Loretta Schoen – Under HIS Wings

Discover the Other Side of Medical Adversity from Being Pressed to Feeling Blessed


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America – “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”

I am not one to get involved in politics or even engage in political discourse.  But as I watched the recent events in the news I am compelled to share my thoughts of despair and sadness.

The destruction of Hurricane Harvey has and is still wreaking havoc on Texas.  The images of the destruction and flooding of homes and the displacement of its residence hits too close to home for us who live in Florida.  We’ve been there as has New Orleans with Katrina and are about to face one of the most powerful hurricanes in history – Hurricane Irma.  I sit with tears in my eyes as I see the wake of Harvey’s path.  I also shed tears of pride as I see the plethora of law enforcement, first responders and volunteers pour into Texas helping to evacuate and care for the residence of Texas.  We are seeing America at its best.

However, the images on the news switch to that of ANTIFA (or whoever is at the helm) at UC Berkley attacking peaceful demonstrators.  They hide behind black clothing and masks, too ashamed of showing who they really are; hurting innocent people who are exercising their rights to demonstrate.  The tears flow, once again, at man’s inhumanity to man and I wonder –

What is happening to America the Beautiful? Abe Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Are we destroying ourselves?  Are we imploding?  Have we become so “me-minded” that we cannot accept anyone who shares a difference of opinion, color, and religion or candidate choice?

The sadness is so intense I begin to sob as I watch people beating up on others and law enforcement attempting to separate and protect the masses.

I wonder what God must be feeling as He watches both the good in us and the worst in us?   Sadness? Anger?  And will He intercede on our behalf or watch as we destroy this most beautiful country we call the United States of America.  Where is the unity?  Where are we united?

While the effects of Hurricane Harvey are difficult to watch, there are made by nature.  Human beings nor God are to blame for Harvey’s path of destruction.  We have risen up to help those in need and shine as we help those less fortunate forge a new life.  Must we can attack physically and verbally those that do not share our points of view?

The hatred and misplaced anger seen throughout this country lies at our feet and ultimately at the Lords.  Will we grow and learn from our pain?  Will we turn to God for strength to live in harmony despite our differences or will we face the ultimate consequence when we face our Maker?

I recall a quote from an unknown author who wrote – “There is so much good in the worst of us.  And so much bad in the best of us that it little behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us.”

And so I’ll stop talking about the worst and the best and choose instead to pray. Will you join me?

As Hurricane Irma rips forges ahead towards Florida we prepare for the worst.  And we pray.  We pray for Texans.  We pray for the Caribbean Islands, northern Leeward Islands, the US and British Virgin Islands, Cuba and the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

Pray with might.

Pray like a warrior.

Pray without ceasing.

May God hear the prayers over the violence both natural and man-made.

 

 

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Waiting for God

Have you ever wondered where God is in your life?  Or what he’s doing in your life?  Is He even aware of the hopelessness you may be feeling?

We’ve all been there – whether it’s trying to find a job to support your family, or a cancer diagnosis that defies one treatment after another.  Maybe it’s an addiction you’ve been battling and you have begged – down on your knees kind of beg for Him to help!

Where is He?  Does He see your pain?  What is He waiting for?

Waiting is not my strong suit, folks.  Abraham and Sarah waited decades to have a child.  In their 90’s and beyond God came to them and said they would give birth to the descendant of the Messiah!  Old Abraham and barren Sarah – in the twilight of their years, barely able to comfort each other let alone have sex and nurse children!  So humorous that Sarah laughed at God’s proclamation.  Not a joyful laugh but a cynical, disbelieving kind of laugh.

Have you been there?  Are you there now?  I have a few times.  I have waited 30 years all the while begging God to help me overcome my eating addiction.  I have lost friendships over it, suffered heart blockages and cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes; all of which can be linked back to food and lifestyle.  I prayed, pleaded, cried, and even made deals with God to heal my daughter’s anorexia.  It would be ten years before God would answer that prayer.  For ten years I have been honing my writing in hopes of publishing my book of medical devotionals.  If I thought writing was hard, publishing seems as improbable as me climbing Mount Everest!

As I thought about the story of Abraham and Sarah I wondered –

  • Why did God choose to give a descendent of the Messiah to a barren woman with an old husband?
  • Why did he choose a young, unmarried virgin with no husband to give birth to the Messiah?
  • Why does he allow us to make a mess of our lives or allow problems into our lives and then instead of fixing it, works through those problems and takes his sweet time throughout it?

Because God can bring life where there is no life.

I believe I was not ready to lose the weight because there was a spiritual journey in my soul that needed to take place.  Each and every health event helped shape me, educate me in the field of medicine, and create a mission of mercy and compassion for those battling medical adversity that I would never have developed had it not been for the gift of time.  I believe He is doing a work within me as I use this knowledge to write my blog, and share my stories so that my words may soothe a soul, encourage the fearful, and bring a smile to the downcast.  There is grace in the wait.

God works through our weakness and brokenness to transform us.  Not physically but spiritually.  He uses our pain so that we may see His grace and love for us.  God brings grace into the impossible and because of it we are transformed.  While we cannot believe God can make a difference through the struggles and pain we are reminded of this through the promise of His son.  It is His promise of salvation that brings eternal life out of no life and the relationship with Jesus that gives us the joy through the pain.

God reaches out to us just like He did with Sarah.  It is when we are in pain that we are ripe for God to come to us in his gentle grace.  Wait for it and let it transform you.   It is this promise and power of God that He will make all things new again that turns our cynical laughter into a joyful one.

 

 


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The Lights are Flashing But No Ones Responding

 I was fired up and ready to blow!

I received a text from a friend of mine asking for prayers for a medical situation.  She was acting as a health advocate for a mutual friend who has been battling cancer. She was frustrated at the slowness to which the medical and insurance industry can move.

You see, our friend had a re occurrence of cancer and she would need chemotherapy two weeks after radiation cyber knife.  The physicians stated that she should have the cyber knife ASAP but had yet to be approved and scheduled.  While the chemotherapy had been approved, the cyber knife has not.

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Is Accountability for Everyone?

I was doing due diligence and had scheduled to have a dermatology full body scan as there were a few places that appeared questionable.  Sure enough there was a basal cell carcinoma on my chest.  This was removed and I was sent on my way.  However, after four days, instead of showing signs of healing, a red, raised, angry circle began to form around the incision site.  It was Friday and I realized I needed to have the doctor look at it.  I called the doctor’s office in the early afternoon and was told that while she was not in, the MA (Medical Assistant) would call me back.  By 4:30, I knew it was not going to happen.  In fact, when I called the office back, the phones had already been turned over to the answering service!

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Dislocated Hip, Dislocated Soul

Moving is challenging physically, emotionally and mentally.  But I was confident that we were up to the task.  After all, I had moved many times in my life.  In fact, at an early age my mom taught us to pack up our own rooms so I was rather confident, okay cocky that although I was much older I was up to the task.

We made it to Oviedo, FL in fine shape but two days later I wondered into the office and noticed that a small box housing the grandmother clock weights was by my desk and I thought, “That box should be by the clock!.”  I bent down to lift and turn and my left hip slipped right out causing the leg to retract about 5 inches and my knee to turn towards the right knee.  I was a pain-ridden flamingo standing on one leg screaming “Thad, Thad!”  Now unbeknownst to me Thad was having a moment of his own with an attack of colitis which had him tied to the chamber pot.  Hearing me scream in pain he responded, “I’m coming, I’m coming!  This yelling “Thad, Thad!” and “I’m Coming, I’m Coming!”  went on for what seemed to be forever but was realistically probably 20-30 seconds.

It’s funny where your mind goes as you try to handle the pain, and try to get your body to somewhere safe like an office chair rather than fall.  I thought – “What must the neighbors be thinking about their new retirees that moved in next door?”  I know, you know what I mean.

I thought if I could just lie down on the bed, it might go back in.  So Thad wheeled me and my desk chair into the bedroom where I quickly realized I wasn’t able to stretch out.  My clear thinking husband suggested (horrors!) that we call 911 to which I replied “I didn’t shower last night – I have to shower!!”  As he pushed me towards the shower I was dismayed to realize that there was no way I could step down into the shower and that me and my stinky body were about to go to the emergency room.

An ambulance ride to the hospital,  x-rays to rule out a fracture, Propofol for pain, and a resetting of the hip and I was good as new.  Or so I thought.

Twenty days later, while conquering the last frontier by unpacking the garage supplies I bent over to put  two boxes of side walk chalk on a bottom shelf and a repeat performance occurred.  I was stunned!  I lay on the garage floor waiting for the ambulance in total disbelief I was thinking “This can’t be happening” and “Why, God, why?”

Medically, I understand that each time the hip is dislocated the ligaments become stretched and reoccurrence becomes more probable.  But mentally, I have been trying to come to terms with this new limitation.  Trying to find the reasons why and more importantly adjust to a new way of moving without compromising my lifestyle.

Not an easy task for a “type A”, goal oriented, I can do all things —

Uh, Oh.  Somehow I forgot about the “Through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13!  It took two dislocations to make me realize that while I am good at packing and moving and that God created these amazing bodies I have not always been a good steward of it.  In fact, I have worn many of my parts out as evidence by the arthritis that has taken up residence in my back, kneck, hands and fingers; making itself know to me daily.

So why did this happen?  I fell back into my old ways and became obsessed with doing and forgot to be; giving little respect to my body-God’s Temple (1 Cor 6:19).  I needed to be humbled.  I needed to slow down. I was over extending myself physically to meet my own self-absorbed, self-dictated goals.  I was spending more time organizing our home than time in our Father’s home and in His word.  I needed to learn to do things differently and some things not at all.  My mind was not where it should have been and because of this my body and my soul became dislocated.

A sign in the x-ray department read:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  – Romans 15:13 NIV

While I do not believe God created this scenario I do believe that if we seek Him throughout our days, He will use these events to strengthen us and guide us.  I am thankful that our God is a God of grace, patience and mercy.  He gives us second chances to heal not only a dislocated hip but a dislocated soul.

Thanks be to God.

 God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Psalm 51:10 (The Message Bible)


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Blessings Amid the Stressing

The challenges were piling up and I was feeling scared and alone:

  • Our last pet passed to greener pastures and we have agreed not to have another pet for a while.
  • Our home had been on the market for two months and there were no takers.
  • We had bought another home and money was pouring out in renovations.
  • Meanwhile at the old home: the garage door sprung, the air conditioning kept turning off and on as if it were possessed, the cold water hose under the kitchen sink burst and took a week to get the part in.
  • My husband received a new cancer diagnosis.

I was beginning to crack.

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Mountains Out of Mole Hills

 I am going to discuss a matter that is usually shared with your spouse, mother, father, or close friend.  But I am willing to do this because it is the perfect example of making a mountain out of a mole hill and letting my mind madly rummage through the “What ifs”.

Over the last couple of months I have been plagued with symptoms that no matter what I did, they did not go away.  I had significantly changed my diet in the past 10 months and attributed them as side effects.  However, the side effects were becoming painful, frustrating, exhausting and quite frankly making me cranky.  Just ask my husband, Thad.

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