Monday, March 30, 2015

A Book Review

  Shortly after I found out that my kidney was failing in 2013, I was in my favourite Christian bookstore and my eye caught a new book by Max Lucado.  The title was "You'll Get Through This: Hope and Help For Your Turbulent Times".  I immediately felt like God was trying to get my attention.  There may as well have been a giant neon sign hanging above it saying "This is what you need! Right here!"  A few weeks ago, I finally got around to reading it.
  Let me start by saying that I have read many of Max's books, and I've loved all of them.  There's just something about the way he writes.  I feel like I'm sitting in a sunny cafe drinking coffee and talking with my best friend.  There are always so many moments in the books where I see myself.
  This is by far my favourite book of his that I've read.  In this book, Max uses the Biblical story of Joseph to illustrate how God uses the worst circumstances in our lives for good.
It may take time, and it won't be easy.  But God will use the bad in our lives to do good.
  Some quotes from the book:
  "You'll get through this.  It won't be painless.  It won't be quick.  But God will use this mess for good.  Don't be foolish or naive.  But don't despair either.  With God's help, you'll get through this."
  "Joseph would be the first to tell you that life in the pit stinks.  Yet for all its rottenness, doesn't the pit do this much? It forces you to look upward.  Someone from up there must come down here to give you a hand.  God did for Joseph.  And at the right time, in the right way, he will do the same for you."
  "In God's hands, intended evil becomes eventual good."

  If you or you someone you know is going through a storm in their life, then you need this book.  It won't solve all your problems, but it will give you the encouragement you need to keep going in spite of them.  You can find it online ar or, or it may be available at your local bookstore.
 Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Life Re-Imagined

  When we're little we dream about what we're going to be when we grow up.  We dream about the person we'll marry and the homes that we'll live in and the families we'll have and the places we'll go on vacation.  As we get older and our interests change, so do our dreams.   Sometimes dreams come true.  Sometimes one dream gets put on the back burner in order to pursue a new or different dream.  And sometimes life throws a brick at you and shatters your dreams, and you're left standing in the wreckage wondering what the hell just happened.  So what do you do you do? How do you carry on when everything that you've built is lying pieces at your feet? Do you sit in the smoking ruins and wallow in your misery, or do you try to find your way out of the chaos? Do you dream again?
  Being told that my kidneys were failing and I needed a transplant was my first brick.  Finding out some 13 years later that the transplant was failing was the second one.  I felt like the universe had played a giant cosmic trick on me, but I wasn't laughing.  Since I've begun this journey with kidney failure and transplantation and back to kidney failure, I've experienced just about every emotion in the book.  I wish I could say that I've dealt well with my situation, but I'd be lying.  I'm only human, after all, and I'm going to screw up along the way.  All I can do is try my best and share what I've learned, and maybe in the process I can help someone else.  So here's some of what I've discovered.
  Facing a challenge like chronic illness tends to change how you look at a lot of things.  You gain a whole new perspective on life when you realize that your hourglass suddenly has a lot less sand in it.  The things that you once thought were so important are, in the grand scheme of things, really not that important at all.  Things that once would have sent you into a tailspin now seem like petty inconveniences.  And the little things that you never really paid attention to become much more meaningful.  And with time, eventually you dare to start dreaming again, like I did.  But my dreams are different now.  They're more focused and short term.  I'm trying to avoid making plans based on "someday", because there may not be a "someday" for me.  I try to enjoy life the best that I can, and I try not to take anything for granted.
  The biggest challenge is adjusting to a new reality.  Building a new life using a new set of plans, which look muddled and confused and not at all like the picture on the box.  It can be a really scary process, and there are bound to be setbacks along the way.  Do you give up and quit, or do you keep muddling along and try to get through the roadblock?  I've had people ask me how I can stay so positive in the face of what I'm going through.   I tell them it's about making a conscious choice.  Every day I'm constantly deciding how I'm going to deal with my disease.  Sometimes I take things day by day, other times I take things hour by hour.  And then there are the really tough days when I have to take it minute by minute.  Chronic disease is a mental battle as much as a physical one.  Will I beat it, or will I let it beat me? It's not a battle I always win.  In all honesty, it beats me more often than I care to admit.  But I can either choose to wallow in my defeat, or I can choose to pick myself up, dust myself off and vow to fight again tomorrow.  It's not always easy.  In fact, some days it's really damn hard.  It can be difficult to carry on when you're surrounded by darkness and you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But the important thing to remember is that there is always something worth fighting for.  There's a reason to keep going, in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  There's a new dream waiting for you.  This is your life, just re-imagined, and it's up to you to decide what you're going to do with it.
  "When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on, or you will learn to fly." (Unknown)

Until next time,