Like many of you, I am keeping a gratitude journal. I have done so off and on for years, but this time it is different. This time I am searching for all the small things that can get lost in the big ones. Thanks to Ann Voskamp I am finding gratitude for my husband's constantly moving feet as he sits in his chair, the cardinal that stops by to say hi in my window view, the clock chimes that bring me a moment of pause every hour, the smell of the coffee that I don't even drink. I am making the effort to see life through the lenses of thankfulness, as (In)Courage writer Lynne Bassier posted.
Ann Voskamp says in her book, "One Thousand Gifts" that writing down the smallest things she is thankful for has helped her to trust God. She has always had trust issues with God. So have I. I can use the trauma and un-predictability of my early childhood as an excuse, or I can use it as a stepping stone. I always have liked stepping stones.
This week has blurred the lenses of gratitude a bit and I have had to deliberately "clean" those lenses with Biblical teachings, God's promises, and the prayers of friends who lift me higher with their love and encouragement. (Thank you K's).
Around 5 days ago I started to have a major increase in joint pain that surprised and discouraged me. As it increased even more in my lower back and bladder area I asked Joel to pray. He laid hands over the area and heat filled his hands, went up his arms and then into his shoulders. He was wet with sweat! The pain in that area went away, and interestingly, so did the incontinence I had been experiencing. TMI? Well, stay with me. I was very excited as I believed when those symptoms were gone so was the cause.
It was three days latter that I ended up in the doctors office with the symptoms of a UTI.
I found myself frustrated and discouraged that once again I needed to take an antibiotic. I hate taking medications. I wanted healing to come from Jesus and not from a pill that is making me feel like I am just getting off a merry-go-round and has my urine the color of a rusty old nail. I quickly resorted to anxiety and self-pity. I began to question God's guidance. What had happened when Joel prayed? Why was that not enough?
And then I reached out for my iPad to watch Barry Bennett say, "Sometimes we do need doctors and medical help and that is okay. The end result is healing and God uses many different ways to get us there. He also spoke about the woman with the issue of blood. That story has come up so often lately, and it really resonates with me.....she had spent all her money trying to get well going from doctor to doctor. Lyme patients can relate to that! And when Jesus says to her...."Your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over." I am embracing that story and claiming it as my own.
It was then I decided to pick up my gratitude journal and continue to write out all that I was thankful for. Like little capsules that help my body kill off infections.....and doctors who are guided by God in their diagnoses ~ often unaware that through prayer God has influenced their decisions. I wrote about the small things too, as a reminder to trust God's guidance in the middle of yet another setback. T.r.u.s.t. God in the messes. Trust the people he puts into your lives to help you on your journey. Trust the Holy Spirit within to lead the way.
We cannot put God in a box. With all my heart I believe God wants us well. We do not have to die from a disease.....we can die from old age! Our God loves us so much He wants us healed. All the time. Do we see that? No, but I still believe God's will is for all to be healed. Yet how that happens is not a formula. We cannot put God in a box, but we can rely on His promises and stand on them. Through the lenses of thankfulness.