Fighting for Joy: It Continues (Update Part 1)

I’ve been pondering this post for a while, and honestly, I’m embarrassed for my 5-month writing hiatus. I’ve been learning a lot this summer, and I know it’s time for me to get back in the swing of things and start sharing my heart with you again.

So, what’s happened throughout these past few months? I last talked with you in March about my battle to see God’s goodness in the midst of my circumstances and how that fits into the greater battle of fighting for joy. I wish I could say that I’m done with this fight because I’ve mastered the art of finding joy. But that wouldn’t be true. The fight hasn’t necessarily been easier, but it has been different.

If you remember from my previous post about God’s goodness, I was struggling to see that God was not only sovereign and in control of my life, but also that He’s good at the same time. We tend to separate these two attributes of God, when instead they both make up who He is. For a long time, I’ve teetered on the side of God being in control, but with the idea that He’s just an angry disciplinarian. When I realized that, I started to pray that God would correct my view of Him, and that I would see His goodness.

In fact, I took my prayer from Psalm 27:13-14, which says, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

And the Lord really has been faithful in showing me that this summer. Honestly, I was surprised that He answered this prayer, but that’s just another sign of my incorrect view of who He is.

For the past few months, I’ve seen God’s provision in a multitude of ways, but these two are pretty significant (and they’re related).

First, my health.

For more than two years, I struggled with persistent exhaustion and a number of other symptoms, but every doctor I saw passed me off like nothing was wrong. Finally, in September of last year, I found a doctor who listened and was able to get to the root of the issue. He found lead and mercury toxicity. In January, I began my road to recovery by making drastic dietary changes and by adding over a dozen medicines, detoxifiers, and supplements into my daily routine. And by God’s grace, my body started to detox the metals, energy began to come back, I started to sleep well, and I was even able to start exercising again.

I can’t tell you how significant these seemingly small things are to me. Take exercising, for example. Prior to this treatment, when I exercised, I felt completely drained of energy afterward, I had a terrible time breathing, and I even had a metallic taste in my mouth. Before, running was completely out of the question. But now, in two weeks, I’ll be running my first 5K!

In June, I was able to start adding foods into my diet (chicken, chickpeas, peas, corn, bananas, strawberries, lemons, limes, coconut and onions), which allows me to eat out occasionally now! It feels good to be somewhat normal again!! Just look at how happy I am…

Panera Chipotle

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in July, I saw a holistic dentist who specializes in mercury removal. I had five old fillings that had been depositing mercury into my system for about 15 years. The process of removal was really a surreal experience. I was hooked up to oxygen, I wore a hairnet and goggles, and there was a contraption in my mouth blocking the mercury from going into my body. Not to mention I had to drink a mixture of charcoal and water as a preventative measure. And the dentist and her assistant both wore full body suits (like haz-mat suits) and large gas masks to prevent them from breathing in the mercury vapor. I also had three vacuums placed around my mouth. This is how toxic those fillings are. No wonder I was sick! So, in two long, intense sessions, taking about five hours total, the mercury was finally removed. I got a pin to prove it!

No Hg

Though this strict diet is still ongoing, this whole experience with my health and diet has really taught me to appreciate the goodness of natural, non-processed foods and also taught me about how the body works. I’m so thankful for that. Now, I’m just waiting for the day when I can add cocoa, coffee, and spices back in. It’s amazing how much I’ve taken these simple flavors for granted!

One more thing, I celebrated my final round of extensive bloodwork on Thursday! And by extensive, I mean about 20 vials taken. I’ll have my results and follow-up with Dr. Waldo in 10 days.

(For the full-length explanation of my health issues and my treatment plan, check out these previous posts: Fighting for Joy: Discouragement and Fighting for Joy: Attitude)

This leads me into the other significant way I’ve seen God’s provision: Spending a year sharing the Gospel overseas. But I’ll share more about that in the next few days.

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Fighting for Joy: His Goodness

It’s been a few weeks since I had the appointment with my doctor about how my body is reacting to the new diet and supplement regimen. The day of the appointment, I was scared, and to be honest, I was having a hard time trusting in God’s goodness. I was afraid that my body wasn’t responding. Over and over, my thoughts echoed lies. Sure, God is good, so why is He not being good to me? Why does my sanctification involve so much pain, exhaustion, trial, and sadness? The Lord could change my heart at His command, so why do I have to go through this? Things just don’t seem fair. My thoughts even went so far as, God doesn’t want to heal me because He wants me to stay in this spot. He wants to teach me; He wants to put me in the pressure cooker to see how I stand up.

After thinking on these thoughts for a while, God nudged me to pray. To pray that I would see His goodness despite the results of my blood work. To pray that my heart would be changed, that my attitude would change. That I would instead run to the Lord for comfort instead of running and hiding from Him in fear. Even to pray again for healing.

And what a distorted view of God I have! It’s something that I constantly have to fight for, to see His goodness. I so often trust in His sovereignty; however, seeing His sovereignty without His goodness is disastrous. (So is the other way around.) Seeing just His sovereignty causes us to think that He’s just an angry tyrant and we are His puppets. Seeing just His goodness causes us to think that He’s a senile grandfather who spoils His grandkids. But, He’s neither of those images. He is sovereign and He is good.

As always, the Lord didn’t allow my thoughts to continue down this dangerous path. He gently reminded me of what is true about Him. And as I think about it now, I’m brought to tears because I’m confident that He was fighting for me in those moments. If He didn’t care, my thoughts would’ve continued. The Lord reminded me that He is good despite my circumstances, that no matter what happens to me, I am alive because of Christ. And for that alone, I know He is good.

Ephesians 2:3-10 says, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”

When I was disobedient and living for myself and the world, God made me alive in Christ through Jesus’ death and resurrection. I’m alive, not because of anything I did, but because the Lord was (and still is) gracious toward me. And because I’ve been made alive, I am a daughter of God. Because of this, God promises to give me good gifts, even when I can’t see it or when I don’t see them as gifts. This trial is a gift, and I constantly need to remember that.

In the end, the Lord answered multiple prayers that day, and He continues to answer these prayers. He showed me His goodness despite my circumstances. He allowed me to see joy because of Jesus. He changed my attitude and heart. And, as an added bonus, He started to heal me. Not only am I seeing changes in my energy level, but I also saw a change in the blood work. My body is responding, praise the Lord! I still have a long road ahead, but I know I’m getting better. Most importantly though, I’m seeing and experiencing the Gospel more than I ever would have without this process.

(And every time I hear this song, I am reminded of God’s goodness.)

My constant prayer is that God would be glorified in this and that others will see His Gospel through this. Though I often don’t know what God is doing, I’m thankful that He has revealed some of His glory to me through Jesus and what Jesus has accomplished for me. With that, I leave you with part of a Psalm I was reading today, Psalm 27. (I encourage you to read it all, because it’s so good.)

Psalm 27