caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

I am not known for my brevity.Somebody just fell out of their chair from laughing out loud. But, for those of you who are new to my blog…you have been warned.

I love to tell stories. They are rarely short. They are sometimes embellished. But, they are almost always filled with details. I love details. I am all about talking about them and exaggerating them, but, let me be clear, my husband would be the first to tell you that I am not a detail oriented person. At all. Like, not even a little bit.

For instance, I can appreciate that my friend got a new SUV a few years ago. She was excited to have something that would hold her three growing man-boys and all of their gear. I remember when she showed it to me for the first time. I remember that it was pretty and shiny and warmed my hiney hey, that rhymes! when I sat on the leather… but I can’t, for the life of me, remember what color it is. Seriously. I have seen her every week or two for years now, yet it doesn’t stick in my brain. I think it’s white…or silver. Ok, maybe gray. Shoot…I actually think it might be that pearly white color. Either way, that is sort of a big detail.

Another completely embarrassing perfect example is that I can appreciate how my husband loves it when people fly the American flag in front of their house. We live on an older street and have a few veterans who proudly fly the flag daily. In fact, one precious neighbor rides out to his flagpole on his hover round and puts that flag up and down each and every day. Awesome. So, I respect this concept, and I listened as my husband talked about getting one for us. I can even recall that he mentioned hanging it soon. But, I exaggerate not when I say the thing was hanging above our front door for a couple months before I noticed it. That’s right – months. Again, a pretty big detail.

As a wise thirty-something, I have learned that not everyone is built like me. Somebody say “Hallelujah!” I have quite a few friends, actually, who are built very differently than me. I often drive them crazy but they often keep me functioning. I add something to their lives too, I believe, although I’m afraid they aren’t quite sure what that is yet! One friend might say, “Oh Caroline, I love the pattern on your new shirt!” to which I may reply, “Huh, whatd’ya know?” or (while leaving Target) “Boy, Target sure hits the target!” to which I reply “Oh wow, their logo really is an actual target, like for archery or something.” Sigh. Yes, that actually happened.

I only mention this flaw of mine because I have never ever, ever, ever been one to only give the facts. It just isn’t in me not to expand the story with dialogue, sub-plots, or anecdotes. I have actually been known to tell a story that leads me off into seven two or three other ones before I was done. So…in honor of all of my friends who by bribery the grace of God have stuck by me, I am going to try and defy the odds. I am going to try and give “just the facts, ma’am” about my trip to the Mayo clinic. Many of you have enjoyed hearing about what God has done, but then you are still waiting to hear what the doctors did, as well. Shocking.

But before I begin my brevity, I feel compelled to share what God told me to write about. (Don’t you love how I need to expand on the fact that I am about to be brief? Old habits die hard.) As I have seen and heard from friends since we have been home, they want the medical details about the trip. And so I knew I needed to blog about it. But, I also knew that would be very boring. And I rarely do boring. So, I thought Ok, how can I relate my ‘fact-giving’ to Jesus? Then, He hit me. I believe that, as Christians, we ok, I can always sometimes get lost in our story telling. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing about what God has done in people’s lives from their point of view. But, I am merely suggesting that when we talk to those who don’t know God, it is good to keep our foundation built on facts. Not feelings. Not opinions. Not interpretations.Just the facts, ma’am.

First, as my pastor says, “God stepped out of nowhere, into nothing, spoke something in order to make everything come into existence.” God made the world.There was no Big Bang, or if there was, God did the bangin’. There was no lightning that struck a pond and organisms “evolved” from there, or if there was, God made the pond and told the lightning, “Ok, now!” He is it – the Creator. Period. (Genesis 1)

Second, everything the Bible says was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and is true. Everything.  (Psalm 33:4) Jesus came to this earth as a perfect Savior for the sin of mankind. (John 3:16-17) You sin. I sin. Everybody sin sins. Anyone who ever drew breath in and out of their lungs, sinned. Jesus, however, lived a perfect life (Hebrews 4:15) and died a criminal’s death to pay the cost of our sin.(2 Cor. 5:21) He rose from the dead three days later (Luke 23:52 – Luke 24:8) and He will return someday to this earth to claim His own. (1 Thess. 4:16-17) It’s going to happen, people. I am not predicting when. The Bible says that is futile. (Matthew 24:44) In fact, if some wacko starts predicting a date, then you can be fairly certain it won’t be that day. Only God knows. (Matthew 24:36)

Third, good people go to hell. It isn’t generally how you would greet someone at a dinner party, but it’s true. “Believing” that there is a God isn’t enough. In the Bible, good ol’ James tells it like it is. I love that about him. James 2:19 says “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” Unless you have a specific time in your life where you have 1) believed that Jesus was God’s only Son, that He literally came to walk on this earth, died on the cross and rose again at Easter and  2) then have confessed with your mouth that you need God to pay for that sin with the death of His Son and 3) submitted your completely sinful heart and your destined for hell life to Him, then you are not a Christian. Just because your Mom is a doctor doesn’t make you ready to perform open heart surgery, does it? Physically being inside a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than being inside your garage makes you a car. Have you had a change of heart? Have you had a change of action? Do you love the Lord? If you aren’t sure, friend, contact me, your church, or my church. We will be happy to talk it through with you. Trust me, you wanna be sure.

Fourthly, we are not entitled to be happy. In fact, we are not entitled to anything – but hell. We were born sinful and that fact should send us straight to hell. So, truly, anything better than that, we should be grateful for. We are not promised a happy life. We are not promised a healthy life. In fact, what we are promised is a life filled with trouble. Job 14:1 says “Man born of woman (and that’s pretty much all of us!) is few of days and full of trouble.” And Jesus promises us from his own mouth in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcomethe world.” The last part of that verse is what gives us hope, friend. But, until we have a relationship and not a “religion-ship” with God, we will not grasp that. We each have a hole inside of us that cannot be adequately filled with anything but Jesus. Worldy wealth. Skinny body. Attractive spouse. Well-mannered children. World travel. Thriving business. None of these things will cut it. They may work briefly, but only partially. If you take a minute to truly be honest with yourself, you may find that you seem to be lacking something. Well, no doubt about it, that something is Jesus. Whether you lack Him completely or you lack Him intimately – He is the only void-filler. Everything else is going to fail.Lastly,(fifthly sounded dumb) abundant life is possible. Not easy, but possible. God is good. He is gracious, kindhearted, and righteous. (Exodus 34:6) He desires for our life to be full. (John 10:10) Not of things that the world says should fill us. But things of Him. He wants us to be aware of our enemy, Satan, who wants nothing more than for us to fail. (John 10:10) If Satan can’t have you for eternity, he wants you to be useless for God while you are here on earth. (1 Peter 5:8) So, if you are a Christian but you find yourself sleep-walking through life, then this is the time to stop and refocus. James 1:22 says “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” You think you are deceiving others? The Bible is pretty clear, it is you that is deceived.

Do you read your Bible daily? Are you an active member of your church who volunteers, tithes, and is involved in a home group or Bible study of some kind? Is God the priority of your day? Can people at work, or even more importantly, at home, even tell by your behavior that you are a Christian? Does your life bear the fruit of His Holy Spirit written about in Galatians 5? (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) If not, today is the day to make a change. Contact your local pastor, or mine and begin to live the life God had planned for you. (Jer. 29:11) Whether you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior as a five-year-old in children’s church, or ten minutes ago after reading this blog, (praise God!) it doesn’t matter. Today is the day to start living like it. Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deedsand praise your Father in heaven.”Them are the facts, friend. They were written as briefly as I am physically able to give them. If you know someone who may benefit from hearing these facts (not my medical ones), please share my blog. I don’t want to be more popular. I want Jesus to be more popular! Share it. Let them read. And let God do the rest!

But, I feel the need to confess that I have typed most of this post while sitting outside in our front yard. And, I just looked up and noticed our flag isn’t hung over our front door anymore. Hmm? That’s weird, I thought. I just asked Ryan when he took it down?

“About a year ago.”
Sheesh…I’m hopeless.
And now,  just the medical facts, ma’am.
From the world-renowned neurologist – MRI scans were normal, both of my head and my entire spine area. I have no scar tissue from the MANY procedures I have had (praise God!). He does still suspect that I have a “slow-flow leak” which can heal itself eventually or perhaps gets worse and grow into a more severe leak again. If I do get another spinal fluid leak, he assured me that I can simply come there to Mayo for treatment. He will do a fibrin glue mixed with blood patch which should seal the leak more permanently. Normally, here in our area doctors will not do that procedure unless they can specifically locate the leak, but this doctor has seen so many successful cases even when the specific leak is not found so he is willing to do it. HUGE Praise God!
From the endocrinologist – My thyroid, adrenal glands, pituitary function, kidney function, liver function, autonomic systems function all came back normal. Most of my blood work came back in normal range. My iron “stores” are depleted and I have reactive hypoglycemia. Both of which will be helped by vitamins and monitoring my eating.
From the precious family medicine doctor – I need to lose 25 pounds. Thankfully, the doctor didn’t say this to me, but it is obvious and can only help my body. Overall, they think my fatigue is most likely caused by the severe trauma my body has been through the past year. I have heard numerous times that you have to give your body at least the amount of time that you were on steroids to recover and begin to act like it was never on steroids. I was on steroids for 15 months. I have been off of them for 10 months. And, I was on four times the regular dosage for a normal person. Wowzers! The iron supplements should help with the fatigue. And hopefully my body will seal this slow flow leak, which should help too.
Overall, I think that is it. Like I’ve said before, I didn’t go there and get healed. But, I was checked over extensively to rule out anything else that could be causing this. And more importantly, I have a plan for the future, in case I get another spinal fluid leak. If this is all new to you and you don’t know my story, feel free to check out my post describing how I got to where I am.
Love, love.

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