Monday’s Manna February 17, 2014 “Duty”

This youtube had 251,289 views: WOW!!!

I can strongly relate to this journey.  Can you?

I’ve had this distant connection between my disease and the Cross of Jesus. (Pain is all too good at creating distance 😦 ) Their relationship (the Cross and the guard) seemed mere acquaintance at best.  I don’t believe God gave me ALS. I do believe God shoulders the brunt weight of the load. This moving illustration “connected the dots” about my duty and obedience within. 🙂 I felt His personal request to hold my disease from His Cross perspective. (The choice here is to carry the worldly pain or hold the entrusted privilege of guarding my post at His Cross.) Their relationship embraced the intimacy of close friends, re-united. “Can you hold this cross for a while, Tracey? I’ll be back love.” He asked. So I see myself as we did some directing toward “loyalty” while marriage and parenting continued “normally.”

Things have changed now, hurricane force winds blow and rain beats down with steel-like pellets. No more “directing ” here, putting every ounce of effort in keeping it upright. Their relationship is strained to a breaking point. Then I see him face down. The Cross fallen. I am really seeing myself there. My heart breaks. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve left my guard post, collapsed in exhaustion and/or grief.

I “wake up” stunned. I see the cross laying fallen. I remember a faint sense of duty. I’ve got to pick up the conviction of privilege before I can rise and pick up the shared suffering of the Cross. I do pick up the cross of my disease to begin the cycle again.  (I can even relate to the bad hair day.) Their relationship is restored. When The Lord says,”You must have been through so much. . .” I just melt and start pouring out all my woes.” Thank God for the pervasive grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior.

We’ve all have crosses to bear. Each cross-bearing circumstance is unique and the person’s tolerance is different based on many determining factors. Today’s manna moment normalizes our humanity and glorifies the divinity of Christ. At some point we may “direct” with a smile only later to collapse. Only Christ can hold the weight of the Cross. But we are exposed to the suffering of the Cross to teach us our weakness and the supremity of His strength. In the process of carrying our own Cross we learn things about ourselves and our Lord, without which, we would never have the intimate knowledge of the holding empowerment with the Cross.

ALS Update #2: Keep Moving Forward/1/3/14

  • Dear Friends and Family:
  • I’m feeling lead to offer you an update on my ALS journey. My hope and prayer is that something here will normalize our humanity in the dark places of struggle and loss. Yes, the above link is the theme to mission impossible. It’s not mockery to pain, but keeping some sense of humor in this is critical.
  • Physically: 
  • I’m on a v-pap machine at night and some during the day photo copy 8that gives my life-span and quality of life a 30% boost. No oxygen, just air blowing in and out.
  • *I’m in private water therapy twice a week. My blue smurf toes pink right up when they dip into the warm water. I sleep better on water therapy days and pain is reduced by 50% photo copy 5 after 50 minutes of water therapy. I’ve lost strength and skill in the pool too. The whole therapy fitness center is very good to me. They go above and beyond in caring for me and investing in my wellness. Thank you, Alanna 🙂 Words cannot express. (sweet tears)
  • *I’m not eating or drinking well. It’s a struggle to get down two smoothies a day (packed with vitamins, protein and calories) and a small mug of soup. We are heading toward a feeding tube 😦 I’m trying hard to force my resolve to this procedure.
  • *My left hand is impaired and it’s moving into my right hand. Arms too weak to brush the top of my head. With help, I can straighten legs and support a little of my weight to twist with Bucky to transfer me some of the time. Bucky never liked to dance and now he finds himself doing a twist and shout dance.
  • *I can’t move myself in bed. It gets claustrophobic at times, especially at night. I think I add a new pillow every night. Bucky affectionately calls it my “pillow palace!!!” He still has an edge to cling too when the mattress topper does not slip. We are looking into a King/Adjustable bed.
  • *My family and a couple of friends can make out my poor speech in context. It continues to deteriorate.
  • *I stay active with a stander once a week and my pedlar. I pedal arms and legs to beautiful destinations, two to three times a week.
  • Emotionally:                 
  • *I’m all over the place but most of that happens inside my thought and heart life.
  • *Oh I get crabby (we don’t even have to go to the beach to feel the pinch!) and rivers of tears flow some days/nights
  • *I work really HARD to let go of the crushing losses and focus on the promises of love in front of me.
  • *Sometimes, I’m just in shut down survival mode. It’s not a choice I make. If the moment and nervous system allow, I can engage emotionally for short periods of time.
  • *I struggle with balancing the need for companionship, pressure to communicate and over-stimulation. It’s beyond odd since I’m out going by nature and fuel up by companionship. Honestly, pre-disease, I can’t remember ever being over-stimulated (not even at Chuckie-Cheese Birthday Parties!).
  • *It takes courage to move out of my “safe zone,”from my bedroom to other parts of the house. I have to confront my old self and all the things that need doing. It stretches me further to revisit my old playgrounds: the girls school and our church.
  • *I see my husband and girls growing by leaps and bounds. The cost is high, (The rate of inflation is terrible!) but on a good day I can see God using this for good in their lives. They are ever so gracious in expressing love and care for me. 🙂
  • *I’ve never known this kind of love and faithful service. Friends donate time, groceries, expensive medicines, exercise equipment. Every act both large and small invests in our family and reaches Kingdom-ward. My gratitude can’t begin to embrace any of it. I just know, this love shared has a life of it’s own, that reaches far beyond our circumstances into His arms. It’s a deep, rich blessing to receive so much of God’s heart through our family and friends. It’s nothing short of amazing.
  • *It’s messy glory for sure. We all get impatient, tired, overwhelmed and frustrated, but we are here, together for better or for worse. We are making great memories and attempting to live our lives to the fullest.
  • *We are looking at Tobii computer software that will allow me to communicate some through typing and an eye gaze system.
  • Spiritually:
  • *I find myself gravitating toward pastors/friends that know deep grief and still speak their Faith. Not to the exclusion of others, but it offers a common language.
  • *I lived for years in a romancing phase with the Lord, and I guess in the innocence of a young bride, I expected it to be that way forever. It was such a sweet, playful, beautiful place to grow and live.
  • *Worship and prayer were intermingled in ways I could not comprehend. I could spend long periods of time in conference plannings/ministry workings/Bible Studies or in front of a lake, under a tree, on a swing or walking the beach in my Lord’s full companionship. No sense of time, just embraced in His goodness. I loved to take my shoes off in His presence.
  • *I don’t know where the Lord and I are now, but He knows and that’s enough for me. It’s still a we in me. I can tell you, “we,” patterns out into gritty obedience, blind faith, my return to classical music and loving forward.
  • *Prayer carries a higher, wider, deeper significance in my heart life. It involves very simple, short phrases while I lean on the Holy Spirit to perfect it for His Throne Room. I had such a thesis in my prayer language before in my old girl self. I can’t help but wonder is God is relieved and pleased I go right to the point now. “Help, Susie Q, she sure needs your love.”
  • How are we fighting back for life?  Prayer, Pulse Steroids Treatments once a month, love, love, love and hope for research breakthroughs in treatments. I could not do a moment of “this” without my husband, Bucky’s strong arms of love and support. During intimate moments of anxiety/fear gripping me in the icy fingers of lies/deceit, he will hold me and say, “We’re okay. We’re figuring this out. We’re okay.”
  • This Scripture sums it up so beautifully, as my Community Life Verse:  I know Truth, like I would not have experienced it, in “The Land of The Living,” because of this difficult trial in our lives. . .
  • psalm27_13

Monday’s Manna Moment: Mark Hall: The Well

So excited when I found this. It’s not easy to receive water from The Well. This is a calling of openness to receive from you. I want to do the poring, my pitcher is full, Yet, God has emptied my glass and created a new thirst within me: parched to the core of my being. And then, there is you and you and youYou know who you are 🙂 You pour into the glass of my life with pitchers full to brimming;  crystal clear, refreshing water that quenches dry places I never knew I had until now, in this challenge of my life. My husband and daughters see your wet witness of Jesus’ love from The Well. Our pathway to The Well is forever worn by the steps of your feet. Our thirst forever stirred because of The Water you offer. Our story to the towns people expressed with joy because of our meeting at The Well.

Thank You, Jesus for the pitchers in my life, Amen

With Love and Joy, tracey

Woman at The Well

Will you walk to The Well with me? For the day is hot and I thirst.

(As you read, watch for green highlighted words, links to tell you more :))

John 4

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

4 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know;we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit,and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

The Disciples Rejoin Jesus

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

Sunday’s Showcase 12/1/13

Revelation 4:8

“is to come”

What speaks to me is what is to come. . .

Rose buds packed with silken promise of fragrance and full bloom. . .

It’s the bud that holds tight to what is to come. . .

P.S. As I’ve pondered this over the last few days, I felt God whisper. . .

“Thing’s are different here, your senses are no longer dulled by the affects of sin. You will be intoxicated by the profuse fragrance of every rose. You will know each rose by it’s unique sweetness, woodsy or spicy scent from a distance as We stroll in My Garden. There is much to anticipate in My Presence with you.”

ALS Walk Slideshow: Thank You Allyson Fox

Song: Just Begun by Kimberly and Alberto Riveria

It’s an extravagant gift of time and love to capture an event through the lens of a camera. It takes a quick eye to catch a breath of life in a moment. . .to be cherished forever! Thank you Miss Allyson for the lens into our lives on November 2, 2013. What a gorgeous Fall Day. If you participated/supported/prayed/set up/loved on us in anyway for this event. . . .

Please accept our deepest gratitude for making it a success and giving our Lord GLORY IN CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN LIFE.

There is a financial aspect of Team Tracey: Through your prayers, love and generous support:

You raised, as of today: $$$ 30, 195 toward research and ALS community provisions.

You’ve exceeded our goal through God’s Hand. 🙂 🙂 🙂

The English language has slim pickings to express gratitude. I know our Lord grants His favor in the investments made for life in Him. Every dollar is honored with His hand and our deeply held gratitude.

Your support is writing hope into our story. “It’s time to turn the page on the ALS story.”

Thank you, love the elofson family

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

P.S. I keep watching this slideshow over and over with the music Just Begun, trying to get it. It was through a text a friend sent that revealed what’s up in Allyson’s lens-eyed-view. It’s not my full moon face or the double-chin.

My friend’s text said, “she could see the words on my face.” I know now why I’ve watched it over and over and over. I’ve been searching out God’s goodness. Enter with me, this impossible compression of bitter joy. The pictures give me a visual on what God is doing with this part of our journey. He is speaking forward, amidst the tragedy. . .triumph. As my girls grasp more of His life-giving ways in redemption, this will serve as a teaching tool that carves His love on their hearts. Thank you God for using Allyson in a profound and poignant legacy of love.

Walk With Me/ALS WALK 2013

Blk:Witw College
Thank you, Kathleen for the fun collage!

Walk with me into the darkness of disease

where nightmares die and dreams are born.

The reality of our nightmares is that they have no hold on us.  Darkness is not our dwelling place. Shadowed terrors taught our false beliefs and lies.

Ephesians 5:8

New American Standard Bible 
for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

The reality of our dreams, God has a Hand Hold on that one. We are light and are to walk out our lives in the light of our dreams.

Now, let’s talk. We are not talking fairy tales and make believe happy endings.  We’re talking about a gift wrapped life where the beginning and the end are tied together into a cascading bow of eternity. Life in Christ is a gift of salvation that begins in Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven. Do you see the inklings of a dream. . . . Heaven on earth?

I am waking up to a nightmare but living a dream. His promises enlighten the darkest corners of circumstances. . . .

The Saturday Walk for ALS so many people had worked so hard to make happen. . . . Came on the heels of our Houston Check Up at Methodist Hospital Clinic with Dr. Appel’s Team. It’s an exhausting day of visits with physicians, therapists and experts with ALS challenges. We got home Friday night earlier than usual. I did not sleep well. (We are a four day/month high steroid dose regime to fight progression. Steroids play havoc on my sleep!) We got to the walk and the Autumn Day greeted me with it’s best dressed self 🙂 Our tent was happy with bright teals and there was a sky of blue Team Tracey t-shirts everywhere. My rock solid support, husband, and my four girls flanking my heart!!! A very special note of gratitude to Michelle, Marlene, Stacy, Keith and Herman for their heart-felt Walk Investments!!!

I had written for Bucky to read to those gathered for Team Tracey:

Dear Family and Friends:

“Words cannot express. Our Lord is honored by your presence here. Today embraces something much bigger than ALS or even it’s cure. It’s about Kingdom Building of an investment of love we can only begin to imagine. . . Please come speak to me. I will communicate through my eyes and touch. Thank you for your steps for me today. Tears of joy and gratitude!!! We love you!!! My community life verse is Psalm 27:13-14  I remain confident of this: I 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.” tracey

I walked/rolled through a dream of “falling in love” like I’ve never been “loved,” seen like I’ve never been “seen,” touched like I’ve never been touched. In the cheeks that brushed mine, heaven drew in so close it whispered of mountain top air that thins the veil between heaven and earth. I knew heaven to be closer that day than I ever have experienced before and it spoke to me of dreams. A sky-blue cloud of witnesses walked amidst dancing leaves on drafts of cool, crisp breezes that tickled stray hairs on heads humming with conversation. There was such a sweet sense of fellowship that I remember telling God that is just a taste of heavenly goodness, how glorious eternity is to anticipate.

The presence of hearts united in love, is a powerful testimony of Psalm 27:13-14. If you were there in presence, in thought or prayer or through financial support, please accept gratitude sheered in His grace. I am richly blessed indeed to know His love and your support. You have raised $$$ 30,000 for Team Tracey toward research and provision of needs for ALS patients!!! Wow!!!

There is a photo slide show to come (so check back for updated post) thanks to the heart’s view of Allyson Fox, our photographer!!!

Dear Abba Daddy: Thank you for the challenges that call love up close and personal to make a Kingdom of difference. I have seen the goodness of your heart for me expressed in ways that never would have stepped forth without this ALS challenge. Thank you for extravagant love made known. Amen

Image Found: nursapalooza.blogspot.com

Image Found:
nursapalooza.blogspot.com

A River of Tears

image found: msmeans.wordpress,com

image found:
msmeans.wordpress,com

I once heard a wonderful testimony from a women struggling with cancer. Beautifully articulated but she did not share anything about her emotional pain. I could not but wonder where is her brokenness? She has never been curled up in a fetal ball like I have in despair? Please know, no judgment or condemnation, I appreciated her vulnerability!!! It’s just, I hope to “speak” in such a way it’s authentic to my girls when their heart is broken? Express what is helpful to you? How would “a bowl full of cherries” glorify my God?

It flows on days, unexpected times and places. And sometimes, I think they will not stop. Out of control tears, yes sometimes in public, and feeling like I’ll die any second of a broken heart!!!

I’m a Christian so at any time, any moment, they are tears of ” joy.” A  few friends had a discussion recently about JOY. “Is that our goal?” “Did Jesus feel joy all the time: He cried, He turned tables over???” “What is joy???” “Is it the same thing as happiness???”

I just love questions! Especially the ones without black and white answers! (Yes, I am an educator’s daughter and will always be a teacher at heart! (Do you want to know a secret? When I get to heaven, I want to teach female college students on theology. One of my favorite movies? Mona Lisa Smile. I’m not wild about some of the values:( , but I love how she teaches and cares about her students.)

See, I’m treating you like friend at tea and I may not even know you 🙂 You know how women weave all over the place in their communication? Thank you men for your grace!!! Any way, back to the point . . . I think questions are so “fun!!!” They stir us and those around us to grow!!! In a Godly context, Kingdom Growth. The best kind, because it invests right into God’s Big Hands and it “collects interest there for eternity.” You can’t get a better return.

Tears are an investment. Tears are sacred. Tears are sowing for the harvest (yes, even the red, dripping nose, I can’t breathe, sobbing “ugly” cries). I’m banking in high salty waters, honesty, I did not know I could cry such gut wrenching, heart shattering, staining tears.

Beyond the obvious we all know about happy and sad tears, I have a lifetime with tears. Perhaps they are my closest companion for a testimonial of reasons I won’t pursue here. But today, I’m taking a stand for tears. Tears are shed because: we are created for “happy endings” aka Garden of Eden before The Fall with sin, we are created in His image with a full passion for life, we know our heart lives are meant for more.

It’s the depth of disparity in this fallen place between “what is” and God’s goodness for us that presses us to a breaking point. We know better than this! It’s that knowing that keeps happiness at bay, but introduces an eternal element to our sorrow.

It’s not a “happy” groan by any means.  I don’t feel happy. But, in my deep flow of emotion, they are tears of joy because I seek a Kingdom Perspective into which my river of tears runs straight through the middle of my King’s Throne Room. It does not take the pain away but it grants it creational and eternal insights.

Tears spring from deep groanings:

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22-25 It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realised our full sonship in him. We were saved by this hope, but in our moments of impatience let us remember that hope always means waiting for something that we haven’t yet got. But if we hope for something we cannot see, then we must settle down to wait for it in patience.

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Tears can make us uncomfortable in others and just plain miserable in ourselves.

But the truth is tears are beautiful, sacred prisms of wet witness in reflection of what is to come.  

(wet witness is my concept God is developing for a new chapter in the book with which I am playing)

God cherishes our prismed jewels of emotion:

Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Sorrow and Joy are mysteriously linked in the reality of the spirit realm:

“Pain and joy are arteries of the same heart.” ~ Ann Voskamp

Psalm 30:5 Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.