Unexpected Detours

Do you like detours?  Or do you find them irritating and time-consuming?  We often just want to get where we are going and not waste time, isn’t that true?

Let me share a detour that has caused me to really take a closer look at my life and what I am doing.  I had a small health issue the last few weeks off and on, and with it was excruciating pain in the kidney.  Thinking I had an infection, I used an over the counter product that would help with the symptoms until I got into the Dr the following day.  Apparently with my body metabolism, the amount used wasn’t something that my body could tolerate, but toxic, actually.  So my normal appointment to the doctor the next morning turned into going straight from the doctor’s office to ER.  Suffice it to say, it was quite a detour.  I couldn’t drive myself, couldn’t reach my husband at home, and so I had to be transported to the ER by ambulance for three blocks to the hospital.  The journey began.  Doctors and nurses worked hard to find out why my oxygen levels were so low and not able to be raised past 88 percent.  Not good.  Tests, blood test, blood gas tests, scans…you name it and it was done.  Find out that my body had a toxic reaction, and a VERY rare case I was.  My blood looked almost black, and I was asked from the ER Doctor what planet I was from.  I just told him it was strong Norwegian blood!  But, I wasn’t out of the woods.  My highest levels even with high flow oxygen was only 88 percent.  They thought it was caused by blood clots in the lungs and that turned out to be negative, thank you Jesus!!  What was it?  It turned out to be hypoxia methemoglobinemia. It is very rare for someone to react this way!  Oh good!  I’m special!!!  So with that diagnosis, the doctor knew of the antidote to give me and sent me upstairs to a room to receive it.  Warning:  my daily bathroom visits could yield all blue for a while.  So true.  I usually have a high anxiety when visiting the hospital because of my previous experiences, and I get quite emotional.  However, it was like someone else dealing with it and it’s seriousness.  I couldn’t understand the peace I had.  I asked God to give the all clear on the blood clots in the lungs and He did.  I am so thankful for that.  Blood draws every couple of days doesn’t seem fun at all.

Here is the deal about detours.  They are often unexpected when it comes to our lives.  Road detours are sometimes announced a head of time and we know how to plan ahead.  We have to watch for the sign that tells us the path of the detour.  Give ourselves extra time  for the detour.  But in our lives, that isn’t the case always.  Sometimes, it just happens.  We have to deal with it as it comes.  Is it ok to feel scared?  Of course.  But we can know where to take that fear.  God is always there.  Sometimes our detours come and God uses them for us to see something different; a new path or a new direction.  As we use these times to ask God what we are to learn from them, we find Him in that storm and He will whisper… He wants my attention in areas I need to be better about.

It my last few weeks, I had been struggling with some areas and asking God to show me where I needed to be, as well as where He wanted me involved.  Sometimes, I need to lay down something so another can pick it up and lead.  Sometimes He wants to use me in a completely different way.  We often see a picture of ourselves and where we are and think, that is where we are to stay.  But God may want to reframe our lives in ways that allow Him to use us even more.  Am I going to complain about the pain, the pokes and prods, and the uncertainty of what is going on in my body, or will I say thank the Lord for bringing me through it, slowing me down even more, and ask Him to guide my next steps?

  • If I wasn’t having that appointment that morning, I would have not known what was going on.
  • If I wasn’t in the doctor’s office.
  • If the ARNP that was on the ball and recognized my blue lips and blue fingers.
  • If the saturation levels didn’t indicate an issue.
  • If the ER doctor hadn’t been diligent enough to keep working at it.

I could have lost my life that day.

But God…He had that detour all planned out.  He knew the end from the beginning.  The outcome isn’t over, because I now have a whole list of things I can’t take now because of how my body may react to it.  I can’t even use BioFreeze, which I often used on my sore back.  I got an antibiotic that day for the first issue and that gave me hives.  However, it was the only one available to me.  I took three doses and that was all I could do, but he said that would work.  So… I am now on a new path with different ways I must live; at least for now.

The lesson on this detour?  I am re-examining my motives in where I am and what I am involved with.  I am taking time to ask Him the hard questions.  Then listen to His answers.  I can’t expect to have things different in my life if I am unwilling to change what I need to.  The biggest ones I think about after this experience?   Am I REALLY ready to meet Jesus?  Is my life in order?  It could have went a lot differently that day.  Am I prepared for that?  Am I willing to take a different road and let Him show me what He wants me to see?  Will I have a new appreciation for life that I am given everyday, because I am breathing today?  Take the correction if needed?  Forgive someone I may need to forgive?  Am I in the Word enough and not just sharing it, but in it enough myself?  Billy Graham was known to say the one thing he wished was that he studied the Word more.  That leaves a big gap for me if he was saying that.  Is my life so busy that I am not slowing down enough to notice where He wants to use me?  Is the idea of having stuff more important than something else in my life?  A desire for better this or that, rather than being thankful for what I have?  Hard questions = Growth.

Yes.  Detours can be educational if we allow them to be.  I am allowing it to be.  I want it to be.  Looking forward to the detour.  If you are looking for hope, don’t look around, look up.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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Ok, Lessons from a Turtle?

IMG_6818I’m not sure why, but this last weekend when I was down at the ocean, I saw a little decor turtle and felt I was supposed to get it and bring it home with me.  I am a very visual person and so I have many things that I keep around me on my desk and in my office that are reminders to me of how I should live and think regarding my daily life.  Here are a few thoughts that came to mind as I wondered about the reasoning behind making that purchase.  You can google many ideas about lessons from a turtle, and some of them will be a part of why God may have laid that on my heart.

  • 1.  Turtles may be slow but they will get where they are going.

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare.  We know that lesson!  We may know it by heart.  But, we sure forget it quickly when it is something we want.  All living things have a time of growth.  A tree doesn’t just become a tree.  It takes a long time to get tall and sturdy.  So it is with us. We are and should be constantly growing.  How fast is not as important as taking a steady pace, and we keep at it.

  • 2.  They are very determined.

When baby turtles are born, they go by instinct to the nearest water.  They face all kind of challenges to get there, but they are determined to go through the scary trials to make it.  Sand may be hard for them to get over because even the smallest hill of sand presents a challenge to them as tiny creatures.  They may be eagle food, but they instinctively have that determination and drive to get where they are going.  They don’t give up at the first sign of challenge; even at that young age.

  • 3.  They have been called a symbol of peace.

I would guess this reasoning has to do with the quiet, but sure way of living.  If you watch a turtle, they are very observant.  They watch you carefully and they are aware of what is around them  This reminds us to slow down our pace in life and look around.  Enjoy what we see as we go.  Hurry is not peaceful but slowing down is, or can be.

  • 4.  If there is something they are having difficulty with, they will focus on that issue until they can figure out what to do.

As a child, my cousin had a turtle and that turtle was older than me by several  years at that time, and they still had him long after I became an adult, married and had children.  Amazing!  One time I watched that turtle struggle with a stick that had been put in the wrong way, and now was in its way and messing with his environment.  Oh how he would struggle to right that stick so it would be in the correct place.  He didn’t give up until it was moved correctly to his liking.

  • 5.  They must stick their neck out if they want to get somewhere.

That’s right!  If we want to grow, we have to stick our neck out and try something new or different.  We have to put ourselves out there!  But many times, we may be like the turtle in fear, and pull our necks back in,  and in our case, tuck and curl in defeat.  However, if we want growth in our life, and a better relationship with those around us, we have to stick our neck out there!

  • 6.  If you were to pick a turtle up that is going on one direction, and you turned it around to the opposite direction, they will turn around in their shell so they can keep going in the same direction they were headed.

What does that tell us?  That turtle knows its direction; it has an inner sense of direction.  No matter which way it is turned, it knows the path it needs to take.  We need to have our compass to true north; that is, to the direction of God and His promises.  We want to “know” in our hearts and mind what direction that is.  And if we are truly in tune with God, just the like the turtle, we can always know which way is the right way to go.  U-turns are awesome, aren’t they?!?

So, I brought that little turtle home with me to have on my desk, so that I too, can remember the message of the turtle and the reasons why God may have put that on my heart.  I hope you will remember the lessons of a turtle and let it be a life lesson for you as it was for me!  God is good to teach us in big and small ways if we are tune, and listen to Him, and respond.

To life at a turtle pace…slow and sure…walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Chains and Change

Have you ever had an experience where something you heard, watched or experienced had such an impact on you that you knew you couldn’t do anything else but to change some things in your life? I have recently changed churches at God’s leading, and I attended a class on “Belonging” to this particular church and family. However, as I listened to the pastor share his heart about what belonging to this church means, I knew immediately that I would be challenged in a BIG way!  What is it that really reached down into my heart and stirred me up? Let me share some thoughts with you.

We can so easily get seduced into thinking that what we are doing and the way we are living is “ok” with God. God knows my circumstance and He will understand why I do what I do, say what I say, get mad over anything, call someone a name, say words I shouldn’t say or any number of things we justify. The fact IS? He does care. He asks us to follow Him and leave that all behind us when we accept Him as our personal Savior. I can’t look like the world and live my life for Jesus. I have to do life differently.

So as I listened, God began an excavating process and exposed things for me to change. I have lived all my life for God, but there are areas of my life I don’t like much. My challenge? How am I going to change and adjust my life so I live more fully for Him?

You see, we can get caught up on all kinds of moves and activities; so much so, that we get desensitized to our busyness and begin to justify it to ourselves. We ignore that voice that says, “That isn’t going to take you where I want you to go.” And, let’s face it, change is HARD! It’s so much easier to just ignore it. Shoot, we are so busy doing OUR thing, we don’t even hear that voice trying to encourage us to move toward HIS thing.

So what will I be working on? I will be transparent with you for a minute because I know that is the first step to changing what God wants to change in me. Here I go:

▪                I love to serve, help and encourage people. I love being involved in my church. But in my involvement, I have to be under the authority of the pastor who has a God-given vision and leave my agenda behind. I don’t think that my ideas are the only ideas. I just get excited about what could be! It’s hard for me to keep a lid on it because I’m a visionary! I get all excited about what could be done to help others in their walk with the Lord. But I’m going to work on that submission area.

▪                I’m asking God for control over my mouth, where it can be easy for things to come out that aren’t edifying to anyone.

▪                I’m putting my message that God gave me three years ago and is on my wall, back to work in my life. It says, ” To JoAnn…praying without ceasing. ~God”  Oh, I pray all the time. But I have had a season of time where I have not been as consistent as I was.

▪                I’m expecting that because God is asking me to change these areas, that He will give me the grace to do it; expecting answers to prayers and needs.

▪                I am watching my associations and situations which would get me agitated or riled up. I want the things that stir me up to be God’s agenda.

▪                I will learn with God’s help to be consistently content with what He gives me and also the home where I live. Sometimes, I can get off track when I see others who have more or seem to always have “it”, as my pastor shared last Sunday. I want to be consistent in the area of “living satisfied”.

  • I am creating an environment in my home that says, God lives here, and what I have, I owe to Him. So my husband and I are working on areas that will improve our home to make the atmosphere cozy and inviting. We want our life to me just like a door header I saw that said, “We live to make God famous.”

I’m excited! It’s not going to be easy. But I know God spoke, and He asked me to step up to this challenge from Him and see what He will do! I talk about the journey of my heart on this blog; this is my heart. I’m hopeful that my journey will inspire you to take up the mantle and ask God for the changes that YOU may need in your life, SO THAT, you will have both feet on the side of Jesus! Get your expectation motor started! He will take you to places you never dreamed of! I would love to hear from you! Let me know what God is working on in you! Blessings on your journey!