You Have Expanded My Understanding

I find myself taking a LOT of pictures, but not having the time to organize and display these as much as I would like. Today, I started my annual photo book folder, which sits on our desktop, simply hi lighting the pictures I want to use in our upcoming album. Currently, albums run from summer to summer, so I am getting ready to design a new book on our Shutterfly account that I will purchase when they have their next big sale.

In recent photo gathering moments, this has been an easy process. Birthday party pictures, birth pictures, bath tub shots, funny candid moments…there were hardly any emotional dips. But then there was this year…Keep in mind my health roller coaster started in August of last year. I guess I had not mentally or even emotionally prepared myself for the remarkable story these pictures would tell. August was filled with fun outdoor shots, a picture of Steve and Josh headed to school together, Caden as he starts running (not sure where walking went)…and then a picture of my bandaged foot. I used my old cell phone to capture pictures of my days…usually to text to Steve. The picture of my bandaged foot was the day I realized something was not quite right. It was the day I went jogging 2 miles in a record amount of time, only to return home to my sock turned red with blood. I had a few pieces of broken glass in my shoe that had been cutting into my foot the entire jog. I felt an annoying feeling, but never pain. I knew I had a high pain threshold, so I tried (emphasis there on TRIED) to bandage it up and move on. A few days later my headache would get worse to the point I could barely stay awake. In mid-September I went into my doctor guessing I had a minor problem with my ear because my balance was a bit off and my head was pounding. That’s when I was diagnosed with having low CSF, which would lead to bed rest, which would lead to a spinal tap, which would lead to the CIDP diagnosis, which would lead to IVIG treatments (all unsuccessful), which would call for several PET scans and MRIs, which revealed the tumors, which led to chemo AND ivig treatments, which led to more bed rest, which led to me getting around using a cane and a scooter….BUT on Friday, April 20th I received the news of a CLEAR scan! More than this benchmark, God has proven His presence, shared His power and embraced my life as well as others with His love throughout this entire journey. I saw this displayed so evidently through the pictures today, I even started a separate folder just for pictures that mean something special just during this chapter of my life. 
I’m planning to share my pictures as a sort of testimony project. My guess at this point, it will be more of a video montage displaying what God has guided our family through over this past year. Currently, it’s a work in progress, but I’m just so excited to eventually share a bit. Plus, SO many people hear the diagnosis of CIDP or brain tumor…or even a pacemaker implant and literally start questioning, “Okay God, where are You?” I missed Him on occasions during this tough journey, but today, it’s like these pictures were shouting, “Here I AM!” 
I wanted to share a passage I literally fell on today during what I thought was the end of my Quiet Time…but it took me by surprise, it actually extended my time almost doubling it! Its SO nice not to have to put God on hold during this rest time as He just uses every opportunity to build me up! 
I lie in the dust;
revive me by your word. I told you my plans, and you answered.
Now teach me your decrees. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. I weep with sorrow;
encourage me by your word. Keep me from lying to myself;
give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. I have chosen to be faithful;
I have determined to live by your regulations. I cling to your laws.
LORD, don’t let me be put to shame! I will pursue your commands,
for you expand my understanding. (Psalm 119:25-32 NLT)
I felt like I was in the dust leading up to this week. As the doctors in the hospital hurried to try to figure what other hurdle I had to jump, in my mind I was so tired, exhausted, drained…questioning if there was going to ever be an end to these health issues! God has stopped me this week and yes, He has revived me through His Word. I shared with Him where I thought…where I would like to be in my life right now and He heard my plan (though we are definitely following His path because this is still not the way I would willingly go). I have asked God to show meaning through my chaos and He has. I have seen His wonderful deeds…not just in my life, but in the lives of others too! So many times I have thought to myself, “I am so alone right now. I’m not going to make it through this! God doesn’t care about me…why would He make me go through these circumstances?” What I’m discovering is that – just like this passage says, I was lying to myself. This negativity is NOT part of Gods Truth. If we know Him, we know that to be True…and we know that the Truth will set you free! I may be optimistic, but the Truth here brings real joy that can outshine optimism anyway and through every circumstance. I have renewed my faith in Him and wow, have I ever brushed up on regulations! I have been living like I am part of this world, buying into the lie that what I do can define my worth! I was rushing in so many directions, I ended the day tired, exhausted, un filled and though optimistic, not really joyful. How dare the world try to define my worth or tell me where I am needed! I am defined by Him, as a child of God FIRST and through that I can adequately meet the needs God has entrusted me with. I’m starting a new pace of life next week, being my body has completely changed and so have my limitations. God has been showing me that even though my life has changed, He has not. His purpose and will for my life remain the same. In essence, the best has yet to come! You see, He has expanded my understanding in so many ways through this journey…this passage just completely defines my last 11 months! WOW! 
I just wanted to share that with you…and thank you as readers, Encouragers, family and friends for venturing through this journey with me. It is far from over and there is so much more to come. You ain’t seen nothing yet! 
AS A SIDE NOTE…Congrats to my BFF childhood friend Lora on her baptism! Lora spent a few days down here in Florida with me and we got to talking about how God can use all circumstances for His glory. We don’t have to fix ourselves to make us look like we have it all put together for Him…in fact, it’s those that come broken, admitting they need HIM that He LOVES to use (I think it’s because God always loves doing the unexpected…so expect the unexpected!
). It was an AMAZING Sunday baptizing my friend of over 23 years into Christ! See…told you God wasn’t done yet! 

Bethany is an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor to women and an author. Bethany defines herself as a child of God who loves to use her passion for change to inspire others. She has overcome disabilities, wading through the trials and rewards of marriage and motherhood. She enjoys being a wife to Steve for 10 years and mother to three boys (ages 7, 5 and 2). She is a double brain cancer survivor, a 9 year veteran in the field of youth and children's ministry and has published poetry, featured blog posts for numerous ministry websites and children's ministry curriculum contributions. Bethany is currently working on her first book to be released this Fall as well as various freelancing projects. Bethany always welcomes new coaching clients and speaking opportunities!