Friday, November 5, 2010

A Prayer to our Lord! Coming To Us On the Water!

I saw this beautiful picture my dear friend and brother in Christ, Mark Chatwin from Australia had posted on Facebook and it reminded me so much of Jesus walking on the water. The light shining on the stilled waves almost form a path for our Savior to walk across. Imagine being in the boat that night as He came from shore and walked toward the disciples on the newly calmed Galilean Sea. Peter jumped up and leaped from the boat to meet the Lord! But his faith waivered. He looked down at the water and took his eyes off of Jesus. Panicking, he began to sink. Jesus rescued him as He daily rescues us from our moments of panic and doubt.

"When, Oh Lord, will we learn to fix our eyes on you? Keep ourselves above the scary circumstances of the day, the petty worries, the waves tossing about our ankles and walk on the water that is faith in you?"

"You see our weakness and rescue us dear Lord. We pray you will help us to grow strong in faith. Running with patience the race set before us, keeping our eyes on you Lord. Fighting the true fight for the one who endured the cross, despising the shame who now sits at the right hand of the Father and yet lives in our world our lives and in our hearts...ready to keep us above our failures and fears in the light of your presence. Thank you Lord! For all you do for us each day to keep us from sinking in the mire of this world and teach us instead to triumph in You!" AMEN!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Suffering and Joy

Joy and suffering -- I have had so much of both the past few months. Joy because I have been so healthy. Suffering, not for myself, but because my dear friend, best friend! Hetty @AliveinMe continues to suffer so terribly every day. I have searched the scriptures and my heart for what good there can be in suffering. I know for myself that God has been closer to me in times of suffering. But that is partly as I look back. Though in times of suffering -- I feel His presence very closely -- at other times I feel bereft and alone. No doubt this is partly what my dear friend is feeling and my heart breaks for her and she bravely posts her thoughts and feelings on Facebook. She is not alone, but no one really know how deep her pain, how uncomfortable and frightening, or her blindness -- except Jesus.

I, on the other hand, am the picture of health. My immune system is strong. My husband has gotten two colds this fall and I haven't caught either on. I'm posting a picture of me taken at a recent lunch to show the joy and health in my face. I am healthy and whole and I rejoice in My Lord for it and for the strength it gives me to help my family and to pray without ceasing for Hetty and others on my heart!

The Christian life is one of victory in every trial and joyful time. In times of joy we need to remember not to go on our own strength, but rely solely on HIM. In times of suffering we need HIM more with every painful move we make..."And not only this, but we also exalt in our tribulations (whatever they may be), knowing that tribulations brings about perserverance; and perserverance, proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us!" Romans 5: 3-5 Blessings to you all my friends! And relief from suffering and the trial/tribulation in which you find yourself. May you see the Light at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Friend @AliveinMe is VERY ILL!

I am moved to tears as I pray for my dear friend Heather "Hetty" Seibens @AliveinMe who is so sick she is seriously not sure if she will come out the other side of this one and still be on our dear terra firma, but possibly with Our Dear Lord Jesus in Heaven. Much as a Christian wants to be with Jesus, no mother wants to leave her young daughter, brother, or anyone in their dear family when they are only in their 30's!

I am praying for health and wholeness and an end to suffering. After her 3rd brain surgery in Feb. 2010, she is suffering from blindness and a terrible tormenting pain in her bones and muscles that is unbearable. She is the strongest faith-filled person I know, so if she has had it, I know it must be the very worst pain in the world.

I have always admired Hetty. We have been best friends on Twitter, Facebook and via Skype. I had my surgery for my stomach a few days before hers and we recouped together. Now I am well and she is sicker than ever. It is breaking my heart. In my prayers I lift her up to Jesus, the one who holds us in the palm of His hands. Who has born her suffering for her. Only to find she has posted another video on Facebook regarding her unbearable pain and thinking about the end of her life, not a new beginning.

"Oh Lord, I know you have not forsaken my sister Hetty! You do not forsake the works of your hands! Psalm 138: 7. Please let her know this deep in her heart, in the midst of her pain. Know it like she knows the bad things that are happening. Know it like she knows your love for her dear Lord!"

"For God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes." Romans 8:28 My favorite verse in times of trial, and generally!

Hear Oh Hetty the Lord speaking to you. He loves you and wishes no harm come to you, but healing and well being and health. He will make a way where there is no way! I believe this. Please come back to us dear friend. You are so beloved! -- Libby

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Mid-40's - Crash and Burn!

In 1998, I was 45 and working for a Consulting Firm who hired out Psychologists to work with companies in strategic planning, training, and utilization of personnel. There were all kinds of personalities in the firm. The woman I was working for was high up on the food chain, controlling, crabby and wound very tightly. I was getting very wound up myself and stressed out to the max. After I'd been there about six months and was in the middle of a huge project, I fell to the floor in my small office, no longer able to walk or speak. Naturally they called 911. As soon as the paramedics got there they tried to talk to me about my medical history because no one knew it. I had taken oodles of psychological testing and skills testing for the job, but didn't know anyone there well enough to have confided in them what everyone practically at my present job knows: I am bipolar. They said to you have any major medical history we should know about? I finally gasped: bi-polar. They practically yelled in front of all the people gathered in the hallway to try to find out why I was on the floor and uncharacteristically speechless: Oh you're BIPOLAR!!! That's most likely related then! I was furious. I couldn't move! I felt stiff as a carp as the saying goes. So they rushed me to Methodist Hospital which does NOT have a psych unit by the way. I figured my job was cooked at that place after their announcement to the general staff. Being psychologists, and their underlings, they were paranoid about that sort of thing.

A couple of days later in the hospital I find out from the doctors I had suffered a stress overload, something I had not heard of and most people haven't. It was a complete stress burnout reaction and my body said enough! So it quit walking and talking! I had my walking back by then but the talking took a bit. I even required speech therapy which was difficult for me...I love love love to talk!

Well I was finished in the full-time work place. I never got back. My bi-polar disorder skipped ahead and only allowed me to work part-time after that. My career was over.

It was very hard for me to accept, still is some days even though I have had a nice part-time somewhat challenging job -- the same one -- for six years now. I am very blessed really. I'm sure many people who have something like that happen to them and are bi-polar never really come back at all, so I thank God that I still have a good mind and ability to work and write to all of you!

Thanks for listening. The fifties I do not crash and burn I promise :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My 30's: Sunshine Years: Life with Abby!

For someone who worked hard to have a baby and lost two children -- a stillborn baby girl named Shirley -- and an almost year old son named David, I was a pretty excited pregnant mom with Abby. I was married to a wonderful guy named Mike and felt that life was all new again, that the years of sorrow in childbearing were behind me -- and that a new day had dawned. I dreamt of a very healthy baby girl. More than dreamed, I believed. The still small voice inside me that was Jesus talking told me she would be strong and healthy! I was sure my baby was just that a wonderful baby girl -- whole and strong in every way. I did the mom's part. I made myself homemade vegetable beef soup every week, and ate healthy all week long. Culminating on Friday when Mike and I went to Wendy's and for some reason I always ordered a Taco salad (now I have a grown daughter who has loved Hispanic food all her life!) But  I didn't know this all would happen...but I believed in a healthy baby on the way with all my heart and faith!

And the end of  January, 1983 she arrived. I won't say her birth was easy, but the ending was. I pushed her out in two pushes. I was ready to meet her! She was so beautiful with dark hair and so big, she seemed to me, almost 8 lbs and 20 inches long! Mike and I were thrilled, crying and thanking God all at the same time!

Her infancy and childhood years were a joy. Abigail means in Hebrew: Her Father's Joy and she was and her mother's -- she still is! This was a golden time in my life. I had my hardships, surgeries, difficulties, trials as anyone does...but I was filled with the joy of the Lord every time I thought of Abby -- I still do. Maybe not perfect, but she is the sweetest person I know. She is like her Dad and I treasure her!

She was healthy and is! She is an athlete, her top sports are hockey and softball. She snowmobiles in the winter and rollerblades in the summer. She's a goalie in hockey -- yet talented enough to skate out on her current team -- for which she plays back-up goalie. Last year they won in the B-1 Division for the State of MN: WHAM: Women's Hockey Association of Minnesota. Mike and I were there to cheer her on!

Here is a picture of our Abby! Rejoice in the Lord with us!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Skipping to Today: Stomach Surgery January 28th

True to a word given to me in my late teens by a man who walked very close to God in my Church, I would face waves and waves of trials and suffering that would seek to overwhelm me -- but they would not touch me for the Lord would keep me safe. I had an unusual number of trials perhaps in my life, surgeries, ill health, challenges with jobs, financial challenges. My marriage was very sound and for the most part my husband and daughter had enjoyed good health. I was the challenging one, the worrisome one. Now I was 56 and about to face the most harrowing surgery of my life and I didn't want to do it.

As a matter of fact, my husband and I had put if off for almost one year, but I was experiencing stomach pain that was unbearable. I was hospitalized just for the pain. I had to do it. It was vascular surgery. I had an artery designed to delivery blood to my stomach, liver and spleen and it was 90% blocked. There were two other arteries assigned this task, but this was the Celiac artery -- the main one! I had been tested every which way. It was proven I had the condition and the only solution was to go in and repair or bypass the artery. So I finally yielded to the still small voice of faith within me and said, "Yes, let's do it." I had had quite a few surgeries before, but this was far more complex and required a team of 3 surgeons and as many hours to complete. All went well on Thursday -- they did a bypass -- and it appeared we had a success on our hands! Praise God!

However, on Sunday, three days, later I hit a crisis. I stopped being able to breathe on my own and my brain was swelling. They had to send me down to a Critical Care ICU and intubate me. My family was worried, very concerned and my brother puts it now, "He didn't know if they were going to get to keep me!" These are the times in life when God carries you and I don't remember much of it. They ran all sorts of tests on my brain and couldn't find a cause. They discussed all sorts of remedies, including lifting the cap off of my skull to let out the pressure. I just found out about that one a couple of days ago! Not wanting to hear all the details right away can be a good thing! But, blessedly God intervened in the form of a brilliant doctor who found a medicine which reversed the swelling and a wonderful male nurse who coached me on breathing when I began to come back, with the tube still inside my throat. Together, with my beloved Jesus, they coached me back to life! Along with the prayers of my beloved family and a few alerted friends and pastors. I was so very blessed when I began to breathe evenly and restfully even with my intubation tube in. The following morning they took it out. Aside from chipping a bit of one of my teeth I was none the worse for wear!

We serve a mighty, mighty God! "He knows the plans that He has for us and they are for good and not for evil to give us a future and a HOPE!" Jeremiah! My daughter was down from up north the next day and spent the day with me in ICU! My husband came in the afternoon and the three of us went up to a less care-intensive ward together that evening. God is so good! The Glory and the lifter of my head! In Him will I rejoice and be thankful for my LIFE! And all that is to come!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Storm -- My 20's

By my early twenties, I had really straightened up and was following the Lord Jesus very closely. I loved reading the Bible, praying and worshipping! I am very thankful for this...because things were not going to go very smoothly for quite a while. I don't like to think about my early twenties and it's painful to write about. I started out by getting married when I was only 20. Not a very good plan. I had met a young man at a church retreat and we were very in love. He was a seminary student and I was thrilled for the opportunity to help him in his ministry. After almost two years, while he was still in Seminary, we were in a small town in Minnesota and he was doing his internship to become a youth pastor. We decided it was time to have a baby and so we tried! Our little girl was born dead in October. She was at almost 7 months gestation and perfect. But I had a rare infected placenta which had cut off her blood and therefore air supply and she had died while I was in labor. We were heartbroken. Terribly. The doctor I had in the small town, told us we didn't have to wait even a minute, I could get pregnant right away again...not good advice! I was very thin and worn out, but we were eager and I became pregnant again with a son. He was born the following November. Unfortunately for the three of us, he had very severe heart defects. I remember when he was about one week old he went into heart failure. They decided to do a heart cath on him to map out where everything was and see if they could operate to alleviate his discomfort and help his heart which was beating way too hard and fast. While waiting during the heart cath with my husband and close relatives, I opened my Bible to the story of Abraham and Isaac. I read it with a prayerful heart and felt God telling me to put Davey on the altar of God that he was His and I needed to give him into the Lord's hands. I prayed and did so. I put my tiny baby in God's hands to do with as He willed. When the Heart Cath was over we had a full 3 page diagnosis, the words that David wouldn't be getting surgery because we would have to wait about 5 years until the Heart Surgery had advanced enough to accommodate his problem. And we still had our beloved son who actually took a turn for the better after the procedure! Thank you God! I was thankful and blessed that I had the privilege of knowing and caring for this delightful child for almost 11 months, when he died the next October due to complications following his first cold: we found out he also didn't have a spleen. Obviously, he was meant to live with Jesus. He was not meant for this world. Unfortunately however, my husband then, was so despondent and angry at God for the loss of our two dear babies, he left and we were divorced a year and a few months later. I call it the storm, because of the raging nature of the circumstances, left me without my family, when I was so happy with just a short time before. But the storm did not swallow me for the Lord held me in the palm of His mighty hand!

On a brighter note: In my later 20's I met and married Mike, my wonderful husband of 30 years. He and I were introduced by my father, who was a good friend of  Mike's dad who had died a few years earlier of a heart attack. We were truly love at first sights! But also quickly became and remain, best friends. We are so very fortunate for we remain best friends and our love has deepened with Jesus at the cornerstone over the years. We have an athletic, loving, terrific daughter who turned 27 in January. She brings us so much joy! It is so true that God brings restoration of our hearts, our souls and our lives, when we keep our eyes on Him and our faith in Him and His word! Praise His Name! AMEN!

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Teens: Far Away from Jesus

Jesus seemed far away from me in High School. Now that I know more, I realize I was in a depression during  those years. I managed to keep up a  cheerful facade, but next to Jesus' place in my heart -- I had grown a rather large hole. This hole was filled with sadness, bitterness and resentment. I believe now it stemmed from rejection which I felt was from my father's leaving. In truth, my dad had been very dear to us children. He never lived more than a suburb away from us. Ten minutes at most. He saw us every weekend. He took care of all of our physical needs. And as best as he could he tried in every way to stay our Dad. But self-pity twists reality and tears you up inside! I became rebellious and experimented with drinking and smoking to please friends rather than my Lord .I kept everything from my mom and still remained a strong shoulder for her to lean on, but became resentful of that task. She wasn't aware of that part of our relationship for many years and was worried and praying for me during that whole time. I didn't tell my dad my problems, so my confidants were my friends and believe me they did not give good counsel.

My grades were starting to slip due to bad attendance. I felt myself losing all control and right when things could have hit a major crisis my mom found a new church headed by Pastor Fred. I recommitted my life to Christ under his discipleship and was baptized in a lake near the church. We started running bible studies out of our house led by one of the leaders of the church. I started inviting friends from school and soon I was growing in my faith again. My broken heart, through repentance, had started to heal! I would never be lonely again. I never let go of Jesus' hand. Ahead there many suffering and real trials, but I would continued to hold fast. I was His disciple at last! A rebel no more!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Free In Jesus My Story Begins

I've been thinking for a long time about telling my story. People think I am a really nice person. This is not entirely true. I am as selfish and as self-focused as the next person. I can get very angry, swear, hurt the people I love for no reason -- other than my own frustration at life. I am ashamed afterwards. Which I suppose is now the only good trait I've mentioned. I am not a good person. But I have a wonderful, awesome, sinless and loving person living in me...the Lord Jesus Christ. And He's been with me for 43 years. I asked him to come into my heart when I was 13 years old. Now some people might think big deal, you didn't know any better, you were only a kid. You couldn't have made a very serious commitment. How on earth did that stick? Well let me go back a bit further. When I was 9, the oldest of 4 kids, my world was shattered. My parents split up. Something that didn't really happen in our little suburb in the early 60's. We were a phenomenon and frankly, it ripped my heart in two. I loved my dad more than life itself. He was my hero, my knight in shining armor, my world. I had followed him around doing errands, going to the park since my earliest memories. And now he was moving out. My first feeling was one of relief...because the arguing would stop and I hated it! My second feeling was, "You can't leave me here without you, how will I make it? What will I do?", My mom was nice enough, but she was not  my hero, or my best friend. She was busy caring for my sister I guess, 16 months younger than I, and the house too and later my brother, who I helped with a lot! And then the baby, also a boy. Man she was busy. She was going to be busy...and she going to need a lot of it turned  out that help would be me.

So, when I say I heard about Jesus at 13 it was no small thing. Here was a real hero. Someone who could fill the hole left by my Dad's leaving and set my heart free and my mind from the responsibility of being an adult way before my time. For I'd also become my mom's shoulder to lean on. I reached out to faith in Christ, asked him into my heart and began Bible Study like a sponge soaking up water. I was so thirsty for Him, so eager to know Him! And so it continued until the rebellious years of High School, where only His tremendous love for me kept me out of too much trouble. And His protection kept my recklessness in check, His faithfulness kept me from harm. But that's another story my friends!