Monday, April 1, 2019

The Diagnosis...Part 2

This post has been quite a long time coming. I have been ruminating on it for "some time" but now as I actually look at the date, it's been over a year since I posted Part 1 of The Diagnosis! Wow, sorry to create such an extended cliffhanger! At least I didn't take as long as Pixar did, to release The Incredibles 2. What can I say? It's been a year of seeking God and learning to really fully trust Him, researching autoimmune disorders, trying new meds, adjusting my diet, and getting healthy. As I'm sure is the case with anyone who receives a potentially serious diagnosis, I have spent a lot of time just processing.

As I continue to wonder "why" in regards to my September 2017 diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, I could take an easy route and say 'Que sera sera'...whatever will be, will be. There is no reason. Stuff just happens. No point trying to figure out why. Just read all the info and give in to the dreary reality that you have it and it's going to get worse and all you can do is try to take care of your body and make sure you keep taking the drugs because you don't want a relapse.

That would be the easy way to deal. But am I an 'easy way' kind of girl? No. My mother always told me I was too independent. My friend Amber said I have a stubborn streak.  I don't want to do what everyone tells or expects me to, or what everyone else is doing. And if that means I do something in a meticulous fashion when there's a quicker way to do it, well...sometimes that's just my choice. And if I refuse to believe what conventional medicine has to say about MS, that's my choice too. Sorry Doris, I don't buy it. I serve a God who can do miracles - a God who has raised more than one human from the dead!

My ponderings have led me to consider that if this isn't an attack or a consequence, and if I'm not satisfied with the idea that there is no purpose for it, since God's word tells me that for those who love God, all things work together for GOOD (Romans 8:28), then He must have SOME higher purpose planned to come from this. And that's where I've found my thoughts and prayers dwelling. The higher purpose.

In my previous post, The Diagnosis, Part 1, I was considering the different reasons for Why We Go Through Trials in life. I had considered two options:

1. It's an attack of the enemy  (see the book of Job!)

2. It's a consequence of our sin. We teach our kids: if you're going to make unwise choices, then you're likely going to face consequences. This is a universal truth. (Romans 6:23, Isaiah 59:2, Habakkuk 1:13)

And then I thought there might be one more reason, which is that:

3. It's part of God's plan: it's either an opportunity provided to grow in some way, even if it's just to grow in character or integrity or faith. Opportunity for improvement is often disguised as a hardship. (John 16:33) Or it's an opportunity for the power and glory of God to be manifested. (John 9:1-3)

And this is the one that bothered me most and the idea that I have spent the last year wrestling with. I have my issues. I mean, I'm not an ax murderer or anything, but my conversation is not always seasoned with grace. I struggle with pride. My daily devotions aren't always daily. I'm lazy about spiritual disciplines. I'm impatient with my kids. And bad drivers. And complainers. And slow internet. On the inside, I know I'm not where God wants me to be spiritually. I have lots - and lots - of room to grow. But I have finally decided that if God has seen fit to afflict me with MS in order to get me to do some serious self-work, well then I will accept that challenge. What can it hurt? Even if this is not the reason, treating it as such can only benefit me and those around me, right?

I've spent the last year and a half chewing on these possible explanations for my diagnosis. Which one is it for me? I don't have an answer. So I will continue to love and trust God. I will continue to do my best to walk in holiness, by His grace. And I will continue to seek Him for how He wants me to grow through this. And of course, I'll keep fighting the MS with what I've learned and continue to learn about diet, exercise and supplements.

I do want to praise God though - my last MRI (Jan 2019) was the first one which showed NO NEW or ENHANCING lesions on my brain or spinal cord - whoop whoop! I'm stable. My Vitamin D is finally in a normal range. My hands still feel weird but I no longer have constant nerve "pain" in them. My energy level has increased. And going paleo caused me to drop 25 pounds, which have stayed off for a whole year - can I get a Hallelujah?!

I feel joy and peace again. My time with God has sweetened over the last year and one thing that has gotten me through is music. A couple of songs, in particular, are linked below. I've written the specific words from each one which minister to my spirit. If you are going through a difficult time, I pray these will minister to you.

Lauren Daigle "Trust in You"
When you don't move the mountains I'm needing you to move,
When you don't part the waters I wish I could have walked through,
When you don't give the answers as I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you

MercyMe "Even If"
God when you choose to leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing "It is well with my soul"
I know you're able and I know you can
    save through the fire with your mighty hand
But even if you don't, my hope is you alone...