The last time that I wrote on this blog, I felt overwhelmed by sorrow. I was tired, tired of being sick, tired of not being able to do anything, tired of feeling wrong. This week is not like last week.
This week I am on a journey of healing physically. As I wrote last week, and I saw how hopeless I was, I was able to crawl to the surface of that really deep self-pity pit. I think that writing about my feelings, make me give myself a shake. I think this was a gift from God. I was able to do some research on my symptoms and try to find a solution beyond medication. The medication I was on wasn’t working for me, or just barely. Even after taking all three inhalers to the maximum, it only allowed a slightly easier ability to breathe. So I did research on Asthma, I wanted to see what it was, and what could cause it to flare up. I wanted to know if there was something else I could do, or if there was something I could add to what I was already doing to make it better, so that I could be even a little bit active.
As I was researching, I discovered that Asthma was an inflammatory disease. There was something causing inflammation in my lungs and that it was wreaking havoc in me. I had recently discovered through allergy testing, that I was allergic to; certain tree’s pollen, weed pollen, some molds, and dust mites (those showed up after the doctor’s appointment and lasted 3 days, it didn’t show up in the 1/2 an hour that I was in the doctor’s office, so dust mites are not confirmed by a doctor). That explained some of my symptoms, the tree pollen and weed pollen were the worst, so the doctor and I wondered why the worst of my symptoms usually happened from late fall to early spring (this year the symptoms didn’t abate even in spring). So I knew that allergies were some of what was causing the inflamation in my lungs. I wondered if there could be more, so I dug deeper. I really wanted relief from feeling helpless, this drove my quest for answers. I am still on that quest, I believe that God is with me in this. He knows what is going on and because of my persistence is helping me to see some things that might be affecting me.
I believe that God is showing me that stress is horrible on my system, that my worrying, the horrible dreaded what if’s, are causing my body to resist healing, so I am trying to relax and through God’s words and His mercy. I am trying to focus on what God says, who God is and who I am because of Him, instead of the thoughts that plague me. I am not hugely successful here yet. I live in stress. I have always said that I work better under pressure, under stress. I am the master of procrastination and laziness. I put myself into extreme stress as I wait to do something until it is imperative to do it. Like cleaning, I usually wait till someone is coming over before I clean. Even if I have 3 weeks notice, I still wait till I have only 2 days, then I work like mad, mad at myself and my family. I do this all the time, I self sabotage myself in this way. I limit my ability to be welcoming and hospitable. I want to be able to have people over, but I can’t because the thought of the stress that I cause myself seems overwhelming. I keep things looking pretty good for a few days, but then I start slacking and it all slips back to the way it was before. It is crazy that I keep repeating this pattern even though I know that I can relax way more in a clean house than in a messy house.
In my research, I have found that diet can sometimes cause inflammation, and can limit the healing that can happen. Garbage in, Garbage out. So I am finally ready to take control of my diet/food choices. I am trying to stay away from foods that have been known to cause inflammation. I am staying away from sugar of all forms, processed foods, fried foods, most dairy, and meat from animals that are raised in commercial feed lots. I will have meat from animal that have been treated the way they were meant to be treated. I am trying to stay to food that is a single ingredient (Apple, instead of apple juice. no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup…). I can put these single ingredients together into a meal, I just don’t want the extra stuff that comes with pre-processed packaged food. I am also staying away from white potatoes, from rice and from most starches. I have lived without gluten already for over 10 years. I have been doing this since the last post (May 30th). I have slipped a few times, especially with the sugar. I love sugar in all of its forms. Those days I have found set me back a bit. I have found that if I have been able to keep from eating the things mentioned above, I have to use very minimal asthma medication. If I have been good about my diet for a few days in a row, I don’t even have to use any inhalers. I can see some success in a diet change for me. Each time I slip and feel crappy, bolsters my commitment to eat healthy. So in my experience, a diet change is working. This is an area where I have to be careful in, there have been so many “unhealthy” diets to lose weight over the years. I don’t want my motivation to just be about weight, or the way I look. I want this journey to be about health, I don’t want to join a fad, I just want to eliminate those food that cause me inflammation. Not everyone has the same food triggers. I know that sugar is a big one for me. It was especially clear, because for the first week I had migraines, that only went away when I had some sugar, sometimes accidentally and sometimes purposeful. The longer I stayed away from, the better my headaches were getting. I talked to my doctor and he is all for this change of diet and is cheering me on in my quest to discover health. He agrees that I really want to get off some of the meds that I am on. He said I will probably lose a lot of weight as well, lol. This time, this is not my goal, it would be nice of course, but health is my goal. As I have stayed away from these foods, I have felt like myself, I don’t feel trapped by my inability to breathe easier. I am not experiencing pain in my joints, I am finding more energy to get things done. I don’t feel as stuck.
The other day I was thinking about this feeling more like myself, I had waves of grief and relief washing over me. One moment I was crying for lost time, and then I was crying because of my gratefulness and relief of the things that were holding me back. I believe that God is in this with me, I believe that He is helping me discover what is healthy for me and what isn’t. God celebrates my successes and mourns with me the mistakes I make. It is with and through Him I am finding truth, strength and courage to make the changes that I need to make. It is hard, I have lived an unhealthy life for a long time. I have not cared for myself well for a long time, I don’t remember a time when I took care of myself, mind, body and soul at the same time. God wants me to take care of myself so that I have the energy and ability to do the work that He has called me to. I am also a creation of His, and the way I was caring for myself was like smearing dirt on a masterpiece, marring it, and destroying its beauty. This is what I was doing to myself. I didn’t feel like I was worth even the basic care, those were the whispers of my enemy over me. His words were not worth it, ugly, waste of time, unloveable, shameful…, but God’s words have always been; you are worth it (see I sent my Son to rescue you, I wanted a relationship with you), You are beautiful (this is the name I have given you, the name I call you by), you are worth my time and attention, because I have said so, I love you no matter what, I forgive you and will wash you clean of all your shame. (I can and am willing to do this for you).
As I am on this journey, the best and most important part is learning about who God is and who He says I am. I am learning about His greatness, His holiness, His glory. I am discovering that He is the Only One whose opinion matters, He is the Only One who deserves my worship, and my life (my whole life, nothing held back). He has given me everything, He has been merciful to be, He has given me incredible grace and love. His attention on me is not something I could ever, earn or deserve. I am human, full of selfishness, I don’t deserve anything, but God chooses to give me more than I deserve, He chooses to give me Himself, a relationship with Him. A journey together through the good and the bad. He has given me an adventure to go on, and a story to tell. Praise God!! My story is to reflect His glory. He gives this blessing to all of His people, but you need to reach out to Him and take what He offers, die to your own self-centeredness, and chose to go on this journey with Him. Your journey will not look like my journey, each person’s is unique like they are. You probably don’t struggle with exactly what I do, you might need healing in other areas and in different ways. Trust God that He knows you and knows what to do. It may not look like what you want, but that is ok, because God knows best. He sees the big picture, we only see our little piece, He is the artist and we can trust Him.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)