Yesterday, I woke to unbearable pain. The pain in my joints had spread to all of my limbs. I felt like I had been beaten up and set on fire. Nerve pain shot from my shoulder to my hands, from my hips to my feet. And then I began reacting to everything I ate.
Yesterday, I wondered if I was going to die. I sat in the antique rocking chair in Sara's room, the most uncomfortable chair in the house, and held my daughter in my arms, whispering soft prayers and leaking tears into the soft, strawberry-blonde down of her baby head while fixing my eyes on the photo of my little family hanging in the hall.
Yesterday, I prayed the prayers of a dying wife and mother. I was peaceful, but I was very unsure whether or not I would live. Today, I prayed the prayers of a woman who is going to get better. And this is even in spite of the fact that today I had a severe allergic reaction to a supplement which almost forced me to use my Epi Pen and surrender myself to a hospital. (I'm not ready for that upheaval quite yet.) Here's what changed:
I sought the Lord yesterday. I drew near to Him, and He faithfully, lovingly drew near to me. He gave me promises, sweet promises, that assured me I would live.
When going through a hard time, The Book of Psalms is an excellent resting place, so I opened it from the beginning with the plan to read five chapters. Here, I was given Psalm 3:5--"I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me."
One of my biggest fears yesterday was going to sleep. What if my throat closed up, and I died quietly there in the bed? How awful would that be for my family? God took that fear away with this verse, and I haven't been afraid to sleep today at all. Not even after my scary allergic reaction.
I also remembered one of my favorite verses from Zechariah--"I will bring the one-third THROUGH the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; and each one will say, 'The Lord is my God.'"--Zechariah 13:9
The fire (literal and figurative) I am experiencing is not to destroy me, but to refine me. I'm going to make it THROUGH the flames better than I was before.
I also went back, and read my post, "Concerning Death and Dreams," I had written back in February after my many close encounters with sulfa/sulfur/sulfite products. I remembered my dream. I had been told that death would be coming for me again and again as it has, but I was also told that God is going to protect me. My blue force field shelters me still. Also from yesterday, Psalm 3:3--"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head."
I feel certain that the part of Philippians 1:21 meant for me in this moment is "to live is Christ." Dying will be gain . . . . only later.
Finally, last night I was given a gift. The whole world received it, but God has a way of making you feel like His favorite kid every now and then and making the gifts He gives to all seem as if they were personally gift-wrapped for you. After the children had been whisked away by family so I could get rest, my man whisked me away for a quick peek at the moon before bed. We couldn't see it over the tree line at our home. He drove me to the Brookshire's parking lot and let me marvel for a moment. I thought, "This moon is as I should be." I thought about how the moon is it's most beautiful and glorious when it is fully facing the light of the sun. Sure, we notice it when it's only partially alight, but when it sits full and radiant in the midnight sky, it takes our breath away.
We, as Christians, often want to hold pieces of ourselves back from the Light. Light can be painful and blinding. It changes us. But we are meant to be more than faint slivers in the sky. Those cold and dark places we hold back are actually crying out for the Light, and the darkness of this world desperately needs to see true reflection of that Light.
I may not be able to do much for awhile--I can't cook, mother or volunteer at the local soup kitchen in this shape. But like the moon, I can follow the path set for me. I can turn myself fully to His radiant face, and take in all of Him I can. I have been lovingly put in this place of "being still" before God. I always wondered what that was all about. Now, as I settle into my new orbit, I get to find out. I get to just sit and bask in the Light of the Son. What a gift.
Here is how you can pray:
I need healing. I've started taking prednisone, which has helped significantly with my pain. I am able to type today! Yay! I'm going to stop eating food for awhile, taking only amino acid dietary supplements. After several days of this, I will add one food at a time back to my diet, evaluating my tolerance to each food. I'm not going to lie--this doesn't sound like much fun, but I think it's my best move. Also, I'll be making appointments with specialists early this week. I need to get in as quickly as possible.
My husband is wearing the world on his shoulders. He's afraid for me. He thought he was going to have to get me to Shreveport today by himself with nothing but liquid Benadryl, two Epi Pens and a very sick wife for company, so he's struggling with anxiety in addition to being husband, nurse, mother and father. Please keep him in your thoughts.
My children . . . my sweet, sweet babies. I am so sad that I can't be what I want to be for them right now. This is one of my most difficult personal struggles, and they are feeling the distance, too.
My support system is amazing, but they need wisdom in knowing their limitations, and they need health, energy and strength as they take care of us.
Finally,it is my hope that the Lord would be glorified in all of this and that His people would be encouraged. May His name be high and lifted up in my suffering that it may not be in vain! May everyone who prays and ponders due to my situation find new joy and delight in God! I love my Jesus, and I want to suffer well for Him. I want all of His perfect purposes for my trials to bloom fully and gloriously! May we all turn our faces fully to the Son that His Light might radiate from us in such a way that last night's moon which held us captive in its beams would be put to shame!
In Jesus' name. Amen.