Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Faith Journey: An Introduction

When I first started writing here, in this place, I wanted it to be a place I could share my heart and write about things that were important to me...

And yet, I've found, I often shrink back from sharing the thoughts that are truly on my heart, especially when I am in a place of heart-heaviness or when I am feeling particularly discouraged or weary or even truly confused about what God is doing in my life.

I want my life to be a trophy for Jesus. I don't want anything I say or do or write to discourage some searching soul who might find their way here, to this place. I don't want to be a voice that breaks a bruised reed... I want this to be a holy place, a place of honesty and faith.

So, I confess, at times I have taken long breaks for lack of words to say. I have struggled so much in this past year, physically, spiritually, emotionally... I have fought for words and fallen short over and over. There were seasons when I felt I could not share my experiences for fear they would be a burden to my readers. Many times, this resulted in me staring at a blank page, and finally closing my laptop without posting anything. I reasoned that it would be better to lose readers because my posts were infrequent rather than to use this place to publicly struggle and cry and hurt, to doubt and fear and fight a very ugly fight that threatened to take my life as I have always known it...

Through everything, God has held me gently in His hand. He has been good to me. On my worst days, physically or emotionally, He was always so very close. I shared about this over the last year from time to time... He is good no matter what the situation looks like. I wanted to share this powerful truth, even from a broken place, because on many days it was all I had to hold on to, and it was enough. Jesus is always enough.

Throughout the last year of my life, my physical health rapidly deteriorated. It seemed to come out of no where, and each visit to the doctor revealed more numerous and more serious health conditions. The diagnoses I received over the past nine months became increasingly devastating as a wife, a mother of eight precious children, as a woman in her early thirties... My life was slipping away, each day bringing with it more weakness, more disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis, mixed connective tissue disorder, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, Raynaud's disease, liver and kidney distress, breast tumors, internal bleeding, tendonitis, the possibility of full blown lupus and/or scleroderma. These are some of the conditions that began to exponentially reduce my ability to function.

I was put on chemotherapy drugs, given steroidal medications for over seven months in an attempt to reduce the massive internal and external swelling. My body did not respond well to some of the medications and that brought more side effects. Some of the medications were so powerful that they caused my liver and kidneys to go into distress. I had to take massive doses of narcotic pain medications just to get out of bed.

At times I needed assistance from my husband to do the most basic of tasks: cutting my food, washing my hair in the shower, getting dressed. The things that most people take for granted became huge obstacles for me. My wrists hurt so badly I could not squeeze a shampoo bottle hard enough to get shampoo out of it.

In December, I miscarried a precious baby. I was fourteen weeks pregnant and we were waiting to share the news with our families. Instead, I kept the sorrow bottled up, a secret. I could not bear to share my pain with most of our closest friends and family.

I wept as I made the decision to wean my baby early, the baby who might have been my last, baby Owen, in order to take medications that would be unsafe for a nursing baby.

And yet, for all the doctor visits, the specialists, the medications and blood work and dietary changes, I was growing progressively worse.

I wondered why it was happening, trusting God would somehow glorify Himself through it all. I fought to keep a good attitude. I warred with my feelings to trust that God loved me, even though all of this was happening.

In my darkest moments, I considered how much of a burden I was to my family, who I loved more than my own life. I thought about how much better off they would be without me. I considered embracing death in order to free them from my bondage...

There is so much I have not told you, friends. Things we did not share with our closest friends or family members.

I am ready to talk about my journey now.

Because, while it is far from over, I am in such a different place...

On August 3rd, 2011, God healed me.

It sounds crazy, I know. It sounds like some sort of weird, fanatical, lunacy. I can't defend what it looks like. I can just tell you it's true. And it is beautiful....

I read a quote today that resonated deep, by Oswald Chambers, and I'd like to share it here:

"We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of God's grace."


Friends, God answers prayer. He answered mine. He answered the prayers of my husband and children and friends and family. He loves us. He loves me. He loves you.

It is one thing to say it and another entirely to experience it. And, for me, that has made all the difference.

While I tend to be an extremely logical, cerebral type of personality, there are just some things in life you do not understand simply by reason. Christianity is not a theology, a creed, some sort of belief you give mental assent to. It is, simply, knowing Jesus. Knowing Him, living inside you.

All those verses I've read all my life, I believed they were true. But now, they are ALIVE, like wild-fire, ABLAZE in my heart and spirit.

With man, this was impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

I hope to share, in the next days and weeks, more about my faith-journey. Really, that's what all of this has been.

For now, may I leave you with this thought, that has proved wonderfully true in my life...

Faith:
sees the invisible
believes the incredible
receives the impossible


My heartfelt thanks goes out to all who have prayed for me, encouraged me, and helped me along the way...

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." {Hebrews 11:1}

7 comments:

  1. You know you've been in my daily prayers. I have a sticky note with your name on it on my fridge door. I can't wait to hear more about what God is doing in your life, Amy. He is so, so good to His people. XOXOX

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  2. I have absolutely no doubt that God healed you. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Miracles are not a thing of the past. I hope you'll continue to be renewed in strength physically and in the Spirit.

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  3. I have missed your posts and am excited to read more about what God is doing in your life. We do serve an awesome God and can trust Him in all things!

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  4. I too look forward to reading more about the faith journey you are on.

    I want to say, also, I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet baby. I know I have shared with you that we lost a baby too. It has been a loss that has shaped how I view the world and has made me love better.

    If you ever need a shoulder, I am here.

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  5. Amy, as you know, you have been in my prayers over these last few months and will continue to be so :)
    I am so truly thankful that God has healed you.
    When we lost our baby it was so incredibly heartbreaking. It's so hard to talk to people about how much it hurts isn't it :(
    Like Jennifer says if you ever need a shoulder...
    xx

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  6. What an amazing lady you are to share all that sorrow...but how good to read of the joy also. We serve a wonderful God!

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  7. Praise God! You have also been in my prayers. As I wander through my own desert of physical and emotional brokenness, it's so encouraging to hear of God's amazing rescue of another.

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. *hugs*

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