I’ve been challenging all of us this week to turn what-if’s into even-if’s. To lay down whatever stands in the way of complete trust in God.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me," (Galatians 2:20).
On Wednesday, I met one of my what-if’s face-to-face. My fear became my reality.
Many of you know that I battle CRPS. You can read more about it HERE. One of the treatments for the constant pain of this disease is nerve blocks. The type that I need are called Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks. Here's my best attempt at an explanation of how they work:
- A needle is inserted slowly into my spine, from the right side of my back, with the help of x-ray, to inject an anesthesia into my nerves.
- When the needle gets close to the area where my affected nerves are, they also inject contrast dye so that they can see and avoid the surrounding blood vessels.
- The benefits to this procedure are that I get the temperature back in my leg (I gained 7 lost degrees in just one nerve block in 2015!), and that they can significantly diminish my pain—allowing me to regain ground and get my feet back underneath me.
- Some of the risks are potential damage to my kidneys or to other nerves, and also dangerous seizures.
- If a blood vessel gets hit during the procedure, it sends the medication into your bloodstream, causing seizures. Because of the location of this particular procedure, these seizures can do a lot of serious damage, ultimately causing severe brain damage and even the end of your life.
In January of 2015, I had four of of these nerve blocks.
Every one was flawless.
But this time, something was different. One of those crafty little blood vessels got in the way.
I was sedated for the procedure, so there’s not much from the day that I can recall. But what I do remember felt like a dream where I was watching my body from afar. And I knew that God was there.
First, I watched my left arm begin to convulse. I wondered if I was doing it.
Then, I looked, and my left arm joined in.
And my chest rose. My head jerked back beneath my shoulders.
And that’s the last thing I remember.
My medical team is absolutely amazing. I can’t praise them highly enough. They are such a blessing. They know to expect this as a possibility, so they were prepared.
They were able to stabilize me. But then I went into another seizure.
They stabilized me again.
And then I went into a third.
I was taken in an ambulance from the Pain Treatment Center to the Emergency Department at Strong, where I woke up about six hours later. Unharmed by the three seizures. Unharmed by the toxins that filled my bloodstream. And never left alone by my God.
“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear, “Isaiah 59:1).
My doctors said that they could feel Him in the room the whole time.
Now, I’m resting at my house. Surrounded by people from our Community Group and our church, who have come from left and right to be the Church and help my family. I’m constantly humbled and amazed at the way that God takes care of me and my family.
How could I ever not trust Him?
I am so thankful. I’m so honored that my life—whether in the beautiful moments and highs or in the dark valleys and painful suffering—can make His Name great and show off His fantastic love.
What are you thankful for today?
I’m going to challenge you to make a list of what your current circumstances look like.
- Write down the great.
- Write down the mundane.
- Write down the ugly.
- Write down the awful.
And then thank God for each and every thing on that list.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).
The reward is a deeper relationship with the very God of the Universe. And if God is for us, who can be against us?
My what-if became a what-is this week. And I’m watching, in awe, as God continues to unravel His story on this journey.
My what-if became the even-if. Even if I have a seizure—God will be there. Even if we end up on the unfortunate end of the possibilities of this nerve block—God will be glorified. He is so beautiful and good, no matter what is happening!
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing,”
Next week, I’ll be going back for another nerve block just like this one. And another the week after that.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” (Joshua 1:9).
When I’m afraid, I will lay my fears in the Hands of the One who can actually do something about them. I’m not in control. And in every moment, I will choose joy. Because joy, like we talk about in Joy Challenge, is not about happiness.
- True joy is being aware of God’s grace.
- True joy is remembering God’s grace.
- True joy is rejoicing because of God’s grace.
Oh, my friend—He so full of grace. And He is holding me. He wants to hold you, too.
Will you let Him?
Does this all sound a little crazy to you? A little out of reach?
I would love for you to join me for the Joy Challenge.
It’s my all-in-one Bible Study and Devotional Journal. Set your soul on fire with the joy that comes from knowing Jesus and walking with Him (whether you have legs to carry you or not)!
You may not feel equipped for the trials that come your way, but God says in the Bible that you are WELL ABLE. Come along with me to find out how.