Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reminiscing 2015

I started off 2015 asking questions: who am I? What do I like? What don't I like? What has Lyme changed in me and who is the real me? 

I feel like over the past 12 months I've learned more about myself. I learned my likes and dislikes. I learned who I play well with and who I clash with. I learned who I really am, not who Lyme created me to be.  

I'm loud and energetic. I used to try and cover those up because I thought to be a "good Christian woman" I had to be gentle and quiet and submissive. And yes those things are good to an extent, but they aren't good when you are covering up your real self. I'm passionate and opinionated. I have feelings about things and I like to share those. I used to think I was a leader by default(because I had to be), but that's not true. I'm a leader. And I love being a leader. I'm also a dreamer. Boy, am I a dreamer. I speak my mind. Maybe you can call me slightly rebellious and untamed- and if you did, I'd like that. I'm an introvert. My favorite time of the day is when I take my detox bath. Why? Because I'm alone. I'm vulnerable. I'm a sharer. I feel that if we keep things silent that robs people from getting physical, mental and emotional healing. 

I learned this year that people are not always going to like me. And that's okay! My job is not to please anyone. My job is to be loved by Jesus, love myself, and love others. And if those three things are happening then your opinion of me won't rock my world. I think I allowed people's opinions of me to change me. I had to learn the real me, then decide that I totally and completely love and accept myself. Now, people can think what they want, God has my back and He adores me. 

I learned that that no matter what happens around me my world doesn't change. I'm still liked and loved by Jesus. And nothing that happens will stop God's great plans for my life. No matter the tension, broken relationships, gossip, heated discussions, or difference of opinions my world has not changed. I don't need to carry any of that. I carry peace because I walk with the Prince of peace. I love myself because God loves me, and in turn I can love others. Surrendering is part of being a Christ follower. It doesn't make you weak to let all that go, it makes you strong because you are putting it in the hands of a God who can actually redeem it. 

I also learned that allowing other people's crazy to make me crazy is CRAZY! When people talk bad about you behind your back but never seek the truth from you- that's crazy. When people lie to you and do everything they can to cover their story- that's crazy. When people hate you for something that's out of your control- that's crazy! Why do we allow crazy to make us crazy? I have a sound mind. I walk with peace. I'm loved by Jesus. Crazy no longer makes me crazy. 

Being married, having kids, college degrees, and high paying jobs doesn't make you more than people without those things. God is the same good when you're single, married, with kids and holding a college degree. It's not a stepping stool of the mature. Someone with all those things may be more immature than someone without those things. You aren't doing something right so you get kids, marriage and a good job. No. It doesn't work that way. Don't let anyone make you feel less than because you don't have what they have. People need your consent to make you feel a certain way- don't give it to them. 

I'll share one more thing I learned with you (there's tons, but I'm trying to pick my favorites). 

Fear is an illusion. Fear of people, the future, Lyme Disease and coinfections is an illusion. When you're little you're scared of monsters under your bed. When you get older you realize that you had a fear of something that doesn't exist. An illusion. I don't know what my future looks like with missions, babies, and Lyme but I know who olds my future. The King of kings and Lord of lords. There is no fear because I am a child of God. 

My favorite parts of 2015:
- Dance party to celebrate my health 
- Two new tattoos (yay for gift cards!) 
- Tons of great mountain adventures
- Moving out and feeling married again
- At one point being in remission of all three bacterias (1 stayed in remission, 2 didn't)
- Being able to do the incline 
- Getting the sweetest golden retriever puppy 
- A trip to Minnesota
- A trip to Pennsylvania
- A trip to California 
- Conquering a Spartan race
-  Letting go of baggage I was carrying for far too long 
- Rekindling the fire of old dreams 

Here's to a new year. Here's to 2016. Here's to health, love and peace. Here's to laughter and sweet memories. Here's to change and transformation. Here's to good books and maybe my own. Here's to dancing and good food. Here's to mountain tops and valleys. Here's to adventures. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Let's Be Vulnerable

Let me be real with you why I'm real with you. 

Can we all agree that life is messy, raw and a little dirty (either mud dirt that looks gross, or Ugandan red dirt that makes you feel like a warrior princess)? We've all walked through seasons of life that we'd rather forget. We've all been angry, upset, frustrated, and have cried. ALL OF US! 

Lately I've been getting frustrated by fake people. People that put on a mask and act like their life is all butterflies and daisies. The ones you feel embarrassed of telling you had a hard time with a Pinterest project because they always get it right . The ones who always say God is good, not in a genuine way, but in a way that they're trying to prove it to themselves.  The ones that you feel you can never get a real, heartfelt answer from. 

Can we be honest for 2 seconds... We all have skeletons in our closet. Not even skeletons, but things we know others would judge us for. No one. And I mean no one is perfect. Not now and not ever. 

And I'm not just talking about sins. I'm talking about that movie you saw that you didn't want to tag on Facebook. It was funny but people would judge you for filling your mind with garbage. Or how long you watched Netflix for last night because, instead, you should have been sleeping or reading the Bible. Or how you're really doing. Because your heart is mad at God because He should have healed your mom, but people will judge you for saying that cause you should be looking for the blessing in disguise. 

We fear people judging us and coming up with their own conclusions about who we "really" are. So we say things like "yeah, I drank too much last night, but I've never done that before." "I didn't work out this week, but I normally go to the gym everyday." "Life is really hard right now, but God is good." "I ate Taco Bell for lunch, but I didn't have time to go anywhere else and I never eat there." 

Why do we do this?! Why are we so concerned about people drawing their own conclusions? About people judging us? Why are we worried we won't look like perfect Christians who are so intuned with Jesus that we do nothing wrong? 

Newsflash! None of us have the exact same convictions, stories, sins, or passions. 

On Facebook they have a spot where you can see what you've posted on this day in the years past. A couple weeks ago I was tagged in a note back in High School. The kind of note where if you comment the person had to post their favorite memory with you, a song that reminds you of them and what they'd change about you. I, because I had little self worth, commented. The person replied with some fun things that made me smile and finished saying I wasn't very genuine and that I was fake. 

Ouch! But true. I kept my life drama to myself and my best friend. I did the whole life sucks but God is good thing. I wore a thick foundation mask to make it look like Jesus and I were as tight as leggings. I was concerned if I looked less than perfect people wouldn't like me, or let me lead or trust me. Can you say people pleaser? 

Then I found out I had Lyme Disease and cos. My mental and physical state were attacked. I was in physical pain and dealing with rage, depression, and anxiety. I was jobless and not in school. I felt like an embarrassed loser. I could either justify every move I made, or be real about it all. I soon realized people deal with a lot of the same issues. I'm not the first to walk through X, Y, or Z and I'm not the last. I'm led to believe that if I'm less than what I've built in my head I should be, then people are going to judge me and think less of me. 

Let's call that what it is: crap! When we are so concerned with how others will view us we are missing out on our healing and helping others get healed. Not just sin healing, but physical, mental and spiritual. If you're open to talking about that awkward medical issue then others can seek a doctor. If you're open with talking about how you love Jesus and cuss a little then you open yourself to talking with people you may not have before. When you're open about your diet, relationships, hardships, weaknesses, and tired moments you're opening yourself up to being vulnerable which builds friendships. 

Let's stop this pathetic game with ourselfs and others. If you eat cheeseburgers, it's okay, you're not the first or the last. If you are hurting, its okay, others are hurting too. And if you are fantastic at crafts and have lovely children that's okay too! Let's stop sharing things and finishing it up with a but. People are going to judge you if you're not what they think perfect is and they'll judge you if you are perfect. So you be you! Mud, Ugandan dirt, cheeseburgers, wine, and all! 

Being vulnerable makes others vulnerable which leads to the best conversations. 

So why am I vulnerable and raw? Why do I share the ugly parts of my Lyme journey? Why do I ask hard questions? Because I firmly believe healing comes in the most vulnerable of places. Because the deeper life takes you the deeper you get with Jesus. Because I know people are going to judge me either way and I will never live up to the whole world's expectations. And because I care more about people's hearts than their actions.


Friday, December 11, 2015

To Whom It May Concern

To any of you who have interacted with me in the past 1 1/2 weeks, 

Please excuse my intense and lack of awareness behavior.  That medicine I was telling you about a couple blogs ago (for babesia that can cause crazy side affects) may have caused some neurological toxicity. 

I did two out of three rounds. In between the two rounds I felt off, kind of like a thick cloud was covering my brain. I felt like my brain was not connecting to my body. Like a lack of awareness and ability to connect to the world. I'm pretty sure I zoned out more in that week then all the times in my life. I walked around with a permanent stoned look. Let's call this "marijuana phase". 

Then I did round two and the morning after those three days I started acting crazy. We will call this "cocaine phase".  My insides are actually vibrating. Okay, maybe not actually vibrating, but that's how it feels. I feel like I'm in a constant fight or flight mode. Everything is fighting words. My life motto right now is: I love Jesus, but I could punch a ho. I'm paranoid, panicked, depressed... 

I called my Dr right away and he encouraged me to stop this medication pronto. Good call doc, good call. 

All this to say. If you have seen, heard, or been near me as of late, please don't judge me. I'm aware of the fact that I'm loud and intense and crazy... But I'm not crazy, this medication is crazy. 

The hope was for this medicine to eradicate babesia. Please pray for wisdom for my Dr for a next step. And please pray this gets out of my system quickly. 

I understand this post is intense and raw. But I started this blog to be real about my Lyme healing journey. Sometimes this journey has "but God" moments and silver lining and humor. And sometimes it has high hopes meds that have serious side effects. Lyme Disease is raw and intense. I am a Lyme warrior. This is my story. 

~ There is triumph in Your presence. Healing in Your peace. So I will lift my voice proclaiming victory. (High Above It All) 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Letter To Myself

Dear 16 year old Bekah,

When I turned 25 a few days ago I thought I owed you an apology. Who you think you'll become and where you think you'll be doesn't happen. Actually, life looks nothing like you think it will. And I mean nothing. You don't live in NYC. You aren't single living with a random tribe in Uganda with lots of orphans playing around you. You didn't get your Bachelor's degree. You're not Mother Theresa. There's no world peace. 

You're married. You got married at 21 and your husband at 19 (I prefer to say 2 weeks shy of 20, otherwise, it sounds like you marry a teenager...). I'm sure you're laughing right now because you swore up and down you'd never get married, and if you did get married there would be honeymoon babies. There were no honeymoon babies. Actually, you're 3 1/2 years married and there are still no babies. And, for the most part, you're okay with that. 

You live in Colorado Springs. Yup, 30 minuets from your parents. You actually lived with them for 17 months during the first three years of marriage. In your old bedroom... 

You got your Associates Degree and didn't go back to college after that. Your degree was going to be in Political Science. You read that right. You like politics. The tension, fighting, research to "prove" your point. You love it! You were going to go to school for youth ministry, but you changed degree after Intro to Political Science. 

You've got no babies, but you have a puppy and a cat... In an apartment. So it's like you're building roots, but also not. 

I'm sure you're feeling confused and slightly depressed about all that. But you know what? Getting to 25 is God's absolute grace on your life. You see, 4 months after you get married your health starts to crumble. You quit your job at church and use every last piece of energy you have to finish two semesters of college. And I mean every. last. ounce. of. energy. 

You saw a specialist, had a test done, or ended up in ER/urgent care 3-5 times a week for 4 months. After almost a year of searching for the answer to all the health problems you've had since you were born, we found out it's Chronic Lyme Disease and 2 other coinfections. 

Even though you've been told you're crazy numerous times and you feel crazy- there is an answer to every single health problem you've ever had. 

Chronic Lyme Disease. It's crazy. You are not crazy. 

And treatment is nasty. You end up in a wheelchair, with a PICC Line, infusing 8-10 hours a day. It gets rough there for a while. Like at one point your Dr will tell you he's glad you made it and is a little surprised that you did. 

But Rebekah, you made it. I made it. We make it. On your 25th birthday you'll still be fighting 2 coinfections, but, you're out of the wheelchair, PICC is out, you can drive, walk, dance, and have a sound mind. 

And you like you're life. No, it looks NOTHING how you want it to look, but it's a good life. 
You're married to the most outstanding man on planet earth. I swear no one else could have walked though hell with you. 
You are part of a beautiful young adult small group. You get to be part of their lives and you get to hear raw stories. 
You have a cozy apartment that people come over for game night, dinner and to just sit on your couch and cry. 
And you have friends who adore you. Friends that are like family. They tell you you're pretty on sick days and go on adventures with you on healthy days. They pray over you constantly. They're your people. You do have some heartbreaks with some friendships, but Rebekah, you'll be okay. Enjoy the friends you have currently in your life and enjoy the memories when friendship seasons end. 

I wish I learned this sooner: Stop trying to be someone you're not. You aren't gentle, quiet and submissive. You're fiesty. You love big and intensely. You have a voice and God gave you a loud voice for a reason. You have things of worth to say. Some people won't like this about you, but you keep on being you. Don't let people steal your joy or voice. Don't let the "I hate Rebekah Gibson" club get you down (watch Friends and laugh). People are mean and jealous and hurt. Love them anyway. 

So no, by the time you turn 25 you won't be single in a random part of the world. You won't have finished your Bachelor's degree. You'll be very unsuccessful to the world's standards. But you'll be exactly where God wants you to be. The best place to be. Moving mountains in Colorado Springs. 

Don't wait till you move there or get that job or finish that degree. Move mountains now. In the valleys and the mountain tops give life all you can. 

On October 2, 2014 worship Jesus. Worship Him with everything you have because He is good. And though that weekend will be scary, you're going to make it. That'll be the weekend you beat death. Dance on the grave. Then enjoy every ounce of life you are blessed to get. 

I'm glad life looks nothing like you want. Cause it's better than you could dream. 

And girl, start using coconut oil. As moisturizer and lotion and conditioner. Seriously, your face will thank you ;)  

Love, You at 25

~ Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to slide across
the finish line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, and shouting GERONIMO. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

God Doesn't Waste Pain

I HATE Lyme Disease and coinfections. 

Positive: Still no Borellia (that's the Lyme disease bacteria) showing up in my body!
Negative: Babesia (that's the malaria type bacteria) still active and bartonella (hurts my joints and bottoms of my feet and causes anxiety/depression/mood swings) came back. 

So, obviously, I'm back on treatment for bartonella and changed protocol for babesia. Being back on meds for bartonella has helped those symptoms lesson a little. My LLMD perscribed me the strongest malaria medicine he can to kill babesia. He said he held off on prescribing it because three things could happen. Either I feel fantastic the morning after taking it, or I end up in the hospital due to horrible side effects and Herx or somewhere in the middle. He is having me start it slow as well. It's a 3 day on 7 day off protocol. I finished my first round Sunday and I'm herxing (when your body is having a die-off and you feel sicker). It's not too horrible but I also didn't wake up healed. 

Interesting news: I've been complaining A LOT about back pain. My chiropractor did some X-rays and it looks like there's arthritis in the top of my spine and rotation in the bottom of my spine. Fun I got an answer for that mess. Not so fun trying to strengthen it is more miserable than the pain itself. I keep telling myself the end result will outweigh the current pain... H.O.P.E. Hold on, pain ends. 

I also got a dog... Please meet Hamilton...

Let me explain... 
I deal with a lot of anxiety. Like to the point were most the reasons I'm anxious are completely irrational. I know they are irrational. I'll be sitting in the couch sobbing, hyperventilating and begging Tanner to not leave me alone. He'll ask what's wrong. And I won't have a reason. Nothing. I have no idea why I'm so crippled by fear. All is well with my world, but my brain makes no sense. I blame bartonella and babesia. 

What does that have to do with Hamilton? Well, he's going to be trained to be an emotional support dog. He's going to help me get fully and completely healthy. Not just with anxiety but also with back pain. My back feels better when I'm standing and moving it, however, herxing feels better when I'm curled in a ball. Being curled in a ball makes my back worse, but moving uses spoons I don't have. But I need to strengthen my body to get healed... This dog is helping me through that process. He's getting me up and moving and still time to rest. 

He's hardwork, but I know the end result will outweigh the sleepless nights, smell of bitterapple everywhere, and pieces of my carpet in his mouth. 

There's an update about me :) 

I was reminded last week that God NEVER wastes pain. 
I got a phone call from someone who's husband has Lyme Disease and he's tired of fighting the battle. She's tired of seeing him in pain and sick. They feel hopeless and alone. No one gets it. They don't know what their future looks like. Doctors can't promise them anything. 

She called me asking for hope. What could I give her? What could I say to her? I'm not 100% better, treatment was hell and isn't over yet, and I don't know what my future holds with Lyme. Maybe she should talk to someone who is cured. Someone who's in remission. Someone who didn't have a PICC line, bedridden and in a wheelchair... 

Was bedridden, with a PICC line, pushed around in a wheelchair. Was. Meaning past. Meaning I'm not anymore. 

So I sat on the phone with a stranger and we cried. We cried for the caregivers of Lymies. We cried for Lyme warriors who battle day in and day out. We cried for her. We cried for me. We cried. 

I told her the things that have kept me afloat. I resolved a few facts when all this first started. Things that I refused to lose sight of. 
1. God is good. I refuse to believe anything less than God is good. My current health situation does not take away from His goodness. My physical state does not change God's eternal glory. He is good. God is nothing less than good. 
2. Jesus loves me. His love is gentle and kind and pure. His thoughts towards me are lovely. I'm the apple of His eye. He hates seeing me in pain more than I hate being in pain. He adores me. 
3. My theology may have shaken but my foundation never will. I don't understand healing. How or when or why it works in some cases but not others. But I have resolved to believe that God is Healer. He may not be Healer how I want him to be, but, He is Healer. 
4. I won't let my thoughts go anywhere less than victory and complete healing. All the "what if's" and uncertainty are not welcomed. Negativity doesn't win battles. Relentless faith does. 

I read an article about how gratitude doesn't heal grief. And I completely agree with not telling someone how to heal. Your journey is your journey. Their journey is their journey. And the beautiful part is neither look the same. 
But I had to disagree a little because finding the silver lining in things is what has gotten me through my hell. Writing my list of things I'm grateful for. Reminding my heart there is still beauty in the world. 5. I do my hardest at finding the something beautifuls. The silver linings. The hope. 

This is my story. Where there was no way  God made a way. God met me in my deepest pit. And though this season isn't over, it one day will be. And none of this will be a waste. I am a Lyme warrior. And my fellow Lyme warriors are not alone. This is our story. 

~ "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor 4:16-18 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's Okay Cause I'm Alive

"My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned, and that's okay."

When I pinned this quote on Pinterest some time ago I don't think I understood how hard it would be to say "and that's okay." Some days it's easy to say it's okay. And some days my heart says it's not okay.  

It's easy to say it's okay when I'm laughing with Tanner as we hike 5 miles then get a lift down by strangers. It's easy to say it's okay when people hear my story and say they're encouraged. It's okay when I look back and see how far I've come and how God hasn't abandoned me. 

But when the music fades and I'm dealing with a migraine because of the atmosphere pressure change (I wish the rain loved me as much as I it) alone in my apartment, it's hard to say it's okay. When I get a call to answer questions about a friend who put me down as a reference and the gal on the phone asks where I work, the okay feels pretty distant. When I get to hold all the precious babies in my life I get a little sad (side note, don't stop letting me hold your babies. I think the more babies I hold the quicker my hormones will catch up). Seeing people have jobs they love and decorating their first home and going on beautiful vacations makes me a bit jealous. 

I guess that's my problem: jealousy. "Comparison is the thief of all joy" is so true. But it's hard to not think about pre-diagnosed  Rebekah and where she was hoping to be and where she is now. I'm not living in NYC, working at a random coffee shop, hearing the most dirty and beautiful stories from the most interesting people. 

Maybe contentment is my problem too. Paul found it. He found contentment in prison! So why can't I? He had so much peace and joy that no matter what life threw at him he was going to be okay. Why? Because the God of the universe loved him so much that nothing could rock his boat. Nothing so bad could happen to him that would change his foundation. If he lived he had the opportunity to share God's hope and glory. If he died he'd be with his Saviour. That's contemptment at its finest, folks. But you have to believe it to your core. 

This past weekend I spent a lot of time processing and thinking about where I was a year ago. I was dying and could have cared less. Today, a year later, I'm walking and talking and leaping and dancing. I'm capable and confident and victorious. I'm alive. I see the beauty of life in the Colorado mountains, in the many people placed all around me, and in God's goodness. I'm alive. 

I'm a fighter. Always have been and always will be. Expect for a year ago when others had to fight for me. But as a fighter I, for the most part, know I'll make it through anything. The first year through treatment when I could hardly breath I knew I'd make it. Call it stubbornness, pride or faith, it got me through. But with that thinking though, I lose sight of how amazing it is to be alive and how I can't take it for granted.

All that to say, this past weekend I got a new perspective shift. Instead of seeing how life didn't turn out how I planned, I'm seeing how it did turn out. Because no matter how many babies I don't have or where I live or what I do all day- I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. I made it. Through God's grace and kindness and complete mercy I made it.

And no matter what I don't have or where I'm not I can still say I'm alive. I get to experience laughter and pain. I get to go on walks and watch the clouds change. I get to sit with my family and share memories. I get to watch sunrises and sunsets. I get to eat yummy food and drink Redds. I get to hold my husband's hand and remind myself of how blessed I am to be called his wife. I get to experience the good the bad the ugly and the beauty of life, cause I'm alive. 

I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive! (Name that David Crowder song)

And so are you. No matter what life throws at you, your world will not change. No matter what does or doesn't happen, you're loved by Jesus Himself and nothing can change that. 

Let's stop playing the "it could be worse" game. That's not encouraging someone to be thankful, that's cutting their feelings down. Your hard may not be my hard, but your hard is real to you. Don't feel guilty and pressured into being grateful because you have more then those people or your situation is not as bad as that one. Be grateful for your life because you're alive. 

Now go smell a flower and soak in vitamin D. Stare at the mountains. Eat good food. Cry with those you love. Laugh with strangers. Hike the physical and metaphorical mountains in your life and dance at the top. You're alive. 

My life has not gone as planned at all. But that's okay because I'm alive. It may not have turned out my way, but I'm here and it did turn out. 

~ "I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift." - Shauna Niequist 


Friday, October 2, 2015

Death's Door: reminiscing one year ago

It feels like fall today in Colorado. I'm sitting on my bed looking out the window where the sky is cloudy, air is foggy, there's rain marking the ground and it's a bit chilly. I just finished some mini wheats, and am wrapped up in my soft blanket with my cat keeping my toes warm. I like mornings like this. All is well. 

But I can't help but tear up thinking about the hell I started to walk through a year ago. After being sick and in pain for 22 years I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease and coinfections (babesia and bartonella) two years ago and the first year was pretty tough. Dropped out of school, unemployed, in a wheelchair, with the PICC line controlling my life. I pretty much stayed in bed all day everyday, sick and in more pain than imaginable. But the pain I had felt all my life could not prepare me for those 3 days of torture. 

A year ago I was at bible study. I couldn't tell you what we were talking about because I normally sat in the corner and prayed I wouldn't get too sick and make a scene. The few days leading up I was having these episodes where my body would go completely numb and I felt like my body was shutting down. I would stare into space and either unable to respond or I'd talk gibberish. I remember reminding myself to breathe because breathing felt like a foreign concept. I was going in and out of those during group. 

After group everyone was talking and I started having awful chest pain. My chest was burning and piercing. I felt overheated too. People were concerned but I chalked it up to an anxiety attack or allergic reaction. Both were completely normal for me. People started dispersing and I felt myself getting weaker and weaker. Tanner ended up carrying me to the car while I apologized to all those around me for "making a scene". 

Mind you, this was my normal. 

We got home and I was getting ready to clean and flush my PICC line. I pulled the sleeve down to see blood coming out of the site. After completely freaking out Tanner and I decided to get it checked at the ER. We rolled into the ER around 10pm with PICC line issues. The doctor told me to call my home nurse and have her check it in the morning. Probably just placement being off. So we left. 

About halfway home Tanner turned the car around and brought me back to the ER. I was in tears because of the chest pain. I remember thinking it wasn't an anxiety attack anymore something was not okay. 

Back at the ER I was given pain meds and had an X-ray done to find out my PICC line was coiled. The line should go right up your arm and straight across your chest and stop next to your heart. Mine looped in the middle of my chest. What should have happened next? It should have been pulled immediately. But, because I'm an overachiever with medical, they had no one there to pull it. Meaning I was sent home to talk to my home nurse in the morning. 

We got home about 430am and Tanner attempted sleep as I cried in a ball wishing I had morphine to push in my veins. Tanner rubbed my back and prayed over me till 6am came around. He got ready to go to work and put me in the care of my mom till my nurse could tell me what to do. 

I curled up on the couch with my mom, feeling completely alone and terrified to my core. The pain level wasn't even unbearable anymore, it was almost numbing. I ended up going into complete shock. As I was convulsing on the ground my mom put my shoes on to take me back to the ER.  A different hospital this time. 

I was instantly brought back to a room. I was poked and given medicine which helped just enough to get me out of shock.  After finding out my PICC line was coiled they brought a nurse in to pull it out. The doctor explained the PICC line was coiled, but not just that, it was also pulling my veins and heart up towards my neck. Hearing the doctor tell my mom "I've never seen this before. It's medically impossible" was not comforting, to say the least. 
    Good-bye PICC line! 
So how does one recover from veins being pulled and inflamed you might ask. Relax, rest, and let it heal. In case you're wondering, it's not that easy. I slept most of Friday. Saturday I talked to my LLMD who sent prescriptions in for me. I was taken to pick those up and saw my chiropractor. But the pain wasn't lessening. It was actually getting worse. I ended up back in the ER because the pain was too much. I couldn't do it alone. 

The fourth time in the ER was me basically pleading for help. I wanted to be admitted. Maybe even put in an induced coma. The nurse asked my pain level and I said 10. Mind you, I've never said 10 before. I always knew my pain could be worse so I was "saving" the 10 till I really thought the pain was going to kill me.  

After more tests the doctor came back saying my veins are being pulled and  inflamed. I needed to calm down and breathe, let them heal. But I pleaded for him to not send me home. I couldn't be alone. I needed monitors and wires. I needed to constantly be watched. I couldn't be alone. But they had no real reason to keep me and sent me home. 

Then it was Sunday. I sat on the couch and watched football. I cried, screamed and zoned out. The pain was the worst thing in the world. There was no sign of it stopping either. If I were to stop fighting  for my life it was going to end. I couldn't do it anymore. The pain. Hopelessness. Fear. Anxiety. I was past the end of my rope. Where was He? Why wasn't God showing up? Why did He leave me to die from my very own veins? 

My mom saw the life being sucked out of me and how I was giving up. She knew what I was thinking and feeling without me saying a word. "Tanner, call someone. A pastor. A friend. Anyone! She's giving up. She's going to die if we don't do something now."  

I was brought to my pastor's house where another pastor and his family were too. We interrupted their dinner. I was wearing pajama bottoms, no deodorant, and a bird was basically living in my hair. I sat on their couch and cried. I sobbed and sobbed. I was afraid and scared and in more pain I thought was possible. I was weak and exhausted. And I didn't care if I was going to live or not. 

And they prayed. And they worshipped.  And they cried. They fought for me. 

One of the pastor's sons came up to me (I believe he's 7) and put his hands on my knee and prayed. He said, "Jesus, you have to heal Mrs.Bekah or she's going to die." The son who's a couple years younger prayed the same thing. Then they curled up in a chair and fell asleep. 

Us adults kept going for four more hours. 

I left feeling just a little better. My mom drove me around town till I fell asleep.  


The next morning I woke up feeling better. YES, better. Not drugged better or faking better. Actually better. And I kept getting better and better and better. I believe with all my heart that those kids childlike faith healed my heart and veins. I haven't used my wheelchair since that night. No talk about another PICC line has been brought up. I started hiking and walking again. I walked a 5K on Thanksgiving. Then three months later my LLMD told me he couldn't find Lyme or one of the coinfections in my body. 8 months later I did a Spartan race. That night, on October 5, 2014, I was part of a miracle. God used two precious little boys to heal me. I was, I am, a walking miracle. 

I believe in miracles. I believe God is Healer. I believe that God works all things together for my good. A year ago I stood at death's door with no fear of walking through it and today I couldn't be more happy to be alive. 

Hang in there. Whatever you're walking through please don't lose hope. This isn't wasted time and God will redeem that which was stolen from you. Where there is no way, God makes a way. 
    My first hike :)

      First 5k 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dream Again

There is this dream I've had for 10 years. There is a place I want to call home and people I want to hear stories from. It's what my heart aches for and where I desire to put my energy. I've had countless dreams and prophetic words spoken over me. I've tried to throw myself into this place and doors have been shut. I've surrendered, begged God, to take it away. And it still engulfs my passion. 

And every time I try to get there the door closes. Which is why I've spent so much time surrendering this crazy desire to God. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe it's a bit of both. 

Why would I have such deep desires, detailed dreams, strong passion, and love for a place and people I'm not with? If this idea is wrong shouldn't the feelings go away? Is God teasing me? Why would my 'wake up calls' and the prophetic words spoken over me be a joke? 

When I got diagnosed with Lyme Disease  and coinfections I remember thinking it was another bolder in the way. Maybe through treatment my heart's longing will disappear. But the opposite happened. My heart's cry got stronger and stronger. It helped me fight through each day knowing this wasn't my forever and I had dreams to hold on to. 

I've been eagerly waiting for Jesus to release Tanner and myself since I started feeling better. Back in May when doors started opening we were sitting in a place of waiting. Waiting to see what Jesus would do. Waiting for the door to open. Waiting for our release. 

People were prophesying. Dreams and passions were stronger. Strangers were talking to the depths of our hearts. God's voice became more and more clear. That eagerness you get in the depths of your stomach when you know something is about to happen was there. 

Now is the time. 

Then it all stopped. The strangers. The detailed dreams. The 2am wake ups to pray. The testimony after testimony. 

I was face to face with my Dr suggesting I start Babesia (Lyme coinfection) treatment back up. He said this because of the tininitus, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, headache, and fatigue that began again. 

How does one go from diving in to their heart's cry to facing a locked up door... Again. 

I was mad and sad. I was so mad and sad I felt like acting like a five-year-old and only using the words mad and sad. I was confused and felt a tad bit stupid. How could so much change in a matter of months? How could I go from thinking I was dropping everything to live out 14 year-old Rebekah's dream to laying in bed sick? 

Something that was said over and over to me during the summer was that God doesn't give us dreams to tease us. I heard this so many times I knew it was from Jesus. But in that season I thought it was a healing over the past ten years. That I had a dream not as a waste but God had a purpose in it. 

Now I have to chose to trust that God isn't teasing me again. To be frank, a little bit of me felt like He did. I mean all this action. Testimony after testimony. Then nothing. It kinda stings... A lot. 

But God 

I believe God gave Tanner and I hope. When all of those doors were opening we journaled. Now we are able to read back and be amazed at how and when God shows up and does His God thing. My flesh wants to freak out and worry that it'll be another ten years and another door shut, but my spirit knows that God doesn't give me dreams to tease me. He gives me them to have something to fight for and believe in. He gives dreams to give us hope. 

This past summer a very wise woman told me to dream again. And that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm dreaming with my 14 year-old self. I'm believing that God isn't teasing me, but giving me something to fight for and cling to. He's not a mean God. He's good and knows exactly what His children need to hear to dream again. 

I encourage you to dream again.  I encourage you to fight for whatever makes your heart dance. No matter how far off it seems or how unrealistic or dirty... Dream. That thing that fills your prayers. That thing that makes your heart ache. That thing that you can't get off your mind no matter how crazy it seems... Dream. 

I feel like the story gets better and better with each opened and closed door.  I mean, at this point, it's gonna be a really good story when I get there. 

- "Back to the start, my heart is heavy
Feels like it's time, to dream again
I see the clouds, and yes I'm ready
To dance upon, this barren land
Hope in my hands" 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Give Yourself Grace

I've been meaning to write a post but I haven't known what to talk about nor have I had much to say. And I've had too much to say. 

Well, I'm currently sitting in my car for the next hour with nothing to do- so what better time than now. 

I'm actually pretty frustrated as to why I'm sitting in my car. I was supposed to be taking a Krav Maga class with my husband. He's been wanting to take a class with me for a while now. He found a free one and signed us up. I was totally on board until we got here. As we started walking up to the door I started freaking out.

What if my body isn't strong enough yet? What if I embarrass myself? What if I push it and relapse? I'm going to be critiqued on my moves. Look at that girl walking in... She has abs and great legs. I got tired scrubbing a microwave today... 

Safe for you to assume I didn't take the class. Tanner hugged me and told me there is no need to force myself to do anything I don't feel comfortable doing. I've already spent most of my life being forced to do things... Pain, PICC line, disease, bed-ridden, awful medicine, sick, needles... 

So now I'm sitting in the car. Starring at the "Krav Maga" sign. Crying. 

Did I let anxiety win? I don't know. 
Should I have pushed myself? Maybe. 
Am I putting my health first? I think so. 
Am I embarrassed and wish I could be up there getting a great body? Yes. 

There's some vulnerable Rebekah for ya. Want some more? 

I hate that I'm not a "normal" 24-year-old. I quit school after my Associates degree because I got too sick to handle it. I've had two "real" jobs. One lasted 3 years and the other 3 months (my admin job ended because the church closed). 

And I'm currently not working because I realized I've lived with a disease for 24 years and have already relapsed within 2 months of being told I was clean. I still have some pain and minor symptoms. I'm better than I've ever been, but not exactly where I want to be. I really don't know what I'm doing. I know where I want to be, and I'm trying everything I can do to get there, but it's still a process. I need to give myself grace and understand what I really went through. I need to process and heal completely. Tanner's doctor told me that she encourages her patients to "act sick" for 6 months after they're released to get accustomed to life, get 100%, and build an immunity. Not finding my identity in sickness and making up symptoms that arent there, but more like not full throttle and pushing myself. 

I have days where I couldn't be more proud of myself. Like yesterday when I went grocery shopping by myself for the very first time ever. I did like 3 weeks worth of meal prep and bought it all. 
And I have days where I sit in my car and cry because I'm not "normal" and still have walls to jump. But there are more proud days than cry days. 

What's the moral of this story?
A great time to blog is when you're in the car with nothing to do... Just kidding ;)

Grace. Grace is the moral of the story. I need to accept grace from my Jesus and give myself grace. 

It's OKAY that I'm not "normal". It's OKAY that I have limits. It's OKAY that I feel like a fish out of water. IT'S OKAY! I'm doing the best I can and I should be proud of that. For crying out loud I beat a disease that Drs. didn't think I would. I made it through the darkest nights. Jesus' grace was and still is enough. 

I BEAT LYME DISEASE!!!! And that's enough. Maybe my life doesn't look like anyone else, but does anyone's life look alike? This is my story. I'll go at the pace I need to. I choose my health. I don't choose to be on the same timeline or mental stability as everyone else. 

I'm proud of how I went grocery shopping alone. I'm proud of how I push myself and go hiking to see gorgeous views. I'm proud of how I can do certain things that used to give me anxiety. I'm proud of how I work out in the gym. I'm proud of myself for reading my body and doing what I need. I'm proud of myself for driving alone. I'm proud of myself for going to Doctor appointments alone. I'm proud of my Spartan medal. 

I'm choosing to focus on my LONG list of accomplishments and not my small list of fears and "fails".  I'm proud of how far I've come. And more importantly Jesus is proud of me. 

~ "You don't have to prove yourself. Don't try to be someone else. You are loved." 

Monday, June 8, 2015

To My Fellow Warriors

This is for all the lyme warriors, my fellow spoonies, my chronically ill friends. To those of you who deal with physical pain and fight mental illness. To those who can't get out of bed because they either are mentally or physically unable to. To those who have been told a medical answer that made your stomach drop. To those of you who fight everyday for your life. 

You're not alone. 

I know the pain of blocking off from the world because the anxiety is too much. I know what it's like to not have any consistency with your health. I know the fear in seeing your Dr's number come up on your phone. I know how it feels to not know why you're not okay. I know pain. I know so much pain that it's physically and mentally torturing. I know how it feels to wake up each morning and not know if it'll be a good day or a bad day. If you'll end up in the hospital or even be able to get out of bed. I know choosing to fight for your life. 

You are brave. 

You are some of the bravest people I know. It takes guts to fight day in and day out. This thorn in your side is not for the faint of heart. Not many people can keep fighting when they don't know the outcome. You are brave and courageous. You have a warrior heart. You are some of the strongest people I know. Every time you get knocked down you get back up. That's true bravery. 

I know you see friends and family on Instagram and Facebook going on adventures, getting married, attending school, having babies, climbing mountains, and going places. And I know your heart aches to do the same. I know you can't wait to do things and see things. And it's actually physically painful that you can't. 

I know the grief of wanting something so bad and it being impossible to achieve. 

But beloved, there are things you can do that they can't. There are things they are not able to do too. What you see on social media isn't everything. Learn to enjoy what you can and find beauty in where you are. No matter how much darkness you are walking through there is always something beautiful to be found. Look for it. Seek it out. Rejoice in the 5 min walk. Laugh with your family and friends. Enjoy sitting outside. Do what you can and enjoy it. Don't compare you accomplishments to others. Be proud of yourself. Learn to enjoy where you are in life, otherwise the jealousy will eat you alive. 

Please do what you can. Don't push yourself so much that you'll compromise your health. It's not worth it. Nothing is worth your health. Do what you can and enjoy exactly that. Add on a little at a time. 

Say no. It's okay. It doesn't matter what people think or expect of you. They don't know you. They don't know how much milk you like in your cereal. Only you know what you can do. Only you know what you can do that won't jeopardize your health. Don't let people's sighs or comments or looks put you in a place of people pleasing and sickness. It's not worth it. Your health is your #1 priority. 

And that's okay. 

You are not a failure because you can't climb mountains and travel the seas. You are not worthless because you ask for help. You are beloved. God cares and sees and loves you. The truth is you are courageous. You have learned things very few people have learned. You have compassion most people never get to feel. You are part of a world that has opened up your eyes and made you intelligent and selfless. 

You are so much more than your battle. Don't own that. Don't call your illness yours. Don't put value in what your Dr calls you and speaks over you. You are a child of God and are not a slave to fear. You are hidden in Christ- not Lyme or anxiety or fibro or MS or depression.  Know who you are and who's you are. 

Dream my warriors, dream! Just because you can't have it now doesn't mean you won't ever have it. Let your dreams help you fight and push forward. Let them give you something to live for. God doesn't give us desires to torture us or tease us. Let's retrain our thinking. Let's see dreams as medicine for the soul. I was once told that the right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing. And that's okay, friends. Because the right time could be just around the corner. Choose your health and dream. Hold on to hope. 

Just because you can't do a,b and c doesn't mean you can't do r, s and t. I think it's more beautiful to find beauty and enjoyment where you are than to mark things off a bucket list. Your heart is what matters. You could travel the world, have all the babies you want, and have a killer body... But if you don't know how to find beauty in the hardest of times, what do you have? 

Friends, your battle is not in vain. This is not your forever. I am so proud of you. You are a fighter and a warrior and brave.  Your life is of value. Look for the beauty. And dream big dreams. 

~"There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure"

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Let's Clear Things Up

I feel like I may have been to quick in my last post about my Dr. appt and it confused people. So I wanted to explain what's going on a little better... 

Last week when I saw my LLMD he did some testing and found babesia (a coinfection to Lyme that makes you feel flu-like) in my body. I was cleared of Babesia in January. I've been off all treatment since January, but sometime in the past couple months the boogers returned. 

They could have gone into hiding and popped back out or I could have given them to Tanner and he gave it back or it's a straight up relapse. 

I know a lot of you are not thrilled with me using the word "relapse". But I'm okay with it. Why? Because I'm not giving it value. I believe that every name must bow to the name of Jesus and babesia is a name so I'm calling it out and telling it to obey Jesus Christ. 

I saw my therapist last week and was challenged to stop finding my value in  "not having Lyme". Funny, huh? For so long I learned to not find my value in having Lyme... But I can't do the opposite either. Otherwise finding out Babesia is hanging around my body makes me freak out and fall apart. 

I'm not giving any of that value. No value in babesia, relapse and not even in not having a disease. My value is 100% in Christ. I am a child of God. Period. No matter what happens with my health- I am a child of God. End of story. 

So what now? 

Well, I'm back on treatment. I'm herxing. So I feel flu-like, pain in my chest, ribs, spine, heart. Dr.N thinks it's just 1 month worth and I'll be off treatment again. Tanner will be getting tested in a couple weeks to see if he is carrying Lyme or coinfections and he'll start treatment. My Dr doesn't believe you can normally pass it to each other if you're on treatment. So Tanner will start before I finish and we should both be clear and no more sharing. 

To be frank... It sucks. I don't like feeling sick. Those couple of months of almost symptom free are now teasing me. I have to continuously take my thoughts captive and trust that God is good and He will make sure the victory is bigger and better than the battle. I don't get why this happened. I'm really good at being healthy and enjoying life ;) really not fond of this nonsense. I feel foggy headed and I'm having a difficult time connecting my brain and thoughts. I feel sluggish and fatigued. 

But I know I'll make it through. I know  I'm victorious in Christ and that I'll be okay. I really appreciate those of you who were sympathetic and said "sorry, that sucks". Thanks for getting mad with me and being upset. That's what I needed. There's not much to say. Thank you for the lime green hearts and the prayers. I need them. I don't know how to do another round of treatment without God's grace. 

What does the future look like? Stupid news: I have no clue. Lovely news: Jesus will still be Lord. I couldn't tell you if I'll be Lyme free again in a month or if those boogers will come back in a few months. Or if I'll be cleared and stay lyme free till Jesus brings me home. Either way Jesus will be Lord and I'll be okay because I am a child of God. 

Fun little God story: On Mother's Day I was having a rough time not being a mommy. I know it's not the time. I know I need to get healthy first. I know it all. The common sense in me agrees. But my heart was aching. Not only is it not the right time, but it's not even possible. My hormones got a little hurt with Lyme and need to be healed and start working on their own. ANYWAY. It sucks. And I was telling Jesus and Tanner that I'm not into this plan. I decided to do one of those 'let's see what my daily devotion says and see if God will speak through it' things. And the first line said,"I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten." Joel 2:25 

And I cried. That's my promise from the Lord. That's what I can hold on to. No matter what I've lost during these years of sickness Jesus will restore it. And I know His restoration is so much better than my plan A. 

If you have any questions please ask. This is my life. I'm all about Lyme Disease awareness. It's a stupid disease. And I refuse to do nothing about it.  

~ "Be brave, my darling you have faced dark times before and you're still here now."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

And If Not, He Is Still Good

I was hoping this post would just be filled with the awesome things that I have been doing. All the life I've been living and celebrating and adventures I've been on. 

But I have some not so great news. I was debating on what to share first and decided to get the bad news out of the way and then focus on the great stuff. 

Today I saw my LLMD and found out Babesia has returned. Is it a relapse, or did Tanner give it to me or did it come out of hiding? Who knows. I'm back on Babesia treatment for the next month. Hopefully that will really be the end of this. 

I'm processing. I'm a little mad. But to be honest, I'm not surprised. I have a few symptoms I'd rather not live with. Headaches, ringing in the ears, rib pain, and chest pain. It's better than it's ever been, but not 100%. 

Tanner will start treatment in a couple weeks so I'll be safe on treatment till he can start. Then this sharing nonsense can end ;) so maybe it's by God's grace I'm on treatment till Tanner starts. Protect me from getting it worse till Tanner gets cleared up. 

God is still good

I've resolved that no matter what happens God is good, I'm loved by the King of kings, and my world has not changed. My hope is in Jesus, so I can never be hopeless. God has not failed me and He won't start now. 

I used to watch this tv show when I was sick. The girl had leukemia and was going through treatment. She got better and went into remission, started living life then she relapsed.  In the show she said something about being stupid for thinking it was gone. 

I'm not going to think like that. Instead I'm choosing joy. How blessed am I to get to rely on God's strength and watch Him move mountains. How sweet that my life is dependent on God's grace. How beautiful is it that I get to keep learning about God's character. 

Now that that's out of the way... 

I got a part-time job. My mom, best friend and husband threw me a "something beautiful" party. And I did a Spartan race this past weekend. Best part... I feel the best I have ever felt in my life! 

I currently work as an Administrative Assistant at my church. I adore my job. I love waking up with a purpose. I love earning a paycheck. I love what I do and who I work for. It's just perfect. Jesus was so involved with me getting that! 

So I had this dance party... I wore a bright lime green dress and danced for almost 3 hours. My friends and family came to celebrate with me. When I was my sickest this was the party I dreamt about and waited for. I used to say, "Mom, you promise when I feel better we'll dance?" And she promised. So here it was. My dance party. Celebrating that I made it through the darkest of nights. I didn't want to call it a remission party cause I believed God healed me. I still do believe God healed me. 
This was the best party ever. 

This past weekend I did a Spartan Sprint.  4.9 miles and 20 obstacles. I had so much fun and can't wait to do another. I carried heavy things and jumped walls and swung from a rope and did burpees... And a lot more. I crossed the finish line covered in mud, with tears in my eyes, and wished it wasnt over yet. 

Being told I have Babesia again doesn't change the fact that I've moved out, gotten a job, danced for almost 3 hours, and did a Spartan race. And now I'm training for a half marathon. 

Can I challenge you? 

Don't live life waiting for the next shoe to drop. That's not going to stop the bad from happening. And when crap does happen your world has not changed. You are still adored by Jesus. You are still more than a conqueror. And you are victorious. 

Life is like a video game. Each level gets harder. But when you conquer that level you move up. You get another super power or more tokens or a gift. It wasn't wasted. When challenges come, overcome them, don't get stuck in them. Challenges are your opportunity to get closer to Jesus, grow and learn. 

So bring it. I'm ready to destroy the last bit of Lyme in my body. Bring on the treatment. Cause I know that the finish line is close. It couldn't kill me the first time, it won't kill me this time. Plus I'm even stronger than before. 

"This is my fight song, take back my life song." 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Want To Be A Hat

"It's like all my life everybody keeps telling me that I'm a shoe. You're a shoe, you're a shoe, you're a shoe! But what if I don't want to be a shoe anymore? Maybe I'm a purse, or a hat... I don't want you to buy me a hat, I'm saying I am a hat! It's a metaphore, daddy!" 

This quote is from the TV show 'Friends'. Rachel was explaining to her dad why she's wanting to get a job and doesn't need his money anymore. She had just left her fiancĂ© at the alter and had never had a job or done life on her own. 

I can relate so much to this. 

There have been a few changes in my life recently and it has kinda freaked me out. All I know is being the "sick one". I know basing all my decisions off my health and how I'm going to feel. I know pills and making a schedule for food/pills/IV infusions/sleep. I know physical pain and mental torture. I know how to be sick. 

But that's not who I am anymore. I'm not in a wheelchair. I can take showers on my own and get dressed alone. I'm not in constant mental and physical pain. I'm capable, confident, and independent. 

I feel like I'm rerouting my brain. Figuring out what I like and what I don't like. And finding my limits and trying to push them. I've relied on things and pills and people for so long I'm learning my strengths and capabilities. 

Sometimes I feel like a fish trying to climb a tree. I haven't really done life healthy before. Basically I was constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop and not knowing how long it would last before it did drop. 

But that's not who I am anymore.
I'm not that person. 

I'm not defined by sickness or disease. I'm not wasting away. I'm not stuck at a red light or watching life pass me by. I'm fully capable, confident, and getting healthier by the minute. My life is not controlled by my health.

Seriously, this is the craziest concept to me. I look at pre treatment Rebekah- nope I'm not her. I look at during treatment Rebekah- I'm nothing like her. I'm a whole new person. 

And I like the new me. Funny thing is I'm still learning who the new me even is. 

I've been having to fight through fears and anxieties with continuing to be healthy, medical bills, and coming back into the world. I hate medical bills. It amazes me how we get bills almost 6 months after the ER visits. 

Some nights ago I was worrying about bills. I was closing off and wanting to hide in my own world and focus on the problem. Tanner was praying with me, trying to get me out of the apartment for a date, and being super encouraging. But I just couldn't get out of the stressed out cloud. 

When finally it hit me- is this really how I want to live my life? Do I really want it to be moments before Jesus calls me home and look back and see all the time I stressed and feared? Look back in my life and think "Rebekah, you should have trusted God more. Claimed more peace. And rested in God's promises. Instead you let anxiety ruin time with your husband. You let fears stop you from creating wonderful memories. You stressed instead of living the abundant life." 

Someone I know's mom died a couple weeks ago after a long, hard battle with cancer. She truly is the definition of a warrior. She went to be with Jesus at too young an age. I hate cancer. My Granny went to dance with her Savior at a young age because of cancer as well. She's an inspiration to me. I also recently read a post on one of my Lyme Awarness pages were someone lost their son, 19 years old, to Lyme Disease. This hits too close to home. I hate Lyme Disease. 

For some reason I'm still here and I'm still kicking. Lyme Disease didn't take my life. And now I want to live well. I want to enjoy my days and not rob my husband of a joyful evening because of stress. I don't want to take good memories from my family because of fear. And I don't want to steal evenings filled with laughter and friends because of anxiety. I want to live well and soak up as much of life as I can. 

For Sue. 

For Granny.

For my fellow Lyme Warrior. 

Don't let feeling inadequate in your daily journey, and being uncertain of the days to come, and feeling crushed on all sides ruin your moments. Don't let it steal your joy, laughter, memories, and relationships. Life is too precious to let fear, anxiety and stress rob us of the beauty around us. 

As I enter back into society I'm going to give myself lots of grace. I'm also going to remind myself that I've come so far from where I used to be. I'll remind myself that stress won't get me anywhere, but laughter gives good memories. And I'm not going to force myself to climb a tree if I'm a fish. But maybe I'm not a fish, maybe I'm a lion. Or an eagle. Or a leapord. Either way I'm going to enjoy finding out. 

|Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to slide across the finish line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, and shouting GERONIMO!!!|


Friday, March 13, 2015

Something Beautiful

Sometimes I'll go a majority of the day and realize I haven't eaten anything (yay for having abdominal pain and no appetite). But I drink water like my life depends on it. I love water. I'm pretty sure I dream about water. And when I can't eat, all I want is food and all the food in the world. Bad food and good food. 

Why in the world am I telling you about my addiction to water and feelings towards food? 

Cause I'm crazy. 

For real. 

Naw, I'm kidding. But not really ;) 

I'm having a couple ultrasounds done today and can't eat or drink for 8 hours. I'm literally sitting here on the couch, typing away, thinking about water and what I'll eat around 3:45 today, after my appointment. 

I still have a lot of upper and lower abdominal pain and rib/chest pain. I also deal with too high of testosterone and too low of progesterone. I get nauseous/lightheaded/fatigued pretty easily and too often. 

So I'm getting some tests done to see what's going on. It could be my body still recouping after Lyme Disease or a whole different problem. I'm hoping its a different problem. A fixable, easy, painless problem. 

I think a lot of Chronically Ill folks can relate to the desire of wanting something to come back on medical tests. Like being told "everything looks fine" is discouraging. If you can't relate to this just imagine being in pain 24/7 and no one knowing why. Or better yet, imagine being in pain 24/7 and being told you're disease-free, but you're body is still working something out. So just wait it out. 

It's discouraging to say the least. 

I hate being in pain. Along with water, I also dream about not having a medical symptom for 10 min. Don't get me wrong, I'm WAAAAAY better than I was a year ago. Heck, I'm better than I was 6 months ago. But, I'd rather not live like this. 

My hormone doctor did some blood work and it came back "good". And now we are going to try some ultrasounds. I see my LLMD on Monday and I'm
sure he'll be able to help me. 

I'm really struggling with where I am in life right now. I absolutely adore living with my husband in our apt, where I can touch all our wedding gifts and enjoy one another. But this still isn't where I wanted to be at 24. Chronically ill, not able to go to school or hold a job and living in an apt with my cat and husband with medical bills coming in, what feels like every other day. I had this perfect image in my head of being a missionary either in a 3rd world country or on the streets of NYC. IF I got married I wanted to have babies early on in marriage and have so many I'd forget their names ;) but not really.  

I'm not saying any of this for ya'll to feel bad for me or for a great deal of sympathy. I just want to be honest and I know others deal with the same thing. I want someone to read this and, even just for a moment, know they are not alone and their feelings are shared. 

You see, I know God will be glorified in and through this. I know my pain and suffering isn't in vain or a waste. I know this fight isn't for fun or God making a joke. I know there is a reason. There has to be a reason. Sometimes I just wish the reason could be seen now. Because being young and sick - the kind of sick that takes over your life for months and years- sucks. And is depressing and lonely. 

One of my favorite songs ever is "Something Beautiful" by Needtobreathe. My favorite band in the whole world. Part of the Lyrics go like this: 
"Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful to touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees, I'm waiting for something beautiful" 

I'm waiting. In hope and in desperation. I'm waiting for my something beautiful. And while I wait, while I breathe, I hope. I know God will be victorious and I am more than a conqueror. 

It's not that I'm not living somewhere crazy. It's not that I'm not a mom. It's not even that I didn't finish my bachelor's degree or that I don't have a job. It's that I'm here, on the couch, with a heating pad... 

But you know what? My story is not in vain. My pain has a purpose. And my life is of value. I'm part of a world many don't get to experience. I'm part of a community of some of the toughest fighters on the planet.  

I was just telling Tanner last night how now that I've seen I'm responsible. How spoiled am I that God blessed me with a big mouth and heart and dreams. He made me mighty for war. And even though I'm currently fighting my personal battle and getting through this dirty mess... One day I'll be able to be a bigger voice for the people fighting their personal battle. 

My something beautiful is knowing that even as I wait... I'm still an advocate. 

This isn't the life I dreamed of or what was "supposed" to happen. But how sweet of Jesus to give me hope. And how sweet of God to see the bigger picture and know my current battle is going to be worth it. My suffering isn't a waste. Your suffering isn't a waste. Our suffering isn't a waste. We are part of a story much bigger than ourselves. A story that's totally worth it. No matter how it ends. 

~ My heart will stay steadfast, I know that You are good.