Monday, February 20, 2017

Even If You Don't My Hope Is You Alone

The first glimpse of the sun after a month of gloomy skies

It's easy to sing
When there's nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I'm held to the flame
Like I am right now

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't my hope is You alone
~Even If by MercyMe

Last month I realized that I was mad at God.  I contracted lyme disease this past July, and ever since I have been in physical pain about eighty percent of the time.  I have a few good days where my pain is minimal and I can get things done.  And then the rest of the time my muscles feel like I ran a marathon in my sleep.  It is a deep ache that doesn't go away.  My joints hurt, but it shifts around what joints bother me.  Some days I limp around because my foot hurts.  Other days I can barely grasp my hair brush or a pencil because my hands are so sore.  Some times it's hard for me to bend down or stand up for any length of time because my back is so stiff and sore.

I have been to the doctor numerous times.  I have seen a specialist.  I have two more appointments on the schedule with two different specialists.  I have had blood tests, ultrasounds, nerve and muscle conduction tests.  More blood tests that I requested the doctor run.  My doctor joked that I was like a person with a quiver full of arrows that I am shooting into the air hoping that one will find its target.

I have prayed.  I have been prayed for.  Prayed over.  Prayed some more.  And after months of nothing changing, I started to sympathize with the people you read about who just give up on life because the pain is too much, the struggle is too hard.  How could I live like this for the rest of my life if this is what it is going to be like for the rest of my life?  This isn't living.  This sucks!  So I stopped praying.  I set my Bible on a shelf.  And on the rare day when I did try praying, it was empty and fruitless.  One night I laid in bed next to Hubby and confessed that I no longer had hope for a healing.  It was time for me to accept that and learn to live life with my new normal.

Last week I had this overwhelming desire to ask Hubby to pray for me.  Once again, I laid down in the bed next to Hubby (all our deep discussions seem to happen there for some reason) and told him that I needed him to put on his pastoral hat and help me.  I confessed that I was mad at God for not healing me.  That I was starting to wonder if He was even real.  That all my attempts to pray felt empty and left me feeling even worse off than when I started.  I told him that I didn't need him to fix me, I just needed him to pray for me.  So he did.

Quite honestly, I didn't expect anything to change.  My hope was pretty much in the toilet.  The next day I came across a blog post that was like a complete slap to the face.  It is titled Even if He Doesn't.  Even if God doesn't rescue me, He is still good.  He is still able.  Even if I never live another pain-free day in my life, God is still able to heal me.  He is still good.  My hope must be in Him alone.  No matter what.  A little spark lit up in me.

A new song just started playing on the radio.  Even If by MercyMe.  I have been playing it on repeat.  Because my soul needs to hear it.  Over and over.  Even if You don't (heal me, rescue me, save me) My hope is You alone.  It is well with my soul.

I dusted off my Bible and started praying again.  God must have broken through a wall because praying no longer feels empty but is life-giving.  I'm not healed.  I'm actually sitting here with aching legs because it's an aching muscle sort of day.  God hasn't changed my physical body at all.  So it is a good thing that my hope is once again in God-for Who He Is-and not only in what He will do for me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Lyme Disease-1 Lisa-0

Joy's message for me last night

I remember the first time I found a tick on one of my kids.  It was Mother's Day weekend 5 years ago.  I was sitting outside manning our garage sale and the kids were playing in the woods behind our house.  Joy came up to me and sat on my lap.  I looked down at her head and shrieked!  There was a TICK on her head!  At least I assumed it was a tick since I'd never seen one before.  I kind of flipped out because ewww.  Thankfully a friend just happened to be currently shopping at my sale and knew what to do.  We got the tick off and I breathed a sigh of relief that it was a dog tick and not an evil deer tick.

Since then I have found 2 other ticks on my kids, always dog ticks.  But my kids will attest to the fact that I am a bit of a bug spray fanatic whenever they are going to be playing in the woods or out in nature.  And I always make them do a tick check and take a shower after they are done.  

Last Saturday, July 2, I was doing my hair in the mirror when I glanced at my arm.  I did a double take.  What was this rash on my arm?  And is that a bullseye rash???  I took pictures because that's what everyone does when they encounter a weird rash on their body, right?  Okay, maybe that's just me.  

I ran down the stairs and stuck my armpit in Hubby's face.  "Is that a bullseye rash?  Do I have lyme disease???!!!"  We looked at it.  I had Dr. Grandpa look at it (we were on vacation at my in-laws' lake house).  We decided that it was maybe/probably/hopefully a spider bite because lyme disease is considered "just emerging" in my area.  But if I started to get flu-like symptoms, then I needed treatment.

I was fine for a week.  Friday night I started to feel bad.  Saturday I started feeling really bad.  By Monday morning I called the doctor the minute the office opened to make an appointment to be seen that day.  Yesterday.

The doctor asked me my symptoms: Every limb feels like it weighs 1000 lbs.  Everything hurts.  I am tired.  I feel like I am an electric type Pokemon character because I keep getting shooting electric pains through my body.  I showed her the picture of my rash.  She gave me medicine.  I blessed her.  She warned me about die-off.  Yes, I'd read about that.  It's when you take doxycycline and the first few days you feel worse.  A die-off reaction, also called a Herxheimer reaction, occurs as bacteria die during antibiotic treatment.  It basically means every symptom is magnified until the die-off finishes.  I thought I knew what that meant.  I thought I was prepared.

Last night after 2 doses of the medicine, I laid in bed and my entire body felt like it was humming with electricity and pain.  I wanted to cut my legs off.  Today I decided that everyone in hell is going to have lyme disease because that is what it feels like.  Every task takes a Herculean effort.  I have to give myself a pep talk that yes, I can rotate laundry.  Yes, I can goto the store and buy groceries as long as one of the kids pushes the cart.  Library-fine, but David has to carry the book bag.  Because I just can't.  

So to anyone who has ever dealt with lyme disease--my sympathies.  To everyone who lives in my area--we have lyme infected ticks here.  I had not been out of the area until 2 days before the rash showed up, which means I was bit near home.  To everyone who comes near me--I'm sorry if my new perfume smells an awful lot like bug spray but it is necessary.  And to every child everywhere who fights their parents about wearing bug spray (or maybe it's just my kids)--let this be an object lesson.  You do not want this.  You really, really don't.  Wear your bug spray and stop whining about it.  

And to Joy, my compassionate child--thank you.  She came into my room yesterday and found me sprawled on my bed and asked if I was okay.  I said no.  She asked if she could make dinner and then asked to pray for me.  I left an hour later to goto the doctor.  When I got home at dinner time, she had the table set and a spaghetti dinner almost ready.  She is only almost 9 years old.  When I grow up I want to be just like Joy.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

God In The Midst Of The C-Word

I went to the gym one day in March.  My dad walked in and got on the machine next to me.  Where's Mom, I asked.  She's at the doctor.  She found a lump, he said.  And that is when my life flipped upside down.  The C-word suddenly entered our family vocabulary.  Biopsy, surgery, CAT scan, bone scan, chemo, radiation, all these words that I now have become all too familiar with.

My trust in the Lord has been tested.  Daily.  Lord, what are You doing?  Why MY mom?  She does so much for You.  It doesn't make sense. 

Many tears have been shed.  The day we found out that it was cancer, it was right as I was putting dinner on the table.  I had to walk away and cry in my bedroom so I wouldn't scare the kids.  And sweet Joy came into the room and laid down on the bed next to me, put her arm around me, and said It will be okay, Mommy.  Because she is the sweetest child in the world with a heart of gold.  The day we found out chemo would be necessary, I stood at the stove stirring dinner, holding it together until my Hubby walked in the door from work.  I ran into his arms and broke down.

My faith has grown.  I know my mom will be alright.  I know that this is just a trial that she will walk through and conquer.  In the end, God wins.

God's path for me now makes sense.  This past summer when I felt led to work with college kids instead of going to nursing school, now I know why.  At the time there was no reason for it, but now I see that my being in nursing school would have been a big hindrance for me being able to help my mom as she needs me.  I would have been torn and probably would have quit taking classes after this semester.

And this being the year that we chose to stop homeschooling and to put the kids in school, that also makes sense now.  I would not have had the capacity to teach my kids the past 2 months.  I will not have the time or the capacity to teach my kids next year.  Lizzy asked to be homeschooled next year and we prayed about it, but ultimately decided that I just can't.  I will be needed by my family and so the best place for Lizzy is in school.  It may not be forever, but it is the way things will need to be for another year.  God knew what was coming.  The kids transitioning to school was a really hard adjustment for everyone.  We didn't really get into the flow of things until about 3 months into the school year.  But we were able to struggle through together because there wasn't much else going on in our lives that made it harder.  If we had to go through this transition next fall, with everything else that is going on, the adjustment would have been a lot harder.  Which is why the kids needed to goto school this year.  And God knew that and prepared the way.

I don't like this storm my family is going through, but the grace and the peace and the victories and the blessings are many.  There is a lot of good that is coming out of the blech already and we are just in the beginning of this journey.  I may not like the storm, but I know that Jesus is in the boat with us so we will all be safe.