For the past 13 months, pain has been a way of life for me. During that same time period, picking up the slack and taking care of me has been the way of life for my husband. But it’s nothing new. I picked a winner.
Karl and I attended a small Christian college in central Texas where the cafeteria hours were unmovable – even if it conflicted with a class. Seeking a bachelor of arts degree, I had to take foreign language and I chose French. It just so happened that French class got out five minutes before the cafeteria closed – and it was on the opposite end of the campus. Enter the hero – my boyfriend who became my husband.
Karl would eat supper then go back through line and get a tray for me, he arranged it with one of the cafeteria workers he had befriended. The entrance door would be locked, but I could knock on the exit door and Karl would let me in and I got to eat supper. For someone with digestive problems caused by Crohn’s Disease who has to eat three regular meals a day – no snacking – this was a lifesaver.
My husband continues to be my hero. I am grateful.
This weekend I came back from the marriage seminar that Karl and I presented, to find an absolute mess in the kitchen and two boys still in pajamas. Lovely. The girl was nowhere in sight. She went to hang out with friends on the block instead of hanging out with her brothers that were doing nothing but living in pajamas all day. Can’t blame her for that one.
Last night, I was presented with a box of my favorite chocolates by the oldest. Michael made a big deal of it. I told him he had redeemed himself. The funny thing – he got the chocolates to say that he knows I’m going through a lot physically right now and he can see it’s really rough on me – yet I still do all the mom stuff. He smiled sheepishly that it wasn’t apology for the mess in the kitchen.
To me, it doesn’t really matter. Just the thoughtfulness of getting the chocolates for me. How often does a teenage boy go out of his way to buy expensive chocolates for his mom – when it’s not Valentine’s Day yet or Christmas or birthday or anything like that? I consider myself blessed. I savor every bite of my collection that includes Ferrero Rondnoir, Raffaello and Ferrero Rocher. Sweet!
Long. Difficult. Discouraging. My Crohn’s journey has been all of this and more. But this week, I actually thanked God for my Crohn’s Disease.
Trust me, I know you’re thinking “what in the world?” right now and I get that. I was too at first. But I’ve been studying and praying a lot about issues in life. I’ve seen how being weak and having to depend on God’s grace has taught me to not be so much thinking that I could do it all myself. That’s my personality. Just tell me I can’t do something and I’ll prove to you that I can!
I came to the realization that the convenience and comforts of this life were far more important to me than I wanted to admit. I was so focused on having a “dream come true” life right here and now that I wasn’t really planning on the eternal life spoken of so much in the Bible.
Do I wish I get could get through a day without pain? You better believe it! No more fatigue, anemia induced hair loss or plaguing side symptoms of Crohn’s Disease? Of course! But I already have that promised to me. There are a lot of other folks out there that don’t have any hope whatsoever. They look at the crazy mixed up world around us and think this is all there is. And that’s a pretty pathetic outlook on life.
So I’m going to quit spending so much time praying for healing and understanding why I have to suffer with Crohn’s and focus instead on the fact that I know of a future without Crohn’s. I know of a future without death, suffering and pain. And it’s about time I shared this hope with others who need to hear it.
Pity party over. Time to spread some good news. This isn’t all there is. You can have more. It’s yours free because of something called amazing grace!
A friend of mine has recently done a very wonderful, yet very brave thing. He openly admitted he has recently been struggling with depression. Kudos to you friend. Not an easy thing to bring to the forefront. Most of us prefer to stay in denial.
Crohn’s Disease has taken its toll on me, but depression was one of the areas I refused to allow it to take me. But it did. So I did the only thing I knew I could do, deny it. It wasn’t easy to see at the time and I’ll admit, it is still a struggle for me. I’m not a sit on the sidelines kind of person. I’ve always been right in the middle of stuff enjoying life to the fullest. Being sidelined by a disease has been attacking me at the very core of who I am and who I always thought I was.
A patient God and a very loving husband and family have been going through this with me. Karl is actually glad that I’m finally admitting how much I had struggled during some of my lowest points with all that Crohn’s has taken from me. The best way I fight back? Finding every single way I can enjoy life to the fullest again – no matter what others think. I suppose it is best summed up in my thoughts that I shared with my friend.
When a child hears a happy tune – they giggle and dance for joy. When they get a favorite toy – expressions of happiness unlimited. When they see someone hurting they are ready to give all – immediately. Being an adult really sucks because so many people tell you to grow up. But I was much happier when I giggled and danced and gave all I had.
Crohn’s still gives me bad days, but I’m determined to giggle, dance and give like a little child, because life was meant to be lived happy and abundantly!
There are a multitude of movies that explore, in one flavor or another, the fantasy of a world where there is no anger, lust, frustration, hatred or jealousy. It’s the usual, and futile, quest for Utopia, often an old B Movie, but modern ones exist as well.
The fact of the matter is that these things are very real human emotions. A future world where there is no undesirable emotion displayed can only mean one thing: look out because one of these days it’s going to blow! Things kept bottled up inside result in high pressure and highly volatile environments. In no way am I advocating wrong methods of displaying some of these emotions, especially anger. But there are other ways to take out your frustrations instead of harming yourself, others or property.
Today, I want to put my squatty fingers on the throat of Crohn’s Disease and strangle it until it breathes no more. But since that would be a not appropriate display of my frustration with this autoimmune disorder, I shall have to find a better way to vent my hurt and frustration. I’ve heard that tires and sledge hammers are a great way of getting out anger.
Wait a minute. Crohn’s has left me with little strength or energy today. I guess I’m back to strangling. While I’m at it, I’ll try to get rid of all the other autoimmune disorders as well. Couldn’t hurt.
It’s not just another day or just any moment. Surrender is serious. The peace you are trying to gain demands it be serious. You want an end to the bloodshed. You wan to form new relationships. The war has to end and for that to happen, one side must surrender.
For those who choose to follow God, we also come to a point of surrender. God wants to end the war in our lives – the constant battle to lift up self and selfish desires. The things we think we want leave us with ugly battle scars and we end up wounding those we love as well with our “friendly fire.”
Career, finances, free time, possessions, education. These are all things we aren’t too surprised about being on God’s list of things to be surrendered. It’s not easy, but in the end, there is peace when give God control. Then the amazing happens as we realize it truly was for the best! God really did know what He was doing in choosing this career for me instead of that one!
I fear God has asked the impossible of me, but then He also promises that all things are possible with Him. What does God want? He wants my stressful moments. What? Stressful moments create quite an intensity for me, especially seeing how they affect my Crohn’s Disease. Sometimes I spend days processing a particular stressful moment. That is so not good for me.
So God has asked for me to surrender those stressful moments to Him. I can’t lay claim on them anymore and process them myself. He wants it so He can take care of it. But my personality and sense of justice, organization and scheduling, common courtesy and whatever else says that I have to find a way to make sure this stressful moment never happens again! Nope, God wants to take care of it.
Surrender. God only asks for the thing we fight the most. Surrender. I welcome all prayers as I deal with self and ask for God to give me a heart willing to surrender stressful moments.