Hello, dear readers...
This post is one that I've been pondering in my head and heart for quite awhile now. Those of you that have been hanging around here for very long know that I've been having stomach issues for a long time now. Originally, I thought maybe I was gluten intolerant. In fact, I posted more than a year ago, that I was finally going to the doctor to see if we could figure out what the problem was, after having issues off and on for nearly 4 years. If you do the math, that means that we're coming up on 5 years of tummy troubles. It's getting old. ;)
I posted in April last year, about some testing that was coming up, to determine if I had celiac disease. Thankfully, I do not! (Praise the Lord!) However, I might still have a gluten sensitivity...we don't know for sure. I also posted in May last year that I'd had some more tests done and they'd ruled out some things as well as found some damaged spots on my esophagus which they put me on meds for, for a few months, to allow those to heal. Turns out, the meds made me sick in other ways -- or more of the same ways, I suppose -- so that wasn't good. I had a lot of stomach issues in the form of side effects, however it was hard to know that's what it was, because I was already having so many stomach issues. So eventually I finished the meds and started feeling a little better when I went off of them, however, once again, I started feeling more bad than good. And then it got to be an all-day-every-single-day kind of thing and let me tell you, when you feel awful every single day, it wears on you. Fast.
I haven't shared much about all of this here in the last year, I think because ultimately I was waiting until I had good news to share. If you know anything about me at all, you know that I like for this place here -- my little home on the internet -- to be a happy place. I like it to be a place where you feel encouraged and uplifted and when you leave your time with me, I hope you feel better than when you got here! You probably also know that I've said many times before, that I see no need to share all of my crud with you because we've all got crud of our own! The last thing you need is to read about my crud on top of yours! That's certainly not uplifting! Haha.
But the Lord has really been prompting me lately, to share with you the ups AND the downs that I go through because in sharing ONLY the happy stuff, you don't get to see that it really IS still possible to find joy in the midst of struggles. It really IS possible to find peace in the midst of the hard stuff.....hard stuff that we all face from time to time. Your hard stuff may be different than my hard stuff (or it might be the same!) but if I only ever wait till I have happy news to share, I neglect truly SHARING life with you a lot of the time. I've certainly neglected sharing this struggle with you (and the joys that come in spite of it), for many, many months now.
I also think that honesty is the best policy and so, dear readers, here I am.....being transparent with you. I don't have happy news to report yet. I basically don't have much news at all to report yet. I've been to various doctors over the last year and have had various tests run and we still don't know what is wrong with my stomach. The gastroenterologist is kind of at a loss. You may have even seen on Instagram last week, that I was having another test done -- a stomach emptying time test -- to see if my stomach was actually functioning properly. I have to honestly say that I was praying my guts out that the test would show that my stomach itself was the problem. They had said that if that were the case, there was a med I could take to fix it and perhaps I could finally close the book on this particular chapter of my life. However, the test showed that my stomach is working just fine. My stomach is not the problem. I should have been grateful for that news, but instead I cried. In retrospect, I'm not proud of that response, but I was so hoping that we'd finally have a resolution. I was so bummed that while it's great to have ruled out another potential problem, we still don't have a solution. We still don't know what the problem is. I wanted the answer and I wanted it that day. With a big red bow on top! ;) Needless to say, I didn't get my way. Haha!
I guess the main thing I want you to know in all of this, is that I believe with all my heart that God's "got this"! His timing is perfect, even though it's not MY timing. I want to be over and done with this already because I am MORE than tired of it dragging on! But I know that He has a purpose in all of this....He has a plan for my life and this, for now, is part of it. I know that He could heal me in a second, if He wanted to. I don't know why He hasn't yet, or why He hasn't helped the doctors to figure this out yet, but I know that He has used this last year to draw me closer to Him than I've ever been. When you are pouring your heart out to God daily -- sometimes hourly -- begging for His help when feeling miserable, it changes your perspective. I am much more grateful for the little things. I realize just how dependent on Him I am. I realize that He loves me more than I know. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He's always working behind the scenes on our behalf, even when we can't see it. He's used this last year to draw me into His Word....I've been reading the Bible my whole life, but never WANTED TO more than this last year. Reading His words, knowing that His promises apply to me too.....that is completely comforting and encouraging! I know that He hears my cries and He cares about what I'm going through. And He cares about you and what you're going through too!
I don't know how all of this will end or when all of this will end, but I know that the Bible tells us to trust Him and He will act. (Psalm 37:5) It doesn't say HOW He will act or WHEN He will act, but it says that He will. My job is to trust Him. That's what faith is. Trusting, even when you can't see.
I hope that as you read this, you realize that you are not the only one with hard stuff in your life. You are not alone! And if you are feeling frustrated or hurt or disappointed or heart-broken or scared....there is Someone you can turn to in the midst of your struggles. God would love to help you through your hard stuff, just like He's been helping me through mine. Without Him, I would have been a wreck in all of this! If you don't know where to turn or what to read, grab a Bible and read Psalms! It's right in the middle of the Bible. The Psalms have been a balm to my soul these past many months. David -- the writer of Psalms -- cries out to God again and again over his own hard stuff and it makes me feel so much better about my own struggles. Being able to read about someone else who's been right where I am, who's feeling a lot of the same things I'm feeling, helps a ton. And even more than that, reading the promises that God has given us, bring me more comfort than you know.
Our next step is an appointment with an allergist/immunologist next week, to hopefully determine if I'm specifically allergic to any foods that might be causing my problems. I already think I have a sensitivity to gluten and soy and perhaps some dairy, so we'll see if we're on the right track there. But eliminating those things completely hasn't helped. So hopefully they'll also be able to find something we've been missing that will make all the difference in how I feel. The GI specialist has already said that she doesn't know what to do with me.....my case is atypical and so if the allergist can't find anything, I have no idea where we go from there. Obviously, we're praying that we don't get to that point! I would so appreciate your prayers too! And I will make an effort to do better going forward, about sharing even my hard stuff with you. If you don't know about the hard stuff, you can't join me in praying about the hard stuff. And you certainly can't be encouraged to know you're not alone in your own hard stuff, if I never let you know that you're not alone.....that I'm right there with you. *wink*
Thanks for being here for me, some of you for years on end. Thank you for sharing my ups AND my downs. Thank you for your encouragement and for trusting me with the bits of your life that you've shared with me over time! I appreciate each of you spending your days, your nights, your mornings over coffee and some of you, your years with me. You're a blessing to me.
much love, dear readers...