Saturday, August 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Lindsey!!!

Happy 34th Birthday Lindsey,

I have no idea how you do it! You truly amaze me every day. You are so beautiful. You are so wise. You are so discerning. You are so smart. In the middle of Lyme disease - on the hardest days You are still loving. Seriously...How do you keep smiling? How do you stay positive? How do you still listen so intently to the needs of others? How do you keep moving forward? Your life exemplifies the Grace of God! If I were you (and felt yucky every day) I'd be meaner than a snake! Instead, you are so gracious and kind and compassionate and patient and tender towards the world around you!

Thank you for staying home with Eliana all these years! Thank you for fighting for our girl. She wouldn't be #elianatheoneandonly if it wasn't for YOU! Let's be honest...if it wasn't for you she wouldn't have an I.E.P. at school, or even have completed adoption papers for that matter! Thank you for being the Momma tiger that you are! Thank you for investing all of yourself into E. Thank you for making every day so special for her! I love how you celebrate her every accomplishment and make it so meaningful. Thank you for being so incredibly supportive of me in all of my crazy ministry endeavors! I'm not fully me without you! You are so thoughtful. Coming home to you is the best part of every day.

In addition to all of this...NO ONE plans a party like YOU! You are amazing at decorating!!! I have no idea how you keep coming up with these fresh creative ideas! You truly are the queen of the details! Eliana's luau this year was one of your best parties ever! You think of everything.

It is my prayer that this new year is full of new life. It is my prayer that #34 is a year of deep healing, community and hope. I love how you write; I love your honest story telling. I can't wait to read through this years' journey!

Everyone who knows you is BETTER because YOU are in their life. I love you with all of my heart!
Have a Happy 34th Birthday!


Monday, July 22, 2013

our delivery of eliana

I just read and cried my way through Ann Voskamp's latest post on Labor and Delivery.  I think a lot of my tears started with the fact that I missed the day of Eliana's birth.  Eliana still doesn't fully understand her entire adoption...children with her anxiety and trauma process things differently.  So, she still truly believes that she was in my tummy.  Every time she says it, a part of me wants to bawl my eyes out and part of me wants to throw up.  It breaks my heart that I don't have pictures with her in the hospital or maternity shots.  I hope that makes sense.  So, after I threw myself a little pity party, I re-read what Ann said about delivery...and the biggest part was that delivery does not stop when the baby enters the world.

Ann writes, "Once you start delivering a child, just keep on: Keep delivering, handing over, yielding the child to God.  This is how you birth beauty in the midst of the messy."

I can't tell you how much I needed to read this tonight.  We spent over a week away from Chris while he was leading a team of students from Show Hope to Haiti.  I experienced a few moments with Eliana that were extremely painful and difficult.  See, there is a deep-seated fear that when one of us is gone for a longer period of time...we won't come back.  She raged and sobbed and begged for "dada" and then finally cried "who will be my dada if he doesn't come back."  Oh Lord, help me.  Those words just tear me apart.  I can't take her fear away.  I want to...I wish I could carry every single bit of her anxiety and pain.  I can't make it okay.  I can't talk her out of it.  I just keep on delivering her to God...praying for her little life...begging God to restore the pieces that are broken.  After her episodes have dissipated, I just look at her in amazement.  We get to show Jesus to love be believe in healing for her little soul. Lord, please keep birthing beauty in our little girl in the midst of our seriously messy lives.  Use me when I can't even get out of bed.  Give me strength.

If you want to see our version of Eliana's delivery, click HERE.  It's the day she was first put into our arms!  I love our little girl so much.

Love y'all,

(P.S.  This picture was taken right after she was placed in my arms!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

a new diagnosis

My sweet girl has Lyme disease (on top of everything else)...

I had my doctor's appointment on Friday in Atlanta...but I didn't share that we also had a doctor's appointment for Eliana (or maybe I did share...that's my brain again).  For the past few months God has been preparing me for this appointment.  I believe that with my whole heart!  There are so many pieces to Eliana's little body that just haven't added up.  We have talked to neurologists, psychologists, her therapist...and some of her symptoms just haven't been making sense.  Each doctor would refer us to a different doctor when they couldn't explain her conditions.  Our girl has one of the highest pain tolerances of anyone I know...and for the past few years has complained on and off about her head hurting her.  This is not a headache...this is an "I'm throwing up" from the pain kind of headache.  We chalked it up to maybe she has migraines and we will continue to learn more as she grows older.  Plus, there have been nights where she has cried and yelled about her feet.  She will say "there's crumbs in my feet"...we could massage them for long periods of time and nothing would help.  Another biggie is the rages and insomnia, but we assumed that this was part of her developmental trauma (it probably still is in many ways).  All of that to say...there were still so many question marks.  I received two different emails from two totally different people a few months ago asking me more questions about E.  They asked me, "has she been tested for Lyme disease??" and "have you heard of Lyme rage."  Then, two months ago we went to a homeopathic doctor that ran tests on Eliana to see if we could help with Eliana's sleep and anxiety (in addition to her anti-psychotic and anti-seizure meds)...and guess what??  She said that Eliana was testing positive for spirochetes (aka Lyme). So, we met with my doctor in ATL this past weekend and he tested Eliana (he is also more homeopathic but has treated a TON of lyme patients)...and he found Lyme in Eliana.  So, we are now heading down that road.  I was not completely shocked because I feel like I've been prepared for this...a mother's intuition.  We will never know exactly where we both got it...more than likely we got it at the SAME time in a group of infected ticks.  My body has other co-infections and viruses, so my body is taking it harder than hers.  But, my heart breaks for E!!  I don't want her to suffer, and I don't want her symptoms to get worse.  Chris and I are still processing all of this...not sure how we are really feeling.  Just be praying for the NEXT RIGHT STEPS.  This just can feel so overwhelming.  Hope this makes sense.  I do know that God has not abandoned us...I MEAN, HE GAVE US A CAR THROUGH SOMEONE!!  Thanks friends for your prayers...for money to help with our treatments...for encouragement.  I can't thank y'all enough...we are really going to need prayer over the next few months!!  Love y'all.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

rejoicing in the storm

Most of you have already heard about our unbelievable gift we received this week!  If not, check out Chris's post.  We still keep looking at each other in disbelief every time we get into the car...or talk about the story.  What's so crazy is this gift is about so much more than just a car (even though it's HUGE).  This story is about grace, mercy, and hope...this car is a symbol not just for us but to a lot of people that are questioning God and His goodness.  The beginning of this week looked completely different than the end.  Let's rewind to Tuesday night.  It was not one of my finest nights to say the least.  I can always tell when my body is about to shut's a neat intuition God has given me with my disease.  Different symptoms will start popping up out of nowhere and then I prepare myself for my body to meltdown.  The last two weeks (really since Eliana finished Pre-K) have been rough on my body.  I've been battling debilitating fatigue (I try not to use this lightly).  I have to scrape myself off of my bed in the mornings just to get Eliana ready to go to a baby-sitter because I've been unable to do anything (side note: I will never be able to repay the Rooker family for all they've done to help with Eliana).  I went from bad to worse on Tuesday.  Once Eliana fell asleep Tuesday night, I had a breakdown. 

Every bone in my body head was pounding...the pressure in my head also felt like my head was going to explode...I had a hard time making fists with my gums and teeth were in tremendous amounts of pain...and my throat felt like a knife every time I swallowed.  I told Chris I wanted to be alone because I knew I would snap on him because I wanted to snap on someone.  I took one of my Epsom salt baths and tried to relieve some of the pain.  I cried and cried.  I sent my mom a text to spread the word that I needed prayer.  My mind started I need to go to the hospital??  Am I going to be okay??  The answer to these questions are always a "NO" because very few doctors even know what to do with Lyme patients.  Quite a few doctors will even say, "there is no such thing as Lyme disease in Tennessee."  I have to take a deep breath and ask God to help me not punch them in the face when they say that.  So, I just kept praying and crying most of the night.  My emotions began to escalate the later it got.  I am not one to really get angry...but I definitely did. I remember crying to Chris on this Tuesday night, "WHY WON'T GOD TAKE THIS PAIN AND DISEASE AWAY?!!  I KNOW HE CAN!!"  I haven't really ever verbalized these thoughts.  But, I was angry.  Why God??  Why are so many people praying for me and I'm still not healed.  Why did you decide to allow this disease in the midst of all that we are dealing with our precious Eliana??  A "normal" person would be exhausted while working with E and her anxieties.  Let's just say that was one LONG night.  I slept about two hours...and woke up feeling very overwhelmed. 

That Wednesday morning we had Eliana's two hour in-home therapist come to our house to work with E.  I spent the next two hours trying to keep my mind focused and listen to all of Melody's words of wisdom for E (she is AMAZING)...and then was able to send Eliana off with her baby-sitter right after.  I fell sound asleep.  Then, I get woken up to Chris shaking me saying "Lindsey, I've got really good news.  Someone has bought us a car."  It took me a while to register what was going on.  Chris and I drove to the car lot so confused by what was going on.  We get there and are stunned that someone did actually buy Chris a car...a perfect car for him.  They also made the most unbelievable gift basket for our family filled with notes and gift cards (they know my love language).  Each gift card was so specific and was hand-picked to bless Chris, Eliana and me.  Plus, they put a huge bag of our favorite popcorn.  Seriously?!!  A car wasn't enough...Anonymous created one of the most amazing gifts ever to go with it!!  BLOWN AWAY!!  I think I've said that a few hundred times in the last few days.

Chris and I can't stop thanking God, sharing this story, asking God to bless whoever gave this to us, praying that others would be encouraged by this story...that God would be glorified.   It's made me hyper-aware to be on the lookout for people's needs that we can help matter how small.  To say that I was completely humbled by this experience is an understatement.  I went from being so upset with God, questioning receiving gift after gift after gift.  It didn't stop with the car or the gift cards.  A few people have sent us money for baby-sitting for Eliana...a friend from Focus on the Family sent us a check the other day for the amount we will need for our doctor's appointments in Atlanta for June 14th. A few people have given on our Give Forward page...and I have received some of the most encouraging, hope-filled emails (I promise to write ya'll back soon).  It has literally been one thing after the other.  I am just so in grateful.  God just keeps reminding me that He has got us in His hand...that He has not abandoned us...that He loves us and knows what is best for us.  While I might think that healing for Eliana and me is what is best for us, God knows how the story ends.  He knows what I need, when I need it.  So, even in the midst of the continued pain/fatigue, my prayer is to rejoice in this storm.  I definitely still need has been another rough day.  But, thank you friends for getting excited with us, for praying for us, for "liking" our pictures on facebook/instagram, for sending us messages, for giving financially, for sharing our story...we love you all so much.


P.S.  This picture is from today of E having a blast in the rain...thought it fit perfectly!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thank You Anonymous!!!

Since I can't thank you in person here is a note to express my deep gratitude and to tell the world what God did today through YOU!

Today you Mr. and/or Mrs. Anonymous gave me a 2002 Honda CRV!

Thank you for being so faithful! Thank you for trusting God and investing your money in my family! You could have done so many other things with that money but you got us a car! Thank you for being obedient! Thank you for this incredible gift! Thank you for getting me a cool car!

Here is just a short list of the things I love about my new car! I love that it has air conditioning (for 3 yrs I've been driving without A/C or heat), I love that it has a sun roof, I love that it is all wheel drive, I love that it has a CARD TABLE that pops out of the cargo bay, I love the color green, I love the khaki interior, I love that it has 100 different compartments for me to stash all my gear, I love that it has 4 brand new tires, I love that it has a new battery, I love that it only has 54K miles, I love how it handles, I love that my wife feels safe in it (and it will be a safe car for her to drive to her Atlanta doctor appts), I love the orange glow of the dash, I love how bright the headlights are, I love the little table that pops up between the front two seats, I love that it has three cup holders in the front, I love how many interior dome lights it has, I love how good the speakers sound (my old ones only crackled), I love that it is such a tangible reminder of God's love and grace towards us!

As if the car wasn't enough you also put a gift basket in the front seat full of individually gift wrapped gift cards to: REI, Whole Foods, Target, Starbucks, Sonic, iTunes and Restaurants. Plus you put a giant bag of our favorite popcorn in there and a sweet typed letter! Thank You! God is so good! God gives such incredible gifts

I will never forget this day. Here's how it went on my end of the story. I walked out of a late lunch meeting with my friend Jeff at Oscar's Taco Shop (delish) and received a phone call from a number I didn't recognize. I answered, though ordinarily I'd let it go to voice mail.  The man on the other end introduced himself as Q (true) and said he was with Daryl Waltrip Pre-Owned vehicles and he had my car ready. I said, "um I don't have a car there." The man said, "No someone is giving you a car. It's all been paid for - tag, tax and title included. All you need to do is come pick it up." My heart was racing.  My mind was racing. I kept feeling like this was some kind of sales technique like when you "win" a free vacation. The man could tell I wasn't convinced so he said, "If I'm kidding then I'll refill your gas tank for going to the trouble of driving down here." I said, "okay I'll be there at 4:30". I drove to our house with my mouth open. As I drove I prayed out loud, "Jesus...what are you doing?"  Eliana was at a baby sitter's and Lindsey was resting. I walked in our bedroom - woke Lindsey up and said, "Lindsey wake up. I have something to tell you. It's good news. Someone has given us a Honda CRV and we need to go pick it up!" 

Going to pick up our new car was the longest drive ever!  Lindsey and I were chatting nonstop wondering what in the world was going on. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as we pulled into the lot. The salesmen at the Honda dealership seemed to be as amazed as we were. They had never heard of such a thing. They told me that you wanted to remain anonymous which just mde the whole thing feel that much more dramatic and exciting! It felt like we were on TV. One guy even got on the intercom and joked, "Ashton Kutcher you can come out've been punked!" Which is what it felt like - as if cameras were on us and someone would rush out any minute and yell it's not real, but the crazy thing is - it is real! We were given a car today!!! By the way - you were very sneaky because your name didn't appear on ANY of the paper work anywhere! I have no idea how you managed all of this!

I called my Dad to tell him the good news and he hardly even seem surprised (though he didn't know anything about today's gift).  Dad said, "well that's exactly what we've been praying for!" I love my parent's faith! They both were just sure that God was going to provide us a vehicle! God hears our prayers all right - and takes really good care of his kids!

Tonight all three of us (Lindsey, Eliana and I) piled in our new CRV for Eliana's night night drive. As we drove Lindsey and I just marveled at God's provision. I just finished moving all my gear from my old jeep to the new car and I'm still just stunned.

From now on - anytime you see a green Honda CRV let it remind you that God is faithful. If you happen to pass me on the road be sure to honk!

Grace and Peace,
Chris Wheeler
Proud owner of a 2002 Honda CRV!

PS Eliana loves the CRV and wants to eat all of our meals off of the card table in the back!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

family sticks together

Yesterday was a big day for our precious was kindergarten preview day!  This is a day that I have pretty much looked forward to and dreaded all at the same time.  I can't believe Eliana is old enough for kindergarten.  I feel like it was just yesterday when we stepped off of the airplane from Guatemala holding her in our arms...our little forever family finally together in the U.S.  So much has happened since bringing her home.  We've had extreme highs and extreme lows...but our love has never wavered.  She is our gift from God.  Her name means "God answered our prayers" and He did.  I could not have birthed a child more perfect for us.  I truly believe that. 

After preview day, we had an incident that will forever be ingrained in my memory.  Eliana was exhausted beyond belief and full of anxiety from her big morning in a new school surrounded by tons of faces.  Sweet girl went to the bathroom four times in two hours....four.  On the outside she looked like all of the other kindergartners, but on the inside I knew she was struggling...full of questions and worry.  A few hours after we left, I ran her to the UPS store to mail something to a friend.  She seemed fine.  Then, just like a flip of a light switch...she was not fine.  We had walked to the car and I turned around and she was GONE.  Seriously, two seconds.  I looked frantically and saw her through the windows of the dry cleaners next to UPS.  So, I take off running (this is not abnormal...I chase her everywhere).  I walk in and in a calm voice tell the lady behind the counter that I am so sorry.  She barely spoke English which just made everything worse.  Eliana was already in the back of the dry cleaners...losing her mind.  This is not a tantrum that "normal" five year olds have...this is a child experiencing an intense panic attack.  I ran in the back and things went from bad to worse in a few short minutes.  She was weaving in and out of the racks of freshly cleaned clothes...I'm praying nothing would get ruined or broken.  Her panic turned to rage and lasted more than 15 minutes in front of a woman that did not have a clue what was going on.  I remained calm and tried every Karyn Purvis trick in the book....EVERY SINGLE ONE!  If you have not parented a "trauma" child...this might not make sense.  You can't grab your child and walk out.  If I grabbed her, all hell would break loose.  I just kept calmly telling Eliana "you are safe"..."let's go pick up daddy"..."I love you"..."I'm so sorry you're anxious" over and over.  The lady is looking at me like I am a child abuser.  A lot more happened, but you get the idea. 

Then, the lady says, "ma'am, your car is getting wet."  I look out the window and realized when I took off running after Eliana, I left my car door open.  And much to my surprise (and the lady), the sprinkler system went on ALL inside my car.  I am literally watching 3 different sprinklers spraying inside my car and I can't do anything about it.  Honestly, I think I might have laughed at this point.  So, I am telling Eliana that we need to go close the doors, our car is getting soaked, etc...that didn't help.  So, after a long while...I get her to the front of the store.  And, finally I am luring her to the car with promises that we need to get some food or a treat.  Things didn't get better in the car.  She lost it on a whole new level.  I want to protect her and not share details...but it was pretty horrific.  I was begging God to bring peace, trying my best not to cry or scream or lose it.  Finally, my sweet girl became exhausted.

The next thing that happened broke my heart into a thousand pieces.  I looked in the back seat and she is curled up in a ball crying her eyes out.  I just kept repeating..."It's safe baby"..."no one is going to get you"..."I'm not going anywhere."  She looked at me sobbing and said "momma, I'm so sorry" and "momma, are you going to give me away?"  Then continued to repeat, "please don't give me away."  I'm crying just writing this.  Eliana has NEVER heard those words come out of our mouths...she does not even fully understand her adoption.  This is a deep, dark wound that was left when she was given up as a baby.  I cried and just told her a thousand times over that we would NEVER leave her.  That she is 100% our girl and we are family.  I repeated our biggest family rule that "FAMILY STICKS TOGETHER."  I couldn't tell her enough how much Chris and I loved her.  The fact that she has to struggle with this makes me want to cry for days on end.  But, we are making breakthroughs.  And her counselor said this was a really good sign that she is being vulnerable.  Her heart is precious and tender.  There are moments when our little family of 3 feels like we are in a war and then other times, I feel so incredibly blessed.  This was one of those moments.  I was hurting for what just happened...but overwhelmed with the love I have for my girl.  Like I said before, I truly believe with all of my heart, God created her for us.  We will keep fighting to help her little heart heal.  We will not give up.  Please keep praying for our precious Eliana Hope...for healing for her little brain and heart.  My God is a God of restoration...and I'm so thankful He chose me to be her momma. 

Love you all,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How to Pray for My Wife

Today, Wednesday April 24th, is a huge day to pray for my beautiful wife Lindsey!

Today she is visiting a new doctor in Atlanta.
Here are a few ways you can pray specifically for her TODAY and in the DAYS TO COME!

1. Pray for Peace - Lyme Disease is so unbelievably mysterious and unknown that it leads to a lot of unanswered and unexplainable symptoms.  The treatment options and protocols are as varied as the fish in the sea. Pray that God will give Lindsey the gift of peace while she meets with this new team and hears all of their recommendations. Pray that God will replace the fear and anxiety with comfort and peace.

2. Pray for Wisdom - James 1:5 states that anyone who lacks wisdom should ask you can join us in asking God for wisdom about what Lindsey's body needs in order to fully heal.  We don't need more opinions we simply need wisdom.We need wisdom to know which paths to walk.

3. Pray for Relief - Lindsey is easily the toughest human I've ever met. We often joke that if I felt what she felt then I'd be in the hospital whining like a baby! I have no idea how she enures these headaches, muscle aches, shooting pains and throbbing hurts. It is high time we find some relief from all of this. Pray that God will lead us to a path that arrests this pain.

4. Pray for a sense of His Presence - Walking through a disease like Lyme is incredibly isolating. Though I try, I can't fully "get" what Lindsey feels.  Since Lindsey doesn't look sick on the outside most people assume that the sickness must not be "that" bad. Compounding this is the fact that all of the fatigue and pain force Lindsey to stay home.  These factors work viciously together to create a creeping sense of loneliness. We need like never before to "feel" Jesus' presence in our daily lives. We believe that God is near - but a times we would just like to feel it more often!

5. Pray for Rest - For Lindsey the nights are the worst. I cannot imagine being utterly exhausted yet unable to sleep. (I'm out within 2 minutes of laying down.) Nearly every evening Lindsey's pain keeps her awake long into the night.  That would be the reason she named her blog "Finding God After Midnight" - because she's always up far past midnight. Once she does fall asleep Lindsey is often tormented by graphic nightmares and night sweats. Strange I know but these too are not uncommon symptoms of her disease. Her body cannot get what it so badly needs: rest. Imagine waking every morning feeling as if you pulled an all-nighter!  I can't remember the last time Lindsey woke up feeling rested. Please pray that soon she will actually begin to get restful sleep.

6. Pray for Financial Aid - We have seen God show up again and again financially in our lives. This more than any other way is how He seems to be continually saying, "I got you." It's been so exciting to see how God shows up right when we need it. The very days when we have no idea how we'll move forward seem to be the days the money just shows up! We are once again at a point where we need His provision. Lindsey's treatments are critical but super expensive. We are so incredibly thankful for all of the folks who have given to us in the past and we're trusting that God will show up once again and help us pay for this new phase of the journey.

7. Pray for Healing - Ultimately we are asking God to heal Lindsey and restore LIFE to her again! It's been so long since Lindsey has felt fully alive. It's been so long since she's felt good all day. As you know Lindsey is a power house of ministry for the Kingdom of God. She was made to be able to invest deeply in people.  She's a natural born counselor with a stunning gift of discernment. Lindsey has more compassion than anyone I've ever known. We are asking that God will set her free from this disease so that she can be free to be all that God designed her to be!

Thank you for joining us in prayer. Thank you for walking with us through these dark days. Joining us now means you will get to be that much more a part of the celebration when Lindsey is whole, healed and back in full action!

We love you guys,

Grace and Peace

Chris Wheeler

Monday, April 22, 2013

fifth time's a charm

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:1-5

I've heard of third time's a charm but not sure if I've ever heard of fifth time's a charm.  But, here goes!!  I haven't told a lot of people this yet, but I am headed to a doctor in Atlanta tomorrow for my ongoing battle with Chronic Lyme Disease.  I've been a little on edge...begging God for peace and strength for this next step.  The detox clinic I went to for months last year is a great, Godly clinic...but we could not continue because of the cost.  We were sinking more and more in debt and I was feeling guilty for putting us in a hole while still feeling almost exactly the same as when I began.  Lyme is a crazy disease.  It's not a one-size-fits all cure.  Something may work for one person and then make someone else deathly sick.  I have studied, read, cried, prayed and re-read over Lyme protocol after Lyme protocol on how to try and kick this disease into remission.  The part that gets to be pretty lonely is that unless you have it, it makes no sense.  Each day I experience new symptoms.  If I was to tell you how I'm feeling each day, I would sound like a crazy person.  So, most of the time, I just smile and press forward.  We spent a lot of the last three months eating ourselves healthy.  We (I mean Chris) has juiced and spent hours in Whole Foods.  He has made smoothies with ingredients we had never heard of.  And, guess what happened??  The insane inflammation in my body started to decrease.  The pain I felt every single day began to ease up a little.  We were given an incredible gift of a free week at the beach last week...and it was beautiful.  The beach has always been my favorite place on earth.  It is so healing to put my feet in the sand and just stare at the ocean.  We ate what we wanted during the beach and guess what??  I feel absolutely AWFUL.  The pain has increased to a level I haven't felt in a long time.  So, we are back on the healthy bandwagon again.

I took three months off of my Lyme treatments to see how my body responded to a change in diet (and to not spend money).  Although, we will continue the "clean" eating still didn't kill all of the spirochetes and co-infections.  A lot of the migrating pain in my body has lessened, but the pain in my head has been gradually getting worse.  For about the last 2 months, I have been experiencing (sometimes unbearable) pain in my head mostly at night.  It will come on quick and strong.  It's not a headache and I'm not sure it's even a migraine.  It's a jolt of pain over and over that makes you feel like you are getting hit over and over with a bat (hope that makes sense).  Then, after the pain disappears, the area will be so tender and painful if anything even barely touches the area.  Sweet Chris will come into the bedroom and wrap 3 different ice packs around my in the front, one in the back and usually one on my neck.  I just lay there until it's over...and then thank God that it's over.  All of this was happening in conjunction with eating healthy.  Plus, the insomnia, night terrors (horrible, vivid dreams) and night sweats have returned with a vengeance.  And this is an entirely different post, but dealing with Eliana's anxiety and rage during these episodes feels like death.  All of this to say, I knew I needed help.  A few people have gone to this doctor and responded really well to the treatments.  So, I am praying for healing...believing that God is going to use this doctor to bring more hope and life into my body.  

I would love your prayers Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m...that is when my appointment begins and it will last a lot of the day.  Pray for me as I drive to Atlanta by myself.  I haven't driven by myself long distance in a very long time.  Pray for me to be alert (because of my intense fatigue) and that I won't have a headache issue while I'm driving.  Pray for wisdom for this doctor...and for the treatment plan to be doable.  Please pray for Eliana to be at peace while I'm gone for a day and a half.  She is not very good at transitions...and for REMISSION and HEALING!!  And lastly, pray for continued provision for my appointments and treatments.  Thank you so much friends.  I just keep reading and re-reading Psalm 103.  My God is bigger than this stupid disease and He knows what I need.  

Love you all,

P.S.  We went to see our friend Annie Downs last night and her small group of girls prayed over me!  It was such a sweet moment.  Thankful Chris took a picture without me knowing. :)

Also, a new Give Forward page has been opened, if you want to give towards my medical expenses, click the link below:
                                       GIVE FOWARD: Lindsey Fights Lyme

Thursday, April 18, 2013

our favorite place on earth

Monday, March 11, 2013

my fountain dancing child

Chris and I knew very quickly that we were raising a little spitfire of a girl..."a fountain dancing child."  We didn't/don't want to crush her spirit...her wild, independent, crazy, unique, hilarious, one-of-a kind spirit.  So thankful that my friend Stephanie posted this on my fb wall tonight.  We made a decision a long time ago to do everything humanly possible to "not sweat the small stuff" (some of the small stuff is big).  We have run many sprints in parking lots, Target, the neighborhood to keep up with her fast little self.  We do things differently here in the Wheeler casa...and sometimes that has left me feeling like I am doing something wrong.  She doesn't sit still, she speaks her mind, she makes jokes, she is sensitive to the core, she only wants to wear one pair of pajamas, she doesn't want anyone to feel alone, and she doesn't mind wrecking a house in 2 minutes flat.  I love her so much for all of those reasons.  Chris and I believe that God has a huge story for our sweet girl.  She is fighting through some crazy things that no 5 year old should have to go through.  But, I am so proud of her.  I am proud that she is my daughter...and I'm not afraid to jump in the fountain with her.  Chris and I are about to print this blog, laminate it, and put it everywhere in our house.  Love you all.


I don’t want to raise a good child

written by Lysa TerKeurst

My daughter, Hope, is a senior this year.  And she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the “normal” box.  A lot out of the box actually. 

She withdrew from traditional school.  Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in on-line college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend the month of January serving in Nicaragua doing missions.

This didn’t surprise me really.  Because Hope has always liked charting her own course.

When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world’s worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained.  And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.

One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch.  All of their kids sat quietly eating cheerios in their strollers.  They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their snot.

Not Hope.

She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller.  So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free.  She stripped off all her clothes.  She ran across the food court.  And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.

Really nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain.  Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.

I cried all the way home.

Not because of what she’d done that day.  But rather because of how she was everyday.   So determined.  So independent.  So insistent.

I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller.  One that other people would comment about how wonderfully behaved she was.  One that made me look good.

But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers.  So, over the years, I changed my prayer.  ”God help me to raise Hope to be who you want her to be.”  Emphasis on, “God HELP ME!”

I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart.  I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child.  God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult.  An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.

I don’t know what mama needs to hear this today.  But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with 3 simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:
1.  Don’t take too much credit for their good.
2.  Don’t take too much credit for their bad.
3.  Don’t try to raise a good child.  Raise a God-following adult.

And all the mamas of fountain dancing children said, “Amen!”

Sunday, March 3, 2013

one year ago

You were reaching through the storm
Walking on the water
Even when I could not see
In the middle of it all
When I thought You were a thousand miles away
Not for a moment did You forsake me

After all You are constant
After all You are only good
After all You are sovereign
Not for a moment will You forsake me
(Meredith Andrews- Not for a Moment)


So, it is almost 3 in the morning and I can't sleep.  This time last year, we would have still been doing everything we could to calm our sweet girl and get her to sleep.  It still surprises me that we made it through the nights of not going to sleep until 5 or 6 a.m. regularly.  My mind has been racing tonight about all that has happened in one year.  This weekend last year was when I went to Little Rock by myself to spend time with my family (they ran the 10K in Little Rock for my Lyme disease)...and I laid in bed sobbing.  I cried pretty much that entire weekend.  I remember walking in and seeing mom and Leah and just losing it...then repeated that when I saw Lauren.  Weeks and weeks of no sleep will do that to a person.  I cried for what Chris and I were going though with Eliana.  I cried over not being able to "fix" my sweet girl.  I cried because I had to be so strong at home.  I cried because "why in the world would I have lyme disease" on top of everything else.  I cried because my house was a complete disaster.  I just longed for some sense of normalcy and we were nowhere near that.  My family just listened and cried and honestly, I have a terrible memory and don't remember everything.  They told me later that they were all worried I was headed for a complete nervous breakdown.  I think I was.  And that's when God showed up in a miraculous way.  It didn't feel miraculous at the time.  I'm pretty sure I shouted "really God" or "you've got to be kidding me"?!!!  I got the call from Eliana's school in Little Rock that Eliana was being taken by an ambulance to the hospital having multiple seizures.  My baby was having seizures and I was 6 hours away.  I don't remember a lot of the drive to the hospital, but I made it before she woke up.  I walked in and saw her tiny body covered in wires and attached to machines.  We spent that week telling and re-telling our story.  It was then that the doctors finally understood what we were saying about her mania and no sleep.  They were shocked that we had lived this for so long...that she could fight sleep they way she did.  They were surprised by her strength during rages and her terror of the night.  They finally listened to us...we had been telling doctors for a long time and they got to witness it.  Even now, I just sigh remembering the relief of someone telling us "we don't know how you've been doing this every night."  A few powerful medicines later and Eliana was beginning to sleep through the night.  Miracle.  Thank you Jesus.  This was the beginning of her healing journey...I really believe it.

It's been one year.  One year of crying out to God on Eliana's behalf...praying for more miracles, for healing of the trauma she obviously experienced as a baby.  There are moments where I forget all that He has done...but tonight I know without a shadow of a doubt that He has NEVER forsaken us.  He has been with us every single step of this journey and He won't leave us.  He loves Eliana way more than we ever could.  He rescued her from who even knows (and I'm not sure I want to know)...and made her a Wheeler.  She is ours in every way...and we love everything about her.  We will continue to fight for beg doctors to understand make sure she feels safe and loved.  In one year, we've come a long way and I don't want to forget that.  We have a long way to go, but I'm praising God tonight that He is with us.  Thank you friends for loving us, for giving to us, and for praying for us.  We still need it desperately. It's been a really rough few weeks, but I feel hope tonight just thanking God for this last year.  Love you so much.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

happy nine years

It is so hard to believe that I walked down the aisle to marry my best friend 9 years ago today!!  I can honestly say that I love him more every single day.  I do.  He has taken every vow so seriously...and worked to keep our marriage pure and holy...and fun.  I know just how rare that is today.  We had no idea all that was going to be thrown our way...but I'm so thankful I've been able to battle life out with my best friend.  We have made it through countless nights of no sleep...of things that only the two of us will ever understand or know...and we have come out stronger because of it.  We have made plenty of mistakes, but he keeps me laughing (and rolling my eyes) every single day.  I told my mom today that he is one in a million.  He is.  He is strong and courageous.  He leads us well.  He works so hard to provide for our family, but doesn't bring work home with him.  He plays hard and loves hard.  He is the best daddy in the world to a little girl that has no idea how blessed she day soon she will know and get it.  He is passionate about everything he does whether it's changing our entire food lifestyle to fishing lures...he is going to do it all out.  I love how the little things excite him and he is still grateful for every gift that is given to him.  I love how he prays with me EVERY single night.  He prays for things and people who are important to me...and believes in healing for Eliana and me.  He has never doubted me or questioned me.  He doesn't complain.  He brings me water every single night (I love this).  I look at him some days and wonder how he is still he has not had a full-blown emotional/physical melt down because E and I are not easy.  He keeps pressing forward believing God for good things...which in return, keeps me from losing hope.  He is a good man.  He is my best friend...I would rather be with him than anyone else in the world.  Happy 9th anniversary!  I love you.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

our baby girl

There are so many things I want to say but don't even know where to start.  I have written and erased this blog post quite a few times over the last week.  Our baby girl is struggling.  She is five years old...can talk and reason...and her fears seem to multiply daily.  Her OCD symptoms get worse every day (that is an entirely different blog post). She is more aware of her surroundings which has led her to feel more anxious.  She is hilarious and precious and loving...and plagued with anxiety.  It's not anxiety that you or I's deep.  It's intense.  It's indescribable.  She is always on guard.  We are walking on eggshells.  Chris and I feel like we have done everything on this side of heaven to make her feel safe (and will not give up).  We have committed to it just being the three of us (unless God really surprises us), so that she will get everything humanly possible.  We want to be able to focus on her and love her well through her struggles.  We are willing to spend whatever it takes, bring on whatever therapist she needs, and let her wear pajamas as much as she wants.  We have been meeting with an incredible in-home therapist for 2 hours a week.  She has offered so much insight because she has an adopted son that has gone through a very similar journey.

I hate typing this because I don't want it to be true.  But, something is not right in her little brain right now.  She has been struggling to sleep again.  Every night, she talks about how scared she is to fall asleep.  And, she is.  Selfishly, this is one of the most difficult parts for Chris and me.  It's exhausting to say the least.  She has been sleeping in a pack n' play for babies for the last week (part of her OCD)...and that is not working out.  Her sleep is disturbed.  She is staying up late and waking up early.  The part that is the most heart-breaking is the manic episodes.  They can last for hours and are physically exhausting for all of us.  We have to make sure she isn't going to hurt herself or us...but our baby girl is STRONG.  Chris can barely hold her safely...and I can't at all.  We just whisper truths to her the best we know how..."you are safe"...."we aren't going to leave you"..."we are protecting you"..."Jesus loves you".  It takes an incredible amount of patience and perseverance to remain calm through these episodes because they are loud, scary, and out-of-control.  Chris and I are a team.  We are able to watch and figure out how the other person is doing...when one of us is weak, the other is strong.  And a lot of times, once she is asleep...we cry or pray or high-five...and prepare ourselves for another day.  The picture above was taken the other night after an hour and a half episode.  She finally gave in and fell asleep in my arms to me rocking her.  Sweet girl!!  I love her more and more each day.  We both do.  We can't imagine our lives without her or what we did before her.  We want to see her FREE of this pain.

We really would love your prayers.  We are trying to get into a new psychiatrist in Nashville that is supposed to be awesome!  We are in desperate need of a change.  Please pray that he will take us on and that we could get in this week.  I know that we are going to be changing up some of her medications, which is a scary thing for someone as tiny and young as Eliana.  Pray for her little body to adjust and for us to find the perfect combination of drugs to help calm her little mind.  Not surprising to us, this new doctor doesn't take insurance...neither does my Lyme detox...or her therapist.  So, we are praying for more financial provision.  Please pray for us as we navigate through all of the expenses for our healing.  We love y'all so much and are so thankful for a community of people that love us and pray for us.  I've said it before and I'll probably say it again...we could not do this without you.

Much love,

P.S.  We are still going strong with our "real food" lifestyle!!  Today was our 45th day of no gluten, no sugar, no dairy and quite a few other things.  I have had a few really good days over the last few that is a huge praise.  :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

let food be thy medicine

When Chris and I got back to Franklin from Christmas break, we knew that a lot needed to change.  Looking back on 2012, I realized that I had spent so much of 2012 just "making it"...begging God for a miracle...for healing and change.  But, I wasn't really holding up my end of the bargain.  It wasn't necessarily anyone's fault, but Chris and I did not eat great.  We ate what was easy...what was cheap.  My fatigue and pain put us in a position of relying on fast food to bring us our dinners because I didn't have the energy to go to the store or to even think about food or recipes or a healthy lifestyle.  When I thought about overwhelmed...and would call Chris and tell him to just grab something for us on his way home from work.  It was such a frustrating thing to be a part of.  I kept watching my weight go up.  It wasn't like I was sitting at home eating all day.  It was literally that my body has been starving for nutrients.  My body is so sick...and the food I was eating did not aid in healing.

So, here we are...Day 20.  I'm feeling so thankful.  Yes, I still feel very sick...very fatigued.  But, there are glimmers of hope more so than I've felt in a few years.  I was able to run around with Eliana at the park on Saturday and play pretend with her.  I could have just sobbed watching her laugh her head off with me.  I have actually prepared a few meals for our family in the last week (gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free).  I feel like a "real" wife and mom for the first time in a long time.  I know I am always a wife and mom...but I have felt so low just living in bed.  I still go from activities like this straight to bed to rest...but I'm up for a little bit.  And, I'm celebrating that fact!!  This is a new part to my Lyme journey and something that our family is going to live from here on out.  Chris is a professional juicer for our family...he loves it!!  He has led us so unbelievably.  He takes many trips to the store...we are watching food documentaries every night together...and we are both googling and studying everything we can about food and its healing properties.  God gave us our food for a reason and unfortunately, I'm afraid the food we were eating wasn't really even food and far from what God designed.

Please keep praying for our family.  Pray for strength as we continue to learn and grow in this process.  Pray for my heart (especially at night)...I so look forward to the day that playing with E and being out of bed is the norm.  Keep praying for our sweet girl.  We have had some good days, but she is still struggling.  She is hilarious and tender-hearted and crazy!!  We love everything about her.  But, life is exhausting.  I am hoping to continue my Lyme treatments after a few months of getting myself on the right track with my food.  Be praying for financial provision through all of this.  It is super expensive to live this kind of life and continue with my treatments.  But, I know that it will be SO worth it!!  We love you all so much and are so thankful for your prayers, encouragement, generosity and support.  We couldn't do this without ya'll.

Love you so much,

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

so long 2012

I have been in bed for the last 40 hours out of 48 hours (maybe even more).  No lie.  This is not exactly how I wanted to ring in 2013.  I got out of bed yesterday because Chris was amazing and made a NYE dinner for Eliana and me.  I ate the dinner and went straight back to sleep.  At midnight, we prayed together and I watched more Downton Abbey (I've probably watched all of the seasons 45 times each).  Most of the time I'm sleeping...the other moments I'm begging God for relief and energy.  I'm thankful to hear Eliana's laughs in the other room.  Chris has done so many fun things with her over the Christmas break.  Tonight, I walked upstairs to help install one of her Christmas presents and decided to clean her room.  Now, I'm back in pain...exhausted...and googling everything I can on this horrific disease I have.

Googling "Lyme disease treatments" is probably the most discouraging, confusing thing I will ever do.  Unless you have a PhD in biochemistry, you will click around the computer feeling helpless and hopeless.  I've gone to 2 LLMD's (Lyme literate doctors) and 1 detoxification specialist and I can't stop crying.  We've been so focused on Eliana for the last 2 months, that I've just pushed my symptoms/feelings to the back burner. Well, it's officially 2013 and I feel so sad tonight.  We've spent thousands of dollars...thousands (again, I have to tell you thank you for being hope to us in this).  God is so gracious and gave Chris Girls of Grace conferences to do and that helps as well.  But, it is very discouraging to spend that much money and still feel the same...the exact same.  My head goes through a thousand "what ifs" or "does this cause this" or "would I be better if we didn't have so much stress."  The bottom line is that I will never know the answer to these things.  Because I'm in bed so much of the time, my metabolism is so out of whack...and my weight continues to sky rocket.  Some people with Lyme lose tons of weight and some gain tons of weight.  I remember looking at my doctor and jokingly saying "why can't I be sick and skinny."  I obviously know there is so much more to life than this.  It's just another area that leaves me feeling sad and lonely. 

I guess because it's the beginning of the new year, I just feel desperate for a plan.  No, I do not want to have any resolutions (except to maybe get out of bed each day).  I want someone to look me in the eyes and tell me what to do.  I want them to take me by the hand, lead me to someone who can help and then cheer me on in my healing process (and for it to be covered by insurance).  The unfortunate part of this is that there aren't a lot of answers to help people like me.  There is no right way or wrong way.  It's a ton of trial and error.  I have multiple co-infections and actually have tested for a few other infections not related to Lyme.  I ask God for the next right step...and I know He gives it to me.  But, I'm frustrated that none of my next right steps are adding up to healing.  Oh yikes, maybe this is really where God wants me to be?!!  I just had that flash in my foggy, tired brain.  I look normal on the outside.  But, I feel like I am barely surviving on the inside.  I try to put on a smile and a brave face, but I'm just so tired and weak tonight.  I need prayers friends.  Please be praying for healing for me.  It takes a lot of strength, patience and energy to be a good momma to Eliana...and by the end of the day, I am zapped.  I long for the day when I feel like "me" again.  Lord, please heal me.  Please.

Love you all,

PS.  I hope the Lord was speaking to me through that fortune cookie! :)  I know He was through the rainbow.


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