This article is dedicated to Bethenia Hayes, someone I never have met or talked to, but found out she had been praying for me. Thank you, Bethenia, for being faithful to our Father.
I tried writing about this some time ago:
hoping that perhaps others going through some rough times, would feel they were not alone. For I know that feeling all too well. You find yourself living vicariously through the lives of others, standing at a distant, watching them enjoy life. However, I could take great pleasure seeing others being blessed and having fun. Having health issues, along with other things I had little to no control, bothering me, did not stop me from finding myself content in hearing how a loved one was able to go and enjoy life.
Still, I wanted to be able to go and do, without having to be concerned about sudden sugar drops, the chronic pain always getting in the way, not knowing if it was going to be a good day or bad day, depending upon how my body felt. So, I adapted to my life, or lack of thereof. I got used to the idea of not going places, not seeing people, not playing my keyboard, guitar and singing, blogging, spending Thanksgiving alone, because, well, it took too much out of me to even think about getting ready, let alone leave the house. One thing about invisible illnesses is, the sufferer constantly feels judged by others, whether people mean it or not. I learned to forgive early on, because people simply do not know any better. I still wanted others to enjoy life, even if I wasn’t able in the way any of us expected.
Being quick to know the scripture, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” I failed to pay much attention to the last part of it, “but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” I didn’t know what it meant, and being cynical, thought it had nothing to do with me. And even if it did, like Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz, felt like there was nothing in that little black bag for me. Self pity? Perhaps, perhaps not. One gets used to hopelessness. When you find yourself in a dark gloomy place for years, you get used to the fact; you are alone. Certain emotions die. Even self pity, because that hopelessness that is surrounding you, is also swallowing your very being.
But now I do know what the last part of that scripture means. Some have been taught God’s “perfect” will does not use sickness as a means to “teach” anything. I could not care less about what those heretics say. They were not the ones who have known what I have lived with for years: A sense of hopelessness, even when things were going good, because, well, it was just a matter of time before I was dealt the next blow and I had to be prepared. Constantly bracing myself for things to come. The black clouds that appeared to come from nowhere, darkening my every thought, my every emotion, my very existence. Oppression? Of course. But there wasn’t a soul on earth who could do a thing about it.
More than once, telling my few closest friends, “I think I was just born this way. I did not get a positive gene, like science now claims. This is how God made me.” I wasn’t saying it flippantly and I wasn’t blaming God, as I’m sure there was purpose in it and I still trusted Him. His words coming to my mind more than once, “I will never leave you or forsake you. ” No matter what my life may have looked like to others, I knew God still loved me, and that was all that mattered. It didn’t matter if others didn’t understand. Jesus did.
“… but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
If anyone would have told me a heart attack would bring “a tree of life” to me, I would have said they were nuts.
You see, I had lived in such a way, expecting the worse, that I even told my husband a week or so before the heart attack, ” I have nothing to look forward to, except a heart attack, a stroke or Cancer.” Now, I can just hear some of you saying, “You confessed it, it came to you!” To that I say, GOD is the ONE who knows everything about me from the tiniest to the greatest detail. It did not take Him by surprise. He was NOT sitting on His throne, saying, “Gee, Brenda, wish you hadn’t said that, cause now I have to let it happen.” What kind of God is that who lets His creation tell Him how to do anything?!
But I digress.
“the tree of life” I have found, is this: I use to not be able to read a lot, therefore reading my Bible was practically impossible. But now I can! I got frustrated easily, so much so, if my husband moved the salt shaker, I would snap at him. He didn’t know the amount of energy and strength it took, just to walk in the next room. Neither of us knowing my heart was in bad shape. More than once telling him, “I don’t know where that woman you married, went to. She is dead, I’m sorry.” But now he is getting his Bride back! I use to tire very easily and put myself under condemnation, by telling myself, “I’m just lazy. I just need to push myself on through.” Some of the things I did in “pushing through” endangered my life. Like building a small patio out of cement blocks a week or so before the heart attack. It took my husband to tell me to stop and take a break. It’s a wonder I didn’t drop dead, then! But now, I no longer feel condemned if I need to rest.
I had lost all hope that I would ever be able to play my guitar and write a song again. But now, I have the desire! Playing my keyboard once brought me great pleasure and I had given up on that. But now I desire to fill our home with music again!
I had reached a point many times of coming to this blog and just deleting it. “Nothing good is ever going to come out of it. I’m too angry, people know it and I can not help it.” But something always held me back from doing it. Trying to write anything at all, was hopeless. The things I wanted to say could not be said on a “Christian” blog, so I said all those things on FAcebook. More than once embarrassing myself, but still thinking, “Well, it’s still the truth, no matter how I say it. Nobody likes it, tough beans.” But I am getting the desire to write again, and this time, wanting to do it God’s way, not mine. This is where Bethenia comes in. I found she had been praying for my writing. Perhaps, some of you were, too. God knows how humbling it is to me, to know that others have cared in such a way, when I had nothing good in me. Other than the Spirit of God, that I often quenched through my rage.
I used to be terribly angry. This we all know. But God has delivered me from that. I still care what goes on in the world, but I can not go back to that woman. I see life as “a vapor” now. None of us are promised a tomorrow.
“… the tree of life” can represent different things to different people. I’ve told you some of mine. And if at all possible, I want to share and bless others with this “tree of life” I have been given.
A very godly “thank you” to those of you who have never given up on me.