For the past several months, I have been dealing with really annoying health issues. It started out with severe fatigue, joint and muscle pain and the list goes on. Then my hair started falling out – in clumps. Add that to the weight changes, heart palpitations and just lack of energy for normal day to day activities like doing the laundry or the dishes and some of my days can be just plain hard to get through.
This turn of events in my life has made me very frustrated. I have had some pretty crazy pity parties for myself lately. I am still going through the gamut of emotions but one day in particular really threw me into a dark place. After a couple of doctors appointments, blood draws, and a pelvic ultrasound – with no results – I set up another appointment with my doctor. I needed an answer. Something was wrong. I know my body and I knew there was something going on. So I was sitting in her office, going over my symptoms for the hundredth time when she looked at me and said, “I can’t keep ordering these expensive tests for your symptom of the week.” You probably could have knocked me over when she said that. I couldn’t believe a doctor that I trusted and had been going to for over five years was saying this. It rattled me. She didn’t take me seriously. To her, I am just a hypochondriac. I cried all the way home. I felt like no one could understand what I was going through and the one person who was supposed to help me, thought I was crazy. It’s a low place to feel like you are not validated especially when it comes to your own health.
I cried out to the Lord when I got home. And that’s when I realized it. I hadn’t really taken my health to Him at all yet. During everything I had been experiencing, He should have been the first one to talk to about it. I had been relying on man – putting my trust in this world and not in Him. I asked the Lord to just give me an answer. I just needed something to validate that what I am going through is real so the doctors could figure out what is wrong.
A few days later, I got a call from my doctor. My most recent blood results showed that I had a severe case of Epstein Barre Virus, a Vitamin D deficiency and she believed I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. What I read about CFS was disconcerting. Most people who get it because of a poor immune system, have it for the rest of their lives once they start having the severe symptoms. It was a sobering thought that I may have to deal with these life altering issues forever.
This week, the fatigue has been much worse. I also gained a new symptom – extreme dizziness to the point of nausea. I cried out to God once again. But this time it was from the selfish, pitiful child in me stomping around and groaning about my discomfort and my pain. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. I can’t play with my girls for very long at a time, I can’t be out of the house for more than a couple of hours because of the overwhelming exhaustion, yesterday I couldn’t even teach my four year-old her full preschool lesson because the fatigue got the best of me.
In the midst of my complaining, God spoke very softly and gently – “Rest, DeAnne…in ME. Use this time to pray, seek and hear me. I am with you and I will carry you through this time.” It was simple, it was direct and it made me realize how much I have to learn. I was so focused on myself, my needs and what I was missing out on in my worldly life, that I didn’t realize He could use this circumstance in my life for good in my spiritual life – to grow me closer to Him. I am hardly ever still. I’m always moving, always thinking of what I have left to do on my “To Do List” in life but He was calling me to a standstill with Him. Gently nudging me to spend more time with Him. I don’t believe He caused this illness in me – I think it was a result of my over extending myself and not taking care of my body when I needed to the most, but I do believe He is speaking to me through the pain. Showing me so much about myself during these lonely days when I can’t even get out of bed. He is drawing me closer to Him. Is there anything in your life that maybe God could be nudging you through? Calling you to spend more time with Him?
My favorite author, C.S. Lewis has a quote that puts it into perspective for me. And I don’t think he is talking about just physical pain but emotional and spiritual pain as well.
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
— C. S. Lewis