This January put me through the ringer.
My first day back at work, I was happily responding to emails when suddenly I felt cold, dizzy, nauseous and had terrible shooting chest pains. I’d not experienced anything like it before, so I walked over to our company’s clinic. There, I was met by wonderful staff who ran an EKG which came back clear. But with elevated blood pressure (atypical for me) and worrisome symptoms, they sent me to my doctor for additional tests.
From January 3rd until this morning, I’ve had all kinds of tests and lab work done. I even landed in an ER on my way home from work one evening when I started losing feeling in my hands and face.
I didn’t write about it for a couple of reasons.
One, some of the whispers of what it might be scared me to death. Tests run for heart attack, pulmonary embolism, and stroke. When those came back negative, the lab work stared for autoimmune diseases and other assorted ailments which might match a blood antigen doctors found I had my junior year in high school. Two steady weeks of serious pain and random symptoms, all beginning to lessen in the last week.
Two, I thought I might be going crazy. As if the stress and worry and fear of my past 15 months had finally accumulated in one big long panic attack.
I received a note from my wonderful doctor on Saturday night. It shared what she thought this might be and encouraged me to head to the ER if I worsened before my appointment this morning. I let my mind run wild. I couldn’t sleep. Instead, I created symptoms out of my fear.
I read these words inked on Ann Voskamp’s social media feed and clung to them since I knew them as truth:
At the beginning of a new week, Lord… Set everything inside of us at peace now.
We trust You’re doing what’s best — when we can’t see Your hand, we’ll trust Your heart.
Keep us alive with what we need & let us give away the rest because this is what makes us *fully alive.*
Keep us in close company with You & keep us in forgiving company of others because we *are* in close company with You.
Keep us bold enough to keep taking leaps of faith…
You’re in control & we take our hands off our lives.
And as the world spins in Your hands tonight, we look up at stars & know You’re always all our Beautiful Light — Yes. Yes. Yes.
In the name of Jesus’ who loved us to death & to life…
My girlfriends prayed. One offered to go with me to the doctor. I sat at the doctor’s office and waited to understand if there was anything wrong. In the time between being called to the small white room and the doctor walking in, I remembered I’d fallen behind in my First 5 reading plan. It’s an app I have to kick off the morning with a scripture and prayer. I’d stopped reading it before they started the study of Joshua. It’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible. So, as I waited, I read:
Day 1: Be strong and courageous. The image flashed up with the words, Father, I will not fear any task to which you call me because you go with me wherever I go.
Day 2: The story of Rahab with the words, she chooses to act on the truth of WHO GOD IS rather than stay stuck in the truth of who she was.
I read all the way through to Day 6. Joshua’s army was marching around Jericho. The image above flashed up first: God is working things out. He is present. His plan is still good. And He can still be trusted.
Lysa TerKeurst closed Day 6 by saying, “These are true certainties even when life feels so very uncertain.”
I feel as though we’ve been living with uncertainty for months and months. And even while the uncertainty was ongoing, I felt more was coming. Coming out of a frentic holiday season, I slammed face first into a wall of health concerns. One of the few areas which had been holding up quite well until the New Year.
Instead of trusting God in the storm, I started planning out of fear. I made lists. I imagined all the “possible” scenarios and outcomes and worried about updating our will and making sure Bray was on all the school distribution lists. Desperate for information, I filled in with my fearful imagination in its absence. I took my eyes off of Him. I forgot He knows (Jer. 29:11), that His ways are higher than my ways (Isa. 55:9), and no one can snatch us from His hand (John 10:28).
She walks in, all smiles. The verdict is a good workable one. A solution recommended. A path laid out to follow.
Yet, deep in my spirit, I had settled before she opened the door.
I remember singing an old hymn as a child, words from Lamentations 3:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I don’t know what’s in front of you.
Heck, I don’t know what’s in front of me. Seriously. This past year is nothing if not proof of that.
But I know fear can shut us down. Can knock us off track.
It blindsided me this month.
Don’t let it.
His mercies are new every morning.
He is working things out.
He can be trusted.
Hang in there, friend.