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Keeping life Normal in the Unknown.

Nothing says “normal life” to me like pictures of my kitchen.
This place represents where I spend most every day…preparing meals and schooling our kids.
The only thing that would make it a little more normal is if I showed you pictures with a sink full of dirty dishes.
I need normal this week because I’m charting in some very unknown territories.
These waters aren’t the crystal clear blue ones that I’ve been dreaming of all winter long.
They are dark and scary and they threaten to swallow me whole.

Two weeks ago I was about to walk out the door for small group with Andy, and my right ear started closing up.
Out of nowhere, it started to feel like it had a balloon in it that I couldn’t get out.
The only thing I’ve been able to hear for two weeks is a super loud whooshing sound,
like air coming fast out of an air mattress.
It has the most overwhelming, obnoxious high-pitched ring to it, and it has driven me nearly crazy.
I thought it was most likely fluid on my ear or a bad ear infection.
 After seeing my doctor, he confirmed that my ear looked fine, so he sent me to see an ENT this past Monday.
This doctor is one of the best, and he’s been doing it for over 40 years.
He heard my symptoms and then did a hearing test.  I’ve lost 80% of my hearing in the right ear.
He scheduled an MRI for tomorrow morning and told me that he suspects I have an acoustic neuroma,
which is a benign tumor of the vestibular nerve that connects the ear to the brain.
He could be wrong.  Gosh.  I hope he’s wrong.

Why am I always so shocked when hardship comes my way?
None of us are immune.  None of us can escape trouble.  
…in this world you will have trouble. John 16:33
A friend said it best when she wrote that we prefer happiness over faithfulness, pain-free over holiness.

When our foundation is shaken, the truth of what we believe comes tumbling out.
To be honest, I don’t know what has me more upset this week; 
the news that has potential to be life changing or my response to the news.
I’ve wrestled all week with the rumblings in my heart much more than the possible outcome of the MRI.
I read Sasha’s post on quitters and my heart rattled a bit.  I understand wanting to quit.
Wouldn’t it be easier to run in the opposite direction of our trouble?  Is it possible to pretend it isn’t there?  To live numb?

Yesterday morning, I listened to this worship song and it’s lyrics held a microscopic mirror to my heart.
On the surface, I know he is healer.  I know he holds my world in his hands.
But, down deep, the fearful child in me began questioning his heart’s motive in allowing this present trouble.
Like a toddler, I began my skillful bargaining tactics, saying,
 “There has to be another way for me to learn deeper trust in you.  There has to be another way I can surrender my stubborn self-reliance. I promise to relinquish more of my need for control.  I promise…” 
The conversation went on all day and into the night.  Endless tears.  Uncomfortable wrestling.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, HE brought his word to me, and it is making all the difference.
  {Psalm 139: 7-12}
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Search me O God, and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

No.  I can’t run in the opposite direction.  I can’t pretend these troubles aren’t here.  I can’t live numb.
Wherever I go, He is there.  In his kindness, he urges me to join him in this journey he has me on.
…to see this as an opportunity to wrestle with my flesh and the fears that threaten to overtake me.
On the other side of the wrestling, there is deeper trust, abiding peace, and a less offended heart.
Happiness and pain-free living were never part of his grand story.
My heart longs to be found faithfully trusting him no matter what tomorrow’s MRI shows.
My prayer is that I would allow the wrestling to bring forth the holiness that he longs to produce in my life.
in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.

{thankful for}
734. God’s word…a light in darkness.
735. Andy’s conference this week…an opportunity for the Lord to show me that it’s HIM who brings me peace & comfort.
736.  friends and family who love and encourage and battle in prayer with me.
737. blooming trees…proof that dead things can come to life.
738. my first good sleep last night in two weeks.
739. a dr. who calls to check on me and promises to pray and walk the journey with us.
740. the ability to hear birds and my children and worship music out of one ear.

T - Tara,

My heart hurts with you, and I can understand the emotional turmoil you are going through. Your witness in how you have chosen to deal with this “darkness” shines wide and high like a mighty and bright Lighthouse to everyone who knows you, crosses your path, or has the honor to read your words of faith and the whispers of your heart.

I will pray for you today and the day’s ahead.

Thank you for what you have come to mean to me in my own life.

Healing blessings and mercies.

Michele - Love that you can be this honest in the midst of uncertainity. I am so proud to call you my dear friend, and so humbled by how you ALWAYS turn to God for your strength. You inspire me.

Lynda @ Happenstance Home - Hello. I am so sorry to hear about your ear issues. I too have hearing loss, and the ringing. My scan came out good – they think mine is hereditary. One of my very best friends had acoustic neuroma. She had her surgery a believe a bit over a year ago now, and is doing very well. Just this past Novemeber another friends sister was diagnosed with this. She had her surgery right after Thanksgiving, and is also doing really well. I know it is so scary – I was so scared for my friend – she was so worried. You will be safe and get well. Actually, the actor Marc Ruffalo had this as well. Let me know if you want my friends name – she used to blog too – I know she would be more than happy to talk to you about anything. She helped my other friends sister a lot. God bless you and keep you safe. You will absolutely get through it.

Farmgirl Paints - You are so loved. You will get through this. Praying for you!!

Tricia - Wanting to pretend your troubles aren’t happening or run in the other direction is a normal response, especially initially and in the midst of uncertainty…you’re human. I see you as strong…you’re putting your faith in God and leaning on him. I pray that your MRI has a good outcome for you.

I went to the eye doctor for my problem a few days ago and he couldn’t find anything wrong. Now, I’ll have to see someone else I suppose :(


Kristina Swain - Thank you for sharing, I will be praying for you.

Deidre - What a wonderful post … because of your honesty. Don’t let the enemy defeat you over how you respond when the wind is knocked out of you. I believe God understands our hearts. Your words are beautiful. Just prayed for you!

Bethanie - I have been thinking about you all week, since your first mention of your ear problems…He is the Great Physician and nothing is too small for Him! My husband has great hearing loss in both ears and the constant ringing…I am probably not sympathetic enough mainly because he just deals with it, and has for years. Reading your explanation of it gave me a peek into what he has to live with. I pray you will find comfort and peace.

kelly - friend, you know i love transparency more than chocolate and coca-cola! it’s one of my favorite traits in you…and there are many favorites. thank you for sharing your fears and your faith. both are god-created and both will be god-used. you are certainly in my hopes and prayers through this mri and whatever else may follow. love you, sweet friend! <3

Sheri - My thoughts and prayers are with you Tara.

LuLu - I will be praying for you and your MRI results.

Angel - I am praying for you Tara!

melissa s. - Oh tara!!!!! Bless your heart!!! I know how scared you must be. When my 12 yr old was a baby.. I had 2 ear infec. That were horrible.. one eardrum finally ruptured…then there was a week of hearing loss.. I felt so my own world.. couldnt hear conversations next to me or my baby crying… it finally came back but was so weird!!! Im praying for you. And just to let u know u r not alone.. im sitting in a cardiologists office waiting … when I had a tubal ligation done last week they did an ekg before surgery and found a bundle branch block… never heard of it… could be nothing but could be something… ahhhh dont have time for this… because im selfish and like my NORmAL life when everything is fine. But I know the Lord is waiting in this room with me and will hold my hand because im a big baby when it comes to drs! Listen to 10000 reasons by matt redman… sooooo gooood!!!

MDP - Love, love your candidness! Prayers for you!

Johnson Party of seven! - Oh Tara!
I’m so sorry! When we have been in a scary place with Hutton ( many times) I remind myself that God is already there. He has written the future and no amount of worry or angst can change our fate. He loves us more then imaginable and He wants you to love him and rely on him and TRUST him. Try to relax and rest in the fact that the almighty creator has got this! Many prayers being sent from Tennessee! XO

soulstretchesandsteps - Teared up as I read this. Praying for God’s goodness to be near to you and I pray for complete healing in all kinds of ways. He is more than able….but we’ll pray for your peace and comfort in the meantime.

Much love…

Kelly Ruiten - Thank you for sharing your heart and your pain, I will be holding you in prayer as you seek answers.

Julie - Praying for you, Tara… I think you are an incredible witness and very inspiring!

Brandi - I am praying for you, Tara!

Beth - Praying. Just went through this at beginning of year, my lump turned out benign, and was easily removed, however, my father received news of a mass on his lung and his health does not allow for surgery. His health is rapidly declining, yet the worst is he is lost. Full out denying Christ. So my heart is breaking for his hardness, praying the our Healer will allow for a transplant of love a nd the removal if anger and lies.

Jenny - Tara,

I have been reading your blog for ahwile and I will keep you in my prayers. You are such an inspiration and the Lord is holding you so very closly. I can’t wait for that ringing to go away. That would be so extremely hard to deal with….you are handling everything with such grace….I know you will get through this :-)

Beth - I love your tulips and your topiary. I saw those pictures and ran to Wal-MART looking for some for my kitchen. They made me even more excited about SPRING! I pray that your ear ache goes away soon and that all things will be back to normal. I agree with you that it’s in the ABnormal times that God works and shapes us into a much better ‘us’ than we could ever dream. We hate the bad times, but the other side is always so much joyous! You are such an encouragment! Love your blog ;-)

Lemonade Makin' Mama - Girly, He has GOT this. I know it. It’s far easier for me to say that to you than to myself. No idea why that is. I can say it to you in complete conviction! I will be praying for you tomorrow.

Megan - Well, I am bookmarking your words here because I will no doubt need them myself one day. I am guilty of finding my comfort in everything but HIm sometimes and I often feel like I am just on the verge of getting ‘the call’ or ‘the bad news’ that will rattle things around here in my heart.
I love the message version of James 1:12 that says “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.”
I know you are loyally in love with HIm Tara and I will be praying for you!

Alicia - oh wow, tara! how scary!! i’m so sorry…but you have the right attitude. it’s going to be ok. we all face hard things so we learn to trust. it stinks, but i know it’s always needed. hang in there, friend!

Cathy M~(checkitoff) - Tara,
What a very tough situation to write so eloquently about…you bring us right into your world and we are all your cheerleaders and prayer warriors…rest in the knowledge that this is part of God’s plan and God will provide the perfect outcome for you. It is evident that you have many close friends and people that care deeply for you. We will all lift you up in prayer as you go through the MRI, the results and any possible further treatment. Your ‘thankfuls” at the end of your post are all amazing but I am happy to hear about 738-740. Incredible that the dr. called you and promised to pray and walk the journey with you? WOW!!!
prayers and hugs, cathy

The Avery House - You are in my prayers Tara. May you feel peace in knowing that God holds you in the palm of his hand not only through this trial but always.

Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage - I don’t blame you for being scared, but you are not wallowing in fear, you are doing what you can to hold onto the Rock. God knows what you are going through and how awful it is and He just needs you to hold onto Him not to act exactly perfect. (not trying to preach…trying to encourage)I will keep sending fervant prayers.

Marmee - We are praying you through this journey..highs and lows, good and bad, rain or shine..our prayers cover you and may the deep, deep love of our Rock, Redeemer and Friend–our Saviour, wash over you and grant you peace and comfort! He is with you every step of the way!

Mary - oh, dear, sweet friend.
the unknown of the valleys can be so hard, but i DO know that Light shines brightest in the dark.
there is a certain discipline that we can learn from when all seems dim.
i will be praying for you.
we know that He knew of this all along, and that we are never left alone.
i just recently read in my favorite devotional Streams in the Desert that He cares more about our holiness than our happiness.
i believe the words were, “It is far better for us to learn to trust God than to enjoy life. Without trust, even riches will leave us poor.”
xoxo big hugs!

paige - been thinking about and praying for you all day today. will continue….
you know that!! xoox
will call tomorrow. love you.

Lil Light O Mine - praying for you my friend and so proud of your courage to share and walk through this so bravely.

{edie} - lots of love and prayers.

Katherine @ Grass Stains - Tara, I will be in prayer for you! Goodness … I haven’t dealt with any issues like this with my hearing, but I have had several very frightening health scares over the past few years. I can empathize and pray that you feel peace like a blanket around you.

Heather - This comment has been removed by the author.

Heather L. - Many prayers for God’s peace and comfort wherever this journey leads. I hope you’re feeling better soon!

Kristi - Praying for you Tara! I believe in all my heart that you will get through this and everything will be fine! A little over two years ago I had an “episode” that we thought was a brain bleed or aneurysm. It ended up being an ocular migraine. Very frightening and the wait of the MRI was torture! I hope you find comfort until you are sure! Again, praying for you!

Dayle @ A Collection of This and That - Many years ago, while enduring a very personal trial, I ran across this quote from Frances de Sales. I memorized it, and it has brought me strength and comfort in the trials that have followed. May it strengthen you now as you take the next step on this journey.

“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same eternal Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow, and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. So be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.” — Francis de Sales

About Laura - Praying Tara. Will be remembering you today and the days to come. Thank you for sharing Ps. 139. The encouragment He is always with us. Thank you.

Brenda from LA - Praying for you! What a beautiful testimony of your relationship with the Lord. This is precious!

Jan - I’m so sorry to hear of your troubles. Know that trusting in our lord will bring you peace, courage and results. We have all had to go thru trials and with God we reach the other end. I’ll paray for you, keep the faith.

slip4 - Hi Tara, I am at my desk at work, praying for you. Don’t know exactly when your MRI is but I will just hold you in prayer today. Looking forward to hearing good news :)

Sarah - Praying for you, friend. You have been on my heart and mind. Knowing that the Great Healer and Protector is with you no matter what. May you feel His presence so real right now. Much love.

Sandy - Tara, God bless you today & always! HE is truly hold you right now, and always! Thank you for sharing…..we all have burdens, and it helps to know we are not alone. Blessings & hugs always! xoxo

Lynn Richards - Tara,
Please know you are in my prayers for the very best of outcomes and peace and strength in the midst of this storm.
I am also waiting on scary test results. I tend to shut down. I don’t want to be a “deeper person”. I prefer shallow in these instances, thank you very much. All the while the thought running through my mind is how much in CONTROL our God is. He is so big, so strong and so involved.
Wishing you peace in your kitchen and during your day.

Rie - Oh, I’m sorry you are going through this. :( I will pray for you and for the doctors! I know what you mean by being surprised about hardships coming our way!

Mindy Whipple - God is greater than our circumstances – with us in the valleys and on the mountaintops. Adding my prayers to the many above, prayers for faith not fear, strength in weakness and peace, much peace.

Deborah - Tara you have spoken here what each of us either are experiencing or have gone through as well.
The truth is…it’s frightening when we are faced with some of the things that come our way. Your testimony here really hit home, and as always I love your honesty.
I must tell you that, that Word of Gods about “in this world you will have tribulation,but take courage, I have overcome the world” was one of the very first Words He ever spoke to me. (and in which I heard His voice) What a comfort~the Truth right there…simply stated, standing there like a Pillar and yet bringing such strength and comfort.
God brought me here today and I am blessed for having heard your heart and declaration of faith in Him Who truly does hold our days… our moments in His hands.
Lifting you up now sweet friend.
Sending love and hugs to you.

All my heart,
Deborah xoxooxoxoxo

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