Friday, September 25, 2009

Jesus Saves!

I love these words from Travis Cottrell's heart moving song, "Jesus Saves".

He will live our sorrow sharing, "Jesus saves. Jesus saves."
He will die our burden bearing, "Jesus saves. Jesus saves."
"It is done!" will shout the cross, Christ has paid redemption's cost!
While the empty tomb's declaring, "Jesus saves."

You can listen to this song here.  

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chills, Work, Life, Spice, and Everything Nice!

Random Childhood Memory #2:
Ooh, I haven't thought about this one yet.  Give me a minute.  Ok, here we go.  When I was 2, yes you heard it right, 2 years old, I lived with my parents in a small village in Papua New Guinea as they did Bible translation.  Since my mom is white, everyone in the village presumed that she knew how to deliver babies... where they got that idea, I really don't know!  Nonetheless, she faithfully made her way to the ever-so-tiny birthing hut each time a woman was in labor.  I'll never forget one particular day, she quickly left our small, tin-roof home to head to the center of the village for baby day.  I wanted to go, but she refused to let me.  So in my sneaky (or so I thought) way, I quietly pitter-pattered behind her until I reached the hut.  Since I was already there, my mom let me enter the hut, and that became my very first birth experience.  From that day on, I always wanted to be a nurse.  Never have I let that desire get away.  I'm SO happy that I became an RN!  (As a caveat, I want to quickly mention that my psychology professor in uni absolutely doesn't believe that I remember that situation.  She insists that children do not have the capability to remember anything prior to the age of four.  I highly disagree!)

Here I sit, all snuggled up in pants and a sweater, trying to arm myself from the chill in the air.  I know, I know, it's like 75 degrees outside.  But like our friend Marcus says, my body thermostat only allows for a 2 degree shift in temperature, or else it gets angry!  This has been a great day for pondering.  Bear with me as I attempt to formulate a blog post out of the seemingly random spectrum of thoughts that I have today!

So society in general escalates people with advanced degrees.  We're all aware of this I'm sure.  I don't know if my desire to excel in academia is rooted in a societal value or if I truly have a calling to pursue higher education.  For quite some time, probably the past 5 years, I have longed to return to school for a Master of Public Health degree.  Furthermore, I would like to earn my Ph.D. eventually.  Why is this?  Here's the dilemma I'm facing: I want a greater education, but I severely struggle with discipline.  If you know me well, you know that I love structure and organization; these two things keep my life void of chaos.  But I must admit that I am unable to provide that kind of environment for myself.  I always seem to need external help!  Why am I writing all of this?  I think that although I want a Ph.D, I'm not a brainiac!  And I am completely removed from leading a disciplined life!  So I wonder if this really isn't the calling God has for my life.  Let me expound even further...

In recent years, I have begun to realize the unique gifts that God has given me as a part of his body.  Though having fought it for quite some time, I am finally acknowledging AND accepting my gift of hospitality.  I think I have always thought that having said gift and using it to serve others means that I am incapable of doing a "respected" job, such as teaching at the university level, performing scientific research in a lab, getting an advanced degree, etc.  But for the very first time today (pathetic, I know, being 29 years old!), I see that the Lord has indeed called me for his service, a call that requires me to minister to my brothers and sisters hospitably.  I am starting to understand that each of us really do have different roles in life.  Obviously!  The fact of the matter is that most of us Christians say those very words, but RARELY do we live them out!  How many of you pursue seminary degrees because that is "the thing to do if you're a 'good' Christian?"  Or how many of you get higher education because that is "what you are supposed to do to get ahead in life?"  Or which one of you reading this is teaching Sunday school or leading worship or serving on the deacon board because there is a need, but you really are not gifted in that area?  Why in the world do we purse options that only give us earthly glory?  Shouldn't God be the one getting glory anyway?

All that to say, I'm actually learning that it is ok to be less educated if that means following God's call to serve in another, less academic capacity.  God has been speaking to me and softly telling me that he will equip me for the work he has called me to, and that doesn't necessarily mean equipping me through education.  Wow!  I cannot believe I'm saying this!  I want to learn how to embrace this gift.  Guess I'll keep baking, hosting parties, entertaining guests, etc.  Ahhh... this is so freeing.  SO freeing!

Do I give up my career as a nurse?  No way!  As soon as I get back on my feet, you'd better believe I'll be headed straight to the hospital to apply for a job!  Nursing in itself is a call!  But for now, I'll simply be content with my "lot" and staying at home.  I do enjoy autumn days, sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good book :)

To my few but faithful followers, thanks for reading.  I enjoy sharing my heart!




Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Out of Bed and Loving Life!

Does that title tell you anything at all about what is going on with me?

On Sunday, we were blessed to have a whopping 14 visitors come over!  Three of our Bible study couples brought their babies and lunch, and we had an awesome time of fellowship together.  Just so I don't forget, Patrick, Shelley, Matt, Karen, Joe, Maya, and babies Joshua, Lana, and Colin all descended on our home and blessed us beyond measure!  Rusty and Amanda followed shortly thereafter with their precious baby, Cadence.  We had a great time of chatting and eating some more lunch/snacks throughout the day.  Lee and Dana subsequently joined in on the party, so we had 3 couples and one baby present for dinner/dessert.  Wow!  That day plum wore me out!

But...  something special must have happened on the Sabbath.  I started to feel better when I woke up yesterday morning.  And today, my swelling has nearly disappeared!  I am praying with all hope that it doesn't return.  I have really had a rough time this go around with swelling in my ankle and foot.  I know that if the swelling returns by tomorrow afternoon when I see my surgeon, he'll put me back on bed rest.  I am praying against this!

Now, here's the deal.  I signed up to attend the intro class today for BSF.  Sometimes, or rather most times, I have to be legalistic with the activities I do or don't do, or else I compromise far too much and end up 2 steps behind.  So when I went to bed last night, I made a mental resolve that I wouldn't go to class today if said extremity was still swollen.  Now keep in mind that this fluid has plagued me for a week and a half, so I knew that all odds were against me.  Much to my delight, and surprise, I woke up to find that nearly all of the swelling was gone, and I was able to see a faint outline of my ankle bone!  Think what you will, but I KNOW that my LORD is the one who ordained this to be, and I'll tell you why.  BSF is such a wonderful study, that newcomers often get put on a waiting list, hoping to eventually receive a call that informs them that they got placed in a group.  There were quite a few of us newbies today, so I knew going in that my chances to get placed were slim.  I wasn't the only woman in my age group, but praise the LORD that I was one of the few who was matched with a group!  Goodness, being in the presence of so many godly women was a moving experience.  I will admit, I had tears in my eyes during the lesson, so grateful for the chance to learn God's word and become more intimate with him.  When I called John to tell him about BSF, I started bawling.  I am so thankful.

Since we are studying the book of John this year, I thought it would behoove me to read through the entire book prior to starting my daily lessons.  This evening I spent time reading through the first 5 chapters.  Admittedly, I could have read far more.  But I found myself spending the time to soak up new material that I have simply breezed over in the past.  Wow!  Tears overwhelmed my eyes repeatedly as I read through Christ's first few miracles.  I wanted to take a moment to share the verses that particularly struck me tonight.

In chapter 4 of the Gospel of John, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well and begins to converse with her.  Most of you know the story, but in summary, he tells her of her past sins, offers up that he is the wellspring of life, and she consequently realizes that he is the Christ whom she has heard about.  The part I love is what happens when other Samaritans in the town go to see him.

John 4:39-41

39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers.

I've highlighted the two verses that really stuck out.  It hit me that belief is often a two-fold process; someone initially sees/hears my testimony of God's grace and love, their interest is peaked, and they accordingly experience that grace and love for themselves.  What I think I love most about this is that I now have an incredible testimony to share with others!  Through everything I've had to physically endure in the past 2 years, I am now an eye-witness that can give testimony to God's faithfulness in my life.  PRAISE HIM!

What Scripture is God using to speak Truth into your life right now?  I do pray that you'll listen to his sweet words; they are life to the body indeed!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Spinning Thoughts

Random Childhood Memory #1:
While my parents were on furlough during my kindergarten year of school (they were missionaries overseas), I attended Brookdale Christian School in New Jersey.  I LOVED Thursdays because it was spaghetti day in the cafeteria.  Spaghetti is my all time favorite food, and I can still taste that particular spaghetti on my tongue today!

If you're wondering why I posted that, it's because I've decided to open each blog entry with a random childhood memory.  Please know that I'm not bragging when I say this, but I probably have a better memory of my childhood than most adults out there.  And I have decided that I want to not only keep these sweet memories fresh, but I also want to reflect on the great times I had as a child.  I somehow think that doing this might keep my spirits up!

Well, life goes on, doesn't it?  When you're stuck in bed, it still goes on, just at a seemingly slower pace.  I've started allowing myself the opportunity to get up at least once during the day to take time away from my bed and my ice machine.  Yesterday I ventured out to Massage Envy for my bi-monthly massage.  Now, don't be jealous, because the massages I get are for therapeutic purposes only, and I promise that they are anything but enjoyable.  It didn't take much convincing for my husband to allow me to get a membership to said spa.  As a result of all the knee surgeries I've had, my lower back has taken a major beating, so I have to get the rough patches worked out every several weeks.  Since we've moved back to Dallas, I have yet to find a great therapist.  Any recommendations?  Let me know!  Today we got out for our nephew's birthday party and John's family dinner.  My sweet John toted my ice machine around so that I could participate in the fun.  Actually, I spent the majority of my time sitting on the couch with my leg propped up, but the change of scenery was just what the doctor ordered (not really, but I'm trying to convince myself that it is)!

I just have to say that being disabled isn't always a bad thing.  Pretty soon, I'll post my ever-lengthening list of reasons it can be of benefit to me.  Give me some time; I'm still working on it!  Anyway, I am really enjoying the time I have to think.  When you are well and leading a normal life, you have to make yourself take time out of the day to think, pray, read the Bible, spend time with God, etc.  But when you're in a situation like mine, there is no making time... you already have all the time you need!  I can guarantee you that virtually all of my days are spent thinking.  And I'm taking full advantage of it!

A few random thoughts...  1.) Have you ever watched HGTV?  That channel is in the running, along with TLC and Discovery Health, for being my favorite TV channel.  Funny, isn't it... seeing as how we don't even own a television!  I've been looking around this condo lately, noticing all the small and big things that need to be done, like finishing the bathroom updates, painting the crown molding and doors, decorating, and the list goes on.  I am SO overwhelmed, because in this current physical state, I can't do anything at all to make this into a home!  Do you ever wish that HGTV would just show up at your door one day, send you on vacation, and fix up and decorate your entire place?  Sheesh... I am dreaming this to happen!  2.) We live on the first floor, in a very elongated condo.  Above us, there are 2 separate condos, each with its square footage divided into 2 floors.  So essentially, Mr. M resides above our main living area, and Ms. L resides above our bedrooms.  It seems ironic to me that both of these neighbors are insomniacs!  We have the great pleasure of hearing their footsteps all night long.  So I'm currently listening to Ms. L prance around her living room while watching TV.  Oh the joys of condo living!  3.) I didn't fall asleep until 2am this morning.  Looks like I'm headed in that same direction tonight.  Yesterday was understandable; today, definitely not.  After making it almost a week without pain medicine, I broke down and had to take one pill tonight.  You'd think that I'd be asleep by now with that potent narcotic on board... but I'm not!  What is going on?  Guess I'll be waking John up to pray that I'll fall asleep.  For some reason, that ALWAYS works like a charm!

I am really praising God that having this time away from work is allowing me the chance to join BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)!  My childhood is filled with memories of my mother attending BSF each week and diligently studying the Word.  I want to be a God-seeker like my mother was.  What an example she was to me!  Looks like I'll be spending my Tuesday mornings in fellowship with other like-minded women.  I'm also excited to get out and meet new ladies.  As much as I love my girlfriends from church, I really do need different women to intimately share my life with.  Thank you LORD!

Ok, I'd say this is getting out of hand.  It is time for bed!  As my grandfather, Billdad, always says, "Goodnight, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!"


Friday, September 18, 2009


My dear friend, Paul, was taken to the hospital yesterday after being sick all week.  They discovered that his appendix ruptured and formed an abscess.  In surgery in the wee hours of this morning, his appendix and part of his colon was removed.  PLEASE PRAY for complete healing and that he would not develop any internal or septic infections!  Please also pray for Heather, his wife, as she has to stay by his side and care for him.  Pray for his precious daughters, Brianna and Ashleigh, as they see their daddy go through this trial.  May our God give them peace today!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte Please

Yes indeed, that's exactly what I ordered at Starbucks today... a pumpkin spice latte!  It's my first one of the season; the first of many to come I'm sure.  I love it when this coffee chain giant rolls out it's autumn and winter blends.  Paired with the gloomy and cool weather, this coffee ushers Autumn in with style!  As a reward for my first therapy session post-surgery, John agreed to let me enjoy a hint of the season by taking me to Starbucks for a short time.  It was fabulous!  My leg was just about killing me, but I took advantage of the fact that we were already out and about.  Getting up, dressed, and out of the house is a major chore, so I figured I may as well get it out of my system now.  So glad I did!

When we got home, we followed our time up with an amazing movie.  If you haven't already seen "The Ultimate Gift", it is a must-watch!  Trust me ladies (and men too :), you don't want to miss this moving story!

Before the movie, I had goose bumps just thinking about all the things I wanted to write today.  Of course, here I am now, puzzled over the fact that I can't quite take myself back to the emotions that I was feeling... darn it!

I've really been pondering the wonderful gifts that God has given me.  I'm not talking about spiritual gifts but rather referring to the blessings that are affecting my life right now.  I won't go so far as to say that all the surgeries I've had are blessings in and of themselves, but I cannot deny that the blessings that have come about as a result of all this are incredible and just what I need.  First off, we have an amazing health insurance company that covers virtually all of my bills completely.  I'll probably be worth half a million in insurance claims alone by the end of the year, but I have paid almost nothing for the coverage.  Thank you Jesus!  

I also think about the things I'm learning, the character that is being built in me.  I think about the fact that I have a greater understanding of what many of my patients go through.  I'm learning long-suffering.  I'd like to believe I'm learning patience too.  And I'm learning to depend on God.  I'm seeing the world through a different set of lenses, truly.  Life is better for me, it really is.  I take delight in the smallest things in life now.  I'm more content.  My hope is strong and steadfast.  A mountain could be moved by the faith I've grown.  I see God's goodness in most every situation, even those that seem unbearable.  God is so much more to me now.  God is everything. 

And where do I begin when I talk about our family and friends?  We have received visitor after visitor, meal after meal, prayer after prayer, and we keep receiving!  Admittedly, far less people have come to visit this time around, which has been hard.  I think some of our support system is a bit tired of supporting.  I have to pray myself through this one.  I don't like being on the receiving end anymore than anyone else does.  Trust me, I would be up volunteering around town if I could.  Sometimes I get down when I see that people are worn out from serving us.  I guess I should expect that, but I honestly don't want to.  I want to believe that no matter how long a brother or sister suffers, I would be there the whole way.  But who knows.  Maybe I would falter too.  I often want to scream and shout "It's not like I chose this life!"  Hmmm... why does all this make me sad?  I went from talking about how great things are for me to what makes me hurt.  Guess that's the roller coaster ride I'm on right now.

Thanks for sticking around to read the ups and downs.  That's life, right?!

Mostly Up, Occasionally Down,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pink Ribbons and God's Goodness

Do you see that pink ribbon off to the right side of this page?  Take a look at that right quick and the memo posted below it, if you would.  That ribbon represents the battle that my Aunt Maureen fought to survive breast cancer and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure that John and I will be participating in next month.  That's right folks, I will be "racing" for the cure on October 17!  I know you're wondering how I'll be able to do such a thing.  Well, I'll be humbly riding in my wheelchair as John, and hopefully others, will help me wheel the road and cross the finish line to celebrate the courage that it took for Aunt Maureen to fight and the courage that every other woman who has breast cancer takes to fight this horrible disease.  If you click on that ribbon, you'll be directed to our team page (I'm the captain) where you can either make a financial donation or join our team.  I would LOVE for our friends and family to join us in this race!  Would you please consider donating or racing with us?  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and each year I send a gift to Aunt Maureen.  This year I have chosen to race in her honor as the gift for 2009.  Please help me make a substantial donation in her honor to help other women fight!  If you join our team, you'll get a t-shirt, delicious brunch on us, and of course the gratifying experience of making a difference!  Feel free to email me if you have questions at

Well, life as I know it continues in boredom.  I'm forced to stay in bed 24 hours a day, hooked up to this wonderful ice machine.  I say wonderful because that is exactly what it is!  Anytime I get up for more than 5 minutes, the heat from the wound radiates and makes my knee feel quite uncomfortable.  I have grown to love this machine!  I don't necessarily appreciate the horizontal position I spend my days in, but having the constant flow of ice water is so soothing.  I do, however, appreciate the time that I have to think about life, ponder on God's goodness, and meditate on His Word.  I confess that I have spent relatively little time in Scripture compared to the amount of time I've spent in bed.  LORD, help me to seek you FIRST!  He is SO good to us, isn't He?  I've spent the day with Aunt Dari, and we've had a considerable amount of time to talk.  I love the pearls of wisdom that she offers in our spiritual talks.  She told me about a situation in her life where, after doubting God's goodness, she finally realized that believing anything except what God says in His Word is believing a lie or lies.  Wow!  That hit me head on!  She is so right.  When we allow ourselves to be jaded by the bad things that happen to us or to those we love, we sometimes start to believe the lies that God doesn't love us and that He isn't good.  But the reality is that He is exactly who He says He is.  We can count on His promises to be true for us ALL the time.  The fact of the matter is that God is good!  This has been especially poignant for me as I've dealt with long-lasting, severe pain and struggle through surgery after surgery.  There was a time this year when I felt abandoned by God, but I now understand that my feelings were independent of God.  He loves me, cares about me, and always extends the mercies that I need to make it through each day and each struggle.  I praise the LORD that the battle is His, and the enemy will NOT win!  PRAISE GOD!!!

Ok, now I've got to get back to watching "Amazing Grace"! 
Peace to You- Jessie

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Little Visitors

In the past 2 days, I've had visits from 2 "little visitors"!  Yes, my friends are bringing their babies to see me, and I am loving it!  Little Elliott brought dinner last night and played with us, and sweet Kate dropped by this afternoon.  I absolutely loved holding Kate while she smiled at me and then slept on my chest.  It was so precious!  I can't wait until it is my turn to have babies!  For all of you out there who read this, feel free to bring your babies and toddlers for a visit... I can't get enough!

Well I got out of bed for about an hour last night so I could spend some time with Ollie, Michelle, and Elliott.  Though I was sitting in a chair, I had my leg propped up on pillows.  Guess that wasn't such a good idea.  My leg swelled up like a balloon, and I cannot get the fluid down!  So I'm back to staying in bed all day long with my leg propped on pillows and the ice machine hooked up.  What a boring life!  At least the sun has decided to come out, and I have beautiful daisies in view.  I'm also sending out bids for the business.  Send anyone our way who needs home remodeling!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Little Bit Snappy

Well faithful prayer warriors, yet another request has been favorably answered!  Just yesterday I asked you to specifically pray that the insurance company would not deny any claims related to my transplant.  I guess the answer is somewhat indirect, but the news is that they approved the surgery today!  This is a huge answer to prayer, and let me tell you why that is.  This particular procedure is very expensive and still considered to be somewhat experimental by many insurance companies.  When we first met my new surgeon, he asked us if we would be willing to pay out of pocket if the claim was denied.  But over the course of the conversation, he changed gears and said that he would do everything in his power to get this covered for me.  That's when he told me that this surgery would be my last hope of having an active life.  Before he walked out of the room, he assured me that I shouldn't worry, he would make sure they paid for it.  What a relief that they received the request last week and have already approved it!  Apparently this never happens so quickly and smoothly.  On Saturday night, as John and I sat in bed, enjoying the rain, I was overwhelmed with a divine peace.  I felt assured in my heart that evening that I really didnt have to worry.  Praise God!

On a much different note, the further out I get from surgery, the less pain meds I have to take, which means I'm more coherent and able to think.  All this sitting in bed and thinking gets me wound up.  I look around the condo, and all I see is a mess that I can't clean up.  I'm feeling so out of control in my life right now, and it is driving me crazy!  I find myself snapping at John about the smallest things.  But I realize that what it all boils down to is that I feel out of control.  Ahhh!!!  I so wish I could get up, clean up, exercise, shop, run the business, etc.  But I can't, and that is eating me up!  Please pray about this!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thanks for praying!  I can't say that enough, can you tell?!
The past few days at home have been quite rough on both John and I.  Obviously for me, I have dealt with an incredible amount of pain.  This has definitely been the most difficult surgery as far as discomfort goes.  John sweetly reminded me that cutting a section out of my femur bone and replacing it isn't exactly a walk in the park.  Was he ever right!  Even with the nerve block (which I removed today), the pain was basically unbearable and out of control up until this afternoon.  I am finally starting to feel relief when I take my pain meds this evening.  I'm looking forward to sleeping better tonight!  I generally get extremely nauseated, but this time around has been significantly better.  The anesthesiologist gave me a new pill prior to surgery that did wonders!  My head is spinning and my stomach swirling a bit tonight, but I'm not complaining!  And John has had to deal with me!  As always, he is amazing!!!  Since I'm only allowed out of bed to use the restroom, he makes all the food, helps me do my PT, gets up with me at night, and the list goes on.  The sump pump has to be filled with ice cold water at all times, so he is constantly making big ice blocks and changing out the water.  What a man!  He is truly my champion!

Both of our mothers brought food over yesterday, so that gave John a break from meal preparation today.  What would we do without the moms?  My mom also washed all the dishes (which were piling up!) and who knows what else!  We are so grateful to have our family in town to help.  This road is too difficult to walk alone!  Apparently John has arranged for a babysitter to come watch me tomorrow while he works... thanks Aunt Dari!

God is constantly showing His faithfulness to me.  How do people survive this life without Him?  Keep praying in any way you feel led.  Please also start praying that our insurance would not deny any claim related to this surgery!  I have a complete peace in my heart about this, but I know that we need to pray against Satan's schemes to destroy us, and this is a way he can do that!

I'm Pressing On! -Jessie

Who has understood the mind of the LORD?

Isaiah 40:11-14; 25-31

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
       He gathers the lambs in his arms 
       and carries them close to his heart; 
       he gently leads those that have young.

 12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, 
       or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? 
       Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, 
       or weighed the mountains on the scales 
       and the hills in a balance?

 13 Who has understood the mind of the LORD, 
       or instructed him as his counselor?

 14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, 
       and who taught him the right way? 
       Who was it that taught him knowledge 
       or showed him the path of understanding?

25 "To whom will you compare me? 
       Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

 26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: 
       Who created all these? 
       He who brings out the starry host one by one, 
       and calls them each by name. 
       Because of his great power and mighty strength, 
       not one of them is missing.

 27 Why do you say, O Jacob, 
       and complain, O Israel, 
       "My way is hidden from the LORD; 
       my cause is disregarded by my God"?

 28 Do you not know? 
       Have you not heard? 
       The LORD is the everlasting God, 
       the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
       He will not grow tired or weary, 
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

 29 He gives strength to the weary 
       and increases the power of the weak.

 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, 
       and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD 
       will renew their strength. 
       They will soar on wings like eagles; 
       they will run and not grow weary, 
       they will walk and not be faint.

WOW!!!  Does reading this passage give you chills?  I sure get goose bumps as I read this!  I hand-picked these specific verses from Isaiah 40.  Of course all the words in that passage are good, but these in particular speak to my heart.  Can I take a minute to briefly explain what each portion means to me?

v.11: I absolutely love knowing that God cares for me so much, that He scoops me up, as though I'm a fragile lamb, and comforts me in the gentleness of His arms.  I feel SO safe as I read this.

v.12-14: Why in the world do I ever question God?  As if He doesn't have a clue about what I'm suffering through or what is going on in the world?  HE is the ONE who sees from horizon to horizon, put the stars in their place, etc.  I only have the ability to see myself and how my suffering affects me.  He, however, sees everything going on with me and around me, and He knows what intricate things need to happen to carry out His plan.  Yes, it is SO hard to suffer like this, but maybe, just maybe, this struggle will be for His glory.  Maybe friends and strangers will come to know the LORD through my pain.  IMAGINE!!!  Oh I pray that my life would be a testimony to His mercy, love, and compassion (3 things I have really been receiving from him lately)!

v.25: Enough said!

v.26-27: Well if I ever thought that God had forgotten about me (and believe me I have!), these verses dispel that craziness!  I admit that there have been times when I have felt abandoned by my LORD, as if He had no regard for my suffering and pain.  If God knows the starry host and calls them each by name, why ever would He forget me?  I am far more valuable than they!  What a reminder that no part of me is hidden from Him; NOTHING!  

v.28-31: Do I even need to explain myself here?  I will stop to say that my favorite part of this section is this: "Do you not know?  Have you not heard?"  I love how that gets my attention and reminds me that my God is everlasting and NEVER grows tired nor weary.  I am SO tired and weary, and I often feel as though I can't go on.  But my God IS my portion and my strength.  And with a secure hope, I know that one day I will "RUN and not grow weary!"

Does this Scripture bring you to tears?  My tears are ever-flowing when I stop and meditate on God's love for me.  I know that most of you reading this are not in situations even similar to mine, so you may not be as moved right now as I am.  In the midst of this storm, I am so thankful that I do have a secure hope.  I can feel my Father's arms embracing me right now, rocking me, and comforting me.  I know that everything will work out for my good.  Thank you Jesus!

What does this mean for you?  I do know that when trials come your way, and you are barely able to hold on, the LORD wants to be your strength, and He will if you allow Him to be.  He loves you and cares about you more than your mind and heart could even begin to imagine.  I believe He takes delight in showing compassion to His children.  I know that He stores up our tears in a bottle; they are SO precious to Him!  Will you let Him be your strength and your portion?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"The LORD your God is with you, 
  he is mighty to save. 
  He will take great delight in you, 
  he will quiet you with his love, 
  he will rejoice over you with singing."

 -Zephaniah 3:17


So I've basically realized that blogging is a great thing to do while recovering from surgery... it distracts me from the pain!  This time around is by far the most painful out of all the surgeries I've been through.  Even with my nerve block and the narcotics, I'm still in severe pain.  Yes, I had to stop trying to suck it up and give in to those darn pain meds.  Not too happy about it, but I realized that I just couldn't go another hour without some relief.  Night time is the absolute worst.  Like clock work, I wake up every 2 hours, nearly on the dot, to take my meds.  I hope this ends soon!  My nerve block gets removed tomorrow, which I'm so not excited about.  I can't even imagine what the pain will be like without that.  Seriously, it is a 10 out of 10 right now.  How can it get any worse?!

I have this cool sump pump ice cooler that is connected to my knee 24 hours a day.  It basically takes freezing cold ice water, pumps it up through a tube, circulates it around my knee, and then returns it back to the cooler.  So much nicer than a standard ice pack, but it is a pain to disconnect and reconnect when I have to get up to use the restroom.  That's really the only time I'm allowed out of bed for the first 4 days.  Oh well, it's not like I'm comfortable enough to be hobbling around the condo anyway! 

Have I mentioned how much I feel like a newborn these days?  I've spent time with Chad and Lesley and their precious angel, Emily, the past few weeks, and I'm seeing some striking similarities between the two of us.  Maybe that means we'll be best buds :)  Seriously, I'm 100% dependent on others to do EVERYTHING for me.  First off, I'm forbidden to get out of bed alone.  I can't prepare my own food, I need help getting dressed, and I can't even bathe myself on my own!  Talk about losing your modesty... mine has flown right out the window!  So Little Munchkin, we're in this together!  

Hopefully I'll be well distracted today with the visitors that are coming.  Mom and Dad are only allowed to come if they bring me my Mexican fix!  And when Scottie comes, I think I'll have him run by Natsumi and get me a cup of my favorite fro-yo!  He's bringing his new girlfriend along, so I'm thinking he's trying to get brownie points from his big sis!  I must admit that what I see in her so far, I do like.  That is saying a lot if you know me.  I don't know how many girls I have ever really liked for my brothers.  Guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.  My favorite thing about said girlfriend is that she is Honduran!  The extended Sage family seems to be quite international.  One cousin married a Thai, one married an East Indian, I married Chinese, and well, we'll see about the brothers!

Are you tired of reading yet?  I still have so much to say!  I guess I'll leave my sentiments for a later post.  I am hoping to post pics soon, but in the move, I somehow misplaced my camera cord.  I do have some cool pics of all the garb that adorns me right now!

Thanks for your prayers!  I can't say it enough because I know just how powerful your prayers are!  I may not have received miraculous healing, but I do believe that God is using Western medicine and surgery to heal my damaged body.  I'm so thankful that I live in a country where I have access to amazing docs and cutting edge procedures.  When this is all over, I'll have great scars linked with good stories of God's faithfulness to me through my trials.  I'll write more on this later, but I wanted to quickly mention that the bone and cartilage that was donated is beautiful!  The pictures taken inside my knee show how young and healthy this tissue is.  In saying that, I know that my donor was probably a young teenager.  I knew that they only take young tissue, but seeing the pics was a reality check for me.  I am so thankful for the family that chose to donate their loved one's organs.  Please stop and pray for this precious family today.  I don't know who they are or where they live, but I want the peace of MY Savior to touch them this week as they mourn the passing of their child or sibling.  I know that I will also be praying for their salvation.  That is the most important prayer I could offer up for them.

In MY Savior's Peace,

Friday, September 11, 2009

So I'm not feeling as good as I thought.  I basically feel like I just got hit by a Mack Truck.  I'm in excruciating pain now.  Feel free to pray as you are led.  Now is a great time for intercession!

I'm Home...

...and I'm feeling great!  As big as this surgery was, I'm doing incredibly well.  I have the nerve block in (I'll post pics of it later), so that has completely numbed the front side of my leg and knee.  But I am having severe lower back pain and throbbing pain through the back of my knee and leg.  Please join us in praying for relief!  Although, now that I think about it, the pain is probably a good thing because it keeps me from trying to get up and around when I shouldn't.  The hospital is only 4 miles from our condo, and to get home, we pass World Market.  For those of you that have been to our home, you know that it is furnished with World Market products, and you probably know that it is my all time favorite store!  I seriously tried to get John to stop there on the way home so we could shop!  We did have my wheelchair, and since I was feeling ok, I thought it would be nice to have an outing.  Needless to say, that didn't go over too well!  Thank goodness I have a reasonably minded husband, and the store still had 15 more minutes before it opened.  What was I thinking?

I'm coughing quite a bit from the breathing tube that was in my trachea during surgery.  Drinking tons of water, mainly to soothe my sore throat and also to help get things moving, if you know what I mean ;)  I'm trying to stay away from the narcotics and just take OTC medication for the pain.  I absolutely hate the horrible things narcotics do to the body!  My bedside table is stocked with my favorite things... sweet cinnamon pumpkin body lotion, vanilla lip balm, and the best ever candle from B&B works!  My room is feeling and smelling like autumn, even though the outside temperatures don't!

I'm expecting my parents to come for a visit this weekend to bring my favorite Mexican food!  This is the very first time that I got my appetite back right away after surgery, so I'm really enjoying eating!  I'm not allowed to get out of bed without help, and I can't bear any weight for at least the next 4 weeks!  But I'm hopeful that it will be worth it and I'll be back on my feet soon.  I am SO ready to walk again!

Well, I'm pretty tired, so I'd better go.  Feel free to come visit anytime!  

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Prayer for Salvation

I'm currently awake, waiting for my IV antibiotics to be hung, so I thought I'd make a quick post.  Being in bed gives a person lots of time to think.  Believe it or not, I have the ability to deeply reflect on things, even when I've got heavy meds on board.  Right now I'm thinking about my current surgeon and my past surgeon.  The one I have been seeing, who performed 5 out of the 7 surgeries, doesn't know the Lord, and is actually quite against the Christian church.  Throughout my time under her care, I tried to bring a positive attitude with me each time I saw her.  I was always real with her, carefully exposing my heart.  I prayed, and prayed, and prayed for her salvation.  I consistently prayed for the perfect time to share my beliefs with her.  You see, her opposition is so strong, that bluntly speaking Truth to her doesn't work.  I would always manage to slip comments in about my strong faith as we conversed.  I even got friends and family fervently praying for her salvation.  But the ripe time never came for me to intimately share with her.  I have since moved on and chosen a different surgeon, but she is still on my heart.  I love her so dearly and desire for her to experience the same joy that I have in my relationship with my Father and Redeemer.  At this point, I'm realizing that maybe God's plan was for me to sow the seed and another to reap the harvest.  I surely pray that to be the case.  Obviously I know that all believers are called to share the Gospel with those who don't know the Lord.  No matter what culture we live in, it is still our responsibility to do that.  But I also know that we must be culturally sensitive in our approach.  In China and in Africa, I could often say exactly what I wanted to and it would be received.  But in America today, that just doesn't seem to be the case.  The manner in which we present the Gospel should be catered to culture.  No, we are never to present a washed-out Truth, but we are to speak with sensitivity.  So, all that to say, I hope that my life was Christ's light to her.  Pray with me if you will.  I long for her to know my Healer!

After much prayer and counsel from my elders, I decided to change surgeons.  I was feeling limited with my aformentioned doc.  Clearly, my options were limited to only 2 surgeries anyway, but I felt I needed to see someone with more experience.  So now I'm seeing the #1 rated orthopaedic knee surgeon in the metroplex, Dr. Robert Scheinberg.  Wow!  This man is amazing!  He is absolutely intelligent and yet so sensitive at the same time.  Unlike many other surgeons, he doesn't try to make decisions for me.  He presents the data, the case, and his opinion.  But he leaves the final decision up to me.  I like that.  His bedside manner is incomparable to most docs in his profession.  Above all, he is so incredibly caring and sympathetic.  As you know, this is hard to find.  Despite my attempt to hold back the tears, I cried during my first visit with him.  He was so gentle and kind, and demonstrated such care for my feelings and my pain.  Both John and I are perfectly content with him.  I am praising the Lord for opening the doors that allowed me to see him and to get this transplant done expediently.  If you're interested in hearing the story, I will gladly share what a miracle it was in getting in so quickly to see him and getting my transplant so quickly as well.  It was nothing less than the hand of God putting EVERY single thing into place.  I love to share the story to show God's faithfulness to me!

As I go home tomorrow, please pray for comfort.  I really need it!  And pray for John, my champion.  He needs an extra measure of patience to deal with me and my high-maintenance self!  Thank you God for giving this special man to me!

Keep praying! 

I'm Alive :)

It is SO hard to type when you're drugged up!  Therefore, I'll make this short :)
Surgery went well according to my husband's report.  I'm looking forward to speaking with my surgeon in the morning to find out all the details.  The pics are pretty darn awesome, and I honestly think this will be the last surgery on the left knee.  It's kind of weird knowing that I have the parts someone else inside of me!  I have this super cool nerve block hooked up to my leg that I get to take home with me and use until next week.  Just hope I don't accidentally yank it out!  Already getting up to use the bathroom, already fell doing that, but overall doing better than previous major surgeries.  Thank goodness the bed caught my fall!  Having nausea and dizziness of course.  The pain isn't so fun, but tolerable if I just sit still and don't move.  I'm paler than a snowman!  Ok, guess I'd better go.  Viewing the computer screen does turn my stomach!
Thanks for your prayers!

Surgery Update

Jessie is out of surgery and doing well.  There was a lot of fixing to do and the transplant was bigger than planned.  She got a wonderful nerve block that she'll go home with for pain control.  Please pray for pain and nausea relief.
The staff here is very good and she has an amazing surgeon.  Praise God for His provision!
Keep praying with us for complete healing!  We hope this will be the last surgery.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tomorrow is D-Day!  I'll be at Texas Institute for Surgery at Presbyterian Dallas.  I'm actually quite excited to have my surgery at this state-of-the-art facility.  I have heard nothing but amazing things about the nursing staff, so hopefully my stay will be more pleasant than previous inpatient stays.  Feel free to come visit if you'd like.  I can't promise that I'll remember you came, seeing as how my memory from past surgeries has served me right less than 10% of the time.  But John enjoys the company... it keeps him from boredom!  And if you need a good laugh, I'm sure my drugged-up self can provide some comic relief!

THANK YOU for praying!  I am at this very place today because of your faithfulness!


What is hard for someone...

I've been meditating today on so many things.  I think that's what you do when you're anxiously waiting for something big to happen in life.  As I got into bed last night, I vowed to sleep in today.  But as I awoke early this morning, I was so restless just thinking about all the things that need to be done prior to 8am tomorrow.  So I jumped out of bed and began doing little things here and there to take my mind off of the inevitable.  John reprimanded me for that and demanded that I sit on the couch with him and enjoy my cup of coffee.  Thanks John!  I SO needed that 10 minutes of rest.

So, what's been going through my head today?  Namely an appreciation for what good things in life I do have, rather than what I don't have.  Quite contrary to my previous post indeed!  When I start to get down about my "lot" (as I like to refer to my current situation), it always helps to think about what "could" be!  Imagine being paralyzed.  No, I cannot even begin to fathom the difficulty that brings.  Having knee problems is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to paralysis!  Or cancer.  I cannot imagine trying to deal with physical pain and the prospect of dying all at the same time.  My lot is SO much better than that.  Thank you God for giving me something lighter to bear!  

Now, let me pause to say that I in no way am discounting my pain.  I do have a huge struggle in life right now.  I think this is the thorn in my flesh.  I've realized this year that what is hard for someone is hard for them.  Yes, I said it!  I have repeatedly had to defend myself to others.  I can't figure this out.  I have endured (yes, endured) 6 surgeries and now am going for another, and I still get questioned about my struggle, as if I'm lazy or not really in pain.  Is this a rant?  Partially.  But I present it mostly to say that through this rough spot, I am learning to have compassion on people whom I once thought were faking it or making a mountain out of a mole hill.  This lesson alone has proven my struggle worth it.  Imagine a nurse without compassion.  There are too many out there today, but I can say that I understand my patients now!  

What is hard for someone is hard for them!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quick Update

The tissue we thought was a match last week ended up not being one.  But we found out this morning that there is a new match, so I'll be going to surgery on Thursday!  Thanks for your prayers!  Wow, God answered so quickly!  John will post updates on here.  Stay tuned!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Ok, so I'm struggling with contentment today.  It always seems so silly to me that I complain in my heart about my "lot" in life.  It's silly because God never fails to provide everything I need and so much of what I want, and yet I rarely credit Him for allowing me to enjoy so many things in life.  To be perfectly frank, it is ONLY by the unmatched grace of God that I am alive, mostly well, and enjoying my days on Earth.  What this discontent spirit of mine all boils down to is that we as humans always want more.  The more we get, the more we want, right?  At least that seems to be the trend for me.  I gripe about the fact that John isn't making money, so what does God do?... opens the door for him to start his second business.  I complain that I don't have a stable home to nest in, so what does God provide?... a condo.  And of course, I daily whine about my current inability to walk and heal.  So again, what does God allow?... an expedited appointment with the #1 knee surgeon in DFW and a subsequent placement on the transplant list.  I could go on, but the last thing I want is for this blog to capture the negativity that consumes my mind so often.     

The fact of the matter is that while I'm in the "desert" season of life, God is still God, and He still cares about me far more than I could ever imagine.  The lyrics of a fairly new song couldn't say it better.  I have highlighted the awesome lines!

"Desert Song"
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain
I will rejoice!
I will declare!
God is my victory and He is here!

And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing!
I have a reason to worship!

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be empited again
The seed I've recieved I will sow

I love how these words articulate just what I need to do...  In EVERY season, I have a reason to worship my God!  By no means does this discount the pain that I encounter, but consistently praising God does help me to endure!  What an incredible reminder for me!

Yes, life is so hard right now.  I am feeling so down, and some days I don't think I'll make it.  But as I read Scripture, I am forced to meditate on His goodness in my life.  I LOVE that the Bible so clearly states that "He rejoices over you with singing!"  That alone is enough to get me through each day, even when it seems completely unbearable.  

I should find out no later than tomorrow if the possible match is actually a true match.  I'm praying against all odds that it is and that I'll be in surgery on Wednesday.  Words could not even begin to express the urgency my heart feels as I long to be past this stage in life!  Please let it happen this week God!

I'm trying to figure out how to get this song to play as the blog loads.  Anybody know how to do that?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I'm Pressing On!

Thanks for joining me on this journey, one that takes me in and out of the hospital, physical therapy, and down many other paths.

I’m doing this blog for me.  Yes, that’s right, for me!  I never want to forget or become complacent about my experiences over the past 2 years.  Wow!  Has it really been that long?  As I think back, I’m reminded how I often felt I couldn’t physically go another day.  And yet somehow, here I am.  Sounds cliche, but is it ever true... God is good!  There is no way on Earth that I would have been able to endure what I have without the mercies of the Lord extended to me each and every day.  So often I have to consciously remind myself that just as God provided manna for the Israelites as they roamed the desert, so does he daily provide for my every need.  WOW!  He has been AMAZING in my life!  Scripture after Scripture shows His unfailing love and faithfulness to us.  I am here today to say from first-hand experience that He is EVERYTHING He says He is!  No promise He has given us ever goes unfulfilled.  Thank you Jesus!

I have walked (sort-of) this road with a host of family and friends beside me, cheering me on.  Actually, I’ve often been carried down this road, for my load has been far too much for one person to bear alone.  My precious John has carried me across the river, through the valley, and all the way up to the mountain top.  And here he stands, armed and ready to continue the path ahead.  I don’t know how he does it!  He has been my champion through it all, and he still looks me in the eye every day and tells me that he’s right here beside me!  THANK YOU GOD for providing my husband!  My sweet John amazes me!  Anybody that can put up with me has to be wonderful!

The history- Four surgeries on the left knee including a cartilage implant and microfracture- FAILED!  Two surgeries on the right knee including cartilage implant- going strong!  So now I’m on the transplant list, waiting for a bone and cartilage transplant.  I got a call on Thursday saying that they think they have a match for me!  Here it is on Saturday, and I'm still waiting for that call.  Please, Lord, let it be soon!

My friend Eva reminded me of this scripture yesterday evening.  Is it ever true!

"But now, this is what the LORD says— 
       he who created you, O Jacob, 
       he who formed you, O Israel: 
       "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; 
       I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

 2 When you pass through the waters, 
       I will be with you; 
       and when you pass through the rivers, 
       they will not sweep over you. 
       When you walk through the fire, 
       you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."   

     -Isaiah 43:1-2

I praise my Lord that He never leaves me to walk this road alone!  May I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, my Maker!