What a day…. for that matter, what a year. But I’ll start with today and go back. We woke up to devastation from flooding here in Costa Rica. It is reported that at least 20 have died because of landslides and flooding and many more are without houses. Please be in prayer for our country. While Jacob was helping Jorge repair our driveway and I was teaching the kids, I started getting a migraine. Not much has helped relieve it and even while having that, I could not seem to sit still and rest. So I sat down at my computer a couple of hours ago and opened my email. Simple enough. I noticed I had almost 900 emails in my Inbox, so I thought I am going to clean this out. It was like a fun step back in time. I was mostly delete happy, but occasionally a title would catch my attention and I would open it and walk down memory lane. It went from preparing to leave SC in 2008, then to our year in language school and then to returning to the States for a brief trip and then back here to Costa Rica in fall of 2009…..
Then I came across an email to Johnny in December of 2009 and I decided to read it. I was describing the fact that we had decided to bite the financial bullet and me go to the doctor here and then I described my symptoms. ….. It took my breath a bit…. all of the memories started to coming back of this past year….. I immediately remembered calling my parents on a Saturday morning probably right after that email and they were telling me they thought I needed to come back to SC to MUSC to be examined…. I yelled at them and fussed and carried on and told them no. (I cannot think of a time in my life that I had ever acted like that to my parents) They said that MMBC leadership also thought I needed to return and so did their friend Dr. Joe John whom I had been talking to already asking his opinion. I then proceeded to call Johnny and guess what, I fussed at him and I think I may have even yelled at him. DIDN’T THEY REALIZE THAT NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH ME? I WAS NOT COMING BACK TO THE STATES!!! I then called Dr. John to fuss at him too. 🙂 (I hope that you all realize this is not my normal personality) I will never forget that conversation with him. As he was talking to me I started to cry. He was right, perhaps I did need to return. Dr. John, you were the one that got me to return. Thank you…..
Back to the emails…. I started to go back to deleting them again. I came across the one from Dr. John from the day after I fussed at him on the phone. He was so kind and telling me that he had contacted a Dr. Gary Gilkeson, a professor of Rheumatology at MUSC who had agreed to see me as soon as I flew in. I had no idea at that time what a huge blessing him sending me to Dr. Gilkeson was going to be…. My memories went to flying back and saying goodbye to my husband and kids and saying, “Mommy will be back in a week. Everything is fine.” I packed for 4 days. I sat on the plane, honestly thinking, “Ok, so something might be wrong, but it will end up being small and I will be right back to Costa Rica by the end of the week.” Looking out my window on the plane, praying, a rainbow followed outside my window the entire 4 hours finally disappearing into the sunset…. Got a call the next morning from Dr. Gilkeson and he saw me that day. At that appointment I asked him if he knew I had come back to SC “kicking and screaming.” He smiled and said that he had heard that 🙂 ….
Back to my emails…. I started rereading many of them after this….. I began to get very overwhelmed…. I am actually very overwhelmed right now as I write this….. I started noticing many things. First, Dr. Gilkeson is a saint for putting up with a ton of emails and questions from me. And he answered each one….. blessing, blessing, blessing….. Then I started noticing that there were emails with 60, 70, 80 responses…. It was you guys…. I am weeping as I write that (wish I could give you all hugs right now)…. why?…. Because it is just so overwhelming to me how God has blessed me with so many people praying for me and loving me…. I began to reread some….. I had to stop….. I went to my bed, got in it, put on my iPod and began to weep….
All the memories of this past year started to rush back….. leaving my precious family here, Dr. Gilkeson explaining blood work, biopsy results, medicines, my immune system, these diseases, being without Jacob and the kids, prayers, new friends, love, God’s love, God’s goodness, God’s power, God’s miracles, GOD’S GRACE. Many people have said to me over this past year that I am some person special. That I inspire them. If that is the case, it is not me they are seeing. I am just a person trying to live my life for the Lord. HE, our God, is the one that gets all the credit for the person that you see. HE is the One who has carried me. HE is the One that has never left my side. HE is the One that has kept every promise. He is the One that has not allowed me to complain. He is the One that kept me from not falling apart with my family in one country and me in another. He is the One that held me together as I had to relearn to put pants on with my physical therapist Renee. He is the One that did not allow me to get depressed over this whole past year. He is the One. He is the One. He is the One…..
It is His Grace. It has been a year of His Grace. For without it…. can’t and don’t have to go there…. I can say that I am thankful for this past year. I am thankful for these diseases. I am thankful because I have been able to experience God in a way that I never have in my life as a Christian. And I pray that somehow He will use it for His glory. I go back to my Scripture verse that was on my heart during my last infusion….
2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
What does the future hold with dermatomyositis, interstitial lung disease and Courtenay? I don’t know. And I don’t need to know. Because I have my God and Savior who will always be with me and THEIR GRACE is sufficient. If you don’t have them, please click on our tab that says The Big Question. Contact me or someone else that is a Christian that you trust. He is there for you.