It happened. The arrival came. Almost without warning. I woke up one day, and it had been a year. A year since the most challenging year of my life. A year since my bed knew me better than my friends. A year since havoc wrecked my body. A year of sorrow. A year of joy. It had been 365 days since the Doctor had sat with me in my hospital bed, rubbing my feet and said, “I’m going to do the best I can do, but I can’t take this disease away from you. You might only be better for a little while. I’m so sorry.”
When the day came, the year marking day, I was overcome. This past year has been so beautiful. God promised me so many things, far before I ever got sick. In being sick I doubted that I would ever walk the road I knew I had been created for. But God was faithful, and this last year has unraveled beautifully with so many blessings. My purpose is clear. And most importantly for the purpose of it being the one year marker, I have only had one day with pain (aside from healing from surgery pain, which is entirely different)
Although all that is true, that is not at all how I felt that day. What I felt was rage. Rage like, throw shit in my apartment everywhere, rage like pound my fists on the floor, rage like call my sister weeping not making a lot of sense, rage like begging God for an explanation of why He did this to me. That kind of rage. Even through all of my being sick, I had never felt rage like that before. All through sickness and recovery I had considered myself so blessed to have this disease. I see it as God’s most beautiful burden for me to carry and I am honored that He allowed me to have it.
But not that day.
No that day I was pissed.
And yah know what? It didn’t end that day.
As I’ve wrestled with God in this, my heart is slowly revealed to me.
Fear. Oh how it stings!
The story of my sickness is filled with more redemption than I’ve seen in any other area of my life thus far. I am so surrounded with love and wisdom, that even if I were to get sick again, it would be so different. But this is a process. One that I have to give myself grace for. Although I am thankful for the year I was sick, you couldn’t pay me enough to repeat it.
My body is so incredible now. The things I can do that I couldn’t before is so impressive. Yet I still worry that when I move a certain way, or try something new, I’ll be doubled over in pain. I didn’t know I had been carrying around the ghost of that time in my life. That I was just waiting for it to declare war in me once more. But I was, and when it didn’t. I got nervous.
Why am I telling you this? Because fear is a freedom stealer! Oh you already knew that right? But do you believe you don’t have to live in that fear? Do I believe that for myself? I don’t. I think I need to protect myself. Baby my body. But not just that, my heart too. I have to make sure I don’t let people into it, because that can get hurt too. And my time, gotta protect that cause this time of freedom without pain will end and I don’t want to waste it.
Oh, come on Liz you’re annoying. loosen up.
Ya, I know. But how?
With the grace that washes over me. I can’t, in my power, let go of the chains of my illness. I can’t. And I haven’t been promised that I’ll never be sick again. But I can know that Grace flows. That the expectation is not perfection. The expectation is Jesus. In my hurting, healing, waking and sleeping. Him. When my soul sees Him, she knows not her pain, but His perfection in her.
I know I’ve written these words a hundred times over. And I’ll keep writing them. Because as I grow up more, I grow in Him more and at the center of the God I love, is the Gospel I cherish.
So I’m going to go out and meet new people. I’m going to eat foods on the “forbidden for the ill list”. I’m going to go on hikes and run miles, cause I can. And I’m going to rest in His peace. It is such a hard process for me, but I’m going to. And if I ever get sick again, I won’t be afraid, because grace lives in me.
I want the record to state these words aren’t easy. That’s why they have to be spoken. Talking the tough stuff is the first step.