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I am not a blogger or a writer. I am a speaker.  

But sometimes I need to communicate something that is longer than a social media post.

Peace In the Chaos

March 14, 2020

If you are worried, upset, or anxious about our current situation - I get it. I had a really bad 2019 and know a bit about chaos and zero routine. I don’t say that to evoke pity. There is way worse out there and I am very blessed in many ways. However, I felt God nudging me to share my 2019 story for the first time today.

That is hard for me because it is very personal. If you follow on the Spiritual Circle Journal page you may have read snippets, but here is the full story with all the dots connected. It is easy to post the happy stuff. It is hard to be this transparent, but I think that is what people crave these days. I know I do. So here goes…

After a crazy fall of 2018 due to $10,000+ in unexpected home repairs, 8 months of paying two mortgages, and nursing my husband through a 2nd hip replacement, here is what went down in 2019:

• A cyst above my tooth that led to its removal (and many weeks of pain and later major oral surgery)

• A colonscopy and endoscopy to rule out cancer because that is what they do when you are discovered to be very anemic and to check on my esophagus since I have reflux (relieved it was not cancer)

• Depression/mood swings that took time to discover were related to anemia and diagnosis of an autoimmune called Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease, both going on simultaneously (thankful for husband and kids who loved me through that strain while it took months to even me out)

• Went 90% gluten/dairy/soy free to improve thyroid issue (learned how to cook and eat differently and it evened me out when I added in supplements and iron infusions, but this took lots of time and effort)

• A dear friend group that I was close to for 6 years, and that was like family fell apart (due to nothing I did)

• Had hives for three months after 2nd iron infusion and discovery that I am allergic to coconut milk (which I drank to avoid dairy, even though allergist and testing said I had no coconut allergy)

• My Mom was diagnosed on Good Friday with stage 4 lung cancer (she is my lifelong mentor, friend, and a true confidant)

• My sweet friend lost her husband and son so close together that she had a double funeral (my heart breaks for her)

• Packed up my 18-year-old son to attend college 1,000 miles away (great that he went to college, but major project and transition, and miss him and his friends who were a staple around here)

• Had 5 chronic bladder infections from July-December with many doctors and treatments (docs said it was due to changes in body from autoimmune disease, stress, and many antibiotics)

• Three months of major job stress for husband (that was worth it because it led to a good job change)

• A month of some deep anxiety that hit late fall (that my mentor and God both helped me through)

• A rotator cuff injury that was sooo painful and made me learn to rely on my family more than ever before (and months of PT)

• A month of severe neck pain for my husband (that resolved without surgery thankfully but was so potentially serious it required 3 medical opinions and much patience on my part because pain makes one irritable), and

• A Crohn’s Diagnosis for our son in college after an emergency hospital visit due to a partial intestinal blockage (after he had to have an MRI, colonscopy and endoscopy)

All that happened while making college visits, being drama booster president first half of the year, serving on women’s ministry team at my church second half, trying to get down to Florida several visits to spend time with my mother, speaking and running the ministry, and trying to be a loving wife and mother.

Notice the word “trying” because I struggled, and notice that I did not mention being a friend. I was not much of a friend last year because I could barely keep my head above water. For that I apologize if any one felt slighted. Hopefully friends you understand if you are reading this.

Doctors kept telling me I need less stress in my life. I said, yes I realize this!!! Easier said than done - especially when so much of it was due to many things I had zero control over.

Financial pressure mounted as money was hemorrhaging with all these extra expenses: college, medical tests/bills, house stuff, and extra plane tickets. 

You could say that normal and routine went out the window for me way before this past week. I learned to stop leaning on all kinds of things I did not even realize had become idols (money, youth, health, jobs, houses, relationships). They had to crumble away.

God gave me the picture I used with this article as I walked around a lake praying in November. All the columns on the railing had crumbled. It was like God was showing me that I could no longer lean on anything but Him and that the idols were the columns that had to fall. Remember an idol is just anything we put before God or lean on instead of Him.

Here is the good news. God provided and we somehow made it to today. I am extremely grateful for medical doctors/procedures, insurance, scholarships, and my husband’s job, and his love and constant support. I am also so thankful that this February my mom’s scans showed her tumor shrinking and nothing lit up on her scans.

I have adapted and see this crazy as my “new normal.” It does not rile me up like it once did. I no longer throw myself pity parties. Maybe this is just truly a bit about the season of life I am in, a bit of being in the sandwich season, a bit of bad luck, and then just a little bit of life. I can still do good each day and there is still good to be found in every day. Every day is truly a gift. I appreciate things I used to take for granted.

By God’s grace and love I am stronger. I feel more free. Why? Because I have deeply experienced how God sticks closer than a brother in both good and bad times if we go to Him regularly. He showed up over and over with guidance and comfort. So specifically and so lovingly. Sometimes he answered prayer with yes, sometimes with no, sometimes with wait, and some prayers are still unanswered.

He showed me a side of himself that can never be taken away. He will never leave me. The Bible says that a friend sticks closer than a brother. God is my friend and He has stuck so close to me. Nothing can ever separate me (or you) from His love. And no matter what happens we get to go to heaven if we have a relationship with Jesus. That is ultimate peace. 

As you deal with major uncertainty due to this Corona Virus, take your concerns and prayers to God. Yes - even you who have not prayed in years or if you have never prayed at all.

He is there. But you have to go to Him. He will calm your soul and give you peace that passes all understanding. AKA peace in chaos and crisis (Corinthians 4:8-9). Jesus said He will give you a counselor (the Holy Spirit) who will guide you through each day, teach you all things, and help you with daily decisions. 

I live in awe of Him daily and am so thankful that He has not given up on little ole me. He has not given up on you either. Talk to Him about your anxious thoughts. Cast your cares on Him. Listen to the short podcast on the  free resources page that will help you get to know God better. Come join us at Spiritual Circle Journal Community page. We are all about connecting as community and finding God in the chaos of our lives. 

God taught me a lot through the chaos of 2019 about healthy coping in crisis. I have more to share on how he helped me cope, so stay tuned over on one of the social media pages (see links below right). Thanks for spending time with me here. Love, Liz