Friday, November 30, 2007

The Fear Destroyer

Lying in bed all week in pain like I've never known in my life has made me confront fear in a way I never have before. I couldn't run from it or excuse it away. I couldn't come up with my own solution that would make the fear diminish. I had to face it. A friend of mine brought dinner and a very encouraging card one night. (Thanks, Danielle) In it was a quote by John Piper that notes the cure for fear. It was both insightful and helpful. Here it is:

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. Proverbs 14 :26.

In regards to this verse, the solution to fear is fear. The solution to timidity is fear. The solution to uncertainty is fear. The solution to doubt is fear. How can this be?

Part of the answer is that 'fear of the Lord' means fearing to dishonor the Lord. Which means fearing to distrust the Lord. Which means fearing to fear anything that the Lord has promised to help you overcome. In other words, the fear of the Lord is the great fear destroyer."

I saw the Lord grow me in fear of Him over the last five days. He made me come face to face with my inability to sustain anything. I could not care for myself. I could not care for my children. I was utterly dependent upon Him to look out for me, to provide for me, to protect me. I couldn't make doctors see me any faster than they did. I couldn't determine what my eventual diagnosis would be. But by seeing all I could not do, I saw how much God could do, that He is in control of everything, that He sustains everything. This truth is not a new one. My 3 year olds are being told that God is in control of everything, that He is the Creator and Sustainer. But, this truth becomes embraced on a whole new level when one is forced to come to grips with his/her inability to control anything. Any physical ailment that leaves one bed-ridden will quickly drive that point home.

I am grateful to be out of bed, moving about my home today. I am grateful that I will see a physical therapist today who will, God willing, help me feel better over time and teach me how to take care of my back. While it seems that God will grant me health and youthful vigor once again, I don't want to quickly forget the lessons I learned this week about His rule in my life and over all the earth.

"O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?" Deuteronomy 3:24

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Crippling Fear

I wish I had some sort of update as to what is going on with my back, but unfortunately for now all I can write is that I'm still in pain...nothing compared to where I was on Sunday night, but still not able to function as I need to in order to take care of my husband & children. While we have once again been so well cared for by our family and friends, I have found it incredibly difficult not to be fit to provide for my husband's or children's needs during this time of recovery. Recovering is what we're all hoping is happening while I spend now the 3rd day in bed.

Last night, I was able to look in the mirror for the first time in 2 days and notice that I'm crooked. I don't really know how else to explain it, but it appears if nothing else, something is mis-aligned in my back or hips. I don't know if it's the cause or effect of my back pain over the last week, and I'm having a difficult time getting a doctor to see me.

After helping my husband get things ready for the kids to spend the day at a friend's house today (Thanks, Kathleen!!), we laid down to go to bed. Only, I was assaulted with all kinds of fearful thoughts to the point that I was convinced I was going to die in my sleep if I didn't get to a hospital. Lawrence and I prayed; he tried to sing worship songs to me, but nothing prevailed to bring me peace. I was trying to tell myself truths like God has my days numbered and if I'm going to die tonight, it won't matter if I made it to the hospital or not (I know most reading this are thinking I'm crazy for thinking such things, but at midnight on the 2nd full day of taking narcotics and laying in bed alone, it sounds very plausible.)

I was struggling to discern whether God was imparting some kind of intuition to me to go be seen by a medical doctor right away or if it was an assault from the enemy of my soul trying to keep me from the rest that I desperately need and the peace that God promises to His children who trust in Him. I became so convinced that I was going to die that my husband actually allowed me to call my dear friend, Heather, who also happens to be a Hopkins' nurse. It was nearly midnight when I called, and she was gracious and compassionate nevertheless.

She helped me think a bit more clearly through my symptoms and said that most of what I was experiencing was not acute nor merited emergent care. She graciously suggested that after spending 2 days in bed on narcotics, I was probably a little overly sensitive to any kind of change in my normal bodily functions. She then prayed with me and went back to sleep. I, however, was still in a state of unrest and panic. I pulled out the ring of verses I have from my labor/delivery experience with Bella and began to read all the verses under the "fear/anxiety" category aloud. God also led me to pray aloud, thanking Him for the truths and promises I was reading about in these verses.

I would nod off and wake right back up from evil images that would pop into my mind. I'd begin to read again, pray, nod off, wake up. And, the cycle continued like that for at least an hour or so. Eventually, my exhausted body took over my active mind, and I did fall asleep.

"In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice and my cry to Him reached His ears." Psalm 18:6

Monday, November 26, 2007

ER Visit

Hey folks,

We wanted to request your prayers: Bri developed some acute back pain on Thanksgiving Day which worsened until Sunday when she could barely stand while at the Almengor grandparents for Thanksgiving dinner. I drove her home to nurse Bella and then head to Patient First (not interested in sitting in the ER on a holiday weekend--Chad Young, can I get an amen!). Well after nursing Bella, Bri could not even stand up! So with dragging her into the minivan not an option--I called 911 and the ambulance came and took us to--yes--the ER at Upper Chesapeake. We proceeded to wait in the hallway at UCMC for a half hour on the strecher behind four other ambulance patients--but at least we got in! After us, they rerouted all other ambulances to other hospitals. Seven and-a-half hours and two narcotics and some morphine later, the x-rays showed nothing (good thing!), it wasn't kidney stones (good thing!), but they didn't know what it was (not the best thing). We have an MRI at 2:30 Monday afternoon. My mom is watching the kids since Bri is flat on her back all loopy. Meals are being provided for us (thanks Kathleen!).

Thanks in advance for your prayers!

Lawrence for Briana

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Too Much Honey...

We are at Grandma's for Thanksgiving. There are few other places my boys enjoy more. I'm thinking the fact that my mom always has M&M's for the boys might have something to do with that. Tonight after allowing my boys what I felt was a sufficient amount of M&M's, Judah asked if he could have another one.
I replied, "Judah, you've had enough. Remember the Bible says that too much honey will make a man vomit."

Judah: "Mom, I want to be sick."


Judah is doing rather well post-laser treatment. As is typical, he tug at my heart with various comments before the treatment like, "Can we go home now?" or "I'm ready to go home, Mom" but did not cry until he was put up on the table for the treatment. He was justly rewarded with a chocolate frosted donut afterwards, and mommy helped herself to a donut as well. :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Asking for Prayer

A bit last minute, but I'm asking for prayer for a laser treatment we have today for Judah. I am splitting up Tucker and Bella between two babysitters, praying that they'll take good naps while I'm at Hopkins with Judah. Also, Judah will have a new area lasered today. We have always done either his face or his trunk/shoulder/upper arm area. Today, we're going to try a different area on his body, and I am anxious about it.

Yesterday, I took Bella for her 9 month check up and assured the boys on the way there that only Bella would be getting shots. I did not expect my pediatrician to offer flu shots for all the kids while we were there. This was providential as I had been trying to figure out when and where to get the flu shots for them otherwise. So, I went with it, crazy lady that I am. Needless to say, the boys were not happy with me. In light of that, putting Judah through a laser treatment today feels cruel on my part.

The boys have been doing a lot of imaginative play lately, which is very fun to witness. One of their roleplays is of a laser treatment. Tucker is always the patient and Judah, the doctor. It's cute on one level, sad on another, probably a bit therapeutic in some way, too. But, Judah says nearly everyday, "Mom, I don't want you to take me for a laser treatment." As much of a trooper as the kid is, he just simply hates laser treatments. I can't say I blame him.

And, I am struggling with a bout of self pity this week, not justifiably (is it ever?), but struggling nonetheless. I am certainly tempted to consider how I am ending my week and feel sorry for myself. If you want to figuratively "smack me in the face" via a corrrective comment, feel free. :) Please don't cater to my self pity, however. That would not be helpful.

So, we'd greatly appreciate your prayers for us today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


This morning, like every morning, my boys asked me what we were going to have for breakfast. When I replied with, "Pancakes", my one son began to wimper and said, "But I want choices."

Spoken like a true American!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My Little Pumpkins +1

I'm finally able to post some pictures we took of our pumpkin pickin' this year. The boys are way more into the hay ride to the patch than they are in picking just the right pumpkin. They are too bothered by the vines. Here are my 'particular' pumpkins:

The boys' buddy, Rudy, joined us for pumpkin pickin'.

Don't ya think Anne Geddes should get a hold of my girl?!

For Your Listening Pleasure

I hope this link will be especially encouraging to moms of young ones. Often, I miss the message at church on Sunday mornings for various reasons. If you had or have young kids at home, I don't need to explain why. Our church makes messages available online, and there are a whole host of great sites that post their messages online, too, such as John Piper's Desiring God site to name one of my favorites. However, I find that when trying to listen to a message, there is constant interruption. I have to press pause or come back and try to find the spot where I had to stop listening.

So, I've "tuned in" to online radio instead. My husband turned me on to this through a site called, Shoutcast. You can listen to just about any style of music out there. We listen to classical during our dinner time to fool ourselves into thinking we're "those" kind of people...ya know, sophisticated with mannerly children who don't sing silly songs at the table or complain about how much they don't like what you've prepared for them.

During my days lately, I've been tuning into Sovereign Grace Radio, listening to the latest CD put out by father/son duo, Mark and Steve Altrogge, entitled In a Little While. What I appreciate about this CD in particular is that I can catch one of two lines at a time and be instantly encouraged, receive help in renewing my mind and taking my thoughts captive throughout the day. In being able to catch just one or two lines, I find that my thoughts will turn toward the cross and things eternal, and this does my soul good...and in turn, my home and children good as well. SO, tune in. Go to the site linked above and in the right hand corner, underneath the banner you'll see the words, "Sovereign Grace Radio". Click on that and be blessed!