“Whatever Comes I’ll Be Ready…You Keep Me Steady”

My devotional this morning was about being thankful despite  times of uncertainty and pain when dealing with a chronic illness. You many not be living with a chronic illness, but there are many times of uncertainty and pain that daily creep into your life. It seems impossible to find gratefulness when you are in the bottom of the valley without any possible way of escape in sight; let alone being thankful for the situation itself. It doesn’t feel good  continually living in pain and distress. It doesn’t feel good having to struggle and fight, and to continually lose each and every time. What if I told you that you can be thankful, in the valley, the pain, distress, uncertainty. What if I told you that you can be thankful and grateful for the storm.

It seems crazy! Why would I be thankful for having lupus, and what could I possibly be grateful for? I must be losing it right!?! NOPE!! Not at all!! Reading this devotional this morning was right on time. The Lord has really been showing me how to be thankful for my chronic illness.  If I can learn to be thankful for this horrible illness that has left me in anxiety and depression, pain 24 hours of the day for the past 14 and a half years, took away my independence, my appearance, at times my sanity, safety, and everything I knew to be true, while literally trying to kill me, what else is there really to worry about!! I mean really think about that!! The Lord knew long before today what I would being going through. He knew since the beginning that in May of 2000, I would get sick with a chronic, incurable disease. He already made the provisions for me, and provided me with everything I will need to fight long before there was a battle; long before time knew time existed!!!  Just like me, the Lord knew your tears and pain would come. He knew that we both would make decisions that would bring dishonor to his name, yet he made a way for us before we even existed!!

Yes I have lupus! Yes, sometimes it seems unbearable, painful, and uncertain, but I am thankful!!  My fingers are cramping as I type this, and my knees are aching, as well as every other joint in my withered body, but guess what!?!? I am thankful for it!! When I opened my eyes in pain, that was a sign I was still alive!! When my swollen ankles hit the floor and I limp to the bathroom, I am walking on my own unassisted! God say’s,

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Nothing is too hard for my God! Lupus is not stronger than my GOD!! Your problems are not bigger than my God! Whatever comes I will be ready!! The Lord has already made provisions for me! He will not leave me to fight alone. Even when I don’t understand, and the world is crumbling down all around me, I will be thankful! He knows the answer, for he is the answer!

“You keep me steady when the sky is falling
And I’ll keep steady after You
I’ll carry on when my strength is failing
Take heart ‘cause You’re with me
So let the sun stop, stars drop, whatever comes
I’ll be ready, You keep me steady
You keep me steady” – For King and Country “Steady”

Brandi 🙂

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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.

“Imagine Me”/”Flaws And All”

Scrolling down my Facebookwall today, I have seen the same picture over and over again.  It is a post baby pic of Kim Kardashin in an ill fitting white bathing suit. I know many of you have seen it as well because it seems every form of media has posted it or is talking about it.  While I admire how quickly she has been able to shed her baby weight and return to her beautiful curvy figure, I can’t help but think about the sabbatical we have had for the past 10-12 months not having to be bombarded by pics of her on  instagram in varying states of undress, and how much I have enjoyed it. She is a beautiful women but geesh! Scrolling further along, I see an article about a young girl that was found in the middle of her crowded high school cafeteria giving oral sex to another male student.  Though these articles would seem to be two unrelated stories, they sadly are very much the same.

I have to admit, throughout my childhood and my teens I didn’t love myself. I liked myself, but I didn’t love myself.  I had body issues, hair issues, daddy issues, clothes, money, boys; all the issues that come with growing up a little brown girl under the California sun.  I really didn’t learn to love myself until I was in college.  For the most part I was comparing myself to the other girls, (who probably had the same insecure issues I had) in my jr. high and high school. It wasn’t the Gwenyth Paltrow’s on the red carpet, or the stunning Beyonce’s entertaining the masses, or the Kim Kardashin’s in every magazine on every shelf in the grocery store check out line. Though  at the time I felt I could never have all the things my classmates possessed, everything they had, or looked like they had was some how obtainable even if I didn’t know that then.  Even in their school yard perfection they still had a zit or two, had lipstick on their teeth, or bad hair days every once in a while.  I was able to see that the “princess of the ball” was sometimes off her A game just like me.  Even though I didn’t love myself, I liked myself a whole bunch.  Liking myself filled in the gaps of my insecurities until I could learn to love who I was.

I think about my nieces and I know that already in their young lives they are already being indoctrinated about what is beautiful and what is not. Unlike me their young minds are already barraged by the flawless perfection of societies idea of beauty. Unlike me, they are not shown bad hair days, zits, or any form of imperfections. All they see are impeccable photos that have been doctored beyond recognition, or the glamorous life of celebrities that is idolized on tv or social media.  It makes me wonder will they ever learn to love themselves.  Will they ever learn to even like themselves?  Will they constantly compare their self worth to an unattainable apparition that doesn’t exist. I pray when they realize that they can’t attain this false perfection they see around them, they don’t look for it, crave it, from other means. I pray they don’t look for that love from a bottle or a drugs altering haze. I pray they don’t look for it in a boy, whose love is conditioned on what she can do for him.  I pray they don’t look for it in an addicted obsession of body dismorphia.  I pray they don’t seek attention using their body as currency. I pray they grow to love themselves and all their imperfections because they are unique, special, wonderful individuals who are carefully and wonderfully made by a perfect all loving GOD.  I want them to grow to love those things that make them different.  I want them to know they are very extraordinary girls and they are loved, because there are so many little girls who have never heard this, and so many women who have yet to believe it. By birthright, you have always been “the princess of the ball”!!

Brandi 🙂

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

“For Every Mountain…”

My friend Kristen posted this on facebook. This story really touched me. Even though our diagnosis is different our story is the same.  Please keep this young lady  in your prayers.

 

(Thanks Kristen)

 

Brandi 🙂

“Here I Am”

news.yahoo.com

Even though Marvin Sapp has reached the pinnacle of success career wise, the gospel singer still wakes up with mixed emotions when reminiscing of his wife who died seven months ago.

 

Thank GOD for Malinda Sapp, and Thank GOD for Marvin.  I am sure it was the trials of dealing with a sick wife and all the feelings that go with it (THANK GOD FOR CAREGIVERS) that influenced his 8th album entitled “Here I Am”. 

While going through my MANY comments from my last two blogs, (Thank you everyone for all the comments and encouragement.) I came across Libi Brown who in regard to my “God Restores” blog said to me,

“Thank you so much 4 that cuz, I am over shedding tears of joy!! You have given me hope!!! People always say 2 use ur dark times as blessings 2 others & that is just what u have done, much luv & respect!!!!”

 

This is why I have to thank Marvin Sapp. It was his song  “Here I Am” off of his title track cd that has got me through many, many days. Sometimes I would play that song 8 times in one sitting until I could smile.  It forced me to take a look at all that God had brought me through. There was no reason for me to worry, cry or feel burden because “Here I am. I’m still standing”. He has brought me through for the past 11years. Why would he leave me now?!  Why would he let go of my hand now?! There is no way I can let the devil win now!! He held me up during chemotherapy, carried me when I was in my wheelchair for two years, he hand delivered my kidney for my kidney transplant, he healed my body from infection in 3 MONTHS when the doctor told me 6, and he walks with me now as I learn to get back on my feet. THANK YOU JESUS!  Thank you for being you.

You may be going through something now, and It may seem that God has forgotten about you. I am here tell you he has not! Just hold on to his promises and be HEALED!!

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev. 21:4

 My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body. Proverbs 4:20-22 NAS

 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. Psalm 103:2-3 NIV

The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness. I said, “O Lord, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” Psalm 41:3-4 NIV

O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” Psalm 30:2 NIV

 He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Psalm 107:20 NAS

 I will never forget your commandments, for you have used them to restore my joy and health. Psalm 119:93 NLT

 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17 NIV

 “I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” Jeremiah 33:6 NIV

 “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and laws, then I will not make you suffer the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15:26 NLT

 “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” Malachi 4:2 NLT

 
“Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8 NKJV


“The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11 NLT


“Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You have restored my health and have allowed me to live!” Isaiah 38:16 NLT


Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV


He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24 NIV


When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.” Matthew 8:16-17 NIV


And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, and saying, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” And after He had come into the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “Be it done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Matthew 9:27-30 NAS


Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached Jesus. He knelt before him, worshiping. “Lord,” the man said, “if you want to, you can make me well again.” Jesus touched him. “I want to,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Matthew 8:2-3 NLT


“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” Acts 3:16 NIV


“It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” Acts 4:10 NIV


Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:14-16 NIV


Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers. 3 John 2 AMP


“The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63 NIV


“He did it to teach you that people need more than bread for their life; real life comes by feeding on every word of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3 NLT


May the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). 1 Thessalonians 5:23 AMP


A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 AMP


The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear? Proverbs 18:14 AMP

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows]. Psalm 147:3 AMP

 

Thank you Jesus for finding me strong enough and worthy enough to be your walking testimony!

Brandi (I am still standing 🙂