In the late spring/early summer of 2001 I went to bed for a year and a half. So tired. Barely able to care for my children. Very difficult time for me and our family. Over time I slowly pulled out of that darkness. But I have been very low energy and fatigued ever since. It's like I'm constantly running on batteries with very little juice.
Then, in July 2005, I got a severe headache that wouldn't go away. MRIs and all kind of tests and treatments found/did nothing. I still have the headache. It varies in intensity, but it's always there.
So I am always exhausted and always in pain.
Most days I just roll with it. It's my life and I've grown accustomed. Other days I get very sad and frustrated about all the things I want to do but can't. This story starts with one of those days.
I had a friend who had gone through some similar health issues. He'd tried many treatments and made many changes in his life. And he felt better. He found his way back to good health and energy.
Shortly after hearing him speak of how he changed his life/health, I sent the following email to a friend documenting my experience/feelings:
Last week I went in for my physical. As I talked with my doctor he decided he wanted to add some extra tests to my blood work. Basically, there were something like 5-10 additional tests he wanted to run. Looking for the cause of my ever-dwindling energy. This has been my primary concern. I would gladly keep the headache if I could just feel better, more energy, like I could function.
So today my test results came back. And there was nothing unusual in them. They didn't show any problems. No new direction to try a new treatment.
To say the least, I was frustrated and disappointed. I began to get depressed.
I found myself in my room crying. I asked why I can't seem to feel better. Not really in prayer, just a thought. I was answered. "You can't do the work I need you to do if you feel better."
I'll admit I responded with, "That's stupid."
I got past that. I was told that I can choose not to help with this work and I would be healed. I would get better very quickly if I decided that I didn't want to do what He needed me to do.
Of course, there was no way I could do that. I will not put my own comfort before the work He has for me. I just couldn't do that.
I can, and should, continue working on improving my basic health. Try to improve my habits. I will not be healed before my role in this work is complete -- maybe never. He has a plan for my life and I need to trust that.
There is a great deal of peace in knowing this. I have felt an outpouring of love from Him. I know that my doctors and I are not missing something. We could look forever and try everything and I would not be healed. My struggle is not about biology.
I have also been in a state of mourning most of the day. While I accept this and it helps to know, it is difficult to let go of what I want.
I do not see it this as a punishment or God hurting me for His purposes; I see it as a blessing, an opportunity. It will take some time to adjust my mindset, but it will happen.
I am sad right now. But I am at peace.
That was two and a half years ago. I still get frustrated, but that conversation continues to bring me strength.
Some time after that initial conversation I found myself in a terrible depression. I'd been working hard to take care of myself physically and emotionally. I'd worked so hard in therapy. I'd been depression free for a long time. Then I was slammed back into the darkness.
And as I sobbed on my bedroom floor, curled up in emotional pain, I found my heart asking the question again, "I thought I had this beat. Why am I here again, in this dark place?"
And I heard, quietly and lovingly, "You said yes."
I was overwhelmed with God's love and support and gratitude. He knew it was hard. He knew I could do the work He needed. He also knew it was worth it.
And that was enough. It's still enough. I still get frustrated and sad. But I have never regretted saying yes. So if you hear my story and ask how I can smile and be content with my life, now you know.