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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Landmark Moment

Ten years ago I was an active 12-year-old who was passionate about playing basketball and reading whatever I could get my hands on.  Actually, I guess I was passionate about anything that posed a challenge.  However, my relatively healthy childhood was about to take a drastic turn for the worse.  What I didn't realize as I practiced layups and free throws and devoured every book at the library was that a bacteria (known scientifically as borrelia and commonly as lyme) was just beginning its conquest inside my body.  It started as unexplained knee pain and developed into accompanying headaches and unusual skin rashes.  The doctors were at a loss to know how to help me.  "You'll outgrow all of this."  I heard it so many times.

So, instead of slowing down, I pushed through the pain and continued doing whatever I wanted to do ignoring the need for rest and good stewardship of my physical self.  My already stubborn personality became hard as flint in the face of medical difficulty.  The past four years revealed more disturbing symptoms.  My roommates from Northland explain it better than I can since they watched me digress.  Twitching, numbness, and near-paralysis of my right side coupled with consistent heart arrhythmia sent me back to the doctor for brain scans in search of tumors and nerve problems.  Eventually, after hearing "we can find nothing wrong with you" for about 8 years, I began to believe (as was insinuated a few times by medical professionals) that it was all in my head.

So I continued to push through the now-daily pain and severe headache attacks in order to make attempts at completing my college education.  Senior year arrived.  Uncertainty characterized my mental state.  New symptoms popped up here and there and I began to forget simple things and was failing to communicate verbally.  Was I going to lose my mind as well as my body to some psychological weirdness?  "Lord, if You want me to serve You...do you plan to heal me?  Or do You plan to glorify Yourself through my pain for the rest of my life?  How can I be strong enough to bear the responsibilities You've given me on top of this debilitation of my body?" Just when I thought I could take it no more, just when all the questions became too heavy to carry around anymore there was that life-changing phone call...and then a trip to New Hampshire, a visit with a lyme specialist, an overwhelming revelation of problems, and a decision to halt the school work to come home and heal.

The journey of lyme began when I was 12.  The healing began when I was 21.  After 9 months of a strict diet, plenty of rest, and some natural medicines I give Him all the glory when I say, the Lord has healed me!  I am writing this post having just returned from seeing the specialist again...I've been pronounced lyme-free!!!  I can't believe how far the Lord has brought me from the stubborn, strong-willed and very sick young woman, to a healthy,deeply humbled Christian.  I know now that my own strength is nothing and His is more than sufficient.  By His grace, I stand in a strength not my own.  While I am still wrestling with a virus that usually accompanies lyme disease and is responsible for the swelling in my brain, this last stronghold of disease in my body will likely be taken care of within the month as I continue to strive for a healthy diet and lifestyle.  I also have some minor, permanent nerve damage.  A nerve in my right hand will likely twitch occasionally until the day I die.  But it will serve as a reminder to me that my strength is not my own and that I was once humbled that I might be lifted up.

Having lyme and healing from it was a necessary trial for me (1Pet.1) that I hope continues to make me more like Christ.  In the meantime, I am praising Him for healing!  While I was busy trying to "make it" through school, the Lord was holding out His hand of healing.  I just had to submit.  TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

My meditation in light of all this: Psalm 30

I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O LORD,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
To you, O LORD, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
(Psalm 30 ESV)

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