Saturday, April 30, 2011


***I was thinking this morning about how writing in my journal could possibly be the best way to chronicle what the Lord has taught me through this time; what if lovely blog-readers don't want to hear all about being sick? But alas, I was made for speed, and while I love keeping a journal - the look of pages filled with writing and memories of the sweet touch of the Lord - the fact that my hand can't loop letters as fast as my brain thinks of words constantly frustrates me. Typing lets my fingers fly. I suppose a balance between the two is not so bad, eh?***

Imagine floating with ocean on every side. You know you want to get to the far-off island, the sandy shore, but you have no paddle, and you know you can't swim all that way. All you can see is water, all around you. The temptation is to succumb to hopelessness, to the fear that because you cannot pull yourself, you shall never arrive. Wind is beginning to blow the blanket around you into hills then mountains of rushing energy.

And then, in a moment, you realize that you are not on the flimsy raft you thought was your seat. All of a sudden, you don't need a paddle. No, no. You're on a sturdy craft, with sureness in its path, leaving loneliness in its wake. There is a Man in the stern, with His arms outstretched, and you hear Him say, "Peace, be still..." and you know. You know. This is not only your journey, it is His, and He is the great Navigator.

I remember the moment, laying in my bed, and all of a sudden knowing I had a choice about what to believe. I am made to tell the ends of the earth about the glory of the Son of God, but right now it's hard to walk down the stairs - how will I get to the nations?

In the midst of sickness, it is so tempting to believe that maybe this is what you are, this will define you. I have had so many conversations with people who have been through chronic illness; to be perfectly honest, that theme of "One day, I just couldn't get out of bed" is my worst fear, even though over the past week or two I have noticed a significant difference in the way I feel. The past few days, I've rolled out of bed, walked to the bathroom, and breathed a sigh of thankfulness that I was able to get up. When my days began being defined by how out of breath I get walking up the stairs, tunnel vision started to set in.

Praise God, His light breaks through. In my heart, these five months have turned from a battle with illness to a battle for my calling, my destiny. Will I be like Abraham, who did not consider his body, which was good as dead (and my goodness, that's a worse situation than I'm in!) but held fast to the promise of God? Do I truly believe that it is God, the KING, who has declared me to be a healer in His power and a messenger? And if God is truly the one who has said it, is it not unchangeable, firm, an unwavering promise? It is impossible for God to lie. What measly little virus can get in the way of the everlasting word of God?

As it turned out, this battle with unbelief began before I got sick, but the physical struggle brought the internal one into the light. I had begun to believe I was "just" a girl, "just" an employee, "just" a story. In the swirl of busyness, I forgot the goal I was working towards, the high calling being spoken from heaven. God has been lifting my eyes to see that I cannot forget, I cannot be satisfied with something less than His fullness.

So I stand, and I know that I don't have to swim to my calling, but I have to believe. Belief. Oh, my friends, unbelief is a liar, a thief. Do not let it steal from you - whatever it is whispering to you, do not put your trust in anything other than the faithfulness of God. If He has said you are Esther, or Abraham, or Joseph, then you are. No matter what the sickness, what the past, what the brokenness.

No sickness can change the unchangeable word of God. No hardship can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, my Lord.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I've mulled over, written and re-written in my head, and tried to make a verbal outline of this post to my sister. At this point I say: let's just jump in and see what happens.

God is close.

One of the most poignant struggles of being physically sick is that of loneliness, at least for me. The simple fact that you are the only person experiencing what is going on in your body is hard enough. I mean, it's obvious, but think about it: you're the only one who knows how you feel. Other people have experienced the same virus and have a similar experience, but day in-day out, I am the only one who knows exactly how I feel.

Actually, that's not true. Herein lies the beauty.

There is no one closer to you than the Holy Spirit. I don't understand, how is it He can be in and through and around me? He fills the spaces in my heart I didn't even know were there and soaks the places I did. He knows my thoughts before I think them, my words before I speak them, and He knows. He knows. He actually knows how I feel.

There is this deep desire in us to walk with someone. Through excitement, through adventures, through pain, through sickness...we want a companion. I'll be honest: now would be an awesome time for a knight in shining armor. I have friends where that is part of their story - in sickness, even specifically with Mono, the Lord used the experience to create an opening for someone to be strong on their behalf, or just sit with them in the long days of fatigue.

There were days I wish I could be carried downstairs because it was hard to walk, but do you know what? I have noticed in this season that the fire of physical trial strips a sort of veil from the Scriptures you didn't even realize was there. All of a sudden you realize: they are very, very practical. One of the most beautiful parts of the Word is how there can be so many layers to one sentence, one passage. Try reading this verse practically:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

There may not have been physical hands lifting me or a tangible arm to lean on, but I tell you: there have been moments where the presence of the Lord physically making my body move has been so real that He may as well have been standing right there.

No matter how close a friend, or a man, could get; no matter how much they care, how much they want to know how I'm doing, they could not come this close. A husband could see me wake in the morning and kneel next to my bed begging for strength for that day, but he could not provide it.

The Most Faithful, the Most High, the Creator of the ends of the earth and of the intricate cells of my body, He has given power to this faint one and increased strength when I literally have no might. I still look for the day when I will run and not be weary, or take a walk and not be faint, but that day is coming, for it is written.

God desires to walk with us. Immanuel, God with us, that is who Jesus is.

Come and walk with me, Jesus.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Schoolroom

I never, ever expected to find myself in the classroom of illness.

I've always been resilient. Always. It seems that maybe part of this whole journey has been to free me from an overabundance of self-confidence of the prideful sort. Maybe, I'm meant to sing a song like Paul's:
For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself...But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
This classroom has held many varied lessons.

Like the arithmetic dividend that Me minus Great Works for God still equals His unfailing, unequivocal love.

Like the vocabulary list, where the meaning of "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day" is learned through daily, practical prayer.

Like the history books, where you can read of Abraham and Paul and Esther and the myriads of others - all those great men and women of faith - who have done this before. Every one, they have all done this.

And the most vibrant lesson? The one that happens moment by moment, whispered prayer by whispered prayer? That of the Teacher. That He is more than a teacher, that these are more than lessons on a page. That He is life to my bones, and companion in my sufferings. Or, more accurately, I am a companion in His, and He has already bought the victory.