Ransomed by Grace: Surviving Pulmonary Embolisms

Innumerable pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) in my lungs held my life at ransom. But grace, God’s grace paid the price.

April 14, 2018, I left the Radiant Roanoke Women’s Conference early.  My chest hurt and I found it difficult to breathe. Once home, I slept for three hours and woke with a pounding sensation in my chest. Despite the three-hour rest, my blood pressure skyrocketed and my pulse thumped at a whopping 122 beats per minute.  I swiftly packed an overnight back and my beloved drove me to the ER.

EKG, chest X-rays, CT scan, and blood work all pointed to one cause: “extensive bilateral pulmonary embolisms.” In everyday language, both lungs were full to the brim with blood clots. Physicians later determined the cause as one of the medications used to regulate the flare-ups of my chronic illness, Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis.

Blood clots in the lungs are fatal, but God’s grace prevailed.

Deep draughts of air expand my lungs to their full measure.  There is no more pain and no more coughing. The pulmonary embolisms are gone. With each breath, I meditate and count inhaling grace, two, three, four then exhaling praise two, three, four. Rather than being angry at the turn of events in my life, I am thankful. Thankful our resurrected King is still in the business resurrecting lives.

Our resurrected King is still in the business resurrecting lives.

This situation taught me the grace of God is more than a spiritual principle; it penetrates on an intracellular level for our good and for His glory. As we continue into Holy Week, let us remember to give God thanks for the resurrected King and grace in our lives.

“Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”Amazing Grace by John Newton (1725-1807)

~April Dawn White

©2019 Red Chair Moments | Image courtesy of Pixabay and Pexels from Pixabay.

How to Choose a Word for the Year

As I mentioned last post, in 2012, I began choosing a word for each year. This decision has deepened my faith and strengthened my foundation.

Three Ways to Choose a Word for the Year

1. Ask.

There is no special formula for choosing a word for the year.  But, if you’re not sure where to begin, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the one thing I struggle with?
  • What is my deepest desire?
  • What do I want to accomplish this year?
  • What character trait do I want to develop?
  • Is there a verse that resonates in this current situation?
  • What do I need the most in my current season of life?
  • What word or topic do I want to explore?
  • Is there a word that repeatedly shows up?

Unshakable: My first word

My first year, I chose a verse that resonated with me.  During that time, my husband’s company was restructuring, relocating employees, and forcing extensive traveling. All of which wreaked havoc in our family dynamics and in my spirit. For an entire year, I read, journaled, pondered, and meditated on this promise within Psalm 16:8:

 “I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

These pursuits provided a foundation of unshakable faith. Years later, a diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder would test my faith. However, because I had engraved ‘unshakable’ and Psalm 16:8 in my spiritual foundation when the diagnosis came, I swayed a bit but remained steadfast in faith.

2. Pray.

Ask God to guide you in the word choice. By seeking God’s direction, you are relying on His Sovereign nature, and are involving Him in the process. One of the attributes of God is that He is Omniscient. This means God is all knowing–He knows everything there is to know, past, present, and future. By involving God in the process, He is eager to whisper to your heart the area you most need.

Rest: My 2018 Word

Rest was the word God gave me for 2018. To be honest, I didn’t like this word. Rest felt lazy. At the end of 2017, our family had moved to a new town. I wondered how in the world I was going to rest in 2018 when I had a gazillion boxes to unpack. By involving God in my word, He revealed over the course of the year, that He wanted me to enter into His rest–a soul rest. The verse I selected to accompany the word rest was Psalm 46:10, “Be still [cease striving] and know that I AM God.”

My soul was at rest in 2018. My soul was at rest when the scans confirmed my daddy’s cancer. My soul was at rest when the ER doctor told me both of my lungs were full of innumerable blood clots. My soul was at rest when mom had hip, knees, and shoulder surgery. Rest—this type of rest only comes from God. My lungs are now clear and healthy. My dad had surgery and undergoes immunotherapy every three weeks and mom is in physical therapy and doing great.

3. Document

As you pray for the right word, you will notice words begin to catch your attention.  This is where the fun comes in. Document or brain-dump these words onto paper. Grab a journal, sticky note, or index card and jot down each word that rises to the surface of your mind.  For me, this is the fun part. I love to use colorful pens to document each word in a journal.

Even if you don’t like the words that come to mind, jot them down anyways. You are not selecting a word yet, but jotting down ideas. One word will lead to another. Continue to pray for guidance. As you do, your senses will heighten. You’ll notice song lyrics, street signs, and phrases like never before. God will guide you in the process.

Choosing the Right Word

After you have asked yourself the probing questions, prayed involving God’s guidance, and documented words, you’ll notice one word or phrase rises above the rest. This is your word. For me, when one specific word keeps showing up, then I know it is my word. It as if God is giving me a heavenly nod or nudge.

Here my last words:

I hope you find this process as enjoyable and I do.  Please share with me your thoughts or word for this year.

Hugs & Hope,

~April Dawn White 

©2019 Red Chair Moments, All Rights Reserved

One Word Focus

Choose one word for the year.

Years ago, a friend introduced the notion of focusing on one word for the year.  Despite being several years younger, my friend possessed a mature faith that I wanted to emulate. She didn’t merely know about God, she understood God, the way He moves and the nuances of His character. Like my friend, I wanted to know God intimately, not know about God from a distance.

An Eight-Year Discovery

Looking back, I smile at each focused word. Some years I understood the reason why the focued word captured my attention. However, other years the reason behind the chosen word remained a mystery for me to solve.

Dwell One Word for the Year
  • 2012: Unshaken (Psalm 16:8)
  • 2013: Provision (Genesis 22:8)
  • 2014: Abundance (Psalm 65:11)
  • 2015: Hope (Hebrews 6:19)
  • 2016: Trust (Romans 15:13)
  • 2017: Refuge (Psalm 73:28)
  • 2018: Rest (Psalm 46:10)
  • 2019: Dwell (Psalm 91:1)

Dwell

This year I will dwell on the word ‘dwell.’ While the layers of this word have yet to unfold, I have an inkling that God intends to teach me to:

  • Dwell in His unfailing love (Exodus 15:13)
  • Dwell in His joy (1 Chronicles 16:27)
  • Dwell is His rest (Psalm 91:1)
  • Dwell in His protection (Psalm 91:9-10)
  • Dwell in His peace (Psalm 4:8)
  • Dwell in His goodness and love (Psalm 23:6)

What is your one focus word for the year?

Perhaps, you’re not sure how to select a word. Next week, I will share ideas on how to choose one word for the year.

~April Dawn White

© 2019 Red Chair Moments | Images courtesy of Pixabay

DWELL- My Word for 2019

Dwell My Word for 2019

Dwell Is My Word for 2019

Dwell is my word for 2019. I love to study words, understand their context and cultural and historical application.  Each year I choose a word to dwell on (pun intended) for an entire year.

This is my seventh year of intentionally focusing on a word, phrase, and verse. By purposefully studying God’s written voice, the Bible, and focusing on one word, I gain a greater appreciation for God’s character.

I chose to dwell on the word ‘dwell’ for this year. My key verse for the year is Psalm 91:1.  I also chose to study, meditate, and memorize (Lord willing) Psalm 91:1-16.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1)

Friend, do you have a focus word for the year? I’d love to hear what’s simmering on your heart for 2019.

Hugs & Hope,

~April

We Never Walk Alone

This year, I told my kids if they missed the bus they would walk to school. Situated on the outskirts of our neighborhood the middle and high school buildings are a twenty-minute walk from our home.

Today, Rachel missed the bus. Because it is picture day, I offered to drive her to school.  Visibly relieved, she sighed and her shoulders relaxed.  As I pulled out of the driveway, Rachel chattered about being caught up in the bus traffic, late to school, and possibly sent to the principle’s office.

I sipped the dark brew of liquid mercy and smiled to myself. She did not know I was taking her on a different route. Dropping her off at the front of the school would require me sitting in traffic and the carpool line for over thirty minutes.  Instead, I pulled over at the walking trail that meanders behind the school.

Rachel turned in her seat, “Hey, there’s Marcus.”

“Oh good, you know him?”

“Yeah.”

Turning back to Rachel, I offered my confident parental grin. “Good. Now you don’t have to walk alone.”

“What? You’re not driving me to school?” She questioned.

“This is the trail behind the school. Go ahead and get out and walk with Marcus.”

She was stunned.  I drove her to school as promised, but I didn’t drop her off at the front door. I dropped her off behind the school. She would have to walk between the softball and soccer fields and around to the side of the building. But, she would not walk alone.

We never walk alone.

Sometimes God will interrupt your progress in order to get your attention. Sometimes he does that as an act of grace because he sees you expending effort in the wrong direction.  What you are calling progress is actually paralysis from heaven’s perspective.

Steven Furtick

Pastor , Elevation Church

In the course of life, we all find ourselves walking an unexpected path. Yet, we never walk alone.

When the path we planned shuts down, God provides another way. We set goals to move from point A to point B, with a straight and logical plan of action. But God prefers the scenic route.

When I think back over my unexpected journey of illness, job loss, move, and betrayal of friends, I can point to precise moments along the path when God provided a friend when I needed one the most. Sometimes the companions who linked arms with me were cherished old friends. Other times, they were new friends who understood the isolation and struggle of suffering.

However, in the dark moments, when my brokenness overwhelms me, I cry alone. These are the days when my social media activity and text messages are silent.  I cry for myself and I cry out for God to help. God is the lifter of my head. (Psalm 3:3). His Word reminds me He will never leave us nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Friend, have you found yourself on an unexpected path? If so, you can rest assured, you will never walk alone. 

~April White

P.S. In the seven-plus years, I’ve been writing Red Chair Moments, this is the first time there has been over a month between posts.  While I’ve been absent on-screen, I’ve been present before the Lord. God is cultivating in me a renewed mind and spirit of contentment. He is teaching me accepting my circumstances is not the same as contentment. As the band, Rascal Flats sings, God is teaching me He blesses and walks with me on the broken road. Dear friend, I’ve broken my on-screen silence to remind myself and all of us, we never walk alone. Hugs & Hope ~April

©2018 April White| Images courtesy of Pixabay

 

God Works on Both Sides of the Equation: Part II

Welcome to Part II of the story “God Works on Both Sides of the Equation.” (Click here, if you missed Part I.) 

When my pastor pronounced, “God works on both sides of the equation,” images of algebraic equations filled my mind. Normally, I enjoy the delicate balancing act of solving an equation and getting ‘x’ all by itself. However, the sudden shift caused the algebraic equation in our life off balance.  However, the  It aligns with my personality where balance, order, and control are essential.

When a health crisis in 2016 cascaded to a job loss, and the need to sell our home in 2017, I wondered if this equation was unsolvable.  But I held on to the truth I heard repeatedly, “God Works on Both Sides of the Equation.”

Months later, I sat on the deck and shaded my eyes from the afternoon sun. “Refuge is my word for 2017,” I shared with my friend Lauri. Over hazelnut liquid mercy (aka coffee), I shared with her the plan to rent our home on the Vacation Rental by Owner site, if our home did not sell by May 2017.

Lauri’s response was surprising, “How awesome April, God needs your house!”

Her response was unlike everyone else’s.  Most people nodded their head feeling the gravity of our situation.

“What?” I questioned.

“God needs your house! God is going to use your house as a place of refuge for someone else this summer,” she explained.

Our afternoon conversation continued, but her response lingered in my mind. Could it be true? Could the word ‘refuge’ have a wider scope than my heart? God can do anything, why would he want to use my house, I pondered?

The notion that God needed our home changed the trajectory of my prayers. Instead of praying, “Lord, sell our home.” I prayed, “Lord use this home as a refuge for others. Whoever enters through the doors, whether as a summer vacationer or as a prospective homebuyer, may this house be a place of quiet refuge and peace. Amen.”  

I walked through each room of our home praying for the future residents. I prayed for the restoration of family relationships, renewed faith, peace, and reconciliation. If someone else was going to sit in my red chair, I wanted him or her to feel the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Our home did not sell by May so we removed it from the market and listed our home on the VRBO.com website and within weeks, our home was booked for the entire summer! (Thank the Lord for my parents who offered for us to stay with them for the summer).

How could we know a family in Northern Virginia was interested in purchasing our home and they were in the process of getting things in order before making contact?  To their disappointment, the house was removed from the market in May. 

How were we to know that same Northern VA family was vacationing at Smith Mountain Lake in July? While on vacation the family spent a day house hunting. They asked the realtor to drive past our home. Later, Denise told me, “I wanted to see the house in person. Even if it was no longer for sale, I wanted closure.”

Denise continued, “April, you have no idea how many times I’ve stalked your home online. I had the entire house mapped out in my mind. I had prayed for God to open doors for us and close doors not intended for us. When your house went off the market I thought, ‘Ok, God that is a closed door.’  When the realtor drove us to your home and we saw that it was back on the market, I had to see it before we left. When my husband and I walked in, we knew this was the place.”

God works on both sides of the equation. Click To Tweet

Only God could allow our home to close without a hitch in record-breaking time. Chris and I had to opportunity to meet the homebuyers a couple of times. Once, when we stopped by to drop off paperwork, Denise invited us in to tell us a story.

“We have to tell you, the presence of the Lord is strong in this home, especially here,” pointing to an area surrounding my red chair.

The homebuyers also purchased most of our furniture including one of my red chairs. I shared with Denise, my blog, Red Chair Moments. “The area you’re pointing to is where I have spent hours reading God’s Word and in prayer. I can think of no greater compliment than to be told the presence of the Lord is felt in this place.”

I went on to explain my significance of the word ‘refuge’, how my friend said God needed this house, and how I prayed through every room. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears and she told me their family had a rough few years. “Restoration and refuge are what we need.”

Denise and I shared more stories of God’s faithfulness, while our husbands talked over home mechanics etc. There are many more stories of God’s amazing grace that she shared with me involving specific ways our home was a refuge for their family but will remain in confidence. Trust me when I say, God works on both sides of the equation.

Have you considered God wanting to use your crisis for a greater purpose? Consider changing the perspective and trajectory of your prayers. You might not see immediate answers, but know God works on both sides of the equation.

~April Dawn White

© 2018 All Rights Reserved.

Pin It on Pinterest