Friday, April 24, 2015

Goodbye for now!

Dear Friends,
I had hoped to continue the writing of weekly devotions through the one year anniversary of the publishing of Great Expectations: An Adoption Story and Devotional.  God, however, had other plans, and I find myself in a hospital on chemotherapy fighting Leukemia.  God is good and is my fortress. He will not forsake me and will help me to fight and overcome this battle.  I will occasionally write notes on my Caring Bridge site to update friends and family of my progress.  I so appreciate your support this past year and encourage you to:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3: 5-6, ESV).

Love in Christ!

Meta Wohlrabe-Nelson

Thursday, April 16, 2015

For years, my morning routine has been the following: I wake up early, make myself a steaming double espresso, don my jogging clothes that change depending on sun, rain, snow, etc. Off on my run, I am free from the demands of the world as I escape onto county roads, passing farmhouses and fields lined with grazing cattle or beautiful horses that run with me short distances along their fence-lines.  Looking to the sky, I watch birds sitting on tree branches or see hawks spread their wings as they soar through the sky.  Once the endorphins kick in, I too am flying (rather slowly though, and more so as I age) and my thoughts take over. I pray and thank God for the new day.  I talk with Him about my husband and each of my children and then I start to plan my day.  If I’m about to write a devotional, I ponder what I might relate with you about. If I’m preparing a lesson, this is where the ideas begin to gather and take shape.  If I’ve read material for classes I’m taking and have writing prompts to reply to, the initial development of ideas takes place in my mind while running.

Last Tuesday, April 7, I had a week off from my graduate classes.  I had lined up myriad tasks that I wanted to accomplish during that time. I began with the final project for the Masters TESOL program I’m in.  I have one last class to fulfill, the submission of the portfolio and then, I will have another Masters Degree.  I worked on my portfolio for a few days and then had plans to move onto the next item on my list.  That Tuesday morning, I drove my daughter to high school and then drove further to the Poudre River trail on which I enjoyed a glorious run of over 8 miles.  I felt exhilarated and ready to meet the day.  As I drove home, I mulled over my plans.  I showered, made another frothy espresso, grabbed my Greek yogurt and set down to work.  But the original delight I had been feeling became a fatigue with which I wasn’t familiar.  I lay down to fall back asleep and woke up with a pounding headache, low-grade fever and chills. 

The next few days brought more of the same along with abdominal issues.  I figured I had come up with a bug or some sort of runner’s colitis, but thought that, if I could just wait it out, the un-pleasantries would subside.  Finally, almost a week later, I made an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner at a Gastroenterology clinic.  After answering her detailed questions, I headed off to the lab to get a blood tests run and then drove to have some CT scans of my abdomen performed. This procedure took up an entire day and the pounding head was worse than ever.  I went home, contacted my choir section leader to let her know that I would not be at the dress rehearsal that evening for a Brahm’s Requiem concert I would be singing in this Saturday and Sunday.

I lay down and tried to sleep.  When I woke on the following day, head still pounding--one week from that last glorious run, the phone rang. “Can you come right down to Radiology? We’d like to run another CT Scan of a specific abdominal area.”  “Sure,” I replied.  Without washing my hair, I donned my jeans and shirt, got into the car and drove to the hospital.  During the drive, the Gastroenterology Clinic called to ask if I’d return to the lab after the CT Scan was complete to get another CBC Blood test run. 
Everything went much more quickly that Tuesday morning, April 14 sans the run. After being scanned, the Clinic called a second time, and the kind nurse practitioner told me I would would be admitted to the hospital for a day to receive IV antibiotics to fight off an  infection in my colon. Assuming it was diverticulitis or runner’s colitis, I asked if I might quickly drive home, take a shower and grab a few things. “No,” she replied.  “It’s important we get the antibiotics going and get rid of this infection.”  I complied only to spend the next two hours waiting in frustration for the emergency antibiotics to appear. Instead a young Internist, sat down and started to ask me questions while my husband sat next to me. I hadn’t figured out that this was the hospitalist I was told would visit.  After asking a few questions, he sat down and said, “ We think you have Leukemia.”  I was shocked—wasn’t I told I was there for my abdominal issues?  How did this happen? The next few hours become a blur as a bone marrow biopsy was performed, my now bruising arms were repeatedly poked to gather more blood, my temperature checked, blood pressure taken, brain scan and heart ultrasound completed.  I didn’t have time to think this through and process that I would not be going home for weeks and that my life would turn upside down. I wanted to encourage these dear people who are trying to help me and show my positive side.  It wasn’t until after the first night in the hospital and the second day that it sunk in that I am really sick.

I ask for prayers from you, my friends.  My caring bridge site is:
Christ is my rock and my salvation.

Love in Christ!


Friday, April 10, 2015


Dear Readers,
Since last summer, it has been my goal to write one devotional a week. Lately, I have not fulfilled this ambition.  My kids had Spring Break while I was taking online classes, and we flew out of state to look at a college for my son.  I could not find the time during that week.

This week, I also did not write.  I've had a one-week break from classes but came down with a fever, body aches and a mind that seems to be in a fog.  I noticed while feeling lousy how hard it has been for me to smile and be chipper around others. Then, after the third day of being sick, a fear sets in.  What if I don't get better?  I couldn't stand feeling like this long-term.  I contemplated what it must be like to have cancer and wake up each morning, knowing you will not feel well and yet must put your best foot forward to exhibit a positive attitude.

Often, when we experience pain, we react with fear which only compounds the pain. Fear of pain then leads our mind to imagine layers of new symptoms.  

Being alive includes experiencing pain - both physical and emotional. Often, the emotional pain is more frightening than the physical. We worry about our children, our jobs, our future, money, our relationships. What do I do when I'm filled with fear? First, I fret. Then, I worry.  I'll lose sleep and feel depressed. As a last resort, I finally go to God. Corrie Ten Boom wrote:
"If you look at the world, you'll be distressed.  If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest." 

Why does it take so long to figure out where true peace can be found?

In 1 Peter 5: 6-7, we read: 
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's might hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Prayer: God - I cast my anxiety on You!

Philippians 4: 6-7:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Prayer: God, I am anxious about so many things. Yet, I am thankful I can come to You and let you know my requests. Please fill my mind with your peace and keep my mind and heart in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27: 
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Prayer: God, I'm sorry that my heart is troubled and I don't bring my fears to you.  Give me Your peace. 

May you seek peace and fulfillment in Christ Jesus and lean on Him when fear overtakes you.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

This week, we reflect on the death of our Savior. Then on Sunday, we celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead. I remember Easter in my house as a kid. Each of us five children would clamber down the stairs to get breakfast. As we entered the kitchen, Mom would cheerily chant, "He is Risen!" to which she expected the reply, " He is Risen Indeed!" If our response were not filled with enough enthusiasm, she would repeat the phrase till we got it right. We would roll our eyes as we slurped our cereal. "Not again!,"we thought.

Now that Mom has passed, I yearn to hear her Easter ritual once again. And, because of the sacrificial love of our Savior, who died so that we can enjoy life eternal with Him, I will hear Mom repeat this phrase when I see her in heaven. Better yet, I will proclaim that Jesus is Risen today, knowing that Mom is celebrating Easter in the presence of our Risen Lord.

When their brother, Lazarus, died, Mary and Martha were distraught that Jesus hadn't been with them to heal him. Lazarus lay four days decaying in the tomb when Christ finally showed up. Martha even reproached Jesus, telling Him that He could have prevented her brother's death. Now, she felt, it was too late to do anything but mourn.

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?" "Yes, Lord," she replied, "I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." (John 11: 17-27)

When Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, she most likely thought He was talking about seeing her brother when she too passed away. Yet, Jesus was telling Martha that she had the substance of all life and hope with her at the moment--in Him. Jesus confirmed that the victory over death is not a future expectation: it is present with us in our Savior Jesus Christ. He is the resurrection and the life. And through Him, we have victory.

"Where, O death is your victory?
Where, O death is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15: 55-57)

As we celebrate Christ's victory over death, may we respond like Martha: "Yes, Lord, I believe You are the Christ, the Son of God who came into the world (v. 27).

Happy Easter!  He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!