Today this phrase is on repeat in my heart.
Not simply because it it one of the most beautiful of Hillsong’s latest album “Empires” – and it is. Or because it is a reflective and surrendered prayer that should be a daily mindset – and it should.
For me, the reason is simple:
Today is the day.
Today I am 100% certain of what is wrong with my body. The unknown struggle of the last several years has come to a close. And a new chapter is beginning.
I have Lymes disease.
It’s not a surprise. 8 weeks ago my Dr. Katharina Woods in Denver thought she found it with her Avatar machine. But we wanted to be sure before we started treating. We wanted to know without a doubt before the world knew.
Flash forward 6 weeks of hunting down insurance and doctors and tests…And the news finally comes.
As I sit here at my desk, a crazy range of emotions whirl through my heart. I feel relief that the awful feelings in my body weren’t just conjured up in my head randomly. I feel hope that this could actually be treated and I may regain some as semblance of my former life. I feel disappointment that the root of my not getting well is resulting from a condition with a long (and possibly non existent) road to full recovery.
Strangely, I also feel some resolve. Not because I’m ready for the battle – I hardly think this is the sort of thing you really can ever be ready for. But I have decided that if the journey I’m on can help someone else in a similar position, or if this allows me to champion hope for another, then maybe it all won’t be pain and suffering.
I can say right off the bat, this position has forced me to examine and hold fast to faith – not the idea of faith or the warm and fuzzy feelings of belief – but the tough stuff. The kind that Peter must have been feeling as he leapt out of the boat to walk towards Jesus, and then lost as he plunged into the waves.
The kind of faith that looks into a mirror and says, “body, walk in healing by the strips of Jesus.”
The kind of faith that believes God withholds no good thing from His children.
The kind of faith that resolutely asks to receive – even when the asking is over and over again without answers.
The kind of faith that holds fast to the knowledge that God is for us, even when the ravages of sin and death fight on against us.
I’ve spent 8 weeks coming to terms with the fact that I will be waging this war. 8 weeks of ups and downs, keeping to myself. Asking the “whys” even when no answers came. I’ve sat for hours on my couch staring out the window wondering why God hasn’t healed me yet, and why I have to abandon life as I’ve known it to walk down this seemingly forsaken road.
And yet…In the middle of the darkness I’ve experienced something extremely profound – as though the root has taken hold in deep and fertile soil unlike it has ever before:
God is for me.
It may sound simple, but when you are asking the questions I’ve been asking, that changes everything. It’s something allows me to even express publicly without shame:
God wants me to be well.
God desires me to be whole.
God is fighting for me even when my body can barely fight for itself.
It’s been depressing. It’s been frustrating. It’s been lonely. It’s been disappointing. And yet Jesus has given me songs in the night. He has taken my soul beside still waters. He has rebirthed within me the desire to live – even if that is unimaginably different from I’ve ever known before. And it will be. Life won’t be the same as before. I have to say goodbye to travel and world adventures – at least for now. I have to say goodbye to a full plate of to do lists and accomplishments. My health has to become quite literally my number one priority and each day everything I do will revolve around building up my body and my soul.
In the midst of this I have never been more grateful for the friends who have gone before me with unbelievable health battles of their own. Hannah Brandau. Michelle Cavanaugh. Brittany Barden. Without these girls I would be up against insurmountable walls and failing miserably. From them I’ve gleaned so many secrets and tricks to help life go just a little better with a chronic illness. I’ll share those at some point in the future.
For now I want to say that this period of my life will be an open book. I have some leads and possibilities of how I can find meaning even here, but for now, this is my story and I hope that anyone who has questions or cares of their own will know they have a friend in me. While I can’t have a full time job at this point, I am grateful to that my professional skills facilitate a majority of weekly time to self care, and will continue business coaching and wedding photography. But the aggressive and driven entrepreneur hat will be coming off my head for a time in exchange for a wholistic and restful one. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some wisdom along the way for the entrepreneurs who have been following my blog, and the health conscious who are in need of a champion of their own.
So today, though I now know that I am undoubtedly battling Lymes disease, I am encouraging myself: “I will always sing His Praise.” And through that, I am not devastated. This is my path. And I know that my God will be here beside me every step of the way.
I know I am not alone in the struggle. So I will leave with this: Wherever you are in life, continue singing. In fact, take a moment to read and rest in the lyrics of this song. I hope the words will breathe the same solace over you as they have upon me.
“Even When It Hurts (Praise Song)” – by Hillsong United
Take this fainted heart/ Take these tainted hands
Wash me in Your love / Come like grace again
Even when my strength is lost / I’ll praise You
Even when I have no song / I’ll praise You
Even when it’s hard to find the words / Louder then I’ll sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise / I will only sing Your praise/ I will only sing Your praise
Take this mountain weight/ Take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial / Come like hope again
Even when the fight seems lost / I’ll praise You
Even when it hurts like hell / I’ll praise You
Even when it makes no sense to sing / Louder then I’ll sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise / I will only sing Your praise / I will only sing Your praise
And my heart burns only for You / You are all You are all I want
And my soul waits only for You / And I will sing till the morning has come
Lord my heart burns only for You / You are all You are all I want
And my soul waits only for You / And I will sing till the miracle comes
Even when the morning comes / I’ll praise You
Even when the fight is won / I’ll praise You
Even when my time on earth is done / Louder then I’ll sing your praise
I will only sing Your praise