Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Mom's Chronic Illness and Depression

I hate everyone. I hate them all", I muttered to my husband, as he held me upright and we shuffled to find a seat by the water. "I know, Amanda, I know. I love you, I'm sorry". The ocean air and sun hit me and I tried to relax into my Husband's strong shoulder.

I looked around and watched a healthy strong Mom laugh with her family while waiting to jump on a boat. I watched a strong female jogger run by, music blaring, running to the beat. Couples walked by laughing and eating ice cream. And here I was, reduced to this chronically ill, physically incapable wife. Nobody understood, or cared. Nobody knew what it felt like. I had a faithful husband I wanted to bless, but instead had to hold me and take care of me. My joints screamed, my head was foggy and I couldn't think. I could barely lift my arms, the muscle fatigue was so intense. My vision kept blurring as the tears stung my eyes. Life just wasn't fair.

Three years ago, I was in the best shape of my life. I was running, working out daily, and I felt STRONG. I took my little boy everywhere on adventures and was the definition of an active and independent Mom. Yet there I was, with my husband by my side, physically weak, sick, and scared. I had always fought to be upbeat and positive, but life had beaten it all out of me and a terrible depression had taken over.

"My family needs me stronger", I thought, "Lord please heal me. PLEASE. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do to heal." I wanted to find the person that says "God never gives you more than you can handle" and sucker punch them.

"You're never going to heal", the Enemy whispered, "Your family would be better off without you".

It wasn't the first time i had heard this whisper. There were many dark nights that saw me awake in bed, struggling to breathe, and giving up. I laid there, tears streaming down my face, asking the Lord to take me home and bring someone else to my Husband to take care of he and our kids. Someone strong, with no health problems. Someone that didn't need to be dependent, like I had forcibly become on some days. Someone they deserved.

I worried about my kids' futures. Would they be less successful because I couldn't give them what other moms could? Would they need therapy in the future for seeing their Mama on the couch all the time? Could they see the tears, though I tried to hide them?

There have been many Bible verses I thought I understood over the years. I could quote verse after verse after verse, but never understood their depth until I desperately needed the promised Jesus gives.

After we left the ocean, I spent the evening laying down at home while my faithful, and very stressed husband cooked me food, took care of the kids and cleaned up again. I struggled watching him, wanting to jump in and take over - to just tell him to sit down and relax for once. But my body would not allow it. The anger rose up again and I silently prayed, "God, please PLEASE heal me. Please! I have always been strong and independent, I hate being so weak! Please heal me so I can be physically strong again and recover from this depression."
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 
Never had I fully understood this verse until this moment. I scrambled to find the rest of the verse:
"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
My thoughts raced: boast happily about my weakness? Who wants to hear about how sick I am? Who wants to hear about my joints, my lungs and my anxiety? My depression and my many imperfections? I always said that I ever feel better, THEN I'll share. To give people hope.

I don't understand it all. This fallible mind and body likely won't understand God's plans until heaven. But I do know that God does has a plan and that His plan is good. Sick or not, He is on the throne and He can work all things for good.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you', says the LORD, 'thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

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