Friday, November 22, 2013

Full Circle {What I'm Holding}

What shall I render to the Lord
for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all His people.

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
Psalm 116:12-14, 17, ESV

Nearly three and one half years ago, Amore and I traveled 5 hours south to spend time with his parents. In the preceding days, I had been feeling under the weather and was diagnosed and treated for a sinus infection. During that drive an unfamiliar painful pressure clamped down on my sternum and rib cage, making breathing painful, and by the time we reached our destination extreme fatigue knocked me flat. When we returned home, my doctor diagnosed an autoimmune flare and prescribed a month of bed rest, during which this blog began.

Long-time Crumbles know that this flare and specifically the chest pain triggered a cascade of other health problems, including multiple other unresolved areas of chronic pain. While these are better controlled by far than they were in the summer of 2010, none of them are completely gone. Well, except my gallbladder. That's one month gone. {Wink}

Since that difficult journey, my offline world has shrunk, mostly to the central part of my city and often only my home or neighborhood. I have traveled at most an hour and a half from my home, and that not often or easily. Amore has visited his parents a few times, but always without me. I have been waiting until I was more or less "well" to travel that road again.

As the Lord would have it, that has not happened, yet He led us to undertake this same journey, with doctors' approval, together last weekend. This trip was the daunting challenge mentioned in last week's "Living Sacrifice" post. It was clear that I should go; it was and is clear that the Lord would be with me; it was not clear whether this trip would bring some emotional healing or trigger a fresh flare of physical problems.

Do I even need to say that I was anxious? With wobbly lip and full eyes I shared my fears and need with a few friends and family, and God gave much peace in answer to their prayers. My thanks also go out to you who, not knowing details of my need, lifted me up to the God who did know.

David wrote in Psalm 34:4, "I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears." Sometimes the Lord sovereignly takes away the fear, but more often in my experience He takes me through the fear. Sometimes it proves to have been nothing to fear at all. Sometimes the fears are realized but I grow from the experience in spiritual battle. Sometimes there's a bit of both.

That particular challenge is in the rear-view mirror now. Amore is back at work and I am recovering from the exertion and easing back into the rhythms of home. The trip was decidedly challenging but ever so much better than the previous one​. Now that I've had a couple of recovery days, I don't feel any the worse for having gone. The conversations blessed me. Watching slides from the family's globetrotting history and listening to their commentary and memories was priceless. Seeing Amore soundly, repeatedly defeat two nephews at Wii baseball (with them insistently returning for more) makes me smile even in memory.

I'm glad I obeyed God by going when it would have been easier to stay. Now I have one more memorial stone, one more Ebenezer, to add to the resume of God's faithfulness in my life. It behooves me now to remember, not to forget, and to give thanks in community for His sufficient grace.
A grateful spirit should ever be cultivated by the Christian; and especially after deliverances we should prepare a song for our God. Earth should be a temple filled with the songs of grateful saints, and every day should be a censer smoking with the sweet incense of thanksgiving (Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning, November 20).

What am I holding this Friday? Much gratitude.
:: for God's sufficient, sustaining grace
:: for life coming full circle
:: for 400 published blog posts here (not much compared to many, but a personal milestone)
:: for travel mercies
:: for Ebony's good stay at Pet Paradise
:: for family
:: for laughter
:: for sharing good memories and hard ones
:: for the innkeeper's extra effort to provide a separate daily breakfast for me that I knew I could eat
:: for praying friends
:: for one more semester of ladies' Bible study completed at my church
:: for a visit from our little neighbor girl
:: for returning home to red and saffron trees in addition to the gold we left behind last week
:: for only one day of (postop gallbladderless) digestive upset on the trip
:: for bags slowly being unpacked
:: for no need to rush
:: for an arctic blast cold front that dropped our temperature nearly 40 degrees in 15 hours
:: for fingerless gloves and hooded sweatshirts
:: for a few more problem-free foods in my diet
:: for nascent plans to study God's Word with Terza
:: for Thanksgiving plans at my parents' house
:: for Thanksgiving plans 2 miles away {smile}
(gratitude list #2605-2626)

Addendum: Please pray for the people of Riga, Latvia, where at least 53 were killed when a supermarket roof collapsed Friday. You may read more of the Riga story here at CNN's page or at Hope in the Healing, written by a blogger with personal connections to Riga. Amore also served as a short-term missionary there before we knew each other.

sharing late, early, or right on time with my friends Bonnie, Ann, Laura, and Amy

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