Time is the most unique thing- isn't it? It is the most precious commodity and often when we are experiencing "good times" in life time seems to "fly" and we can never get enough of it and yet when we encounter hardships we often are surprised at how long something lasts.
And sometimes... well sometimes life is a bittersweet mixture of both.
And for me, that is what starting the fifth fall feels like. It is the fifth fall (start of the 4th full year) since I have moved home to my parents house suspecting that I was dealing with more than "just" CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia. It is the fifth fall since my entire digestive system started to crash and I needed IV nutrients. It is the fifth fall since I gave up my independence, moved out of state, moved back home into my parents home, and then eventually (in the winter) became unable to walk with no explanation. It is the fifth fall away from the job that I love and desire to go back to(teaching). It is the fifth fall of seeing dreams shattered and delayed. It is the fifth fall that I have experienced extreme illness and pain. It is the fifth fall that I will spend time in a place that I will call "home" but we will all be displaced. It is the fifth fall that I am completely reliant on my parents, family, and friends for help in a variety of ways (including financial resources).
For the last several weeks I have contemplated this blog post... what to say... what to share... I would start to write and sometimes would well up with tears and other times I felt like my heart closed off from feeling. Again... a bittersweet mixture. This summer for me held more promise than I had previously shared on the blog... in many ways I truly envisioned it to be a "mighty summer of healing" and my heart was set on being at a completely different place physically than reality has me at.
It's hard. It's discouraging. It's frustrating. It's nothing like what I planned or envisioned my life to be like. It's messy. It's painful. It's difficult... and the tears fall often.
In the midst of that there is beautiful hope in the ordinary... in the days where the difficult and the painful meet... there is beautiful blessings that reach out to grasp my heart in new ways. In the pain joy arrives encouraging me and gently reminding me of God's beautiful and tender grace to meet me in the pain and that I am not forgotten.
It is the fifth fall that many people would classify as a time that has been awful... and it has been. It has stretched me and grown me in ways that I never would have chosen before. It has molded my often selfish heart to be more understanding, more kind, more gracious, and more loving... all because I have been the recipient of such extravagant measures of each of these things.
As we move out of the camp and woods that I so dearly love for the winter, we move into my grandmother's home... my parents completely displaced (sleeping on an air mattress in the living room), all of us sharing a tiny teeny home that was really meant for one person, my dad needing to step outside (even in the snow drifts of winter to take phone calls because there is hardly good phone reception), all of us learning to live with a lot less and everyone sacrificing to help me get better. It's hard. It's really hard sometimes... especially when Rebecca is often sick and there is not much space... but in this tiny teeny space and house... I have learned so much about love.
Love that is faithful and unbending. Love that doesn't walk away when life is tough. Love that believes in the bigness of God and the miracles He still performs today. Love that gently quotes scripture verses of encouragement to hurting hearts. Love that listens to God-filled music on replay again and again because it helps remind of us of truth. Love that chooses laughter in silly things over frustration. Love that comforts in pain. Love that chooses to believe and hope in all things.
I have been so changed by the beautiful love that surrounds me.
The fifth fall is also a time of seeing the Lord provide for me daily on this journey - emotionally, physically, spiritually. It is the fifth fall of seeing who my true friends are - those who are willing to walk into the darkness, and are not afraid of the scary and long and winding road of this journey with Lyme. It is the fifth fall of looking back on a hard but beautiful summer filled with precious memories that included a successful and perfect port placement, a visit to Muir Woods in California and Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe, the opportunity to attend my dear friend Ruth's wedding, see the book release of December Caravan come to fruition, share a bit of my heart at Mundane Faithfulness, go to Magic Kingdom with Friends, go on a beautiful Disney Cruise with my sister and so many other things.
And... it is the fifth fall of this fight... a fight that still has a while to go. Due to the pain that I have been experiencing these last several weeks some of the intense treatment has been delayed. I am grateful to share that your prayers are being answered as I am seeing improvements slowly... and it is a balancing act of figuring out the best medicine as I am reacting unfortunately to the medicine that is helping. And yet, this is the battle. The battle to get well and to fight to beat these diseases.
I well up with tears though at the goodness of the Lord. I have a wonderful doctor and medical team and they are fighting this journey with me. One day at a time friends (and sometimes one minute at a time) I will take this fight. The Lord is with me. He continues to provide wisdom and direction- even as recently as the end of the last week as bloodwork came in and we learned some new news. Surprising to me but not to the Lord. He is NEVER surprised by any of this.
So on Friday I will have a phone appointment with my main medical team and we will discuss the best steps forward. I would covet prayers for this appointment and for wisdom as we move forward with this fifth fall... A fall that I know the Lord will provide for me again- in miraculous ways. A fall of trusting the Lord who knows my heart and knows the way I will go. A fall filled with days of falling more in love with my Savior.
This may not have been what I would have picked for this season of my life... but I know the one who carries me and even this He has a beautiful plan that I can't imagine... even with this fifth fall.
Several years ago I came across Daniel 2:21 which states, :"He changes times and seasons...". This verse has been of particular comfort to me of late, reminding me that the Lord has a hand in all seasons and each day that is approaching is a gift.
And the Lord has brought me to Jeremiah 31:2-5 again and again this past week:
"The people who survived the wars have found favor in the desert. The LORD appeared to me in a faraway place and said, “I love you with an everlasting love. So I will continue to show you my kindness. Once again I will build you up, and you will be rebuilt, my dear people Israel. Once again you will take your tambourines, and you will go dancing with happy people. Once again you will plant..."
Once again dear friends... once again I am starting the fifth fall looking to the Lord and His love and knowing that He will have the best in mind. What a good and amazing God He is.
Thank you so much for all of your continued prayers for me on this journey. I know from the outside it can sometimes seem confusing, frustrating, or even difficult to understand and yet you take the time to lovingly support and pray and offer hope and encouragement. Every single day I see the answers to each of them in a thousand different ways. I weep as you pray for my doctors and nurses who I have come to love dearly in this journey who don't know the Lord. Thank you for loving them through your prayers. Please keep praying for all of us friends and thank you so much for all of your love and support on this very long journey.
"There will be a lovely ending to this story of frustration, something worth all it has cost."