Yesterday I shared the story of saying goodbye to my apartment and how God provided a new place for me to live throughout the summer. Until the end of May, I believed I’d be living in a homeless shelter, so the gift of an acquaintance’s garage apartment was enormous! Every little thing was a blessing to me, but the greatest joy was its country setting. My neighbors were horses and chickens and lots of little goats. I highly recommend being lulled to sleep by the whinny of a spirited stallion. This past summer provided the peace that my body and my spirit needed the most.
My health has fluctuated back and forth for 20 years, from mostly manageable ailments to fully debilitating disorders, and 3 years ago early menopause was added to the mix. This past June, my health took another turn for the worse when I began experiencing extreme menstrual bleeding accompanied by vertigo and blackouts. For 8 days straight I could only lie in bed. I could not work, and even restful activities like reading and watching TV were out of the question. I had no rest, no true sleep, and the fatigue stayed with me for weeks after. The heavy bleeding continued more than 50 days. My doctor finally confirmed what I suspected: the need for a hysterectomy. But for the moment my only option was medication.
With the end of summer quickly approaching and the likelihood of entering the homeless shelter, dozens of questions entered my mind about how to live in a communal setting while experiencing such a personal health issue. How would I manage symptoms like pervading vertigo and persistent bleeding while sharing a bedroom suite with 3 other women? As the days of summer dwindled, my nerves and fears threatened to overwhelm.
My prayers had been tender-hearted for many months, expressing my desire for rescue while also acknowledging that I may have much more desert to cross before comfort arrived again. Over and over I was reminded of God’s provision for His children. Bible reading led me to scriptures about His care for even the smallest of creatures, about His joy in giving good gifts, and about His constant presence as we walk through every valley in life (and any other time, as well). Songs on the radio described the peace that comes even in the midst of life’s worst moments, and Paul’s words reminded me that circumstances should never change my contentment in life. At every turn, I encountered Jesus, and by the end of August I was ready to enter the homeless shelter as a missionary for Christ. My heart was perfectly at ease, and my prayers changed from cries for help to joy at the prospect of a missional purpose. How like God to slowly strip away the “things” of my life so that I might be unencumbered as I move into a new phase. I became excited at the possibilities!
On the morning of my intake at the shelter, however, I was incapacitated with another bout of bleeding. I was sure I needed to visit the emergency room, but my doctor said there was no reason to worry. The new medication would require a few months to reach full effect. Unfortunately, the morning setback meant I lost my bed at the shelter, and I had nowhere else to go.
It was my parents who offered an immediate solution. In their capacity as full-time volunteers, my parents travel around Texas and work at Christian camps. This month I’ve joined them, blessed with a place of respite while my body recuperates. It’s just another pause in ever-changing circumstances, but I am so grateful for this option. These days are a chance to regroup and strengthen, and I praise God for carrying me every step of this journey.
Homelessness is still a definite possibility, but in the past few months God has taken the fear away. I’ve learned to see my future as wide-open. I’ve come to understand the freedom of having very little “stuff.” Though I still have much more than 2/3 of the world’s citizens, I’m less attached to it than I was six months ago. This is the way God works, and I’m excited (even if a bit nervous) about what He could possibly be up to in my life. What a story I’ll have to tell!
Throughout this month I’m participating in 31 Days, a challenge issued by The Nester to post on your blog each day in October. If you’ve missed any of my 31-day Blogging Catch-Up, you can see a list of the posts on this index page. You can also receive new posts via email by completing the form below.