AT THE EDGE OF A CLIFF
Have you ever looked over the edge of a very steep cliff? Mildly terrifying, isn’t it? Who would ever want to live there? Well, in a way, that’s just where I live…
How did I get here? I used to be so utterly normal. Then … oh, so many things!
I did not start out at the very edge of the cliff. Oh no, I lived so comfortably in town with all the rest of the normal people. We lived normal lives throughout normal days doing normal things.
Then, after just 35 years, I suddenly became unwell! I went from an energetic, lively, spirited wife and mom to a hot mess. The mess looked like pain, insomnia, daily headaches, always feeling flu-like. Easy fix: just go to the doctor — many doctors, many states, lots of information — but every doctor had a different diagnosis.
Let me tell you, my friend, when you get a new diagnosis from a doctor (I’ll put some of my diagnoses in italics – chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia), it affects you (mast cell, IBS). Sometimes it feels like it might blow you over. When I hear hard news (mycotoxins, biotoxins, endotoxins), it takes time to process. That is often when I feel I might just fall over the edge of the cliff. There is not an actual cliff, of course, and it’s hard to explain, but it feels like you have lost control of your life and it will never be the same again (borrelia, bartonella).
It seemed that every few months there would be a new and permanent issue (babesiosis, POTS, CIRS). With each new symptom, I seemed to move further away from normal life and closer to the edge of the cliff (SIBO, migraine). Then autoimmune diseases started to pile up and daily life became even harder (lichen sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). I think the diagnosis that pushed me closest to the edge was follicular lymphoma, a blood cancer. Weeping as I drove home from the doctor, I thought now THIS would surely push me over the edge — but guess what? It never did! Instead, the Good Shepherd of my soul, the Lord Jesus, had been holding me tightly in His arms all along. In fact, He held me so close that I thought I could smell the sweet perfume of His robe. There is no falling out of those arms, my friend!
HAPPY AT THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF
Now, I must tell you, that throughout these three decades of declining health (cognitive decline, white matter disease), I experienced a wonderful blessing. My faith in the Triune God became more and more precious to me. In His Word I found all the wisdom and comfort I needed for this unplanned journey (allodynia, degenerative disc disease). I truly found that “the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life” (Psalm 63: 3). In time I realized that I was never going to fall off a cliff (black mold, bubonic plague bacteria); in fact, I was never going to even move, because the very foundation of my life is built on a rock — the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Rock of Ages! Truly, the Lord’s promises are my daily comfort. I believe each one is true and will never fail me.
Through this terrible but necessary gift of illness (ovarian tumor), God taught me to desire His will above my own. So now, dear one, regardless of your affliction, I urge you to run to Him. Read His Word. Tell Him you love Him, you trust Him, you thank Him. You will not be disappointed (blessed).
“He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense;
I shall not be moved!”
Chronic Joy® Creative Contributor and Writer
Called to Hope
Jesus is the enduring, timeless, and everlasting hope who came to seek, serve, call, forgive, rescue, redeem, and save.
MORE BY BARBARA
If you were to visit the Land of Affliction for a day, I think the first thing you would notice is the pace. Everything moves much slower here. Many of us are using all of our energy just to figure out how to make it through the day. Over time I have become frustratingly aware of my weaknesses.