Surviving the ER

Due to an incorrect test reading at a local doctor’s office, my husband took an unnecessary trip to the ER. While there, he was given a drug that almost killed him. His eyes turned red; his fingertips were blue. His neck swelled to the same size as his head.

Being a true Southerner,  I found a fan and fanned with the strength of a large woman in a two-size-too-tight dress on a 100-degree day in Georgia. To my disbelief, that didn’t help. (Thank goodness I’m not a nurse.)

When the fanning didn’t work, I finally realized my husband was having a life-threatening allergic reaction to the drug. I rushed out to the nurse’s station and asked for help. After checking him, the nurse called a code and within seconds the room filled with an onslaught of people dressed in every color of uniform the hospital offers.

I found myself standing next to the window praying and crying that the doctors would do something to save him. I must have been praying out loud because a chaplain (the only one dressed in black) came over and tried to draw my attention away from my husband. That didn’t work any more than my fanning. I wasn’t about to take my eyes off the situation.

A host of doctors stood around my husband looking at the spectacle of it all. Most just wanted to look down his throat to see the mass of gas that was blocking his airway. I heard one say, “I’ve never seen this before.”

I was thinking, “Do something people, or he is going to die.” I wanted action. But, not a soul moved. The only thing in action was the Benadryl in his IV. Someone had given him a breathing treatment, but still, he couldn’t talk. His face and neck had not gone down at all. That took hours.

After the horrible event was over and we were safe at home, I remember thinking about those doctors. How calm they appeared. They weren’t upset at all. They were almost to the point of being entertained.

The reason for their calmness wasn’t because of a lack of personal relationship with this dying guy. I believe it was because they knew the reversal drugs would work. And, if not, they could cut his throat open and get him breathing again. The peace they were experiencing came from their belief in the medication and their training. They could spring into action in a moment’s notice.

I couldn’t see that because I was watching my husband die in front of me. I was thinking “what will happen if he doesn’t make it?” What I wasn’t so sure about were the doctors standing around the room. It appeared to me that they needed to be moving. Doing something.

When trouble surrounds us, we might wonder if we are going to make it. We cry out to Jesus and sometimes he seems so far away. We don’t see any action, there’s no wind, no movement at all. Why won’t He do something to help us?

Martha and Mary cried out. Jesus waited. There was nothing. Jesus wasn’t looking for a fan or a nurse; he didn’t need them. He waited for an exact moment before he got up and walked their way. He knew everything would be okay once he arrived in their town. And it was.

Even when we don’t see anything happening around us. Jesus isn’t standing around being entertained by our misery. He is waiting for the perfect moment to reach out to our need. His timing isn’t our timing. Be still and trust. He’s ready to spring into action on  your behalf. He is well trained in meeting needs at their deepest point. Our peace can come from knowing that Jesus has skills. And, He’s got our back!

 

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Letting go

LetGo Commercial

I love this commercial. Not because of the product the company is advertising, but for it’s visual effect.

I think about a person kneeling in prayer asking God to fulfill a need while refusing to give up what they already hold. Sometimes we are truly sincere in asking and our need is real. But, we like what we already have and we refuse to let go. The old becomes a ball-n-chain.

Recently I knew I was being pulled to leave something. But an event happened that caused me to look again at what was already there instead of looking ahead. I had a hard time understanding why I was so upset over knowing I wouldn’t be apart of the future events.

After a couple of days of searching my motives, I realized it was the lure of the carrot dangling in front of me that had pulled my eyes away from Jesus. The enemy knows I love to travel, and when someone else is putting the bill, it’s even better. I wanted this carrot. At the same time, it was clear to me that I had to step away from this in order to follow Jesus’ lead. My mind repeated over and over, “Let go, let go, let go.”

When we fix on the things of this world and have our hearts set upon them, how can God bless us with the things that are eternal?

David kept his heart fixed on God. Ps. 57:3 He knew that God was worthy of his praise He put his faith in the only One who could take care of him. When we keep our eyes on the promise of material things, we are setting ourselves up to be disappointed. The carrot of travel and extra money was a temptation that I had to call out for what it was in order to get over it and move forward with Jesus. The enemy is a liar and no doubt wouldn’t have fulfilled his end of the deal anyway.

This commercial helped me see how easy we can put ourselves into harm’s way. What are you holding in your hand today that God has asked you to drop? We don’t need to sell it, we just need to open our hand and let it fall away. It is so freeing to do this. Trust God and fix your heart on Him.

 

Sweet, Summer Rain

“Sweet, Summer Rain,” is a phrase that is so much more than a quote from a southern movie. It’s a real occurrence. It cools the parched ground. It soaks the flowers. It gives new life.

There’s one fact that I’ve known since childhood. There are hot days in Mississippi. Anyone who has ever taken a trip toward the Gulf of Mexico, via Mississippi, has felt the ‘sauna effect.’ It’s at its worst in August.

Having left my hometown 16 years ago, I return as often as I can. I observed something on a recent visit that I had forgotten. It was on one of those particularly hot days that an afternoon thunderstorm arose. I had declared it to be over 1000 that day at least three times. I was sitting in the living room in my families’ house and noticed a darkening across the lawn. It was so alluring that I found myself walking to the door to check the sky.

The wind arrived first. I could feel a sense of anticipation as the branches whipped about. A few drops began to cover the sidewalks, soon white sheets of rain were sweeping the hot pavement in front of the house. I couldn’t resist any longer.

I stepped out onto the porch and took a seat on the green bench lining the front of the house. The rain came so fast it spilled over the gutters and splashed onto the flowerbed near my feet. I could feel the difference in the climate immediately. I had forgotten (from all those years in the Northwest Territories) that the rain lures people from their air-conditioned homes in the South. I had forgotten how the sweet, cooling rain reached places that couldn’t be seen.

Across the street, a garage door went flying upward. A little girl popped out of the dark hole wearing bright red rain boots. I watched as she jumped up and down in the puddles quickly forming in her driveway. The mother stood with both hands on her hips gazing across the sky. Soon another group of teens poured out of the house down the street. Three young guys ran around in the rain like little children playing tag. The entire neighborhood was waking up again. The heat had driven everyone inside, but the sweet, summer rain was drawing them out again to explore and enjoy the world.

Summers in the Deep South can be brutal. There are times you don’t feel like you can even breathe. Life is that way too. We get beat down to the point of wishing for some sort of escape. Life causes us to guard our hearts and put up walls so that others can’t hurt us.

Like an air-conditioned house on a humid day in Mississippi, we find refuge by withdrawing from the heat or threats around us. God’s refreshing rain of the Holy Spirit, draws us out to Him. When we drink from His well, we never thirst again. We are then able to reach out to the other hurting people around us.

Next time you see someone stepping out into an afternoon rain shower, remember this, God wants to refresh you from the inside out.

the finer moments

I’m a talker. If I don’t talk, I can’t think! It’s true. I must talk out my ideas to better understand them. Yet, some of my finer moments were spent sitting near a creek bank or on a hillside just breathing in the world.

After a stretch of toying with the “how-tos” of organizing a new blog, I decided to make this one a refreshing place for my readers to come. A place comparable to a drink from a cold spring. A place where the sun-parched traveler can come sit for a moment and leave uplifted. A blog akin to sitting on the mountaintop looking across the vast open spaces below.  A finer moment, if you will.

I want to be the encourager who finds a morsel of hope in this day-to-day negative world we live in. I’m going to leave the depressing affairs of this world to those better suited for that task. There are troubles. Oh, how many there are?

But, nature encourages me. I stand in awe of it. I love laying under a group of trees and watching the wind carry the leaves back and forth. I love hiking in the coolness of the woods and smelling the pines and other scents from the forest. For a few finer moments, I’m lifted out of the troubles, the headaches, the snares of this life.

So, I’ll do my best to add an entry once a week with some sort of “call back” thought. Or, maybe the best praise and worship song I’ve heard that day, a photo of the sunset, an encouraging poster, or some of my own words. However, I want my readers to understand that I also believe in the God of Creation. Without Him, there would be no universe. This will not be a ‘worship nature’ instead of nature’s Creator, kind of blog.

I have a choice in this lifetime. I am not choosing to look through ‘Polly Ann’s glasses, or ignore the hurting around me. I am choosing to help the hurting in my own way.

Calling back

I started the book in 2002. Actually, I started it several times. 2002 happened to be the first of many starts. Every time I would settle in and begin to think about writing, we’d pack up and move. Literally.

I’ve loved books since I can remember, but mostly I’ve loved STORIES in all forms. The tale that started in my head back in 2002 wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t give up on the people in my head. They had a story to tell.

For twelve years, I’ve worked on my magnum opus, a novel titled Blood Beneath the Pines. February 22nd of 2014, I picked it up again. By God’s grace and a miracle, I wrote “THE END” on Friday, June 20, 2014, at 5:20 p.m., mountain time. I felt like I had climbed Pikes Peak.

At one point, I wrote over 13,000 words in four days. I needed a cold press for my bugged-out eyes.

No matter what your dream is today, don’t give up on it. God placed the desire in your heart for a reason. He will equip you to do the thing He called you to do. “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. (Romans 12: 4-6 MSG).

Anne Lamott said in her book, Bird by Bird, writing is “revolutionary patience.” I believe revolutionary patience doesn’t just apply to writing. I believe life works the same way. “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” (Anne Lamott)

12 years of not giving up on an idea that started in my head finally became a novel.