second semester of sophomore year. the semester after I returned from a three month trip to Zambia. these months have been filled with so much joy, but also a whole lot of pain (quite literally).
when I came home from Zambia, I began to notice subtle changes in my health. I dismissed them, but as school started, they began to get worse and worse. every time I ate, I felt like my stomach was revolting against me. I continued to get sick after most meals, no matter what I ate. I eliminated countless foods trying to find triggers, but I couldn’t seem to pinpoint anything that made it worse. as you can imagine, I began losing weight and suffering the consequences from not absorbing all the necessary nutrients. this problem hindered me from many things I wanted and needed to do. I would come home early from hanging out with friends because I knew I would be sick within a few hours of eating. I would miss classes because of the intense pain. I couldn’t study or get work done because of it. this illness seemed to be slowly but surely taking over my life.
I drive to Memphis pretty much every Thursday to get different tests done. way too many blood tests, a colonoscopy, a HIDA scan, an ultrasound, and two different allergy tests later, and doctors are still shrugging their shoulders. and so am I. I go through weeks where things seem to be better, but then all of a sudden my health will drop off again. it’s maddeningly unpredictable and uncontrollable. but that’s one of the reasons I wanted to write this post.
“At the end of the day, we know where our home is and we know how the story ends.”
I do a really good job at hiding my problem because it’s not one that other people can see right away. that fact made it extremely easy for me to keep on living life without a second glance from others. and that’s how I prefer it. I’m not writing this for any reason except to share with you what I have learned through this experience. no amount of “i’m sorry’s” or “that must be really hard” is going to fix anything.
one day while I was working out, trying to relieve some of my frustration about the whole situation, this question kept popping into my mind: “God, why can’t I control what’s happening to me? i have tried so hard to fix myself, and nothing is working.” in that moment God spoke to me these words: “my daughter, you have never been and never will be in control. my ways are better. i am in control of your life and the whole universe.” i shamelessly started crying in the GAC weight room. i had spent so long trying to control it myself that i forgot that God has been in control the whole time.
“You are working in our waiting
You’re sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust.”
-“Sovereign Over Us”, Michael W. Smith
this journey has not been an easy one, and it’s far from over. i still struggle with my health on a daily basis. but what a blessing it has been. i have received wonderful and invaluable support from my family and close friends. i have learned to unclench my fists and let my hands be used to glorify God and spread His kingdom. i have the ability to choose to put my trust in God every single day. trust that He knows what is best for me. trust that He alone can heal me of my physical and spiritual ailments. trust that He can see the good that will come out of this. heck, i’m already starting to see the good coming out of it.
i pray that this is an encouragement to you, whether you are in a healthy season or a rocky season in your life. we all have our own trials, and we all have the choice to put our trust in God or to trust ourselves to take care of it. from personal experience, putting my trust in God to take care of me was the greatest decision i could’ve ever made. i pray you will make that same decision in your life, no matter what you’re going through.
“People who are becoming love experience the same uncertainties we all do. They just stop letting fear call the shots.” –Everybody Always, Bob Goff