Tuesday, June 17, 2014


 My brother turned 17 today....  I'm SO incredibly proud of the Godly, handsome, full of character young man that he is becoming.  He's not only my brother...but also a dear friend.  We connect on many levels....maybe not our taste in movies, though...lol.  (Sorry Ben, I tried to get into watching your lego movie tonight but I just couldn't and so I'm sitting outside on the porch writing... thoughts...memories...the replay of what's been playing in my mind today...you know those moments when you're over-flooded with emotions and just need to write it out?  I love being outside at sunset and sunrise whenever possible...something so glorious about watching one day end and one day beginning.  It slows me down and lets me contemplate my thoughts and life...and God.)

17...Benjamin's new found age. I love that number.  Why? Because it was actually my last full year of being healthy and strong and vibrant and energetic.  That all changed 6 months after being 18...and my life hasn't been the same since. Doctor after Doctor...test after test...medical bill after medical bill...emergency room visit after emergency room visit...debilitating pain & symptoms day after day for years.   PRAISE GOD we finally have answers now. Although a hard fight still looms ahead day in and day out...I'm on the right track to recovery. I'm so grateful for that, but there's still the moment where I can't help but ask God, "why?"....

I used to think it was wrong to ask "why".... but now I think it's okay...it's okay to ask Him "why" so we may better understand what He is trying to do in our lives...what He is trying to teach us. <3

What was wrong with my dream of becoming a nurse?  -Maybe God knew I needed to experience what it was like being sick before He knew I'd be able to minister to those who were hurting with sickness.

Why did I have to get so sick that I couldn't complete the counseling training I had such a passion for?  -Maybe God knew I needed to realize that counseling has absolutely NOTHING to do with me and "knowing it all and how to help people" and EVERYTHING to do with HIM....living inside of me.  Maybe I needed to realize that it's not me who changes people....but GOD who changes them.

Why have I had to experience the months on end of being in bed? That was and is HARD, God...why?  -Maybe God knew learning to pray during those hours of feeling alone and useless was the "greater work" and accomplishing more than my physical body ever could if I was well.  Maybe God needed a prayer warrior...an intercessor...  Maybe He needed me to learn how crucial it is to have people praying behind the scenes and what prayers can accomplish BEFORE I started doing more physical work again.  Maybe He needed me working on just developing that RELATIONSHIP with Him....free from any distractions. <3

What was wrong with all the Bible studies and music groups and sports activities that I used to love and prize so highly? I miss the fellowship from those groups...what was wrong with that God? -Maybe God needed me to put less importance on busy-ness and having fun with people...and more importance on just spending time with HIM at HIS feet. <3 Mary and Martha...;-) 

Why did I have to totally lose all the physical strength I had built up from the hours of running and working out I used to do?  -Maybe God knew I needed to learn that STRENGTH is a DIRECT *gift* from Him....not something I accomplish with my own self-control and determination.

What was so wrong with me wanting to go on mission trips and travel the world doing ministry? -Maybe God knew those missionaries who are already traveling the world needed someone at home praying for them. Maybe God needed one more person praying and one less person doing. 

What was wrong with me being an extremely motivated young adult and wanting to get my Bachelors and possibly even my Masters degree or beyond as quickly as possible?  Maybe God knew He had different training He wanted me to learn. His training. 

Why couldn't I have just been sick for 1 or even 2 years?  Wouldn't that have been long enough?  -Maybe God knew I've needed this time for HIM to transform me into the girl HE wants ME to be.  Maybe...just maybe this is "God's College" for my life.  Maybe every day I've been sick is preparing me for the future He has for me.  Maybe being sick is better preparation for the future than being well. 

And no, I don't believe in any of those "maybes"....I believe that those maybes have turned into a yes...YES, God knew a better plan.  All along.  It's not that MY plans were wrong or bad....but they weren't HIS BEST.  Somehow...someway...these years since I've been 17.  These years of suffering are developing a beautiful picture and story that ONLY HE can see right now. 

Do I get frustrated with still being sick? Yes.  But I can honestly say....that Jesus has blessed my heart with so much peace and grace and hope through this journey and process that it really is okay and my days really are good...hard, but GOOD. <3  Are there still days that depression tries to set in?  Yes.  Are there still days I feel incredibly discouraged at the lack of accomplishments I have to show for my 26 years of life?  Yes.  Are there still days I ask God what was wrong with my plan for my life and wish I had never gone on that hike and been bit by those 3 ticks?  Yes....but am I mad or upset or bitter at God?  No....<3  I've seen Him in this!  Oh, have I seen Him.  Does it hurt?  Yes....every trial anyone faces hurts.  Do I wish it over?  Yes.  But oh, not until Jesus has refined me in the fire until I can come out pure as gold...not until He can see HIS reflection.  He knows the right temperature I need.  He knows how hot the grace of His presence will allow me to experience.  He knows....  HE KNOWS when that moment will come. <3  He knows the character and perseverance and heart for prayer that HE is wanting to develop in me.  And when He sees that all the refining I need has been accomplished....the fire will lift....and I'll walk away healed.  Oh, how I know that day is coming...not a day too soon or a day too late. It rejoices my heart!!!  But to not give thanks for these trying days would be foolish.  They bring His presence in a way a "normal, healthy strength-filled" life for me personally never could have.  Maybe for others. But not for me. I needed this experience to draw me close to His heart.  I thought I loved Him before this....now I know I do.  Life would be nothing without Him...and anything that draws me closer to Him, keeps me on my knees and keeps my gaze on Him...oh dear soul, that....THAT is something to be grateful for. I'm not thankful for the sickness in and of itself, but I'm thankful for what JESUS is doing in my heart through it. <3 

And so I thank Jesus for these years of sickness and pain since I was a healthy 17 year old.  Yes...the tears flow....yes...the questions come....yes...they days are hard...but the peace and trust is strong and secure.

Jesus is here...

He has a reason...

I can trust Him. <3

He makes ALL things beautiful in HIS time. <3

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