This is weird for me. It’s all messed up. I don’t have my scribbled scraps of paper next to me. I don’t have a clear direction and I definitely don’t have a firm grasp on this idea.
Probably because it’s way too big for me.
So I’m going to tear through it and it’s going to be messy and maybe even a little disjointed. But bear with me because there’s something I want to tell you.
I’m coming up on two months out from my last surgery, my ovary is gone, and I’m feeling great. Honestly, I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in two whole years. It’s amazing. Every day pain is a thing of the past and what’s left is cake in comparison. I never thought I’d be here.
(Side note: I’m kind of bummed they didn’t put my ovary in a jar for me. It would have been fun to grab my mom’s .22, find a field, and cap that sucker. Talk about a cool party favor. But hey, we can’t always get what we want, right?)
Anyway, I want to say thank you, first of all–a really big thank you to everyone who prayed for me this time and to everyone who has been praying for me throughout. Sliding on to the operating table this round I knew beyond a doubt I was covered. I knew this was going to be it. I knew this one was different. (My doctor and I even sealed it with a fist-bump before they put me to sleep.) And it was.
He didn’t find any endometriosis. My left side was still clear (as it has been the last two surgeries) and my right ovary was just sick. Sick beyond repair–but that’s still not endo.
Say what? Gone?
Guys, that’s a big deal! That’s healing.
I know I’ve said it before, but for me the purpose of this blog has been to keep a record of all the unbelievable things that happened when I let God step in the ring. For the last two years, He’s stood toe-to-toe with my fear and knocked it on it’s butt over and over again. He’s shown me His tenacity and His love and His creativity in ways I never would have dreamed and I never want to forget. And now, standing at what I believe may be the end of this thing, I’ve realized something:
This disease has been the most undeniable act of love God has ever allowed me to experience.
When I was nineteen–even twenty actually–I was asleep. That might sound dramatic and ever so #ChristianGirl but I don’t care. It’s the truth. I grew up in Christian home attending church every Sunday, leading worship since high school, believing in God, doing what I was “supposed to” and hating myself for what I wasn’t. (Shame is a whole other rant for another time.)
But I never knew God.
And I don’t think I cared to. Again, might sound harsh, but whatever. I really didn’t care to go deeper or pursue a relationship that required trading in control and fear for crazy things like trust. In fact, for a good chunk of time before all this stuff started, I had a choke-hold on my life. I listened to a bunch of lies, adopted self-sufficiency, put my heart where it never belonged, and sulked around in hypocrisy.
It was ugly. And even when I came out of it and experienced that mountaintop high and reveled in my “new self” and learned loads about God’s immeasurable love for me, it took next to nothing to send me back into my old coping mechanisms.
And four months later, endometriosis stepped onto the scene.
I used to think it was punishment. And though I felt deep down it was well-deserved I was still angry. I played the comparison game, pitting my story against those who were finding love and tasting wedding cakes and and planning honeymoons. I was bitter to the core.
But something changed when I went to Yosemite at the tail end of 2014. I was my ugliest self at the time–on a straight diet of cynicism and pain and anger–but I was aware. And I had made up my mind (though reluctantly) to quit all of that and start letting God back into things again. I figured this disease was going to be with me for a while and I had four weddings to get through.
It’s hard to stay positive–truly. But it’s harder to climb out of the pit of bitter “why me why always why now” anger.
I don’t want to be there. I want to be in hope. I want to be free in thought & heart despite my circumstances. I want to live out who & whose I am regardless of whatever painkiller or heartbreak is being shoved into my blood. I need to & really desire to live in the bone-deep understanding that I am Yours.
And that’s when it changed. The mind-blowing thing about God is that His grace doesn’t take much. I couldn’t tell you with confidence that I’ve ever been 100% on board, 100% trusting, or 100% willing. But He took even my 40% and said, “Alright, we’ll start with that.”
If you’ve followed this blog, you know what happened next: What I call complete and utter romance. Particular and radical love.
And not because I did anything right, but because He loved me first.
His orchestration in my life, His care for me, His delight in me, were made glaringly obvious by this disease. The near two years of chronic pain, the cancer scare, the needles, the fear of infertility.
As I watched God move, as I watched him speak my language and hold me, I began to see this dismantling as an act of love. Not punishment. The reality is I had been in a place where I needed to be shaken. And Jesus loved me enough to wake me up–to allow me into a place that leveled me completely so He could grab me by the hands and teach me how to walk again.
I had nothing–absolutely nothing left in me when this thing hit hardest. It was then I learned true joy was from Him and it was unmovable. I found that trust was an every day choice. And that choice was made easier and easier when I took God for his word.
Oh man. When we do that–when we actually take to heart that nothing can shake us because we are the beloved kids of the Ruler of the Galaxy and we are particularly and radically and relentlessly loved–that’s when things change.
And it struck me recently:
“Who am I that God would reveal Himself to me like this?”
“You’re His daughter.”
My mom dropped that bomb on the counter nonchalant as a Snapple Fact.
But that’s the beauty of it. It’s just truth. Simple. God is real. He wants to love us, He wants to astound us. Not because we memorized a hundred verses or posted the best coffee & Bible pic on Instagram. Not even because we did something kind. Just because He’s good and He made us and He wants a relationship with us. I think that’s the most humbling and empowering thing I’ve ever encountered.
The perfect and all-powerful and unconditionally loving and wildly creative King of the Cosmos wants to hang with us.
I’ll never understand that. But it’s true. I’ve seen it. He loves me–stumbly and broken as I am.
I feel like this is it. This might be the conclusion of this journal–at least for a bit. I don’t really know why, but I’ve got a hunch.
So I want to leave you with this: challenge God. Ask Him to show you His love for you.
I triple dog dare you.