C.D. Journals – July 18, 2019

“Physical frailties may cause you to miss earthly fun and fellowship, but spiritual resources will enable you to grow stronger on the bed of affliction.” I read this in my devotional this morning and found it very encouraging. Something I dearly needed after the events of yesterday.

I was all packed for a three-day visit at my sister’s. The car was loaded and I was heading out – in my husband Rich’s Chevy Cruze, which I have not driven in months. Normally I drive a Tahoe with great visibility and a head rest that accommodates my C.D. quite well. Unfortunately, we discovered the other day that my Tahoe had become home to a family of mice. So, my vehicle was at work with Rich (who works at a Chevy dealer) where the mice would hopefully be eradicated.

I got most of the way out of my neighborhood, unable to situate my head comfortably enough for a two-hour drive. I drove around the neighborhood a little more, trying unsuccessfully to work it out. The head rest hit me in the wrong place and actually pushed my head forward a bit. Even with my brace on, I couldn’t get it situated. I drove back home and aborted my trip. My C.D. has gotten a little worse since the last time I drove the Cruze and even then I was not entirely comfortable.

My son unloaded the car for me and helped me unpack with tears in my eyes. Yet another limitation caused by this nightmare of a disease. I was frustrated and depressed, not only about not getting to visit with my sister as scheduled, but over the entire situation. It took me hours to pack when it used to take me half that much time. By the time I was done packing I was so sore and tired that I had to rest before I faced the drive. Then, I was thwarted by my inability to get situated in the car – an obstacle I could not overcome.

I feel like anytime I get behind the wheel is even more dangerous than normal now. I even fear having my license taken away, although I’ve not heard of that happening to someone with C.D. As a result, I don’t drive nearly as much as I used to – probably how we ended up with mice in the Tahoe, it sat too much. I hate feeling limited like that. I keep trying to look on the bright side. The quote above reminded me that God has used the “bed of affliction” in my life before. We wrote a Bible study during one such season. I had to stay off my feet for three months. Talk about limiting and frustrating, but God had a purpose in that and He has a purpose now. I just need to stay focused on that and keep believing that He is in control. I love how He sends me little bits of encouragement just when I need it most. Even though very little goes the way I want it to these days, Jesus is good and He is with me. We will get through this and be stronger for it. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.” -Psalm 28:7a

😊💕

Perspectives

The first time I realized how shockingly different perspectives of the same situation can be was almost 35-years ago. I was in counseling, attempting to become un-codependent (pretty sure that’s not really a word, but you get my meaning) and my counselor suggested confronting my dad with my issues. Which were all his fault, of course. I took her advice and my dad looked at me like I was crazy. He said he had no idea what I was talking about. Of course, looking back on it now, he very well could have been in denial himself. He wasn’t incredibly healthy emotionally either. I wasn’t screwed up for no reason. The point is, his perspective was drastically different than mine. How could that be since we were both there? At the time, I was kinda shocked. Not one single one of my issues was validated through that conversation. It was like I imagined the whole thing!

I also discussed some of my issues with a couple of my siblings (I’m the oldest of 6) and while they did validate some of my issues, their perspectives were also very different. In 2008 a movie came out called “Vantage Point” starring Dennis Quaid and Forest Whitaker. It was a stunning example of exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the story of an assassination attempt as told from different perspectives. It’s really a good movie. If you haven’t seen it you might want to check it out.

How can different people present at the same event at the same time come away with different memories of what happened? I’ve seen it a hundred times since that conversation with my dad and it never ceases to amaze me. I know we’re all different and we all process things differently and sometimes it blows my mind just HOW differently.

If anything, I’ve learned to accept that that’s just the way it is. Different people have different perspectives, and I think understanding that can help us to validate what others are thinking and feeling. The fact that someone remembers a situation differently than you do, they have a different take-away, doesn’t mean that their perspective is less valid than yours. It’s just different. Also, their thoughts and feelings as a result of that shared (yet different) experience are no less valid than yours.

I have been tempted many times to invalidate someone else’s perspective and try to convince them to adopt mine. Not only have I been tempted, but I’m sure that I have AT-tempted (emphasis, not a typo) it. I’ve probably said things like, “That’s crazy!” Or “Where on earth did you get that idea? I didn’t hear that.” You know, invalidating statements. I’ve also had those same things said TO me. Those words are not very edifying. I’m trying not to do that so much anymore.

I am doing my best to remember this whole perspectives thing when someone shares a different outlook on the same situation. I still share my perspective, but in a more respectful way. Remembering that God created this person I’m interacting with and that their opinions, thoughts, and feelings are just as important to them as mine are to me. I’m also not talking about people who suffer from any kind of psychosis. That’s above my pay grade. I’m talking about those who are in full control of their faculties.

We all want to be treated with respect. I believe that accepting that someone else’s perspective on a situation that we were both in is a step in that direction. It also makes for a more peaceful relationship when you’re not constantly trying to change each other’s experience. I think that’s futile anyway. No one has ever been able to change my experience of something – my mind on a matter, yes – my experience of something, no. As the saying goes, “It’s all a matter of perspective.”

🤓😊

Textiquette

I confess that I am a bit old school, being from the generation of wall-mounted phones and clunky answering machines, but some things never go out of style. Like; respect, courtesy, and plain old-fashioned manners. At least that’s my opinion. Maybe I’m even more old school than I realize.

Nowadays almost everyone has a cell phone and we have this marvel of modern technology known as texting. We don’t have to actually hear each other’s voices or even hold the phone to our ear. We just type words and hit “send”, or the little arrow icon, or whatever is on our phone for performing that function.

On the receiving end, we have the incredible luxury of not answering right away. In my day, you either answered the phone and committed to a conversation or you let the answering machine get it, in which case you could also deal with it later. Answering machines malfunctioned all the time, or someone else in the house could all too easily listen to and delete your message without you ever hearing it. It was extremely easy to have a good reason for not responding to the message-leaver.

Today, not so much. The technology is way beyond answering machines. Chances are good that you are the only one with access to your phone what with access codes and facial recognition locking screens. And we all know how attached we are to our phones, younger people especially. So, when I text my 18-year old granddaughter or my 20-something kids I know the chances are very high that they saw my text.

So, why don’t they text back within a reasonable amount of time if at all? This is where manners come in. Granted, there are legitimate reasons for not responding right away; they’re in the middle of kneading bread and their hands are covered in dough, they’re in a meeting and their phone is on silent, they’re in the bathroom and their phone is charging in the kitchen, their battery died (😂😂😂) – it could happen! I’m sure there are other reasons that I’m not thinking of. Even so, when the bread is in the oven, when they’re phone is charged or they’ve finished in the bathroom and their meeting is over, they check their phones. We all do it.

We want to make sure we didn’t miss that important business call or the call from that guy or girl we’ve been waiting to hear from. And there in the list will be “Mom” or “Grandma”, or whoever we don’t want to talk to at the moment, and it is just too easy to be rude and ignore it. Instead of shooting back a quick “Busy” or “Ok” or even just an Emoji. Something to acknowledge the other person. That just seems respectful and courteous to me.

I have sent text messages to which I have NEVER received a response – some of them to family members (who shall remain nameless and they know who they are). I have texted multiple times in the span of a week and still get no response. I’ll admit that I’m a sensitive person, but how would you feel in my position? I felt . . . the words, “disrespected”, “neglected”, and “hurt” come to mind. I reached out to a loved one and was ignored. That hurts.

I do my best to respond asap when texted. I never want my friends or family to feel ignored by me. If it’s just the latest Subway discount, that’s one thing – they don’t even expect a response. But, someone with whom I am in relationship, someone I supposedly love and respect – they get my attention when they ask for it. Even if it’s to tell them that they’ll have to wait a bit for my undivided attention. But then, as I confessed earlier, I’m a bit old school and I think more of us need to go back there.

📞😊

Lead Us

black hanging bridge surrounded by green forest trees

Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Lead us, Father,
to the place we should go,
to the patch of garden
where we will grow.
Plant our roots deep
in the soil of Your choice.
Open our hearts
to hear Your voice.
In Your will
we desire to be,
Your plan for our lives
we long to see.
Hear our cry.
Heed our call.
In the pit of despair
let us not fall.
Light the way,
give us hope.
Lead us, Father,
to the place we should go.
©Brenda Lenz, 2019

Longing

clouds

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

The feeling inside that you are destined for greater things
Is there because you are.
The longing for something more
Is your soul longing for home.
The emptiness you can’t define
Is the God shaped hole in your heart.

Our souls are eternal
Created for perfection
Until sin crept in,
A deadly infection.

But In His image
We were created,
And Jesus came
So that justice was sated.

This world is not home.
Our destiny is perfection.
Relationship with Christ
Leads to completion.

We are destined for greater things.
Our souls long for home in a greater place.
We are children of God, our hearts well know
And our longing is fulfilled in our Savior’s face.

                                                          ©Brenda Lenz, 2019

Adventurous Plans

Because God made you and knows you, He has great plans in store for you. You may not know what any of those plans are yet, but you’re going to love them.This was part of my devotion this morning. I read these words and simultaneously laughed and cried. Sometimes I just don’t know what motivates some of these Devotional writers to say the things they say. I think some of them blow a little too much sunshine. I do not LOVE all of God’s plans for me. I’m just being honest. I certainly don’t love having C.D. I don’t love living in Texas (no offense to my Texan family & friends). I don’t love a lot of things that have happened in my life. On the other hand, there have been plenty of His plans that I have loved; His plan for me to meet and marry my incredible husband, His plan for me to have four beautiful and amazing children, and the list could go on and on. I believe that God has more plans for me, or at least I hope He does. I also believe that I’m not going to love them all, and I believe that they will all work together for good somehow.

God has an exciting adventure planned for you. And the best part is that He’s promised to walk with you every step of the way!This quote is also from this morning’s devotion and this I know. I have walked with Jesus for almost 25-years and it has been anything but boring. I never know exactly what He’s going to do next or where He’ll lead me. It has been the adventure of a lifetime and He has seen me through every bit of it. Some days I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. I start the day with a black cloud over me, especially since my diagnosis. I know that as soon as I lift my crooked head off the pillow the battle will begin, and some days I just don’t want to do it. I call out to God and He’s there. I spend some time with Him and in His Word and I feel better equipped to fight the good fight. He strengthens me when I’m weak, He gives me hope when I feel hopeless, He reminds me of all that He’s blessed me with when I’m tempted to start a pity party. He encourages me, He comforts me, He is my Rock and my Salvation, and my adventures with Him thus far have indeed been exciting!

What do you think God wants you to do?These words also made me simultaneously laugh and cry because my answer is, “I have no idea!” Aside from the basic directives in the Bible, I have no idea what God wants me to do right now in this season of my life. I am still waiting for some direction there, or maybe God is waiting for me to see what’s right in front of me. Either way, I have yet to be enlightened. Prayers are always appreciated. 🙏🏻😊

God has plans for me. I won’t always love them, but I love and trust my Lord Jesus. I may not know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life right now, but in His time I believe I will. As a dear friend and mentor once said, “I eagerly anticipate what He has in store for me.” Love it or not, it will be an adventure!

😊💕

C.D. Journals – June 25, 2019

It’s been awhile since I’ve journaled here about C.D. I’ve been busy with a therapy program that is pretty time consuming, and it’s going to be a long, slow process. I’ve been trying to develop a routine that works for me that I can maintain long-term. There’s no cure for Cervical Dystonia (a.k.a. Spasmodic Torticollis), but apparently there is hope for managing the symptoms. If you’re interested in knowing more about recovery, check this out.

It has been a year now since my diagnosis and I am still trying to figure this out. The disease has gotten progressively worse and I now hold my head almost constantly. I let go for a few seconds here and there when I absolutely need both hands to open a jar, for instance, or butter a piece of toast – things like that. When I do that, however, I have to be willing to let my head go where it wills. That is always to the left, either quickly or slowly, but go it will. I’m learning to do things by feel because sometimes I can’t see what I’m doing due to the fact that I can’t make my head stay straight. I make a MESS in the kitchen these days and now leave the knife work to someone else.

That’s just a small sampling of my new reality. Social anxiety is now a thing. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t like going anywhere without backup – someone who understands my situation and will provide emotional and practical support. I hate that! It’s not someone going with me that bothers me as much as the fact that I feel I NEED someone to go with me. A lot of times, I’d rather not go at all. I use Amazon and grocery delivery more than I ever have. A big part of that is also the fact that driving is a bit of a challenge now as well. Thankfully, I have an ’03 Tahoe that allows me good visibility and the headrest fits me well. Long highway trips are not as bad as in town where constant head movements are required. I wear a brace when I drive and that helps. Still, it’s not as easy as it used to be.

This disease makes it so easy to give up because it’s a constant physical and emotional battle. Fighting your own body all day is exhausting and disheartening. My arms get tired from trying to hold my head in place while my neck muscles are contorting and contracting, and they do it almost constantly. I take a break every day and lay with my head in a U-shaped pillow, practice breathing exercises and nap for about 30-minutes. The symptoms go dormant when I sleep and the pillow helps hold my head as I attempt to relax. I have NEVER been a napper. I’ve always had too many other things to do and was rarely even tired enough. But, I am now! 😴

I’m not sharing these things to complain as much as to chronicle my journey and what I’m dealing with or learning currently. Right now, I’m still learning to adjust. I’m learning to trust that God allowing this in my life doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love me and still have good plans for me. He does and He will work this all for good. I’m also still learning what it is that I’m supposed to be learning, aside from what I’ve already mentioned. I have a feeling that there are going to be many lessons in this.

One of the more important things I’ve learned for myself is that I don’t want to give in to this disease’s temptation to give up. I need to accept that functioning differently is not giving up. Letting someone else chop the veggies while I do something I can do with one hand is not giving up, it’s functioning differently and practicing kitchen safety. 😉😂 Asking for help of any kind is not giving up. Granted, it’s hard to do sometimes, but it’s still not giving up. C.D. Is just one huge adjustment of almost every aspect of my life . . . and that’s life. As the ancient philosopher, Heraclitus, once said, “The only constant in life is change.” I’m doing my best to adapt to this particular season of change and I think that’s all any of us can do – our best. 🤕

😊💕