Nehimiah 1:8-9 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them…I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored” (NLT)
My past two weeks have been brutal emotionally, physically and spiritually. Each day I wake to a pounding headache, a throbbing nerve, and wrestling with the fear of the unexplained weight. I am figuratively and literally uncomfortable in my own expanding skin. And the withdrawal from the Cymbalta (in hopes that it is the source of the weight gain), hits me like a truck. I am sure I must have “Mack” imprinted on my forehead and tire marks down my back. Woot woot! I guess I still have some sense of humor hiding in the recesses of my spinning head, but for the second time in less than a month I don’t feel safe with myself. I wonder if I have the strength or faith to keep eating by faith, pressing on and leaning into God. I read the parable of the mustard seed. Matthew 17:20 ” You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard see you could say to this mountain move from her to there and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. Surely I have this much, or little amount of faith, but I am not moving any mountains today, that’s for sure. I read the last line “Nothing would be impossible,” and I believe that my God is bigger than any trial or suffering I am facing, but where is he?
I find myself too weak to press on alone or lean into Jesus. I am sitting in a dangerous war zone; and I need back up. I make the calls to those I know who will “stand in the gap” holding me up and praying for me like their life depended on it. There is power in the name of Jesus, but also in numbers, so I pray for God to send his army of angels to fight for this weary warrior. Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Today I simply take cover and allow those that have rushed to my aide in the form of prayer warriors, angels and friends to cover me. They are my power and strength. I need back up, and He delivers. Sometimes it is in our human frailty that he shows us His strength.
I somehow survive the day and the night wondering how much of my hopelessness comes from within and how much is from the withdrawal? I just know it is scary to feel so defeated. So, figuring out which it is, is as useless as a soldier trying to figure out if it was a land mine or a grenade that exploded. That outcome is the same, defeat carnage, and casualties. I sit, breathe, weep, and close my eyes and allow myself to rest in the prayers of my warriors and imagine myself surrounded by God and his army of angels. My breath steadies and peace begins to crawl stealth like, back into my being. Night closes in and I find rest.
I wake with a greater sense of peace and gratitude that I survived the previous few days. I read the scripture from Nehemiah once again. I had been unfaithful to The Father as I turned to the eating disorder four years ago instead of him. I wandered off, but have returned to him, and sometimes I wander off again, but God is good and he always sends “back up.” Sometimes it is before I even enter the minefields, although often I am already in the ”crossfire” and the back up arrives in the nick of time. The important thing for me to remember is that it has always come.
Aren’t we all unfaithful and willful at times as we wander off thinking we can do “this” or “that” on our own? It is part of our humanity and the entire reason Jesus had to go to the cross. Human beings are messy creatures. All of us act like disobedient children at one time or another. It is impossible for us to always do the right thing even when we know what is right. The forbidden is like a Siren’s song calling out for us to follow her instead of God. Let’s face it every one of us will eventually get caught with our hand “in the cookie jar”, but seldom get our hand stuck in the jar; Even Winnie the Pooh is freed from the honey pot. We learn lessons from wandering off, getting lost, caught in our transgressions, or even temporarily stuck. We begin to learn that God’s back up is what grace looks like.
I sit and search my heart and sit quietly to hear what it is God is asking of me. I know he doesn’t want me wandering back into the eating disorder, but running back to him. I try, as best I know how to earnestly seek him and his ways. The only thing I am certain about is that I do not understand his ways. I don’t understand the eating disorder, the torment of pudendal nerve neuralgia, my pain and suffering, or anyone’s pain and suffering.
I re-read Nehemiah. I want to read this as affirmation that God will heal all my diseases and bring me back to wholeness, but that isn’t exactly what he says. He says he will bring me back to a place where he can and will be honored. As much as my hearts desire is recovery from eating disorders and nerve dysfunction, my true desire is to honor Him. I want, no, I need this to make sense. I am so flipping human! I am not always very graceful or honoring God through my suffering. In fact…some days I shake my fist in anger and yell at him “You promised me healing, grace, and peace. You promise authority in your name. I rebuke, I claim healing all in your name!! So, tell me God where are you in all of this? I know that I am not forsaken, but boy do I feel like it.”
I am tired and confused, and I ask him “Lord what are thinking, how can I ever make sense of this? Are you sure you have a plan and a way to use this torment? I hear him speak to me through two words: Thoughts, and ways. I search these words on my bible app and he leads me to the words I need to hear.
Isaiah 55:6-9 “Seek the Lord while you can find him
7Call on him now while he is near
Let the wicked change their ways
And banish the thought of doing wrong
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them
Yes turn to your God, for he will forgive generously
8My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts ‘says the Lord’
And my ways are ways are far beyond anything you can imagine
9For just as the heavens are higher than the earth
So my ways are higher than your
And my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
He reminds me that he is near. “Go ahead call on me! You don’t need to figure it out because I have already thought this one through, and I will make a way through this….I promise.”