Sunday, November 30, 2008

Because of HIS Blood...

One week ago tonight I was opened up for emergency surgery.

I was calm, stoic, and peaceful while the nurses and other hospital staff raced around me, but just as with My brother Charlie's near-death experience seven years ago, I blocked off all my emotional sensations during the fiasco. I guess it's my body's default "cope" mechanism, to wait 'till later for that good cry.

It's only now, after I am a week past it and on the mend, that I feel in a deluge of that emotion I successfully put off.

I believe I was fairly coherent during the hours AJ and I spent in the ER, but last night my husband reminded me otherwise.
Since I was concentrating so much on the pain, I missed a lot visually.
While I caught most the words, I missed expressions on faces.
And turned towards the wall and my husband, I didn't notice how many nurses filled my room at once.
Thankfully I am unfamiliar with ER proceedings enough to not know it was extremely unusual for them to station a nurse with me who never left my side. Not once.

At some point in our wait, I heard the comforting voice of my husband talking to me about what a good marriage we've had, and how much fun we've had together.

At the time, I was frustrated to hear these things - they sounded so sentimental, and I was trying to avoid a cry at all costs!
Isn't that pathetic?
My belovedest friend in the whole world comforts me with such sweet loving words, and I think lightly upon it! Moreover, these are not words we throw around at every occasion - they really were very dear.

These reminiscences are what put me over the edge last night. The tears came, and I wanted to thank my beloved, and say all those last things I put off with the emotion last week.
I was ready for the wonderful cleanse that comes from a good cry!

As I poured out my heart to AJ and he reminded me of what I hadn't seen, he told me that I have not grasped how grave the situation was.

I had forgotten that shortly before I began hearing those calming words, the nurses rolled something in behind me, and I heard AJ say


"That doesn't look good."

And unfortunately, she didn't have any calming words for him, to buffer the reality that my vitals were so bad, a crash cart with all the tools necessary for resuscitation was a must.

That is a sobering memory for me, especially as I consider what AJ must have been facing.

Finally being wheeled out of that Emergency room, and on toward the Operating Room, I remember thinking

"I really could die."

"I'm ready - I could meet Jesus tonight!"

and then:

"Lord, please give me a little more time! I know You are taking care of my family, but please...
...just a little more time."

finally, with feelings of great peace, I thought to myself:

"Lord, I'm leaking a lot of blood. I might die. But that's okay, because you already gave YOUR blood for me.
Because of that, my blood doesn't matter!"

That is actually what I thought! Isn't it wonderful?!!

My gratitude is suddenly a mile deeper.
my perspective a little wider,
my thanks fuller,
my love for Him a lot greater,
and my awe over His love for me just continues to grow!

Last night I got my cry, but it was a cry from a grateful heart. I sit here with my husband!
The Lord answered my prayer with a "YES"!
He gave us exactly what we did not deserve!!! Do you understand that? We are not entitled to any good thing we get. All we are entitled to is DEATH.
That's what the ransom price for our sin is, and that is what Jesus Christ paid on the Cross with His blood.

His perfectly blameless blood.

I got exactly what I don't deserve.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Thank You Lord.

In Marvel of His Mercy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Deeper Than I Anticipated

Last week I was very surprised by my sudden need for a pile of sour kraut on my Polish hot dog.
It's not my favorite... but I like it.

Later that evening I reached for (and almost grabbed) a pepperoncinni that was garnishing our salad at Olive Garden!


Two days of watching, waiting and biting my nails, and I thought it best to take AJ into my confidence.
It seemed downright unfortunate that he would be on the other side of the country in an important business meeting when I'd "know for sure"; and besides... he's a pretty important part of the whole equation;-)

What could be better news than another precious baby to join our family?!! He was his usual enthusiastic, wonderful, terrific, wonderful wonderful self, and there was a lot of secretive grinning and winking going on in the hours before we dropped him off at the airport;-)
We parted ways for four days, and a ridiculous number of miles, but figured it would pass quickly since we had lots to digest.

In my four days at Mrs. Smith's house while AJ was away, I had a head filled with sweet (and bewildering) thoughts of our precious new baby.
I couldn't help thinking about baby names while I dripped wet red paint on Mrs. Smith's kitchen floor. I calculated our due date while watching the boys play Chess; and while dicing potato's for dinner, I imagined fun ways to announce our news to the family!

Besides all these very important "issues" I couldn't help wondering HOW in the world?!!
How, how, HOW?!
I mean... not how did we get pregnant (no longer a mystery to us), but how are we going to do it?
Okay, I bet that I am not the first or only person to ask this question, and I see no point in visiting the might-have-been's, but really!
"How" seems like a reasonable question?

It seems that this is one more time I am standing on the edge trying to get all my ducks in a row before jumping in.
Another opportunity for God to firmly nudge me over the edge for His glory.
Let me say it again:
"For HIS glory!"

I was, and have been able to to rest in the truth that He is holding me, and to HIS glory.

Continuing my story, AJ arrived back to North Carolina on Saturday night.
On Sunday night after our children were tucked into bed and sleeping, I felt a sharp stabbing sensation low in my stomach,
While I did not faint, I was quickly consumed with so much pain, that I couldn't move from a curled up heap on the bathroom floor.
I am very grateful that AJ was within earshot, and willing to call an ambulance to help transport me to the hospital - a good decision in retrospect since we don't know our way around this part of the country.
How could I justify calling an ambulance? I don't know - but I kept telling myself that I'd had five babies without pain management and wasn't over dramatizing!
I was pretty concerned.

Oh how agonizing were those moments in the bathroom! My fears threatened to envelope me, and my eyes faltered. Just like Peter again! I could rationalize with my head, but my emotions kept running the show. In my heart I cried out to God, and I've never been so thankful for His jealousy for me! I'm sure it was His power which captivated my eyes back to His face, and not my will-power or brute strength.

From that point on, His peace encompassed me fully and completely.

AJ stayed with me in the Emergency room throughout the night while the nurses asked questions, poked me with needles, and initiated me into the world of catheters, and blown veins!
In the few hours we were waiting for various test results, the pain behind my pelvic bone subsided some, and was replaced by terrible pains and spasms in my trunk (from neck to belly).
My blood pressure was disturbingly low, and I was so pale I was nearly green. I remember going from sweating hot and perspiration dripping down my chest, to my teeth chattering uncontrollably and three blankets not taking off the chill. Back and forth this went for a while.

The test which finally got some action was an ultrasound that revealed fluid everywhere inside my abdomen - presumably blood, and possibly caused by a ruptured ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy which implanted somewhere other than inside the womb).
The medical staff was finally looking pretty animated, and I was glad to hear we were on our way to the Operating Room.

Before this week, I'd never been under general anesthesia or operated on. It IS a scenario I'd imagined a time or two, and always with great trepidation!
What if...
What if...
What if... has always been my mantra, and "What if's" are scary!

The Lord gave me great peace entering the O.R. and I don't even know when I drifted off to sleep. I remember being roused to a nice voice speaking over me, and the feeling of bed linens tucked in snug all around my body. I couldn't pry my eyes open because my eyelids were so heavy, but I thought to myself "boy! I hope we're all done because I am SOOOOO comfortable!"
And we WERE - all through with the surgery! Hallelujah!!

When I became coherent, I learned that the surgeons opened me up with about an six or eight inch incision.
They found that my right ovary was swollen to the size of a lemon, and had ruptured in a two inch long tear (ouch!).
They removed some tissue from the ovary and were able to repair the damage done by the rupture.
In addition, it was necessary for me to have a blood transfusion. I had hemorrhaged enough that debating the issue wasn't an option. One more thing I'm very thankful for!
We have since found out that the doctors did indeed remove a cyst, and not pregnancy tissue.
Our sweet little baby continued to hang on after my operation (presumably in the womb, where any sensible baby would dwell), and it was a privilege to recover with the additional blessing of still being pregnant!
What a little trooper!

The last two days have been very restful for me as I bask in the mercies of the Lord. Truly, these kinds of life interruptions cause me to be more grateful than ever, and I can't stop thanking the Lord for all He has GIVEN me. I bet I have more reasons to be grateful, than reasons to fall victim to pity. What a marvelous God I serve!
Amazingly, I haven't been too emotional. I have felt extremely even-keel. You know, Carolina got a crash course in being weaned this week? THAT wasn't exactly part of my plan!

I'm thankful AJ was at home and not in Portland Oregon.

I'm thankful that we were staying at the Smith's where our children in such good hands!

I'm thankful that the children were asleep.

I'm thankful that we were not at Marvel Hill.

I'm thankful we were not staying at a hotel in a town where we knew no one.

I'm thankful that the hospital was such a good one, and relatively close.

I'm thankful for the competence and care of my surgeons.

I'm thankful that Mrs. Smith has been willing to change two more diapered bottoms.

I'm thankful that Carolina has adjusted to being weaned cold-turkey.

I'm thankful that AJ's work is such that he can take care of me and the children.

I'm thankful for the prayers of so many people who love us; who I didn't even know have been praying for us! I'm sure I should have known!

I'm thankful for the chance to sit still and meditate on the face of my Jesus, and His merciful goodness to me. If this is how I have to get the time for that, then so be it!

there's more... but tonight my heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness for the little time I've had with our newest babe.

This evening I feel pretty certain that we've lost our beloved little baby.

AJ and I both feel very blessed to have known this dear little one - even for such a short time.

I can truthfully say that I see the face of Jesus. Where else can I look but there? He was so gracious to give us our seventh tiny one, whom we never deserved the honor of being parents to. We know we'll meet again, and there are now TWO precious children we look forward to meeting!
He was extra merciful to give US that little one for a few extra days of life - even through so much trauma. He daily gives us what we don't deserve, so I am just as grateful as ever.
If not more.

The love He has lavished on me and my family through each of you, has blessed my socks off!

The lord took me deeper than I thought I'd go, but He's faithful. Oh so faithful.

And just for the record... if you ever see me reaching for a pepperoncinni, you are free to raise your eyebrows;-)

"O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: because His mercies endureth for ever." Psalm 118:1

Forever Grateful

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Will Sleep In Peace...

"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou O Lord, only makest me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

A couple nights ago I lay awake in a dark hotel room, staring at a ceiling I could not see.
My eyes were wide open none-the-less, and not lacking in visions.

The first things that I saw, were of a nature that caused a lone tear to escape the corner of my eye. They were not prophetic (or so I hope), but were the stuffs my fears are made of.
I cringe to recall, and am ashamed that I allowed my mind to run away with thoughts and imaginations that cast such a dark shadow over my soul.
Yet I entertained them.

Release! Release from this bondage that is not of God!
I placed my fears before the Lord in prayer, and He spoke to me in an inaudible voice
"Analene - Keep your eyes on Me."

Oh the peace that enveloped me and the thanksgiving that welled up within!
The next picture that I saw was dear Peter, walking on the water.
like me, he was fearful. Only he had very real and present elements to feel concern for while his feet walked over the liquid deep. My fears were based on shadows and illusions.
I know we had one thing in common:

We both took our eyes off Jesus' face.

Peter began to sink down into the water.
I began to sink down into pitch black hopelessness.

In an inaudible voice I heard the Lord say to me "Analene... Keep your eyes on Me."

Immediately His peace washed over me, and I felt my feet once again solid under me.
My eyelids closed, but I was through being in the dark. He stretched out His hand and lifted me.

I will exalt Your Name, O Lord! For You are the One whom time and space cannot contain.
There is no thing that takes You by surprise! Tenderly you lead me, and faithfully you call my name. Keep my eyes fastened to Your face! I will trust only in You.

And I slept.

Here is Peter's story...

Mat 14:28 "And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him and said unto him O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."

In HIS Hand

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's In A Name?

I thought you might like to know why this blog is named "Plunged Into The Deep".
Is that too corny?
I don't know... It doesn't roll off the tongue, it's not catchy, and it doesn't excite your curiosity really.

I named this blog after some words my cousin wrote in a letter to me.
I had just announced my fifth pregnancy to her, and she wrote me back a letter that has stuck with me ever since.

In it, she recounted her six pregnancies, and how (humanly speaking) there could have been better timing for some of them.
Such as the one who came when their tiny little nest was already bursting at the seams.
And another new baby joined their family when in the process of fixing up a tired old "new" house...

...with one bathroom.

In my cousin's letter to me, she said that "...Sometimes God plunges us into the deep..."

She was wisely observing that often, the Lord doesn't wait for us to be "ready" for the life-defining events that we like to think we can plan. How we determine "ready" is generally not the measuring stick He uses.

What happens when I am plunged into the deep?
When I get pushed over the edge before I think I'm ready?

I get wet.

I protest.

Water envelopes me from head to toe.

I sputter.

I flail.

I panic.

And then finally...

I learn to swim.

Because the only other option, is to sink.
But my Heavenly Father holds my head above water and shows me how to tread. He teaches me the strokes that move me forward.
And all to His Glory, because if I wait to get all those things perfect before I jump in, I will take the credit for my accomplishments.
God knows what will bring HIM the most glory, and if I ask Him to be glorified in me, I'd better prepare for a change in my own carefully laid plans!

God's ways are not our ways.
It is good to keep in mind that HE is GOD.

It's scary being plunged into the deep. But from my limited experience I can truthfully say there are wonders in the deep that are known only if you are plunged in.

If it means that I have the privilege of experiencing God's glory, and His marvelous wonders in my life, I am willing.
I hope the Lord continues to push me over the edge.

Are you?

Marveling at His mercy,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Taking The Plunge

I know. It seems a bit insane to be starting a second blog, but here it is all the same.

I would really prefer to use Momma Bug's Blog as a place for ALL my musings, but allow me to describe what this new blog will be for me, what I hope it to be for you, and why it has it's own little place in the blogosphere.

Since I began my blog "Momma Bug's..." at the beginning of this year, I have been struggling with what to write about, and what to keep private (the proverbial problem).
My blogging experience at that time was then next to nil, and over some short period of posting a little of this and a little of that, I was experiencing the usual blogger's block. An identity crises of sorts:-)

Should I post only the humorous?
More of a journal style?
More pictures and fewer words?
More content and fewer pictures?
Personal thoughts, opinions, and values?
Keep it light, and avoid offense?

Ultimately I had to decide the blogging audience I was writing to please, and amazingly, I was able to define the purpose for Momma Bug's Blog very quickly.

I started it originally to keep long-distance family connected with us and our goings-on, via pictures and journal like entries. Over time I found that I wanted to write to for multiple purposes - specifically for inspiration, encouragement, personal sharpening of my faith in Jesus Christ, and possibly to sharpen my blogging friends in THEIR walk with the Lord, by sharing deeper ideas than "Church was amazing", "God is good", and other rather cliche and non-specific thoughts.
The idea of writing opinions, thoughts, and Biblical truths that might cause some of my dearest not to return to my blog, did not seem acceptable to me in light of it's intended purpose (again, that of splashing light and laughter into the lives of those dear family far away).

In conclusion I decided to keep up that blog with it's original purpose in mind, and throw in a piece of content here and there.

I have finally settled on starting this new blog as a place where I may plunge into the deep (possibly dragging you with me) becoming fully wet before I know where the bottom is - or even if there IS a bottom.
Hence this Blogs name; it's a place where I may plunge into the deep (possibly dragging you with me) becoming fully wet before I know where the bottom is - or even if there IS a bottom.
I expect to ramble quite a bit before I am coherent, but for me that is a great way to line up my thoughts and discipline them to sense.

I enjoy a good firm opinion too, and think everyone should have some, (I certainly do, and you'll hear about them here!) but opinions are subject to change where truth never will.

I will attempt to make Truth first, because people more dedicated to finding Truth and obeying Jesus, than they are dedicated to preserving their own cherished opinions or the traditions of men... are few.
I hope to be numbered among them.

In addition to all this, I haven't decided whether to allow comments or not.
I may dig into some sensitive topics, and would prefer not to turn this into a forum for debates.
Please give me grace if you find that the comments have been disabled. If I turn off that feature, I will have done it to best serve my vision for this blog.

One more thing; It is probable that my posts on this blog will be sporadic, so I have put a feed here that will notify you when I have written a new post (if you choose to use it). Plus you may want to add yourself to the "followers" list as an alternative way to keep up with this blog.
I will be be checking my live feed on the sidebar to see who is lurking in these parts, and I would be very encouraged to know you are visiting!

In conclusion

I am not a deep thinker, I am not an intellectual. I am not a visionary.

What I am, is a person free from sin and death because of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
And because of Him, I am also free to think outside of the box if/when evidence is presented which merits closer inspection on any subject that God Almighty has not nailed down specifically in His Word, and by His nature as He has demonstrated in His Word , The Holy Bible.

Come plunge into the deep with me!

In His gracious love,