Wednesday, July 27, 2011
those of you who want to view Becca's funeral, but just aren't able to make it physically, here is the link to watch it live:
The website is www.saylorvillebaptist.com
Be forewarned, there will be commercials popping up that the church has no control over.
time: July 28th, 1:00 p.m. (central time)
*when you get to the website click "resources" then click "live."
Monday, July 25, 2011
Tribute: A gift, statement, testimonial, etc. that shows gratitude, respect, or honor. Praise.
This is my tribute to Rebecca Joy Rankin (Founder of The Cracked Pot) and the life that she enhanced all about her while she lived on this side of eternity.
Becca breathed her last, while holding her earthly Daddy's hand, on July 23rd at 12:50 p.m.. Honestly, it was just an exchange of Hands, because she entered right into the loving embrace of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There was no pain in that embrace. A full on hug. One that she hasn't been able to receive here for so long due to the pain that invaded her body. No pain. No sorrow. Just Joy.
This is a snippet of the last moments and jewels she gave us during her last day here. July 23rd was a rough morning for her. There was one moment, as I was holding her hand and helping get medication down, that I could count the seconds between a lengthly pause and breath. Almost as if she was already in another realm and just breathing in this one. She was soldiering on, but weary. I whispered to her that I knew she was tired, but to please press on until all the family was able to gather around. She fought and breathed on. Graciously allowing us to live out some memories that will forever be with us.
A little past eight, all the family was there in her room, around her bed, all watching Becca, a member that we love so dearly, breathing in life. One breath at a time. There is so much hope in breath....it's a symbol of life.
Growing up, my parents always made our birthdays special. We've never received extravagant presents, parties, etc., but we always knew we were valued, loved and treasured in our family. Simple traditions that grew in and up with us.
Mom made each of us a birthday sign with just our name in acronym form. That was displayed around the table as we ate the meal of the birthday one's choice. Rebecca's goes like this. (visualize bubble letters, all the colors of the rainbow, and on a laminated paper poster board as you read below.)
B estest Sister
C oncerned for others
A gift from God
Words speak life. Imagine yourself as a five year old. You see those words describing you and calling out something embedded inside you that is bigger and better. I do think that acronym was in Becca from the beginning, but I also know she took on the challenge of those words, grew into them, and made them uniquely her own.
One other special tradition is gathering around that person and speaking words of appreciation. Both traditions are a staple of every birthday to this day.
That is what we did as we were all surrounding Becca at her bedside Saturday morning. Each one of us was able to get up close and say the things we loved about her. The things that she had individually given each one of us by being Becca in our lives. Each one of us was able to give our blessing and say in individual words that, "I release you, Becca. It's ok to go and be with our Father."
All morning it was pouring rain. Aunt Donna mentioned that is was as if God was weeping along with us. I do not doubt that. That morning (really this whole month...really the entire past 33 years) was priceless with Becca. We sang hymns and prayed around her. The atmosphere was filled with Peace and in the midst of great sorrow, we were able to see a beauty that transcends pain and conquers death.
All your prayers carried us. Thank you.
As we've been talking about how to honor the life of Becca, we've come upon an idea that will need all of your participation. We need you, you, who have been faithful to this blog, or you, who have been apart of Becca's life by being family, friends, or just touched by a simple interaction with her life.
A tribute book.
It's going to be full of blank pages that need to be individually filled by you..... Please look for a picture of the two of you, a poem, a verse that's been apart of this journey, a note that you want to write, a word of appreciation for her life, lyrics, memories..... really, whatever you feel lead to give as your "tribute" of her life linked with yours.
With these, we will glue, write, and fill all the empty pages with.
This creation will be all of our tribute of Becca to hand over to her daughters later in life. Karis and Gabi are young and won't have all the beautiful memories that we all do of Becca. We want to create a book that they will be able to look over when their little hearts are sad about what they missed out on and have forgotten. Becca's life has touched too many people, and we want them to see the Joy she created while living here.
This book is only possible with all of your help and participation. Becca's life spread far beyond her own family. You, who are reading this, know just how far.
You can either bring your tribute to the viewing or the funeral.
Also, if you are not able to make either, please mail it to the address below before August 1st.
It's hard to be the last voice on "The Cracked Pot." It's difficult to finish a blog that I didn't start. Becca loved writing and sharing her heart here. Thank you for following and reading her words. It meant so much to her.
What would have been Becca's last words here? Psalm 63 says it so well.
"Because Your lovingkindness is BETTER than life, my lips shall praise You." -Psalm 63:3
I think in the final last breaths, He showed her a new glimpse of His love, and she entered into His gates with praise.
Yes, I think that she would have said, "Praise Him. He is my Joy. He is my life. Praise His name."
Writing this has been a great honor.
May His grace and love continue to cover us all today and in the days to come,
Viewing: Wednesday, July 27th 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. (Saylorville Baptist Church)
Funeral: Thursday, July 28th, 1:00 p.m. (Saylorville Baptist Church)
There will be a live feed on the computer for those of you who are far away but would like to watch the service.
The website is www.saylorvillebaptist.com Be forewarned, there will be commercials popping up that the church has no control over.
Address to send your tribute if unable to attend either:
440 NW 126th Ave
Slater, IA 50244
*We are ceasing from the 7pm prayer times. Also, the Monday worship nights are canceled. Thank you all for participating in this journey.
For those who can't make it to the funeral and want to watch the live feed, we're pasting on an insert to the bulletin explaining some of the choices for the memorial service.
Meanings for some of the choices for the Memorial Service *Cover page picture: Becca’s kept a blog since 2009 calling it a “A Cracked Pot” Letting God shine through regardless of my imperfections.” (beccarankin.blogspot.com) Ps. 18:30 was chosen because Becca had it engraved on a bracelet of one of her very dearest friends, Teresa Bair, as she left for Brazil, and it also conveys that although we don’t understand why Becca had to leave us so early, it somehow is perfect timing in God’s ultimate plan. *Processional song, Faith to Be Strong: Christie Bigelow, another dearest friend puts together songs on CD’s and gives them to people. Becca has been blessed many times by her thoughtfulness. On our Colorado trip, we played one of her CD’s, and Faith to Be Strong was one that “jumped out.” It ministered to all of us very much. *Blessings: Some other very dearest friends, Jess and Allison, are from Box T days (a horse and Bible camp where Becca counseled, cooked, you name it!) They all loved playing instruments and singing together. Jess, Allison, and Anna were able to visit Becca a few days before her home-going. We were all blessed as Jess sang this song to us. *Touch of the Master’s Hand: This is a poem that shouts “BECCA.” She and the other girls have done this countless times. (In fact, Faith, when she was too little to be a part of it, was sitting in church one day, and when the others were going to perform this, she put her hands over her ears and said, “Oh, no, not this again!) Even though they’ve done it so many times, we only could find one recording of it, at Noelle’s graduation program. *Hymn of Faith: Faith’s mom actually requested her to write a song based on Hab. 3:17-20 as it has ministered to her so much. The gist of it is, even if nothing is growing and we’re facing death “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my Salvation. The Lord God is my strength. He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.” During Becca’s journey, Faith sang this to her, and it greatly blessed her. We’ve been praying that if God wanted Faith to sing this at the service, He’d give her a verse especially for Becca. He did! As confirmation to her, she was trying to think of a particular verse and Psalm 63 came to her mind. Even though it wasn’t the verse she was trying to find, the psalm was exactly what she was trying to convey in her song. Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard is a super allegory about the verses in Habakkuk and greatly blessed Becca. *Jesus Loves Me, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Be Thou My Vision: We were blessed as a family to be able to gather around Becca’s bed at night and sing and pray for her for about a week before her home-going. We’d ask Gabi what she wanted to sing, and it was always Jesus Loves Me. It was the last song we saw Becca trying to sing along with us on. We also discovered that one of Becca’s very favorite hymns is Great is Thy Faithfulness. The morning of her home-going was very special. We all gathered around as a family to each share what we appreciated about her and telling our last goodbyes and releasing her. We also prayed and sang around her. Then Pastor and Marilyn blessed us by coming. After they had a time with her, Dustin went with them and others into the living room to talk. Brian and Noelle stayed by the bedside. At first, Noelle sat on the side Becca was turned to and talked to her soothingly, but Becca was still restless and had labored breathing. Then Noelle and Brian changed places. Noelle would sing a song while Brian would talk with Becca. Noelle said you could just see Becca relaxing more and more as her dad talked with her. As she was singing Be Thou My Vision and Brian was saying “Jesus loves you,” Becca slipped away from her earthly father to her Heavenly Father. Christie had come into the room and took a picture at the end of the bed of Brian talking to Becca just seconds before she passed on. It was a very special and touching moment. We praise God for our 33 years with Becca. Though our hearts seem to ache unbearably already with missing her “Yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God of our Salvation. The Lord God is our strength.” Becca, we love you. We know our life is but a vapor, and we’ll be seeing you soon. Prepare an incredible party for us all when we see you next time!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head. He asked life from You, and You gave it to him--” Psalm 21:3-4
Life. That beautiful word holds more than Becca’s soul and spirit in it. Right now, it’s holding Dustin, two little Becca’s, immediate family (us), church body, friends, and those of you who are reading this entry. Becca’s life has weaved us all together by the unique relationship that each one of us have with her. Thank-you, Becca. Thank-you, God.
Before I attempt to answer some questions, I need to let everyone know, just in case there is any question, that I am not a blogger. You, who are faithful to this blog, are not the least bit surprised by this confession, seeing how long that is has been since my previous entry was posted. That said, I apologize for the silence that I created by not writing. This blog has been a precious part of Becca’s life over this season, and I am honored to voice a few words on it.
As I look at my last post, I realize that it was spontaneously put out there and never followed up on. I apologize for that and to catch you up during those three days we chose to not look just by sight, but with Faith, and with our Father's eyes at Becca's situation. We have been deeply encouraged by His words spoken through specific verses He showed different ones of us and many of you. We were also able to spend some time as a family in prayer and worship that left us with a deep peace and rest and knowing that He is GOOD. That might sound trite, but we feel that reality surrounding us daily.You presence during those 3 days of fasting was appreciated. Thank you all.
How is Becca....
Becca is not doing well in a physical sense. Her body is growing weaker and more frail. The past few days she’s only been able to get a few bites down, and is sipping on fluids. She has been on hospice for a week, and they have provided some helpful tools so that it’s easier for her to get in and out of bed. Time spent with Becca is precious. Bringing up names of people dear to her heart, ALWAYS makes her smile. always. Today her cravings were a lemonade icy, or a rasberry milkshake. Although her strict diet at the moment allows for neither of these ):.
It’s hard to know what to write. Looking through our physical eyes, I see a perfect opportunity for a miracle. God always delights to work in unimaginable ways for His glory and so that is how we feel led to pray.I was encouraged the other day by Streams in the Desert, it reads,“is the Lord being quiet with you? Nevertheless, He is attentive and still sees everything. He has His finger on your pulse and is extremely sensitive to even the slightest change. And He will come to save you when the perfect moment has arrived.”
Tonight, as we gathered around Becca as family for prayer, I got a tingle of excitement in my core. 2 Chron. 20:17,22 was being unveiled before my eyes. We, as humans, have come to an end of ideas, procedures, and plans. That’s where my tingle came in. As I thought that, another Voice whispered through, “Yes. That’s where I am.” That’s what He desires in every situation. Or as Jennifer Miller put it, unless He shows up, we’re dust, that the power may be of God and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:7). We can’t DO anything except believe and trust our great God for miracles that only He can do. “Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you” (2 Chronicles 20:17).
He IS at the end.
As we come more and more into that position of standing still, we desire to extend the strategy that He’s placed on our hearts to you as well. The past week as a family, we’ve gotten into the habit of gathering around Becca’s bed and praying before we end the day. Since Karis and Gabi go to bed earlier, we’ve decided to roughly put the time at 7 p.m.Physically you do not have to join us, but if we could all corporately set our eyes on Him at that time, I feel His pleasure in that.
-7p.m each night (until further notice) breathe a prayer and lift your eyes to Him.
Also, my parent’s want to open up the house every Monday night for a worship and prayer evening. Bring yourself, a prayer, song, note, poem, etc.
Time: 7 p.m. (6:45)
Place: Swanson’s house (440 NW 126th Ave, Slater, IA 50244.)
When: Every Monday evening until posted otherwise.
Lately, I have been challenged by the testimony, faith, and hope of David in 1 Samuel 12: 16-23. Contrary to even God’s word about the death of his son, he hoped. He knew that God is capable of ANYTHING. Even changing His mind.
Where there’s breath there’s life. Where there’s life there’s hope. Where there’s hope, there’s God.
He is always there at our end. It’s His beginning.
for His glory,
Monday, July 4, 2011
I apologize for my lack of communication this past week. Thank-you for the prayers and for how many of you have asked how to pray and what you can do. Just being concerned and caring.
Mom, Becca, Christie, and I just got back this past Saturday from Colorado where we met with a Specialist(ND). The week was rewarding in many ways and we all are believing in God's healing hand on Becca's body.
During our time out there, each one of us were prompted with verses and promises in scripture to claim from our Father for Becca. Throughout our time there we had some significant prayer times that confirmed to Christie and myself that God is asking for a time set apart for prayer, fasting, and worshiping. We want to find His promises, stand on them, and not let Him go for these things.
We are taking three days (July 5-7) in fasting. Many of you have shared in the fellowship of Becca's suffering these past couple years, and we want to invite you to participate as much as you feel led. We will be abstaining from all food, please feel free to modify as needed.
We want His strategy for Becca's healing. Here are a few promises the Lord has shown us to claim for her. Please join us in this, or if He is prompting you with something else, please share that and we'd like to join together in receiving those promises as well. We feel led to enter into praise and thanksgiving. CHOOSING to praise Him and thank Him despite what our human eyes see. "Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see." Heb. 11:1
We also want to stand against the enemy and his attacks on Becca's life. Satan came to kill, steal and destroy. Christ came that we might have life, and to have it more abundantly.
Promises to claim in scripture these next few days (July 5-7):
- 2 Chron.20:17,22 "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you. Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people (disease)....and they (cancer, lymes, candida,and parasites) WERE DEFEATED."
-Ps. 27:13 "I am still confident in this. Becca will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
-Duet 34:7-Ps 90:10
Thank you all for walking in this journey with us all. I am sorry for the late notice. Please modify the fast/prayer/worship as the Lord leads you. We just wanted to extend and invite our "family" to participate and glimpse what the Lord is laying on our hearts.
His Kingdom come and will be done, in all our lives, on earth as it is in heaven.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
My shoulder had been in a lot of pain, and I couldn't deny that I had taken too many pain meds.
Not too many according to my prescription, but too many for my body.
Monday I paid for it.
My tummy was nauseous refusing any form of food or liquid.
By midnight I started throwing up and when it didn't look as if I was going to feel better anytime soon mom decided a trip to the Emergency Room was in order.
It was a miserable ride there and all through check in, but the nurses were so kind, and the doctor made sure I didn't have to wait long to get an i.v. going as well as some pain meds.
You see.... yet another pair of shoes I have gotten to try out. Addiction to pain meds - or rather identifying with an addiction to anything.
Not only was I weak from dehydration, but my body was going through withdrawal from my meds.
Finally I started to feel better (sweet relief), but they wanted to admit me for 24 hours of observation.
It took a bit to get settled, and by the time I saw my oncologist, I think I was almost relieved when he said they were going to keep me until the end of the week - a little shocked about the length, but everything had felt so rushed and crazy that I knew I wouldn't be able to handle going home yet.
His reason was just for observation to make sure we got the pain meds regulated and my electrolytes back up to where there were supposed to be.
I've never been in the hospital this long before and am discovering new things all the time.
For one, it really is nice to have everything at the push of a button. :-) The nurses are great here, and I haven't run into a grumpy one yet. (Watch, I'll get one tonight)
I have such a close relationship with my i.v. pole that I named him Fred. Fred is rather jealous of anyone else in my life and has to keep watch wherever I go - I mean wherever. My admiration for those who can steer a wheel chair and an i.v. pole at the same time has skyrocketed. These people are good! I have difficulty walking it down the hall by myself. In fact, I've given up after I almost tipped it and it has become the job of whoever is currently staying with me in the hospital. Someday soon I'm going to get rid of Him, believe me. He has helped cut down on the pain meds, though, so for this I am grateful.
The doctor put me back on "real" food again today, and as I am able to keep it down, I should be going home tomorrow.
For now I'm grateful that the reason I was in here was because of pain meds and dehydration - though serious, treatable.
It has been a little scary to spend the week on the cancer floor. Visitors get into the elevator and see "oncology" listed as the floor with my room on it.
I've had to talk to counselors about who will make decisions for me if it ever comes to a point where I can't - get a living will figured out - what I'm planning on doing to create memories for my girls if it ever comes to the point where I do have to leave them. That makes for some tearful conversations, let me tell you.
Tearful, but needed and good.
I'm planning on writing them each a birthday card until they are 21. I'm also planning on delivering each one of those myself. :-)
However, my plans are not Gods, so we will see if we are on the same page with this one.
There are a few other ideas, as well, such as giving them dating advice. You see... if they get it solely from their father they won't be dating, much less getting married until they are 45.
Though my week has been completely unexpected, I can see how the Lord planned it all out.
Things I needed done medically before I could go out to Colorado, and would have been complicated to do had I been out of the hospital, have been made easy by being admitted. Because of this we are able to go out a couple of weeks earlier than planned and I am excited.
Once again I have no idea where God is headed with all of this, but I'm choosing to trust.
We are following the direction He, as far as we can tell, is leading us. Where that will take us we will hopefully soon find out. I know I'm curious - especially about the new naturopath in Colorado.
A shout out of thanks to all my family and friends who are showing their support.
I love that it has been a tradition in my family to never leave a person alone in the hospital. I've observed this growing up with my Grandpa being there often.
Now that I am the recipient, I am so grateful.
It may be that they are just there to get that glass of ice for you, but they are there. And there is nothing like waking up in the night and knowing your mom is next to you on the cot.
And not having to worry about home and kids because of husband, sisters, and friends is amazing.
God is good! So many, many blessings in the midst of this storm of mine!
I love you all, and pray, pray, pray for wisdom in my treatment out in Co.
I will try to blog as I go because I know you are just as curious as me what is going to happen.
Well.... maybe not just as curious...
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Everything is going so well up here, though.
The girls are thriving on the stability and so am I.
In the past, Gabi has slept in Faith's bedroom in a pack n' play.
The other night, as she lay there all curled up, she said, "Auntie Faith? Could you stretch this out?"
Poor little thing can't even stretch her legs out in it. :-)
We brought up her crib mattress yesterday and tried an experiment last night.
Not only was she out of her pack n' play, but she and Karis moved into the same room.
It has always been the plan for them to share a room someday, so why not now?
Gabi was thrilled to see her bed ,and it actually went fairly smoothly.
Hopefully tonight will go just as well - they are exhausted - something that usually happens after a day on the farm or with friends.
The results from my blood work are back.
What's the verdict?
I'm a very sick girl. Surprise, surprise. :-)
My mom talked to the naturopath for the most part, but I was able to spend a few minutes so I could get a general idea of who I would be working with.
From our phone conversation I was very impressed.
He was professional, knowledgeable about my problems, and hopeful that by God's grace he will be able to help as long as I have some fight left in me.
I have fight, and a lot worth fighting for.
I have a few weeks to change some of my eating habits (don't worry, nothing that will make me lose even more weight) and then we are headed out to CO on July 6th for a week.
Would you pray that I will be able to prep my body for his treatments?
Pray also that I keep the fight going.
The truth is that it isn't easy on some days.
My muscles can get so sore that it is a challenge to sit up in bed after laying there for awhile. The benefits of those beds that sit up by themselves seem very appealing some days.
God always gives me the strength to get through the day, though, and I'm trusting Him to help me keep plodding along until we discover something that will change the direction I seem to be going.
Overall I am very encouraged by the path we are on and I covet your prayers each step of the way!
Monday, June 13, 2011
My parents, Dustin and I all decided it would be for the best.
Between traveling, the days the girls came up here, Dustin's days off where we had the girls, etc., etc.....
My world was too inconsistent and my diet likewise.
So far we have been up here for a week and it has been amazing. I am so very grateful for my parents and sisters for allowing us to invade their territory.
Faith, for example, is sleeping on the couch so Gabi can sleep in her room.
News on the doctor front.
We are waiting to hear back from a naturopath out in Colorado.
I've filled out a form and sent a blood sample.
The blood sample was the hard part.
It required being pricked.
I HATE being pricked.
If I had my choice I'd rather be stuck with a needle any day.
My dad was elected for the task.
Since all any of us had experienced with pricking was one of those handy dandy little machines, we weren't sure what to expect.
I gave my hand over to my dad and looked away.
He braced himself and then jabbed.
I quickly pulled my hand away, sure blood would be spurting.
Not. a. drop.
He reached for my hand again.
Like a baby I pulled it closer, teared up, and said something mature like, "I don't want to be pricked again. I won't do it!"
My poor dad. I knew it was breaking his heart to stick a needle into me in the first place.
Finally I got the bright idea to numb the pain with an ice cube.
I wanted to sit there all night with the cube, but finally I worked up my nerve again and handed my finger over to what felt like the gallows.
Faith, bless her heart, even had her guitar out to sing away my fears.
It took a couple more jabs, but finally that coveted blood appeared.
I desperately squeezed the required drops out, barely making the quota.
Then apologized to my dad for being such a big baby. :-)
All I have to say is that they had better appreciate that blood sample.
It was hard won! :-)
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I was trying to figure out the whys and wherefores of all of that.
My conclusion is that I have been gone too much.
Visiting this doctor and that dentist.
The travelling and being away from home is a lot for a normal person and it has just been too much for me.
Too much gadding about and not enough rest equals more pain pills.
More pain pills result in me not feeling great in the tummy area which results in not eating enough.
Not eating enough....
Well... we know how bad that is.
I have one more girlfriend trip to MN that I have been looking forward to for a long time.
My prayer request is that I will get plenty of rest and eat a lot.
The eating a lot on a girls trip usually isn't a problem, but getting rest is:-)
I'm excited for it, though.
Also, I'm excited about some of the places God is showing us for my cancer, as well.
Hopefully results will follow, soon. :-)
I have been discouraged, but God has been in this place, as well.
He has met every question I have asked, and told me very firmly not to give up.
To keep praying until there is an answer.
So... I will do just that! :-)
Hopefully I'll be able to put up some fun photos soon!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Something seems to be wrong in that department, so instead of waiting until it works I'll do a quick update.
I still have it.
My visions were going in there, getting the tooth pulled, infections gushing out, my problems slowly slipping away with the infection.
Alas, that was not to be.
I did get the filling in the tooth removed and replaced.
Dr. Yu, my Dr. in St. Louis, sent me up to WI specifically because he thought if the tooth could be saved Dr. Cook, the dentist, could save it.
Well.... Dr. Cook thought there was no reason to pull the tooth and that changing the filling should do the trick. The filling had some toxic metals that were bad for my system in it.
I don't know what to think.
Our plans are to head down to St. Louis to have Dr. Yu check me out again.
I'm consulting with a naturopathic Dr. out in Denver, Co. over the phone and with blood samples for his opinion. And we are looking into the American Cancer Society.
Pray that God will show us what step to take next.
So... there you have it. The update on my tooth. No miraculous recovery yet, but it could help. We will see. :-)
I'm going to be very honest and tell you that my discouragement has reached an all time low. Please specifically pray that I won't give into despair and will cling to the knowledge that my Savior knows exactly what He is doing with me.
Monday, May 30, 2011
The die is cast.
I'm going to face my infamous tooth.
Tomorrow a friend from church is going up with me to WI to see the dentist who will tell me my fate.
Will the tooth/teeth be pulled?
What will be found underneath?
I'm not as much afraid for the pulling part as I am for the fact that it might not help at all.
"Wits End Corner" comes to mind again.
We are trying the tooth because everything else seems to be not helping.
I know there is an infection there, it's just the fact that it may not be the cause of my problem.
Would you pray?
Pray hard that the dentist will know exactly what to do, that it will go smoothly, that it won't be painful?
My appointment is at 7:30 am on Wednesday.
I won't be able to update you until I get home, and I'm not positive when that will be, but I'll try to take some pictures.
Since I've never had my Wisdom teeth pulled I really have nothing to go on, and anything new is a little scary.
Also, that long of a car ride can be hard on me.
I know this, though. God has made it very obvious in various ways that this is what I'm supposed to do.
Since He has done that, I know that He will get me through it.
I love you all! Thanks for walking through this journey with me.
Friday, May 27, 2011
God challenged me that morning when I read "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this." Ps. 27:5
The literal meaning of that verse is "Roll your way onto Jehovah and trust upon Him, and He works."
I knew He was telling me to Roll my fear and pain and burdens onto Him.
I would mentally push them onto His very capable shoulders.
But then later I would take them back.
I'd think about how nothing seems to be really helping, as far as I can tell.
Then I'd think about how this next Wednesday I have and appointment in WI to look at the infamous tooth.
What if this is the answer?
Will getting it fixed or looked at help?
What if it does nothing?
Then where do we turn?
How are we going to pay for all this dental work?
That has been a question I've wondered since I've heard about my tooth. Dental work is expensive.
Then I'd roll it back onto His shoulders - for the hundredth time.
He is so patient.
And so faithful in encouraging me.
A friend of mine called yesterday and said my nurse practitioner/ midwife has been burdened for me and wondered if it would be OK to contact me.
I gave the OK and shortly afterwards got an email to which I replied right away that I would love to see her and gave a few small details of my life at the moment.
She immediately replied with something I could take for my nausea and is coming to see me on Saturday.
I am so encouraged. This woman is a wealth of knowledge about so very many things and I need a fresh perspective on both medical and natural. Something I know she can supply and will be honest with me.
God knew I needed it.
Then... yesterday my grandma asked me if I had gotten anything in the mail.
As I hadn't, she told me I would be getting a surprise tomorrow.
Thankfully our mail comes early, so as soon as I heard him on our porch I sent Karis out to get it.
My great aunt had sent a very sweet card, but what brought on the tears was the substantial check that fell out of it.
The gift was totally unexpected. She told my grandma that God had been laying me on her heart for the past few days and she felt she needed to do this.
I was overwhelmed. Through them, God had taken care of all my worries about how to pay for the dentist and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
Our church family has been so generous as well. Last Sunday my dad was helping direct parking at our church. On our way in, he handed me a visa gift card that someone who wanted to remain unknown had handed him. Once again we were blown away by whoever it was, and their generosity.
God is moving in His own mysterious ways.
They aren't mine.
I'm sure I'm going to be rolling burdens over to him always, but I am so grateful for how He is providing for our needs.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Since my right shoulder is the one giving me difficulty, this made for a pretty painful situation.
I lay in bed feeling pretty sorry for myself.
Ok, very sorry for myself.
I knew the Rapture wouldn't happen on the 21st because the Bible says you won't know the day or the hour, but right then I really wished he(forget his name)had been right.
Heaven and no pain sounded like a dream come true.
I decided to read out of Streams in the Desert for a bit of encouragement. I needed to do something because even crying hurt my muscles.
And then that made me feel sorry for myself.
What good was having a pity party when you couldn't even cry about it? :-)
This was the verse God gave me.
"They were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress." Psalm 107: 27-28
That's where I was at. My wits' end.
A pulled muscle, growths in Lung and Liver, shoulder pain, painful little systs that won't go away, doctors who don't know how to treat me, and now I couldn't even cry about it, because that hurts, too.
I'm just sharing the above so you can get a bit of a picture of how precious this poem was to me when I read it.
Are you standing at "Wits' End Corner,"
Christian with troubled brow?
Are you thinking of what is before you,
And all you are bearing now?
Does the world seem against you,
And you in the battle alone?
Remember---- at Wit's End Corner"
Is just where God's power is shown.
Are you standing at "Wits' End Corner,"
Blinded with wearing pain,
Feeling you cannot endure it,
You cannot bear the strain,
Bruised through the constant suffering,
Dizzy, and dazed, and numb?
Remember---- at "Wits' End Corner"
Is where Jesus loves to come.
Are you standing at "Wits' End Corner"?
Your work before you spread,
All lying begun, unfinished,
And pressing on hear and head,
Longing for strength to do it,
Stretching out trembling hands?
Remember---- at "Wits' End Corner"
The Burden-bearer stands.
Are you standing at "Wits' End Corner"?
Then you're just in the very spot
To learn the wondrous resources
Of Him who fails you not:
No doubt to a brighter pathway
Your footsteps will soon be moved,
But only at "Wits' End Corner"
Is the "God who is able" proved.
Then I cried, even though it hurt.
I was there.
At Wits' End Corner.
And God was there.
He continues to show me over and over again.
Last night some ladies from a care group at our church brought some freezer meals.
They mentioned they wanted to pray with me, also, something I was excited about.
I didn't know how many to expect and was overwhelmed when about eight ladies came through my door.
These eight ladies took time out of their lives to make a meal for us.
To come pray for me.
To pray for me in their spare time.
Over and over again I hear people telling me - often people I don't even know - how they pray for me every night.
That is so humbling. Have I ever prayed for someone I don't know every night?
In the times I want to give up God always reminds me that not only is He at "Wits' End Corner" with me, my brothers and sisters in Christ are there, too.
You - all of you who are praying - have no idea how much you minister to me.
My muscles are feeling much better, by the way, and I am still in fighting mode!
Friday, May 20, 2011
Or if I would even write.
It's been one of those days.
Rainy - which I love, but it does put one in a reflective mood.
At least me.
I'm trying so very hard to not look at what I can't do, but what I can and be grateful for that.
Today I sent my girls out the door - and they were getting a little wild, so I'll admit I was ready to let them run at Grandma's house - with instructions for them to stop at the store and find a present for a party Karis was going to.
The very first friends birthday party she had been invited to.
She was beside herself with excitement.
I wanted so badly to be the one to buy the gift with her.
To wrap it and drop her off at the party.
But I just don't feel up to it.
Self pity came knocking and I had to do a bit of praying and crying before I could look at the positives of having a wonderful sister who would do all that for me so Karis could enjoy her day.
That place was eventually arrived at, but I'd be lying if I said it was easy and that a few tears don't still occasionally slip out.
One more thing... could you pray for a friend of mine? I just read minutes ago that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
That news would always make me sad before, but now I know... I know just how hard all of this is hitting them and how hard the journey will be.
Pray that they will feel God holding them close through all of this.
My cry is that God will heal her, and her grandbabies will be able to enjoy their grandma for a very long time!
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Answer me quickly, Oh LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.
Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge!
For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.
Excerpts from Psalms 143
I read these verses as my prayer for today, for tomorrow, for my life.
What are my enemies? I'd like to think they are the cancer, or whatever disease my body is being attacked by. Those are the ones I want to be cut off.
But they could just as likely be my own selfish attitude.
The anger that comes out at still being sick and unable to beat it.
My prayer is for His will to be done and for me to be ok with it. I want the enemies, no matter what they are exactly, to be gone!
No matter what you are facing, remember that He is listening. His answer just may not be quite what we are hoping for. However..... His way is perfect, always remind yourself of that!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Can you guess what we are doing here?
It all started when I decided not to get my nails done professionally.
I was like, "If I can't get my nails done, I'll just get a tattoo!"
Noelle and I laughed when I said it, but it got us thinking.
Why not a Henna tat?
It is natural and only lasts 4-6 weeks.
So... we ordered a kit and impatiently waited for it to come.
And what was the first thing I got put on my body?
Why this, of course! :-) The idea is you put the die on, leave it on for 12 hours, then wipe the top part off with the die underneath. Dustin got a big kick out of this one!
The scary thing is, each of us thought after the event that it might be fun to get a real one. :-)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
While I was in Chicago last week one of the goals was to find the right notebook. Rae and I made it to the right aisle, but I promptly got distracted by that little orange journal in the picture. Orange is one of my favorite colors, I'm a sucker for leather covers, and daisies are my favorite flower. It was me, and it found it's way into my cart.
Rae remembered the purpose of the visit and found a very earthy notebook for my inspiration. It has served it's purpose as 2/3 of the book is hopefully written. I have till Saturday. Noelle wants it done so she can get the pictures started. Slave driver!
Seriously though. I left the notebook on my bed, and when I woke up at five I kept thinking about the book. Lines were going through my head, and I knew that I had to get up and write or I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it. So I did. Three pages worth.
We will see what Elle thinks of it tonight. She and Faith are coming over to do something that I am very excited about. I'll post about it later. Maybe tomorrow.
I've loved my journal to record what God has been teaching me. There are some things so personal I can't post it on the blog, but mainly it has been to rest in Him.
That seems so basic, so simple.
For me, it isn't.
I want to be able to do.
I want to do something about what is going on in my body. It kills me that nothing seems to be helping. AUUGGGHHHH!!!!!!
But that is where God has me.
I have no choice but to rest and trust in Him.
When I panic, which is more often than I would like, Dustin reminds me of where my foundation needs to be.
I need to be building it on the Solid Rock. When all the scary thoughts of the doctors not knowing anything, or what should I do next come chasing me down, I need to be able to turn to Him.
Putting my trust in doctors right now is like shifting sand. That hope can get washed away pretty quickly.
It's a hard lesson to be learning, though, I'll be honest.
Thank you for helping me through this battle with your continued prayers. Just knowing they are out there gets me through a lot of moments.
As you may have guessed, there is nothing really new on the health front. Just going day by day. Looking and searching for new things.
Praying for God's directions and strength.
This morning when I woke up I heard little people moving around in the other room.
I listened for a bit.
Doors opened and closed.
I love the giggles.
Finally I pulled myself out of bed to investigate.
Karis wasn't in her room.
Gabi's door was closed, which meant my munchkins were probably up to something in there.
Usually I find a huge mess behind closed doors, so I braced myself.
No huge messes. Just sisters enjoying an early morning snuggle. I love them so much.
God knew what He was up to when He gave me these little blessings.
It matters not how the battle goes,
That is my new slogan. My battle isn't going to be a short one, but I won't faint! I want to fight on!
Sorry, that's a little random, but I just read that and wanted to share it. :-)
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Well.... empty except for rain water, the rocks that the girls put in. Leaf soup that they create, and ooey, gooey, something or other until I dump it out.
In short, a disgrace, and a reminder that I wanted to plant flowers in it someday but never got around to it.
Grandma Robin came to the rescue and delighted my munchkins by going and picking out flowers to fill it.
They took turns digging little pits in the dirt and planting a rainbow of color. Now, if we remember to water it every day my dream should come true this year.
A pot of beautiful flowers.
Thank you Grandma Robin!
Who wouldn't have a wonderful Mother's Day with these two precious daughters.
They picked out my favorite flowers, and Dustin's card brought tears.
Since I still have a fuzzy camera for some reason (What happened to point and click?) I'll tell you that in that box is a speaker for an iPhone or a iPod. I am so excited because this will allow me to listen to a ton more music, sermons, and such. Perfect gift.
Karis is trying out her skills.
Karis adores Amy, Uncle Dave's girlfriend. The rest of us adore her, too!
The best mom in the whole world! Love this woman more everyday!
The girls surprised us with a song. I loved listening, but tears came in spite of myself. It was a song we have played many times together and it was hard just to watch. Right now I can't play even if I wanted to. Most of the time I don't mind, but today I watched my sisters and prayed that soon I would be able to join them again.
This little girl might just turn into a drummer. She did a pretty decent job keeping the beat for her first time.
After playing several songs she rubbed her arms and informed us that she would be "So sore tomorrow from playing." Poor dear. :-)
Gabi, not to be left out of anything, rocks out on the jingle bells with her sister.
Today, along with all the other special gifts, I realized that I could sing with everyone else. I didn't push it in church because I still occasionally cough, but I sang with my family and didn't cough once.
I have no idea what this means, if anything at all, but it was such a blessing to praise the Lord through song. It has been a long, long time.
My last post was a little dreary, I realize. The past few days have been an encouragement for me. God has been sufficient as He has promised.
I've been able to eat and put back on the weight. Please pray it keeps up. I always get to this point and then lose it all again. This time I want to keep it and add more. :-)
I'm headed back to Chicago with my sisters.
We are going to see if a couple of visits closer together help or not.
Pray for my mom and Dustin as they have the girls while I'm gone.
Pray that we will find something that helps me. Something is out there somewhere.
I'm also hoping to get the rough draft of our book done. Noelle is itching to get some painting going so I have to get my bum in gear. :-) She is a good motivator for me. I need it!
Have a great week. I'll try to write more during that time, but if I don't, don't worry about me. (Teresa:-)
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Lower than usual.
I never question that God is out there, I just question if He is really listening.
Yesterday I was particularly so.
This is the first time I can honestly say I have no where to turn but to God.
The medical field has no answers.
I'm continuing my trips to Chicago, and while they make me feel better, I'm still sick.
We are looking other places, but you began to doubt that you will ever find answers.
Yesterday I let all my doubts, fear, and insecurities take over.
Dustin heard a bitter rant and rave.
Did God really hear me?
Where was the wisdom He promised if we cried out to Him?
Why this lingering on and on and on and on of being sick and relatively helpless?
Why doesn't He either heal me or take me to heaven?
With me being in this state I'm such an inconvenience to others - I feel like I take, take, take...
I heard the bitterness edging everything I was saying.
I heard me.... little puny me questioning my creator. His wisdom. His even hearing my prayers.
I hated what I heard.
Gently, as always, God brought me to my knees. (not literally in this case as I was in the car:-)
There wasn't any flash of wisdom or instant healing. Just a pouring out of myself to Him.
Confessing my doubt that He has my best in mind.
Realizing that He has knows in every intimate detail what is going on in my life.
Surrendering myself yet again (a daily thing for me) to whatever His plan is.
I'm scared - I'll admit.
Having something that nobody knows anything about is a bit disconcerting.
God does, though, and He reminded me through all of you that He does indeed hear the prayers that are going up for me.
Here are just some of the ways.
I received flowers three times yesterday.
An aunt made a beautiful bouquet with lights that she gave us along with a yummy lunch on our way home.
A friend sent me a flower picture that made my day.
Another brought fresh cut flowers from her garden.
A reminder that one of my friends little boys prays for me every night before supper.
I received a letter in the mail from a precious friend/previous camper at Box T about how much my life had meant to her.
She has no idea how much that meant to me right then. God knew I needed to be reminded that my life mattered and He did it through her, as well as reminding me that "My grace is sufficient, my strength is made perfect in weakness."
That verse has never meant more to me than now. I love the last part. "Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Cor. 12:9
I can glory in infirmities like never before. I'm looking forward to seeing His power!
So.... yes, times are a bit tough.
We are looking for answers and realizing that maybe they will never come.
Maybe they will.
One thing I know for sure. God knows the number of all our days. He knows the plans He has for me.
I can rest in that.
And tomorrow I will need to remind myself of that yet again. :-)
I am humbled and blessed by your continued prayers on my behalf.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I've been dreaming of the day this would happen.
Yesterday my mom overheard a conversation between them.
Gabi had come up from the basement where they had been playing "mom and daughter."
Gabi was the mommy.
After a couple of minutes had gone by Karis crawled up the stairs, still very much the pretend baby girl.
"Mommy, Mommy, you need to come downstairs with me. Please Mommy."
Gabi, still very much in mommy mode says,
"I can't dear, I'm going stinky in my pull up."
I had to laugh and shake my head. What a thing for a mommy to say.
My precious baby girl is still terrified of going stinky on the potty chair and with the way things are around here we haven't pushed it.
She puts a pull up on all by herself.
Has no accidents.
Someday, I'm praying, it will all click.
For now, I'm just enjoying watching my little girls growing up and pretending together.
My mom is doing such a wonderful job with them. They are blossoming in ways I would have thought impossible in our situation.
God knew what He was doing when He gave me my mom.
Happy Tuesday everyone!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I've had some tough times in my life, but the past couple of months trumped them.
God has brought me to my knees, literally, in tears. Realizing that I have nowhere to turn but to Him.
Never before in my life have I been so tired and weak that there are days I don't shower.
I've always been a religiously once a day kind of gal.
Cooking rarely, if ever happens, and usually it is just to warm something up that someone else has made. Even pulling something out of the freezer can sometimes be overwhelming.
I don't clean my house, rarely do a load of laundry, and can't take care of my girls by myself.
For someone who has wanted so much to be a stay at home wife and mother....
And my health scares the daylights out of me when I think about it too long.
Even gaining weight seems to be out of my control.
Now, my body is rejecting my pain meds.
I've wanted it to be anything and everything else, but it's not.
And you know what? It's not so bad that they are being rejected. I really only need them when I'm in extreme pain.
What is bad is this.
They are addicting and I have to slowly go off them so as not to go through withdrawal too terribly.
They make me sick with flu like symptoms, which means I lose weight and am too sick to eat sometimes.
One more thing taken out of my hands.
I feel like I'm complaining here. I'm trying not to.
I want you to know where I'm at.
Maybe understand the people in your lives better who are going through medical issues.
Never really being sick in my life I think I thought you got sick, went to the doctor, and got better somehow.
Seems there is another side of it.
A side that can bring you to the point where relying on God is the only possible option.
A place I should be in all the time.
I'm not giving up on the medical field... well, at least the more natural one.
So far all the regular one has done for me is scare the bejeebies out of me on a regular bases. I can't keep doing that to myself when they aren't offering any solutions.
Not sure what to do about that yet.
Anyway.... today with our Tuesday meal Carol sent a letter.
She may have written it, but I think it came straight from God to me.
When you are the neediest, He is the most sufficient.
When you are completely helpless, He is the most helpful.
When you feel totally dependent, He is absolutely dependable.
When you are the weakest, He is most able!
When you are the most alone, He is intimately present.
When you feel you are the least, He is the greatest.
When you feel you are useless, He is preparing you.
When it is darkest, He is the only light you need.
When you feel the least secure, He is your Rock and Fortress.
When you are the most humble, He is the most gracious.
When you can't, He can!
I read that with tears to Dustin. Sitting in all my unwashed, unbrushed, stinky glory. :-)
God is here for me, right now, in the midst of everything.
I don't know the outcome of my life, no one does except Him.
You may not have cancer or the physical struggles that some of us face, but are there any of us who really have any control of our lives?
Some of us just have it shown to us a little more clearly at times.
I need your prayers like never before, but I also want you to know that He is there for you, too, no matter what you are going through.
He is there!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The outfits had been tried on the night before. Mine was even ready, so Easter morning we spent a little time snuggling and watching Curious George before we got up to face the day.
Reluctantly we pulled ourselves out of bed and started morning preparations.
Karis opened our blinds to see if the weather would be sunny or the clouds we had been experiencing the last few days.
"Mom, Dad, come look, you'll never believe it!"
Dustin and I both looked at each other. Usually "You'll never believe it" doesn't mean something we will necessarily like.
"There are Easter eggs everywhere!"
Again we looked at each other, but we were both as surprised as she was.
Gabi dashed to the window with Dustin and I following.
I will let you imagine the tizzy our house was instantly transformed into.
Well, everyone but Dustin. He was just waking up, and Gabi and Dustin wake up very slowly.
The girls were going to run out there barefoot and in jammies.
Now, I have let them out in some horrifying outfits, but I drew the line here. :-)
We needed coats, pants, and at least some form of footwear.
I managed to call a few orders as the girls ran around like crazy.
Gabi threw her pull up away while I tried to corner her to get some underwear on. We finally halted face to face and she looked up at me with sparkling eyes.
Her, "I can't believe this is happening to us!" said it all.
They were finally released.
It took Gabi a bit before she realized she didn't need to open and eat the exciting contents right away. As soon as she noticed Karis getting most of the loot her bag began to fill.
Some of the eggs were super cute puppy dogs, cats, and chicks. Not cuter than my little treasure hunter, though.
The surprise was such an unexpected blessing for our family. It had been a rough week with me being a little more sick than normal and, as always, hard decisions to face and make. This little surprise started our our Easter in a way that reminded us of how much God loves us.
I'll keep their identity a secret, but thank you, precious friends, for reminding us of God's love by your surprise!
We had another special Easter surprise when Grandpa Jay, Dustin's dad, made a last minute trip down to see family. The girls were already flying high from the hunt, and these adorable baskets sent the soring.
He brought this special piece of art that a friend of his surprised us with. We love it!
All dressed up and ready to go! We were all so glad Grandpa Jay came for a visit!
Showing off some of her reading skills for Grandpa Jay. Grandparents are such a great encouragement for little learners. I wonder if you realize just how much your praise means to them. Thanks to all the grandparents in our lives who are so good at building up my little ones.
The Rankin girls.
Goofing off a little bit. I was blessed to feel fairly well that day.
Waiting for my hubby. I can't believe how frilly I like my tops these days. I never thought I'd say this but I believe I'm turning into a bit of a girly girl.
The love of my life, the one who manages to hold us together, my one and only!
This little man has been successfully kept from chocolate all his year and a half of life. I am not proud of the fact that I bought his first taste. In my defense, his mommy was recording this. And... he loves it!
Cousins with the final round of loot!
Worn out, but so blessed.
We had such a wonderful Easter.
It was packed full, but not so full that we didn't have time to remember how blessed we are to be able to celebrate it.
I am grateful my Savior has risen, that He took my sins away by dying on the cross, that heaven is my future dwelling place, and that what I am experiencing now is only temporary!
Thank you everyone for making our Easter such a wonderful one, and thank you Jesus for saving me!