Monday, October 17, 2011

A Thorn in My Flesh

So a bit of a more serious post today.  I don't share much about my faith on this blog.  Why not?  
I don't know.  I guess because I struggle with what kind of blog this is- is a personal blog to share family photos, a blog to share inspiration, or a blog for the jewelry biz?  

I mean it is named after the jewelry company, so do I not share what is on my heart or about my faith?  
Well, today I'm going to share more about myself because my faith is more a part of me than a piece of sterling silver.
Sterling Silver Hand Stamped Domed Faith Necklace with Cross

Not to be Debbie Downer, but in 2006 I was diagnosed with scleroderma?  Sclerowhata?  I know- it sounds like somekind of nasty skin condition like leprosy.  I feel they chose a horrible name for it and I wish I could rename it to sound less gross.  But, my skin is fine.

It is an autoimmune disease and it affects many people differently.  For me, it affected my lungs.  I was told I had interstitial lung disease.  I remember I was in the hallway at my church praise team practice when my doctor called me with the news of the disease.

I cried in the hallway and then went back to practice as if everything was fine.  And it was fine in a sense.  I was put on medication and within a few months, my lungs were looking good again.

So for the last few years, I have had a yearly breathing test and everything always looked good.  It was never a huge concern and I will confess- I never really prayed about it.  I thought that it was an issue that was taken care of.  God had healed me with the medication.

Thanks God for the healing.  I got it from here.

Three months ago,  I switched my doctor and he wanted a new CT scan since I hadn't had one in 6 years.  I went into the appointment ready for him to tell me "looks good."  Instead, he asked me a lot of questions.

"Do you have trouble breathing." no
"Chest pains?" no
"Do you ever gasp for air" no
"coughing" no

He looked at me with a very confused look on his face.

"Well, your chest scan did not come out like I was expecting it to." huh?

He went on to tell me that my lungs looked pretty bad.  I don't know the technical stuff, but there was a lot of scarring and it looked like only about 60% of my lungs were "working".  From the way my lungs looked,  I should be having symptoms- a lot symptoms and it was a MIRACLE that I didn't.

So, I cried.
I had only met this doctor once and I sat in his office and cried.  Because I wasn't expecting that news.  Because I thought God had decided to heal me and send me on my way.  And I cried the most because now I have a daughter.

Before I had kids, I wasn't really afraid to die.  I know Christ as my Savior, I have asked forgiveness for my sins, and I have a relationship with Jesus.  I know that I am going to heaven and I look forward to that day.
 I was only sad to die because I know that my family on earth would miss me and I didn't know if Mr. H could survive without me.

Having a kid changed everything.

I am now terrified to die.  Not for MY sake- I'll be singing my heart out to Jesus for eternity.  I'm terrified because I don't want to leave Delaney here without a mommy.  A girl needs her mom.

And Mr. H and I plan on having more kids.  I was crying in this doctor's office for my unborn children that I could possibly leave motherless.  I think I told the doctor about five times "I just didn't expect this."  He kept saying, "I didn't either."

I went home that evening and was in a complete depression.  I literally couldn't get out of bed.  It is like I was overtaken by fear.  The "funny" thing is that my lungs were also that bad when I was first diagnosed six years ago, but I don't remember being too worried. 

But, I didn't have a child then.

My fear consumed me that evening.  I cried and I cried because of fear of the unknown.  I made a HUGE mistake a googled scleroderma and lung disease and read that it was the number one cause of death in scleroderma patients.  I cried harder.  Mr. H and I prayed together and I still cried.  When worry consumes you it is a horrible feeling, but when fear consumes you it is absolutely crippling.

And then I took out my Bible.
No, it wasn't a generation old underlined worn leather bound copy.  It was actually the Holy Bible app on my iphone, but it was still God's Word.  I typed in fear and anxiety and started reading.  I needed my heavenly Father to talk to me and calm down and He did.  I came across this verse, which I have read many times but it never held much meaning.

"...I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it awayEach time he said, 

My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. 

For when I am weak, then I am strong."

I don't think I ever really understood that verse until that night.  That it is in your weakest times that you cling tightest to God, making your faith in Him stronger.  I realized at that moment that maybe my faith wasn't strong enough.  

Maybe God needed to give me a wake up call to strengthen my faith in Him.  If that's what I needed- a thorn in my flesh (or literally in my lungs) to keep me dependent on Him and crying out to Him, then I can deal with that.  

I was still afraid, but I also came to realize that He knew when I was created and when I was going to die.  It's not like He saw my CT and said "oh no, that does NOT look good.  What now?"  He has always known and this new scan did not change his plans.  

I still have daily fears, but my faith has grown because of this and all I can do is trust in my Father.  

Last week, I had another CT scan and my lungs had improved by 20%.  My doctor doesn't know if they will ever be at 100% again, but I am praising the Lord still.  People have said that God doesn't perform modern day miracles.  However, God created and gave wisdom to those who invented medicines and those medicines are healing my body.  In the end, with or without medication, I know that God is the Great Physician.
Now I'm not to the point where I am rejoicing daily for my scleroderma, but I do think it was given to me to keep my dependence on Him and not on myself.  I do not know what the future holds, but no one does.  

My disease could worsen or I could live to be 90.  But really, none of us know what tomorrow holds, which is why we're reminded in Matthew,

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."

AMEN to that.

Sorry it was a bit heavy for a Monday, but I'm sure some more fall festival pics will be up later in the week to lighten the mood.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that. I have experienced in my own life certain situations (health and otherwise) that after reflection and prayer, I believe was God's way of pulling me closer to him when I may have been straying. It's hard.

    I'm happy to hear your lungs have improved. Doctors are bound by the limitations of medicine, God's power is limitless. :)



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