Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Prayer for Healing

Focusing on Health and Accomplishments today.....Thankfully I learned that my blood isn't so thick that we have to stop IVIG (YaY!). So we keep going with IVIG - and I begin again on the 29th. And....I had a second morning in a row without an allergic attack (can't even begin to describe what these feel like, so this is a major accomplishment)! And so far so good with the Humira injection yesterday....Dare I say no reaction yet (other than usual side effects).

As I am sitting here...I feel the need to give a prayer of thanks. I will be submitting this prayer to Bethany Seminary as a part of my vocational statement. Most importantly, whether you read it or not, and regardless of religious affiliation, I have learned that I don't need to pray alone.

I used to be ashamed to pray with others. I used to feel ashamed to ask for prayer. In my formation for ministry, I have learned that prayer is something we should feel free to do as we wish - for ourselves, for others, in private, in public....using words, using color, using silence. There is no right way to do today...I am daring to pray in public. I have never done this before - but for me, as I get my voice back - it is an important part of my journey. St. Augustine did it in his Confessions, so I shall do it today.

A prayer for today...

God, you have bought me back from the brink of health crises so many times, and as I have looked into the abyss of my own finitude, I have felt your hand upon my back filling me with the strength of your LOVE and the awareness that it is not yet time for me. While healing, I have thrashed against the notion of remaining quiet, and yet it is this very stillness that unveiled a powerful flow running through the center of all that is, and I choose to call that Grace. "Be still and know that I am God." Amen.

Lord, as I continue to heal, I no longer wish to walk to the edge of finitude as a means of learning my lessons in ministry. I pray that you open my ears to LISTEN and my eyes to SEE your WORD expressed throughout all of creation. I pray that you grant me the courage to ACT when I feel the nudges of the Spirit that moves me each day, that I am not so caught up in my own agenda...that I learn to maintain the inner stillness even as I walk in the world.

Lord I pray that I continue to have peace and serenity in my body and spirit as I slowly turn the corner toward healing. I pray that my body is restored to wholeness, and that with wellness in place, it brings me closer to you, oh God. I pray that I enjoy the calm of stability and inner stillness even as I gently walk the path toward new healing. Lord I thank you for saving me.

Thank you God for walking with me...every step of this journey giving me the strength and perseverance needed to keep going. May I use what I have learned on this embodied journey to walk with others in ministry... as you see fit, oh your time, oh your vision for my life.

I completely surrender.

Speak God, thy humble servant is listening.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The UNKNOWN of Rare Disease

Rare disease, chronic illness and invisible disability can be difficult to grasp if you've never walked that road. It's not a clear path lined with happy care protocols and treatment regimens.  Nope, it's a wild wood filled with uncertainty, false negatives, inaccurate tests and more...And those who journey with me (friends, family, physicians) must learn to be comfortable with the unusual road.

People say all sorts of things when they don't understand the path...I'm sad to say I've heard most of them...but those words don't matter. They don't get it...And I'm working to forgive.

As I move toward healing, all that matters is the quiet, deliberate steps.  With amazing specialists, I've come to realize that there are things that are KNOWN about my health/diagnoses and others that require further investigation.  So we treat what we know and we keep investigating. No drama...just moving forward.

To those in my tribe lovingly walking with me...I am grateful beyond words. I LOVE you.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Ministry on the Margins

I'm a minister that travels to the margins where there is immense unseen suffering. At times God sends me there to learn (as in my health journey), yet other times I'm drawn there simply because I am capable of seeing LOVE amidst pain.

Noticing LOVE amidst suffering on the margins has become a clear part of my ministry.  I remain quiet, and empty myself to the best of my ability, until I feel the nudge.  At that moment it is time to may be a voice through art, writing or speaking... or it may be simply might mean taking acton...I don't know until the nudge pushes me forward. This is the Holy Spirit in my life.

I've learned more about LOVE on the margins then I ever knew in the comforts of the world. So, if you see me talking about things that others try to avoid, it's because I find meaning in those spaces. Some I can control, others are forced upon me. Both teach me and inform my theology. They give me perspective. I'm filled with gratitude and I am a better person when I allow myself to live into the Franciscan call. 

So after a very scary day yesterday, when I once again faced the horror of an allergic ivig attack, I'll say that I found my root of gratitude tonight. It took all day drawing, but I emptied myself and noticed the gift of psychoactive. Thank you God.

Grateful for my Tribe

This morning I feel so grateful for the friends who have made sure that I do not walk this healing journey alone. I'm grateful for the people that have never doubted these rare diseases, those who check up on me, those who hold me in prayer, those who send me virtual hugs when I need them, those who have helped to drive my daughter when I need the support, those who come to the emergency room when I need someone with me, and most importantly those that have just quietly been a part of my life.  I'm deeply grateful to you.

On many occasions I've indicated that getting IVIG is a very serious treatment, and if you've ever seen one of the post IVIG attacks, the kind that landed me in the ER like yesterday, then you know what I mean. They're still trying to figure out what it is, whether it's a mast cell attack, a vasovagal reaction, anaphylaxis or something else...regardless, it's a truly horrible experience.

I'm not one to complain, or even to talk about how difficult it is to walk this healing road, but today I felt the need to be real about it because yesterday was one of those days that required my warrior self. I'm turning the corner, yet I'm still in the fight of my life.

I remain deeply grateful that I'm not battling cancer, as I learned yesterday that I don't have carcinoid! That being said, what I'm battling is plenty....And today I'm tired.

Friday, October 5, 2018

My thoughts as a survivor of abuse and assault....

Thousands of years of sexual assault...being forced to marry our rapists, forced to remain quiet about incest lest we disrupt family dynamics, told there's not enough evidence when we do speak up, told there's not enough resources to process the horrific rape kits that could actually prosecute our offenders, told we probably wanted it, told we have other motives in coming forward, told that maybe we don't remember it correctly, told that telling the truth would ruin a good man, told that it wasn't that bad because we weren't penetrated, told as a young girl to relax if a man tries to rape you,  told that you never say NO to your husband....

Ignored by the church, police, community, and sometimes even parents....

Trying to understand why vivid depictions of rape and sexual violence are considered entertainment on TV while swearing is banned...

Why are women furious?
We've heard it all before. It's like a broken record. Let's face it, 1 in 3 women have survived sexual assault, harassment, abuse, or stalking.

While men talk about a fair process for Kavanaugh, women are wondering about the thousands of years of pain that we have carried, while being treated as damaged even by other women. The culture of silence is powerful. Now we see a woman bravely speaking. We don't need a scape goat. I want a fair process for anyone being considered for the supreme court. But make no mistake, women need to be authentically HEARD. This woman - Dr. Ford - has had an experience with this man, and we are rushing to confirm him. Why?

I hear men are uncomfortable with the dialogue...I say good...because so am I.  Maybe that means we are all beginning to authentically LISTEN.  Men and women are allies in the change that we so desperately need to marginalize the abusers. Let's come together.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Importance of BELIEF

I can't help but FEEL the collective pain brought forth by these Senate Hearings.  When I stared the thread of believing survivors, I had no idea that it was the day of testimony.  This is simply being in the flow. So....I've been in a contemplative stance, asking questions, allowing the answer to reside in tiny nudges from Spirit. 

Tonight I felt the nudge...Something Mother Theresa said felt SO right today:

I can't change the world, but I can do small things in my own tiny sphere that could send ripples out into the world. (Paraphrased).

Tonight it was BELIEVING my daughter when she said her body hurt. It got me thinking....

How often do we dismiss such things as "drama?" How does this issue of BELIEF prepare girls for REAL LIFE as women in this world? Who do I doubt when they are in desperate need of someone to BELIEVE in then/what they say? Who do I BELIEVE and even TRUST in my life that may be unworthy?

This discernment has long been at the core of my ministry, and it isn't about the other people...I learned quickly from life experience while reading Anthony De Mello that it's about finally trusting myself as I live into the big questions.

I will draw more tomorrow.