Sunday, March 27, 2011

They're Back!

Friday night was a good night. Tiffany and I used to host the college group from our church almost every other Friday night for quite a few years. Many a college students has come through our home with many laughs and some good talks about life. Over the course of the last two years as Tiffany’s health declined and our schedule became more full with living with CF we have not been able to host them as we wanted. This last Friday night though I was able to host a group of about 35-40 college students who filled the house with music, laughter, serious conversation, games, and more laughter. What a blessing it was to be able to host our college group once again.  Here are a couple blessings from the night.

  1. Tiffany’s piano was very active with former piano students and others making music.
  2. We had an hour and half singspiration -- what a blessing to just worship God together
  3. The fire pit still accomplishes its purpose -- a place to have great conversation that many times leads to spiritual issues.
  4. Laughter was heard throughout the house
  5. It was fun to just watch people enjoy each others company and to develop friendships that would never occur in the normal walks of life.
  6. I was actually able to stay up till they left (around 1:30 a.m.)  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wise, Eternal Ways


My best friend from college wrote the below poem and sent it to me in memory of Tiffany. It is a poem of great theological depth that considers God, life, sin's effects, God's deliverance, and the need to make eternal decisions in light of these realities. Thanks Wade for focussing me in on the eternal!

Wise, Eternal Ways
From Psalm 90
In memory of Tiffany Davis Brock
December 5, 1975— December 1, 2010

O Lord our God, You are our dwelling place,
Security in every age we trace.
Before firm mountains stood or sun had shone,
From everlasting, You are God alone.

You turn the sons of man to dust again,
Our long, full years come to their mortal end;
Yet in Your sight the years are moments past,
First promising, but soon like withering grass.

Consider now why all mankind must die?
It is our sin; Your wrath is justified.
Your fury poured in death on fallen men,
For open deeds and sins hid deep within.

Though death's cold curse my body still must face,
No condemnation comes beyond the grave;
God's final wrath Christ drank for my poor sake,
And then He rose the chains of death to break.

So teach us, Lord, to number out our days,
And live for You, in wise, eternal ways.
In faithful love, give joy in place of tears,
And bless our work to last beyond our years.

~Wade Williams, Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Used by permission

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Blessing of Giving

I know that I still have one more entry in dealing with False Guilt, but it is still not ready for publishing. I wanted to share a blessing though with you.  About a month ago I was able to go into the CF clinic and give them the rest of Tiffany’s meds that we had on hand. What a blessing to hear soon after that they were able to give out some of the drugs to some CFers that could not afford it. You see, the retail price for a month of CF drugs depending on what you are on is usually around 10k a month. These drugs are key to the health of a CFer to keep away infections and to keep the lungs open. What a blessing to know that these important meds are being able to help another person -- it was fun to go to the clinic and give them away.

Today, I also had another one of those blessings. Tiffany had CFRD (CF related diabetes) and had been on insulin for the last two and a half years. About a year and a half ago we were able to get set up with an insulin pump and a continuous glucose management system. All together, I think it was somewhere between 7-10k of equipment and supplies. We were in the process of switching endocrinologist when Tiffany went in to the hospital so we had never had an appointment with her but knew that she worked closely with CF patients. Today I dropped off to their office all of Tiff’s diabetic equipment and supplies so that they could give it to someone who needed it.  What a blessing to hear that they already had someone with CF in mind that needed a pump but could not afford one. The insulin pump gives so much greater control of the diabetes and makes life so much easier -- what a blessing to give!

We must never forget that there is more to life than ourselves and even in the midst of difficulties we need to keep a heart to give. I am confident that the meds and equipment will be a blessing to those who received them, but I also know that I have been greatly blessed by being able to give them away. It is true -- it is more blessed to give than to receive!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

False Guilt -- The Results


When I do not properly respond to the unbiblical thinking of false guilt it will lead to more wrong thinking that eventually will show itself in my thoughts, attitudes, relationship, and actions. Here are some example of these four basic categories of results.

  • Bitterness -- I hold a grudge because my “rights” have been violated which leads to devastating relationships and anger. I see this often in bitterness towards God because of what He gave me in a disease or life circumstance.
  • Feelings of unworthiness -- People think how could someone love me if I am like this or have this disease. If I have had “this” happen to me then I am unclean or too sick for anyone to love me.
  • Depression -- When we convince ourselves that there is no hope it leads to despair. 
  • Anxiety -- When we can’t fix it, take it away, or prevent it we allow worry to take control that leads to anxiety and a sense of overwhelmingness that has no hope or deliverance in sight
  • Anger -- This response can be internal or external as we buy the idea that life is not fair and that I should be treated better or my life should be easier and we respond with this emotion.
  • Broken relationships -- unresolved sin, bitterness, depression, and basically all of the above will often times lead to broken relationships.  Conflict that is based on circumstances or relationships lead to hurt feelings that left unresolved will lead to broken relationships
  • Fear of man -- we live our life based upon other people’s actions or attitudes rather than basing our life upon the fear of God and who our God is. For example, we allows someone’s view of us keep from doing what is best or what is Biblical.
  • Do not move forward (not on) -- We simply stop living because we are frozen in this guilt and to move forward in life we believe would only bring more guilt and hardship
  • Make bad decisions motivated by false guilt -- we make unwise medical decisions because we feel like giving up, or in our anger we stop taking care of ourselves to get back at someone. We abandon support out of anger because of unresolved conflict or because our guilt leads us to believing we are causing too much trouble.
  • Giving up -- we think “well, if life is going to be like this then I might as well not even try.”

Overall the result is a life lived that is controlled by this false guilt that negatively impacts almost every area of my life. It is a life lived in bondage rather than a life that is lived in freedom from guilt. What is great to know, is that we do not have to live here. There is a solution to living life with this false guilt. My next post will talk about the solution to false guilt.

(footnote: the reality is that most of the above mentioned results of false guilt are also results of unresolved true guilt as well)

Friday, March 4, 2011

False Guilt - The Source

The first step in dealing with false guilt is identifying the source of that false guilt -- what is causing the sense of guilt on one’s part. This is important because there is true guilt that needs to be dealt with at times in our own life. By identifying the source or cause of the guilt, we will be able to identify whether it is true or false guilt. True guilt is a result of doing something wrong or sinful that has not been made right or resolved. False guilt is the result of hanging on to something that was not wrong or something that has been resolved. Here are a couple examples of true and false guilt:

False Guilt
  1. Someone else has sinned against me, and I feel shame over it (abuse many times fits in this category)
  2. Regret over past action or lack of actions that cannot be changed or resolved such as did I exercise with my wife enough that may have helped her lungs
  3. Regret over decisions made with less information than I have today such as medical decisions of when to start or stop treatments
  4. Guilt that I could have done more despite the reality of the progressive nature of Cystic Fibrosis
  5. Guilt over something that has been forgiven already such as when you may have sinned against someone but you have asked for forgiveness already
  6. Guilt over letting someone down 
  7. Guilt over being the “cause” of life hardships. Tiffany would sometimes have to deal with these feelings because of the implications that CF brought upon her family and me as her husband -- sometimes she would feel like it wasn’t fair that we would have to endure the CF because of her.
True Guilt
  1. Shame over unconfessed sin against God or others such as deceit, violating trust, etc. . .
  2. Unreconciled offenses such as arguments
  3. Clearly evident bad choices not made right such as ignoring one’s health and not caring  
The source of false guilt is my wrong thinking or feeling that I am responsible for something that I actually am not responsible. True guilt is my shame or guilt over something that I am responsible for and have not properly resolved.  Identifying your source or cause of guilt is very important if you are going to be able to resolve that guilt. My next blog will deal with the result of keeping false guilt in your life and thinking.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

False Guilt

Today is the third month anniversary since Tiffany’s homegoing on December 1. It has been a good day with work being a busy day and some good meetings, some good conversations with family, and some good therapy at In-N-Out burger. 

What I find as one of the most difficult things since Tiffany’s death is dealing with the what ifs and could of, should of thought processes. One of the dangers in dealing with death and in dealing with chronic disease is that it is easy to have a false guilt. What I mean by a false guilt is a feeling of guilt that is not legitimate. It is a feeling of guilt when we imagine of what could have been if we simply would have made different choices, choices that could have given more life or choices that in hind sight we think would have been much better than the choice we actually made. I believe that this false guilt can really lead to more heartache and difficulty in life that is not necessary. But it is so easy to question did I do everything right or should I have done more or in my case should I have done less with work and such.

The battle of the mind is probably the greatest battle that one faces with a chronic disease and great loss. Although the physical trials are hard, the mental trials are harder. Although the physical trials have great pain, the mental trials can hurt more. Although Tiffany and I never made it through the transplant process, much of the reading that we had done pointed to how difficult the mental aspects of the process would have been. It is important for us to recognize that there is this great battle of the mind that leads to wrong thinking that leads to false guilt that leads to discouragement, depression, anxiety, and choices that lead to a downward spiral of life. So the question then is, “How do I deal with this wrong thinking and false guilt?” My next couple of blogs will deal with this false guilt and how can we deal with it in our own lives.