For me, this journey, this real Leaning in, began fourteen years ago with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. At the time I was Homeschooling my two elementary aged children, running a successful teaching business with High School Level Spanish, and going to Graduate School. It was July 4th that year. For four months I suffered through debilitating fatigue and a cascade of symptoms that included a burning spine and falling because my leg just seemed to have vanished. I was only able to function because everywhere I went I would lay down. This included the sofa at home during ‘school’, the floor at piano lessons, and the seat in the car during dance class. I had help keeping the house clean and I managed to feed my family. On top of everything I continued to have a headache at the base of my skull and a severe auditory sensitivity. The pain continued for more than two years with varying degrees of pain killers that never quite got rid of the headache. I was devastated.
For that first year after diagnosis I was mad at God for allowing this to happen to me. I felt He had abandoned me and I could not find Him. I was lost. It was like He was out there, somewhere, but hidden from me; like the clouds were obscuring Him from my view. I asked for advice and sought council only to get the pat answers of ‘pray more’, ‘ask God’, or ‘get into the Word’. Ugh! I needed answers to my questions, not platitudes. Having been in the religious world my entire life this was a real crisis of faith for me and no one could help. George Barna in his book, Maximum Faith, identifies ten stops along the path toward wholeness. I was at stop seven, ‘experiencing personal brokenness’.
And believe me, I was broken.
God uses these times of ‘brokenness’ to teach us important things. For me it was that I REALLY needed to depend on Him. This manifested itself first in my sleep patterns. At the beginning I was actually afraid to sleep. By googling and reading stories about other people with MS I realized that I could go to sleep one night and not be able to move the next morning. I couldn’t imagine waking up and being totally paralyzed from the neck down! I had to take sleeping pills for a while. I felt terrible that I didn’t seem to have enough faith and that my attitude was horrible. Then, I decided to just start thanking God each morning when I did get out of bed. I thanked Him that He allowed me to take care of my family.
I didn’t keep a journal then. I wish I had so I could remember the step-by-step process God brought me through. I look back and see the growth that happened because I needed to work in my strength, my mind. I looked at what I could do and rationalized it by thinking it through. An important sanity measure at the time. I cried out to Him, looked more earnestly for Him. My Bible became the only thing I could turn to in order to find Him. I still do this, I take time each day to reflect on Who God is and what He is doing in my life to change me, no transform me, into the woman He wants me to be. By seeking God through His Word, I was still able to find Him and listen to Him, discern the right thing to do, be teachable. And most of all, have courage.
C.S. Lewis says, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” God was testing me, and I wanted to win.
I do know this too, if I had not been on this journey I would not be in the sweet spot with my Savior that I am in now. These years have been a filling of Him in a way I never experienced in all my years in the church and as a believer in Jesus. I have searched for Him with all my heart, not just my head, I have learned many things by studying His Word, I have witnessed God moving in the hearts of people that I was privileged to minister to, and I have experienced His love so profoundly in my life that I am secure in Him, forever.
So my dear friend, Are you at a place where there is a disconnection between having the peace of God in your life and your actual faith-walk? Are you longing for a deeper relationship with Christ but don’t know just what to do next? Do you crave more meaning in your day-to-day as you represent Christ in your home and marketplace?
If you answered ‘yes’ you are not alone. I searched for a long time and have gone through many Bible Studies, Retreats, Books, and such to find my answers. I don’t want this for you. Let me help you discover your best way to connect to the Father.
Connect with me to set up a 30-minute discovery appointment. I would love to chat with you.