Update on My Beautiful Mess

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I know it’s been way too long since I’ve posted! Our new season back home in Shreveport has been full and amazing and has kept me quite distracted from my beloved blog! We’ve been blessed to purchase a home and have adopted the newest member of our family- a weenie dog named “Weenie Rodney!” We have jumped right into ministry life with my heroes, my amazing in-laws where Sundays are the pinnacle of our week. We are enjoying the challenge and opportunity God has given us to reach our city through a new campus in the heart of Shreveport. We have also recently added a Sunday evening service, which we are excited about building and getting super creative with. All of these things are worthy of an entire post in themselves, huge, amazing God-opportunities, but today is just a quick overview. This coming up week, we will also launch my favorite thing in the world to do, which is a weekly small group Bible study for college students in our home. I am still in school and am currently studying practical theology online. The girls are more fun, hilarious and sweet than ever. Of course, their intervals between fighting and loving are as rapid as ever. Still working on that! They are in cheerleading right now, which is adorable, and I cherish them more than ever!

MS-wise, I have been feeling amazing over the last few months. Teaching yoga and yogi barre has been the best experience and has made such a difference in my health and energy. The latest and greatest news I have to share, however, is that we are expecting!!! After three years of trying and praying, and finally a trip to the fertility clinic for an IUI, we are pregnant!!! We are beyond thankful and excited about this huge miracle! So, what a season it’s been, and perhaps now you can see why I have been sort of absent from my blog!

Today, I am compelled to post, not only to share with you these updates of my life, but also because in the midst of this wealth of blessings MS has returned.

I haven’t felt a need to provide an MS update in months because it had become a thing of the past for me. At times, I have forgotten all about it. With all the prayer that I was surrounded with, I began almost believing that perhaps I was healed. I hate to admit that my knowledge of the natural course of this disease has caused me to hold my breath a little. The type of MS that I have been diagnosed with, Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, includes remissions where MS feels absent. I truly believe that God will heal me in his own way and in his own time, according to his best story for my life. And, I am okay with waiting on him, for my life is a story authored by him. I have not always had such a faith-filled resolve in the matter, but that is where I am today by the grace of God. He is trustworthy, he is faithful, and everything he does is good.

Apparently, the onset of pregnancy has triggered a relapse. Initially I was completely discouraged. In the last few days, however, God has given me the strength to pull myself up by my bootstraps so-to-speak. I’ve been more accepting of my more frequent need to rest, and at the same time I have finally chosen to go until I need to stop, rather than just mope! (Yes, okay, I totally moped at first!)
I sense that I am walking in healing. Interestingly, the moment I took authority over the direction my mind was going in, my body seemed to follow suit. I have been feeling so much better these last few days. Don’t get me wrong, the onset of this relapse began with my physical body. I was blindsided and completely didn’t expect to experience symptoms. It began in my body, but then infected my mind. I got discouraged and fearful all over again. My resurrection this time, however, was the opposite: mind over body.

It was actually one decision that changed my course and restored my quality of life over night: the decision to praise.

My amazing Grammy came over to my house and had a woman-to-woman talk with me. She told me about the time when she was my age and had also faced some major health issues. She shared about how she had gotten so down and discouraged and the only thing that pulled her out of her funk was praise. So, desperate, I decided to give it a try! I set a reminder in my phone for every hour of the day to stop and praise. In doing this, I simply stopped for a second, spoke aloud “God, I praise you.” I thanked him for who he is in my life, for all he’s done for me and I just focused momentarily on him and worshiped him. At first, I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the words I was saying at all, but I stuck with it. After a couple days though, I realized that it was working! It is impossible to have self-pity and gratitude at the same time. It is impossible to obsess over my problems and glorify my God at the same time. You simply can’t think two thoughts at once! I noticed that each time I stopped and praised God, no matter how brief it was, it always put a smile on my face. The Bible cover to cover shows us the benefit and power of praise. I needed to be reminded of this, and am thankful that I am getting to experience the blessing of praise.

So, there you have it! An update on my little world. Blessed beyond measure. Even the setbacks and less-than-fortunate details seem to add a bit of authenticity that feels better and more complete than perfection would. It feels like life. A mix of a messy, earthly reality beautifully combined with the kiss of heaven. Thank you Jesus for being my “ever-present help in time of need,” my “all in all.” As I have said probably a thousand times these last few days, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”