New blog and website

Note as of April, 2014: Hello All! I am consolidating my writings into a new blog- Walking in Wholeness: Insights into God, Medicine and Healing. I will no longer be posting to this blog, so I invite you to subscribe to the new one! Thanks and God bless

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Weapons of Our Warfare

Tolerable, difficult or incredibly dark...such have been the three seasons that have marked the past decade of my life. The tolerable and difficult seasons have been sprinkled with days of happiness and ease, but chronic illness and isolation have a way of keeping the clouds over the sun for long periods of time.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this blog, I have seen signs of the snow melting in the winter that has been my life since age 27. But you know how life is when the seasons change...just when you think spring is imminent, a snowstorm comes. And in Colorado, where I live, the snowstorms as we enter into spring are often fiercer than what we experience all winter.

An unexpected, unprecedented storm has unleashed its wrath upon my days lately. Fitful sleep which begins at dawn, and is marked by nightmares, sleep apnea, and bolts of adrenaline crashing through my pain-wracked body, have been just the beginning.

I have made great strides in my healing, but lately, I feel the heaviness of relapse upon me. The fatigue and symptoms of my first "Lyme years" are back, and then some. Eight-hour blood sugar crises; weakness in my limbs, electromagnetic sensitivity which precludes me from working, and the never-ending cherry-on-the-cake pain.

Then there's the isolation which comes with disability, and crying out at 3:00 AM in anger to a God who has somehow morphed into a punishing authority figure. A God who is surely furious because in my suffering, I have accused Him of "dangling healing carrots" in front of me. Reach out to grab one and...just kidding. It's not for right now.

Where has my loving God gone? Why doesn't He speak to me when I am dehydrated by my tears? Where is He when those who professed to love me, quietly vanish from sight?

I know what I'm supposed to say. I know that when the fury of winter hits, refuge doesn't come by screaming at the sky. If I could just rein in my reckless intellect, and praise God. If I could just tell the emotions where to get off, and pick up the weapons that God has given me to fight this...

...But I let them get buried beneath a mound of grief. There they lie, as the snow from the storm silently blankets them, and I watch them disappear. Anyway, I must not believe they work as God has said, because every time I try to pick one up...the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness...the storm blows them out of my grasp.

The darkness is too fierce
, I protest to God. The pain is unrelenting. I'm sorry, but I can't believe your promises anymore...

And during the adrenaline surges of the night, the enemy hisses, Give up! Your life will never be any different, because you don't believe your God.

I have an unfortunate weakness- a strong intellect. Because the enemy can only operate at the level of the flesh, he uses reason to confuse my mind, so that I exalt it above the wisdom of the Spirit. And when my mind is a biochemical mess, I latch on to his reasonable excuses that I can't live by the Spirit, because I don't have enough serotonin, or cortisol to think properly. My medical knowledge becomes a double-edged sword.

Meanwhile, as my anger and self-righteousness mount, the weapons that God has given me, get buried ever deeper beneath the snow. Why can't I pick them up, God? I wonder in sadness. Jesus, you paid such a price for me to own them, and here I sit, idle...

I don't get it. I don't understand that His body was broken and that His blood was shed, so I could own these weapons, and thereby, find shelter and freedom from the storm that is ravaging me to pieces.

So as I shiver in the cold, vague thoughts of God's armor tapping at the door of mind, I pray: God, I can't do this. I need you to help me dig through the snow, and find the will and the way to put on Your armor. Infuse my mind with revelation knowledge, that no reasonings of the enemy can touch. I need revelation, God, so I know what these weapons are I know what to do with them, and how they can help me to fight this battle in my mind...Because the battle won in the mind is the battle that is then won in the physical realm. But I can't do it, God. Work in me to will and to do, according to Your promises. I can't see you right now, but I know you are here, listening to Jesus' name.

"Indeed, we are human beings, but we don't wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments, and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ."
2 Cor. 10:3-5.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Ephesians 6:10-18

Get me a shovel, Lord.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Breaking Out of Prison and Stepping Into Freedom

Chronic illness is a prison, and if you are behind bars for too long, it's easy to forget how to fly. When the illness lasts years, out of necessity, you grow comfortable with being in hell. You have to, in order to survive the isolation and hardship it brings.

So when God recently told me through a prophet to start taking down the decorations in my cell because He was opening the door and setting me free, I was bewildered. He also told me that He wanted me to start living again, and I thought, "What does that mean? Am I not living?"

And then I realized that I have been surviving the past decade, more than I have been living it. I have been spending my days as an orphan, being passed from house to house, begging bread crumbs, begging for healing, and not trusting in my Daddy to provide for me. At least, not as much as I could.

As I get to know my Daddy better, I am living more as the daughter of a King, as He intends, but the prophecy reminded me of how much I yet cling to a jailed orphan mentality. I guess it just feels safe. I'm used to the isolation. I'm used to spending most of my waking hours on survival activities- that is, work and treatments. And isn't that just what you have to do when you're disabled by disease?

If you live from a worldly mindset, yes. When you feel like hell warmed over and your medical costs are higher than your rent and groceries combined, you don't have a choice. You have to buckle down, get smart, and find creative ways to survive and get well...or else.

The problem is that for years, I have halfway adopted this worldly mindset, labeling my fear-based living as the "responsible" thing to do. And the worst part of it hasn't even been that I work too hard when my body screams for rest, or that I skip too many Saturday night engagements with friends in favor of "survival activities." No, the worst part has been the fear that impels me to these things.

The fear-based mentality goes like this: If I don't work on the weekend to make up for what I couldn't do during the work week due to an incapacitating detoxification reaction, I won't be able to pay my bills. If I can't start my work day until noon because I have to sleep late every morning, then I sure as heck had better work until bedtime, or God won't be able to provide for me financially. If I skip treatments in favor of needing to feel well in order to work...well then, He can't bless my healing process.

But if I am the daughter of a King, I don't need to think this way, because there is room to be human in His kingdom. There is room to make mistakes. Anyway, He wants me to trust Him more than He wants me to "get it all right." And in His kingdom, He provides for me when I cannot. Which is always.

Ironically, this month, I felt God leading me to start five new projects. Not one, but five, at the same time that He was telling me to rest and get a life. Really? Well, I would if I could, God...but my body doesn't agree that this is possible.

"When you start living again, healing will overtake you," God had said to me in a prophecy that followed the previous one. "You don't need to do another thing to be well...Just start living again."

But when you've been in a cage, it's sometimes difficult to recognize when God is handing you your freedom. It doesn't look like fun. In fact, it feels like more striving.

The odd thing is that the new projects which He is leading me to do are projects that only a healthy person could undertake. Speaking engagements? Really, God? Yet if I stand on the promise that He is setting me free, stepping out shouldn't tax me. It should eventually lead me into a place of greater health, even if at first, it seems impossible.

At the very least, the new projects will get me out of the cage. Whether I then fly depends upon how much I choose to lean upon Him and trust Him to show me how to use my wings.

I don't think God is advocating that I push my body to do what it can't do. People who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme disease, and other related chronic illnesses, know that the worst thing you can do to your body is push it when you feel bad. One day of skiing a mountain can land a person with CFS in bed for a week and over time, a fast-paced life of too much activity compromises recovery.

No, my Daddy is simply trying to pull me out of my jailbird mentality. My hell has become too comfy-cozy. I may be a miserable little bird at times, but this world of striving and isolation is the one I have, for too long, understood. Apparently.

So this week I decided to obey Him, and accepted a new job interviewing doctors. I also set up two speaking engagements. In the meantime, I maintain my two blogs, and continue to write a new book. I also stepped into a role as a healing minister at my church, and began a different kind of healing ministry with those who know me in the Lyme disease community. I also keep telling people about my medical the same time that I tell them that the best healing isn't through medicine, but God.

Now I must choose to believe that He will enable me to do all this out of a spirit of rest, rather than survival, and that my body can do what He is calling me to do. I must simply share with others what I have learned over the past decade, and know that He will provide for me in ways that He deems best. I can kill the self-imposed deadlines, allow myself to have some bad days, and choose to have fun with loved ones, instead of scavenging bread crumbs like an orphan on my Saturday nights. I can even stop all the medical treatments, because it's probably time.

I don't yet fully understand what freedom looks like. It may also mean traveling the world again, dating and getting married, and doing all of the things people my age do but which I haven't done much of because of infirmity. More than that, though, I think freedom is a mindset. Of knowing that wherever I am, whatever I have, and no matter my situation, I am the daughter of a King. I am royalty. I belong to my Daddy, who will never leave me nor forsake me, so I don't have to worry about provision, my health or other areas of life.

And as I take tentative steps out of my cell, I grasp His hand and choose to trust Him to lead me into the life of freedom that my soul has quietly been starving for. Even if at times, the steps towards that life feel counter-intuitive.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Medicine Versus Faith-Healing

As I sat in the gate area of the Toronto airport this past Sunday, pondering the recent ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) conference, I was overwhelmed, recalling the barrage of treatments that are needed these days to overcome chronic illness. Our environment is extraordinarily polluted: with pathogens, industrial chemicals, heavy metals and other garbage, that staying healthy- never mind healing from chronic illness- is becoming more difficult than ever. That our food supply is so depleted in nutrients and manipulated to the extent that 75 percent of what is now sold in conventional supermarkets is toxic to the body, doesn't help matters any.

Going to medical conferences simultaneously excites and depresses me because of what I learn or am reminded of. New treatments give hope and promise to the suffering, yet the complex regimens required to heal from chronic diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, mold illness, cancer, autism and others, are overwhelming. What's more, many of the sick don't have the incredible amounts of stamina, resources, knowledge or money required to follow these regimens. I know because I am one of these people, despite the fact that I have been researching medicine for over seven years and have more resources than many people.

Of course, God has said that I am healed, and that this healing will completely manifest in me soon. (whatever "soon" means in God's mind). That I don't need to do another darned thing to get well because He intends to finish what medicine has started- by His power; supernaturally. So you can imagine the battle that rages in my mind when I learn about a new, apparently amazing treatment that could finally rid me of this or that infection or biochemical dysfunction. How conflicted I get when a kindhearted physician offers to treat me pro bono or at a discounted rate, or send me free products. I provide a lot of helpful information to the Lyme disease community, so I am sometimes blessed by health care providers who offer me a hand or an ear or a free trial of a product.

During the ILADS conference, a couple of such offers came my way again. Typically, I don't turn them down, because no fool would say No to free help, especially when finances are tight and the companies or doctors who want to assist me are reputable and wise.

I asked God what to do about the offers, since He has told me that He would heal me, without the help of medicine. I probably shouldn't have even asked the question, but when the promise of healing hasn't yet fully manifest and you have spent years trying to get well...the decision is hard. Either way, the decision is hard.

The treatment treadmill is exhausting, time-consuming, expensive, painful and never-ending, yet it takes a boatload of faith to give it up, though God has said in His Word that "by His (My) stripes you are healed." Isaiah 53:5. Maybe the problem is that I tend to become more immersed in medicine than in His Word- it's a hazard of my work as a medical writer.

As I packed to go home from ILADS, I told God that I didn't want my faith in Him as my healer to be diluted by my continued reliance upon medicine for healing. Because medicine has a way of subtly shifting my hope away from God and onto herbs, vitamins and bioidentical hormones as my menders. Supernatural healing doesn't have to be a mutually exclusive way that God heals, but when you are chest-deep in treatment protocols, it is sometimes easier to count on the protocol than on the One who makes the protocol work.

When I take medicine, I wonder about how a particular drug is affecting my body, instead of about how God's Word is touching me. I focus upon the vitamins that I should be taking, instead of meditating upon how He intends to restore every dysfunctional cell in my body by His power.

But as I rose from my seat in the gate area to board my airplane in Toronto, God reminded me of some important truths.

He seemed to say that my faith in Him as my healer isn't contingent upon me taking medicine. I could choose to stop treatments in order to increase my reliance upon Him as my healer, but not taking medicine, in and of itself, doesn't increase faith nor is it proof that I have faith. I may cease to take medicine to try to convince myself that I have faith in God to heal me, or worse, to convince Him to heal me- which I don't need to do.

Conversely, taking medicine doesn't have to diminish my reliance upon, and belief in Him as my healer, if I believe that He blesses the medicine and uses it. As long as I abide in Him and His Word, my faith will remain in Him, not the natural substances and therapies that He uses to heal. On the other hand, if I take medicine because I believe that my faith is insufficient to heal me or that He is waiting for me to do something in order to make me well, then I don't really believe in Him as my healer. Faith isn't increased by the decision to not take medicine, but the decision to take medicine may be a reflection of how much I believe in Him as my healer.

His final words to me in Toronto seemed to be, "Just relax. I will heal you either way." My sense was that He prefers to spare me the trials of medicine- the agonizing detoxification reactions, the money and time and happiness lost by grueling treatments- but He will use it, anyway.

Whether or not I choose to benefit from the benevolence of kind practitioners, He desires that I, that we, remain cognizant of one crucial truth; that He is the healer. He pours supernatural power and light into our cells; He gives doctors wisdom, and He uses the natural substances that He has created. Whatever it takes, to make us better, in body, mind and spirit. Thankfully, He will use whatever methods we respond to in faith. As long as we know that He wants us well, and that He has the power to accomplish what we cannot-whether through medicine or by His Spirit.