Posts Tagged With: wellbeing

Mysteries, emotional roller coasters and flickers of hope Pt. 1

Allow me to share a journey that our family has and is still travelling on at this time. A few of my friends are going through similar experiences and my heart and prayers go out to them as they work through their frustrations and emotions and faith during this time.

I should have written this last week or even three days ago, when my report would be a glowing one of a trial near past and the lessons I have learnt. I was reminded last night that we are not out of the woods yet.

For those of you who don’t know, our eldest son Elijah has been sick since at least the start of the year. He has had well days, well weeks even, but the cycle was getting smaller and he was getting sicker with every bout. At first we thought that he just had a bad run with some viruses as we live in a place where some pretty nasty viruses present.

But when they kept coming and the fatigue was not lifting in between the times of sickness, and he lost his bubbly, cheeky self saying things to his brothers like “believe me you don’t want to be 10, it’s just too tough”, we just knew we had to do something. So back in May we took Elijah to the doctors and explained what was going on. They ordered blood tests and it came back positive for Ross River Virus. At least, we thought, now we have an answer and he should improve over time.

But that was not to be the case. For a week after the test, after much prayer, Elijah felt the best he had in a long time. He even commented “Mum, I think Jesus has healed me”. And that is what appeared to have happened.

Until one night, he complained of a tummy ache and went to bed to the most violent vomiting we had seen yet. He was up for half the night and then ended up lying on the couch and fell asleep. He slept through the entire next day. Even with the other boys yelling and playing as normal in the house. I tried to rouse him a few times to get some fluids in him, but he didn’t know where he was and who I was. He couldn’t handle light. He had a temp. I was glad he was sleeping as I knew he needed it, but I was worried he was confused when he woke.

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In Alice Springs hospital

Then in the evening a rash came out first on his face and then on the whole right side of his body. We had been holding off taking him to the hospital, as they usually send us home and say if they get worse bring them back blahblahblah… But once the rash came Ben carried him (still sleeping) to the car and took him to the hospital.

And there Elijah stayed for 5 days. His eye became bright red, and he couldn’t handle any light. He looked grey and couldn’t walk. They thought at first it was maybe meningitis, but they ruled that out. Then the tests began. Multiple blood tests, specimen tests and a small skin biopsy. But nothing was showing up. We had so many people praying for us and our church family came and visited. Was a wonderful time for seeing the body at work, even if it was a terrible time in other ways.

I kept expecting to call the virus card, as doctors do when there is no answer. But the doctors were amazing and thorough and for once in my life took me seriously. He got well enough to go home even though he still had a high temp and his eye was no better the rest of the symptoms had subsided. He had to wear an eye patch and his eye was not getting better, so when we took him back for his follow-up check he was seen by an eye doctor and diagnosed with uveitis. This is a common occurrence in people with an auto-immune disease which is where the doctors were heading with their testing.

The doctors here had exhausted what they could do from here in Alice so we were sent to Adelaide to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. There Elijah went through a series of tests and they ruled out so many things that had been suggested. After 10 days in hospital there, we had come up with no answers . However he had begun to gain weight again, which is great as he had lost about 8kgs since the start of the year. We could feel the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ and were so well supported with many visiting to sit, pray and chat (not to mention bring chocolate and lollies- have I said thank you ūüôā ).

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The barium swallow test

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Goolwa Beach

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Day leave from the hospital

2014-07-20 06.23.21

When his brothers arrived

 

One family in particular, who have so may of their own struggles they are facing, were so beautiful in the way they ministered sacrificial love to us. They opened their home to the boys and Ben who had driven down from Alice so they could stay near us in the hospital. The family¬†also¬†offered for us to stay a few days down at their holiday home before we returned. This was a blessing and so much needed. It was the middle of winter, but we all went in the beach. What a healing place it is. I miss the beach so much even though I love our desert home. We had some lovely time with Ben’s mum and grandma as well. Which I know the boys will treasure forever. We always try to make the best out of a bad situation . We managed to have some great laughs and made some awesome memories.20140729_092655

Our ride home. .Elijah was so excited to finally be going home

Our ride home. .Elijah was so excited to finally be going home

We returned to Alice no wiser than we left, and hopeful and prayerful, that maybe he would just begin to improve as he had extended rest. He appeared so well, but that was because he was able to rest all day.

Since we have been back home, he has gained 2kgs and has had more energy than before. He had been generally well, though still feeling nauseous, and fatigued but not enough to slow him down as before.Until last night when Elijah once again began vomiting and high temp and today can’t leave the couch. He is definitely not as bad as he was before which is a plus but it is wearing to know that the battle isn’t over.

We are grateful it is not some of the diseases that the symptoms were pointing to and we have seen the hand of God in this time, but it has definitely been a struggle and has made it harder to have the same energy for the ministry we are a part of here.

We thank you for all who have, and will, pray as we continue down this journey. It continues to be a mystery. Our hope is in our God who is faithful and carries us through every circumstance. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases!

Elijah’s eye is fully recovered and the eye doctor said yesterday that it has no scarring and so good that you can not even see that he had ever had it. We are so blessed to live in Australia. We have an amazing health system.

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the year that was

So apparently 2013 has come and gone already. Wow. What a year.

We have been in Alice for almost 2 years now and this was definitely packed in and a time of growing and learning. I had a read of my personal journal entries from last year, and was interested by a post written in January. I felt that God had said that it would be a year that I would need to hold on tight, and had the verse ‘those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, they will not be moved (or shaken)’. Oh my, if only I had knew what truth that verse held for the year to come!

Allow if you will for me to reflect on some things I have learnt and/or been reminded of in this last year.

1.¬†Jesus when he was on this earth never put much weight on whether people approved of him or not, because it says that he knew their hearts and how fickle they were (are ūüôā ).

This has been helpful for me to remember when I’ve found people flattering me or when they have been outright slandering me, or the one’s that think they are above me. Jesus’ response teaches me to get to the place where I can respond in the same way (not that I have fully achieved this, but that I am aware of it is on the way). Jesus knew where to get his worth ,from his Father… and me? I’m working on doing the same, because the Father’s thoughts on me are unchanging.

2. Doing things scared is much better than not doing it at all.

2013 was a year of me starting to take risks again. I did things I would have done years ago, but that I had  stopped because I had let fear of man and failure creep in. I went in a 24 hr dance marathon with some friends (turned out to be one of the highlights of my year), I sung solos, I entered a 24hr film comp, I directed and performed in a drama in front of thousands of people.

3. Forgiveness isn’t the same as denial, it is freedom.

This year I came to some realisations that people I had cared for deeply, didn’t care the same for me, and my expectations of them to care had just allowed hurt to fester in my life. Other people had treated my family badly and still treat us with disdain even though we weren’t at fault. We have been let down countless times and the list goes on… I assume you could all write your own stories :-)… BUT God was teaching me a deeper forgiveness than I had experienced before. It was literally like he was walking me through some very¬†dark places ¬†but we did not stop there. I felt raw, but could feel his deep healing working as he unveiled truths (not always pleasant truths, but truths nonetheless). These truths are to allow me to still be in contact with these people but go in with my eyes open, deal with things in my own heart and guard against attacks from without.

4. Don’t get distracted.

Look after the people God has entrusted in our care. Keep the main thing, the main thing. Protect the sheep from the wolves but let God deal with people with their own agenda.

5.¬†God’s grace IS sufficient for me and His power is made perfect in weakness.

Sometimes I have felt so tired and not enough time to stop. But it is in those times, when I have not much of myself to give, that I have seen God work in His miraculous power. I’d pray for someone and they would begin to get excited and they would be healed. Or they’d ask what they might do to be saved. Or there’d be a stack load of kids turn up hungry for learning the Bible. Or the latest one, he would multiply our dinner to feed all the people who just randomly showed up at our doorstep with nothing. Just love how our God does that. Mostly, it reminds me, it’s not about me… It’s about HIM… It’s always about HIM ūüôā

AND lastly but not least

6. Laugh. Lots. Let your hair down. Never forget where you come from, but don’t get stuck there.

 

Bless you all. Thanks for taking this journey with me. I pray that 2014 is a year you say yes to God and what he is doing. I’m going to give it my best shot. And if last year was the year of ‘hold on’ or ‘stand firm’, ¬†then this is the year of ‘thrust’,20130911_160722 of moving forward, of breakthrough. Get ready to run. It’s going to be fantastic!

Reb

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Hinds feet on high places

I read a book when I was a teenager that was like the chick version of Pilgrim’s Progress. I loved it, and the images the words brought to life have stuck with me even though it has been years since I have read them.

Today, I climbed Mt Gillen, the base is a few minutes drive from our home. Ben has done it a few times with some friends before, but I’m always reluctant to go with a crowd as I know I’ll be the one that slows the progress. I enjoy the walk, and somewhat the climb, but maybe I’m just a tad, no ok, quite scared of falling, slipping, getting stuck somewhere and not being able to get down. So I have declined before. But today there were no excuses. Mum and Dad generously babysat the children, and Ben and I began our ascent.

There is only one part that you could really call ‘mountain climbing’ and for those of you that are regular climbers, or adventure junkies you would find me quite amusing saying that I’m excited to have reached the summit. (I was more worried about how I was going to get down). The last leg is the hardest, which brings me to what I really want to share about here.

We all face mountains in our journey on this earth. Some of us, say to that mountain ‘move’ and it does and you continue on your journey. Others of us, reach the hard part of the climb and shy away and head off on a different path, trying our best to go around the mountain. Still others of us, (myself at times included), begin the ascent and find ourselves ok until we look down or back and then freeze in fear as we see how far we have to fall if we slip (this most possibly was me for a moment on my way up the mountain today ūüôā ). We have three choices here. 1. We can stay where we’re at and wait for the birds of prey to come and find us.2. ¬†We can go back down and find another way (possibly harder than the first way we try). Or 3. we can pull ourselves¬†together and make ourselves continue up. Scary, but the elation when you reach the summit is wonderful, made even greater by the scariness of the climb. You didn’t let it defeat you.

The book I mentioned before is based on the verse in Psalms 33:18:

He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.

We can try to climb on our own and the going will be tough. We will have to try to find the right path and make it through the ascent alone. Or, we can choose to walk with someone who has walked the path before, who knows The Way, who gives out His hand when it’s time to climb straight up and reach the high places, Someone who encourages us to continue on when we feel like we can’t make it. Someone who not only barracks for us but has walked this very journey before and knows the mountains we’re facing of betrayal, of hurt, of pain, of generational curses etc… Jesus says ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’. ¬†He is also the guide and friend we all need on this mountainous journey we all walk. He may not always move the mountain aside, but he is there to guide us over. If we’ll let him. A friend of mine recently shared:

a lie I believed for so long was that I was alone. I knew it in my head to be wrong but I was blinded.

In the book,¬†Hinds Feet on High Places, sometimes the girl’s companion was Sorrow, and Suffering, but these were not companions called to stay. When she embraced these companions they took her closer to the summit where she received her prize of having feet like a deer where she could reach the high places. Today, I climbed in the natural, but I was very aware of the mountains that God has been dealing with me in the spiritual and emotional. Are you facing any mountains today? I pray you are highly aware of the hand of our Jesus to navigate you to be ‘above the circumstances’ instead of ‘under’.

half way up Mt Gillen

half way up Mt Gillen

 

The Top

The Top- not my own photo

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Jesus moments

There are days when all flows just how planned and you feel extremely satisfied with life and all that it is…. and then there’s the rest of the days. The plodding days, the downright awful days, the freak me out days, the overtired, overworked, over people days… and it is in those days that one would like to retreat into hibernation, or drive off in to the sunset, or consume a whole tub of chocolate ice cream and then feel guilty about that and consume a mega block of Cadbury chocolate to overcome the guilt… of course I’ve only heard about those days, I’ve never done that ;-).

Jesus had those days (though I’m pretty sure he didn’t eat the chocolate). Ooo now before you super theology spirro gurus write me off as a heretic, I’ll give some Biblical evidence for my radical observations and explain where I’m going… When Jesus had ‘one of those days’, he withdrew to the solitary places. When his cousin John got beheaded, he withdrew to the solitary places to grieve Matthew 14:13 and it says in Luke 5:15 that Jesus¬†often withdrew to the lonely places to pray. There is a time, and this is the one I am thinking on today, that Jesus says to his close disciples, “Come away, to a quiet place and get some rest” and so they sail to another area, but arriving there and about to rest and recoup, Jesus sees the crowds that had caught wind of where he was going, and he has compassion on them and began to teach them, and then went on to feed them all… over 5000 of them… It was supposedly his ‘down time’. His ¬†‘me and my friends time’ and yet when he saw the people he was overwhelmed with¬†compassion for them because he saw they were like sheep without a shepherd… they needed care and guidance and sustenance which he had in his hand to provide.

I have felt in this place, where I have withdrawn to the solitary (well tried to :-)) places in need of some rest, and it will be in those times that someone will come or call, in need -physical, spiritual, relational and I have felt what I call a “Jesus moment” about to take place. His compassion (not my own), His sustenance, His power and His provision give me what I need, at that moment to fill the need of the other person.

Now before you all get concerned that I am saying that we should all give up our rest time, me time etc… that is not what I am saying. We need time to refill and spend time letting the Holy Spirit replenish our temple (our body). We also need to set boundaries with people and not always do everything for them…

What I am saying… is that there will be times when we think we can give no more, when our tank is depleted, when we are exhausted, when we are justified in our time out, but a person will come or call with a need, and Jesus will prompt us to say ‘yes’ to the compassion that He can give us for his wounded treasures, and be amazed at His grace flowing through us and extending to others. It is often in those times I have seen the greatest breakthroughs and miracles, because it is literally less of me and more of Him… purely a “Jesus moment”. He¬†will give you rest, and He says He¬†will empower you to run and not grow weary…

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Faith like a child

My eldest fell sick. He¬†had a horrible rash a headache and bad stomach cramps all of a sudden. He couldn’t get up from bed or it got worse. Zion came up and put his hand on him and started to pray. Ben didn’t know this and was talking to Josiah, so Zion said “would you be quiet and close your eyes, I am praying for Elijah” and then he continued. The prayer went something like this… “God can you heal Elijah so he can get up and play with me and so he doesn’t feel sick in his tummy or his head anymore, thank you Jesus Amen”. Well within five minutes¬†Elijah were up, temperature gone, headache gone, and stomach ache gone, and he wanted breakfast. I can hear him singing and playing in the background now as I write!

Zion is often praying. He is quick to lay hands on people he meets if he sees they are hurt or sick and he always expects God will come through for them. My little 4 year old¬†is a reminder to me of coming to God as a little child. Not with eloquent words, but words from the heart that in turn touch His heart. Our God loves us all, but I think He has a soft spot for little ones… ūüôā

 

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relief

The following is the lyrics of a song I penned whilst sitting at the edge of¬† Todd Mall. Every now and then I get this sense that the Holy¬†Spirit wants to share with me something and I’m going to need to write it down. I had been asking God to show me what is going on with the people I had been seeing and watching (I am a people watcher, it is a hobby of mine, I love it. It¬†was honed when I was at acting school). This song is not my feelings, but the sense I got from the people I saw that day as I sat at the edge of the mall. Maybe one day you will hear the tune, and maybe not.¬†An extremely rough version is recorded on my phone so I don’t forget it.¬†I don’t often share my lyrics, but after some events today that I am not at liberty to share, I found them relevant.

Want some relief

But don’t expect me to change

Want some water for my thirst

But not enough to quench it

Can’t resolve to take the leap

that would place me in the River

In that healing place

Would rather drown in my sorrows

Get lost in my pain.

 

Find myself all alone

In a place full of people

In a sea full of faces

Wont take the leap to that flowing water¬†….

 

It’s just the way it’s always been

It’s just the way I’ve always done

Life

trying to find it

trying to hide from it

trying to

breathe

want to start living

want to start believing

but do I dare to take

a chance

What if I fall

completely down

Who’s going to catch me

if I fall

completely down

I am interested to see how God through His Holy Spirit woos these people. How many times have I been scared to trust or hope because at least I know the pain. When we used to work at Teen Challenge we saw many people who just wanted relief. It is quite often the same here.

 But GOd wants to do more than that. He wants to change us from the inside out and heal the pain and get rid of our excess baggage. He wants us to LIVE not just exist. Jesus came so we can have life to the full.

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Her story

Met a lady yesterday who had to tell me her story. She couldn’t help it. I was sitting in the bus waiting for some young fellas I pick up for our youth bible study. People know our buses. They’re not very ‘cool’ looking, but they get people’s attention. She decided I would want to hear her story. She was walking past and waved and smiled. Then stopped and then came over to the bus and shook my hand. And then she began.

The best thing about her story was that most of it was in Luritja. Which I don’t understand. There were some English words thrown in, that helped. But what I needed to understand, I did. She made sure of it. She would repeat it unless I said to her what she had said to me. ūüôā

She had been walking through a carpark near some shops and had been hit by a car. She had been taken to the hospital, where they said her leg was badly damaged and that she would be a cripple, BUT their Pastor had come and prayed for her. She had a vision of Jesus. She was healed. She wanted me to know. Jesus healed her. She prayed. Her family prayed. Her pastor prayed. HE listened.

When she said the name JESUS her eyes were shining and she was telling me about the God who is near. She has met him.

God is at work today. He loves us. He desires to meet us where we are at.¬†Some of us think that he saves those special healings for overseas missions, but I see God at work very much in the town¬†of Alice and its surrounds. In the short 9 months that we¬†have been here we have seen¬†God touch hearts, heal bodies and calm minds.¬†He is wanting to do it wherever we’re at.

The lady was so excited she had to share her story. I want to be so excited I just have to share my story. It says in the Bible that we should always have an answer for when people ask us of the hope we have in us. In the good times and the bad. In the miraculous and in the dark hours, we have good news, and people need to hear about it.

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Some more pics of our Glen Helen stay

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When things don’t go to plan

One of my favourite books to read is about a couple who are working in Mozambique. Heidi and Rolland Baker. They are real. They speak of the awesome miracles, the move of God, the triumphs, but they also speak of the times when God doesn’t heal, when devastation comes and how God is still in their midst. Although we are yet¬†to see the magnitude of the move of God that they are seeing (I believe we will), I am reminded as Heidi says, ‘it is about the one who is before you right now.’ One person at a time. Show that one person the love of Jesus. Listen to that one person’s story. Pray for/with that one person. Smile or cry with that one person.

Today as Ben and I visited the hospital we encountered incredible grief and people’s fear and disappointments.¬† One lady was praying for a miracle that her foot be healed, we had just seen her husband come in to ICU with little to no chance of surviving (he is only in his late 30s maybe early 40s) he had suffered multiple heart attacks, and all his organs were shutting down. But God moved and he is a walking talking miracle! He has gone back home now! And his wife, seeing the miracle of his life restored, believed she too could be healed, and we believed with her, but today the day of the operation came and there was no improvement, so she lost her foot. She is trying to remain positive. We prayed that God’s peace would surround her, and I could feel Him in her room.

Another lady is feeling so alone, and should have been discharged from hospital but they have nowhere for her to go. She has only one leg and is¬†a dialysis patient so it is too hard for her to go home to community. She feels so alone and unwanted. She feels she is not an old lady (and she’s not, she is barely 50), but they want her to go to the old folks home. That scares her. We prayed God’s peace for her and a way through.

One other woman I visited today is the same age as me. She has been crippled by a car accident. She is struggling with many things. She has seen heaven. And tears come to her eyes as she explains Jesus. But reality is tough for her. Life isn’t fair and it’s definitely not easy. Her relationships are hard and she too is so lonely.

We had visited a little boy who is 2 and is unwanted by the mother because she wanted a girl. He just wants/ needs to be loved. What will become of him? In this country we can’t just take them home and provide for them. There is a ‘system’ that little boy will have to go through.

I would love to say that every person we are praying for is being healed, and yes we are seeing the ‘miracles beginning to flow’, however we are very much still in a fallen world, a world groaning¬†for its Maker. Things¬†don’t go always according to our plan, or the way we think would be right… but we are seeing and feeling God in the midst of us. And we are seeing¬†our Lord Jesus¬†opening people’s eyes and ears to Him. We have the privilege of not just¬†walking their victories with them, but also walking with them in the Valley of the Shadow…¬†These times make us remember to keep it all in perspective-¬†keep our eyes on the eternal- that is the true and¬†only lasting¬†plan.

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Miracles are beginning to flow

Last night (Thursday) we went for our usual visit to a local hostel. The only difference being Ben wasn’t able to come, but my Mum and Dad rocked up which was nice. So the boys and I headed there, picking up a bus load of friends on the way around and went and sung and shared the Bible as per usual. Then we began to pray for those who needed prayer. Some had headaches, some chest pain, and some aching legs and feet. As we laid hands on them, I could feel that God was at work (as He always is , just sometimes I fail to notice ūüôā ). The first lady I prayed for had strong chest pain- but¬†as we prayed it stopped! We prayed for about 5 people that night and all of them said the pain was gone! Not just then, but still was gone when we left. You should have seen the smiles on their faces as God touched them. Praise our God hey. He loves His people and loves to work in signs and wonders.

I rejoice that He is touching¬† His people. I believe however, this is just the start. There is a lady there that needs to go in for an operation¬†on her eyes. Well we prayed and are believing that her eyes will be healed and there will be no need for an operation. The people we visit on Thursday nights need¬†lots of new things some need: new kidneys, new hips, new legs, new eyes. I know that for some they will have to wait until they reach heaven for these, but I do believe that God wants to heal people now. I trust that we will see the day soon where our friends here on dialysis will need it no more and they can return to their homes (some very far away) and they will be a testimony that our God is a MIRACLE WORKING GOD. We don’t want miracles for miracles sake. We want testimonies that we can share of what the power of our Jesus can do through the Holy SPirit in peoples lives. We want a new generation to experience God in the same tangible way that we have, and more. It is what we all need. It will bring transformation.

Rejoice with me, at the healings that are happening… but please PRAY to our Living God, that we will continue to¬†see His Living Water flow and touch the lives of those we meet. Thank you for joining with us.

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