Holy Electromagnetic Frequencies, Batman!

photo-1425009294879-3f15dd0b4ed5Status Update: It has officially been two weeks since I have begun coursing electromagnetic frequencies through my body on a daily basis, and all I can say in my best Robin voice is, “Holy electromagnetic frequencies, Batman!”

This past week has been miraculous: I have officially and successfully cut my daily steroid dose in half (without triggering an adrenal collapse!), and I have biked over 42 miles around the island.

Woo hoo!

Additionally:

I am no longer taking any anxiety medication, AND
I am only using my pain gel medication on my swollen lymph, AND
I worked four days last week while standing on my feet, AND
I feel better than I have felt in over a year.

One year ago to the day, I collapsed; today, I am celebrating!

I am celebrating:

  • Being alive.
  • Overcoming insanely obnoxious obstacles.
  • Having overwhelming faith.
  • Finding God’s strength in my weakness.

Some days, even with all I have faced this past year, it is easier to feel sorry for or to minimize myself, especially when comparing myself to others and their lives.

Why do I do that?

I know it is human to do so, but, man, it sure sucks the air out of the room, right?

While I would love to be completely healed and be operating at 100%, I also know that God has me in this exact place at this exact moment for a reason.

It is only when I am not focused exclusively on Him and listening and looking for His guidance that I get swept up in the Tornado of Crazy, and up, up, and away I go!

These moments of self-doubt and self-deprecation are actually just gentle reminders from Him that I am veering off-track.

I simply need to do some course correction back on to the path He is laying for me.

“Follow the yellow brick road! 
Follow the yellow brick road! 
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the yellow brick road!”

It really is that easy to get back on track.

He redirects me in such funny ways, and now that song will be stuck in my head for the next several days!

So what do I need to say to be complete about the past year?

Usually, I complete this exercise with my husband annually on December 31.

We discovered this completion exercise from Tim Elmore, President of Growing Leaders, which is a leadership organization.

Check him out at Growing Leaders!

I am working on these nine questions now:

  1. “What are my fondest memories of this past year?”
  2. “What were the big projects I completed during the year?”
  3. “What were the defining moments during the last year?”
  4. “What did I procrastinate on and fail to get done?”
  5. “What books and mentors had the greatest impact on me?”
  6. “Am I closer to my friends and family from my activities this year?”
  7. “What will be my biggest goals as I move forward into next year?”
  8. “Where did I neglect to live up to the standards I set for myself?”
  9. “What am I committed to do this next year to fulfill my ‘Life Sentence’?”

This exercise is not about comparing myself to others; indeed, it is about being the best ME I can be.

This past year, I have had struggles, obstacles, losses, and “issues.”

While I may have missed the mark I set for myself and disappointed many people this past year, I need to acknowledge I have truly done my very best.

Life is not about comparing myself to others; it is about me fulfilling my purpose.

I am going to leave you with one of my very favorite poems, which was penned by Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Love one another!

See you next week.

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God Doesn’t Call the Qualified; He Qualifies the Called

I quit my full-time job working for my church.

God told me it was time to do so.

God also told me when I began working for the church just under two years ago that serving in this capacity would heal me from the pit of despair I experienced working in politics where I was always caught in the crossfire.

I will just leave it at that…

Yes, I switched from working in politics to working for a religious institution.

Remember, this blog is about My Crazy Life, right?!

Seriously, God has a sense of humor with me that is absolutely nutty!

Is He only this bonkers with me?

He communicates with us in ways to ensure we get the message.

I require humor, a tad bit of irony, and a sprinkle of sarcasm, I suppose…

One year ago today, I shared a photo on my Facebook page that read,

“Dear Whatever Does Not Kill Me,
I’m strong enough now.
Thanks!”

I shared this post just two short weeks before I collapsed from an adrenal crisis and mini-stroke and one month before my brother passed away.

And You brought me to the church to HEAL me, Lord? (Insert humor, irony, and sarcasm.)

This past year, I have been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, adrenal insufficiency, shingles, fibromyalgia, endometrial flares, and listeriosis.

I also went through a long spell of chronic dizziness, where I would fall into walls and/or trip constantly (this still happens, though with much less frequency).

I lost the ability to read and to mentally process words. (Obviously, this issue has resolved.)

I had constant migraines and severe muscle and nerve pain that made me suicidal.

And, to top it all off, I have lost significant hearing in my left ear.

Heal me?

Seriously? (Insert more irony and a hint of sarcasm.)

All humor aside (just for a moment), yes, I have healed significantly working for the church.

I have grown much closer in my relationship with God through this past year of life-threatening health issues.

I have learned to completely let go and to trust in Him.

I just had to come to the end of all of my mental, physical, and emotional strength in order to do so.

I could not win the battle alone.

I do not like to lose, but God did not want me to lose.

He just wants to do the fighting for me and for me to trust only in Him and His strength.

Now that I have done so, my entire world has changed.

My perspective on life and living have changed.

I am done doing it my way, alone, off the path He is leading me, wandering aimlessly, seeking the wrong goals.

I loved being able to unabashedly share the love of Jesus on a daily basis when I worked for the church.

I loved praying with people.

I met men and women who were ill, hurting, heartbroken, disappointed, angry, afraid, bankrupt, and exhausted.

I shared messages of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, and, in so doing, I have healed from my own past hurts, heartbreaks, disappointments, upsets, fears, exhaustion, and, yes, illnesses.

Even though my blood work does not yet indicate I am healed, I know that I am healing.

I feel it.

I have faith.

So, what is next?

I am working a few hours a week for a wonderful woman who owns her own spa.

Yes, a spa…where she sells facials, laser face lift packages, laser hair removal treatments, slimming procedures, and the best facial care products I have ever used.

The spa is pretty much a candy store for 40+ year-olds.

I love it!

I meet new people every day, and I treat them the way we all want to be treated: I love, cherish, and appreciate them.

I am patiently awaiting as God unfolds His bigger plan for me, but I also know that I am right where I need to be at this moment, watching and waiting for His next prompting.

When I get anxious about what He might call on me to step into next, I remember that “God does not call on the qualified; He qualifies the called.

Honoring this, I anticipate each new adventure He has for me to begin, which always provides different scenery, people, circumstances, and, yes, unique challenges.

Whereas, I used to be tentative and question, “Is this REALLY you, God, talking to me?,” now I know His voice without a doubt, and I readily jump when He says, “Jump!”  (AND, I even ask, “How high?”)

I now see my lengthy and complicated illness as a blessing instead of what I first believed was a curse: indeed, I see, hear, and sense God all around me, always here, and always protecting me.

There have been numerous events in my life that would be considered tragic: life-defining moments that shook me to my core and brought about significant changes in my personality, my willingness to trust people, and my overall sense of well-being.

Time has helped to heal the wounds once I stopped picking at the scabs to expose the raw flesh.

But, more than that, being with God and resting in His arms, being comforted by Him, and feeling and knowing His eternal love and protection surround me, have been the greatest gift and healing I could have received.

Had I not experienced each and every heartache, disappointment, loss, injustice, and health crisis throughout my life, I would not have come to know the amazing, blissful, all-encompassing love of God.

That’s the beauty that comes from the battle.

That’s where the warrior earns battle scars.

It is not on the couch or lounging by the pool.

It is in the gritty, dirty, take-a-stand moments that we come to know our power within does not come from us…courage and valor and power like that only come from God IN us.

Have you fought a “Take a Stand” battle like that lately?

A “Take a Stand” battle is one that is in no way driven by your ego; indeed, a battle like this is rooted in glorifying God.

Have you been blessed with a major crisis in your life from which a relationship with the Lord has blossomed?

If not, let Him know you are ready and willing.

He will take you on the ride of your life!

I eagerly await my next assignment, Lord!

Time to Blaze a Fiery Trail

On October 29, 2015, I was hospitalized for an adrenal crisis.

It was a long time in coming now that I know how to listen to my body and recognize the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

I had burned my candle at both ends for far too long, and my body literally collapsed as if to say, “I’m out!” (Fade to black.)

My diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency came just fifteen days before my brother’s tragic death, so to say I ended 2015 as a hot mess is a gross understatement.

I was a flaming hot mess.

Over the next several months, I had umpteen visits to numerous doctors and specialists.

I received a fibromyalgia diagnosis, lack of consensus by several doctors on whether or not I had a mini-stroke, treatment for listeriosis from eating contaminated bagged lettuce, and confirmation of chronic Lyme (I was first diagnosed with Lyme in 2013).

I have been through the ringer a time or two this past year, and I have the scars to prove it.

I was heading for a full KO, or so I prayed.

I have begged God over a dozen times (sometimes in a given day) to let me die and to take me from my misery, but He either totally ignores me (and that is TOUGH to do), or He has a different plan for me.

As it has been the better part of a year since my initial collapse, I am settling on the fact that God has a different plan for me than an immediate departure.

Good news: I am no longer looking for a Thelma and Louise escape off a tall cliff.

Now that I have acquired some self-acceptance of my health issues, as well as a return-to-normal of most cognitive brain functioning, I am looking at life from a different vantage point.

Getting so close to daily glimpses of my possible demise caused a fresh, new perspective on life to be exposed, and a different me has now emerged.

Not a new and improved me, but a different me.

I am different from the inside out, like I have been shaken up like a puzzle in a box and put back together: I have all the same pieces, but they are in a different order.

The puzzle pieces could not go back the way they were inside of me; the pieces had to be re-organized.

Like un-birthing a baby (“Not a flippin’ chance that’s ever gonna happen, no way, no how!” says EVERY mother I know);

or un-molting a grasshopper;

or un-metamorphosing a butterfly or a frog;

I cannot go back to the way I was.

Now that my eyes are fully open, I am getting the most spectacular, awe-inspiring, breathtaking glimpses of what is possible and why I am really here.

I am on a mission, here to blaze a God-inspired, fiery trail, and nothing can keep me from fulfilling that commitment (except death, of course, but I am NOT afraid of death; Death and heaven are just a beautiful promise of what is to come).

In reflective moments like this, I realize that before I had this ongoing day-in and day-out brush with my mortality, I was alive-but-dead, going through the motions of life, existing but not living my life for the reasons God put me here.

How can I explain it?

It’s like I’ve been launched like a rocket, and my incredible speed and urgency prevents me from focusing on anything but the mission.

Like a two year-old, I now question the importance of everything that used to waste so much of my energy:

Why?
But why?
Why not?
How come?

And then, comical as it sounds, I burst into song, “Let It Go!”

Like a Disney princess, I spin and dance all around in my kitchen, or living room, or dining room, or shower, or bedroom, or wherever I happen to be when I realize I am getting pulled away by unimportant matters.

For those of you who know me, you absolutely get how ridiculous this looks, but you know better than to ask me if I care! (You already know that I don’t.)

Yes, even in the Jeep with the top removed, the doors off, and the volume turned all the way up, “Let it Go!” is on repeat, replaying over and over and over.

The more wind blowing through my hair the better!

So, what in the world do you want me to do for you, Lord?

Calm, laser-like focus is now my method, unlike the hysterical, frantic, anxious, super woman I once was, trying desperately to prove I can do 5,347 things at the same time.

It’s amazing how differently the world appears now that I have a one-track mind and no time to waste.

Opportunities cannot be missed.

My conversations are important.

Relationships are cherished and honored.

Actions are key.

Things that once consumed my precious time are now trivial; like white noise from a fan, I choose to block them out.

[Insert heavy sigh of relief.]

I have found that I have little to no patience with structures, rules, chains of command, people, or other ego-driven conversations that serve only to squelch, silence, sabotage, or stop me from staying God-focused.

I realize that I do not fit in (and, most likely, I never did), though I had tried to by wearing down my 90 degree angles of squareness to fit into the round holes of society and its norms.

“Wake up!” I want to scream at everyone, but then I remember my sweet, kind, loving, older brother pleading with me to “Wake up!” just months before he passed away, and I realize that people will wake up when it is their time to do so.

It is all part of God’s perfect plan.

So now that I am awake and focused on hearing my God-inspired mission, I need to ensure I use my spiritual gifts, talents, and passions.

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?

If not, find out now. Don’t waste another moment.

God has a mission for each one of us to fulfill, and we are to use our God-given gifts, talents, and passions to do so.

This doesn’t mean we won’t face failure and disappointment, but He will walk with us, and guide us, and mold us, and love us through it all.

My dear friend, Beth, recently gave me a t-shirt.

The back of it reads, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come ALIVE!”

Don’t you just LOVE that?!

God, I am listening.

Tell me what is next.

Lord, I’m ready now!

Whose Life is this, Anyway?

Summoning Butterfly Strength

“If you cut (butterflies) out of their cocoons or help them out in any way, they will never fully develop the strength they need in their wings to be able to achieve takeoff. They have to struggle out in order to come into their own. Flight only comes after the fight.”
-Levi Lusko

I love to read.  Before my Lyme disease reached my brain, it was common for me to read three to four books at a time, switching between each book depending upon my mood.

Since I was a child, if I did not want to (in my best Mom voice) “Go play outside or downstairs (in the basement),” my mother would tell me, “Then go read a book.”

Reading is a great escape from reality.

When my Lyme was at its worst just a few months ago and I would try to escape the pain and anxiety by reading, I found I could not: I would look at the words on the page, but my brain could not process what I was seeing.

On better days, I was able to read the words on the page, yet my brain could not comprehend what I was reading.

Escaping into a book was impossible, and I felt trapped in the waking nightmare of my life.

The pain and anxiety took a stronghold, and my ability to cope came only by numbing the pain and panic with pain killers and anxiety medication.

Thankfully, I am now able to both read and comprehend again. YAY! This is an enormous victory as far as my sanity is concerned.

I just finished reading, and highly recommend, Levi Lusko’s Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain / Finding Incredible Power. The title is what hooked me, but I could not put the book down once I began to read it.

Lusko’s message evokes inspiration, hope, and peace in the trials of life, but what struck me right at the core was when he spoke of the butterfly, my favorite animal (or INSECT, as my ten year-old quickly points out to correct me).

What I like most is the cuteness of the caterpillar and the beauty of the butterfly, yet the true miracle occurs in the brown, hard, ugly shell of the cocoon.

The cocoon metamorphosis  is the time when the caterpillar is forced to be present and to remain still, for that is where and how God’s transformation takes place.

That struggle concept of the butterfly got me to thinking about my own battle with Lyme and how I keep wanting to avoid the pain with painkillers, escape the anxiety with medication, and beg God to take this horrible infection away from me…instead of seeing it as a gift from God, which only He can use to develop and transform me.

Funny how it took a struggling butterfly metaphor to get the gift in my illness.

Now I see that if God takes away my struggle, I will not develop to become the person He wants me to be.

The BEST thing for me to do right now is to simply be present and still and to wait and listen in obedience, knowing this struggle is serving a purpose.

His purpose.

God is strengthening me in this struggle, and I will emerge a beautiful, strong, healthy butterfly.

Lusko adds, “Suffering isn’t an OBSTACLE to being used by God. It is an OPPORTUNITY to be used like never before.”

A gift.  This ugly, brown, hard, shell experience is a gift!

My eyes are now opened, as I ask, “What opportunity is available to me only because of my personal suffering?”

“What gifts is He developing in me through this struggle?”

Lusko’s words are so powerful as I grasp hold of this new perspective when he proclaims, “You need to be actively on the lookout for every way you can redeem the hell you are put through by shining your light in the darkness…squeeze every drop out of your trial.

Let nothing be wasted.

None of your tears have fallen to the ground unseen.

God wants you to shine brightly…the only reason He has allowed you to be doubled over in grief is so He could pick you up and help you reach new levels of influence you could not reach otherwise.

God’s up to something!

He’s turning your mess into a message.

He’s turning your pain into a platform.

He’s turning your trial into your testimony.”

What’s my testimony?

What’s God’s calling on my life in amidst this struggle?

Whose Life is this, Anyway?