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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Loose Ends * Out of Commission Edition


Dearest Friends and Followers,

Here we go, it's time for Loose Ends, the monthly e-zine {electronic magazine} where I share the best and brightest bits and pieces of the past month.  

Except this month is a bit of an exception.

This is not a collection of fun excerpts that are particularly noteworthy or in any way fascinating.  In fact, I recently listened to a podcast where two social media mavens with huge followings agreed that it wasn't all that great an idea to talk about the hard stuff with your followers when you're right in the middle of the mess.

Wait 'til later, they advised.  And so I pushed away that Spirit-led nudge to ask you, my kindred spirit companions, for prayer.  Looking back, that was dumb.  At least in this little online community where I've worked hard over the years to develop a safe, nurturing gathering place, where I've encouraged you to share openly and freely.

Honestly?  I'll put it right on the table and call January the most difficult month I've had in about 15 years.  It's all been about THE tooth.

The one that got painful slowly but surely.  The one that kicked off 8 assorted meds, 7 visits to 3 dental offices, the one that underwent half a root canal which was stopped in progress when an un-fixable crack and an infection that worked its way down into the bone was discovered.  This demanding little guy needed a quickly scheduled pulling which led to a wound that didn't heal properly, leaving me upended up yet again in a cycle of pain that just about did me in.

Pain that kept us from getting back to NY for the memorial service for our beloved friend, that prompted me to offer referrals to my counseling clients, that kept me from beginning to grieve my cousin's death from a terrible cancer.  I wasn't able to be fully present to my husband with his own medical issues and was unable to lend a hand to my own mother who needed me so.

Pain became my name as my world shrunk to the size of my mouth.  

Life became all about THE tooth or rather, where the tooth used to be.  I became inward focused and anxious, self-absorbed, emotionally exhausted, and physically numb.

*

I'm on the mend.  

I think, I hope, I pray.  

Some days are better than others and I don't think this is going to be a quick heal.  I'm grateful for every good thing ... stellar medical care, soft foods, friends who exhibit Christ's compassion, meds that cut the pain, the luxury of binge watching Victoria, brilliant sunshine on frigid days, cozy naps with a big pillow and an old quilt, short car excursions to sparkling vistas, Jan Karon's Mitford books.

And Jesus.  

There were days when I knew He was all I had.  I prayed constantly, hundreds of hymns played through my brain and circled down into my needy heart.  The Spirit led me to Psalms, James, Lamentations, and Romans.  I journaled pages and pages of desperate, trusting prayers to the One who, I know, heard me well.

I'm doing my best.  I'm letting Him carry me.

A wise friend tenderly whispered that sometimes God allows us to be in seasons that may not be of our own choosing.  She left me with a tiny pot of yellow daffodils as a life-giving reminder.

*

My hat's off to all of you who have high pain tolerance and can withstand all kinds of physical agony with scarcely blinking an eye.  I especially hold in high regard those who do so, yet have an incredible ability to be compassionate and deeply caring for those of us who've not been given this gift of physical endurance.

And my heart goes out to those who live in chronic, endless pain, that's difficult if not impossible to control.  You know who you are and I can't begin to tell you how much I ache for you.  I hope that you can find yourself exceptional doctors who can offer you some kind of respite for the pain that's come to dominate your lives.  That God will send you warm-hearted companions who won't judge you, lecture you, abandon you, lob Bible verses at you, or make you feel 'less than' because of this, your thorn in the flesh.

*

Thanks to a blogging friend who sent me this prayer meditation right in the midst of it all.  She didn't have a clue as to what I was dealing with and I love that she listened to the Spirit's nudge to reach out.  It's a wonderful reminder for me to pay attention when He starts whispering someone's name in my ear.  I hope it blesses you right where you are today.


*

I've been pretty much out of commission online, but I did come across these goodies ...
I know, I'm sorry, I hope I learned to be kind
Sarah Bessey

Lament Gives Way to Freedom
Sarah Mae @ {in}courage

The Confessions of a Recovering Evangelist
Doug Pollock

3 Ways to Seek Joy When Life is Hard
Nicki Schroeder

4 Rhythms to Create Spiritual Space and Fight Against Anxiety
Rebekah Lyons

6 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2020
Carey Nieuwhof

9 Simple Organizing Tips
Karianne @ Thistlewood Farms

*

What's ahead around here?  I've learned over time to hold all plans loosely in my hands.  Recent days have sealed the importance of this workable philosophy.  Right now?

  A follow up to our high profitable, tenderly honest conversation, When Bloggers Hurt Each Other

  An avid proponent of Christian fiction {and one of my nearest and dearest} shares her favorite authors and reads

  A guest post on marriage over at my friend Cheryl's place

*

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord's great love 
we are not consumed, 
for His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; 
great is Your faithfulness.

I say to myself,
 "the Lord is my portion; 
therefore I will wait for Him."

The Lord is good to those
 whose hope is in Him, 
to the one who seeks Him;
It is good to wait quietly 
for the salvation of the Lord.
- Lamentations 3:21 - 26 -

Let's all pray for each other!  Please share your requests in the comment section ~
Linda


share buttons are quietly located
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visiting 

60 comments:

  1. Oh my, I am so sorry for all the pain, physically and otherwise, you've been through lately. I'm glad you let us in and give us the opportunity to remember your speific, right now, needs in prayer. May God continue to heal you and bring you to full restoration. May he touch your body and comfort your heart. xx

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    1. Thanks for being a 'right now' prayer, friend. I'm appreciating it so much, even as we speak ...

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  2. Oh, sweet friend! I am SO sorry to know that you have been in such horrible pain! I praise God with you that you are on the mend, and I am trusting alongside you that the bad days will become fewer and farther between, and one day soon, this will all be behind you. Surely God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in these troubling times. Oh, may He just hold you extra close as you heal! Much love to you today. P.S. Thank you for mentioning the upcoming post at my place. I was SO moved by it, and I know every reader will be, also. You are such a blessing to us all.

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    1. I'm looking forward to your Valentine's Month festivities, friend ... thanks for accepting my offering. Marriage can be hard work and I love that you're encouraging us to share our stories ... not so we become well known, but so we know we're in good company.

      Bless you.

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  3. Praying for you, my friend.

    They say that we should write the pain
    only when it's through,
    and write the best of what remains
    to reflect the bet of you.
    I guess that advice makes sense
    when one is devising
    a kind of social media fence
    of "I'm great!" advertising.
    It will, however, never reach
    those who struggle in the pit;
    all the good things hurt did teach
    will matter not a whit
    as it's the airbrushed past we give;
    pretty, but not what we live.

    Things here are kind of bad; my voice is totally gone now, and I cry myself to sleep at night from the pain. Here's a song that does help.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keOdoy3ezNk

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    1. How wise of you to remind us that when all is said and done, 'airbrushed' will never calm the soul who struggles in the pit.

      May we work at being ever more real, in ways that are appropriate, authentic, and helpful to others.

      And yes, to music in the night that calms and comforts our souls ...

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  4. I'm so sorry, Linda. Someone--a pharmacist, I think--once told me there's no pain like tooth pain. May God continue to bring healing and grace.

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    1. Yep, a friend of mine who's a nurse said the same thing about any kind of pain that hits our heads ... dental, ear, headaches themselves.

      I am thankful for your benediction, Barbara.

      Grace, grace.

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    2. I forgot to leave the prayer requests. :-) I have some decisions in the weeks ahead, plus some further out that will be affected by the ones coming sooner, if that makes sense. Plus, more importantly, someone dear to my heart is wrestling with some spiritual issues, which I should probably just leave at that. Thank you!

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    3. Dear Lord, we are trusting that You are already at work in these situations that are on Barbara's heart. These decisions are important to her and so they are important to You, too. Please give her the wisdom that only comes from You, the One who is all wise and knowing.

      And for this soul who is dear to her heart, I pray that You will guide this loved one to Yourself in which there is life and love and hope.

      In Jesus' name, Amen.

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  5. Oh, goodness, Linda, I'm so sorry to hear about your painful ordeal with your tooth!!! Yes, I will continue to pray for you, my friend, and I'd so appreciate your prayers for me. January has brought some very unexpected emotional pain for me, and I'm trusting in God to see me through somehow.
    Blessings, my friend!

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    1. Oh dear Lord, thank You that You're already present in Martha's situation. Her broken heart needs the comfort and wisdom that only You can give in abundance. Draw Your beloved daughter closer to yourself, bring her peace in the waiting. We ask that You'll do more than we're asking or imagining ... for Jesus' sake.
      Amen.

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  6. I'm sorry to hear of your pain and even more sorry that I could not pray for you. I do pray you are on the mend Linda and will find the peace of Christ so that you can then tell us about Him and it. thanks for showing us vulnerability and transparency are sometimes necessary. I look forward to hearing more.

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    1. Thank you, dear pastor friend. I did us and Him a great disservice by not being more candid with you all in this place.

      Lesson learned.

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  7. Linda, I'm SO sorry to hear about your pain and have put you on my prayer list. I have to agree with Barbara that there is no pain like tooth pain! Several years ago, I was awakened in the middle of the night with what I thought was a throbbing toothache from hell. But I couldn't really localize the pain to a particular tooth and I even had trouble telling if it was an upper or lower tooth. After several visits to my dentist, an oral surgeon, an endodontist, my primary care doctor, and finally a neurologist, I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia. I had CT scans, a battery of blood tests, and a lumbar puncture to rule out MS (since trigeminal neuralgia can be a manifestation of MS). My bout with TN lasted a few weeks and it blinded me to everything else and everyone else in my life. I could think of nothing else but the pain and so I understood completely your comments of: "Life became all about THE tooth or rather, where the tooth used to be. I became inward focused and anxious, self-absorbed, emotionally exhausted, and physically numb." I just wanted that excruciating pain gone and I would have let my dentist yank every tooth in my mouth if it would have ended that pain! My neurologist told me that TN is often referred to as the suicide disease and I understood that too. You just want that pain gone! The neurologist told me he thinks my bout with TN was caused by a virus which for some reason decided to attack my trigeminal nerve.

    I pray that your healing will continue on Linda. Bless you for all that you have endured.

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    1. Dear Gail, thank you for sharing your trauma with us here today. It means so much that you'd feel safe and strong enough to do so.

      Because of the hell you've been through, I know you truly get what I'm talking about. Maybe the scariest thing is exactly what you said -->' it blinded me to everything else and everyone else in my life.'

      For those of us who love others, this isolation that we can't help might be the hardest things we endure as we make our way through this minefield.

      I'm so grateful you're here today. Bless you.

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  8. I was so saddened to read about how your January has been a few moments ago. I responded, but when I tried to preview to check for missed words or the like, the comment disappeared so I decided to go this route instead.

    I feel as if I could feel every miserable step you have dealt with and are still walking out ...

    Please let me know how your issues progress and will be praying for relief from the pain and complete healing.

    {via email}

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    1. I love that you took the time to email, friend. Thank you for your comfort and the hope you gave me, even as you're going through your own significantly deep valley.

      We are not alone. We travel on with Him and those loved ones He places on our path. May God bless you guys with encouragement, strength, and fresh courage in this season of discouragement.

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  9. Praying for you right now, Linda, and for all your needs whatever they may be. Keep trusting in God.

    God bless.

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    1. Like the old hymn says,
      'Simply trusting every day;
      Trusting through a stormy way;
      Even when my faith is small,
      Trusting Jesus, that is all.

      Trusting as the moments fly,
      Trusting as the days go by,
      Trusting Him, whate’er befall,
      Trusting Jesus, that is all.'
      - Stiets

      Victor, thanks for your prayers. I so appreciate them right now ...

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  10. Linda I'm so sorry that you have experienced so much pain this month. Thank you for sharing about it here. I love that you have created this community where people can be open and honest and I'll be praying for you, for continued healing.
    I would love prayers for God's guidance for the Journey to Heal ministry I am trying to establish in my church.

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    1. Dear Lord, It's so exciting that Lesley has found a church home where she and her gifts are loved and valued! I praise you for leading her to this faith community and for their willingness to support her in the Journey to Heal ministry.

      Prosper the work of her hands, her heart, that many will be healed in Jesus' name. Amen.

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  11. Linda, my heart and prayers go out to you. I can identify on a much lower level of pain from a root canal that became infected and grounded me for a couple of weeks. I am glad that you are better and I pray each day is less painful. I often think of those who live in horrific pain.

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    1. Pam, thank you for your prayers. I'm feeling the need for that kind of spiritual support and so appreciate your willingness to lift me up to the Lord.

      Bless you, friend.

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  12. Oh, Linda! I am so sorry to read about your terrible pain. Pain makes our judgement suspect and clouds our perception. It makes us tired and cranky and discouraged. Thank you for your honesty, dear friend. I think you have created a safe space here in your blog, full of friends who will pray for you without judgement.

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    1. I'm absolutely resonating with your observations on pain's impact on us, Laurie. And the enemy of our souls loves to get us immobilized by discouragement, too.

      I'm glad you're here with me ...

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  13. Dear Linda -
    I'm so sorry you've been through such a terrible month - not just the pain, but the loneliness! May the Lord continue to heal and refresh you in the weeks ahead! My love and prayers are with you. Heather

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    1. Dear Heather, thank you, thank you for leaving your loving imprint here today! I'm smiling at the sight of your name!

      These are the moments when I wish we could shrink the years and the miles, ya' know?
      xo

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    2. I'd love to come have a cup of tea together - but know I'm with you in thought and prayers! xo

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  14. As a former dental assistant, I've seen many in pain with toothaches! I'm sorry that happened to you, and glad you are on the mend. Yes, we can reach out to prayer more. I know I do not do that either, thinking there are a lot bigger problems than mine. Yet, then I'm not allowing others to serve the Lord when they pray for others. Take care Linda!

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    1. Lynn, such a great point about allowing others to serve the Lord as they pray for us. That kind of biblical perspective is a gamechanger, isn't it.

      I'm guessing you were a very tender, perceptive dental assistant, yes?

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  15. Oh my, Linda. It's worse than I imagined. Such a little tooth causing such pain, grief, and an upheaval in life. I'm so sorry. I hope you will continue to heal. Thank you so much for being honest here. I so identify with ignoring those Spirit-led nudges. God is working with me on it. :) Especially to answer them and leave it to His power to work, as He knows the hearts of each person. And thank you for encouraging us to more readily ask for prayer. I'm not so good at that... Baby steps... Love and blessings to you!

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    1. You're so right, Trudy. We're all taking baby steps in one way or another ... and in other places we're leaping forward. A good reminder that we're all students, still learning, still growing, especially when it comes to discerning what God whispers to us through His Spirit.

      Thank you for your faith-filled lovingkindness around here.

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  16. Oh my, Linda ... what you've been through sounds 100 percent terrible! The pain, all that you've missed out on ... I'm so sorry. I will pray that the mending continues until this experience is just a bad memory. I'm so glad you shared this now ... real life in real time, as I often say. (I'm actually kind of amazed you were able to write at all ... I don't think I could have done that.) As for the experts who say "wait 'til later," I guess can't really be objective since I've spent the last year "writing through it." Maybe it depends on the situation, our motivations and the Holy Spirit's promptings? I'm looking forward to reading what's coming here, my friend!

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    1. Yeah, I'm kind of amazed that I actually sat down and wrote yesterday, Lois! It wouldn't have been possible a week ago. As I've gotten stronger, I yearned to connect with everyone again.

      You and I have both experienced the healing power that writing through our trials and traumas and griefs can bring. I really like the 3 guidelines that've worked for you -->'the situation, our motivations and the Holy Spirit's promptings.'

      We each have to figure out what that looks like. You've given us a solid place to begin.

      I'm so grateful to do life with you, friend ...

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  17. Tooth pain is probably the worst kind of pain I’ve ever had. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a difficult time. What you experienced sounds utterly debilitating. So glad you’re healing - inside and out. Blessings and love.  Barbara

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    1. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one, Barbara. I've been surprised at the intensity of the suffering. The word you used, debilitating, is apt.

      You always have a deft hand with words, friend.

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  18. Hey sweet friend! You are never alone and I love how you called upon God and worshiped in your pain. I’m sorry you experienced such prolonged discomfort in the midst of other life challenges.

    You are not alone in experiencing a difficult January. I am counting the days and minutes until it’s over. My belief is that the dawn of a new decade hit the enemy hard and he began to work overtime in the lives of as many people as he could. February is calling and it will allow us to begin again.

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    1. Oh my goodness, Mary, I'm thinking you've hit on something here -->'My belief is that the dawn of a new decade hit the enemy hard and he began to work overtime in the lives of as many people as he could.'

      The one who hates us all has to flee at the name of Jesus. I bid him far from us. Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.

      I appreciate your reminder that we're engaged in spiritual battle. I've thought of that more than once during this difficult time and your words have affirmed what I knew to be true.

      Bless you for speaking out loud and clear. Let's gird ourselves and be spiritually mature and savvy.

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    2. Everything I've read and reflected on since leaving this comment is about spiritual warfare. The enemy would love nothing more than to knowck us down for good. Ephesians 6 has also been part of my reading. The armor of God will protect us and strengthen us from the enemy.

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    3. Amen, Mary. May we not walk through life spiritually clueless and naive ...

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  19. Linda, I am so sorry about all your tooth troubles and the pain. It's amazing how a small thing on our bodies can wreak such havoc with our lives. I'm glad you're on the mend now. And, I'm glad you shared here.

    I appreciated your links. Literally, just this morning, a friend was telling me about Rebekah Lyons' book. And to see it listed here? I think God's trying to tell me to read it.

    Since you're asking for prayer requests...I have a dear friend whose heart stopped this past Saturday. God saved her, and she will be having devices implanted tomorrow. I'd love prayers for her surgery and a complete recovery. It's been quite a week for all who are close to her.

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    1. Dear Jesus - I'm so grateful You're right there with Jeanne's friend even as we speak. I pray that You will go ahead of her into the surgical room, preparing the way for those who will tend to these devices being implanted. Remove every obstacle that would stand in the way of her healing we pray.

      Bless those who have gathered 'round this week, who are exhausted and scared and yet filled with hope.

      We ask that You'd do more than we could ask or imagine for Jesus' sake. You are more than able.

      Amen.

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  20. Holy macaroni Batman, do I ever feel honored to be among a list of encouraging reads! I am so glad you are feeling better and here's to a tooth pain free Feb for you sweet one! xoxo

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    1. Hey Girl! I meant to re-visit your place to tell you that I was featuring your work here this month ... but I'm not operating at full speed. Obviously.

      I can't begin to tell you how much your piece impacted me. It recalibrated me in all the ways that I needed. Thank you for sharing some of your own difficult story so that others could grab hold of some perspective and hope.

      Bless you, friend ...

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  21. Thanks for sharing today even as you are dealing with pain and recovery. Praying that you will soon be feeling back to normal. So sorry you are going through all that. I really enjoyed your links esepcially the one from Rebekah Lyons and the Carey Niewhof. Have you read Rebakah’s book? It keeps coming up but I have not read it yet.

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    1. Hi TJ! I haven't read Rebekah's book but I'm hearing more and more buzz about it as I'm out and about ...

      She looks good, doesn't she.

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  22. I'm glad you decided against the "withholding info" advice and shared with us here, Linda. I'm so sorry about your pain. :( It doesn't matter whether the source is a tooth or a toe or a major bone, pain is pain. It can demand all our attention. I'm not sure why God made our bodies quite that way, but it is definitely challenging to deal with intense pain and still function in other areas. Praying that February will bring a stark contrast to the challenges of January!

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    1. I love how you put it, Lisa, that pain can demand all our attention. I hate that it does, but that's how He shaped us, and so I guess we have to release it back up to Him when it immobilizes.

      And yes, please, to stark contrasts from dark to light!

      Amen.

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  23. Oh Linda, I am so sorry you had such a painful month. Pain does wear us down physically and spiritually. Please know you can always reach out to me for prayer and listening. Praying God's continued healing for you

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    1. Good morning, Jean ... it was a lovely wake-up to spend a few minutes at your place this morning. Thanks for the wise, gentle perspective you faithfully share ...

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  24. Suffering can consume us. Praying for respite and healing, My Friend. I am not on social media much these days, and did not know all this. I am truly sorry.
    God Bless You!

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    1. Yes, you're so right, friend. And seeing that word 'suffering' was a powerful reminder of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

      I'm glad you popped in, Loralu ... I needed that reminder of what true suffering was all about.

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  25. Sorry about your difficult January, Linda. May the coming days shine brighter and brighter. Many blessings!

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    1. Yes, brighter and brighter! I love that invitation to look forward, Boma!

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  26. Just wanted to let you know you won my book giveaway! Just sent you an email about it.

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    1. I am SO excited to win! I read the 1st book in the series and loved it. Thanks so much, Barbara! What delightful news ...

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