Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Ok guys it’s time for me to get real on here...not that I haven’t been real, transparent & open in my posts before but in this one I especially feel the need to lay it all out there. And don’t expect a nice, tied together little lesson like a normally post. This is more of my free-thinking, ramblings, attempt to process what’s been happening in my life lately.
So anyways, the picture above is the all the pills I take in 1 day. 2 pills for my stomach, 2 pills for my bladder and 5 pills for fibromyalgia related nerve pain. And this doesn’t include the bad pain days when I require additional stomach medicine or actual pain pills. Yes I am a walking pharmacy and I HATE every minute of it.
Since I first got put on regular meds for fibromyalgia and stomach problems about 6 years ago I have fought the pills. To take pills makes me feel like a sick , old person or worse yet like a failure. Shouldn’t a 27 year old be able to get through a day and function without taking NINE pills ?!
So last week I seized my opportunity to get off the meds. Out of nowhere I came down with a terrible flu virus ,on top of dealing with my 3rd bladder infection in 6 months (see what I mean about getting real). I was in some of the worst pain of my life and had to even miss 2 days of work, which I hated and never do. No matter how much pain I’m in I always work-I need the money and hate to let down the people I work for.
So anyways in the midst of this sickness and pain I couldn’t keep anything down including medicine so I stopped taking all my meds. I figured sometimes I don’t feel that great taking the medicine so I probably wouldn’t feel that much worse without them. I didn’t notice a change at all for 2 days. I was so excited! I thought maybe my problems were gone and I didn’t need the meds. I imagined being able to write this awesome post on here about how God healed me of my fibromyalgia and I don’t need medicine. And then I woke up the 3rd day, my neck hurt terribly and I had numbness and tingling down both my arms. I knew exactly what that pain was-fibromyalgia-and I knew I needed to act quickly to get under control. I felt defeated and went back on my medicine. The next day (today) my doctor was not happy with me for going off my meds. She felt I took myself back to square one with the pain I experience in so many places in my body. She was probably right but I certainly didn’t need anyone to help me feel worse about myself. She couldn’t seem to understand how it makes me feel to need to take medicine. How I feel that people look down on me for needing medicine to function. How I couldn’t imagine taking all this for the rest of my life. She told me the pills I take are fine for long-term use but I still feel unhealthy taking them. How I know I can’t be on these pills and have children someday because you can’t take these pills and be pregnant. I just want to be normal. I don’t want to take medicine and have to go through my day trying to remember to take every pill. I don’t want to be in pain and miss out on life. I just want to be happy, healthy, pain-free and living a life that pleases God.
So I’m back on my meds. No happy, I’m healed story to share. I’m just continuing on my journey with God. Trying desperately to feel as good as I can to be able to work and have time for friends and family. Last week was a big bump in the road and hopefully brighter days are ahead. I’m trying to see this medicine as a blessing. It certainly teaches me humility-I’m not perfect and have to accept that I need help to be able to function physically like a normal person. It teaches me not to worry about what others think of me-if someone judges me for physical problems that are outside of my control or makes me feel bad for taking medicine that doctors have told me I need-then that is their problem. And it further reminds me that I’m not in control of anything-not how I feel or circumstances that arise-God is. And I need to trust Him and find joy in the midst of struggle. And it reminds me of the wonderful blessing of the people I have in my life-the ones who pray for me, listen to me and encourage me through rough times. Sometimes it’s hard for me to be open with my friends and family about how I’m feeling physically. It’s a careful balance of being honest that I’m in pain but at the same time not dwelling on it too much. I don’t want to seem like a complainer or have people feel bad for me. I just don’t want to be the sick girl that no one really wants to be around. I just want to be like everyone else.
So if you wondered where I’ve been the last 2 weeks-you’ve got the real deal. God is continuing to refine me, mold me, change me and make me more like Himself through pain and challenging circumstances. Truthfully it’s not been fun and hopefully happier days on the horizon. Just a few months till Spring and Summer..so of course happier days are ahead!
Hope you all have a blessed day!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Forgiveness is hard. If you think it’s easy you’ve probably never had to forgive anybody for anything. 7 years ago my parents got divorced. At first I felt profound sadness over the fracture of my family but as years passed sadness gave way to anger. Anger that I couldn’t enjoy the holidays because I never knew how they’d turn out. Anger that I was put in the middle of my parents problems. Anger that my future children would have to go to two different houses to visit grandma and grandpa. Anger that I was put in this situation. Sometimes I’m still sad and angry but with God’s strength I’m trying to have forgiveness over my parent’s divorce but for me it meant understanding what biblical forgiveness is and isn’t.
As Christians we are called to forgive those who hurt us regardless of the offense.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Matthew 6:14 (NIV)
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
Forgiving may involve telling the other person but not always. Forgiveness is primarily between us and God. We are to forgive regardless of how we feel because it is an act of our will and act of obedience to God to forgive others.
And we are to continually forgive. In Matthew 18:21 Peter asks Jesus:
"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times
No I don’t believe 490 is the magical number of times to forgive someone. I believe it’s an illustration to show us that we are to continually forgive. I know I’ve had to do that many times with regard to my parent’s divorce. I would forgive but then something would come up to remind of how the divorce wronged me and I would pick my anger back up again. This is why forgiveness is a continual choice because our minds and hearts are prone to pick up unforgiveness again.
Practically speaking, for me, forgiveness involves praying and asking God to take away the feelings of anger and resentment and then making a choice to stop dwelling on the offense. This is the mark of loving like the Lord does.
1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)
(Love) ... “keeps no record of wrongs”
As Christians we are called to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and dwell on good, excellent and praiseworthy things (Philippians 4:8). The ability to forgive can only be done through relying on God’s strength! We can do all things through Him! (Philippians 4:13)
To be clear though I think it’s also important to talk about what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not condoning what was done to you. Forgiving the person doesn’t mean what was done to you is ok. There is a difference between righteous (Godly) anger over the sin and hating someone who sinned against you. In Matthew 5:21-22a Jesus says,
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment”
In 1 John 3:15 it says,
“Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”
Jesus is a judge of our heart and hating someone is like murder, a very serious offense. Hating the sin is one thing but hating the sinner is different. And willfully unforgiving someone and hating them is sin.
Lastly forgiveness does not mean allowing yourself to continually be harmed. Sometimes forgiveness will mean reconciliation between you and person who hurt you and other times forgiveness will mean forgiving the person in your heart and not having any contact with them, as I’ve known the case to be with some people who had abusive parents.
There are so many different scenarios that require us as believers to forgive others and maybe through reading my experience and what I’ve shared from God’s Word you have some more insight but if you are struggling with forgiveness for a deeper matter, especially if it involves abuse or unforgiveness in your marriage, I cannot urge you enough to seek out a qualified Christian counselor to help you biblically walk through your struggles.
At the end of the day while forgiveness may cause a wedge between you and the person who hurt you, it will cause a bigger wedge in your relationship with God. I know this firsthand in my forgiveness journey over my parents divorce. Forgiveness is serious to God. Is there anybody today that you need to forgive? Maybe you’ve forgiven before but lately unforgiveness has crept up in your heart by dwelling on the offense? Make today the day to choose forgiveness!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
On top of that I found out the car I bought in August needed major work that will cost me around $2000. This just adds to the number of unexpected medical bills I’ve been slammed with lately. By Tuesday afternoon when smoke started pouring out of my car as I drove it I had reached my breaking point! I cried in anger and frustration then composed myself enough to call a few friends to help me with transportation so I could work the next 2 days before I could get my car fixed. It killed me to have humble myself to ask people to help me. All I wanted to do was scream and actually I think I even did. It felt so unfair. Wasn’t it enough for me to be pain everyday? Did I now need to have more medical and car problems on top of it? Why can’t I just be a normal person? When am I going to get a break? The last 6 months have been a series of trials for me wasn’t it time for me to get out of this valley?
And then the icing on the cake was how disappointed I was in myself. I felt like a failure. Here I am sharing my victories in Christ and lessons learned through the pain, trying to encourage all of you and instead of being able to live out what I share here in that moment I was a sad, angry mess. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know I’ve been on a journey for quite some time of having God change my perspective to endure trials with joy and purpose. I feel like a changed person who has made so much progress from where I started. I’ve had times in the last few months where I knew what it meant in James 1:2-4 to consider my trials joy because of the perseverance and maturity in Christ it was producing in me. But in that moment with smoke pouring out of my car I didn’t react with joy…. not even close. I feel like I took myself back to square one and spent the rest of the afternoon beating myself up for my “why me” attitude.
This attitude was nothing new to me. It took me back to 5 years ago when the everyday fatigue, aches and pain began. I thought maybe I was sick or had injured myself or was just stressed out. Within months the pain was increasing. Shortly after that came the diagnosis- fibromyalgia. A condition characterized by widespread pain and fatigue. At 21 years old I felt like my life had stopped. How was I going to work and support myself? How would I ever be able to serve the Lord when I could barely leave the bed some days? Who would want to marry someone with all these problems? But the question that haunted me the most was, Why me Lord?
But the real question is why did I think I wouldn’t have troubles in this world when Jesus said I would (John 16:33)? Why am I so blessed and choosing only to dwell on the negatives in this moment? Why am I not looking at this week’s struggles as an opportunity to see the strength of Christ through my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)? Then I remembered back to Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s autobiography Going Rogue that I read last month. In it she described telling her husband that their son would be born with Downs Syndrome and she asked him if he wondered why me? He said back to her something incredible. He said why not me?
That has stuck with me when I think about my pain. Why not me? The Lord says He has good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and I trust this pain as part of His plan. He has taught me so many lessons and used it to refine me and grow me more than any other experience in my life. This pain has produced perseverance and maturity in Christ in me and even when I have setbacks that is still true.
I share my week’s struggles in hopes to encourage you. The Lord has been doing a work in me especially this last year of dwelling on the positives, relying on His strength and looking for the blessings in my struggles but I still have setbacks and still say why me sometimes. But in the valley I, through absolute reliance on God, am making a choice to react to this pain as He would want me to and you can too. Are you in the midst of a struggle where you are asking why me? It doesn’t have to be physical, maybe personal or financial crises have you down. Choose today to be that day when you give your struggle over to God and ask Him to give you the strength to endure your trial in a way that pleases Him. Without a doubt the times I’ve failed in dealing with trials has been when I have relied on my own strength.
Colossians 2:6 (NIV)
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,”
As a believer I received Christ by accepting that there was nothing I could do to be saved-it was all about what God did for me. The way I live as Christian is the same. I can’t get through these struggles on own and when I try I fail miserably-but I can do all things through Christ. Jesus came to give us an abundant life –not a trouble free one. Remember no matter what you face God can get you through it. Don’t forget in the valley what God did on the mountaintop!