Thursday, June 20, 2013

In The Lions' Den

Sometimes life makes us feel like we are in a den of hungry lions; pacing, swirling around us, all wanting a bite at us but reality says there's just not enough to go around. Something's gotta' give. Tonight I am feeling a bit pulled in many different directions and wearing many different hats all at once and I am feeling the heat of the lion's breath breathing down my neck wanting a bite! This feeling reminded me to go to scripture and re-read the story of Daniel as he encountered a literal Den of Lions. The story takes place in Daniel chapter 6. I'll summarize it but would encourage you to check it out for yourselves!

Daniel is and exile from Judah who has worked his way up in life politically, socially, and I'm sure in every other way as well but there is one thing distinctly different about this rock star 'exile' living in Babylon, Daniel stays true to God even though it's been years since he's lived among other believers. He has been living in Babylon since he was a young boy, now certainly a young man, he is at the height of his political career and King Darius wants to make Daniel an administrator over the whole nation! A few wise guys decide to throw a wrench into the deal because they are jealous of Daniel's success so they try to find some reason why the king shouldn't let Daniel have the job. When they can't find any reason they decide they need to create a reason so they get the king to order a decree (law) that says for the next 30 days no one can pray to or worship anyone other than the king. They knew that Daniel wouldn't abide by this law so they got the king to order it up Medes & Persians style which means it cannot be undone. The penalty for breaking the law? The lions' den. 
The law is ordered up and the first thing Daniel does is he goes home and prays. He doesn't think about it he just prays. It says 'Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.' v.10 

That made me stop in my tracks. Not that he did something that he had always done, because sometimes we can do things out of habit, but that he 'gave thanks'. For some reason God saw fit for scripture to point out that Daniel didn't just pray, he was giving thanks. That is monumental. I needed to hear that tonight. The second thing that stands out to me in this story is that the law is irreversible. It cannot be changed. The situation is what it is and yet Daniel prays giving thanks. 

So the story goes on to say that the king tries to save Daniel because he likes him but when he realizes that the law he signed cannot be changed he has to let them throw Daniel to the lions. The king actually says to Daniel 'May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!' v.16 He even stays the night next to the den without food/drink/entertainment and waits until morning to see if Daniel's God has indeed rescued him. In the morning the king calls to Daniel and asks if he has been rescued. Daniel responds 'My God sent his angel, and shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.' v.22

What stands out to me in this portion of the story is that God doesn't take the lions away or kill them, he simply 'shuts their mouths'. Daniel is still living with the lions so to speak, but they are not a threat. There are many things that we live with everyday that might feel like a lion breathing down your neck; illness, job frustrations, family frustrations, a never ending 'to-do' list, dogs that won't listen, floors that don't stay clean, etc. etc. We all have these things in our lives that feel oppressive and if we let them over take us we can become so consumed by them that we can forget what it means to give thanks and to pray. We forget the one who can shut the mouths of our lions. He may not take them out of our lives completely but he may teach us how to live among them peacefully. 

The story ends with Daniel being pulled from the den of lions and the ruthless men who were so jealous of Daniel in the first place to have the law created were thrown to the lions and they were devoured. King Darius also issues a decree at the end of the chapter that everyone in the land must fear and show reverence to the God of Daniel. It ends with a song: "For he is the Living God and he endures forever, his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves, he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." v.26-27

God won over the heart of King Darius in this story by showing himself faithful to Daniel. Daniel stayed faithful to God and was kept safe from the lions. Ultimately, God uses this situation to win over a nation. Because we live in a democratic society we think it's horrible that this king would order the people to fear a God that they might not have otherwise feared before. In this situation, The king was causing the people to take notice of God when they otherwise would have missed him completely. The song was a testimony of God's faithfulness and meant to show the people that God is trustworthy. No doubt too, when the people looked at Daniel's life they saw evidence of God at work and knew what a life devoted to God really looked like. 

So as I live life in my lions' den it's my hope that my life reflects pieces of this story... prayer, gratitude, faithfulness, and peace. I may be living with my lions for now but at least their mouths are shut! Lord willing, he will pull me out of the den! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 4-Seizure Monitoring

Day 4 is drawing to a close and overall, it has been a sucessful day. I have had a lot of seizure activity  which is good and revealing. The Dr. hasn't reviewed everything yet because they are still monitoring  so after re-introducing meds tonight I will continue to be monitored until at least tomorrow. There is a chance that I will get to go home tomorrow evening but it's not set in stone yet because we have to see how my body does getting back on meds.

The babies made a stop in to see me earlier and it was so great to see them today. I have been so blessed to be able to see them everyday for a little bit. It has been so helpful knowing that they have been so well taken care of by our families, and Jared has been such a trooper at nights because Joline has decided to be an early morning gal this week! ;)

This journey has been trying and I am very ready to be back home with my babies and my husband and our crazy puppy. God is teaching me a lot in this process and I don't want to miss the point. I want to walk away from all of this stronger and more in love with Jesus. I can't say that in the past year my walk with him has been perfect or easy. Faith has been a work in progress and I'm still learning but I'm thankful for the road and I know that He is using all of these things to make me stronger, my love for him deeper, and my faith in him durable. So thankful that I am not in it alone!

UP NEXT:
Stay tuned because when I get home it's full swing camping prep and this year will be a little different because Jared and I bought a SWEET 1984 Starcraft T-1000 Truck Camper! :) *Vintage :) Our first trip with it is in late June so there isn't much time to do much with it before that but I have plans to totally remodel the interior and you won't want to miss it!! Can't wait to show you a pic. Well you'll just have to wait a few more days!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 3-Seizure Monitoring

Day 3, Wednesday, Hump Day...However you want to say it I'm feeling good about being half way done since it's not a true full week for me here. :)

Last night my Dr. stopped all medication and sleep deprived me...be jealous...you know you are! ;) I managed to stay up until 4am without too much trouble. Then, I hit a wall of tired. At that point I was allowed 3hrs. of sleep. The nurses have me all hooked up to monitors and video etc. so they watched me to see when I was truly asleep and then started my time then. I must not have fallen asleep right away because the Nurse didn't wake me up until almost 8 this morning. Either that or they were super nice to me. :) I have great Nurses. I did have 1 seizure during my sleep last night that I was totally unaware of. I guess the Nurses even came in the room but I have no memory of any of that so it must have been a good one. It was about a minute long they tell me.

After a long morning of trying to stay awake watching boring TV shows Jared was able to come sit with me and do some work from my room so I had some great company; he even brought me doughnuts from Van's bakery! That's love! While he was here I had one more seizure that I slightly remember pieces of. The Dr. came in a little while later to let me know that she is happy with the data that she is seeing and to tell me that she thinks the sleep deprivation is enough and we don't have to add a glass of wine... :( oh bummer! Well, I'm not all that sad because I really have a very limited taste for wine so I probably wouldn't have liked what they had to offer anyway. It usually only takes 1 glass of wine to trigger some kind of seizure activity for me so I hardly ever drink anything anyway, especially not without meds... so who knows what that would trigger!

So going forward tonight I'm not sure if they are going to let me sleep tonight or not. I don't think they will (except for a 3 hour stretch) but then if they get the seizure activity they are hoping for tonight and tomorrow they will most likely start introducing my meds again by tomorrow night.

Again, the babies are doing so great. I get pictures and I can't figure out how to link them here. :( They look like they are having so much fun with Aunt Abby though!! I think I will get to see them for a bit again later tonight. Yay! I miss them so much!!!

Thanks again for all your prayers. Jared and I are so thankful.
God bless, Sleep well,
-Christina

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 2-Seizure Monitoring

Yesterday I got all checked into the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at St. Mary's Hospital for an extended stay to monitor my seizures. Seizures are measured via electrodes placed on the scalp. These electrodes measure my brain waves and look for patterns (spikes and waves). They will also indicate where in the brain seizure activity is coming from. Now, in my case, I was initially diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was 6 years old so they already have a lot of info on my seizures because we have done these tests before. However, things have changed A LOT since having babies and that is why I am here. Since the babies were born I started having grand mal seizures. Due to all of the changes and all of the 'activity' it was time to update these tests and get some solid answers and direction for action going forward. In addition to updating and answers I am curious to know if I could be a candidate for brain surgery. Now, before you flip out... :) Please know that I just want to know at this point. This surgery is a VERY successful surgery for those who are candidates. If done, this would allow me to be seizure free and I would not have to live life with medication either. :)..... Hmmm.... I Can't even imagine at this point what that would be like.

So for now I'm here. Just waiting for some type of seizure activity to happen so that it can be recorded. As crazy as it sounds I am asking you to pray for seizures. :) As of right now my Dr. has stopped my medication completely. Tonight they will try to sleep deprive me and if that doesn't work they may even give me a glass of wine! ;) What a party over here! Haha! We will see what happens. Another concern at this point is that I have low white blood cell and low platelet counts and that seems to be a bit of a mystery. Its not so low that it's a major concern at this point but they will draw blood work again tomorrow. IF we can't draw any conclusions during this stay they may just ask for blood work every 6 weeks and if that shows continued low levels then I may have to see a Hemotologist. Hmmm...Well add that to my wrap sheet! ;)

The babies and Jared are doing absolutely great! Happy and content hanging out at Aunt Abby's house with Cousin Fitz and Lola (Siberian Husky). :) I think they will be up later to see me and I can't wait to see them! They were able to come up for a bit yesterday and I was so happy that they weren't freaked out by all my wires and 'head gear'. :) Please pray that they will continue to do well for Abby, Jared, Grandma Sandy and then My mom later in the week when they go there. Thank you!

I will keep you posted on what happens.
God bless, Sleep well,
-CW

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Couch Slide, Showers, & Seizures


Well, It happened, one of the babies slid off the couch and on to the floor. Gracefully, hitting her head. She was a tough girl though and cried only a minute or so and then was right back to her chipper self. I was in the process of putting Anders in the exersaucer and moving Joline out of it and while I was putting Anders in, I placed Joline on the couch next to me in a semi-sitting position with pillows around her. This was obviously not enough for this mover and groover! Mothering twins is tough work when they are not totally floppy but yet not totally independent either. :) I need to get creative for how to entertain them long enough to keep them happy while also keeping in mind that they cannot sit alone yet and they cannot be left alone on the floor too long either because they roll all over the place and I could walk away and come back to them up against the stone fireplace or under the rocking chair...who knows! Always on, that is what I have to be right now and that is OK! It is only a short time in life and I am learning to enjoy it.

This week has been good for me. I finally bought storage bins to organize all of the babies clothes that they have already grown out of. Currently these clothes are creating a never ending mound in my spare bedroom so now they will have a home in their organized storage bins until Hubby and I decide what we are going to do about having more babies.

The weekend is fast approaching and I am thankful for that. It will be a busy one though with 1 Bridal shower, 2 Baby showers, 1 Graduation open house (for 3 different grads), and moving the babies and Hubby to his sister's house for the week while I prepare for a week of seizure monitoring coming on Monday. Busy busy but there's no better time than the present so bring it on!

Starting on Monday I will be posting about my seizure monitoring and how it's going. I have no idea what to expect so I want to document as much as I can since this could be the only time in my life that I have a lot of seizure activity all at once in a safe environment and be able to document what's happening and why. I'm excited, anxious, nervous, and scared all at the same time. I have not been away from the babies more than 1 night since they were born so we will see how this goes.

For most people today is the last day of the school year and the beginning of summer so Happy Summer! :)

God Bless, Sleep Well,
-CW