Tuesday, September 29, 2009

By the Power Vested in Me...

I was so blessed to be able to perform the marriage ceremony for two of my best friends this past weekend. Yes, I know I used to be Baptist, and Baptists do not ordain women, but I guess I've gotten a little more liberal in my years (not crazy though, politically or theologically). These two friends of mine, Jeremy Cameron and Claire (Jones) Cameron, are fairly new Christians and did not really have a pastor they felt close to, so they asked me to do this for them since I had been a large part of their spiritual lives. So this will probably be a one-time special occasion thing.

Anyway, it was such a blessing to see these two (one of whom was a non-believer and one who was non-committed), who I had prayed for for years, become these two solid Christians who I look up to and admire. Therefore, it was even more of a blessing when the two of them got together and then allowed me to be a part of their becoming one.

It wasn't a traditional ceremony, but it was so sweet. I got to share their stories, my thoughts about them, and they wrote their own amazing vows. They got married at the bride's childhood home on the gorgeous front porch. She used sunflowers in memory of a childhood friend who had passed away and used the "program" for each of them to write sweet things about all the bridal party and people involved it the wedding. I was so happy to be a part of something when it was so right. Of course, I love that Cameron was marrying one of my best friends because it makes it easier and more appropriate to watch out for him, but mostly I know God blessed their union because they are so wonderful for each other, complimenting each other in all the ways you're supposed to, but most importantly putting God smack dab in the center of their relationship. What a beautiful thing!

BUT...I guess as a first-time reverend, my blessing are a little inexperienced (just kidding). But really, the groom had been feeling under the weather for several days before the wedding. It finally caught up to him the day of the wedding because he was definitely dehydrated. God allowed him to somehow make it through the ceremony and reception, but the next day he was in the hospital, severely dehydrated. As of today he is still there, and after several tests, they are still unsure as to what is causing his problems. So please pray for this new family. As I said, they are amazing Christians, so Claire has even been encouraging me through this by saying that she is seeing the silver lining as they are getting to spend a lot of time together (they wouldn't have been able to otherwise because they were putting off their honeymoon til later since she is in nursing school and still has classes). Anyway, like I said, amazing people, so please pray that their new marriage will only be strengthened by this and that they will be able to use it to God's glory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

God's Provision

Well, it has been a rough couple of days, but I thought that as I am coming out on the other side of it, I should share and blog about it. Most of you know that we have been battling cancer with our sweet dog, Rocky. It was kind of a roller coaster as he came out of remission and we had to change treatments, but he has been doing very well on this new protocol for a lot longer than expected. Well, Tuesday evening, Joey got home from work, and Rocky did his normal very excited greeting. But it turned very ugly. He began to look back and forth like he was dizzy and started losing his balance. Joey laid him down, and I was certain he was having a seizure. He got up what seemed like forever later and immediately got sick. We rushed him to the ER (since it was after vet hours), and found out several hours later after an EKG and echo that he has conjestive heart failure. His only symptom had been a cough here and there that we got checked out the day before which evidently was the fluid build-up in his lungs. Unfortunately, he had to stay overnight which was extremely hard not knowing if leaving him would be the last time we'd see him. They medicated him with Lasix and some other things to get rid of the fluid, keep the heart contracting, and dilate his vessels so that his heart wouldn't have to work as hard.

I picked him up the next morning and took him to our vet. Evidently, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) is very common in Boxers (50/50 chance) and so it was most likely genetic and not a side effect of first chemo protocol. He had chest X-rays only a couple of months ago which showed no signs of an enlarged heart (which is what the heart does when it's trying to make up for damage), and he had the drug that can cause heart damage back in April. So this happened pretty quickly, again pointing to genetics. Our vet encouraged us that this condition is treatable with medications and that he can continue his chemo without any interference. Most dogs do not survive their first collapse from heart failure, so we feel like he's definitely here for a reason.

Rock is home now and doing well, you wouldn't even know anything was wrong. We're so thankful for every moment we have with him because he's so special to us. God has immensely provided for my emotional needs through this. I was so distraught, wanting this precious and truly wonderful dog to just catch a break. But this only helps me understand loss and better help my hurting clients. I have also been able to see how God can take care of me in ways that I was not expecting - especially through people I wasn't expecting. Pray for Rocky, but mostly pray that we honor God even through something (that most may see as) small like facing the death of a pet.