It is Well , Kristine Demarco

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Never too Late to Say "Thank You"

 It's here!! Have a very happy - and grateful - Thanksgiving Day!
This year we are doing things a little differently in my family.  Today I will be cooking some side dishes--but our real holiday meal will be held tomorrow (Black Friday) when our daughter will be here to celebrate with us.  I bought a pre-made Thanksgiving Dinner from our grocery store, since I am not able to really cook a big meal (physically).  I myself will be eating some veggie dishes that I'm making to accompany the meal. ( I attempt to maintain a vegan diet for health reasons).   I hope the pre-made meal is good.

I'm so happy ....For the first time since I went to Dr Solitar in Manhattan, I have finally found a rheumatologist who knows what he is doing.  It turns out that the Biologic that I was on, left me at a huge risk for a bowel perforation--which is life threatening.  At any rate that Biologic (Actemra) was not really doing me any good.  My disease has been progressing unabated by the medicine.  The doctor took a thermoscan of my hands and they lit up bright red and white (white is the hottest temp possible) ...The doctor's hand in comparison was yellow and green.   According to the doctor, it is unlikely that I have RA.   But he said the type of PsA (Psoriatic Arthritis) that I have is more crippling and disabling than is RA.

I will be switching to a new Biologic called Cimzia (sp?)...It is good for both RA and PsA. It is self-injectible so no more trips to the hospital's infusion center....which is good since winter is coming. But I will miss the nurses there. What a sweet, professional group of women those are!  Anyway...This doctor yesterday felt that I have some good treatment options.  He is willing to treat my disease aggressively and it's about time someone had the nerve and courage to do that.

I also have to go to a dermatologist to confirm that I have psoriasis...which the doc yesterday said I probably have.  I have several lesions and just yesterday began to have another flare up  on my face.  So while the doctor agrees that it looks very much like PsA, he wants to be completely sure.  My blood work thus far has been inconclusive.  So he is ordering new labs and the dermatologist to confirm what we both already know.

Anyway. I am so grateful to God for bringing me to this doctor.
I am grateful to have the insurance coverage necessary to receive treatment.
I am grateful for the family of believers I have, both here, online and at my church.
I am grateful to live in a country with a Christian heritage, even though we have pretty much , as a nation, ignored and denied this heritage. 
I am grateful for the ability to worship freely....and praying that we do not lose this freedom as it appears we are moving into that direction.
I am grateful for my house and that I do not have to wander the streets, homeless, as do so many of my fellow sufferers of Schizophrenia.
I am grateful that I got my book completed and published.
I am grateful for you, my readers, who make writing this blog meaningful.
And last but not least, I am grateful for my family; that my parents are both alive and independent. And for my husband who has stuck by me in hell and high water.  I am grateful for my beautiful daughter and for the talents God has endued upon her.

Thank you , Lord Jesus for all these gifts with which you have blessed me.  Thank you for your lifeblood poured out to purchase my life from the enemy.  Come quickly Lord, and establish your eternal kingdom. Accept my thanks as inadequate as it is.  Amen.
And Amen.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Under-Belly of Grace

I begin with fear and trembling to write this post.  Why?  I am opening old wounds for you to see and I am dealing with a question so huge that there are hundreds of books written on the topic (and many of them are on my bookshelf --all read and underlined)..Minds greater than my own have contemplated pain even greater than my own.    We are approaching Thanksgiving--like a run away freight train....Plans for meals and meetings with loved ones are put aside for this moment to ponder the question "If God is good, how can evil and pain exist?"
There are thousands of mutilated bodies of believers in the Middle East.  People in Paris are mourning the murders of loved ones after the attacks by ISIS.  How can they possibly thank God in the midst of  such suffering?

I have had a lot of years spent in bitterness and unspeakable sadness and for me the topic of Thanksgiving was a mockery.  God spitting in my face and then insisting that I thank him for it.  And I know that there are many of you--perhaps secretly--who harbor such thoughts.

People have lost loved ones on Thanksgiving, even those in my closest family.  How can they be expected to celebrate the provision and goodness and the abundance with which God has blessed us?  Mothers who, as Ann Voskamp relayed in her blog post today,  have laid infants in the cold ground and are then expected to carry on as if the ripping out of their hearts had not just happened wonder how can they possibly go on?  How can they, in years to come, celebrate a holiday of gratitude when sorrow has not diminished?

How can I, in daily pain and agony of mind and body, thank the Lord and trust him with my future?  A phrase came to me today as I was conversing some related ideas with a friend via chat, and that was: "The underbelly of Grace."  I have come to see God as being much bigger and far less comprehensible than my former view of God, holding me, by a spider web over a lake of fire. 

  "How does one forgive God?"asked my friend this morning after I suggested to him that he might benefit from doing just that.

To forgive God is to accept his Goodness in ALL things and to accept his "right" to do as he desires in your life without your questioning it.  He is God.  Period.   But that is only a comfort if you accept that he is ALWAYS good.  We are his creation. He calls the shots....but how can we surrender to his hands when we know it will involve pain?

A patient can ask a surgeon to lance his infection or to repair a part that is not working --but first he must sign a "RELEASE"--that gives the doctor permission to do whatever is necessary to make him well.  It means to accept the risk of pain for the purpose of better good in the future.  I would propose to you that we need to give God the "release" to perform his surgery in our lives with the understanding that ALL surgery hurts.  But it also heals.  There is a reason we call God "The Great Physician"---it is not only a name to be used in terms of asking for physical healing.  We trust our physicians.  We do not expect them to needlessly hurt us.  So with God.

There are things we do  not understand...and never will understand ---maybe even after we arrive in Heaven.  God may not choose to answer to us.  However we will deeply comprehend his "right" to do so and we will know without question his deep fervent love for each of us.  And we will no longer say "why?"  Because pain no longer has the ability to hurt us.  Our losses will be regained--and if not?  We can lean on God's compassion and mercy...and  we will be able to see how the suffering of our past only shines and gleams with the radiance of God's perfect foresight and complete knowledge, tempered by his limitless grace.  This is the underbelly of grace.  This is our approaching Him with open willing hands for him to remove the things we cling to and to refill them with his gifts of love and peace.

"Thanksgiving in all things accepts the deep mystery of God through everything."
A Holy Experience 

This quote is an affirmation of the goodness and trustworthiness of a God who is greater than our most enlightened understandings.  This means that we are to be willing; willing to receive both good and bad, joy and pain, laughter and tears with equanimity; to trust his goodness, compassion and trustworthiness.   It is to say (as I have said many times myself) " I don't know what you are doing God.  I don't like it.  But I know that you are here in the midst of it with me and I know you are Good."

I do not write this as a goody goody or as someone unmoved by pain.  I write it from the experience of a life filled with every conceivable anguish.  I write it remembering hours upon hours of self mutilations; door upon locked door, with me on the inside and the world on the other side; teeth-gritting, scream emitting suffering of unspeakable physical pain;  the loneliness of an empty house and another day spent not seeing or speaking to anyone.;  I write it as a survivor of a troubled marriage; I write it remembering people I've loved and lost.  I am IN this furnace with you.  But there is another walking in this furnace as fact HE suffered the furnace of God's plans more than any one of us ever will.  And he persevered, accepted the cup of suffering from the hand of  his Father, and he yielded himself to the hatred of the people he was dying to save.

God does not ask us to go through any sorrow that he himself has not already suffered.  That is a thought worth meditation.

This Thanksgiving consider these thoughts.  Let them take deep root in your heart.  And if you need to "forgive God" then do so knowing that the depths of his love are deeper than the wells of your pain.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

It is STILL Well

"Let go, my soul and trust in Him.  The waves and wind still know His Name." That is a line from the video I have embedded above.  Think about this.  When all the powers of earth and hell seem to be tossing your boat around, those powers still must and still do know His Name..  They are fully at his command.  That includes any interference of demonic origin.  When Jesus conversed with "Legion", the demons plaguing the man from the Gaberdines, they begged him not to destroy them.  Jesus agreed to allow them to possess a herd of swine...which immediately plunged off of a cliff and into the sea.  The demons had to yield to the will of the Master.

Do you understand what this means?
It does not mean that God is torturing you by allowing hardship and heartache.  It means that His purposes will stand...regardless of what you are facing; what you are up against.  He is for you. NOT against you.  And the disciples marveled that even the wind and storm obeyed Him. 

It means that God is doing something purposeful in your life.  It means that when you pray to Him for relief and for help, He is eminently prepared to help.  He can shout over the winds and rain: PEACE!!! BE STILL!  And that storm must give way and relent it's furious pounding on your little boat.  His disciples, when they found Him asleep in the wave tossed boat said "Master, don't you care if we drown?"  They did not realize that his presence alone was adequate protection.  And he rebuked them. "Where is your faith?"

I would ask you that this morning.I would ask myself that as well.  "Where is your faith?"

Please continue to pray for me.  I am so glad to know that "the waves and wind still know His Name."