This is a wordy post. I don't do these very often. But, I've lots of things on my mind lately, some things I've been processing, some things I need to tell others about.
First, Happy Easter! I love Easter. It's my favorite. He is risen! Indeed! How does it get any more exciting than that? He conquered death. Hell has no victory.
This year especially, after the death of my mother, I celebrate Easter with extra vigor. I know where my mom is. It brings me great joy to know she spends every day in the presence of the Lord. Words can't express how much I miss her presence here, but to know where she is, and that someday I will be there too, is comfort enough.
I celebrate Easter with a more vigor this year, also, because last week, Mike and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. I celebrate God's redeeming power! If you want to know our story, click here. This year, Mike and I have done some public speaking regarding our story and marriage in general. God is working a horrible situation for the good, just as He promises (Romans 8:28). When I think about how far we've come and how solid our marriage is now, it is all thanks to the work that God has done in each of us. There is NO WAY we would be where we are now without God.
Today my pastor mentioned how some people think that the minute you accept Christ into your life, all your problems disappear. Oi! In this life, you will have trouble, but the love of Christ and the sacrifice He made gives us HOPE in the midst of the suffering. That suffering gives us endurance.
I tell you, February was a month of building up endurance for me! I'll sum it up in one word: INFLUENZA. Now, I've had Influenza before. I remember feeling like I got hit by a truck. I remember the miserable weakness and chills and headache. I also remember it being done in four days or so. This experience was much different.
One moment I was eating dinner, laughing with my kids. Then within the hour, I needed to lay down. Then, the chills. THE CHILLS! I wore sweat pants, wool socks, a sweat shirt with my hood up and I was covered with six blankets (one of them being down). I was still cold!
Then, for the next three days, I was so weak. I only got out of bed to use the bathroom. I had a horrible, non-stop headache that would not go away with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. I counted down the minutes between doses. I was so nauseated that I couldn't eat and I barely drank; my diet was Tylenol or Ibuprofen. I endured three days, because I remember when I had this before, it was gone on day four or five.
On day four, I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I felt like I was dying. I had strength to breath and that's about it. If I sat up too long, I felt dizzy and faint and would start dry heaving. I was scared. I was ready for professional intervention. Mike literally held me up to walk to the car (as I stopped to heave on the way) and got me to Urgent Care. At the triage station, my temp was 103. My pulse was racing at 122. They admitted me to the ER (I've never been) and immediately started an IV.
IV's (oh, and anti-nausea medicine too) are little miracles in a bag. I walked to the car of my own strength. I got home and ate a meal. I was able to sit up and interact with my kids again. I thought I was home free. Then, that night, chills and a fever of 103.9.
And then, the cough.
FOURTEEN days. Fourteen days of being in bed. I missed fourteen days of productivity. I missed fourteen days of my kids lives. I missed fourteen days of connection with my husband or connection with anybody for that matter. I missed a concert that I had tickets for weeks in advance. I was miserable, lonely, depressed.
I had some messy interactions with God. I questioned Him a lot. I was angry. I felt abandoned. I felt like he wasn't hearing my prayers. I saw that he was showing up; He was showing up in my husband, who took on ALL of the responsibilities of his work and keeping things running at home and caring for the kids and for me. He had no fun and no time to himself those fourteen days. God showed up in my in-laws who took the kids when Mike could not. He showed up in my family, who drove 45 minutes on a moments notice to pick up my kids to take them overnight. He showed up in the people who brought us meals. He showed up in the fact that my children did NOT get sick. But, why wasn't He answering my prayers to be healed?!
Despite my anger, I had hope (though at times, it was very little amounts). I had hope that I would be pulled out of this. I had hope that even if it got worse and even if I never recovered (dramatic...I know), I would be in the presence of the Lord someday. I remembered that all the pain and sickness I felt, He felt. He bore it ALL on the cross.
What do people do with out hope? I just can't fathom it.
After fourteen days, I could function... not well, but I could function. It was twenty-one days total before the coughing stopped and I felt like I could actually go on a real exercise walk.
I've really thought about this illness and processed a lot with people. I truly consider it a significant life event. It certainly built my endurance. It has certainly shaped my character. I certainly pray I never have to endure that again : )
Thanks for enduring this post. I pray it encourages you somehow.