The Middle of the Story

Holy Week…Good Friday…Easter. My body seems to fail me in one way or another around this time.  Two years ago I had a horrible stomach bug and started bleeding while throwing up not long into my pregnancy with Maelee. I was convinced that night that I was losing her.

There was no way that the kind of blood that was shed would possibly mean life was still in me.

It was the beginning of sonograms and labs and tests and more sonograms all to find out that she was indeed alive and well and fine.  I remember thinking over and over and telling the midwives over and over that there was no way that much blood could be okay.  And in that time the Lord reminded me of a Bible song from my childhood…

I’ve got river of life

Flowing out of me,

Makes the lame to walk

And the blind to see;

Opens prison doors,

Sets the captives free,

I’ve got a river of life

Flowing out of me.

 

Spring up, O well

Within my soul,

Spring up, O well

And make me whole.

Spring up, O well,

And give to me

That life abundantly.

That quickly led me to a verse that played an intimate part in naming Maelee Bethany ~

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. – Psalm 46:4

It’s a long story about getting to her name, but the short of it is that Easter two years ago was hard and life still came from the shedding of blood.

This year my body seems to be failing again.  This time the days of Holy Week were filled with an urgent care visit, an MRI on my shoulder, an ortho appointment, a round of steroids, not being able to get out of bed on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, not being able to breathe or walk on Easter followed by another ER visit on Easter Sunday. I have extreme myopathy and myositis from what the doctor believes is a negative, almost toxic reaction, to the steroids.  So while my arm wasn’t working well 2 weeks prior and we discovered a deltoid tear and bursitis, my proximal muscles completely stopped working.  I made it to church Easter Sunday morning, but when I came home things began to get worse. I went to work but then my muscles were spasming so much in my back and chest that I could not catch my breath. I hobbled to the ER  from work.  I started with a muscle relaxer on Sunday night and continued into Monday.  I had extensive labs on Wednesday to find extreme inflammation in my body. My levels were 3.5 times what they should be. Monday I couldn’t walk.

 

My doctor looked me in the eyes on Wednesday and promised I would get better.  This is like the cardinal sin in healthcare.  You never, ever promise that someone is going to get better.  But he did…multiple times.  I wept when he looked in my eyes.  I could barely walk down the hallway, or sit in the chair.  A beautiful, slender 85-year-old woman helped me out the door and down the stairs.  She put her hand on my shoulder, and I wept.  I got in my car and couldn’t stop weeping.  I’ve cried a lot through all of this.

 

This morning in the shower, I broke down again.  The Lord reminded me of the above song.  Makes the lame to walk…sets the captives free…Spring up oh well (gush, gush, gush, gush) and make me whole…  I sang it over my body and my heart and my spirit this morning with the tears mixing in with the shower water.

 

On Good Friday I had a massage.  I sat in the car alone thinking about Jesus…I thought about Him hanging.  I thought about him begging the Lord for another way.  And I thought about Him enduring the pain.  I thought about Him knowing that enduring the pain meant that life was coming.  He had to drink this cup now.

 

I texted two of my closest this morning and told them I wasn’t afraid of dying anymore.  I am sure that I would not feel so confident given my death bed, but the pain has shown me that He is close even here.  And people endure so much more than what I have endured with this…People do this for so much longer…  I would prefer the Second Coming and seeing Him come in all of His glory on a white horse…that I would love. My oldest keeps on saying, “Mommy, it’s not like this in the New Earth.  This stuff won’t happen there.  You won’t be hurting.” She will write a book about Eternity one day I’m certain of it. My second is my prayer warrior.  She prays so much for healing.  She has prayed every day. My left shoulder has begun to hurt the last couple of days, and you could just see her little spirit was crushed when she saw the ice on both shoulders.  But she has just kept praying.

I read an Ann Voskamp quote a couple of days ago:

Faith thanks God in the middle of the story. 

I thought to myself that I wasn’t sure I would be thankful til this was OVER…til I could walk again without dragging my feet or move my hands without breathing deep.  I am not thanking You, Lord, til I can get out of bed in less than 45 minutes. I am not thanking You, Lord, til I can turn my head and bend over. I thought, “Lord, I am not thanking you now.  I don’t have my miracle yet.”  Some people never get their miracle… I will thank you when I know the ending…

 

But I do know the ending.  It may not be what my doctor promised.  It may not be in two weeks.  But my hope is not in the next two weeks…my hope is in the Cross.  It is in the blood and pain of the Cross of Christ and what is coming.  The stone was rolled away.  He was raised from the dead.  He is preparing a New Earth. He is always good.  He is always here.  He always gives and brings life. Eternity is still coming, and it’s here.  And blood shed and pain felt, endured, and known is the Cross that paid for Eternity.

 

So here {for now}, I will endure this.  And I will continue to see the glimpses of Eternity here…the people bringing meals, sitting at my feet and praying, weeping with me, the Dr who looks in my eyes and promises, the husband that does all the things I can’t do, the mom and dad that sacrifice their days for me, my beautiful girls that comfort and love and believe…

 

May He be seen and known and felt and believed in the midst of my pain and suffering. May this be all for Him and for His glory.  There are still tears here, still pain, still massive weakness.  But there is also Him.  And He is good.

And life will most definitely still come from this pain.