Maralyn's Updates

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Shower of Tears

About a week ago I realized that in the last four months I have avoided crying as much as possible. Even the night I heard I had ALS I didn't cry.

That was a big change for me because before my diagnosis, tears were a regular thing for me. I was often choked up about something, and Jim, too. We would often cry at the same things. Once we cried at the same moment during an episode of The Brady Bunch :-) and another time at an AT&T commercial. We're both criers.

But I now realize that I have been trying not to cry because I can no longer control the intensity of the sounds. If I cry, I sob, I gasp for air, I groan----it's not a pretty sight! So I've been trying not to.

Last Saturday, after a rough day, I cried hard! I had felt so weak and so tired all day, and I had had many muscle spasms; I knew it was "the disease" knocking at my door. I think in trying to hold back the tears, I had been trying to hold back the disease----to keep it from developing. It was a form of denial.

But that day when Jim got home, the dam broke; all of the tears that I had held back for four months came gushing out uncontrollably. I sobbed, I groaned, I gasped for air. It went on and on. It was awful, but it was wonderful. Jim cried with me and held me close. I cried for him and I cried for me.

I realized that Ruth and Dave upstairs could probably hear the sobs, and suddenly it was okay. Okay, even though it wasn't dainty and graceful.

Crying is me. I have to be able to let myself feel deeply. I'm born to be a feeler.

Since the dam broke, I've cried a lot; and even though crying is physically uncomfortable, it feels good to not hold it back. So in these last few days...

*When my song came on the radio ("In His Arms") I let myself cry.

*When on TV this week Dan Betzer spontaneously sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow" I let myself cry.

*When Jim prayed for my healing in a before-the-meal prayer (like he does every day) I let myself cry.

*When our son David told about the mother of the handicapped son who was going on the medical missions trip with his team this week I let myself cry.

*When our son Paul held me last night and told me how much he loved me I let myself cry.

I told Jim that I would be crying whenever I felt like it from now on. He said he was very glad. I feel like I've reclaimed a sweet part of myself. I must cry. My feelings have to come out!

At first I was cautious about crying out of self-pity, but two of my close friends have assured me that it's okay to cry for myself. They both showed me the Psalms and how "raw" the feelings of David were. They convinced me that crying is a gift from God and he can handle it. :-)

An old Jewish Proverb says: What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.

Over this last week, I've been having a steady shower of tears. My soul is being washed, but there's a lot of "build-up" in there, so it will take time to clean it out.


P.S. As of Tuesday October 16th, I have a new granddaughter. Her name is Jolene Hope, and she is beautiful! She joins big sister Elliana Joy. I arrived at their house last night and just being with the two of them brings me HOPE and JOY.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Amazing God!

Last year at this time I was studying the names of God, and my mind was stretched as I realized that He is everything we need and more!

In November I taught on prayer at the Ladies Only meeting. That day we gave every woman a bookmark, like the one in the photo, suggesting a form of prayer where they would begin with Adoration, move toward Confession, then Thanksgiving, and finally Supplication (asking)(A.C.T.S.).

The characteristics of God, listed on the bookmark, were to be an aid toward realizing who He is and thereby viewing everything else in their lives with that perspective. That bookmark has been in my Bible ever since.

This week as I was reading it closely again, I began to weep. Last fall God taught me who He is and this fall He's illustrating all of those characteristics. What a marvelous teacher He is---teaching me the lessons then following shortly with the clear illustrations.

As I look back at previous blogs I can see lesson after lesson illustrated through my situation:

My Blog's Title-- God's Character Trait I Was Learning at the Time

Change of Plans-- God is my guide.
Healthy Tension-- God is my healer.
Profound Perspective-- God is eternal.
Cautiously Optimistic-- God is faithful.
The Best Medicine-- God is my father.
Wait-- God is patient.
Divine Appointment-- God is all-knowing.
Blindfolded-- God is trustworthy.
Finishing the Finnish Chapter-- God is my companion and friend.
Still-- God is my peace.
Compounded Joy-- God is my helper.
Goodbye and Hello-- God is timeless.
No Darkness-- God is my light.
Two Tracks-- God is gracious.
ICBW Game-- God is praiseworthy.

This struggle of mine is not about me. It's all about Him!! He's amazing!

Today as I picture you (my friends) reading this, and I know the that situations several of you are facing, I can assure you that OUR GOD IS ENOUGH!

...Enough to cope with the pain of the wayward child, the unfaithful husband, the prolonged disability, the failing parents, the selfish mate, the remnants of abuse, the demanding job, the recent accident, the barren womb, the death of a child, the estrangement of family, the loss of a mate, the relentless loneliness, the rocky marriage, the uncertain job situation, the recurring disease, the persistent depression. (I'm picturing faces on all of these!)

When I think of some of your situations, mine seems easy by comparison! Even though the doctor says I'm terminal, physically I feel fine and the days seem quite normal. I feel blessed.

Here's the bottom line: Our Amazing God is ENOUGH!


Friday, October 05, 2007

The ICBW Game

I had my MRI on Tuesday and that afternoon the nurse called with the "good news" that my MRI was totally normal. She was joyful. My heart sank. Of course she didn't know that I was hoping they WOULD find something--anything besides ALS! I had to smile, though, because she was so happy to deliver the news.

Then I thought of The ICBW Game and I decided to play it. "It Could Be Worse" is a survival game that our son David invented during his year in Iraq. No matter what the situation, he would think of some way it could be worse. That inspired me.

So I've decided to play ICBW.

ICBW if the MRI had revealed that I had some other terrible condition in addition to ALS. Fortunately, I'm in very good general health. The doctor says this is a big bonus.

ICBW if I had young children depending on me. We've raised our children and I've had a very full life!

ICBW if I didn't have people who loved and cared for me. I have hundreds!

ICBW if I didn't have a personal relationship with the Lord. Mine has been more intimate than ever! I wouldn't trade these three months for anything!

ICBW if I didn't feel well. I feel energetic and normal, and the doctor says that my body hasn't changed in three months! That's a miracle!

The day in June when I had the EMG and Nerve Conduction Study (most painful tests I've ever had!) I was trying to play ICBW while they were sticking in the needles and sending shocks through the nerves in my legs, arms, back, even my tongue! I was thinking:

ICBW if I were a child and didn't understand what was happening.

ICBW if I were in a foreign country and couldn't understand the language being used between the doctor and the technician.

ICBW if I were having this test 40 years ago when everything was more primitive.

ICBW if I were in a torture chamber, and the person sticking needles into me didn't have my best interest at heart. (I admited this to the doctor when the test was over and it made both of us smile. Humor is a great survival tool!)

Okay, it's your turn to play ICBW. "My situation could be worse if..."

Now I want to caution you. As my friends Pam and Sue commented, we shouldn't say this to our friends when they have poured out their problems to us. It could seem like we're trying to minimalize their troubles. No, this is a personal thing, a tool that God can use to encourage us and give us perspective on our own situations.

I love this verse from the Bible: "Finally, bretheren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything priaseworthy--meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8 Did you know that we can choose where we let our minds ponder?

How are you looking at your situation? Allow God to give you a new perspective. For me I know that my situation could be worse--much worse! I'm praising him for what I DO have! I get up every day and say, "Thank you God that I can walk, and talk, and scratch my nose if it itches." :-)

I conclude with this cute story:
David and Rhonda's friends Ben and Alyssa had just bought an adorable little puppy and had made the decision to take him on the plane with them, thinking that the hold for dogs would be too traumatic for such a tiny puppy. Everything on the flight went great. Throughout the whole flight the puppy slept soundly under their seat in his tiny cage. But, as everyone stood to deplane, the little fluffy ball got a terrible case of diarrhea. Very smelly diarrhea. The putrid smell filled the plane. As people filed out of the plane, many looked disgustedly at them. Ben and Alyssa were embarrassed! David heard this story and said, "It Could Have Been Worse." How? we all asked. "It would have been worse if it had happened at the beginning of the flight." :-) True!