Its been almost 2 ½ months since I last blogged. I didn’t expect to take that long of a break but I’ve been processing a lot of thoughts and just didn’t feel led to share. The last 2 months I have struggled a lot with pain particularly in my back as well as intense fatigue. I’ve gone to meet with several doctors and am finally seeing some small improvement in my fatigue with new medicine. During this time of physical stress, I have also been thinking and praying a lot about my future and the plans the Lord has for me. I’m not sure that I really have any answers but I do know that God has a plan for me and I trust Him to reveal it to me in His timing. Along with thinking a lot about the future, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the past, particularly the last almost 3 years since I was formally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For this blog entry, I wanted to share a little bit about what I have been thinking about lately and give glory to God for the things He’s done in my life-it will probably be a long entry and I don’t expect any of you to really want to read it all but I think its important to acknowledge what God has done.
Firbromyalgia is never anything I would have wanted for my life. It definitely wasn’t in the plans I had but it was in God’s plan for me. Over the last year especially I have seen God is His grace begin to show me some of the reasons why He has allowed this in my life and I’m actually at a place some days when I can be joyful and thankful that God has allowed fibro in my life.
Ever since I was young, I have always been your classic overachiever-always on the honor roll, graduated high school a year early, graduated summa cum laude with my bachelors and masters degree. The idea that I (and everyone who knew me) had for my life was to be a successful businesswoman. After I became a Christian, almost 10 years ago, I said I wanted God’s will for my life-whatever that was-but deep down that was a lie. See I wanted God’s will for my life but only if it fit into the plans I had already made for myself. When I got fibro all my plans went out the window-the pain and fatigue made it so I couldn’t work full-time sitting at a desk. My plan to be a fast paced corporate woman couldn’t physically happen for me and I see now that that may have been the best thing that ever happened to me.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight”
Not always having a job and a stable income has taught me the lesson to trust and depend on God entirely for my future. I have seen His provision for me first hand. Its easy when you have a stable job and you’re making lots of money to take for granted the way God is providing for you and believe that its all because of you. But when you’ve been out of a job for months and your savings is almost gone, as I have been before, and an opportunity comes up-you’re able to see that it is truly God who has all of our futures in His hands. Like its says in Matthew 6:25-34, if God provides for the needs of the birds in the air, how much more will He provide for you?
As I said earlier, I’ve always been an overachiever and with that came the classic Type A/anxiety/worry personality. It wasn’t healthy and was always one of the least favorite things about myself. These last few years having everything stripped away and having to depend on God for anything has really in many ways broken me of some worry. I feel like having fibro and having “my plans” thrown out the window has really clarified for me what’s important. I realize that my life doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s or doesn’t have to be what anyone else thinks it should be-my life is in God’s hands and I want to be in His will-and that means not worrying about the what ifs and the things I can’t control and focus on living a life that please God.
My pastor once told me in the midst of a difficult and uncertain time in my life that I needed to dream big for my life and the possibilities of what God can do. During that time this verse stuck out to me and many times over the last year especially the Lord has reminded me of it time and again:
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.”
Almost 3 years ago when I was diagnosed with fibro and heard the doctor explain to me what the future would be like for my body, I imagined all the wonderful plans I had for my life were crushed but it turns out God had and has plans for my life that exceed all I could ask for or imagine. God has blessed me with amazing opportunities and allowed me to be a blessing to others. The fact that I haven’t been tied down to a 9 to 5 job like so many people has freed me up to do many things. I’ve been able to do everything from meeting my stay at home mom friends for lunch, to driving donated books to Canada to be used in a library in China, to working as a nanny for a friend after her husband passed away. If you know me, you know I love to travel. In the almost 36 months since I found out I had fibro, I’ve gone on 13 trips- to Canada, Iowa, China (twice), Texas, Colorado, California, Costa Rica, Kentucky (twice), Florida (twice) and Tennessee. 8 of these 13 trips I didn’t pay anything for and 3 of the trips I actually got paid to go! I would have never been able to take advantage of these opportunities if I had been stuck at your avg. 9 to 5 job. My life is so much more fulfilling, exciting and enriching because of these experiences and I’m so thankful to God for giving them to me. It is truly beyond what I could have asked or imagined and I can’t wait to see what my future holds as I continue to trust God and allow Him to lead and plan my future.
On those days when my pain is bad and I’m exhausted and tempted to throw a pity party and be upset that my life hasn’t turned out as I planned, I’m working hard on those days to remember the things God has blessed me with, the ways he’s used me and I’ve grown in my walk with Him and the lessons I’ve learned along the way while having chronic pain. If you are struggling with finding the blessing in your situation or can’t understand why God has allowed pain or sickness in your life ask Him to show you the blessings along the way and choose to focus on them. I pray for your comfort and encouragement as you seek Him and allow Him to write the story of your future.