When our daughter, Hannah, left for leadership training near her college campus back on August 20, we had no idea what was in store for her…for all of us. We did not see the twist in the road that lay before us. She was looking forward to her 2nd year at Pepperdine University, continuing to learn and prepare for a job in the medical field. She was really looking forward to leading a team of students as they work with underprivileged preschool children. We were looking forward to phone calls, texts, FaceTimes. We were really looking forward to Christmas Break!
All of that changed when Hannah got sick. Her immune system decided to go a little crazy, causing neurological issues that have kept her from continuing her 3rd semester at Pepperdine (we’re hoping it’s just for the semester).
We now seem to have a diagnosis (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) and a treatment plan (regular IVIG therapy), but the road before her (and the rest of our family) seems daunting and long. As Mom, I feel like the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), begging the Lord to just touch her body and right her immune system. He absolutely can do this! But, in the same breath, I feel like Jesus as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane…
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from [HANNAH]; yet not my will, but yours be done.
We all feel like our lives have been “hijacked” or “put on hold”, but that’s absolutely not true. This. Is. Life. This is the path He set before us. We have no choice. We have to walk through this. What we do have a choice about is how we walk through.
This morning, I’m begging the Lord again for complete healing in Jesus’ Name. I will continue to “bug” Him with this plea. 🙂 But, I’m also thanking the Lord for the strength, wisdom and grace He has breathed into my daughter as she persistently plods through.
Sweet Hannah is a writer. A very private writer. The Lord has begun to prompt her to share some of her writing with others. Four weeks ago, she posted some words on Facebook. Having been home less than one week after having to medically withdraw from school, these words were on her mind and in her heart…
Pain is temporary. Suffering is fleeting. Illness is momentary. Affliction is passing. These things I have come to know. The word chronic tries to put God in a box. Chronic illness only has power when we are on earth. So thank God my true home is in Heaven above. Doctors may or may not be able to heal me for this life, but I rest in the knowledge and assurance that God will heal me one day for eternity. I may know pain and suffering now, and I may know it for the rest of my “life,” but I believe in Him. He may choose not to heal me in this life, but one day, he will resurrect my broken body and I will be made new and never again will I be touched with pain. Tonight my tears are not from fear or hurt or sadness, because I know my God is more powerful than any force on earth, and I have all of eternity to praise Him in a body that is renewed. Time now may seem long. Chronic may seem debilitating. But if this is the course God has made for me, I will run it to completion, for waiting for me is Jesus with arms wide open. And I know, that while on earth, He will fill me with the strength to live with my suffering, and my suffering is also His suffering. And so together, we can show the world a taste of God’s eternal love. I have hope and I have faith, that my affliction, my bad health, is Christ’s tool. Here I am World, and I am broken and sick for now, but Christ is in me and one day when I slip home, He will be the only thing in me, no more pain and no more illness, only Christ will fill me.
Now, more than 7 weeks into this vast unknown world of autoimmune diseases and disorders, not knowing what the future holds, here is what Hannah has written, what Hannah is learning, what Hannah is teaching…
Many goals now forever out of reach,
For a lifetime of hopes, there is now simply a breach.
All that mattered, now means no more,
Everything I believed in has been shaken to my core.
Through the turmoil and the breaking,
Through the disaster, all my pain, and so much aching,
Only one thought has mattered to me,
If I can just surge on a little longer, I will soon be free.
Now I lose sight of all I used to want,
Thoughts of my old way of life are only good to haunt.
Many intentions now morphed to one,
In with the new, for with the old I am forever done.
Some look at me and say I am trapped,
For trapped I am in a body that seems to have snapped.
But as my body starts to malfunction,
It is clear that my soul has now come to a new junction.
“To live is Christ, to die is gain,”
I am being tested of this as I go through all this pain.
How I react in these times of trial,
Will either cause my God to frown or to give me a smile.
What purpose do I have on this earth,
If I cannot show the world my crazy journey of rebirth?
From a girl with it all, the world in my hand,
To a girl with nothing, who needs help to even stand.
Yet now I have way more than I did,
Of everything selfish I strived for, God said, “be rid”
Now I know that my purpose here,
Is to show off my God, and to give Him all my fear.
So while others say I have lost so much,
I laugh and know all has been replaced with God’s touch.
I may not be able to do all the world holds,
But I patiently await as the rest of my journey unfolds.
I long for the day when I am finally home,
But until that happens I will no longer just aimlessly roam.
Each thought I think, each thing I do,
I now realize must be in reflection of you.
If this is where the Lord has our daughter, we rejoice in what He is doing. He is binding her heart to His.
I keep begging the Lord to take this cup from Hannah, but just as drinking from the cup (going to the cross) was good and right for Jesus, so too, is it good and right for Hannah and for the rest of our family. We will continue to drink and may His Name be glorified in the process. Praise HIS holy, holy, HOLY name!