Jan 29, 2015

Post-Op Update

How thankful I am for my Dad.  He has stayed right here with me around the clock, during surgery afterwards and staying with me in my home to help me around the house, even get dressed and take me out.

I was able to get out a bit yesterday to grocery shop for over an hour and pick up a few items elsewhere and this morning we had breakfast together at a local restaurant, one of our favorite things to do together.  I am very fortunate.

I am in a great deal of pain in the morning when I wake up from where the veins were harvested to perform bypasses.  One being in my left forearm and the other in my left upper leg.  There was a third and that vessel was taken from behind my left chest wall, so there is no pain associated with that.  I look like someone beat me with a sledgehammer and I am very pale, but have alot of energy.  That energy is somewhat artificial because I am also taking prednisone to keep my blood platelets up.


I was able to start taking the stairs again like a normal person today, rather than two feet on each step and moving up or down.  The energy is short lived and after about 10 minutes of walking around in my house I am short of breath and need to rest, but I feel everything starting to improve and I am very encouraged by it.


I have had Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Home Health nurses all out to visit me this week and I get a call each day to check on how I am doing.  I feel very well cared for.  Again, its very encouraging and I am not sure what I would do without these people, especially my dad.

God has been so gracious to me, so patient and so attentive to my heart on so many levels throughout my life and this has been no different.  Sometimes our lives have a way of causing so much distraction from what matters most, including our own personal health, but He has taught me so patiently (sometimes with hard lessons to learn) that when He is our focus, our source, when we understand and embrace the fact that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, then all other things are added unto us.  When we seek Him first and place Him before all other things, people, places, ideals, our own intellect and ego, He will give us everything we need in this life to fulfill the purpose He created us for.

Thank you for all those who have reached out to me, prayed for me and have sent encouraging words, emails, phone calls and texts. They mean and have meant so much to me during this time and this recovery that I know will be slow, but I have complete trust and faith in God that His purpose will be fulfilled through it all and it is my sincerest prayer that I will be a more transparent representation of what He has called me to be, right here, right now - so that others might come to know the One who loves us beyond compare, who never leaves us or forsakes us and has a great and divine, honorable and eternal plan for us.  It is my great hope that not only I would experience, but that the whole world would experience more and more of God and all He is!

God Bless You all!

Tim

Jan 26, 2015

You are what you eat

Love this message especially tonight.  Thank you Lord for clarity you bring through others like Billy.  Worth a listen to anyone who needs some encouragement and some clarity of your faith and hope in Jesus Christ.



Thank You Dad

Gosh I am so thankful for my Dad these past few days and today and I am sure many days to come. He is seeing me at my most vulnerable thats for sure. This recovery will be slow and emotional, but I am moving ahead. Its humbling to realize just after going through one flight of stairs and doing something as simple as taking a shower, leaves me completely drained with no energy - all the while trying to maintain bandages, keep up with meds, checking glucose, stopping bleeding, and realizing I simply don't have strength to lift much of anything... Thank you God for all you are, all you have been and promise to be, thank you for all the wonderful people you have placed in my life, especially my dad - who is comfortably snoozing and snoring on my sofa as I type smile emoticon. If there is one thing I hope I never ever ever have to do again through this process, that is to have chest tubes, they were the most painful thing about the whole procedure. I would have rather have a limb amputated slowly and fully awake than to have that kind of pain again... fortunately most people have no issue with it, but I understand that younger males who are thin typically do have pain associated with it and boy did I ever! I am so glad its over. Thank you all for all your prayers!

Jan 20, 2015

Lauren Daigle- Once And For All


Just discovered this tonight... and I was just speaking with God.. and questioned Him about the things I share tonight. There is always this fear to not "speak a thing"... but He said "Tim don't be afraid to share the truth".. never be afraid to share the truth. The truth is - we all will face death at some point in our lives, some it will be suddenly, sometimes not so much. I feel tremendously blessed to be going into this surgery... and this song is the epitome of what I have prayed many times in my life... to be able to lay it all down, including myself. To live fully for Him that others might know Him, see Him, seek them for themselves, that I would be yielded and transparent. One of the greatest lessons He has taught me, is the revelation of His sacrifice. What actually took place on Calvary that day..and how we must follow His lead to become living sacrifices just as He has for us. Its a tough thing. To realize we are the ones that must be crucified in order to have a new life in Him, to be born again. To stop laying our burdens down, to only go back out in the world to come back time and time again. While He is eager and lovingly takes on those burdens its our life He wants. He has already given us His. We are our own burden and when we willingly give Him our lives, moment by moment, day by day, year after year - that is when we find true freedom, true liberation from the bondage of sin and this world. That is when we truly experience the resurrection power through Christ, through His holy spirit that was evident on the third day. That is when the old man is passed away and all things are made new! God thank you so much for a love indescribable, incomprehensible that reaches down to the lowest place, and stretches far beyond the universe. Thank you for the sacrifice you have already made, and the the privilege and honor to serve you, to love you and to know you. No one loves me like you do!

Reflection

So this is the night before the big surgery.. So much has gone through my mind in the past 2-3 weeks since I had chest pain and discovered I had blockages that couldn't be addressed through stents or angioplasty. Instead, I am having coronary bypass surgery. For those that don't know this involves three main things that get to me a little: 1) my breast bone will be sawed in half to be able to get to my heart. 2) I will be put on a heart lung machine that will pump all of my blood out of my body, oxygenate it and pump it back into my body and will breathe for me. 3) My heart will be stopped while they operate on the arteries that are blocked. God has given me peace about it - but I have that peace in some degree of anxiety not so much fear.

I feel confident in the care I will receive and the surgeon who will perform the surgery, but honestly that is almost irrelevant when you are facing this type of surgical intervention and the degree of invasiveness that comes with this particular surgery. My faith and my hope, my trust and my peace all reside with God and God alone it really doesn't matter who is providing the care, because He is sovereign and all glory and honor go to Him. I could go through my whole life story but we don't have time for that, read the blog and you will get an idea. Suffice it to say its been an emotional, eye opening ride these past few weeks. I have assurance of where I will be when I leave this body whether that takes place in the next 10 seconds, or 10 decades. Even in all my sin, and so many times I have been disconnected, by my own admission and action, God has never left me, He never has forsaken me and He has always drawn me to His own heart since I can remember, even before I was old enough to really stand and walk on my own.

I have to recount some of my greatest memories, so people just know - its something I have told over and over to others and want to share them again.

My best and most cherished memory of my Dad as a kid, was before I started school as a toddler. Every morning my mom would put me on the edge of our little front porch in Sandy Bottom, NC - while I waited for my Dad's ride to come pick him up for work. I guess they only had one car at the time. It was my job or so I thought to keep his big black lunch box - I was a proud little boy in my toddler way to do that one job for my Daddy. I got to see him off to work and if I recall correctly, got to sit there and anxiously await his return. That was the highlight of my mornings and my afternoons. He was the prize. Although the lunchbox was his and I was keeping watch over it for him, or so I thought, he was the focus. He always provided me with more than enough. There are many more great memories to many to mention, but thats the one I think I will always have with me. Sometimes memories get woven into eternity and for me, this is the one with him. I love him very much, I always have and always will. We haven't always known how best to show it, as with any human or any relationship, but thats what life is for and what God is for, to teach us about Love and how to share that with the world. Thank you Dad for always loving me no matter what. Through these last several years we have become better people, to each other and I know without any doubt you love me, and I know you know I love you back, no matter what.

My brother Kevin. I know I was a little brat when we were kids, but I know you forgive me for that. I forgive you likewise for not always being the best big brother. I love you no matter what. I remember when you were burned severely as a kid and the best memory, although it may be one of your worse was the day that happened. The neighbors were going to put you in the car and I knew what had happened, but it didn't hit me until I saw you with blisters all over your body from the fire. It hurt me so much, I knew you were hurt and I wasn't so sure you would be ok. I started to tear up and walk away, but as you were getting in the car, without any concern for yourself you looked at me and said "don't cry, I will be ok"... it was in that moment I knew you loved me. You were more concerned about me and how I was feeling than your own pain. I will never ever forget that. I know life has been tough for you, and I wish I could have done something to change that, but I trust God's plan is greater than anything we can ever do on our own and I know He will finish what He started in you... His efforts are not wasted. You have a kind heart, a gentle nature and that moment, way back many years ago on that life changing day, was the epitome of that to your little brother. It is also a memory that somehow found its way in my part of eternity. Thank you for loving me an accepting the way you have over all these years. You have taught me much and I am sure will continue, whether directly or indirectly. Thank you Kevin, I love you very much.

My mom, who passed away in 1998 from complications of breast cancer. There is way to much to say here. I was a momma's boy and for most of my life up until her death, she was my whole world. I was devastated on so many levels when she went home to be with God. It took me about 6 years to feel somewhat normal afterwards. I have so many memories of her and her unconditional love for me, I can't recount them all. But she was always the one I knew without any doubt at any time in my life that loved me unconditionally. But God showed me how she had become my idol after she died and through her death my relationship with Him grew stronger. She was tenderhearted, loving, kind, sometimes stubborn, business minded, articulate and beautiful. I think I got all that from her (smile). I got the humor and funny antics from my dad... not to mention his overwhelming generosity toward others at times. Through her death I learned that love from others doesn't always look like what we expect, this was critical and key even to this very moment to me developing good healthy relationships, which includes the one between me and my dad. There is nothing like a mother's love and I know thats why God chose women to be mom's. If there is one memory of my mom its of a time when I was just barely old enough to walk, not sure I could, or if I was even speaking, but when we went to church on Sunday's she would sometimes hold me during church services. During this time as she sang hymns I would place my ear against her chest just to hear and feel the vibration of her voice. I remember it like it was yesterday. This was my heaven. Just that sound, the beautiful music I could hear and feel coming from the woman who gave birth to me, my mom! I had no other care in the world, nothing else existed when this was taking place and if I knew what an out of body experience was back then (I do now - also on the blog)then this was it! I could only think that this must be what heaven sounded and felt like...I came to find out later in life that in part, it was! Thats a sound I know I will feel, see and hear in heaven! Near Death Like Experience and Questions & Answers about the Near Death Like Experience

My parents separated and divorced when I was young and it was a tough thing.....many ups and downs and the typical things that happen during a broken marriage...but God reconciled their relationship and they remarried each other on their original wedding date. While I am sure my brother and I were both skeptical of it, through their renewed vows and marriage, God taught me about reconciliation and restoration. They were together right up to the moment she took her last breath. Its a tremendous testimony of what commitment and love can accomplish. It was one of the greatest lessons of my life and one of the reasons I always seek to provide and receive forgiveness. Not to mention its a command of God. It serves a grand and divine purpose. Forgiveness is what builds a bridge over troubled waters and provides a way...to all that God has for us with each other and with Him. Love and forgiveness go hand in hand and you can't have one without the other, its as simple as that.

There are so many more I could name, and write encyclopedia size volume of pages to recount all the many wonderful people who have been so instrumental in helping me become the person I am today. So many people have brought love, laughter and wisdom to my life. Please don't feel slighted if your name is not here. Just know I love you. Brenda, Maddie, Matt, Madison, Mrs. Reason, Pam and Donnie, Cathy, Tiffany, Jeanne, Kim, Connie, Brooke, Teri... gosh I could write a list a mile long... know you are special to me for a million different reasons. Especially some of you, the times we have shared speaking about God, or just our friendship... the connections we have made in the past... I wish I could name everyone!

The most important part of this blog post and the thing I would say if I were able and was taking my last breath... is this. God is real, He is alive, and no matter what we accomplish in this life, or what we don't... Having a one on one personal relationship with God through Christ, His Holy Spirit is the most important. Give Him a chance, He gave His life. You don't have to take my word for it, take His. Following Christ is not a cake walk, but He told us it wouldn't be... we have to be living sacrifices, something I am still trying to master, but in my pursuit of Him, of His ways, of holiness and righteousness He perfects us, molds us and makes us and provides for us the greatest hope humanity can or ever will have. He will meet you right where you are, no matter what - He is not bound by your intellect or lack thereof, nor is He a respecter of any man or woman - there is nothing, nothing that can keep you from His great love!

If you are truly searching for Him you WILL find Him, He will show up, and you will know, you will just know! You don't have to be in a certain place at a certain time say a certain prayer or be of a certain status of any type... He really does meet us right where we are and if you just call out to Him with a sincere heart, He will answer. He may not answer in the way you think or the way you want but He will answer!!! It will be the best most rewarding and most important relationship you can or ever will have in this life or the one to come. Give Him the chance, He loves you more than you can ever possibly comprehend or understand. That is my wish for the whole world, that they would know the One who died for me, for us all, who shed His blood for us, who overcame death, hell and the grave for us... The One who took upon Himself all the sin of the world past, present and future that we might have this great hope of eternal life with Him, our Father, the lover of our souls, the First and the Last, The Great I am, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! His name is Jesus and He is here, alive and dwells in the hearts of many women and men, through His spirit - reach out to Him today, please! He wants to have an intimate relationship with you, His heart aches to be with you and to comfort you, to encourage and teach you, to give you peace and rest, to provide an assurance that no other can provide.

I hope whoever reads this is blessed, is encouraged, inspired.

Now I need to spend time preparing for the big day, spending time with God, to be in His presence and allow His peace and comfort to encourage me! God Bless you all! Love Tim

Jan 19, 2015

Countdown to Coronary Bypass

God has given me a peace..about this whole thing. I am sure I will be a little nervous this Wednesday and tomorrow evening, but I have been so busy trying to line everything up - make my house comfortable for my dad and other family members when they stay with me... I haven't had alot of time to rethink anything. I hope tomorrow God will remind (in my busy-ness) to spend time with Him. I honestly don't know how I could forget. For those of you who who have been and are praying, thank you so much! The encouragement and kind words I have received over these past few days have really made a difference in my frame of mind. So thank you. In the meantime, I am doing what I love right now, listening to sermons, talks, discussions about various topics. Tonight its Russ Dizdar and the Days of Noah Prophecy Conference from November of 2014. Its good stuff. I will share a link to the first session after this post. This is extremely interesting stuff, but its not something you are going to hear on Sunday. I highly recommend it.

Jan 16, 2015

Today

Its hard to keep everyone posted but for those that read the blog... and know of the upcoming surgery.. My platelets were to low last week for them to be comfortable with me having surgery next week. I was put on prednisone to boost my platelets and had an oncology appt this morning at the local cancer center. Good news... platelets went from 54000 last week to 176000 this week.. I am good to go for surgery. BUT... they postponed it one day and I will be going in on Wednesday morning. Its been an emotional roller coaster for me personally, but I am glad I get another day to better prepare mentally, physically, spiritually and logistically. While we don't know the root cause of the low platelets, its enough to get me cleared for surgery. The prednisone is no fun! It robs you of sleep..so I am getting pretty exhausted, but that has been coupled with traveling back from PA and trying to get alot of things done in a short time, along with several bouts of emotional ups and downs. Its all good. I can handle it and I feel bad for my family who might be seeing me at my worse and possibly at my best.. I can only hope all good will come from this. God is certainly working through our lives right now.. its amazing in some ways, when I think about it, what is actually taking place, and probably even more amazing if we saw everything from His eyes. Lord grant us a forgiving heart, patience, peace and comfort.. help settle the dust. I know when He shakes the ground sometimes the hard and heavy stuff rises to the top.. its ok.. we need to recognize what it is, and know its for a reason. What an adventure I am seeing this as.. I am constantly reminded of Peter and the storm... Lord helps us to keep our eyes and minds fixed on you, that we are not distracted by the things of this world - even if it involves pain, confusion, our own bodies.. You are Lord over my life, help me to always align my thoughts and actions with that Truth! I know I can never go wrong if I do.

Jan 8, 2015

Suffering

"For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal".  2 Corinthians 4:17-18

When I fix my heart and mind on Him, and understand the reality and truth of this word, that is when suffering is turned into joy and the bitterness and sting of pain becomes sweet.  

Open Heart - Surgery

Today - was the day to  have the cardiac cath.  I anticipated I would have some blockages that could possibly be corrected with stents.  I also anticipate another possible outcome, and that being that I had no blockages and we would work on finding out where the symptoms of chest pain might be coming from - in my mind, reflux disease or something along those lines.

What I didn't anticipate was a third possible outcome.  That being I had blockages and the recommendation for open heart surgery.

Wow, what a bit of a shock.  Its still sinking in.  I have at least three blockages one being the LAD - you'll have to look it up.  But due to the nature of the blockages, the fact I am diabetic and the fact that I have naturally narrow arteries - stents would not really resolve the issue and if they did it would only be for so long and bypass surgery would be needed at some point anyway.

The reality of your own mortality hits you square in the face when you hear about this news.  When I have heard about other people having this surgery - I have been disconnected from it because I didn't quite grasp the magnitude of it, the risks involved and the reality that so many things could go wrong.  I understand its a common procedure and plenty of people in the world undergo some variation of it everyday and they go on to live healthy and even vigorous lives as a result.  Much better than they were before in many ways.

But yet, it is an overwhelming idea to think about my breast bone being cut in half, my chest opened up, to be placed on a heart and lung bypass machine, to be in an intensive care unit with all kinds of tubes and contraptions including a chest tube, a catheter and who knows what else.  Its overwhelming to think of the pain that I might endure as a result and the recovery period that will follow.  Then to compound the issue that I am a diabetic and prone to infection.

I am reminded of the many conversations I have had with God, sometimes one sided because I refused to hear, or at other times because the "reasoning" in my own mind, drowned out His still small voice.  Often times throughout my life I have realized one grand supreme truth... In Him are all things.  If I have Him then I have all I need in this life or the one to come.

Speaking of the heart literally and figuratively, I know mine at best is wicked and vile. Sure the way I live my life and try to live my life has more often than not been outwardly kind and loving.  But just like so many, there are plenty of times that has not been the case.  I suppose I am like most I have good days and bad.  Sometimes I am not slow to anger and quick to pass judgment.  I have often prayed to God, to give me a new heart, one that mirrors His own.  One that is loving and kind, compassionate and forgiving. I have prayed that He circumcise my heart removing all that would seek to exalt itself above Him and the knowledge of Him. Its not an easy process.

Many times I have prayed in desperation for freedom, for liberation, from confusion and doubt... to be as He would have me be, live as He would have me live and to have a heart solely focused on Him, and what He has called me to do in this world, even when I wasn't clear exactly what that was. I have given Him my will in many cases, because I knew and know my will wasn't strong enough to withstand the many challenges I face on a day to day basis to live according to His ways and His word.  Sometimes thats the easy way out... its a difficult process to conform our will to His, even knowing exactly what that is at times.

This news today, the reality of what I am going to be facing in a few short weeks... is nothing compared to what so many others are enduring or facing moment by moment.  But for now this is my reality and I want to share with anyone willing to read, this journey because I am anticipating it will be a great opportunity to again share my faith, my hope and my love for God in the best way I know how because at the end of the day, when its all said in done, the most important aspect of my life, the one thing that is most important to me for the world around me to know - is that God is real, He is alive and He has been and will continue to be my source for comfort and peace, for knowledge and wisdom and my deepest prayer for me and for those around me right now - is just that.  I am so fortunate and so honored to be able to call the One True Living God, my God, my Savior, my friend, the lover of my soul, the Great I Am, the First and the Last, Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is the Way the Truth and the Life, and in Him I have my being!  Nothing can or ever will change that, no matter what trouble I am facing, no matter any challenge or obstacle.  He is my all in all!


Jan 2, 2015

Cardiac Cath

Its a new year and like so many there is a desire to change a few things, get organized stop a few bad habits but more than anything I want to live the way God really wants me to live.  I recently was hospitalized with chest pain - it was a little scary, but debilitating.  It was an ordeal and nothing was actually done to figure out what the problem was.  So I flew back to the town I am working in with hopes of following up and getting a cardiac cath scheduled.  It was scheduled today.  The doctors tend to think I have a blockage or perhaps a few - or it could be that I reflux..either way something has to give and I am happy to go get it checked out this coming week.  But with that said, the older I get the more I realize how much I have taken for granted and not taken care of my body in the way it should be taken care of...  it will take its toll.

The thoughts have entered my mind, what if something goes wrong, what if they find something that will leave me debilitated, unable to work like I am accustomed to working.  God reminded me of something I have said to Him many times... "Lord if I have you, I have everything."  And if it took stopping me in my tracks, down on my knees, face down on the ground... to get my attention or to give me a greater revelation of you and what you want to do with this life... then I am all for it.. and I really am.  Perhaps this is a test.  I have so many things to reconcile, to undo, or redo..

With that said, I have no fear of death - surely I don't want to suffer any pain nor would I want anyone in my family to be burdened with all the material things that would have to be attended to if something were to happen to me..  but I know where I am going when I leave this world.  I have no fear of that.  I just want whatever time I have left here in this life, to be lived better, for Him, to really do what I say I want to do, for Him. The trouble lies with my mind, my flesh... learning how not to lean into my own understanding, my own strength or reasoning... its a natural reaction a natural way of life.  I really want to live a supernatural way of life.  To have the kind of faith and love for God that would allow me to walk away from all I own, or desire and truly place Him first.  To have such an intimate and growing relationship with the Great I Am...to know Him more, to live more as He would have me live, that He would be revealed more through my life to others....because to know Him is to love Him!

I just want more of you God, because I don't have the strength to withstand this world some times and I get caught up in it, in my own thoughts and flesh... and I fail miserably.  I just want more of God and if it takes the sacrifice of this life to get to you, then so be it.  But if you have something in store for me for others, then heal this body and teach me to delight in ALL your ways.  Cause my heart to desire you so much that nothing would be placed before you.  That you would truly be my King because I choose you every day, every hour, every moment and in every breath I take.