And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

Blind Faith

3:15 PM

My COBRA insurance coverage ends on February 29 - as in Wednesday. I have been praying, my family has been praying, my friends have been praying, and quite possibly soon my sponsor children will be praying. I was notified today that my Hearing for Social Security is scheduled for May 21. While that beats 9-18 months, it sure is not the outcome I was praying for. I had so hoped and believed the judge would just look over the mountain of papers and make a (positive) decision. What is a hearing going to do? It is teleconferenced so the judge will not even see me in person so "the big show" will be shoulders and chest in a wheelchair. I can do a 360 for full effect if that makes him happy. I guess by May I have to shave my legs so I can wear a skirt because I don't think Federal judges are down with blue jeans. My other hope of Medicaid is still closed due to lack of funding. This is Michigan. We probably will not have funding again for a few decades. Stupid auto industry, who needs a car anyway? Actually, that is the problem. So now I am stepping out in complete blind faith that God will provide for my every single need as He promises in the Bible. It may not be how I expected (oh it most certainly is not how I expected) and it will be in His perfect time (which seems to not be synchronized to my watch) but He will provide for me. I wish I could say how, but I have no clue. I wish I could say when, but my calendar is full of empty boxes. All I know is that it will happen and I choose to have faith in the one who created me and has promised to never fail me. I wonder if wheeling over to Canada to buy my prescriptions is a part of His plan? ;)
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I Got Mail!!

4:43 PM

Yesterday I received my first letter from one of my girls!! It was written on January 13 so it took about a month to arrive here. Letters can take as long as 2-3 months to reach some children, and then for return mail to arrive depending on where the child is located. My letter was from precious Monique in Burkina Faso. Before I share her letter I want to share with you a video clip that I found that explains the power of the work that Compassion International does in Burkina Faso.

Now on to my letter from Monique! The translator was not the most skilled, as I was able to catch mistranslations and I do not speak nor read French. But the main points of the letter are very sweet, if a bit addled by translation.

Dear Bethany,
Monique is so glad to be your sponsor child. All her family thank you for your love. She lives with her parents, her father Mathieu, a farmer, and her mother Marthe who sells firewood in market. She has older sister Elizabeth. She is in grade 7. She has 2 younger brothers, Azaria (6 years old) and Samuel (2 years old). Monique likes playing hopscotch with friends, The weather is very cold here. She would like to know about the weather over there. Do you have children? She wants you to pray for health and her family. She loves you and hopes to hearing from you soon, Thanks, Happy New Year 2012.

I have written to Monique three times so far (last night was the third as I responded to her letter), so I think at least my first letter crossed paths with this letter in the mail and hopefully she has it by now (given how long it took her letter to get here). She dictated her letter to an administrator at the Compassion Program center she attends, and then that was translated from French to English. There are some cute little drawings at the bottom of the letter.

I just wanted to share my wonderful, delightful little one with you all!!

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Lies Satan Tells

12:21 AM

Lie #1: If only you had enough faith, God would have answered your prayers and healed you by now.
     Healing comes in many forms. Healing can be healing of the body. Healing can be healing of the spirit. Healing can be putting the pieces back together to make you stronger, to make you able to overcome, to make you a better tool for the Lord in spite of the damages. Healing can wait until heaven.

Lie #2: No one will ever love you because you are broken and damaged goods.
     We are all broken.  We are all damaged goods. We are all scarred by the world and we all are perfectly imperfect. Without God we are nothing. He makes the broken whole. We are all equally worthy and unworthy of love, but love is never about worth. Love is about pouring out what has been given to us despire our unworthiness by the Jesus Christ and giving it out unconditionally. Love is not confined or defined by earthly labels like disabilities or illnesses or other damages. Love surpasses all of those.

Lie #3 Your life has no meaning (anymore).
     Every life has a meaning and a purpose for which it was ordained. God creates us in His own image, in His own likeness, and does not do so without a meaning to each and every creation. I exist for a reason, God desperately wants to use me for a reason for which I was designed. There is a plan and a purpose. If He took the time to create you, He took the time to lay out the entirity of your being, your life from conception to eternity. 

Lie #4 You are not good enough.
     It is not about being good enough. Or rich enough. Or smart enough. Or religious enough. It is about being obedient and willing to answer yes when the Lord calls, even when the call seems difficult or way outside our comfort zone. It is about living your words where you are as you are and ever seeking to live more in God's Word. It is all about being broken and shattered and put back together again. It is about beauty rising from the ashes to glorify God. God's light can shine through us best where we have been put back together and there are chips and cracks. Our humanity drives our reliance on Him, and with Jesus all things are possible. 

Lie #5 There is so much need in the world you will never make a difference.
     The world is indeed filled with suffering and need, with poverty and destitution, with orphans and those without families. It is our calling as Christians to serve these people. To serve the orphaned, the widowed, the sick, the destitute, the hungry, the suffering. You pray and seek God's guidance as to His mission for you and then you obey. You will  not save the world. But I guarantee you can be Jesus for those He brings you in contact with - you can be His hands and His feet, His mouth and His heart. As long as you are being obedient, God will use you to make a difference in the lives of multitudes, many in ways you never imagine. One at a time we can not change the world, but as a body, as The Church we do have the power to truly change the world for the glory of God and we each play our role.

These are some of the lies Satan has been hitting me with recently. They come in my doubts and fears, in my insecurities, in my heartache. I call them out in the light of day for exactly what they are - lies. I wish I had the Bible verses to go against each lie but in honesty I have been neglecting my devotional time and my time in the Word. I am ashamed but I know that God forgives me and will welcome me back in with open arms and speak to me once again through His Word. I do not know why I felt called to write this. It was never planned, and I wrote it long after I planned to be asleep. If it was intended to encourage someone else, to reveal a lie to another person then I pray it does so. For I am so blessed.

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Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."

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Wild Olive

Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst

Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies

* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.