Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 47, Part 2 - Haiti Mission - Nothing to fear but fear itself.....

“Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us,”~Isaiah 26:12

For quite a few mornings now, my alarm has gone off and I have reset it for another 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes. I've never really gone back to sleep after I have reset it, I just lay there not wanting to get up. It's starting to get cooler at night and the mornings are pretty chilly in Ohio now sometimes, so moving to get out of bed can be somewhat tricky when your joints don't want to go. This used to be my favorite time of year. Well, techinically it still is. I love football season, cool nights by a campfire, fall festivals and the food that comes with them. My first painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis began in September, and each September since the beginning, the change of weather here in Ohio brings a change in my disease for the season. Harder to manage. Harder to get going, well and sometimes to keep going.

With my husband still in Haiti (only for 5 more days until he gets a break...but he will return to Haiti after a week at home), I'm finding that the idea of going through the fall season is scarier to me than it has been in the past few years. For the first time since the onset of chronic pain, I'm faced with having to endure the season change by myself, and I'm unsure how that's going to look. The past 47 days while Chris has been gone have had considerable ups and downs, but I can honestly say that I've been okay. God's faithfulness has been remarkable, awesome, undeniably wonderful. However, fear....even a little bit, can cause every bit of my security and confidence to be violently shaken. So, it begs to answer a bigger question.....What are you afraid of?

Can you hear me okay? It's hard to talk with a mouth full of the pride I so desperately need to swallow......My fears are silly. That's what Jesus is telling me, to stop fearing these silly things. As I was writing this I agree, they're silly, even dare I say, stupid. But I don't think I'm alone in some of these. I'll let you be the judge. Here are my fears for the fall change of season and going through it alone:

1.) Judgement and endless criticism from my mother. This is a biggie. I have this belief that I cannot let my mother know when I'm having trouble managing my disease. My mother has had diabetes for over 50 years and I think she believes that I should be able to struggle through just like she has struggled through. Which, on a side note, there are HUGE differences in the life I have vs. the life she had when we were little. Anyway, long story short, there's a big difference in diseases and circumstances, but I can't find a way to tell her that in love, so I choose to not talk about it. Secondly, she has been extremely UNsupportive of Chris being gone from the get-go. I strongly believe that my mother thinks my husband has abandoned his poor, sick, partially disabled wife to go galavanting around a foreign country with no concern for how it affects his family. Again, not true. The distance is just as hard, if not harder at times, for Chris. He doesn't like being away from his family, but he's an obedient Christian man, who is doing what God has called him to do no matter the sacrifice. It makes my heart leap with joy that I have a husband like Chris. His heart for service is one of the many reasons I married him, and I wouldn't change a thing. So, to this I say "The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?" ~Psalm 118:6 or in other words, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." The issues with my mother is an area of bondage that has needed my attention for a long time, and I trust that the Lord will continue to force me out of my comfort zone of silence and into a new comfort zone of using His word to fight the attacks of the enemy.

2.) Financial burden. Next week I start the Fibromyalgia Program that my doctor offers at his office. It includes one-on-one therapy with a physical therapist and nutritionist to help me find ways to better manage my disease. I am SUPER excited to be starting it, but for 8-10 weeks I will be on a reduced work schedule, which is going to take a chunk out of my paycheck. There is also the concern that Chris has been in the mission field for far longer than we had anticipated and his job security back here in the states may be at risk, which would leave us without any income from him. (Flashback to my mother's lack of support -- What's Chris going to do about his job? Is he going to work when he comes back for break? etc, etc, etc) Phillipians 4:19 (NLT) says "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Though I have moments of "fretting" over money, I have found that there is a significant amount of peace I am experiencing in surrending this area to the authority of God. I know he will provide, he has shown me over and over that he will take care of everything I need. I may not always get what I want, but I will always have all I need if we're being obedient to what God asks of us.

3.) Being a burden. This is another pride issue. I don't ask for help. I don't like the idea of being an inconvenience to others, even my husband when he is home. At 32, I think I should be able to carry my own laundry baskets and move my own furniture. I should be able to clean my house from top to bottom in one day after I've stripped all the beds and folded all the laundry. At 32, I should not have to pace myself to take care of my home. WRONG. With each passing day, week, month, I'm finding that moderation is very key, and with the weather changing, moderation may not even help. So I've taken the first step in swallowing my pride on this issue by sending an email to my most supportive friends. Those that I consider family. I've asked them to email me and let me know what day during the week they have available to help me out. That way, I know who I can call on what days of the week. I like to think that this will make me more likely to ask for help, but I can't guarantee it. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says "If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" I am blessed to have wonderful friends. Graciously willing to give of their time and energy to physically help when I call on them. Lovingly listening to my emotions when the days come that the pain and fatigue is too much for me to bear. Most importantly, faithfully lifting me in prayer for strength and healing consistently. I know that these same friends are praying for me regularly. They desperately want to see me healed as much as I pray for healing. On days that I am so weary and so unfocused that it's hard to even pray or turn to His word, these people are interceding for me. What a blessing!! "My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God" ~Job 16.20

But much as I'd love to take credit for being strong and independent through this whole process, Isaiah 26:12 has reminded me that I do nothing for myself, but God makes all things possible through me,“Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” I am continuing to learn what it means to fully surrender to the authority of Christ and loving the peace that comes along with it. The best part is that I think the best is yet to come. My time with Jesus has become more regular and I can sometimes even feel Him working in me and through me. It's been amazing.....and I am lucky enough to have more undivided attention to give just to Jesus. I can't wait to continue this phase of growth and this season of my life. As awful and heart-wrenching it has been some days to be without my wonderful husband, I have been rewarded so fully in my spiritual and emotional growth that I am hungry for more.

The fear is nothing. I'm already past it. I have extra time with my Lord and He outweighs anything else that may have been weighing on my heart.

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