Sunday, July 2, 2017

Feeling < than

So lately, I've been feeling... not great about myself. I'm not depressed or anything, I'm just some-what accepting of the "fact" that I'm less than. This is going to be difficult to explain, but hopefully I can get my point across so bear with me here. 

I want to start off with the disclaimer that I'm not minimizing God's glory here. But to be totally honest, I've pretty much felt like damaged goods for awhile now. I mean, I know God loves me, and my family, and some close friends, but.. other than that what am I? What value do I hold? Satan has definitely taken this as an opportune time to act on these secret insecurities, which only makes them more difficult (but not impossible) to combat. The one I'm struggling with most right now is my appearance. 

My Great-Aunt was once concerned about how bad my CF was getting (pre-transplant). She didn't quite understand CF but she was scared and compassionate towards my situation. She leaned forward and with the softest voice asked me, "Will it ever go away?" I smiled and replied, "No, it won't go away." I told her I was ok though and reassured her with another smile even though my breathlessness and constant coughing told her otherwise. She wasn't trying to be funny, but she felt she needed to encourage me. She leaned forward and said, "Well.. at least you're pretty." 

It sounds like a dumb story but I held onto it. I loved that she thought I was pretty. She only meant it as helpful, but my twisted mind clung to it, both being thankful that my CF was very physically evident (at that point) and that if nothing else, at least I'm pretty. 

The problem with me giving such weight to that mindset is after I got really sick, my appearance changed. My Aunt lived a long life and passed away, but that also meant she couldn't be here now to tell me I'm still pretty. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have believed her. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Anyway, my once thin face puffed out. Fast forward to post transplant - my face swelled to such a degree that my eyes were squished. From my perspective, I was not even recognizable as myself. The swelling went down, but never fully. I've gotten pretty used to my round puffer-fish face. The medical term for my face is "moon face" and many transplant and CFers on steroids have it. But I look at some others who don't. Their faces went totally back to normal, and even now as I type that, I can't help but tear up a little.. so let's move on. Just to touch - the other issue I'm having is my stomach and comparing my body with other girls who have totally flat stomachs (and thin faces may I just add.) They're the whole package it seems, right? In my perspective, I'm not even worth a second glance.

Thankfully, God is on top of this when I feel like losing this comparison battle. And just like God, he meets us exactly where we need him to, which for me was probably the equivalent of kindergarten. He reminded me that even the people I consider the most beautiful and perfect are not even close to him. Despite my skewed thinking, I need to remember that HE is the only one who is perfect and truly beautiful. And to even take it further, I need to reset my eyes to not only recognize that, but to stop idolizing something that isn't him, and essentially minimizing his glory every time I do it. (Sorry about that again, God.)

He also has perfect timing for everything. This month's theme for Liquid Church is "The Comparison Trap." As soon as I heard that's what they were studying this month, I knew God would use that to heal my brokenness, and reset my perspective to be more inline with his. The sermon was great but one particular thing that stuck out to me was that when I'm enviously comparing, I'm sinning. In that moment, I'm ignoring all the blessings and love Jesus has poured on me, and 1) just wanting more and more - taking for granted what I have - not being content, 2) focusing on qualities that do not delight God. Do you really think God is Heaven pointing down at a girl smiling because her stomach is flat or because she is attractive to other people? My guess is no. He's looking at our innermost thoughts and hearts. And when I'm totally caught up in not thinking I'm pretty, my thoughts and heart shift to a place where I'm no longer honoring him. Plus, I should like my face and body, even if no one else on earth did. I know that's a bit dramatic, but let's go worse case scenario for this situation - Jesus - the Alpha and Omega - is the only one I should go to for my confidence, reassurance and value. Also, I had the realization that I'm not damaged goods. I'm upgraded. Seriously, how many times does your smart phone have to update to keep it going with the newest, or best technology? That's essentially what God did for me; he gave me an upgrade to get the newest, best life I could have. 

It's going to be an ongoing struggle, but at this point, with the number of times I've posted this verse, I feel like I could just be like, " Come on, say it with me!"

The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

Now sure, this isn't anything life threatening - but isn't that just so nice of God to care about the huge, ginormous, seriously scary, I-have-2-weeks to live- stuff, and also the seemingly insignificant I-don't-feel-pretty stuff? Thanks for that, too, Jesus. 

Jesus Christ alone gives me value because God is love. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Realizations of Beauty

Hey everyone. 

So I'm just going to jump in here. I'm not trying to be insensitive or rude by not getting into more detail, but the fact of the matter is that I'm still processing everything. 

I have thyroid cancer. I'm told that if I have to have cancer, this is the kind I want. Yesterday I found out that the cancer has spread to some of my lymph nodes. I'll be having surgery to remove my thyroid, the lymph nodes under my thyroid and the lymph nodes in another section of my neck that all have cancer, as well. 

To be blatantly honest, today I'm feeling a little weepy and basically just randomly crying here or there. During one of these water works productions, I was talking to God. And I bet you can pretty much guess what happened...

He comforted me.

I know, I know - at this point, that's kind of a repetitive story in blogs. Nonetheless, I want to share this particular story of comfort.

Let's travel back to the good ol' days. The year was 2007 and little high school senior version of me was starting to understand that CF can really, pardon my french, suck. My CF started progressing and I needed to get a port placed so I could do an aggressive IV treatment from home. 

I won't lie guys, I was vain, and still am to a degree. I was so, so, so upset. Not because I was getting sicker, or because I'd be on ivs, or whatever else. I was upset because I really liked my neck. (Bear with me here) I just thought it was so beautiful. Tall and smooth. Imagine if the evil queen from Snow White was just jealous of necks. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall - who has the fairest neck of all?" -- It would have been me. It was the perfect neck. And I was upset about the port because the catheter would make a vein in my neck stick out, and ruin the beauty.

As most of you know, I got the port, and to me, the beauty was ruined.

Fast forward to 2013. I have ECMO in one side of my neck, a tracheostomy in the middle and an IV with so many ports on the left side, it literally looked like a Christmas tree. Needless to say, my neck went from "fairest of them all" to Grand Central Station of Scars. 

Soon, it'll undergo yet another surgery, and bear yet another scar.

And the thing is... it's even more beautiful this way. I've said before that my scars show the markings of my Maker and give a visual of how He has rescued me time, and time again. But to be honest, I don't know if I ever actually viewed them as a thing of beauty. 

This morning, Jesus opened my eyes to this. The physicality that I mourned over being ruined was actually being made into an extravagant work of art by God. His mural of testimonies

And although this whole cancer thing is pretty scary and unknown, I love that my favorite artist still isn't finished with his piece yet. 

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Jesus has shown me what beauty is because God is love.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Hey all!

It's been awhile, but here I am returning to blog not because I'm bored, or am fulfilling an obligatory goal of blogging at least one a year, or any other reason like that. I'm typing away over here because I feel there is something that God wants me to share.

I could explain everything. Why I needed a procedure to get a PICC line put in. What a PICC line is, what the risks are, etc. But honestly, none of that matters because this story isn't about the PICC line itself, or my health. The descriptions I'll type are to help explain my situation, but this story is about God. And God doesn't need any extra details.

Yesterday I was on the table to get a PICC line inserted. Procedure rooms can be a pretty scary and lonely place. Everything is sterilized. Everyone around you is bustling about with a different, but just as crucial job to do, and none of them have faces. They all have medical masks with shields, gloves, and the same sterile scrubs on. The lights are bright, the room is kept cold, and although you can barely feel the room temperature on your body through the mounds of sterile linens covering you, you can still feel that cold, surgical air on your face as you lay completely flat and motionless on the hard table right next to needles, tubes, scapulas and other medical equipment you can't identify but have your name written on them. The team of doctors is nice, and does their best to make you feel human, but let's face it, in this moment, you're a rag doll. You only move when someone moves you; put your left arm here, tilt slightly this way or that. And when you're finally in the right position, when you're finally prepared, they numb you, make sure you can't feel anything, and then begin using the tools in which you could identify, and the ones you couldn't. I'm not sure which is scarier. You know this is a good thing. This is what you need. They are helping you, and you are thankful for them, the medical technology they possess and the ability to receive the treatment you need. But even in that room full of people who seem to be talking all the same time; even though your eyes dart to every section of the room that's in your view without moving searching and failing to find a space that isn't crammed with faceless people, even though you know you aren't alone, it's easy to slip into the feeling that you really are, though. 

But ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my God. He's the One that's there. Even though tons of doctors can vouch that no one was holding my hand, even though you could take a picture and see with your own eyes that no one was standing next to the table whispering comfort and encouragement in my ear, My God was. From the very beginning, I knew where my trust, hope and comfort was. The start of the procedure was pretty standard but as we got further in, there were some complications. What should have been a thirty minute procedure turned into 2 hours. It was scary, uncomfortable and painful. I had worship music playing near me, but the doctors seemed to talk louder about the patient's conundrum. As the chatter became more detailed, I couldn't handle it knowing that the patient they were discussing was me. Those details.. that's what was happening in my body right now. And then they said "Get the metal." I began crying. But God was still holding my hand, and because of that, I was ok. Soon, I felt them working inside my arm. I felt unnatural things popping and snapping in my arm as I could feel them pushing what I can only assume was the metal through my vein. So much pressure and discomfort. And then pain. As calmly as I could, I mustered up my voice and told the doctor that whatever they were doing was causing me pain. He tried to comfort me but I could tell in his voice, I was just going to have to bear this part. I held still as my eyes started leaking mini rivers that flowed quickly down the sides of my cheeks. I appreciated the doctor and his attempted words of comfort, but they didn't comfort me. And then God stepped in. The only comfort that would be found in a moment like that, and just at the right time. A moment sooner, I would have gotten distracted by the coming pain, but a moment later and I would have suffered. Just in time, my Rescuer came to my aid. "This is just temporary. This pain will end. Endure it just a little longer. But your joy and salvation through Me is not temporary. It's eternal. Take comfort in that this will not last forever, but your time with Me, your salvation will.

And as I lay listening to God, motionless on the cold hard table, the pressure, discomfort and pain didn't stop. But somehow, they didn't really matter either. And you know what? The procedure ended. I'm typing this and I'm not in pain. Pain is temporary. Salvation is not.

2 Corinthians 4:18
 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I am comforted by fixing my eyes on the unseen. I am comforted by my Lord himself because God is love.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ah.. Thanksgiving. Where do you start when thinking of all the things you're thankful for? Food and water is pretty high on the list. Along with my properly working tastebuds so I can enjoy said food and water... And my bed. Definitely my bed. And Pip. And my family. And my lungs! And our house with a working heating system. And cold, drinkable water. And hot water to make the perfect showers. And my best friends. And chocolate..... to eat in my wonderful bed. The list can go on and on.. But today I'm not going to write about how I'm thankful for those things. I'm going to write about what I'm MOST thankful for out of everything else. It's quite a long list and I've already had to shorten it to fit on this blog so bear with me here.

Psalm 34:15a
                       The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous an his ears are attentive to their cry...

Psalm 23:3
                 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

Psalm 23:4a 
                       I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.

2 Corinthians 12:9
                               But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."

Exodus 14:14 
                        The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.

Psalm 84:11 
                      For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

Psalm 5:12
                  For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.

John 10:27
                  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.

Psalm 147:10-11
                            His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of the warrior. The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Hebrews 12:18-24
                               You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death." The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." But you have come to Mount Zion , to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Hebrews 9:11-12
                              So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood - not the blood of goats and calves - he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

I'm thankful because God is love.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

I can feel it in my chest

Hello all :] So life with lungs is incredible. Going to the beach, returning to the thrill of roller coasters, running/dancing/jumping/playing with my niece and nephew.. Sometimes my past doesn't seem like it actually happened.  The joy I have now far outweighs the sorrows of my past.

Yesterday was particularly amazing for me. I guess I should start out this story by saying how much I LOVE the beach! Every time I go I can't help but get caught up in how much God loves us. The beach, even on a stormy day, is always so beautiful; the vastness of the skies are always proclaiming the glory of the Lord.

Psalm 19:1 NASB
For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Not only that -- I can NEVER get over how much sand there is. We all know how tiny those little grains are. I can't even come up with a realistic number in mind of how many grains it takes to cover the entire beach the way they do. And it absolutely blows my mind to stand there, and see a visual of how much God thinks of us.

Psalm 139:17-18 NLT
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them:
They outnumber the grains of sand! 
And when I wake up, you are still with me!

I love it!  So here I am, at one of my favorite places to be. The sun is beaming down in that perfect way where it's not just hot out, but you can actually feel the warmth on your skin directly from rays of sun. After practically bathing in sun screen and laying down our blanket, cooler with plenty of cold water, bags, towels, sun glasses and any other accessories we brought, my friend and I finally made the trek down from our little relaxation spot to the water. The waves were beautiful and rough; crashing and colliding with the shore line making little bubbles come up to our feet. So. Perfect.  We went running into the ocean and soon discovered the waves were a lot rougher than we originally deemed them to be. It was glorious. Jumping over some waves, or just being slightly hit by them is always a good time, but more often than the tiny, reserved waves were these monstrous, hulking, all consuming waves that would come out of what seemed like no where. As the first one crashed down on me, I was pushed onto the bottom (we weren't out that far) and scraped along the ocean floor as the waves pushed me ashore without letting me come up for air right away. My friend yelled "ARE YOU OK?!" and I honestly thought -- I have never been better. I didn't panic, I wasn't scared. I have working lungs that can not only breathe, but hold their breath, too! Through out the day, alternating between safely chatting on our blanket and getting totally beaten up by the waves, I thought, "God, this can't get any better". 

But just like God, of course it did. God always, always out does our plans. I can only imagine his delight when he gets to finally reveal the surprises he has in store for us. It's like a kid who's thrilled to be at the community park playing on the swings, but you know that later you're bringing them to Disney World.

Two friends (shout out to Lesjahn and Jess! :P) and I went to the Switchfoot/Need to breathe concert that same night. It was so much fun! Loud music, lights and cheering, and the ocean breeze giving us just the right amount of relief in the hot crowd. By the time Need To Breathe came on the stage, we had worked our way up to the front - so close that we were actually at the barriers they have between the stage and the crowd -- and more importantly, right next to the speakers! We stood (well really, danced, swayed, clapped...everything but just stood) there listening to the music blare all around us and screamed as loud as we could. Then the bass came through the speakers, and my chest resonated like the sound was bursting out from inside of my body.  I had to stop and think for a moment. This feeling is familiar. My lungs vibrated as I breathed in to sing the next line as loud as my voice would let me, and I felt that familiarity again. I definitely knew this feeling, except it wasn't exactly deja vu -- it was familiar but different.  And then I started crying.  The Lord helped me remember. He helped my mind pin point what my body had already recognized.

The last time my lungs vibrated like this was when they were being inflated and deflated by my respirator as I waited, dying for new lungs. This feeling really WAS familiar but more importantly, it really was DIFFERENT. This time, as my lungs vibrated, I wasn't in pain or suffering. I wasn't struggling to breathe. I wasn't hooked up to machines. This time, my lungs were vibrating as I danced, clapped, laughed and sang. They fluttered with the music that was the background a night of praising the Lord. And I wish I could describe it but no matter what I say won't actually give the moment justice - it was like a movie -- the whole crowd just faded away, except for God and I, and I stood (this time actually stood) in awe of our God. The breeze blowing on my face, the bass reverberating in my lungs.

I remembered lying in the bed. I remembered the pain, and the exact feeling that I hated having a machine control my breathing rate and my lungs. Mostly, I remembered the feeling that that was life, that it wasn't going to get better, that I would be stuck like that until I died. A lot of times, whether the situation is literally dire, or we at least feel that it is, our eyes/hearts/minds don't fixate on God's promises, but instead only ponder our hopelessness/unhappiness. Last night, I was reminded yet again of how God always holds true to his promises.

Isaiah 40:31
...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.

My entire life I have felt things in my chest; infection, pneumonia, bacteria, scarring, shortness of breath, and ultimately felt the inability to breathe at all. 

Last night I felt something in my chest, too. Except this time, it felt like life.

I felt it in my chest because God is love.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Who Am I? Only God Knows...

Hey Everyone!

So tonight's blog was prompted by listening to a Laura Story song.  Honestly, I feel like I could write a whole devotional based off of her songs and the way they connect with my life and I have a funny feeling I'm not the only one who feels that way.  If you haven't heard of Laura Story or you just haven't gotten around to listening to her music yet, I would definitely recommend listening to her songs!

So the concept of this blog is actually pretty short and sweet.  Let God be your God. The actual blog, of course, will not be short... but hopefully sweet! :]

CF always enjoyed reminding us of its threat and of the tolls it took on me.  One of those tolls being that once I got really sick, my choices were already chosen for me. I didn't decide what I wanted to do on any given day, my exhaustion did. My lungs dictated if I would laugh regardless if I thought something was hilarious. And my chest and ribs stubbornly kept me awake all night despite how tired the rest of me was.  After getting transplanted, this was entirely different. Every possible desire and opportunity came flying at me. It was like I suddenly found myself in Distractions R' US and I couldn't leave until I had browsed through everything. Even when distractions were calm, though, I found myself struggling in a battle --- against myself.  I didn't know how to be someone. I had to relearn how to be social and hold conversations.  I had to decide what my interests and hobbies were going to be. It felt like I basically had to think up a new me but at the same time I wanted to be who everyone else wanted me to be, too. In movies, when someone reinvents themselves, it comes so easily.  They try new things and like them.  They dive into uncomfortable social settings and find that secretly their social butterfly was just yearning to be released. They whimsically decide on a career and pursue it with great motivation and little hindrances, all the while trying new scrumptious looking food.  Folks, if you haven't figured this out quite yet --- movies lie. In my upgraded version of myself, I was confused, fragile and stressed about being confused and fragile when clearly this was supposed to be this great movie of me finally taking life by the reigns (and possibly even including a wardrobe montage to 80s music.. but I guess that would depend on which movie I'd be basing my life off of... :P).  I was uncertain of mostly everything and I couldn't have hated it more.  Who was I? Who was I supposed to be? What was I supposed to do?  What classes should I take? Do I want to give that gross foo another try? How should I this or that?  What am I supposed to act like? Or look like? Say? Do?!  There were only 1 thing I was absolutely sure of:

I am God's.

I had tons of questions constantly whirling in my mind, and I only knew one thing...  The cool part is -- that one thing I knew turned out to be the answer to every single question I had.  I am God's. I don't have to try to be this or that - God will mold me and teach me.  I don't have to make career decisions on my own - God will lead me.  I don't have to freak out over what to: say, do, act like, look like, BE like.  These are all examples of burdens that the Lord never intended for us to carry alone.  He did the heavy lifting when he carried the cross to pay for our sins, and because of his sacrifice and victory over death, when we walk with Jesus, we are also blessed by God's promises.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" - Jeremiah 29:11
He knows already! Why am I stressing out trying to do God's job when He's already said that He has made the plans for me? 

"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." - Ephesians 2:10
Out of all the beautiful things and creatures God has created -- he calls us his masterpiece! My confidence comes from the Lord.

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13
Whatever God calls me to do, I don't have to worry if I cant handle it in my own strength, because it will be God's strength that I run off of. 

We aren't supposed to stress, worry and drive ourselves nuts. We are just supposed to let God be God.

"Be still, and know that I am God!  " - Psalm 46:10

I can trust God with my life and my decisions because God is love.  <<--- the Laura Story song this blog was prompted by -- check it out! <3

Monday, February 16, 2015

Silence is golden... and glorifying!


I'm going to jump right in to what I'm thinking and pray that the LORD is using my fingers and keyboard as his tools.

So today I was reading my devotional and the Scripture that was paired with it was Psalms 19:1-4a

"The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world."

Brace yourselves for something totally out of the ordinary! -- also, please pick up my incredibly heavy sarcasm there -- because obviously what comes to mind is... you guessed it! --- My times on life support!

I apologize if I repeat stories I've already told a million times, and I know I've already written before about how God can still hear you when you can't speak, and he can and will use your silence as much as he can use your voice, and sometimes silence can be even louder.

I couldn't make a sound, or word.  The tracheotomy prohibited any air from reaching my vocals cords, and therefore, I couldn't talk no matter how hard I tried... and being a Gorsky... I tried VERY hard to talk :P  

But seriously.. my voice was never heard. And yet, it was during this time that my life proclaimed the glory of God like it never had before.  It was when I had no vocalization that my life continued to speak day after day and night after night my silence made God known.

Just a disclaimer as well -- I had nothing  to do with this.  I wasn't laying there like "oh yeah... I am so going to silently proclaim God's glory today with this life support!" Just like Psalms 19:1-4 says, it's what GOD has created that brings him glory because it displays his craftsmanship. It reminds me of a great art museum -- people go to see the textures, colors and creativeness used in the paintings as they are displayed for the world to see. The same is true with our lives -- God is the greatest artist of all, and in our lives are the most intricate details, vivid colors and creative layouts.  Our lives display God's craftsmanship - in fact.. we are even called God's workmanship!  Look up Ephesians 2:10. 

The way God laid out my life's painting was to bring him glory through the storm. I am incredibly honored to look back and realize all the ways Jesus let my life display his works, and realize the privilege it was to proclaim his glory silently but loudly.

But that brings me to where I am now -- very much able to talk, and very much so utilizing that ability haha. So it makes me think..

Now that I have a voice to glorify the Lord with my words and sounds, how am I choosing to glorify him without my voice as well?  It is a wonderfully blessed gift to be able to shout his praises and talk to him aloud -- but I don't want to be limited in the way my life speaks of him and to him -- I want both.  I want to "continue to speak" in every aspect of my life -- both the verbal, and the silent.  

I want my lips to speak the goodness of the Lord, and when words are too many, or aren't enough... let my silence be glory.

" Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. "
Psalm 40:5

Our lives display God's glory because God is love.