But we've had to postpone because my head pain and neurological symptoms from a suspected return of the lupus attacking my central nervous system (CNS) have gotten worse, not better, since they first started up again at the beginning of December. We decided it would be wise to stay close to the doctors and facilities familiar with my case.
I am bummed. I've cried and had a couple of pity parties for myself. I thought we were past this. I am tired of dealing with it. Why can't we move on?
But something surprising has been happening in my heart, a huge difference from the past few months and I feel that despite my heart hurting with the change of our plans, I'm bursting at the seams to share this difference. I have this hope that I can't shake, not that I want to, but not even when I want to entertain my bummed-outness and disappointment does my heart get too heavy. It hasn't been too much to deal with...how can that be?
My sweet husband has something to do with that - he's so good at rolling with the punches. But even he can't be positive all the time.
Our hope is being sustained by the Lord and I have to tell you, it's pretty amazing.
Since my last post on my struggle over the past few months for hope, I have seen God work in amazing ways, through sermons (Psalm 23 and Exodus 15:1-21), a book called Daring to Hope, and by sweet friends who suffer greatly sharing their hearts and their struggles. All with the same theme - our hope is in Him, not in our circumstances. I can be so thickheaded and stubborn, and He seems to be pulling out all the stops to remind me of what I wrote to myself in that post.
Even if not, He is still good.
A friend of mine posted this wonderful blogpost that you should read in its entirety and my favorite part was this (bold my emphasis):
"However, I have found that if I can manage to lift my eyes off of my circumstances and onto Jesus, I find the hope I am looking for. I remember friends and family telling me last year "It'll get better" and guess what, it did! It's important to note that my circumstances didn't change at all. In fact all my worst fears of where life could go happened anyway. There has yet to be resolution to my story and in fact I am walking straight into another difficult season as I write this. So often we try to push past the suffering and pray to get to the other side as quickly as possible, when in reality God wants us to lean into him and use this pain as a way to realize how sufficient he truly is. I am learning this daily. So on those days, where it feels like you won't make it through whatever it is you're going through, remember you will not perish because God is faithful always. He is faithful no matter what, in both the triumph and the tragedy. Christmas is the perfect time to call this to mind, as we are literally celebrating the fact that God loves us so much he became flesh and dwelt among us. "
My circumstances haven't changed - I am still battling raging head pain daily, intermittent loss of hearing in my right ear, awaiting the results of MRI scans to see if there's inflammation in my brain. In fact, it seems in some ways my circumstances have changed for the worse.
But He is still good.
Exodus 15:1-21 is the song that the Israelites sing after the Lord brings them through the Red Sea. They remember what the Lord has done, they rehearse who the Lord is to them, who He has been and will be...and their response?
"Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. And Miriam sang to them 'Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea." (Ex 15:20-21).
He has triumphed gloriously.
This whole Christmas season is about waiting - waiting for the glory of the Lord that completes at Easter. This is the start, the coming of Emmanuel, God with Us. And we know the end, we know He triumphs. We know He has victory.
Our days don't go as we planned more often than not - the kids wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you lose a loved one near the holidays that seems to taint the season forever with sadness and pain, you have a hospital bag packed, ready to go in case the pain gets too bad, dreading the thought of spending Christmas in the hospital. But He has overcome the world.
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33).
When things change or go a different way than we'd prefer, when it seems dark and the worry and fear are relentless, let us rehearse who He is, let us grab our tambourine and shout praises to Him for what He has done and what He will do - because He is faithful!
"When we cannot find joy in our circumstances, we can find joy in God, who is unchanged and unchanging" - Katie Davis Majors "Daring to Hope"
In this season of celebrating the birth of Christ, may I, may you, be like Mary and sing, despite the unknown and incomprehensible circumstances:
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior...for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name." (Luke 1:46-49)