Monday, February 22, 2010

Fibromyalgia Has Definitely Changed Me

You can't go through something like this and not be changed by it.

Remember back in high school how when everyone was signing your senior yearbook and they'd sign "never change... stay just the way you are..."? I remember promising not to change. Telling people I will always be the same me.

And while part of me has stayed the same, there's also no way you won't change when real life smacks you in the face.

And real life definitely smacked me in the face. Hard.

I grew up sheltered a bit. No complaints. I'm just saying I was very naive about what adult life was really going to be like. Going from country bumpkin to big city living within one week was a huge turning point in my life. I didn't know what to do.

Six weeks after college graduation I was suddenly married. One week to the day after our wedding {when we got back from our honeymoon and moved my stuff the 6 hour drive to our new apartment from my hometown}, Tim could have been killed in an instant when he was hit by a drunk driver while heading to his parent's house to move his stuff to our new place. He walked away with barely a scratch, only by the grace of God.

It was terrifying. We learned a lot about leaning on God right away. We learned a lot about ourselves and our marriage in those first few days and weeks.

Suddenly, my parents left after helping us move in. And I was taking care of a husband and an apartment. I remember being excited and really scared all at once. I saw Tim off to work an odd-houred job that first week while I got the apartment set up, and then I spent almost a year commuting on a train every day with hundreds of strangers into the crazy big city of Chicago where I worked in the downtown loop {the main hubbub}.

I definitely learned a lot. And felt culture shocked for reals.

There are days when I think it's the best and I doubt I could ever go back to the country. Then there are days when I hate it and am so sick of traffic and fast-paced living that I think I'm going to be sick. Either way, I rejoice in what God has given to me and all the lessons learned through experiences over these last nearly ten years since all of that.

Nevertheless, I'm definitely very different than I was back in high school.

And I'm definitely very different than I was when I started this Fibro journey 3 years ago.

Most of all, I've learned true dependence on God. People will let you down. God is always there. I've learned to praise Him in this storm. To rejoice in the rain. To be thankful despite the pain. To allow Him to shape me and mold me into exactly who He wants me to be.

I don't want to live in the shadows anymore. I want to live my life in light of the Cross. I want to live my life completely for the glory and honor of the Lord. It's not about me. It's all about Him.

Scroll over or click on each link to see the Scripture verses that I've been soaking in the past few weeks:

Isaiah 64:8
Psalm 56:3-4
Isaiah 41:10
1 Peter 4:12, 13, 19
Romans 5:3-5

God is definitely building my character. I continue to learn a lot through this experience, every day completely relying on His grace and mercy to get me through. I've learned to be thankful it isn't worse, thankful that I have it to learn all that I am, and thankful that despite the hardships it has produced I can keep on fighting in His strength. It's when I try to do it in my own strength that I fail miserably. 

He is all I need. He will get me through. God is my strength, my shield, my comforter, my hope. Without Him, I am nothing.

I've learned, often the hard way, that God is trying through this trial to get holiness into me. If I don't accept this trial and instead resist and rebel, I am failing to obtain the grace of God. God's goal through this is to heal us, not to let it ruin and devastate our lives. When we resist, it lasts longer.

And whether I am healed here on earth or in heaven, I will rejoice and give Him the ultimate glory.

I know all too well that trials can lead to discouragement. But they don't have to. Maybe momentarily. Maybe a season of grief. But the discouragement doesn't have to and shouldn't linger. We have to pick ourselves back up, with God's help, and keep moving...keep living...keep striving...keep persevering.

I know that at first, and on occasion still, discouragement can lead to bitterness. But if you let it get in and cloud up your judgment fully and allow it to take root, it will destroy you. Let it go. This is what God has appointed to you. He's allowed it in your life. Yeah, it really sucks some days. Perhaps for you it's most days. But you can't let it get the best of you. It doesn't deserve that. You don't deserve that. Stop trying to get out from under the trial. Instead, bear up under it. And instead of getting bitter, get better.

If you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.

None of us knows if we will still be here tomorrow. Don't miss this opportunity to return to Him, or to turn to Him for the first time. Jesus Christ is all you need for today. And all you need for tomorrow. The Bible says He will never leave you nor forsake you. He's right there with you in the midst of your trial. Just give it all over to Him, lay your burdens and your sins at the foot of the Cross, and allow Him to satisfy that deep longing and emptiness you've felt in your heart and soul for so long. 

John 3:16
Romans 3:23
Romans 5:8
Romans 6:23
Romans 10:9

Tell Jesus you are sorry. Ask Him to take over your life and your heart. Ask for forgiveness and it will be given to you. Seek after Him with your whole heart and you will find the answers you're looking for. Connect with a local Bible-preaching, Jesus-loving church. Commit your ways to Him.

Don't wait another moment. Make today the day that changes everything.

{If you made this decision and want to talk to me more about it, or if you have more specific questions, please email me at rochellelearning at gmail dot com. Or for more information, go here or here.}

All glory, honor, and praise be to the Lord our God!

Thank you Lord for this Fibromyalgia journey. Despite hating it at first and on days when I'm weak and flailing, I don't know now where I'd be without it. Oh God, please forgive my rebelliousness and stubbornness. Forgive me for the times I've walked in my own way and thinking that I could be safe and do it on my own. Draw me back to you Lord. You say if I draw near to you then you will draw near to me. God may this be a season of greater intimacy with you. I don't want to fall short of the grace. I need you Lord, I need your strength. I love you Lord. It's all about you, it's not about me anymore. Thank you for sending your son to die on the cross for my sins, and for giving me a chance to honor you in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

The clouds have gathered. Life is hard. I'm trusting God.


georgia b. said...

wow, roe.
great, heartfelt post.
thanks for the verses, too.
i like to read what has been encouraging others, knowing it will very likely also encourage me.

i was talking to a woman i work with recently who had fibro, and is now pretty much free of it because of her herbal supplements and healthy diet. i thought of you. hang in there. i know what you mean. life is hard. but God is good.

hugs to you.

cindacrawford said...

Rochelle, I love your enthusiasm, faith in life and how you express your beliefs. I wish more people could find the courage to face such a thing as Fibromyalgia so bravely. Maybe with a loving nudge, they will. It's getting late where I am, so I'll say goodnight, but just know that you put a smile on my face. Let me know if I can help you in your journey. (I have 20 years of experience with it, plus some resources that might help in some way.) Just know that you've pushed my forward and I thank you for that! Cinda Crawford

Stephanie said...

Thank you for this one!