Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Front Row Seat to Miracles (Esty's Health Progress)

I am SO EXCITED to report about all God has done in Esty's physical health!!

I've waited for so long…hoping that I'd have a good report but everything was always SO BLATANTLY FULL OF BAD NEWS.

As you may remember, when we picked her up from the orphanage back in January, she was sick.

Very sick.

So sick she was within 1-2 days of dying.


But God orchestrated all our paperwork, clearances, fundraising and plane tickets so we were there on the Monday before she died. 

And God directed our steps all the way to the International clinic where she was given the medical attention that put a halt to the kidney infection that had gone into her blood.

And then, we came home to America.

And we began investigating all her renal health issues.

We did endless tests. We were at the hospital weekly.

And no matter what test was run, they all had bad news: she was in a desperate state of health. 

Stopping the blood infection in China was not enough.

When we got the results back…it was hard to not cry.

For a solid 15 minutes, the pediatric urologist showed me test after test and each time would say, "Well, her bladder should look like a round ball, but this is how her bladder looks," and on and on through every test. 

There was no good news. 


I was just simply astonished.

And then, we went to the nephrologist. 

He too reported difficult news. "She is a patient who is on the path to total dialysis and/or kidney transplant."

How does a mom take it all in????

I couldn't blog. 

It was just too much.

Naturally, we began some intervention. 

Fast forward 6 weeks.

Today, we had another serious test to see how the pressures are being managed in her bladder. You see, she already had Stage 4 reflux into BOTH kidneys. This is often solved by immediate surgery.
Our team wanted to try medication and daily self catheterizing. We've done that faithfully for the past few months.

Today, the test began and our urologist immediately exclaimed, "Oh my! Look at that bladder! It almost looks normal!"


And fast forward to the end…she has NO SIGNS OF REFLUX INTO HER KIDNEYS!!!! The meds and cathing have WORKED!!!!

I was dancing around the operating room in my funny jumpsuit and hairnet! 


Now the deal is, she must stay on this plan the rest of her life. Monitoring her progress with further testing will always be part of her life. We cannot reverse the damage already done to her kidneys by years of neglect…but…

The future of dialysis/transplant is now DECADES off into the future, no longer an imminent concern!!!!

Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!


And Esty? Well, she was busy playing an iPad game where she applies make up to a mermaid. She did look up and wonder at my silly dance party but then just kinda shrugged her shoulders and went back to choosing a nice party dress.

Someday I will tell her this story.

A story of a God who sees her. Who saw her broken and needy. Of a God who cared for her every step of the way, even when she felt alone. The story of a woman across the world who heard Him speak of a waiting orphan in great need. The story of how He lovingly matched their hearts. The story of how He rescued her just in the nick of time and provided all the right medical care at the perfect moment. The story of how she would be obedient to take her medicine and learn to self catheterize and He would work more miracles to extend her life. The story of how He wanted her named Esther…because He wanted her in place for the special work He has for her to do.

I will tell her this story.

She will know how the God of the Universe loves her. And how valued she is. And I pray that she will embrace Him wholeheartedly and live out the marvelous plan He has for her life.

What an honor it is to have a front row seat to watch this miracle unfold!!!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Scripture Weaving

One of the sweetest women who SHINES JESUS is in my Sunday school class at church.

She has come through A LOT in her life.

She has suffered at the hands of evil longer than I can believe is possible. Yet her very face radiates love, peace and true joy.

She is a life changed by Jesus.

And she is a constant encouragement to those of us who know her. (And really, I don't know her well, but I am drawn to Jesus in her...He is strong, powerful and so present. The way she radiates His love makes you want what she has!)

Today, she led our class discussion on the 23rd Psalm.

She shared about a class she took that encouraged everyone to pray this psalm aloud 5 times a day for thirty days...and see if it changed their lives.

She did this upon waking, at breakfast, at lunch, dinner and before bed. She admitted that after awhile it became too rote for she began to pray it aloud weaving other Scripture into it.

The result changed her life.

She continues to pray this Psalm...embellished with other Scriptures...on her way to a challenging job. If you heard about her job you would think she had the most important job in the universe the way she talks...but in reality she's working with difficult children from the vantage point kitchen in a school setting.

She reminds me of Brother Lawrence. 
(if you don't know about him worshiping God while washing dishes, you MUST go read him!)

Then, she offered to allow us listen to her 23rd Psalm prayer...

...and oh my it was glorious! Beautiful. Like a bird taking a thread and fluttering through the Scriptures weaving and folding them together in a most heart-binding way.

And what is so cool...this is not a static version. She testified that the Spirit changes the Psalm based prayer with different verses that come into play as her life needs change.

A Scripture weaving.

And in a bold move, I asked her if I might have a copy of what she read to I could study her method and begin to do it myself. She blushed and kindly obliged. I then stepped out and asked her if I might share it with you...and again she said yes.

I give you the most beautiful Scripture weave from Stephanie:

Psalm 23:

"(1) Oh, my Abba Father, Jesus my Savior and Redeemer, and sweet Holy Spirit, my comfort, my counsel, my encourager, my ever present help (Ps 46:1)...Lord, you are my Shepherd, and therefore I shall not be in want.

(2) You make me lie down in green pastures Lord where I find rest in You. You lead me beside quiet waters where I can be still and know that you are God. (Ps 46:10)

(3) You restore my soul. You have given back what the enemy has stolen from me, and given me life in abundance. (John 10:10) Thank you, Father, that you lead me in the paths of righteousness that I might bring glory to your name. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Ps 119:105) Hallelujah!

(4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff bring comfort and protection to me in Jesus' name.

Praise you Father for your promise to never leave me nor forsake me. (Joshua 1:5)

You are my strong tower (Ps 61:3), my strength and my shield. Thank you for the promise that if you are for me, there is none who can stand against me in Jesus' name! (Romans 8:31) Praise you that no weapon formed against me shall prosper in the mighty name of Jesus! (Isaiah 54:17) Oh, the weapons will come, I know Lord, but they have no power over me. Thank you for sending Jesus that I would have victory in this life! (Romans 8:37) According to your Word, you send your holy warriors on my behalf because my battles are won in the spirit realm rather than in this carnal world. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:12-13)

(5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. On that table Lord, you present me with the spiritual armor I need. (Ephesians 6) Thank you for the helmet of salvation. I pray it would protect my eyes and ears from that which is not of you. I pray it would protect my mouth from saying anything that is not noble. Give to me a sound and renewed mind today Lord (Ephesians 4:23), and help me to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of the mind of Christ against anything that would exalt itself. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Thank you for the breastplate of righteousness that protects my heart and my spirit. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Ps 51:10) Thank you for the shield of faith that protects me from the arrows of doubt, fear, anxiety, depression and discouragement. Your belt of truth binds me together and holds my armor in place. Guide me Father to apply your truth, your Word, your love letter in all things that come my way today. You have given me the sword of your Holy Spirit which is ultimately your Word going forth. And I wear the boots that carry me in the way that I should go. Remind me always that I can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

You anoint my head with oil; healing oil, and the oil of gladness. (Isaiah 61:3) You have given beauty for the ashes of my brokenness. Hallelujah! My cup is overflowing with your goodness!

(6) Surely it will follow me all the days of my life! Each and every morning Lord, your mercies are new! (Ps 136:1) Thank you Father! I dwell in peace that reaches far beyond my understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7) Your grace Father God, is more than sufficient for me, and makes me strong in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Hallelujah! I am covered in your unconditional agape love. Help me Father, to love and forgive others as you have loved and forgiven me. My heart is filled with your unspeakable joy! (I Peter 1:8) Yes and Amen!! And Father, thank you for the hope of Jeremiah 29:11, that you have plans for me; plans to prosper me in the things of you, and not to harm me; plans to grant me hope and a future...above all to spend eternity with you. Lord, you also said in Isaiah 40:31, that if I wait upon you, you would renew my strength as on the wings of eagles who rise aove the storms, tha tI would runa nd not grow weary, and that I would walk and not faint. Help me to run the race you have set before me that I would finish it well. I pray that my life would be a reflection of You, and a preparation of praise and worship when you one day call me home to dwell with you in your kingdom forever. 

Praise the Lord!

I cannot imagine how different my own days would be if I began them praying a Scripture weave like this! (Not every verse woven in was cited...but I included the ones she noted. I recognized much more!) 

How would this impact your life if you took the 23rd Psalm and wove other Scriptures into it as He lead you? 

Something else she said, was that often what God prepares the table with in verse 5 is different. Different Scriptures come to mind for the table for that day. On this particular day when she scribed this, she needed those weapons from Ephesians 6. 

I LOVE that this process is DYNAMIC.

I hope this inspires you to begin praying a Scripture Weave too! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vignette from a Weekday Afternoon

I stand in the kitchen stirring the pot. My eyes are glazed over. 

My man walks in from the day and I lean over the bubbling pot to kiss his lips.
("Every marriage is either going forward or backward…let's keep going forward," I remind him.)

He's had to step over a plethora of boots, coats, toys, dirty diapers tied in Walmart bags waiting to be taken out to the garage trash. 

Two kids sit at the back door making "music" blowing on a harmonica and banging on "drums." It's just white noise.

He asks me, "Who died?"

I look at him puzzled.

He has come in, stepped over the kids, kissed my lips, set his lunch container down and his mind has done something mine has not: tuned into the radio.

"Oh! I forgot that was on," I say wearily.

Apparently NPR has been reporting on some famous person's death.


And I laugh as I tell him, "Ya know, I put that on when I begin dinner…thinking I'll enjoy listening to something intelligent. Something that will remind me I am a thinking adult. Something that will lift me out of potty training, medical need monitoring, settling squabbles, reminding people to do chores and checking on homework. Reminding me that I hold a place on planet Earth."

Then I realize: I am totally in my own Land of Make Believe.

That is all.
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