This past week has been really hard, thus part of my title. I have been playing tug-o-war with whether to even write about this or not, but I feel by sharing my heart it may help someone else out there. I am not seeking pity nor do I want judgements, I just ask that you keep an open mind as you read and remember I am just human and that as a professing Christian it doesn't mean I have all the answers or that my faith isn't shaken on occasion, and at times I just want to run away from it all!
Over the last few weeks I have struggled with teeth issues. Its went from having a tooth cracked/crowned, one pulled, deciding what to replace it with, and now my jaw is giving me problems again. I have had TMJ problems in the past and surgery on both joints 18 years ago. I remember that surgery toooo well, wasn't an easy thing. Having fought it off for at least 6 years until I awoke one morning with my jaw locked shut, then I knew something had to be done. God was gracious and my healing time was miraculous! But now as I sit and ponder the problems at hand, I know there doesn't seem to be an easy fix. Being a Type A personality(take charge, organized, likes to be in control, leader), I am one of those people who needs to know all I can about something, (and partly because one of my fears is the unknown). I know, you may be thinking, the opposite of fear is faith, so where is my faith? Oh, it's here, its just being tested. With everything I have been through, just in the physical realm over the last 30 years it has made me the person I am today, but that doesn't mean I have it all together. I have known for a long time that in order to be more like Christ we have to suffer-that doesn't mean just in the physical sense. It doesn't mean that that makes it easier or that I don't struggle with each new issue. Along with all the physical issues I have, one of my biggest hurdles is mental-I have panic-anxiety issues really bad. I am very claustrophobic, I cringe at admitting that, because for so long I thought I was a bad Christian if I didn't trust God enough to have a handle on it. Then I learned that I have a chemical imbalance, as well as past traumatic experiences that have attributed to my problem. This is something I would NEVER wish on my worst enemy! If you have ever been there you know what I mean, and if not-thank God! It is the worst thing I have ever dealt with. It is something I don't want people to understand, because that means they've experienced it, I don't want that, and I know it is something Satan uses to try to bring us down. I know the scriptures-"no weapon formed against thee shall prosper," I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," God doesn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind," plus many others. But when you are in the fog of it all, you can't see, you grasp for something to pull you out, and often times you feel you end up empty handed. I'm not saying I feel abandoned, I'm just saying that in a battle of spiritual warfare Satan knows when and how to use his power to force you farther down in the pit. I know I allow my mind to play games with myself, and think the worst, I'm not saying that's okay, for me to some degree it's a defense mechanism-if I think the worst of a situation and it turns out better, then for me that is good.
After doing research on the Internet, I found that the most likely fix for my jaw problem (if it's where I think it is) would be a joint replacement, which involves major surgery and my mouth being wired shut for up to 6 weeks. Needless to say this sent me on a colliding roller coaster ride, did you get that, or maybe I should have said I was a train wreck! The doctors at Mayo have told me, no being put to sleep due to my diaphragm being paralyzed unless it was a life or death matter-well, not being able to open my mouth to eat seemed to fit in that category! AND then the thought of my mouth being wired shut-sent my anxiety off the charts! My sister(my unofficial therapist) reminded me that I did NOT have all the facts and that (1 Cor. 10:13)-God will not allow on us more than we can handle.. and I couldn't handle that physically or mentally!!! So for a couple of days I fought to hold onto that thought. But there was this voice, this knowing in the back of my mind, that sometimes/many times what we feel we can't handle and what God has in mind are two different things. Along this line, I was talking to another friend of mine, because I felt I was sinning because I was "worrying" about this, (she has a new grand baby born at 27 weeks-needs your prayers), she told me that she had wore a rut in her living room floor over worry/concern for this baby! She (we both) knows God is in control, that he can heal this baby, that nothing is impossible with Him, but she also knew that he lets babies die! So who knows where the fine line is in it being okay to be so concerned about something that it turns into worry? Trust is an easy thing when life is going smoothly, you know those mountain top experiences, but this valley life seems too hard sometimes. Patsy Clairmont (I love her) in her book Dancing Bones-talks about life in the valley. That we are actually valley girls and that's where our life is mostly lived, so we should be glad and make the most of it, after all the Israelites did that-right! Ha! Yea, for 40 years, well honestly I do love my life and am truly thankful for all my life lessons-looking at them from this side, but right now with Goliath staring me in the face it's not so lovely. And the part of the title about being empty handed means that not like David, I don't have a sling shot and some smooth stones, or feel that I have the confidence right now that I CAN do this, yes I've been through something similar before, but this could be much greater, that's the hard part. I know God is my refuge, my help in time of trouble, but I am at a huge "crisis of belief"! And what WILL get me through, what IS my weapons, is my friends praying for me. A friend once told me that I intimidate people by my strength.....me?, but I am 90 pounds soaking wet, a little wind could seriously blow me over. She said, "no it's your spiritual strength, I have been through so much and have come out the other side still loving, serving, and praising God, and apparently that's what intimidates others!" I don't want/mean for that to be the case, but I guess in some way that could be a good thing.
Add a few other things in the mix and by Sunday I was a basket case, and threw my all on the altar, it's so difficult putting it all out there-what will they think of me, but at this point I couldn't care about that. They prayed for me, and committed to continue to do so, my little church family is so wonderful. I feel their prayers and know they are helping me fight this battle. I can not let them or God down, so I am trying to just take one day at a time. With God's help I was able to track down my previous surgeon and will go see him on the 12th. In the mean time I am being careful with what and how I eat, and praying for a miracle, that somewhere in God's plan this really won't be a giant, just a temporary time of my crazy insanity. I'm sorry if I've bored you, but I guess being able to put this in writing has helped me better focus. One of my family members said I might have OSD-Obsessive Story-telling Disorder!lol If you read this I would covet your prayers over the next little while. God bless you and may your giants be few, and may your prayer warriors be many!