“Why Me, Lord?”

So many people have asked me, “Karman, WHY is this happening to you?  I don’t understand it,” and then they will go on to list reasons why they think this should not be happening to me which means that it should be happening to someone else.  I will also admit that there have been many times over the course of this extremely long illness that I have found myself asking, “WHY me, Lord?”  After each time that I would ask this question, I would continue by telling Him all the reasons I felt I should not be going through this…“I’ve started this ministry that is working soooo hard to get more people serving for You.”  “Each day we are helping people who are hopeless and really in need in this world.”  “My heart wants to go back to Peru on many more mission trips to help the hurting there.”  “Have you forgotten about the two teenage daughters who need me and who I want to love well?”  Enough said.  You get the point.  Each of these was just my pathetic way of telling God why this awful illness should not be happening to me because of all that I was doing for Him, which was just another way of saying, “Give it to someone else!”

 

And then His response, “Dear brothers and sisters (or Dear Karman), when troubles come your way, consider it and opportunity for great joy!  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing!”  James 1:2-4

 

An opportunity for great joy?!?!?  Count leaving my family as great joy?  Count walking away from the ministry I love so much as great joy?  Count not being able to lift my head from my pillow because the pain is too bad as great joy?  Count missing all the people I love so much in Peru as great joy?  Count sadness and loneliness and tears as great joy?

 

To each of these and many more, just a one word answer, “YES!”

 

I will be honest.  I don’t have any idea how to do this.  However, I have slowly come to realize that it is only when I begin to look at the reason for this trial that I am able to begin to believe this answer of “YES.”  God’s purpose for trials is to challenge our faith through the tests.  Also, it is an opportunity to grow our character by developing patience, endurance, peace and contentment in the midst of hardship and pain.  It’s easy to say I have faith when everything is easy and happy and thriving and great.  I believe this is my chance to “Walk the Walk and Not Just Talk the Talk!”   

 

So instead of asking, “Why Me, Lord,” I’ve begun saying, “Why Not Me, Lord?” 

 

Instead of saying “What is this, Lord,” I’m asking, “What Do You Want to Teach Me, Lord?”

 

Over these next several weeks, I will share each hard lesson I have learned and how I am beginning (even if ever soooo slightly) to look at this time of trouble as an opportunity for great joy!

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We Need A Plan!

From My Journal Dated Feburary 20, 2013:

Soooo much to do! Soooo much to get ready! Soooo much to plan! It seems too overwhelming! It seems like too much! It seems too impossible! It seems…It seems…It seems….Like I just want to say “Calgon Take Me Away!”

But as I sit at lunch today with the Love of My Life and also the “Planner” of our family, the one who has every suitcase packed and repacked two weeks before our vacation, we start to formulate “The Plan!”

When to start?… “Ohhh, that’s tooooo much to think about!”
Where to go?… “Ohhh, it’s soooo overwhelming to think about leaving my family!”
What treatment regimen to choose?… “Ohhh, it seems toooo impossible to do all that is involved in treatment!”
How to cover all the bases while I’m gone?… “Ohhh, there’s soooo much planning to do!”

To every one of his planning questions, my answer was “ohhhhh” or “sooooo” or “tooooo,” and within minutes I was sitting in a local deli with tears falling into my favorite salad. Needless to say, we left without “The Plan” being made… much to my relief and much to the his frustration.

As I was driving away, still in tears, I remembered the words I had read just the day before in my “Daily Hope” devotion from Pastor Rick Warren, whose words have taught me soooo much over the years about what it means to have a relationship with God. The title was: “Stop Procrastinating!” When I got home, I reread every wise word he taught in this devotion. Below are a few highlights…

“The Bible gives us five actions we can take to stop procrastinating:

1. Stop making excuses. The number one excuse I hear is, “When things settle down, then I’m going to …” Things will never settle down. You must make a choice to prioritize what is important.

2. Start today. Not next month, next week, or tomorrow.

3. Establish a planned schedule. Proverbs 13:16 says, “A wise man plans ahead. A fool doesn’t.” (Guess that means “The Planner” in my life is wise) If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.

The next two points jumped off the page at me as if they had flashing red lights that said, “KARMAN, THESE ARE FOR YOU!!!! DID YOU HEAR ME? FOR YOU!!!! SO PAY CLOSE ATTENTION!!!!”

4. Face your fears. We hate to admit we have fears, because we think they’re a sign of weakness. But fear is a sign of humanity. Only fools are not afraid. You’ve heard it said, “Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s moving ahead in spite of our fears.” The Bible says there is nothing you cannot master with the help of Christ who gives you strength (Phil. 4:13)

5. Focus on what you gain, not the pain. There are very few things in life that are easy. You must push through the frustration and look at the gain beyond the pain. Concentrate on how good you’re going to feel once you’ve finished the task.

Jesus never said life would be easy. There will be sacrifice and commitment. But there is tremendous reward when we do the things he calls us to do.”

As I read each word, my tears seemed to dry up and I called “The Planner” with “A Plan”…

1. Will begin treatment next Monday
2. Will select the treatment plan of high powered antibiotics, detox, immunity boost, diet, rest, no stress, lymphatic massage, saunas and prayer, prayer, prayer.
3. Will start today writing out everything that has to be done to keep our household going while I’m away
4. Will “Cease Striving” in my personal life
5. Will “Let Go” of my work life
6. Will Pray for my family life

And Most of all…

7. Will TRUST & OBEY God has the best “PLAN!”

“I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!” Philippians 4:13

A Reflective Look Back to Streams in the Desert

Streams in the Desert

A Reflective Look Back at My Journal Entry from Friday, February 16, 2013

“Streams in the Desert”

It’s been 10 days since we sat in the doctor’s office and tried to process all that he was telling us and all that it would mean for my family and me. As I just finished reading a daily update on CaringBridge, I am thinking about the special “Mommy” to three very young children whose story it shares. On most days, I have prayer requests that come to me via email, text or Facebook. However, when I read the request on a very cold, winter afternoon several months ago for this “Mommy” that I have never even met, not only did my heart break for her, but I was immediately drawn to her story. She is a young beautiful mother of three adorable children, all under the age of 6, who had a blood clot in her brain. The surgery to correct it almost killed her and has left her paralyzed. She is currently away from her Texas home and family on the long road of rehabilitation in hopes of a full recovery. I was soooo drawn to her story that I immediately signed up to follower her daily updates on CaringBridge, and I pleaded with God to spare her life for the sake of her three precious little ones.

What amazed me the most, as I learned the names of her family members and friends and watched as they all “loved her well,” was that they NEVER gave up hope, ALWAYS trusted that God had a plan and BELIEVED that the power of prayer could save her life (which it did)! It was through her family and friends, who I also have never met, that I was introduced to “Streams in the Desert,” a daily devotional by LB Cowman, who learned to persevere and have hope in the midst of suffering of her own.

Today’s excerpt from Streams in the Desert on this “Mommy’s” CaringBridge page…

“Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to Be Still. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing me away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of my greatest works in my kingdom have been from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me. Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My Presence with you. Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me. Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms. My strength and power show themselves most effective in weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)”

I felt like these words were written just for me and ordered a copy of “Streams in the Desert” as soon as I could. This book now breathes truth and life into me every morning and is the #1 gift I give to anyone who finds themselves in the middle of a storm.

Dear Recovering “Mommy”: “Thank you! Even though you’ve never spoken one word to me, your life has taught me so much! Now, I know why I was soooo drawn to you. I too must leave the ones I love to seek treatment so I can come back whole again to love them more. I too want to have strong faith that trusts in God’s plan with all my heart even in the midst of suffering. I too want to never lose hope, never give up and share my story with anyone needing encouragement to do the same. May we both be healed 100% and always look for the “streams in the desert” until we are!”

The “SAPPY” Journey Begins…

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I can only describe this day as “SAPPY!”

HAPPY + SAD = “SAPPY”

These are just a few of the reasons why…

After years of specialist after specialist, doctors thinking “I’m crazy,” hospitals, ambulance rides, ERs, surgeries, medicine and more medicine, pain, misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis, many tears, fears, relapses, hope and then despair, one step forward and two steps back, pleading for healing, and countless prayers, some answered and some not yet, we have a clear but hard diagnosis. However, as the love of my life reminded me, “We can handle anything as long as we know what we are dealing with!” So as HAPPY as I am to finally have a diagnosis after all this time, I am SAD because treatment will be looooong and hard in my case which is “one of the worst” my doctor has ever seen.

Part of my treatment plan the doctors feel I need right now is to rest, rest, rest in a stress-free environment so that my body can spend all of its energy healing. How do you do that as founder of a non-profit ministry in its “growth” year, mom of two very active teenage girls and wife to a man whom I try to take care of as much as possible because he works so hard for our family? There is only one way. I must go away to a place of peace and quiet and no responsibility which makes me both HAPPY & SAD. SAD because I have to be away from the people and things I love the most. HAPPY because I am weary and soooo tired of trying to keep going day after day after day.

Ohhhhh, I am most SAD about missing my favorite things, many onetime events and special moments while I am away…Friday night date nights, hearing all about my girls’ days at school, early morning coffee on the patio, annual family Spring Break trip, Cheer tryouts, monthly lunch at work, celebrating making the cheer squad and jumping up and down with my girls after one is awarded a very high honor at school…just to name a few. As much as I will miss every one of these which are so dear to me, I am HAPPY and long for the times I know I will encounter God while I am away!

Soooo SAD to leave my man. HAPPY because they say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder!” SAD that I will be away from my precious girls. HAPPY because they are old enough to care for themselves and could actually run our household which they would not have been able to do years ago. The HAPPY & SAD list goes and on and on…

All of which just leaves me feeling “SAPPY” today!

Until I picked up one of my favorite daily devotion books, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and these words jumped off the page at me…

“Come to Me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life. Remember that I can fit everything into a pattern for good (Romans 8:28), including the things you wish were different. Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be. You will get through today one step, one moment at a time. Your main responsibility is to remain attentive to Me, letting Me guide you through the many choices along your pathway. This sounds like an easy assignment, but it is not. However, you are on the path of My choosing, so DO NOT give up. Hope in Me, for you will again praise Me for the help of My Presence.”

This is the story of my journey “on the path of God’s choosing” as it continues to unfold…

Dedicated to the Ones I Love…

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These entries are dedicated to my precious girls, Grace and Abby. As you too suffer now and will other times throughout your lives, may you always remember that your “Mom” never gave up hope, and as long as you have hope, you can do anything!
With All My Heart~