Owning a small family business doesn’t always make it convenient for family vacations. Until 3 years ago we had only had a handful of long weekends and day trips until we had our first full-week Family Camp experience at Gull Lake Ministries which is by far our favorite vacation destination…and where I come to you from this week! This past Spring however we had the amazing gift from the Lord to take our children to Disney World for the first time. We surprised them on Christmas Day after a super fun scavenger hunt. They were shocked and ecstatic. When they found out we were going to ride on an airplane though, that was the icing on the cake. I think our youngest Jackson was actually more excited about the plane ride than Disney.
As a side note I have to share that I call Jackson our little cherry on top. The reason is that becoming a mom was like having my cake and eating it too! As I have shared in my story, I didn’t think my heart’s greatest desire of ever becoming a mom would happen after the onset of my illness. So not just becoming a mom…having my cake…but that God chose me to be Emalynn’s mom…that’s the eating it too! Then having our sweet little Maxwell…me?….a boy-mom!? That little guy stole my heart right from the start…the icing on the cake! And then our third little surprise Jackson…oh the sweet cherry on top! Being more excited about riding an airplane than Disney…so our Jack-Attack! Ok…moving on!
After months of waiting D-day (Disney day) finally came after counting down every single day since Christmas on the refrigerator. We were all packed and ready to go the night before with our alarms set anticipating an early departure to get to the airport for our 9:30 flight. Once we got there, got checked in and through security we had a good 90 minutes until our plane was to take off. Em and Max promptly got their homework out and decided to get going on it, but Jackson was thoroughly disappointed. Since it was so early there were zero planes to look at through the big terminal windows and there was no interesting TV to watch except news commentaries, he soon realized this was bo-ring! In his typical heart-on-his-sleeve fashion we heard, I thought coming to the airport was going to be more fun! from Jackson as he got out his iPod shuffle to listen to music. Nathan and I both smiled and looked at each other and said Hurry up & wait, right? Such is life in the airport.
Once we took off it seemed like we never stopped moving the entire vacation. We had an amazing time and are so grateful for such a blessing of making memories that our kids will never forget. Just before that trip however my health unfortunately started to decline. I was exhausted and started experiencing intense constant tension migraines, noticing unexplained and ugly bruising, and I was struggling with vertigo, nausea, dizziness and inner-ear trouble that effected my hearing…not a friend of a singer! Since then it has only gotten worse resulting in more testing to figure out what is going on.
After blood work and fighting with the hospital to get another MRI because of my spinal stimulator, I finally got it scheduled for a few weeks ago. The icing on the cake was that it was before our August 1 annual insurance renewal date. Once again despite earnestly praying for something to show up, we obtained normal results…ugh…the story of my life. I may look and test normal…but the last thing I feel is normal…whatever that means anyway. I was referred to neurology and you would not believe what they said. I would have to wait until NEXT YEAR to be seen. I was speechless. I cannot live like this for 6-8 more months! Just like Jackson, I had hurried just to wait.
I was crushed. I felt so unimportant. So insignificant. After everything I’ve been through and how lousy I’ve been feeling for months it just seemed hopeless. On top of that my trusted physician that I’ve been seeing for 14 of my 15 years of chronic illness had just retired. I felt completely alone. I called his office practically begging someone…anyone…for help. I received a different referral to a different health care system expecting the exact same results.
That week in Bible Study by no accident we were studying when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus heard that Lazarus…a man He loved dearly…was sick, He didn’t go to Him right away. Jesus waited 2 days…and in that time, Lazarus died. His sisters Mary and Martha were grief-stricken and when they saw Jesus they just didn’t understand why He didn’t come sooner. Jesus filled with compassion wept with them in their sorrow. Jesus waited so that people would see His miracle of raising the dead to life and believe in Who He is so that they too could have new life. Which ultimately led to His death because the chief priests felt threatened by so many people following Jesus. So Jesus waited…essentially to die…for me. This spoke so powerfully to me.
In the waiting the Lord reminded me that while I seem like a nobody in the healthcare system…I am not a nobody to Him. I am important to Him. I am significant to Him. I am a daughter of the King. The lies I was believing kept me from the truth. And my fear of having to wait so long turned my faith to doubt.
Maybe God was making me wait because there is someone that needs to be encouraged by my story. Maybe there is a doctor or a nurse or a medical assistant or another patient that I am supposed to come in contact with? Maybe God doesn’t want me with the healthcare system I have been with for so long? Maybe there is another doctor elsewhere who can help me? I started to realize and remember that God doesn’t waste anything. There is purpose in the waiting.
After the peace the surpasses understanding took over, I was so grateful for this perspective. Then the unexpected happened. I got a call from the referring neurology office and guess what!? They got me into see a neurologist last week Friday…11 days before our August 1 renewal date! Talk about the cherry on top! Only God, right!? Even when I am faithless, He is faithful. I didn’t hurry up to wait after all. And by no coincidence, it just so happens the passage we are studying this week is when Jesus walks on the water and Peter gets out of the boat to go to Him. Peter was walking on water until He took His eyes of Jesus and He began to sink. Jesus immediately saved him and said You, of little faith, why did you doubt? He was talking to me, friends!
The appointment with neurology overall went well. It looks like I may be struggling with chronic migraines ..something I have not dealt with in this illness and possibly some neuropathy. It is discouraging that more pain is being piled up on top of what I already have to suffer. More testing, more medications to try, and more doctors to see. It kind of feels like starting all over. It’s tempting to think that really nothing has changed at all, only gotten worse. And what may seem like a messenger from Satan, I have to believe God will use for my good…because He doesn’t waste anything. So I’m still waiting and trusting that just as Jesus said of Lazarus, This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.
I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Perhaps like me, you’re feeling hopeless, insignificant and unimportant. Please, don’t believe that! I encourage you to seek the Lord. He tells us in His Word that we will find Him if we seek Him with all of our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13). God is at work and has a plan for you. We can’t always see what He is doing but I promise, He isn’t wasting anything. I’m still waiting, too. In my case thus far…I’m waiting for heaven when there will be no more pain and I will forever be totally healed. But in the meantime, God has a plan for me here. He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it. Unlike Jackson’s disappointing airport experience, and far greater than Disney World could ever hope to be, it will be more than worth the wait!
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4