December is always a busy time. There are lots of things going on at school and at church and with friends. Fun things and important things, but honestly all I really want to do is hunker down with my family by the fireplace and bask in all the glory of Him and the gifts we have right here in our living room. Much of this has to do with the fact that I am a major weenie and I am afraid of the cold! I am not typically a hunker down kind of girl, but as God has changed our story so significantly... being home is where I now feel the most full. There are moments when my relational soul feels stuck at the lack of commitment we are able to make outside of the home right now...I miss making plans and I miss seeing my husband enjoy the company of others. But, right now God has him planted at home and we are no longer WAITING. We have stepped (temporarily I am sure) out of a season of waiting and wondering. We are not seeking new doctors and new answers, we are not looking ahead to a time when things will be better, we are not waiting. God has given us peace to sit and rest. He has shown us how to be still. And don't you worry...I put up a fight on this as often as I can. Being still is NOT what I do best. I always want to know what is NEXT. I want to know where I will be serving next and how He will use me in the coming season. For now, He has given His word that we are just where we are supposed to be. Serving in the places we are called to serve and dwelling in the overwhelming spirit of peace. God knows what is next but He still suffers along with us, He feels each ache and pain that Justin feels, He cries the same tears we do, He sits still in this place with us. He is going to fully heal Justin, and that is a promise! God's unending resources leave us feeling OK with what is happening NOW. Not much is happening, but SO much is happening. He is healing our family in ways I didn't realize we needed to heal. He has shown us how to serve right now...it looks so different than before! But one thing is for sure, there is no diagnosis or sickness or pain or fear that will keep this family from sharing what has been shared with us. Sitting idle is NOT what the Macs are about...because we don't believe that is what God is about. It is funny how much He allows us to do...even when He asks us to rest. Our God is so complex, yet so easy. Love it.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Posted by misty mac at 12:04 PM
Friday, October 18, 2013
I have been quite the crummy blogger lately. I have been working a whole bunch which is new for me, but so amazing! I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with a ministry founded on the idea of bringing Christ to youth. I have learned so much over the past few months as I have settled into this community. The sports world (which is soooo not my world lol) combined with bleeding hearts for youth combined with the GOSPEL is just almost too good to describe. The opportunity to bring the haves and have nots together for a week away from the world is a glimpse into heaven. No phones, no TV, no status updates. Just Jesus and a whole lot of fun.
I only attended camp a few times when I was a kid. Usually with one sweet gal who always invited me along to church activities. I love the idea of being able to send my kids to a summer camp that we don't have to get a loan for. I love the idea of sending them somewhere that I am CONFIDENT they will have the opportunity to grow closer to Jesus. There are so many incredible camps around Texas. So many awesome choices...but the Macs choose Still Water and we are PUMPED!
Around here we have been just doing life. School, sports, bible study...and all the regular fun fall things. Justin has enjoyed every last second of being home with us. He is able to rest AND spend time with me and the boys. The time is priceless. Not only because his future is so uncertain, but because we have all grown closer than I think we would have ever had the chance to. Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't choose for Justin to be sick if I had the chance, but this has given us a shot at a life of together-ness that I didn't know existed. I sadly grew up in a home without love. They loved ME, but they did not love each other. I grew up in the center of their worlds. Figuring that out as I grew was very difficult. It hardened me to many things and planted unhealthy expectations. I have had wonderful examples through extended family and friends, but nothing quite compares to the relationship between your parents. And I think that is even more so the case for me because I was an "only" child (only child in the house). I so so so wanted to fill my house with kids so that they could experience life with partners. I want them to know what sharing and forgiveness meant inside of a home. I desire for my kids to know that our home is their safe place...a place where we respect each other...a place where we love each other equally and we love our heavenly father most. I think my parents did a great job. I think they loved me so well. I think my dad sacrificed much to offer me the life I was given. But, I did miss out on one key thing. I missed out on understanding unconditional love. I saw toxic love filled with manipulation and insecurity. It has taken me a long time to swallow the fact that although my mom loved me so much, I was often a pawn in the game of her life. I forgive her and think she was an amazing mom. But, stopping to realize those things took a toll on me. Allowing a healing process to begin meant digging deep into memories I would have rather left packed away. I wanted to only remember the good times and the sweet moments...but that is not fair to me or my family. I have been carrying burdens around that I never realized I was carrying. My mourning in the loss of my mom was stifled by hurt and I didn't even realize. This is not a new revelation that came to me last night...it has been an ongoing process over the past five years and I feel like I am so close to a place of setting it all free. I am realizing this morning that I indeed will NOT come to a place that is "normal." There is no new normal to have...there is just life to live. I have got to officially hand over the keys and that means I may have to clean out the trunk. I have tip toed around the junk in this trunk for a long time and in a a sweet moment on my knees last night He showed me some stuff I was glad to see. I went to Him for prayer over Justin as he had to spend the night in the ER and I just feel like He was giving me a little nudge. A nudge that reminded me that He has given me a voice, He has given me a great passionate spirit, He has given me convictions and He has given me a man that needs ME. My parents were surely around when I was created (gross) but, I am a child of God's. My parents raised me, but I belong to Him. He created us each so uniquely and it's time to stop expecting one another to look like the "mold" of a Christian. I have battled with who I am over the past 8+ years. And I am FINALLY understanding that He made us different for a reason. And... I am starting to like the way He made me ;)
Just a side note on J...he is home and resting. They suggested he be admitted, but of course he declined. Because he is just so... Justin. He has done too much lately and his body said STOP. His body can't keep up with his brain and that is something he may never get used to. He was able to get some IV fluids and steroids and felt better right away. It was a not so subtle reminder for all of us that we are not just living a fairy tale with a stay at home daddy. We are living life...real life.
Posted by misty mac at 1:50 PM
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Posted by misty mac at 1:13 PM
I have found that it is very difficult to explain what Idea Camp is. It was a "conference" to engage in conversation about the world around ourselves. It was a place where non profits brainstormed and world changers shared their hearts. We learned and we were challenged. The topic was Human Care which spanned from self care to human trafficking to the orphan crisis and everything in between.
I had the privilege of attending camp with my two best friends...Justin and Katie. It is such an incredible thing to sit in His presence and see PROOF of His goodness amongst our world. It overwhelms me as I am reminded how He uses such unsuspecting people to do His work. There are so many ways to fight for His justice and so many ways to allow ourselves to be used for His glory. For some people we met that meant moving their family to Iraq or Haiti, for some it meant taking pictures, for some it meant advocating for the least from their living room. But for no one did it mean to sit idle.
I won't go through each thing I learned, but I was truly challenged by so much and I just needed to get it down in one place. There are so many areas where I fall short in glorifying Him. I am more quick to offer grace to a stranger than sometimes my own family members. I am guilty of patting myself on the back when the patting was owed to another. I am guilty of comparison and judgement that steals from the joy of His greatness. The one who gave it ALL has entrusted us with so much and it burdens me to know how narrow minded and naive I can be. And no, this was NOT a self deprecation conference to see how we are falling short. It was just an eye opening time to reflect on the heart of a servant. It was a collaboration of people who have allowed their hearts to be broken for what breaks His and who will die trying to make the least feel cared for. I don't feel like I was qualified to be in conversation with many of these selfless people, but I left feeling refreshed and with some new perspective. I don't believe that God has called me forth to change the world or start an organization that will save thousands...but I do believe that He has called me to glorify His name. I know that He has called me out of my comfortable life and shown me much hurt and much sadness so that I can see the world beyond myself. The most influential thing I heard this weekend was from Rob Morris..."God is attractive all by himself, He doesn't need us to make Him look good" amen. We don't need to protect Gods image and we don't have to put all of our hope into results. Because "we aren't called to results, we are called to Jesus."
Just a few more tidbits on the weekend...
We were encouraged by Brandon Hatmaker to replenish ourselves. To drink in the Holy Spirit so that we may finish more than a sprint. He reminded us the true meaning of discipleship and partnership and how by simply offering DIGNITY (to those we serve AND serve alongside) can make the gospel explode out of its tiny box we have put it in. Mark Horvath (with Invisible People) talked about the power of vulnerability. He shared through his experiences of building trust with homeless how inconveniencing ourselves is one way to feel God in the fullest. One of my favorite things I quoted was Leroy Barber saying "Poverty is not a disqualifier of greatness"...and I myself have put that very stereotype on many. I forget to offer DIGNITY to those I am serving. I think I have a CLUE about why they are where they are. Peter Greer communicated how we need to remember we cannot save the world, because He already did. We can't let ministry be our mistress and we can't allow there to be a divide relationally (through other non profits, the church etc). Steve Graves spent some time allowing us to reflect on balance. "If anything consumes you more than Him, then you are not flourishing for Him...you are floursishing for yourself." We need to keep focus in that who we are is more important than what we do. Jennie Allen came out with a fiery passion to kick us all in the gut (in a nice way of course). She challenged us to be brave enough to follow His lead no matter what sacrifice that may mean for ourselves and to NOT hold back.
I walked away from this weekend knowing that relationship trumps rescue (Laura Lasky) and that His call on our lives differs greatly from one to the next. I learned about burnout, balance, communication and pride. I feel compelled to dig deep for authenticity and truth because that will trump the temporary satisfaction of a bandaid. I fell in love with my God all over again this weekend. My heart is full, ya'll.
Posted by misty mac at 12:53 PM
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
It has been exactly a month since my last post...WHAT is my problem?! There has been plenty to write about. But time....not sure where it goes! We had an amazing summer and the first day of school went off without a hitch. Bryce is in second grade and just a few weeks away from turning EIGHT. Gross. It just cannot be true. Brody started his last year of PPCD and his last year of FBC Preschool. He turns FIVE TOMORROW. Barf. Someone stop the clock! (ooey gooey brody post coming soon!) Braxton started preschool at FBC and thank JESUS he does not have a birthday anytime soon. I need him to be three for as LONG as possible.
Justin's recovery has been going well. Two hip replacements this summer, check! He has pushed himself a little hard the past few days and so he is catching up on some much needed rest now. Two hip replacements in two months would slow some people down...but not this guy!
Justin is WALKING.
Some would even say he is strutting.
Ok...I said that.
God is incredible and full of so many surprises. There have been so many things at the top of our prayer lists including keeping infection away and for there to be no rejection issues and for him to not have a flare up...that we flat out forgot to pray about him WALKING. God had that little treat tucked away as a huge gift that we are just in AWE of. God is bigger than our wildest dreams. His expectations are so much greater than our own.
Justin is now about 6 weeks post op and while he is dealing with some extra pain and inflammation (due to doing a little much maybe? shhhh i didnt say that...), he is really doing great. It sometimes seems that at the end of every giant mountain we conquer there is another mountain just as big waiting on the other side. There is discouragement around every corner. Putting on a brave face is irrelevant at this point. God doesn't give a hoot about our brave face. He cares about our heart. You can't mask your heart. You can try...but you can't do it. Try it. Double dog dare ya.
There is just not one chance that this trek would be possible without the hope, patience and perseverance that God provides. Unfortunately, Justin's body is not absorbing nutrients properly and this could be a factor of many different things. Right now he is severaly anemic, which is dangerous for his (already messed up) liver. He will have to do iron infusion for awhile, in addition to the IVIG. More infusions, more needles, more time at the oncologists office. As we spent most of the summer focused on his hips...we have a lot to catch up on regarding the rest of his health. We have follow ups with ALL the doctors...ones we (he) has put off for a long time. Justin stopped going to these specialists a long time ago because he (we) were tired of them finding something wrong with him at every visit. Another diagnosis, another prescription, another side effect. Yawn.
Pray for clarity and perseverance.
God has greater plans for this family than doctors appointments. He has equipped us for something SO much bigger. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Not just some things. I can do all things. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. God has given our family a story...but He has given us so much more than that. I love watching His plan unfold...each day a surprise. Each day more understanding of how vast His kingdom is. Each day a reminder of how present He is. I need Him MORE.
Now don't you dare miss out on these fun pics!
Posted by misty mac at 9:17 PM
Saturday, August 10, 2013
We sure are grateful for all of your prayers. Justin is doing really well post op. His surgeon does not have him starting PT for another week, because he really just wants him to rest and heal. This time around has just been much smoother and more manageable for all of us. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and Justin has his eyes on the prize. And that prize is WALKING.
I have been thinking a lot about prayer lately. I am so excited when our prayers are answered and I know that God hears us loud and clear. I know He hears each and every request made to Him. And, I know that sometimes our requests are not answered. Or maybe they are, but way later than we had hoped. I try to pray according to His will...but I am also not afraid to ask Him for a miracle and to change his mind. He made me GREAT at changing my mind all the time, so surely he possesses that gift as well ;) Sometimes unanswered prayers bring upon discouragement that makes me want to just forget it. Sometimes just having enough faith to know that GOD knows what we need is tough stuff. The Lord was pleased with Solomon when he came to Him and asked for wisdom and discernment. I want to be radically dependent on Him. I want to change my prayer life dramatically...seeking less of what is going on in this house and more of what is going on in His house. I so easily get complacent in letting circumstances define me...even when I insist they do not. His kingdom is so much bigger than me and my house. I came across something David Platt wrote:
“God beckons storm clouds and they come. He tells the wind to blow and the rain to fall, and they obey immediately. He speaks to the mountains, 'You go there,' and He says to the seas, 'You stop here, and they do it. Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator...until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, 'No.”
And that is true. Not only do I have the nerve to tell him NO, sometimes I just flat out ignore Him and worse than that....I make a LOT of decisions without Him at all. It is so obvious to me when I make a decision WITH Him. The peace you feel in those decisions cannot be explained.
It is time to exchange my prayer pants. Mine are dingy and need new life. Good thing it's tax free weekend.
In other news, we have about 14 days of summer left. We are pretty much homebound so I can take care of the mister....AND I broke my stupid foot. It is just the little bone on the end, but it hurts and its a big ol pain in the booty. Justin and I plan on sword fighting with our crutches later. Bummer.
We are going to enjoy these last two weeks of summer no matter the circumstances. Currington Elementary is about to take my Bryce away and bum foot, bum hip, bum whatever else...we are gonna make the BEST! So, Amen to that, ya'll,
Posted by misty mac at 12:17 PM
Friday, August 2, 2013
Today was one of those days that I wished would have ended sooner. I know I have used the roller coaster analogy before, but I am just too tired to think of anything better right now. Today was a roller coaster. A big bad scary one. One that loops way more than necessary. One that you feel nauseous while you're on, and even more so when you're off. As we dealt with life today, my stomach was flipping and turning and knotting. But, unfortunately I wasn't anywhere where they serve funnel cake.
The day started with the doctors reporting that justin's "everything" was low. Low calcium, magnesium, blood sugar, potassium etc and most importantly...his blood count. To try and explain the way things are communicated here among doctors and nurses would be a joke. It's just impossible.
The verdict was to give him a blood transfusion and also calcium, magnesium and potassium through an IV. It is a scary things to watch someone else's blood drip into another person's body. Especially when the receiver has an uncooperative body. I know blood transfusions are common...but this is Justin we are talking about. Pain was at an all time high today and the frustration of not being able to help him myself was overwhelming. It was hard enough dealing with a doctor that hadn't taken the time to look at his chart and find out what he was diagnosed with, but we also found out she had changed some very important meds without checking with us. It is pretty surreal to have so much responsibility for Justin's care. Nobody in this building loves him and care for him as much as I do, and I am grateful to be his advocate, but I am not gonna lie ya'll...it is a lot of pressure.
I felt helpless many times today. I was on my knees pleading to Jesus. For relief, comfort, some understanding, some intervention! I needed Jesus to hear my cries for help. I know He did, and I am comforted in that, but still heartbroken at the same time. I know that God is walking with us down this dark and scary road. I know that for many reasons. I trust Him. I know His plan is good. I know He hears my pleas. I know He can heal Justin. But, today was a day where I didn't want anything but for the road to end. I just don't want this anymore. Today it is too much.
Justin couldn't handle visitors today, but before I had time to let anyone know that...comfort was sent and it was so good. So necessary and so good. God delights in my weakness because he can hold me closest at that time, but He knew what I needed to keep me from darkness. He always knows just what we need. He sent laughs and hugs and just bodies to sit in the waiting room...and food at just the right time. The texts and messages and prayers are so precious. Even when we can't respond and even when we think our phones are going to spark and catch fire from going off so much...we are reminded how He brought so many to carry this load alongside us. It is really incredible. We aren't THAT nice...so its clear that you were are all sent by Him ;)
And we have a 6 foot bugs bunny in here. So, you can't be too sad when that is looking at you.
We don't have information on his current labs yet. We probably won't hear how things are looking until morning. If his blood counts haven't gone up, then he will have to get more blood tomorrow.
I am done with today. I ran home for a little bit earlier to kiss my boys and to have a much needed cry in my own shower. Now I am where I am supposed to be...advocating for Justin and praying fervently for tomorrow to be so much better than today.
Thanks for keeping up, ya'll. Your prayers got us through this day. No doubt about that.
Goodbye today. I am done with you.
Posted by misty mac at 9:03 PM
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Surgery was a success! Pain is present (as expected), but is being managed. Right after surgery was hard for him pain wise, but today is much better. PT came in around 9:30 and he made it from the bed to his chair with a walker...and he didn't barf! My man is so legit. He makes using a walker and wearing a dress so macho. For real.
Prayere requests include: pain management, AGAINST infection (this is the biggest prayer request as this is the biggest risk factor for him), rest, for the boys and everyone who has them, a more speedy healing at the incision site than last time, and for the transition from hospital to home. We will be here a few more days...not sure exactly how long.
The time before the surgery was tough. Anxiety + tension + worry = no bueno. We didn't take the time we did before to really draw nearer to the Lord in the days before surgery. And the absence of that peace was a bummer. Thankfully, Christ dwells in our hearts. He desires us to call out to Him...but He shows up even when we don't take the time to ask. Ephesians 3 reminds us that He gifted us with the ability to access Him at any time. Our faith gives us His strength...and with that we have all we need. Walking out of the double doors (from pre op) to the waiting room reminded me of the walk I used to make from the Cleveland Clinic hospital down the empty hallway to my hotel room. It is the most lonely place in all the world. VERY lonely. Letting the tears go or holding them back both bear a weight far too heavy. I hesitated before walking out of those double doors yesterday. I wondered if I had just had my last conversation with my husband. I wondered if he would make it out this time. I irrationally considered that if I didn't walk through the doors, then I wouldn't have to worry. If I stayed safely on that side...then everything would be ok. Grief makes you think crazy stuff ya'll. And, I really felt safer on that side of the doors. I closed my eyes and prayed so hard that a nurse would not ask me if I needed help getting to the waiting room. I just needed to stand in that place for a minute. After many deep breaths I pulled up my bootstraps (not really, who would wear boots in July?!) and pushed open the doors. The feelings of fear didnt go away, but as I took a moment to accept the reality...peace set in. I wasn't strong enough to ask God to help me. I couldnt come up with the words. I didn't know how to make a word come out without totally losing it. I couldn't even form a prayer. But, God filled that space where the fear was. He used a big bad gang of warriors to stand in the gap for me. I didn't have to ask. He knew. And they knew. Justin's fears were different than mine, but we both were covered. He delighted in our weakness, because He got the chance to be strong. Pray that we will both continue to give Him the glory for our strength. Pray that we will remember the pleasure God has in our weakness.
Thank you to each of you who have texted, messaged, called, emailed, sent goodies, signed up to bring us food, prayed, mowed our yard, loved on our boys. Thank you to all of the people who made walking through those double doors easier. You all bless us more than you know.
Forgive us for being lame communicators right now!
And now, look at all this awesomeness below. Fall is going to be BUSY time with school and sports and LOTS of places to share your gifts. Here are a few of my VERY favorite things:
Get involved, ya'll.
Young Life Clay Shoot - August 18th (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Richey Family Adoption BBQ - September 7th
Run at the Ranch - September 28th
Clays for Cara - October 5th
Young Life Banquet - October 6th (email@example.com)
Stillwater Sports Camp Scramble - October 17th
Save the date for Taking it to the Streets Rodeo event November 9th
Posted by misty mac at 10:41 AM
Monday, July 29, 2013
Ok, blog break over. I have had lots of posts floating in my head over the past few weeks...but never enough time to sit and focus. We survived chemo and IVIG week. It took a crazy toll on Justin and I cannot say that he is really looking forward to the monthly IVIG, BUT it is the best thing for his immune system....so it must be done. The right hip replacement will take place early Wednesday morning. He is really looking forward to it. That may sound a little silly since it is a big and painful surgery, but nothing can beat the pain of trying to deal with living life with a collapsed hip and cracked femur. It is daunting to look ahead to the recovery, but encouraging to know that some relief WILL be provided.
Posted by misty mac at 7:52 PM