“I need to go home early.”
That was the email that I sent the front office team on Thursday when my GI pains consumed me and I needed to head home immediately. I had a headache, I couldn’t stand, and my stomach was on fire! When the school year started, I planned on spending the entire year in my classroom, never needing to miss a day for any reason. Yet by the time Thursday approached, I had already missed two days (out of 130) and now needed to miss the latter half of my day for a random illness that was slowly rendering me useless.
I remember praying two distinct prayers this year. First, I asked if God could keep me safe and healthy this year. I wanted to make sure that I was offering my best to my students and my colleagues so it was important to me to always be present. An absence for me means more work for others and that’s not something that I ever want to do. Secondly, I asked God to heal me. I have really been battling some dependencies that I needed God’s help with in order to be released. The most humbling realization from my entire healing journey is that I cannot heal myself from the things that broke me; only God can do that.
Even though I had great intentions with both prayers, I did forget one key fact- God’s ways are not my ways and His plans are not mine. So, naturally, God did what God does best and He totally upended everything that I thought was right and I was left doubled-over in pain in my bed on Thursday, trying not to lift my head up so that I could fight off the effects of vertigo and “gluten poisoning.”
“As long as I stay in bed, I feel fine.”
The “random illness” that I was facing was the side effects of prolonged exposure to gluten. You see, I am not supposed to eat gluten- at all- yet I always eat it. Those doughnuts from Glory Doughnuts, those subs from Earth Based Café, and those beloved Oreo cookies that my friend keeps in her lunch area- all of them have the gluten protein that wreaks havoc on my system, causing a host of issues that I chose to ignore for far too long. And, on Thursday, God finally answered both of my prayers with the pains that radiated from my abdominal wall and the place where my gallbladder used to be.
For too long I believed that if I just stayed the way that I was- broken and all- that I would be fine. Just like laying still in my bed, staying stagnant in my faith saved me from growing pains… but it also stopped me from growing. As long as I don’t want to grow in God, then I won’t feel the pain of going deeper with Him. But that does not work for me; I must stand up and I must heal.
Beloved, listen closely. What are you asking God to do in your life? And what must He remove in order to accomplish that goal?
I ask those questions simultaneously because in order for God to accomplish things in your life- those great dreams that you have- He must first remove something. Sometimes that “thing” is fear or an ideal. Other times, He must remove a person, a crutch, or an addiction. But something must leave our heart in order for us to make room for God. Don’t believe me? Listen to Jonathan McReynolds as he explains it in his own way.
The dreams that I dare to have require God to remove great obstacles from my life. My future requires the removal of fear, an ideal, several people, a crutch, and this addiction to food. Which leads me back to my initial comment. The pain that greeted me on Thursday was simply an answer to a prayer. I needed God to heal me and He had to remind me that I am wholly dependent on Him. Sometimes the ways of God seem so harsh to those who do not seek to know Him in a deeper way. Which is why we have to spend more time getting to know Him, by studying His Word (reading the Bible), talking and listening to Him (prayer), and consecrating ourselves for Him (fasting).
I’m stepping into a season of gaining… which comes only by losing. I am readying my heart to gain a deeper love and appreciation for God. While I know this will not be easy, I know that it will be worth the sacrifice. I invite you to pray with me or message me for more details.
Until next week, Beloved, stay well and dare to heal.