Unfocused and Miserable

>> Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lately my vision's been off.  Not sure if it's because of my pressure change now or what.  It surely is irritating, though.  My bifocals are off and my reading glasses are funky.  I didn't used to have to wear my glasses at home.  Now I can't stretch my arm out long enough to read labels.  That's just plain getting old, I know.  Unfocused is a terrible way to live.

God wants us focused on what He has for us.  When we stray too far to the right or the left, we just might end up in a soggy wet ditch.  So not where I want to be.  Living unfocused is a miserable existence.

 "So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it." -- Philippians 3:15 The Message)

I hope my vision clears soon but my spiritual vision is way more important.  Praying we all stay focused and driven to do what God has for us, each and every day.



>> Saturday, January 23, 2010

Psalm 77

 1 I cried out to God for help;
       I cried out to God to hear me.
 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
       at night I stretched out untiring hands
       and my soul refused to be comforted.
 3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
       I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
 4 You kept my eyes from closing;
       I was too troubled to speak.
 5 I thought about the former days,
       the years of long ago;
 6 I remembered my songs in the night.
       My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
 7 "Will the Lord reject forever?
       Will he never show his favor again?
 8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
       Has his promise failed for all time?
 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
       Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"
 10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
       the years of the right hand of the Most High."
 11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
       yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
 12 I will meditate on all your works
       and consider all your mighty deeds.
 13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
       What god is so great as our God?
 14 You are the God who performs miracles;
       you display your power among the peoples.
 15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
       the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
 16 The waters saw you, O God,
       the waters saw you and writhed;
       the very depths were convulsed.
 17 The clouds poured down water,
       the skies resounded with thunder;
       your arrows flashed back and forth.
 18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
       your lightning lit up the world;
       the earth trembled and quaked.
 19 Your path led through the sea,
       your way through the mighty waters,
       though your footprints were not seen.
 20 You led your people like a flock
       by the hand of Moses and Aaron.


Oh the Joy!

>> Friday, January 22, 2010

When I was young, I remember swinging high into the air. I thought the clouds would touch my feet if only I stretched out far enough. The wind whipped through my hair and I smiled, so happy. When tired of my fun or just because, I jumped from the swing and landed on the ground, not near as hard as it seems to be now that I'm older.

When we swing, we start down low to the ground then we pump our legs faster and faster until we're high in the air. Oh the joy!

Life is like swinging. One day we're low to the ground, we can hardly go on, and then another day or maybe another minute, we're up high in the air - our worries gone for a bit.  

I can't wait until Jesus comes to take us back, but in the meantime, we must keep each other's swings flying high in the air.  One day you might be the one on the ground pushing, another day that person gives you a good push then runs underneath as you both laugh in complete happiness. 

I pray that we can work together to lift, push, and encourage.  When we think we're alone, things are bad.  When we remember and see God working, things are so much better, and when He puts friends in our path, those friends become God's hand and feet and we can smile with hope.  

A good friend, Laura Shaw, shared a verse today in Facebook.  I'm sure she probably thinks no one notices, but we do.  Here is one that we all need to remember and hold onto:

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24

Feel the wind whip through your hair? Maybe that's the Holy Spirit sweeping over us, you think? When you feel the physical touch of a friend when you hurt, remember it's God's gift, to bring Himself to us in a tangible way. And those times we feel we fight alone and we're down and depressed, maybe hurting -- know for sure that God is there, holding you tight in his arms, waiting patiently until we remember and look up at Him and touch His cheek. 


More and More and More...

>> Wednesday, January 20, 2010

 I'm a hard stick.  No one ever believes me but my body insists on standing by what I say.  After my surgery, I had a new IV almost every day I was in the hospital.  I kept blowing them.  So frustrating.  They would stick and stick and even stuck my foot.  Such a pain is an understatement.

This last time I was in ER at our local hospital, they couldn't get an IV in me.  The ambulance that came from a big city because it was New Year's Eve and these smaller towns would need theirs, couldn't get one in me either.  I rode clear to Chicago, in the back of a vehicle that is basically a truck, with no pain medicine.  I did get a poke of morphine once.  Even when I got to Chicago they couldn't get an IV in.  That is amazing.

Anyway, I really don't want to talk about icky IV's.  I had another thing happen to me this past Sunday.  I hadn't had communion in a long time and as I held the bread in my hand I twirled it through my fingers as I thought this:

Jesus had no IV as he was beaten and kicked and mocked.  He had no pain pill to make it a little easier.  He felt the full force and He did it for us.  I guess because of my hospital experience I had these thoughts but it was eye-opening. 

 "Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.  Matthew 27:27-31 (NIV)
Jesus loved us so much that He endured hell on earth. Jesus loves us so much still and always. I want to love Jesus more and more and more. How about you?


Look at the Flower

>> Monday, January 18, 2010

How Can I Keep From Singing by Chris Tomlin

There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring

And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives

And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give

How can I keep from singing your praise? How can I ever say enough, how amazing is your love? How can I keep from shouting your name? I know i am loved by the king, and it makes my heart want to sing

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

This was one of the many songs we sang during worship Sunday that touched me to my very soul.  God knew I hadn't been in church for a long time and He had to compact it all into about a twenty minute period - and man! did He pack!  I couldn't help but cry and was so glad we sat in the very back row.  I was touched.  Not sure about anyone else, but as for me?  God met me in Clinton, Illinois on Sunday, January 17, 2010.

Okay, other things happened, too, as if that wasn't enough.  That morning I woke up to God telling me, "Quit worrying."  I've been so wrapped up in wanting to know if the surgery worked that it's paralyzed me.  That was a big ephiphany for me.  Maybe a pretty obvious one, but was what I needed to hear.  If the surgery is successful, yay!  If it isn't, I'll deal.  God will always be with me.  Always.  No matter what.

Back to church...  when I got up to go to the restroom (the reason we sat in the back,) I saw a young man sitting there - a senior from my school, one that I have really bonded with despite...  well, just in spite of stuff, which I can't share here because of confidentiality.  I said hi to him and he acted like he'd never seen me before in his life.  I took a second look and there's no way I had the wrong kid.  I'm just saying...  "I'm Mrs. Hubrich, from school?"  He knew.  I think I just surprised him.  I invited him up to sit with my husband and I.  Of course, I still had to get to the bathroom, and a little faster at that point.  When I got back, Noah sat between my husband and I.  Fitting.  So fitting.  He was nestled in with a family.  I hope and pray he felt he belonged.  

He sat and twirled his Bible.  At school I would have stopped that action, just a touch and he would know what I meant, but I believe God stopped me.  We didn't have a sermon.  Our pastor sat and interviewed one of our missionary workers from Haiti.  Wow.  It was powerful.  Amazing.  God is working there but they need so much.  

Anyway, so many have been standing in prayer for me through all my health problems lately.  I knew it was time to stand in myself.  I KNEW I had to go forward for prayer.  The problem:  Noah sat between my husband and I and I needed to tell him what I was going to do.  God is hilarious.  So funny.  During the invitation hymn, Noah asked to be excused.  He walked forward.  HE WALKED FORWARD.  I'm sure now he was twirling his Bible in anticipation and a little nervousness.  I'm so very glad I listened to God or very glad that God held my hands back (that's more like it.)   I slipped close to tell Jim what I was doing and I walked behind this young man.

My pastor prayed for me.  I need to accept the healing God is offering me, if indeed it is a healing.  My doctor has done what he can for now.  It's up to God for healing and restoring.  It was awesome.  

And my Noah, he repeated the confession of faith and I WAS UP FRONT TO BE THERE FOR HIM LIKE A MOM SHOULD BE.  I was there!  God made sure it all happened when I was there!  I gave him a big victory salute and he smiled.  Awesomeness.  

After church I walked back down that loooong aisle (I didn't mention how long it is, especially from the very back, did I?) and our school nurse stopped me.  Another one of our students stood there and she told me she was getting baptized soon, too.  Wow.  And another one of the students I work with was there and gave me a hug:)  Was good to see them.  Really really.  God is working in our school - I'm so grateful to our youth pastor, Adam, ministering to these kids.  They aren't the 'popular' ones but they are the ones God loves so very much because of their unpopularness.  I just know it in my heart.

Oh, when I got back, after another woman telling me a miracle that happened in her daughter's life, I picked up my bag and it was heavy.  Weird.  Just had water and medicine in there.  A very dear woman whose ministry is to encourage all she can, had ran home to get a Bible that she had ordered for me.  A Bible that's out-of-print that she specially found for me - an NIV Encouragement Bible.  Charlotte Milton has a powerful, behind-the-scenes ministry.  A dear woman and she has encouraged me many times, in many ways.

Okay, my Sunday at church was awesome and I made it.  

But... of course... today I'm paying for it.  I'm lying low in the valley where satan wants me to be.  I guess he didn't win, though.  I finally wrote this.  Indeed...God is victorious in my life.  All I have to do is let Him in.  Quit closing the door so tight.  

I don't feel like a winner today but faith isn't about feelings.  I am so glad about that.  My faith verse I picked out for the year is this: 
Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of Your miracle-wonders." Psalm 119:18, The Message
 Miracles are all around us.  Mari told me today, "Look and find the flower."  I told her it's all wilted and iced over and she said, "Look again."  So I looked again.  The miracle is in my heart.  It's in Noah's heart.  It's in your heart.

Open our eyes, Lord....


Pond of Tears

>> Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The FW challenge topic this week is, Ow!  Well, I wrote an Ow! story but managed to get another one written where no one would know it was me.  This one came out because I had to write it so I could walk out of the darkness for a bit.  The whole time I wrote, I cried.  It was very hard.  I hope it's educational and not too emotional but I guess it's hard for me to separate the two right now.  Recovery is so hard.  A friend took me to town today and I was wiped out just getting to her car.  Next week I go back to my neuro-surgeon and get a chest x-ray to make sure all is sitll clear and then I should have a green-light to get back to work.  It will be hard, though.  I am so very weak.  So many are praying for me.  I appreciate that you pray even when you hear nothing from me for weeks sometimes. I have such a rock-steady group supporting me and bringing me to God's throne-room.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Christmas and New Year’s Eve came and went.  While everyone celebrated, I sat in a hospital bed lost somewhere between life and IV pain medications.  I barely knew my name let alone what I had agreed to have done to my body.

I sit in a pond of tears as each day comes and goes and I repeat the question:  is it too late to change my mind?  Maybe the many ow’s in my life haven’t been taken care of.  Maybe it’s my cross I have to bear.  When do I make that decision?  When do I stop fighting and accept what’s before me?

I guess ow is an understatement.  Drastic measures were taken to take away the incessant, unbearable pressure in my head.  In the last eight years I’ve learned what spinal fluid is and the effects if the body messes up and doesn’t take care of the excess properly.

I didn’t know about diuretics and I certainly never heard of a shunt:  a mechanism to keep the spinal fluid flowing and draining out of the body the way it should.

It took a long time for me to get a diagnosis.  While my life waned away, while I couldn’t take part in my kid’s lives, I fought for myself, going from doctor-to-doctor to figure out if I was losing my mind or if there was really something wrong with me.  It’s especially hard when friends, co-workers, and family wonder, too.

Still in a pond of tears I type.  I have to press on.  I have to educate in case others find themselves in this same predicament.  I travel about three hours to a neurosurgeon that I referred myself into.  That alone is a miracle.  He told me I have Pseudo-tumor Cerebri.  Isn’t that scary?  Or not…  I have a fake tumor?  That made no sense.  Another name is Benign Intracranial Hypertension, high blood pressure in the brain.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  It’s pretty rare.  Not only does it affect women but also men and children.  It’s ruthless.  It stops lives.

It’s tried to stop my life and in a big sense it has.  I work but I come home and fall into bed.  I’ve missed years of my kid’s lives and my youngest barely knows me any different than what I am.  I don’t know how my husband’s put up with me this long.  Just a lump in bed is what my family sees most of the time.

I keep fighting.  I had a shunt placed in my back but it never quite agreed with me.  I had many surgeries to fix it.  It got infected and could have taken my life if it wasn’t caught in time.  I went for months without another but life got too hard.  Fluid flowed into my head and made me feel as if I were in a dream – no, a nightmare, a nightmare that never ended.

I learned a new term:  foramen magnum.  That’s where this new shunt is now placed.  The back of my head was shaved and cut into.  Somehow, I don’t really want to know how, he maneuvered it into the space and stitched me up, also placing valves so fluid can be drawn to check spinal pressure.  Without shunts, my only other option is very painful spinal taps.  Again, big owies.

My spinal fluid now drains into my pleural cavity.  Once I got home for about a week, I realized the ramifications of a body that didn’t like that choice.  My lungs filled with fluid and I was transferred back to Chicago by ambulance.  God intervened and I still have the tube there, the place my doctor fought for and made my body fight for.  It can’t get plugged up there because it has a negative pressure, a perfect place if only my body will keep accepting it.

What if it doesn’t work?  What if I’ve made the wrong choice?  I have to step out of the darkness at some point and accept what God has for me – good or bad.  I know I can keep on because His Spirit is in me, constantly crying out on my behalf but I have to be reminded.

My ow’s in life have drawn me close to God and also made me lash out at Him.  Recovery’s hard.  I sit in a hole I’ve crawled into, big enough for one, but I feel God beside me.  I cry and hide and wait and cry some more.  I’m done.  For now.  No more.  I hope and pray I made the right choice.


Delivered! - My First Published Work!!!!

>> Monday, January 11, 2010

I've been gone lately - to the University of Chicago Hospital.  I had two surgeries and in the hospital too many days.  I'm back home recovering now.  Maybe I'll be ready to talk about it soon but for now - SO NOT!
A good piece of news in the dark is that I've finally been published. This is my first published work!  I'm so excited.  I am one of many who contributed to this book, many are friends of mine.  
Here is the blurb on the back of the book.  The one in red is mine:)
An immigrant and her young daughter, struggling to reach their dream…a special needs child, searching for hope…a girl, desperate to escape a drug gang…a newly released ex-con, seeking forgiveness. They have one thing in common—they’re about to be touched by God in a way they never imagined.

All through a simple postcard.

Brought up in a strict Muslim home in London, Sulafa has recently experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Now, despite fear of discovery and its consequences, she knows she has to spread the good news. In an act of bravery, she sends out postcards with a single message: Let me pray for you. Her simple postcard request impacts lives and brings hope in the midst of hopelessness.

The second of many anticipated books from Peculiar People, Delivered is a collection of short stories that intertwine to deliver a single message. It is the work of twenty-five authors with one united voice, proclaiming the power of God to transform lives, and His ability to do the miraculous in the most ordinary of circumstances.

I'm ordering the copies I want soon.  If you would like to buy a book - I would be forever grateful.  I'm off work with no pay now so this is coming at a good time.  Hopefully it can help out until I get back in two weeks.  Besides that - I'm just excited to see my name in print.

Some characters I used in my story were formed from some really great kids I have worked with.  The story is totally not real.  I conglomerated some personalities to form a totally fictionally person and it's written from a student's point of view.

I can't wait to see the copy in print and in my hands.  I need to just do it.  Maybe when I get this done, even.  Thank you for sharing in this joy with me.  I hope and pray it's only the beginning of a great writing career and that this last surgery is the beginning of a pain-free year.  Much to be joyful about, I just have to crawl out of the hole so I can. 

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