Three years ago my job ended and I entered a new season of being an at-home mum. At the same time I was doing weight watchers. Others in my meeting seemed to struggle to follow the program but I found it quite easy. I realized why: I had space. My heart and mind were not overwhelmed or tangled up. They had been for many years… Tangled up. Burdened. Overloaded. But now I was in a season of simplicity. And I got to be “mindful” about my eating each moment of each day. For years I hadn’t had the emotional or intellectual space to be mindful about my eating. But now I was fully able to breathe, pause and think about it. And so, my weight watchers journey was easy. I dropped 50 pounds. Dude that’s a lot of weight. And then I looked in the mirror and saw the me I remember. I was mindful and the me I knew was able to exist again.
This week I have entered a new season: I finally have a diagnosis and treatment plan. I have to be aggressive in a totally new way. I HAVE to clear space to be mindful. When I did weight watchers, the space had been cleared for me. This time I’m having to clear it myself.
As I process the reality of my diagnosis, I’m having to overcome a huge amount of emotional tangles amidst the busyness of raising little ones. I’m having to use all my muscle and determination to be able to think clearly. I’m not being very successful yet. But there is a long journey ahead so each day I will try again.
This month, I’m juggling 5 meds. I have to ease onto them so not to overload my system. Friday I started a twice a week med. Saturday I started a three times a day med and a twice a day med. Today I added a second twice a week med. tomorrow I take the first one for the second time. On Tuesday I start a third twice a week med. Repeat. Many times. Until, the meds need to be changed. The bacterial infection I’m fighting is a mutator. It twists and changes to avoid death. Each month my meds will change to beat it at its own game.
I also have to be gluten- and dairy-free. Today is day four of my new GF & DF life. I failed on Friday but I now know that regular soy sauce has gluten. I failed Saturday but I now know about gluten cross contamination from processing, transportation and cooking devices. I failed Sunday but I now know that ketchup has gluten. I emailed my nurse to double-check: how fully GF do I need to be? Her answer: You should avoid gluten at all cost, it can feed the bacteria. Trace amounts are not ok!
My brain is totally MAXED out. I have a mind full.
Saturday night I had extreme anxiety. I heard about a man in our community who died from the same bacteria I have. I was really discouraged by the discussions on some online support groups for this disease. I watched a movie where someone died too young. Anxiety tied a rope around my lungs. My heart raced. My mind went wild.
My husband was at work late into the night so I called him and he prayed for me.
The treatment causes flu-like symptoms and my body was in pain. I took my evening doses and forced myself to sleep. Sunday morning I was supposed to play keys for worship team at church. My team gave grace and made last-minute changes to cover me. My hubby is on AV team so he took one of our kids and went. Baby went down for morning nap. After my GF oats, flax, blueberry & rice milk breakfast, I settled on the couch to watch church live streaming.
God met me.
I knew the worship set list because we have a midweek practice. Yet, the songs surprised me and the Word in them was a sword of Truth that cut me free from the ropes of anxiety.
Tears rolled down my face. Sobs came from my heart.
“He is Faithful. He is Glorious. He is Jesus. All my hope is in Him. He is Freedom. He is healing right now. He is hope and joy, love and peace and life.” (Bryan & Katie Torwalt)
“You are the One who saves. You are the One whose hands lift us up from the grace… Jesus you are my rescue. I give you everything I am” (Brenton Brown)
“You are God with us. You’re victorious. You are strong and mighty to save. Your Word strands true. There is none like you. And when all else fades, You remain. When trouble comes my way. You guide and you sustain.” (Starfield)
“Before the throne of God above I have a strong and perfect plea; A great High Priest, whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me. My name is graven on His hands. My name is written on His heart.” (Bancroft. Shane & Shane)
The sermon yesterday was part of a series in Revelation. Our pastor is a highly educated man and his teaching gift totally meets my mind’s needs. He also is determined to know the heart of God and his prophetic gift totally meets my heart’s needs. I love getting to study with him each week. Yesterday’s message in Revelation 16 was not about the horrors of that passage but about the love of God. It was about the unending ways God offers a relationships with Him and takes care of His children. One of the companion passages he used was Romans 8. And it gives me an anchor in this weird new season of my life.
For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures — for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:16-28)
I have to be mindful about my treatment plan. I have to be mindful about gluten and dairy. I will also be mindful in walking with God and trusting His Love. I will be mindful to not allow anxiety and fear to steer my days.
As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. (Genesis 50:20)
How about you? Do you have a mind full? What is God speaking to you? What things help you to be mindful in times of chaos?