It was January 2007, the phone rang with news from my doctor. They found the source of my headaches and dizziness, a malformation in the back of my skull which allowed my brain to sag into my spinal canal.
Denial. Somehow this would go away right? If I argued with the doctor perhaps she would offer a better diagnosis? At that time I was teaching 15 classes a week at the gym, home-schooling, counseling, and maintaining a home. There was no room for an illness like this.
What was God doing? Choosing to let my life walk down a road that I had not picked, to show me the hope of his glory and character in the midst of my chaos.
I remember one particularly hard day. I woke up feeling wonderful, a good night sleep without any interruptions. By afternoon my world started spinning so I layed down, assuming all would follow the usual path. I wouldn't be in bed for more than an hour.
An hour passed. So I started saying what I call the ABC's of God's character to pass the time. Some people count sheep, I count God's ABC's. Goes something like this:
“A” is for Almighty. “B” is for Beautiful, Beloved. It was an amazing time with God. A song verse even moved into my heart during the dizzy spells. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.”
It sounds like the perfect remedy right? Then I noticed a strong headache coming on.
"This is unusual. Dizziness doesn't normally run into a headache. This is not its typical pattern.”
“Will I be able to get anything done today?”
“How long this will last? What about home schooling? What if I'm at the mall and this happens? Or at church? Driving? What if I become a complete burden to my husband?"
See where the mind goes so quickly?
I went from my ABC's and a praise song, to a high speed chase down the
"what if" road. Racing down that road I met up with my old friend: fear.
Fear is not a friend because he is good to me but because I've had him over, entertaining him a lot lately.
You see, I had no business heading down my little “what if” road. The "what if" in life belongs to God. My future is his. His grace is sufficient for today and five years from now. But only when that day comes. No sneak preview.
I pleaded with God about my pain and fear. I wanted an easy answer, but I got a headache instead. 2 Corinthians 2 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”
It is now March 2010 and I wish I could say life has improved but it is worse. At least physically.
I now look in the mirror and do not recognize myself.
I feel like the person I was is dead. A new set of eyes stares back at me.
This woman is very different, but she is also stronger. She finally understands the mercy and love of Jesus. The cliches have come to life.
I look at this woman and realize there is goodness. I am a display of Christ's suffering and victory. It is a dim view but is still a glimpse of the goodness.
Please join me in meditating upon the ABC’s of God in our valleys. The friendship of mercy that meets us on the “what if” road and the God who comes alive to us in pain and loss.