Category Archives: my testimony

Following Directions

My GPS and I have an interesting relationship.  It tells me what roads I need to take and I follow . . . sometimes.

If I miss my turn, it reminds me to “make a legal u-turn” and get back on track.  Sometimes it revises its directions and has me make a right turn to get back to the road I’m supposed to be on (the road I thought I was on – but wasn’t).

I have to rely on my GPS to get me to my destination, because I have a terrible sense of direction.  I have no idea if I’m traveling south or east.  I don’t know what my destination should look like because I’ve never been there before.

My GPS has the big picture and always knows where my car is.  It gives me directions shortly before I need them. . . “turn left on St. Paul’s Blvd. in 500 feet”.

Sometimes I argue with my GPS, accusing it of sending me the wrong way.  It does not respond to my arguments but continues to give me the directions I need but don’t understand.

My GPS reminds me, in some ways, of the Holy Spirit.  Sort of like the “Gentle Prodding Spirit”.  The Holy Spirit guides my heart and gives me directions and I follow. . . sometimes.

If I miss a turn, I’m directed to make a u-turn which may include making an apology, forgiving someone, or obeying a command.

He instructs me to make a right turn to get back on track – which may mean I need to serve or give, or just be available.

I have to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me because, on my own, I have a hard time knowing what direction to go in. In most cases I can’t even imagine the future because I haven’t been there before.

Sometimes I argue with Him as if it was His direction that led me the wrong way, when in reality, it was me who got off course.

The Spirit continues to give me directions and when I stop talking over that “still small voice”, I realize that His way is best and I really am on the right road.

When I listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His direction I realize that He has detoured me around a traffic jam or a construction zone that could have been dangerous or frustrating and full of delays or potholes.

Occasionally, my GPS has a problem getting satellite connections.  It’s not the GPS’s fault  it’s where my car is located.  My car is in a place where reception is blocked by other things.

Sometimes I block the Holy Spirit in my own life by letting obstacles interfere.  A busy schedule, relationships, or just laziness are constant blocking threats to my ability to hear Him.

In this new year of 2017, I wait in expectation to hear how The Lord will speak to me through the Spirit.  I can’t wait to see what direction He will send me in.  I know it will be an adventure I never imagined.

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January 9, 2017 · 3:10 pm

How are you anchored?

2015-10-20 06.30.47

We live in charming, rustic home on the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp.  We love it here and have learned to adapt to living closer to nature.

A few weeks ago, we had a pretty bad storm with high winds and a good chance for a tornado.  Our little homestead was spared from damage except one casualty. . .

An adorable windmill that Hubs had gotten me for my birthday was damaged.  I had always wanted one and was so excited when I awoke on the day of my birthday to find her standing tall and proud next to the blueberry bushes.

Before this storm hit, Hubs and I had discussed whether the windmill would be OK in the predicted high winds.  I agreed with Hubs that the substantial anchors he had placed at the base would be enough to keep her upright.

As the sun came up the next morning, I anxiously looked out into the backyard.  My heart sank as I saw the windmill lying on her side, her blades embedded in the dirt, bent and distorted.  I blamed Hubs for the damage.  His anchors hadn’t done the job.

Well, the anchors, we discovered, had simply lifted out of the soil.  All of the rain we’d received over the course of several months had softened the soil so the anchors really didn’t have a chance to work.  The soil that had seemed so hard during last summer’s dry weather was nothing but dirt soup after the rains came.

Hubs was able to get the windmill upright again and her blades are mostly straightened – at least enough to spin in the wind.  The scars, however, will always be there to remind us of the windstorm.

Now, as I look out into the backyard, I see her spinning proudly in the wind, blades only slightly wobbling in the breeze and I’m reminded of a few things that are true in my life.

Number one – Make sure you know where you are grounded.

My hope is in the Lord.  Hope in anything or anyone else is fickle and unstable. Psalm 40:2 says “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand”.

Number two – Never blame your husband for all of the damage in a storm.

Sometimes storms happen and I am happy to weather the storm together and help to clean up the mess with him. Colossians 3:14 says “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all in perfect unity”.

Number three– Don’t get too attached to lawn ornaments.

Colossians 3:2 says “Set your hearts on things above, not on earthly things.”

 

 

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Is Multi-tasking Always A Good Thing?

I’ve been spending a lot of time in doctor’s waiting rooms.  And you know what’s in waiting rooms?  Magazines. 

I’ve read a lot of articles on a variety of topics.  Gardening, dieting, exercising, decorating, fishing, cooking, remodeling, traveling etc.  Lots of opinions.  Lots of ideas.

One article I read, though, stopped me in my tracks.  It was in a women’s magazine (a pretty liberal one at that) and it was titled “Prayer is the opposite of multi-tasking”.  Whoa!  What?

Prayer is the opposite of multi-tasking.

I’ve been priding myself with the fact that I can multi-task with the best of them.  I can do two or even three things at a time.  But I had to ask myself, “When I multi-task am I giving my best to each activity?  Or am I merely sticking my big toe in the water instead of becoming fully submerged?”

God deserves my full attention.  I don’t need to “fit” Him into my day.  He should be the focus of my day. 

 

Thanks for reading,

 

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God’s Timing Is Perfect

It’s been quite a while since I posted here at Blessed Brown Wren.

It’s not because life has been slow.

It’s not because God hasn’t been working.

It’s because God’s been working faster than my heart or head could process.

On Monday, April 11th, 2011 I received a second chance at life.  I was given a kidney during a living donor transplant.  Talk about life altering!  My friend, Cathy, gave a part of her own body to me so that I could live a more normal life.  A life not attached to machines.  Without this gift, I would have been doomed to years of dialysis treatments, 3 times a week, until a deceased donor organ could be found.  The search for a matching deceased donor usually takes 5-6 years.

The whole process took a few months, from my initial testing at The Medical College of Virginia last October, several people testing in January/February, and then the announcement that Cathy was the donor and we needed to schedule a surgery.  Fast.

God’s timing is always perfect – never too early, lest we rush things.  Never too late, lest we fall through the cracks.  Just as my body began to feel the true side-affects of the disease the plan was revealed and everything was set into motion.

48 hours after the surgery, Cathy was released from the hospital, just in time to watch her son be commissioned into the military.   6 days after surgery, I was released.

Today, Cathy’s mom drove her out to my house for a visit.  We sat on the front porch and talked about our experience and how blessed we both are with good health now.  Just for fun, we compared scars.  Her scar is under her right rib cage.  Mine is in my front lower abdomen.   We found it amazing that the organ doesn’t even have to go in the same part of the body that it came out of!

Both of our lives are forever changed.  Both for the better.  We now consider ourselves sisters.  United by surgery and our Heavenly Father.

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What’s The Rush?

 

Want to start at the beginning?  Read:  part1  part 2  part 3

From my journal:  December 2008

Every year I promise myself that I won’t let Christmas sneak up on me.  I’ll plan way ahead.  I’ll have my cards sent, my presents wrapped, and my goodies baked by the first week of December.  That goal seems a bit short-sighted.  I’ve never achieved it.

This year is different.  My energy is increasing a bit.  The new meds and supplements I’ve been subscribed seem to be working.  I seem to be feeling pretty good but there is a nagging thought in the back of my brain. . . “How long can I function like this?  I have less than one-fourth of my kidney function left.  How much time do I have before I’m dragging myself around?  I’ve got a lot to do and not much time left to do it.”

The holiday season is frantic enough without any extra sense of urgency going on.  I find myself doing errands and silently seething to myself, “People – get out of my way!  I have things to do and not a lot of time to do them!”  Of course, on the outside I was all smiles and “Merry Christmas” to everyone.  Talk about being two-faced.

One morning, while on my way to work, it was just God and me in the silent car.  Because I live in a more rural area, I don’t always get radio reception clearly until I’m closer into town.  I poured out my frustration to Him.  He heard me.  He reminded me that there is really no reason to rush because he made me to be an eternal being.  In fact, we’re all eternal beings.  If we choose to follow Him, we have eternal blessing.  If we choose to go our own way, without Him, we’ll have eternal agony.  But one way or another, we will live eternally.   So, in light of that, I’ve got plenty of time.  And when you look at it with that perspective, there’s no urgency.  He’s already planned out my days.  Fretting over it will not bring one ounce of joy to my life.  In fact, fretting over it wastes my time and I’ve got much better things to do.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-14

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.

That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God. 

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.  God does it so that men will revere Him.

 

To be continued. . .

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What happens next?

The story continues. . .  (click here to read part one)

My emotions were still reeling from my diagnoses, but I was pretty proud of myself for going in a forward direction.  My emotions wanted me to stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head, but my head said “forge ahead”.  So onward I went.   I made an appointment with a nephrologist and called for a follow-up appointment with my primary care doctor.  

I guess I should explain a bit of  history with my primary care physician.   You see, I had been going to this particular family practice for 28 years.  Our whole family had been under the care of the same doctor for 28 years.  Two months prior to my diagnosis, I had been informed that “our” doctor had retired and we could see his replacement or make an appointment with a different doctor in the group.  I picked the new replacement and crossed my fingers. 

 I liked her, I really did.  She gave me the most thorough physical I had ever had.  She  read my blood results and found several conditions that had apparently been overlooked for at least two years by my previous doctor.  She looked at me and asked “How do you get out of bed in the morning?.  I responded that I was, indeed, tired quite a bit but that I had been told it was my age.   “No, my dear.  You are anemic, have a underactive thyroid, and most certainly have something wrong with your kidneys”.  “Have you been taking your medication?”   “What medication?”, I asked.   “You’ve had these conditions for a least two years, according to your blood work.  You weren’t prescribed any supplements or medications?”   “No”, I responded. 

She turned red.  Very red.  She left the room.  Five minutes later she came back and reassured me that she was going to get me some help.  She prescribed a thyroid supplement, some iron  supplements, and a blood pressure medication to protect my blood vessels.   She asked me to return a month later to have more blood work done to check my levels and adjust the medications. 

Three weeks later I called for my follow-up  appointment  (this is where the follow-up appointment previously mentioned comes in).  That’s when I got the news.  “Dr. J is no longer with our practice”, I was told.  “What does that mean?!”, I asked.  “You can see one of the other physicians in the practice”, they told me.  “But I want Dr. J”, I demanded.   And,  like a broken record I heard, “She is no longer with our practice”.   First one doctor and now another in just a few months.

I fretted and worried.    I was on the phone with my mother-in-law, sharing what was going on, and she reminded me that God had not been caught off guard by all of this like I had.  She also suggested that maybe God had positioned that doctor “for such a time as this” to get me the medical treatment I needed.  She even suggested that maybe, just maybe, that doctor had been an angel, sent to protect me.  Now, I’m not really an angel fanatic or anything.  In fact, I’m not really sure about angels – although I do believe they exist.  What I do know is that my Heavenly Father can use what ever He wants to take care of His children.   

The story continues. . .

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The Story Begins

 

 

From my journal:  October 28, 2008   9:30 pm

Today is Tuesday. I am being referred to a  Nephrologist.   The diagnosis – Stage 4 Renal Failure.

The doctor will  try to keep me as healthy as possible until my kidney transplant.  She guesses I have 5 years or less until I will need a new kidney. 

Will I die of kidney failure like my sister did at age 35?  What will my family do?  I have a lot of things that I want to do.  Will I even feel well enough to do them?  I feel tired.

October 29, 2008 3:00am

I am awakened by my own tears.  As I sit on the side of the bed,  I start to remember the dream I was having.  It was a strange dream.  One of those dreams that begins as a memory of a real event but morphs into something different.

It began with a memory of a little girl I had seen in a store.  She was shopping with her grandmother.  When the cashier asked  “How are you today sweetheart?”, the little girl responded, “I’m blessed, thank-you”.  In my dream the scene started out with the cashier and the little girl, but then morphed into me being the little girl and God being the cashier.

“How are you today, sweetheart?”  asked God.

“I’m blessed, thank-you”, I responded. 

I’m blessed. I am so blessed.  I am blessed beyond anything I could ever have imagined.  He is with me.  He cares about me.  I am blessed.  

The story continues. . .

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