This is the hardest part of any major health issue. The moment when you finally accept that you are sick and your life is changed.
I saw the rheumatologist on March 31st per an ER doctor’s referral. It didn’t take this new doctor but a couple of minutes of prodding to realize what’s wrong.
“You have fibromyalgia.”
I heard the words, but I didn’t process them. Fibromyalgia? Okay. I can handle that, no biggie.
Afterward, I told a good friend of mine and she cried, hugged me and told me she was so sorry I had to deal with this.
I consoled her with a flippant, “It’s really not that bad.”
Everywhere I looked, people who knew what I was now facing were saddened for me. They kept saying to “be strong” and always added a “let me know if I can do anything.”
I’m not sure if I was in denial or just unaware.
I’ve known people in the past with fibromyalgia and they were pretty bad off. But not me, I wouldn’t be too bad. I was okay. I would be okay.
I’ve been slowly processing this news for fourteen days now. Two weeks.
And last night it sank in.
The rheumatologist had so casually sentenced me to a life of pain with just three simple words.
“There’s no treatment or cure, but we can teach you pain management.”
“It will get worse with time. You will have to change the way you live.”
But I accepted it.
The obvious truth is, I don’t want any of this. I don’t want to be gluten intolerant; I don’t want to have fibromyalgia. I don’t want any problems. I just want a “normal” (read: healthy) and happy life.
But the greater truth is: God can receive glory in this.
Maybe He receives it by miraculously healing me, maybe He receives it by giving me the strength required to get up, dust myself off and keep going.
It is through trials that a resolute faith shouts the praises of an Almighty God.
I woke up with this thought repeating itself over and over in my mind. And with it a flood of reassurance.
I might be weak, but my God is strong.
Someone recently said to me, “I know you religious people believe that God will never give you more than you can handle, but sometimes I think He crosses the line a little.”
The truth is, that without Him, I couldn’t handle anything. I might be able to fake a smile, but the hurt inside would overwhelm my every thought and emotion.
It’s not that God doesn’t give us too great a burden, it’s that He also gives us whatever strength is required to carry the weight of that burden.
I’m not saying I won’t have days that leave me worn out, leave me feeling like every limb is on fire, and leave my mind a fragmented form of what it should be.
I’m saying that on days like those I can rest in the assurance that God will bring me through it.
A few days before that fated appointment with the rheumatologist, I felt God speak to me. He said that He was restoring me so that I am able to fulfill the calling He has placed on my life.
I immediately took it to mean that He was healing me.
But maybe He was doing something even greater.
Maybe He was strengthening me once again, filling me with His love to fill the gaps I would soon feel.
Maybe the restoration wasn’t physical, maybe it was spiritual. Maybe He was building my faith.