Sunday February 1, 2015

Well some of you know me but many of you probably don’t, and there are a lot of people here that I don’t know myself. I am married to Jim Miller.  He is the guy you will see around the church who fixes things from time to time and also does the beautiful woodwork and built this beautiful podium for Jerry.

I’ve been here since the old days that is when Clinton Wilson, who sometimes leads worship wasn’t old enough to hold a guitar, and the Caesar girls were all tiny little girls who played with baby dolls and not real babies like they have now.

I wanted to share with you how God really is right beside us EVEN when we don’t believe or think he is. I can personally prove this. In fact I have been struggling with so many ups and downs over the last year and a half I just about need a sign to remember which way up actually is. I keep telling me my cup ran over years ago. However it must be a cup with a hidden bottom that only God can see, cause he keeps pouring stuff in it.

If you don’t know my story then you don’t’ know what keeps getting put in the cup. Well I have had cancer 3 times, gone through chemo therapy twice a year long each time, have sick sinus syndrome (rheumatic fever since I was 14), & have a pace maker, then last year out of the blue had diverticulitis didn’t know it, had my bowel burst and nearly died from peritonitis. I spent 28 days in the hospital had 2 major surgeries and it took 9 months recovery time.

It was without a doubt horrible experience for me but I think it was worse for my family. All I could think about was that I just wanted to get better and it was not happening. I kept going back to the doctors and they had no answers. To be honest for a couple of months just quit talking to anyone about everything and just kept it all bundled up inside, that was not exactly the right way to trust God. Finally in April when I could not take the problems with my stomach any more I went to see my internist and decided to do an endoscopy.

That’s when I found out that I had something called Gastroparesis, probably caused by all the chemo drugs I was given for the Peritonitis he said. Essentially my stomach was paralyzed and I couldn’t digest my food, which resulted in all the stomach problems. He there is no cure and nothing they can give you for it and you are just going to be sick to your stomach all the time.  Jim and I looked it up, the only thing you could do is change what and how you eat, which is mostly liquids. It only affects like 4% of the people in the United States; lucky me I said. Well OK I said I will just pick myself up and keep going, it is just more of the same ole thing I have been doing my whole life.

I said to Jim – I just have to trust God right! Wow and it gets harder and harder…

So you may wonder how I do that right. I have notes on my phone and notes on my laptop and notes in my bible and every set of notes are the same. They are bible quotes, they song lyrics and other things to remind me how to trust God because I even though I know I am supposed to trust him when the stuff piles up a mile high I have to actively force myself to trust him by saying I will trust God.

So when my cup becomes the bottomless cup I think up all kinds of bad stupid things like running away from home, taking a hammer and busting a bunch of stuff up, (Jim has a lot of hammers), I cuss about all kinds of things I have a gazillion thoughts that are the wrong thoughts going through my mind.

A lot of people have offered solutions, I clearly remember the multiple times in the last year right after I had my second surgery of the good intentions of peoples advise offered asking me if I have read the book of Job? In fact several brought me John Pipers Book on Job. Now while I love John Piper and yes I read that book, I must say that the book most definitely was not helpful in the situation I was in. About the fourth or fifth time someone tried to give me John Pipers book I told them I already had the book and then later I actually told Pete Mishler if anyone else mentioned the book of Job to me again that I was going to hit whoever it was over the head with it. (Not really)

But to be honest Oh have I cried many tears and have I seriously struggled the last now 2 years over all of this; and yes I have wanted to give up sometimes. So I when it got really bad I went and talked to Daryn about how I didn’t like the way I was acting and what I could do to make it better and I asked what I could do to help myself?

Because I do believe in my heart that God is all I need that His amazing grace is enough to make my life complete and I just needed to keep living my life trusting him even if it was only active trust.

But then I find right after I saw Daryn; I found out that I am not going to get better. In fact I am going to get sicker and this time it’s not some simple treatment or cure, it’s a long-term problem. I didn’t tell anyone but in November I had some funky blood work that did not look good so I knew something was up; at the end of November I went to the Doctor again and they said maybe I had this or that so I told myself that maybe it was just a fluke. But unfortunately it was not. So on Monday January 12th the Doctor told me that I have Stage 3b Renal Kidney Failure with Secondary HyperParathyroidism (which I can hardly pronounce) and they would have to start treatment immediately; which is 3 days per week. This is the stage before transplant or dialysis. Because of the problem with the Parathyroid it has caused problems with my bones and resulted in some spinal stenosis in my back and a lot of swelling in my joints.

There are a lot of other side effects with it; I don’t have any energy so I am tired all the time and it makes you very sick.

I kind of knew it was coming but I did not want to believe it so I was really bummed out when the doctor actually told me on Monday. I did not want to go home and tell Jim, but I did.

I mopped around all day Tuesday and part of Wednesday. I didn’t tell anyone else and had myself a regular pity party. On Tuesday my family doctors office called me and told me that my PTH was too high and that I need to see the renal specialist; I am like “really” I’ve already have seen him. Then they said they could not give me a referral to see the RA specialist because I didn’t see the physical therapist for the spinal stenosis problem I was having; because I said 450.00 copay for each visit was too much. They forgot that I had called them to tell them that the over a week before not that it would matter anyway since the advice now was to exercise to alleviate the pain. So now at the moment I am upset over the Doctors office call, thinking about the kidney issues, the RA, the Gastroparsis among other things and having to work and my manager sends me an email and says he needs to meet with me.

Ten minutes later he called and spent an hour berating me for taking to long to update the documentation for a customer’s training which was 900 pages that had to be reformatted and updated. He allocated one day and it took four days. I told him during the call no one could do it in a day and someone must have been dreaming when they thought up that number. I said someone should have I asked me and I would have told them a week. When we ended the call it was around five.

Now I was really having one of my super moments when I had a kabillion-zillon thoughts (if there is such a number) going through my head all at once, mumbling to myself – I was really tired of the world, tired of working; tired of my job; tired of life and same old redundant questions; why is this stuff always happening to me; and of course I just can’t take it anymore.

I actually stomped around and was slamming stuff around and told Jim that I probably needed to call Marc (who owned the company I worked for) since I figured by now I was in trouble because I told my manager basically that he did not know what he was doing. Jim said that I was in no condition to talk to anyone and that I should wait. So I did wait a little while; but then I did send an email to Marc telling him about the illness as I figured I might as well get it over with and tell them since I travel for my job and in case I get sick at a customer engagement.

Then five minutes later Marc called me. Marc is a solid Christian, who became a Christian after spending six months communicating via email with me and I with Daryn with questions about the bible and why should he believe in one god and not the Hindu Gods he grew up with. His faith is quite amazing. Anyway once I told Marc what was going on with my health he asked me if I had lost my mind, he said didn’t I know how important I was to him and his family, that they loved me and would do anything they needed to do to help Jim and I even if it was working at home permanently. Then he asked me if I played the song and I asked him what song? He said the song I sent you. You know the one I attached to your pay stub. 

I hadn’t looked at it, but on January the 8th he had attached a URL to a song by an artist who has a very small music ministry in the UK wrote the song the in his language and was then translated into English; the English is a rough translation.

When he got off the phone I listen to the song and realized that there is no way except by God that this song could have ever made its way to me except that God personally intended it to be so.

I listened to the song at least 15 times and I cried a bucket full of tears too.

So God in all his mysterious ways is forever faithful – and he used my boss to send this song and God had me hear at exactly the right time.

“Before I fall to pieces you take my hands

And before I drown to ruins I’m in your arms

Living a world of trouble and misery 

You came to rescue me in near defeat

Seasons come and go but not you

You’re forever faithful and true

I believe in miracles and wonders that you do

I believe in love at the Cross you’re nailed to

I believe in amazing grace and that you’re Heaven sent

I believe in You, I believe in You, Jesus

After the raging storm comes a light

You mend the brokenness of this life and in the darkest night I survived

Where would I be without your might?

Seasons come and go but not you

You’re forever faithful and true

I believe in you I believe in You Jesus

I believe in You Jesus”

And I do believe and I will always believe and he is always faithful and we can survive anything with him by our side.