Further Down The Road

Hello to my invisible and chronic illness community, it has been a long time since my last blog post. It seems that there are fewer needs for words when suffering eases up. There is something about deep physical and emotional suffering that brings forth an outpouring of the agony of a soul, to be spilled upon the page.

My greatest inspirations for writing in my blog have always come from a deep place of suffering, and from that place a longing to be heard and to help others, as well as seek a higher purpose and find a calling in my words. It seems that this fact in and of itself shines a great light on the purpose of pain, and the reason for “senseless” trials and tribulations in this life. I know I’ve touched on the subject before, but how often do we relate to the story of another who has walked in our shoes and suffered the same as we have, in a way we could never relate to the kind words and comfort of someone who has no idea what we are experiencing? We are touched by those who overcome and find peace and joy not when suffering ends, but in the midst of it and despite of it.

This week I finished a short five day devotional called Finding God Faithful. It focused on the story of Joseph; we know the story so well, I feel to the point of not actually experiencing it anymore. Much like the mindlessness of repeating a memorized verse or song, that has lost any spark of meaning due to it’s familiarity. And yet, I found a new message in the story of Joseph that I feel relates specifically to not only God’s relentless and unending faithfulness to us, but how we experience Him in trials and suffering.

Part of the verse that was emphasized in this short devotional (that was repeated in several places) was “God was with Joseph”.

So simple, and yet so profound. Because did God initially show up and rescue Joseph from the pit or being sold into slavery? Did God for many many years rescue Joseph from prison or change his circumstance? No he didn’t, at least not for a long time. So where was Joseph’s comfort? How was God with Joseph this whole time? And on the flipside, how was Joseph unwavering in his faith? It certainly was not in seeing God change his circumstances, or end his suffering. The answer is in abiding in him, and holding fast not onto how God would work, but onto the person and character of God himself and having unshakable faith in a faithful and unchanging God.

It is easy to think we have faith in God when in fact without always realizing it, often we fall into having faith in how we want Him to work, what we think He will do, how we believe He will make us feel, how He will change someone….

When our faith is placed in the “what, when, where and how”, this is where we are sometimes disappointed, and our faith is shaken.

When our faith however truly rests in the “Who”, we shall never be disappointed; for our focus is on the unchanging character and nature of God and His promises to us, that are not always about our comfort, but about our good and His glory.

“”Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”

Isaiah 49:15-16

“and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:27-28

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

John 10:27-29

(Also see the entire chapter Psalm 139).

To those with chronic illness that betrays them on a daily basis in their physical bodies and even in their minds and emotions; I know the agony of hopelessness, I know the pain and despair of seeing no end to suffering. Some of us will get well. Some of us will receive partial healing. Some of us will see the path of suffering go on to the horizon with no end in sight. We do not always know the answers, sometimes God is gracious to show us the reasons in this life, like he did to Joseph. And for some of us the answers may not come. It is here that our faith rests that God is relentlessly intentional to us, and the promise we rest on is that everything works together for our good and his glory. Disappointment comes when that good and glory doesn’t look the way we think it will look or want it to look.

I am in a season where so much has changed for the better, yes there are still struggles with chronic symptoms including unexplainable fatigue that hits me from time to time, seasons of brain fog, the relentlessness of inflammation and autoimmune reactivity…. But I am grateful that the last couple years has brought me to a place of peace with where I am in my life and with the Lord.

I am in another season of a faith journey which is stretching me, but which I face with equal appreciation as I do struggle.

The reason being is that there is a very sweet spot that you find with the Lord and a reliance on him during times that your faith is being stretched, that you cannot experience in any other way. Right now I find myself in a beautiful place of abiding, in a place of praying without ceasing; which is less about actual prayer than it is a constant commune with the Lord and an acknowledgment of Him in every thought I think, everything I do, in every waking moment of the day where He is my director, my comforter, my shield, my guide, my peace.

In the past I have given over more years than I can count to darkness and being in a place of mourning over things lost, and suffering that robbed me of so much life. I told God recently that I have spent too much of my life in a dark hallway grieving over closed doors. It is with extreme gratitude that several years back I had a friend challenge me out of that place, that I was to give my grief as an offering to the Lord and let him exchange it for a different vision, and He was faithful to do so.

So today, I have less to say about the particulars of the symptoms and sufferings of chronic Lyme disease along with its coinfection’s and complications, and less about the emotional place of agony we find ourselves in chronic illness.

Today rather I try and speak from a different place in the journey, a place further up the road, which is more a spiritual place than a physical one. There’s still so much in life that has not yet happened for me, that I have not experienced, that I have not reclaimed from the lost years of the past… and yet, God is with me.

No Wasted Days In The Kingdom

My dear friends a couple days ago I wrote a new blog post trying to explain what it was like on a day of struggle. I wrote it as an outlet on a bad day that (seemed) like a total waste and just another hole in my life; I had no idea how wrong I was…

Lately I have been exploring with the Lord what it really, truly, tangibly means to work out my faith and walk in faith when I (feel) that my life is in a stagnant state, not being able to do everything I want to do, not being able to be active in the way I want…

What I believe He has been teaching me is that this means that my posture before Him must be one of praise, worship and rejoicing no matter what I feel or what my eyes see. That working out my faith in these places is all about attitude, perspective and obedience.

Also I have found that He has been working on my worst days when I do choose to be obedient. It’s hard when you are alone in your room not feeling up to doing anything and you’re like “Lord, what does being obedient look like on a day of nothingness?”

On a few of these days He has called me to write and this has been more fruitful than me writing on days I feel better.

So back to His miracle of redemption on me writing about a day of waste and emptiness. 

I wrote the post I shared ( Confessions Of A Functioning Lymie) on what it’s like to live through one of those in between days where people don’t see you, where you don’t feel up to doing anything, and God used that post in ways I didn’t see coming. 

You see I’ve been blogging for about 3 1/2 years about my Lyme journey and it has been fruitful and God has definitely used it to reach and help others. I do get contacted personally from time to time by other Lyme sufferers both through my blog and Facebook page, sometimes asking for help and advice. This can be overwhelming at times and heart-wrenching at hearing the depth of suffering and being unable to help, especially when the people have no access to treatment or the ability to afford it.

Usually when I post something new I will get under a hundred hits on that given day, but of course visitors will continue to read it over the coming days, months and years… The biggest “explosion” I have ever gotten in my years of blogging on a single blog post was over 200 hits in one day and it was something! 

Weeeeell, much to my surprise my most recent post exploded like nothing I have ever had before; other Lyme bloggers and Lyme related pages re-blogged and re-posted and on its first day it got about 1,200 hits, 2,300 on its second day, and as of about 8pm Saturday the 18th it’s gotten just over 6,100 hits. This is beyond me and my ability to promote. 


Well boy oh boy is God teaching me about redemption. I am getting so many responses and personal messages that are touching me and breaking my heart, but showing me how God uses suffering. Here are a few:


Blog Comments

(Since these people’s comments are public when they post them I am hoping it is okay to include some here)

I am struggling terribly. I have been diagnosed and the drs office treated me until the ins stopped paying the huge mark ups on the seevices and no lyme in Texas theroy leaves me bewildered. No one will treat my Lyme and I have lost all hope. My finances are terrible and the drs lack basic knowledge and refuse any effort. The disease is winning and clearly my husband and my kids 5 teens and 1 yr old grand baby deserve better…”.   ~Sara
Thank you for writing this. You just described my life verbatim. Although I do not enjoy hearing of another’s suffering, it is nice to know that I am not alone, and that someone else knows and understands what I am going through. God bless and speed you in your recovery, may your good days outnumber the bad ones and continue to multiply!”   ~Cheryl

“Is there a way to subscribe to your blog? I am not seeing it. I just read your BIO and it sounds just like me so I’d love to see your new posts as they come. Thanks.”        ~Traci

Thank you for writing this……I feel like I could of wrote this myself as this is exactly how my life is on a daily basis down to the exact meds and trying to plan out when to take them. Glad I’m not crazy and the only one that experiences these specific things. I wish you all the best and hope the good days start to out weigh the bad.”       ~Brenda

Wow. I’m at a stage where I don’t talk about my symptoms anymore because even I’m bored of hearing it and I’m also embarrassed every time I see that “oh, here we go again!” look on someone’s face if I dare to mention that my legs hurt or I’m exhausted (the usual response is “but you haven’t done anything!”). This is the first time I have read the experiences of others and it is so good to know that I’m not a mad, paranoid, hypochondriac but a normal person living with a disease that the medical profession will not accept or treat. “.          ~Julie


me exactly as well. it’s been going on (and off and on and off and on) for 21 years. danced (clean) for a solid 4 hours about two weeks ago, and paid for it a few days later and currently still in recovery mode. my first appointment with a lyme-literate professional is tomorrow. THANK YOU FOR THIS. ~Gwupara

Thank you so much for writing and sharing this! It’s as is if I was ready my life! You are right, only Lymies will understand and that’s what I try to remind myself when I feel judged. They are not walking in my shoes so it’s not fair for me to judge others either. Praying for strength and health for us all!”   ~Karen

“Hooked up to my IV antibiotic as I read your post! Late stage Lyme that is attacking the Neuro stem of my brain. Ms/stroke like flares that occur about every 5 weeks lasting 7-10 days. Right sided paralysis, left sided severe migraine, cognitive impairment, visual distortion, aphasia and slurred speech, all over painful muscle spasms with continual involuntary twitching. The body becomes possessed and there is nothing to be done about it until the flare runs its course.             You then have 3 or so weeks to recover, get back on your feet and try to regain some strength, just in time to do it all over again!     A total nightmarish hell that began out of the blue 3 years ago slowly killing me a bit more with each day that passes.                                       I get up, dress up, makeup, and show up usually with a smile! Must not quit, must continue to perservire. What’s the alternative! Got two small kids, can’t work, going bankrupt due to Medical bills and tests not being covered. The list goes on and on with no explanations, rationalizations or solutions. Just prayers, prayers and more prayers, to understand, to cope, to live”.        ~Sheryl

Thanks you so much for this. It made me cry but also gave me a chance to post it to my friends to see if they can understand me. I am on a downward spiral and I can’t seem to stop it. I am in a wheelchair but I keep working 3 days a week. You could of written this for me. Thanks heaps and I hope that your struggle is less. xxxxx”.  ~M.I.

“I’m so sorry. You have just described my life exactly. I was in medical management and had to stop because of what you described. I walked in everyday after work and got in bed and stayed there. Now, my disability insurance is denying my claim…..”    ~Kathy

The other amazing thing is what was happening last Monday night the 13th; despite not feeling well and having worked all day, I went to a gathering of six ladies Monday night. One of the things we did as a group was each of us prayed and had an activity of writing down prophetic words for each other. It was amazing as they were read around the room because of the continuity of what was received from the Spirit for each woman and each had so much personal meaning.

For me, sitting there, not feeling well and not being as “present” as I would have liked I received words from three out of the five women about hearts; having a ministry to other people’s hearts/that people would come to me for healing not of their bodies but for their hearts/that people would come to me because I would understand/that God has entrusted me with a heart ministry…(!!!)

Wow, none of these ladies knew what was going on in the online world that day and that people were indeed flocking to my post and messaging me.

I was so touched by God and His redemption and that He was using me on a day I felt empty and unusable. It really teaches me on a deep level truths I already knew; everything God says about suffering. 
Suffering has been talked about so much at my home church and we have all suffered, none of us has been untouched by it. I know I have shared that God as our Redeemer and His redemptive power has become so personal to me and that not only can we believe that He can use our suffering for our good, His glory, a testimony, a ministry, to comfort others with the comfort we have received, our refinement, growth in faith…. But that we can with TENACITY chase down these things in the very midst of suffering as our blood-bought right in Christ! We needn’t sit back and think that during the trial is just a misery to get to the blessing at the end, and have promises at the end of suffering, no, ours in Christ is having those promises in the midst of suffering; a promise and purpose in every pain. Nothing ever wasted, ever. 

I was also very blessed yesterday to get in on an appointment five days sooner than what was scheduled with my doctor in Anacortes. The pain, swelling and fatigue had really upped their anti the last several weeks (I still believe it’s die off from my treatment of half a dozen little buggers). I had really taken a dive and have been sleeping like 12 hours a day with naps in between on days I’m not working. He said that my autoimmune reactivity was indeed very bad and he could tell my body was in crisis mode.

Thankfully he did necessary adjustments and hopefully the fire will calm down. Pain and swelling still bad bad bad today, but I feel clearer and have a better sense of well being.

Onward and upward. 💚 #deathtocoinfections 👊🏻
To sum it up though I have been given yet another shot of hope, not so much in my body as in my spirit, and I know that there are facets to this journey I have not even begun to understand as far as what God is doing. But I know He is working mightily. 

Healing and God’s Will

I wrote this earlier this year in June. I was inspired while out walking and listening to the audio book of The Cost Of Discipleship by Dietrich Boenhoffer. 

For my non-Christian followers this may not feel like it directly applies to where you are in your Lyme journey, but I hope you will still find encouragement.
I have been reflecting, reading and meditating on a few things over the past few days and (hopefully) have some things to share that God is teaching me about some subjects we have hit on including suffering and God’s will.

We are multi-generations in now in our country to a very western (and worldly) mindset regarding our “rights” as human beings; the right to comfort, contentment, worldly pleasures, wealth and prosperity. I think this culture has ingrained itself into our way of thinking in ways we probably do not entirely comprehend. We as Christians are called to a different view, but in the same way the kind of family a person is brought up in effects the way they view the world and their heavenly Father, so to does our culture do that to us in how we approach interpreting all things having to do with God. I think because of this it is easy to come at scripture with a “here and now” mindset, especially when it comes to what we expect from God. 
  

   I have especially been going deep into how this effects the way we view God’s will and what we are to expect in this life with our walk with Jesus. In the gospel Jesus said :

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”. Matt 10:34. 

 “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; Luke 12:51 

New Covenant verses on suffering below* Jesus in His ministry on earth did heal, but this was in accordance with the revelation of His glory and revealing Himself as the Son of God. All of Jesus miracles were much more about the glory of God than they were about the comfort of the healed. Even with Lazarus Jesus says of his sickness “This sickness is not end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son Of God may be revealed”. In these verses we are told the point and purpose of healing in these earthen vessels are for the purpose and glory of God. This is not only true in the time of Jesus but is still true today. That being said, Jesus was also very clear that entering into a relationship with Him is to take a walk into death…to deny ourselves, to take up our cross and follow Him. We enter into death and new life along with Jesus and we are called into the privilege to suffer as Jesus suffered. But nowhere in Scripture does Jesus tell us we will be free from pain and suffering and sickness in this life, quite the opposite. Which is why the New Testament is full of passages on sufferings, trials, enduring, and bearing all things … in joy. 
    Going back to God’s will; taking into account all of the above, we are to pray for healing and told to pray for the sick and He can and does heal, and in those times He miraculously heals we can trust that He is brought the most glory in that situation. For ourselves we have renewed faith, we give testimony to the unsaved and Jesus is revealed that He is still the ultimate Healer. I am a firm believer in the possibility of miracles. But if we err on the side of believing that healing and wholeness (in the strictly physical sense) is always God’s will we can then fall prey to spending our lives in disappointment, doubt, indecision, unfulfilled and lacking joy….which we are told we have in Christ in the midst of suffering. I think also if we believe that healing is always God’s will this aligns our minds not with Christ but instead with a world system that would tell us we are entitled to our own personal comforts and our selfish needs being met in this life. As it was brought up in last week’s discussion we have the promise of perfect and glorified bodies but not in this life. God’s will in every situation is unclear most of the time as to the particulars because we are not God and we have no foreknowledge of which outcome will bring Him the most glory and us the most good. 

   Going into Scripture of how we are told to pray we have the example from Jesus Himself “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. But what does that mean? What God has been laying on my heart that coming at a passage like this we can err in bringing along our western mindset and include ourselves in the equation; that in heaven there is no death or pain or suffering so that must mean we are entitled to that on earth. I believe that this is completely out of context the same way that 1Peter 2:24 is used out of context for faith healing when that verse has nothing to do with our physical bodies, in that this passage is not about us but rather about the Lord being glorified as He is in heaven. 

   Another danger zone I think we are more prey to falling into with believing God’s will is about comfort and healing on this earth is that this view can come dangerously close to aligning itself with universal spiritualism and a new-age “christianity” that is in our midst and growing, that focuses on world peace, love, healing and prosperity. This may be a stretch, but the spirit of anti- (in opposition to) Christ is alive and well today, and this spirit of false Christ will/does look good. It is the spirit of love without judgement, God in all things, acceptance without repentance…It is a spirit of the here and now instead of the glory that is to come and it is all about us and our happiness instead of Christ glorified. (Thank you Marcie for the reminder of the dangers of the antichrist, you rock). And going back to the words of Jesus that He came to bring division, that we will suffer for Christ, and that this life will not be free from pain and tribulation…we need to be steadfast and alert and stay in His Word not to fall prey the the false Jesus’s that will promise health and wholeness, peace and prosperity. 
I think there is great power in this! In knowing that we have the power of Christ in us to overcome all sickness and tribulation in knowing we have something far more valuable, that joy in suffering is ours to claim as part of our inheritence in Christ, a part of what we can have while in earthen vessels. There is so much richness here to be learned and explored. And of course as always there is great joy and power when Jesus does choose to miraculously heal, He still does and still will. The treasure is in knowing that there is a miracle in the healing and an equal and no lesser miracle in the overcoming. For we are first and foremost overcomers in Christ. 
To God be the glory forever and ever amen. 

      
* Romans 5:3-5 
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

James 1:2-4 
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Romans 8:18 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
1 Peter 4:12-19

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. … 
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies  

A Deeper Truth To Joy

fellow Lymies and any other readers out there, it has been a little while since my last blog post.

Sometimes I wonder what more we can say to each other after years through the journey of chronic illness; posting our tests, therapies, thoughts and emotions, new LLMDs…. I am very near to my two year anniversary on WordPress and I am glad I have an online journal of this journey. I have tried my best to remain translucent through the good days and the bad. I have always thought that complete honesty is the only way to write a blog through suffering, both for yourself and for others. I do firmly believe that not sharing the times that are ugly in a way is a lie. Please to those who choose not to I mean no disrespect, we all have our own paths to walk. Not that there is anything wrong with putting on a happy face, but this can easily become putting on a good front, which (I personally believe) does a disservice to yourself and a disservice to others who are suffering. There is nothing more comforting than knowing you are not alone and that others have walked or walk a similar journey with you. That is why we love stories of survival and those who overcome, it gives us hope that you can get through this.

What has been challenging is that posting  during the down days and “angry liver” episodes (oh yes), brain fog malaise and everything else…there has been guilt about not being strong enough, not having enough faith, not being the best living testimony I can be. This is something I think I am getting over and one thing I am seeing the value in more each day is the pain that becomes beauty when it is redeemed by joy and thanksgiving. 

Yes it is an odd place I find myself in, in that I have become very grateful for all th years of physical and emotional pain. This is not attributed to me or my character at all; I am whiny, unhappy, miserable, grieving, fearful, desperate, grumpy, dopey, bashful… Oh sorry. Um, got off course there. But very seriously this is who I would be if left to my own devices without God. 

We are told to count it all joy when we encounter various trials, that the testing of our faith produces endurance, we are to exult in tribulations. The depth of what the Bible says about suffering is too much to go into right now, but I feel called to just focus on a little facet of joy (rather than the full decagon). 

Misery is easy, joy is hard. Here’s the tough one, both are a choice.

 One thing I have personally learned as truth is that we have a false paradigm that we need to get to the end of suffering to find joy…..to get to the other side of trials and only in hindsight of what we have been through, find joy. This is not exactly what the Bible teaches about joy in suffering.  We tend to forget a significant two letter word… “In”    I think one thing we (please place me in this inclusive word) put “joy” and “happiness” in the same catagory. Happy is a temporal thing, something that is brought on by sunny days, tasty food and good circumstances. Joy is on a deeper level beneath the shallowness of emotions, something spiritual. 

I have been meditating on this and I think joy and peace are twin sisters; not sure if one follows the other in birth order or not, but deep joy brings deep peace and deep peace brings deep joy. 

I have joy and peace in knowing that I have walked through nothing that has not been filtered through the hands of God for my good and His glory. I am joyful and humbled that silly little me has been chosen for trial to be purified, strengthened and matured. I am deeply honored to be an ambassador for Christ and to be able to share not only information with fellow sufferers but hopefully also to encourage and exhort. 

I’m not all better yet, but I’m on the upswing and amazingly I am content right now with a little deep tissue pain and my little buddy edema and the other little symptoms that are still hanging around. Am I “happy” with these little hitchhikers? No, but still joyful ;)



Silence is not always the absence of words, but things so deep as not to be put to the page.

Learning To Live Again

I spent some time reading your posts tonight. I must admit I avoid reading the the blogs of fellow Lyme sufferers most nights of the week because I have to be in the right mental state to do so. The reason is that you break my heart. A lot of times I cannot help but respond when moved; to encourage you, let you know I am praying for you and of course when appropriate, do my best to advise and share with you.

Image

I have walked this path and (although I find myself mostly better) I do continue to walk it with you. I have noticed that as my complaints and symptoms slowly ebb away I feel less and less compelled to post and share. However I been thinking over the last couple weeks that this may be a mistake. Does the story simply end when the physical pain is mostly gone? Is there nothing more to say when fatigue doesn’t knock you flat?

I think there is more to say at this stage in the illness journey than ever because I am no longer bound by the limitations of how I am physically feeling and the mental and emotional devastation that come from that place. First, before I go on I am thinking my experience is a bit different than a lot of the stories I read because there are so many very young and lovely ladies on here that are suffering greatly who are still very young. You are in high school or your very early twenties, and your life has come to a halt because of your illness. You may not be able to finish school or enjoy all the activities that your friends enjoy, but have hope! You are young and you have been diagnosed and (God wiling) are getting proper treatment and will have an amazing life ahead of you. I also read the stories of some equally lovely ladies that are older, are married and have children (many who have adult children), and you are having a very different experience where you also suffer the difficulty of feeling that you are not there for your families.

    Pardon me I am meandering a bit, but I guess what I am trying to say is that I relate to all of you in different ways, but I am not quite in the same place either. I am now 35 and single. I find myself to be in this strange in between place where I am no longer young and yet my life has certainly not followed the logical chronological order that should have transpired at this point. So I am kind of being “kicked out” of the chronically ill club and well, where do I go from here? This may be a strange analogy but I feel like Eliza Doolittle at the end of My Fair Lady when she sobs “What’s to become of me? what’s to become of me?”. You see Eliza has her whole life in front of her and her future has changed for the better but everything she was and made her “her” is gone. No more flower girl, no more peers who work in the same circle as herself, just a complete paradigm shift.

It sounds dumb I know but there is some fear in moving forward. Why? Because I am no longer in “survival mode” where life was all about just getting through the day…just making it through work…. just doing the bare minimum. Living in this mode is how I have spent most of the last decade of my life and now in a way has to be unlearned. I am having a shift back into life which I must say is wonderful! There are a thousand things I have always wanted to do that I can now (God willing) start doing. I am unexpectedly running into….dun dun dun dun….fear. But what if I still can’t? What if the reason things don’t happen for me in life can no longer be blamed on a disease but instead cannot be realized for other reasons? Hmmm… This is where faith comes in. This entire journey has been one long test of faith. The interesting thing is that you think of faith as being a simple thing, and in fact it is. But it is also something that we continually learn and grow in throughout our lives. The faith that got me through my hardest days physically and emotionally…through my toughest days, is at it’s base the very same that I need now, trust God. Pretty simple. That said I think it is more my reaction to that belief and the choices I make in regards to that belief that are different. God calls us to different courses of action throughout our lives and according to our circumstances. His gentle words to trust remain constant, but now I feel Him telling me that the time of apathy is over, now is the time to walk and leap instead of crawl.

     Now I must share with you that I am an all or nothing thinker. So I tend to put the pressure on myself that my entire future depends on every little step or decision, my entire life depends on what I do right now! As I am writing this I am finding peace in knowing that faith comes in the steps just as much as in the giant leaps. God is calling me to “trust” and “obey” (His go to words to me over the last several years). The responsibility on my part is to spend time with Him and rest in the fact that every step forward while walking in obedience is a step towards the future He has planned for me.

Deep sigh. Whatever happens it is all good. 🙂

 

A Hope For A New Year

So much has changed since exactly one year ago;
I am not hopeless
I am not depressed
I am not mostly bedridden
I have a job
The “life” is coming back into my life
So much has happened this year internally and externally.

I must say that for the first time in about a decade I am spending the 31st not lamenting being a year older and another year gone, but instead having so much hope for this next year and what it will bring.
I can see how far God has taken me as a person, how much I have grown. I am stronger and have more faith, I am wiser, I have learned I am an overcomer, and in refinement and trials He has taken a fragile scared weak little girl and made her something entirely different.
Then of course there is the years of illness and disease…. But I just really don’t feel like focusing on that with recovery on the horizon.
You see for the first time (maybe ever) I want to have a to do list for next year believing that God will complete the restoration of my body.

I want to spend a lot more time in study and prayer

I want to bike 40 miles

I want to go to Disneyworld

I want to go to a shooting range with my sis

I want to get my body back to its optimum weight and enjoy being active again

I want to begin the relationship with the love of my life

I want to have awesome plans for every major holiday

I want to get a passport and have some stamps in it

I want to go zip lining

I want to see fireworks from a boat

I want to spend a lot more time with the amazing friends in my life

I want to run 5 miles

I want to try archery

And for all the other things I can’t think of I at the moment I will just say whatever I do I want to LIVE

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Okay, part 2 of What A Difference A Year Makes

So yesterday I posted something I had written one year ago, it had hope and worship in the theme, but I remember how I was trying to pull that from a very deep place and was really struggling to “feel” it.
One year ago I just started my Lyme treatment after being on a couple months of “prep”, involving detoxing, being treated for mold, etc. I had just lost my job of 4 years and the herxing had begun. So began a few of the worst months of my life. From September into December of 2012 was when I was pretty much bed ridden except for maybe feeling up to going to the grocery store a few times a week. My friends can tell you I disappeared off the face of the earth, and really didn’t even feel up to taking phone calls.
But more than physical desolation was my spiritual and emotional state. I had to dig deep whenever I spoke of hope, because I wasn’t feeling it. I was really dealing with depression and hopelessness. I look at where I was then, and who I was then as a person, and I am struck with awe at how much God has changed me, and I mean this from more than just who I was as a sick person, but down to the inner core of my being.
He has brought me from timidity to boldness. He has changed me from fearful to strong and faithful. He has changed my outlook on life and reason for being. All these things He has been working on over time of course, but the amazing work He has done just in a year is striking. I am entering a place of peace now like nothing I have ever known, and all I can say is that it is far beyond me and my capabilities, it is divine.
I have been listening to Times Of Refreshing by Graham Cooke the last three days, it is about joy and rejoicing. So much is resonating with me…about not looking at the negative, but instead knowing that God has more abundance of joy available to us in suffering. We can reach an even higher level than otherwise possible in our rejoicing, our trust and our faith than we could if all was well. “Lamentation is the highest form of rejoicing, because it has a ‘though’ and ‘yet’. Though I am suffering, even if He slay me yet will I worship Him”
Let me tell you that this is true!!! God is doing something miraculous in me, I am attaining peace beyond understanding, joy despite circumstance! I am so happy right now! And I honestly can’t understand it other then God. Because I have literally spent the last eight years or so of my life grieving; grieving my lost youth, wasted years, my sick body, all my disappointments, my intense loneliness…Living everyday in grief is not living, and it only gives you yet another day of grief.
I know that a huge part of my countenance was my illness and what it was doing to my mind, even as I was starting to get better I was having a hard time pulling out of grief and hopelessness. Because of course if you start to get better after so many years of sickness it really hits you how much older you are, and just how much waste trails behind you…I came to a place of truly surrendering all this to God, and He replaced it with peace and joy.

So one year ago I lost my job and panicked. One year ago I was desperately ill and hopeless. One year ago I felt so unworthy of love or for anything good to happen to me.
Today suddenly I find myself without fretting. Instead of grieving I see how God has/is working all the suffering, illness and all the rest for my good and His glory. I am not the same. Now it is my job just to keep giving it back to Him when the doubts and fears try and creep in, because they have no business being a part of me anymore.

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What a Difference A Year Makes!

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I was musing today how far I have come in just one year…not just with healing but to what a degree God has changed me inwardly…I am amazed. I am posting below something I wrote almost exactly one year ago, I will post tomorrow about where I am now. (stay tuned!)

Have you ever found that God works the way you expect Him to? I certainly never have…
I have been musing over the last few months (as I have many times in the past) that I am just not where I expected to be at this point in my life. I can remember being 20 years old and asking God for a calling on my life, a heart like His, and an amazing marriage that would come about in a remarkable way so that all could see it was His doing. I have had a few time periods in my life where I have seen God moving, and that have been very spiritually rewarding and times of growth. But it seems that it has been a very long time in the valley for years now, and I have felt like I am caught in a rip tide, or that I am a plane in a holding pattern…stuck in one spot.
Now I am not saying that this valley has not had points of light, I have some great friends that I can call sisters, and I had a work environment with people I consider family, and a job I enjoyed. I did say “had”, because as of Thursday that is no longer the case…. I had recently started praying again over the last few weeks or so that God will heal my body, and lead me to the calling He has for me. My deepest heart’s desire has always been to convey His truths to others, and to help others grow.
In times like this when I pray and I am trembling inside with the fear of the unknown, God has been giving me the mental image of Peter on the water, being afraid when he did not focus on Jesus. With that image I can hear God in my mind literally tell me “Do not look at the water, the water is the world”. I know this to mean that the stormy water literally represents everything that is the world…material possessions, the opinion of others, job security, distractions… So really we have 2 options in life; we can look at the “water” be it calm or stormy, or we can look to Jesus.
These past few days have been very difficult, but I am finding the peace of letting go. I spoke to a dear friend last night for over an hour and a half, and she told me that I am going through a grieving process, and I need to move through the steps of

loss; shock, sadness, anger, acceptance, etc. This does help me understand what I am feeling, and that I need to simply let go mentally and emotionally. I need to pity those who are dishonorable, cruel, liars and selfish. I cannot take guilt upon myself, or feel low self worth because of the character of others.
So, back to my first question; No, God definitely does not answer prayer in the way we expect, so I need to trust Him now, I know that He is placing His hands beneath my feet as I walk forward one step at a time, blindfolded in the dark.
As the next few days will determine my future I am praying that good things will come, and I will not look down at the raging sea…

Written A Few Years Ago, But Every Bit As True Today

Future and Hope

January 23, 2010 at 9:23am
Whenever things are difficult, or when we go through trials, or times when life seems hopeless, we cling to verses like Jeremiah 29:11, that God has a future and a hope for us. But so often it is easy to claim these verses for our own peace of mind, in accordance with our own selfish wants and desires for material things and happiness. At least I find that to be true from time to time, I think; “this trial will soon pass and things will get easier”, or I equate “future” and “hope” to be a promise for my own personal happiness.

Now I do not mean that we tend to be selfish in regards to wanting “everything all for ourselves”, but rather we forget that our future, hope, existence, and lives, are for the purposes and plans, and ultimately for the glory of God. Just the very fact that you belong to Him means you were predestined for a purpose, called according to His purpose. My friend if you belong to God, and have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, rest assured whom God saves He also predestines. From before there was time, your life had meaning and purpose. We think of high points and low points in our lives as sometimes moving forward, or slipping back, but God doesn’t work in these human terms. When He said He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose, we can believe that everything that happens in life is for the ultimate glory of God, and you will never fall backwards in life, God does not “slip backwards”, or “get stuck”. Whether you are on the mountain, or deep in the valley, rest assured you are always moving forward.

Wherever you are right now, believe that just the fact that you belong to Christ, and that you exist, means you have a future and a hope, and that fact has nothing to do with any physical wants and needs, or temporal joy, (not that we will not have these things, but the big picture is so much greater). Tonight dwell on the omniscience of El Elyon, the greatness and vastness of all creation, the billions of people in generations past and yet to come, and then know that you were specifically called and chosen according to His very specific purpose.Image