In addition, when we left that church I was in the middle of getting diagnosed with a chronic liver condition, autoimmune hepatitis. It was a scary time; I slept for many hours a day and I was exhausted with horrible brain fog and in pain for much of the rest. I felt like my body was shutting down. Because I can't seem to do anything simply, it took nearly 8 months for me to receive the final diagnosis because my labs weren't textbook. All we knew was that I was a stage away from cirrhosis of the liver, my liver was inflamed, and as mentioned before, I was exhausted and in pain.
After the diagnosis, I was put on medication to help control the inflammation, which has helped my liver begin to heal itself. However, I still suffer from fatigue and daily pain, though the fatigue is better when my pain is managed. I'm on a few different medications to help with the pain, yet the pain, inability to think clearly, and fatigue are still there in the background.
During this time, I would give lip service to the Lord: "He's in control", "He is good", and "He is faithful" were mantras I'd repeat to myself and tell others. While I believed these things in my head, they were not transferring to my heart and in my heart I had many questions I couldn't yet voice.
I didn't understand why. Why would God take away my church family and support system? Why would God take away my health? Once I received a diagnosis, I wondered why He would give me a condition that would, most likely, be with me for the rest of my life. Why would He put these physical barriers in my way when I was just trying to serve him by serving my family and homeschool our boys? I was barely keeping my head above water and there were
I'd had trials before, but they had an end. The chronic nature of my health, and the (what appears to be) permanent severing of relationships had thrown me for a loop.
Instead of turning to God, I stopped seeking him. Instead of reading His word, I would do something else--something more important that I could check off my good wife & mother to do list. I would talk to Him throughout the day, however I was ashamed of my questions and lack of trust in Him, so they weren't honest conversations. While I fully believe that God can heal me, I also know that's typically not his pattern for things like this.
I thought I could will myself through. After all, legend has it that my first sentence was "I do it myself." If I just tried harder, I could take care of my family and homeschool the boys and look like I had it all together. Only this just left me short tempered and frustrated, and the more I failed the less interested I became in truly seeking Him. Where I once craved Him, instead I was just confused.
I knew I was supposed to count it all joy, but really..this? This pain was to be included? Whaaaaat?!
Yes. Yes it is.
It turns out, it's not really all about me. It's not about how many things I check off my to do list. It's not about how well run my house and homeschool are. It's about Him. It's about how I can't do it myself. It's about how, instead of waking up in the morning and trying to muscle through my day, I need to turn to Him and ask for His strength. This pain isn't a punishment; it's a tool to draw me to Him. In my weakness, His glory can shine. Of course, I would welcome physical healing and I am promised physical healing (though it might not be until the next age). I am also promised that at that time there will be no more tears.
This is how I can count it all joy.
Suddenly, I feel like I've got a new spring in my step. He never changed. He never left me. He simply wants me to know him and depend on Him in a way that I wasn't doing pre-2010. This is joy. God is good. He is faithful.