Sunday, May 20, 2018

Heard by God.

"Mom, my name means God hears me... but what if I can't hear God? What if I lose my hearing completely? How will I hear him?"

I sat in the car and choked back tears as I drove. I tried to eye Samuel when we came to a stop at a red light. His eyes were big and vulnerable.

I took a deep breath and spoke. "Samuel, we can always hear God. It doesn't require us to have physical hearing to hear God. He speaks in our inner selves. In our minds and deep in our hearts. He guides and directs us whether we can hear or not."

Do I believe that? Do I truly believe that? Yes.

But it's hard. As his hearing has declined and the questions rise I wonder... what's next? Will he lose it all together? Will he not? Blessed be His name. He who gives and takes away.

The storm is hard. It's rough. The winds are whipping and the rain is pouring and I'm tousled like a feather in the wind... but I'm also firm in His hand. Gripped by the One who loves me and knows me and more importantly knows and loves Samuel. I don't know what will happen next but I know God does. And I know He loves us and is for us.

These are challenging times. With the bone tumor... legs different lengths. Random pain. Migraines and headaches. Scoliosis that we are trying to figure out how to treat naturally.

There are other new factors coming to surface in our family that bring great trouble and pain and dissonance and heartache.

Hurricane is at work. But God is greater. He holds us. And He never lets go. Eyes on Jesus. I'm not pretending there is no storm.... but that He's bigger than it.


Monday, May 07, 2018

God's Provision

So I was really dreading looking at the bank account. Certain needs were coming up and I didn't know which thing to pay for and what to ignore for the time being. And then I was blown away to see more in my account then I expected. My side hustle paycheck came through. Thank you Jesus.

Psalm 50:10- He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
 I also received an unexpected blessing check with love and prayers... melted my heart.

 I love how God provides. How he takes care of our needs. How he graciously blesses us even beyond our basic needs.

And as I still wait today to get "THE CALL" I feel His graceful provision in that.

A peace. A peace as I wait. Not knowing the result. Not knowing if we will need to go in and biopsy. Or go in the dreaded conference room. Or be completely relieved because all he will need is some minor outpatient surgery... but I can wait knowing that my God already knows what's up. He already knows perfectly what's happening with Samuel and I can trust Him. Trust that His plans and purposes for my children are better than what I can see and know with my limited vision and perception.

So, time to read my Bible and snuggle under my gravity blanket and breathe.

God brought to mind one of my favorite verses, "I would have despaired, had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." and then I read the next verse and my heart just swelled... "Wait for and confidently expect the LordBe strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord."

Psalm 27:13-14 AMP

So here I am confidently waiting and expecting the Lord. Will keep you posted when we get the news.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Grace, Mercy & Love

I'm learning new things or maybe it's more that I'm seeing things in a new light.

Sometimes grace,
mercy and love look different than I imagined.

Sometimes it's a friend watching my kids so I can breathe and run to Sams Club by myself, or my brother-in-law taking the kids to a movie, or my friend driving me when my medication kicked in unexpectedly and impaired my driving abilities.

Or a friend sitting with me in the waiting room for the MRI and being 5+ hours at the Children's Hospital. It's my Mom taking the kids swimming. My father-in-law faithfully loving his wife in the midst of her inabilities and weaknesses with Alzheimers.

It's my husband telling me that he will have hope for the both of us in a situation I see so desperate that I have lost hope. Sometimes it's in the sunsetting over the water. The cup of Starbucks on the house just because.

Sometimes it's sobbing on the arm of my friend who has suffered a deep loss and yet allowed me to hold her hand and cry on her.

It's a friend scrubbing my bathroom last year when my back hurt from a car accident and I couldn't do it. It's rocking a baby to sleep in nursery at Church on Sunday.

It's talking with a friend while I'm having a freaking break down at the church picnic.

It's my daughter making me laugh when I'm hurting so bad. It's the homeless man saying, "bless you" when I give him a bottled water and a couple dollars.

It's the crying and cussing and panic attacks and the need to scream, "Jesus! Save me!!!!!"

It's in the beach. The sand between my toes. It's in a late night phone call. It's in a whirlwind trip to see a sister friend.

These breaths. These respites. These means of grace. These acts of love. The mercy and compassion I have received not just in spite of but because of my weakness.

This life. So crazy and fantastic and beautiful and horrible and mysterious and bewildering and heartbreaking. Some days I would love to just disappear. Run away. Pull the blankets over my head and say, "I'm not here." I'd love to pretend my reality wasn't real. Sometimes it seems like a movie I'm watching. Where I'm like, this would never happen in real life.

Other days I feel strong. And hopeful. I see the birds eating at the my bird feeder as  I wash dishes. I hear the kids saying or doing something kind for each other. It's someone offering to bring a meal or coffee.

I'm so glad God is not up and down like me. He is unchanging- a steady rock. A firm foundation. So tonight when my children's breathing has turned into the relaxed soft snores of sleep and the house is locked up and I sip some water and read a book I let myself feel. Let myself cry. And wrap myself in my gravity blanket and put on the essential oils. And I know He is there. In the middle of the night when I wake up and fear grips me tight. When I have to take steadying breaths to calm myself down.

And in the morning when I wake and the oppression hits I will go to the house of the Lord and worship. I will cast my cares on Him. And maybe there's somebody there that I can bestow gifts of love, grace and mercy to. And maybe I won't be able to speak because I'm too choked up. Or maybe it will just be really hard. But it's good to do hard things. It's good to be with God's people. It's good to gather and be reminded that I'm not alone. And there are others hurting and struggling and wrestling. And we will hold on to God and say, Lord, help our unbelief.


Waiting on Results of MRI

Waiting. I absolutely love waiting... said no one ever.
Getty Images: Daniel Allan

This is the place where we have to take our thoughts and lay them down-surrender them and even make them captive to God. Sometimes the wild and wooly ones have to be lassoed and wrangled to the ground. So what do we do as we wait?

Do we numb ourselves? Distract ourselves? stuff our faces? Get lost in FB, Pinterest, Instagram? Disappear down the comparison hole?

Trust me, I've done all those things before. And it never fixes the restlessness.

The problem isn't that you have to pin down one thought... it's that they keep coming.

Truthfully, I don't know believe I will ever arrive at mastering this. But I do know that God is with me. He's with me as I wait. With me as I read His Word-

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." (Psalm 90:1)

He's with me as I stumble and struggle with what do I with this day, with this time, with this moment.

So I will surrender, sometimes successfully, often failing. Leaning on one who is greater than me whose mercy and grace cover me. And I breathe.

I pause and start thanking God. Thank you Lord for the beautiful trees outside. Thank you for the sound of my dog's nails clattering in the hallway- that dog brings so much stinking joy- despite all his getting into trash escapades.

Grateful that today I'm getting a little respite. Grateful for my laundry machines to do the hard work of washing and quick drying for me. Grateful for the flowers and their bright happy colors outside. Thankful for the fragrant candle at my bedside. Thankful that my honey is coming home in a couple days. Thankful for this day.

Lord, I surrender all these thoughts and worries and cares about Samuel to you. I trust you with Him. You already perfectly know what's going on in his body. We ask for perfect healing. We trust that your will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Thank you for our daily bread. Thank you for providing for us. Help us to trust you and not be afraid. Help me to remove the desperation that creeps in. Help me to hold fast to you knowing that you alone are truly holding me. Thank you for giving us yourself. For making a way for us to be at peace with you. I love you Jesus. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, May 04, 2018

The Cancer Question

It's 3:40 a.m. when my body jolts awake. I thought I heard my phone ringing. It takes me a moment to remember I put in on silent. Is it any wonder though that I jump to when the phone rings? I've only gotten 8 calls yesterday from the Children's Hospital.

I find my thoughts vacillating and desperately trying to pin them down on one end of the spectrum. The side that says, "God is good. He's got this. No matter what happens I will get through this. Samuel belongs to the Lord, not me. He knows the number of breaths we will take. He knows the hairs on our head. I can trust Him even when it's scary."

And then I swing to the other side. That creeping doubt. That dear Jesus please don't let us walk through this again. That I don't know if I could handle another cancer treatment. And thoughts of didn't we just get back to some kind of normal?

Samuel's hearing is worsening. Even with his hearing aid. I keep thinking about  learning sign language and get overwhelmed by another potential necessity. On top of all the other things...

I'm tired and weak. Haven't been sleeping at well. Mike is out of town.

I stop. I breathe. This could all be nothing. This lump in his upper right back could be nothing. Maybe some minor surgery?

But it's causing pain. Is it attached to a nerve?

I literally don't know what we will hear when we get the results Monday. What I want is a "hey Napiers, this is easy peasy." But what I fear is, "We need you to come in to the conference room."

And if that's the words I hear then the audiologist, opthamologist, endocrinologist, neurologist, neurosurgeron, PT, and orthotics/splint clinic all take a back seat. It means all the needs of the other 4 as real and pressing as they can be also come in 2nd. Because a life is at stake.

The past 4 months have had me digging in God's Word like finding a well in the desert. It's restoring my soul. I play worship music when I drive. When I clean the house. When I sit at Starbucks sipping my Strawberry Green tea.

And it's been in preparation for the emotional whiplash the last couple months have held.

"He leadeth me beside still waters. He restores my soul for His name sake. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life."

This battle. Girding up. Putting on armor. Helmet. Shield. Sword. And I've been fighting a while. Sometimes I feel strong in the Lord. But other times I'm reminded so desperately of my weakness and realize He's the One fighting for me. He's over me and behind me and beside me. He's casting off the darkness. He's protecting me from the fiery darts of the enemy.
CHKD MRI & Radiology
Picture by Dave Chance Photography

So today, there is the MRI. 4 p.m. but won't start til like 5:30. My God has got this.

Samuel is nervous. So I'm bring lavendar oil, audiobooks and promising Him the only thing I can, that God will NEVER leave or forsake him.


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

PTSD, Panic & Prayer

The lights feel brighter and the sounds feel louder and the minor annoyances loom large in my mind.

And my heart clenches and I can't breathe and my grasp on the present moment slips. I feel
alternately numb and then intense pain. It's a crippling helplessness. Right now it's a literal numbness and tingling down the left side of my body. It's feeling like I'm not truly in my body. Not grounded. Like I'm watching myself outside of my self.

I am thankful that this is not my constant present reality but in the last week or so my PTSD and grief have caught up with me. My brain, heart, mind, body and spirit have been on overload.

Over the years I have learned how to mange. I cry out to the Lord in prayer. I use essential oils to help ground me, lift my mood, and help me breathe when I'm anxious. I take concentrated fruits and vegetables and berries to boost my nutrition. I go to counseling and receive therapy. I ask for others to pray for and with me. I know the importance of exercise for stress relief and I take medicine to help with my chemical imbalance.

But some days even with my best efforts I feel so alone and isolated. I read everyone's signal of busyness as a rejection notice. I feel disapproved, unaccepted and unwanted. The guilt and shame of my inability to cope mounts.

It's been 14 years tomorrow since my sister's death and I have grown in many, many ways but the loss can still take my breath away. The ache is still there and some ways increases as the space of time lengthens between the last time I saw her face, heard her laugh, see her with her hands on her hips, and be bossed by her. Baby sister or not- she was the bossy one!

I miss hearing her strumming her guitar. Miss seeing her nose scrunch up.

Do you know I have yet to see my wedding videos?

You know why? She's all over them I'm sure... and I was married only 6 months before she died. This September is Mike and my 15th anniversary and I still haven't seen my wedding on video.

I desperately want to put my house and belongings in order and I feel crippled. Unable to put things away. Unable to get rid of stuff that is stressing me out.

So what do you do in these situations?

Look for a way to numb the pain? To drink or eat or shop or gamble or watch til you're sick or passed out or gotten some kind of high. Until you don't feel anymore.

That's what I would like to do. But instead I'm crying out to Jesus. Asking Him to continue to heal me. To meet me in my weakness. To help me in my inability.

I wish this restless mania and panic would disappear but I'm quieting my heart and asking Jesus to calm the storm in me. I'm breathing as deep as I can.

I stop and recount the good things. The beautiful tulips I received today. The great laugh I had when my shake fell outside, the cup busted and I ended up spilling everywhere, including all over my dog. The most beautiful encouragement note from my daughter. A precious group of 12 year olds to tutor today. Ian made student of the month at his school. Michael received a letter and Cinema Cafe tickets from his principle for picking up the most trash on the playground!

Mike has only been away for work for a few days but is driving home from PA tonight to be with me tomorrow.

So prayer. Gratitude. Some lavender oil. A hot shower. Several liters of water. A handful of cashews. Have gone a long way to soothe some of the ache.

I'm not perfect. Not by a long stretch. But I'm grateful for a God who is perfect and knows all things and working even the most horrible, heartbreaking circumstances for my good.

Come to Jesus and breathe.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Victory & Putting Efficiency in It's Place


Some Thoughts from a month Ago...

I've been getting into this new routine of waking up early (4:30 a.m.) and getting ready for my day and exercising at the Y. It's been great. I get my workout in, do all my daily care needs bright and early and have the rest of the day ahead of me. In fact most of my difficult or stressful tasks have been done usually no later than 9 a.m.

This morning I had my alarm set for much later in the day... but I still woke up at 5. My dog needed to go to the bathroom and I was just wide awake. I think my body is getting used to my routine.

First couple of days I felt high by all I accomplished. I felt unstoppable. By the end of this week thought I've been restless, frustrated discontent and depressed. Whaaat?! I've accomplished all  these good things. I'm taking charge of my time, my health and my mind.

As I was doing dishes in the quiet of the morning I felt God spoke to me. And He asked me 3 questions....

#1.) What if  you pursued me more than you pursued your efficiency?

#2.) What if you hungered for me more than you hungered for the control of your health?

#3.) What if your restlessness derives from your pursuit of good things, but not pursuing the best?

It felt like a weird, strange slap in the face... but also a tremendous moment for grattitude. I'm so thankful He didn't let me deviate too long.

Don't get me wrong- it's good to exercise. It's good to knock out your list of priorities and needs. It's good to manage your time well. But I was more passionate about those things than I was about spending time with God. I was more eager to apply the 5 Second Rule (great book by Mel Robbins) than I was to enter into His presence.

I wanted good things... but I was choosing them over the BEST thing.

As I struggle to realign myself and my priorities I'm trying to ask God, "Lord, what do you want for me to do today? What is on your agenda? What do you say are my priorities?"

So I come back to the word He's given me for this year- VICTORY!

What a great word, right?! But it's not about me... It's about HIS VICTORY IN ME!

These are the verses the Lord gave me at the beginning of this year to seal victory in my mind.

He fights our enemies to give us victory.

Deuteronomy 20:3- "today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory."

We have victory through Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:55-58 "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

We can be strong and courageous for the Lord is with us.

Joshua 1:5-6 "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their Fathers to give them."

He will hold up our hands to give us victory.

Exodus 17:11-12 "Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary so they took a stone and put in under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun."

It's not our battles but God's. We don't need to be afraid!

2 Chronicles 20:15 "This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's."

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#MeToo

It's a scary thing to put yourself out there. To share a part of you that has brought tremendous amounts of shame. I've seen a couple friends be vocal. I'm so proud of them. They are so brave.

My fear of saying, I too have been sexually abused comes from a place of not wanting to draw attention to myself, not wanting to be seen as dramatic, and knowing I've not had it as bad as others.

But something compels me to write ME TOO. Because I recognize that there are likely other woman, like me, who have downplayed the wrong(s) that have been done to them. They minimize their experience. They don't know it's not their fault.

My first encounter of sexual abuse was being molested at age 5.

My second group of encounters were during sleepovers when I was 12 and on my 13th birthday by a friend.

And the last time was when I was 20 on a missions trip for a well known Christian missions organization.

Those encounters left me feeling confused, ashamed, humiliated and lonely. I was terrified. I blamed myself. I thought I was the one who was wrong. I felt so dirty. So broken.

When I spoke up immediately to my missions leader about what happened the issue was downplayed and swept under the rug. In fact I was forbidden to tell my parents as well as the rest of the members of my team about what happened.

So I did what the stupid "good Christian girl" does and I shut my mouth. My leader didn't seem to believe me, so why would anyone else? I was in a foreign country. I didn't know my rights and I was very afraid.

After finally getting help and going through years of counseling I have begun to see a clearer picture of what happened to me. It was wrong. The abuse was wrong. And the leader silencing me was wrong. The five year old me was a victim and so was the 12/13 year old me. But I'm not a victim anymore.

I will not be silent just so that others can feel comfortable.

There's a short song in Steffany Gretzinger's Album "The Undoing" that resonated strongly with me. I don't think it is specifically about sexual abuse but as a person who has struggled with people pleasing and learning to be brave, and come forward I find strength and comfort from this song.

The song is called I Spoke Up

Everyone knows that
I was the good girl
I did my best to
Make everyone happy with me
Then I found out that
It was impossible to please
The whole crowd

So I spoke up and I spoke out
I learned that love don't hold its tongue
And passion doesn't bow to what they think
It's You and me
Sometimes it's painful to be brave
To look fear in the face and know your name
To find your strength

I hope if sexual abuse- molestation, rape, being forced or manipulated into a sexual act has happened to you that you are able to find your voice. Get help. Reach out. If the first person you tell doesn't listen or believe you find someone else.

It's taken time to heal. It's taken breaking down the lies. It's taken instilling and affirming the truth. It's taken crying with friends. It's taken prayers.

I've been silent for a long time, only telling people privately when the situation arises, but no more. No longer. Because there are women out there that need to know that they are worth being spoken up for.

Our God is healer. He redeems and mends broken things. He saves those who are crushed in spirit. He is close to the broken hearted.

Have you been sexually assaulted but are afraid to say something? There's a national sexual assault hotline that can provide help here.

Maybe you haven't been sexually abused but someone you know has. What do you do/say?


And finally if you have a child-daughter OR/AND son please talk to them... ask them if ANYONE has ever made them uncomfortable or asked them to do something they felt was wrong. It's not just an issue of the opposite sex of of a family member.  It can be opposite or same sex, someone their age or older.

Educate your children about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate touching. I also thought it was helpful to learn to not have secrets... you can keep surprises, like what you're getting for someone for a birthday or Christmas, but not secrets. Better explanation can be found in this book

Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept by Jayneen Sanders


There are many books you can use for educating your children about appropriate touching:

It's MY Body: A Book to Teach Young Children How to Resist Uncomfortable Touch (Children's Safety Series and Abuse Prevention)  by Lori Britain



This post is inspired by Kate Thomas. Thank you for making me want to be brave.