**Forewarning: This isn’t as fun or happy a post as I wish it was…but it is me. It is me right now.**
If you’ve been following the goings on of my family you know that we picked up and moved 2,272 miles across the country at the beginning of August. What. A. Trip. My dad and step-mom came to Southern California to help us pack up and make the drive. Without delving into all the details, I have to say that this move was the most stressful move in the history of the universe. Ok. So that may not be 100% true since I don’t know what moving has been like for everyone in history, but it was certainly the most stressful move we have ever made. Since our marriage nearly 7 years ago, my husband and I have lived in 4 different apartments, 1 rental house, house sat long-term for a friend while we tried to find our own place, and have lived with our parents twice. So when I say that this was the most stressful move ever, it isn’t because we don’t have experience with moving or even moving across the country. This is our second cross-country move.
We had issues with our moving company, Josh did not join us right away, and I got really sick on the second evening of our 4 day trip. It was miserable. I just could not wait to get to our destination so we could settle in, get well, and start exploring our new home. Things didn’t quite work out like that, though. Instead, I stayed feeling pretty yucky for a good week. I finally started feeling better only to get sick again just another week or so after that. I thought that I must have a horrible bug or something. But then I got sick again (same symptoms all three times) a few weeks after that! So, since our move at the beginning of August I have felt crummy pretty much every morning I’ve woken up and then on-and-off every day. I’ve done lots of lab work and it all comes back normal. My symptoms aren’t considered diagnostic and the 3 doctors I had seen have had no clue what to tell me aside from saying that maybe they were episodes of hypoglycemia…which didn’t leave me feeling very confident or satisfied.
Finally, I went to see a naturopathic doctor to get his take on my symptoms. I’ve never been to a naturopathic doctor before because they’re generally expensive and we are a single-income family of 5. We don’t have much disposable income, but I’m at my wits end at this point. I just want to get well. I cannot describe how desperately I want to wake up feeling healthy rather than nauseated. Being sick like this has turned me into an emotional wreck. I don’t feel like myself at all. I feel frustrated, tired, and really miss doing the things I enjoy the most like playing with my kids, exercising, going for coffee, going on walks, exploring… I just don’t feel like I have the freedom to go anywhere or do anything because I run the risk of getting sick. Well, this naturopathic doctor actually treated me like a human being. I’m not saying the other doctors weren’t nice, it’s just that I felt like, because my lab work returned with normal results, that they felt like I was making it up or it was all in my head. Because I didn’t have a diagnosis, clearly my symptoms were really not important or couldn’t be that bad. It is so frustrating to feel like you’re not being heard. So finally, when someone spent 2 HOURS asking questions about me as a person, my whole health history from birth to now, my personality, my family, and my symptoms, it felt really good. What felt great? That he was not at all stumped or confused by my symptoms. In fact, he said that lots of people go through what I’m going through. Better yet, he believes that,not only can we treat the symptoms, but that we can get my body back to normal without having to treat symptoms all the time.
SO, why is this titled “Finding Hope.” Is it because I’ve found hope for what’s wrong with me in a naturopathic doctor? No. That is true, but no. Is it because I’ve found hope in leaving California and moving here? No. It’s because that, even in the midst of feeling horrible, God has shown Himself to me in new ways.
You see, at first when I started having these episodes I thought, “The timing could not be worse!” In some ways, the timing couldn’t be worse. Who wants to be sick when they’re stuck in hotel rooms and day-long car rides? Not me. It’s horrible to not be able to be comfortable in your own bed or in your own home. It’s horrible when you can’t just get rid of whatever it is that is ailing you. The second episode, though, came on right after I picked up my husband from the airport. He has been working from home. I can’t tell how much help he has been to me. He has been able to adjust his schedule and work later or on the weekends so I can go to doctor appointments. He has been supportive of me and comforting. If we had been back in Southern California, he would be working 40 minutes away from home. I would be on my own each day when I’m feeling crummy. On top of that, we have been staying with my parents and not having to pay a bunch of rent. That has freed me up to be able to do many trips to the doctor, lab work…etc. Somehow, as crummy as it all is, God has put this in a time when it’s going to be OK.
You know, its’ hard for me to even write that right now. Right in this very moment I’m feeling pretty crummy. In this very moment I want to burst into tears and ask God, “Why!?!?! Why is this happening!?!? I am so sick of feeling sick! It is so hard to do my job when I feel like this! Don’t you want me to be a good mom!?” But that’s faulty thinking. God didn’t cause this. I know He is capable of healing me without any thought at all. I know He can do it. For some reason, though, He is choosing not to. He is trying to do something in my life. He didn’t make any promises that I’d have a healthy, happy life without pain. He promised the opposite, really. He forewarned me that I will have troubles in this world, but that I can take heart knowing that He has overcome them and that this is all temporary. His priority isn’t my comfort as much as it is my character. Even though I believe these words, it still hurts. I don’t even know if I can go on typing. It hurts and I’m frustrated. I know that God is near me. I know He is here and sees what is going on. I even have moments when I feel that He is comforting me and speaking to my heart. Then I have moments of hopelessness when I fear that this will never end. I have moments of doubt that I will ever get my life back to normal.
This morning I listened to a message by Jon Courson about the promise of God’s presence and it brought me so much comfort. God is there. He goes before me. You see, part of me wondered if we misread what God was saying when we moved out here. Part of me thought that maybe I’m being punished or something…like a Jonah situation (he went somewhere else instead of where God called him and God sent a storm and a fish to turn him around). Is this my storm? Is this sickness sent to swallow me up until I am forced to admit my mistake only to be spat out back where I should have been in the first place? Is this my warning signal that I’ve gone the wrong way? We prayed ardently before moving and everything seemed to fall into place to allow it and make it work. We really genuinely believed we were doing the right thing…I still think we did, but I can’t help but wonder, at times, if this is a sign that we didn’t. In Jon Courson’s message he talks about how God has our backs. God goes before us, and he comes behind. He knows where we are going and wants us to follow Him, and if we move forward with a decision and we have sought Him and believe we are doing the right thing, then God will honor that and He will help us figure things out. He protects us.
Right now I’m sure not feeling particularly protected. I’m waiting for God to step in and save the day.
I have considered driving up to the church and asking for prayer. We have found an awesome church. We love the community of people and the small group we have joined. You see, my husband and I have been praying for the church and specific small group that we knew God had in mind for us since May. We prayed that He would make it clear quickly where He wanted us. We prayed for the small group we would become a part of and that God would prepare us to bless them and open their hearts to welcome us as friends. We have been so blessed. We LOVE our church and small group. We have made our friends quickly and enjoy them so much. We look forward to what else God has in store for us and for them. The Bible says to bring the sick to the elders of the church and to pray for healing. There’s a part of me, though, that feels unworthy to even ask. There’s a part of me that says, “I’m not dying. I don’t have cancer. I haven’t had a horrible accident. I would just be wasting their time. They don’t want to hear from me about something that is so insignificant in comparison to what it could be…what others have.” But is it? I don’t know. I just don’t know. Maybe I don’t have enough faith to do it. Maybe the reason I really haven’t gone is because I’m afraid. Maybe I’m afraid that I will go and it won’t work. Maybe I’m afraid of going and praying and feeling the same way tomorrow as I feel today.
However I feel, whatever my emotions are telling me, I need to cling to what I know to be true. I need to remember all that God has provided, all He has promised, and cling to that as true. What I am feeling now is not eternal. It is not the final word on who I am or what God has planned for me. God has plans to prosper and not to harm me. All things work out for my good because I love him. One way or another I am going to have to choose to remember what I know to be true. I’m going to have to choose God’s promises for my life. I’m going to have to choose to be thankful for all He has done. I’m going to have to choose to allow him to develop character and hope in me. I will find hope. God is my hope.