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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Take God out of that box!

Our human minds can not fully comprehend all that God is! We limit God by what we think he can do. We can't imagine the things he is able to do, so we don't. We don't even think about what he is capable of, because it doesn't even occur to us to believe for it.

I'm gonna throw some of you for a loop on this one so be prepared! I have learned to expect the unexpected from God. He NEVER does anything the way I think, and especially WHEN I think He will! I've learned to be open minded about His will in my life, and accept the outrageous! I have learned to take God out of that box I put Him in, and given Him FULL control and power. And as you've read the results have been out of this world. But I'm not done, and neither is God. I am not just believing for God to give us a baby, but I am believing that I will be made whole. YES even to the extent that my left fallopian tube and all my intestines will grow back, and even to the extent that all my scars will be gone! Is anything impossible with God? NO! Why limit God to making me feel better today, when He is wanting to do so much more for me. He doesn't want me to live in sickness and disease. He doesn't want me to live in poverty. He doesn't want me to live with a broken heart. He doesn't want me to have doubt and unbelief. It is NOT his will! But He can't do these miracles if I don't allow Him. If I don't believe!

Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking on them saith, with men it is impossible, but not with God. For with God all things are possible.

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my father which is in heaven.

So it's up to me to believe and allow God to do the work! Simple really!  Take God out of that box and see what He wants to do for YOU! Not only will you be amazed, but you will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams!

I'd love to hear what you are believing for and stand with you!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Story - Part 7 ... got faith? ...

My story has been a long journey so I decided to write it out in several different posts. You can read them:
Part 1 HERE

I still have so many stories about my life, but I thought I would take a short pause and talk about how to walk by faith. I am not the preacher in the family but I will try to do my best! :) There is a difference between speaking positive and speaking faith! Speaking positive is having confidence in yourself that you can keep yourself encouraged. Speaking faith is having confidence in God that He will take care of every situation. How comforting that I don't have to rely on myself!

The Bible is full of so many encouraging stories it would be impossible for me to quote them all. But if you don't know where to start just go to the new testament. Even if you've read it before you will be encouraged and excited by what Jesus does.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.
Acts 10:34 ... God is no respecter of persons.

You have to believe not only that God did these miracles, but that he still wants to do them today. He is wanting to do them for YOU! They are not just old stories that happened long ago. But they are here to encourage us that God CAN do these things and WILL do them if we believe!

Mat 9:28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
Mat 9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Mat 9:30a And their eyes were opened;

When I was diagnosed with cancer (part 6 above) and in tons of pain I had to have complete confidence in God! If I had accepted that I had cancer I'm positive the outcome would have been completely different. I had prayed and belived for a miracle, now every day after I had to walk in it! I couldn't respond by what I felt or saw. But I responded by what I hoped and believed to be true. I believed I was healed so every day I said, "Thank you Jesus I am healed!"

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith not by sight!
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I had to believe for the impossible! I had to believe that it WAS possible!

Luke 1:37 For with God NOTHING shall be impossible!

Everyday I couldn't focus on the negativity or the pain. I couldn't focus on what the doctor's report said. And even worse I couldn't focus on what my mind was trying to tell me. Once you let your mind go down that path, it spirals downhill very fast! This is one of my favorite scriptures that I quoted EVERY single day!

Phillipians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Phillipians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 4:8 Finally, bretheren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things!

Somedays are easier to stand then others. We all have bad days. I have several friends that are prayer buddies. I can call them anytime day or night and they will pray with me and encourage me. Sometimes just knowing someone else is standing with me is all the strength I need! We NEED each other!

Galatians 6:2a Bear ye one another's burdens.

And finally you have to have a determination that no matter what comes your way,  you KNOW God cannot fail you! Sometimes situations look like God has forsaken us, but HOLD TIGHT to your faith! You KNOW he cannot fail and your miracle is on the way! I've been waiting almost 14 years. Think how close I am! What if I give up and today was supposed to be my day? All those years of believing would be for nothing! I CAN'T give up now! It is NOT an option!! I wake up every morning and say to God, "Thank You Jesus for my baby! I KNOW he's on the way! Help me to stand and not doubt or waiver!" Reading your bible every day, or night, will bring you so much strength! (I also play christian music all day long!)

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Above all else, Praise God! For he desires the praises of His people!

Psalms 28:6 Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Here are some of my favorite scriptures in random order:

Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she had judged him faithful who had promised.

Mat 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

Mat 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
Mat 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
Mat 8:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.

Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Psalms 30:2 O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.

Psalms 30:3 O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Psa 107:19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.

Psa 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me oh LORD and I shall be healed, save me and I shall be saved, for thou art my praise.

I could go on and on but you get the idea! God can do anything if only WE believe!

 I believe!

Continue to Part 8 HERE!

Whitaker Imagery

Hey family and friends! I've got some things to do today and don't have my next post ready yet, so in the mean time I thought I'd introduce you to Deb!

Deb is the photographer from Whitaker Imagery who took our family photo's a few weeks ago! Well look how cute this picture came out of me and my sisters, and Nana (mom)!

S, Me, R and Nana!
Whitaker Imagery is having a referral contest on her FB page and I would REALLY like to win a FREE session for me and Dustin! We haven't had our pictures taken together since before I got sick. Yea we are over due!

PLEASE help us out and go like her fan page HERE and tell her I sent you! Thank you so much!

I will try to post more of my story later! :) Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Story - Part 6 ... Chemo and the "C" word ...

My testimony is so long I have broken it up into parts! You can read:
Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE
Part 3 HERE

Because I had had so many complications after my surgeries I was sent to another specialist in Boston. He thought I should try a new Chemo treatment that was used to treat Crohn's. I technically am diagnosed with undetermined Crohn's/Colitis because all my tests show inconclusive results. So I agreed to try the chemo and see if it would help. I became so deathly ill and most of my hair fell out. I couldn't imagine why anybody on earth would agree to do this. After the first round of treatments my body had not responded the way they had hoped, so we all agreed to stop them.

Dustin, Sarah and Mazie!

Shortly after J.T. left I went to see an infertility specialist. (I have NEVER claimed that I have infertility! To be infertile is to be unable to become pregnant. And I believe that I will be able to become pregnant. I always tell my nieces and nephews, some babies just take longer to grow.) I knew I wasn't really healthy at the time, but wanted to start the process and see what they could do. Ever since I was a teenager I had a problem with ovarian cysts on my right side. When I was very sick, thankfully, most of this calmed down. But the healthier I got, the worse these became. The infertility doctor determined that I had a blockage in my left tube and a dysfunctional right ovary. Neither side was working properly. Also TONS of scar tissue was blocking the eggs from even getting to the tubes. The cysts on my right ovary had developed into strange looking black masses. They told me black always means cancer. The "mass" (I NEVER claimed it was cancer!) was totally surrounding the ovary and it would have to be removed, as well as the left tube. A left ovary and a right tube doesn't make a great recipe for conception. I was not pleased. The "mass" was extremely painful and was pinching the nerves in my right arm. I needed another miracle!

I went home and quoted every scripture I remembered about faith and believing for the impossible!(I will make a post with them all!) I fasted and prayed asking God to show me His plan in my life.

At the same time my pastor's wife and another woman in church were diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The three of us went in front of church and were prayed for and anointed with oil.

Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Instantly ALL the pain left my body! This is the first time I had ever felt a healing. It was amazing! The other two women reported the same thing! All three of us had been healed of cancer!

I called my doctor and told her nothing would be there, that I was healed! She still wanted to do the surgery and make sure, she didn't really believe me. I decided to go ahead and have the surgery, that way she would KNOW what God had done for me. I had the surgery and she was amazed! NO MASS! Not even a hint that one had ever been there! THANK YOU JESUS!! They did remove my left tube because it was slightly open and if I got pregnant on that side it would 100% be a tubal pregnancy, and they knew emotionally I could not handle that. My doctor tried to say after the surgery that they had mistaken shadows for a tumor, but the ultrasound tech would not budge. She knew what she saw and it wasn't a shadow!! I wish I had the pictures to post for you!

Two years later I was having pain again in my shoulder. I went to my OB/GYN and he did an ultrasound. It showed another mass over 10cm. In cyst world this is HUGE! It was very dangerous and would need to be removed. And of course they always like to throw in the "C" word whenever they can. I knew God had already healed me and there was no reason for me to have surgery. I went to church to get prayed for again and I knew God would do it. I told my doctor I was healed and he wouldn't need to do surgery. He was not convinced. So I told him to take another ultrasound and he would see. The new ultrasound showed that the mass was growing even bigger. But I did not falter. Every day for a month I cried and prayed, Lord I know you healed me and I don't want to have another surgery. Whenever I felt pain in my body, I would not acknowledge the pain, but I would say, "Thank you Jesus I am healed". Some days the pain was so bad but still all day long I would only say "Thank you Jesus I am healed" over and over and over. The day of surgery was approaching and I was getting upset. There was no need to have surgery if nothing was there! So I prayed and asked God to give me peace. And I heard a voice answer back, "I'm going to use you to show other people a miracle" Thank You! Now I felt that the surgery had a purpose, it was not for nothing! The day of my surgery I told my doctor there would be nothing there. I was still in pain, but was believing God for a complete healing. He had tears in his eyes and told me he had not slept all weekend because he was trying to figure out how to save my ovary. I only had a right tube, so the right ovary is essential! I just smiled back at him. Time would tell. I wish I could have seen his face after surgery! He came out to the waiting area and just shrugged. There was nothing there! HAHAHA Oh God is so good. Although the doctor never did admit to me it was a miracle I knew God was talking to him.

Just recently I had another ultrasound and they found another "mass". I went back to the same doctor and he just said, I am not worried. I know with you there's really nothing there!!! Even my doctor is now speaking faith! Hahahaha I love it!!

I am so thankful that my pastor taught me not to have confidence in a doctor's report, but to have confidence in God! What a GREAT and MIGHTY God I serve!! It does not matter what situations come your way, or what death sentence a doctor tries to put on you! God's word says to speak life!

Pro 18:21a Death and life are in the power of the tongue:


Continue to Part 7 HERE!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Story - Part 5 ...And adoption story... well sort of...

I know this seems so long already, but I have left out so much! You can read:

 During my sickness all I could think about was having a child. Children are such a blessing, and somehow in my crazy mind I convinced myself that if I had a child, that would mean I was healthy. Because I still weighed less then 100 lbs the not so important parts of my body shut down. So I began to pray that we would be able to adopt. I'm going to keep most of this info general for the privacy of those involved.

My dear boy J.T. was born in October 2001. He was 10 weeks premature and couldn't remember how to eat or breath. He stopped breathing atleast 10 times an hour. It really wasn't as scary as it sounds because he was on an apnea monitor and as soon as it would beep, he would jump and start breathing again. J.T. was my life! I had only had surgery 6 weeks prior to him being born, but all of a sudden nothing about me mattered! He was my world! Really things had felt so bad for so many years, this was my first real ray of sunshine!

I was so in love with this child I can't even begin to write about it. He was so fragile, and he needed me. I finally felt like I had a purpose. I rocked to him and sang to him. Prayed with him and cried with him. A biological mother could not love their child more! I knew within the first week that it didn't look like we were going to be able to adopt him, but how could I leave this precious little boy? My boy? I couldn't! So I went every day, not knowing if it was the last kiss I could give him. The last prayer I could say with him. The last time I would ever hold him and tell him how much I love him. Still I went because none of that mattered. All that mattered was he was struggling for his life and needed me.

Like most premies J.T. struggled with his vitals. There was just too much for his poor little body to do. The nurses tried their best but for some reason I was the only person who was able to stabalize him. I held him in the kangaroo position, skin on skin, and his vitals would be perfect. Somehow my body knew how to regulate his temperature and blood pressure. His breathing became more regular and he was able to rest. I know this was a match made in heaven and God put us together! WHEW even after 9 years I cannot write this without crying! He was my boy!

We were able to raise our dear son for almost a year, and when he left he was very healthy and his doctor's were amazed at how well he had grown and developed. They had never seen anything like it. I still feel blessed that God allowed me to be part of his life! And although losing him was an enormous loss in my life, being his mother even for a short time was an even bigger gain. I honestly believe God sent him to me to save my life as well. It help me to forget what was going on with me, and to focus on someone else for a change. I have never been the same since!

Also during this year God called Dustin to be a co-pastor. It was not an easy journey for us, but we knew what God wanted of us and we could not fail Him, no matter the what came our way. I am happy to say that we did follow God, and in the process met the most wonderful Pastor in the world. My pastor! Up until this point I believed circumstances came our way and we had no control over them. But he taught us that we don't have to accept circumstances and doctor's reports, but to have faith in God and believe for a miracle. This is when I began my walk of faith and started believing we would have a child of our own. And many more miracles were headed our way as well!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Story - Part 4 ... my darkest days, and God's forgiveness ...

My story is so long I've broken it up into parts! You can read:
Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE
Part 3 HERE

This part is probably one of the hardest parts of my life to share. Mostly pride and shame are the reasons. But I believe it may help someone else and so I am willing to share it.

I did not always serve Jesus. I grew up believing in Him, and thought that was enough. I was a servant to myself. I did whatever I wanted, and made many bad decisions. The guilt of these decisions drove me to make even worse decisions until I was filled with so much self loathing and hate. I needed deliverance from myself. I needed a savior. Once I finally decided to serve God I knew I couldn't do it half hearted. God was helping me make better choices. He was helping me clean up my life, but it was many many years before I would learn to forgive myself.

I've always loved this picture!
When I fail he is right there ready to

The guilt and self hatred I felt, mixed with all the pain from my surgeries led me to become a drug addict. Prescription medication is the proper term, but they were drugs, and I couldn't stop. I've asked myself over and over how a person trying to serve God to the best of their ability can become a drug addict. The answer is pretty simple actually. I started looking at the circumstances around me and not trusting God. I made excuses that I was in pain and needed them. And I WAS in pain. ALOT of pain. Both emotionally and physically. I started to have a fear that if I was in this much pain with the pills, what would I feel like without the pills? And I started taking more, just to be safe. After all more pills means less pain right?

I became cranky, mean, unapproachable. I knew what I was doing and nobody was going to tell me what was best for me. I was in pain and needed them, and that was that! I learned many tricks to get more drugs. (which I will not share! LOL) I had them stashed everywhere. In drawers, in closets, in clothes, under the bed. No matter where I was in the house I had a stash of pills close by, just in case. I even went so far as to carry them around the house and sleep with them. YES I WAS AN ADDICT! I'm sure Dustin threw away many bottles and hid them from me as best as I could. But every time he tried to talk to me about it I got angry and yelled, how dare he tell me I wasn't in pain. I had been through so much, didn't I deserve a break?

Our marriage became rocky. Not because he didn't love me, but because I convinced myself that he didn't love me. I became friends with people that were not good for me, and who didn't like Dustin. They convinced me he didn't trust me, and I believed them. I began to aim all my hatred and guilt at him. I made him the bad guy.

But even when we falter and stumble, God is close by. He brought a convicted drug dealer to our church fresh out of prison. This person got saved and began to witness to me. I had been going to church for years. I knew God! But God used this man to soften my heart. He began to tell me I had all the behaviors of being a drug addict. I was appalled! How could a Christian woman become an addict while serving God? But I knew in my heart it was true! I fell down on the floor and repented and asked God to help me. Then I did the only thing I could. I dumped all the pills in the toilet. I knew if I kept them around they would be a temptation. And the amazing thing was, I NEVER felt worse when I stopped taking them. Day by day I began to feel better. I had allowed the pills to hold me in bondage. And God used a drug dealer to witness to me. Although you may feel like you have nothing to offer, you never know who needs YOU!

Now that I was not snowed under I had to face reality. And that was I needed forgiveness. Not only from God but from myself. I wish I could tell you that this happened over night. But this was a long, slow, painful process. In order to forgive myself, I had to first accept that God forgave me. And when God forgives, he forgets, it's just like it never happened. I didn't have to repent over and over for my sins. I didn't have to beat myself up for the mistakes I made. I didn't have to see them for stumbling blocks, but use them as stepping stones to help me grow and change and be a better person. Forgiving myself is a daily step in my walk with Christ. I don't have to relive all my mistakes everyday. But everyday I do wake up and thank God for saving me from myself.

I also began working on my marriage. Love is a choice. And I could choose to love this man, or get a divorce. I chose to give love a try. I made myself tell Dustin everyday that I loved him and he was the best thing that ever happened to me. I didn't believe a word of it, but I thought if I said it enough it might become true. I called him at work just to tell him I was thinking about him. I wrote him notes in his lunch to have a good day. Slowly I began to let the walls come down and I began to see him through new eyes. He wasn't the bad guy, and neither was I. We had just been through 6 horrible years and it takes a toll, both physically and emotionally. But we were determined to make it work, and God renewed our love for each other and began to remove the sadness. And today we are so close and love each other more then anyone else in the world.

God's forgiveness is beautiful, and he is right there waiting for you to come to him. We all struggle with things in our lives. We all have followed the wrong path and have strayed. We all have had days where we didn't treat people like we should. Let today be the day you begin to change. Whether you serve God everyday, have walked away from him, or never knew him. It doesn't matter. He's waiting for you to come to him. Don't hesitate or wonder what people around you might think. Just do what you know in your heart is right. Put down that thing that has held you in bondage. Make a conscious effort to tell someone you haven't told in a while, that you love them. Don't let another day go by. Let today be YOUR day.

"Lord, I thank you that I have gone through these trials. They have shown me that no matter what, you love me. In my darkest days, you are there for me. Forgive me Lord for the things I stumble on and help me grow and learn that I can put my trust and confidence in you. I have many weaknesses Lord, and I need your help to over come them. Thank you for showing me the way. Thank you for your daily guidance and instruction. And most of all your forgiveness, which I am so undeserving of. And you offer so freely. In Jesus' name AMEN!"

***DISCLOSURE*** I am in no way telling anybody to throw away their pills. I am only sharing what happened in my life.
Continue to Part 5 HERE!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Story - Part 3 ... sometimes you have to laugh

I am writing my story out in parts because it is so long. You can read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE!

300 days in the hospital is exhausting!

I used to remember every statistic and every detail, but thankfully time has a way of making you forget the awfulness that happens. So I will sum it up as best as I can. I spent almost an entire year in Boston, as previously stated. Then 5 more years going back and forth every month. I still weighed only 78 lbs. I just couldn't gain weight no matter what awful shake or concoction I tried. And let me tell you everybody and their brother had some magic potion for gaining weight. It was exhausting. I had a total of 18 abdominal surgeries for Crohn's and complications. I still wanted a baby desperately and so that became my focus. I became consumed with having a baby. Everything else was so dark and depressing that I focused on getting better so I could get pregnant. Of course we couldn't really "try" because I was so sick, but hey one can hope, right!!

Finally one ileostomy bag was reversed, but I still had the other one. Living with an ileostomy bag isn't really something you can prepare yourself for. Looking back I can honestly say that 90% is your mental outlook. If I let it overwhelm me, I fell apart. But when I started looking at it as just another way to go to the bathroom, it wasn't so bad. I'll tell some funny stories for you:

Our life for almost 6 years!

One day I was holding my son J.T. (I'll write about him later) in church. I stood up to testify and felt something warm and gooey running down my leg, I said to myself, "oh crap" and looked down and my shoe was filled with, yup you guessed it, poop! LOL The baby had jumped on my leg and popped the clip off and poop was all over me, the floor, the baby .... everywhere. Gotta laugh!!

Someone told me it was easier to empty the ostomy bag standing up. I tried it, but the poop missed most of the toilet, and what did hit the toilet made a big splash all over me and the walls. It took a long time to clean it all up! EEWWW I don't think the person who told me that had ever tried it.

I LOVE sleeping on my stomach. Always have. Well I've learned to sleep at a bit of an angle with a pillow supporting me because in the early days I would lay on the bag and it would literally "blow up" and we would wake up covered in poo. AAHH gotta love this new life!

Some brilliant person told me to "burp" the bag. Which is to let some of the gas out so you don't have to go to the bathroom and empty it. If you've never smelt poop from an ostomy bag then it's hard to explain. It's from higher up in your intestines so the food is partially digested, very acidic and extremely runny. The smell is absolutely horrid. So one night I was in bed and so tired I decided to give the bag a "burp". Well the smell was so bad I pulled the covers way up to my neck to get away from it. Sadly Dustin didn't realize what I had done and he pulled the covers high over his head, poor thing. He woke up so fast and jumped from the bed throwing the blankets on the floor. Not only had he stuck his head right in the smell, but also some of the stool had run all over the sheets. I have never tried to "burp" again!

I could go on and on but you get the idea, it takes some adjustment. And don't believe everything you hear! LOL

Thankfully I married a man with a sense of humor!
I love him so much!

They tried several times to reverse the bag but I kept getting rectal/vaginal fistulas. Basically I pooped where I should have peed. It was very gross and uncontrollable. Any time I walked, turned or basically moved I pooped down my leg. EEWWW My doctor was convinced that the J-Pouch should work and put me through an incredible amount of tests, procedures and pain. Finally I told him enough is enough and I wasn't going through with it any more. We could no longer try to have a baby because, YES I was even pooping on my husband. That was the final straw for me.  After much begging I was given a permanent ileostmy bag and the J-Pouch was removed. The doctor's found a hole the size of a quarter in the pouch. I had walked around for 6 years with a hole the size of a quarter in my intestines and NEVER got toxic! THAT IS A MIRACLE!!! It should have killed me within minutes, but I went 6 years. WOW!!

Because I had been in the hospital so much, and Dustin left my side as little as possible, we were behind on our bills. We got a letter from the bank saying we had to pay three months rent or they were going to foreclose. We had no money, all we could do was pray. Three days before the money was due Dustin's work took up a collection for him. They raised enough money for us to catch up on all our bills, buy food, and pay our tithes. And there was still money left over. God was teaching me to trust Him in every area of my life. What a Great and Mighty God I serve! Sometimes He uses the most unexpected places for His will to be done! I Love Him so much!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Story - Part 2 ... 300 days and counting ...

I've decided to share my story in parts because it is so long. If you missed part 1 you can read it HERE.  And now for part 2!

I was so excited about seeing angels and Jesus that I never stopped thinking about it or talking about it. Those moments are what kept me going for a long time.

The surgery I had was to remove all my large intestines, and my appendix, and create a new rectum with small intestines, called a J-pouch. I was only going to have the ileostomy bag for 6-8 weeks while the pouch healed then it would be reversed. I didn't like the bag but since it was such a short time I really didn't give it much thought.

The chest tube was now ready to be removed, but my lung collapsed again as soon as they took it out. It was so painful I was so relieved to have it out, but now they wanted to put it back in. Hahaha Over my dead body, I told them! Well they finally convinced me to put in a smaller chest tube. It wasn't as effective but hopefully would still do the job. Since I was having a hard time breathing I agreed. The chest tube was a little scary because it was run with water. Most of the nurses had never seen one and were given classes periodically in my room. Every nurse tried to add or remove water. I, obviously, was at every class and soon began teaching the nurses how to use the equipment that was running my body. It was a quite surreal.

Me in ICU after my emergency surgery.
 I was finally sent home after almost a month in the hospital. AH I was so homesick! But I wasn't able to keep any food down at all and after only a few days home I returned to Boston. Some more tests were done and the doctor's discovered a kink  in my bowels. Since I was so sick and not doing well with the ileostomy, my surgeon decided to reverse the bag early! No problem here! I was all for it. Dustin decided to go back to work until my surgery, we knew the bills would be outrageous.

One morning after the doctor's morning rounds I began crying out in pain. After 5 shots of narcotics he realized something was seriously wrong. My mom says my eyes were rolling back in my head and I was still crying out in pain. A portable x-ray machine was brought to my room and they discovered my intestines had perforrated. I had just had a barium test and was told that it saved my life. If I had stool in my intestines it would have killed me within minutes. I was rushed to have emergency surgery. Dustin was called at work and told I would probably be dead before he arrived. He says it was the longest 3 hour drive of his life.

Me sitting up in ICU.

I woke up in ICU and patted my side, wondering if the ileostomy was gone. My mom told me no, and tears rolled down my cheek. The prednisone that I had been taking had eaten a hole in my intestines and they were not able to reverse the bag without making the damage worse, so they actually made a second ileostomy with the hole that perforrated. I looked down and saw and ileostomy bag on each side of my stomach.They couldn't sew the wound up because they had to let the poison drain out so I had a HUGE wound from my belly button down that was left open and held together with 4 wires. I also had 8 tubes in my body. My recovery was going to be incredibly long.

I went back and forth to Boston so much I kept track on a calender. I was there over 300 days out of 365. I stopped counting at 300 because it got depressing. I was over 3 hours away from friends, family and most of all church. I had believed in Jesus my whole life, but only had started serving Him in the past few years. (YES there is a HUGE difference. I will get into that more a little later.)

I had some Christian CD's (Darlene Zschech saved my life with her music) and my bible and had to keep myself encouraged as best as possible. I also sang this chorus over and over:

I love Him too much to fail Him now, too much to break my vow
For I promised the Lord that I would make it somehow
Now I love Him too much to fail Him now.

I didn't know if I would live or die, but I knew one thing for sure, I NEEDED God. I never blamed Him or got angry. I was just so thankful that He was there for me. I had served myself for many years and made so many bad decisions and had so much guilt. I was determined if I only lived a day, or lived 100 more years, I never wanted to go back to my old life. And somehow God gave me the strength to make it through! For many months the doctor's didn't know if I would live or die. Dustin and my mom were constantly being told to say goodbye, it was my last day. I clung to my vision of angels, read my bible every moment I could and basically prayed, Jesus help me. What else could I do? This was the beginning of my journey of walking by faith. I still only weighed 78 lbs. Needed help eating, bathing, walking and every basic thing in life we take for granted every day. It took all my strength to stand and pour a glass of water. I was taking 22 pills a day, and still had two ileostomy bags. I knew this couldn't last forever. I just had to hold on to Jesus and make it through.

Continue to Part 3 HERE!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Story - Part 1 ... Angels among us

I really want to share my story but it is very long so I'm going to be sharing it in several parts.

Dustin and I were married when I was 19 and he was 20. We thought we had life all figured out. We bought a house and a new truck. We both had fairly good jobs, life was going good. For the first year I didn't want children at all. I knew I was too young and didn't want all the work and trouble that came along with kids. Then all of a sudden it hit me. The baby fever. Out of the blue and totally unexpected this strong desire came to me. It was so overwhelming how strong the desire became. So Dustin and I decided to start trying. I had been on birth control so had to go off it and let it wear off. Within a few months I began feeling very sick and throwing up alot. I KNEW it had to be morning sickness!! I told everyone at work I must be pregnant because all I did was run to the bathroom. Month after month this went on and still no pregnancy.

I started having rectal bleeding and my mom became concerned and convinced me to go to the doctors. Two weeks later my test results were in. I went into the office and my doctor said, "You have Crohn's disease, have a nice day" WHAT?!?!?! She didn't tell me what it was or give me a paper or anything. I didn't know if I had a week to live or what. Thankfully I did have more then a week to live, but still the diagnosis was bad. My body made ulcers all through my intestines causing the bleeding and vomiting. I became VERY sick and soon had to quit my job.

In the mean time I had a pilonidal cyst on my tail bone. I had it removed 5 times in the office and it never went away so I finally had to go in the OR and have it surgically removed. The cyst was extremely painful and so was the Crohn's. I was on ALOT of steroids and other meds at the time. Dustin worked around the clock and didn't realize how sick I was. I was so sick and didn't realize he didn't know. At this time I could barely get out of bed. I had to roll on the floor and crawl to the bathroom, still vomiting and bloody diarrhea. I had sores all through my my mouth and throat, which felt like needles, and soon I couldn't even swallow water. The doctor's just kept telling me this is how the disease goes and it would be 10-15 years before I was sick enough for surgery. Finally I was hospitalized. I had lost a ton of weight and still couldn't swallow. My stool looked like tomato soup. My steroids and morphine were increased to the point that Dustin got very worried. He knew too much morphine was a death sentence. He begged that I be sent to Boston for a second opinion. The doctor was very angry, but after a week he finally agreed to send me. I was sent by ambulance with all meds locked out and without a chart. The EMT's were told I would be dead before I reached Boston and not to expect much from me. I remember how long that trip was. I couldn't have pain meds and I was so weak and tired.
When I arrived in Boston they were amazed I had made the trip. But unfortunately the hospital that sent me messed up my paperwork so they couldn't treat me immediately. They couldn't get my IV to work so they tried placing a central line, an IV in the main artery in my chest. I was so dehydrated and sick the line went through the vein and punctured my lung. Now I needed an emergency chest tube to drain the fluid and pump back up my lung. The chest tube was extremely painful. It was determined that I was indeed a candidate for surgery but was too sick and would probably die on the table, so they waited a week to give me fluids and TPN (IV nutrition). I underwent MANY tests that week, all miserable! My surgery was scheduled for the following Monday, but late Thursday we were told the Friday surgery was cancelled and I was bumped up. I was going to be given an ileostomy bag. It happened so fast I didn't even have time to process it all. But I was so sick I didn't care. I only weighed 78 lbs.

That night I died. (I didn't realize it at the time though) I can't even put into words what it felt like. It was so calm. I always say it was like being void of feeling or thought. Literally NO thought or feeling went through my mind or body. The true meaning of peace! I was standing on the roof of the hospital looking down at my body in the hospital bed. The room was glowing so bright I couldn't see the walls. There were 4 angels standing guard of my bed. Two at the head and two at the foot of the bed. They looked like HUGE men with blond hair and off white linen robes. They were standing shoulder to shoulder and I felt so safe. I felt a presence beside me and I realized that I was at Jesus' feet. I heard his voice say. "Sarah are you scared?" I answered, "No I see my angels and I feel peace" Then I woke up...

I didn't fully comprehend what had happened, but one thing was sure, I had seen angels and I HAD peace! God was with me and no matter what happened I knew everything was going to be OK. I told every person I came in contact with about my visit with angels. The story spread through the hospital and soon everybody knew what I had seen.

My surgery was alot more serious then anticipated. It lasted over 8 hours and finally late that night Dustin was allowed in the recovery room. He was crying. I don't remember him ever crying. He told me that my intestines were so diseased they were rotten. They were 4 inches in diameter and bright purple and fell apart in the doctor's hands as he removed them. He said I would not have lived through the weekend and made it to the original Monday surgery. All I could think about was the vision I had of Jesus and the angels! I thanked God all weekend for his mercy and love and for showing me He was with me. He knew what I would need for the days ahead.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday J.T.!

9 years ago Dustin and I tried to adopt a baby. 9 years ago I today I became a mother! My dear little son J.T. was born! He was 10 weeks premature and weighed only 3.5 lbs. Since he was so early he was in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for 8 weeks until he learned to breathe and eat on his own. He was so fragile and delicate and I loved him so much!

We lived almost an hour away from the hospital where he was so I went home every night and came back in the mornings for the day. (The hospital wouldn't let me stay because he I wasn't technically his parent  yet)  Leaving him was so hard, but I really needed the rest too because I was also sick at the time. But I didn't care. All I could think about was this precious little man that needed me, and I needed him. We were a match made in heaven!

Me holding J.T. in the kangaroo position to help with his vitals.

 Many night's his vitals were not great and the nurses would call me and tell me I needed to come. As soon as I held him in the kangaroo position, skin on skin, his vitals imediately went back to normal. The nurses were amazed that I seemed to be the only person that was able to get such a positive response from him. I sang to him and prayed with him, and he brought so much joy to my life it NEVER felt like a burden.

We were blessed to raise him for 10 months! And even knowing I could not keep him forever, I would do it again in a heartbeat! There is no feeling in the world greater then giving a child love! I am so thankful for the time we had with him and that we were able to help him at such a critical time in his life. And although I wish things had ended differently, I don't regret 1 moment!

 Happy 9th Birthday J.T.! Mommy and Daddy miss you and love you very much!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm my own stumbling block sometimes ...

I am my own stumbling block. I don't like to admit I have limits and I try to go above and beyond what I am physically able to do. I not only hurt myself by doing this, but I end up hurting those around me at the same time. Yes it's true that I've had 21 surgeries and have an ileostomy bag and am exhausted 90% of the time, but still that doesn't mean I have to stop living. For years I felt so bad for myself that I just laid in bed or on the couch totally depressed. But now I have learned that by speaking faith and trusting God I am able to do way more then I ever thought myself possible. But still I have limits. And I guess deep down to admit that if I have limits then I am also admitting that I am not healed or that my faith isn't totally in God. And I beat myself up about it and bring myself down.

So I'm working on realizing my limits, and trying to push past them with realistic goals. And I guess that's my real problem I feel it has to be all or nothing. I've never been one to settle for second best and that's what it feels like. I feel like Peter who walked on water. When my eyes are on God I am floating and feel GREAT! But the second I take my eyes off Him I start drowning and it takes everything within me to get back up. And God in His mercy picks me back up and helps me to walk again.

"And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14 25-31

So my prayer today is:

"Lord help me to feel your strength and healing virtue. I know you are my healer and deliver and I do not have to accept the condition that my body is in! Help me to trust you completely and not make unrealistic goals for myself, so that I will later be disappointed in myself and beat myself up. But help me to keep my eyes on you, without doubt and fear. Knowing that you WILL heal my body and I WILL have a baby in your timing. And in the mean while help me not to be a stumbling block to myself and others. But help me to be a light and encouragement to others. That they will see you working in my life and will know that you can do it for them also! In the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus! AMEN!"

And the winner for the Jojo Jr is ...

Angie Brady said:

Mommy of L and G said...
Voted 4- dangiebrady at gmail dot com
October 8, 2010 10:37 AM
Congrats Angie! Winner has already been confirmed!
Thank you all who participated and voted for Briella! Unfortunately she did not win the photo contest, but it was still fun all joining together for one cause! Thanks for your support!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guest Blogger ... My Children By Faith

As long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mother. I'm not quite sure what drove that so strongly within me, but I felt like it was what I was created to do. After we were married about a year, our friends started having kids and I started getting the itch. I was so eager to become a mother and I wanted to be a young mom. But, I was almost certain I would have a problem with any potential pregnancy. Part of it was my own mother's history; she had 2 to 3 miscarriages before having me, my sister, and my half brother. I also had never had any major gynelogical issues up to this point in time. I was told by my OB/GYN that these things aren't always hereditary, so they gave me hope, but yet I had dread. I was told to try naturally for a year, and if we didn't conceive, to come back and we would go to a fertility clinic.

Baby Boy!

That year came and went. My husband kept telling me he wasn't ready for kids, but knew how badly I wanted them and was going along with the whole thing. I scoured the internet for fertility clinics in my area that accepted my insurance. I found one that had great reviews, high success rates, and was actually the closest to my house. I scheduled the appointment, but had to wait 2 months for the consultation. I felt comfortable with the clinic, but still unsure of what we were about to embark on. After the initial examination and tests, it was discovered that there was nothing structurally wrong with me (no blockages, tumors, or anything like that). My husband underwent some testing and things were not ideal, but not terrible or bleak or anything that required treatment.

Baby Girl!
 So we started trying to conceive with the help of the fertility clinic. After the first year of disappointment after disappointment, I started to get really depressed (the hormones from the treatments didn't help any either). Things were so bleak for me. My husband, who can normally make me laugh about anything, couldn't cheer me up. I felt like God was so far away. I wondered why He would instill this strong desire in my heart to become a mother, but block all my attempts. After I got sad, I got angry. I didn't want to go to church, I didn't want to worship. I felt like God turned His back on me, so I turned my back on Him. My depression created a rift in my marriage, which was already under a crazy amount of stress with this whole intefertility thing. Plus, we decided to keep our struggles to ourselves. We didn't want our families to know because we were afraid they would discourage us by saying we were too young (we were 26 at the time we resorted to fertility treatments).


Baby Boy!

Finally something snapped me out of it and I decided it was time to start opening up to our families and close friends about our journey. This started to help lift some of the burden of what we were going through and I started seeking some pastoral guidance. My pastor of counseling shared with me the story of Hannah, found in I Samuel 1. She had me focus on verse 20: “So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son.” In the course of time. I meditated on those words. I had to keep reminding myself that God had given me this promise and in His time, His promise would be fulfilled and I would be a mother. It wasn't easy to remember this and I still battled depression, but this verse was in the back of my mind all the time. Even month after month as I got my period and had to start all over again.

My husband and I made the decision to have IVF. We had done all the other treatments we could with no success. We had to wait 6 months before we could start the process because of insurance issues. The week after we had our initial consultation about IVF and what it would entail, we went to dinner at my sister-in-law's house. Before we had dessert, she announced she was pregnant. The look of horror on my face was hard to hide and I almost threw up choking back the tears. It wasn't fair! She had just been married 7 months earlier (I had been married for almost 5 years at this point). Why her and not me?! Oh, the feelings of anger, betrayal, and depression I had! I had to try and move on because in 2 weeks we would be starting our IVF journey.

Baby Girl!

On March 24, 2009, I went into the OR to have my eggs harvested. Ten eggs were retrieved that day. The embryologist called the next day to tell me that 7 of those eggs were mature enough to attempt fertilization. Five of the eggs actually fertilized. We were told I was on track for a 5 day transfer and I would be called for more follow up. On March 29, we returned to the clinic for transfer. I had to take Valium before the procedure and couldn't stop laughing from the medication. The embryologist came in and handed us a picture. Our two little embroys!!! These were the two little ones who survived till day 5. I got weepy and looked at my husband and said “I want them both!”. My thought was, if this is our only shot at pregnancy, this would be perfect. Plus, my husband is a twin and his biological father is a twin, so I was very excited about that.

Two weeks later, we got the call: I WAS PREGNANT! We laughed, cried, and hugged letting all the emotion that had built up over the past 3 & ½ years as we journeyed. A week after that, it was confirmed we were having twins. My pregnancy was extremely difficult and not at all what I expected it to be, but in the end, I ended up with a beautiful son and daughter. This month, they will turn 1. I can't believe we've made it. I can't believe how perfect God's timing has been! He knew my husband wasn't ready for kids. So He made me wait until my husband wanted it as badly as I did. He knew our insurance wouldn't cover the treatments. It turns out, in 2009 my husband's employer restructured their benefits so almost everything was covered. I wanted to have kids by the time I was 30. I delievered when I was 29 & ½. God knew...and that amazes me every time I look in my children's faces.

Thank you so much N for sharing your story with us!

Friday, October 8, 2010

GIVEAWAY ... Vote for Briella!

This Giveaway has ENDED!
Dustin's cousin's baby Briella is in a photo contest!
PLEASE help them out and vote for her in this photo contest!


Voting is allowed once a day starting today and ending tuesday night.
And guess what I have decided to do a giveaway! YIPPIE!

 You could win your very own Jojo jr rice bag buddy from Sarahsewta! (ME!)
Hi my name is Jojo Jr. I LOVE to cuddle and help all your boo boo's feel better. I help with all kinds of boo boo's like headaches, ear aches, tummy aches, bumps and bruises. I don't like sleeping alone, so please bring me to bed with you and we can help each other sleep! Let me HUG and KISS all your boo boo's away!

You can put me in the microwave for about 1 minute and I'll give you a big warm HUG! 

You can put me in the freezer and I'll KISS all your boo boo's away.

Mandatory Entry:
Go HERE and vote for #19. Then come back and leave 5 comments that you voted! Remember to leave your email address in the first comment so I can contact you if you win! You MUST do the madatory entry for all other entries to count!

Extra Entries:
5 entries per day for voting for #19.
1 entry for posting on your FB page. Leave comment with your status update.
1 entry for following me on twitter and tweeting (1 per day). Leave comment with your twitter status. You can copy this:
     "I want to a Jojo Jr boo boo rice bag buddy from @!    "
1 entry for subscribing to by blog via rss feed. If you already follow just leave a comment.
1 entry for following my blog via friend connect
1 entry for following my FB page
1 entry per day for voting for me on the picket fence! (right hand column)

Good luck and thank you for helping me support this wonderful little girl!! I will draw a name on Wednesday morning!