Knitting thru the Valley...
15) "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16) Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."
As I sit here trying to fill this blank page for the first time, I am reminded of my life. I started as a blank canvas that was just waiting to be filled. God started the work and it was perfect but as I got older in my arrogance, more and more, I began taking back the brush and making my own strokes here and there until the canvas of my life was full of chaos. The perfect order that started with God's plan was thwarted by my attempt to be the artist of my own life. When finally, I thought the picture was too far gone to be redeemed, I finally handed the brush back to God and allowed Him to step back in and just as the Masters of old reused their canvases to create better works, God began to rework the canvas of my own life.
My life went from chaos to thing of beauty. It was amazing to me how the heartache and pain from my own mistakes were somehow wiped away and God redeemed the time of my life and gave me joy. I found that when I allowed God to begin His work in my life and I concentrated on how I could be of use to God in helping others, I was the one who truly benefited. It was a hard lesson to learn but one that I hope to pass on to our children before they attempt to take control of their own canvas. My prayer is their lives never need to be reworked.
As I have indicated, the first part of my adult life I made some mistakes but God miraculously stepped in and not only redeemed the time but worked things to my benefit. I have a loving and kind husband who would climb the highest mountain and cross the deepest sea just for me, and has. God also gave us three beautiful and loving children of which I am very blessed. He gave us a good job and helped our business to grown and all things seemed so right, and then in the Summer of our lives, a storm cloud rolled in and covered our world.
When I turned 37 I was taken very ill. One day in September of 2007 I was milking goats twice a day, grinding grain for my own homemade wholewheat and seed bread, homeschooling our three children, cooking three meals and cleaning our house and then next day, like someone switched on a light, I was in more pain than I have ever felt in my life. Just moving was an effort.
The pain slowly began to increase and what we thought was a poison ivy rash from a few weeks before now became obvious was a Lyme rash. Here's something you might not be aware of but Lyme rashes can mimic a poison ivy rash, they do not all have to be in the shape of a bulls eye and some may not have a rash at all. What we thought was a flu and the doctor diagnosed as a sinus infection turned out to be Chronic Disseminated Neurological Lyme Disease. My life literally changed overnight. I maintained some form structure to my life for a few months by using more Tylenol than was good for me to make it through the day, not without pain but just to function. At Christmas, I almost passed out in a store and that was the last time I shopped on my own two feet. I barely made it to the car and home. I fell into my bed there I would stay for the next few years.
In January, I was diagnosed with Lyme and the antibiotics began. We learned after about 9 months on extreme doses of the antibiotics, I was allergic to them. I could barely lift my head off my pillow and I saw my children's lives flashing before me and I wasn't a part of them. I saw my husband struggling with maintaining a house, taking care of the children and working two contracts. Our children were working so hard to help me but wishing I could be there for them too. It was April of 2008 when the joints in my legs locked into place and I could no longer walk. I didn't know your legs could just stop working that way but one day, I was walking to the bathroom and my knee just stopped moving and that was the end. I have been in a wheel chair ever since.
The last four years have been filled with treatments of all kinds, including Hyperbarics and Kiesiology but nothing traditional or Holistic worked. Our faith was shaken to its core. I grew up in the faith and watched healing after healing yet I was not being healed. There was even questions as to whether the diagnosis is correct which no two doctors can seem to agree on. I looked painfully at my canvas and wondered where my beautiful painting had gone. What had I done to deserve such devastation?
There were the naysayers by the plenty, just like Job, to help me resolve that question. Some say it was the broken relationships in my life, some say it was punishment for daring to take the brush from God in the first processing of my canvas and even requiring God to rework it. Some say it's because I haven't enough faith and haven't given God anything to work with in my life. The list goes on and on and with each helpful suggestion, I sank lower and lower into despair.
Some of the naysayers found themselves plunged into sickness themselves with no answers. It would have been so easy to resonate the same advice they gave to me but I found, that wasn't in my heart. My heart wept for their state. I'm not sure I could have felt that way before my illness. I think before I was sick, I might have secretly enjoyed their peril but not now, now I pray for their healing above my own every night. Could it be the Master is teaching me how to make proper strokes on my own canvas? Could I be learning through this? Would I have learned this lesson any other way? Those are question I prefer not to answer but to leave with God.
I remember the one and only painting I ever painted. I spent a few weeks with my Grandparents at their farm. We called it a farm but come to think of it, there were no animals and it more resembled a ranch style house far more than a farm. But nonetheless, there were happy memories there and one of them was my painting lessons. My Granny was a master painter. She was amazing and I was anxious to learn. Now being left brained, it didn't come easy but as she patiently walked me through each step and each stroke, I came out with a presentable painting. On my own, it would have never happened but with her careful instruction, I created something worth looking at, not as perfect as hers but it was a start.
Now, through what feels like the pit of despair at times, I can see God, patiently teaching me how to proceed. Each instruction comes with loving care and each time I listen I find someone else in the end has been helped and yet somehow, I receive the benefit. I am learning lessons that I'm not sure I knew I needed to learn but as it would be, are necessary for me to be a better person and one that is more pleasing to God.
So, just as I have managed to fill this first page of my blog with remembrances of the beginning of my canvas, God has been filling my canvas for me, waiting for me to allow Him to teach me. Desiring me to fill it to His satisfaction and that means taking my eyes off of my own pain and hurt and focusing on what I can do to help others. Somehow when we focus on others, our problems become so small and God becomes so much greater than what ails us. Now, that is a lesson worth learning regardless of the method of the lesson.
My title for this blog is 'Knitting Thru the Valley'. As the title suggests, I knit. Actually, I knit a lot! When the pain got so bad and I was not handling it very well, I took to writing random words in spiral notebooks with all my fancy fountain pens to keep busy. My caring husband become concerned I would fall into depression with my newfound hobby and felt I needed something productive to do for my peace of mind. Since I used to knit when I was younger he set me up with all the knitting accoutrements I could ever need for Christmas and my knitting adventure began. Through some of my most severe pain days, I knited to keep sane and in the end, had something beautiful to show for those long nights. It was a brilliant idea of my husbands but he has a lot of brilliant ideas.
During this blog I hope to include some fun knitting projects and ideas. Any handcraft can be helpful when you are pain, just to keep your mind focused on something other than what is happening to your body. I also intend to keep track of what is helping with the Lyme and what is not, as well as the Cancer. Did I mention I developed Breast Cancer during all this and had a mastectomy at the beginning of last year? Well I did and we are treating it naturally using the Gerson Therapy and not with Chemo or Radiation. So, I will be keeping track of that process as well. There are also some new pain technics that are starting to be very helpful like Microcurrent and Tens therapy which has helped me get moving a bit more.
For anyone who reads this, I pray God will richly bless your lives. Thank you for allowing me to be part of a little part of your very important day. There is so much out there to read and your including me in your day is an honor. I pray something I write here may be of help to you. If you have any questions regarding the therapies I am using, please feel free to contact me. We have gone down a lot of paths trying to find help and relief and if we can be of assistance to anyone, we consider that a privilege.
May God Bless and Keep you in His Grace,