It’s Starting Again!

I’m both nervous and excited. As I stated in a previous post, I’m working on my Masters degree at Southern New Hampshire University. This term’s course is called “Story and Context,” which I had attempted before, but I had ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. Thank the Lord that SNHU refunded me for the course! But, what makes me nervous? I had read the course curriculum, and, aside from a lot of reading, the class is like two courses in one! Hey, who said getting my Masters would be easy?

So, that brings me to the reason for this post – I, once again, will not be able to give this blog the attention that it deserves. I will be on hiatus for the next 12 weeks, starting tomorrow. If I can fit in a post or two, I will, especially with the holidays approaching. Please pray for me, as I embark on this next chapter of my life, especially as a person living with ALS. Due to ALS, I am much slower. Still, I welcome the challenge.

Philippians 4: 13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV)

Leaving Your First Love

Every day, as I read my Bible, I’m looking for inspiration for my blog. Today a verse jumped out and slapped me. It was Revelation 2:4 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hath left thy first love.” (KJV)

For a Christian, leaving our first love, means putting God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) last in our lives. If He is there at all. Each time we leave God out of the challenges and the triumphs happening each day, we leave our first love. As a person living with ALS, I frequently need the Lord our God. I ask Jesus to “take the wheel” of my life, and every time I drink iced tea or water. I could easily aspirate my drink, but I don’t when I call upon Jesus, my Savior.

I need God, and I constantly praise and thank Him for the benefits I receive, as well as the hardships. This is because I know when troubles come, the Lord is teaching me something. For example: When I receive cough assist (a machine hooked up to my tracheostomy tubing) which makes me cough, which I can’t do on my own. If I don’t ask God to clear my lungs, there is always some mucous left in my chest. I thank the Lord anyway, because it was my fault; I’d left my first love.

1 John 4:19 – We love Him, because He first loved us. (KJV)

Optimism

I get asked frequently about how I stay optimistic in the face of ALS. The truth is sometimes I’m not happy at all. I cry. I scream (silently, because I have no voice). I get angry. Sometimes I despise living with ALS.

Then I read God’s word and I am comforted. The Bible is chock full of uplifting verses. The Old Testament alludes to a Savior to come. In the New Testament, the Savior (Jesus Christ) is born! The first four books of the New Testament; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (otherwise known as the gospels) concern themselves with the pregnancy of His mortal mother Mary, to His early years, to His miracles, and to His death on the cross, His rising from the dead, and His ascension into Heaven.

Then I remember His miracles. Just like the man who Jesus made to walk again, He can heal me, too! Miracles do happen every day!

That changes my demeanor right away. No longer am I angry, nor do I cry or scream. Instead, I am filled with courage, optimism, and a giant love for Jesus Christ, my Savior.

John 5:8 – Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. (KJV)

How I Became a Born-Again Christian

First things first: the term “Born Again” gets a bad rap. It simply means that you recognize that you’re a sinner, and that Jesus lived a sinless life in our place. Then the Holy Spirit fills your heart with a bountiful love for God forever. That means you are “saved” or “born again.”

My conversion happened quickly. Although I’d been attending a Presbyterian church and learning much, music was the way that the Holy Spirit turned my heart from a nonchalant vision of God to loving the Lord forever. I had attended a Christian camp for teens, where we sang Christian songs about loving God. We were into a third song when I felt an overpowering feeling of love for the Lord. I began to cry tears of great joy as I continued to sing. I still get teary when I think of the moment I was saved.

What does it mean to be saved? As I said before, it’s the same as being born again. More importantly, Jesus Christ has led you away from a sinful life of unforgiveness to a sinful life of forgiveness. God will forgive your sins and fight your enemies. Best of all, once you belong to Jesus, no one can take you from him.

From a children’s hymn: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so; little ones to him belong, they are weak, but He is strong. Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me; the Bible tells me so.” Like the criminal who was hung on a cross beside Jesus, he asked Jesus if he could be beside Him in Heaven. Jesus said yes. This mere man, this criminal, who had never done a good thing in his life, asked of Jesus to save him from everlasting Hell, and Jesus did.

Luke 23:43 – And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, to day thou shalt be with me in paradise. (KJV)

Life in the Slow Lane

I really don’t mind having ALS, but would I change it if I could? Absolutely! Until God heals me, and I don’t know if it will be in this life or the next, I’m living in the slow lane.

Life with ALS means perpetual slow motion. I type sloooowlyyyy because I have to eye each letter individually. I have to wait for someone to give me a drink. Yes, although I’ve had a tracheostomy, I can still drink. I loooove Dunkin Donuts blueberry iced tea. It’s so refreshing. My friend, Rise, makes me homemade herbal iced tea, which is muy delicioso! I have to wait patiently for my feeding through my G-tube, because it runs throughout the night. I have to be patient with everything.

Except for the past week. My mother, who, if you follow this blog then you already know, is my primary caregiver. However, she has been in the hospital for the past seven days. My darling and loving, younger sisters, Cathy and Cindy, took over right away. They scheduled someone to be with me 24/7. They would grind my pills for the day and night, so certain people could give me my medications throughout the day and into the night. They and Mom flew my son, Danny, in from Florida, both to help and so we could spend time together before he left for boot camp. My niece, Missy, helped out too.

Mom came home from the hospital, and for a couple of days Cindy, Cathy, and Danny continued to help with my care, while allowing Mom to heal. Then Danny flew home and it was just me and Mom. I praise God for Mom every day; and for the family who helped in our time of need.

Luke 10: 33 – And a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. (KJV)

I Will Continue

After my two hospital stays, at the beginning of the last two semesters, I had figured I wasn’t meant to get my Masters degree. But I’ve decided not to give up on my dream.

After the summer, I intend to sign-up for my next course. Until then, I will be reading and writing, including my blog, which you are currently reading.

Until next time, my dear readers, be blessed.

2 Samuel 7:29b – With thy blessing, let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever. (KJV)

It’s About Him

This blogger reminded of two things…

Healing with Christ

I asked myself just now—writhing in hellish nerve pain that has traveled up to the middle of my thighs because of John Ellis’s healing water: what am I supposed to learn from all of this???!!?!?!!?!!!?!!?

Then I remembered the answer what’s-his-face taught me—if you haven’t healed from something…it’s because it’s serving a FUNCTION in your life.

So then I effing realized—deep down to my very bones, finally, the lesson I’ve been VERY aware of needing to learn but somehow, unable to learn until now: it’s not about me. It’s about Him.

It’s not about Nicole, who <insert whiney voice> jumped off Webb Hill and went to Heaven and who’s been the focal point at my proverbial coffee table ever since—it’s about Him.

And right when I realized that—just for a couple moments—the pain suddenly lifted.

For a few moments…but it was enough; I’m realizing that if something is in…

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