I’ve been sick for two years.
That’s strange to say.
Strange and overwhelming at the same time.
I remember when I hit one year. I wasn’t sure what that day would be like or how I would feel. I remember waking up and immediately beginning to cry. I cried off and on throughout the entire day, existing in a, seemingly, constant state of overwhelming emotion.
But I wasn’t sad.
I never felt sad that day. Not once.
I never felt angry. Not for a moment.
It was just joy. So much joy. The Lord gave me joyous tears overflowing from an overwhelmed heart–a heart in awe of grace.
There have been many many days since September 21, 2014 when I have been sad. Unbearably sad. I have looked into the eyes of counselors and have spoken the words, “I don’t know how to not be sad anymore.” There have been many times when I felt like a shell–a mere shadow of the person I once was. There have been times when I have begged and pleaded with the Lord to kill me. To end the shell of a life I was left with. To take the pain away or to take me away from the pain. There have been times the sadness grew so strong that it almost resulted in me ending my life.
I have been sad.
There have been many many days since September 21, 2014 that I have been angry. So angry. I have come face to face with my sense of entitlement–the belief that God owed me the perfect, healthy, romantic, adventurous life–and I have been angry that I was instead a bedridden twenty-something, barely capable of walking some days. I have looked upon others with intense jealousy, angry that God had withheld intense suffering from them; giving them their dreams and Instagram-worthy lives while seemingly destroying mine. I have laid in bed day after day and week after week, unable to function outside of it, and I have been angry.
I have been angry.
As I reflect back on the two years that have passed since September 21, 2014, I don’t see a suffering hero. I have failed every single day. I have not wholly trusted the Lord at all times. I have not rejoiced always. I have doubted.
He has been faithful when I was faithless. He has sustained me. He has held onto me when I no longer felt I could hold onto Him.
Last year on the 21st of September, I woke up and started weeping. One year after that fateful day. After one year of living with chronic excruciating pain, depression, growing medical bills, endless tests and doctor visits, uncertainty about my future–I was still sick. The Lord didn’t make it go away.
But that is not why I wept.
I wept because of His love for me. His unimaginable perfect love for me.
God didn’t heal me. It has been two years now, and God has not healed me. And He might, in His infinite wisdom, never choose to. And He loves me. This is not a paradox.
God is a good Father, and everything He does in our lives is good. Everything. He is committed to molding me into the image of Christ, no matter how painful the process might be. In Him not healing me, He is perfectly loving me.
As year two comes to its end, and year three begins, my desire is to rejoice in all that the Lord has done and all that He continues to do in “my ruined life.” I pray that I will continue to learn to lean on Him as I walk, by His grace, in obedience. I pray that I will learn to rejoice always and to pray without ceasing. I pray that He will help my unbelief.
I still battle fear. I still battle the daily living in a body that fails me. I still battle sadness and anger. Two years later, I still fail.
Every day is really hard. And I fail every day. And every day He gives more grace.
We are saved by the gospel and we never graduate from it. And I am thankful for that. I am saved by grace and I live by grace.
I am no suffering hero. Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the foremost. Two years later, “I believe, help my unbelief!” is still my heart’s cry. I fall down at the foot of the cross where there is grace overflowing. I fall down at the foot of the cross and I will not get back up.
I have been sick for two years. And I am thankful.