“Then I saw her face. Now I’m a believer. Not a trace . . . of doubt in my mind.”
If I followed the lyrics to this song by the Monkees, it would lead to a love song. For me, these words do not communicate “love” today. They communicate understanding.
It began with violent twitching of her limbs, marked by cramping that pulled her right hand into a claw. No matter how she tried, she writhed but could not get the fingers to straighten or get the twitching to stop. She waited, apologized for delaying our medical appointment, and her symptoms did not change. Somehow the involuntary movement pattern eventually broke enough to begin the special testing protocol for me and for which she was trained. It is her job to help others with chronic illness but now she is in need as well.
Pain created postural rigidity that was visible as marked stiffness as I sat near her. The degeneration of her spine escalated the pain that was already present that day. Words of encouragement only encouraged me as I stayed with her and as the episode unfolded into new symptoms. Administering the testing procedures which required operating a computer and test equipment were impossible; she could not hold the probe or operate the keyboard accurately. She wanted to help me, to proceed, and could not. She leaned up against the wall as she offered to talk about my health concerns. Perhaps we could turn the visit into a consultation of sorts? She had tremendous knowledge to share from her expertise in electodiagnostic testing, alternative health research, and recent work with a masterful local physician. Together they had helped many improve their lives. That same doctor had encouraged me to return for testing. It simply was not to be today.
I asked her a few questions and appreciated the information that just might give me as much insight into the next steps of my own health challenges as the testing might have done. O.k. So we were both getting somewhere for a moment. Perhaps she could rescue the appointment that is her vocation and livelihood and I could go forward with new insights into my treatment plan? Nope. Not meant to be. Within moments, she was unable to speak, straining for words. Attempting to speak or move, worsened the lock down on her ability to function. The internal tics were visible to me sitting near her. There was nothing else to do but pray. So calling upon the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, I prayed for her, for me, for all who deal with chronic illness. Her symptoms softened. But the damage was done. It would take her hours to recover. Our visit was over. Into my truck she hobbled, and into her house she limped. The office staff would graciously drive her car home sometime later. The appointment and her day were now over.
This is another face of Lyme Disease, multiple autoimmune disease, chronic inflammatory response syndrome, chronic pain, and the consequence of living in a fallen world. Some of us have an easier time as we journey through life and some of us do not. All of us will suffer loss, some type of emotional or physical pain, and unwelcome changes during our lifetime. I have come to know that how we handle it may not be determined by the extent of the trauma. Oh it seems insurmountable a the time. How we handle it can be determined by the extent of our faith in a plan and purpose for our lives that transforms our life experience.
Even episodes as severe as the one I describe here can be transformed into grace when we understand that our lives are not about comfort, good stuff, fleeting happiness. It takes what it takes to turn our eyes back to the One Who made us and understands what is going on when our lives, when our world make absolutely no sense to us. And He will not allow frustration forever or unmercifully. In His Word, He promises that all can be used for His glory. In time and in the end, we will see that our suffering is not wasted . . . The path to this type of faith and understanding comes from seeking Him through His word and not this blog. Or any blog. Go to His Word, my friend and there you will find rest!
I have great compassion for this dear child of God and the experience that I witnessed on Friday. I have experienced much of the same symptoms in my own seizure attacks. Gratefully I don’t have the same type of cramping or mixed motor control issues. I am able to recover enough after an episode to drive home if needed and to care for my basic needs. The episodes come most days for me yet are generally of shorter duration than before my husband and I remediated our home for mold. Further, the Lord has provided the time, a loving husband, and just enough finances for this season of my life. My dear friend struggles more than I in these realms. I pray that she will seek her Heavenly Husband who will exceedingly provide for her too through Christ Jesus. In Christ, we both will ultimately find peace and hope.
Yes, on Friday I did not only see her face but the face of my Lord Jesus. In His face we will find all for which we long. What will you see?