Still Hear The Whisper

It’s 11:30 in the morning, and I’ve already had my share of crying today. I’ve calmed down but I still want to crawl in my bed and just sleep the day away. Oh wait, I have problems with my muscles tightening terribly anytime I try to relax… so sleeping is usually out of pure exhaustion. I wonder how much crying I have to do to get to the point of exhaustion.

Honestly, what I really want is to just stop hurting. And to be heard. To have a doctor genuinely care and want to help me. Not just any doctor. You know, the kind that is supposed to help you. I just had another bad experience from a doctor that really has no interest in helping me, and this is coming from a rheumatologist. If he can’t help me, who can?

Even when I’m at my worst, I can hear the whisper from God. It’s easy to rely on a doctor to help me but they have an inadvertent way of reminding me that only God can.

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A Refuge For The Oppressed

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I wrote a song on my last album called, “Don’t Let Me Get Comfortable.” It’s one of those songs with a strong message that had to have come from up above because I was just a baby Christian at the time. Especially considering it’s something I’m still grappling with. It sounds like cake when the sun is out, but let a storm roll in and it’s hard not to run for shelter.

When I think of shelter, I normally think of the comfy couch in my living room. Even the seats in my mini-van aren’t that bad. But what if you had to endure the storm way past your limit in order to have the things you really wanted? Would you weather the storm or settle on whatever is closest just to get out of the rain? If you’re just looking to get out of the rain, you might settle for something like this…

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Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Does it bring you a sense of peace? I feel like I would be in even more danger in that shack than I would be outside of it. And isn’t that how it feels sometimes when we are in a hurry to find peace?

When we get tired and fed up with our current situation we will look for anything to make us feel better.

We decide to seek shelter in the world from things that don’t provide the comfort we are seeking. It may be food, drugs, sex, money, gambling… even relationships with people we know aren’t good for us. For me it’s food, sweets specifically and with everything I’m going through, it’s the last thing on earth I need. On that note, I’m just going to put these jellybeans aside.

The good news is that it is okay to seek comfort in stressful times, but it should come from God.

It is okay to come in out of the rain, but we have to be mindful of what’s really going on. We need to know in every given situation if we are choosing comfort provided by the Lord, or comfort provided by the world. Are we looking for a quick bandaid or true healing? We also have to make sure that our seeking comfort is not a way for us to escape the path He has set us on (which is what my song was about).

There are many verses in the bible that talk about comfort during trying times, especially in the Book of Psalms. Psalm 9:9 tells us that “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Elsewhere in the Psalms, we learn that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (46:1). And then of course, there is Psalms 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

When we are in a rainy season, or even a season of waiting, it is easy to give in to temptation and mistake it for comfort. On the other hand, when we seek the arms of the Lord, there is never a guilt residue. There is never the thought of “I should have done this, or I shouldn’t have done that.” When we seek comfort from God, we truly receive peace, hope, comfort, and love. I pray these things find a way to your heart, whatever your season.

It’s OK To Be Down, It’s OK To Be Unsure

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Today is a down day for me. Maybe it’s because of all the crying I did yesterday. First at the physical therapy office… let’s just say he was a complete jerk in regards to my diagnosis and I will not be going back. The second time was when I broke down at my doctor’s office telling her everything that I’ve been through in the last two months. Okay, mostly every thing. I didn’t tell her about the cognitive issues. I didn’t tell her about the stress this has caused me. She was patient and understanding while she listened. After dealing with the physical therapist, it was encouraging to have someone be compassionate about what I’m going through.

The last time I cried was while listening to my husband’s sermon last night . He had written it out the night before when I went to bed early from exhaustion, and then recorded it last night in another room where I couldn’t hear him. I just couldn’t hold back the tears as he talked about how he has prayed for me while I sleep, how he has asked God why me? I have wondered how all of this has been affecting him, but he’s not one to talk about how he’s feeling. He said in his message that he was trying to be strong for me. That he has, and yet I know that he won’t always be able to be strong. My hope is that we can grieve and grow together as we overcome each hurdle that comes our way.

I listened to his message again this morning, and I keep thinking about the verse “my grace is sufficient for you…” 2 Corinthians 12:9. I’m desperately trying to understand the weight of it. Honestly, it’s a verse I wrestled with even before my headache started. Grace. It’s such a heavy word, and my feeble mind has a hard time comprehending.

Jesus died for me. For ME. I am a sinner, and He thought I was good enough, worthy enough, lovable enough to be pardoned. When it comes to salvation, I can much easier feel the weight of the cross. But when it comes to suffering, I fumble. Maybe because I haven’t suffered long enough. Maybe because I am coming to terms with what all this means for my life. Grace. It’s such a heavy, heavy word when you’re in the middle of suffering because it doesn’t always mean healing. It’s not a “get out of jail free card” in every situation.

I do much better with the second half of that verse… “for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This I see evidence of every day that I am in pain. He gives me the strength to do the things He has asked me to do, the things that are worthy in His eyes. When I call on Him, He is there. He shows up in the middle of struggle, and in the middle of my tears.

Whatever you are going through, know that He is always available and willing to be there for you in your darkest hour. You don’t have to be an expert on the bible or know how to pray. You can talk to God like you would talk to a friend, crying out for help and tell Him all that you have been through. You can tell Him your deepest darkest emotions that you think no one wants to hear or would understand. He wants to be the shoulder you cry on. He loves you that much.

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalms 34:17

Today may be a down day for me, and that’s okay because God is with me. He knows and feels my pain. Because of Him, I can withstand the lows, go through the emotions I need to feel, all the while maintaining my faith and knowing the love He has for me. I don’t know what my future looks like; I don’t know how all of this is going to turn out and that is scary. But I do know that He is using me during this time. He is teaching me, and allowing my faith to grow from a tiny mustard seed into a mature tree. And my faith combined with His promises tell me that He will deliver me in the end.

A milk weed seed pod open and waiting for the wind to spread seeds.

 

When They Want To Hurt You

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I hesitated. I really didn’t want to tell this person what was going on with my health. I knew that I had to for various reasons and that it was time that I did. I shared my diagnosis, what it means, and how it can and will cause limitations for me.

They were quiet. And then the questions came and I answered each one calmly. We also got to a point in the conversation where I admitted I was nervous telling them at all. When they inquired as to why, I had tears in my eyes. “Because you’re not always nice.” His response back to me was very curt and cutting.

“I want to attack you but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

This is a person I have to deal with often, and we usually go about our business, bypassing each other as much as possible. I know they don’t like me. I know they would rather not have to deal with me at all. The words still hurt though. No one wants to be attacked, and while I appreciate them choosing not to attack me on the basis of having health issues, the statement still shows a desire to hurt me intentionally.

I know that I have to forgive this person, and I will. Maybe I already have, I don’t know. I know I have to love my enemies. I’ve gotten really good at doing that too, but it’s not easy. I falter, I get angry and sometimes even lose my temper. Sometimes I just sit there and cry.

Being in pain all the time does not help me when it comes to controlling my emotions, but it does cause me to lean on God a little more to get through the tough times. I don’t have all the answers, and I can’t always shield myself from the negativity and ill intent from others, but I can hug Jesus a little tighter.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Perseverance Under Trial

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So I figured out what’s going on with me. Went to see a rheumatologist on Friday, and was told that that I have fibromyalgia. Something I have considered for months when looking at my symptoms, but I can’t say I find comfort in my diagnosis. My head is still hurting, day 95 now. I wonder now if it will ever go away. My body hurts, and it’s something I’m going to have to deal with for a long time. Maybe forever. I kind of don’t know how to deal with any of this. I’m still kind of numb and still kind of in shock. What’s going to happen to me?

This last week produced the most pain I have ever experienced.

Keep in mind this is coming from someone that has passed two kidney stones at the same time. Why you ask? Because the pain medicine actually works with kidney stones, and you’re able to sleep through the pain. Not so with FMS. Nothing I have taken in the last three months has helped with my pain. I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night and woke up feeling refreshed. While my body has calmed down some, I’m still walking with a limp, my hands keep cramping from typing, and there are a host of other symptoms I have to deal with now like cognitive issues. I have to type more now because I keep typing the wrong letters and the wrong words. I try to speak, but I often say the wrong words and the wrong names. I’m having problems thinking and remembering something said to me five minutes ago.

I’m learning that I have to slow down… a lot!

But I also need to listen to what my body is telling me. I tried to clean the bathroom the other day, and the repetitive motion of scrubbing the bathtub and shower walls left me so winded that I found myself laid out on the tub edge trying to breathe. I hadn’t even finished yet! Once I finally forced myself to take a break, it took 25 minutes for me to recover. Another day it was a simple task like putting sheets on a bed that quickly caused me to sit down out of breath. Perseverance is a good thing, but like my youth pastor’s wife said, I need to learn how to persevere in a different manner. There are a couple of ways I’m interpreting that.

The bible says to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). Sure, this condition will present challenges for me, but I know that Jesus is with me through the ups and downs.

My faith has an incredible opportunity to persevere…

…not just through my trials but because of them. James 1:12 tells us “blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

My work is not done. God still plans on using me, this I know. And I know that He will continue to be with me on this journey no matter what comes my way.