Monday, July 30, 2012

Make No Mistake

i know i wrote in my last blog that my "next" entry would be a continuation on the subject of Biblical marriage --this time from the New Testament, but i am compelled to write about something else tonight.

i want everyone who reads anything of mine to know that although i may sometimes express myself boldly in blogs and get into controversial discussions on Facebook, please make no mistake: my life remains in shambles.

take this weekend, for instance: i rarely get out of the house more than once a week, so this past weekend held two days full of friends and fellowship that i had been looking forward to all week. saturday, there was a baby shower of a dear friend of mine, and sunday at church, they were having a potluck after the service, and since we are new to this church, i was looking forward to getting to know some of the people there.

but saturday morning when i awoke --after a short 24 hours of "relief"-- my PGAD symptoms had returned with a vengeance, and my heart sank. i prayed, and i asked God to help me despite the intense burning symptoms to find joy in being with friends and at church. i took strong pain-killers all weekend, which, by-the-way do not minimize the symptoms but only kind-of blur them, and i attended both events. thankfully, a very dear friend of mine drove me to both, since i do not hydrocone-soma-xanax and drive.

when i came home from church sunday afternoon, i slept for 6 hours. my symptoms throbbing, my lower back and knees aching, my allergies, my still-recovering poison ivy rash, all bothersome...all causing me pain in my body, as well as (especially in) my heart.

today, Monday, i slept for 17 hours in-between feeding the dogs and letting them out and in from the backyard numerous times. my head has been so heavy it feels as though it is filled with water. i am fighting fatigue even as i write this.

i know some of you may be thinking, 'you should get to a nutritionist, Heather', or 'get your thyroid tested' (which i have by-the-way) and a whole lot of other really great ideas, like diet and exercise and so forth...and to those i say, i would love to, trust me, but along with my physical pain and ailments, i have emotional ones as well, like depression and anxiety, and sometimes --more often then i'd like-- they are so intense that i am paralyzed.

this is not the life i want to be living, trust me, even so, i continue to see the love God has for me through these trials, as well as the slow-but-steady progress he is making in me.

i am thankful that i have a close-knit "support group" for when things get really bad for me. this support group consists of God, my incredible husband, my sweet son, my loving mom, and a wonderful group of female friends (for as you can imagine i feel most comfortable speaking with females about my PGAD) and then i have a large group of wonderful family and friends who keep me in their prayers, and send me words of comfort and support.

i am also part of an on-line PGAD support group, which is very helpful in knowing i am not alone, and also knowing i am not the only believer suffering with this disorder --there are many, MANY christian women on the board who have PGAD, and some much worse than mine, and we support each other and pray for each other. these are the things that keep me alive and hopeful, and ever pointing me to The One who loves and sustains me.

please don't get the idea that i'm fine, though. i am in a continual battle to not go to my "default answer" when i feel overwhelmed, when i look at my life and my constant suffering and say, 'you know, you can just give up. you can just end all the suffering and the endless, wearisome struggle.' for it is true, i am weak. God knows how weak and crushed and tired i am. this is where i am still beginning to understand the words in 2 Cor. 12: 9 where God reveals to Paul, concerning what many believe was a chronic affliction that Paul suffered with, '"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." [Then Paul responds] So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."

i have very little to boast about anymore, as God (in his loving-kindness) has stripped me of everything i put my identify in: my looks, my art, my awards...and this, because His and my deepest longing is for my identity to be His Beloved. this process he is taking me through is ever painful, and i often have times when i rebel against it, but i keep trying to place my trust in him, that he has ground me down to ashes so he can re-make me into his child, who knows the depths of his love, and are grounded in it.
for the past several months, God has been using the wonderful books of Henri Nouwen to speak deep, life-changing words into my heart. one of his books, "The Inner Voice of Love" is a collection of entries that Nouwen wrote to himself during a very painful time in his life. his words are heartfelt and very encouraging...if not challenging. i dog-eared one entry in particular that i often return to called 'Keep Choosing God', and will close with part of it's message here:

Keep Choosing God

You are constantly facing choices. The question is whether you will choose for God or for your own doubting self. You know what the right choice is, but your emotions, passions, and feelings keep suggesting you choose the self-rejecting way.

The root choice is to trust at all times that God is with you and will give you what you most need...
God says to you, "I love you, I am with you, I want to see you come closer to me and experience the joy and peace of my presence... Just trust me and let me be your God."

This is the voice to listen to. And that listening requires a real choice, not just once in a while but every moment of each day and night...

Remember you are held safe. You are loved. You are protected. You are in communion with God and with those whom he has sent you. What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours.