Counting Our Blessings

Counting Our Blessings

Friday, December 22, 2017

Nothing IS Impossible With God

I’m sitting here in the quiet overwhelmed by God’s goodness. Like seriously ugly crying.  The waterworks are flowing yet I’m smiling. You guys ever have those moments?  Why is it one moment you can feel so down and frustrated and the next you feel like your going to burst from the joy you feel inside?  This happens so much for me.  It’s easy to get down and frustrated by my circumstances.  I mean from the moment I wake up to the moment I lie down to go to sleep all I think about is how to make things physically easier for me.  I have to think about not falling on the way to the restroom, who’s going to help get me dressed for the day etc.  I feel guilty for not being the kind of wife, mother, and friend I think everyone deserves.  I get disappointed, and feel the losses greatly.  Every new loss is like a sucker punch to the gut.  Yet the Lord is constantly working on me and he constantly uses his people to bring me encouragement. This week I got the most beautiful heartfelt Christmas card in the mail from Jonah(see picture below).  Jason started to read it out loud and couldn’t make it past the third sentence.  He was overcome with emotion.  I took over and only got through the next two.  Wow! This kid blows me away by his tender heart.  It was exactly what I needed. A sweet reminder that it doesn’t matter that they have a mom who is limited in her physical abilities.  They see (more than me sometimes) how God is using it for good.  The very next day I got an unexpected card with an unexpected gift for our family and again I was taken back.  I feel like when these moments happen it’s God giving me a sweet embrace letting me know he is near and that their is purpose in the pain.

Last week Our Sermon was continuing the Christmas Story and he focused in on the fact that Nothing is Impossible with God.  It was a really good message and hard one at the same time.  He challenged us to think about what we are holding back from thinking God can do. I feel like I believe and know that he CAN do anything.  So I know that he CAN take this disease from us I just don’t think he will. I guess I’m afraid to think he will maybe out of fear of being disappointed. Which challenged me to ask myself, if I know that God can do the impossible, and work mightily through this challenge we face, would I want him to take it away?  This is something I wrestle with all the time and I have come to the conclusion that it’s ok to hate the suffering while at the same time being so grateful for it.  Jesus himself asked in Luke 22:42 “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” So this is my prayer Father if you are willing, but not my will, but thine be done.

I pray that you would Know that All things ARE possible with God.  I pray that you would marvel at the incredible story of our Saviors Birth and realize what an incredible gift HE is.

Friday, November 3, 2017

I'll Push you

Last night I went and saw the One night only showing of “I’ll Push You”.  If you haven’t heard of the film here is a link to the trailer. It is about a man named Justin who has a debilitating disease that has left him without the use of his hands and legs.  After watching a documentary about the Camino De Santiago trek he has a yearning to go.  He brings it up to his friend Patrick who says I’ll push you.  I had been looking forward to seeing this movie for a whole host of reasons.  Mostly I was thankful that it would be bringing more awareness to what life is like with such a debilitating disease. Not just for the person who has the disease but also the people caring for that person.  Most people don’t always get a real good view on the difficulty it is to even do the simplest tasks like getting dressed and combing your hair.  I felt like this movie did a really good job portraying this aspect well.  It showed how much work his best friend patrick did on a daily basis just to get his friend ready for bed and up and ready to get on the hike each day.  I loved the tender and thoughtful moments it captured of Patrick the friend.  One thing in particular was in transferring Justin from his wheel chair to another chair. The audience saw Justin’s pants fall down.  Once transferred Patrick asked Justin if he needed his pants adjusted. Patrick was intentional in thinking of all of Justin’s needs understanding how vulnerable Justin has to feel to allow him to help.  I appreciated the sweet friendship between the two.  I was overcome with emotion that Patrick would move his family out of state to go help Justin’s wife care for their kids and Justin.  The film did a great job portraying the importance of community and friendship and really entering in to peoples lives.One particular moment in the film had me sobbing.  The last leg of the 500 mile trek was going to be super difficult terrain, high inclines, and windy weather.  They were debating if they should call it quits.  Once in town they were surprised to see a huge group of fellow hikers who waited for Patrick and Justin so that they could help ensure they had help to finish the last section.  It was touching to see strangers helping, Justin trusting others, and patrick allowing others the privilege of helping.  It's a beautiful story.  I was however sad that it really lacked depth in the purpose of our suffering.  I was wanting to hear Justin credit the Lord for redeeming him from the darkness of having a desire to end his life.  I wanted to hear both them say they have a hope in Christ that is greater then their circumstances.  Overall I recommend the movie and hope it brings awareness to many out there and a heart to want to enter in to the hard.  I would love to know your thoughts.  As always thank you for following along.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Never Alone

Thank you for allowing me to share. Not just the days that I feel so much peace I could burst but also the days that are long and weary.  Thank you for pointing my eyes back to the one who is the lifter of my head.  This road for us is one thats marked with continual loss and grief but its also one with amazing opportunity to see God at work in the most precious ways. The last two weeks there have been countless times of God working in and through his people to show us encouragement.  God used several people to speak love and truth to my heart, as I studied Joshua for bible study, he spoke to my heart in reminding me how sovereign he is and how we are never fighting the battles alone.  He poured out his love in the form of homemade meals, texts, and phone calls.

 I'm always so touched by strangers around the world that would take the time to read our story, pray, and encourage our family.  Today I got the sweetest package in the mail.  My dear friend Kelly had nominated our family to be the recipients of some kindness from The Good King.  Look them up on Facebook.  They are a non profit company who create coloring pages for kids and adults to color and write a message. They send out a story and ask people all over the world to pray over the family and color a page.  They collect all the pages and mail them out.  Today we got ours and let me tell you it was such a joy not just to me but my children as well.  We spent time pouring over each one and just smiling over the Love we felt receiving them.  He once again reminded me to trust.  Trust that he is doing a beautiful work in and through the hard.  There is purpose in the pain and I will never know the extent to which he is using this battle for his glory.  Thank you Jesus for allowing me to see a few this week.  You are so gracious.

Thank you, all, those who have walked with us near and those who are walking just as closely from a distance. I have felt so very loved. Our family has been embraced, been prayed for, and  peace keeps showing up in real ways. I know I am not facing these physical challenges alone. Hard days are coming, and I’m counting on you all to point me to the grace that I know is waiting for me in those days.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

May I run and not grow weary

Thank you to so many of you who prayed for Noah’s Cardiac transplant clinic appointment.  Last visit they pushed Noah’s appointments to every six months.  This was great news but also the longest he has gone in the five years that we have been going to clinic.  This made me anxious for some reason leading up to this appointment.  I feel like I can never fully accept the good news without always waiting for the next ball to drop.  We haven’t exactly had the most smoothest ride these past six years.  We go long enough to take a big breathe and then go straight into the next big situation.  I’m always trying to be on guard waiting and preparing myself. That might be a coping strategy of some sort.  It brings me comfort when I have all the knowledge and Im prepared. Ha! I’m not sure that’s where God wants me though.  If we are always prepared then we operate without really needing him.  I feel like I’m able to accept what we have been dealt with and trust that God is working out his plan in each situation and I know with all my heart that there is purpose in it.  I just have a hard time trusting that everything is fine and is going to stay that way.  It’s like I’m always waiting for it. Waiting for the next big tidal wave to hit. This is how I went into todays appointment.  When the doctor came in and said his heart echo’s just keep looking better.  My heart felt relief but still not able to fully celebrate.  Don’t get me wrong I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I was to hear those words.  I’m so thankful but I still live each day wondering when it’s going to decline. I’m fearful of what could come next. They still want to do a Cardiac MRI to get a better look.  I think to myself Is this the test that creates the next tidal wave.  Why am I so fearful of what’s to come next?  I mean after all the Lord continues to show an immeasurable ways his goodness in the midst of these trials. He uses them over and over for his good.  We are just so tired and fear the emotional weariness that comes with each big wave.  Each day is a battle friends. Some days we feel strong and some days we just don’t.  I always want to be real with where I’m at.  It’s a struggle.  The last few weeks have been hard.  Noah is continually feeling the effects of his Muscular Dystrophy progressing and the doctor appointments for him have picked up.  After a wonderful meeting with Noah’s school they helped us adjust his schedule.  He comes home at lunch which has allowed him some much needed rest and availability for appointments.  It’s hard to watch his muscles start to fatigue and see things that were once easy to do become difficult. God is growing him and will no doubt continue to use him.  I want to be a good model for him of trusting and persevering.  I Know I can only do this with the Lord’s help.  Please pray for us friends.  Pray that God would meet me in my weariness. That tomorrow would be a new day.  An opportunity to meditate on Mathew 6:33-34.  That I would lay my fears at his feet, trusting that he has us all in the palm of his hands. Pray that we would not grow weary, that we would run to Jesus every time.  Thank you for allowing us to pour out our hearts and for continuing to walk this road with us.  We are grateful for you.

Friday, July 28, 2017

What's going on with the Lietzau's?

I wanted to check in with you all and give you an update on how we are all doing.

So many of you have asked when we will get our service dog.  I wish I had an exact date to share with you all.  We are eagerly waiting to be matched with just the right dog that will be able to assist me with my specific needs.  We raised all the necessary funds and are on the matching list waiting our turn. We have not been given any kind of time frame which makes it very hard to be patient.  We eagerly await the day I can start my handler training and introduce you all to our new friend.

Mel- I’m super thankful to be on the other side of those four surgeries.  The wires are securely in place, I’m slowly regaining my strength and energy, and getting back to some independence.  It feels good to not be the patient and to be Mom and wife again. It’s great just to be able to do normal things like school shopping or taking the kids for ice cream. My heart is doing good for the most part.  I have Cardiomyopathy(weakening of the heart muscle) however my heart is functioning well.  Overtime it will get weaker and weaker so we will start me on some preventative meds early to try and keep it stable.  My G-tube has been tricky getting use to the feedings and amounts. My weight has essentially stayed the same and sometimes gone down by a pound or so. My Gi is not so concerned with the number on the scale for my weight as what my albumin levels are.  If my albumin levels are good then the G-tube is serving its purpose and I’m fine and he is happy.  It’s been an adjustment but we are working out the kinks.

Noah had an amazing trip to Japan.  He fell in love with the country, enjoyed the people, the food, his team, the culture, and doing ministry.  He really wants to go back next year and even grew a heart to teach and live there in the future. Oh Boy! God has big plans for this boy.  Noah went to Hume Lake camp this year and it was very hard on him physically.  It’s a challenge at his age to have to face his limitations and make hard choices.  He tires easily, gets out of breathe, and feels the challenges of doing physical activity.  He continues to go to the Muscular Dystrophy clinic and cardiac transplant appointments.  We are noticing mild progression but more than that a matureness beyond his years as he accepts whats in front of him and relies on the Lord.  He said the other day how thankful he was for the strength God has given him up to this point.  He encourages me daily with his amazing attitude regarding his challenges.

Hannah is doing great. Since she is getting older her cardiologist wants to order a heart stress test and cardiac MRI to see how well she is tolerating activity and to see how the anatomy of her heart is doing.  It’s amazing that this sweet girl is functioning on a single ventricle and 17 other heart related issues.  You would never know it by looking at her.  She is full of energy most days and I have to remind myself to be grateful for that energy :)  She is looking forward to going to traditional school this year and still has big plans to be a cardiologist.

Jonah continues to bring the fun and funny to our family.  He is our constant entertainer.  He is a huge helper to mom and can make me smile on even the hardest of days.  He has a huge heart and constantly leads our family in bible time.He recently moved up to the middle school youth group at church. Gulp! He enjoyed a week up at Hume Lake camp with the youth group.  He had a blast.  He is enjoying the summer and looking forward to getting back into theatre when school starts. We are so thankful that God has protected his body and continues to keep him healthy.

Jason continues to be the rock of our family.  He carries so much on his shoulders that I don’t know how he does it most days.  He works hard both at his job and at home.  So thankful for the ways he pours into our children, myself, and others.  We are learning to not take little things for granted like slow dancing in the living room:) Am I the only cheesy one that does this?  Do you all hear a song and think of your spouse or a loved one? This is my recent song to Jason Ok the first line says "When your legs don't work like they use to before" yep I cried after I heard this one but then he turned around and says well this is my song to you and I was a balling mess.  We are sometimes sappy like that and I love it.  We are grieving a lot of things.  We both don't always do it well in fact it's easy to take the pain out on one another.  We need lots of grace with each other and the Lord.  It's a lot what we face on a daily basis and sometimes we do it well and sometimes we don't but at the end of the day we LOVE each other and we LOVE Jesus and we have a hope that is greater.

We are thankful for the ways God continues to meet us and provide for our needs.  We are grateful for your prayers and the ways you all walk beside us.  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Grief Is A Tricky Thing

I’m often surprised when out of no where the flood gates of emotions come pouring out of me.  Grief is a tricky thing. I’m experiencing a lot of it lately and in many different forms. My particular disease is a slow progressing disease that continues to get worse over time. Which means I continue to feel the losses.  The grief is continual and not just for me but for those closest to me.  It hits us all differently but none the less can be very painful.  

This wasn’t how it was suppose to be. Romans 8:19-23 says; For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  Oh how I can’t wait for this body to be redeemed.  

The last 15 weeks have taken a major toll on my body.  Four surgeries in ten weeks.  The first surgery (g-tube) we felt hopeful that with the proper nutrition it would bring my weight up and give my body good strength. No one expected that three back to back surgeries would follow. No one expected the hard recovery each one would take and I certainly did not expect the emotional toll it would have on those closest to me. I have taken many steps back and it is really discouraging.  I’m nearing the end of recovery on this last surgery weaker and down on my weight even more than before I headed into the first surgery.  This is all discouraging and many times I allow myself to feel all the feels but I’m also aware that Satan loves to pry on the weak.  I try not to allow myself to stay in my weariness.  I look at all the ways God provided during these hard 15 weeks, the ways that he met me during my darkest moments, the ways I felt his strength, the ways he protected me, and the ways he brought his people to care for us.  This doesn’t always mean that I magically feel better but allowing the Lord to fix my gaze on him and the ways he beautifully works in the hard reminds me that it’s not about me.  It puts me in a place where the Lord is available to do his best work.  I know with all my heart that there is purpose in my journey.  I know that there is purpose in your journey.  Whatever you are facing I hope that you believe that God has purpose for it.

Next month my three blessings go back to school.  Hannah will go to public school this year.  This will officially be the end of my homeschool journey. Another loss. This is a hard change for me but a good needed one as well.  The boys have thrived this year in school and we know she will as well.  I have wondered and asked the Lord what he wanted me to do while the kids are in school.  I have cried out to him that I want to feel purposeful and not just cared for by others, I have confessed my fear of wasting the day away on the computer.   I want to feel purposeful.  Recently a friend posted information about biblical counseling.  I was intrigued and looked into it.  After prayer and some conversations with the hubby and friends I have decided to pursue my certification in Biblical Counseling.  I’m excited and a bit intimidated by the work but excited to see what the Lord does with this new endeavor.  Please pray for us all as we seek to grow and trust in the one who goes before us.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Life After Four Surgeries in Ten weeks

Friends I’m so thankful for the amount of love and support you have all shown me over the last few months. I made it through number four and am at home recovering. It will be another 6 weeks before I can raise my left arm or drive.  Please pray as we adjust and work hard to recover.  It has been a roller coaster ride for us over here.  What started out as preparing for the fact that I was going going to get my first body piercing AKA G-tube, led to three more surgeries on my heart. YEP THREE MORE!!! It was crazy, unexpected, and a total shock.  Not at all to the Lord though.  I was exactly where he wanted me and I needed to trust that he would use every ounce of this crazy tidal wave we were riding for his glory.  I’m often giddy at the ways he shows me he is.  I endured two failed surgeries, 4 paddle shocks to the heart, awful reactions to new meds, painful incisions, and things too embarrassing to discuss on the blog.  It wasn’t all roses and rainbows and I would have given anything not to endure it.  However I experienced Such joy in having my wonderful Husband by my side, he really is honoring his vows we said at 22 in sickness and in health, sweet friends giving of their time to help step in so my husband could work, people bringing meals, flowers,cards, gifts, caring for our kids, sweet calls from far away family members, and beautiful conversations with nurses about Jesus.  Apparently when I come out of anesthesia all my inhibitions go out the window and I become super concerned with every stranger I encounter and them having a relationship with Jesus.  Honestly this is where I saw Jesus the most.  So many great nurses and hospital staff and opportunities to share how the Lord has worked through our story. This really is what it’s all about right?  I long to be fully recovered and have more independence and I’m hopeful those days will come soon. As much as I long for those days I’m praying for more opportunities for the Lord to use me as he sees fit.  Crazy? nope.  Refusing to acknowledge we have an amazing creator who was persecuted for our sins and took on the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf now thats CRAZY. In the mean time I will focus on how incredible it is that the Lord gave me the strength I needed to endure all of this, how I have come out so much more stronger and appreciative.  It would have been so easy to let all of this defeat me, to drag me down, to sit in anger, disappointment etc.  If I would have chosen that I would have missed out on so much.  None of it is meaningless.  It ALL has purpose.  I would have missed so much.  What is your go to when your pressed in at every angle? Life is so full of hardships if you haven’t experienced any they will be coming. The bible promises it. When difficult times come into our lives and we find ourselves unable to comprehend or to understand, the enemy is quick to throw doubts and questions into our minds. We find ourselves questioning God's goodness and God's wisdom in allowing these things to happen. We may even be bitter and angry with God for allowing this to happen to us and wonder if He really understands. But God's word confidently reminds us that God does understand. Things do not just happen by accident to the Christian with no meaning or no purpose. God is in control. In Romans 8 Paul reminds us no one or nothing can separate us from God's love. Even in the most difficult of circumstances.  I hope that whatever hard thing you are facing, whatever is pressing in on you that you can draw encouragement from these words.  God is for you.