Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sometimes Hope looks different than we thought it would.
Sometimes Change rips through us, through our lives, through our "unchangeables" faster than we ever imagined it could.
Sometimes Deliverance waits until the moment we fall to our knees in defeat before it sweeps in and carries us out of the dark.
It's been quite a week. And these are just some of the things I've been learning.
Exactly seven days ago, I had a conversation with God. Not just any conversation. A late-night, soul-searching, gut-wrenching, sob-filled conversation. About life and death, heaven and hell, deliverance and abandonment, healing and brokenness.
I begged. I pleaded. I beseeched.
And something happened.
It wasn't a new conversation. Not by any stretch. But until that night, I had always left these conversations *hoping* God had heard me, *hoping* He would intervene, *hoping* that deliverance would come soon. This time I didn't walk away with hope. I walked away with the kind of certainty I hadn't felt in many months, a sense that something was about to change. I didn't know what or how or when. I just had a feeling that God was going to act.
Little did I know He already had.
Less than 12 hours later, I walked into my doctor's office expecting to rehash and clarify things we'd already talked about and try to come up with a plan for moving forward. After my late-night conversation with God, I had woken up that morning exhausted and emotionally empty. About 65% of me wanted to give up, throw in the towel, and walk away from the chance to be healed. I went to my appointment reluctantly, unsure if I could hold on until God decided to do whatever He was going to do.
But my doctor's first words took me by surprise: "I have something new to talk to you about. And I'm excited."
I didn't know how to feel about that, so I just let her talk. My doctor had been attending a conference the week prior. A wealth of information had been dropped in her lap about something that was new to her. And she thought of me. While I had been in conversation with God, my doctor had been spending those late-night hours familiarizing herself with enough of the material to decide it might just be the answer we've been looking for.
I told her it sounded too good to be true. Could something so elemental, so treatable really be the cause of my most serious and mysterious symptoms? I couldn't even bring myself to hope.
But the test required only a simple blood draw and a couple hundred bucks. We both thought it was worth a shot. She told me not to get excited yet, and I readily agreed. The last thing I wanted was another dose of false hope.
I left the office that day unsure what to think or how to feel. I didn't want to get my hopes up but my mind was spinning with possibilities. The sense of expectancy that had come out of my conversation with God weighed heavily on my heart. Could this really be the beginning of something big? Was my long-awaited deliverance finally on its way? I didn't know.
Over the ensuing days, I found myself staring frequently at the mark on my arm from the blood draw. And I couldn't shake the feeling that this bruise was important. I started calling it the mark of hope. Every time I began to panic or feel overwhelmed, I pulled up my sleeve and reminded myself that something was about to change.
Five days later, the call from my doctor finally came. My test was positive. What had seemed too good to be true was, in fact, true. It was a surreal conversation for me, and after I hung up the phone, I started to cry. I've cried a lot in my lifetime, but this was different from anything I'd felt before. Why? Because it didn't hurt. I felt nothing but relief. And hope. And gratitude. So much gratitude.
I don't understand and can't explain the intricacies of my diagnosis, but I can tell you that I was born with a genetic mutation that renders my body unable to produce an important enzyme. This enzyme is necessary to convert B12 and folic acid into usable form. The lack of usable B12 and folic acid affects a number of key processes, particularly in my brain. The primary symptoms resulting from this are fatigue, depression, headaches, muscle pain/inflammation, and brain fog (confusion, difficulty concentrating, poor memory).
The good news? All I have to do is take daily doses of the methylated forms of B12 and folic acid so they don't need to be converted by the missing enzyme. That's it.
And the even better news? It will only take three days to know if it's working. Three days.
Don't worry, the symbolism is definitely not lost on me. I seem to recall that the God of the Universe defeated death and delivered us from our bondage to sin in three days. Compared to such a feat, it isn't so hard to believe that what has been my constant reality for all these years could change forever in just three short days.
But I would be lying if I said I didn't still have doubts. I do. I've had the bottle of my prescription for two days and haven't taken it yet. I am terrified that this is all a mistake, that when I take this medication I won't get better, that this supposed deliverance will turn out to be a hoax. But even in my fear, I can't look back on the events of this week and say that God hasn't been at work. He has. He absolutely has. And although this may not resolve all my symptoms, it is the biggest step towards healing that I have ever taken.
Yes, it's been quite a week. I am humbled. I am grateful. And I am kneeling in awe of the God who heard my plea and chose to deliver me. Yes indeed, our God is mighty to save. And that just might be the biggest understatement of my life.