Two Contrasting Pains – One Prayer Answered

pain-and-joy-1

I am in pain.  I have had lower left back pain for the last 4 weeks or so, and it has been gradually getting worse.  I cannot explain how it started. It was not a fall or an accident of any kind.  It could have been triggered by pulling a suitcase down from a high cupboard, but who knows?  It does not hurt when I am walking around.  It hurts when I get out of bed, getting in and out of the car, and is worse when I have been inactive.  Easy motions like bending down to tie shoe laces or drying the bottom half of my body after a shower is a long, drawn out task. Spasms come and go.  What have I done about it?  Physiotherapy, heat therapy, exercises in and out of the pool, Pilates, massage and most recent Osteopathy.  So far no ongoing relief.  Next step is acupuncture. My best friend describes it as ‘Dry Rot’.  I continue to pray for everything to get back to normal, for the pain to go.

I am in pain. My waters have not broken but the pain is intense. I am in hospital being induced at 9 months 2 weeks, and although I was told that second labours are supposed to be easier, it is NOT looking that way. The pain comes often, and the breathing is my only source of comfort. A minute seems like much longer. My husband is standing by anxiously, helplessly, with each contraction getting stronger.  When the doctor comes to break my waters, even worse pain, if that is possible. Stomach and back pain at its best. Yet there is a light at the end of a tunnel. I will have my baby soon. It will all be worth it, and I will forget this pain.  And yes, my prayer for a beautiful, healthy baby was answered.

 

#Write 31 days series

 

 

 

Introduction

I am a Barbadian national, without an accent, married 26 years to a fantastic funny British guy, and I have an amazing son and daughter, 2 cats and 2 dogs.  I have been a secretary when shorthand and typewriting were the norm, a hotelier when telexes, faxes and phone calls were the main form of communication, a house manager, and I’m  a homemaker and a writer.  I write many notes (and hardly ever go back and read them!), letters, poems and I like to journal.  I love chocolate, family and swimming.  I came to know Jesus personally in a dramatic encounter when I was suffering from Post Natal Depression, and I have a deep compassion for people who struggle with any form of depression.

I have talked about this for so long, to write about testimonies of answered prayers, and put it into book form.  As a mom of grown children, I have been involved in many school prayer groups over the years, as well as my own church prayer group, and a beautiful ‘dolphin pod’ of women.  So many prayers have gone up, and I’d like to share the outcome of some of mine.  I pray that you will find what you read to be encouraging and helpful in your own journey, as I do when I hear testimonies about what God has done in situations, many seemingly hopeless, and how he comes through far above what is expected or hoped.

This is the introduction for my #write 31 days series where I will be writing for 31 days in October on the topic Testimonies Answered Prayers

http://write31days.com/

 

 

 

No more Pain!

The time has come to bare all.  No more smiling and pretending all is well.  Pain, especially back pain, is pain, and I want to begin logging it, the things I will be trying, exercise and the little things that frustrate me, things like mastering buckling shoes, getting off of a massage table … and the relief that I will have over the next 31 days.  Because relief will be found.  Or I will go mad!  And, unfortunately, many people have aches and pains so I should be in good company! Whether you will want to read about my pain is another matter, but let’s see.

I was going to write on a different series for this, my second #write 31 day challenge, but then I determined why not write on something that is occupying so much of me right now. The more I thought about it the more I resolved that this was it, take the bull by the horns, and get it out.  What do I have to lose?

So for the next 31 days in October I will be joining thousands of others in this challenge to write every day on my blog.  If you choose to follow my blog and you don’t see me one day, don’t panic, I may be having a bad back day, or that will be my excuse!  Thank you for reading!

 

Aquarium swimming

Recently I returned from a wonderful two-week holiday on the East coast of Barbados.  One of my family’s favourite places, it is only 20 minutes drive from our home, yet everything is different there.  The salt air and breeze invitingly puts you in holiday mode immediately, the smell and sound of the Atlantic ocean, just steps away from our basic rented cottage.  It was a treat to be there.   Dry sand always underfoot, and never growing tired of watching the waves from the balcony.  The massive ’round rock’ a few hundred yards away from our house, sitting comfortably on the beach, providing shade and a bench at the top for those who were adventurous enough to climb to the top to survey the magnificent view of crashing waves all the way to Africa and coastal scenery as far as the eye could see.

One of my favourite things to do is snorkel.  There are many rock pools that come out at low tide on the East coast, when swimming is not dangerous.  A well-known pool among the locals is the ‘Barbados Pool’ as it is in the shape of Barbados.  It is only about 12 by 21 feet, but it is deep enough to cover a person standing to their necks, and it is one of the largest of this depth.  There is always enough and more to see, even though only a modest aquarium size.

About 10 feet from the shore I put my first steps in to the pool, being careful not to touch the sides which are adorned with prickly white sea urchins.  My body adjusts to the cool water and I quickly feel refreshed and ready for my adventure, with snorkel and mask adorned.  A stunning bright orange sea centipede can’t help but catch my eye immediately.  Six inches in length, it glides and arches its way through the sand and around the rocks at the bottom effortlessly.  Her mate is not far away, smaller and ugly, but carrying out his important duties before moving back to join her.  Made with the most perfect hands, no detail is overlooked, this sea creature senses danger of a shadow overhead (me) and responds by extending her built-in white daggers all over her body.  I wonder if her sting is as intense as a land centipede?

The white sea eggs of all sizes that surround the walls of the pool have each caught something different in their spikes: leaves, little pebbles, shells, string, biscuit wrapper … A small rock lobster is hinged on a large sea egg, but its insides are gone, delicious flesh eaten by a fortunate prey, part of its shell sits on another nearby ball of spikes.  Fish, varieties of aquarium size, brightest yellow, purple spotted, stripes of orange and black, inside and outside of rocks, holes, the rock formations a playground or an intricate water maize.  Tiny Soldier crabs on the move on the sand and other crustaceans that I wish I knew the names of.

Surges of water enter my haven with larger waves – the tide is coming in, I have been lost in time.  I don’t want to leave.  I position myself more securely so that my body parts avoid the white waiting spikes and continue to explore through my mask for a few more minutes, getting up close with the reef in all its glory.

I am

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View of Round Rock from my cottage balcony and the rugged East coast of Barbados

soon forced to climb out of the pool and wait for another low tide, another day, and I feel exhilarated, thankful for this natural aquarium at my fingertips, always different, always waiting for me.

Deborah (Debbie) Buckmaster has been sporadically blogging for a year, and loves to share her heart, her journey, and hopes to touch lives in the process.  She enjoys praying in her different groups and longs to share in book form all that God has done in her life and the lives of others.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Enslavement

I don’t remember the day I tasted chocolate for the first time, although I should, as it has been such a big part of my life.  I remember being given a large tube of Smarties at around aged 6, and shaking them up after taking one or two out, as I was convinced that this increased the number of brightly coloured edible gems in the tube.  I wanted them to last forever.

I grew up in a chocolate loving home, and most evenings while watching the TV together as a family, a box or bar of something would be brought out and enjoyed.  From those pecan caramel turtles, Cadbury’s milk, Black Magic, Charles Chocolate, Devon Milk, and countless other temptations.

When I went away to UK boarding school I was fortunate enough to have one of the old-fashioned corner sweet shops in close proximity, and with my weekly allowance in hand I would request my quota of a quarter pound of vanilla fudge and savour every nibble on those magical Saturdays.

As an adult I became free to buy and eat chocolate to my heart’s content.  My tastes have changed as my mood does, but it has tended to be milk, as opposed to the dark that is better for you.  Mars Bars and Quality Street used to be some of the big names, moving  to Terry’s milk chocolate orange segments, fudge sticks, Minstrels, mint smoothies and Cadbury’s mini eggs, when in season.  My current passions are milk chocolate buttons with orange wedges coming a close second.

The problem is that while I was fortunate in my youth to not put on weight easily that has changed as I near the mid fifty mark.  That, coupled with the rumour that sweets are not good for you, has caused a gear shift, that guilt element and occasional purging.

I returned from holiday towards the end of June, having had an amazing two weeks visiting family in the UK, and squeezed in between was a week’s cruise, which meant, along with all the great sightseeing, I did a lot of eating when not hungry because that’s what you do on cruises.

I am still trying to get off those many pounds.  The British chocolate I had stocked up on and brought home to enjoy, I had managed to gather up and take to my sister’s freezer, where it was kept safely for more than a month.  Then, in a moment of weakness the chocolate thief collected and devoured it in a few days.

So I am trying again to not eat chocolate.  To not succumb to tempting bars right at the supermarket check out, not choose desserts at restaurants, not eat the goods I bake..  Regrettably I am not like my husband, who, deciding to go on a diet, sticks to everything he should eat, never deviating for a moment.  If I know there is a chocolate button somewhere in the house I will find it.  I will find that needle in a haystack and it will end up in my salivating mouth.

So the fridge is empty of sweets again.  It is boring, but necessary, and so begins the cheerless journey without my comfortable companions.

 

 

 

 

Fear versus Cricket

Do you know the crickets that come out at dusk?  The ones you don’t know are there until you hear a high-pitched chirp or buzz?  One of these just followed me on a Caribbean cruise for a week.  It was always in the same approximate spot, on the second deck, under the steps, or behind the heavy steel door.  I couldn’t actually see it, but it was always there.

Crickets are the size of small thumb nails.  Was this one afraid, so far from its home, with salt air and sun beating down, in a strange environment, in a new place every day?  Did it know that it might get picked up by a Booby Bird looking for a snack, or get squeezed in the door or sprayed with insecticide?

Cricket fears have to be massive compared to human fears.  My first memory of fear was losing sight of my mother in the supermarket, a 3 minute separation seeming like hours.  Other fears surfaced, as they do.  Fear of the unknown, fear of getting into trouble (yet still doing the trouble), getting hurt, learning to swim by being glued to the edge of the pool, raising an arm to answer a question in class, asking for help …

I recently heard at church the definition of fear: When I believe that apart from my best efforts something undesirable is going to happen and I can’t stop it.  The roots of it are conditioning (born into it), concealing and spirit of control.  Hmmm!

Fear or worry can be grouped in many stages of my life to date, such as those teenage fears of being ridiculed, stammering (so better not speak at all), talking to boys which was worse than not having a boyfriend at all, then fearing being left a spinster …  The stage of having children can bring many fears, but I am lucky to have had my children in the nineties, before the Internet and T.M.I.   The fear of getting sick, yet after a diagnosis of stage 4 Melanoma over 20 years ago it takes a lot to scare me where my health is concerned.

There is one unseen illness that caught me off guard and caused a major turn around in my life.  The path of depression has allowed me great things: empathy, dependence on the person of Jesus, to stop holding on to control and having to be strong all the time.  Does that mean I am never afraid now?  Of course not, but instead of concealing it and struggling on my own,  I try to remember to reestablish visual contact with Jesus and gain a little more freedom from the big ‘F’ each time.

Eventually that fear will become the size of that chirping cricket.

 

Deborah has procrastinated long enough from writing and is finally taking the plunge.  You can find out more about her story by visiting the archives of this blog (specifically early October of Prison Break of Thoughts).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing The Victim

To be able to exist fully is to shift out of the victim role that I find myself in sometimes.  Yes, I have suffered, but yes I have emerged victorious. and I must not stay inhibited by past experiences.  Moving forward is crucial.  You can become trapped in the victim mentality.  This has happened in my life, but thankfully it was brought to light and although I still fall at times I can recognize the signs and move upward and onward.

It is so important to stay authentic, with others and with yourself.  You can become very comfortable in old shoes, in a way of thinking that is not healthy, perhaps out of fear in moving ahead to uncharted territories, out of possibly being hurt again.

Healthy community is vital, surrounding ourselves with people who build up, speak truth and remind us about renewing one’s mind, replacing negativity with the truth.  Truth that we are enough, we do not have to keep striving, proving our strength, proving a point.  Yes, It is a challenge in this culture to enjoy the freedom of not having to ‘do’ to be accepted. It doesn’t mean being passive, for me it means being dependent on the power that is within me, Jesus, and to be willing to let go of every fear, every lazy streak, and step into unknown territory, knowing that it will be okay.  I guess my ‘out’, in a sense, is knowing that it’s okay.  I feel I can rest in ‘not doing’, rather than laying hold of my faith and what I know to be true and moving forward.  I cleverly hold up excuses such as pain in my neck, and not being able to stay at the computer for long because of it, to avoid my true calling – to write.

I took part in a writing blog challenge in the month of October and I felt alive, excited and renewed, and was ever encouraged by readers and friends.   This is a new year and I am stepping up to the plate, pen in hand, neck in brace, bold and resolute.  Click Publish! Go on, NOW!

 

 

An Angel in Spanish Town

This is a true story that needs telling.  It happened very recently in Jamaica.  I am telling it but I am not a player in it.  I wish I was up that night to pray, but the others had it covered. 

Troy was excited about going out, to a party far from home, to a party in the area of Spanish Town, Jamaica.  He had lots to celebrate, a big birthday in teenage life coming up, and football triumphs after many disappointments.

Troy’s mother, Maxine, received the call at 2.45 am.  Troy’s friends were asking if he was home.  They could not find him when they were leaving the party, and no one knew where he was.  Maxine’s radar was flying high.  She started making calls to all his friends, no one had seen him.

3.43 am First whatsapp message of many is sent out to Maxine’s pod of prayer warriors.  Not all of them are awake to receive it, but always there is one or more, poised for prayer.  In the last week or two all of them had gone to watch the movie ‘War Room’, impacting them greatly to be strategic in prayer, like generals in battle.  They would need to be now.

“Praying, Maxine, to dispatch God’s angels to watch over him.”  First warrior response.

“OK, declaring Psalm 91”.  Troy is covered with His feathers, Under His wings he finds refuge.

“Maxine, let not your heart be troubled, all is well.”  Another warrior stirred awake.

She could barely breathe, she was terrified.

Another came in on the chat: “I am up and joining you all in prayer right now.  Psalm 91 all the way.  Lord we ask right now for you to dispatch both warring and guardian angels to surround and protect Troy right now, wherever he is.  Guide him home safely.  Holy Spirit, pour yourself over Maxine and Dave {Maxine’s husband} right now so they be anxious for nothing.  In Jesus’ mighty name, protect Troy …”

Her night watch warriors told her to lock hands with Dave and to pray, as God is able.  One warrior told how her son had been in a similar situation, not answering his phone, and he had fallen asleep and was found much later in the day, she was praying that this was the case with Troy.  They all could feel and relate to her pain and suffocating terror.  Maxine had told Troy not to get in a car with anyone who had been drinking or that he was unsure about, and he assured her that he would be coming home with his friend’s dad who had taken them.  Her anxiety was mounting.

“Maxine, stop right now! Put the enemy’s fear right out of your head and trust God who has never failed you and remember the great plans he has for Troy’s life!  We are with you and praying on this, dear friend.”

It was suggested that they play worship music, but she couldn’t even move.  In this moment, when you can’t find your son, no earthly thing matters.  Just that he is okay.  No anger, she just wants him to be okay.

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, not the wind and waves.”

“Agreeing.  Psalm 112:7-8 says You will have no fear of bad news, your heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord.  Your heart is secure, you will have no fear, in the end you will look in triumph on your foes.”

“Psalm 20, May the Lord answer you when you are in distress .. some trust in chariots and some in horses but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

6.02 am  Maxine sees a taxi show up at the gate and a strange man gets out.  He tells her husband that he found Troy at the party, the last person there, intoxicated.  He walked Troy out to the main road, in Spanish Town (one of the most dangerous areas in the Western hemisphere when it comes to crime and gang violence), and he realised that Troy physically would not be able to get home on his own.  The stranger took 3 taxis with Troy to get him home.  He did not even know his name.

Dave told Troy that his mother had been up for 3 hours with her praying warriors and that it was those prayers that sent the man to be his angel and lead him home.  Anything could have happened to him in Spanish Town.  He was totally covered and protected.

Tears flowed across the miles, rejoicing, thanksgiving, women that God had drawn together for this purpose.

Day 31 of Prison Break of Thoughts – 31 Days of Inner Release

Today is the last day of this series called Prison Break of Thoughts – 31 Days of Inner Release.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me.  It has been an exhilarating ride.   I have let go of my old, familiar patterns, and I have stepped out into something new, yet something I have always dreamed of . I have found my voice.   And I am enjoying the freedom that it is bringing me.

I hope that you have got more than a few snippets of me, and you have enjoyed, and maybe been touched in some way by what you have read.  I have so appreciated your company and your support as I have made the transition from prison to the outside world.  As I continue to be equipped to write and release I am trusting that I will not lag behind .  I will be more than a conqueror to run this race, keeping in perfect peace as I keep my focus on the One who directs my footsteps.  I have received this prompting, this desire, this gift from God, so I am not fearful of the future.  I will not be left in the dark, but empowered from on high, determined to keep going.

It is not goodbye, I will continue to blog right here, to write, and to work towards my first of many books.

Stay tuned!  Keep looking in on me.  I hope not to disappoint.