Today has had three major things happen that have reminded me of God's presence both in bad times and in good. For that, I am thankful.
First, I went back to my neurologist today. Going in, I didn't feel very nervous, mostly because I wasn't expecting much to come out of it. The good news is that the nurse whom I spoke to was wrong, or I misinterpreted her, when she made it sound like they didn't have any other ideas. In fact, my doctor today said the exact words, "We are far from out of ideas." She said we're just going to have to try some non-traditional approaches. Also, she's slightly concerned that these may not even be migraines at all because she's never seen anyone go through the IV DHE therapy for migraines and not be healed. So even though when I was in the Duke ER in October my shunt tests were all fine, she wants me to actually schedule a visit with my neurosurgeon there to have him take a look at everything himself and make sure it's really not a concern. Because if it's not migraines, and it's not my shunt, what else could it be? What she did for now, since the earliest I will be able to get to see my neurosurgeon is Mom's Spring Break in early April and it will be a miracle if they still have appointments open with only 4 weeks notice, is take me off the new medicine that she put me on on New Year's Eve, and add in a different beta blocker at a higher dosage to try and attack the throbbing pain in my forehead as well as a muscle relaxer because apparently I have chronic muscle tension in my shoulders and neck (go figure), which will, duh, add to the whole problem. I'm not gonna lie, I left the office feeling pretty discouraged. I'm really tired of this "set up a new med plan, wait and see if it works" game mainly because nothing is working. But I texted my "prayer team" (the people who have been so faithful to stand by me through this saga and want updates with every appointment/change) and those who responded had some wonderful words of wisdom for me. One in particular, from my sweet friend Lauren, really stood out to me: "I don't think it's God's will for you to be in chronic pain but I know it's His will for you to give Him the glory in the midst of life's circumstances, and you have 1000%. I know you can't see it now but there's a reason for ALL this! Praying for your complete healing!! Or perhaps you have seen a glimpse because He's already used you greatly!" That text was such a sweet reminder that even when I don't see it, God has a purpose for this, and for my life as a whole. God is ultimately for God, He wants His children to bring Him the glory He deserves, so if I'm not going to be healed of this pain, I pray that He continues to bring me opportunities to tell people just how wonderful He is. Like Kyla told me, He's not done with me yet...
Second, Chris ended up not talking about me in his sermon yesterday, but I texted him after I listened to it on the way to Raleigh (yay iPhones!) and he told me to go to his church's website where I could join this site that is basically like one big online community for the congregation. He wanted me to share my story with them there. And I promised the Lord I wouldn't turn down any opportunity to share my testimony, so of course, when I got home tonight, I got on there and posted my story. Truthfully, I was a little nervous at how it would go over with me being an "outsider" but I've already received one response tonight that just all in all warmed my heart. :) For a girl who spent so many years feeling burned by the church, to see an essentially complete stranger like Chris not only take the time to invest in my life and give me counsel but also to make me a part of his church, even from afar, means so, so much.
Lastly, tonight when I got home was, uh, well, let's just say it wasn't pretty. It was actually quite ugly, and it's looking like Blake may have a very un-happy birthday tomorrow (holy cow that child is about to be THREE). Instead of sticking around to try to defend my mom and inevitably end up losing my temper even more than I already had, I left and went to call someone who would listen. Eventually, Brennan, of all people, called me back. (Now that both Matt and Ryann know I'm in contact with him again, I feel safe talking about him here.) So I went outside, in the freezing cold because that was the only quiet place left, and we talked. I told him about what was going on with the family, and more about what the doctor said, and he just....listened. He was just there. And when I apologized for calling him again, he told me not to worry about it. And well, with that conversation, I felt the walls I'd been keeping up with him start to crumble and myself thinking that maybe he really is different this time. This is the longest period, by far, that he has been around without there being any drama. I'm not 100% sold yet, but through everything that has happened in the past couple months, he's been there without trouble. I feel like I'm finally friends with the Brennan I met at Sanctuary. He ended the conversation with prayer, just like he always does, and a good bit of his prayer tonight was that I would feel God wrapping His arms around me through all these troubles...and I did. I was sitting outside in 30 degree temperatures (or less than that), yet I felt the warmth that Brennan was praying for. As soon as the prayer was over, without even really thinking, the first words out of my mouth were "I feel Him." I'm so thankful for the people in my life that just instinctively know when they just need to listen and when I'm looking for them to say something, but mostly, I'm thankful that I could feel God all over that conversation.
John 11:28 says "The Teacher is here, and He is asking for you." Today was such a sweet picture of how, even though sometimes I can feel forgotten and alone, Jesus knows me individually. I am noticed, I am beautiful, I am special, I am made for a unique purpose, I am His.
Oh, and as a bonus? That post I wrote on Saturday called Sincerely, Freedom? Nick Vitellaro ended up seeing my tweet about it and read the post and shared it with his followers.
Yes, this happened yesterday, but as I was sitting thinking about all the evidence and reminders that today brought me that God has a very specific plan for my life, I remembered this. Somehow, from my little corner of the internet that barely anyone reads, I'm affecting people.
All will be well. My Jesus is still the same.