Friday, November 13, 2009

The Puzzle is Solved

At long last the pieces of the puzzle have been placed together, and it all makes sense. I went back to the doctor on Monday to hear my test results and was given a diagnosis of Lyme disease. Thankfully in my case it is treatable, I have been put on a three week round of anti-biotics. I could have avoided much confusion if I had known what to look for from the start, because looking back I can be almost sure I know when I was infected. In hopes that I can help others avoid having to walk the road I did, I'm going to share a little more about the signs and symptoms as they appeared in my case.

Once I got over the initial shock of diagnosis and did some research about it, I was able to look back and piece together many things that happened in the past few months that I never understood. Back in the late Spring or early Summer I had gotten a bug bite on my foot that became red and swollen. It concerned me for a while but when it disappeared within a week or so I dismissed my worries. I never saw a tick on my foot, the deer ticks that carry the disease can be so small you never see them. If I had known that a rash around the site of the bite is often the initial indicator that you have picked up this disease I could have avoided a lot of confusion. In the next months I had many, many symptoms. Several of them only lasted for one or two weeks, and then disappeared, so I didn't pay much attention to most of them. I experienced jaw pain and stiffness, upset stomach, muscle twitching, flu like fatigue, rashes, loss of appetite, dizziness, and most notably joint pain. It was the joint pain that made me finally realize something was wrong.

As I look back I see the hand of God so clearly through it all. I am so thankful for my doctor, and that he had the wisdom to order the Lyme test, so that I was diagnosed before I move and while it was still in the early stages. I felt very strongly that God was going to bring resolution before I moved. I just find His sense of timing very amusing. The diagnosis was given exactly one week before my departure date. As one of our elders once said, "God is never late, but He sure misses a lot of opportunities to be early!" So many times in the middle of it all, I became so discouraged, feeling like this struggle would never be over. And God would remind me that I could just trust Him, He had it all taken care of. As usual, He has proven Himself completely faithful, and I look back wondering why I ever doubted. He is always faithful and He always will be, that is simply who He is.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Faces of Macedonia

Banica, Macedonia

Prosenikovo, Macedonia

At the park in Strumica, Macedonia

I Will Not Be Silent

In going to Macedonia, I have every intention of spreading the Kingdom of God, of sharing Jesus' love, and of ministering out of what I have been given to see others set free. Naturally, satan is not happy about this, and he has been making this clear by attacking me physically. I do not wish to focus on the attacks of the enemy, or to complain about my circumstances. However, part of my hope in starting this blog was to provide reading material that would serve to build people's faith and give them a vision for what is possible with God. I believe if I leave out the obstacles I have faced, it would steal from the eventual power of the testimony. On that note, I am sharing some more about the health struggles I am currently facing, with the firm belief that in the end the testimony of God's grace through it all will be a blessing to those who read, inspiring them to not give up no matter how much the enemy tries to stop them with fear.

After I returned from Macedonia in May I began having chest pain. After months of trying different options without complete success I ended up seeing an osteopathic doctor recommended by a friend in our church who is in medical school. On my first visit this doctor discovered that I had several ribs out of place which were causing irritation in my chest cavity. He was able to pop them back in place and I was on my way to recovery. Almost three months after the pain initially began I was finally pain free, and I thought that would be the end of my doctor's visits. This was not to be.

I began having pain in my knee. On the doctor's suggestion I took a break from dancing and long walks, hoping it would heal. It didn't. It got worse, spreading to the other knee, and eventually to my hands. At the climax I was experiencing pain in nearly every joint in my body. Then I began losing my appetite as well. I went to the doctor on Monday. He listened to my story and ordered blood tests to investigate, and I am currently waiting for the results. I will find out on Monday.

I have never, I repeat never faced any health problems of this nature, until I made the decision to move to Macedonia. Many times fear has threatened to overwhelm me, made me want to give up. The day that I bought my plane ticket was the day that my symptoms reached their climax. It was so obvious that satan was trying to intimidate me with fear. I sat down and spent some time with Jesus.

I realized it was time for me to make a declaration, to make it clear what my choice was. So, this is what I declared. I refuse to be silenced by fear and pain. I refuse to give up because of intimidation and discouragement. I refuse to give up the inheritance that Jesus has promised to me. I refuse to let circumstances dictate what my God is like, I believe that He is who He says He is no matter what my circumstances. I believe that He is my Healer, He is my portion, my Deliverer, my Provider, He is all that I need and more and in His presence is fulness of joy. What He has promised to me remains true. His faithfulness never fails. What He has called me to, He will make a way for. And that is my final decision. I will not be moved. If God is for me, who can stand against me?

About two days after this, the pain decreased to where there was only a little left in my knees. The pain is still there, but it does not rule me. And fear does not rule me. Jesus rules my heart, and His perfect love is drawing me to go with Him, and I am following. Yes, as children of God we have been given an inheritance, but it would be incorrect to believe that it just falls in our laps. It is something that must be fought for. Choices must be made, faith must be exercised. But I will say from the perspective of one in the middle of the battle, that it is totally worth every moment of fighting. Jesus' love makes everything okay.