It’s been a little over a year since my first seizure, and what a year it has been! Lyme and co-infection, a failed treatment, many respiratory infections, dealing with the medical field, and still the unknown. The year hasn’t been all bad though. We have shared a lot of treasured family time, we have celebrated birthdays and holidays, we have been able to see family that live far away more often, I have been able to watch a lot of television (I really like T.V.:), and most importantly God has showed His love for me in countless ways. He has mostly showed me how important I am, by using other people to bring His love to me. The way God chooses to use His people, and the way His people choose to listen, truly humbles me and brings me much comfort and joy.
After about 8 months of being ill, to the point of being bedridden for months, I started to fear the worst. I never lost my faith in God, nothing like that. But I began to drown in an ocean of fear and sadness. Fear of dying, and of dying in a painful or terrifying way. Panicked and so saddened to leave my children, especially with them being so young and still needing me as much as they do. I would imagine the confusion that Vincenzo would feel, being that he wouldn’t understand where I was, or when I was coming back. Isabella’s fragile heart becoming hardened and no one being able to love and enjoy her the way I do. Anne shutting down and never facing the bitterness she feels from me leaving her when she didn’t want me to. And it wasn’t just me afraid. Both girls were scared as well. They heard the talk, and they saw me in such a fragile place, that even they knew that this is what the end may look like. They questioned me often about my death, and would ask our friends about it when our friends helped while I was in the hospital. I did my best to ease their fears, but I could only say so much. I didn’t want to give them false hope. So, whenever they asked me if I was dying, I would tell them that I didn’t know, but that I was fighting with everything I had in me so that I could live. I took those opportunities to talk to them about God. That God didn’t do this to me, that God has been here for me through all of this, and that they can be mad at God if they need to be. But that what matters most to me, is that they remember that no one can ever love them as much as God does, not even me. That I want them to always find their way back to God, and to live how God wants them to live, no matter how hard it may be. I want my family to be reunited in Heaven, and God wants that even more than I do. We are all His children, every single one of us, and He wants to see us all home with Him where we belong.
A couple months back my health took the scariest turn yet. I mean, I just could not think straight for weeks. This medical mystery still hasn’t been figured out. There is still testing that needs to be done, and doctors that I need to see. This experience has by far changed me the most than any other moment this past year. It has made me realize how badly I want to live, and to live my life for God. It has made me a different mother, a different wife, and has changed my priorities in countless ways. It has made me want to hug my family, and never let them go. It has made me want to spend every moment trying to be the person God wants me to be, and to spread as much love as I possibly can. Now, this does not mean this is what I am doing! I am weak, I often don’t feel well, I am still very much afraid, I am tired. And that is all ok, because I am a sinner. But I am working on becoming better, and stronger in my faith, and I’m doing so with a happy thankful heart. I think what has changed the most this past month and ½, is every day I have woken up and the first thing I do, is say a short prayer of thankfulness. Instead of waking up in fear, I am waking up so overcome with joy and thankfulness to have been given another day. And even better than that, a hopeful heart that I will see many days still. That maybe all of this is just a quality of life issue, and not a death sentence. I know this feeling of joy and thankfulness is a sweet gift from my Heavenly Father, and it’s a gift I currently hold most dear to my heart.
Lately I have taken on a new attitude that I most commonly hear called “Fake It Till You Make It”. I simply call it, “ignoring”. Maybe this is what people call positive thinking, though I’m not sure. I’m not seeing the future as a bright place, I’m just not allowing this past year to be my new normal. Ignoring really started by accident, it started in prayer. Anyone who knows me, knows how miserably awful I am at prayer. I try to pray, and often, but I so easily become distracted. Thirty seconds in, I realize I’m making a grocery list in my head, and I don’t even do the grocery shopping. Or it’s like when you blank out while reading a book. You realize you are 10 pages in from where you started, but you have no idea what you read, and you must start over again. Illness brought on a new determination to get better at communicating with God though, so I tried something new. I write down my prayers. Usually just a list, but sometimes, when concentrating is super difficult, I doodle my prayer instead of speak it in my thoughts. I go line by line in my list, and before you know it, I am praying (not out loud, I still haven’t conquered that). Before you knew it, my thoughts were more on the good and on others, and less on me and my problems. Then people would ask how I was, and I would either tell them I was great, thank you, or I wouldn’t answer if it felt too overwhelming. Rob and I started reading the Bible again every evening. The children and I start their school day off with the Bible. Before you knew it, my life was becoming so centered on God and God’s will, that I was running out of time to obsess on my fear and sadness.
I’m not sure where along the timeline here that this next thing happened, but slowly and surely, a new gift was showing up. Hope. I was looking forward to things again. I was trying to get out and about, if even that just means my own backyard. I have practiced driving twice (I need to give Rob ample time to emotionally recover before trying for a third time;). I even took control of my own body and decided to change my own treatment for a bit. I don’t know what the future is going to bring, but what I do know, is that I am here right now. None of this means that I don’t still get consumed by feelings of fear or sadness, but it does mean that, for now, I am ignoring that part of my life and giving attention to the part that brings joy to the Lord.
The point of this blog post, is to update you in a way, and to invite you to a celebration. My birthday is in July. I don’t know when I stopped caring about my birthday. Maybe when I became a mom, maybe when getting older no longer sounded like an excuse for a celebration, maybe I just got physically too tired for another birthday (maybe all three). Not this year though, this year I am celebrating my life! I am celebrating that I am here. I am celebrating that my life now has more of the meaning it should have, instead of the meaning that society wants it to have. I am celebrating that I not just care about my life, but that I again share in hopes and dreams with Rob for what is to come for us and for our family.
So, this July 23rd, we will be celebrating at the Katie & Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center! We are renting out a room where we will have all our LuLaRoe clothes with us, birthday cake and snacks, and a day of joy and celebration. We also will be donating 10% of our gross sales to the Jewish Community Center. The JCC has been such a steadfast and loving place for our family. I hope to show them how they treat others, really makes a positive difference. Please stop by and join in on our celebration this day!
Sunday July 23rd, from 1-5, at the Katie & Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center. 306 Flora Dr. Columbia
Please stop by, tell a friend, bring a friend! We want this day to be full of life and celebration!!