A Storm is Coming

April 30th of last year was a day I will never forget! It’s a day that changed my life, sent my world spiraling out of control, and took me to a place of complete desperation. It brought me to the end of myself and to the beginning of God’s grace. The past year has been a journey of healing, trust, and deeper connection with God, all while fighting for my life.

I had been sick for years with extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain, chronic headaches, vitamin deficiencies, and continual upper respiratory infections. But I just kept pushing through it, hoping and praying it would get better one day. I had been diagnosed with various conditions by medical doctors over the years, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (now known as CFS and myalgic encephalomyelitis), Fibromyalgia, stomach disorders and chronic bronchitis. My immune system had just been so weakened, that I seemed to be sick most of the time. And the extreme fatigue and pain persisted to the point of complete exhaustion. I couldn’t walk a flight of stairs without feeling like my legs were going to buckle beneath me.  The diagnoses that I had received up until this point would turn out to be, in reality, a series of misdiagnoses.  I wouldn’t find out until later what the true cause of these symptoms was.

In March of 2016, I began having knee pain in my left knee that wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t caused by an injury. I just woke up one day, and it was there. I was limping every time I walked, and sometimes the pain was so bad I could barely walk at all. As all of these symptoms began to worsen, I found myself going into the bathroom at work for 5 minutes to cry and try to pull myself together, so that I could continue the workday. The pain and fatigue were unbearable! So, with the doctor’s advice and instruction from the Lord, I took a Leave of Absence to rest and focus on my health and recovery. What I thought would be a temporary medical leave, however, turned out to be the end of my working all together. A month later, on April 30, 2016, my health took a turn for the worse. When my husband carried me into the ER, I was throwing up, shaking uncontrollably, had 102 fever, and my BP was 70/ 43. I couldn’t hold my head up and could barely speak. I was going in and out of consciousness as the ER doctor opened my eyes and tried asking me questions. Once they stabilized me, I was admitted into the hospital for what would be the first of five times over the next 3 months. I was told I had Sepsis in my blood, indicating an infection and the beginning of what could be organ failure. The doctors had no idea what infection we were dealing with or what caused it. But I stayed on the Cardiac floor for a week while tests were run and blood was drawn every few hours. This had been the scariest time in my life. I had truly felt like I could die. Helpless and afraid, I reached out to the only one who had the answers, and I held on for dear life (literally). I knew He was the only one who could get me through this!

And He is the only one who will get you through what you are facing! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning, the End, and everything in between! He is our Comforter, our Healer, and our Redeemer of all things broken, dead, or sick. He the Master Creator and the Giver of Life! Our ONLY hope is in Him!

Flying Free

When I was a young girl, I had a favorite passtime at recess.  Once my shoes hit the grassy ground beneath me, I would run as fast as I could to the swing set.  I knew that if there wasn’t an available swing when I arrived, then I might be standing there waiting most of recess to be able to get even a few minutes on those swings.  I would always wait, though; because, the wait was worth it to me.  When I sat down on the seat, I would pull at the chains with my arms and swing my legs back and forth with all my might, so that I could rise higher and higher.  I wanted to go as high as the swing would let me.  I would look up to the sky and feel the sun warm my face as the wind blew through my hair.  It was the closest I could get to flying free.  In those moments, there were no worries, no fears, no sadness.  It was just me, the swing and God.

Sometimes while I was swinging, you could catch me singing the song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz.  “Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, there’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.  Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue, and the dreams that I dare to dream really do come true.”  It makes me smile inside to think of those times, and the kids and I giggle when we talk about it now.  Remembering it, though, is also a gentle reminder of moments that I connected to God as a child.  We talked on the swings.  No one else could hear me but him.  I told him of my sadness and my fear, of things I was facing.  Then, I would take long, slow breaths and let it all go.  I would tell him stories of what happened that day and of what I wanted to do when I grew up. Sometimes, I didn’t talk at all.  I just closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and enjoyed the wind against my face.  I still felt close to Him, though.  I knew He met me there, even if we didn’t talk at all.  And in my heart, I would offer up my dreams to him in hopes that one day, like the song I sang, they too might come true.

All these years later, I still enjoy quiet moments with God.  It’s no longer on the swings at recess, but now it’s whenever, wherever I choose.  Sometimes, I tell him through cheek stained tears of the heartbreak or disillusionment , of the fear that comes from what I don’t understand.  He allows me to ask Him questions and beckons me to listen for what He wants to speak to me in those moments.  The song I mentioned earlier has another verse.  This verse reads, “Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly.  If birds fly over the rainbow….why, oh why, can’t I?” I used to sing those words on the swing set, as well.  And today I still do in a way.  I’ve asked the questions as to why others are healed and I am not yet.  I’ve asked why we have had to struggle so much, why life has been so hard?  Why have the dreams I offered up to him as a child not come true?  I now realize, though, that those dreams have been exchanged for new ones.  The dreams He has put in my heart now are greater and more in line with what He wants for me.  He reminds me, “Your ways are not my ways.  Your thoughts are not my thoughts.”  In other words, just because I don’t understand what He’s doing, doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a plan.  God longs to do more in and through my life than I could ever ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:) And He wants to do the same for you!  Offer Him your dreams, the hurts and longings of your heart, for He wants to meet you right where you’re at.  On the swings at recess or the bedroom of your home.  In the corner office at work or the hospital bed you find yourself in.  He loves you and wants those quiet moments with you…whenever, wherever you choose.  You may be going through things that you don’t yet understand, but God does.  And He still has a plan! You can trust your life and your dreams to Him!  He knows how to make them come true!