Monday, December 2, 2019

Still on the Path

I’ve missed you guys so much these last weeks. I think of you often and want to tell you my stories, but either I get too busy wrecking and re-cleaning my kitchen, or I decide I don’t have anything worth saying. I keep waiting to learn the lesson so I can share something uplifting with you, but I’m just not there yet. 

So I will just tell you like it is. I’ll start with the good, tell you about the parts that don’t feel so good, and end with the great.

The Good
I have been following my personalized autoimmune diet for about three and a half months now. I eat only the foods that provoked the lowest level of antibodies on my blood test. I enjoy a fair variety of red meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, and fruits--all organic and pasture raised so as to avoid toxins from pesticides. 

Most of the pain that I had during my acute flare-up of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and prolonged bout of insomnia has faded out. I sleep soundly each night, and my energy level is good, especially on days when the weather and my schedule permit me to ride my bike.

I no longer react to fragrances nor to essential oils, which I now apply to my thyroid daily (lemongrass, frankincense, and myrrh). When I react to a food, I no longer get tachycardia or bradycardia (high or low heart rate). I don’t get manic any more; that was the effect of severe insomnia, which creates a chemical state in the brain that is remarkably similar to intoxication.

In many ways, I feel healthier than I have felt in years:
  • I’ve gained 10 of the 20 pounds I had lost since last May.
  • I no longer get shaky and anxious when I am hungry, nor do I need to eat every 1.5 to 2 hours. 
  • My hair is getting thicker.
  • The outer edges of my eyebrows are growing in. (Hypothyroid patients typically lose the outer third of their eyebrows.)
  • My nails are thicker, and they no longer split.
  • Despite being off all thyroid medication for nearly 5 months, my energy level is good and I still have none of the typical hypothyroid symptoms except dry skin and cold intolerance.
  • After nine years of perimenopausal symptoms, my periods have become more regular and the night sweats have stopped. This should also mean that my iron levels are returning to normal.
  • My resting heart rate is lower, which contributes to deeper sleep.
  • My digestion is much better. The frequent stomach pain, reflux, and diarrhea have almost completely stopped. Better digestion leads to better immune function and better mental health.

After two months of solid sleep, I feel ready to return to work and am now looking for a job. In the interim, I get myself out of the house and satisfy my desire to be with people by volunteering at my local library and at the junior high where I used to work. I particularly enjoy leading bilingual story hour at the library, but my happiest days each week are the ones when I’m working one-on-one with struggling readers at the junior high.

At the end of a happy day


I have committed my latest scripture passage to memory and find great comfort in meditating on it daily. Although I usually can’t feel God working, I do believe that this trial is achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs the struggles. One day I will share the whole story with you, and then “all of this [will be] for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people will cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15)

The Parts that Don’t Feel So Good
I spend much of my time feeling alone and lonely. Of course I see Allyson, but she’s a typical busy teen. I see my family every week or two and my friends occasionally, and I often talk with them on the phone, but sometimes I just want a flesh-and-blood hug. I want to see the tears of laughter on their cheeks when we share a belly laugh. I want to just hang out.

Some days when it’s raining or too cold for me to get out on my bike in the sun, I feel unbearably sad and hopeless. I have to remind myself over and over that this time of trouble is light and momentary when compared to a lifetime or to eternity. I know that brighter days are waiting for me just around the corner.

Worse than the loneliness is the anxiety that tries to reclaim its hold on me. The main trigger is agonizing over my financial position and over the heavy responsibility of choosing a direction for my career. My heart wants to return to teaching, but the timing is wrong, and it’s hard to imagine taking care of myself adequately while managing such a crushing workload. Taking a job that I could leave at work each day and where I could earn more money makes sense, yet it also feels like turning my back on what God called me to do. 

Another trigger is fear that my condition could be worsening. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had occasional pain in my joints and the residual pain in my skin has become more intense on some days. It could be something that I ate, but I suspect that the main cause is the stress of job hunting and applying for social services to help me through this transition. 

One moment that brought unexpected tears was a trip to Walmart with Allyson and my sister Amy, who was Christmas shopping. As I glanced at aisles and aisles of items I could not afford, my mind flashed back to countless mundane trips to Walmart. On those other days, despite my careful budgeting, I could always toss a few small items into the cart without the slightest concern. How could I not have known how blessed I was? Would I be able to do that again, or would my illness prevent me from earning a good living going forward?

My worst anxiety gripped me last Tuesday, as I drove home from my first trip to the food pantry. It seemed impossible that I could be a recipient at the same charity where I once volunteered with my church home group. This isn’t supposed to happen to a person who adheres religiously to the Dave Ramsey budget, nor to a person who had scarcely been sick a day in her life. What if I couldn’t find a job? What if I lost the house?

I rubbed my sternum with one hand and switched on the blinker with the other, glancing twice over my shoulder as I merged onto the off ramp. “God, I need you,” I called out. I pictured Jesus seeking out a lost lamb. “Come and get me, Daddy!” Warm tears cut trails down my cold cheeks, and I dashed them away so that Allyson wouldn’t see.

A few blocks later, I pulled into the garage and sat for a moment clutching the steering wheel and breathing deeply. “I know you’re with me,” I whispered. “This light and momentary trial is just for a season. Even if I can’t see it, even if I can’t feel it, I know you are working in me. You will finish the work that you started in me, Father.” I drew in a few more big breaths, my shoulders relaxing as I  imagined rolling my burdens into Jesus’s capable hands.

I rubbed my knuckles across my eyes one more time and called through the house door for Allyson. “Come help me unload the groceries!”

“See what I got?” I said, with a determined smile. “Look at these.” I pointed at some miniature tarts that I would be unable to eat.. “I think they’re… pumpkin.”

“Nice!” Allyson replied, wearing a matching determined smile. “And ramen?? Cool.” I grinned; ramen noodles have been a source of contention between us due to their absolute lack of nutritional value, but I’d brought home one pack for her, along with several boxes of Kraft mac and cheese.

While we made room in the impossibly crowded pantry, I explained the other resources I’d learned of that morning: food stamps, help with utilities and Internet, and job placement agencies.

“In about an hour, I have an interview with Sprout’s [one of my favorite grocery stores],” I said. “I’m supposed to take my resume, but I don’t have time to update it from when I was looking for a teaching job. Maybe I-”

“Mom!” Allyson rolled her eyes. “If they hired Ethan with zero experience, you have nothing to worry about. Just relax.” 

“You’re right, baby.” I decided to work on the cowlick on the back of my scalp instead of modifying the resume.

The interview went okay, but I left feeling unsettled about the idea of working there, mainly because there would be no set schedule, and I’d probably work well past 10 at night. My sleep is still one of my main priorities, and I guard it carefully.

I explained all of this to Amy on Thanksgiving day two days later. Tears filled my eyes when I said, “It’s not that God isn’t talking to me; it’s just that I can’t get quiet enough to hear Him. I know if I could just be still, He would lead me.”

“Sarah, remember that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by God,” Amy replied with a warm smile. “No matter what job you get, whether it’s a transitional job or the next position God has chosen for you, you can be sure that it will be the right place. God is ordering your steps, and He is going to provide for all of your needs.”

A church song from my childhood sprang to the forefront of my memory, and I took a moment to marvel at the power of music both to preserve and to resurrect memories. In a voice just loud enough for her ears, I sang, “Rejoice for the steps… of a righteous man… they are ordered of God, they are ordered of God…. Remember that song, Amy?”

She shook her head.

I kept singing. “In the time of trouble, God will uphold you. God will sustain you. God will preserve you. In the time of trouble, He will lift you up. So rejoice; your steps are ordered of God…. Oh, thank you, Amy. I needed to hear this.”

Amy recounted the story of her transitional job at Radio Shack a few years back. “Remember, I didn’t want to take it because the pay was too low. But it was the perfect place for me, a place to heal.”

“Yes, didn’t you have a really supportive boss there?”

She nodded and told me how she’d regained her confidence there, and how God had then given her an even better job than the one she’d lost.

Back at home a couple of hours later, I sat at my table listening to the first Christmas songs of the season. Just like every other year, my heart thrilled to the wonder of Jesus coming to dwell among us, becoming Emmanuel, God With Us. 

And then I looked up at the collection of scriptures taped to my refrigerator, the ones that got me through the toughest work year ever last year. “Wait for the LORD,” I read aloud. “Be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14).

There at my table, with Christmas music in one ear and the faint giggles of Allyson and her two cousins in my other, I felt hope bubbling up deep inside me, a hope spontaneous and delightfully unexpected. I thought about the scripture I'd just read: “Let your heart take courage.” That must mean that my heart wants to be courageous. Yes, of course it does. According to the Apostle Paul, my heart can overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit… if I trust in Him. (Romans 15:13)

Well, I’m learning that it’s a lot harder to trust God when you’re in pain, you’re unemployed, and your bank account is dangerously low. I realize that that is the point. I know that God has allowed all of this for my good and for His ultimate glory when His purpose is fulfilled in me. 

As I said at church this morning to my friend Alicia, who has gone through her own terrifying hard times and come through to the other side, there are some lessons that can’t be learned any other way. How can I learn to rely on God alone if I still think I can rely on myself? 

What I most want to learn through this trial is not to put so much importance on my emotions. I want to stop judging my spiritual walk based on how I feel at any given moment. I know God loves me just the way I am, and I want to learn to do the same. I want to “fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18). 

Now For The Great...
God has been so faithful to me through these last few months. I could tell you so many stories of divine appointments and sacred echoes, but you wouldn’t have time to read them all; I really need to start writing more regularly again.

I will share just one story, the most recent. Through a friend at my Spanish-speaking church, Palabra Viva, I found a hair stylist who works out of her home. She does a great job and only charges $12.50 for a basic cut, without styling. 

This past Wednesday, the day after my visit to the food pantry, I prayed all the way to her house, asking God to help me trust Him and let go of my fears. For the last couple of miles, happy tears flowed as I sang along with the radio. The lines that moved me most were: “So I will run into the waves / As courage comes to take fear’s place / With perfect love, perfect love.”

“Please, Lord… let your perfect love take fear’s place,” I breathed. “Help me believe.”

The first thing I noticed when Patty opened her door was her broad smile, but then my eyes were drawn to her T-shirt: “FAITH over FEAR.” My heart quickened, and fresh tears shimmered in my vision. “Oh, I needed to see that today,” I told her. “It echoes the message God just gave me through a song. Have you heard ‘What Can Take Away My Hallelujah’ ?”

“I love that song,” she said.

While she snipped at my overgrown locks, we talked about my health struggles and my current dilemma over my career path. Patty shared her own experiences with unemployment and changing career aspirations, and the faithfulness of God.

Like Amy, she encouraged me to surrender my will to God and to trust Him to lead me and provide for me. She assured me that my emotions are normal and urged me not to be too hard on myself. On my way out, we held hands and prayed for one another, and she told me to contact her any time.

That evening, she sent me a text message with a meme that gave me chills. “We are hunted down but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9),” 

“That is a verse from my current memory passage,” I replied. “It’s very special to me.”

“Amen!” she answered.

I marveled at God’s kindness and tender love for me. How kind of Him to bless me with a cheap haircut, a new sister, and a sacred echo to show me that I am still on the path that He has chosen for me, that my steps truly are ordered by Him.

I look forward to sharing with you whatever I find around the bend.







Friday, October 25, 2019

Alight With Joy

I'm sorry for my long silence. In my last post, I described my search for joy. Since then, I've been so occupied with relishing my joy that I haven't had the time to write. You would think that a person on sabbatical would have plenty of time to write, but that has not been the case. Even now,  I couldn't possibly describe all the beautiful things that have come to me each day, so I will tell you just my favorite story. And then I will show you a few pictures of my favorite moments.

Ever since I answered God's call to quit my corporate job about three years ago to return to teaching, I had not devoted the time to memorize any new scripture passages, nor even to study my existing ones very often. I meditated on scriptures daily in my classroom because it was the only way to keep my sanity, let alone my hope. But I missed my scripture memorization terribly.

For the last couple of months, I've wanted to begin a new passage, but I couldn't choose among so many beautiful scriptures that God had given me these last months through sermons, through cards and messages from friends, through songs in English and Spanish, and even through Uber drivers from all over the world.

Because I had felt so utterly alone, I'd thought to find a passage about angels ministering to me, but somehow that didn't feel right. On Thursday, October 3, I was walking and talking with Jesus in the park as I do virtually every morning. As I drank in the sight of the graceful trees arching over my favorite part of the trail, I reminisced over all the times I had walked this path with my Beloved. "You shared my hardest times and my most beautiful joys," I whispered... because it was a beautiful morning and I wasn't the only person enjoying the park trails.

"You know," I went on, "I really want to start memorizing another passage. It would be so helpful for my mental focus, and you know how I delight in your Word, Beloved. What passage should I-"

In that familiar way that He has, Jesus answered my question before the words had left my mouth. A verse flitted through my mind: These light and momentary trials are achieving for us a glory that far outweighs them all.

"Oh, that's perfect!" I exclaimed. "I know that is exactly what's happening to me right now. Thank you for allowing this trial that feels so endless. I know there is no other way you could help me grow so much in my faith."

I glanced up at the tree with two knobby protuberances that always remind me of pendulous breasts and the ghost of a laugh bubbled up inside me. I walked a few paces in silence and then continued my prayer aloud. "You have always confirmed every memory passage for me, for all these years. I feel sure this is the one, but I will wait for you to confirm it before I begin. I can't wait to see what creative way you use this time."

As I turned back for home, I felt God telling me to send two cards--one thank-you and one sympathy card. I obeyed His instructions immediately because I was still pretty forgetful at that point. [Who am I kidding? I've always been forgetful.]

I went straight to the desk where I used to spend so many hours working from home. There in the old-fashioned cubbies were two cards with no envelopes. I rummaged through all the other cubbies and unearthed a couple of mismatched envelopes that would almost fit. As I pulled them out, my eyes fell on a black composition notebook that had been resting on top of my desk for months. I'd been meaning to reread my gratitude journals so I could remember God's faithfulness to me and have faith that He would continue to be faithful; I snatched up the journal and took in the dates: April to December of 2018.

I made myself write out and mail the cards before I cracked open the journal to a random page. Can you imagine my astonishment when I saw, in my own hand, a reference to the verse I'd just quoted in the park? I'd written about a Francis Chan sermon, about fear, that I'd listened to while grading a stack of tests. "If I can remember that all of my trials are so momentary, then I can rest and be at peace knowing that my rejoicing in heaven will last an eternity. Why get worked up over something so temporary?"

On the next page was a story about my dad making dinner for me after a particularly trying day at school. "He told me about his prayers for me, and said he [believed] the enemy [had been] attacking because a breakthrough [was] coming," I wrote.

Tears filled my eyes. A breakthrough really had been around the corner. I'd written those entries on October 8, 2018, in the middle of my deepest struggles last school year. Just two months later, I found the strength and hope to make it through the long spring semester when I spent Christmas break doing a mental detox from negative thinking. At that time, I blogged about a seed of light that God revealed to me in the Spirit. He told me that the seed was sprouting below the surface of my mind, in the darkness of the rich soil, and that one day it would burst through the ground and shine.

I recognized in that moment, as I read my own journal, that the seed of light was even then breaking through the surface after the two darkest months of my entire life. My heart pounded with wonder. "God, you've never confirmed a passage so quickly," I breathed. "Thank you for light in my darkness."

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Looking for My Joy

As I mentioned in my previous posts, my body is in excellent health. My sleep is much better overall, and that means the episodes of mania are fewer and farther between. The mania only occurs when I lose a whole night or nearly a whole night of sleep. Physiologically, chemically, severe insomnia is almost identical to being intoxicated: mania.

The cause of my sleepless nights at this stage is not reactions to food. It is anxiety over being alone for another day, another day, another day. As I mentioned in a previous entry, God is sending me friends, but typically they can only come on the weekend. The neighbors are busy, my family is far, and Allyson is withdrawing from me because she is 13, which is perfectly normal at this stage of adolescence, but she thinks it is because of my illness. That is partly true, but I know from all the mothers in my life that girls usually have conflict with their mothers when they hit puberty. Allyson runs away at the faintest hint of conflict because she is afraid.... afraid of losing me to my illness.

More anxiety arises in me because I also am afraid of losing my daughter. I was so sick for so long, and there were vacations, and I had to stay with my mom and dad for a month, etc. In all of that, Allyson and I were separated. We are struggling to rebuild our relationship, and she keeps leaving every time we have any sort of disagreement. She thinks she is the only teenager whose mom embarrasses her!

This is making me really sad, and my joy has departed. You can't manufacture joy when you are legitimately lonely and heartbroken. You can listen to music. You can exercise. You can walk in the park. You can dance to a catchy tune on the radio. You could ride your bike if you could find a way to get the tires fixed. You can go to Pilates and start your own Zumba class in your house.

You can pray even when you can't feel a hint of God's love even though your head knows He is with you and He is good and He loves you. You can choose to praise Him even though your heart feels like a stone.

Hugs help, but when you are alone you can't get those, except on Wednesday at Bible study and also at church if you go to a church where they know you. Sometimes I lose sleep on the weekends when I am around Allyson and feel rejected, and then I can't drive to my own church 30 minutes away. So I get hugs once a week or so.

I am trying so hard to find joy, but it does not work that way. Joy is like a butterfly. You can watch for it, you can wonder at it when it alights on a bush next to you or even lands on your shoulder. But you can't grab for it. It will fly away. You can't force joy. You have to let it in.

In the past, for many years, I struggled with anxiety. If you've been reading long, you know how I battled that: with scripture. I found scriptures about peace and security, and I read them out loud over and over and over whether I felt safe and peaceful or not. Over the course of three weeks or so, that stubborn anxiety fled. I've had to do the same thing whenever I had a relapse, and I still do it. The sticky notes are still on my kitchen cabinets.

Now I realize I need to do the same thing with joy. This week, the enemy is trying to put depression on me because of my prolonged loneliness and longing for my daughter's love, but I am not going to receive that "gift" from him nor that label. I am going to meditate on scriptures about love and joy and delight; I am going to speak my joy into existence.

I need your help. Will you please comment with your favorite scriptures on joy? I will make more stickies and memory cards, and I will start meditating on joy and thanking God for joy until it is so. However long that takes. God's word is truth; it is Jesus. Jesus is THE way, THE truth, THE life. His Word never returns void. My joy will return, and I will not be grabbing for it. I will be allowing it to alight on me once again, just as it did in Costa Rica this past June.

Please pray also for reconciliation between me and my daughter Allyson. Pray that my grievously wounded heart will heal, and that hers will as well. I would also appreciate any advice from parents who have experienced conflict with their adolescent children, and what they did to get through this painful phase.

Thank you always for reading, for loving me, and for supporting me. I love you.
Recent Picture When Ethan Brought Allyson
to Visit Me at My Mom's House (July 2019)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Best For Last Medicine: Praise and Prayers and Imperfections and Forgiveness

I did not sleep last night. It was attack 7, already underway. I need to be more explicit. When I refer to my enemy, I do not capitalize his name because I don't owe him that respect. That respect belongs to Beloved, my Father in Heaven. Aka Amado.

My enemy goes by many names:
-Devil
-Diablo
-Father of lies
-Like a roaring lion (como un leon que hace sonido de leones??) Rrrrr!!! Paper, fake lion. Imitation of the real thing. But He is pretty.
-Lucifer - light, beautiful, ex worship leader who got too proud. If he had a tail and horns and a red pitchfork in this world, we would not be fooled. He masquerades as an angel of light, in so many skilled ways. He is not human. He has the power WE give him by believing his lies and committing the sins he suggests to us. We are humans. If we try to fight him in OUR OWN power, we will lose every time. Only Jesus can beat him. He already did. On the cross. When we give it to Jesus, He will do it. All we do is keep standing with our armor as best we can. But we WILL fall down. Because we are human beings, all of us. Especially Sarah Louise.
-Killer, stealer, destroyer of all that is good


All that is good? Love. Plain and simple. The source of all love in this universe is One. And 3. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. They have so many names it is impossible for me to list them all. Hundreds throughout the Bible, I think. Here are a few of my favorites, things that are lovely and admirable and praiseworthy to think upon...

Todopoderoso (Almighty), Jehovah (same in English and Spanish, just pronounced differently) - Father Padre Daddy Abba Papa (the original uses terms of endearment, not Father. Abba means daddy and papá.)

Lion of Judah (the REAL lion with all the power), Hijo (Son), Jesús, Rose of Sharon, The Way Truth and Life (La Camino/Calle La Verdad, La Vida, Lamb of God), Word Made Flesh (Palabra que ha sido haciendo Carne) - Jesus

Espiritu Santo ( Holy Spirit), Counselor, (Persona Quien Da Consejo Sabio), Comforter, (Consolador?), reminder of all Jesus taught us on this earth and in the Bible, the written record of Him.

Creator? All 3. Read Gospel of John, chapter 1. Without Jesús, nothing that has been made was ever made. They spoke the word, which was Jesus made flesh thousands of years later. The Holy Spirit moved over the waters and created the life.

All of them wrote the whole story before any of us existed, before time began, before there was a hint of an atom or a quark or quasar or star or a black hole or anything, before the Big Bang that scientists think they discovered. Here's a hint: "Let there be light, and there was light." The earth didn't exist when that happened. Neither did time. Time is an invention of God for humans to use to mark seasons. The Word says a day to the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. How could Moses write words that did not exist yet? Like universe and quasar and black hole. Man had to "discover" that before we would have words to describe it. So Moses wrote the vision God gave him in Genesis, book 1 of the Bible. He used his own language. If you read the original, you will find different words. I learned that in my current Bible study. I can't read that language and don't have time to learn it. Hint. Not English. Not the King James version of English. I think it was Aramaic, the language of Jesus on the earth. The language of the Jews.

But that same book belongs to the Moslems as well (Muslims), in their language. The whole Torah does, from what I have learned from my Moslem friends. Their father was also Abraham, because of a mistake that my namesake Sarah made. Ishmael was also Abraham's son, and God loved him and his mother Hagar. Fascinating story. I suggest you read the whole book of Genesis. You won't believe how juicy it is. I promise you. Don't study it (unless you want to). Just read it. Nobody could dream up this stuff! It is a history book. Not a picture of God, but a picture of man and his sin and God's mercy and love and grace.

Can't resist... Here's a taste because it relates to my story.... Sarah, Abraham's wife, thought it up and then blamed her husband for doing what she said because God was taking too long. Does that sound like someone you know very well if you have been reading thig blog for even a few years??? Or if you grew up with me or were in my family?? That is the OLD Sarah Louise. Controller, impatient, perfectionist, doubter.

Before Beloved. Before Joyful. Before book 2. After I believed the lie that there was something wrong  with me because everyone you ever love will abandon you.... before I had words, let alone was able to write. (18 months, and again at 4 years. Again, not my story to blog about.)

 Before ALLLLL of that was God. And the whole story. All of us? Can you fathom that? Neither can I. I don't want a God who is easy to explain. Do you???

So, as I mentioned previously.... HE wrote this book of mine, and yours, and all of ours. That is the message of book 1 but it is hilarious and beautiful and fun and dangerous and scary and romantic and funny and oh so joyful at the end, and you will love it, I promise. You never met this Sarah. But you will LOVE her. You will love THIS Sarah too. Because THIS is the real Sarah (sad and angry in the night, but also even more joyful)...and so is that (sad scared, joyful, joyful). But God is still working on me. For the rest of my life, by the way.

Here is the prayer request. Weapon 7, already underway and continuing through at least this day and perhaps beyond, is the same as weapon 123456 but I will not name that weapon. Not your business. Truly. Your business is this. Pray however Beloved Amado Papá leads you. I am done controlling yet still learning. How can I unlearn 47.5 years of perfectionism and its attendant controlling behaviors born of fear of abandonment and being unloved? I don't know. But I know who does. [I am 49.]

Pray. Also praise God for the joy and the victory which are ALWAYS his. Our enemy the devil DESPISES that!!! Let's do it together. Publicly. Like Jesus did on the cross. With all the warring angels around Him who were oh so real. They triumphed over our enemy publicly and made a spectacle of him openly. Will you do that please? On Facebook or text messages or a visit or holding hands with your mate and praying and praising however our Father leads us. The devil hates that EVEN MORE!

His job is to kill us. Steal from us what God taught us. Lie to us. Destroy us spiritually and physically with disease and mentally with "mental illness" which is simply brokenness in its many many many forms. All authored by the devil. Not our loving Father. Only the devil destroys families with addictions, mental illness, physical illness, death, suicide, loneliness, lies, assumptions, half truths. He is so, so skilled with that. He literally studies us and forms the weapons to target our personal Achilles' heels. Remember, not human. Would you please pray with me against that and praise God with me for the victory?

Sarah Louise aka Beloved aka Joyful aka did not sleep a wink last night

Best Medicine: Look for the Joy

I know you may wonder why I am awake at 2:26 a.m. Short answer.... None of your business. Ha ha. Just kidding. Sort of.

Long answer won't follow tonight. You will have to read book 2, Mas Que Un Poco Loco, to find out. Tomorrow I will add links, but if you look in my July posts you will find it. I told you the titles of my book. I thought at first it was title and subtitle.

God gave me both on the same day, the day I said yes to being an evangelist. It was Sunday July 7. That was the day that this angel in the video visited my house. I told you I would post her video, but I never did. So I am posting it now. This was the start of book 2. God wrote both stories, to be clear. I am just writing them down and sharing them. But book 2 is still unfolding. The climax was last Thursday. I am living out the denouement (resolution) and have no idea how it will end. Isn't that exciting??

For the record, it was the same with book 1. But I thought I had an idea how it might end. I HAD NO IDEA. I would have said no, but tonight He showed me how this was the answer to one of my own prayers! Just not the way I would have wanted Him to answer it. But He knew that. We both already know that; read my last blog entries.

First, I have to write book 1. The Lord told me to. So I will. But He also told me to post this video ASAP, but I got sick that very night and forgot/was unable to post it. Later I got Lyme disease and forgot all about book 1. But you know that part. Tonight something upsetting happened, but I have been looking for the joy.

Where did I lose it? Starting on July 7, it began to go. The enemy attacked me every single day since then, including yesterday. But as always, the weapon He formed against me did not prosper, and instead God used it for good.

Guess what? It was the SIXTH time he used the same weapon from last Thursday against me, but the 5th and 6th times were not successful. This was the most scary one for me and someone else that I love, but God absolutely used ALL of it for good.

However, as I mentioned, I will get to that in book 2 when I get that far. I am posting the video from July 7 because I told you and God that I would. Next I will go back and do all the things He told me to do. He has now restored all my memory simply by 1 hour of reading my own journal from Costa Rica, 2/3 in Spanish and 1/3 in English.

I will use words for some entries and pictures and videos for others. A lot of it is already written on the blog. Go back to June of this year. The earthquake, etc. But there was a lot that happened before that which I had forgotten; God is reteaching those lessons but at a deeper level. Read my current blogs after that ugly one last Thursday, and you will see.

In the meantime, I am going to start the video from July 7 uploading. I will then go back and link to it on the correct prior blog entry. Right now I need to go to bed and sleep like a baby. I now remember ALL that God taught me and has now retaught me through book 2. Book 1 is the sweet. Book 2 is the sour followed by the even sweeter, all of which God already taught me in book 1. Want to know more? Read the blogs as I write them and then read the books in about a year for book 1 and another year for book 2. Both will be bilingual because the entire story is bilingual, like me. All part of book 1. Be patient, young grasshoppers!

I found tons of joy this very week. I did Pilates. I did interval training by walking and jogging and walking and jogging in the park... like in that awesome movie Overcomer.

I had horrific pain on Friday from Thursday's Pilates workout... my first in about 3 or 4 years, not sure. I still have the muscles and the muscle memory and the strong core. I had no problems on Thursday, just the usual Pilates problems. Okay, I did have to do a couple of easy modifications instead of the make-it-harder ones from back then. But I kicked the butts of virtually all the women in there because I am still strong, and I am now in the best physical health of my entire life. [That was Pride talking, plus reality. Here is more truth.... When you weigh 113, Pilates is easier. You use your own body weight. They had beautiful, normal bodies. I would estimate from 105 to 155. So it was easier for me than it was for SOME of them who happen to weigh more and/or happen to not have done 11 years of Pilates a few years back. Plus, I never lost the balance. That is part of having core strength, which you get and apparently don't lose from 11 years of Pilates. I am not a perfectionist. I have faults including pride and a faulty memory at 3 in the morning.]

Also, thanks to that black entry I have 13 loved ones including new friends and old friends and family members who were out of touch. I'm not alone, and many are helping me. Today a new/old friend that I blogged about before came over with her husband (Pam and Gary), and they worked all day on the inside and outside of my house while she and I rejoiced over the goodness of God and reminded each other of how you forgive. She hugged me while she prayed 2 times over round 6 of scariest weapon, which I knew would be coming tonight. I had also prayed alone several times and also with my roommate. 5 times, I prayed over this attack.

I am well because: God healed me, after 6 weeks on my LEAP  auto immune diet, concurrent with the last 2 weeks on raw goat milk and raw goat kefir, plus counseling for the last 3 weeks with a Spirit-filled counselor who prays with me and just listens while I process the things God has revealed to me (read the recent blogs), plus tons of prayer during my sleepless nights caused by those relentless attacks.

I always pray when I can't sleep. Always have, always will. Whether I have lost and or regained my memory, or not. That is the core of who I am, and that never changes. Sometimes it is only the Holy Spirit who prays for me, out loud through my own mouth in either English or Spanish.

But now I DO sleep. The anxiety is gone, except when weapon 123456 happens. That is my trigger. It is personal but will be in book 2 when I get that far. Since 7 is the number of completion, I bet my enemy will try it one more time, and God will kick his butt because 7 is the number of completion.

Okay, good night. I want to upload the video now and go to bed. I will add links in the morning and publish, but let the record state that I wrote this in the time from whatever I said at the beginning to the current time of 3:04... and hour? It may take a day to upload the video. Literally. It is kind of long.

Love you guys. Keep praying. Keep loving me. If you wonder how I am doing, reach out to me on Facebook or by text or in a comment. Ask me. I will be happy to tell you all about what God is doing in my life and how amazing this new life is. The best is still yet to come, to quote my dear mentor Kayla.

Okay, I tried. It is too big for blogger. Tomorrow I will try to set up a YouTube channel with Allyson's help. Then I will be able to link to it here and on the original entry.

Good night!

P.S. Since I started exercising, I have had a giant appetite. Insatiable. So far I have gained back 3 pounds. I now way 113, which is what I weighed when I started the LEAP diet. I think. No, I think it was 115. I blogged about it when I started the Hashimoto's series. Will link to it tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Prayers Needed Please: Counseling Today

First, I want to apologize for upsetting so many of you with a previous entry where I spewed angry words that were directed at God. That offended many of you, and for that I am truly sorry. If you have been reading long, you know I always told my 7th grade students, "In this classroom, we use our words to speak life. The power of life and death is in the tongue." So perhaps I should have kept those choice bleeped out cuss words to myself. Not sure. I really don't know. But I never wanted to hurt you or make you worried, so again I am sorry. Last night I cried and told Daddy I'm sorry that I was so disrespectful to Him. He reminded me that He loves me just as I am and I need to release my need for control and perfection.

If you will please read the follow-up entries, you will see that God has been using these hurts to reveal anger that had been directed at myself. I have been a perfectionist my whole life, and I am now learning to trust my Daddy in heaven. He is showing me that He loves me no matter what I do. I can be absolutely myself with Him, and it will draw us closer.

At the same time, my heart has been broken over many, many painful experiences over the last 12 weeks. Now that the ugly anger and some sin that He revealed last night is out in the open, my Spirit-filled counselor and I can deal with it. But as my my mom said a couple of weeks ago, and I blogged about, only Jesus can heal a wound this deep.

I am not bipolar. If you read closely you will note that the blog entry took 2 hours to write because I was doing it with one finger on a touch screen. I was describing 7 hours of events using a deliberately non-perfectionistic style. My thoughts were not racing, and I was not manic. Just very sad and tired and recovering from the worst temper tantrum of my entire life. It was like that children's book about the Terrible No Good Really Awful Day, or something like that. I can't think of the title just now and I am too lazy to look it up.

I did it for these reasons:
-a cry for help. Loneliness kills a person with a suppressed immune system, and love and hugs are medicine. So is laughter. God reminded me of that last night. So please send me funny memes, stories, videos, etc as you come across them. Do whatever God puts in your heart to do. Don't worry! Pray! And share your prayers with me, please.
-as a backlash against the stigma of mental illness. I do get manic, but I don't get depressed. But if I did, there would be nothing wrong with that. My mania has a physiological cause, and I am getting treated for the root cause physically, and more importantly, spiritually.
-as my big sister surmised, a lot of this is hormonal. My immune system is healed to the point that we can move to my next phase of treatment in this LEAP autoimmune protocol: hormone balancing. I now have normal periods after 9 years of perimenopausal symptoms and a lifetime of low sex hormones and infertility from an improperly functioning thyroid. Last Thursday, I was PMSing for the first time since my teens! Based on physical markers you would only understand if you struggled with infertility, I suspect that if I were having sex I could probably get pregnant right now, but at age 49 I don't care to do that again! I never understood why women get so grouchy and/or down right before they start their periods. Now I do! Man, that is tough. But I am feeling so much better now in spirits. Those feelings were over by the next day. (I've had normal periods for about 2 months now, including ovulation pain. But this was the first PMS, I think. Again, it is probably tied to emotional pain.)
-My body still has a lot of pain from fibromyalgia and insomnia. As I mentioned previously, emotional pain causes physical pain, and that causes insomnia. If I lose too much sleep, I get manic, but not depressed.

My prayer request is for today's counseling session. The Lord has revealed many of the sources of my pain, dating back to the age of 18 months. Last night he revealed some sin that has been blocking my healing. So please pray that God will do the work that only He can do in today's session this morning and that I will learn to let go of control and let the Holy Spirit direct everything, including the timing.

God is so good, and I fall in love with Him more and more each day, the more I get to know His true heart for ME, not just what I tell others about His love for THEM.

As always, thank you for reading. Going forward, I will probably be silent for awhile while I focus on self care and time with my Beloved each day. If I need prayer, I will ask. If I need help, I will ask. If you wonder about how I'm doing, please don't hesitate to reach out to me and ask me!

P.S. My treatment is managed by two MDs who specialize in autoimmune disorders; one is an Ear Nose Throat doctor and the other a young Indian family doctor with a successful track record of treating Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Also my diet is managed by a registered dietitian and RN. She specializes in Hashimoto's because she had it herself. But the treatment is valid for all autoimmune disorders. If you want contact info, please contact me and I will share more info.

My Dear Friend Lillie, a Fellow Hashimoto's Survivor
at Church on Sunday, Such a Joy



Card from a new/old Bible study friend,
sacred echoes from what God taught me in the night

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Morning After the Dark Night

My cousin's wife reached out to me after I posted that upsetting blog entry. She said it sounded like I'm in the middle of a dark night of the soul, and she's been there.

We talked for a long time last night, and she encouraged me to keep the faith and hang in there. It will get better.

When I woke up early this morning, I called out to my Father and told Him how distant I had felt yesterday after lashing out at Him for the first time in my life.

I told Him I felt that my heart was broken and bleeding, and I asked Him to fill that emptiness, to submerge me in the river of his Holy Spirit.

"Yo soy de mi Amado y mi Amado es mio," I whispered over and over as I traced my cross tattoo in the darkness and pointed at the cross painting over my headboard. "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine."

Then I asked my Beloved to please heal my body. "I know you purchased my healing with your blood on the cross, so I know it is your will," I prayed. "Please heal me, but even if you don't, your praise shall continually be in my mouth, not only una gota, pero un diluvio de alabanza en mi boca (not only a drop, but a flood of praise in my mouth)."

I reminded Him of the man who said to Him, "If it is your will, you can make me well," and then He answered, "It is my will; be healed." I couldn't remember where that story was in the Bible, nor what the illness was, but I felt that it held promise for my own healing.

I asked Him to search my heart and show me any bitterness or unforgiveness. I told Him I long for Him more than any other.

Next I looked at a religious tract that He had used to call my Buddhist friend in China into relationship with Him. I remembered that there a scripture reference about healing, and I looked it up.

Mark 1: 40-42 - Then a man with leprosy came to Him, and on his knees, begged him, "If you are willing, You can make me clean."

Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. "I am willing," He told him. "Be made clean." Immediately the disease left him, and he was healed.

"That was you who put that story in my mind," I said. "If you would have compassion on that man, you will have compassion on me."

Picturing myself at his feet, I knelt beside my bed and said, "Please make me well. Thank you for healing me."

Then I looked for another verse on the tract, Psalm 37:11. On the way I found echoes of my prayers that morning and also of verses that God gave me in Costa Rica this past June, before this nightmare began.

Here are some of my favorites:

Psalm 34:1, 7 - I will praise the LORD at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.... The Angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him and rescues them.

I had asked God to help me sense the angels who surround me and minister to me, so my heart thrilled to that verse.

Psalm 34:18-19: The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crused in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Psalm 30:11-12 - You turned my mourning into dancing. You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thans to you forever.

At 6, I climbed out of bed and greeted the new day with a thankful heart. I ate some oat cereal with raw goat milk and headed across to the park where I sit by a creek each morning and watch a pair of ducks, then walk next to trees planted by the water.

When I got back home, this was the first thing I heard on the radio: "In the darkest night of the soul, your grace finds me."

I think I see the sunrise on the horizon. I still feel the fire in my head and on my skin, but I choose to believe that my heart and my body have been healed. I have decided that even if my body has to hurt, I'd rather go out there and live my life than waste my days hurting on the couch.

These are my reasons for choosing life:


Please continue to pray for me and come give me hugs if you live close. I love you guys.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Healing the Wound

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me in the last two days. I know it was a shock for many of you to see those angry words spewing out of me. What happened was another full night of lost sleep due to an attack of my immune system on something I had eaten. I had felt very joyful after spending that wakeful night in prayer and pouring out my heart to my Beloved. Just like David often did in the Psalms.

As I mentioned, the enemy caught me with the same fear he'd used successfully three times previously. I was weakened and exhausted, but in fair spirits. And then I suffered a severe disappointment. I had thought help was in sight, a way to deal with the endless work of preparing a special diet and keeping up with the housework all by myself. And that help was denied me. I knew this was the Lord's will because I had prayed about this even yesterday morning and felt at peace with whatever His answer would be. But that disappointment on top of battling my very deepest fear was too much. That is why I blew up at God and my roommate, who is a dear friend.

I fully expected that my outburst would drive my roommate away, but it didn't. Nor did it push my Father away. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Like Bobo the clown

I forgot something important. This happened after the 4th time I fell for that teifk and after a new weapon that I cant tell you about, and before the temper tantrum that I described....

 
Right after that he knocked me down again.
I did not tell it to my roommate but she said the same thing before the mustard seed, I think.

"All you have to do is get back up."

I said, "I know, seven times a righteous man gets up. What if it is more than 7 times. Like maybe 77 times? You forgive that many times. What if you don't want to get back up?"

"I got back up for my kids. I knew one day they would get to this place and I have to show them what you do. I made mistakes. And I got back up. How will they know what to do?"

Well, that kind of made it worse. That was my biggest fear always. To lose my loved ones or to cause them harm. It felt like more pressure.

But now, I think I am like that Bobo the clown toy that always infuriated me as a kid too. Always that stupid smile and you could NOT knock him down. And if you did he would keep smiling that fake smile and he couldn't help it. He would pop back up.


I am like Bobo the clown. Sometimes the smile is so real and sometimes it is fake and even I cant tell the difference. I have no choice. I keep popping back up. Or crawling off the couch

Hard Medicine: The Patience of Job

This will be the shortest blog story ever, and even truer than the last. I have learned a new level of truth. No masks. Not with God, not with anyone. Not the people I love, not the people I'm going to love.

I'm sick of trying to be everything to everyone. Sick of people pleasing. Sick of STILL trying to earn the love that has been mine. Sick of people thinking I am perfect.

I don't even care any more. There is always a lower bottom.

It is worse than pain of any kind. It is worse than falling for the same skillfully crafted weapon for the 4th time. Damn it.

But that is not the bottom. And the anger under the mask after you take it off isn't the bottom either.

Maybe the bottom is despair. And you think it looks like this.


Because you just don't care anymore. And this has to be the bottom. Because you even lost the will to write!! Because who would want to read this shit? It sucks and the f...king writer in you won't even die because you see the irony. You cant help it and you have the words. Had them. But stop it. It's hilarious and if you tried to explain they wouldn't get it. They already correctly think you're crazy because really who tells the truth to strangers. Flesh and blood ones at churches and grocery stores and goat farms? 

And then it gets Beautifully worse bc you already said that's it i am done. D O N E . No energy to find the exclamation mark. 

Do you hear that? All of you, whoever you are. If anyone sees it any more. And you won't eat damn it. You're not hungry even if you're down 20 pounds to 110. The very lowest. You didn't want it and strangers think you're anorexic and normal people who eat and have fat on them say how did you do it? Please. 

And you're not laughing any more. The gloves are off and you're Fing FURIOUS. At God. Not the devil. Because how many times will He allow it? Yes He did. And one of them reminds you of Job. How much MORE he lost. And he was just a regular person like you and did not know he would be in the Bible. And who even cares. I'm not tough like him. Stop it. Really. I am whispering now. done. Nothing left. Couldn't save them or even help them. The readers. God knows I tried to help all my seres amados... loved ones. And of course I failed that too. And I get it that that was the point all along. Let go of the illusion of control. But I can't, see. And even when I do obey and do a teeny good thing, loving with actions not words he wrecks that... because your Beloved Amado who is on your cross tattoo allowed it... for your own good.


So do you, reader, think that is the bottom?

Nope.

This is what your roommate does, because He loves you too much to let you die of despair and lack of patience or even to let yourself beat yourself up for not being perfect. It would not matter anyway. 

Want to know what the bottom might look like? (Please sweet jesus?)

Ready?  Put on your readers or take off your distance glasses...











Cant see it? It is a mustard seed. Because you asked her to at least wash the dishes. Or use the Favor app to order a massage so you could pay a stranger to touch you. And you know they would encourage you like every uber driver and that massage lady in Costa Rica who anointed you as an evangelist in the first place but you never even got to tell about it. Everything was your imagination remember?

But the writer in you will not let you give up and die. It is impossible even when you deliberately break all the old safe rules to do what Beloved told you. You know, like He did. Go where the sick people are, figuratively. I will spell it out. A bar. A karaoke bar. Where you had the time of your life. Stoped writing and started living the abundant life Jesus promised. And that was the second time you told the whole truth to a stranger... in Spanish. And she gave her heart back to Jesus. 

And then your whole life fell apart. Through a deliberate dismantling by your enemy, bit by ugly bit. Which of course he allowed. For your own good. But now it is too much. You cant bear one more onslaught. 

The mustard seed, she says. And you know it. You cant help yourself. 

Okay you say. Yes that is enough. Go get one please. By the fridge. In the bin for phase 6.

And you hold it. And you cant help it. You cry more salty tears that burn your face. With sobs that rack your whole body. While she massages you through a blanket bc you are so sweaty. You stink. But she doesn't care. Because she loves you. Love DOES you told her. It isn't just words. So she gave you both. One word. Okay 2. Mustard seed. Picture it. And a massage that made her late for work. 

And then she left you with a tangible symbol of exactly how much faith you need. Do you have that much faith? She says

Yes, you whisper. And then you both laugh bc it was really dramatic. Wasnt it. 

YEP, you can admit it. 

Yeah, I had to try not to laugh when you slammed the door and came back for your shoes. And your purse. 

But it isn't funny. She said. 

I know. Its total shit. Literally. It sucks.

I know. We've all been there. You're doing great.

Stop that. I'm shouting over the radio that played all the right songs with the miracle words.

You know I HATE it when you're right. 

That's all. For today. Don't you dare say it is the bottom. But please pray. Whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to pray. Long, short. Doesn't matter. Just a mustard seed. 

I love you. I will write until He lets me die and be with Him forever. As He said in Bible study just 24 hours ago, He always saves the best for last. A sacred echo of a dear, sweet mentor of mine in the most beautiful school where I used to work.... 


Girls having fun in a bar.... you'll have to read the book.... someday 


Okay, got it half right. It was true. You know I am incapable of a short story. With or without all of my brain. 

Sorry.  Not sorry.

Is that a hunger pain? Go ahead. You can laugh. Joy comes in the morning, remember?

P.s. do you have any idea how hard it is to type on a touch screen. While holding a mustard seed in one hand? It took about 2 hours, for the record. About half the time of a regular one. There are perks to losing your perfectionism

Thursday, September 12, 2019

What Hope Looks Like

I am not near a calendar, and I have no energy to get up off the couch, but I would estimate that I am on day 32 of my LEAP autoimmune diet. My immune system suffered two horrific setbacks this week. One was a necessary evil that killed all of the bacteria, protozoa, parasites, etc., in my entire body in one 20 minute IV session. But it made me sicker because it also slaughtered all my beneficial gut flora in one fell swoop. And it lasted 3 days so of course I got the worst diarrhea, way worse than my hyperthyroid days. And then bloating without the ability to relieve it. And acid reflux for the first time in... 10 years? Plus all the old Hashimoto's symptoms that mean the immune system is also wrecked. Except the dangerous heart arrhythmias. That is a blessing.

Anyway, even the probiotics that I swallowed were a hopeless case because the ozone kept killing them. Just like an antibiotic does.

So I'm going to tell the truth here. Though I always say honestly that God delivered me from anxiety in Costa Rica around the middle of June, I have to admit that I panicked. I thought that I was now wide open to all the bad guys, and they are many. I live with two cats, for example. But I remembered the prayers I had requested last Friday on Facebook and all those words of love and prayer that I read out loud. I remembered that those germs had no right in my body then or now. In fact, I think those bartonella bacteria in my brain were already dead before the ozone on Monday morning. I'd had a very clear mind all weekend and the headache was modestly improved.

Anyway, I still panicked which was of course counterproductive just like antibiotics would have been. I tried to sanitize the whole house with the only vinegar I had in the house, a bottle of organic white wine vinegar which I don't even want to remember the cost of.

But I still had a remarkable day, going to my first Bible study and connecting with new and old friends. We did what I love best... talked about Jesus and His Word. And lots more amazing stuff happened because I was manic from lack of sleep due to pain all over my body.

But then around bedtime, my enemy launched a weapon he'd crafted very skillfully and already used two times successfully against me. Doesn't matter what it was. Let's just say he twisted the knife a couple more times, and I buckled. I try to remember to wear the Full Armor every day, and I was wearing it. But then I took it off, I guess. I let that breastplate of Jesus's righteousness slip to the ground, and I gave my heart over to his lies. He used my very deepest fear against me. It wasn't from him exactly, that fear. But he sure knew how to use the knife against me and draw the fear of pain out, which then brought the pain. I don't mean the Hashimoto's symptoms; I've been enduring those since July 18th. No, my own fear became a self fulfilling prophecy. I was hysterical. I forgot that perfect love, the kind my Father gives, kills fear. I forgot that I was loved at all. Because the love I wanted most of all and most feared losing was withheld from me.

But I kept standing for a little while. Long enough to call my mama and sister Amy for a dose of mama love and an infusion of faith through their intercession. And that is when God spoke through my Mom.  With very ordinary but absolutely anointed  words, she and the Holy Spirit spoke to the little broken Sarah inside of me. And she prayed the truth: that only Jesus can heal a wound like that. And he did. Right then. He struck at the very root of my autoimmune disease. I mean the perfectionism that drove me to earn, earn, earn the love that was mine all along. Some other day I will write about all the damage I inflicted on myself simply because from my infancy I had internalized an indescribably powerful lie... I will never be good enough to deserve love because the people I love will leave me. That means I am bad and I have to work harder and harder to be the best at everything. Every single thing. Of course I never thought those words consciously. I just received them as truth.

So God healed me and we all expected that I would have sweet sleep. And I did... for about 30 minutes. And then I lay in bed and listened to beautiful scriptures that echoed all of Mom and Amy's prayers plus the truths I had been sharing with others for about 15 years. The only problem was those true, beautiful words from the Word, that love of Jesus, had never penetrated my OWN chest. Maybe seeped through the cracks here and there.

So last night, my Beloved ministered to me for hours. My panic was gone, but not my pain. Not the physical pain, and not the emotional pain. But one thing did happen. Something my 13 year old daughter had said hit home at last. "Mom, stop doing that controlling thing."

I didn't understand it at the time, but the Holy Spirit reminded me of a time 8 years ago when I had to do just that, a time when I laid that burden down and said, in a quiet, defeated voice, "I give up. I can't save them. I can't even save myself."

To which my Beloved replied, "You were never meant to. Only I can save."
So I said that again in the wee hours of the morning, and this time I really meant it. What a relief that was! The sweetest medicine of all, just letting go and letting all the love and mercy that had always been mine flood into my wide open, bleeding but still beating heart. And it still hurt. But now I had something new. Hope.

I thought then that I would sleep, but then I remembered that I had told the enemy that it didn't matter how bad he made me hurt, I was going to WRITE. I meant on this blog. And I would have done that. But my Beloved had another plan, so much more beautiful than my own. Isn't He always like that?

I simply wrote whatever he told me. One by one, I texted each of my most loved family members and let that healing love just flow out of me straight from my gorgeous, battered heart to theirs. On many of them, i had inflicted my own wounds. But i didn't beat myself up over that. I simply said, I'm sorry, and I love you. And here is why I love you so much and think you are absolutely amazingly beautiful and wonderful and such a blessing to me. Oh it felt good. And more and more of that wound healed, word by healing word. Right in the comfort of my 500 dollar twin Sleep Number 360 bed. (They say it will keep you asleep but there are some insomnia problems that a computer could never fix.)

No matter. I wrote for hours, and it was a joy. A joy! Right in the middle of the pain. That is the real kind of joy, born from praise that cost you both everything and nothing at the same time. The kind of joy that cost Him absolutely everything. And he did it because He loved every one of us that much. To die for us. To give His only son for us. Same love. Same God. They are three and they are one. But don't ask me to explain that. I suggest the first chapter John for that.

Anyway, today my body feels a little better, my head hurts, my mind is clear, and I am on the mend. I know my heart and therefore my digestive system, immune system, and my entire body are on the mend. Over time. No idea how long.

And, this is what hope looks like. It ain't pretty. But it is also exquisitely beautiful. That is how my Beloved has always seen me. Whether I think I am at my best or at my worst.


I don't know if you can see them, but I promise you the tears are pure joy... mixed with raw pain. When you put those together, somehow you get hope.

Let it be unto me as He has spoken. I overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am too tired to look up those verses. But I know they are in my favorite book. And also my book, the one He wrote for me before He formed me in my mother's womb.

This is what hope looks like.

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