The surgery went well. It took three times longer than expected because they had more material to remove and clean out than originally anticipated, but it’s over now. Pain is mostly under control. All is going alright. I will post a more substantial entry as soon as possible. Thank you all for your prayers.
Just what I needed today.
Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, 21 who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, 22 who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave? 23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? 24 For my sighing comes instead of my bread, and my groanings are poured out like water. 25 For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. 26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes. (Job 3:20-26)
We all ask that question…even Job. Sometimes, when we read Job 1-2, we can mistakenly think that Job is “super-human” because he responds to his suffering…
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This is the song of my heart today. It’s times like these you learn who your true friends and allies are. That has always been a very, very short list for me, at times consisting only of God. I am not proud to say that at times, there has been no list. In one particular dark pit, I found myself pulling away from the only One who could help me, the only One who knew the depth of the valley in which I found myself. I asked Him some hard questions, and when I didn’t like the answers, I pulled deep into myself, letting the darkness wash over me and under me and through me. And there I sat, wallowing in my hurt, slapping God’s hand away from my shoulder each time He reached in. But this time, I am fighting. I cling to the One who has never left my side. I am forcing myself to pry the lies and chains of hurt, mistrust, cynicism, and loneliness from my heart and give them over to the Author of Truth and Lover of My Soul. I am forcing myself to trust my husband, to be real with him and let him into my hurts, despite the strong desire to simply fold into myself again and close the heavy doors. I am reaching, and it’s hard, so hard, to the few who are left on my very short trusted list, a list that seems to shrink with each passing day. And I am sharing my struggle with you. Because no matter what seeds of lies the darkness sows, we are never alone. We are made to love, to connect with one another, imperfect beings sharing in our imperfection. We have to forgive, have to. We have to try again and again and keep reaching, keep giving broken relationships over to the Healer and letting Him restore, trusting that He can and wants to, if both parties will let Him. But right now, today, I just don’t have the strength. I’m trying, Lord knows I’m trying. But today, all I have in me is enough fight to cry out to God and to let my husband in. And for today, that will have to be enough. Looking forward to the end of this trial and a period of healing in my body and soul.
Menopause. Even though approximately half of the population will go through it at some point, it’s somehow taboo. Oh sure, women joke about the hot flashes and the night sweats. You may hear a random tidbit here or there, or maybe you witnessed the crazy mood swings when someone close to you went through it, but we don’t really talk about it. My mother spent a lot of time in bed during the worst part of hers. It’s not pretty, so polite company doesn’t discuss it.
In all likelihood, I will begin menopause in exactly six days. Most women don’t have the luxury of knowing exactly when this beast will strike, but I do. I only have one ovary left, and it needs to come out. I’m 30 (ish), so young to go through this major life change. But I welcome it. For me, it will not signify the end of childbearing (that ship has sailed already). It won’t mean I’m getting old. It will simply mean a new challenge, and at the end of that challenge, great physical and emotional rewards. It means an end to some of my suffering. I can’t wait. I may not be around for a little while, but don’t forget about me, OK? I’ll write as soon after the surgery as I reasonably can. And if I don’t get the surgery, for whatever reason, you better believe you’ll hear from me.
I’m not afraid of death. I know where I’m going, and I look forward to it. But the dying part… that’s a whole nother story. If you’ve never experienced anaphylaxis, let me tell you, it feels like you’re dying every time. Dying from anaphylaxis is one of my greatest fears. It feels something like drowning, you can’t get a breath, but your body has to keep trying, desperately. It hurts. And every time, I am sure, this is it for me. This is how I will go. But recently, God has given me a deep peace that surpasses my own understanding. Somehow, I feel like I should still be terrified, but while I don’t relish the thought… it’s not so scary anymore. The suffering can’t last forever and either we’ll make it to the ER in time and they’ll save me, or I’ll get to go home to my Abba, my Pop, my friends who have gone on before me, and the baby I never got to hold. I won’t suffer anymore there, and I’ll get to spend eternity in worship and fellowship.
11 Not that I speak [a]from want, for I have learned to be [b]content in whatever circumstances I am.12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
This scripture has always baffled me. I have experienced agonies in my adult life that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. I have hit ten on the pain scale more than once. A handful of times I have cried out to God for relief for so long that I’ve switched to praying for death. There have even been times I’ve been suicidal; these particular migraines are sometimes referred to as “shotgun headaches” because of their propensity to drive sufferers to the very pit of utter hopelessness and desperation. And God has the nerve to quietly, gently remind me of this scripture. In exasperation I ask him, “How am I supposed to be content in Hell?! Because that’s what it feels like, Lord. I can’t imagine worse pain than the worst of my own. I cannot comprehend it. How could anyone possibly be content like this?!” But He only whispers, when He answers at all, You shall learn to be content with whatever I give you, whatever you face. You will learn. And it’s meant to be a comfort, but being the bullheaded child that I am I cross my arms and stomp my foot, saying “LOOOOooooooOOOrd, I don’t WANT to be content! I don’t want to be a saint! I just want the pain to end! No, I don’t want this growth, please just let me be a good wife and mother and do the things I want to do that are supposed to be Godly! Let me be the Proverbs 31 woman! Why would you place me in this role, and give me these desires to do it well, then take my abilities? Why am I even here anymore if I am only going to suffer and be a burden? Why did you open my womb only to leave me unable to raise these precious gifts? I’m failing them, Lord, and I don’t understand. How can I possibly be content here alone in the dark, while someone else raises my babies? While they cry for me, and I cry for them? I’m failing as a wife, as a woman, as a human being. And I KNOW I still have worth, Lord. I know my worth does not depend on what I do. But why are you keeping me here to do nothing but suffer and drain?”
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with [b]insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
I cried out to Him again. “How am I strong right now, Lord? Where is Your strength in this?” Then, one day, He introduced me to someone whose suffering was greater than my own, and it had plagued her for decades. And I was humbled. I remembered her every time my own suffering began again, remembered how much worse life was for her. That day, there was a shift in my spirit. Instead of praying for my own pain to end, instead of crying out on my own behalf, I began to pray for her. Fervent, broken prayers, day and night. And God honored those prayers. God used our pain to reach into each other’s darkest places. Now, my pain has a purpose. God has given me an intercessory prayer ministry I never could have entered otherwise. And while I’m not yet to the place I can say I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstance, I am getting there. Now, I believe that can come to pass in my own life. I’m still fighting with God about it, after all I am stubborn and kind of a spiritual idiot. But He’s working on that, too.