Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Here I go again....

Perhaps Whitesnake said it best:

"No, I don't know where I'm goin
but I sure know where I've been
hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday.
An' I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time
but here I go again, here I go again.

Tho' I keep searching for an answer
I never seem to find what I'm looking for.
Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on
'cos I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams.

Here I go again on my own
goin' down the only road I've ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.
An' I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time."
This blog post is a little different than the other posts I've written so far. I found myself putting off writing in this blog for quite some time. I've been scared. Scared to write, scared to share myself with whomever reads this. The interesting thing is it never went away; it never left my mind. Lately I've felt jumbled and, quite frankly, lost in a crowd. I think it's interesting that the song says "I never seem to find what I'm looking for." right in front of where the singer cries out to the Lord. I will admit that I haven't been doing that. I've been looking for people and things to fill up this emptiness and to calm the racing inside my mind. It's not working. The thing I find amazing about God is this:  He's always right there waiting for me when I turn to Him.
"I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On asking "Why"

Tonight, even as I lay here trying to sleep, I am kept awake with so many questions of 'Why?'

"Why would God allow...", "How can God...", "Why doesn't God...", and the list goes on and on with things I simply cannot process. Even as my mind attempts to explain grief, anger, and hurt, I feel compelled to finally write again from my journey. One of the emails I wrote to mom spoke volumes to me and jerked me, rather violently, into the awareness of my own inability to reason everything. I still remember, almost exactly two years later, where I was the night I had my own wrestling with God. With stark clarity I remember asking the question "good Christians" aren't "supposed" to ask. I am including two emails I sent to Mom:  the first is the email right before she left the hospital the first time and the second is from after she was re-admitted. In the second email are my ramblings after my wrestling. As has been the case since the writing of these emails, again tonight I am reminded of God's perfect timing.




I hope today is going well and that you have a wonderful day!

The verse for the day is from Philippians 4:4-7:  'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again:  Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.'

It seems to me this verse looks past the current situation. Our rejoicing is not to be based on any event, but is to be focused on the eternal, everlasting Lord. What comfort it is that He is near even when we are frustrated with our now! And a peace that we can't understand?! What a God!

Love you more,
Andi :)"


One month after writing that letter, Mom was facing another admission into the hospital because the kidney was not functioning. I was having an incredibly tough time with it. The doctors told us the kidney could not have been a better match, things were "supposed" to be levelling out with Mom's illnesses, etc. This was "supposed" to fix things! I could not understand it. In my mind here God was bringing Mom right to the brink of success, right to the edge of healthy, and leaving her stranded. I took it as a personal affront that He would do such a thing to a person like my mom. Talk about arrogant, right?! As I think back on it my rationale must have been, 'Hasn't she been through enough?' Sure, I talked a good game to people (you know the 'We're fine, Praise the Lord' game?) but let me tell you, it was a struggle. Finally, one Sunday night on the way home from visiting in Fort Worth, dad, sis and I were discussing the situation. I finally gave voice to my pain and just spewed my anger and frustration out loud at God. I wanted to know all the "Why" answers because it just wasn't making sense to me. After that struggle and release I was struck by another time this happened. I wrote about it to Mom:




I realized in my effort to make sure people sent emails and stayed updated, I haven't emailed you at all. What a goober I am! Today's thought is a bit more difficult but hopefully you'll understand and feel comfort. I'm thinking about when Jesus was in the Garden and was praying. He knew what the consequences were for what was happening to him. He knew things were going to be bad. I think it's interesting that although he knew the end result, he still asked God to remove the burden from him. It seems to me in his despair and human-ness, he cried out to the all-powerful God. He also asked that he remain in God's will. I thinking that God must have been heartsick over Jesus's prayer but remained steadfast in his love for his Son. The comfort I find is that as much as he loved Jesus, we are covered by that blood and He loves us. He's big enough to handle times when we don't get it and demand an answer. Then He loves us through great pain and great success! What grace! What a God!



Even in the midst of great trouble, great saddness, and overwhelming despair, one thing I hope to remember is that God truly knows the depths to which we can fall. Jesus continued to follow the will of his Father even when it cost him His life. God turned his back on his Son because of the love He had and still has for me. He understands when I question him, He understands when I feel alone and forgotten, and He is there to travel the journey with me and with you. The God of all comfort can give comfort because He understands the pain. His shoulders are big enough to handle our hurts, our tears, and our "why". We just have to remember to turn to Him for our comfort.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Firsts and...agains

I did a lot of thinking today of my life over the past year. My, how time flies and how change is inevitable. In the past year I've come one year closer to 30; changed jobs...again; seen Mom get very sick and well; finally stayed in a house for a whole year; completed surgery, rehab, and mono; had relationships come and go; and a host of other firsts...and...agains. Although I have accomplished (and I use that term loosely...it's kind of a lousy list really!) quite a bit through the year, it will be marked by the passing of Mom. As I sit here thinking of the agains and of the firsts, I am struck by the thing that is constant through it all. God is here; He is with me. Even through the hardest time of my year, and through the firsts and agains I have learned, and I continue to learn, what it means to rely on God. Relying on God is certainly not easy but, then again, accomplishment without effort is charity...


"I hope you had a good sleep last night and that you are ready for today. I guess dialysis today may be stressful especially if you are still having a low grade temp and low blood count. Hopefully the procrit will kick in soon and you will have all sorts of energy. Keep walking so ou can get your strength up and so your hip quits hurting. I hope your pizza tastes great at dinner tonight. You'll have to tell e all about it when I call you.

Today's verse is from Zephaniah 3:16: 'The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He takes great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.'

Hopefully as you go through today you can claim these verses and find comfort.

Love you more,


"I hope you slept well last night, that dialysis was good today, and that the blood transfusion made you feel stronger and more energetic. Today's verse is Psalm 121. It's one of my favorites! 'I lift my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you--the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm; he will watch over your life; He will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.'

So see, even during hospital times when you are afraid or can't sleep, God is there with you. He loves you and is concerned even when you feel most alone. Remember, when we can't be there for you, God is and He loves you most of all!!

Have a great day. I'll call later.
Andi :)"


Okay, so as I sit here on my birthday with tears streaming down my face, I have to tell you this letter hurts and comforts in a way I almost cannot describe. I am broken with saddness but I remember this about believers:  "To be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD." Today, when I ache over not having Mom here with me, I am suddenly struck by her nearness. Because of that quote, and because the Bible tells me of God's presence, his constant watch and protection, and his longing to comfort me, I can be at peace. Even the fact that I decided to write tonight tells me of God's providence and wisdom. He set tonight in motion two years ago because he delights in me. Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Greater things are yet to come.

I continue to put this off day after day but here I sit again. I am missing mom a bit more than usual. It's coming time for another first without her and it has been tough. This whole week for me has been a difficult time. Work was hard for more reasons than one. I continue to pray for friends who have recently lost loved ones. I think all of this makes today's email hit closer to home. It reminds me that even through the tough times, we are being prepared for great things we cannot imagine!


"Hey Chatty Cathy, how's your morning going? Here's your verse for today. It is from 1 Corinthians 2:9:  'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him.' What a great verse for this whole last week. We had all but given up hope for you ever getting a kidney but we just couldn't uderstand the great thing God had planned and prepared right around the corner! Now you've got Josephine and who knows what great things are going to come fro you--aside from boat loads of pee, of course!

Speaking of that, here's another verse for you from Isaiah 58:11: 'The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.'

I'm excited about this weekend. I may not get to call tonight but I love you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lost in the now

As I sit here today, my heart is heavy for my friend. This week she lost a family member after a struggle with cancer. Her "now" is the reason I am sharing this blog. My prayer continues to be that others will be encouraged not matter what is going on in your "now".



"Hey Mom, I hope you are having a good day so far and that you had a good rest last night. I guess maybe you are going to have dialysis today? Hopefully that all goes well and the dialysis nurses will be nice to you. Are Chuck and Ali coming to see you today? I bet it's been pretty nice to have them visit a lot. They love you bunches and are loving you for us while we can't be there.

Your verses for today are from Lamentations :19-33; 55-58:

19-33:  "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for people to bear the yoke while they are young. Let them sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on them. Let them bury their faces in the dust--there may yet be hope. Let them offer their cheeks to one who would strike them, let them be filled with disgrace. For people are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to any man."

55-58:  "I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: 'Do not fear.' You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life."

I know you've read and heard these verses before, but I am reminded agan of how pertinent they are for you. It's easy to get lost in the now, but God is already past all that. What a comfort (hopefully!) for us during the "night".

I think we are going to head down there on Saturday--at least that's the plan so far. It'll be good to see you.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Paralyzing Vulnerability?

To be perfectly honest I've been putting off posting on this blog for a couple days. Do you ever just feel like you have something to say but you are powerless to say it effectively? Failure is one of my biggest fears. Vulnerability is a close relative to failure. To put oneself "out there" is a huge set up for possible failures. Almost as soon as my last post was published I got scared. I am scared to be vulnerable by sharing my heart and my growing pains. This is my attempt to assert myself over my fear. Please join me in my journey. I promise not everything will make sense. I promise I will leave some of the more mundane (read as: "embarrassing to Andrea") things out, but because I grew through the writings I shared with my mom, I pray someone will be strengthened and encouraged by my journey toward hope.
 Bear with me friends, this may be a bumpy ride...


This is the first email I sent to Mom after the transplant. As I told you, sis and I returned back home to work while Dad stayed at the hospital. He told me how I could email and, since I don't especially enjoy talking on the phone, and since I can blabber more when I write, I decided this would be a great way to have some contact with my Mom. Most days we did manage to talk on the phone but this was, for me, a safer and more effective way to share my heart with her.



"Hey Mom, I know you have a busy day ahead of you today but I wanted to let you know that I love you and am continuing to pray for you as are many other people. I know we don't understand what is happening and why it is happening, but we have to comfort ourselves that the One Who Does has us in mind. I am going to start sending you a verse each day that will hopefully give you some comfort. I'm going to start with the first part of Psalm 37:7: 'Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him.' I know it's hard to be there and feel so bad and be so discouraged. I love you and am constantly thinking of you. I hope your thoughts today can be filled with the blessings you have received over your life and that they will bring you some peace. Talk to you later. Love you. Andi"

Monday, August 2, 2010

Getting started...

I suppose, as is said in The Sound of Music, one should begin at the beginning as it is the very best place to start.

 I would imagine most of you know the back story about mom's struggle with her kidney disease. In November of 1993 mom was placed on the list for her first kidney transplant. Six days later, on November 10, she got the call that miraculously a match had been located and she would be given the gift of life. This transplant was not without trouble. She went through a period of rejection (the process by which the body tries to "kill" the foreign organ) but eventually she was allowed to come home. Her first kidney was found to have a disease and it was not expected to thrive for very long. Through the grace of God, she was able to have 7 years with that kidney before it failed. In that time our family grew together and grew stronger. I have to say, at the age of 13, I took a lot of the transplant process for granted. I remember traveling with Mom for the weekly doctor visits, etc. that needed to happen. We were blessed to have that time and I am so thankful for it.

AfterMom's transplant failed in November 2000, she started hemodialysis. Her first treatment was on November 10, 2000, exactly 7 years after her transplant. For 8 years mom struggled through hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and hospital visits, waiting and praying for another kidney. Because of all of the medical problems she had through that time, we were prepared that she would not get that chance for another transplant. We learned to appreciate the time we had together and spent much of it together.

On August 28, 2008, I was at work at the Children's Home when I got a phone call that mom was going to be travelling to Fort Worth to do some tests for a possible transplant! I must have looked crazy that day as I sat in the lunch room trying to process, crying all over myself, and unsuccessfully trying to explain that I wasn't sad but very, very happy! Sis and I left after work for the drive to Harris Methodist Fort Worth. We sat up all night that night and into the next morning waiting to hear about Mom's surgery. Finally Sis, Dad, and I got word that the surgery was complete and now all that was left was to wait. The doctor said her new kidney was not producing much urine and, because of some possible trauma during the placement, it may take a little while to function. Mom was placed in ICU due to some blood pressure issues so after shift change we were allowed to see her. Dad, Sis, and I stayed at the hospital all day, hanging out with Mom and waiting on her kidney to produce urine. After that weekend, Sis and I came home to work while Dad stayed at the hospital.

What follows are the emails I sent to Mom during her stays in the hospital. As the time comes, I will also share the email updates I sent to people. I am including this as a way to provide a frame of reference to the goings-on during the process. I understand this was a long blog post and I don't mean to bore, but I feel like the whole story should be shared. It is my hope that through this process I find greater healing and perhaps, you will as well.