No good can come from this . . .

As I sat in my chair at the Cherry Hill Clinic today, enjoying my Lyme Juice, I listened to several different people – all strangers to each other – share life’s deepest challenges. A 16-year-old girl losing her mother, a husband, and father battling pancreatic cancer, a daughter working her way through college while taking care of her elderly parents . . . no two stories were the same, but each individual had the same outlook on life. “It’s not easy, but you gotta do, what you gotta do.”

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After my Lyme Juice, I headed back to work, finished eating lunch, then stopped back at our cafe for my afternoon caffeine fix. I chatted for awhile with the woman behind the counter about work, kids and ultimately Lyme Disease came up. We talked a little bit about some of my trials, then she shared with me that she had lost her husband to cancer years ago; yet when she told the story it was like it had happened yesterday. As the conversation came to an end, she told me that she understands that God has a plan for everyone and that we may not always understand why things happen, but there’s one thing that she won’t agree with. . . . that something good can come from something tragic like that. Even her kids try to convince her. But there is no convincing this woman that something good will come from her husband’s death.

I admitted to her that I could not relate to her situation at all . . . and that I felt completely blessed because I’ve never experienced that kind of pain. In fact, I often feel like I’m “one of the lucky ones” because I still have both of my parents and I’ve never lost anyone in my immediate family. But on the other hand, I have had my share of trials. I was told at the young age of 16 that I would never have any children. I almost died due to a ruptured ovarian cyst. I held my husband as his mother died in front of us. Fertility treatments, miscarriages, high risk pregnancies, autism, special education attorneys, depression, massive debt and of course Lyme Disease top off the list as recent trials. So, I guess I haven’t exactly had a walk in the park either. But how do I convince someone else that we all have hardship, and that although one person’s problems may seem more significant than someone else’s  – that God’s will is what’s best for everyone.

I think the answers start to come together when you think about your life. Ask yourself these three questions:  What’s important in your life?  What is at the top of your priority list? Who do you trust?  When the answer to all three of those is Jesus, it becomes clear that God allows hardship into our lives so that we draw closer to Him.

Tragedy can do two things: draw you closer to God or further from Him. But when you trust in Him completely and put Him first in everything you do, it’s much easier to accept the things that you think “went wrong” in life. Because you know that what seems like a horrible mistake in your life, God is using for good . . .  even if you refuse to believe it.

The next time you find your self dwelling on your own difficult situation, remember that God sacrificed his only son to die on the cross for you, so that you can live in eternity with Him, forever. And no matter what your current trial is, you really can find peace in Him. In fact it’s the only place to find true peace. There’s truth to the old say, “Chin up!”

All you have to do is look up, He’s there . . . . waiting for you to reach out to Him. HE is the good that comes out of everything.

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Traffic changed my life

Well, maybe it didn’t CHANGE my life – but it has definitely changed my outlook on life. Ever since I started focusing on the sky above me, instead of the cars surrounding me on the highway, my attitude has changed. Instead of being impatient about how slow I’m moving, I’m thankful for the quiet time I have and I soak in the beauty around me.

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The other day, while on my way home from work, I found myself searching for more clouds – there just weren’t enough. I looked to the right and there were giant clouds of all shapes and sizes. But as I turned to the left . . .  nothing. It seemed like God had completely forgotten about the other side of the sky.

Then I turned the corner, looked up and realized God hadn’t forgotten it at all – I just couldn’t see it. Although my minivan windshield seems huge to me, it only reveals a very small part of the sky at a time. That’s how God works in our lives. I don’t know about you, but when the going gets tough, I tend to whine about how rough my life is and forget that this particular trial that I’m in, is just a teensy, tiny part of His entire plan – not only for my life – but for everyone around me.

My Lyme journey has not only impacted me and my family, but God is using this trial in my life to reach so many other. I’m so honored that God is using me – even if it’s through a sickness – to help others.

So, the next time life throws you a curve ball – whether it’s something as minor as a traffic jam on Monday morning or as devastating as losing a loved one – remember that you’re only seeing things through your eyes (or your windshield). Only God can see the big picture. And the good news is that He loves you. And your picture, although you may not realize it, is picture perfect!

Will you take the easy route?

On my way to the Cherry Hill Clinic last week, I was feeling a little bit guilty about whining so much in my last blog entry. I’m always torn about even posting my “lows” because I don’t want to be a downer, but then I remember what a fellow blogger once told me. She said blogging during the tough times is very important, because its great to look back at those posts and see how far we’ve come.

As I was sitting in my reclined chair, snugged up under the blanket with my “Lyme juice” slowly dripping down the IV, IT happened  . . . . I was recognized! We had a new patient join the Cherry Hill Clinic family and while she was getting her first treatment, Dr. Molly was talking with her son. She walked him back to the treatment area to meet up with his mom and he walks past me and says, “You’re the girl from the blog!” I was very excited to have my 15 minutes of fame – but more importantly, it reassured me that I had to continue to write this blog – even during those down times.

As I was driving home today, there were signs all over the highway, warning of an accident ahead. Two lanes were closed and there was a 20 minute delay. For some reason, I decided to stay on the highway, instead of getting off and taking back roads. As the cars in front of me started to slow down, I looked up and noticed how beautiful the sky looked. The way the sun rays broke through the clouds that expanded across the highway, it reminded me that no matter how dark and dreary our bad days may seem, that God is always with us. He always leads us out of the dark. All we have to do is look up.

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Tonight as I slowly made my way home, instead of complaining about being stuck in traffic, I decided to savor the moment and take in the beauty around me. It was a very stressful day and the serene picture in the sky was definitely helping to me de-stress. The sun slowly made it’s way out of the clouds and broke through completely. After a few minutes, the light got brighter and brighter and it started to bother me. Eventually, I had to lower my sun visor to block the sun from my eyes. Don’t we do that with God sometimes? When things start to get too hard, we block Him out of our lives. When the light started to get too intense for me, I took the easy way out and just blocked it out. God gives us free will – to make our own decisions in life. But that doesn’t mean that we should always take the easy way out. Maybe sometimes He allows these difficult circumstances to see how we’ll respond. Will we take the short cut and dodge all the traffic, or will we stick out the rough times and see the beauty – even in the darkness?

If there are dark, dreary clouds in your sky today, remember that even sunshine burns if you get too much. Don’t go through your storm alone.  All you have to do is look up. He’s always there.

Healing crisis meets mental breakdown

HE>I

Last week, I had a reaction from one of my co-infections. Honestly, I forget the name – and really what does it matter? I broke out in a rash on my stomach and down my leg. Dr. Molly and I discussed these reactions and decided it was time to add antibiotics to my “Lyme Juice” and make these stinkin bugs fight harder to survive. Well – it worked. I immediately started herxing (or as Dr. Molly calls it . . . I experienced a health crisis). My extreme sensitivity to light and sound came back, exhaustion set in, the involuntary twitching kicked into high gear, my skin felt like I had ICY HEAT rubbed all over it and last but certainly not least – my emotional state of mind can only be compared to PMS on steroids.

I emailed Dr. Molly immediately and said I’d rather be a sick, happy mom for the rest of my life, than an angry healthy wife and mom. We made it through the weekend and a full day of work on Monday – and then it happened. Emotional breakdown meets health crisis.

Hubby had been sick with a head cold for a few days and I was trying to play super mom. Cooking dinner, cleaning up, coordinating backpacks, the signing of homework, sports schedules  – topping it all off with family game night! Great idea in theory, but around 7:30 pm my body started screaming, ‘ENOUGH ALREADY!’ But I didn’t listen, after a few games of Battleship, I made my way to the dining room table for a round of Clue. I tried desperately, to enjoy it  – but even the laughter was too painful for my head. I called the game to a screeching halt and sent everyone to bed.

Sounds and lights turned into a migraine. Twitches turned into what felt like a seizure. Slow deep breaths turned into hyperventilating. Tears turned into an uncontrollable sob. This is it. This is my life. I’m not capable of giving my husband one day off, to recoup from a cold without having a breakdown.  I can’t deal with it anymore. I’m tired of being sick.

Hubby calmed me down with the longest, strongest, warmest hug ever. I thought after an exhausting breakdown, I’d sleep like a baby, but instead every single sound I heard, kept me awake and caused more pain.

The next day, Hubby and I both stayed home from work. I called Dr. Molly and she saw me right away. SO, there are actually doctors out there who will see you the same day you are sick – go figure! She sat down with Hubby and I, listened to our concerns and reassured us both that things would get better – that this valley I’m in is not the end. Simply a trial I must go through.

After talking to Dr. Molly, Nurse Linda set me up with my own private room, turned the lights down for me and made sure I was all snugged up in my chair. I’ve always been treated very well at the Cherry Hill Clinic, but this time was above and beyond. There’s no place like home – and that’s what the clinic is becoming for me. A place that I can speak freely, lay my head down when I’m tired and know that everyone has my back.

To have a doctor who genuinely cares and admits to not having all of the answers, but that trusts that God is in control – is simply a miracle. I’m so thankful to have a husband that not only stays by my side during the rough times, but literally holds me up. With my family, my home away from home and my faith in God, I can find peace in the midst of the chaos. And know that God is bigger than any health crisis, temper tantrum or breakdown that life throws at me. HE>i

John 3:30

He must become greater; I must become less.