Sunday, September 27, 2015

September Updates

My friends,

Welp, fall is officially here. At least that's the word on the street. I've seen nary a trace of her since the 23rd rolled around. Maybe she got lost en route to the southwest from her summer vacation in Bora Bora? Or maybe Summer didn't feel like he had a good enough run this year, thanks to El Niño, and bribed Fall to stay away a little longer?

I'll tell you what: whatever the case, we are dying to wear scarfs and boots and ALL THE CUTE CLOTHES down here, so while you cozy up in your layers and your fuzzy fleece, just take pity on us sweating it out down here, too hot to drink pumpkin spice lattes.

But don't take too much pity on us. Because today I read out by the pool, in my swimsuit, and in four months I will be wearing the exact same swimsuit while I read out by the pool. And then, four months after that, I will still be out by the pool. Come winter, we Orange Countians will be blessing the sun that's causing all these heat waves. Yes sirree, we surely will.

I do love these hot summer nights

One day very soon I hope to sit down in my glorious AC and finish blogging about my brother's wedding and our adventures in Florida, but it may be awhile yet. My brother just sent me all 900 photos in his wedding album, and our friend Pam Long and I took approximately 800 photos of our family adventures, so I've got my photo-sorting work cut out for me.

In the meantime, I want to update those of you who have joined me in praying about a number of big things the last several months.

1. A new place to live. 

Before I began looking for a new place to live in California this summer, many of you were praying for wisdom about whether or not I should even return to California after my stay in Washington. I've been so sick it made a lot of sense to quit everything and move in with my folks. Deep down, though, I felt a prompting to return to California. As the summer unfolded, my doctors, family members, and some close friends also thought that I should return to teach if my body would let me. Teaching gives me such joy and a sense of purpose, both of which are integral to physical healing.

So I bought a ticket back to California with the hope that God would heal me just enough that I could teach part-time at Biola come the end of August.

Three weeks before school started I still hadn't found a new place to live. Around this time, one of my doctors found markers in my lab work indicating that at least one of the layers of my illness is caused by biotoxins. He suspected mold exposure and told me to find a new place to live upon returning to California. This made my search for housing more urgent.

But all of the housing opportunities I pursued fell through. I began to second-guess my decision to return to California. Had I misunderstood God's leading? One morning in August I woke up feeling especially burdened. If God didn't provide housing that day or the next, then I'd have to contact my supervisors to tell them I wouldn't be returning to teach. I laid in bed for awhile that morning, listening for God's voice, straining to hear any morsel of direction.

I didn't hear a thing, so I rolled out of bed and checked my Facebook messages. There, in my inbox, was a message from a new friend from church. She'd recently bought a condo and wanted to rent the room. Would I be interested?

My housing needs have become numerous and specific over the years as a result of my health problems. And glory of glories, this housing opportunity met every single one of my needs. I'm especially hopeful that it's mold-free as it was recently gutted, rebuilt, and inspected by all sorts of experts.

This gift of new housing has bubbled over with extra, unnecessary blessings, too. I live two blocks from a park, I can hear the birds from my bedroom window, and I even got to bring my piano!

I'm almost done with the piano decor! I just need add a small frame atop the books and re-situate the bottom of the cherry blossoms branches

I love my housemate. She is considerate, fun, and says delightful things such as when we divvied up gardening responsibilities the other night: "What if you were the queen of the back patio and I were the queen of the front?"

I moved into the condo the first week of school with just a suitcase, and then, a week after returning from Florida, moved completely out of my old place. As of yesterday, I am almost all settled in my new place. I feel enormous relief and gratitude for God's faithful, timely provision.

2. Dancing at the wedding. 

The day of my little brother's wedding I felt remarkably stronger than I'd felt the previous week, but I still didn't feel well. After the ceremony, while mingling with guests over appetizers, I wondered how in tarnation I'd make it through the whole reception. But then, when I sat down to eat dinner, something marvelous happened. I felt a heavy physical weight lift. The dizziness, nausea, fatigue, pain, and fever sweats all instantly grew quiet and suddenly I felt light like I haven't felt in ages. I was overcome by an urge to dance.

So I did.

Taken by Trenholm Photography

You guys. I danced and danced. I had to take breaks, of course, but I wasn't relegated to the sidelines. And when a series of swing dance songs came on, a terrific lead asked me to dance, and we spun and we spun and we spun. There is little in this world that's better than dancing with a good lead. And boy was it glorious to feel the room spinning from dancing instead of sickness. And holy smokes, was it marvelous to sweat from moving instead of fevers. It was a wedding miracle.

Taken by Trenholm Photography

It really was. I haven't felt anything like that on this journey of sickness. So thank you for caring and praying that I'd be able to dance. I feel swaddled in your love.

3. Flying to and from the wedding

We all made it to Florida just fine, with no hiccups. We didn't realize what a feat this was until after the wedding when my sister, my brother and his wife, and I all missed our connecting flights to our respective homes. My sister's airline temporarily lost her luggage, and my brother and his wife's luggage was permanently lost.

I missed my connecting flight in Dallas because of weather (HOLY.TURBULENCE.), but not before first sprinting through the airport like a crazy former 400-meter hurdler. When I arrived at the gate, gasping for breath, I'd just missed my flight. I slid into line at the gate's front desk where the man in front of me began chewing out the gate agent. He'd also missed his flight and wanted on the next flight.

"I'm sorry, sir," the agent responded, "but there are no more seats on the next flight. There's nothing I can do to help you." Furious, the man stomped off. A few seconds later I stepped up to the desk and the gate agent looked up at me, smiling. "A seat on the next flight just opened up. Here's your boarding pass. You board in 20 minutes."

I just love being a child of the King.

4. Healing

I am delighted to report that since the wedding four weeks ago I have seen significant improvements in my health. My journey of healing is still an erratic saw-tooth journey, and I'm still only at about 20% of normal most days, but I feel considerable physical relief — kind of like the relief you feel when a really high fever finally breaks.

Slowly, I'm able to be more active; I recover from activity faster; and my horrific "I don't know how much more of this I can handle" episodes have been less frequent and intense the last two weeks. I do still feel way worse during the full moon and after pushing my body harder than usual; but otherwise, I'm grateful for this healing trend and am so hopeful it continues.

5. Moving

Many of you were praying I'd have the physical stamina to move into my new place after starting work and going to Florida. Fortunately, I have a team of three old friends who made this move much easier for me. They brought packing supplies, food, and a U-Haul; and they did the heavy lifting and big decision-making. In just one day they boxed me up and moved me out. And they did it with three kids under the age of four in tow.

Three of the sweetest, most flexible babies you'll ever meet, just hanging out in the heat on moving day

Andrea, Johnny, and Patrick: you are extravagantly generous. Thank you for making it possible for me to live in this new home. You guys are my favorite moving dream team. I love love love you.

Man, that's a lot of answered prayer in a short period of time, isn't it?! I wish words weren't so reductionistic and I could more adequately convey how grateful I am for your steady prayers, but "Thank you" is all I got. So thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

I love you guys.

And as always, I'm cheering for ya.

Happy, thankful, glorious Sunday,


© by scj

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