The Detox Diaries, Five Minute Friday Edition: Fill

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Gentle Reader,

After my two-week hiatus I am once again linking up with the FMF crowd at our new hangout, Heading Home with Kate Motaung. Yes, our beloved Lisa-Jo has passed on the baton. But that’s okay! Sometimes it’s right to let a good thing go.

For this first post with Kate, we: fill.

Go.

“Omer”

I’m running on empty today, God

What You gave her just isn’t enough

I need You to meet my need

Adjust Your outpouring supernaturally

I don’t want to complain

I don’t want to be greedy

I just need enough of You

To fill the omer within me

I wrote this poem, based on Exodus 16, years ago, but it came to mind as soon as I saw this week’s prompt. God has answered this prayer over and over again, today in a parking lot being the latest occurrence.

Just a brief recap: as many of you know, I live with some chronic health issues and back in May began the process of coming off of Cymbalta due to liver problems. Thankfully the withdrawal symptoms have passed, but the road to an understanding of what’s happening to my liver is a long one.

A long one full of potholes.

On Monday I had blood work done. Tuesday the doctor called and told me that my enzymes were elevated. Higher than they were in May. I needed to come and see him as soon as possible and get a referral to a specialist. I stayed late at work yesterday so I could leave at mid-morning today and trek across two towns to get to the appointment. He didn’t tell me much more than he did on the phone, but I got the referral and an order for more labs, to be done tomorrow morning.

I’ll be honest: I freaked out when I got that call on Tuesday. I’ve made changes to my diet. I’ve been exercising. I was really hoping that, after two-and-a-half months, there would be some improvement. I certainly wasn’t expecting things to be worse!

The closer I got to the office today, the larger the lump of panic in my throat. Pulling into the packed parking lot, I located an open space beneath and tree and clunked into the…whatever that concrete thing is that keeps you from running into the grass on the other side. Turning off the engine, I closed my eyes, took and deep breath, and prayed.

Okay, God. I need You. I need You really bad. I need You to fill me with that peace, that peace that doesn’t make any sense. I don’t need high blood pressure right now. Calm me down. Help me to hear what the doctor says and make whatever decisions I need to make. Give me clarity. I am with You, Jesus. You are with me. 

I got out of the car and finished with, “Let’s do this.”

My blood pressure? 117 over 70-something.

Almost before the words came out of my mouth, the peace flooded in. From head to toe, I was filled. Completely. There wasn’t any room for fear. I listened, I asked questions. When my doctor told me not to freak out, I smiled.

Because whatever happens, I’m with Jesus. And His plans are good.

Stop.

Grace and peace along the way.

To read all the posts in The Detox Diaries series, go here.

The Detox Diaries: Tears for Fears

Gentle Reader,

I’m back.

I would like to tell you that I feel less upset than I did when I began the two-week blogging break, but that would be a lie. More than once this fortnight I was hit with that awful pain, the one that sits somewhere between your heart and your stomach (or maybe it takes up the whole space), the one that heralds a sudden crash into sadness. Yes, there is a very real, very physical ache that comes with deep emotional distress.

It hit me again last night as I lay in bed, trying to fall asleep after watching a documentary about the rise and fall of the Russian Empire. (Don’t judge me). Rest was pushed away by tears, tears that came unbidden and unwanted. I wasn’t crying because I had just turned 30. I wasn’t crying for any specific reason. I just…cried.

As a testimony to the illogical and irrational nature of emotions, I crashed mid silent-wail sometime after 1:30 this morning. Nothing was resolved. I had no sense of enlightenment. My body simply clicked the “off” button and wasn’t particularly happy about being aroused a few hours later. I smacked the “dismiss” button on my alarm and dozed, telling myself that I could go in to the doctor’s office and get the blood work done at any time. I didn’t have to get up early. That was true, but it was also true that I had to be fasting for the labs.

The longing for breakfast won out over the longing for more sleep.

I wanted the blood work to be a get in and get out kind of deal, though I knew I’d have some wait time. “Some” stretched into 45 minutes. The information on my account was completely screwed up; they had me marked as a single, full time student seeing a totally different primary physician. After that got fixed, a nurse called me back and said she had no idea why I was even there. I told her that, at my last visit, my doctor had told me to come back in three months and repeat the tests. She sent me back out to the waiting room and I tried to read a dated Time magazine, all the while musing over how thrilling incompetence is.

Insert sarcasm here.

At least the taking of the blood was quick and very nearly painless. Maybe this time I won’t develop an epic bruise.

Nothing about this morning improved my mood any, so I knew I had to take a walk. I am learning to see the paths and sidewalks around my neighborhood as my antidepressant/antianxiety/anticrabby medication, my running shoes the delivery system. Moving even a little really does get the juices flowing, and that really does help.

Partway through my walk, I heard this song:

Once again I was reminded of the truth of the prophet’s words:

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

Emotions aren’t evil. They are not to be repressed. But they are also not the basis for how I live my life. They can’t be. I don’t understand why I feel the way I do. Yes, chemicals and all that, but really, at the root of it, I am baffled by how my feelings so often do not come into alignment with reality. What I feel can easily cause me to believe that something is wrong when everything is fine.

Feelings are a poor foundation. The verses I’ve been working on memorizing (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) speak of this fact. I must destroy speculations, and much of my anxiety and sorrow is fueled by just that. I must rip down anything that stands in defiance of God and His truth. I have to take every thought, and I would also say every feeling, to Jesus and ask, “Should I keep this?” If He says no, based on what He has revealed in Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my soul, then I have to get rid of it.

It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.

Dearest friend, I want so much to tell you that I am further along on this journey than I really am. I want to tell you that I have found victory in all areas of my life. But really I’m just as weary and battle-scarred as you are. Every day is a struggle. To get out of bed. To go to work. To speak. To do house work. To be around friends and family. I am pushing through a constant, thick haze, one so heavy that it blocks my view of anything other than my feet.

But in looking down at those feet, I see also His nail-scarred hand holding mine. His is strong and certain where mine is weak and limp. In His other hand He holds a lantern, one that lights the way just enough for one more step.

So I go on.

Grace and peace along the way.

To read all the posts in The Detox Diaries series, go here.

The Detox Diaries: Confidence

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Gentle Reader,

I’ve been working on memorizing a few passages of Scripture, one of them being Proverbs 31:25 -

I am clothed with strength and dignity. I laugh without fear of the future. (NLT; personalized and emphasis mine)

That’s what I want. I want to be in the moment and enjoy it without any fear of the near or distant future.

Matthew Poole, on this verse:

She lives in constant tranquility of mind, and a confident and cheerful expectation of all future events, how calamitous soever, partly because she hath laid in provisions of a rainy day, and chiefly because she hath the comfortable remembrance of a well-spent life, and, which follows thereupon, a just confidence in God’s gracious providence and promises made to such persons.

A just confidence in God’s gracious providence.

Yes.

Grace and peace along the way.

To read all the posts in The Detox Diaries series, go here.