Remember that post I just did on surrender? If you don’t, you can read it here. Basically, it was about me struggle bussing to surrender my plans and desires and life to the Lord even though I know that He is definitely the one who should be directing my life. Not me.
Well, yesterday the Lord blew me away.
Not only did He heal my shoulder miraculously, he also provided something I have been praying a very long time for.
Let’s start with the shoulder.
I have had pain in my right arm/shoulder for eleven weeks now. Yes. Eleven. That’s almost three months. I can’t tell you what in the world happened to injure it, especially to injure it for a full eleven weeks and counting; I just woke up one morning with sharp pain in my neck (which is nothing new to me considering that neck pain is a chronic, daily reminder of my life with VEDS) as well as my shoulder, which was very new. The strangest part was the decreased range of motion in my right arm/shoulder. I couldn’t lift my arm to the side past a 45 degree angle and I really couldn’t shrug my right shoulder either.
This pain and reduced range of motion, as well as some surging/traveling pain down the entirety of my right arm, have been consistent for eleven weeks now. The surging comes and goes, but the limitation of movement and pain has been a consistent companion. Many people had mentioned that it sounded like a rotator cuff injury, so after putting it off for so long, I made an appointment with my doctor. He did some x-rays and decided that he thinks it is a problem with the vertebrae in my neck, not my shoulder. So, an MRI of my neck was ordered and I am still waiting for them to contact me to schedule it.
That night, I went to the Monday night prayer meeting at my church, like I always do. I told the ladies about the persistent pain and what the doctor had said. This isn’t the first time that I’ve brought physical pain to prayer. In fact, I bring that with me almost every week. Those ladies are always faithful to pray for whatever new pain exists or the lingering pains that cling to my muscles or joints and refuse to be released. They prayed for me, as they had done many times before, and we all went home.
That night I couldn’t sleep. My whole body ached all night and when I woke up yesterday morning, my neck was so tight that my right shoulder was one to two inches higher than my left shoulder at rest.
I tested out my arm to see how badly the neck pain and tension was affecting it.
It went passed the 45 degree mark all the way above my head. I tried it again. And again. I just did it again now. It still pops and my neck hurts some, but my range of motion is back!
I shrugged my shoulders to test the movement there. It went passed the typical stopping point. Although my neck still hurts and I don’t have full range of motion back, it is definitely a God thing!
You can’t look me in the face and tell me that going to the doctor and getting proof of an injury and then waking up the next day with the evidence almost completely gone is just a coincidence. That, my friends, is some divine healing! A touch from the Lord’s hand! Can I get a hallelujah!?
So, needless to say, yesterday was already shaping up to be a phenomenal day. However, that was just the beginning.
Yesterday I also received a letter containing a check that pretty much covers the rest of my graduate school tuition. Read that again. And again. Now, that may not be impressive to some people, but that is a direct answer to my prayers followed by an overflow of blessing on top.
I have been praying fiercely that the Lord would provide the money that I need for my tuition each semester, which is no small sum. I asked Him to surprise me and I have have no doubt in my mind that He would provide in one way or another. The past three semesters, God has provided my tuition in a myriad of ways and on a timeline that I could never understand, but He has never delayed and He has never let me down. He has been more than just faithful. He has been… Wow. There aren’t words. There is no way that I could contain how good and perfect and absolutely, miraculously, indescribably incredible the Lord has been to me. There just aren’t words. He cannot be contained in a paragraph or a phrase. He cannot be described with the meager words of my unremarkable language. He has certainly surprised me more than once just in how He has provided for this one particular area of need and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will continue to surprise me and He will continue to be the Almighty, Sovereign God that I know Him to be. I know that He will continue to defy the odds and do the impossible. He is good. All the time. And all the time. God IS good.
So. Yesterday was an absolutely phenomenal day. I saw the Lord answer not one, but two major prayers in my life right now. I had been praying for another $4,000 just to get through the coming Fall semester. The Lord did one better and provided enough for this semester and the next! Thank You, Lord! Thank You, Lord! Thank You, Lord!
And thank YOU! Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and with me. Thank you for believing and trusting that the Lord would answer. Thank you for encouraging me in prayer and in person. Y’all are awesome and I pray the Lord blesses your socks off and reveals Himself to you in new and awe-inspiring ways.
God is good! Can I get an Amen!?
It is baffling the number of people whose immediate response to discovering that their friend or loved one has a genetic disorder (like Vascular Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) is something like, “Oh my goodness! I’m praying that God heals you completely” or “I’m praying that God rewrites your genetic code and that the doctors are baffled” or “I’m praying things change.” Basically, everyone is praying that this new found information will be gone ASAP.
Most people would smile and say, “Thank you so much!” in response to something like that. Not me. Remember, I’m one of those weird kids. So I’m going to take this post and try to explain to you why I don’t think that is the best way to handle things with prayer. Please bear with me. I may ruffle some feathers and some of you aren’t going to like it, but this is my opinion and I think that it is a very valid one and is based on teachings found in the Bible. So here we go. Deep breath….
My immediate response to someone telling me that they wish God would basically change His mind (which has happened before with King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20) is, “why?” quickly followed by, “Lord, Your will be done. Not mine and not theirs.” I want to know why they want my situation to change. I want to see their point of view, which is normally a desire for me and my family to be made well and not have to go through this hard time. I completely understand this. Being sick sucks and if it can be helped, then that’s awesome! But, what if the healing doesn’t come? Then that’s awesome too! (You can read my last post about how to pray according to God’s will rather than just praying what we want, here.)
Don’t you think God knew what He was doing when He created me? He literally knit me together in my mother’s womb with this mutation in my genes. I happen to think He has something greater planned for me than just having VEDS. I believe that He can and will use this genetic disorder to shape not only my life, but also the lives of those around me. Actually, I know that for a fact. I’ve seen a change in the way that I view things and I’ve also seen a change in how others view VEDS after I explain why I don’t pray it away. No, I am not looking for pity. At all. I am merely saying that things ARE different now. God has used this to open my eyes and show me that life is short. Yes, I am completely aware that this is a cliche way of thinking and everyone is aware that life is short, but having a disorder like VEDS and having to come to terms with the fact that you could rupture at any moment really makes you stop and think for a minute. It made me stop and, not only think, but also give thanks for the incredible life that God has blessed me with thus far. I mean, seriously! I have accomplished so much in my 21 years that some people may never do. I’ve personally seen all 50 state’s license plates (don’t laugh, it’s a legitimate accomplishment and it takes a long time). I am a Black Belt in Karate. I am a Children’s Ministry Director. I have survived almost 3 years of a long distance relationship. And there are so many other things that I could continue to list, but I figure that you’re already bored with that. I have done a lot and God has taught me so many things throughout my life and this is just another one of those things to say “Thank You, Lord!” for and then allow Him to teach me something new. So I will praise God in the good times and the bad, just like Job did (Job 2:10) when everything was taken from him. God used that for His glory and that’s what I want the Lord to do with my life. No matter what it looks like, I want God to receive all of the glory.
Remember how much I like metaphors? Well I have another one for you! Check out John 9:1-12. No, seriously. You should read it. This whole thing will make a lot more sense if you read it for yourself. Just saying. I think I’m a lot like the blind man in that passage. I don’t think that I have this disease because of anything that I’ve done or anything that my parents have done. This isn’t the result of something someone did way back a long time ago. Jesus said, “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). And I think that God can do the same thing with me. I don’t think that I need a reason for me to have this disease. All I need to know is that God is sovereign and He is in control. He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11) that will work out for my good (Romans 8:28) and that is enough for me. I want my life to glorify Him above all else. I want His will to be done above all else. The Bible says to rejoice when we go through trials and hard times (James 1:2), so why should I be any different? Those trials produce steadfastness, perseverance, endurance, patience, and so many other good things (James 1:3), so bring them on! I will be joyful in these hard times. Well, I will try to be. Thank the Lord that we have a patient and gracious God who is willing to work with us and I am super thankful for all of the people that God has placed in my life who have helped me and encouraged me through this time.
I am not praying for healing. Some of you may say that I don’t have any faith because of that, but I would say that you are wrong. I have faith, a lot of it for that matter. My faith, however, is not in my healing. If I am never healed, I will still praise my Heavenly Father because He is good and He is in control. My faith is in God. In His will, His way, His timing, and His glorification. Do I still believe that healing can happen? Sure! God is still a God of miracles. However, if God chooses to use this disorder as something to help mold me into the woman that He has created me to be, then I want that. I want His will more than I want my comfort. Is it going to be difficult? Definitely. Are there going to be days that I am unable to see the joy in the midst of so much pain and so many trials? Of course. But, God is good. He will get me through it and all I have to do is rest in the knowledge that the God of all creation is holding me in His arms and carrying me when I am unable to walk on this journey we call life.
God made me this way, so I’ll serve Him just as I am. Just like I have been. Just like I did before I knew about this disorder. God knew that I had VEDS before I was born. It took me 21 years to figure it out. So I think I’m placing my life in pretty good hands (the same hands, mind you, that molded Adam and rubbed the mud in that blind man’s eyes). I don’t NEED healing. All I NEED is Jesus.