Monday, March 24

Easter Season Anthems...

A brief update about the issues I mentioned in my last post (about confusing communication with my medical team, and running out of bile drain supplies!) is at the bottom of this. It's not the main point of this post so it doesn't get top billing ;)

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I am getting so excited for Easter!

I can just feel the anticipation in my spirit. It really is the Superbowl of church weekends. It's a celebration!
I believe in taking the time to walk through the meaning and emotions of the journey from Jesus' unfounded accusal, unjust trial, and crucifixion. Maybe you have a tradition to do that, like watching The Passion of the Christ film, cooking or hosting a Seder dinner at home, or attending a Good Friday service.
But the wonderful, unforgettable thing about Easter, is that it doesn't end on Good Friday! It doesn't end with the burial of Jesus in a tomb. It doesn't end in tragedy... Resurrection Sunday is coming!
As I've gotten older, and realized that the magic I felt as a girl at Christmastime was mostly from the legend of Santa Claus and the wonder of looking at lights and trees and snow (and don't get me wrong - I still love all of that), Easter has meant more and more to me each year. Also, as I've grown closer to Jesus in a steady pattern of progress over the last decade, Easter means the most. You don't have to try to foster the wonder and joy as an adult by creating traditions, decorating and shopping downtown for gifts and gathering under a tree in new flannel PJs (again - I LOVE all that, but it's just different as an adult, and it's a different feeling than Easter). Jesus' birthday that we celebrate at Christmas is very special, and it was an incredible event in history that fulfilled prophecies from centuries before.
But Easter? That's a whole 'nother level :)

I am so excited to celebrate the joy that Jesus's resurrection brings to my soul, my home, and most of all my church. There's probably no better weekend to jump into the life of a local church than Easter. it is such a collective celebration of the core of our Christian faith. Jesus died and with Him died our sins, our wounds, our sicknesses - and then He rose again! And out of that, we receive freedom, healing, and eternal life with Him! Knowing that in your heart, and honoring and celebrating that with your church family is simply the best.

So, I've been repetitively listening to a couple worship songs lately, because they popped up in my playlist some weeks ago, and I started thinking about Easter because of the lyrics of the songs! They are anthems you can adopt either if you're pumped about Easter already and want to jam and celebrate it, or if you're having a hard time getting excited about Easter this year and need a little push.

Elevation Worship came out with a new album a few months back, "Only King Forever."
The entire album is amazing, but two different songs caught my ear and my heart as they really seem like anthems that fit the Easter season. The words are amazing truths to declare as anthems of victory over your life.
Check out the album on iTunes or Amazon mp3, or their website is a great resource, elevationworship.com.

The first song is,
Raised to Life
Here's a link to the YouTube video of "Raised To Life" (Acoustic Female Version): http://youtu.be/VhIGt0mq2JI


Precious compassion that pours
from the wounds that won our salvation
Sin was strong but the Savior is stronger
Come let us worship Him

Great was the debt that we owe
And how high was the price of our healing
Paid in full by the One who is worthy
Come let us worship Him

Raised to life with Christ the Savior
In His name a new creation
Now our song will rise
Adoring Christ the Lord

Death overcome by the Word
that was spoken before it was finished
Jesus Saves is our song everlasting
Come let us worship Him

Raised to life with Christ the Savior
In His name a new creation
Now our song will rise
Adoring Christ the Lord

Sin was strong but,
Jesus is stronger
Shame was great but,
Jesus You're greater!
Sin was strong but,
Jesus is stronger
Shame was great but,
Jesus You're greater!
(repeat 4x as song builds)
[sidenote: I LOVE this part}


The second song is:
Last Word

This song speaks to me about Easter especially with the line, "You have the last word, 'It is finished!'" as that was what Jesus took care of on the cross. But it also has a lot of meaning and power to declare over a disappointing season in life, over a health crisis or broken relationship, really any life storm or trial. Get these words, and the Scriptures they come from, into your heart and spirit. And watch your own words and demeanor change through the weeks as you walk in a mindset and faith set on victory and a new season to come!

Here is the live recording from Elevation Worship on YouTube:



The storm rises from the deep
And rages around me
But I will remember
When doubt wars within my heart
The battle almost lost
I will remember

You have the last word
It is finished
You have the last word
It is finished
My fear is silenced in Your love
My hope is endless!

Your voice that calmed the violent sea
Speaks courage over me
So I will remember
The words that wake the sun to rise
are breaking through my night
And I will remember

You have the last word
It is finished!
You have the last word
It is finished!
My fear is silenced in Your love
my hope is endless!

Your Word stands through the ages
Your voice shatters the darkness
In You, we are more than conquerors!
You speak, strongholds surrender
Your name overcomes the enemy
In You we are more than conquerors!
(repeat)

You have the last word
It is finished!
You have the last word,
It is finished!
My fear is silenced in Your love
My hope is endless!


I pray that you are encouraged by these songs, and are seeking out anthems of faith that speak to your heart and lift your soul. It's so worth it!

What have you been listening to lately? What songs are your anthems of faith and victory?

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Well, as mentioned at the top of this post, here is a summary of how the hospital communication and bile drain issues are going...

We ended up not getting any answers or help all week, and by Friday I just had no energy left to make a fuss, and my awesome hubby had gotten frustrated enough to call and make a (polite but firm) fuss, Lol! So Friday afternoon, after he spoke with someone in administration for patient concerns, we started getting phone calls.

First I got a call from a nurse in the department that put in my drain. She answered questions about symptoms of infection (so far it looks like I'm in the clear-phew!), and cleaning the drain bag. Unfortunately although I did this diligently over the weekend, it still reeks of something akin to old potatoes and onions and something worse, all combined!
I feel like I need to say, I'm so sorry if you've sat or stood by me recently, or given me a hug lately, and wondered if I've lost my sense of smell or hygiene. I promise I'm showering quite regularly and trying my best! I just desperately need new bags.
The last the thing the nurse did was talk about medical supplies, and set me up with a company to get supplies in the mail.

The company called me right before five o'clock and collected the necessary info from me, and they're going to call tomorrow about insurance coverage, getting a small bag (I requested pediatric size if they exist, because I'm lugging around a 600 cc bag while only putting out about 100 cc all day!). That was so helpful and neat that they called when they could have said, "ah it's too close to the weekend, we'll wait until Monday." I'm hoping for good news about those supplies today. Here's hoping!!

Finally, I got a call from a GI nurse that is now going to be my communication liaison of sorts. My job is to connect with her and explain my concern(s), and she will help me by contacting the right people and setting up the needed steps of care. That will be very helpful, and I appreciate that someone thought to finally assign me specific help. I'm a complicated patient, and it's probably past due that I have more personal communication with the multiple specialty departments at the hospital. Hopefully that will make a difference for me from now on.

I have my next appointment with hepatology on Wednesday. Not exactly sure what the topic of discussion is going to be, other than maybe getting this biliary drain capped. Perhaps planning another ERCP to put in a bile duct stent, because unfortunately my bilirubin levels have gone back up almost as high as ever. (Bummer!)  Or my doc may want to discuss getting an appointment for liver transplant listing evaluation set up at the transplant center across town. Whatever Wednesday entails, I'll no doubt update after that appointment, later this week.
Have a wonderful week, friends. Happy Spring! Great things await- sunshine, gardening season, Easter, SUMMER! Woohoo!  :)