Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Today's Gift

Show me your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths,
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:4-5

Today God gave me a gift. After having struggled with neurological problems continually for over a year now, I finally have a name for the illness. A Movement Disorder Specialist at UAB told me this morning, after careful consideration and a consultation with his partner, that I have Generalized Dystonia. I am so thankful that God allowed this doctor to have the wisdom and knowledge to make a diagnosis. Not knowing what the illness is has been a huge challenge for me over the last year, since one of my greatest temptations is a desire to be in control of my own life. I confess that I have ranted and raved in many sinful ways, demanding that God share this information with me. However, in His infinite wisdom He chose to make me wait and learn many lessons along the way.

Having this gift (the name of the disease) does not change my physical condition one bit. It will be helpful in allowing me to concentrate on learning more about it, though, and finding ways to manage the illness. Knowing what it is also helps the doctors to know how to better help me with medications. Dr. Nicholas gave me a new prescription today that I will be taking for the next three months, to see if it helps alleviate the symptoms.

What is dystonia? Here is a brief description: "Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, which force certain parts of the body into abnormal, sometimes painful, movements or postures. Dystonia can affect any part of the body including the arms and legs, trunk, neck, eyelids, face, or vocal cords." The full description can be found at http://www.dystonia-foundation.org/defined/. The doctor today told me that the cause is a "chemical imbalance in the brain." Apparently the type of dystonia I have (generalized - adult onset) is "very rare" and mine is an atypical case even of that. Of all the body parts listed above, only my vocal cords are not involved at this point and the spasms are continual throughout the day.

Doctors do not have a cure for dystonia and it is considered a life long disease. Unless God chooses to heal my body I will most likely have it the rest of my life. Of course we will pray for healing, but mostly that God will use this illness as a way for me to shine His light in this "jar of clay". Medications may help alleviate some of the symptoms, as there plenty of medicinal options to choose from. I hope to do some nutritional research too, now that I know what direction to search in.

Thank you all so much for your prayers this past year. God is indeed merciful and faithful in His answering of them. I would appreciate continued prayers as I serve the Lord through this illness and learn ways to better deal with my physical limitations.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sergei has created a "birds and blooms" utopia on the deck next to our sunroom. In the last few days we have had the absolutely delightful opportunity to watch a family of woodpeckers go through their daily routine. God's creation is so totally cool! Along with these guys, we see finches, wrens (one of my favorites!), hummingbirds, cardinals, sparrows, Tufted Titmice, doves, cowbirds and an occasional Goldfinch. Of course we cannot help but be amused at the antics of the squirrels and chipmunks, too. Chipmunks have a way of making me giggle every single time I see them. Those little tails held so high are just too much. Yesterday I also saw three bunnies in our yard, chasing each other around - it was almost more than I could handle at one time!

As amazing as seeing these creatures is, I am equally amazed at the talent God has bestowed upon Sergei in the area of photography. I pray that he will someday have the opportunity to use this talent to His glory.

Oh my... there are two baby woodpeckers out there now. I need to go...;-)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Very Special Mother's Day

Today, as most people did, we celebrated Mother's Day. We also celebrated three birthdays. Naomi was 15 last Wednesday, Nikki (our cousin who lives with us) was 19 yesterday and Anna will be 14 this next week. It was so very special to share this celebration with them.

Here are the words to the Mother's Day card the kids gave me:

You've always known me better
than I thought anyone could.
You've always given me
exactly what I needed,
whether it was love, advice, help or time.
Thanks for taking
such good care of me.
I love you.
Happy Mother's Day.

This card was signed by all of the kids and chosen by the child who joined our family the most recently. She even chose my favorite color when she picked this card. This is a child who did not have a real mother who loved her until the age of 14. I have the privilege of being that mother.

From the ones I birthed to the one we most recently adopted, I am so humbled and thankful for these blessings. I am not at all worthy for the minsitry God has chosen me for, but I am so thankful He has equipped me for the task. I fail daily, yet He is my strength.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

What is a proverb?

I am doing a series of post on the Proverbs for our youth group blog. I thought I would post them here as well as they are taking up most of my bloggin time.

Proverbs 1:1 The Proverbsof Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

What exactly is a proverb? ABiblical proverb is a short statement designed to teach us wisdom. Wisdom in the Bible has more to it then knowing a bunch of abstract facts. Biblical wisdom entails the skill of being able to choose the right course of action. Certainly knowledge of facts and principles are part of Biblical wisdom, but they are not all of it. Biblical wisdom also involves skill in doing what is right.

But, how do these short little statements teach us wisdom? Some dont even seem to make sense, and some seem to contradict each other. Well each short statement is designed to teach one simple truth about how the world works. We are then called on to apply our other knowledge of the Scriptures to unpack them and see them for what they are. Having done this we are ready to apply the truth in our lives.

However, before we go too far we need to understand a few things about proverbs.

1) Proverbs dont always speak to the way things ought to be, theyspeak to the way things are. Lets look at an example:

Pro 25:24 It is better to live on a corner of the housetop than in a house in company with a quarrelsome wife.

Does this mean that a man ought to retreat to his roof when his wife wants to quarrel? Does it mean that wives should quarrel? Certainly not! It does however teach a great deal about nature of the marriage relationship for those who are willing to ponder it.

2) Proverbs are not allegories. Several of our kids have had opportunities to write about proverbs as part of their school. Invariably they will try to over spiritualize the meaning of the proverb. Every thing will represent something else and all sort of hidden meaning will be found. However, this is not what the proverbs are about. There meaning should be taken as their plain meaning. There may be spiritual applications and they may illustrate other spiritual truths but, when interpreting them, the plain meaning should be the preferred meaning.
3) Proverbs need to be meditated on. Prov 1:6 calls them riddles or dark sayings depending on you translation. They need to be treated like a nut, a hard shell that first must be cracked and the good parts picked out of the pieces of the shell. Hard work, but very satisfying.

As we go on, we will look at many of the Proverbs in detail, and I am going to post some and get some of you to help crack the nut and pick out the pieces. However, next I want to talk about the author of the book and what we can learn from his life. Then we will take a tour through the earlier chapters which are not true proverbs but a series of short exhortations on various projects.

Feel free to comment and ask questions or even correct something you see wrong.


How long has it been since you have considered weeds? I mean really thought about them. They are a nuisance, aren't they? Really?

The last few evenings I have been pulling weeds in a flower bed and it has been a delightful time of reflection. I am so thankful that God has allowed me the physical ability to do this, as I hear from other friends who are struggling more than I am. The microscosm of a flower bed is so fascinating - from the rich brown soil to the squirmy and slimy earthworms. Watching a tender shoot emerge from day to day is a exciting process, especially with the rains we have been blessed with lately.

Flower beds are such peaceful places. Even the bunnies venture into the yard when I am sitting there quietly pulling the weeds. The birds sing and eat their seeds, oblivious to my intrusion. I am still waiting patiently for a chipmunk to come and visit me during this time, too.

The best part is the camaraderie I find in the flower beds, though. Kids have a way of coming and joining me, sharing my peace and quiet or talking about things of little importance. Those times are precious, as there are no pressures on and we can simply enjoy each other and God's green earth.

Someday those gladiolis and caladiums will be going full strength and we will not need to weed the dirt around them as much. That may be a sad time, yet a glorious one as we watch the beauty of the flowers.

Are there weeds in your life? Look carefully and see what the blessings are as you work on slowly and patiently pulling those weeds, one by one. Avoid simply spray weed killer on them and being done with it. You may miss some wonderful times of drawing closer to your Lord.

The Dawning of a New Edwards Era

Here we go, folks!! We have our first official licensed driver now, as Jennifer PASSED her road test today!! Yea!!!!! Others are hot on her heels (Zhenya has a permit, Sergei, Nikki and maybe Kathryn will take the written test next week), so we are very thankful that God was gracious and allowed Jennifer to pass the test. I think I was about as nervous as she was.

Now I just get to start worrying when she goes out alone...