Freed

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It’s a bit of a frustrating process to get life insurance when you’ve got medical issues. Not huge ones, but chronic ones. It can feel like complete crap calling doctors offices to get diagnosis dates and other details that an underwriter needs for research to determine what an appropriate annual rate will be for someone with your history. Fixating on all of your body’s problems can be a real buzz kill. I understand though. I’m a hot mess on paper.  It’s a risk taking on someone like me. My husband says that my medical history can make me look pretty bad but in person, He’s like “Damn, girl.” I paraphrased him.

I don’t think the average person would listen to my medical history and current conditions and feel like I have been “healed.”

Here it goes….a clep blog version.

I had a benign hip tumor surgically removed in high school. Two reconstructive ACL surgeries in college. Total colectomy with ileo-anal pouch anastomosis the summer following my freshman year in college. Countless failed surgeries for fistula repairs. Guinea pig much? Three different states by three separate surgeons following college. The “best surgeons” in the field. Two of which did unethical things to my body, without my consent.

I have a micro tumor on my pituitary gland that can cause some real problems, despite its itty bitty millimeter size. I’ve got junked-up, scarred lungs that struggle to get mucous out on their own. There’s a disease for that: bronchiectasis. A tricky one to spell. My lungs need a little love from albuterol and the acapella valve from time to time. And no, it doesn’t sound like sweet non-instrumental music. I will take instruments, please, any day of the week. It sounds more like Darth Vader’s wife.

I don’t have my large intestine anymore. Yes, you can live without one. Unlike a lizard’s tail, mine has not magically grown back after being surgically removed for being straight-up diseased. Dead. Unresponsive to meds, beyond resuscitation. I do miss it from time to time, when I’m going to the bathroom ten or so times a day. Especially in the middle of the night during one of those rare good dreams that you want to hop back into. But ughhh, you can’t.

I guess, selfishly, I have hard time spiritually processing things when I hear of people being miraculously or momentarily “healed” or cured. In God’s name. I guess I get a bit pissy and confused because I’ve said about a million prayers. Not just for me. And I’m pretty sure those who love me have said more. It makes me feel pretty damn unimportant. And I think, “why not me?” Or why not the starving kids, abused kids or women being raped? Victims of brutal genocide. Especially the littlest ones. Cancer patients. Or the millions of other afflictions that just flat-out suck much more than mine.

Well, let’s analyze it. I’ve done my fair share of bad stuff. Rebellious stuff. Ungodly stuff. But still, I’ve never wavered in my faith in God. Or his love for me. I love Jesus. I get Him. He gets me. He knows my heart the best. He understands me. He searches me out and always finds me. Wherever I am, be it on the bathroom floor or next to the kitchen sink. In my closet. In a hospital room. In my car. He’s kind of like a crazy never ending Dr. Seuss book. I can’t escape him. He throws a crud-ton of grace down on me. Constantly. And forgives me all the time. I believe this.

I think he welcomes my doubts and fears and all of my hurts too. My humanities. He recognizes the many different kinds of tears that trickle, stream, sneak and flood down my face. Most importantly, he holds me accountable. Picks me up off of the bathroom floor, most times, in the form of my husband. He shows me a glimpse of my potential. He expects me to do more, persevere and grow. Love harder, and never settle for convenience, complacency or boredom. He instills an infinite supply of hope inside my heart. My mind. And my soul.

I’ve actually got an ongoing list of questions for God to answer. Not that God needs my list. But I do. One day, I hope he will answer all of my random ones, like “what’s up with moths eating all of our sweaters”, or “Why I am I wide awake after having sex but my husband falls into a coma-like sleep state?” There are the deeper, more complicated questions too, like “why do kids have to die? Ever.” Or “why did soooooo many of my surgeries fail?”

I often start deep sea thinking and praying like I do. When I’m vacuuming. Or driving. Or in the shower. I’m typically trying to work things out with God. Let it all out. Like a true intro-extrovert. Or maybe it’s God trying to soften my heart and strengthen my faith, despite human beings’ attempts to destroy it. I’m attempting to move outside of the anger. The sadness or resentment. And the unfairness and the hurt. Somehow, I’ve got to see through it, past it, over it or under it. But it’s a stumbling feeling. Awkward like my feet have fallen asleep. I can’t move. I’ve got to shake them out, wake them up, even perhaps crawl on to reach the hope.

The good.

The beautiful.

It’s there. I know it. It can be sneaky. Even hidden. But it’s always truly present. And although I may not be Steve Martin in “Leap of Faith” kind of healed, I think I’ve been freed of a lot of suffocating, life-stealing things.

I’ve been freed from the illusion of perfection. Nothing and nobody is perfect. My body will never be perfect. Ever. In a ton of ways. I will always have big feet, a big nose, freckles, and scars. A lot of scars. And if I want to be naked, totally naked, I will always look down and see the bright red flesh, the part of my small intestine that’s been pulled from the inside out of my lower abdomen. To save my life. It won’t go away. Ever. No matter how many prayers I could say for the regeneration of my colon, it’s not happening. Save your breath.

My diseased body will always present obstacles and physical limits. I’ve come to terms with this over the years. It’s hard to be different, but I am. I think we all are. I have had to worry about deep things most women don’t have to. And perhaps may never ever think about, especially not on a daily basis.

It’s not that I believe that God doesn’t possess the power to do mind blowing miraculous things. He could regenerate a healthy colon for me if he wanted to. Or heal my scarred lungs. But there’s bigger more important lessons I’ve learned through the pain, frustration, disappointments and failures. I believe he’s surrounded me with people who tell me they love me, despite my missing parts. So, I pray instead for God to change my thinking, change my eyes to more readily see those around me and make me proud of who I am and all that I’ve overcome. Through Him. Proud, not ashamed. I pray that God uses me and my experiences to encourage others in an honest, transparent and freeing way. And guess what? Miraculously, these prayers have been answered. Time and time again.

I’ve been truly honored and humbled and a little overwhelmed by the love. I’ve been grateful that friends will openly share their struggles and experiences with me too. The other day, one of my friends confided in me telling me that she pooped her pants In the night and I told her “That’s not a big deal. So what? You know how many times and places I’ve shit my pants?” She told me that she knew I would be a safe person to tell, that I wouldn’t judge her. (I would only blog about her. With her permission.)

It feels a lot better knowing that it’s ok to shit your pants. That somebody else has done it too, you know? I’m truly grateful for all of the hard things that I’ve felt in my life(that’s what she said…I couldn’t help it) They’ve given me the ability to truly feel and understand a little bit more of what others may be going through. Pain is pain. Physical, mental or emotional. Isolation is isolation. And loneliness is loneliness. Don’t even get me started on shame.

God has strangely and miraculously shown me and taught me so many more meaningful lessons through the awful and painful parts of my life than I’ve ever learned through the blue skies and rainbows. I feel like through all of the hard times, I’ve been humbled, dependent, and gratefully aware of what’s most important in life. I get this awesome privilege of experiencing the beautiful parts at an insanely heightened level. I constantly encounter these most inspiring, sacrificing, loving, and genuine people. The ones that doubt and fear, laugh and love radically, outside the norm. I get to meet people that don’t shy away from the hard places, the ones who put themselves out there knowing they will be affected, mocked, bruised, and knocked down a little or a lot by life’s hurts. And they will be changed. Transformed in a caterpillar to a butterfly kind of way. Once you grow wings, you don’t want to go back to squirming around on a tree branch.

I’ve been picked up by these best kinds of people time and time again. They matter the most. And they are who I want my kids to be like when they grow up.

They may or may not know it, but they are real-life people living out the type of love Jesus talked about. The sacrificial. Seemingly crazy. Hard. Relentless. Inconvenient. Inclusive. Sacred. Beautiful love. The kind of love that never, ever fails. His love never fails.

If I have had to experience hurt and pain to be hyper sensitive to the beauty and love that exist despite it, I will get up and experience it all over again. That’s how I’ve been healed.

I’ve been released. I’ve been freed.

You don’t need to ever pity me. I’ve come a long way in my journey. And you don’t need to feel sorry for me either, okay? Unless you feel sorry for butterflies too.

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