I will not be afraid

As 2017 is closing, I found myself feeling very afraid for the new year. I had just found out last week that the sky was not, in fact, the limit when it came to how much the car insurance would be paying of my medical bills. Apparently there is a PIP (Personal Injury Protection) limit with your insurance company. So I had to call up my insurance adjuster and get a good idea where we were at with that. Sounded like we had enough left. He wasn’t worried. However, the next day, I found out that the PT office stopped billing my insurance two months ago. I’m guessing because five bills were not paid that were submitted, but I had already talked to the insurance adjuster the week before about that. All he needed was some chart notes to process those. He was going to call and let them know.

 

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.

 

They, on the other hand, decided I was past my PIP limit. And instead of finding out what my insurance was or if I needed to switch to another physical therapists office because they don’t take my insurance, they chose to do nothing. They didn’t alert the people in the office who work with me every time I go in, they didn’t call me and ask me what my next step would be, they didn’t call the insurance adjuster and see what the problem was. Nothing. So, now, two months worth of bills have not been processed and that amount that is left of my PIP is now looking like it may not be enough. And my little butt is still not healed, to make it worse. Technically, it’s my SI joint causing the pain, but when it starts acting up, it feels like it’s my butt that is hurting. (This area is the small triangular joint between the sacrum and the ilium bones of the pelvis. Or the sacroiliac joint.)

 

I have called you by name and you are mine.

 

 

So I was feeling afraid. Afraid there’s not enough left in the ‘pot’ to cover the expenses left. And angry. Angry that the people in the billing office didn’t care enough to see the red flags and check to see what the next plan of action was. Which would have alerted me sooner that the car insurance will not be covering the bills until I am all better, but I need to switch over to my health insurance. I also found out that the chiropractors office, while taking my insurance, doesn’t take my plan. So I am switching to a plan they do take so I can continue seeing them in the new year – but is it in time to shuffle the last few weeks of bills over to getting paid by my health insurance rather than the car insurance so they physical therapists office can hurry up and get their bills in and paid before the last piece of the pie is gone, so to speak? I don’t know.

 

In God I Trust; I shall not be afraid.

 

But, after a couple of days of being afraid I’d end up in debt in the new year, and with my SI joint pain still not fixed. I decided I was not going to start the new year afraid. I felt very strongly about it. And to back up my feeling that God does not want me walking into a new year in fear, at church the other day, the guest pastor was ending his sermon asking people to take a moment to think about what their fears are for the new year. I have 3 big ones. That I won’t get healed from this SI joint pain, that the rest of the money left from the PIP won’t be enough to cover my expenses for the last two months, and my mom’s cancer. The pastor reiterated what I was already feeling. God does not want us to be afraid. Let go and let God. (That’s harder than it sounds, most times.)

 

For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear.

 

I haven’t talked about my mom’s cancer for a while, but it’s still on the table. And at my mom’s last cat scan, they saw two tiny spots – about the size of the end of a pencil eraser that had doubled since the last cat scan. Small, but growing. Not good. She is still on a trial program with OHSU. We still don’t know for sure if she’s on a placebo or the trial drug, but something is beating back the cancer so we assume she’s on the trial drug. We’ve been told that ultimately, even this new drug can’t beat her type of cancer, just buy her time. We know all this. We also know that somehow, out of all the people on this same trial program right now, her doctor said she was doing the best.

 

Peace I leave you

 

 

If I look back to last year, I remember starting the year feeling like the word ‘grace’ was my word for the year. I felt it was my word for my mother and her cancer. I posted this article ‘What’s grace got to do with it?’ Now, a year later, I’m going to answer that question. Last October, my mom was given 14 -16 months to live. Maybe a year and a half to two years at most because she was in good health when the cancer hit. It has been over 14 months since that diagnosis and my mom is still here. No, we don’t know what the future holds for her because this disease called cancer is a nasty one. But what we do know looking back at this past year is that all along the way God placed her in the right places and the right times with the right doctors to get her on this trial program with OHSU that is currently saving her life. So, what’s grace got to do with it, indeed? In this case, everything!

 

Grace changes everything.

 

So if I am feeling very strongly that I am not supposed to start this new year in fear, then I proclaim right now: I Will Not Be Afraid! No, that’s not a ‘word’ for the year. Nor is it a resolution. It’s a statement. There is no rule saying you have to make resolutions or pick one word to define your year. Do what feels right for you. Making this feels right for me. I may even need reminded of that if bad stuff starts happening later this year. But for today, January 1st, 2018, I will not be afraid.

 

Start being excited about what could go right.

 

Looking back at the past year, I am thankful that my mom is still here, by the grace of God. I hope that you will continue to lift her up in prayer as we journey through another year with her cancer. If you feel like throwing in any prayers for me and my journey of healing or that God will somehow do the loaves and fishes trick with my PIP insurance to cover all the remaining bills, I’ll take those prayers as well.

 

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

 

Happy New Year to all! And remember, each day is a new day. His mercies are new every morning, not just every year.

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Be encouraged

As we head into the crazy time of year we call the ‘Christmas Season’ I want you all to be encouraged. I received this message from a relative of mine on Facebook several weeks ago, it actually accompanied a link to another message, but I was busy and all that popped up on my phone were the words she wrote above the link ‘Be encouraged’. Wow, I thought, how could she possibly have known how discouraged I had been feeling the night before. God must have been telling her that’s exactly what I needed to hear that day.

You see, the night before I’d come home from doing some stand-in work for the series ‘Here, Now’. We’d been out on a hiking trail at Mt. Tabor park in Portland and I had to walk up and down the hills as a stand-in so they could get the lighting right for the actors when they came back on set. I was just figuring out in the weeks before this that going uphill seemed to be a trigger for my lower back pain. I had a bad feeling I was going to end the day in a lot of pain. Which I had. I was so discouraged that night. I felt broken, like nothing or no one was going to be able to fix me.

I got up that morning knowing I had to take some Ibuprofen just to make it out the door to my first appointment with the chiropractor. I wasn’t feeling hopeful that they would be able to fix me, either. In fact, I was worried they would make it worse trying to adjust me without knowing what was going on. Then this little message pops up on my phone. ‘Be encouraged’, it said.

It wasn’t until hours later when I got home from the chiropractor that I actually opened it up and saw there was a link as well. It was a great message from a motivational speaker who was talking about how God was going to excavate our lives, He was clearing away the rubble and when we lift our eyes, we are gong to see a beautiful mosaic out of all the broken pieces of our lives. Wow. Powerful.

And yet, how could the person who sent this know that even just her words added to the link had already lifted me up and encouraged me as I went out the door to go to the chiropractor to see if he could help put me back together again. And perhaps she sent this same message to others as well that day, but it hit me right when I was feeling helpless and hopeless.

I remembered it again the other day as I was walking around the park looking at the ducks near the pond. There were some black ducks nearby, but when you got up close, you could see that they had this beautiful iridescent shimmer to their black feathers – making them shine in greens and blues and purples. They weren’t really just black ducks. And the verse popped into my head. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

He is taking care of me as I walk through this time of healing. Providing for me. And sometimes sending little bits of encouragement along my way right at the exact moment I’m feeling so discouraged. If anyone else out there is feeling discouraged right now, I want you also to be encouraged  today, as well.

 

Iridescent shimmer!

Iridescent shimmer!

 

Pretty duck

Pretty duck

 

Sail away!

Sail away!

 

Grooming time

Grooming time

 

Duck amongst the fall leaves

Duck amongst the fall leaves

 

A random squirrel scurrying through the fall leaves

A random squirrel scurrying through the fall leaves

 

And also a link to the motivational speaker I got in my e-mail that day: Lisa Bevere 

 

 

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