Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The first time I heard about Columbus was in February. My casework supervisor mentioned a foster child who was in the hospital with neuroblastoma. He had been in isolation since November. I just wanted him to know that someone cared, someone was worried about him, someone thought about him while he was alone in the hospital.

His doctors knew he needed a bone marrow transplant, but he would need someone with him 24/7. Without a family to turn to, they were not willing to do the transplant.

Raelene has a daughter who spent an entire year in the same unit as Columbus battling the same disease. When she heard about his dilemma, she got busy. A pool of volunteers from all walks of life committed to sitting with Columbus while he recovered, so he received the transplant.

The first time I met Columbus, he was so, so sick. All he could do was cry and sleep. Everything hurt him, even holding him, which is what he wanted. Sometimes all I could do was hold his hand while he slept.

Being with him was like watching a dead man rise. Every time I visited, he was better, although still in pain and so upset during any procedures, especially redressing his main line/heart catheter. He wanted to sit on my lap to read, to watch tv--he just wanted to be touched without pain. We did get to play basketball and he loved me giving me "coffee." How did he know how much I like coffee?

The last time I held Columbus was the day before he went home. He wanted to be held up to the window so he could see anyone and everyone outside and wave to them. While I was holding him, he noticed my nose piercing for the first time. His eyes got big and he asked what it was. Before I could explain to him what is was, he said, "Is that your line?" He thought is was my med line just like his heart catheter. He looked around and found a flower sign made out of sticky foam. Plucking a petal, he put it over my "wound" saying, "There. That makes it better."


When we played basketball, he ran to get the ball and stopped suddenly. "I'm running! I'm running!" Pretty wobbly and not real fast, but this four-year-old was running for the first time in months and it made his day. He kissed me good-bye (a first) instead of being sad when I left--because he was so excited to be getting out of that room the next day.

Not long after Columbus went home with his foster family, he got sick again. I visited him on Sunday, but he wasn't there. His body was, but he was already running with the angels.



Monday, June 25
Dear Friends of Columbus,
The doctor called me at 5 p.m. and told me that Columbus died at 4:07 p.m. He was a special little boy loved by many people who were not related to him by blood but connected through the heart as we cherished him and loved him through our Heavenly Father. He changed my life in that I saw someone faced with great obstacles besides his cancer and he still had a smile, a laugh and a hug for me.

Thank you all for investing so much time and love into this sweet, dimpled four year old. I am comforted in knowing that he is in a much better place and not suffering anymore and I will see him again in Heaven.

Blessings,
Raelene


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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

From the Abyss to the Mountaintop:


A Journey through the Darkness

The Foundation


The Darkness is a very real place. It is filled with despair, yet it seems to be the only place where I am not invisible. Hope, joy, fulfillment are just words, not a way of life. What an irony, that the only place that is real is the one place that tortures me. And what of the faith that led me to give my heart to Jesus, that has kept me alive when I was convinced that I was poision to my children? I must be beyond hope, even beyond His reach, because the Darkness is still here.


Healing from that Darkness is not an easy task, and not one that is going to be accomplished in one step. One of the most important foundations is to see yourself as Jesus sees you. I promise you, it is not the way you see yourself. When you get through all of the pious religious bumper sticker adjectives, (i.e. “I’m not perfect, just forgiven”), all the hymns, praise songs on the radio, Bible studies--what is left? How do you see yourself? Broken, damaged, cracked, blind--poison. All these, the very reasons that Jesus wants to breathe His breath of life through you, bathe you in His love and lift your head with His strength.

Meditate on these:
I John 1
I Peter 1

Psalm 31:25 (NIV)
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

How in the world does this happen? How can I, broken, full of the dark shame, be clothed with strength and dignity, laughing at the days to come?

Hebrews 2: 11-15
For both he who makes sacred and those who are being made sacred are all from one family. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
He says “I will announce your name to my brothers and sisters,
I will sing festive praise songs to you in the midst of the assembly.”
And AGAIN, “I will put my trust in Him.”
And AGAIN he says, “Indeed, here I am, AND THE CHILDREN THAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO ME.”

So since the children went into partnership with flesh and blood, he also pretty much shared in their flesh and blood. This was so that through his death he would abolish the effects of him who holds the power over death, that is Slanderer-Liar, and RELEASE the one from death, those in fear, who all their lives were liable to the penalty of slavery.”


Song of Solomon 2:14“ O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely.”

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God, I am lost in the darkness. It is all that I know about myself.
I have no trust, no hope for light.

“Shine your light, God, in my darkness. I want to be clothed in strength and dignity. I will lift my head up so that you can see my face because I am beautiful in Your eyes.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I still struggle with the old Darkness--but I have a new Foundation. The tug-o-war is not about how God sees me, it is the old voices that, although quieter now, still whisper to me in my weak, tired times.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Backyard details



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"When someone asks you 'think about what Jesus would do', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables" -- Unknown

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

KB has a lot of wisdom regarding the heart; several times in the last week my own has been stirred by his words. Today is no exception: Thick Skin, Soft Heart reflects my own desire to be mature in this area. Forgiveness isn't a problem--trust is the issue. In my searching, I found this article on controlling anger.

God save us from having to "win" and be the cause of anyone's thick skin.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Help needed!

I have been sitting with a 4 yr old boy in the local children's hospital. The volunteer effort was coordinated by a missionary, Raelend Soritau. I received this e-mail today from a friend of Raelene's:


I am writing today to make sure that you all have been informed about the current status of Raelene Soritau and her family. As you already know, her daughter Tori first came to the US to seek treatment for neuroblastoma, the same kind of cancer that Columbus is being treated for. In fact, it was Raelene who started the whole effort to recruit volunteers to help with Columbus.

If you have had any contact with the Soritau family you already know what a super special family they are. They sold their car and packed up a few belongings and came to Fort Worth over two years ago without knowing how long they would be here or even how many of them would ever get to return to Romania where they serve as missionaries.

In May they were cleared by the doctors at Cooks to take a long awaited two week trip back to Romania to visit all of the family and friends that had been praying for them and missing them so much. However, on their way back to the US Tori became ill and had to be hospitalized in London. She since has been diagnosed with e-coli bacteria and is very ill. Her kidneys have stopped producing urine and she desperately needs to return to Cooks.

In order to get home she must be upgraded from her coach ticket to first class to accommodate all of the medical equipment that must accompany her and she must be escorted by a doctor and nurse on the flight home. American Airlines is charging them $20,000 to fly her home. Obviously this is money that a missionary family from Romania would never have on hand. In addition, each day she spends in London is accumulating into a large hospital bill that must be paid privately, no insurance in Britain. Plus the family is having to stay in a hotel during this time in London and if any of you have ever traveled to England you know that there are no cheap hotels in that city.

If any of you are able to help with this extreme situation please contact our church.

Hulen Street Baptist Church
7100 South Hulen Street
Fort Worth, Texas
76110
817 292 9787

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

From my own journal in 2004:

Here I am, a seeker, learning (finally) to mother myself and seek myself. Learning (finally!) that it is not a selfish thing, but a balancing act. Having learned to mother others by letting them learn on their own as much as possible, I am free to seek my own purpose, my God-given role on this earth, my part in bring His Kingdom to pass.

This new chapter and knowledge--digging into the Truth of the Word and learning what God really meant when He created man and woman--how He values women as much as He values man, that we are created equally by God.

God, you have been preparing me for this from the beginning-- and the Enemy has fought so hard against me.

How did I come to this path? How did I come this path and not my sisters or brother? What makes me different? Not better, but different?

And even as I write, I am humbled by the answer from You: that You are faithful to me as I have been fatihful to You. No matter the circumstances, we walked together, always. You have been my Guide, my Light. And You promised that You would never leave me.

I am deeply humbled by the privilege and responsibility You have set for me. I need Your wisdom and boldness to carry it onward and outward.

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