"I believe in the love of God, it is an orphan's wildest dream, it is a Narrow Little Road, it is an ever widening desert stream" ~ Red Mountain hymn

"This narrow little road may be filled with both abundant joy and humiliating sorrow; surely, even its promised Divine acceptance cannot assure it's travelers absense of profound rejection. Indeed, this narrow road may be filled with a great many things, but the one thing it truly lacks is regret!" ~Debbie Sue

Saturday, May 28, 2011

give me sunshine

Well, hopefully this is the beginning of a new era in my blog journey. I haven't been able to write much in the last few months since arriving stateside and healing up from that little malaria hiccup (*note- yes a wee bit of sarcasm).

I'm currently at my lovely friend Mermaid's little place in the wine country. No that's not her real first name (in fact, I don't think she's even too stoked that I still call her that :) but maybe you might remember her name from one of my first posts ever. She lives in Newberg which has the cutest welcome sign...

"Welcome to Newberg- a good place to grow!"

It got me thinking. Not only is that phrase perfect for this season that my lovely friend is embracing, but I'm exploring and accepting it for myself as well. Maybe I'll make my own sign...

"Welcome to Boise- a good place to grow!"

That phrase caught my eye because it poses an assumption and an expectation... doesn't it? Either, if ya plant something it will grow
there, or if ya move there you will grow ( at least that's how I read it ;)

However, the phrase also resounds with a lot of responsibility.

When you move to a place expecting to grow, the assumption is that change is a comin' and we should expect something new- and the new assumption is usually positive (ex: I'm gonna grow and it's gonna be good).

And yet, I just keep thinking that expectation without responsibility leaves us feeling empty and confused.

I mean think about it- most soil can grow at least something, but it doesn't mean you should eat whatever comes up, or that it's healthy for you.

You have to stir up the soil to see what it's really made of, and you have to enrich most soil to expect any type of good produce, and obviously those
seeds you plant have to be good too.

But in an honest moment, most of us don't always take the time to sew good seeds, or get dirty, or labor hard to do that rough stuff that will make the soil and it's fruit REAL good.

We most often just shove some seeds in the ground and then yell at the sky "give me sunshine" and expect good things to grow. I know I've definitely done some of that the last few years.

The truth is, we all expect things from life, from new environments
and opportunities, and from the people who surround us; but we so often
forget that life and relationships are what we make of them- so often
dependent on how we actually invest in and nourish them- not what we expect of them.

Life doesn't just change or grow because you move.

Relationships don't flourish or change because you get more
expectations... if anything, expectations without responsibility or
communiation is no different than taking someone by the hand and then
lovingly asking them to jump off a cliff with you... yeah, never
really ends well!

So with all that said, Boise is next for me, and I'm investing in some good
tools to plant well there :) I'm making some intentional moves toward growth and relationship, and I'm hoping that from all across the world you will join me on this adventure of planting on purpose...

Just some thoughts from the wine country!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

a lil perspective

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening...

I'm realizing that you will all be reading this post at different times of day across the world. After this whole malaria thing my perspective and my love feels bigger, stronger, wider, deeper, and even wiser; after seeing, feeling and hearing so many miracles and receiving countless letters and confirmations that 10's even 100's of thousands of people were affected by this and praying for me across the world, I know I will never be the same; we will never be the same!

I had such an amazing time of rest, recovery, and resolution in DC, Boston and Boise. I thank those of you who spent hours apon hours visiting and caring for me in the hospital (especially my amazing mother), praying for me from far away, challenging me to see Jesus through it all, encouraging me to cling to hope and to God's promises, supporting me through many changes and confusion, listening to me while I fall apart and burst into tears over the pain, and guiding me with truth coupled with deep love through these last couple months.

It's been a sweet bumpy rollercoaster, and yet it's amazing to see the things that come out when we are jolted and tossed around by life.

At some point I will blog more extensively about what I saw and the crazy things I experienced through this trial, but for now here are just a few things I learned and postive things that have come of this...

relationships made stronger, people seeking Jesus and praying more and praying harder (even for the first time), family having changed persepectives, nurses seeing the strength of Christ through our weakness, knowing the depths of Christ and His sufferings in a deeper more personal way, doctors coming to an end of their human understanging and looking for an explanation outside themselves and science, unity in the body of Christ... it's just a glimpse...

I could barely see or understand much of anything that was going on when I first entered the hospital (everything was blurry and fading in and out, sounds were muted, slow and far away)... 104.4 temps,
seizures, lack of blood and oxygen, and medication will do that too ya. I wondered if I was dying. It all looked and felt a lot like those scenes you see in movies before people "see a light" or whatever. I was freaking out because I couldn't communicate with my words and no one could understand me when I tried...

but what I could do was listen, and listen I did indeed!

And I realized in those moments that I hadn't been doing much of that whole listening thing the last month/months or so previous... henceforth why I was terribly confused, neurotic, planning like a crazy person, and changing my mind with every toss of the waves. Definitely not what Jesus intends, and it
doesn't have to be this way when we are simply abiding in His love.

Let's just say, during those 24-48 hours, being only able to listen changed my life, and my persepective.

As a result, I saw who was around me in the moment and how I could love them, I received things from Him and others that I never could have had I been well, I embraced people and life knowing that they're both fragile mysterious and often unknown, I heard in my heart the tender voice of the Lord and what He wanted most deeply for my heart and my life, I felt His presence and the awareness of an opportunity for people to
know Jesus deeper and for His Glory to be displayed, I heared His voice...

"I'm not finished with you yet." That definitely led me through those first 72 hours for sure!

There is so much more I would love to share but this is what I have processed so far. For those of you who want to know how to pray further for me, please pray for healing in my right hand and wrist (if you missed my last update- my nerve and tissues were damaged by a blown vein and a lot of poisonous medication).

I'm currently traveling the Portland area till the first week of June, and overall I'm getting lots of rest and time with friends and family here! I will be in and out of the Portland area throughout the summer. More of this to come, but I am moving to Boise officially in August, and will be living communally with a very lovely couple (The Hartmans) while I finish the remainder of my undergrad, Lord willing!

An official introduction to the Hartman's and their compound will be in the mix in the next couple months. I will be living in a tree-house like cabin on top of a chicken coup that also poses as a green house and mini brewery. I call it "green chicken brewery"... it's a household name :)

"For the joy set before Him..." Hebrews 12

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Malaria is real

I know it's been a while, but a lot has happened since I left the land of Liberia.

On April 5th, I flew into Washington DC where I had the most amazing week with a very dear friend of mine. It was total culture shock when I barely wanted to leave the house in April because it felt like winter; what am I saying, it was winter! 2 days after I arrived, I didn't realize that I was flying way under the radar until a police officer showed up at my friend's door begging me to call my mother... true!

On April 15th, I wrote an update email saying that I felt really strange Tuesday night the 12th after I slept at my grandparents and that I got a little fever, and thought it was an airplane bug. Well, for the rest of that week, I continued to have fevers at night and feel normal during the day. I was achy and tired, and had a bad headache on and off (not uncommon for me normally so didn't think much about it.) A few days in, I had a passing thought, "I hope this couldn't be malaria," sure seems similar to what I saw in Liberia.

Well it turns out that most strands of Malaria have a two week incubation period where the parasites can be attacking until you notice any symptoms; they are fairly easy to treat and yet they remain in your system like a virus and come back throughout your life. The most serious strands- like the one I had- can be dormant in your system for months, attacking your liver and your blood cells until your body literally shuts down.

By tuesday 19th of April, my fever had been 103-104, and then I had two seizures and was taken to the Emergency room. When I got there, I was delerious and incoherent for pretty much the next 48 hours. My liver was failing, my blood was toxic, and my vision and hearing were extremely impaired. Everything hit so hard and fast out of nowhere. My mother was called and told I was in ICU in critical condition and she dropped everything and flew in to MA and came to the hospital to stay with me around the clock in the ICU.

Because I was very confused and continued to have a high fever, I was incontinent and had a "poop pouch" and a catheter (sorry for the graphic details). At one point, two nurses tried to pull me up in bed and forgot about my catheter and ripped it which led to a lot bleeding, a tear in my bladdar, and a urinary tract infection.

Malaria attacks your liver and your blood, and so I was not having my blood filter correctly and was very jaundiced. All my blood counts were fatally low so they had to keep giving me more blood transfusions. Just an example, my plateletts were 18,000 when I came in, they are currently more like 300,000 now.

My hemoglobin was around 2 and is supposed to be between 12-17. You get the picture, right? My blood was 11% parasites which is so toxic that they had to give me mega doses of a cemo-like drug which killed much of my other cells (which led to 4 blood transfusions). When they gave me the drug through an IV in my right hand it infiltrated which means it stopped going into the vein and went into my tissues instead which damaged nerves, tissues and tendons in my right hand and arm (still my biggest prayer request as my right hand is still usably impaired at the moment.)

I'm sorry it's been so long since I have written, but now you know why. The Lord is sustaining me and will continue to heal my body each day. I truly look forward to seeing many of you in the upcoming months, and I thank each of you for your prayers and support through this season. I am healing up amazingly well, but I still have quite the healing process ahead of me.

More words, stories, and lessons to come...