely losing the battle, especially since I had many other health issues, and all my doctors could see was weight…. thinking it was all about food and me.

I praise your name for the therapy that helped me not to give up, to better communicate with my doctors, and better understand why my doctors thought such incorrect and negative thoughts, learning to better understand what they were asking of me, and if all else fails not to give up trying so that I can know I did everything asked of me.

My dietician therapists were such a supportive team. How can I thank you, Lord, enough for sending my dietician coach? It makes all the difference in the world to have someone on your side, to believe you, and to help you figure out what’s going wrong, or at least how to better deal with it, without giving up.

Towards the end of the year, I was diagnosed with lymphedema and lipedema. Robbie’s vigorous work with my legs and compression made a vast difference in the health of my legs and feet before I was released to begin work with a whole new team of therapy specialists. The most comforting words I heard from complete medical strangers were, “This is fluid, not weight. This is not something you’ve done. This is something that has happened to you. There has been injury to your lymphatic system. The lipedema is fat, but not the kind of fat YOU have gained or could work off. Again it is not something you have done. It is something that has happened to you.” Even if I’ve learned I will be living with it, I finally have answers, and a TEAM of specialists gifted beyond measure.

Lastly, but certainly not least, that one who has helped to learn to communicate better between my doctors as they asked for has been gifted with patience that has saved me from giving up, saved me from going crazy, and has kept me from flying. Every day is a challenge not to lose those battles, but he completely gets it. I am not going crazy to him. I am simply physically frustrated, exhausted, discouraged, insulted, challenged, belittled, bullied, and anxious about what I cannot control or understand… which is a lot. He helps me to pause, to think it out, to regroup, to communicate, and choose to live.

The best gift of all along the way is the many believers you have brought along my path. Missionaries in the medical field. They are absolutely there! Comforting, healing, encouraging day in and day out. And even nonbelievers… you never go without using people whether they are willing or not, even when they have ill intentions, YOU are always on the throne, making beautiful things work for YOUR good through and to them, as well as to me! That’s so you!

Thank you, God, for all of the souls you have brought my way. I especially pray for my regular doctor (aka G.P. or family doc) as she has been sick enough to have to leave the practice for a few months. She was the one who began this journey with me, and signs whatever permissions she is asked to that allow things to continue. You have used her so much, and now I can do nothing to help her… but YOU CAN! I pray for her, and for each one you gifted me with this year. A greater part of the year, they were the only ones I saw outside of home. Thank you for Anthoni’s heart (and finances) to make sure his mom got to all of her appointments, as much as possible, making me promise not to give up. Thank you for being the Great Physician that you are! NOTHING would be possible without you!

New Diagnoses and New Therapies

I struggle to stay awake. I fall asleep while trying to read or write, or encourage, then awaken in spells as well. My brain strives to keep up with what I am doing. Thank God for copy and paste to transfer the poetry. Lord willing, I will get back to blogging… in His perfect timing. After adding 2 diagnosis (lymphedema and lipedema) to the many others, my regular physical therapy that is usually 2 hours of work, tens, and ice/heat/gameready twice a week has been adding new treatments. They have been helping tremendously with my legs, feet, and overall swelling. I am told I am blessed to not have it as extreme as some, but still have it significantly enough to need intense therapy to get ahead of it. My therapists work me good, and I appreciate it!
This last week was another thoracic facet block, so the pain and exhaustion has caught up with me. It usually does between day 3 and 5, and wipes my energy. I can tell a good difference though, so I praise God I will benefit from it all. And of course it means I was blessed to spend some time with Dr. Buzz and the girls. God continues to use him mightily.
I will begin some intense physical therapy of a different kind in December. I am amazed at how many different kinds of physical therapists there are. I have lost count of how many different kinds I’ve had. God has used them all! But I must give a huge thank you to Robbie for being so attentive, thoughtful, and extremely mindful of my therapy recently. God has truly gifted him! And I can’t forget Ali and Katie! Ali is so very patient with me! She and Katie keep things so entertaining as well. 😉 Praise God for each of them. And Praise God for ALL of my therapists! When you are so thoughtfully praying for me, please remember to pray for my therapists, doctors, nurses, and all those the Lord is using to send me healing and/or comfort.