39. 39? 39!?! Could this really be the last year of my 30's? And 8th grade? Next year at this time one daughter will be going into high school and the other will be in middle school. The elementary school days will be gone. Brain fog, crying for no reason, falling asleep in the middle of the day and waking up feeling hungover, increased seizure type episodes. Is the chaos of my daughters All Star season catching up with me? Am I having a neurological flare up?
Were any of these things or a combination of all three the cause of my ever racing mind and the deep introspection of the last few weeks? I guess it doesn't really matter in the end. I just know I've been in a little bit of a weird place. Sad, frustrated, angry, exhausted, lost. Why was I still in this pit? Why were things not changing? How could I continue the rest of my life just trying to survive the day? I already felt like that's what I had been doing for the last year 8 to 10 years. Sometime after getting married and having kids but before my diagnosis I had entered survival mode. Day to day life was becoming a struggle. Maybe working full time with two small children was just making me an overwhelmed mom. Maybe the heart palpitations, numbness and exhaustion were really just anxiety. Whatever the case I just needed to get through the day. Push through and survive another day. Then came the incredible moment when I finally got an answer...Lyme Disease. Perfect. We had a name. We could treat it and I could back to chasing the life of my dreams. That was over 6 years ago and here I am still in this pit.
When I was younger and I dreamed of what my life would look like this certainly wasn't it. Out of all the things on my list I have managed two of them. I am a wife and a mother. While I am incredibly blessed to be serving in those capacities, I am far from the wife and mother I thought I would be and definitely not the wife or mother God would have me be. How did I get here? I am almost 40 years old, living in my parents house (and soon to be with my parents), missing my career and contributing to the family, lacking friendships, financially a mess and a faith that wasn't thriving. My ongoing to struggle to see myself as God did was only made worse by this growing list of failures, and trials I was facing. I compounded that by living in the on line world of perfect lives as seen on facebook and chose things that could temporarily numb my pain. Starbucks and mindless television were go to fixs for me. The pit seemed to be growing deeper and I was overwhelmed at the thought of what I could possible do to change things. I mean my life is half over. The best years are behind my right? It's too late to start over. Writing a to do list was easy. Eat healthier, take my meds, have a better attitude, read my Bible everyday, exercise, pray more, keep my house cleaner, stop spending money...it was endless.
I kept coming back to one thing. During this entire time I had constantly battled trying to control everything and everyone. Time and time again God would allow me to be put in a circumstance that would yank the control freak right out of me. I would go down fighting every time and eventually surrender but only for a moment. I knew the place I needed to start was God's word. I knew at some point I needed to learn to see myself and my circumstances through God's eyes. I needed to be grounded in His truth and the promises of His word. But every time I opened the Bible I never knew where to start. Old testament, new testament, Psalms? I didn't want to but just another "Christian" book either. While not bad to read them, I needed help digging in to God's word. Maybe a devotional was the right way to go. On the way home from my daughters gymnastics glass the other night I decided to swing in to the Christian book store. I didn't realize dinner was waiting for us at home so my leisurely browsing was now rushed but I was determined to grab something or a few somethings. They were having a great sale so I walked out with 4 books. 1 for each of the girls and two for myself. Little did I know what was about to unfold over the next few days.
I decided to jump in to my book that night and start my devotional the next morning. I had never heard of the author but the title and back cover spoke to me. "Find Your Brave- Courage to Stand Strong When the Waves Crash In" by Holly Wagner. The words on the first few pages pulled at my heart and brought tears to my eyes. They spoke so directly to how I was feeling and what I was going through. I was excited knowing I had at least on resource to help me get started. The next morning I cracked open the pages of my new devotional journal. "Looking Up-Trusting God With Your Every Need" by Beth Moore with Lisa Guest. While I was excited to see what this devotional was all about the journal part scared me. While writing has been beneficial to help clear my mind in the past and I liked the idea of keeping a journal to record what was going on in my life I was too critical of my self. I would go back and read what I had written and would just think about how dumb I sounded and in the trash it would go. ( I know one of my faults. I'm working on it). Once again the words I read, the Bible verses I looked spoke directly to my heart and were just what I needed to hear. God certainly had His hand in my hurried shopping trip and brought me to the right resources. It has been a great week of seeking God's word, beginning to learn and apply some critical truths in my life. Both books work so well together and the things I am learning have been reaffirmed though a few Facebook pages of all places. Proverbs 31 Ministries and Sown With Strength both are a great source of inspiration of for me. Plus I started off the last week with a great sermon from Pastor Spivey at New Vintage Church.
As I sit here writing this tonight I am beginning to see my self in a new light. I have renewed hope in God's promises and am learning new truths. Being content doesn't mean I have to accept the pit I'm in as my lot in life. God wants to rescue me from the pit. I've got some baggage to let go of and some work ahead but the future right now is looking brighter than it has in a long time. Learning to love my self and finding my brave after 39 years- challenging. Believing God gives us dreams for a reason- exciting. Just because I took the long way around doesn't mean those desires that were planted in my heart all those years ago are dead. Expecting big things from an even bigger God- awesome! (Oh and I'll be putting in some extra effort to my relationships so don't be caught of guard if I'm calling you for coffee or lunch sometime soon)
As a side note: Since this post was different than anything else I have written I figured I'd give a quick update on the health end. I continue to struggle on a daily basis. Fatigue being my biggest symptom. I am learning more and seeing just how much Lyme has affected both of my girls already and we are working through what exactly we need to do for all of us. I don't mind talking about it so if you have questions fire away. I'll tell you anything you want to know about Lyme and company. The blessing and the curse of this disease is looking ok. Believe me make-up and a smile go a long way to disguise the reality of what I go through. I still the leave the house, un-showered and in scrubby clothes more than I'd like but I am trying to make more of an effort to get up, dress up, and show up everyday.