Saturday, July 1, 2017

Thank you my beloved friends for your prayers and encouragement.  I feel God's power every single day as I am "surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1).

I am now 5 months post-ostomy surgery and am doing well.  I am participating in an ostomy support group at our local hospital, and it is time of great encouragement with new-found friends of all ages and backgrounds.  Soon I will participate in peer counseling training with the United Ostomy Association of America (UOAA) to guide others going through similar surgeries.  I've been in physical therapy, and I am back on my bike and out walking and doing yoga as often as I can.

The exercise is, of course, good for me, and it also is a great stress reliever for all that is going on at my job.  My pending layoff will be sometime September-December, and I will receive a 60-day notice.  Once I am laid off I will be working with WorkOne, our state employment office, to determine the best use of government-funded benefits for displaced American workers along with the best use of my company severance package.

Our workload is immense, although that will likely dwindle when more work transfers out.  Our team has no idea how and whom and when each of us will be laid off.  While this is difficult, most of of have a great spirit of teamwork and get along well.  My co-workers and I are struggling with a particular situation, and I would greatly appreciate your prayers. God knows the details, and for me to divulge anymore would be simply gossip, so please pray as you are led.

I have a great opportunity to show extraordinary servanthood in the face of these many obstacles.  Many of my friends outside of work are extremely concerned about my work load and long response is to not comment about the difficulties, but instead I ask for prayer for wisdom and a servant heart.  Why give power to the negative situations by speaking of them?  I can't change the difficult situations, but I can change my response and my mindset to them.  I complete my MBA in Public Health Administration in December, 2017, and Heather graduates from high school in June, 2018, so I am simply forging ahead and trusting God's timing for new employment.

Heather is feeling much better...thank you Jesus! We discovered no further problems with her heart and discovered a misdiagnosis of narcolepsy.  She is off all fibromyalgia and narcolepsy medication, and she recently completed three weeks of summer P.E.  She has finally embraced the fact that low-impact exercise helps her fibromyalgia immensely.  Like all diabetics, she is frequently in contact with her doctor to make necessary insulin adjustments.  It is frustrating at times for her for sure, but it is a frustration that we can live with...after all, in another place and time her health situation would be far more serious.  I thank God everyday for her dad's great health insurance and access to health care.  Is that likely to change given the current healthcare landscape?  Probably.  Changes that are coming may affect me as well.  However, I choose to not live in fear and remain confident in God's provision.

In the midst of all of this stuff of life, a dear and beloved friend of mine lost her teenage son in a car accident recently.  I took time off work to attend the viewing and the funeral.  My friend's and her family's strength and trust in God's beloved plan for them have been amazing.  There were so many people at the Christ-filled viewing that I waited four hours in line to see her.  Their family's spiritual impact on the their community was so evident.

My friend is a rock for sure, and I would not be where I am as a Christian without her discipleship of my stubborn heart in high school and throughout college and beyond.  I am in communication with her and with her husband through texts and phone calls, and when the time is right, will visit.  I pray that I can be used to sustain them in the tough moments, weeks, months, and years ahead.

In recent months I have also ministered to a friend whose young adult daughter died from a brain tumor, prayed for my brother-in-law who has miraculously gone into remission for pancreatic cancer, ministered to my physical therapist whose wife is undergoing brain surgery for a non-cancerous tumor who will likely face a lifetime of surgeries as the tumor will return, and prayed for and supported a beloved couple dealing with the devastating effects of Stage 4 melanoma.  It all makes my pending unemployment and a new ostomy minimal trials for sure.

My prayer is that these trials will bring me, my precious Heather, and my beloved friends to the Healer of our souls.  This amazing testimony says it all!