Saturday, September 16, 2017

Finally Getting Answers

Back when I was in college I remember experiencing debilitating fatigue and muscle weakness. I thought I was just being lazy.

After I had my second kid, it got worse. Again, I thought I was just being lazy. 

There were days I couldn't even pull myself off the couch. One day that was particularly awful, I heard the Lord tell me that I had a physical illness. He also showed me some other stuff which you can read about here.

That began the long road to getting answers.

I started going to doctors, which was difficult because I don't like to complain. Some thought I was crazy, some thought I was just depressed, and none were able to find anything wrong with me.

Finally after my 4th kid, about 9 years ago, I saw a Rheumatologist who did the right blood work and it showed I had some kind of connective tissue autoimmune condition but it was non specific. He said I also had Fibromyalgia.

At least I had some answers.

Several years later, that Rheumatologist retired and I started going to someone else. He did my blood work and found nothing.

Meanwhile, my symptoms have been getting worse. I now experience pain in most of my muscles and joints along with the debilitating fatigue. It is also strange, because it is not everyday. It can also vary from the morning to the evening and the days I have flare-ups, I also experience a low-grade fever.

Not knowing how I am going to feel from day to day or even hour to hour, has at times made me nervous to make plans. I never know how I am going to feel. I usually have to remind myself that God always gives me the grace when I need it.

Sometimes I catch myself worrying what people will think. I look healthy, so I wonder if people just think I am lazy or passive because I am not involved in more. I've really had to learn to not worry what people think. I know I need to pace myself and only do the things the Lord is leading me to do. That is the only way I will have the grace and strength I need.

I started going to a new doctor here in Indiana. I told her everything I was experiencing. She really listened, seemed to care and ordered a massive amount of blood work.

I'm finally getting answers!

It turns out, I have multiple conditions that could be causing my fatigue: Hypothyroidism, low iron, low vitamin D, and yes, an autoimmune, connective tissue disorder. She also ordered some more tests to see if we can find out a more specific connective tissue disorder.

I am very encouraged! Not because I am sick, but because I am finally getting answers to why I often feel the way I do and I can start doing things that will help me feel better.

I know the Lord's heart for me is to be whole and healthy. I know he wants me to  live life to the fullest. I also know for every year I've had to live with all this, he is going to give me a double portion of his Spirit. He is going to restore the years the locusts have eaten. I rejoice in him for who he is and what he is doing! He will have the final say!

At the same time, the lessons I have learned from all this has been invaluable! I have learned to be tenacious and to persevere. I have learned to cling to and be dependent on the Lord in all humility. I have also grown in an intimacy with him that I don't think I would have experienced any other way.

Recently the Lord brought back to my mind something I heard when I took my daughters horse back riding. Before we got on our horse, we had an instructor teaching us how to ride. She saw that many of us had tennis shoes on instead of cowboy boots. She said we would have to be extra careful because the benefits of cowboy boots was it had a heal. The groove of the heal could help you stay more securely in the stirrups.

The Lord has called me to ride with him. Where he is taking me, I am going to have to make sure my feet are securely in the stirrups. He might go fast. I believe the Lord showed me the following:  The crook of the heal keeping the boot in the stirrup on one side is faith joined with humility. On the other, it is love joined with prayer.

We are coming into some amazing times! We are going to see some amazing things! Many are going to be called to participate. In order to keep up, and not fall off the horse, we are going to need to be firmly grounded and rooted in Christ. Now is the time to prepare and get ready by surrendering to the Lord's transformative work. He knows what he is doing! 

Let us rejoice in the process that makes us feel weak but in actuality, makes us stronger!
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - And he has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my grace is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Eye of the Storm

Whenever I intercede, I first ask the Lord how he is interceding regarding a situation. Jesus intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34). When Jesus was on earth, he also only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19). In the same way, I want to seek what he is doing and partner with him instead of getting in the way and praying the opposite of what he is doing. I also ask Jesus to show me where he is at in a given situation.

 As we see from the Gospel reading last Sunday in Matthew 16, Peter tried to stand in the way of what God was doing when he told Jesus he didn't need to die. Jesus told him, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do (Matthew 16:23)."

It is important to get in touch with God's heart and the mind of Christ.

I have been praying and seeking the Lord's wisdom regarding Hurricane Harvey, the wild fires in Montana and now Hurricane Irma. What the Lord showed me is he is not going to let the people affected, "hang out to dry". I looked up the meaning to that idiom and the first definition that came up was "not abandon to danger".

I also asked him to show me where he was at regarding these situations. 

With the fires, he is in the midst of the fire like he was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3.

With the flooding in Houston, he is reaching out his hand, pulling people up. We even see this happening through other people because we are his hands and his feet. 

With Hurricane Irma, he is in the eye of the storm where there is peace and rest. Even if the storm passes over, refuge and protection can be found in the Lord. He can be found right in the center where there is a sense of calm.

Several years ago the Lord gave me an image of duct tape on a window along with an impression. What came to me is that some people put duct tape on their windows when a hurricane is coming. The duct tape doesn't prevent the window from breaking but it can keep the window from shattering. In the same way, God doesn't always promise that bad things won't happen and we won't become broken in the process but when we put our trust in him, he does prevent our lives from shattering and he is with us in the storm.

Romans 8:28 - All things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, we thank you that you are a good and loving Father! Thank you that you are with us even in the midst of the storms of life and you will not abandon your people in times of danger! We pray for the people in Houston and surrounding areas, that you would continue to rescue anyone that is in need of rescuing and you would provide for all their immediate and long term needs. Help them to rebuild, with you as their sure foundation. We pray for the people affected by the with them, protect them and provide for them. We pray for the people in the path of Hurricane Irma. Help them to seek refuge under your shelter and protection. Give them a sense of peace and calm even in the midst of the storm. Help them to place their trust in your majesty and loving kindness!