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Roar Back

Roar Back


Posted By on Jun 9, 2015

Mid-Saturday morning, I received the most hurtful email. The writer shared how her and her friends read my blog, and she basically surmised in bullet-point format their thoughts on how I had failed as a Christian.  I’ll only repeat a few of their comments…so hang with me. I promise there’s a redeeming reason in why I’m reopening this wound, and why a small part of me is thankful for her gumption to send the message my way. One person said I’d lost my witness when: “she made the doctor her god. She is a hippocrit.” And another, “Her condition is not critical.” And the one comment that still stings, “What gives her the right to ask for funds. If she stayed local then she could pay like everyone else.” The emailer ended with “I am not sure the public sees this as walking in faith.” Ouch. That’s when the nauseating feeling set in and my heart did the one thing my it’s not supposed to do: rapidly race. More soul-searching needed to be done on my part, because these words were either: truth, partial truths, or an attack to hurt me emotionally and spiritually. As soon as my husband discovered me coiled in bed, I let him read the email. He shook his head, “This isn’t the truth.” “Are you sure?” I wiped my eyes. “Post this email to Facebook.” I raised my eyebrows with much concern. “Just post it and see what your friends say.” So I did. (Leaving the writer anonymous, of course.) And my gracious friends loved on me and encouraged me and prayed for me. Not one condemned me, although they probably could have, so maybe they were going a little easy on this sinful soul. Because the truth is I’m not perfect. I’m going to mess up and say something wrong. I’m just a girl who loves Jesus and blogs about her journey through sickness. Sometimes I need the gentle correction. But this whole kerfuffle ties into what I’ve been experiencing lately, starting with my new condition, and is possibly the underlying cause of the craziness in my life: The enemy hates me. He wants to see me blow it big time. He hates that I blog transparently about my hardships, and ultimately give glory to God. He hates that these posts could help someone who is walking through difficulty. And if you’re a believer, he hates you too. (Sorry to say that.) So attacking me, hitting me where it hurts most is the smartest move. Attacking my character was crushing, because I LOVE GOD WITH MY WHOLE HEART and never, ever, ever want to let...

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I’m Not a Fan of Pain

I’m Not a Fan of Pain


Posted By on May 27, 2015

And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I am scared. And weepy. And my emotions are slightly yo-yo-ey these days (I realize yo-yo-ey isn’t a word…but I’m giving myself grace due to my minimal thought-aligning abilities lately. My thinker is no Bueno). I almost didn’t post an update because really, who wants to admit they’re frail. And sniveling. And well…pretty much praying–All. The. Time. I guess that last confession is the best one. Because it’s true. It’s amazing how life’s hurdles bring us to our knees, and render us humbly before God. I’ve always been a Bible-studying girl, but when sickness hits, I kick my studies into research mode. Because that’s what planners do. They try to find the perfect verse to numb the pain, we try to finagle a way to understand the why and how behind their circumstances, but ultimately, we just want the hope of knowing that everything is going to turn out beautifully. And it will. God causes all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28). I know this to be true. I’ve lived a lifetime of it. So here is my recent news. Both my CT and MRI scans came back clear of cancer (woohoo!). Yesterday, I contacted my potential heart surgeon in New York from NYU Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates (he graduated from Harvard and worked in pediatric cardiology for a while, which is a plus considering everything on me tends to be kid-sized). And the less invasive procedure originally recommened for me, the one they do robotically these days with 5 teeny-tiny incisions along your ribcage, with the surgery requiring only a 2 to 4 week down time—yeah, I’m not a candidate. :*( Turns out I have too much damaged tissue surrounding my lungs and heart from my tumor and radiation scars, and since they have to repair my moderately leaking mitral valve and replace my severely leaking aortic valve, open heart surgery is the only option. And this is when the tears surface. Because this was not my plan. My plan was the short in-and-out procedure, not the one where they temporarily stop your heart, not the one with the week-long hospital stay followed by a 2-3 week recoup in a nearby hotel, and roughly 2 to 4 months before you feel fully mended. I wanted to jog–now. Feel better–now. Have the super duper deluxe state-of-the-art procedure–now. I realize I sound like that snooty little girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So I’ll take the deepest breath possible and know that God’s plan, this one that’s happening now, is the best path mapped out for me. He’s...

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Do you hear that? It’s me. Squealing or screaming or making some other super surprised noise. Why am I squealing like a smitten school girl, you might be wondering? Confession time. Most of my youth I dreamed of having my name printed on a pretty pink pencil or polka-dotted coffee mug at one of those specialty shops. You know, like Hallmark. {Hey, I grew up in a small town. Hallmark was a big deal to us Palmetto-ians} However, the closest wording I ever found to my name was Daphne or Debbie or Darcy. Sad, right? Okay. Not really. But I always twirled those roundabout circular display thingies hoping that one day my name would appear. Never happened. Not even to this day {I still look}. But get this. Barbara, a dear friend of mine, emailed me saying she submitted my name and my story to the company she works for and they were considering naming one of their purse lines after me. And guess what? There is now a DABNEY bag. Eeeeeeee! And it looks like this:   MICHE named a line of purses after me! That red one is the DABNEY bag! You would squeal too, right? This is what I looked like after I opened the box. {For the record, I rarely take selfies. Let’s be honest. My short arms struggle to get enough distance between my face and the camera. This equals unfavorable looking selfies…but for you guys—I’m sharing, long-overdue highlights and all.} Then, my husband looked inside the purse and found this: Dabney is stamped on the inside! Craziness, I tell you. Some of you might be wondering what the big deal is? {Which totally makes sense.} But, for this odd-named girl, this is huge! Every week I receive mail addressed to Dambey, Babney, Darby, Mr. Dabne, and just a few days ago…this: See what I mean. But this week, I tell ya what, tears filled my eyes as soon I read my silly name spelled correctly on an honest-to-goodness real item. Not a coffee mug or pencil. This girl’s cheeks are hurting from all the smiling going on. And the Big Man, you know…God? I imagine Him chuckling right about now, reading over my shoulder because I know He cares about silly things like this. So, Barbara, thanks for your super sweet gesture. And the execs at MICHE, thanks for picking my odd name and my crazy God-story to feature. And my Heavenly Father, thanks for this precious gift…because we all know who they flow from. Eeeeeeee! “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does...

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Woman Cheats Death Four Times

Woman Cheats Death Four Times


Posted By on Sep 16, 2014

  “A football-sized tumor is embedded around your lungs,” my ER doctor explained. It’s not every day you hear this news, especially when you’re 25 years old and six weeks pregnant. But my diagnosis isn’t where my story begins — because every illness has a unique symptom that internally whispers something’s wrong. Mine seeped out the summer of ‘98 in the form of a faint, recurring itch that danced across my leg. Then my cheek. My back. Inside my ear. The gradual progression of this assumed allergic reaction to my dog or detergent blossomed from a rash-like itch into a maddening sensation of fleas infesting my skin. Nothing helped. Not topical anti-itch cream, allergy medicine, or violently scraping with my nails until red welts appeared. Four months spent at allergists, dermatologists and two different primary care physicians, attempting to explain my skin discomfort typically ended with, “This is all in your head.” Each doctor prescribed Xanax, the wonder anti-anxiety medication. As soon as the prescription was slipped into my hand, my head slumped in defeat, and I knew another appointment had ended with no answers. After all, what 25-year-old has anything seriously wrong with her? And my blood work — the main code they knew how to read — was indicating low iron, which could easily explain why I fell asleep at my desk midday. “Nothing to be alarmed about,” my doctors always said. A month later, while lying in the backseat of my friend’s SUV, driving home from a girl’s getaway weekend, my flip-flop slid off my moist foot. I wiped the underside of my insole with a beach towel and went back to resting. But the water reappeared. Examining the flipside of my foot a little closer, I watched beads of sweat resurface, almost like my body was crying out from the misery of all my odd symptoms: itching, extreme exhaustion, insomnia, brain-fog and now excessive perspiration. With much apprehension of yet another doctor labeling me with a psychosomatic disorder, I tracked down a third primary care physician. With one swipe of her tissue across my wet foot, she commented, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my 30 years of practice.” She ended my consultation with a promise to research her medical journals in search of the ailment plaguing my body. Only, I didn’t make it to my next appointment. Six days later,…(read the full article in the Palm Beach Post by clicking here)...

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Yesterday I stumbled upon this while cleaning out my office:  Can you guess what it is? If you’ve read When God Intervenes, you’ll remember I mentioned the coloring/activity pages the elderly man gave me at church. Can you believe we kept this gem of a book after all these years? A smile crossed my face as I remembered how far my husband and I have come. You see, today is my 19th wedding anniversary (Woohoo!), so I thought I’d share some special moments I mentioned in the book along our journey. Like the Gazebo where Jason proposed on Palm Beach, and the crazy lady tried to have us arrested:    And the vintage shop ticket from my itty-bitty wedding dress: My Experiencing God devotional where’d I’d written my prayer out that I needed Jason to give me a certain flower before he could ask me to marry him: Two pressed yellow flowers (here’s where I’m being super vulnerable as I’m sharing a peek inside an old journal…please, please, please look past my awful penmanship and simplistic message. This note only proves that God can equip anyone to do anything that He wants them to do. Can I get an Amen?):         I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into our journey. And, Babe, I knew you were the one for me the day you swiped my hand while we studied at your apartment picnic table. Here’s to many more years of growing gloriously old together. I love you forever....

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  {A recent guest post I shared over at ILoveDevotionals.com.}   I used to be fearful of a lot of things. I worried about money. I agonized over work projects and whether I was competent to perform a job well done. Seeking the approval of others was another fear. Did I offend them? Will they like me or secretly laugh at me?    It’s funny the things I let consume my thoughts; such trivial matters in comparison to reality.    Money? I could always make more. Work? I could always refine my skills. Approval? People, I’ve learned, are typically more concerned with themselves, not my little blunders.   But a life-threatening sickness? That’s bone-wearying business. That’s real fear that trumps a host of nonsense.   You can’t control that.   I’m about to share something that can transform your thoughts, something more powerful than disease itself.   At 25-years old and six-weeks-pregnant, a football sized tumor blanketed my lungs.    Life changed with one x-ray and an oncologist telling me my odds would improve by terminating my pregnancy. Only, he couldn’t really endorse an abortion since it contradicted his beliefs.   Meeting this physician in the ER the night of my diagnoses was no accident. Any other professional wouldn’t have treated me unless I ended my pregnancy. If I ever doubted that God was with me during the coming years of battling illnesses, this should have been clue number one.   But sometimes we don’t see God’s hand entwined in ours until we look back on our journey. (tweet this)   We never aborted. Kneeling in our apartment, praying for guidance, a supernatural peace confirmed our hunch that this baby was destined to live. I assumed God had a greater miracle to perform, one which surely included healing me from cancer. Why else would He have given me such a peace to keep my child?   But He didn’t.   My prayer wasn’t answered. Not the way I wanted.   When I started chemotherapy in my second trimester, I again believed He would heal me and spare me the six months more of treatment after my baby was born.   But He didn’t.   No matter which prayer-position I tried, or how many church members petitioned the Lord, God never removed my illness.   My daughter was born early, and I endured more chemo, then radiation.   At 26, my cancer was in remission. Halleluiah, I thought, until two months later my oncologist found cottage-cheese looking tumors along the outside sac of my heart and more mushroomed clusters growing along my abdomen.   Not a good sign. Not a good prognosis. Not...

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Please Forgive Me


Posted By on Jan 10, 2014

I want to apologize for my last post. I didn’t mean to offend anyone with my words. I guess that’s the problem with blogging. You put your thoughts out there and sometimes you don’t consider how they can be taken. Either way, my last post was not filled with grace, and therefore I’ve deleted it. In the future I hope to be more mindful with the words I share. I hope you’ll forgive me, and if you think about–pray for me? My heart is to always encourage others in some way. In His hands, Dabney ***Because of the overwhelming response in favor of this more controversial post, I’ve decided to re-post what I originally deleted. My main reason for deleting this was due to my title: “When People Suck. (Sorry Mom. And God. And Anyone Else I Just Offended. Hear me out.)”, and because my content was written with a sting still in my heart. ~~~ Five years ago I visited two close friends. We’ll call them Barb and Jen. Jen had just moved here from out of town and was considering visiting a local megachurch. Barb scoffed, and said something along the lines of, “If all you want is a Jolly Rancher sermon, then fine. You won’t grow there. It’s fluff and no substance.” Jen shifted in her chair, “But what about seekers? What if some people find Christ through organizations like this?” The conversation escalated from there. I should have said something. My eyes darted back and forth between the two, and I sheepishly slid a little lower in my chair, as the people pleasing side of me just wanted everyone to be play nice-nice. But they didn’t. Two believers, one die-hard bent towards her way of worshiping because of the unbelievable growth she’d experienced, the other a lover of big churches, which offered multiple specialty outreach programs to all walks of life. All this time later, Barb has no idea how this conversation affected Jen and her family. But I do. I watched it unfold. Jen loved big churches. She always had. Jen enjoyedthe programs and weekly meeting new people and she even used to host home fellowship groups when she lived in Nashville and attended one of the largest churches in the area. While living in West Palm though, Jen hopped around to different medium-sized congregations, but never found one similar to her Nashville experience. So she gave up. Oh, she read her Bible and watched Andy Stanley podcasts and prayed, but she never once stepped foot into that “Jolly Rancher” church. Not after that conversation. I’m a little mad, sad, and relieved all squished into...

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Vulnerability Signifies Value

Vulnerability Signifies Value


Posted By on Oct 21, 2013

“You wouldn’t be vulnerable if you weren’t valuable.” Steven Furtick Thursday was a bad day. I woke tired and cranky and yipped at Jason when he asked if I’d sent in our RSVP for an upcoming dinner. Poor guy. Had he used the word “Babe” before his question, I irrationally explained, then I wouldn’t have taken his inquiry like I dropped the ball again. His face scrunched up kind of funny, and that’s when I realized it. “Ah, man. My hormones are wacky again. I’m just emotional.” I dropped my head and the waterworks started. Jason held me while I blubbered out my blames on exhaustion from running around to karate/baseball/homeschool co-op business with the kids and our recent stack of medical bills from my month-long stint in and out of the ER/Urgent Care/doctor’s offices and CT scans. My laundry lists of stuff packed inside my brain tumbled out. He reassured me, like always, that everything would be okay, God is in control. So I kissed him off to work. By Asher’s baseball practice eight hours later, I was still sulking. In my van while my other kiddos climbed on the playground in front of me, I grabbed a pen and journaled my prayers to God: “This will not be a happy entry. Man, how many women around the world feel like me? I’m tired—foggy cranky—so cranky—and very little has made me happy—which stinks—I have so much to be thankful for…” I went on to list the icky things surrounding our current situation. (One day I’ll blog about this.) But let’s just say I had a stinky suspicion that all the stuff I was blaming was simply a distraction, and I believe the enemy’s tool of choice to discourage me. You see, I’d been praying about whether God is calling me to write a devotional for newly diagnosed patients. Last Sunday I even wrote on a prayer card at church that I think His nudges are getting more forceful. Only, I’m running from the project—making excuse after excuse of why this is a not-so-good idea. Yet, I have journals scrawled with scriptures that helped me while I was sick. A gift like an easy-to-read devo would have meant the world to my fear-filled soul so many years ago. When I get this way—all mopey—I know the second thing I need is a voice of reason from an uplifting message. Isn’t it just like God that I stumbled upon a sermon from Steven Furtick about our vulnerabilities? Here’s a summation of what I heard: If your life is under attack, that means you must be carrying something good inside If...

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