Where I Am garners #14 slot for Top 20 from September on Woman of Substance Radio and will now enter heavy rotation for the month of October!
Thank you so much for all of your votes!
It is tempting at the least to want to live your life for yourself, but the truth is the exact opposite. The praise of man is not where it is at. Please God and not yourself. Live a life that will glorify Him and then one day He will lift you up and you will be glorified as well when you see Him face to face. Praise God…do good things…lay up your treasures in Heaven.
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10:17-18 ESV)
…(This is a continuation of Chasing Answers Part I).
In the intensity of the “not knowing” waiting for test results on your health to come back can be so stressful. Even when you try to turn the anxious thoughts over every day, every moment. Like I mentioned in the previous post, Part I, worrying about it doesn’t add a single hour to your life, in fact it does just the opposite, robs you of enjoying the moment, being in the present, is physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting, and weighs you down.
I didn’t realize how much my worry over what was going on in my body was weighing me down, until I received the phone call from the Hematologist/Oncologist to reassure me right after my CT scans on a Tuesday afternoon, that no other blood clots or major concerns showed up in them. The things that did show up were “unremarkable”. I was so relieved. I like being unremarkable in this instance. So grateful to the doctor for calling me. He wanted to reassure me so I wouldn’t worry until my follow-up appointment that Friday. Is that not the grace of God in a moment of need?
I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. As much as I thought I had been turning things over and letting go and trusting God, the worries were still heavy enough that I felt the release of them after the phone call. The tension in my body left and I breathed a big sigh of thankfulness.
On Friday the answers were vague. All the blood tests were with in normal ranges and negative for the things I was concerned about. Another huge relief, but yet no answers to why I clot except that I have a genetic predisposition for it. This in a sense is an answer. Ok, that’s it. I need to live with it. I was born with it. Accept it. Be diligent with my medication and my testing. Take my testing equipment with me whenever I travel. Doctor’s orders while on long road trips, especially as I was leaving for my tour, to get out of the car every two hours and move around for a few minutes. Inconvenient, since I like to get in the car and just drive, drive, drive…but I have to do it.
I am grateful to know that there are no more major concerns. I am content to know that I just clot and that is the worst of it (although I wish I didn’t). I am blessed with good doctors and medical care so that I can manage this medical condition and still do most the things I like to do, except play with sharp objects and do dangerous, adventurous activities (sometimes I still do, I’m just a little more cautious). 🙂
I honestly don’t think we will ever be immune to worry or anxieties in this world. But God has given us a remedy for it, to manage it well:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:4-7, NIV)
1. He is near. That is reassuring.
2. Bring your worry to Him – pray and petition Him with it.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for what you need. He longs to hear from you.
4. Rejoice that no matter what, He holds all your answers, hears your prayers, wants you to trust Him with whatever He thinks you can go through, because He is near and He will be with you.
5. Be thankful. You have a place to go to for everything you need, because of your salvation in Christ Jesus.
6. He will give you His perfect peace when nothing makes sense. His peace will keep you and help you to stay focused when the storms swirl around you.
7. Not knowing keeps you trusting in Him and challenges you to let go of your control issues of wanting to know and to accept His control and will for your life.
8. When you are anxious, you can be irritable with life and with others. If you practice continual turning over of your worry to Him, His peace that He gives to you will allow you to have more grace and to be gentle with others.
And don’t forget…you are here for a purpose, even to be a testimony through your trials. Don’t let them take you off course when you are anxious and afraid. He has conquered death. He holds you in the palm of His hand. He will never leave or forsake you!
I am not chasing my answers right now. I am accepting the unknown. I’ll journey with you in your unknowns as we keep plugging along! Don’t give up!
I can’t believe I’m doing this! I must be crazy!? I am just a semi-retired counselor and a mom and a worship leader and older and … who am I? My family says, “Just a little bit crazy!” (pun intended, but it’s true, that’s what they are saying). Why am I so compelled to go out there and do this? To take these songs I have written out on the road and share them? In one sense it’s frightening. In another sense, exhilarating. I liken it to when I did my first triathalon. Once I finished it, the sense of accomplishment was so overwhelming in a good way. At that moment I felt like there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do, if I put my mind to it and God’s will is in it. I am a child of God and I love Him. I want to BE His will in my life. I find my salvation in Christ alone. This is what my blog ministry stands for: “No Longer Opposed”.
Paul said these words to Timothy as he started his ministry and it is this scripture that I will cling to as I am now embarking on this journey with my official Where I Am Tour. I am compelled to follow God’s will in my life for everything He has done for me, including creating me for His good pleasure. I would rather fear Him due to His awesomeness and greatness than to ever look around me and fear what others may think of me. I am on earth for God’s purposes, not my own. Please pray for me to keep this front and center and pray for me while I am on the road ’til I return home.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:6-14 ESV)
God has entrusted a calling to my heart. I don’t know why He has chosen me to go forward with this, in my fear of facing the giant world out there I say, “Lord, I am too small!” but I know he has equipped me. Therefore I say, “here I am God, send me!” I somehow find His favor by His grace… “Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to serve you and your kingdom. I know you go with me…before me, behind me and beside me. The battle is Yours and I will stand. I will be strong and courageous because Your Spirit lives in me and makes me strong and courageous. I will share the hope that is within me with others. May Your love abound more and more in my heart, so that I will learn to love your people the way You love them.” Amen
The Great Adventure has begun! I am so excited to see what God will have in store for me. I will be traveling for nearly 6 weeks without my family, but will be seeing many friends and extended family along the journey! Please, if you think of me, pray for my safety and for God to do His will through me at every stop I make! See you on the the road! And if I don’t see you, be sure to pick up the new CD “Where I Am” through my store here on the website and be refreshed and inspired!
Love and blessings!
Maybe some might think this is a little personal to share, but I am going to err on the side of sharing it in the hope that it might bring encouragement to someone else out there who is dealing with the unknowns of medical health issues. It’s my reality of “where I am” (yes, and a pun intended on the words with the new album title) and with an upcoming tour, something I have to deal with diligently.
10 years ago, when I was 36 I had my first TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). It caused blindness, like a vertical shade going across my right eye for about 10 seconds and then I experienced some droopiness on the left-side of my face and then left-sided weakness in my arm down to my hand the next day. My doctor put me on warfarin, an anti-coagulant, right away. We searched and found the answer to it via a TEE (Trans Esophageal Echocardiogram): a finger like blood clot attached along the inside wall of the left atrial appendage of my heart happily fluttering back and forth. Culprit.
About a year later my body finally broke down the clot and I had another episode. This time a small stroke. Again left-sided weakness. Apparently what was left of the clot dislodged. A follow-up TEE showed it was gone. After that first TIA my doctor sent me to specialists and we ruled out many things. The Hematologist could not figure out why I was clotting. All the tests he ran were negative. He said since there was no reason why I should be clotting, I could come off the warfarin. I didn’t feel comfortable with that and did not want to experience the effects of another stroke. So I stayed on the warfarin, and I am glad I did, in hindsight.
Fast forward through 10 years of all the hassles of bleeding, blood coagulation testing, and beautiful bruises…
I had just returned from my last trip to Nashville the beginning of May. I woke up one morning and had what seemed like another episode of a TIA. It didn’t quite feel the same, as I had swelling, redness and numbness on the left side of my face, but then I had the left-sided weakness and numbness in my arm and hand with some tingling in my fingers. That part was similar. I monitored the symptoms all day and when they weren’t resolving, I decided to go to the clinic, but they immediately sent me to the ER due to my stroke history.
I was mad. I didn’t want to go to the ER and make a big deal about this. More blood tests, an MRI and a CT scan with contrast revealed a left Cerebral Venous Sinus thrombosis in the back of my head, but the blood was still managing to flow through the clot. My INR had gotten low while I was traveling and had probably been non-therapeutic for two weeks. Maybe enough time to form and throw a clot, but it didn’t make sense because it would be traveling the other direction in my system. They also noted stenosis in a vertebral artery. Most likely unrelated? How could I still be clotting after 10 years of being on an anti-coagulant. I confess, I am scared.
A lot of other health signs and symptoms I have had over the past decade have made me wonder if it isn’t something more, or different, causing the clots. I have dealt with shingles, joint pain, fatigue, alopecea areata, asthma, allergies, swelling in my face and hands, Rosacia and strokes with this blood clotting issue. I personally think it’s something systemic with my auto-immune system. But I’m not a doctor. And they don’t seem to like it when I look up my symptoms and play doctor. But hey, I am an intelligent woman and a counselor. I love research and getting down to the bottom of things. I am also a “need to know” kind of person. If I know what I am dealing with, I can some how “control” it and figure out how to manage it better. Ha! God has reminded me, I am human and He is God.
But here’s the thing: as I go through all the questions “why” again, after so many years on the warfarin and start to see the specialists again: neurologist, hematologist, etc., I find myself being obsessed with chasing down the answers. I don’t have the answers. I want the answers. I am tired of dealing with this “unknown” in my life. I have music to share and my stories. I have been dealing with the unknowns fairly well with my music ministry and enjoying the great adventure of the unknown of where God is taking me with it, but it is very hard for me to consider this unknown, when my physical body and health are under attack. To call it a great adventure? I don’t know, maybe in time I will? Certainly, I am assured of where my adventure ends and that will be a glorious day. But until then? Quite possibly, this is another story I take with me to my concerts.
I’ve had to adjust my life to a chronic blood clotting disorder, most the time taking it for granted, because I’ve had it for so long and have just adapted to the daily routine. But now, once again I am very much aware of how vulnerable I am, and how fragile life is. I can get blood clots even while on my anti-coagulant. That is NOT a comforting thought to me. I am going to have to make more adjustments in my life that will be “inconvenient”.
I’ve always known that at any point God could require my life. Every breath I take has always been a gift from Him while on this earth. I’ve known this ever since I born pre-mature at 29 weeks gestation. I stopped breathing and was down to 2 lbs 12 oz and turning blue. My doctor resuscitated me and I know it was the breath of God that he breathed back into me. I am here for His purpose and His pleasure. So I know that at any moment, He could take that breath away. Or, I could live with a paralysis or be incapacitated somewhere in my body, stroke-related, and be unable to do the things I enjoy doing right now: singing, speaking, playing piano, hugging, walking, driving, feeding myself, putting clothes on, thinking clearly…the list could be unending. I think too much.
Testing continues. Next, rare blood tests, CT scan with contrast of my body from chest to pelvis. Looking for clots or something else. “Don’t freak that you are seeing a Hematologist that also carries the title of Oncologist”. Still chasing the answers. But today’s answer is “not yet”. I think, today, I will reflect on His goodness instead. Because it’s the one thing I do have control over, and putting one step in front of the other. I need Him, every hour, every day.
“Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22, ESV
So I think I will call this blog “Part I” and make it an ongoing series until I have the answers (or am content to leave things unanswered). Anyone relate or care to join me in this journey?
I wrote a song on my new album I just released that applies to this so well. I wrote it in regards to following the path of “unknowns” as a believer. Maybe this will resonate in your heart as it does in mine.
May God bless you, be with you, and comfort you in your “in-betweens”.
“You will meet me in the in-between
Where I’m not sure of many things
But your love and your grace
And how they carry me to this place.
You will meet me in the in-between
Where yesterday and tomorrow meet
Oh speak to me, speak to me, You speak to me
In the in-between.”
Continue on to Chasing Answers – Part II…
In light of the recent shooting at Seattle Pacific University, I would like to share something that I read today. A tender blog from a student at SPU. I am touched by her transparency.
We have not forgotten. Some of us are still sensitive. We are praying for you and all those that have been affected by the shooting, including your families. You are loved!
Released my new music video today with Creative Soul Records for Deep Into You. It was a fun and mellow acoustic set with Dave Cleveland and Mark Burchfield at Mark’s Watershed Recording Studio, Nashville, TN. I was so honored to have the two of them play for me. Dave was instrumental (ha, no pun intended) in pulling the whole thing off! Thanks Dave! This is the first video of a series of 3. Two more will be released in the near future! 😉
Read the story behind the song at: Behind The Songs – Deep Into You
Blessings & Enjoy!
My local newspaper did such a nice job today with a write up on me and my new album Where I Am, Creative Soul Records and the upcoming release concert. Thank you Staff Writer, Matthew Nash and Editor, Mike Dashiell!
If you live locally, I am personally inviting you to the concert THIS Friday night @7 p.m. Sequim Community Church, 950 N. Sequim Ave, Sequim, WA. I will be backed by an awesome band from my local community (Jonathan Simonson, Dillan Witherow, Jason Taylor, Steven Mangiemeli, Kirk Thomas & Mike Madison) and we are featuring another fellow singer-songwriter, Tom Taylor as our opening act. Jeremy Cays of Jeremy Cays Productions has been organizing and producing the release concert for me.
For All The Ways is a song I wrote in memory of Christina Nevill and her battle with brain tumors, and in dedication to her husband Doug & baby Isaiah. I will be performing it on Friday night.
The album can be purchased through links here on my website: http://www.JenHaugland.com/store
See you at the concert and enjoy the new album!
I just checked the tracking of my CDs and they are now in Seattle! They arrive tomorrow evening! FINALLY!!! (Can you see me trying to jump up and down?)
My producer and I are busy working on the new website, marketing plan and materials, bookings, etc.
SAVE THE DATES:
WHERE I AM – RELEASE DATE set for May 6.
RELEASE CONCERT for WHERE I AM was approved for May 9, 2014 @ 7 p.m., SEQUIM COMMUNITY CHURCH! My friend Jeremy Cays will be helping me with the production of the concert. We are going to have a live band backing me, so we are looking forward to a great evening of a lot of fun!
I have also just confirmed a small concert at The LIVING ROOM LODGE-Calvary Chapel Eastside in Bellevue, WA, Friday – May 2, 2014! So if you live in the Seattle Area and want to come hear a pre-release of my new album in an intimate setting… SAVE THE DATE! The night will begin at 7 p.m. and I will be the featured artist on-stage at 8:15!
So as you can see, I am busy working on booking concerts and coming up with a marketing plan for the album! And now it’s going to get REALLY busy!
On top of it all, a couple of visits to the ER and a night’s stay in the hospital, just a week after getting back from my Nashville trip, revealed a diagnosis of another blood clot a couple of weeks ago. This time in my cerebral venous sinus and the vein is severely restricted, but fortunately the blood is still able to flow through the center of it. There is also some blockage in a vertebral artery in my neck.
9 years ago I had a couple of TIA’s and a small stroke from a clot in the Left Atrial Appendage of my heart and I have been on anti-coagulant therapy ever since (with no answers why my blood clots like this), so we are pretty baffled as to why this is still happening.
But thankfully, God isn’t surprised by any of this, and I know He is still very good and in control. He has a plan with all of this! I do tend to worry a bit, so I really appreciate all your prayers to cover me as the doctors and specialists work on trying to figure this out as I continue to step out in faith with the release of this project…it’s WHERE I AM!
Many blessings and love to you all!