Life after a Brain Tumor

2011-04-10 01.59.03It isn’t new anymore.

Loss of balance is now the norm. I’ve learned to take a cloth with me so when my hand trails the walls, I won’t leave smudges. When I hand wash dishes, I make sure they’re unbreakable. When I need to remember specifics, I write them down so when I forget them—because I always do—I won’t feel guilty.

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How do I say …?

I sometimes wish I could change my world.

Going through brain surgery to remove a ginormous tumor—and living a blessed life afterward—gives me a glimpse of the realization that not everyone is as fortunate as I am.

Without a doubt, I thank God every morning before my feet hit the floor for the opportunity to live one more day. I understand what it’s like to see the possible end of my life come into focus. I understand what comes with looking out into the “ever after”.

But God showed me favor. Continue reading

Happy Endings Delayed

I spend a lot of time writing and speaking on the peace that comes with a relationship with Christ–while even having a brain tumor. However, I think we sometimes forget (I know I do) that there may be a process needed to go through to attain complete peace—what is found in the arms of Jesus.

Glenda Weldy tells of her period of time caregiving her husband Roger, as he battled a brain tumor. You can find her journey at http://glendaweldy.com/. As I read Chapter 12, my heart broke. Let’s never forget caregivers and the pain they endure.

 

Yet I Fret

work in progress

Jesus Loves Me, written by Anna Bartlett Warner (1860)

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong

Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so

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So tired…

Life can change in a moment. That’s what happened to my guest blogger, Tracey Clover, a brain tumor survivor—and friend.

Energy, boundless energy. That is what I had before December 2, 2012, the day I had back-to-back grand mal seizures. The seizures set off a journey that led to the diagnosis of a left frontal lobe meningioma the size of the doctor’s fist. I never truly knew tired before that day.

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Waiting

Oreo 1My dog, Oreo, was a master at waiting. But for me, waiting–especially for medical news–is the worst. It’s where you’re stuck in limbo between reality and fantasy. Will test numbers show the tumor’s back or will it still be gone? Will the MRI come back clean or will there be a cloud we need to address? Without a doubt, waiting’s the worst.

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Happy Father’s Day

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

To celebrate Father’s Day, I’m re-posting a blog I shared that exemplified my relationship with my father. I’d love to hear stories from you about the relationship you have (or had) with yours. I pray it was as loving as mine …

What’s Your Responsibility at Thanksgiving?

picture from Creationswap.com

picture from Creationswap.com

This is the season where families get together; celebrating the special closeness that you share. Yet so many families are splintered … feelings have been hurt over forgotten issues … that wearing a painted smile and staying close to the liquor cabinet are the best ways to deal. There’s more to Thanksgiving than sharing turkey. It’s time to make amends with one another; it’s a time for families to heal.

It wasn’t an accident that you were placed with your family. God’s plan put you there. Yet so many think they can improve that plan by putting walls of unmet expectations and hurt feelings around their hearts.

“I don’t want to be hurt anymore.”  “You don’t know what they did to me.”  “We have nothing in common; it’s best we just keep our distance and live our lives apart.”

All those sound good, right? But these statements are all self-serving … and wrong!

If you have hurt someone, apologize. If you have been hurt, forgive. It wasn’t suggested by God, it was what he told us to do:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35 (NIV)

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matt. 5:23-24 (NIV)

“… If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)

Did you get it? Did you see? Jesus died for the person you’re upset with or the person who’s upset with you. They have value. You have value. That value isn’t about you; it’s about our Heavenly Father. How would that Thanksgiving meal be if we sat at the same table as our Lord and our estranged family members?

Think about it, and don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Have a Happy … and Healthy … Thanksgiving!

Editing … the Bane of Writing

August updated_10daysI’m in the throes of writing a memoir, Ten Days: A Journey Back to God, and am overwhelmed by all the editing that’s necessary.

Do I need all those was’s?

What words can I replace it with?

I sound like a doofus . Will anyone even care? Is there anyone out there who will read my story?

Fledging writers … and you know who you are … what breaks your back as you’re editing?

A Reason to Write Again

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written. Life certainly has a way of getting big, and mine did … in spades! Work, having family visit, us visiting family, and finishing my preparation for a writer’s conference this month have all been pulling at my time. But I have a good friend, you see … and this friend wrote this incredible book … and I had to stop my life’s tempo to share it with you.

sober-mercies

Sober Mercies: How Love Caught up with a Christian Drunk (Jericho Books) is more than a book about the need for recovery. It’s a story about what happens after someone addicted to alcohol lives with recovery. And it’s about how someone who has a relationship with Christ can suffer from addiction.

Heather recounts a conversation with a newbie (a new attendee of a 12-step meeting) in her book (pp. 199):

“I’m a Christian actually,” she said. “I don’t know how I ended up with this problem. I know God. But for some reason that hasn’t kept me from getting addicted to food and alcohol. I can’t believe I’m here.”

My heart went out to her. And I wondered for the umpteenth time if we Christians don’t make the most miserable addicts. Since we tend to think of addiction strictly as a moral failing, most of us try to pull ourselves up by her spiritual bootstraps. We pray harder, repent more fervently, and fight temptation until we’re blue in the face.

When our best efforts proved futile, we feel even more guilty and ashamed. And confused. Don’t we love God enough to quit? Doesn’t God love us enough to deliver us?

Meanwhile, to even admit that we have become addicted feels like a trail of Christ’s work on the cross.

Dealing with addiction as a Christian can destroy not only the person affected, but other aspects of their lives as well. Heather’s honest account of coming clean with the lies and deceit that held her captive for years—all the while working as a Christian writer—is enough to make Sober Mercies a worthwhile read.

But there’s more!

Sober Mercies is also an incredible love story. It’s a story about Heather’s love for her God as well as her Chardonnay. And it’s the strength that she pulls from her love for her husband, Dave, that gives her the courage to dip her toe into the pool of transparency and try to put order to the chaos surrounding her life.

As Heather takes us on her journey out of that chaos, we meet several people who impact her life along the way. We meet Susan, a recovering alcoholic, who shows her that a happy life without drinking is possible. There’s Nicole, a friend from rehab, who for a time is the only person she can talk openly with. Then there’s Kate, her sponsor, who guides her though the minefields of step work. And we see the love Heather has for her children. Even though her damaged life influenced her boys, Noah and Nathan, her example of giving up the need to control lights the way to sobriety.

But most of all, Heather shows the relationship she has with God. Not the condemning or shaming God that has sometimes been associated with drinking to access, but Jehovah Rafah, the God who heals. You will read of one account after another how God offers hope to her along her journey.

Sober Mercies is not just for struggling Christian addicts, it’s for anyone who dares to seek an honest relationship with God. It’s for anyone who loves an addict—recovering or practicing—and wants to understand what types of demons they have lived with. It’s for church leaders who know that recovery isn’t experienced within a cookie-cutter format of healing.

Addiction isn’t just sin. Addiction isn’t just a physical condition. It’s both, and Sober Mercies shares that like no other book I’ve ever read.

Get yourself a copy of Sober Mercies, your life will be enriched by reading it.