Wednesday, January 6, 2016

When It Doesn't All Add Up

Recent months have been hard. There's no way around it. It's been tough. I've had moments, hours, days where my anxiety has gotten the best of me. Does God even care about {xyz}? Why isn't He fixing it? I know He can; it's not beyond His realm. Is there something He is trying to teach me? Is there something I'm doing that is causing this? How can my body be failing me when I treat it so well? Though I've had some really sweet times waiting on the Lord and trusting in His goodness, too often I have succumb to the subtle seeds of fear. I've needed to be reminded of God's unfailing, always and forever love for His children.

In Joshua 3, the nation of Israel needed to cross the Jordan River. On their own, they could not cross. The waters were too deep and wide, and certainly the current was too strong. However, God told Joshua that when the twelve men carrying the ark of the covenant (God Himself) stepped into the water, He would cut off the waters of the Jordan River and keep them from flowing, allowing His people to pass. And that's exactly what happened. The waters stopped as soon as the men stepped into the river, and suddenly their feet were on dry land. Not a single Israelite got wet as they crossed. 

In the next chapter, Joshua 4, twelve men, one from each tribe, were told to each take a stone to serve as a memorial to pass on the memory to future generations of when God dried up the Jordan River for His people to cross. God had just demonstrated His might to His people, and He wasn't about to let them forget it. Not easily. He intended for these physical rocks to serve as tangible reminders of the time God cared for each of His people, crossing them to safety.

As I was reading in Exodus 16 this morning, I saw the same thing - God telling His people to save a tangible reminder to share the story of His provision to future generations. This time it was a bit of manna, reminding the people of when they wandered in the desert and God heard their grumbling. For forty years, every day, God provided food for them. He rained down manna on the earth for them to each. Always just enough for that day. Never more, never less. God wanted them to remember this and to tell their grandchildren and great grandchildren about His faithfulness.

In Malachi 3:16, we see this same idea. The people of the Lord wrote a book of remembrance to recall how He provided. This pleased God. He knows how easily His people forget His goodness. He knows how desperately we need to be reminded of His faithfulness to us.

In our family, we have our own book of remembrances. It's a treasure. I love opening it up and reading over the course of years the big and small ways God has showed up. It is something we don't write in enough, to be honest, but what we do write is gold. Not because we have amazing writing skills, but because every word declares God's goodness, how He showed up in ways we never thought possible. Sometimes they are specifically things we prayed for. Other times He shows up in spite of our prayers. And other times it seems like He totally missed our prayer, yet somehow in the darkness we see His light.

I've been hesitant to write about my health issues that have surfaced. I've by no means kept it secret from those around me, but I couldn't really think of what I would write in a blog post. So I just remained silent. Sometimes I would post pictures, but otherwise, not much to say. This season doesn't seem to be behind us just yet. The ends aren't wrapped up and tied in a pretty bow, the way I really wish they were. Yet I continually feel it impressed upon me that this - my right now - is a story that needs to be told. 

After our miscarriage this summer, I never felt things were quite right with my body. Aside from a couple of small things that could easily be overlooked, I just had a hunch my body wasn't at it's best. After a few months of lingering symptoms, I sought help from a hormone specialist. The wait to get in seemed like forever. Finally I had my appointment; we had tests run; and we waited for results. While we waited, I endured an almost two week long bout of insomnia. Having never had sleep problems before, this was new territory. For me, this meant I struggled to fall asleep at all, and if I did fall asleep, I also struggled also to stay asleep. Everyday life was draining because I lacked the energy to even function.

(By the way, if you know me well, you know I have one million questions all the times. And my questions need answers. I don't rest until I have them. So traditional medical doctors hate me. More naturally-oriented ones are usually impressed that I even know to ask certain questions and will answer them all day long. I research everything. I've had to back off in recent weeks so as not to make myself crazy.) 

In November, this same doctor diagnosed me with hypothyroidism. That seemed to make sense regarding my miscarriage - if I hadn't been producing enough progesterone, my body couldn't sustain the pregnancy. I was hoping we had some answers and were going in the right direction. The doctor put me on thyroid medication, something I really struggled with, not because I didn't feel it was the right answer but because I hate the idea of being on medicine forever. He also recommended I stay away from modern wheat. Despite these steps, the insomnia came back in December. And that doctor became totally unreachable between appointments. His "nurses" I am convinced are not actually nurses so much as someone who returns calls (and they don't even do that a lot of the time). I've received poor medical advice from them and multiple unreturned calls. (That's the short.) Even though I liked that doctor, the office management is terrible, and therefore I pretty much ran from his office.

I sought a second opinion from another doctor, who had come highly recommended from so many people. Of course, this entailed another long wait. Thankfully though the Lord went before me and moved up my first appointment! I've only had one appointment with her so far, but I really like her. What she said makes sense. She didn't totally question what the first doctor had said, but she did feel it was a little soon for a hypothyroidism diagnosis and medication. Currently I'm waiting on labs to come back from her. Meanwhile she's been available on email, which has been amazing. I'm so thankful for that. 

There are many possible issues that have been thrown out there as the reason for my miscarriage, insomnia, and high thyroid levels. But really we won't know more until tests come back. So I'm in this place of waiting. Waiting for answers. Waiting for treatment plan. Waiting (to even try) to have more babies. Waiting for miraculous healing. And in this waiting, I'm learning to be content and to trust more in The Lord. And isn't that exactly where He wants us? 

In many ways this is just one more time where the rubber meets the road for me. Where I have to decide if I really believe what I say I believe. If I have {abc condition}, will I trust Him? If I have to be on medication for the rest of my life, will I still call Him Lord? If we only have two (biological) children, can I be okay with that? If God never (on this earth) answers my prayer for healing, will I still say the He is good? With all my heart, YES! Will it be hard? Is it hard? Absolutely. But God is God, and He is good no matter what. 

I've had awesome health until this point, and we are very proactive in regards to our health. So health issues creeping up have been unsettling. One night in the midst of my questioning, my hubby gently reminded me, "Even if you had the best diet and never ate processed foods, sickness could still come about. We live in a broken world, and we won't find healing until Christ's return." This made sense to me. We spend so much time trying to control what we can about our health, but at some point it's beyond our control.

If you're reading this and you're feeling sorry for me, don't. God has been so faithful to me in this life. He has held me up when I thought I couldn't stand anymore. He has given me faithful friends and family, a wonderful husband, and two precious girls. He's given me awesome health for 31 years.  

If you're reading this and you're struggling too, be encouraged. We can have a hope beyond this world. In fact, though I desperately want to sleep soundly every night, like a normal person, and I desperately want to have more healthy babies, my hope is not in those things. And truthfully, those have been words I've had to put into action recently, and it's been hard. My hope is in the coming of Jesus of Christ. He will make all things new and wipe away every tear. There will be no more sin, no more pain. 

If you're reading this and just heartbroken and moved to action, pray for answers, for wisdom with treatment, and for healing.