Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When God Says, "No."

For the past 8 months,
I've sat in a medical mystery.

A plethora of symptoms
have only managed to 
mature into seemingly
unrelated puzzle pieces.

Nothing that is life-threatening,
but potentially life-altering.

I don't have a
diagnosis or any helpful
findings to report yet,
but rather,
how God has gotten
a hold of my heart
and brought me out 
of the pit of hopelessness,
and into the light of His
greater purpose. 


To spare you the endless
details I could share with you,
here's a short, extremely
condensed version of
what's been going on:

-For nearly the past year,
I've had unexplained lower
abdomen pain/discomfort.

-I've had a few tests done,
eliminated certain foods,
explored essential oils,
educated myself on
natural medicine, tried alkalizing
my entire body, etc,
trying to put our finger
on the source, but have
come up with nothing

-Blood tests show a raised reverse T3
hormone level, basically signaling
that my body knows it's
under stress from some
unknown abnormality.

-Plus the already stated
unexplained lower abdominal discomfort,
and constant lower back pain.

Given my symptoms,
and medical history,
the closest we've gotten,
is the potential for me to have
Interstitial Cystitis 
(yeah, it has a lot of letters that
make an "S" sound.)
We'll just call it "IC.")

Anyways, "IC" is:
"Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bladder. Its cause is unknown."

**Note: I decided to keep the "its cause is unknown" part because especially if I have IC, and with the risk of sounding crass, I'm refusing to believe that it just came from no where and nothing can be done. Also I will probably be writing another blog about this exact thing later.

Until I have the IC test done
to confirm or deny this
in the next month or so,
I will remain a mystery,
with more tests coming up
next week, to rule out other possibilities.

I won't, for a minute, pretend to
be on the same playing field
as those with debilitating
illnesses, that affect every aspect
of their lives.
I won't even pretend to understand
what life is like for someone
with something like chronic headaches.

Let alone those who face
diseases like,
cancer, ALS, heart conditions,
lyme disease, autoimmune diseases,
the list goes on.
Those people are STRONG,
and I've heard amazing stories from each.

But I will say,
when you haven't felt
"healthy" for nearly a year,
it does begin to take a toll on you.
And it does begin to affect
different aspects of your life.

It affects my energy.
It affects my diet.
It affects my marriage.
It affects my sanity.
It affects my thoughts about myself.
It affects my confidence.
It affects my self-esteem.
It affects my relationship with God.
It affects my comfort.
It affects my life.

When I first realized
that something really was wrong,
and my symptoms weren't just "going away,"
I was mad at God.
I was mad that He has complete ability
to heal me from this condition,
but no matter how many times
and how faithfully I asked Him,
He says, "No."

"But God," I'd say,
"don't you remember that Jonathan
and I are leaving for YWAM in April
for 6 months? Don't you want us to be
full-time missionaries one day?!
How am I going to EAT,
when the MAJORITY of food
I'll eat while across the world
could send my bladder into
a fit of feeling like a fire-breathing
dragon is occupying it's space!?"

Then my every thought
became infested with the
"why me" monster
followed by the self-pity disease
rearing its ugly face.

I found myself depressed about
my unknown condition.
And angry at the mystery case
I was and remain to be.

Then, one morning, God
got a hold of me.
He said,
"I made all the delicate, inner parts of your body, and knit you together in your mother's womb."
-Psalm 139:13

And with those words,
came these thoughts,

"He knows."
"He sees me."
"Whatever is going on in my body
that He won't take away,
He knew of the exact day it
would present itself,
in my life,
before I was ever born.

And because He sees me,
it means He sees
my frustration,
my fear,
my hurt,
my anger,
my hopelessness.
And yet,
still chooses not to heal me.

And if a God who knows and sees me
refuses to heal me,
then there must be some greater purpose
for allowing this trial in my life.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." -James 1:2-4

"Consider it pure joy..."
Joy is waking up every morning,
hungry to sit in God's presence,
desperately needing His
comfort and peace,
and watching as He lovingly
uses my weakness to draw me
into His strength.
To help teach me how to need
Him more, and in turn,
how to love Him more.

Ironically, knowing that I will
look back later in life, and
"miss" those trying times
with God that "tested my faith"
but were such sweet moments
because I'd never felt closer to Him.

"...the testing of your faith produces perseverance..."
Perseverance is with every new morning,
choosing to believe that:
1. God is good.
2. God loves me.
3. God has a good plan for me.
4. Therefore, God can be trusted.

And, oh, I have my moments,
and I'm fully aware that the moments
will continue,
when I whine and complain
and allow the "why me"
monster to pay a visit.

When I'm in a pit of despair,
and listen to those lies of,
"you'll never be pain-free again."
"this will ruin your marriage."

Then, God will laugh,
scoop me up in His arms the way He does,
and say, "I'm the same yesterday,
today, and tomorrow." -Hebrews 13:8

And I realized the only thing that's changed
is my perspective.

And by the way,
God has blessed me with such a supportive husband.
Jonathan is so loving, gentle, patient, and understanding
about whatever chaos is going on inside of my body.
What a teammate.

And lastly,
"Let perseverance finish the work, so that you may be complete..."
Being complete is
the finish line.
This won't truly happen until I get to heaven,
but, speaking solely about this circumstance,
"Completeness" will come when I'm
truly able to stand in front of someone
going through what I've gone through,
look them in the eyes,
and say, "I understand. I've been there."
And mean it.

You see,
even the most devoted Christ followers
in the Bible had circumstances that God
refused to take away, like Paul and
the "thorn in his side."
He asks the Lord to take it away
THREE times in his life.
And this is a thorn that he 100% believes
will KEEP him from doing what the Lord
has asked him to do.
And God says, "no."

And Paul refuses to give up.
And chooses to keep believing in a good God.
And had a greater faith
and a closer relationship with God,
than I've ever seen before.

And so by the grace of God,
with this circumstance,
He's brought me peace.
Peace by knowing that
a GOOD God,
Who deeply LOVES me,
and SEES me,
is choosing to teach me something
than if He were to simply bring
immediate healing.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ali, It is Matt Vander Wiele.

    I was reading your email with Abby and I and saw this link. I had no idea. About 15 years ago I had Vertigo extremely badly. Every 3 months to the date I got vertigo for 2-3 weeks - it was debilitating - I could not drive and I fell off of a ladder at work. The doctors said it was just "how it was going to be".

    I know you have exhausted options, but I did go to a holistic doctor. I went on a very long diet and got better. I just want to you to keep at it and I am very thankful to have read this post tonight - it was very encouraging.

    your friend.