The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and it's a balmy 44 degrees outside.
I'm enjoying the warmth of the sun rays and the songs of the birds from my cozy bed, while a chilly breeze blows in through the open window.
Crohn's disease (and all its side effects) and medications (and all their side effects) continue to make me very, very ill.
The pain is often unbearable. The nausea, overwhelming.
The clinical anxiety is a continual monster to battle. The raging hormones, a force that is hard to beat.
While I ponder especially that last question, I remind myself of the passage in Matthew 6.
34. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
And yet, after almost two years of a horrible Crohn's flare, following a challenging pregnancy, delivery, & postpartum, I do have to find an answer for the looming question, "What if I never get better? Ever? What if the Crohn's doesn't go into remission again? What if the remaining few meds to try don't work? What if all this time and money on natural, holistic solutions is just a waste?"
And the answer to this question is this: My hope is in the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth. (Psalm 121)
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother's womb.
My praise is continually of you.
No. My illness is not my identity. My identity is in Christ. I am a new creation. Old things are passed away, He is making all things new; even when it feels like He isn't; even when it feels like all of life is consumed with the "old" illness I have battled for half my life (crazy, btw).
When it has been twenty months in a row, of intense physical pain & suffering, of severe levels of depression and/or anxiety, of more nausea than most people have in a lifetime, of more tears than could possibly be counted... Who am I then? And who is God to me?
I am a daughter of the King of kings and Lord of lords. He gives me the power to overcome, even when the physical maladies are out of my power to overcome. I can be an overcomer because His Spirit lives inside of me and life is so much bigger than physical health. Physical health (or lack thereof) is a HUGE part of life here in this life before eternity... And it DOES affect every part of every area of life. It just does.
But I have the strength of Christ, when I am weak. I have the hope of eternity and no more pain or tears, even when things *feel* hopeless.
Should this illness only progress, instead of get better, I know that death has no grip on me because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, defeating death itself.
This thorn in my flesh is temporary and does not affect who I am in Christ. And also, it doesn't make me a bad wife, a bad mom, a bad friend, etc. It makes it so I can't nearly always be the wife, mom, friend, volunteer, etc. that I WANT to be. But illness does not equal failure. It just doesn't. It is something God has ordained and allowed for His purposes and my eternal good. So whether I find healing in this life or not until the next, I am safe and secure in Christ and His plan for my life... Even when that means not being able to do a fraction of the things that I would *like* to do in this lifetime.
...being diligent in exposing my heart to the reading & study of God's Word. Joshua 1:8 Romans 15:4 Psalm 119:10-11
...praying faithfully and fervently, even when God seems silent. 1 Thes. 5:16-18 1 Chron. 16:11
...doing all things without grumbling or complaining (ALL things... yikes). Phil. 2:14-16
...being content with living a "smaller" life, due to incredibly high health expenses (and not coveting what others have). Exodus 20:17
...choosing gratitude, always. Eph. 5:19-20
...working to the best of my ability, as my health allows. Col. 3:23-24
...crying when I need to cry and pouring out my heart honestly before the Lord. Psalm 62:8
...choosing to REST (even when it's the last thing I want to do). Matt. 11:28-30 Psalm 127:2
...focusing on the good and lovely and beautiful, amidst the pain and ugliness. Phil. 4:8-9
God's faithfulness and love remain strong and true, even amidst the ups and downs, victories and failures, trials and triumphs.
It is now 3:00 on Sunday afternoon and the sun is even warmer. A 55 degree breeze is blowing my sheer living room curtains... Birds are chirping, woodpeckers are pecking, people are walking their dogs, and I'm so grateful for this taste of the upcoming spring. My sisters will be here soon to play outside with Emmy and me. We'll blow bubbles and play frisbee with the dog and maybe go for a walk. We will deeply inhale the fresh air, laugh, and catch up on our weeks.
And I'm so grateful. For the mess, mayhem, and magic... All of it.