Faith…No Matter What

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10

How do you answer these questions from your own child? “Does God not care about me? Then why am I always sick?” Those were the questions our 11 year old asked me last night. And they were tough ones. Having dealt with my own chronic health issues since I was 13 years old, I ran from doctor to doctor for almost thirty years. With few answers, and left completely demoralized, I, too, have wondered this at times-days when I couldn’t bear the agony any longer.

Those many, many days when I felt as though I was on my deathbed, truly wondering if I would see another week, I wrestled with God about being chronically ill. “Why, God?” “Why?” And while I still have my good days and bad days, with my baseline far from perfect, God gives me the strength I need each day to get through. This isn’t just about me though.

To see my own child suffering through something very similar, is heartbreaking. Multiple mysterious symptoms. Several doctors. Numerous specialists. No concrete answers. And then, the questions that I can’t answer. “Mommy, when will I feel better?”

I wonder, how do I fill others with hope when I don’t see an end to their situation-especially my own child’s? This is where faith comes in. It is believing, even when we cannot see. It is grabbing onto Him and trusting, no matter what. When my daughter asked me if God cared about her, I had to remind her that of course He did, and that God is good no matter what.

The questions she asked did rattle me a bit however, I have to be honest, because I saw her in me. I don’t want what I’ve gone through for my daughter, yet these past few years, she’s been living it. Our family has been through a lot, and yet we persevere with God by our sides. So, if she takes away anything from me, I hope she sees that in my weakness, that I’m learning to depend on Him wholeheartedly, and that God is her hope and strength. And while I will do whatever I can to get her better, through it all, God is still good, because He is. We can’t let our faith be shaken in these instances. God is still who He says He is, even in times of testing, and I’m thankful for this.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” -2 Corinthians 4:17-18

“I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain.” -John Henry Newman

**I would love to hear how you would answer the questions above if you were asked. Leave a comment below! And for anyone willing to lift our daughter up in prayer-prayer for good health and full healing, I would be extremely grateful.

Misguided Hope and Healing

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” -Mark 5:34

Are there things in your life that are difficult for you to surrender and place into God’s hands? I realized recently that my health was one of those things I hadn’t yet fully surrendered into His care. A few weeks ago, my family and I made the two and a half hour trek to see an hematologist/oncologist that my doctor referred me to. After I checked in, I waited nervously in the room for an hour and a half for the physician to come in. During that time, I was skeptical of being helped, but prayed and put the situation in God’s hands. When the doctor finally came in, it was one of the most demoralizing and hope-crushing appointments that I had ever had. Within the first minute of my appointment, I knew this doctor had dismissed my case-and he had. He didn’t want to take the time to look into what other doctors had been unable to figure out, and he later admitted it.

What I’m beginning to understand is that I’ve been putting my hope in the wrong place, when it comes to my health. Instead of seeking God first, I’ve been putting my hope in a worldly medical system. It’s a system that has failed me and at least three other friends I know with chronic illnesses, time and time again.

As many of you are aware, I’ve struggled with chronic health issues for years. I’ve seen countless doctors ranging from regular MD’s to naturopaths. And while I have one doctor in particular, who has has really dug in the most, thus far, she still doesn’t have all the answers about what has caused such profound fatigue or the other mysterious symptoms.

More despair followed my appointment the following week, as I waited for an ultrasound result that I was told would be to me that evening, but still did not have in my hands. Again, the tears flowed. Over the years, there have been so many mountains I have had to scale to try to get proper medical care. At this last appointment with the hematologist/oncologist, I was in no way treated like a human being and it made me believe that I cannot be helped by our current medical methodology.

The afternoon of my appointment, with tears steaming down my face, my husband said this: “I think you going in there and saying you were putting it in God’s hands, He just closed the door and solidified what you’ve always known. And, you’ve been hurt way too many times to let people keep doing this. Western medicine is never going to be able to help you.” Shortly afterwards, I spoke to my good friend and told her what my husband said. She said that God had also told her in these exact words “they can’t help you”. So, a new journey for me has begun.

And while I’m in no way advocating not seeking medical care, what I am saying is our faith should be in God first and foremost. For myself, I had been leaning on doctors who couldn’t help me, rather than leaning on our Great Physician in this area. My faith was backwards. It needed to be in Him, above all, not in a worldly system. I cannot hand over my hope to these doctors, who are merely human.

Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. -Psalm 30:2

It’s the Little Things…and the Big

“‘The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ -Numbers 6:24-26

Recently, while trying to cope with the profound fatigue that plagues me and other challenges of living with chronic illnesses, my childhood best friend reminded me… it’s the little things. So, in an effort to look for those little things…

I may not have the energy to go for a jog, but I can walk the block with my family.

I may not have the stamina to run full speed ahead in a family game of soccer, but some days I am blessed to kick a soccer ball around with my kiddos and play the goalie in a shorter soccer match.

I may not be in a fast-paced career anymore, but my body is more at rest and moving at the pace it needs to be right now.

I may not know the future, but I have the present.

I may not think the most positive thoughts at the moment, but I have His Word to give me hope.

I may not always be able to calm the storms of anxiety that afflict me, but I have a God who is bigger than my fears.

I may not see the sun shining, but the Son is always shining down on us.

I may not be living the life I imagined, but God has a plan for me-and His plan is far superior to mine.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

Vaccine Anxiety

Dear God,

Last Tuesday, was one of the scariest moments of my life. For a year now, I haven’t so much lived, as I have survived, in a little bubble, not really exposing myself to the outside world for fear of the dreaded Covid. Tuesday of last week though, took me for a spin. You told me to do something I wasn’t expecting and it turned my world upside down. I was to get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine-something I hadn’t even decided if I wanted. Not only was I afraid of what I would be injecting into my body, and the lack of long-term studies, I was very concerned with how my chronically ill body would react. And just when I said “yes”, I sure wasn’t prepared for the steps I would have to take to get the vaccine.

I would have to go get an Alaskan State ID at a hole-in-the wall establishment that had no regard for mask wearing. Not only that, but I would have to risk my life by taking off my mask with several non-mask wearing people in the room in order to get my photo taken. Sitting outside in the parking lot, watching person after person stroll into this tiny building with no masks, made me angry at them for their selfishness and lack of regard for those of us with underlying health conditions. I was fearful for my life-so fearful, in fact, that I was in tears. Doubting that this was what I was supposed to be doing, I heard “go in”. Was this me? Was this really You? I wrestled. Then, I felt it. I felt Your peace wash over me-the type of peace that settles like a blanket of freshly fallen snow-the type that only You can give. You told me to put my entire life in your hands and it was incredibly frightening. I was wrestling with anxiety and with You, yet, I did it, shaking in my boots.

When I walked out with temporary ID in hand, I broke down. A few minutes later, I got the gumption to continue on the path You were taking me down. There was no turning back now. It was off to get the vaccine. Anxiety still present, I kept telling You I was choosing to trust that this was what You wanted me to do, but deep down, I was still scared. Going through the motions, doing my best to be obedient, I filled out the required paperwork and then the vaccine was given.

It was done, or so I thought-done, until the symptoms hit-body aches, nausea, headache, chills. I felt like I had the flu. Anger welled up inside of me. I had been feeling so much better lately. The chronic fatigue had improved some and the Lyme disease had felt more under control and now, I felt awful again. I was mad-mad that I was sick and was losing yet another day of my life and who knew how many more to being unwell. It triggered the years I’ve spent in bed due to chronic illness and missing out on life and on my family. Again, I wrestled with the anger and the feeling of little control.

Putting my fears aside, what I realize now, is that You were blessing me with protection. Not only that, You were giving me an invitation to live-which I haven’t done in quite some time. You were asking me to trust You with everything in my being-which I again, wrestled with. You were teaching me that You are in control and You know what is best for me-far better than I do.

I’m sorry for doubting you, Lord, and for struggling to trust You. Please forgive me for fearing and wanting to have control, when You are the One who has the ultimate control. You know best, God, and so I put my life in your hands.