Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wait for His Signal

I have been up since shortly after 3am, both yesterday and today.  My doctor tells me it is the inflammation and this week, I believe it.  My hands hurt worse this week than they ever have.  They hurt and the discomfort has spread to my arms, and I know the reason my sleeping pills aren't working this week is because I am having a "flare-up."  My house has many, many stairs (NOTE TO SELF: next time, buy a ranch), and my body, legs especially, hurts each time I have to go up and down.

I have to have more blood work, this time to check my muscles.  I should have had it done after my appointment on Monday, but had left my wallet on my kitchen counter and didn't have my ID with me.  I haven't been racing to get round 5 or 6 (I've lost count) of the blood work done.  It'll just be more time away from work and I've already gone through half my personal and vacation days just for doctor appointments and days when all I could do was sleep.

All I want to think about is finishing tonight, my last day of undergrad, but really I'm thinking, "How will I write that essay question?"  My hands hurt, but typing isn't as painful as writing.  Typing I can do with three fingers (tap, tap), but writing will require me to hold a pencil and write an essay question or two as that is how our chemistry exams always end.  But I know I will get through it, pain and all, no matter how long it takes me to write that essay.  I know I will get through it because God has gotten me through the last five years.  What is one more day to Him?

As I ponder my future on this last day of undergrad, my devotion today was about following God's schedule.  I love how perfectly He does that through my devotions.  I've been asking Him about my future, my desire to continue and get a Masters, my desire to rest, my lack of desire in paying the massive student loan debt in 6 months time (debt that I cannot afford on my current salary).  Do I get a roommate I don't really want, a part-time job I don't think I can physically handle, a new full-time job when I'm quite happy where I'm at, defer it some more by adding more debt through a Masters program?  My In Touch devotion today is actually yesterday's devotion, but I didn't read it yesterday.  I read it today and it is fitting: "Submitting to God's timetable requires faith and courage.  Believe in the goodness of His heart and His plans - and determine to wait until He gives the signal to move forward."  And as I type this today, tap tap with pain in my hands, I am submitting to do just that.  To rest and unwind, and wait for His signal.

As Christians, we feel we must go, go, go in a constant flurry of ministry work.  Families, jobs, church, and who knows what, there comes a time that we need to cease "being fruitful" and rest in Him.  There comes a time that our fruit may look delicious on the outside, but is a little rotten and bug-infested on the inside.  Then we wonder why we can't hear God.  Where is God?  I have worked so hard growing this fruit for Him, why is He letting it rot?

Dear Readers, as I get through my last day of school, I begin tomorrow to rest in Him.  God has been pointing to this (like, with neon lights right in front of my face) all week.  Maybe even longer, but He knows it takes a bit of time for me to actually listen to Him (stubborn Sicilian).  Anyway, as I committ to taking a break from obligations this summer, I gladly look forward to spending time in the sun seeking Him and I pray that you will also know when He is telling you to rest and unwind, and wait for His signal.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In My Weakness...

I have been so drained these last couple of weeks.  Even taking a few days off from work did not refresh me as I worked hard to catch up on my life (taxes, laundry, vacuuming, homework).  I assume I had a "flare up" of this autoimmune disease and ended up taking work off on Tuesday.  My body just felt so weak that even holding a book was tiresome.  It is so frustrating to me, I can't tell you.  I dread getting in the shower because it literally exhausts me.  When I get out, my heart is beating like I ran a race and my breathing is labored. 

When I first got this diagnosis, I was so angry.  Actually, I was a lot of emotions and kept looking back over the past few years and feeling like it was so unfair.  All the doctor visits and tests and surgeries and medications... for approximately five years, I worked full-time, sometimes part-time, as well, and attended college.  At the community college, I was VP of Service for Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society and also a college ambassador.  I had times that I would get so wiped out I would spend my days off sleeping, but who wouldn't with that crazy load?! 

As time went on and I transferred to Geneva, I found myself doing less and less, only I didn't know why.  Why couldn't I do all the things I used to?  Why am I so worn out?  Why do I always feel like crap?  All I knew was that life became a struggle.

Then finally, a diagnosis, and while there was relief to finally know why I have struggled so much, I was angry at all I've been through.  How ironic, I thought, that the medicine won't start working until I graduate.  I was angry that I have pushed myself so hard over the years, struggling and struggling to maintain the pace I once did and having no one to help me.  I was angry at the stupid doctors that sent me for test after test after test with no relief.  I felt like they weren't listening to me.  I felt like they didn't believe me.  I constantly worried over work, missing it or not performing well.  Why did I have to go through all of this?  How many days have I laid in bed crying because I was exhausted and overwhelmed, not knowing I was sick.  I felt as though something inside me died only I didn't know what died or why it died.

This morning, I was praying, not about this, but thanking God for helping me write a paper this morning, one I didn't think I would get done.  He woke me up at 4:30am and I stayed up and wrote this paper when I had no intention to.  I had made my pot of African tea and sat down to read Scripture but this paper came to my head and I wrote it.  So I was thanking Him because I know it was God helping me and then it occurred to me:  He has always been helping me.  Through the agony of the last few years, I thought I was alone, but I wasn't.  God was with me, sustaining me.  I graduate in 16 days and 8 hours and 52 minutes (but who's counting?!) and it is because of HIM.  I will be graduating with somewhere around a 3.8 GPA and it is all because of HIM.  God got me through.  On days I couldn't do anymore, He gave me what I needed to accomplish what I needed to.  God in His unfailing love and grace sustained me.  In my weakness, I was strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I just really wanted to share that with you today and hope it encourages you.  God is with you always, dear friend, and He will sustain you always, even when you don't realize it.  Thank You, Jesus!