I am not a natural optimist. In fact, my natural propensity for fear, tends to lead me the…er, other way.

So, trying to have a positive expectation is not the norm for me. If I am getting ready for travel then I think about every nightmarish movie scene of plane, train and automobile disasters I have ever seen and simply overlay my face into the scenery… fun!

If I get a mysterious phone call and need an urgent reply, then I am sure that the person on the other end of the phone message has had their life completely unraveled or hates me… or their life has completely unraveled because they hate me… super fun!

If I have a soar throat, it’s never sinus drainage, it’s always some precursor to cancer, a rare disease in its final stages that will only be discovered in my autopsy, or the final mutation of the swine flu that has evolved to its pristine killer form within me… uber fun!

As this blog has made known on several occasions, and I am fully aware, I have issues. That’s why this week has been both a struggle and a blessing for me.

I am currently in Denver, Co., for the week undergoing a series of medical tests for a known medical condition called a Chiari Malformation (see end for details under JUST FYI). I am here because Denver is the site of the Chiari Care Clinic for this brain disorder and barring a miraculous healing from the Lord I am probably looking at brain surgery in the near future.

For a hypochondriac, pessimistic, fear hoarding, negative magnet… this is not the particular scenario of choice. But, God is good and so are my friends.

Again, my natural expectation is to look for the worst, but God (through His people and His working of circumstance) is teaching me to expect Him to do more than I naturally would. He is teaching me to expect what He would Super-naturally do…

As I write this I am sitting at Peaberry Coffee in Aurora, Co., between the first and second of three appointments I have this week. What could have been a miserable, fretful trip, God has changed into a lesson on expectation. Here’s how:

  • Instead of a 14 hour round trip car ride, a sweet family bought Kat and I plane tickets to make the trip a million times better.
  • When we got to the airport, the plane was having issues, they couldn’t assign us seats, so when we got to the gate… they upgraded us to Economy Plus seating (for free).
  • Our friend at the church who works for a rental car agency reserved us a rental car with his VIP status, but all they had left were minivans (that’s sooooo NOT how I roll), but when we got here they upgraded us to a totally phat (yes, I said phat) SUV.
  • Before we left on Sunday we were handed a couple of cards of encouragement and gifts that have made travel much easier.
  • We have been and are receiving an laughably awesome amount of prayer support.
  • Even though we are here for some big scary medical tests, some friends from back home knew that Kat and I are die hard MAVS fans and knew that the NBA playoffs were happening here in Denver. They searched for, got and gave us some awesome seats for tonight’s game… wow (We’ll be the one’s wearing MAVS gear in the sea of Nuggets Panzy blue).

We still don’t know what the results are going to be, or what decisions will be made. But, God is definitely teaching me through His care and the love of His people that my expectations should be changed.

In the book of Psalms it says:

 In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ps 5:3). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Today I’ll be laying in an MRI machine and wondering what will come next. To keep the fears at bay and the crazy thoughts from owning me, I will hide this verse in my heart and repeat it to myself, again and again.

I challenge you to read it, memorize it, pray it and live it with me.

May we expect God, to be the God He has said He is…



Chiari Malformation

The Chiari malformation is an abnormality in the lower part of the brain called the cerebellum. There are several different forms. The most common type is the Chiari I malformation (CM) which this article addresses. Less commonly, it may be known as Arnold-Chiari malformation, tonsillar herniation or tonsillar ectopia. Most cases of Chiari are congenital, meaning they are present from birth.

In normal anatomy, the cerebellar tonsils are located just above this line called the foramen magnum. But in an individual with Chiari, the tonsils hang below the line (herniate) into the spinal canal. The degree to which the tonsils extend can vary tremendously.

What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of Chiari malformation is a headache, which begins at the back of the head (neck) and radiates upward. The pain is often made worse or can be brought on by coughing, sneezing or straining. These activities are known as valsalva maneuvers.

Visual problems such as nystagmus (involuntary eye movements), double or blurred vision may occur. Balance difficulties, vertigo and dizziness also may be present. Some people may have cranial nerve compression. This can result in apnea (cessation of breathing), gagging, swallowing difficulties, facial numbness or syncope (temporary loss of consciousness).


5 Replies to “Expectations”

  1. Will continue to keep you in my prayers
    Poem I wrote …thought I`d share with you

    You know the storms are comming
    You know the enemy a prowlin`

    “Keep your eyes on Jesus”
    When the ground is shakin
    You feel yourself a slippin
    Keep your eyes on Jesus

    When your day seems bright
    Your burdens seem so light
    Keep your eyes on Jesus

    Each and every day
    Bless the Lord who came
    Took your sins away
    Keep your eyes on Jesus

    Dance with Joy
    Lift your hands way up high
    Keep your eyes on Jesus
    …………..Debbie Peterson

  2. We have a friend who has this and actually had the surgery at Mayo clinic when she was 14. She is now 20 and did well for several years. Some of her symptoms have reoccured even though their is no noticable change in her condition. But she is still FAR better than she was and able to lead a normal life. She had to give up some things, gymnastics, cheerleading etc… but is going into pre med this fall to be a neurologist!! She is actually living with us temporarily and I am sure would talk to you about it if you wish. You must have lots of questions. The amazing thing is the safety net God provided for both of you to keep you safe till this was diagnosed. Best wishes, Lisa & Bob Shuff

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