I just want to take a second and look back to remember what God has done, specifically over the last 15 months of my life. All too often, I get discouraged by an apparent lack of growth or what I perceive as changing too slowly. But God in His faithfulness is training me and keeping me at this marathon pace, though my heart would rather be zooming along at a sprinters pace.
February ‘08 – on Sunday, February 24th, during worship rehearsal, Katie Britt came up to me with a little piece of paper. On the paper were these words… “His strength is made perfect in weakness.” Little did I know how those words would define the next season of my life. I woke up the next day with a splitting pain in my head. Imagine a migraine. Then make it exponentially worse. That day was the start of many long and painful months ahead… months of confusion, months of crying out to God, and months of things just seeming to only get worse. This month also was when I began writing poems.
March ’08 – On March 7th, I had my first MRI of my brain. I was terrified and in so much pain that I didn’t know how I would stay still throughout the procedure. And since the doctors were running ahead of schedule there was no time for sedation. God brought to mind the passage of 1st Peter 1 that I had just memorized. He reminded me that He was working… that He had a plan for me (an inheritance that is sure) and that even in my current trial, that His goal is that my faith and hope would rest in God… my loving Father. It was a sweet time, yet I was overwhelmed and confused as to what God was doing.
April ’08 – I had to stop teaching German. The migraines continued. I lost count of the doctors I visited and the tests that were run. There seemed to be no answers. And though my body was exhausted, sleep wouldn’t come. Matt preached a sermon that when God brings us into the waves, He is always behind us, holding us secure. He won’t let us drown. He is doing this because He cares for us and wants us to know the freedom found in trusting Him.
May ’08 – May was a month of answered prayers. I got a new position at work, which was an answer to several years of praying. I was diagnosed with and treated for a bacterial infection in my brain (similar to meningitis), which had been one cause of the migraines. I think God was just reminding me here of His faithfulness… and that He hadn’t forgotten me. However, May was also a month of new trials. I became very sick with what I thought was the stomach flu. New Attitude (singles conference) was a struggle. I had gone expecting great things from God. I left disappointed that there was no “thunder and lightning” simply a “I’m faithful… trust Me.”
June ’08 – I found out in June, shortly after my 27th birthday that I am allergic to dairy, wheat, oats, food dye and several other things. Unfortunately I found this out the hard way, after weeks of not being able to keep food down. On June 26th, my good friends Dave and Melissa lost their baby. Melissa was 6 ½ months pregnant and went into labor. I will never forget singing “blessed be your name” while standing in front of a casket not more than 1’x2’. Their steadfast faith through that unthinkable trial encouraged me to keep looking to our loving Father, no matter what.
July ’08 – on Sunday July 13th, I was baptized. July was a month of trying to figure out what I could eat and what makes me sick. My grandparents celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary. Doctors visits continued. Migraines started coming back as I was testing food options. July was a month of learning that blessing and suffering go hand in hand.
August ’08 – August was the month of diagnoses. The doctors found out that what I thought was a stomach flu back in May, was actually salmonella food poisoning from a puffed wheat cereal. This was a mixed blessing because though it threw my body into overload, the doctors were able to also diagnose that I have Celiacs disease, something that has gone undiagnosed for about 10 years. This month was another month of physical weakness. I had no energy and constant migraines. The Worship God conference was encouraging and this month began my study of the Psalms. The Psalms CD quickly became one of my favorites. At the worship conference, I was able to see God miraculously heal my friend Dave Johnson, after suffering for many years with kidney stones. Still to this day, he has not had one!
September ’08 – Migraines began getting worse. Due to the fact that you can’t take migraine medicine every day, the doctor put me on an anti-seizure med that is effective for treating migraines. After a few increases in the doseage, the migraines began subsiding. This was a month of ups and downs, along with very little sleep. September was also the month I decided to move from living with a family in the church to getting an apartment with two friends. Emotionally, there were many struggles, as I was working through where God was leading me to.
October ’08 – I started having some severe reactions to the medicine and the doctors had to quickly take me off, depsite the risk of seizures. This was one of the scariest times I have ever faced, not sure what was happening, if I was dying or what to do. Thankfully, my pastors were extremely helpful in reminding me of my hope in God, the God who knows all, is in control of all and who loves me. The doctors changed my medicine and I only got worse. I met with my pastors one afternoon and they prayed that God would heal me. Sleep was unknown at this point now. Oh, and on top of that there was the physical and emotional stress of moving, yet again…for the 7th time in 5 years.
November ’08 – November was a hard month with relationships. And with dealing through issues from my past. I found a new doctor who diagnosed me with sleep apnea, and a severe vitamin B deficiency. We were able to take me off all the migraine meds, except to treat the occasional migraine. I am grateful to have found this new doctor. I am grateful because slowly, it seems that God began healing my weak and dying body. I didn’t know He was just beginning to work on the heart and emotions.
December ’08 – if i had to summarize December it would be “face your fears.” December was a difficult month as I continued working through some pains from my past, thanks to the help of Matt and Julie. My body continued to improve. I started having more energy, but still wasn’t sleeping. In December, the doctor did a second sleep test. Oh, and during my Christmas break from work, I almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning and an allergic reaction to wheat. Both in the same week. It was a draining week.
January ’09 – As the new year began, I was continually reminded of the word “peace.” I was reminded that God is the One who brings peace and that this was His goal for me in the coming months… to learn peace, not because there are no storms, but because I am held by the God who controls those storms. “the flame shall not hurt you I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.” God seemed to be saying that the coming months would be a clear picture of God’s care and a refining of my dross.
February ’09 – in February I took a trip to Charlotte NC to visit a friend. I was encouraged to realize that some of my sin struggles are the same things she struggles with. I felt God say that this weekend would be pivotal in freeing me from certain sins and strongholds in my life. I returned home, only to fail. As I saw those waves of condemnation crashing down, I again became very discouraged with my lack of trust and faith in God. And the emotional scars continued and in some ways only seemed to increase.
March ’09 – God continued to remind me that He brings beauty from pain. And that my life, which has involved a good deal of pain, is meant to bring Him glory. Each step I’ve taken and each tear I’ve cried was not lost to His care and love. As my hours kept getting cut at work due to the economy, I found trusting in that love a struggle. But I remembered where I was a year ago, in the tube for the MRI, and was refreshed to remember that my God is providing for me. Since I still wasn’t sleeping, the doctor put me on a sleep med, for the next 3 months to try to train my body to sleep again.
April ’09 – Migraines are more an occasional occurance now instead of a daily trial. Physically the changes in my body have been phenomenal since last October when my pastors prayed for God’s merciful healing hand to touch me. I’m even training for a half marathon at the end of this summer! Lord willing, I’ll have the physical strength to make that goal a reality. The struggles to trust God to provide financially became greater as I saw to greater depths the mess I’ve created. I was confronted about a relationship issue that I had left unresolved. God used that to show me grace in a new and special way. I was surprised to see such grace to me… a clearly undeserving sinner. God overwhelmed me with that grace.
May ’09 – Again, God has overwhelmed me with His grace. I’ve had many nights of restful sleep. He has provided for me financially in some spectacular ways and has again and again proven Himself to be my faithful Provider. I’m also amazed at what a gift my friends are and how God has used them to show me His care. They have sacrificed so much just to simply show me God’s love. I’m grateful… and overwhelmed.
So, that’s the last 18 months. I don’t know what the next ones will contain. But I know that the faithful God who has carried me through many physical, emotional and financial pains time after time, will continue to carry me through every storm He has ordained for me. I continue to struggle with fear… fear of the unknown, fear of future pain. But God is faithful in comforting me with the truth that no matter what trials come, He is with me.