I've been having some ups and downs lately. Physically it has been difficult because getting off my addiction to narcotic pain meds really really throws my body into a physical and mental depression. Praise God that after months of struggling with this I'm basically off! Once in a while I take 1/10th of a dose if my body is freaking out, but these should be the last few days of narcotics. The good thing is that I'm more alert and able to function more normally. The bad thing is that I feel a lot of aches and nerve pain in my neck, head and right shoulder. This makes it very difficult to sleep at night. Please pray for my rest at night and for relief from the pain, I haven't had a good nights rest in as long as I can remember.
On Tuesday I had a lunch meeting with Bob after physical therapy. I was really struggling that day to find joy in anything. On top of the physical difficulties of aches and pains, I've been struggling mentally and spiritually with motivation to do anything helpful for my family. I told Bob that all of my goals have been dashed to pieces. I looked forward to growing in my marriage with Grace and sending our kids off to school and growing old together. I longed for the day when I would send AJ and Gracie to school on the bus, or when I would sit down across from AJ and tell him all about college before sending him off. So much for dreams of making enough money to travel or have a comfy retirement, or even providing financial security for my family. I'm even unmotivated about keeping myself alive through my feeding tube because there is nothing satisfying about it anymore. So what am I living for?
Bob responded by saying, "If these are the things that motivate you, then you're not living for the glory of God. Everybody struggles with this, but you're just more aware because you're facing the end of your life."
That cut to my heart. How could I have been so blind to this. I've always thought I wanted to live for God's glory, but when God starts taking away what seems most important in life, the heart motivations are exposed. I mean I've boldly preached the gospel, I've served at church, I'm teaching 2 kids about the bible, I'm working on my marriage, I study God's word all the time. Could all that stuff be done with faulty motivations? During the 1-mile walk back home from our meeting I spent some time thinking and praying about this. I felt so ashamed. I'm starting to see who I really am deep down inside, and how deceptive my heart really is. It's so awful and ugly. I never knew that it could be this hard to face who you really are.
But praise be to God that through Jesus Christ my filthy stains have been washed away. Jesus died that sinners like me may live. And though I fail all the time, Jesus works in me to actually change me from the heart, not just on the outside. And through Jesus I can start to live for His glory rather than for myself. By seeing myself more clearly for who I really am, though I'm dying, I think I'm starting to truly live.
There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
There is A Fountain Filled With Blood, William Cowper, 1772
1) Pray for complete healing, relief from pain, and that I would be able to rest at night.
2) Pray for Grace as she keeps our family together. There is just so much work to do as I am on a time consuming special diet and I need fresh juice 6 times per day. Praise God for her help and encouragement!
2) Pray for me about what I shared above. Pray that God would start changing my heart motivations in life to the glory of God alone and that He would grant me true repentance.
3) Pray for safety and quality time with my family, extended family, and friends during our trip to California. Pray that we would be an encouragement to others and that our time together would be profitable and for God's glory. Praise God for providing our friend, Johnny, who is going to drive with us there in an RV, leaving Saturday Nov 1.
4) Pray for wisdom about alternative and experimental treatments. We're not sure to what degree we will do the Gerson Therapy at a clinic in the Los Angeles area. We might start it at the clinic, or we might just learn it and start it at home. Pray also for wisdom about doing experimental Immunotherapy and Gene Therapies that are in clinical trials at MD Anderson and Sloan Kettering.