I feel like I've left bits and pieces of myself all over the world. My dreams of serving overseas long-term got left behind when my health got worse. My plans to have 4 children had to be set aside because my body couldn't handle it. My love for hiking, or any kind of real walking for that matter, has been packed away. I love to sing, but sometimes asthma closes up my airways and I have to decide if I want to sing or breathe. You can guess which one wins.
Isn't singing a good thing? A way to praise the Lord? Isn't hiking and exercise good? Why would He let illness take good things away from me?
There is a very real and legitimate feeling of grief that comes from having part of ourselves and our lives damaged or removed by our illness and its limitations. I am feeling that sense of grief right now, at 12:30 pm, as I deal with accepting another loss of who I want to be.
As many of you know, I love to speak. I talk about human trafficking, missions, and finding your worth in Christ. I used to teach kids but ran out of the energy for that long ago. Now I focus on women and teen girls. To me, speaking is vitalizing. Fun. Meaningful. I get to meet God's beautiful daughters and encourage them. I get to inform groups on how they can fight trafficking and have seen people go and do some of the fighting that I cannot.
However, it comes with a cost. If you've seen me speak, you likely did not think I looked sick. No, it usually doesn't show. I work very hard so it doesn't. I stand up there, gesturing and talking, and don't want you to know that I had to take extra medicine to be able to be there, eat extra food so my sugar would be sure to stay stable, rest up the day before to hopefully have the energy. And if those things don't work, I fake it. I'm talking about something important and don't want my health interfering with that.
|At Ridgecrest's WMU Extravaganza, where I spoke 4 times, maybe more--really fun, very very very tiring!|
But it does interfere. More than I would like to admit. I've been seeing that this month as I need to taper down to a stable dosage of medicine but I can't because I'm being too active. I did the math and realized I have not actually been stable since a round of sickness sidelined me last summer. There just hasn't been a long enough stretch for me to recover. Unfortunately, long enough is much longer than I feel is reasonable. I can give something a few days. I can even set aside a few weeks if it's really necessary. But months? Months of focused, purposeful living as restfully as possible so I can wean down on steroids and stop having drug withdrawals that compromise my immune system and set me up for continued sickness?
I want to stomp my foot like a toddler and say it's not fair. I don't want to give up one more thing that I love to do. I don't want that word "less" invading my life even more than it already has.
So I have put a note on my website that until further notice I am not accepting any new speaking events due to my health. And now I will grieve. I'm sure in a little while I will be able to think of some positives and shine some sunlight on the situation, but for now I feel just plain sad. I will miss this part of me.
If you are grieving loss yourself, know that God understands and He cares. He never takes something away with the intent of the grief itself, but He knows what good will come through that grief, that loss, and that is what He purposes for us. While we wait for that good to come, we can rest in His loving arms, cry in the shadow of His wings, and tell Him how we feel. When our hearts are overwhelmed, He can lead us to the rock that is higher than where we are right now (Psalm 61:2). From that higher vantage point, we can see things that were not clear from down where we live. We gain more of His perspective, and see that it is better and broader than our own.
I don't know why God wants me to set this ministry aside, whether temporarily or not. But I know He is good and His plans for me are a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11). He will use this loss for good. I pray I have the courage to accept it in faith and thus glorify Him through it.
For tonight, however, I will allow myself to grieve, and will accept the comfort of my Father's arms and let Him hold me through it. If you are grieving this day, I hope you will do so as well. There is plenty of room in His embrace for us all.
Trust in him at all times, ye people. Pour out your heart before him. God is a refuge for us.