(Scroll to the bottom of this post to find an index for entire #31 Days Series)
Two years ago, September 2014, I should have seen the signs marking what was coming . . .
I thought those weird pains and funny little swellings were just part of getting older.
I wasn’t listening to my body then
In fact, I was barely on speaking terms with my body. It just did what I expected it to, and it followed along with my over-pushing and over-working ways.
Until the night I woke up with screaming dark pain.
I had helped my elderly neighbor with some heavy lifting and gardening the day before, so I expected that I might be a little sore that night. I was not prepared for the fire that burned in my hand later that night. And I was not prepared for the way the fire left me all consumed the next morning. And I was definitely not prepared for the same thing to happen three more times over the next three months, with each “fire” becoming worse, if that was even possible, than the one before.
So when my Family Physician immediately ordered a Rheumatic Arthritis blood panel at my yearly physical, I thought she was over-reacting. “Can’t you just give me some good exercises to take care of these sore hands?”
When the results returned, all sero-positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis, and they rushed me in to the Rheumatologist the very next week, I should have started listening to my body then . . .
But I thought I still had some measure of control.
I will beat this thing. I will do everything possible to keep this disease in check and work towards REMISSION.
So I faithfully tried all the medications the Specialist prescribed. I changed my diet and eliminated all sorts of possible “inflammation triggers.” I found out which essential oils were best to keep inflammation at bay. And I began an exercise and activity journal, trying to trace out any unhealthy habits.
But the swelling continued, the constant aching increased, and I began the process of losing functionality in some of my joints. Not to mention the side effects of those crazy expensive new medications. First one and then another were tried, in an effort to find the “Goldilocks” dosage that would be “just right” for me. My activity level was slowly trickling down, month by month my energy was sinking. I prayed and journaled (as much as possible, when the pencil refused to be held by unsteady, painful fingers,) but God was not bringing the healing that I had asked for.
God was trying to get me to listen to my body, and to listen to Him.
A few months into the journey, I had a dream, in which I was walking through the halls of an office building. Along the way, people came to walk with me, and each had an idea of how I could be cured: try this medication, eat these foods, stay away from these toxins, make use of this new treatment, etc. Eventually we all came to a conference room with a large round table, where we all took a seat. All of the people continued to talk to me, speaking more loudly with each new phrase uttered. But one elderly woman, that I hadn’t noticed before, sat silently across from me. Her eyes compelled me to look her way, and suddenly I longed to hear her words above the rest. It seemed that I could hear her thoughts whispering, “You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? All of this advice to you is fine, some of it is good for you even. But listen to what God is saying! He is saying, ‘All of this that you are going through is MINE, because YOU are Mine, and this will be for GOD’S GLORY. Obey what I am asking of you, and walk with ME through this time of Brokenness and Prayer.'”
Are you in a place of silence? Is there a listening that you have been ignoring there? If so, join me this month as we seek together to be better listeners. I would be honored to have you travel with me.
This is Day 1 of the #Write31Days Challenge: 31 Days of Listening with Chronic Illness. Here is where the index for the rest of the month will find a home. If you come back to my blog and missed a post, hopefully you can click on any of the other days for a link to those entries.
10 thoughts on “Day 1: Listen to what God is Saying”
Oh Bettie, I understand all too well how we convince ourselves we can control our illness, all the while it is seeking to master us. And how easy it is to forget just Who is actually in control of This! in trying a different diet or new medication regime we can sometimes hit on a combination that works well for a while. But chronic illness tends to be unpredictable, fluctuating with our feelings and whatever else we may be going through.
I love the topic you are exploring, and look forward to hearing how you learn this vital lesson: “God was trying to get me to listen to my body, and to listen to Him.” I've struggled with both in various ways over the years, though I'm discovering how age and experience are bringing prompter obedience!
You also reveal how important it is to listen to our lives, our dreams and wise godly counsel. A life of faith is always best lived with eyes and ears wide open to the many ways in which God may speak to us. Praying for you, sweet friend, as you bravely share your journey here. xo ❤
Dear Joy, Oh yes, this is so true: “But chronic illness tends to be unpredictable, fluctuating with our feelings and whatever else we may be going through” How often I let that fickle-ness of the illness dictate my evaluations! I'm so thankful you are here on this journey with me, seeking to have open eyes and ears directed towards the only ONE who truly knows the way. Thanks for your ever faithful encouragement and prayers my friend! XOXO
What an amazing dream, Bettie. It's always the still quiet voice that has the most wisdom to share…but the One that is so easily drowned out if we let it. My Mum suffered terribly from arthritis…but hardly ever complained…I know she could have only have done all she did with her Heavenly Father's strength. Praying for you today and gentle hugs from afar.
And I look forward to following along: so many treasures in listening.
Thank you, Anna, for your prayers and encouraging thoughts! Yes, I believe your Mum must have had such a sweet dependency on her Lord! I am so thankful that He offers that same intimacy to us now! And, isn't it amazing that He is making this way open for us to share our stories and journeys, linked over the miles like this? –Hugs and Blessings to you!
Hearing the beginning of your journey as you share your story with us connects us even more. Sometimes the darker places in our lives are where we can listen more attentively — to God and others — but most often it is those darker valleys where our faith is stretched and grown and our trust deepens, not on the mountaintop where we think it should happen. These difficult journeys yield those gems. Looking forward to learning more of your faith journey and your inspiring spirit these 31 days! xoxo
I love how in your dream, the quiet one had the best message, to listen to God and know that He will be with you every step of the way. It reminds me of a song by the group Downhere. It's called “I Will Follow Your Voice.” Here's a link if you're interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMZtLT5X1Tk&list=PLWwxmqsNOjCf0lYaXgOCvmdOHHjxcG0S0&index=5
Thank you for encouraging us to listen to Him and not to fear. Many blessings to you, Bettie!
Oh yes, I want those mountaintops! But, like you, I know that the valley is where I will grow and find a deeper trust, so here is where I am trying to listen. I am so thankful for your encouragement, Valerie! These gems we are gathering–you have reminded me once again of Much Afraid and her gathering of those precious stones along her journey! –Blessings and Hugs to you!
Thank you for sharing this new song, Gayl! It is bringing tears to me tonight, and touching me so deeply! Yes, I want to keep hearing what He says, and trust Him there! –Many Blessings to you!!