The Perfect Woman, Wife, Mother

The perfect woman, wife, mother…otherwise known as the Woman of Proverbs 31:10-31. Ok, for the girls out there, this was always the impossible achievement taught to young ladies and women in church, schools, etc. There are so many descriptions, that turn into misconceptions about her: she’s the perfect wife to a successful businessman in the community; she’s wealthy, upper class, manages a large household, strong, hard working, caring, patient, never sleeps because she’s always staying up to sew & do laundry, and my personal favorite–“her children rise up and call her blessed.”

Any of you out there get called BLESSED by your kids???

The two things I can take away from this larger than life Christian woman are: she feared the Lord and she made the most of her time. These are two characteristics I can practice in my life, even in the hospital or at home. As a Christian, I have a healthy fear of God as I walk with Him daily. Knowing He’s my Heavenly Father who I can ask anything in faith, He’s also holy and just, and a Judge. Using my time wisely, I can spend quality time with Joel and the kids. I can read more, I can pray more, I can strengthen my friendships.

So, in my own life, I can apply principles of the Proverbs 31.

Sunday Morning Late for Church Blues

I heard this song “the Sunday Morning Late for Church Blues” when I was 12 & it described our family then, and describes my family until recently.

When Chloe came into our family, then Jack, we got acquainted with the Sunday Morning Late for Church Blues. To us, having young children made it acceptable to be late to EBC. As they have gotten older, the fighting, disobedience, accidents all started to be regular routines in trying to get to church. My hair and makeup, as well as Chloe’s hair had to be perfect. Our apperance mattered to me. It has always bothered me to be late and I know it’s inconsiderate, and I am willing to change it & do more to prepare for the next day.

However, as my health has been breaking down, it takes me a long time to get ready. I regularly have to sit down in a chair after I shower & get dressed. I am on oxygen, and have to take it off when showering or doing my hair, slowing me down more. I have to eat a nutritious breakfast (no Panera bagels for me!). Get my meds, purse and oxygen tank. Joel supervises most of the stuff with the kids. (except for Chloe’s hair & earrings). Settle the arguments from the kids, then drive 20-25 min to church.

So what am I learning?
On the surface… I cannot comprehend how one healthy person or couple without children cannot be regularly on time for church, and attend the entire morning. I just don’t get it. Sorry.

I don’t know why people with one or two kids can’t get to church on time and attend the entire morning.

Post 6 months transplants, being on time for church will seem like a breeze, even with driving.

Under the surface…do we really want to be in the Lord’s house and with other believers? Do we go, because we have to be in the nursery or see people or it’s good for the kids or the music is inspiring?

Or do we go because we know we need to minister to other believers; adore, confess, thank and petition to our Heavenly Father; we are bound by our covenant to other believers to educate their children, encourage, rejoice with with other believers?

Maybe I am being to tough on my fellow Christians, and I am apologetic if I was brash. If I was not terminally ill, I would not see it this way. Being in the hospital or shut in my own house on Sundays made me so grateful for this past Sunday and wish I could attend all services. But that’s not the way the Good Shepherd has for me right now.

Trials, suffering, and sorrow either turn us away from God or toward Him. Without my husband and my EBC family encouraging & admonishing me, I could easily turn away from Him. But in His great love and abounding mercy, He seeks me and provides peace for me.

My CHD Can’t Take Everything from Me

My life is out of my control. Not the regular, we ran out milk, need to stop to get gas, my house is a mess, we’re always late for church, couldn’t get to Publix while chicken is on sale, Jack hit Chloe / Chloe hit Jack/ Jack tells me “Chloe hit me back!”, Joel has to work late and he just told me at 4:30, company is coming over 30 minutes earlier than expected, I never sent John & Rima a wedding card & they’re going into their 2nd year of marriage. UGH!

No, this is the my life is completely out of control & I am having more & more parts of my life taken from me. My Congenital Heart Disease has worsened each month. Pain is increasing, comfort – gone. My days are dictated by my disease, schedule – gone. I’m not allowed to drive anymore – freedom gone. Few people truly understand the circumstances – separation/loneliness.

But, my CHD cannot take away many things. It cannot separate me from the Father’s hand. Romans 8:39 says, “nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus Christ our Lord.”

My CHD cannot take away my identity, values, or my core beliefs in life. I value eternal life, I value my husband & children and family, I value Emmanuel Bible Church. I value my true friends who have stuck by me and admonished me when I have doubts of the Christian faith. I value a healthy lifestyle and running.

My CHD cannot take away my imagination or senses. Even during a treatment, my mind can use imagery & be on a quiet Saturday morning run through downtown, no cars, no traffic, I can meet other athletes & canine companions.

My CHD cannot take away my lifetime of memories.

Huh?

Living with my CHD, I struggle daily. On my days I feel worse physically, more fatigue or having more stomach problems, I have to fight depression. Sometimes overwhelming sadness comes out of nowhere and I can’t control the tears. Once it starts, I can’t mask my feelings. I really hate that I can’t hide it, because so many people kind of look at me with that “huh?” look. Like, they know I feel horrible, and they feel burdened for me, but they can’t think of something to say to help me.

Maybe I am too hard on people or too much of a burden on family & friends. But this is such a difficult journey. I feel like Frodo carrying the ring halfway across the world. I would like to have one day I can forget that I am terminally ill, that without 2 new compatible organs, I am slowly dying. Without this miracle, Joel will be a widower and Chloe & Jack will lose their 2nd mother.

I feel like wherever I go, I pull people down. I want to encourage and uplift people. And maybe I do, but for today, it’s just not happening.

My Lab Technician

Most people don’t have a friendship with their lab technician, mostly because they don’t have need lab work more than a regular physical or 2 times a year for a minor health problem. I never envisioned I would have a friendship with a lab technician based on the need to watch my blood chemistry so much.

My regular routine is a weekly blood test to measure how quickly my blood will clot, and monthly for blood chemistry. Then I received a home machine to test my clotting at home. However, lay week I have had several problems and required 2 test & this week I will have 2 tests. My insurance company really hates me.

Rosie is my lab tech in Greenville Lab Corp and we have really talked over the last year. Some days it’s small talk, some days are pure stress relievers. During my relapses, she’s my therapist. But over all, over the last 15 months, she’s been my friend & I am blessed to have her.

Dangerous Exercises for Heart Disease Patients

According to the ACHA, competitive or vigorous swimming and rowing are dangerous exercises for heart disease patients. Swimming, especially swimming alone, can be fatal if you are predisposed to dizziness, fainting or have an ICD implanted. The exercise is strenuous itself, but combined with unexpected injuries or possibly being shocked by an ICD is very dangerous.

The rowing machine is intense with a harder effect on the heart and can cause sudden chest pain or injury. It’s more intense than stepping, spinning, or any other machine.

I’m glad I learned this tidbit of exercise knowledge this weekend.

Blessings In My Life

Throughout my life, I have been on a roller coaster. Life is great…no, life is crappy. I am thankful for my health…my health sucks. I have the best family…we all had an argument at Christmas time. I love my dogs…why can’t they just pee outside 100% of the time? My kids are the most beautiful, loving angels…stop spitting on your sister!!!

Emotions may go up and down, but the blessings and gifts I undeservingly receive are my stability.

My God who created me, chose me for His own, gave His Son’s life for me…He gives & gives & gives. He gave me the gift of Congenital Heart Disease, showing me His power, might, and providential planning of the events in my life.

My husband, who is ever patient, giving, selfless. Joel tells me I am the most beautiful woman in the world…and believes it. He loves God and hates evil.

My children, who were predestined to be ours. Gifts from God, birthmothers who chose life for Chloe and Jack and who sacrificially gave us what we couldn’t have otherwise.

My parents and siblings who love me. Mom and Dad always put us first, making the best decisions possible, spending countless hours taking care of me and getting the best medical care possible.

My church family, Emmanuel Bible Church. I cannot ever repay the support they give me, especially during my 5th heart operation. Prayers, fasting, gifts, time, surrogate homes for my kids. Continued prayer, continued encouragement, sometimes rebuke.

Friends who give, talk, spend time, easily forgive when I have been insensitive or mean.

Caring and brilliant physicians, nurses, medical support system throughout my life who have sought to save my life, problem solving to give me the best options available. Incredible health care coverage and opportunity to University hospitals and CHD centers.

These are the most important things in my life and I am blessed to have them.