05 July, 2013

I Am Blessed!

I'm sure that everyone reading this knows and has had the same experiences that sometimes it just seems like we are bombarded with one bad thing after another. Lately it has seemed that way in my life. Back on April 30th I woke up in terrible pain and went to the emergency room when it did not let up. They ran some scans and did blood work and told me I had a kidney stone. They told me it was small enough that it should pass on it's own. Well, here I am more than 2 months later and I'm still fighting it. I have not always been in pain. It comes and goes and I actually went a couple of weeks thinking it might have passed without me realizing it. A few days after my ER visit, I went to see my doctor as a follow up and he told me that in the tests in done in the ER that some other issues showed up. There was some concern that it could be cancer. Some other tests were scheduled and in the process of this, it was discovered that I had some serious prostate problems and this really looked like cancer. In fact, my doctor told me that that I needed to prepare myself for that news. Also, they found a tumor growing on my adrenal gland. So, by going in with a kidney stone, within a couple of weeks I am found to have growths or tumors in 3 areas and there was a possibility of cancer in all three areas. I try to be a man of faith... but can I tell you that at this point, my faith was wavering and I found myself asking God if this was it and did I need to get my affairs in order. I don't mind telling you that I found myself praying, "Lord I believe... Help my unbelief."

In the midst of all of this, my wife and I were trying to do a refinance on our house, but somehow there was a break down in communication and we missed a date causing the loan to fall through. We had so much going on that we just put that on the back burner for awhile. We kept getting hit with medical bills and so on... you know the drill. When it rains it pours. Of course, about this time people started missing church in large numbers and finances went down which added to the stress level that was already through the roof. Added to all of this, we were getting news of family members who were also facing serious health issues. Through it all I kept just trying to hold onto my faith in Christ... but that prayer of "help my unbelief" was becoming more and more frequent. Honestly, in my mind, I thought this was it. I remember dancing with my wife at a wedding a couple of weeks ago and as we danced I looked into her eyes and realized all over again just how much I love this woman and how that I did not want to leave her just yet. My thoughts must have betrayed me because Libby looked at me and said, "You look so sad." I could go on and on, but there was just one thing after another that was hitting and I found myself laying in bed unable to sleep one night and said to God, "Lord... can I just have a break? Just a little breathing room?" I did not even ask to live, I just was under so much stress that I wanted a little respite.  I drifted off to sleep and when I woke up a few hours later the song, "Count Your Blessings" was on my mind. I found myself singing it all day... and the next. Then I literally started counting the blessings. I started writing them down and the list just kept growing. I went to the doctor and he again told me he was really concerned about the prostate and had me go straight from his office to have blood drawn to test for prostate cancer. The next day, his number shows up on my cell phone and honestly, I was almost afraid to answer it. When I did, the nurse told me that he wanted to speak to me right away, and my heart sank. He got on the phone and told me again what he had feared, but then said, "you've got a massive infection in the prostate, but there is no cancer. In fact, your numbers are excellent." He told me he was calling me in an antibiotic and a pain medication and said that it should clear up in a couple of weeks. Another blessing went down on my list! I did some xrays and they confirmed a tumor on my adrenal gland. So, we did an MRI and some more blood work to see where I was on this one. A couple of days later I went to see another doctor and he told me that there was no cancer, that both tumors are fatty tumors and will do me no harm. That's two more blessings! At the same time, we reapplied for our refinance, and what seemed to be a bad thing turned out to be a huge blessing as we were given a significantly lower interest rate than we had been given in April. By refinancing we cut 6 years off of our loan with a savings of more than $85,000 over the life of the loan. Add another blessing to the list! We walked into a restaurant one night for dinner and when we went to pay, the owner told us that dinner was on them that night. A house that I'd been trying to sell sold and closed within 8 days! Blessing upon blessing was coming to us, literally falling into our laps... and it all began when I quit focusing on the pain and disappointment, and instead focused on the blessings. 

The first verse of that song says:

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

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