Monday, February 3, 2014

A Journey of Genuine Lordship: How Lyme Disease Changed My Life

I wrote this essay for a CollegePlus scholarship contest this summer. No, I didn't win--but hey, a scholarship is always worth the shot, right? I want to start putting some of this stuff up here as for you guys. See, I believe struggles shouldn't be hidden. If I can further the gospel and encourage you in Christ through writing about my own rough roads, let no one stop me. So, while it's not always easy to talk about Lyme Disease, I believe it's going to end up as a small part of my future blog identity. The question was, "What one event of 2013 has changed your life forever?" This was my response. 

Jesus changes lives. 
Let Him change yours.

***


“Lyme Disease has changed me forever.” I remembered how my finger dashed in a line underneath the words of a magazine article. “I have lost all quality of life. I will never be the same again.”
I’d heard of Lyme Disease. It was passed by ticks, but not the ones that bit my family. It was a sickness for dogs and only affected a few humans who appeared as insignificant numbers in a statistic. To me, it was of no importance…Until March of 2012.
After enduring four months of what the doctors dubbed a mono-like sickness, my Western blot test came back positive and I was given a foggy diagnosis. They told me I had traces of Lyme in my bloodstream.
I was thrown into a one-week antibiotic plan. The doctors said I’d be well in no time. However, that simple week of medication elapsed into a month, as I became sick again. A few weeks after treatment, I felt considerably better. As the doctors wouldn’t hand out anymore antibiotics, we dropped our worries believing I’d been healed.
I put a shaky hand to the back of my head in attempt to stop the tingling in my brain. I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror, recollecting past days of sickness and treatment. It was over a year since my initial diagnosis. My body had turned over more stones of symptoms throughout that time and we’d returned to the doctor. But they assured me the nausea, food intolerance, and muscle aches were the result of a minor allergy.
I’d believed them…until I found out I had 66 symptoms of Lyme Disease. Then I convinced myself the disease was mostly healed and hardly serious. The symptoms were only from the incurable traces of Lyme left in my bloodstream.
But as I looked at my bloodshot eyes and felt the crawling sensation in my brain, I remembered the research I’d done. A tingling sensation in the brain means that the disease is at a severe level and has passed from your bloodstream into your brain.
I clenched my fists and tried to stop my neck from burning in fear. There were other things I’d read, too. Horror stories of people who lost the ability to maintain a job filled my mind. Some brain damage became so bad people couldn’t remember how to use a shampoo bottle. Other individuals lost their capability to retain written words...along with the capability to write.
I’d been in love with words since the tender age of twelve. At fifteen years old, I’d written my first novel. Now, at seventeen, a publishing company had just offered me a contract.
I can’t lose my writing.
Could it happen to me? How long would it take? Could the nerve damage already done be healed? What if my body didn’t react to the doctor’s medications? I could lose the ability to write.
I ran out of the bathroom feeling as though I’d been shot. The tingling came again four separate occasions that afternoon, but I kept it to myself and prayed constantly. Later that night, I decided to sit in on a Bible teaching session at the camp I was working at.
“The Church of today is preaching a false gospel,” the speaker said. “They’re leaving out the most important part of salvation. To become children of God, we first must surrender ourselves and our lives to Him. We die to self and live in Jesus. That means whatever He asks of you, you give him obediently.”
I pushed fear into the closet of my mind and remembered the day I’d surrendered myself to Christ. Even the past few days as He’d reminded me of the true meaning of lordship had been an encouragement. I tossed my notebook on the floor and left the room, hoping to find some peace.
“God,” I whispered, “I’m willing to surrender this. Whatever Your will is, I will do it…even if it means laying down my writing and all quality of life.”
I remained silent and peaceful for a while, waiting on Him. Whatever happens, He’s in control and His plans are always best.

Jesus has used pain to break me and give me the ability to surrender it all to Him. Now, like numerous other people in the Lyme Disease statistic, I can say that illness has changed my life. Not because it’s taken away, but because it’s given me back so much more than I could ever imagine.



Thoughts? What has Jesus used to change your life this year?

10 comments:

  1. Wow... That's pretty powerful stuff. I mean, I don't know a lot about Lyme Disease, but facing a battle like that sounds like it does some damage. Not just physically, but mentally too. It's cool that we have a Savior to rely on. For everything.

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    1. Yes, Heroine, it can do a great deal of damage. Nothing a lot of Jesus can't fix. :) Thanks for your comment!

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  2. Like Heroine said, that is some powerful stuff. I have been feeling the same this week. The what if's involving someone I love. My sister has a cat, a most precious and dear thing, named Shalom. God has used her in such a powerful way to help us, especially my sister. We love her like she is a child of this family. But three weeks ago things took a drastic change and our darling Shalom is losing her life. I have cried and cried, prayed and prayed, but the doctors giver her no hope and she is still spiraling downward. But God is in control and if He chooses to take her away, I will surrender her to Him. Stephanie, sharing your battle with Lyme Disease, it has not only come just in time, it has been an encouragement and a help to me. Thank you!

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    1. I'm so glad it's been an encouragement, Celeste! I hope the Lord heals Shalom.

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  3. Thanks for posting Stephanie! Your posts about what you are going through are very encouraging!

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    1. I'm so glad, Maggie! You should definitely give me a life update sometime in the near future. :) I'd love to hear how you're doing!

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  4. I entered that contest too! You have such an amazing testimony. Thank you for sharing with us. :-)

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    1. Aw, that's awesome! And you're so welcome, Rosie!

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  5. Wow, Stephanie! Thanks so much for posting that. It gives me hope. It gives everyone hope. It brightens the outlook on life. How we can be more than conquerers. How pain is so real but faith is so strong if we surrender. How a difficulty is not to small for our God, and how He holds us in the palm of his hand and his very thoughts. He knows our future and He loves us like crazy. Thanks for posting :-)

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    1. Aw, I love your comment, Rosalie! You're very welcome!

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