Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lord - what are you preparing me for?

I am scared to even think this most days but feel that if I can just write it all down, perhaps I will be able to say "OK Lord - I am ready to do what you want me to do even if it is NOT what I want.

Levi - precious Levi - 20 months old and the funniest, silliest, lovable English bulldog I know. Don't get me wrong - Annabelle is a sweetheart and Lil Ben is 100% darling and Arthur (RIP) will always be #1 but Levi is uniquely special - long before we knew he was sick we laughed at his love for life - he would play for hours amusing himself and finally just give out with exhaustion into slumber land.

Levi is very high maintenance now - our lives revolve around making sure he has his meds on time, fluids, appetite supplements, watching for any signs of deterioration...refusing to board him to go away for a few days - listening to him breath and making him as comfortable as possible. The last two days have been rough on him - really rough - the seizures are visibly upsetting to us and confusing to him to say the least. We are left with feelings of helplessness and lots of tears.

Yet I cant but wonder in the midst of all of this what the Lord is preparing me for? Is this care giving for Levi just a prelude to what is coming in my life? We search for answers with Coach Burns - doctor after doctor after specialist after the answers...more medications...more answers...

Lord are you preparing me to be a caregiver to my husband long term? To somehow stay strong and healthy myself to provide financially, emotionally and spiritually for him...Oh how I wish I could see into the future! Is Levi truly teaching me all the components required to be a long term care giver? If Levi's only purpose was to teach me how to truly care for others - he has succeeded! The daily love of our Lord shows in that precious little 65 lb ball boy happy to be with his dad and mom no matter how he feels.

Thank you Lord for showing me how to care for others and for using this little bulldog angel to do it. I know his time here is coming to an end and his work is almost finished. I can only pray that he will know that we loved him like he loved us!

Praying that one day - I will be able to say I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith just like Timothy said.

Lord - whatever you are preparing me for - I will do my best not to fail you! Taking each step - one at a time - seeking your guidance and your comfort along the way and continually giving you the glory forever.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What if things dont get better....

I have found myself pondering this question SO much lately. Normally I dont even go near this subject but with the ever increasing changes in our home - I cant help but wonder what if things dont get better?

It seems that Coach Burns has been sick forever - almost all of our married life. In sickness and in health - who would have ever thought that there would be more sickness than good health days - after all - we are still so young - not even 50 yet!

I said those vows - I said that I would be here and I WILL BE HERE but oh my it is so difficult some days. The new normal is nothing like what any girl envisions her life to be. Oh how I long to see that Coach Burns smile on a regular basis again, to laugh with him, go to dinner with him - you know just do the things that normal healthy folks do. We had such big plans - places to go and things to see - illness has stolen that from us.

How do we live like this for the remainder of our time here - only the Lord can show us how. We are not doing a very good job of figuring it out on our own - that is for sure. We keep petitioning the Lord for healing but what if healing does not come until heaven?

As I pray now - I also ask the Lord to take away the anger I have with situation, take away the tears (there really is not time for tears), fill me with compassion, make me content with the situation, overflow my heart with unconditional love daily (like Levi shows us), give me strength to provide for my family. With the Lord, all things are possible - this I know and this I believe.

Precious Lord - I cant do this without you - only you can show us how to live and love in this new normal - give me peace so that I can be the caregiver, provider, supporter, friend, companion and most of all the wife that he needs me to be. Forgive my disbelief at times when I am SO weary and tired....I know you are in control and good things will come when the time is right! Thank you for loving us and saving us and blessing us so. One step at a time - help me with each step....In Jesus name - Amen.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I know how the story ends but

I know how the story ends - I have read the end of the book - We WIN! We get to live eternally in heaven with Jesus - no pain, no tears, no worries, no drama, just peace - everlasting peace! Praise you Lord for making a way that we can live with you forever!

However, sometimes I just wish that I could see into the future here....Psalms 13 is one that read when I feel like no one understands and there is no relief to be found....
How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Surely surely the trials that we have faced are coming to an end - each time I think that -here they come again with a vengeance! I am so weary, so tired, and have no verbal words, oh how I long for someone to understand and then I remember that someone does - YOU do Lord...Psalms 13 goes on to say....
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

For years now, we have battled these illnesses, Lord I know that you know that because you have taken each step with us. I know that many times you must have carried us through them because the mountains were so tall and we could not climb alone. I know that you are with us now perfecting us along the way.

So I will sing your praises with a cheerful heart! Realizing that you know the pain we are in and you alone know the immediate future down here....I will trust you and only you!

Thank you for blessing me so! I have so much more than I deserve.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Unconditional Love as told by Levi Malachi Burns

Dog Is God Spelled Backwards

Have you ever come home from school after a very hard and trying day and been ready to throw in the towel and tell the whole world "where to go" only to be greeted by your dog with such love it warms your heart and you find your anger dissipating?

It seems like we can only expect "unconditional love" from two sources, our dogs and God. Human beings are incapable of it. We don't give it and we don't get it back from other people. We have limits to the kind of love we are capable of giving. When someone says something unkind about us, or does something cruel or intentionally does something to hurt us, then we become wounded. And our gut reaction is to strike back, or take revenge on that person.
We don't just bounce right back and give them a big hug anyway. Yet dogs do. One can treat them like dirt, and they STILL LOVE US. Even when we are not lovable a dog will still love us.

A dog never judges, never with holds affection, never ignores us. To our dogs we are the most important person in the world and they want nothing more than to please us. It matters not to our dog if we are fat or skinny, beautiful or ugly, popular or ignored by everyone in the world, sinner or saint...Nothing matters to our dog but us.
God does the exact same things for us that a dog does. He loves us "unconditionally" and is always there to greet us throughout the day. He listens to us, does not talk back in an arguementive way, understands what we are feeling, shows empathy and compassion, leads us when we are blind, gives food to us when we are hungry, and He has already laid down His life for you.
Perhaps ALL dogs have a straight connection to God, and we don't even know it... Jesus said ... " I will be with you always, even unto the ends of the earth." Dogs love us with the unconditional LOVE OF GOD in their hearts and in their souls... they are "angels in disguise" living right beside us each and every day. So think about it ...

FYI - I did not write this - Mom helped me find it on the Internet - the author is listed as Patricia Jones, MA - Counselor.....

Friday, March 9, 2012 is me Levi!

Hey folks!!!

It is me Levi! I am so excited that I had to steal the computer from mom for a little while!!! I am LOVING all this attention that folks are giving never leaves home without making sure that I am ok - she kisses me and tells me she loves me so much! Dad (most folks think is a big bad manly man) is pushover for me....he snuggles with me everyday - he lets me lay in his lap(even though I weigh 70 lbs) - he hand feed me when I don't feel like eating from my bowl....I have to be the luckiest dog alive!!!

Guess what?? I am preparing to go to church with mom on Sunday morning to teach her Sunday school class (she teaches a bunch of cool teenagers) and I get to be the guest speaker....WOW bow-wow!!! I have been working on my lesson for them - I would put some of it on here but I want it to be a surprise for the students!

Mom says that I cant come to big church as dogs are not allowed - I don't understand that but if Mom says it is so then I believe it. I am just glad that I get to go for a few minutes and show them all what it is like to be loved unconditionally.

Mom bought me a tie - she loves to dress me up! She also says that I have to get groomed on Saturday - that is ok - I love to take a bath! I hope feel good on Sunday - Mom and Dad really stress over me now....geez they are constantly wiping my nose, checking my ears, cleaning my behind, listening to me breathe - you get the picture.

Mom says that I cant take my ball - I love my ball - but Mom says no. She said that we take the Bible to church - Mom uses hers alot at home - sometimes she lets me read it too....

Well I gotta go now....and take a nap (I love naps) before dinner time.... Mom says that she will post pictures of me in my tie and my brother Lex (he is so cool) is going to tape me in class.....lookout I just might be the next Lassie - he was a cool dog - just not a bulldog....

Later dudes! I love ya - keep praying for me!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This rollercoaster life.....

Up - down - up - down - spinning all around - upside down - fast and furious - never a dull moment - wow!

Such is the Burns household for as long as I can remember now....Coach Burns' illness is ever present - His body full of pain and aging quickly. For now the pneumonia is clearing up and we managed to avoid a hospital stay so far! (Thank you Lord for that blessing) Long term - we don't even talk about it anymore - we just go one day at a time - praising the Lord through the good and the bad days!

Levi's illness is so similar to Coach Burns' illness in that appearing to fine one minute and really ill the next. Bless both their hearts! I believe that they are good therapy for each other! I truly believe that a dog is man's best friend!!

Each day we wake not knowing what the day will bring but we thank the Lord for another day! We are armed with the necessary equipment to ride the roller coaster - we have the love of the Lord, the armor of Christ, each other, our family and friends, and our bulldogs! We are blessed beyond measure and we thank you Lord for reminding us that life down here is NOTHING like life will be in heaven!

If there are roller coasters up there - I am sure that they will be for PURE ENJOYMENT - not like the ones that characterize this so call life down here.

We will continue to pray without ceasing for healing for:
Coach Burns - 12 years and counting
Levi - as he works on his bucket list
Dave and family - special dear friends of ours that we love
Janice and Lewis - illness that wont go away

Precious Lord,
You know the needs of the ones mentioned above and Lord you are the Great Physician - we put all our trust in you! Please give peace and comfort to all who are hurting and Lord please give healing to those in need of it! We trust you completely and will praise you through the storm, through the good times and through the roller coaster ride - now and for always! In the precious name of Jesus - Amen!