Snickers poke cake and that time God used friendship to save my life

Here’s a story about what our good friend and Pastor James calls “Circle Church”.

Last winter I started a friendship with a girl named Cara. Now Cara and I are in some ways complete opposites and in other ways so very alike. Friendship has always been tough for me. I always felt like the odd man out. Something happened though, one of the first conversations I had with Cara something clicked.

The first key, I am learning about friendship, is true of our friendship. We’ll call that key; vulnerability. Cara and I shared our “stuff”, nothing is off limits and we also share a love of what’s important, God, our husbands and our kids. Also, Snickers poke cake… so good.

Fast forward a few months later, Cara was there the afternoon I was in labor for my son Linus. She counted contractions while our kids ran around in the yard. She came over and sat with me while I was in the hospital. When I came home and Linus wasn’t gaining weight she was the one who told me it would be ok.

A couple months later, when she was going to the gym she invited me. I was really struggling. I was anxious and just didn’t feel right. She had a membership to a gym where you can bring a friend along. This is where the story of our friendship and what God can do really began.

So, when we would workout Cara pointed out something I would have not noticed on my own. You see, Cara used to be a nurse and when we worked out she noticed my heart rate was much higher than it should be. She encouraged me to get it checked out.

So the next week I mentioned this to my doctor who switched the migraine medicine I was on, thinking this was the culprit. Told me to keep an eye on it. I also, conveniently saw a pulse ox monitor on clearance at aldi and threw it in my cart the next time I was out shopping.

During this time I had some other friends randomly message me. The conversations led around to the same topic, anxiety. Both people I don’t regularly see who just felt compelled to message me out of the blue. Two different people, spoke with me, prayed with me and again and again God told me through friends, “It’s going to be ok, you’re not alone.”

Two weeks later, the issue persisted as did anxiety and a heaviness in my chest whenever I tried to do things, everything felt hard. I thought, I must just be  having postpartum anxiety. I called my physician and he switched my medicine again.

The next morning, my heart rate was still not good. I told my husband we needed to go to the er. I thought, it is anxiety but just in case it is an issue with my heart I will feel better if we get it checked out.

After dropping off our kids and heading to the hospital around 9 am they ran all kinds of tests. The last test they administered was a ct with contrast. I remember thinking, once they run this, they will let me go home. It was time for my daughter to get out of school and I felt bad asking someone else to pick her up.

It turned out, all the symptoms I was having were the result of a pulmonary embolism in the upper right lobe of my lung. I had to be admitted and put on medication right away. Most people who have these clots don’t realize it until they are much sicker. 1/3 of the people with them never realize they have them, because they die suddenly and they only find out after they pass away.

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You see, God used our friendship to point out something that I would not have seen on my own. I am now on medication that will prevent the blood clot from getting worse and will be fine. They think it happened in the postpartum when women are more susceptible to them.

I think it is important to share my story because it is a testimony to how my “circle church” or close friend was able to be used to prevent me getting really sick, or worse. Church is good, it is, but if you aren’t hooked in with other people, people who can be used to help you grow, you will have a lot harder time in life.

I know, sometimes finding those people seems impossible. I was there for a long time. However, if you are there, don’t give up, God wants you to be part of friendships and he will send them to you. He has shown me how important not being an island is. He wants to speak life, through your friendships and they are very important.

Obviously, my story is about the way in which he tangibly saved my life, but beyond that our friendship has helped me grow so much in the last year. I encourage you, seek someone out, don’t be afraid to get real.

Also, not everyone has to be best friends, some just click naturally. Don’t get frustrated or feel guilty if a friendship doesn’t work out or you don’t stay close friends with everyone, but keep trying. God wants us all to have those people who will push us and who he can use to be his hands and feet when we are struggling.

I am so thankful this year, because I know my story could have had a different ending. I know that God has preserved my life and he has been there throughout all the struggle and given me enough to get through each day.

He gave me Cara’s friendship, he has also provided encouragement through countless other people since I have been sick and as I have been recovering. My family who took care of my kids, friends who came over to help and give me a break since the blood clot has made me worn out. Childcare while I have been going to the doctor. The long nights in the hospital, and early mornings when messages came flooding in, so many people prayed and offered to help me and several people who stopped by while I was a patient.

I am so thankful that I didn’t have to walk this out alone, and humbled and blessed. I am writing this because my hope is, my story will help others to know that God has those people out there. He wants you to find fellowship and he also cares about you, every little detail of your life, he is about life and wants to take care of you, even if it means you have to go through a trial, he hasn’t forgotten you and loves you so much. He also will be your friend if you feel alone, he wants to save your life through the gift of salvation and it doesn’t stop there, he wants to give you life more abundantly. He loves us all so much.

Isaiah 38 vs. 15 and 16

“But what can I say?

He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.

I will walk humbly all my years

because of this anguish of my soul.

Lord, by such things people live;

and my spirit finds life in them too.

You restored me to health

and let me live.”

 

What I hope someday they say.

I am the mother to two very active toddlers. Most of my day is devoted to caring for their needs and wants and demands. My daughter will be going to preschool next year and yet in my mind I still remember clearly waiting desperately to find out we were expecting her. I remember every week reading what kind of produce she was the size of and I remember the longest three seconds ever until they loosened the cord from her neck and she let out her first cry.

In the long afternoons though, when my son is tugging on my leg, and he refuses to nap and my daughter is loud and my allergies are acting up and I just need a nap it is hard to remember that joy. Sometimes, this stage of parenting is simply about surviving. Putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes my kids watch tv and sometimes my daughter plays the apps on my kindle and sometimes I let them eat goldfish on the couch just to buy some time.

You see, the baby books never tell you about the days when you child will leap off her climber and land on your foot. They don’t tell you about how no matter how many children you helped use the potty in your career as a nanny and daycare worker, potty training your child will bring you to your knees. How trying it is when your child refuses to sit in his high chair, carseat and to have his diaper changed.

They also don’t tell you about the first time your daughter takes your son’s hand and walks him down the stairs. How your husband will hear her call her little brother her best friend in the library.  How even if none of it is what you imagined, how everyday is perfect in it’s own way.

Sometimes, I struggle to see my way out of the morning fog, when it is lunchtime before I managed to get everyone dressed. When the dishes are left piled up in the sink and the laundry seems never ending. When I feel like I am failing left and right. When the day has just begun and I feel behind and everything just feels difficult, if not impossible.

Being a wife, being a parent, still being a child to my parents, being a friend, being a member of a church and above all being a child of God is a lot to juggle. In the end though, what matters most to me is love.  God called us to love and walking that out is the hardest and at the same time easiest task we have. If I have love, the rest of it will fall into place. If I love my children, I will give them my attention, I will discipline them, I will care for their needs.

I hope someday, when my children speak of me, they are able not to say, “She was really organized.  She made the greatest meals. She always had time for me.” Though those are all noble pursuits.

What I want is for them to say, “She loved God and our Dad and we always knew she loved us.” That to me would be the greatest legacy.

House full of Crazy, The roadtrip edition

Lately I have been learning to parent to two babies. To be a better housewife and Mother to these beautiful blessings. I love them, but life certainly is different than it was just a few short years ago. I wouldn’t trade it though.

Take our recent roadtrip to visit my sister. The drive is about 300 miles. The first few hours passed quickly, it was thanksgiving, our babies sweetly sleeping in the back of our car. We stopped when they woke up, our two year old stretched her legs with my hubby while I fed our 4 month old.

We got back in the car, our daughters belly full of goldfish crackers and orange juice, we set up the dvd player for her to watch curious george….about 15 minutes later we hear crying from the backseat. I look back to see our daughters arm covered in Vomit. We were at the longest stretch of road with neither a fast food restaurant nor a gas station. I am praying something comes up soon, thankfully we found a McDonalds and a family dollar. I send my husband to retreive paper towels and garbage bags, I take my daughter into the restaurant to wash up, having stripped her sweatshirt and pants, in only a t-shirt and diaper.

We stayed their for a little while, Elise eating like nothing had happened, stealing our fries, I fed the baby again, Phil did his best to clean the carseat. I learned something that day though, about our families ability to weather the rough things. I would have thought that would be the worst thing that could happen, but really we dealt with it.

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Later that weekend we braved the mall. I was meeting a college friend and her new husband for lunch. First, we didn’t have a stroller because we didn’t have room in our trunk and I assumed the mall would have stroller rentals. Lunch went ok, finding a place to nurse was a little stressful, huddled in a dressing room I was making the best of it. Then a parent came in with a child who kept shrieking at her brother who kept coming in to the room. Plus their was carrying of the 15 pounder across the mall.

We met back up with my friends and planned to meet them our in the parking lot.  Then, my hubby went to get the car.

He calls me, I am on a bench with the babies, two diaper bags and a build a bear.

“I don’t know what to do, I can’t park and I can’t pull up.”

I load the babies in my arms and find a stray target cart. I hear an officer, “Ma’am you’re going to have to go back in the building. There is a small fire and four fire trucks will be pulling up here shortly.”

Now, I am not sure what reason tells us that we should go back in the building that is one fire. He wouldn’t let me head into the parking lot. So me and the babies headed back in the mall, we took the cart back to the other end of the mall, up the elevator 4 floors and across the mall. We entered the Target store, wanting to meet Phil at another entrance. Then, the cart promptly locked upon crossing into the store.

Eventually with the help of an employee  we dragged the cart far enough into the store to get the wheels security feature reversed. I found my husband and met back up with our friends who had some Christmas surprises.

So much drama.

We headed back to my sisters, and got lost on the way. But, that’s a story for another time, somebaby needs to eat