...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Friday, November 02, 2012

She Has a Limit...Even if Involuntary

Boyland is on the heels of the stomach flu, which has been on the heels of a two-week illness for this mama.  Exhausted from waking several times to empty puke buckets, and still experiencing the last (hopefully) nagging symptoms from my own latest illness, I am feeling nearly the best I've felt in...months! 

This past year has been difficult for me physically...and mentally.  Nothing major, and yet majorly life-impacting.  So many wonderful moments have been had in this precious family of mine, though there had been a heavy cloud hanging over me, making it difficult to truly enjoy.  I have enjoyed life....it's just the simplest things had been a struggle.  The simple tasks of our daily rhythm had left me completely taxed, feeling as though I were running a deficit that could never be reduced.

Numerous times I've tried to ascertain what was going on with me.  I thought it was just "a new normal" of sorts, having completed a pregnancy in my *ahem* older child-bearing years, and having completed the nursing year with my little guy.  As he weaned and I began sleeping through nights, and I still felt cruddy, I realized that wasn't it.  Then I thought we just had too much going on.  I began striking things off the calendar like a mad woman, until there was nothing left to strike off.  I still could barely pull myself out of bed in the morning, and the tears still welled up several times every day.  There were so many things I wanted to do...simple things with my boys, things around our home, things to help out neighbors and friends.  I felt powerless.

Since May, I've struggled with repeated illness.  Not just a few days of a cold here and there, but infections that knocked me flat-out for a couple weeks at a time.  They would hit me every three to five weeks.  I did everything I could think of to strengthen my constitution--eating extremely healthily, disciplining myself with an earlier bedtime, taking various supplements, praying for health and wisdom.  It seemed I was doing everything, and it wasn't good enough. 

Finally, I felt the nudge to be proactive and see my doctor during one of my non-ill windows.  I'm SO glad I did.  After two doctor's opinions and a ton of lab testing, we got the information that helped get me on-track.  Turns out I had been fighting Strep chronically, despite several antibiotic treatments.  I also was fighting re-activated Mono infection (I had Mono in high school and the virus never leaves the body, just lies dormant unless you become extremely worn-down.)  To top it off, I was hypothyroid, which wreaks all sorts of havoc on the body, including depressing the immune system.

When my doctor called me with my test results, I cried.  I cried because I finally saw there was a reason for feeling so bad, and I cried because I saw hope for feeling better.

Within a few days of being on an antibiotic to kick out the remainder of the Strep, and being on a thyroid med, I was in tears again....because I felt like a completely different person.  Jessica was back.  It wasn't until I began to feel good, that I realized the extent to which I'd felt so terrible, and that it had been that way for a long, long, long time.

Any of you who know me, know that I'm not a medicine-taker.  I took a little Ibuprofen after my last couple births, and that was a big deal to me.  Whenever I've been on antibiotics, which unfortunately has been a lot over the last year, it's been because I've been direly ill.  I'm more what you'd call...an "herbs 'n' spices-type o' gal.  I can see, however, the blessing modern medicine is when it is truly needed.  I am SO thankful for antibiotics when they are needed, and I am SO thankful for this thyroid medicine.  I hope I won't need to take it forever, but I'm so thankful it's available for me to help strengthen my body at this time.

Why am I taking the time to articulate all this?  I don't know.  Maybe for my own remembrance-sake.  Maybe so I'll remember God's faithfulness, and that He chooses to let us walk through difficulty for certain seasons.  As I've been going through this trial, I've been remembering that nothing can touch me that has not passed His approval.  That's a hard one to swallow at times, but it is truth.  Because I know God's character, I am assured that He is good, and He is good, ALL the time.  If He's allowing me to have a hard time, there's a very good reason for it.  I don't need to know the reason why (although I would really like to know sometimes.)  His plans for me are good, and His plans for me are to prosper me and give me hope and a future.

One thing that I've learned, and I'm trying to really grasp and not let go of, is that I do have a limit.  I tend to think I can "do it all," and I even enjoy the thrill of "pulling it all off."  However, my life should not be defined by what I do, it should be defined by who I am.  When I'm so busy doing, I'm most likely missing out on just being.  I am after all, a human "being," not a human "doing."  (Not sure where I heard that, but I like it.)  Who I am, miraculously, is an imperfect-yet-spotless-in-His-eyes daughter of the King and Creator of the Universe.  I can rest in that.  There are tasks appointed to me, by Him, for each day He chooses to give me breath.  That is not dependent upon how I'm feeling on any particular day.  Whatever a day has in store for me, if I am just "being" His daughter, I can count on Him directing my tasks.

Nearly all the days this past year that I've been sick, and there have been many, the biggest goal of mine was to get through the day as self-preserving as possible, so I could get to bed as early as possible, with the hope that in the morning I'd feel a little bit better so I could get on with doing life.  What a waste.  How selfish.  This last month or so, I've been trying to focus on the fact that even if I'm flat-out in bed sick, there are tasks for me to fulfill in those days that only I can fulfill.  Could it be that the things I thought were so important to get done were not my appointed tasks for those days?  Maybe all these sick days have been allowed so that I would remember my greatest task is to, like Mary, sit at the feet of Jesus.

As a mommy, there are five little sets of Jesus' feet for me to be sitting at.  If I take time to focus in on one of these little ones--to sit on the floor and put a puzzle together with them even though there are scads of housework and paperwork to do, for example--I am sitting at the very feet of my LORD.


It is good and right for us to give thanks in everything, even in sick days.  Not so easy, but good and right.  There are lessons to be learned and goodness to be had in the trials, or they wouldn't be allowed to be a part of our story. 


sacra vim said...

Oh, friend...you are reading my mail!! He's been talking to me about this too (you know) and the phrase "human being, not human doing" ran through my head several times last week.

Praying and expecting and in the trenches with you,


Sarah said...

What a truly beautiful and inspirational post! Due to dealing with arthritis flares and bouts of depression/anxiety, I can so very much relate to that utter feeling of desperation. I know I often fail to see Jesus in my own children, which is a shortcoming on my part and a disservice to them. Thank you SO MUCH for blessing me with putting things in a different perspective! The Lord truly is wonderful. I am sorry you had to deal with such a stressful year and so happy that you are feeling better. What wonderful insight God has given you through it all! May He continue to strengthen you and your family and bless you in everything you do.


Allison in AK said...

Praying for you especially this morning, with all my heart ~
Love, A

amanda said...

Oh, I loved reading this. I've been meaning to ask about your health, but in the moments we communicate, I forget. Forgive me. So thankful that you now know, and I'm praying for you! Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

Magdoline Abadir said...

I love you so much Jessica. You put in words so eloquently what's been jumbled in my mind the past few weeks. Saying, "That's so true!" is an understatement, yet hearing it from the best of friends makes it all the more powerful. Praying for your health as you rest at all the Lord's sets of feet. Beautiful.