In the past four weeks, I’ve seen glimmers of who I was before Lyme disease, many years ago. Today marks almost four weeks without any significant neurological shocks. I’ve walked out four weeks with minimal left-side numbness and shocking.
In these nearly four weeks, I’ve stood in the middle of numerous rooms, and visited without losing my balance or needfully gripping the nearest wall while trying so hard to appear casual and normal. I’ve lingered comfortably among friends and family, actually enjoying the noise and laughter and extended family chaos in ease – noisy chaos that is so sweet, that I’ve longed to enjoy again!
And on those days of delightful chaos and noise, I’ve not even once fled to lay on the floor in the quiet stillness of a bathroom. I’ve been able to stand with my church family and sing easily during Sunday worship. I’ve laughed and chatted easily with my family around the supper table and among gatherings of friends without fear that laughter and smiles would overstimulate my neuro system causing increased shocks that hurt me and worry my children.
I’ve opened my eyes to the light of day, day after day, without my first waking thought being centered on pain. I’ve driven a snowmobile and laughed at the deep snow that pulled me into being stuck, and not had to pay a steep price with increased pain the following day, only instead savoring memories of fun in the sun and snow.
I’ve gone to events and entered social situations without heavy dread and steeling myself to look and act normal, regardless of what my body was doing. In the past four weeks, I’ve seen glimmers of who I was before Lyme – many years ago.
We were told that this disease would begin to present as cyclical, that my treatment would bring out cycles of wellness, and that slowly, my brain would begin to heal. Experientially, we are finding this to be true. December brought my first cycle of good. I skied, I laughed, we travelled. I ran down a sandy beach and I danced, but within three weeks the good was gone.
For the next 9 long weeks, I struggled and hoped the good would come again. And it has. I’m thankful for four good weeks, and this time I’m more prepared for the downturn because this was my second cycle of good weeks. This fact tells me the good will come again, and then again.
Lyme disease has damaged my body slowly and steadily over the last ten years. It has damaged my brain and my liver. It has damaged my eyes. It has damaged muscles and nerves. It has slowed me down mentally and physically. It has made me want to hide, not for the sake of hiding, but simply because being out and about, trying to function and communicate taxes my brain extensively.
Lyme disease has diminished my ability to think clearly and process information, make a plan, and complete tasks. It has taken my ability to easily read and comprehend written words, as well as my ability to chat and laugh easily with friends and family. It has taken my strength to complete and take on tasks in my home and yard which used to bring such joy and inspiration.
It’s teaching me
Lyme disease has taken many things from my life, but it is also teaching me much. It is teaching me that God gives strength when there is none, for all the tasks He’s called me to, but no more than those.
It has taught me that prayer is powerful and when my “one another’s” pray, His power is revealed in mightier ways than I’ve ever known before.
Yes, at times, in place of God, I have worshiped good health and the pursuit of it. As my suffering increased, so did my fierce pursuit of health. The pursuit wasn’t wrong. However, I desired health my own way, desperately, and in my own time, primarily so that I could hang on to the me that I wanted to be.
In this, I even worshiped that ever-elusive version of myself. I worshiped my old ministry capabilities. I worshiped order and cleanliness. I worshiped my strength of ability to study and learn. I worshiped my involvement in our business and my skill at the tasks involved. I worshiped so many “hidden” idols.
As those idols have been revealed, I’m finding a new view of God. It’s a view of the one and only true God who reigns above all. My little idols all look so foolish, so tattered, and so pathetic. They are all so unworthy of the honor which I bestowed upon them.
And yet, God in his mercy is allowing darkness and pain and suffering to reveal to me just who He is and what all He has for me. That which is of and from Him, is so much better than what I claimed to have, when I had it all in my own strength.
An endlessly merciful God
I recently found some journals from my early and late teens. In them, I found written testimony of a God who has lovingly and relentlessly pursued me for a long, long time. God is a tender and merciful God. When He created this earth and put man in the garden, the earthly bodies He made were perfectly designed to handle life in the garden. But Man sinned and with sin came a world that our bodies were not designed to handle. Stress, sin, toil, suffering… all tax our bodies. We were made for Eden. But the world we live in is not Eden.
So, for now, I am left with this body on this earth. But one day, earth will pass away and so will I. That day, I will be set free from all earth’s physical limitations, sin, suffering, and weaknesses.
And when that day comes, I am looking forward to kneeling before the only One who has always been worthy of my adoration. I will kneel before the only One who deserves all my worship. The only God who is my Lord and Savior.
And today I can say that I am grateful for Lyme disease. I’m grateful because Lyme disease has helped me to see God clearer. It has caused me to need Him the way I should have needed Him before.
I’m thankful because it has revealed to me many “silent” sins that have, in many ways, separated me from fellowship with Him, my God who is holy, perfect, beautiful, faithful, tender, full of compassion and forgiveness. My Lord and Master, who is endlessly merciful to me.
Heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool (Isaiah 66:1). And I’m resting today on this footstool, grateful for eyes that see a little, tiny bit clearer, the only One who holds eternal life, absolute freedom, and salvation from our sins in His hands.
Kim Warkentin is mom to her crew of six, wife to her favorite farmer, and daughter of the one true God. She is currently walking through a season of life where she is especially grateful that her Heavenly Father leaves low hanging fruit where she can reach it.