12.22.2014

"Fear Not To Trust Me In the Storm"






Wow. Sitting here in tears and just have to share how God's faithfulness has blown me completely away this morning. This is not a well-edited, well-formatted, well-planned post, but an "I've got to share what God is doing NOW!" post.


This morning I was suddenly hit with the fact that 2015 is less than 10 days away. That shouldn't be a big deal. I usually love the beginning of a new year...time for a new planner, new goals, fresh starts (and my birthday on the 31st of December :)).


2015, however, is a different story. I've been dreading 2015 for a long time. A situation in our family which has been somewhat dormant for years is scheduled to rear its ugly head again in 2015. Back in October, when I realized that "the date" was then just a year away, I began having panic attacks again...for the first time in a long, long time.  I've struggled more with anxiety and fear in the months since than I have in years.


During the holiday season, life has been too busy and my mind has been far too occupied to think much about "the year" coming up. But this morning it hit. Hard. The realization that just a few days stand between now and those four digits I've been dreading for over 7 years made me physically sick.


As I was driving home from dropping Billy off at work, my mind raced and I tried to pray, unable to really form coherent sentences. I fussed at myself...reminding myself of Tom Stuart's famous phrase, "Remember what you know!"


I know...really know...that God is faithful. I know that His sovereign plan is perfect, and that He is working, always and in all things, for our good. He has shown us that in unmistakeable ways through dark, dark days. He reminds me often of His faithfulness, His sovereignty, His goodness, and His love. Just yesterday morning Bro. Gary preached on the kindness and love of God revealed in Jesus's advent.


I know those things. And yet 2015 holds a great deal of uncertainty...known uncertainty, if that makes sense, because of course all years hold uncertainty...and I still struggle with that.


As I was driving and pondering and trying not to fret and trying to pray and recounting to myself many of the things God has shown us about His faithfulness and sovereignty and goodness over the last 10 years or so, I decided that my "one little word" for 2015 is going to be trust. 


I had earlier considered pray as my word for 2015, and that is still where I want my focus to be in the coming year, but as the words to "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" flowed through my mind this morning, I decided that I need the daily reminder to trust. I know I need to. I know why I need to. I know Who I need to trust. I just need to trust. 


Prayer will be a huge facet of that, along with staying in the Word. The Holy Spirit uses prayer and the Word to do His work in us, and I know that I don't even have the ability to trust on my own.


I sat down when I got home to map out the next few days [In case you are reading this from a cave somewhere, it is now "three sleeps" until Christmas. We did finally get our tree up, but we are not finished shopping and we have a whole list of "traditions" we haven't gotten to yet, along with just normal life stuff, like the fact that if I don't get to the gym at least three times this week, I'm not going to be able to walk soon. Ahem.], and have my quiet time. I got behind on my advent devotional over the weekend, so I was determined to get caught up today.


I love the way that God's perfect timing even extends to using our weakness for good. Sunday's Scripture reading was Psalm 27:1-6:


1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

Yes, I was in tears by the time I finished reading those words. As Bro. Gary would say, I know that that my reading that today was not "chance and circumstance", but the divine providence of God.


Then I read the devotional content for the day, from Louie Giglio's Waiting Here for You, An Advent Journey of Hope. It started out by saying that in the midst of the "fray and the fury", we must keep our eyes on Jesus. It then talked about the attacks of our enemies, with a reminder that our hope is in the One who fights for us, and our safety is secured by His love and power.


Each day's reading includes a hymn. It's rare for me to come across a hymn with which I'm unfamiliar, but I had never heard this one before. I can't wait to learn it, though, as its words are a perfect reminder for the year to come:


 Fear not to trust Me in the storm,
I’m always very near.
I come thy needless fears to calm,
Then, weary ones, don’t fear.

Refrain:
Fear not, I am with thee,
Fear not, I am with thee,
Fear not, I am with thee,
Am with thee all the way.

 I may not always seem so near
As thou wouldst have Me be;
But in the calm and in the storm,
I all thy dangers see.

 Fear not to trust My mighty arm;
It bro’t salvation down.
I suffered much to give thee life,
To give to thee a crown.

 I’m always near thee in the storm,
To raise thy sinking feet,
If only thou wilt trust My word,
And My commandments keep. 

 Fear not, the storm will soon be o’er,
The victory soon be won;
Then lean upon My mighty arm,
And sing, I’m going home. 

 And when the storm of life is past,
And you have faithful been,
I’ll take you to that blest abode
That’s not defiled with sin.

 There no more storms shall cause thee fear;
The river will be crossed;
Then thou shalt rest within the gates,
With all the heavenly host.

~Rev. J.W. Howe


 Just a humorous word about this hymn. The words are so excellent, I was stunned to find that it was only published in two hymnals, back in the late 1800s. I wondered why it had been published so rarely. Then I came across a copy of the hymn itself. I'm guessing that part of the reason this hymn was not used more frequently had something to do that the melody of the chorus goes up to a high F. :) Not a good vocal range for this alto, anyway! :)


Do you have a "word" for 2015? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! Are there fears and uncertainties about the coming year?  Email me through the box to the right, or share in the comments; I'd love to pray for you.


If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you!  

***
Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email. 

12.21.2014

The Good in the Bad and the Ugly of Epilepsy {Three Years In}, Part 1





"Bayley passed out at the Acteen sleepover at church this morning.   They think she may have had a seizure.  They've called an ambulance.  We're headed there now.  Please pray."

I typed those words three years ago this morning, having no idea at the time that we had just been thrust into another radically unexpected life change.

It took over three months, but we finally got a diagnosis: Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. We learned that this type of epilepsy typically manifests during the early teen years, and that Bayley would have to be on seizure meds for the rest of her life.

We learned about the different types of seizures, particularly tonic-clonic (also known as grand mal), absence (also known as petit mal), and myoclonic (involuntary arm/leg jerk) seizures, as these are the types common to JME.

We learned that the major seizure trigger for most people with JME is sleep deprivation. Another major trigger is flashing lights. Over the last three years we've learned that in Bay's case, the most important things other than taking her meds regularly are giving her a long time to wake up in the morning and avoiding sleepovers. Adequate sleep is a must, and early mornings don't work well. And while emergency lights and Christmas lights haven't been the major triggers we expected them to be, flickering florescent bulbs and big screens at the movie theater present serious problems (as do camera flashes!)

I jokingly said the other day that one of the biggest lessons I've learned during our epilepsy journey has been how often lightbulbs flicker in public places, and how long it can take for them to be replaced! We've had to avoid the shower area at the gym and one whole side of our  most-used grocery store for weeks at a time due to bad florescent bulbs.

We've learned that sleep-deprived EEGs are really just a medically approved form of torture.

Btw...around here, EEGs are known as "Eggs". Peter coined that term back around Bay's first or second EEG to try to help her laugh about it, and the term stuck.

Speaking of EEGs, Peter would say one of the most important things we learned during Bay's very first EEG was that Bay does indeed have a brain. He seemed quite thankful to have his mind put at ease on that subject. Helpful brother, that one! ;-) Actually, he has been extremely helpful by keeping her laughing throughout the tougher parts of this journey.

I seriously don't know how we would have managed these years without all three of her siblings. Peter, Emlyn, and Ammah Grace have all been amazing in so many ways.

We've learned much more through this epilepsy journey, some of which I'll share in tomorrow's post. For now, if you'd like to read more, check out He Directs the Hearts of Kings (And Insurance Companies!) and Another Unexpected Path. I'll share more about this in tomorrow's post, but the most important thing we've learned (again!) through the unexpected path of epilepsy in our family has been God's overwhelming faithfulness and care for the smallest details of our lives.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28

How have you seen the truth of Romans 8:28 worked out in your life? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!




If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you!  

***
Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.