Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10 Good Things 

That Happened to Me in 2013

1. I managed to stay out of the hospital for almost an entire year...no surgeries!

2. My daughter Heather was diagnosed with diabetes, and while the diabetes was not good, her courage and ability to adapt stunned me.

3. My divorce was finalized, and while that was sad, the settlement allowed me to pay off all bills except my car payment, and other than that I am debt free.

4.  I fell in love, and while the relationship did not work out, I was and still am extremely blessed that it made me realize that I am still a beautiful, desirable woman.

5. I was able to take the kids to InterVarsity's Cedar Campus for vacation because I was given scholarship funds for my costs and my ex-husband helped pay the kids expenses.

6. In February after an unexpected hospital stay and a week without pay, $450 cash miraculously and anonymously showed up in my mailbox just when I needed it most.

7.  All year long, just when I needed it the most, additional money was given to me by friends, my church and also more anonymous people.

8. I tested negative for the breast cancer gene, which means my girls' risk is now 20% instead of 80%.  The lab also paid my entire bill of $600 due to financial hardship.

9. St. Vincent's Hospital in Indy wrote off a $3700 bill, and the Zionsville Fire  Department/Ambulance company wrote off a $600 bill.

10. I was very blessed to participate in two awesome small groups at The Pointe Church, one of which adopted me as their service project and collected money to help me pay medical bills.

11. I bought a used Toyota Pruis, which I absolutely love.
12. My daughter Amy was in a fairly serious car accident this fall and walked away without a scratch!  She was also accepted to Purdue University to begin studying to be a veterinarian.

13. My son Stephen continued to do well at IU-Bloomington with classes and part-time work and continued to be involved in a campus fellowship.

I am thinking that listing 10 is just not enough!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Sad Ending

What I hoped would lead into a permanent relationship with a very special man ended mutually this evening.  I am sad but also simply grateful for the time we spent together. He will always have a special place in my heart.

I am so heartbroken and once again find myself wondering, "Now what?" regarding my life and my future.  This man and I had dreams and plans for a future that has now been swept away.  We often talked and dreamed about the places we could move to or travel to and the things we could do when Amy goes to Purdue next year and when Heather eventually goes to college, and we would have more "kid free" time.

Not having "kid free" time has been a struggle for me as a whole and was frustrating for me when I was in this relationship. Amy is with me full-time (by her choice) while Heather goes back and forth every other week to her dad's house.  While I did not want to wish away Amy's senior year, I often fretted and wished she was off to college so my boyfriend and I could have more time alone.  Maybe my priorities were just mixed up, but that is water under the bridge now.

I don't like this facing an uncertain future again.  I feel depression sweeping me away again.  I am cemented in grief.

As I wrote in an earlier post, he contributed to a great deal of emotional healing for me after my divorce.  A dear friend said that perhaps that was God's plan and that was this man 's purpose in this season of my life.  Perhaps that is true.

This month has been brutal as things have fallen apart between the two of us.  

I also had some divorce issues I had to deal with.  

An additional legal bill to pay.  

Red tape about wrapping up my health insurance with my ex-husband's company and going on my new insurance.  

Receiving a letter detailing my dates of insurance with my ex-husband's company: April 20, 1991 through May 27, 2013.  That was like seeing a tombstone for our marriage!  

A last family dentist appointment together while still on his insurance. 

Continued milestones that I didn't expect that caused me pain.

Grief, grief, grief...my goodness I have had enough!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Am A Worn Out Mama

Last weekend, in my frantic rush to get everything done, I drove distractedly to the high school to prepare to chaperon on the band bus for yet another band trip.  I had just rushed to the store all the while yelling at Heather to hurry, hurry, hurry.  We left the store, and I was driving too fast and was very distracted.  

I was thinking about a million things at once, including how to stretch my finances since I had unexpectedly received almost $200 in medical bills this past week.

I ended up hitting a pothole and getting not one, but two flat tires!

It only added to the stress, and I ended up with a migraine later in the day. Needless to say, I did not make it to the band competition.

It was a wake up call that I was just stretched too thin.  I was constantly rushing and short-tempered with the ones I love the most.

Band is over this weekend, and I had already been wearily anticipating the next season of Amy's winter color guard.  Practice and auditions for that start a week after band ends.  Competitions are almost every weekend January through the first of March.

And I realized I just can't do it all any more.

I had recently turned in Winter Guard paperwork and said I could chaperon on the buses for the competitions.  I just emailed the color guard directors and told them I am not going to be able to chaperon this year after all. 

When Dave and I separated, I was still only working 7-3 at the high school and was able to continue my heavy commitment with band and color guard. Last fall I started my new job and but did not keep up with the same level of involvement due to my health issues and hospital stays.

This year is the first year I have been working full time and trying to maintain the same level of volunteering with the band and with the color guard.  I have been stretched very, very thin, which makes it harder and harder for me to be the mom I want to be.  I am also concerned that if I keep up with the same level of involvement, I will end up with further health issues.  So it was with a heavy heart that I stepped back.

And I was instantly relieved....which gave me peace with the decision....a very good clue that it was a right decision!

And bless Amy's heart...she completely understood.  She lovingly looked at me and said, "Mom, I understand.  Just do what you can."

I think, hope and pray that as I stumble through these crossroads that I am giving my kids a good example of balancing this tightrope walk we call life.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mandisa - What Scars Are For (Lyric Video)

Tomorrow is my 48th birthday...and though my heart, body and mind are full of scars from all I have been through I know that God has brought me through them all.  Are you breathing today?  That's a gift from God.  Thank Him for it.  Don't take any moment for granted.  Take that advice from someone who has survived cancer, over 14 surgeries, health problems, heart-break and divorce only to come out on the other side stronger, wiser and surprisingly blessed by the unexpected twists and turns of my life.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Leave It All Behind

A recent essay I submitted to a writing contest....enjoy!  It is long but worth the read:

Today, September 2, 2013, I made the courageous decision to leave beind old, unhealed pain and truly begin my life anew after the end of a 22-year marriage.

I had been wallowing in self-pity and self-doubt for so long...ever since I had discovered my ex-husband’s homosexual affairs after confronting him about suspicious text messages on his phone on Easter Sunday, April 2010.

I thought the divorce and the fact that my ex-husband was gay was my fault.  When the truth of his actions were finally revealed, I had a sense of overwhelming helplessness and abandonment.  I was literally emotionally paralyzed.  

I thought, because of years of his untruthful statements about me,  that I could not do anything right.  I thought I was not attractive...sexual or otherwise.  I thought I didn’t deserve or couldn’t have lasting love.

So I took the easy way out...the chicken way out.  For months after our split I told everyone...my teenage children included...that the romantic part of my life was over….that I would never love again.  It was if I had been riding a merry-go-round and refusing to go for the brass ring...the potential to be happy.

After all, I had had over 14 surgeries for a breast cancer lumpectomy and a variety of other health issues along with chemotherapy and radiation, depression, embarrassing colon issues and suicidal thoughts.

All of the medical problems came with a host of side-effects, including some hearing loss.    I thought, “Who would want a woman with scars all over her body and ½ a breast who can’t hear well who has to run to the bathroom all the time?  Not to mention a woman who couldn’t keep her husband satisfied?”

I resented that I was all alone, and my ex-husband had happily moved onto new relationships.  Running into him and one of his dates only added to my insecurity.  

My youngest daughter and I went to a local restaurant for brunch after church one day, and, to my absolute surprise, we saw my ex-husband with a man.  Fortunately, we were seated far away from each other with a retaining wall separating us.  

I sat in shock for a few moments after we were seated, placed our order and then went to the restroom to cry.  I came out and put on a brave face for my daughter, who didn't really understand what was going on.  I encouraged her to go say hello to her dad, and then I basically ignored that he was there.  He later acknowledged to me that he was with someone of romantic interest and commented that I was welcome to talk to him in public if I saw him with someone.  When he said that I was so dumbfounded that I said nothing.

After that incident I was even more convinced I would forever be alone, while my ex-husband went on with his love life.

And then a wonderful man, rocked my world of safe, although false, insecure assumptions about myself, my life and my future.

We began dating after my divorce was final.  I was not looking for a serious relationship and neither was he...but it became very obvious after our third or fourth date, that things were taking a surprisingly serious turn.

He told me I was beautiful on our first date….beautiful in that I have a fun personality, am smart and witty and brightened his day.  I was stunned.  I did not think of myself in those terms at all.

We attended church together, and sermon after sermon had a message that validated me.  But I still refused to believe the truths about myself.  

My pastor gave a particularly strong message on healing from hurts and moving on from them.  

I will never forget his words:  “Are you going to remember the hurt or the Healer?”  But I was too afraid to come out of my cocoon of safe, but wrong, assumptions about myself.  I chose to dwell on the hurts and not God’s healing, but at the same time began to pray for healing for my damaged emotions and damaged self-image.

My awakening to my own value came in a watershed moment after reading a book about the homosexual coming-out crisis and how it affects the straight spouse.  

Some things in the book I did not agree with, but it had a powerful, stunning message just the same….the message that it was not all my fault that our marriage ended, and that it was not my fault that I couldn’t make my husband happy.

I was amazed to finally realize the truth that the special man in my life had been telling me for weeks...that neither or I any woman could have made my ex-husband happy.  I could not compete with another man...and that fact made me no less a woman.

The realization left me breathless, a bit angry with myself for lying to myself for so long and excited about the future all at once. My breath came in quick gasps, and my heart just pounded.

Once I realized I could shake free of the past, I felt like a newborn doe...shaky on my feet, but curious about this new-found freedom outside my womb of denial

I went from wondering “Why in the world any man would love me?” to realizing “Why wouldn’t a man love me?”

I began to realize my new friend was right in reminding me “Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.”  He told me that once after he had asked me how I had managed to cope with moving on past cancer.

I explained to him that I had, at one time, plagued myself with wondering how I had gotten cancer.  Was it in the food I ate?  The water I drank?  The old farm land I grew up on?  Would it come back?  If? When?  How?  

Two years afterward my diagnosis I decided I did not beat cancer to only live with one foot in the grave of fear.  So I quit asking myself those questions and bogging myself down with “what ifs.” I chose to live a life not plagued by fear.

This new man in my life quietly listened and said, “Then you have to do the same with the break up of your marriage, your husband’s wrong doings and the divorce.”

But the habit of self-blame was hard to shake off as my divorce from my gay ex-husband had just finalized in late May of this year.  The divorce proceedings had dragged on over the course of two years as I had some medical emergencies that required I stay on my ex-husband’s health insurance. The amount of energy, wisdom and judgement that  it took to resolve everything was overwhelming

But after I read the book I came to realize other truths about myself.

I thought I was courageous to move out before I had full-time employment.  I thought I was courageous networking, looking for work and finding a full-time job with benefits after years of being a stay-at-home mom working only in part-time seasonal jobs.

I thought I was courageous for managing the bills, car repairs, cable tv and computer problems...things I had entrusted to my ex-husband for over 20 years.

I thought I was courageous for getting the necessary psychiatric help, counseling and medication for my depression.  I thought I was courageous for willingly asking our school system for financial assistance for my children’s school books and fees.  

I thought I was courageous for reaching out to social service agencies and my church to pay bills.  I thought I was courageous for applying for financial assistance from hospitals and health foundations and pharmaceutical companies for help in claiming financial hardship to pay medical bills and receive free medication.

Now I know those were not brave actions...they were the wise actions of a good, strong woman providing for herself and her children.

The true courageous action was deciding today that I would no longer wallow in self-pity and negative self-thinking...that I would believe in my God-given self-worth.

So here is to the first day of the rest of my life...to grabbing the brass ring of happiness.  And in so doing I have realized that I have the enviable opportunity to re-write the next chapters of my life...of course, the chapters are not going where I expected them...but that is the joy in this new journey.

It is pointless to think any more about the falsehoods I had believed about myself for so long...it is time to begin a new life...to stop focusing on the hurts and focus on God’s healing.  It is simply self-defeating to spend my time and energy on a what I thought was a storybook marriage that is now over.  It is time to grab the brass ring.

As modern American writer Joseph Campbell once wrote, “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  

I am eagerly looking forward to what is ahead and God's new plans for my life...at last!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

The past few weeks have really been an emotional and spiritual struggle for me....but I have finally come to this realization: 

It may seem like life is coming at us in waves of trials...but all I have to do is read this blog to see how God has not forgotten us at all...ever.  He has always provided all that we need and more...maybe not in the way or the time I wanted the provision...but He has never let me down.

This verse is certainly true in my life: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Amy has been absolutely tireless in her constant encouragement to me....reminding me over and over to not doubt God. She recently bought me this plaque, which I will forever treasure.

After Heather’s diagnosis with diabetes I took a couple weeks off from teaching my church’s Preschool-Kindergarten Sunday School class.  When I came back, the kids were so happy to see me, but I was really struggling to come to grips with Heather’s diagnosis and my concerns about the divorce settlement funds and my finances.  
….but God in His infinite wisdom used lesson after lesson that I was teaching to help re-direct my heart.
The first week the lesson was about Joseph becoming a great ruler in Egypt years after his brothers sold him into slavery.  Joseph was in a position in the king’s household that allowed him to help stockpile food reserves.  God had given Joseph dreams that there would be a famine, so he wisely prepared for it.  By the time the famine struck, his brothers were without food and came to him for help.  They did not recognize him at first.  When they finally did recognize him, they were afraid...but Joseph forgave them and provided them with food and a place to live. (Genesis 42:1-8, 43:16, 45:1-28 and 46:5-7).
At the time of his enslavement, Joseph surely felt despair and likely could not see how God could possibly use his situation for good.  He simply didn’t have the perspective of time to see that the sad and terrifying situation was going to work out.  

God has done the very same thing with cancer in my life and with the divorce...I didn't see what good could come out of it at the time...but the good that has come has been immeasurable!

The next lesson was about Elijah in a time when again no food was growing.  God showed love to Elijah by leading him to a stream of water and sending him birds with food (I Kings 17:1-6).  I showed my students a $1 bill and explained to them how earlier this year God gave me 450 of them just when I needed it the most!  Their amazed faces were a treasure.  

I reminded them through my own personal stories and Elijah’s story that God always provides.
Our next lesson also involved Elijah.  God directed him to a poor widowed woman and her son to ask for flour and oil to make bread.  She told him that she only had enough for herself and her son, and she was afraid that if she shared there would not be enough for her family.
Elijah encouraged her to to make a little bread for him first and assured her that there would be enough flour and oil for the all.  So she made him some bread, emptying her jars of flour and oil.  After she made the bread for Elijah she looked into the containers and miraculously found more flour and oil.  Every day after that there was enough flour and oil.  The jar of flour and the pitcher of oil NEVER became empty. (1 Kings 17:7-16). 

This has truly happened to me...no matter what has happened these past two years, I have NEVER been left wanting or in need...God has ALWAYS come through financially.

I faithfully taught these lessons, but didn’t really let their personal meaning for me to sink in until the past week.

Today while at Cedar Campus on vacation, some friends of ours shared about their short-term missions work.  One of our friends has been involved in medical missions work.

For the first time I realized how fortunate we were to live in a country where we have access to everything Heather needs to stay well and healthy.  Had we lived in a Third World country or under-developed nation, she would be dead.  For the first time, I felt gratitude for her situation....it is a good perspective to have.

When we arrived here for vacation, I had the opportunity for some really nice talks with Stephen.  He is working here all summer as a camp counselor.  I told him that I was so weary of being taken to the edge even though God has always provided.  

My precious son lovingly said, “Mom, if the edge is where God is, why wouldn’t you want to be there with Him?”  I was speechless and felt totally schooled by my son and his wisdom!

Amy's encouragement has constantly pointed me to God when my faith has wavered. This led to the unique experience of her asking for a tattoo for her birthday. She designed it, asked Dave for permission and then asked me to get the tattoo as well...so I did. How could I deny my faithful daughter the opportunity to permanently show the world God's wonderful story in our lives? The tattoo artist we went to is also a Christian, and I shared some of our story with him. He was so excited to be a part of it. I told him it is a message that, God willing, will speak to others through Amy's life long after I depart this earth.

On a different note, I would like to thank all of the people who read this blog. It has gone absolutely viral and is being read by people all over the world. I am humbled and honored. Thank you for joining me in this journey.

Blessings to you all!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Check out these great videos of our favorite place on earth!  http://vimeo.com/58521907 http://vimeo.com/58645381

The girls and I are soon headed to Cedar Campus for a much needed vacation.  I desperately need time and contemplation to wrap my heart around Heather's recent diabetes diagnosis.  She is so angry with God, and my heart is so full of grief for her.  I need this time to wrestle with God and make my peace with this situation.  I am struggling so much.  I feel like Job.  I feel like there is a target on our backs.  I want to look at God and say, "Really?  Just how much more do you think we can take?"

I know from my cancer experience that God can do some pretty amazing things with an awful health diagnosis.  He has used my cancer battle and survival over and over and over in spite of me!  But I just can't seem to see that with Heather's diabetes...and she, of course, cannot either.  I wonder at times if my inability to deal with it hinders her...so I have to get my act together.

As you all know, the divorce is final but some of the financial details are not resolving themselves as I had hoped.  I was able to replace the van with a used Toyota Hybrid Pruis, which has provided me with a significant gas savings.  However, I still owe Lutheran Hospital almost $3000 and my lawyer almost $4800. 

The divorce settlement money will not cover all of those expenses plus the car, so I am planning to pay off the lawyer and the hospital and then pay as much on the car as I can so I have a very low monthly payment. 

It was my hope to be debt free when the divorce was final, but that is obviously not going to happen.  I am angry that I am paying for a divorce I did not want.   I am very grateful that God is continuing to provide as my recent ambulance bill of over $600 from February was written off by the fire department due to my financial situation.

Fortunately, Heather's recent diagnosis brought Dave and I closer as the children's parents.  We have worked incredibly well together juggling this new normal.  I am very happy about that.  He has moved on into a relationship with a new man, and he is happy.  

I told the kids this spring that Dave has done, is doing and is going to do things that upset me, and I am sure I will do the same to him...but I also explained that my ultimate responsibility when he upsets me is to choose how I am going to respond and to choose forgiveness.  I also told them that I truly care about their dad, and I just want him to be happy.

So the battles are over, hopefully for the most part.  We have put down the swords and have joined hands to move forward the best we can as the kids' parents.  I am really proud of us for doing so.  He really is a great dad, but like us all, has things to work on.  He and Amy are still alienated from each other by her choice.  I have nudged him and coached him to reach out to her, but he doesn't seem to get the idea.  Please pray that in time Amy will make her peace with him.

I am also extremely grateful that I took the plunge and actually went on a few dates this past year.  I recently met a very wonderful man, and we are enjoying getting to know each other.

Please pray for our week at camp....that God would refresh and renew us, give me a better perspective on Heather's situation and would give me peace and wisdom about my finances.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tired...weary...exhausted...overwhelmed...these words don't even begin to cover how I am feeling as I am juggling a lot between work and home right now.

Heather is doing a great job of managing her diabetes with glucose testing, insulin shots and carb counting.  I, however, continue to be overwhelmed.  Poor Dave said it took him three hours just to grocery shop and label-read one week.

At times Heather is understandably very frustrated and angry.  She recently said, "Mom, if life had a face I would punch it!"

We went to church Sunday for the first time since her diagnosis.  We sat down, and I looked at the sermon notes and said, "I just can't do this."  She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I can't either."  I asked her if she wanted to leave and she said yes.  We went shopping instead...a little retail therapy...LOL.

She thanked me for being real and honest about my frustration with God about all that has happened to our family.  I told her if we can't be real with God, who can we be real with?  He can take it.

Dave and I have parented together very well through this, so much so that the nurse at the hospital couldn't believe we were divorced.  At the end of the day, we are still the kids' parents, and we know we have to push through our differences for their sake.  I am really proud of us for doing so.

Stephen is off at Cedar Campus working as a camp counselor for the summer, and Amy is busy volunteering at the zoo and looking for a summer job.  Heather is headed to Y camp for the week next week.  The camp staff has been fabulous about making changes to the menu for her and are very reassuring.  They have two nurses on staff 24-7, so she is probably in better hands with them than she is at home.

The most difficult part has been arranging childcare/supervision for her.  Because she is only 13, her doctor did not want her to be alone for two weeks.  Amy has carried most of the burden of that care and is resentful.  Wonderful friends from church have helped out, and some of Dave's friends have helped too.

We see her doctor tomorrow for a check up, and I hoping she can be a little more on her own now.  This has to be driving her nuts because she has no solitude.

The girls and I are all going to counseling together in a couple of weeks, even though they aren't thrilled about it.  We all just need to debrief and have some objective input that our counselor so often provides.  She sees solutions when all we see are problems.  I am living with two angry and frustrated teenage girls, so I need all the help I can get.

Please continue to pray for our family as we continue to adjust to this new hurdle.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The dust has finally settled with the divorce, and we are all moving forward with this new normal.

Then we were hit with a storm.  Our precious Heather, who is 13, became very ill over the past couple of days.  We ended up in the Lutheran Hospital ER last night, and she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

She has lost about 25 pounds over the last several months, and we just thought it was due to puberty.  She was very ill on Tuesday night, but after a day of IV fluids and insulin through the IV she is doing much better.

Dave, Amy, Heather and I spent the morning going through diabetes education and the afternoon going through diet education.  Glucose checks, carb counting and insulin shots will become a way of life for us all.

Since I was in the hospital in February, we have met our family deductible with our insurance...so all of our health care is 100% covered the rest of this year.  With the divorce, Dave and I realized it was cheaper for me stay on his insurance and pay the COBRA fees for it than it would be for me to start insurance at my new job and get hit with a $3000 deductible....so I am covered 100% as well.

As for the divorce, I am receiving enough settlement funds to pay my legal fees, pay off my medical bills, replace the van and put away some funds for retirement.  I have one remaining $640 bill for the ambulance in February and have applied for financial assistance to cover that.  Dave has agreed to pay whatever is left after I receive financial assistance.

Please pray for our family as we enter this new chapter in our lives with Heather's diabetes.  We are all often confused and overwhelmed, but through prayer and encouragement from many friends we have been able to stay strong for Heather.

Pray for me to let go and trust her that she can handle this.  It is so hard to realize she can't just walk out the front door, carefree without a worry in the world.  She will always have to keep medical tools and information with her.

She is an amazingly smart young lady and is, of course, fascinated by the science of it all.  She is determined to follow the doctor's directions as she does not want to wind up in the hospital any more than she has to.

I couldn't be more proud of her.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The divorce is over at last....I am at peace and without fear.  

I will share more in the days to come about God's continued provision, and some wonderful direction He gave me when I went on a recent retreat of silence and prayer.

"I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid...." Leviticus 26:6a NIV

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The divorce will be final Monday at 10 a.m.  I am surprised by the overwhelming emotions...grief, relief, fear, sadness.  I must remember that the God who has carried me through these past difficult months will continue to do so.  God, please help me have "Faith Like Potatoes!"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tenth Avenue North - Worn (with lyrics)

Divorce issues are still dragging on.  Some things have come up that have stalled the finalization.  I'm so weary.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dear Friends,

I need your prayers this week.  

Without even planning it or thinking it through, I somehow ended up with a somewhat routine cancer screening test and the divorce mediation proceedings all in the same week.  

Once you have cancer, the "routine" screenings never feel routine.  They often bring back a roller coaster of emotions, and it is hard to go through without a spouse.  Dave was always by my side for these scary appointments, and now of course, he is not.  My appointment is Monday at 5:30 p.m., so please pray for a calm spirit for me.

Then our mediation is Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.  Please, if you can, set an alarm on your phone for that time, so that I can be covered in prayer.  This is not going to be a smooth or easy process as Dave is not being very cooperative regarding his perception of our financial obligations to each other and the kids.

That being said, I do not regret marrying Dave.  Looking back with perspective, though, I realize it was an uphill battle I was never going to win.  There were a lot of warning signs from the beginning, but we did have some happy years together.  I gained some wonderful brothers-in-law and their families...we are still very close and even continue to celebrate holidays and family events together  I also have three great kids to show for it all.

The even better news is now that I am through the worst of the shock of Dave's affairs, I am so much more emotionally healthy.  For example, this time last year I was so depressed that I could hardly get my wits together to drive Heather to the downtown library to get a book for her science project.  It took all the mental energy I had just to remember how to get there…that’s how sick I was.

Today, I am helping manage a multi-million dollar budget at work, learning and understanding the manufacturing process that I purchase items for, working with and developing over 30+ suppliers, working with our quality engineers to write a supplier quality manual, evaluating and bringing in new suppliers, assisting with expense-reducing efforts and helping my work place through some very difficult financial times. 

My journalism degree, which this time last year I thought was good-for-nothing in a post-9/11 media world, has served me again and again and again in the workplace.  I have even begun a photography business on the side to help pay the bills.  All the while I have been continuing to take care of all of my crazy health needs, continuing to navigate and ever-increasingly un-patient centered medical system, applying for financial assistance whenever I can and paying the bills.

What I thought was all for nothing in my skills and education, God re-defined and re-purposed.

It makes me think of a quote I saw on a greeting card recently, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

I really did feel that way last July right before I got my job.  I was applying for rent assistance through our township trustees, utility assistance through a local social service agency, food stamps and Indiana government-provided health-care.  I was truly at the end of my rope...but as God always does, He rescued me just in time.

Please pray this week that I can rely on God with confidence.  After all, look what He has done so far.  I think I will print out this blog and re-read it throughout the week to simply remind myself of God's incredible provision for me thus far.  He has brought me this far, and I am sure, even though I feel faint at heart, that He will continue to carry me through.