Have you ever just had one of those days? You know the kind when you get out of bed in the morning smiling because it’s going to be a great day, then you take that first step and stub your toe? After working through breathing techniques and doing a weird one legged dance move, the pain subsides. Slowly you get through the morning routine, I say slowly because you discovered an empty toothpaste tube, sprayed hairspray in your eye and dropped the hairbrush on that same toe that is now throbbing.
Next comes the kitchen and the moment you’ve been waiting for. That first drink of your morning coffee. The aroma has filled the house and you can feel the steam warming your face as you raise the cup to your lips. And then mysteriously, out of nowhere, your mouth and hand do not cooperate and coffee is now running down your chin and right onto that brand new blouse you’ve been waiting for weeks to wear. You contemplate throwing the cup, screaming, and even jumping up and down like a child throwing a tantrum. Don’t forget about that toe!
You’ve been awake for a good 45 minutes and you’ve had nothing but problems. Should you go back to bed and pull the covers over your head? You’re now afraid of leaving the house, obviously things could continue going down from here, right? I think we’ve all had a day or days, possibly months and maybe even years where it’s one thing after another bombarding us. I think the most important part of the trial is our REACTION.
Toward the end of 2016, I started getting very sick. At first, it was weak spells and feeling lightheaded. Then came the insomnia, literally weeks of getting maybe 3 whole hours of sleep per night. Next, I started experiencing feelings of nausea and acid reflux at bedtime; I would sit up for hours in the recliner trying to sleep but couldn’t. Then came the anxiety and panic attacks. I became afraid to leave my house because I didn’t want to have an attack around a crowd of people. Finally the days came when I felt like I was sleeping more than I was awake. I was barely able to function. One afternoon I remember telling my kids that I was going to lay down and take a nap for 30 minutes. I told my oldest son if he could not wake me up that he needed to call my mom for help. I literally felt like my body was shutting down and that I was going to die. When he looked at me with concern and fear, I realized the huge responsibility I was placing on his young shoulders. I knew I needed to call the doctor.
After blood tests and a weekend wait, my doctor called with the results. I was expecting to find out that I had mono or some minor infection. Instead I learned that my thyroid wasn’t working properly and my iron and hemoglobin levels were both extremely low. I was told that I would need to take a pill for the rest of my life to help my thyroid function. I was told that I would need to have repeat blood tests every 4-6 weeks until my levels became optimal. I researched thyroid disease and became overwhelmed by the all of the contradicting information out there. I cried a lot, especially alone in the bathroom. I made dietary changes followed by days of eating those no-no foods and wallowing in self-pity. I still had sleepless nights. I still had anxiety and heart palpitations. I still worried and fretted about our financial situation. I questioned the Lord. I became extremely irritable. So there you have it, my REACTION to my situation. I behaved like a tantrum-throwing toddler.
Do you want to know something? Jesus Christ is still my Savior. The Lord of the Universe is still my Father, He has remained right beside me and is still completely sovereign. He is still the healer. His wisdom is beyond understanding and His love for me is unconditional. I’ve come to realize when I step back and look at my situation through His eyes, I’m still extremely blessed. I will never take my health for granted again. I will also be more quick to pray for those around me who struggle with sickness – chronic or otherwise. So while I still don’t know what tomorrow will bring and the future remains unclear, I choose to trust my Lord. After all, He is my only hope.
Your friend who’s been absent for too long,
Health Update: September 2017 – After a good 6 months of repeated blood draws, my thyroid and hemoglobin/iron levels are finally where they need to be by my doctor’s standards. I am still in the midst of choosing healthy food over the convenient food, making exercise a part of my daily life and trying my best to realize that I have some control over my up and down mood swings. I whisper a lot of “help me, Jesus” prayers. 🙂 There are days that I’m still completely worn out by early afternoon, but I’ve been working at showing myself grace and continue to pray that my energy returns. I am a work in progress. I’m trying my hardest to accept this unexpected trial and know that down the road, the Lord will use this for His glory.
UPDATE: I hesitated to publish this post (the original post has sat unpublished in blog land since mid-year 2017) because I realize that in the big picture of life, this struggle of mine seems so small compared to those around me battling huge obstacles. My intent is to say that no matter the circumstance, the struggle, the trial, or the battle that we face, we need to trust the Lord through it all. We need to cling to Him and rest in His strong arms. My favorite hymn and one that I listen to repeatedly (and sing horribly loud) is “It Is Well.” If you don’t know the story behind this song, please search and read – grab tissues beforehand. I’ve included part of the lyrics below. This is how I want to react to life’s trials, whatever my lot, to truly be able to say that it is well with my soul.
It Is Well
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Praying for you,