“My ears had heard of You, Oh Lord, but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5
It was now November, & nothing had improved. I’ll never forget one particular afternoon when the vastness of my situation hit with undeniable force. I was trying so hard to finish up some Chemistry homework & I was simply unable to do it. My eyesight blurred when I tried to read the textbook, & my mind wouldn’t cooperate & solve the equations. Chemistry was one of my best subjects (I loved it!) so it really frustrated me. I stumbled into the living room where Mom & Dad were talking & started to bawl my eyes out. My poor parents thought I was in pain again & I’m pretty sure my hysterical display was probably pretty disconcerting. I blubbered my dilemma & ranted my intense disgruntlement at my brain for not cooperating at my high standards. I didn’t comprehend my body was malnourished & low on electrolytes. I didn’t understand the harsh fight my body was facing. I simply didn’t understand.
I felt completely cut off from the world, but I was so sick I didn’t even have the strength to care. At this time; I hadn’t gone public quite yet. I’d kept this entire scenario hidden from almost everyone except very few close friends. Looking back, I believe a vast part of that decision was denial—the persistent belief everything would blow over if I was guilelessly patient & gave it enough time. But I also believe even larger was all-consuming fear. The fear of gaining the status of the invalid friend…the one everyone pities & walks on eggshells around. The fear of suddenly being unable to measure up to the academic standards, the packed college resume, the successful conversation about all she’d accomplished since they’d last talked. The fear of being boring & unappealing to talk to. I feared the questions, the opinions, the unknowns, the reactions. I truly believed (& still do sometimes!) my entire worth as a daughter, sister, friend, & even future help-mate was completely in jeopardy & I was going to do everything I could to camouflage it from everyone I possibly could.
I was unable to do much at all. My days usually consisted of watching movies, (Luke & I managed to finally conquer some Star Wars movies!) attempting a shower, trying to eat, or tediously accomplishing some Chemistry homework. I’d basically gotten used to this cycle. I was used to being unable to eat more than a few bites of food. I was used to the constant nausea & pain. I was used to feeling sick all the time.
On November 18th, things took another turn for the worse. My pain was higher & even more concerning than usual, & I started to reject even water. Concerned, my Mother loaded me in the car for yet another visit to the ER. They ran all the typical blood-work & scans & per usual, everything came back normal. They gave me a high dose of morphine for the pain, but unfortunately that was when we realized I’m highly allergic to morphine, so it ended up making me feel worse, not better.
My best friend Hannah, her Mom, & her sister promptly came to visit as soon as they heard I’d be there for the evening. She totally surprised me, & I treasured her company as a welcome distraction from the fear & colossal unknowns. Her presence was a much-needed reminder of how God provides for our every need in times of distress. ❤
Shortly after my impromptu ER visit, my parents made the executive decision to book an appointment with a pediatric gastroenterology specialist at UVA. The appointment was originally scheduled for January 2017, but praise Jesus, He provided an appointment for immediately after Thanksgiving…merely a week away!
& hence began the real journey…..
A lot of people ask me how I handled everything emotionally at that time….the unknowns, the questions, the tests, the paralyzing fear, the sacrifices, the loss… & the answer is I really didn’t. I was so focused on day-to-day survival that there was no energy to dwell on the emotional aspects. But I will say I struggled a lot with understanding why this was happening to me. That was a very real mental battle for sure!
Most of us are familiar with Job from the Bible. Man, what a guy! He was so faithful & obedient to God…so much so, in fact, that Satan decided to send all kinds of horrible tests, arrows, discouragements, & heartbreak his way. Yet through it all, Job continued to worship & trust in the Lord, even when others provoked him to just give up. But eventually, Job questioned God, “why me?!”
I love what happens next.
God didn’t directly answer Job, but rather asked him a series of questions that were impossible to answer. “Do you know where the clouds hide?” or “How does the sun move across the sky?” or “Can your voice thunder like mine?” All the while demonstrating to Job that Job did not need to understand why, because Job is not God. God is God, & He is perfect, just, sovereign, loving, & so much more.
In response, Job declared, “My ears had heard of You, Oh Lord, but now my eyes have seen You.”
This verse is now my life verse. This verse is my testimony. I may never understand why I got so sick. I may never understand why God took Guatemala from me. I may never understand why. But I finally came to the point where I didn’t have to understand. My Heavenly Daddy granted me peace. I rested in this truth: God’s plans are not always our plans, but no matter what, His will & timing are always perfect.
As Job stated, I haven’t just heard of God’s works. I have seen Him working in indescribable ways, & that is a greater gift than ever imaginable. That alone makes this journey worth it.
To be continued…..