God will not permit any troubles to come upon us unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing will come out of the difficulty. ~ Peter Marshall
NOT MY OWN, BUT I BELONG TO GOD
Anyone suffering from chronic pain knows that though they would be done with it in a heartbeat, there are nevertheless many treasures to be found because of it.
One of the most significant works of grace God is doing in me on this journey through chronic pain is shoring up this amazingly-freeing truth: I am not my own.
For so long, I railed against this. I wanted my own life—to be left to pursue my dreams, goals, and ambitions—and to make of my life what I viewed as significant and meaningful.
Now I have come to fully embrace the truth that I am not my own, but I belong to a God who is far more loving, generous, kind, compassionate, intentional, and wise in His dealings with me than I could be with myself. There is new-found freedom, rest, and joy in just allowing my life’s purpose to roll out as it will without having to strive for something other than what it is—and without having to explain or defend all the hard, messy parts of it or without having to be angry about any injustices done to me or my family.
REST IN GOD
I get to rest in the knowledge that God is going to and that He IS working out all of it for my good. One day,
- He will make all the sad things about my life untrue.
- All the missteps? He will reveal His faithfulness.
- All the ways I feel broken, quirky, or inadequate? He will show His power, purpose, and strength in it all.
- I will rejoice and be in awe at the glory of it all.
This has had a particularly profound and practical impact on me as I think about my physical health and the health of my children. For years, I read all I could get my hands on and watched many documentaries on the food industry and the impact nutrition has on our health. Then I became deeply mistrusting, vilifying conventional western medicine and the standard American diet.
A HOLISTIC APPROACH
I embraced a more holistic approach to health, finding so much security in the idea that our bodies were created to heal themselves. I also believed that the pharmaceutical industry in our country is nothing but a greed-driven industry, appearing to make Americans sicker and increasingly dependent upon their products.
To a degree, I still believe some of these things, but I no longer allow them to be my source of hope, security, or sense of well-being.
God took me on quite a journey this past year—with a host of medical issues, one after another (sometimes one on top of another). I noticed that as each issue arose, I clamored for a natural, holistic answer to each one, avoiding the “band-aids” offered by conventional western medicine.
However, I found that my spirit was not calm. Rather I was frantic as I sought out information and solutions from the natural/holistic camp, and I often found myself driven by fear rather than faith as I implemented various protocols and remedies.
SURRENDER TO GOD BRINGS PEACE
When I surrendered my health and the health of my family to God, I was able to access peace about His directing, peace about what He provided—and also what He withheld. Sometimes He directed our steps to more natural remedies. Sometimes He led us to embrace “band-aids” in the form of steroids and narcotics.
Ultimately, I fully embraced the truth that my life is not my own. I realized that this life is not all there is and that I am not trying to live forever. In fact, I found a new calm about the many health challenges we have and continue to face here in our home.
MY ULTIMATE GOAL
Now my ultimate goal is not to live forever. It is ultimately not even to avoid as much suffering or pain as possible. My goal is to walk intimately with God and to pursue my highest joy, which is intimacy with Him.
I don’t know all the places that journey will take me. This year, it took me to an acupuncturist and a surgeon, to a pain management office and an essential oil distributor, to using steroids and narcotics, and to drinking bone broth and probiotics.
It is ALL under my good Father’s rule—and all of it can be used for my good. I am grateful for this peace.
Briana writes privately to order the chaos in her head. She writes publicly to offer solidarity and encouragement from the trenches versus a podium. She and her husband were gifted with twin boys and a daughter, all of whom have ongoing medical and/or mental health needs. Briana finds catharsis in pulling weeds from the plethora of flower and shrubbery beds on her wooded lot in Maryland and will squeal with delight to be offered dark chocolate with nuts.