May 16, 2013

love is patient, and this is the process

When you’re 22 years old, female, American, it’s expected that you have already been through the relationship-wringer and are now wearing the results: like T Swift - happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.

I don’t know much about the kind of breakup country singers write about, but I do know that people do not enter into a partnership they do not think will last. If an end does come unexpectedly, pain follows, unprepared, not expecting to have to fill that which was once a part of the whole.

This morning, we realized that God is leading me away from my Lyme doctor of over two years. My symptoms have worsened over the last few months; we’ve come to realize that he is not able to provide the treatment I need. And yet, we had believed that this doctor would be the one who would send me into remission and cure me of the afflictions that have been wrecking my body for more than a decade.

We were wrong.

I hate that we were wrong. More than that, I hate that I placed my hope in human hands rather than the God who holds the future, the God who does not withhold good from those who are His.

After a morning that has hurt so badly, this is all I am telling myself tonight:
that I no longer have what I thought I needed, but God has already provided all that is necessary. God is working out His good purpose in His perfect timing, and all I am to do is love this overwhelmingly kind Lord with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength.
 
And it's funny; I’ve had this blog title for months now, and I never realized how it fits -

God is love, and love is patient.
 
How did I miss this?

This process of seeking the heart of Jesus as I undergo medical treatment? It is only possible because God first loved me, shedding grace by spilling blood, showcasing how faithful He is in all of His actions. And now? Pain continues, but so does God’s mercy even when I make doctors into gods and serve my own motives. God is faithful to provide grace to help me wait for His timing, for love is not love that is not patient.

Soon, when I can write without watering eyes, I’ll put into words the way God continues to sustain us as we press forward in fighting this disease. Until then, I’m drowning myself in God’s promises and old medical-treatment stories that crack me up because, bless my heart, Bluebell doesn’t come gluten/dairy/sugar free.

Years ago, in a shot-in-the-dark attempt to find pain relief, my mom and I packed bags and moved temporarily into an environmentally friendly, toxin-free Dallas palace. Those living nearby had anticipated our arrival and lined white powder piles along the outdoor stairs leading to our apartment. The piles grew in intensity as we neared our door for the first time; white powder tossed in frantic, spastic squirts, boxes of baking soda piled higher and higher, aluminum contraptions set up on doormats as if ET was preparing to phone home.
 
Y’all.

But we were desperate. We were also emitting electromagnetic energy that was disturbing our neighbor-patients, or so the rumors went. My team of doctors in Dallas soon sent us to see one of their consultants, a “specialist” who had a knack for expressing high-frequencies of crazy.

The consultant took me down a dim hallway into a room with a table like those in any medical office. Once I was on my back staring at the ceiling, she lengthened manicured nails over my body and moved them from top to bottom, naming the colors of my aura, rainbow shades to match the good vibrations humming alongside me: orange – a lot of orange, creativity, imagination, an artist soul– she said.  She cupped hands under my head, but I was over the ordeal and prepared to kick through the energy barrier keeping me from the door.

She reached into her stash of supplies and passed along one of the most patronizing glances I have ever received, “Here, sweetie.” And she gave me a rock.

It wasn’t a very big one, a smooth translucent purple, and I got to pick out the color all by myself.

I rolled it around in my hands as she explained how it would ground me, connect my energy to the earth, and I slipped a fingernail under the ‘made in China’ sticker and tried to picture my purple rock in the wild.

She reached for a small bell, and I winced, wondering if she remembered that I was in her office because the pain in my head rang without ceasing. She raised the tiny metal piece, and I heard the reverberations of that afternoon for the weeks following.

Mom and I left the office, the waiting room with its trickling stream and decorative pebbles, and the questions from family members back home flowed in one after another, “How was the appointment?” Well, she gave me a rock….

And we assumed that it was another wasted day, another useless afternoon that didn’t move me any closer to physical healing. But here is the part of the story that I need to be reminded of again and again, “[Satan] meant evil against me,” and intended it to squeeze every ounce of hope from my weary soul. “But God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive….” God wastes nothing.

The afternoon with the consultant, two years with the specialist, twelve years of longing for physical healing while pain continues – it wasn’t in vain.

It's not what I would have chosen, but it wasn’t useless, for God is using everything to shape us into the image of Christ: and He is God, and God is love, and Love is patient, and this is the process.