Chapter Three: God Doesn’t Call Us to Easy

“I just wanna know all the answers & I wanna know they won’t hurt. I want life to go according to schedule. I want each day to turn out exactly how I wrote it in my planner this morning. I want to see two hours ahead of me, but mostly I want to see what next year holds. I want perfection & I want control. I want to get As & I want to be organized. I don’t like the mess of this, this life. I spin quicker & quicker, & the more I spin, the more out of control I feel & the faster I keep spinning. Finally, the dizziness overcomes me & I fall into the cross. “Dear One, let me have it” He pries open my death grip to find a small, crumpled piece of paper with one word on it: control. He takes my small hands in His & together we drive a nail through it. I collapse into His arms, and once more, I am free.” -@sheiscaptivating

September of 2016 (mostly) went according to my schedule. I quickly discovered keeping myself crazy busy was a welcome distraction from fear of the unknown, so I continued with my usual activities. I vividly remember babysitting an adorable toddler one evening, & after he fell asleep, laying on their bathroom floor, shaking uncontrollably & throwing up the small snack I’d recently eaten. I ignored my physical limitations & continued to push on; refusing to accept weakness. I kept telling myself that everything would naturally resolve itself in time. I was going through a significant life change and I was under a lot of stress, so I figured my body was simply reacting to my current circumstances. But, my family was about to realize just how serious my situation was.

At the end of September, my family went to Myrtle Beach with my Dad’s side of the family to celebrate my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. It ended up being one of the best times of my life. I enjoyed every second of relaxing on the beach, swimming in the pool, eating delicious food, shopping at outlets, & finally taking a break from school & life. (Okay, I admit, I had brought my Chemistry textbook along, but I genuinely loved Chemistry, so it was no hardship! 😉 Everyone could tell I had finally truly relaxed & let go of absolutely all my stress.

But strangely, I grappled all week with physical difficulties, & our last night Mom was particularly alarmed. In fact, she seriously considered taking me to the E.R; I was in such bad shape. I spent most of the car-ride home bent over & moaning…unable to keep anything down & feeling plain miserable. When we got home, I collapsed into bed with abandon & stayed there until Mom whisked me to the doctor’s office the next day.

My pediatrician ran more tests & blood-work panels, but everything continued to come back seemingly normal. I was told to continue monitoring my symptoms & report if anything changed/worsened. Yet one thing continued to nag us all: if stress was supposedly causing my turmoil, why did things become so much worse when I wasn’t experiencing any stress whatsoever? what if something was actually truly wrong with me?

October arrived, & everything continued to spiral out of control. My prior symptoms had drastically worsened, and concerning new ones had arisen. I was nauseated all the time, & couldn’t eat more than a few bites of food without throwing up. I tried eating a gluten-free, dairy-free, & sugar-free diet with no visible difference. I was battling frequent, extreme migraines that would end with me lying on the dark bathroom floor crying out in pain & hanging my head over the toilet vomiting. I was incredibly weak, dizzy, & shaky, startlingly pale, & could hardly even shower without either falling or yelling for Mom. But worst of all, I was experiencing severe abdominal pain–worse than anything I’d ever experienced.

There wasn’t a single indicator of what could be wrong. My pediatrician had no answers. The E.R had no answers. Every single blood-panel, test, & scan came back clear. Research led to dead-ends. We didn’t understand how I could feel so awful but seem so healthy.

My mental state was also distressed. I experienced intense fear & frustration as my health took over my life. My parents stepped in & kindly enforced me to stop over-exerting myself with activities. One by one I watched my security blankets slip away: school, babysitting, volunteering, & worst of all…my anticipated mission trip to Guatemala.

I’m not going to lie. I was downright angry at God for a few weeks. I didn’t understand why God would perfectly orchestrate everything, provide the monetary means, lay the passionate calling on my heart, & then rip it away from me…just like that. I didn’t understand why this was happening during my senior year….what was supposed to be my best, most exciting year yet. I simply didn’t understand. Period. & I was extremely bitter about that. I didn’t think it would be possible for me to ever love God again. But, I continued to (very grudgingly) do my daily devotions & pray, & I am really glad I did.

On what would end up being the last day of my funk, I opened my prayer journal to the very first page, & what was written at the top brought me to my knees in tears. At the beginning of the year, just 8 months prior, I had written, “My 2016 theme will be to trust God in all things.”

Wow.

God was preparing my heart even then. I had written that with the intent of trusting God through all things involving provision and guidance for Guatemala, but all along, He had a different plan to bring me to complete trust in Him.

The fact is, we’re all human, & we will all have human moments. We’ll all be confused, frustrated, angry, sad, & heart-broken about various situations. It’s simply inevitable. But I have learned it is all about how we handle our humanness. We can turn away from God, allow our funk to dominate our lives, & walk around with a dark Eeyore cloud over our heads 24/7. Or we can choose to have a God glorifying attitude despite our circumstances & use those very circumstances to point others to Him. Yes, this journey has definitely been a rough one. Yes there has been heartbreak, tears, frustration, & grief. In fact, those very feelings are present even today! But if I take time to look back at the bigger picture, I realize the past year has also been filled with victories, triumphs, and simply the Hand of God. There is beauty in tragedy, light in darkness, and triumph in trial.

You see, God doesn’t call us to easy. God doesn’t promise He will shield us from pain and suffering. But God does promise that His love for us is greater & more powerful than anything Satan sends our way. I don’t know what your current situation is, or what God is currently doing in your life. Maybe everything is going smoothly, or maybe you’re going through a time of trial. But whatever is going on, I promise you this: in the words of Corrie Ten Boom, “There is no pit so deep, where God’s love is not greater still.”

To be continued…..

 

 

 

 

 

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