Hello, sweet friends and thank you for stopping by to read this. I appreciate every prayer, note, call, and hug you have sent. And a special thank you to a friend who eats Dove chocolates for me with prayers in her heart.
There is nothing new to report about my mom’s situation. We are still waiting. Medicaid requested some documentation that sent me scrambling for documents I did not have. So there is movement, but no answer yet. We continue to wait and trust.
I am opening my own front door to you today, sharing some very tender areas of growth in my own life, if you’re willing to come on in. I have been in constant physical pain throughout this 11 week ordeal. I have fibromyalgia. I was actually diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 19 years old, when my wrists became so inflamed I could no longer turn them outward, tie my own shoes, or put my car key into the ignition. Although my blood levels always say that I have rheumatoid arthritis, my rheumatologist cannot find any evidence of the arthritis having overtaken any specific joints, for which we are deeply grateful. I do, however, have fibromyalgia. I never knew that such slight pressure to specific points on the body could send me springing almost out of my skin. Intense pain, like a lightning bolt! Analgesics have been my main therapy, but in May of 2011, my rheumatologist gave me a small, old-fashioned medicine that helps my brain quiet down and relax during sleep so that I can get into the deep sleep a body needs to replenish itself. This has made a world of difference in my daily life. If God had not sent this when He did, I would never have had the strength to write the Journey Bible study.
My muscles and joints have ached beyond belief throughout the past 11 weeks. After thinking it would pass, but never did, I finally saw my rheumatologist last week and he put me on a medication that has helped the on-fire nerve endings to be quieter. I am grateful that God has given us doctors with wisdom and medicine that helps the body.
I have also been taking Welbutrin since 2003. I am so thankful for it; it allows me to be my better self. I know that some of you may strongly oppose these medications, but this is the truth about my life. My mother is bi-polar which was uncontrolled in the 70’s and 80’s. I have lived in mortal fear of having mental illness myself, so I cried when my doctor first prescribed the medicine. I never wanted to need this kind of help. But I did and I do. My primary care doctor has known what I am going through and urged me to let her know if I needed her help. After having only days here and there of feeling like my old self, I finally called her. I felt better the first day of the new dosing. It allows me to take a deep breath in my soul. We are all better able to hear God, feel Him, and respond more bravely to Him when we are not inwardly overwhelmed.
Which brings me to my final thought. I’ve been so disappointed in myself for not having more strength, more resolve, more courage. This season has been deeply painful for me personally, and I always wish that I could be better than I am… I’ve increasingly had to make peace with the fact that my own standards for myself are unattainable, and that while I may disappoint myself, I do not disappoint God. I am doing my best and leaning into Him. This is all that I can do. I have increasingly found greater peace with my weaknesses and limits. Truly, I have learned to accept much more of myself and to appreciate what I can do.
God has been stripping away many of my layers in this season, but before He ever led me back to my doctors, He put my feet more surely and strongly on Himself. I have felt so overwhelmed by all of this, like it was crushing the life out of me. I actually drew a picture in my journal (I draw stick figures or gingerbread-man looking people because it is the best I can do) of how I’ve felt: like a person who is on their knees, bowed with their head to the earth and their legs and arms just barely able to pull themselves along- because a mountainous burden (think the Grinch’s giant stuffed sack) was on top of me, blocking out the sun… with no end in sight. It felt as though I had to put my own hopes and dreams away entirely.
One day I realized that I have been utterly convinced that this storm particular storm would do me in, send me over the edge, break me. And I think the enemy of my soul has hoped it would. But it hasn’t!! I have NOT broken. Somehow, as God showed me this revelation, the unhealthy soil that grew the lies (certainty!) that I would break has been replaced with spiritual soil, and a freedom that now knows I will NOT break under any storm ahead as long as I always lean into my God. He has brought me through many storms, and no storm will ever have the power to excavate me as deeply as this one. I know with all my heart that God has ordained this season for me. This is the area of my heart and mind that was most deeply devastated for so many years, and it is in this freshly excavated area, along with the healthy, spiritual soil that He is bringing in, that new growth and His love will flourish. The inner and outer pain is only the breaking up and replacing of the old; it is making room for all the fresh, new plantings.
I have not broken. The enemy has not won and will NOT win, because I am grounded upon my God and He really is with me and for me. And for my mom. He is working things out for our good and for His glory. God also humbled me so that I would get the medical help I needed to recover, heal, and grow. This medication is part of the soil additives He has for me. As for me, I am continuing to face certain fears and accept my limitations; such as the fact that last year’s warm-weather clothes are more snug than I would like. There have been some great sales and discounts recently, and using birthday money from my dad and a couple of gift cards that I’d squirreled away, I got a few new capris to give me a little grace where I need it. I hope that you will find a way to give yourself the grace you need. If God gives it so liberally and consistently, perhaps we should, too.