I was so excited about last weekend. My little boy was going to be baptized Sunday morning. My parents came to stay for a few days and my sister and her husband and new little baby were coming for the day.
Naturally I planned activities and meals, and prepared the house just so.
I did not plan on my new medication deciding to whack me out completely and make the weekend miserable.
Some of the sources on this very rare medication (the stuff I started taking to raise blood sugar levels by slowing down insulin) said it would take 2-3 weeks to really feel its effects. Well, this past Friday was the two week mark, and apparently they were right. It suddenly went from raising my blood sugar to happy normal levels, with minor side effects, to shooting up too high, with major side effects.
I had been having bad headaches, but I thought they might be because I was tapering my steroids, or because the weather was bothering my asthma, or because my back is misaligned and I need to see the chiropractor.
But then when the headaches got worse, combined with muscle aches, itchy skin, tinglies all over my scalp that lasted all day, plus my hands swelling up, I realized this was no typical ucky chronic health problem day.
I went down to 1/2 a dose, but even still I was up till 5am Saturday night feeling miserable and wishing I could sleep. (I am getting to this thought pattern thing.)
At this point, I wanted to jump into several of the wrong thought patterns. I wanted to be scared--some of these symptoms were the same as when I had seizures after Hope's birth. I wanted to start overgeneralizing--this always happens, it never works trying new medicine. And I wanted to make it all negative--this special weekend is ruined, this was my last chance to find something to help, etc..
However, when the pain shut out everything else, I found myself crying out the only prayer that
would come. "Please, Lord, have mercy on me."
Mercy. It's asking for what is undeserved. At that point I was beyond the temptation to feel I deserved God's help or I even deserved to be out of pain. At that point, completely out of control as my body spiraled downward, there was no room left for expectations.
Like Peter, who when sinking cried out, "Lord, save me!" all I could do was ask for help. And like He did back then, Jesus reached out His hand and took mine. He didn't make it all magically go away, but He stayed with me. He never left me. He did not forsake me. And He helped me see several good things within the bad:
1. Everything good is from God. Every moment I am not in pain, I can breathe freely, is a gift from God.
2. Anything above hell is mercy. God has already bestowed unimaginable levels of mercy in forgiving my sin and giving me eternal life in heaven.
3. The Bible says Jesus upholds all things by His power. Every single one of my trillion cells is at every moment being upheld by my Lord. Every single one that works is His doing and a gift.
4. I need Him every moment, every breath--and not just when I feel terrible enough to recognize that need!
A trillion cells (1,000,000,000,000). that's a lot. Just to get an idea on that number--if we were to count the seconds of our lives, one billion seconds takes over 30 years! And a trillion is a hundred times that.
Our God is amazing. We tend to forget that when we are suffering, but sometimes it is that very suffering that reminds us of our every-moment dependency on His mercy and help.
I think God likes it when we recognize that and ask for help.
My daughter, who is 3, is going through the "I'll do it myself" stage. She'll try to put on a shirt and get all stressed out and upset because it's turned around or isn't working as she wants. She'll be in tears when I gently remind her to just come to me and say, "Help, please."
When she does, I step in and easily fix the problem and all is well. However, as soon as it's fixed, she's back to "I'll do it myself" on the next thing.
Why do we feel like we should carry our own burdens until they become impossible, and then ask for God to intervene? If He's upholding each of a trillion cells in your body at every moment, isn't it kind of silly to not want to "bother" God with the small problems in our lives?
So let's not wait till things become impossibly painful before we cry out, "Help, please!"
Right now I'm asking for God's help to make these awful symptoms go away, to help my body adjust well to going off this medication, and to help my heart as I have to accept that this is yet another dead end (or at least it feels that way).
Fortunately, at this point, I feel so badly that my previously sub-level normal will be pleasant in comparison. =)
I'm writing this on Sunday morning. In an hour we're headed to church. It will still be a special day. My son will show the world he has chosen to follow Jesus.
And I will, with God's mercy, look up above my symptoms with a smile and say, "Amen!"