The Certainty of Truth

I was reading this morning and the following passage hit me right between the eyes:

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your heart to my knowledge;Β for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; Let them all be fixed upon your lips,Β so that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instructed you today, even you.Β  Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge,

that I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, That you may answer words of truth to those who send to you? (Proverbs 22:17-21)

I love that we can be certain of what God has for us, that we can know the Truth!

“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Not only can we know the truth, but we can know the One from whom Truth issues, the source of Truth Himself:

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life..” –Jesus (John 14:6)

“I know whom I have believed..” –Paul, Apostle of Jesus (2 Timothy 1:12)

And because “I know that I know that I know” πŸ™‚ Him and His Word, I can have an answer to those who ask what Truth is.

Lord, let my ear be inclined to Your wisdom, and my heart to Your knowledge, and let Your Word abide in me, ‘fixed upon my lips.’ Let me be diligent in seeking You, that I may be certain of Your Truth and that I may have an answer from You for any and all who ask.

Be blessed today. πŸ™‚

The Tumor

Yes, that’s a tumor. It has taken up temporary residence in my husband’s brain, but will be evicted on October 14, Lord willing.

I have long felt that this experience should be recorded, and have left it up to my husband to do…however, I realize that maybe my point of view would be worth remembering, too. So, here it is.

He has experienced hearing loss on his right side for a while…not exactly sure how long, but it’s definitely been gradual. Over a year, maybe two. Early this year, February, I think, he went to our general practitioner and got it checked out. He was told it could be swelling due to sinus infection, some sort of fluid trapped, etc. Was prescribed steroids and an antihistamine (over $100 for medicines that didn’t do a thing. eek).

When it became evident that the medicine wasn’t making a difference, we requested a referral to an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat specialist, or otolaryngologist), who ordered an MRI (from which we obtained the above image). We were told that it was probably an acoustic neuroma. Non-cancerous (Praise God!) and, though dangerous because of its location, not life-threatening if removed. It was now May 12th, and our daughter, Eliza, was due to arrive two days later.

I should mention here that God is good. So good that He, knowing that we’d have to face this, gave my husband’s mom, a nurse, a job working for a neurosurgeon–that is, the kind of doctor that operates on and specializes in brain tumors. She has worked there for approximately 15 years. The Lord plans ahead.

Our amazing God also provided Wes a job that offers benefits, precisely when we needed it. He was hired by his present employer at just the right time for us to qualify for health insurance for my pregnancy with Eliza. We chose the plan that offered the best coverage for maternity, which incidentally offers great coverage for brain tumors. We had no idea at the time what a blessing this would be.

Back to May 12:
One look at the MRI and we knew it was a tumor (as you can see). An appointment was made with the neurosurgeon here in Knoxville, Dr. David Hauge (mother-in-law’s boss). This man took extra time studying the images, discerned that radiation was not a good idea due to its size and placement (considered ‘very large’ at 3cm in diameter, and pressing against the brain stem), and he recommend a team from Vanderbilt in Nashville to do the surgery. Dr. Hauge stated that if it were he with the tumor, he would go to this team: Dr. Reid Thompson and Dr. Haynes. He also personally called Dr. Thompson’s office to discuss our case and refer us.

Eliza was born perfect on May 14, and she helped to take our minds off the tumor for a bit. πŸ™‚

In the beginning of June, we went to Nashville for our consultation with Drs Thompson and Haynes, who were extremely kind and answered every question that came to mind. It was not a typical ‘appointment’ day for Dr Haynes, who came to talk to us in between surgeries. We were very much relieved to have their seasoned counsel regarding our situation. They were both very surprised to hear how little Wes’s symptoms had affected his daily life. With a tumor this size, apparently, a patient is usually much older and is experiencing much stronger effects, like facial weakness (where the nerve on the affected side of the brain is stressed, causing drooping on that side of the face), balance problems, swallowing problems, etc.

I must here again give all credit to God, who directs our path, whose mercy is everlasting, whose truth endures forever, and whose faithfulness is great. It is because of His mercy that we are not in a much worse situation. It is His lovingkindness that has prevented any further problems to this point. We trust Him.

We accept this experience knowing that God is in control. Regardless of what happens. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and His plan is perfect. He does not love us any less today because we have this tumor to deal with. His Word is true, and we stand on it.

I will admit that my stomach does somersaults at the thought of the day in October when this surgery is scheduled. My heart aches for him that his hearing on the right side will be completely gone (at least until we are able to get a BAHA, which should be an option later on). I don’t want to see him in pain, or helpless, even temporarily. I feel like I’m poorly prepared for all this, and it’s advancing like a freight train.

But I have full confidence that as He sees fit, and in His perfect way, God will bring us through this.
So, there’s a little of my perspective… thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

Nobody’s a Pro

I’ve often observed seasoned professionals doing their job and thought, Wow, they are really good at what they do…they must not even have to think about it. All the challenges they face on a daily basis must be ‘old hat.’

I don’t know that I believe that anymore.

Rather, the following observations might be more accurate:

  • No one has ever lived today before. Right, no surprise there.
  • Everyone at some point of every day has reason to stop and say, this is new. I’m not prepared for this (though some of us roll with the punches a bit better than others).
  • No one has enough experience to say unequivocally that today will be just like any other day, that all the issues it brings with it are predictable and mundane, and I will go to bed tonight not having experienced anything different from yesterday or any day previous.

The future is locked tight, and we are banned from even a peek in the window. While we can plan and predict some things, the fact remains that every (sane) human on the planet wakes up every day and must admit this: many things could happen today for which I am not prepared, and over which I have no control.

I find solace in this fact. It means, to me, that we are fundamentally equal. That I don’t have to be intimidated by the experience of others much further down the road than I; we are all limited in scope and control, and that by necessity we depend on God (whether we believe Him or not) to direct our path.

“A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his path.” (Prov. 16:9)

And now a sidenote:
is it this realization that propels so many wanna-be writers to delve into the worlds of make-believe when writing a novel? I recently discovered that a large number (majority, in this particular poll) are writing fantasy, science-fiction, and paranormal stuff. What sells nowadays, evidently, is the novel that allows the reader to be superhuman, or something other, with an ability to control more than in reality…or at least to escape today’s reality.

I suppose that is the point in fictional writing: you are reading it to escape from the decidedly non-fictional life you lead.

Moral of these ramblings: it’s okay to feel inadequate, as long as I keep moving forward.

The Voice of God

“…the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” (John 10:4)

In times of uncertainty, I have often wondered whether I was truly hearing the voice of God, or just my own wants and desires pushing me toward something. When standing at a fork in the road, it’s easy to get confused and question every step.

It is at times like these when I remember the above verse, and I ask myself, “oh, my goodness–do I really know the voice of God?” and panic sets in. Tonight, during worship service, the Lord gave me clarity. The truth is: His WORD is His VOICE.

“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

What has been recorded in those pages is the Living Word, the Voice of Jesus, with instruction and guidance for every day.

“The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” (Isaiah 1:3)
Even ‘dumb animals’ know where to find their sustenance! A sheep knows where to find protection…he’s been with the shepherd many times before, and he knows to always run to the same place, the same source, the same gentle voice.

I don’t know much, but I know where to run for my refuge, because Psalm 46:1 says “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble.” I’ve run to that beautiful, living scripture many times before.

If I need comfort, I can go to the Comforter who “shall…bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you,”and soon follow a flood of words like “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” and “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

The Living Word! Yes, I know that Voice!

It is the same first voice that called me into existence from nothing, that whispered to me through every Bible story in Sunday School, that shouted to me in fiery messages across the pulpit, that planted itself deep in my soul when I memorized Scriptures. It is the one that urges me to “pray without ceasing”, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart…soul…mind…strength,” “love thy neighbor as thyself,” and reminds me that “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”

No more doubting where the ethereal thundering voice from heaven is. I know that Voice! He has written that Law upon my heart, and placed in that wonderful Book specific counsel for me, just waiting in the pages to be discovered (or brought back to remembrance) in a time of need.

i feel like chicken tonight

Roast Chicken

by Brooke C

1 whole chicken
salt
pepper
olive oil
various tuberiffic veggies, randomly cut into assorted sizes to ensure unequal doneness

Directions:

  • find roasting pan at the bottom of cabinet under kitchen sink. Wash out dust.
  • Preheat oven to 450. No, not a reasonable 350 or 325. We want black skin and pink juice.
  • Place veggies (ooh, parsnips!) in bottom of pan, toss in EVOO and ‘herbes du Provence,’ just to say you did.
  • Salt and pepper liberally. This is the only case in which you may be liberal. πŸ˜‰
  • Pause to yell at 7-year-old to get out of the bathroom: “the bathroom is not for reading comic books!”
  • Gingerly cut away at germ-ridden chicken-in-bag, pinkies out.
  • Wash hands every five seconds.
  • Dump a tablespoon of salt into cavity; cringe and shrug.
  • Massage outer bird with salt, pepper, EVOO. Place lovingly on rack in pan, whispering sweet nothings. Place in oven.
  • Swat 2-yr-old for throwing a giant fit. “You don’t get a snack until you CALM DOWN.”
  • 40 minutes, a load of laundry, and an emptied fridge later: admire the beauty of the browning bird, take temperature (180! great!), then cut into it to find it’s still pink.
  • Proceed to remove bird every ten minutes for another hour and marvel at the Chicken That Never Cooked.
  • Eat wooden shards of overdone meat dipped in pink juice of still-raw meat. delish.
  • Scrape incinerated ex-veggies off bottom of pan.
  • Give up and go to bed.

It’s ALIVE!!…we hope.

Interesting…I learned today on a literary agent’s blog the importance of keeping one’s writing “tight.” The idea is that one should avoid excessive and unnecessary modifiers or dead weight that slows down one’s story. A list of ways to do this (and words to avoid) followed.

Let me stop here and say that I never realized there were so many ‘rules’ to good writing. In the past, I simply read and decided whether or not it was worthwhile to continue.

I suppose one could see a parallel between a written piece and the human body. A good story might be likened to a healthy body, which gets no particular attention except when it is ill.

Whereas a normal person might consider a story ‘good’ and not question why, a writer (one who studies the craft of writing, anyway) discovers that a good piece is composed of a number of systems working together and operating well as a whole. The difficulty, then, is that rather than the existence of one Creator, there are thousands of would-be writers (yours truly included) who may never get their ‘body’ breathing. πŸ™‚

One more testimony to the greatness–the unattainable genius–of God. He gets it right every time.

I’m learning that a good story really means that the reader doesn’t feel as if he/she is reading at all, just experiencing what is written without noticeable effort to plow through thousands of words. This takes talent. In my view, skill alone (that which is taught and learned) is not sufficient.

Let’s hope I’ve got the stuff it takes. πŸ™‚

Breakfasting with VIPs

Today, I had the honor of sharing breakfast with two very important business people. One, a woman of twenty-six who works in sucker acquisitions (more on that in a moment), and the other, a thirty-year-old male creator of websites with a focus on fictional galactic characters.

The scene went something like this:

The attractive blonde sits with a furrowed brow, staring at her computer, alternating bites of applecrunch muffin with vigorous typing spells.

“So, what kind of work do you do?” I ask.

“Well, I go and get money from people, and then I take it to my boss, and he takes it the bank, and the bank makes suckers, and they give him the suckers, and he brings them back for everybody.”

“So, you’re in sucker acquisitions.” I reply.
“Yes,” she says hestitantly, with a modest half-grin.

“Do they make the suckers at the bank?”
“Yes.”
“And how long have you done this job?” I ask.
“For forty-nine years.”

“Wow! You’re seventy-four? You look awfully young for seventy-four.”
“No, I’m not that old!”
“Well, most people don’t get such a good job like that until they’re about twenty-five, after they’ve gone to college.”
“Well….I’ve only worked there for a year.”

Oh, ok. I understand now. “So you’re twenty-six.”
“Yes.” She focuses hard on the small screen of the blue-and-red laptop, which is repeatedly requesting loudly that she type the letter that begins the word “cat.” She responds to the metallic voice, attacking the keyboard with vehement zeal.

I leave her to her pressing task and address my other guest.
“And how old are you, sir?”
He suppresses an amused grin and responds,
“Thirty.”

“And what do you do for a living?”
“I create websites about Star Wars. My website is Anakin Skywalker dot com.”
“I see.”

“This is my computer,” he says, pointing to a small felt change purse the size of a deck of cards.
I am impressed.
“Wow, that’s a small computer.”
“Yes. Here’s my website, see?” he says, deftly typing on the miniscule keyboard.

“So people pay you to build websites about Star Wars?” I ask.
“Yes. Actually, the reason it’s called ‘Anakin Skywalker dot com’ is because I’m him. My name is Anakin Skywalker.”
“Well, that’s very interesting. It’s nice to talk with you, Mr. Skywalker.”
He smiles and returns to his muffin and milk.

My colleague, the fourth member in our distinguished party, has been silent throughout the meal, except for a few unintelligible bursts. Now he is studying the cranberries in his muffin, chewing with his mouth open, still grasping with one hand the spoon that had been in his cereal.
I decide this would not be the appropriate moment to ask him about his work.

All in all, a very interesting meal. πŸ™‚