I am really struggling right now with finding joy. I have held it in for a long time because I didn't want to draw attention to myself. It still makes me uncomfortable saying it. I don't feel free to say it at church. My precious friends at church are suffering and struggling. This is so minor compared to what they are experiencing. But it in a inner struggle that I have to start working through.
To be truthful, I've been here for a LONG time. As I have thought through life the past few years, I think it started back when Sunshine was born. There are way too many details for this specific blog. Maybe one day I'll explain it. It started with Sunshine and hit it's peak with Swee'pea.
A dark cloud has set in over me. I first recognized it back in the spring as I was beginning to prepare for a mission trip to Haiti. I have never been more aware of an enemy around me than in that time. It was dark. I had a great time in Haiti. I experienced God is ways I never imaged, as well as experienced real things in Haiti that weren't mentioned in the brochure. Fun but intense. I came home refreshed and overwhelmed. For some reason I didn't know how to be home in America, the land of the plenty when I had seen such poverty and suffering. It was confusing. I did eventually pull out of it. But I think it was that point that I began to dip deeper into myself. I didn't want to talk to anybody about my trip. It was hard. I couldn't figure out the emotions and for some reason, I didn't feel the freedom to discuss it with anyone.
Underdog and I don't really fight much. Every once in a while we'll have a tiff but we work it through with out much yelling (usually only in the beginning before we catch ourselves and change it.) Since I have been back from Haiti, it's been more frequent. I need something. Something is missing. But what? I pick at him. I get upset over things that stopped bothering me years ago. I find my feeling getting hurt more often over dumb things. It's not hormones because these thing happen after my typical hormonal week. I don't think it's dietary because I have made changes there and it's not heling much (like it has in the past.)
Several weeks before Christmas, I started waking up with aches in my joints. I didn't say much. Gotta be strong. My left middle toe had been bothering me since September. Didn't hurt when I ran, just walking or putting direct pressure on it. It didn't feel broken but I would get sharp pains in it. Right before Christmas I started getting the same pain in my right middle toe. Several days after that, my right big toe got the same pain. Next day the right big toe started hurting. My ankles were having issues with weakness while driving or sewing (pushing the pedal down.) Then my hands took off even worse. I couldn't get out of bed and it was taking a long time for the stiffness to go away in the morning. Something was wrong. I finally broke down and went to the doctor. She tested me for rheumatoid arthritis. What? That freaked me out. Tests came back in the normal but high range. I don't have it but I am close. I'll be retested in February. My liver enzymes are also high. Her comment was that I wasn't near liver failure yet. Excuse me? Liver failure? Um, God, what are you doing? I am 38 years old. I love running. I love to write with a pen, which is not something I can do comfortably anymore. My grandmother stopped being able to write and crochet in her late 70's. I am in my late 30's. <
I haven't shared this with many people. It's never really a good time when talking to people in passing to say, "Hey, I might have a debilitating auto-immune disease". I tried it a couple of times and just felt stupid. So I buried it again.
The past few weeks I have felt like climbing in a hole. No, I feel like I am trying to climb out of the hole. This weekend there was a bomb lowered where I lost my footing and fell just a bit deeper.
I suppose I am writing a little pity party for myself. I hope not. It's just part of the story. In the past, when I have been through things like this, I felt very, very far away from God. Not now though. He's presence is very distinct and close to me. I knew it back in the spring when I first began to realize that I have probably been fighting through a mild depression. I knew His presence after I got back from Haiti. He's been the only person I felt I could open up to. He knows what I am going through and how my whole brain is going to process it all when it's all said and done. He knows and I take comfort in this.
I am wrestling hard with Him right now. He's got something to teach me and with which to bless me. But I need to spend some time wrestling with the Lord. I love the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord. I often feel like that. I want to be blessed by Him in the end. Right now I am so willing to go through this time of wrestling that I will take the wrenched hip in the end. This period of my life is going to leave scars and disability (perhaps even real disability). But I just sense that the long run will hold a much deeper blessing than if I could keep everything in tact.
There is more. Much more. And I am not finished yet. I decided to start blogging again for me. I want to write about what I am learning. I want to blog so my mother in law (whom I love dearly) can keep up with her grandchildren. I don't have to look anyone in the eye while I tell my embarrassing insights though (or perhaps dumb in some cases.) I don't have to open my heart too much and worry that someone will trample it (which happens more than I care to recount.) I can guard what I need to until it's time to release it. This is for me. I have spent so many years dying to myself that I lost myself. I am not saying that I don't want to die to myself. I know full well that that is what is required to follow Christ. But I am not completely certain and I know what that fully means. I won't go into that right now. I am seeking the Lord to teach me these things. I don't want to know what the latest greatest book has to offer me. It's got nothing over the King. I don't want to hear the latest preacher. I certainly don't want to read to mommy blogs out there with the perfection they try not to exude. I want to know what HE has to say to me.
Wrench my hip, dear Lord. Wrench my hip. Cripple me that I might surrender to you. Bless me. Give me a new name. Teach what it means to be a new creation in Christ. Heal the hurt in my heart that I may walk in peace and truly be a light in the darkness. Change my heart and make it more like You.