Monday, February 25, 2013

When life takes a sharp turn.

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
John 3:30

Hmm, where do I even begin? Five or six months ago, I remember very vividly walking down the hallway of our house back to our room, and on the way, I prayed this prayer to God, "God, I know this sounds crazy, but I'm asking you now to give me a struggle. I am constantly battling to control my life, and I believe a real hardship would bring perspective, humility, trust, grace, strength, and beauty that I have yet to know, all because I am holding on too tightly to what I want. Am I crazy for asking? Maybe I am, and I'm pretty scared to ask you this, because what if you really send me something terrible? I have to push those thoughts aside though, God, and I know it, because the only way I have ever learned anything in my life up to this point wasn't always in the good times. Life-altering events usually happen in the midst of struggles, don't they? Will you give me a struggle and grow my faith to a place I've never known? And God, whatever way the struggle comes, if you even choose to send one, I need you to know in advance that I will thank you for it." And actually, as an answer to my very own prayer, on Valentine's Day of 2013, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease known as Multiple Sclerosis.

In September and October of last year, I had a long battle with vertigo. It all started randomly as I was driving to my first day of bootcamp. I had no idea why or when it came on, or if it was just the fact that it was 5am, but then it never went away. It knocked me over occasionally, made me crazy dizzy at times, and normal at others. My eyes were jumpy and I saw double. It was truly a very scary two months of my life. But, after seeing my doctor, a chiropractor, visiting an ENT doc, getting back clear MRI results, and through some prayer and time, it just went away on it's own. I was so thankful, and done asking questions! Maybe it was just a bizarre "loose rock in my ear" thing like the ENT said after all? Or was it.

In November, I went back to the doctor for stomach pain. Weird. My stomach had never hurt me so bad before, and it wasn't like food poising pain, it was like, someone socked me in the stomach but I must have been sleeping and missed it pain. I was prescribed some Prilosec for ulcers and sent on my way. I was starting to feel like a hypochondriac really. Was I out of my mind and making a big deal about little things? I didn't think so, but I was feeling a little that way. After all, I usually went to the doctor for the flu. This was a little different.

In December, I noticed that my left eye wasn't seeing vivid color anymore and hurt pretty bad. My brightest red shirt looked only a faint pink, so I went to an ophthalmologist which turned into a neuro-ophthalmologist, and he diagnosed it as optical neurosis. He also ordered another MRI, which I considered to seem quite silly, since, didn't I just get one? But, he was convinced it wasn't the right one, because it didn't show enough contrast, so he asked me to go back again for more detailed tests.

I put off the test. I didn't want to pay for it. I mean really, I'm 26 and I'm fine! My eye was back to normal anyway.

In January, my body started showing all kind of these red rashes on my skin occasionally, and I got really ill at a moments notice and had to lay down.  I couldn't pinpoint the cause of these feelings, but they would come and go randomly. Hmm.

In February, my left leg started to it was on fire. When my body got hot, like when I would blow-dry my hair in the mornings, the burn intensified and it felt like a torch was straight-up burning my flesh right off. It was torturous, and really bizarre.

That right there, I believe was the moment that I began to really wonder, ok really. What is going on? Apparently, in my first MRI scan back in September, the radiologist missed a few things, and thought the scan was clear. After the second MRI came back with multiple white spots on my brain called lesions, they rechecked the first scan and noticed that the enhancements were there to begin with, and had grown significantly in some spots, and a few smaller new ones had formed. My doctors called me on Valentine's Day (I mean really, I'm never going to forget that ya'll) to tell me that they were sorry, but that it looked like the only real and viable option for these symtoms was very likely to be an advanced form of multiple sclerosis. Talk about a shocker. And why did they use the word advanced? It scared me to death. I am 26, healthy, working out, a mom, a God-fearing girl who loves my family, and I always thought I was normal. I didn't feel normal that day, and it took me a good 24 hours to regain any sort of normal feeling, don't worry. :)

But, when I stopped to calm down, to push past the pain of "what ifs" and "maybes" I realized that there was something so much deeper that I had been actually been given. What if God planned for me to be more than normal? What if I was to leave a comfortable life to live an even better one, one of total and complete trust in God? Because really, that's all I had.

Could it be true? The doctors referred me to a neurologist who is now testing my body galore, which don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful for. He wants to make certain that this is the correct diagnosis and all is as we think, and is currently treating me with strong steroids, that I have to admit, are intimidating to me considering I have to administer a drip to myself via IV in my own arm, and pull the dumb thing out after 3 days! I am NOT a nurse, and I do NOT do needles. But, I will learn, and God will help me. I take pills, and I pray. That's about it! I'm so thankful for the treatment, because my leg doesn't burn, my arm doesn't twitch, and the side effects don't exist for me like the doctor said (thanks to my husband's STRONG prayers), and mostly God is bigger!

God never leaves us alone. When has he ever? If you know me, you know by now that this is not a terrible season in my life, or in Jonathan's. God has always provided for our family, and now is no different. And it's not just about me either. Jonathan has been diagnosed with simple partial seizures this past month, that hit him about 10-12 times daily. I've told Jonathan on more than one occasion, we must really be making Satan mad or he wouldn't be this persistent! We face trails of many kinds, and we are thankful, because through these trails God sends us hope each day. Lately God has been whispering to me.... "Michelle, I will provide." 

On days when I need hope, God is my hope. 
On days when I need love, or understanding, or laughter, God is that to me. 
On days when I need reassurance, and a reminder of trust, God send those things to me. 
On days when I need hugs, or kind words, God is there. 
On days when I'm feeling sorry for myself, or worrying (which I choose to battle with all my strength) about the future, God is my healer and my rescuer.

He doesn't judge me. He doesn't condemn my life. He cares deeply for me, and he already knows how this story is going to end. I don't have to waste time. Yes....WASTE time, wondering how next week is going to go, or the next day, because he's already gone before me and prepared my way! I need you to know and completely understand, that I am not sad, I'm not hopeless, and I'm certainly not confused. I am CHOOSING to completely and utterly live on God's promises, and that is the only place I choose to be. God's word says:

We not have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:7

All of this is for your benefit. And as God's grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:15-18

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 
Philippians 4:6

Can I get a hallelujah?

I appreciate each and every prayer for healing, even kind word, and every note, scripture, and song. I feel so very loved by so very many caring and adoring friends. Thank you for being Christ to me and to my family!


chesedb said...

Hallelujah! You inspire me and I know that God is honored by you embracing this journey of faith. Love you.

Andrea Decker said...

Hallelujah! You have no idea how mightily God used your post to minister to me. My life took a sharp turn 13 months ago when my 17 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. We are still in the fight. We'll now be praying for you and Jonathan as we find ourselves on our knees most days.

Britt said...

Hallelujah, indeed. It's amazing how God can use the most broken moments for beautiful things... Praying for you sweet friend!

Wayne Dawson said...

Hallelujah!! Show us your ways O Lord that we will walk humbly before you all our days. Order my steps. Be my vision.

2 Chronicles 20:12 "For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

:15 "This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's"

Angela Walker said...

Song comes to mind: FOREVER REIGN
Here's what you're living & where I hear you trying to stay:
I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

kaceyjt said...

What a beautiful testimony already! You and your family are in my prayers. I can't wait to see what amazing things God brings about through this part of your lives!

ashleyeilajackson said...

Hi Michelle,
I love reading your blog and getting to see all your beautiful pictures. I love seeing your faith constantly through your writing. I am so sorry for all you are going through right now! You are in my prayers. Please continue to keep us updated on how we can specifically pray for you!

{emily elizabeth} said...

Wow and wow...praying for your family and you during this guys really must be up to some amazing Kingdom things...I admire your trust in God...He will never fail you!

Love you guys!

Michelle said...

Halleluja! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have medical issues, also. God is in control. The doctors can only do so much. They are fallible, God is infallible. I really needed to read this to help lift my spirit today. Thank you again!

Linda said...

Hallelujah! Your faith is so beautiful! Your dad's lesson Sunday helped me to see that there really is joy in all our trials. I needed that. My daughter was diagnosed with PPH, Mylefibrosis, a tumor in her heart, and lives each day because of a pump of medication slowly going in her heart. But God has sustained her through it all. We are constantly amazed at His power and grace. Praying for you and waiting to hear more of your story.

Anonymous said...

Brenda Nunley said:

WOW! I sit here with tears streaming down my face. I hurt for you and Jonathan and the rest of your family. But, at the same time, I praise God for what he is doing in your life. In my life, it has been in the darkest hours that God has done his greatest work. Thank you for the way that you so beautifully reflect God's glory. I saw Christ in you when you were a teenager. How much brighter you reflect Him now against the black background of trouble and trials! I am praying for answers for you and for continued strength for you and Jonathan in this battle.

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