“Little Becomes Much”

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http://www.npr.org/2014/11/21/365433685/if-we-left-they-wouldnt-have-nobody

If you haven’t,  please listen to the story above. 

I am so grateful for these young men. No, there wasn’t one of my family members in the facility, but it could have been. Isn’t it something how GOD can use something in your past that the devil meant for evil, to help someone else!?!  Miguel Alvarez talked about how his parents had abandoned him. He remembered how it made him feel. That was the reason he couldn’t just leave the residents like the other employees had.

These men, one hired as a cook and the other as a janitor probably thought they were hired just to do that job, but at just the right time GOD equipped them to do the job of a whole facility from the doctors on down! These men were put there for a purpose.  This wasn’t a job they just happened to get.  GOD had a plan. All they had to do was be willing and able.

You may not be where you think you should be in your life and it is keeping you from doing what GOD wants you to because you don’t feel qualified. Did you know that my GOD is a qualifier! ! GOD doesn’t need your degree our your money in your account! He used a cook and a janitor who helped more people than they probably know. He is waiting to use you in that job that you feel is just a dead beat job and is not going anywhere. Work that job like you own the place! Maybe one day you will!

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is blessed to give than to receive.
Acts 20:35

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.   Colossians 3:17

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

 

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“Jesus Take The Wheel!”

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook that lupus was the best thing that ever happened to me.  Many people didn’t understand how such a horrible disease could  be the best thing that could ever happen . Even my husband looked at me crazy after reading it. It was not a typo! It is absolutely the truth!!

Recently I was talking to a friend that has been in a valley for some time now.  I was sharing with her how GOD allowed me to reach the lowest point in my life so I would let go and totally depend on him. For many years he let me do things my way.  He allowed me to pray to him and ask him to fix problems in my life while not truly believing that he would do it. I had plan A & B covered, and GOD was my plan C. How many of us pray to GOD to fix certain things in our lives, yet we don’t believe that he can do it, so we try to do things our way? I know I have. Despite the many times that I mocked GOD in prayer, disrespected him and spit in his face while telling him what I was going to do, he still loved me. Even in my sin he still loved me! While I smiled and worshiped him in public, I denied him in my heart in private!! Yet, he loved me so much he used lupus to save my life!!

I have an issue with control. I love it and want more of it. I have an issue with trust. It is rarely given, and quickly can be snatched away. The Lord know’s I struggle with both of these. My issues with trust and control were hampering my relationship with him.  I had built my wall up so strong and high that I wasn’t even letting the Lord through it!! He not only broke my walls down, he bulldozed that baby!! He took ALL control from me. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom by myself. I had to depend on strangers to clean me up afterwards. I had to trust that they  would take care of me. My most intimate moments, and basic private human functions had to be attended to by others. There was absolutely nothing under my control. I was flat on my back, and couldn’t do anything but look up.  That is where I found GOD’s love.

Why did it take lupus for me to learn my lesson? Why couldn’t I just surrender all on my own?  I would have saved myself so much time, heartache and pain if I would have let it all go and believe GOD would take care of me. Would I be the person I am today.?Here I am with a chronic disease that has no cure. If I worry or become stressed about anything, I will have a flare up. I live with chronic pain everyday for the past 14 years. There are days I can barely get out of the bed. This has forced me to learn  how  to ask for help. I can’t even  attempt to try to do it all; my body won’t allow me to!

Wow! What a crazy faith walk it has been over the past 14 years. I have seen the Lord perform so many miracles in my life. Things have not come together by luck or happenstance. It was the hand of GOD moving in my life. I have been in the hospital room when the doctors come in,with their faces drawn trying to explain to me that my  tests, and kidney function isn’t looking to good, then come back a few days later to be told that my kidney prognosis is great!! I have seen how the Lord helped the doctors to diagnosis me with lupus within 2 weeks while many other lupies take years and years to get a diagnosis. I have seen the Lord move when I got pregnant after the doctor told me I would never be able to have children due to the chemo making me infertile. I have seen the Lord shut down the words of the first obstetrician I went to when he told me that I would be horribly sick during my pregnancy and my son, if he survived, would be the sickest baby in the nursery. He told me to get an abortion. He then told me I was young and could have more children later. Eight months later, my son was born premature, but with absolutely no health issues!! While pregnant I was the healthiest I had ever been. My kidneys even healed themselves despite having to do the work for two!!  These and many more miracles have truly strengthen my faith. I know longer worry about what tomorrow brings, because I know GOD has already taken care of it.  I checked my account this morning and  my balance will not cover the rest of my bills for the month, but I am not worried at all. Our car is broken down right now, but I am not worried one bit!! He has promised me he would supply all my needs, and he hasn’t failed me yet!

I don’t know GOD’s plans for my future. I don’t know if it is his will to be totally healed, or if this will just be something I have to live with for the rest of my life.  2 Corinthians 12:8-9 says,

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

It wasn’t until I lost all control that I was able to experience GOD’s mighty power! Yes it is sometimes a rough road to travel,  and some days are hard to endure. Yes, frustration exists, and many tears are shed, but I will continue to give him the praise regardless of what may come my way!!!   Through it all, lupus ABSOLUTELY was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am a walking testimony!! GOD’s GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!!!

Brandi 🙂

 

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“I Will Survive…I’ve got all my life to live!”

Today wasn’t a good day. I woke up with another cold (number 5 so far this year). Because of my anti-rejection drugs I have a decreased immune system.  Every time I get sick it sends my body into a tail spin. I peeled myself out of the bed this morning.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days where a cold was just a cold and nothing else.  It is so frustrating!!!  It has been 14 years living with this life altering disease and it never gives me a day off; no weekends or holidays. I live with chronic pain 24 hours a day.  I have become accustomed to it. It is like a house guest that refuses to leave. Most people would never know what I go through day to day unless I told them.  I have learned to put a smile on my face and keep it moving.  There is no need to dwell on what is, if there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t get me wrong. There are days when it is just too much.There are days when I ask God why? There are days when I am angry that I can’t do what I want to. There are days I am angry that people don’t understand my limitations or my pain. Sometimes I am pleading God to give me just one day to be who I think I am in my head.

I have learned it is ok to be upset or angry in the valley.  It is suppose to be uncomfortable.  I am  not suppose to like it.  Sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes I will be sad, and wonder if I will every have a reason to smile.  If I never had valley moments I would never appreciate the good times. I would never be grateful for my good days if I never had a bad one. I would never know that GOD is a healer and a refuge in my time of trouble. Yes, I woke up in pain, but I WOKE UP. Someone else lived their last day.God is so good that even when I lose, I win! He has already given me what I need to make it through the day. Some how I have been given a strength I never new I had.  It is nothing I could have done on my own. It is all God. What I lack he fills in the gap, and renews my strength. He is the reason I can keep going. Though it may not always seem like it, God has already given me what I need to be VICTORIOUS!!

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

his understanding is unsearchable.

 He gives power to the faint,

and to him who has no might he increases strength.

 Even youths shall faint and be weary,

and young men shall fall exhausted;

 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

they shall walk and not faint.”

-Isaiah 40:28-31

“But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”

-Isaiah 43:1-3

Brandi 🙂

Recently I gave Shared my testimony for “They Overcame By”. Watch and be encouraged.

“Put It On The Altar!”

Last week I wrote about my new health crisis. (“My Soul Is Anchord” https://lupieloop.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/)  My labs showed increased protein in my urine.  After a kidney biopsy, I learned that I have significant scarring on my transplant kidney. I was told I had irreversible damage. They still didn’t know why, or what was attacking my kidney. Though I have been concerned I have been prayerfully walking in faith. I have had so many people praying on my behalf.  I have been prepared to do what was necessary on my part to keep rejection at bay.  I have been saying that this storm was my testimony before my testimony. Well here is the testimony!!

I returned to UAB this morning. I was prepared for what ever the dr had to say, because no matter what, I believed that in the Lord’s time it would be worked out.  I was happy to see Dr. Gaston walk in.  You can tell he has been doing this job for a long time. He thoroughly explains what’s going on in clear terms.  I believe the Lord wanted me to fully understand what was going on.  He began with small talk and a review of what happened last week, then he busted out the lap top with the results of the labs for this week. Now, please listen closely.  He said that my protein levels are going down.  I had a wonderful creatinine level of .09 (0.4-1.3).  Then he dropped the real deal news. THERE WERE NO ANTIBODIES PRESENT!!!  Basically there is nothing in my body attacking my kidneys!! NOTHING!! ZILCH!!!  He continued on to say that he thinks by November all of my levels should be back to normal and my prognosis looks good!  Even some of the scarring should go away!! PRAISE GOD!!

I have said this before. I do not know why the Lord chose me to walk this journey. All I know is that over the past 13 years, the Lord has brought me to this place where I learned to live with FEARLESS FAITH!! I have been through so much, and each and every time I go through a storm I always come out better on the other side.  I have learned to praise in my weakness, in pain, and through my tears.  He has never left me!  He has done so much that I have no fear of storms that may  pass, because I know I believe in a life guard that can walk on water!!  I know that what ever he promised me in his word he will deliver. It isn’t always in my time. It is in the time of a GOD that created time!!

There are so many people going through just life, and they are barely staying afloat.  Finances are low, and jobs now days are scarce.  I know. I am living it too.  All I can tell you is you are GOD’S child.  He knows exactly what you need. He may give you just enough to be able to look up and gasp for air before you go down again.  This is not the time to give up!! It is time to lay on your back, look up and learn to float until your change comes!!! He is grooming you so you can walk in  FEARLESS FAITH!!  The bible say’s,

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”  Psalm 55:22

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

You have the perfect set up, “The Dream Team”,  if only you will believe on him.  Jesus is our lawyer, the Holy Spirit is co council and God all mighty  is the Judge.  Don’t you know you have won before you were even taken to trial?!?!? You can never lose whether it is about a job, finances, health, or hurts and pains.  The trial is over and the judges decision was  in your favor!!  It is time that we become FEARLESS FAITH Christians.  Oh what more does the Lord have in store for us if we only asked, believing he could?  There would be so much, we wouldn’t have room enough to receive it!!  (Malachi 3:10) Thank you GOD for giving me my testimony before the testimony and teaching me to live my life as a FEARLESS FAITH Christian!!

” Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1 

“Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.”  Matthew 9:22

“Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.”  Matthew 15:28

“Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  Matthew 21:21-22

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, o him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

“He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”  Psalm 107:21-33

“Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”  Psalm 103:2-6

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”  Psalm 34:19-20

“Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;  you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;  praise his holy name.”  Psalm 30:2-4

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress; he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.”  Psalm 107:19-21

“You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you.”  Exodus 23:25

‘O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”  Psalm 30:2

 

God’s greatness is unmeasurable ,

his grace immense,

and his love everlasting!

Brandi 🙂

* Thanks to all of you that have thought of me and prayed on my behalf.

Check out my fb page at: www.facebook.com/thebutterflystitcher

“My Soul Is Anchored”

If someone were to ask how i feel right now I would say concerned, but steadfast. Today was definitely a test of faith, but I still believe the Lord is in control. I had a kidney biopsy on my 7-year-old transplant kidney today.  Though I feel fine, my labs show there is a considerable amount of protein in my urine.  The doctors have not been able to find out why.  The biopsy shows that I have significant scarring and is beginning to show early signs of possible rejection.  The scarring is irreversible . They have decided to increase some of my anit-rejection meds and add a new medication in hopes of slowing down anything that may be causing it and try to prolong the kidney as long as possible. The positives are though my kidney isn’t ideal, they say that my function is over 60% and is functioning very well to have such significant scarring. If for what ever reason it drops down to 20% I will be put back on the transplant list.  The other positive news is that my lupus is still in remission and was not the reason the kidney isn’t functioning as it should be.  They want me to return next Wednesday to see how my body is taking the new milligram changes, and the new drug that they are prescribing to decrease the protein.

I listened to all they had to say, and their advice, but inside I was praying.  I have been here before.  I have been in a hospital bed too many times with a diagnosis that seems to leave me in the deepest and steepest valley, and each time I pray and ask the Lord if he chooses not to heal me today, just allow me to make it to see tomorrow. It has been 13 years and I am still here! They do not know my story. They don’t know how many times the Lord has sustained me, carried and kept me.  They do not know I was in a wheel chair for 2 years unable to walk.  They do not know how my son shouldn’t even be alive.  They do not know!!! I feel like Noah right now.  I have built this huge ship, loaded it with the animals, and now I am looking out the window with nothing but water as far as my eye’s can see.  My family has made it through the storm, though uncomfortable there has been no casualties. I have sent out the raven, and now the dove, and I am waiting for the olive branch.  He will send me that olive branch. It may not be today, or tomorrow, but it will be done!! Until then I will take my medication as prescribed and remain in prayer. This is  my testimony before my testimony!! Whether he heals my kidney today, or if I must hold on until he provides a new kidney, my freshly plucked olive branch is already on the way!

Continue to keep me in prayer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B8RCeJ4hm4

 

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“It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it!”

I have had several people, including doctors that have told me that I am a very good patient, and that I deal with having a chronic illness pretty well. I am very meticulous about my medication regimen.  I know what medication I take, the milligrams and why.  I ask questions before procedures, and I am not afraid to tell a doctor no if I am not comfortable with their method of treatment.  I have been through a lot over the last 13 years, but by no means was I always this way. It wasn’t that long ago I was in the dark with no flash light.  I have learned to adjust to the “darkness” out of necessity.  My only hope and goal was to LIVE!

Lupus is an unforgiving disease.  You get a diagnosis on Monday, and by Wednesday you barely recognize the person in the mirror. My face became more round  and changed into what is known as the “moon face” with flattened  facial features. Hunger seems to never subside, and it wasn’t long before my  figure started to resemble that of a  spider with a rounded abdomen with arms and legs sticking out. All of this was due to inflamation and  the high doses of steroids.  It was hard to prevent because I was in so much pain just walk to the bathroom, let alone trying to walk laps on some bodies track.  Just the thought of it would make me want to cuss someone out!!

The changes are very hard to deal with. It is no wonder that many Lupies struggle with depression.  How would you feel if you woke up one day and your life was TOTALLY changed. One day you are able to walk, the next day you can’t. One day you can fit you favorite pair of jeans, and the next day  you can’t pull them up past your thighs. One day you can take a shower on your own, then the next day all you can do is sit there while someone you just met earlier that morning is giving you a sponge bath.  It is hard to all take in.  I get a little misty just remembering those dark days.

After much sadness, depression, anger and then acceptance, it was time to deal with my “new normal”. I may never look like my pre-lupus self ever again, but I learned how to work with what I have. My clothes may be a bigger size, and I may not be able to wear my favorite dress again, but I can still rock an outfit with the perfect shoes and accessories. My hair fell out, but my husband hooked me up with a tight cut until my hair was able to grow back. I can’t run the miles that I use too, but I can flop around the pool and still burn a few calories without feeling like I am about to die.  I had to learn I can still be me. Lupus can’t change that. No matter what diagnosis I was given, it couldn’t change my heart, my dreams or my desires.  I can enjoy the same things in life, it just has to be executed differently.  Once I realized that, I could deal with the diagnosis of a disease that may never be cured.  I didn’t get to this point over night.  It was, and still is a fight everyday to not allow myself to become lost in depression and hopelessness, but I have to keep on living, or keep on dying.  With an illness where control is relinquished without consultation, it is the one thing I have control of.

The other thing that I could have control over was my medical care. I researched all I could about lupus.  I learned about my medications and asked why they were prescribed.  To make sure I am at my best, I take meds and I don’t miss a dosage. I don’t put a pill in my mouth that I do not know what it is. When I am not feeling my best, I make sure if I have a busy day, I give my body adequate time to recover so I don’t  spend a week on strong pain meds trying to catch up on my pain. I keep up with new treatments and ways to make my life easier.  I had to become my own advocate. I am the only one who can know how I am feeling.  Sometimes it is a hit, others may be a miss, but every decision is an informed one.  It is talked about and decided by me and my doctors.  I don’t have to agree to procedures that I am not comfortable with just because the doctor told me to.  After all, it is my body, not theirs.

Everyday isn’t always filled with smiles.  I still have some days where I feel a little overwhelmed with the frustration of a body that won’t allow me to do what my mind wants too.  Depression still knocks on my door, and sometimes it is kicked opened without permission, but I know longer feel like I have a hopeless future where I am just existing. Lupus is not my death sentence.  It is up to me whether to keep on living, or to keep on dying.  I choose to live!

 

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“Three Times A Lady” (Happy Birthday To You!!!)


Today she would have been 81. It doesn’t seem like it has been a whole year since I saw her last.  We threw her  a grand surprise party, and I will have memories of it…of her, for the rest of my life.  For some reason I thought she would live forever.  She was 80 years young, and even sick she could run circles around me.  She had a quick wit, and a come back for everything. She was hilarious too!! I will never forget the conversation about “German Shepard Cake”, or my mom having a “Blue Bird” phone.  I remember a conversation she and I had just a week or so before she passed.  My mom is often hard to get a hold of.  I would call and leave messages and sometimes won’t hear from her until 2 weeks later.  She was having the same problem.  She said she was going to have someone call her and tell her that she missed her funeral.  She was the best with the dry sarcastic humor.

Vegas was her playground. She could hang with the best.  It seemed like she turned into the Energizer Bunny. She didn’t need a reason to go, and turned every holiday into a Vegas Holiday.  If it wasn’t Vegas, it was a Morango holiday.  You wouldn’t even know she was gone until she would roll into the house early in the morning.

She loved her family very much!! Though she may not have said it, her actions showed it.  She left behind a legacy, 4 daughters,  26 grand children, 40 great grandchildren and one great great grandchildren.  She will be missed but never forgotten. Happy Birthday Grandma Constance!!! Can’t wait to see you at the SAVIOR’S feet.  Oh what a reunion that will be!!!

One Great Day

Yet we must not forget
we believe in an everlasting hope.
One that conquers all pain,
And heals all wounds.
He raised Lazarus from the dead
And himself from the tomb.
With all power he rose again,
Proclaiming his promise of return.

Oh will you be ready,
When he returns and cracks the sky,
When demons are stifled and death itself will die?
Where hurts will be forgotten
And disappointments will be no more.
Loved one’s will be reunited
Some day on that distant shore.
His promises will all be reviled,
No more sorrow, loss, no more worry or pain,
With a loud cry,
The dead in Christ will rise
And the rest will meet them in the sky.

Oh what a joyous day,
When we all see him face to face.
Yes, we have hope to see our loved one’s again,
On that earth made new time will never end.

Until then I am getting ready,
For that wonderful place beyond the sky,
When years are but an instance,
With him forever we will abide
His grace was sufficient,

His promises were true
His glories I see,
His mercies anew.
One day we will all be with him
Oh what a reunion that will be“When we all get to heaven ,
We will sing and shout the victory”.

-Brandi Watts

Copyright © 2012, All rights reserved by author

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Constance Marie Clark-Daniels-Clemons

April 29, 1931-September 24, 2011