He’ll See You Through

woman looking at sunset

When the days are dark
Hold on to His hand
Seek His face
He’ll show you the way

Victory is yours
When you rest assured
In the Father’s hands
There’s always a plan

Don’t lose hope
He’ll help you cope
Just seek His face
And His loving embrace

Put Him first
In all you do
Follow Him
He’ll see you through

                                                   ©Brenda Lenz, 2020

C.D. Journals – January 20, 2020

I haven’t written one of these in quite awhile so, I felt an update was in order. There are a couple of new things to chronicle. I got an emotional support kitten in September. 😉😂 It sounds funny, but she really is. It’s quite uncanny. She shows up whenever I’m crying and curls up on my chest, purring like a motorboat – and I mean EVERY time! She’s a gift from God!

My sweet Rich bought me a new vehicle right before Christmas – a 2020 Equinox with all kinds of sensors on it. Driving has gotten more uncomfortable as my head increasingly wants to stick to the left. I couldn’t drive our Cruze at all. The Equinox is wonderful. It has lane assist, blind spot sensors, collision warnings, and a sunroof! It is SO comfortable for me to drive. I can see really well in it.

And the icing on the cake that makes it so comfortable is the headrest pillow my sweet sissy got for me. It makes a world of difference.

As far as therapy goes, there’s not a lot of change. I’m trying not to get discouraged. Especially since I pretty much fell off the therapy wagon over the holidays. I’m trying to get back on now and building momentum is a challenge, but I’m confident I’ll get there. I turn 60 this year and I’m really hoping to “roll into recovery”, as the clinic director puts it, for my birthday. I’ve got about eight months.

It is increasingly difficult for me to get myself out in the world lately. Even with my wonderful new vehicle, I just feel uncomfortable in public. People either look at me funny and don’t say anything or they ask me what’s wrong with my neck. I used to try and explain Cervical Dystonia, but that got too complicated and I’d lose them quickly. Now I just say that I have a movement disorder and they seem to understand that better.

My head wants to stay turned to the left. I have to constantly hold it. For the few seconds when I don’t because I can’t figure a way to do something one-handed, my head feels like it wants to spin around and my muscles scream against it. The two places I am most comfortable are my bedroom chair and my living room chair with a pillow under the arm that’s supporting my head – both chairs are recliners. I like being comfortable so guess where I spend a lot of my time. I see that as a problem.

Life is a constant flow of issues that I need to work on it seems. Most recently just accepting the diagnosis, then learning to accept the new “normal”, and now dealing with progression of the disorder and increased social anxiety. Sigh! If I didn’t have Jesus and my husband by my side every day I don’t know where I’d be.

I haven’t “rolled into recovery” and the Lord hasn’t healed me yet. I have no idea whether either of those things will ever happen. One thing I can say for sure is that I am well taken care – spoiled even. Especially by my sweet, amazing husband who tells me he loves me every day. He is always there for me and will drop what he’s doing any time of the day or night to help me if I need it.


This is a picture of the sweetest, kindest, most selfless man I have ever known. God blessed me so greatly the day this guy came into my life almost 28-years ago and I am so thankful he stayed. He helps me to not give up and reminds me that regardless of the circumstances, life is worth fighting for. QUALITY of life is worth fighting for. With this man by my side, my life is indeed quality!

😊💕

Embassy Suites Austin Arboretum Review

For years I have wanted to take a little getaway at the beginning of the new year to refresh, renew, and reevaluate. We finally did it last week. My hubby and I traveled to the faraway land of Austin, Texas (about a 30-minute drive from our house 😂) for the weekend. We stayed in what used to be one of our favorite hotel chains – Embassy Suites.

We actually haven’t stayed in one in years so it was a bit of a step back in time, almost literally. It looked exactly the same as we remembered. The layout and decor anyway. We’ve never stayed at this particular hotel. One thing that made this Embassy Suites unique were the swans. Real live Royal swans living in the atrium.

We’d never seen that before. Their names are Butch and Sundance, and they’re brothers. Apparently British royalty used to keep these as pets inside the palace because they are basically defenseless against predators. We never heard a peep out of them and they seemed quite content in their indoor habitat.

Aside from the swans it was almost everything we remembered. Strangely enough I didn’t see that as a good thing. It felt like we had stepped into a time capsule; dated. It was in good shape. Nothing was run down, it just felt . . . dated. That’s the best word for it, I think. The atrium was beautiful, the room was clean and spacious – no valid complaints there.

One of the reasons my husband has always liked Embassy Suites is their complimentary, cook-to-order breakfast. That always felt a step above your typical Holiday Inn or Marriott. Who wouldn’t prefer a fresh, hot breakfast over a dry muffin, eggs of questionable origin, and so-so coffee?

I opted for the buffet breakfast while hubs went for his favorite, cooked-to-order omelette. I was not impressed. While it was adequate, the quality wasn’t what I remembered, and there was no bacon on the buffet table! What’s a vaca breakfast without bacon? Lacking, that’s what it is! My sweetie, on the other hand, was quite satisfied although he mentioned a slight decline in quality as well. Maybe it’s just a case of memory being better than reality?

All-in-all it was definitely a pleasant stay. We got a lot of planning done, slept well, and had no major complaints. Parking was free (something you don’t always get in the city), there were two pools and lots of lovely seating both indoors and out. There was a workout room, a 24-hour snack shop with coffee, and a complimentary lemonade station near the elevators. The staff were very friendly and accommodating, and for just over $100/night for a two-bedroom king suite we felt it was a weekend well spent! If you don’t mind a more traditional decor and you find yourself in North Austin needing a good night’s sleep, I would recommend the Embassy Suites Austin Arboretum.

Happy travels! 🚗😊💕

Transparent

There’s a buzzword in Christian circles – “transparent”. We say that it’s a good thing and it basically means to be honest and open. When you’re transparent you’re not a pretender. You’re real about your life, your feelings, where you are in your journey with Jesus. My grandmother would probably have balked at that word. I’m sure they didn’t use it much in her day, or my Mother’s day, or even early in my day. I’ve been a Christian for 24-years and it’s probably only in the past 15-years that I’ve been hearing that word among my brothers and sisters-in-Christ.

Why do we even need that word? Because Christians are excellent pretenders and some of us finally got to the point where we couldn’t stand the pressure. Constantly wearing our “happy church faces” is exhausting. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re happier. It doesn’t exempt you from the harshness of life and having bad things happen to you. It only means that you deal with it a little differently because someone else is steering the boat. Someone with a much greater knowledge of what’s ahead and how to navigate.

I was raised by professional women. My mother was a secretary and an entrepreneur. My grandmother was an all-around businesswoman, active in the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Sons of Hermann, and very professional. My grandma taught me to put my best foot forward and how to project a professional image. I never saw her cry. I never heard her complain. I never saw her without her hair and makeup done until she was in her 70’s and battling Alzheimer’s. I adored my grandma and she was a strong role model for me. She also was not a professing Christian. “Transparent” she was not and neither was I for most of my adult life.

I still struggle a bit with the whole transparency issue. I believe there is such a thing as TMI (too much information). I also don’t like to be a downer, and I am terribly vain. I prefer to have it all together and look it. I have a couple of people in my life with whom I share any deep dark feelings that come along, and even then I do my best to sugar-coat it a little. I remember one time when I was totally and completely transparent and that was when I shared my salvation testimony with my home church. Afterward, I was amazed at the amount of people who told me how shocked they were at my history. They would never have guessed any of it to look at me. That told me that either I was a really good pretender still, or the transforming work of Jesus truly is miraculous. I prefer to believe the latter. Especially since I was on a quest at the time to be more real and drop my “happy church face” (unless I really was happy, of course 😊).

We are called to “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. . .” -James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬. ‬ We are also to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” -Romans‬ ‭12:15‬ ‭NASB. We can’t do these things without being transparent with one another; honest and vulnerable. It’s not easy, I know, especially for those of us who are more old school . . . and it’s not impossible. I’ve done it and I’m getting better at it with the Lord’s help. There is no perfection this side of eternity. NO ONE person and NO ONE’S life is perfect, no matter how it looks on Facebook or Instagram. Trying to pretend perfection is, I have come to believe, a waste of energy.

While I always have a reason to be joyful in Christ, I may not always be happy and that’s okay. Jesus never promised me a life of constant happiness and freedom from trouble. Quite the opposite, in fact. Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” -John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬. He has overcome the sin that caused this fallen world we live in and one day all will be made right! What a great thing to rejoice over! In the meantime, happiness that depends on circumstances comes and goes.

We Christians are called to be there for each other and to remind one another of our source of joy. We give each other hope, encouragement, comfort and friendship in a very special way. We call it fellowship – “friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests”. -Merriam Webster’s Dictionary. However, if we don’t know that someone has a need it’s difficult to meet it. If we constantly are upbeat and look and act like all is well, that’s what most people are going to think of us – that we’re okay – regardless of the truth of the pain we hide inside.

I’m still a work in progress and will be for the rest of my life. I’m still working on the whole transparency thing and that’s key – that I keep doing the work and don’t give up. It’s difficult at times. Pride is a huge obstacle to transparency, and pride is a big part of human nature. Fortunately, with God all things are possible – even overcoming pride! “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” -Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

😊💕

Three Little Words

There are three words that my children say that I really don’t like and they’re not, “I love you”. Can’t hear that enough. No, the three little words I’m speaking of are, “Don’t tell Mom”. Really?!

First off, my kids are all grown so what do they think I’m going to do? Ground them? I think we’re a little past that. Maybe they don’t want to upset me. They’re being protective. Again, we’re all adults here. We get upset sometimes and we get over it. In my case, I probably won’t even remember by next week so they should take advantage of THAT. Unless they’re planning a surprise of some kind I don’t see a reason for keeping things from me. Doing that probably upsets me more than whatever it is they think they need to keep from me. It makes me feel excluded from their lives and that just makes me sad.

There were plenty of things I kept from my parents when I was a kid because A: I didn’t want to get in trouble and B: I didn’t think they’d understand and . . . I didn’t want to get in trouble. That changed when I became an adult because I couldn’t be punished by them anymore. Also, I came to understand that they understood a lot more than I gave them credit for. Granted, I still didn’t want their disapproval, and that was something I had to get over.

So, to my children who say those three little words even now that they’re grown – get over yourself! I understand that; you’re human, you’re not me and don’t share all of my opinions and beliefs, and that I’m not always going to be happy about every decision you ever make. That’s okay. You’re a grownup now and get to make your own choices and live with your own consequences.

You don’t need to keep anything from me or worry about whether I will disapprove or be upset. I’m a big girl with a big God on my side, not to mention your extremely loving and supportive dad. I can handle anything you can throw at me (some things may require more time than others, but I will eventually always be okay). Never forget that regardless of your choices, actions, and attitudes my three little words to you forever are, “I love you”.

👩‍👧‍👦💕

Focusing on the Christ in Christmas – Epilogue

“For, At just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.” -‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:15-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. Even amidst the sadness and turmoil of this world, special cheer and goodwill can be found. Somewhere in the twinkling lights, beautiful music, and overall atmosphere of the holidays, a little joy can be found for even the saddest heart. That’s what I believe anyway, and I believe it because my heart gets very sad at times, even (or maybe especially) at Christmas.

Remembering loved ones who are no longer here, or missing loved ones who live far away can spark a whole slew of melancholy emotions. There is plenty in this world to be sad about and if I choose to dwell in “MelancholyvilleI could be sad my whole life! Wouldn’t THAT be fun! Not! So, instead of focusing on Christmas memories that make me sad, or the whole commercial aspect of Christmas I choose to focus on the true meaning.

Christmas means that I have a best friend who is bigger and stronger than any bad or sad thing that could happen in my life. It means that I am saved from the penalty of every sin I’ve ever committed. The baby whose birth we celebrate grew up to be the Savior of my soul! Actually, He was BORN to be the Savior of every soul that accepts Him as such!It’s about so much more than trees, presents, and twinkle lights. It’s about eternity and where I’m going to spend it, and it’s about navigating this fallen world with someone who has already overcome it!

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my humble thoughts on things. I am forever grateful for that first Christmas and everything it means for me. I am so thankful for the blessing of my family as well and I’m taking these next few days before Christmas Day to focus on them and the One whose birth we celebrate.

Wishing you a blessed and meaningful Christmas full of more love and joy than you’ve ever known!
Merry Christmas!
Brenda 🎄😊💕

Focusing on the Christ in Christmas – Day 12

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” -John‬ ‭14:2-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Not only did Christ come to be with us that first Christmas, He has promised to come back. This time, not as a babe in a manger, but gloriously descending from heaven to claim His people! “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” -1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:16-17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

These truths give me such hope! No matter what goes wrong in my life, I have a glorious future in heaven with Jesus, in a place that He personally has prepared for me! This breath of a life here on earth pales in comparison. As a person living with a chronic illness, that hope is my lifeline. Jesus is my lifeline! That was true even before the illness. I have simply developed an even greater appreciation.

I am so incredibly thankful for that first Christmas and I eagerly anticipate His triumphant return! I not only celebrate His birth and all the gifts He brought with Him, I also celebrate what His birth means for my future. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” -‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NASB‬. ‬

Wishing you hopeful eyes toward the future as you celebrate that blessed event of the past!
😃💕