This is my scripture. It’s the one that resurfaces infinite amounts of times in my life for me. I know God is constantly reminding me where I need work. What spots need to be polished.
Have you ever tried to pry something out of a toddler’s white knuckled death grip? You chase them all over tarnation trying to grab something from them that isn’t healthy for them to have. When you catch up to them they wriggle and try to hold onto whatever they have with a scary type of determination. They want to keep it. They want to control it, and they don’t understand that it may be unhealthy or a danger to them. This is me laying my worries down at the altar. I am the toddler. I will show what I have to God, but so many times, I don’t want to let go. I am afraid that I will lose something. I am afraid God won’t do it my way. I hate this about myself.
This week has been hard. I haven’t shared this, because I didn’t want to worry everyone. I told My immediate family and my 3 best friends who I consider sisters. I have been waiting for some medical test results. Three weeks ago I thought I had an infection like cellulitis or something. I woke up on a Monday morning and took my first 2 steps and was halted in my tracks. My left foot hurt terribly. I took a look at it, and overnight it had blown up huge and swollen and purpley red. I didn’t remember hurting it. The day before I had been fine. My doc’s PA put me on antibiotics for an infection. I limped on it for 3 days before it started getting better. It was improving and I finally could walk normally on it, but it had left a dark purple spot on my foot.
By Friday, I was glad that it was feeling better. I was standing in my kitchen and had been wearing shoes all day. I felt some soreness on my other foot now and thought maybe my shoe was bothering me. I took the shoe off and there was some redness. Over the course of the next 3 hours, it swelled, got hot and red, had a streak and started hurting so badly that it brought tears to my eyes. I admit that night I had a gut feeling something else was very wrong. I have Reynauds. Reynauds causes your fingernails and toenails and sometimes the tips of them, to turn bluish when they get cold. Sometimes it also hurts. This is the main reason I hate being cold. This was way worse though. This started happening randomly and it wasn’t always cold. At this point, I was getting a bit creeped out. I saw my regular doc and she took a look at the sores. As we were talking my hands and feet turned blue and it got so bad that my pinkie toes almost looked purple black. My doctor started looking really concerned and started pressing on my hands and feet and got the nurse to bring in an EKG. They ran it and it looked a tad off. I always have palpitations and tachycardia with my heart rate being high. My doc told me she was worried about possible heart damage causing a problem with my circulation or a problem that was auto immune like lupus. She actually called and got me in with a cardiologist the next day. The cardiologist looked at me the next day and ordered an echocardiogram, ct scan, a ton of blood and urine and called and got me into a friend of his who is a rheumatologist.
Numero uno $$$ ouch. Numero dos, I was getting kinda worried. They were checking me for aneurism, valve problems, heart damage, and a slew of auto immune stuff. All my doctors had concluded I had a certain type of vasculitis that causes blood clots in the superficial veins. That’s what these horribly painful spots were. Every test came back okay, until I got a test result back with something called a positive “M Spike.” This confirms the presence of a monoclonal protein or M protein — is in your blood. The protein is produced in a type of plasma cell in your bone marrow. It can be the first sign of a real big problem like Multiple Myeloma, Lymphoma, Leukemia, Lupus, or something called MGUS and is abbreviated for Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance. MGUS has to be monitored regularly to make sure it doesn’t develop into Multiple Myeloma. My grandma had this MGUS and her sister has something called “Smoldering Multiple myeloma.” My doc called and told me that these things were what they were trying to weed out and he almost had trouble even saying Multiple Myeloma. He paused for an extra long time before he spat it out. I still have the voicemail he left right before he caught me to talk on the phone. They told me if they couldn’t conclusively find out what was causing this, I would probably end up with a bone marrow biopsy.
Like every doctors worst nightmare, I started Web MDing this stuff. I was researching what this meant and starting to understand some of the questions the rheumatologist asked me. He asked if I had any vertebral compression fractures that were unexplained. I initially said no, but then remembered something weird. I actually might. A year ago, I had something on my MRI that had previously been identified as hemangioma of bone (vascular tumor birth mark type of thing) and all of a sudden they labeled it as a “wedge compression.” That is a compression fracture. The vertebra kind of collapses down on itself. While I was researching, I found that The American Cancer Society and several other websites, also listed stuff like circulation being bad because of blood thickening (hence my feet blood clot vasculitis) and a few other things that were worrisome symptoms of Multiple Myeloma, that hit too close to home. You guys, I was thoroughly freaked out at this point. I stared at the ceiling a LOT at night and couldn’t fall asleep. I felt anxious all the time. At my very core, I was terrified that the devil was going to attack with this. I’m pretty sure the devil hates me, and I know I hate him. He probably isn’t jazzed that I’m trying to spread my testimony everywhere I can. I was afraid that my family would have to bear this burden and they have already been through so much with my other Fluoroquinolone health problems. I felt horribly guilty that this was showing up and I also just dreaded the thought of what could be next.
I did pray about it. I did actually tell God that I would bear whatever this was. I do want to do His perfect will, and whatever He see’s fit to allow, I will walk that road. I know He know’s that it terrifies me to pray that, but I do mean it. I do pray that God will do whatever He has to do to me, to save my soul. I mean it. I want Heaven. This life will be a blip in eternity one day and I want to have made the right choice.
One of my besties was lucidly walking through my crazy thoughts with me yesterday, and enduring my teary worries. She said, “I am just starting to see and understand that this life is so temporary.” I’ve been thinking about that since. It is. This life and everything but the souls in it, will be scrapped. Our car, house, favorite shoes, job, all of it…is scrap. It doesn’t have any eternal value. The only value in it, is how we are good stewards of what blessings God gives us and how it affects our soul’s motivation. Even sitting in a precious conversation with a friend, will become a memory. The beautiful thing is that I wholeheartedly believe that if we both love our Father and Heaven like we are trying to, that we will get to visit together in heaven. Our souls are eternal. We will still be us even in heaven.
Do you know what a trust fall is? In some character building and relationship classes, they have you do a trust fall. It’s when a person you are supposed to trust, stands behind you, with your back to them. You are supposed to trust that this spouse or friend is going to catch you before you hit the floor and shatter your body. Many times, fear takes over and mid fall, you jerk and try to catch yourself even if they were there and prepared to catch you. My biggest pitfall is worry. I find that over and over, God has me do a trust fall into His always capable arms. I just have always jerked and braced for impact, right before He catches me. I know He is there, I just somehow always worry that this will be the time I will be destroyed. Why is that? It’s certainly not God’s weakness. It’s mine. It my weakness in faith. He has always caught me. Not once has He left me alone. God asks me constantly through each trial; Do you trust me? Do you still trust me? Do you trust me still? I really identify with
Mark 9:24 : And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Yes. This. I believe Lord. Help my unbelief. I have no reason to doubt. None. I know God is faithful, I just still find myself afraid of what I may have to endure. I don’t know how to fix it. I wish I could tell you that suddenly I was overcome with peace and I fell right to sleep last night. I didn’t. I was still a ball of anxiety. Afraid of what I may have to endure, what my family may have to endure. I know even Jesus feared that. In the garden when He asks God if there is any way this cup could pass from him.
Mark 14:36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
I wonder if it is just a part of being in this human body that we fear suffering. It is an enormous comfort to me that Jesus asked God if there was any way this could be done differently, but accepted God’s will above all. I imagine he was afraid of the pain, the hurt of betrayal, enduring the pure hatred of others and dreaded it to his core. I can’t tell you how glad it makes me that he gets to put in a word for us at the judgement. I am so glad he remembers and knows what it’s like to fear suffering. We aren’t serving a heartless and cold God. We are serving a king who got down from this throne and put himself through every bit of suffering there is to experience on earth, so that he even knows the roads we all travel here. He knows my road and he knows your road.
Tonight the doctors office called and said that the last panel of bloodwork and urine they ran, came back negative for an “M Spike.” Hallelujah! I almost didn’t even feel relief right away. I had to let it sink in. They said that they will have to monitor me closely and I will see them again in 6 weeks, but right now nothing is pointing in an urgent worrisome direction. They don’t have a diagnosis for me right now, it’s a watch and wait, and see what happens situation. I finally feel some relief. It’s been slowly sinking in all night. I just keep telling God thank you. I truly think He took it away. I don’t know if something else will pop up or if this will be one weird scare. Right now, I’m trying to just let go and give that to God. I want to stop taking my burdens back off the altar and carrying them away. I want to leave them with God and I am really trying to learn how. The jerk devil is always trying to steal my peace. I am always trying to see past the chaos he creates, to the God I know is in control.
About 4 years ago, I heard a song by JJ Heller called “I Believe.” It was brand new at the time. It spoke the words of my heart, but there was no sheet music for it yet. I called my Dad the same night I heard it and asked him if he could figure out how to play it. My Dad is crazy talented and worked on it for a few days and made up his own variation of the guitar for the song. I was at church and my husband came up and handed me a piece of paper. I looked down and JJ Heller “I Believe,” was written on it. I looked at my husband puzzled. He smiled and said, “Nicki wants you to sing this.” I just had to laugh. I felt like God was telling me to sing it too.
This is a bad quality cell phone recording of when I sang it at church. It was the first time I’d sang since my jaw dislocation and I was heading into a spinal fusion several months later.
This song says what I believe. It says what I long for and my goal. “I’d rather have Jesus, than houses or land. I’d rather be led by his nail pierced hand. I’d rather have Jesus than anything.” My favorite line is the second. “When I’m old I’ll talk about the things that you have done. I believe. Brokeness made beautiful, the wars that you have won, and the storms you’ve calmed in me.”
I am broken, but I am His, and He is working on me.