Pick Up Your Mat and Walk

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him,“Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:1-8

I used to be a different person. I used to feel like crap every morning because I used to drink alcohol every night. I remember when God placed it in my heart that I needed to change. He could have immediately taken the crave for alcohol away…but he didn’t. First I had to want to stop. I had to make up my mind to stop and then say, ‘I’m done living like this.” And then I had to be the one to take the first step toward recovery. Once I made the decision that I was going to stop that was the moment he began helping me stop.

He stood beside me constantly during the struggle to quit but I still had to be the one to consciously make the choice to quit every single day. Over time I’ve lost the crave to drink but I still to this day have to be aware of that decision because there are still times in my life that alcohol is placed before me and a glass of wine or a margarita still look quite tasty to me but I do know that quick moment of taste across my lips is just not worth it and will never taste as good as I feel now.


Over the past 6 years I’ve had 5 knee surgeries for torn meniscus and arthritis.  I have asked God hundreds of times to cure me. I have placed my hands on my knees and said, “God, please take this pain away and cure me.”

I truly believe he could have instantly cured me, but he still didn’t do it.

I also knew that I could have had knee replacement surgery but I didn’t want to do that.

The surgery seemed really scary and I also knew it would take months before I would get well. I was also afraid of the pain so many people had warned me about. But in the meantime what I didn’t realize is that the pain I would end up in from not having the surgery would be probably just as bad or worse.

Over time I began finding that standing was becoming harder and I couldn’t go to the grocery store or ball games or anything that required a lot of walking without being in excruciating pain. And my balance was gradually going away too.

While I was sitting around being afraid of the surgery the things I worried would happen from the surgery were happening to me anyway!

A few months ago I had a terrible fall in which I landed on my face. That was the day that I finally made the decision to have the surgery.

Knee number 1 was replaced September 19.

It’s been 4 weeks today since the surgery and I woke up this morning realizing that I may finally be over the worst part of it. As expected the past 4 weeks have been really hard and required a whole lot of work on my part. Over the past 4 weeks, I have learned a lot about suffering (I’ll save that for another blog) and I have also learned what it’s like to humble myself and let others take care of me…. I don’t really do that very well.

The biggest thing I have learned is that even though I am the one who makes the decisions about my life sometimes I don’t always choose the right ones. One in particular, was not choosing to have this surgery sooner!

Just like the drinking I had to be the one to make the decision that I truly wanted to get well.

Yes God could have cured me instantly but he didn’t. Instead, he left part of it up to me to decide. Did I want to walk? Yes I did and to do that I was going to have to take the initiative to get up take the first step. I had to put away my worries and say yes to the surgery.  And then I had to put in the hard work it would take to get well. Yes God still was the one to do the healing and He was also the one who guided the surgeon’s hands. He was the one who was beside me when I stood up the first time for rehab. He was the one sitting beside me each night when I cried in pain. He was the one pushing me through the exercises and giving me the strength to keep going as I got stronger each day.

Now I am glad God didn’t give me the quick cure I prayed for.

God had a better plan, He gave me new knee but I had to be the one to make the decision to get up and go and get it and now I am stronger because of that.

Now that I have started to see the benefit of my new knee I realize that this wasn’t just about knees. This was about so much more.

There were lessons in trust, trusting that God had this all in his hands if I would just let go and give it to him.

I learned a lot about God’s power and how he gives that power to us to use when we call on him. He is the one who has been pushing me through the physical therapy and His strength is sometimes the only strength I have to just get up in the morning…but I will never ever be able to use it if I don’t make any effort of my own. I can’t just be sitting around waiting when there are things I could be doing, things I know now that God wants me to do.  God can do anything and yes He can move mountains, but something I have realized in all of this is that the mountain that may need moving is sometimes my own attitude.

Found by the Prince of Peace

 

god-of-peaceTwo weeks ago I had knee replacement surgery on my left knee and on November 28 I will be having the right one done.

I’ve known I needed to do this for over 2 years but I still have been putting the surgeries off because the thought of having someone cut my whole knee joint out and replacing it with metal and plastic made me feel really uncomfortable and to be honest it really scared the living daylights out of me.

After I made the decision a lot of worries crossed my mind about the things that could go wrong but I knew I had to not be dwelling on those things and just look to how much better my life was going to be when everything went right.

I had a great peace and I really wasn’t nervous at all during the time up to the surgery but the morning of the surgery for some reason I started to get really nervous. By the time we got into the car to go to the hospital my nerves were starting to get the best of me and I was beginning to feel like I had some sort of dark heavy cloud of dread hanging over me. When we pulled our car out of the garage a thick heavy fog was covering the neighborhood which just added to the dread I was feeling.

A few minutes later we were flying up the highway and I was sitting over in the passenger seat praying silently, but the harder I prayed, the more scared I became.

Where was God’s peace at now??

Somehow I had lost it and it was now hidden deep in the fog which seemed to be pressing in tighter and tighter on me.
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I wanted to forget the whole surgery and tell my husband to turn the car around and head back home but before I could get the words out of my mouth suddenly in the middle of the dark gloomy morning the sun started peeking out through the fog and the sky began changing.
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In a matter of seconds, the sky was a mix of beautiful colors. I began taking pictures of the sky and somehow without even realizing it was happening God had managed to reel me back to peace.
By the time we arrived at the hospital a beautiful sunshiny day had dawned and I was ready to get on with getting a new knee.
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But God wasn’t done yet…
I was met by my nurse who would check me in and found out her name was ‘Joy’. Joy’s name fit her well and she was exactly the perfect person for me to start off this day with. Joy the nurse was full of joy. Being checked into surgery by nurse Joy along with her name tag flashing the word “Joy’ at me constantly, there was no way I couldn’t feel the continued presence and peace of God.

Joy stayed with me until it was time to go to the Operating room holding area.

My next nurse’s name was ‘Lisa’. Which is also the name of my dear friend Lisa who now lives in heaven. I’m not really sure why having a nurse named Lisa gave me peace but seeing the name Lisa reminded me about Lisa and how courageously she had lived her life during her illness right up until she left for her new one. Remembering Lisa reminded me that I wanted to live my life courageously trusting in God like she had.

Everything seemed to be going well and I was doing really great the whole morning but then the anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. His name was David. David was nice and he looked like just the guy to handle the job of putting me to sleep. I was really liking him a whole lot but then he gave me a choice to make. It was a choice that nobody had even mentioned or that I had ever dreamed was available. David gave me the choice of staying awake or going to sleep during the surgery..… STAYING AWAKE???!!

I remember saying to him, “you’re kidding right?”

But this was not a joke… this guy was dead serious!

I had seen the video of what they were going to do to me and it involved cutting my whole knee joint out with saws and then putting in the new knee with a hammer…SAWS… AND HAMMERS!!! Did I mention they were going to use saws and hammers and this guy was giving me the option to stay awake during the surgery????!!!!!

I’m sure you know by now my answer to that question was…. NO WAY!

I didn’t even have to answer him before he said, “Maybe you better go to sleep.” I wonder if it was the… ‘you are crazy for ever asking me that look’ I must have had on my face.

After that I lost my peace again and suddenly I felt sick to my stomach. I went to the bathroom to be sick and when I arrived back at my bed there was a woman in my room waiting for me. “Hi I’m the hospital Chaplin and I came to see if you would like me to pray with you,” she said.

Ummmm…. Ya…

How cool is that?! The minute I lost peace God sent a Chaplin in to pray with me!

We prayed and then we just chatted for a while as if we were old friends. Before I knew it the God of peace had found me again and it was now time for me to go into the operating room. The last thing I remember was telling someone that they really needed to organize the operating room because it was really a mess….

I’m not really sure what my obsession with organized operating rooms is but the last 2 surgeries I’ve had that line has come out of my mouth just as I drift off to sleep. I will blame it on the happy meds they put in the IV.

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3 hours later I woke up with a brand new knee and a horrible pain in my hip.

Yep you heard that right, I go in for knee surgery and come out with hip pain.

I now know that the pain in my hip is my sciatic nerve. Somehow it became irritated during the surgery and I have to say it is about the worst pain I have ever dealt with in my life!

But...even though the sciatic nerve is giving me problems I still seem to be breezing right through the knee stuff. I am excelling in my exercises with my range of motion coming back way quicker than is expected.
The crazy thing is my knee which is what I was worried about before the surgery is not an issue at all.
The problem is this sciatic nerve hurts really bad If I lay down and I also have had problems with every pain medication they have given me so Tylenol is all I can take.
Sooooo… sleeping is something I have not been getting a whole lot of.

Every night about 11 pm the pain starts and I then spend the rest of the night moving around to different areas of my house trying to get comfortable. I can take a lot of pain and usually never cry about pain but I have to say that this is the first time in my life that pain seems to keep turning me into an exhausted crying mess.

I have spent a whole lot of time this past couple of weeks listening to the Hillsong channel on T.V. and Pandora Radio. Every single night there is one song that seems to always play right at the time which is when I am usually at the height of my pain.

The song is “Prince of Peace” by Hillsong United.


The words to this song always seem to help me find comfort and peace.

My heart a storm
Clouds raging deep within
The Prince of Peace came bursting through the wind
The violent sky held its breath
And in Your light I found rest
Tearing through the night
Riding on the storm
Staring down the fight
My eyes found Yours
Shining like the sun
Striding through my fear
The Prince of Peace met me there
You heard my prayer – Words and music by Hillsong United

Just as I am feeling as if I can’t go on anymore Jesus always meets me right in the middle of the pain and then he carries me through the night. He is my comfort and peace until the early morning hours when I finally fall asleep.

Jesus is my peace…

As I am writing this its almost 11 pm the pain hasn’t started yet and I am hoping it doesn’t. Each night I pray that it won’t start but each night it still does. I am not really sure why that prayer hasn’t been answered yet but so many more prayers have been answered so far.

I am learning that I can get through anything no matter how painful it is when I call on Jesus. I have seen Gods hands and miraculous healing in this and also in past illnesses I’ve had. Also from what I have heard Knee replacement surgery is very very painful, thankfully I haven’t had much knee pain so far which my physical therapist says she has never come across so maybe I have the better pain of the two…. ?

AAAAnyway …. it’s getting late so I am going to try to get some sleep.

Have a great night!
T

P.S. If you aren’t squeamish and want to see something cool, click the picture of my bandage below to remove it and see my incision.  You can just call me the bionic woman from now on 😀

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Passing through the Storm only to Find Another Cloud

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I’m not usually a quitter but by the end of the day yesterday that’s exactly where I was…ready to quit!

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of my alarm at 6 am. I was exhausted from a long night of tossing and turning and my heart had been racing all night.

I have been having an irregular heartbeat on and off for a couple of weeks now and during these episodes my heart beats erratically and I get light headed.  Sometimes feel like I’m going to pass out. I really haven’t been feeling very well at all lately and the racing was really starting to frighten me a whole lot.  Last week I had lab testing done by my doctor and now I was going to see her for my lab results and so she could check me out some more.

Other than the crazy heartbeat it was a pretty routine morning of me getting ready to leave the house but then suddenly as I was walking down the hall  my knee just seemed to come out from under me sending me face first into the floor.

Ten minutes later I sat on my couch with ice bags on my face and both knees assessing the damage… I had a bloody nose, a small cut inside my top lip, a very swollen top lip and nose, a massive headache and both knees hurting and beginning to swell. Thankfully though I had no major injuries.

A couple of hours later I made it my doctor’s appointment where I received the news that my heart isn’t getting enough oxygen to my body and that I am diabetic and my blood pressure is high.

I left the doctor’s office as the owner of a new diet, a prescription for high blood pressure medicine, and an order to turn in for my very own heart monitor :'(

So like I said in the beginning of this post… I am not usually a quitter but by the end of the day yesterday that’s exactly where I was.

Ready to quit…

I felt like I needed a break from the day, or maybe it was the world.  Either way all I wanted to do was crawl in my bed, close my eyes, and hide under the covers forever. I seem to be having an overabundance of hard stuff anymore. I usually try my best to keep my head up and look to the good stuff, but today it was hard to see through the tears. I don’t mean to sound like I am complaining… seriously there is a whole lot that is good in my life…But…I do have to say though that in the middle of all that good stuff there also seems to be one hard thing right after another. When one thing stops it seems like something else always starts up. I’ve had one illness right after another for almost 5 years now. People around me are sick too and a whole lot of stuff is always happening in my family. If this is just a season it’s been way too long of a season and I’m ready to get on with a new one. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve passed through the storm and came out on the other side only to see the sun quickly being covered by another cloud.

Last night I think I may have finally hit my breaking point, crawled under the covers put my headphones on and lay there listening to Pandora hoping to fall asleep.

I heard two songs, both had words that just seemed picked out perfectly for me.
Praise you in This Storm and Eye of the Storm

Coincidence?

I think not.

After hearing those songs I felt at peace and went right to sleep. I finally got some rest last night and I woke up today in a way better mood.

Life isn’t always easy; the truth is sometimes it’s just plain hard.

I still have the same problems this morning when I woke up that I went to sleep with.

But I am so glad I got up and faced the day today, because today things seemed to not be as bad as they felt when I went to sleep last night.

I felt at peace and now I can see all that is good again.

Actually today was a really good day.

Oh and by the way since the fall yesterday I have not had any irregular heartbeats. When the doctor was checking me out yesterday and I told her that since I had fallen it hadn’t happened anymore she said that it is actually possible that the adrenaline rush shocked my heart back into a regular rhythm… Sounds crazy but its been over 24 hours and so far so good! Thank you God!

Before you leave today check out this song by Ryan Stevenson – Eye of the Storm

Music Monday – Chain Breaker

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It seems like we are living in a hurting world lately. The things I am seeing in the news and on social media are things that I have never ever seen in my lifetime. It just seems like there is so much more hate and anger with people hurting one another and turning to violence. People want a solution to whatever they feel angry about, but I just don’t see how turning against one another is going to solve anything.

The only real solution to anything that I can see is Jesus. If we don’t turn to him I think things are going to continue to get worse.

Maybe your not a Christian and when you saw what I just wrote you thought to yourself “Ya right! that woman is loony toons!”  Believe it or not, I actually understand that because I used to feel the same way when people told me that Jesus could help the world or help me.

I used to think he wasn’t real.

Now I think maybe I knew deep down that he was real but It was easier for me to tell myself he wasn’t real then to risk the rejection that I thought he might give me because I thought I wasn’t good enough for him.

What nobody ever told me or maybe I just somehow missed it, was that Jesus didn’t come just for the good people or the ones who had it all together.

The truth is this….He came for the liars, the cheaters, the thieves, the murderers, the drug addicts, the abusers and the abused.  

He came for the broken, the hurting.

Yes it’s true – He came for the good and the bad.

He came for Me and He came for you.

He came for us ALL.

Today’s music Monday song is Chain Breaker by Zach Williams.

This song brings me to tears every time I hear it because the words are so true!

If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you got chains, He’s a chain breaker (Chain Breaker lyrics by Zach Williams)

Can I get an AMEN?! 

He came, He died, He took the blame, He took the pain. He took it all so we could be free!  

I know this is true because my own life has changed because of Jesus.

Yes, I still get angry, I still get sad, and I still feel pain.  But now I don’t face any of life’s struggles alone anymore.

I take comfort in knowing that when things feel out of control that God is still in control.

I take comfort in his love and I am free from the things that used to weigh me down.

My chains are broken.

Freedom in Christ is a way better life.

We all can have that freedom.

All you have to do is ask and he will remove your chains.

If you’re in need of someone to tell you more about the freedom you can have in Jesus let me know in the comments below or contact me via the contact tab on the top of the blog.

Have a great week!

Terri Siebert

 

I’m Not Afraid of What You Think of Me

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January 1, 2012…that was the day I started this blog.  I really had no idea what a blog was other than I felt like God wanted me to start one. What would I write about? I’m not a writer. Will anyone read what I write? Those were the kind of questions that kept filling my head but I did it anyway.

A shocker to me was that the readers came. As time went on I became more comfortable with sharing my thoughts, and oddly the readers still kept coming back.  Most of the time I never really paid much attention to the stats or how many people had actually read. People clicked the like button and people commented, over all the blog seemed to be going pretty well.

But then my worst fear happened….

More people I knew in my personal life started reading. People from my personal life had read the blog before but it was starting to get to the point that every time I posted someone would come up to me and say “I read your blog….”

Nothing bad was ever said to me, actually everyone always gave me very sweet and positive comments, but suddenly I found myself afraid to post. I feared that the people I knew in my real life would see what I wrote and think I was weird or something. It was like suddenly the inside of me was out there, exposed for everyone to see.

When people I had never met face to face read what I wrote I was brave but when my real life friends began reading I suddenly felt frozen with fear of what would they think of me.

I never stopped writing but found that t I couldn’t seem to post anything anymore. I would write, then read what I had written and then tell myselft it was too weird or not good enough. When I wasn’t posting I called it writers block but now I call it something else…FEAR.

Now let me tell you about my weekend.

Saturday… Lately God has been leading me in a new direction. It’s far from where I feel I have been since starting this journey with him but the crazy thing is that over the past few weeks…. Or make that months there have been many little poofs of eye opening things that he has sent me that have shown me this is for sure the direction he is sending me.  a few weeks ago I even had a moment that I realized WOW I was already there and didn’t even know it!  But now I feel as if he wants me to take it farther and that is pretty scary to me.  I am not sure how to start or where do I start… how do I do something I know nothing about???  I know this is probably not making any sense and I started this paragraph with Saturday but never started on Saturday uggh! If you could just hang with me a little bit longer I will try my best to spit this out.

Back to Saturday…Saturday morning I was praying… journal by my side… suddenly I find myself on my knees saying… “God how do I do this? What do you want me to do??”

Most of the time when I pray especially when I pray on my knees I lean over my bed and I have this cat that will come on the bed and stand in my face meowing while messing with my hair and stuff. This day as I prayed I heard the pages of my journal turning. I thought it was the cat at first but then I realized it sounded as if he was turning pages one page at a time like a person would turn them. Just as I was coming to the realization that this was not my cat and also that he was nowhere near me I heard the words “open your eyes!” I opened my eyes and right in front of me I see my journal laying open with one paragraph blaring out at me “Not only do you have to go through the door, sometimes you need to go up to it and put your hand on the knob. Don’t be afraid!” The crazy thing about this story is that my whole journal is written in pencil but that one paragraph written on March 10, was written in red ink! I have no idea why on March 10 I wrote one paragraph in red ink, but there it was blaring out at me. And That moment I knew the door to where God was leading me was there for me to go through but I hadn’t actually allowed myself to open the door because I had been afraid to open it!

Sunday…. Sunday I went to church. I’m sitting there and the band starts playing while they are collecting the offering. The words to the song started going through me.. words like, I was unworthy and Jesus you saved me… I really can’t remember the words very well but suddenly from my place in the back of the room I see the place I am in right now and I am in awe of God’s presence and how he has brought me to this place. Memories started pouring in… memories of me in the parking lot of that very church 5 years ago afraid to come in yet there now because Jesus had brought me here. As I sat there I realized I was a part of something way bigger than I could ever have imagined being part of and living a life so drastically different than it used to be.

Fast forward to the sermon. Our youth pastor was sharing his own story of God in his life and he was talking about surrendering. He started talking about how some of us had things that we needed to surrender to God. I felt myself trembling while he spoke and having tears but yet at the same time thinking I had nothing to surrender. At the end of the sermon he said that the alter was open for people to come up if they had something to surrender.  I heard God tell me to go up. I was like “go up for what? I have nothing to surrender” God said, “yes you do, your fear of what other people think of you.”

I was like, ”um God you must be mistaken, I don’t care what they think.”

He said, “yes you do, your trembling in fear…(I was) now go up there.

In my mind I was thinking, “oh God, I can’t go up there in front of all of those people…I’m too scared!”

The struggle went on for what seemed like forever but then the next thing I know I am blubbering at the altar.

I can’t explain how I felt after that but it sure felt good! Something inside of my seemed to break yesterday. Not broken in a bad way but broken somehow in a good sort of way. like a huge weight was lifted off of me.

Yesterday I surrendered my fear of what other people think of me to God.  I know today that as long as I carry the weight of that fear I can never ever accomplish anything He wants me to accomplish.

So today I am here fearless. No back reading, no changing words to make this post how I think you my readers and my friends may want to see me… Instead its just what it is… words I am writing for God. I am not quite sure why he wants me to share this stuff but because he wants me to do it I am going to do it. Also since today is Monday and on this blog on Monday it is Music Monday I am going to share a song that is playing while I write this that seems fitting to this post.

‘More of Me’ by Colton Dixon  I hope you enjoy it.

So today’s post was about giving away fear and surrendering to God’s will, who knows what it will be the next time, but I plan to keep writing here as long as God wants me to write.. no matter who is reading 😀

What do you need to surrender? Like me, maybe you can’t see it either. If you want to know just talk to God he’ll show ya.

Have a great week!

Terri Siebert