The third day of the mid-year Prayer and Fasting week was on a Friday and I was really excited to attend the service instead of just watching the live stream at home. I took the option of going on a partial fast, which means I was sticking to soup and water (and coffee!) until the end of the P+F week. I’ve always wanted to go on a full fast (and maybe I’ll be able to do that in the future) but for now, my steroid intake is just not compatible with fasting. If you’ve ever been on steroids, you’ll know how challenging it is to even go on a partial fast :))
Anyway, the point of fasting is to scale down on things that keep you from having more time with God. So for this week, I was also absent from yoga classes and social media (Facebook, Instagram). Instead of letting these things take up my time, I tried to read the Scripture and my devotionals. Of course I couldn’t take time away from work or mothering, so my grumbling stomach served as my cue to take a break from whatever it was I was doing to read and pray for a few minutes.
Despite all these, I still felt like I haven’t really gotten into it, no breakthroughs of any sort. I don’t know, maybe I was being mechanical about it. So on the third day, I planned to attend the nightly service at CCF. Friday, no work the next day, perfect timing.
The second song was “I Lift My Hands” by Chris Tomlin and I was caught off guard with how much the words brought up a jumbled mix of emotions. The chorus goes, “I lift my hands to believe again,” and people starting lifting their hands in worship and I strained so hard not to start bawling like a baby (without much success, to be honest). I was overwhelmed with guilt as I realized that I had strayed, that I have fallen back into my old mundane patterns of self-reliance, pride and relegating Scripture back to head knowledge. I have stopped taking time during the day to pray sincerely and listen for Abba’s answers.
But it wasn’t just guilt that I felt; there was a powerful touch of gratitude underscoring that guilt because I knew that He would always welcome me back, to resume my walk with Him. I remember one night, when everyone was asleep and my mind was aimlessly wandering. I was playing worship songs on my phone, because my kids love having “Jesus song” as a lullaby. I found myself praying before I fell asleep and I ended with “I miss you, Abba. Will You come back?” and almost immediately, I felt Him gently answer, “I have always been here. Where have you been?” I cried myself to sleep that night.
So anyway, back to the third service of the P+F week. For some reason, I thought the topic was on provision and I was surprised when it turned out to be on healing. The message and testimony made me think back on the health rollercoaster I’ve been on for the past year. This time last year, I had just gotten out of the hospital after being confined for almost a month. That was the first of four hospitalizations; I was in and out of the hospital as we (me , my husband and fellow doctors) tried to figure out how to get my cataplexy and adrenal insufficiency under control.
After being discharged for the fourth time, I was really fed up with the back and forth situation and I made a bargain with God as I prayed for healing. I promised to give up smoking in exchange for complete healing. I still haven’t kept my promise, but being the faithful God that He is, Abba already started answering my prayer. I couldn’t wrap my head around it when I started realizing that I was getting better and that my prayer is being answered. I think it was partly because I humanized God in a way, thinking that He will withhold His promise until I kept mine. I had forgotten that because of His unconditional love, He can and will do this for me because He still loves me even when I falter and repeatedly make excuses. Again, guilt underscored by so much gratitude.
It’s been a year and yes, I have experienced His miracles. They’re very personal and small in the sense that it only affects one person (me). It’s not a let’s-publish-a-paper, sound-the-alarm kind of thing. What counts as a miracle for me? The simple things:
- Being able to enjoy a long, cold shower when I used to bathe sitting on a chair as a precaution against falls and because I couldn’t stand up for more than a few minutes (adrenal insufficiency and cataplexy at their finest :P).
- Being able to wrestle, tackle then carry both my kids AT THE SAME TIME. A year ago, I had to plead with my younger daughter whenever she wanted me to carry her because I just couldn’t. The few attempts a few weeks after coming home from the hospital were scary because of the cataplexy.
- Being able to go back to yoga! I never thought I’d be able to do anything physically challenging because regular sedentary life was already an actual physical challenge a year ago. And now here I am, working my way back into my arm balances and inversions (VERY slow progress with inversions).
I still have full-body cataplexy from time to time (had one just last week), but it’s not as bad as before. I’m still on steroids and thyroid meds, but I’ve been doing well without the other medications that I used to take. Will I ever be completely off meds? The doctor in me says no. Will I ever be able to say I’m completely healed? I honestly don’t know. All I know is that it’s time to keep my promise.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6
2A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. – Matthew 8:2-3