Isaiah 64:8– But now,O Lord You are our Father; we are the clay and You are the potter; we are the work of Your hand.
When I look back at my life, I see over and over that this verse is describing me. Even when I acted more like jello, incapable of being shaped into anything, I was always moldable clay in the hand of the Creator. Welcome to part four of a five part journey telling you about myself and taking you through my “clay” journey.
It was August of 2012. The month that I was supposed to be married and here I was alone. I had broken off my engagement just seven weeks before my wedding and that reality was starting to set in. I had pretty much completely shut down. I was in survival mode.
My parents felt so bad for me that they decided to take me out of town for the week that my wedding and honeymoon had been planned. I live in Alabama, so we drove down to the Gulf Coast. The beach property outside of our hotel was the last stretch of beach before you leave Alabam and cross over into Florida. There was a large break in land between the two states. This was where boats would go through to get from their docks in the bay to the ocean. The land ending had a large barrier of huge rocks to prevent beach erosion. Every day, I would walk down to those rocks, climb up on one and just stand there. I would cry it out and give it all over to God. The next day I would do it all over again. No matter how much I gave over to Him, I always had plenty more for the following day. Let me tell you, the Gulf Coast was the place where healing began for me. I have been there every year since 2012. It holds sweet significance to me.
By October, I had moved from brokenness to my same old feelings– shame, guilt, embarrassment, regret and this time misery. I knew I had done what God had instructed me to do but I was starting to wonder if I had made the right choice by being obedient as I didn’t know if I could survive it. Side note- If you have read the first three parts of this story, you know I had a very difficult relationship with God. Yet obedience came pretty naturally to me in spite of that. I still wanted to do what the Lord wanted so that He would be pleased with me. I know that sounds crazy, but this time obedience was killing me so I started to wonder if I should have just stayed put. So I would have been disobeying, it would not have been the first time. I had never been able to make God happy anyway. These kind of poisoned thoughts banged around in my head every hour I was awake. Sister, you better take captive every thought or it will captivate you. Satan’s lies to me were horrendous and never ending.
I became so self conscious about the whole situation and was fully aware that everyone was talking about me. My fiancé was a precious man, well loved by everyone who knew him and I had broken his heart. No one ever bothered to check about my heart. This wasn’t what I wanted for my life or his and I was grieving beyond all explanation.
In the midst of all of this drama and turmoil, my long list of food allergies that I was diagnosed with in part three, started getting longer. I was having more flare ups and I had moved on from rashes to throat swelling. I had days where literally every time I put something in my mouth, I had to follow it with ice to bring the swelling back down in my throat so that I could breathe. Just in case I was not a nervous wreck enough, this started pushing me over the edge.
Over the next two years, I developed more medical problems. My food allergies would increase and change without warning every few months. Imagine that anxiety for a minute. Just because I ate it yesterday without a problem does not mean that today would be the same thing. I was getting very poor nutrition which was taking its toll on my overall health. I was losing my hair, my eyebrows were just about gone, I would fall asleep if I got still for even a minute and I had an endless amount of colon problems. My energy level was so poor, yet I worked six days a week in our family florist. I would have to tell myself to go, go, go, go on, speed up, keep moving about twenty times a day.
In 2013, I really started going down hill. I got a nasty case of strep that kept coming back over and over. By October of 2014, I decided I was through fighting it and scheduled to have my tonsils removed on New Years Eve. That was an experience! One of my many allergies is sulfur and most anesthesia is sulfur based. It took the surgical team longer to decide how to knock me out than it took to remove my tonsils and adenoids. It was an outpatient procedure, but I was back in the hospital four days later with postoperative pneumonia.
In June of 15, just a few months after my tonsillectomy, I had my gallbladder removed. I was averaging a surgery every six months and only 29 years old. There were no stones, the organ had just died. I jokingly said to the surgeon before surgery to check my appendix while he was in there. If it looked questionable, take it too. I wasn’t doing this again. Well…by the end of that day, I had lost my gallbladder and appendix and gained a temporary catheter!
It’s a little humorous now, but at the time, it was disastrous. Even with insurance, I was buried under medical bills. I was losing everything in my body that I could live without. What organ would go next?
After having my gallbladder and appendix taken out, though, I felt great! The best I had felt for about a year and a half. Of course I still had all of my food allergies to contend with, but I felt like I could live with those.
In August of 2015, I celebrated my 30th birthday. My parents had already made plans to take our family to Disney World for my birthday so here I went six weeks post op! Shout out to Disney- they could not have been more kind or accommodating to my needs. If you have health problems, Disney will do their best to ensure you have a magical time!
The idea of turning 30 really weighed on me. I looked back at my 20s and saw how wasted those years were. There was so much grief, pain, fear, shame, embarrassment, hopelessness, defeat, and sickness. I wanted the next ten years of my life to count for something. God was becoming a little more approachable in my opinion and I hoped that my 30s would be a time of relationship with Him, finally.
The next phase of this story does not need to be broken up, so I will end here for today. Please join me again as I tell about my continued declining health, diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder and a potential cancer diagnosis. God had been setting the stage for 30 years to get me right where I needed to be for this moment. He is truly the potter!