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The state of things

Thank you, dear friends, for all of your prayers while I've been trying to move forward the past few days. The doctor thought I might have gotten a bug such as a parasite or malaria on my Africa trip and I have been getting extensively tested for that these past few days. I've had pain for a while and it progressed to become so great on Monday that I moved a doctor's appointment up a few days to get in quicker. I have one more test to undergo in the morning to completely rule out any "bugs" but so far it looks like my anti-bug drugs did work while I was in Kenya. :-) Halleluiah for that. The odd thing about this is that on my first trip to Africa I didn't get bit by one bug. This past year I got bit by a ton of mosquitos one night while I was preaching, of all things. They were nipping at my legs incessently. I really wish I could wear pants while preaching there to avoid all that but honestly it's not allowed. Women have to wear skirts or dresses that come well below the knee. So these mosquitos were just loving my calves and ankles. Anyway...despite the critters biting me it looks like my meds worked.

So why am I still in this pain? Well, I did have an ulcer and hernia in the past, due to stress. And, I've been treated for that in years past and moved ahead. But, to be perfectly honest, what my doctor thinks is that due to the stressful season I have gone through in ministry I've probably had one of these issues come back up. Provided the last malaria test is clear, my doc has referred me to a gastroenterologist, and with the power of God, and the wisdom of the specialist as well and the Lord's hands to guide them, I will be on the road to recovery again. We'll know more in the next few weeks, and start treating whatever it is. In the meantime my ice pack and heating pad are my good friends. Many of you who read my blog prayed for me about all this and some of you were such good friends to listen privately. I really am blessed to have people who care and listen and are there pretty much 24/7. Thank you, to all of you. I appreciate all of your love, encouragement, prayer and anything you've done for me more than words can say.

I just ask for your prayers over the next few weeks while I'm getting it worked out. Honestly it hurts to sit at the piano bench, hurts to sit at my desk, hurts to stand up at the keyboard, hurts to eat, hurts to not eat, hurts to ride my bike, hurts to turn over in bed, and most of all hurts when I wake up or when I go to sleep and basically...well, hurts all the time unless I have an ice pack on the left side of my stomach, and a heating pad on my back. And that is how I sit most days. I even take my little microwaveable heating pad to the movies. Before I go I heat it up double the amount I usually do, take it in a towel and then it lasts me for a 2 hour movie. My kids are a bit embarrassed that I've been taking a heating pad to the movies, but hey, it's just how life has been the last two months. It's either do that or stay home and not do anything. The past few weeks I've greeted visitors at the end of service but asked Tom and Cathy to help me to be able to leave quickly after that because I've not felt well. If anyone from church reading this feels like I've snubbed you the past few weeks and moved on quickly, honestly please forgive me, it's not you...I've just not been feeling well.

I have women's ministries reps meeting this weekend in Sarasota and was really looking forward to it. I love these ladies -- they are my dear friends and mean the world to me, and honestly I just love being around them and that's the real bonus of being on the reps board, not even the work we do. My real honor is just to sit in the room with them quite frankly. Well, despite that, I decided not to go because I didn't want to yank out the heating pad and ice pack but then my dear, dear, dear friend Joy Conley who is also a rep wouldn't hear of it and said, "you're going and I'll come pick you up!" so with that settled, I'm going. The main thing I was not wanting to do was drive because I am in pain but Joy said she'd handle it. These women are my real friends and honestly they won't care if I have a bag of ice on my stomach while we take care of business.

The bottom line of it is that sometimes life and ministry get overwhelming and it affects our bodies. You are going to get a chuckle when you see what my "word of the year" is. My friend Pastor Tara has encouraged everyone to pick a "word of the year" as a theme and I chose mine last week but haven't posted on it yet. (I will in the next few days.) I am hoping that my theme of the year personally and the journey God takes me on in this coming year will help me to better deal with the stresses that life and ministry throw my way. I am just being honest and vulnerable in telling you that while I consider myself to be a pretty strong woman and can handle a lot, there is a price to it. Part of that price is what I've paid this past week, in my bed. I still want to be strong, I still want to do for God, for people, for the Kingdom, however my ways of coping with some things do have to improve. Obviously my body is telling me I don't have it all together in that fact not even close. For all the skills and talents I have, one thing I really stink at is handling stress.

A few months ago I posted about some big breakthroughs we had going on. God has been good, but going into 2009, like so many of you, we are not without challenges. Did you ever feel like you were in a continual cycle of one step forward, two steps back? *sigh* Somehow despite those challenges I have to find a way to stay healthy. Before the new year even hit, I decided to get very strictly back on a health regimen because of the way I was feeling. I went full tilt with it on December 26th. Some friends said, "no, no, don't do it before Jan 1! You'll crash from depriving yourself!" They were encouraging me to go ahead and blow it out on New Year's Eve and then get strict on January 1.. Well, what they didn't understand was that I was crashing already and had to do something, so I did. Since then I've been pretty strict with my eating and working out. That will continue. But I also have to process things better emotionally. I'm a person who leads, disciples and teaches (like many of you reading this) but I am also in process on a journey. So NOT perfect. So NOT together. Really. Seriously. I can look cool as a cucumber on the outside and be freaking on the inside at times. I'm just a fellow traveler trying to make sense of it all. Thanks for continuing to read the ramblings and happenings of someone who is sometimes a wreck, but loves God with all my heart.

I know God has good things for me in this coming year and one of them involves dealing with this very issue I mention and getting it under control. Yes, I'm going to tackle it! I'm going to pursue it! I'm going to overcome. I won't give up. I am 42, but I believe a middle aged dog can learn new tricks, otherwise why would they have obedience school? I'm going to God's obedience school. I'll learn what He wants me to this year.

I've been really blessed this past week by a few notes from people I didn't even know were reading my blog! I think that kind of stuff is really a day brightener for any blogger. It's nice to know when you make a difference in some way. Thanks for your continued prayers. I am so thankful all tests have come back good so far, and now I'll keep my little ice pack and heating pad going and try to get more rest when I can while waiting for the specialist give me something to patch me up for good once again and wean me off of them. :-)

Love you all much...


Tina said…
PD sorry to hear about all the pain me and Devon have been praying for you...we love u and really missed your smileing face at church tonight. I really enjoy reading your blog...I love how down to earth u r, u make me feel normal for how I feel and deal with things. It makes me feel more secure in my walk with the Lord (I feel so alone sometimes with my problems)I actually started a blog this week I love writeing and it's nice to write out my feelings. I love u and if there is anything I can do for u please let me know.
DaNella Auten said…
lol I said that today... one step forward, two steps back... lol
LAURIE said…
I know all about ice packs and heating pads...I lived with mine these past 12 months but Praise God since my surgery in November I am free from them!

I am praying for you, and if you don't mind, I would like to add you to our prayer the meantime..."be still and know I am God" - May His peace and healing pour over your body tonight!

-Blessings, Laurie
Aaron said…
Hey Deanna, sorry I didn't write earlier. I saw your health issues and have prayed for you and I will continue. I am glad you are facing reality with the whole thing. I can only imagine how difficult being a pastor can be. Some of the stories are just unreal! From your blog I know you and can tell heartbreaking situations are more difficult for you than the next person. The trip after not getting enough rest was going to really press your system to the limits. I knew that because you were not going to get any rest there either and you didn't. You're not a spring chicken anymore. I am glad you are finding and dealing with your limits. That is maturity and wisdom. We all grow from our mistakes or our over enthusiasm (in this case). I hope and pray for the exact problem to be found and corrected and for God to do His healing. You are no less of a person. In fact, with wisdom and knowledge you are more:^) God has you right where He wants and needs you. You are a great blessing!
Thanks everybody...really appreciate your love and prayers more than you know.

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