Hot Shame & Hammering Nails

This past week I sat in front of the kitchen sink and cried. Wanna know why?  Because my protein shake cup was dirty and I simply didn’t have the energy nor the strength required to wash it. Another day this week it took me an hour and a half to put on my clothes, straighten my hair, throw on some make up and put my shoes on. I’ve screamed at my arms and hands that are not working properly and causing agonizing pain with the slightest movement; yet at the same time I’ve swallowed what feels like a zillion pills, taken tinctures, slathered on lotions and roll on pain ointments, done my best with my diet, showered every day, drank protein shakes, gone to the chiropractor twice a week for almost 2 months, sat with a therapist, and cried more times than I can count. Almost every day starts in tears. The anger and frustration build as I live out a nightmarish groundhog day. Every. Single. Day.  The moment I open my eyes I wonder how on God’s green earth I’m going to even sit up let alone face the day full of challenges. To be perfectly honest, I am not speaking much to God these days. I barely look at His Word. I am literally just surviving. I have had people question my faith and I begin to wonder if I am even a Jesus follower at all. I begin to doubt I am because I am not doing my spiritual practices. I feel ashamed and defeated and burning tears stream down my face. Again. And again. Bri points out all these things to be grateful for and says, can’t you thank God out loud?  And I say, no.  I don’t wanna be grateful when He’s ignoring my heart’s cry.  For those of us battling a seemingly never ending chronic illness, we battle hard and yet our spirits are fragile. We struggle trusting a God who allows us to suffer. We struggle believing His words of hope and peace and that joy will break in the morning. There ain’t no joy in my morning. I know, I know Heaven will be a place of no more pain and suffering and I look forward to that day more than you know. I guess it just can’t come soon enough.  Maybe you have a friend who is battling a hard thing and you don’t know what to say. Guess what?  That’s OK. Just say that. Offer to pray with and for them.  Right now, as I said, I can’t pray but thank goodness I have a whole community of prayer warriors speaking to God on my behalf and I am eternally grateful. Sadly, I also know what is not helpful to say to someone in the midst of a war torn life. Don’t spiritually shame them, telling them that they aren’t doing enough or don’t have enough faith, aren’t positive enough or aren’t confessing some secret sin that is keeping them sick.  I understand that our minds do affect our physical and spiritual health, but God is bigger than any positive or negative thought and He is the true Healer. Chances are your chronically ill friend is barely hanging on by a thread and they already feel enough shame and guilt because they aren’t who they once were and they feel like they never measure up. I know those are my feelings. People are so well intentioned, but words can sting deeply. I sobbed over well intentioned words this week, in fact, and felt hot shame. Were those words said to wound?  Absolutely not, but they cut deep nonetheless.  Please be mindful of your words and speak life and empathy and compassion and sometimes speak nothing at all. We all need a little grace so offer it where you can.  

Thankfully, I have also had healing word balms soothed over me this week as the battle rages.  I received a voice message from my Kindred spirit and she apologized for fumbling over her words. In truth, her words were literal life and breath to me and I cried as they flooded my soul. Did the fumble bother me?  Not for one second. In fact, I couldn’t get over the eloquence of her words and I could sense in her tone and voice how deliberately and thoughtfully she chose those words. Each one delicately chosen to bring healing and life to my battered soul.  I can’t express what that means to me. Her words carried me through another day and I am blessed.  

This week, too, Bri reminded me of the story of Noah. He said, how much faith did Noah have?  He built a ridiculously huge ark on dry ground and warned others of an impending flood; a flood that had never happened before and took decades to come. How ludicrous!  Yet he built in faith trusting that eventually a flood would come just as God promised. Bri told me I was like Noah. I am doing all these treatments and protocols not knowing what the outcome will be, but having faith that God will indeed bring about some form of healing if I trust in Him and the process. I definitely don’t have the faith of Noah, but I have to trust that God is gonna make something of this mess.  I have to just keep showing up and doing my best and He’ll do the rest.  Maybe my healing will be a heart and soul healing rather than a physical one. I really don’t know but whatever comes of it will be worth the effort. 

Oh, and I finally humbled my stubborn self and started listing out loud all the blessings and gifts God has given that I have overlooked or refused to see. Regardless of my mule attitude, God shows up. God is faithful. God listens to my heart when I have no words left to speak. God collects my tears, as my therapist reminded me this week. So I will keep hammering the nails in my ark because I know God will keep His promise and do what is best for me even if it feels like the healing flood may never come.


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