I choose more….

dsc03765I’m breaking from sharing the timeline of my story, because it happened….

I have now lived longer with my new liver than my old one! I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Early on, for whatever reason, 18 years became a marker for me. I told myself that if I could make to 18 years-I was going to make it.

Since I started thinking about what I was going to say at the party, I’ve gone through the gamut of emotions. I’ve gone from being excited, to being anxious, to being speechless, to thinking maybe I should cancel the party all together. As I was preparing, all of a sudden I began to feel so discouraged, so disappointed in myself. You see I have looked to this day for a long time and now that I am here-I thought it would be different. Really what I thought is, that I would be different. I thought I would be healed. I thought I would be whole. I thought I would be full of gratitude and hope.

This is a time to celebrate life. But here is the thing, a lot of times over the last 18 years I haven’t wanted to celebrate. It’s been really hard. I don’t feel like I’ve handled it very well. On the outside and with my words I can speak of the miracle and God’s goodness-but inside I’ve felt a lot of confusion and grief. I’ve become judgemental and controlling. I’ve become task oriented. I’ve become entitled. As I’ve let my thoughts go there these past weeks, it quickly went dark.

I was shopping the other day and I was thinking about what I was going to say. There are two things wrong with this picture. 1. I was shopping. I hate shopping. Therefore, I cannot expect clear thinking when I’m shopping. 2. I was thinking in my head. As an extreme extravert, when I try to think in my head-things get a little mushy. I need to think with my words. I was going down a spiral and I was going down fast. Thoughts and feelings were overcoming me in ways that I had not experienced.

Jesus.

I just said it, not super loud- “Jesus” and then I said it again. “Jesus” and I just kept repeating it under my breath. All of a sudden I could see and think clearly.

As I reminded my thoughts and emotions who their master was, they quickly rose to the command.

As I have said,  I have really struggled with feeling grateful at times. I can be very self centered and entitled. I make mole hills into mountains. I am urgent and controlling.

But I have also chosen to serve Jesus, through whom the world was created by the power of His words. And because of that I have access to MORE. I have access to all of who He is. I have access to More grace, More gratitude. More perspective. More openness. More trust. More surrender.

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“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10

This verse has been spoken over my life by different people, in different contexts, in different seasons in my life. But personally this verse has never meant more to me than it does now. At the celebration on Saturday someone said that it’s like I am entering into my third chapter of my life. I LOVE THAT! #newhashtag

Not only did I have a party last weekend, I also decided to get re-baptized. I’m tired of being satisfied with enough. I’m tired of settling for some. I am tired of acting out of trauma. I’m tired of being overwhelmed by grief instead of gratitude. I’m tired of feeling entitled instead of having a servant’s heart. I WANT MORE! And like I said, I believe that as a follower of Christ I have access to ALL of who He is and ALL the power He possesses. So I got baptized to declare to my family, friends and mentors-that I’m all in and I want MORE.

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I also believe that it’s a choice. John 10:10 says that He came so they can have full life, the word can indicates that there is choice involved. We have to choose if we are going to access the power of Christ and all He has to offer; but He promises that when we choose Him-we will have access to ALL of Him.

All we need to do is call upon His name with a surrendered heart. All it takes is a word, Jesus. Call upon apon His name and He will come. When He does-He comes with More.

So as I enter into this third chapter of my life, I’m not healed. I’m not whole. I’m not as graceful as I’d like to be. I’m self centered and seek self preservation.

But I commit to this – I choose more.

 

 

I was really good at being a miracle..

As I shared in my previous blog, because my brain had swelled when I was in a coma, I woke up with the brain of a 5 year old. I had to be reminded what a fork was called. I had to learn how to swallow pills. I even had to be prompted to eat for a while because  my body had lost that sensation.

But as important as those things were, they seemed like I nuisance. Being the extrovert that I am, I loved the attention. And because I am an evangelist at heart, I loved sharing what God had done.

 I was really good at being a miracle.

I loved it. I loved telling the story. I would tell anyone and everyone who would listen (or pretend to) about how God saved me. I was recovering at lightning speed. I was exercising within several weeks of my transplant. I was asked to speak at youth groups. On command, I would pull up my shirt and show people my scar.

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In the midst of me thriving in my new role as a miracle, I had to get my blood drawn a couple times a week to make sure my new liver was settling into my body like it was supposed to. It quickly became another annoying thing I had to do.

How inconvenient. Of course everything was fine, I was a miracle.

Then one day, about four months after my transplant,  things weren’t fine anymore.

My liver levels were high (they are supposed to be low) and they kept getting higher.

My body was rejecting my liver.

Since my transplant, and for the rest of my life, I’ll have to take medication that suppresses my immune system. My new liver is considered a foreign object and the immune system’s job is to attack and get rid of anything that does not belong in my body. A suppressed immune system equals a happy liver. The medication I had been taking was no longer working. My immune system was alive and well with one goal in mind; we must get rid of this liver. They tried a few different things to stop this from happening, nothing seemed to be working.

I ended up back in the hospital. They had to bring out the big guns.

They had to kill my immune system so that it would stop attacking my liver. It was chemotherapy, but instead of killing cancer cells, the goal was to kill off my immune system so it would stop attacking my liver.

This time around at the hospital was a very different experience.

I didn’t want people to visit me. I could barely see straight. I was throwing up. I was in extreme pain. To give you context to the strength and magnitude of the treatment-one nurse cried when she administered the drug  to me because she knew how painful it would be. I’m sure people were praying for me, but this time around it sure felt different. No one sent me flowers or balloons. The waiting room wasn’t full of people waiting in holy anticipation. I walked into the hospital with my parents by my side and walked out the same way. No one stood and clapped for me.

I didn’t want to be a miracle anymore, not if it looked this.

Things began to change…

More soon,

Lisa