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 worth...so 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 me...in 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."
Get me a shovel, Lord.