"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7,8)
It's been a long time since I've posted on my blog. Maybe part of me keeps hoping this "season" will pass and one full of happiness and laughter will replace what has seemed like a very long season of mourning myself and grieving alongside friends who have tasted more of the bitter than the sweet this life has to offer.
Well, it's August 20th, which means a new school year for my kids (can't believe I have a kindergartener), a new semester at the University of Arizona with Cru reaching students with the gospel, a new chapter as our staff team has changed and my husband is now our director, and a new but familiar opportunity for me to trust in the Lord.
James 1:2 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
1 Peter 1:6 " In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
One thing I have become keenly aware of over the past two years is that trials (of various kinds) are a guarantee for those who profess their faith in Christ. I have met so many godly people who suffer from chronic illness, many who have lost babies, children, siblings, and dear friends who have struggled with depression or anxiety.
What is so amazing about the gospel is that in the midst of horrendously painful earthly circumstances Jesus meets us and gives us hope. He offers us hope that this life is not the end. The pain we experience here on earth, be it short or long, be it physical or emotional....this is temporary (even when it feels like it will never end). I think in all of our hearts there is a chord that is struck that causes us to say "this isn't right, this isn't fair, why is life so hard." I agree. The gospel is good news because Jesus conquered death on the cross when he rose again. He paid the price for my sin, he literally took my penalty upon himself so that I could be set free from what I could never pay. The greatest gift in this life will never be health, wealth, beauty, it will never be fame or marriage or family. The greatest gift is that of which Jesus has already done. I don't have to work for it, or prove I deserve it (because I don't), I just have to accept it. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me."
I love that God is faithful even when I am not. He never changes, even when my emotions or circumstances cause me to doubt or drift away. He is steady when life is not. And this brings me to how the Lord continues to ask me to trust Him.
Do not fear when heat comes. For me the heat for the past few years has been my health (among other things I've mentioned in past posts). I won't get into all the details here, but I've felt like something isn't right. Nobody has been able to give me answers, leading me to think maybe it's just normal to feel fatigued and deal with the other symptoms. I've had moments of hope (diagnosed with H. Pylori and finished treatment; eating strictly to rid myself of Candida), but every time the symptoms come back.
Last week the new doctor I've been seeing went over more blood work that he ran, and this is the easiest way to sum up my 1 1/2 hour appointment to review the results: Autoimmune Disorder. Crohn's Disease. Scleroderma.
These are the words that now seem to hang over my head. These are the categories that seem to make sense of what I've known is wrong, but couldn't figure out. This isn't an exact diagnosis yet, and so now I enter a time of waiting.
Do not be anxious in the year of drought. I suppose that waiting feels like a drought. Now I know that my blood work is saying something is wrong. There is some relief knowing that this isn't normal and my symptoms are real. But now I wait. I have appointments set up with specialists for further testing to see if we can get an accurate diagnosis, but these appointments take time and so I won't get in until the middle of November to the Rheumatologist.
Manna from Heaven please?!
While I am waiting for these other appointments, I need to get the inflammation that I've been feeling for years (and is now medically proven to be true) down so that my gut can heal and my body will start absorbing nutrients again. So, I have a 90 day strict diet I am supposed to adhere to (I will start in the beginning of September b/c I need time to figure out how I am going to do this).
For 90 days I am to stick to a strict diet that permanently eliminates the foods I am allergic to (Rice and Rye) and for the 90 days eliminates any foods my blood work has shown I am more sensitive to, which includes the following: Almond, Banana, Pinto Bean, Milk, Garlic, Ginger, Onions, Oregano, Peanut, Black Pepper, White Potato, Avocado, Sesame Seed, Wheat, green beans, kidney beans, eggs.
During these 90 days I also need to be careful with foods I am mildly sensitive to. I can eat these, but need to make sure it's not more than once every 3 days: Apple, Artichoke, Broccoli, Brussels Sprout, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Blue Cheese, Chili Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Chocolate, Crab, Grape, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mustard, Orange, Green Pea, Peach, Pear, Green Bell Pepper, Pineapple, Plum, Pork, Sage, Salmon, Soybean, Sole, Strawberry, Cane Sugar, Tea, Tomato, Watermelon, Bakers Yeast, Zucchini.
To add another punch to this plan, I need to try to keep my insulin even throughout the day, so any foods I am eating need to be lower on the glycemic index. If I can get the inflammation down that will help with the healing, no matter what diagnosis I eventually receive.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." One thing the Lord continues to teach me is that when He calls me to something (be it Staff life with Cru or down this path of Medical Illness) I can trust Him. He goes before me, he provides grace when I need it (yes please, right now!). I do not have to fear or be anxious. He loves me and cares for me. He is good, even if there is no earthly cure. He is faithful. I pray that I will be healed. I pray that the aches and pains won't be a normal part of my life. But I think more importantly I pray that no matter what, my faith will grow stronger as I trust Him.