Did the title get your attention? Those words crossed through my brain more than once this week and I caught my thought process each time. Let me start from the beginning of my week…
Sunday was amazing! You know the feeling you get after being at a camp, retreat, conference or getting out of the norm and spending time with God? Some call it a “spiritual high.” After working with teens in JDC, I don’t really take to that term anymore. I guess you can call it “feeling God.” Really…isn’t that it? You come back from an amazing event where someone had guided your thought process into a new defined relationship with God – you learned something new, you shared, you learn from others…you can literally feel God alive in your life. It’s a great place to be. I attended the Children’s Pastors Conference and you can’t not attend this networking event – surrounded by literally hundreds of children’s ministry workers (both paid and volunteers) who love God as much as you do and have been created for ministry, just like you – you can’t worship next to others from different affiliations and backgrounds and all across the country WITHOUT returning in just an awe for Who God is and What HE is doing. To be this excited and humbled – and return to a place I call home and family here at Palm Bay Christian Church – it was a great experience. I love what I do…but I love where I am even more. It’s just a great place to be in my life.
With this being said – I turn around Monday to start the week with doctor’s appointments. The pain had returned in my legs over the weekend. I pushed myself too hard…but for good reasons. Yet, the pain was back. I stopped my daily devotion time because I was at the conference and just really busy networking with everyone (mistake number 1). I knew my appointments were coming up and I just assumed everything would be fine and that God pulled through in such a big way before, He would rise to the occasion again (mistake number 2). Monday morning I get back to the office and immediately start trying to get caught-up instead of mentally preparing myself for my appointment (mistake number 3). You see where this is going don’t you?
I get to the doctor’s office frazzled and reality quickly set-in. I wasn’t feeling calm. I wasn’t really feeling good at all. I allowed circumstances to take control and now I was going to deal with the scattered pieces. Somewhere between getting weighed (seriously, is that really needed at EVERY appointment…I still think that scale is off big time!) and waiting for the neurologist to enter, reality sank in…this was not going to be good. I did what any, rational person would do in my situation – I put on my game face and got prepared to justify my actions (even though I knew I messed up).
The neurologist did the muscle energy test and realized that my reflexes were again getting slower…my knees are always the first to go. It’s annoying watching your body suffer and knowing there is nothing you can do to stop it. Yet, I wasn’t anywhere near the point of my “Juice-Up” week. I could stand with a cane…I needed my cane, but I could stand upright and somewhat balance without support if needed…until my knees gave out. Yet, this is not where I was on that amazing Friday, just a short week ago. I knew that. My neurologist knew that.
Just a side note here – I will never mention the names of the doctors I see on this blog. Because this is a public place and I don’t always agree with all of their decisions, names will not be used. Yet, if you are one that would like referrals, let me know!
The visit continued with a cardio check with my pacemaker. I was scanned (this alone is a new experience for me…I literally live with technology now!) and the report spit out that my heart was not beating regularly, specifically during the early hours of the morning (2am-5am window). A few times the report included a stall in the pacemaker’s response to initiate. My neuro quickly contacted my cardio and set-up an appointment for later on…today actually in about 1 hour.
I was also consulted reference a few spots they have been following off of my CT and MRI scans. At this point, the doctors are varying widely on opinions – ranging from formation from birth to a small sized tumor (easily treatable in my case). Yet, with these spots being there, the doctors believe this is what may be keeping the CIDP in this constant cycle and not allowing the IVIG to stay in effect as long. Just to keep you (the reader and friend clear) – these spots measure a dime to a penny in size and are not growing. No diagnosis has been made and they have been following these since August.
With all of this being said – my neurologist looked at me. I looked at him. I took a deep breath and let him go. Doctors aren’t always the most empathetic or compassionate. This guy is neither – YET he does stick to the reality of what is going on. This statement stood out to me the most, “Bethany, your life has changed and you are pretending like nothing is different. You are no longer who you were – your lifestyle has to change, period!” CIDP is one of those conditions that can be made worse by not listening to your body. When you get tired, you rest…not in a few minutes, but that second. I was tired since Wednesday…and hadn’t stopped. I knew this was coming, but I just wanted everything to be fine.
I wanted to say God healed me, permanently.
The truth is, I do believe God moved in a powerful way that Friday, but cidp is still a part of my life. God isn’t always going to prevent my pain. God isn’t always going to “wow” my doctors. God isn’t always going to do what I think is best.
Sometimes, like there in that doctor’s office, I buy into that lie that God fails.
I could ramble on my thoughts through that evening as I tried to digest everything I had been given. It’s not fair. I just returned from a conference and I have so many programs and outreach events I want to do. Now, I’m being told that I can’t because my body that (in all fairness here) God created and God can heal…and I can’t do ministry because of a broken body? Really? Are you kidding me?
I was mad. I was frustrated. I hid it well. I went from feeling God so close one day to being furious with Him the next. Good thing wrestling with God is something that’s been going on for a while. Look at Job – he told God like it was and God pretty much put Job right back in his place too (Job 38-41). I knew that…but I didn’t feel that.
Yet, God ain’t done yet (I still have my Kentucky roots y’all).
On Tuesday I started my day continuing through my Youversion plan – I was going through the Gospels and I was on John 6. It was supposed to be an easy read. Jesus fed the 5,000. Jesus walked on water. Jesus talks with the crowd. I’ve read it all countless times. But this time, something just nagged at me. I ended up reading the entire chapter THREE times and that nagging feeling…that feeling I get like there is something here that I don’t agree with…that feeling wasn’t leaving me. I literally closed my journal without writing a single word…this one was going to take some deeper thought.
On my way to Walmart the light bulb came on. Nothing really triggered it, but I just could not get the sequence of events out of my head. Are you ready?
God is saying, “I AM who I AM. That’s all you need.”
Let me explain…
John chapter six opens with the feeding of the 5000. Jesus takes the lunch of a small boy and feeds the crowd until they are full and still have baskets leftover for more meals. The people were amazed and wanted to crown Him king, but Jesus slipped away from the crowd to be alone (verses 1-15). The disciples waited for Jesus but as the evening grew dark, they decided to get on a boat and sail to the other side of the area. As a storm broke out Jesus came to them walking on the water and they imm
ediately let Him in the boat (verses 16-21 and this does not record Peter’s walk). Here’s where things get interesting for me – the next day the crowds come back wanting to see Jesus. They look in the area where He fed them and discovered He was not there. Then they find Him on the other side of the water and swarm Him. (verses 22-24)
Then you read the dialogue:
25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man<sup class="footnote" value="[f]”>[f] can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
(In other words – Jesus is asking these people to love Him for Who He is, more than the signs He can do).
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
(The people figure, if He doesn’t want to feed us, maybe we can learn how to do that trick. THEY MISSED THE POINT COMPLETELY).
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
(Point blank – how can they get this one messed up?)
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’<sup class="footnote" value="[g]”>[g]”
(They messed it up…they are still focused on wanting to see Jesus doing something incredible, in this case with food. My guess is that the guys must have been hungry and the wives hadn’t gotten breakfast ready yet….seriously, you notice their one track mind?).
32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
(Though they might not get this yet because the cross is still a ways away at this point, they do know that God has told them that He would been sending them a Messiah to save them from their sins. Jesus is saying “I’m here guys…its more than just bread – I’m offering you salvation!”).
34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”
(Big shock…they miss it again…)
35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36
(My interpretation here…LOUD AND CLEAR – “Bethany, I AM who I AM. I AM all you need.”
I wonder how many times we get caught up expecting God to show-up in ways that He has done in the past, when He is just saying, “I am bringing you so much more than just temporary healing. I have brought you eternal life. Now go forward and live like you believe it!”
Granted, some of us may be wanting God to show-up and do big things for all the right reasons – I would do anything for God to heal my CIDP and get these doctors off my back…in all reality, I’d love for Him to just show-up like He did on that Friday again…an unexplainable improvement and STILL baffles these guys! I love it! Yet, it really is only temporary. What if God did cure me from my CIDP? Great! But not too many steps down the road would I be asking for something else (my kids to get better, Steve to get into a nursing program and be Dr. Oz’s assistant…small thins like that). God can easily cure the temporary, but the thing that makes God who He is, that’s what seperates God, Our God, from everything else! It’s the salvation He brings to us through Jesus Christ. That’s it! It’s more than the amazing wonders He does…Jesus was more than feeding the 5000 and accomplished much more than just walking on water. He communicated that God loves us and His plan was to be together with us, but our sins got in the way. We can’t get to God by our own good deeds or trying to live the perfect life. Paying the price for our sin, God sent His Son Jesus to die for us and rise again so that we could be saved and have an eternal relationship with God forever – AND essentially live a better life here on earth through that amazing relationship.
Don’t miss that! Don’t get too caught up chasing what God “could do” that you miss what He has “already brought”! Now, that grumble for bread will always be there – we want God to do big things in our life. Yet, it should never cause us to lose sight of who He is.
Plus, God uses us anytime, anywhere…even if our stomachs are rumbling a little louder than usual.
So, this put things in perspective for me in a big way – a little dose of reality that I needed. I just wanted to share.
You are truly “bought as-is and used as His.” So, use what you got, with all you got, for the One you got it from!