Sunday, November 25, 2012

ME... It may not be pretty!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to write on here. I thought I would give you an update on what’s been going on with me.  As some of you may know I have an autoimmune disease I have struggled with for the past seven years.  It is not necessarily life-threatening, but definitely life altering.  We have tried everything to get it to go into remission with no luck.  I have had seasons of good health mixed in with others that were pretty bad lasting longer than we expected.  Recently I was approved to have special treatments that could possibly throw me into a long-term remission (1-3yrs).  The treatments started the end of September and lasted four weeks.  I was told I wouldn’t start to notice the improvement until six weeks later which would be this week.  The treatment was risky, but worth it.  The downside has been the side-effects I have struggled with since then. I am thankful they are only fatigue and some occasional chest pains (not heart related).  It could have been much worse.  These have kept me up and down quite a bit this past month.  Hence the delay in writing… it’s hard to focus when you are so exhausted.
So here is the scoop on me that you have missed…  I am giving you the raw and real details of my journey.  It may not be pretty!  I have had my ups and downs over the past seven years.  It’s been pretty rough at times.  I have felt forgotten by God and overlooked.  I have been depressed, disappointed, and overwhelmed.  I have felt with out purpose and hope.  I have wondered “Why me?” often and have prayed desperately hoping to hear God’s voice… waiting for a miracle.  I am human just like you.  I struggle.  I worry.  I fear. 
BUT… through this journey I have also learned that looking back at my past has helped me trust God with my future.  Each time I prayed and felt like it was hitting the walls, I remembered all the times God moved on my behalf in the past and did amazing things.  Each time I felt like I didn’t have purpose or that I was forgotten, I was reminded of how in the past God used my failures, unfortunate circumstances, or heartache to touch and inspire someone else to keep moving forward.  Why would God do any different with this situation now?  I needed to trust Him blindly and believe He would be faithful.
In my lowest moments (being sick)… when I got to the end of myself I found that God was all I needed.  He makes all of the difference.  His peace goes beyond our comprehension and is priceless.  My relationship with God has changed so much.  It has grown deeper and more personal.  He has become so real to me.  It’s more than going to church.  It’s more than something I do or say that I am.  It’s personal.  I don’t want to play games… I want the real thing or nothing at all.
I have watched a couple movies recently that have touched me deeply.  Some phrases spoken in them have jumped off the screen and settled into my heart.  The first was from the movie Courageous.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet you need to… it is so inspiring.  There is a point in the movie where a grief stricken father goes to visit his pastor for counseling and this is what the pastor shares with him..."you can be angry for the time you lost or grateful for the time you had." This is paraphrased of course, but can apply to so many areas of our lives. SO true!
This quote is something I have struggled with off and on in the past.  In a sense the past seven years have felt wasted to me… being sick.  BUT… I know God doesn’t waste anything if we give it to Him.  I have to admit I have stewed over what I couldn’t do feeling I had no purpose.  In other moments I have been thankful for the simplest of tasks I could do no matter how little.  Sometimes we take things for granted.  I guess I did… talking, seeing, walking, driving, eating whatever I want, the ability to minister to others through teaching or preaching, and so much more.  After wasting a lot of time stewing, I have decided to be grateful for whatever God has allowed me to experience instead of angry for the time lost.  I have placed my life in God’s hands and I trust Him with it and the details.  I am not saying this has been easy… it is a choice I have to make daily.  Some days I choose well and others I choose worry or fear over faith.

The second movie I saw recently was Soul Surfer.  I highly recommend it!  It is based on a true story.  It’s about a girl who loses her arm in a tragic shark attack while surfing.  After the attack she eventually works her way back into surfing and even competing.  Reporters swarmed her after one of her competitions asking all kinds of questions.  One asked this… “If you could go back to that horrible day and surf again, would you do it?” This is what she said… “Surfing isn't the most important thing in life. Love is. I've had the chance to embrace more people with one arm than I ever could with two.”
Wow… how powerful.  What perspective!  That’s how I want to live every day… looking for the good in even the most difficult situations I face.  God has the ability to turn any bad situation around for good when we give it to Him.  I can’t tell you how many people I have been able to minister to, love on, encourage, lift out of their pit of despair, and pray with since being sick.  For some reason people feel more comfortable and connect on a different level with me now.  My sickness has affected many areas of my life opening doors to share and identify with people I never would have dreamed.  I share openly and honestly about my journey.  I have nothing to hide… I think that is why others feel safe to share their lives with me.  If God can use these past seven years of sickness to touch even one person for Him, I cannot count them as wasted.
I am grateful for the chance to have even the hope of a symptom-free year.  Many don’t have this option.  I am blessed to have a family that has been so supportive through all of this.  My husband has been amazing!  He carried our household in many ways taking on the role of mom and dad in a very crucial time for our boys.  He has loved me through all seasons, all shapes, and sizes.  He is my hero and inspiration.  I hope my boys have been watching all of these years the depths of his love for me lived out on a daily basis.  It is immeasurable.
So… this is me right now in a nutshell.  Hopefully as I start to feel better I will be writing more.  I am still working on finishing up my book called… “Surviving Life’s Mudpuddles”…  only three more chapters to go.  Coming soon!
I hope you have been encouraged in some sense by my honest attempt to share the real me with you with all its imperfections.  If God can use me to touch even one person for Him, He can use you too.  I am always available to talk or pray with you.  Be blessed today my friend!
Living to leave a legacy,