TMI warning: If you don't like to read about blood, needles, or any other medical stuff, you may want to skip this post.
As I mentioned previously, I got new glasses a few months ago. During a routine eye exam, my eye doctor found a cotton wool spot in my right eye. (I'd try to explain what that is, but I think Wikipedia does a better job at that.) He said it was probably caused by hypertension, diabetes, or extreme stress and that it could possibly heal on its own. During the follow-up visit, he saw that the spot had healed but that another spot had formed, along with a hemorrhaging spot. So, he referred me to a retina specialist.
While I was at the specialist, they did an angiogram so that they could examine the blood vessels in my eye. It was an interesting procedure that was kind of Blade Runner-ish; they took pictures of my eye while I had a needle stuck in my arm. (The technician explained that my pee would be a highlighter-yellow color for a while afterwards, and he was correct.)
The retina doctor said that I have two hemorrhaging spots in my right eye, so he ordered some bloodwork. He said that they would follow up in several weeks, unless they found some abnormal stuff in my bloodwork.
So, a couple of days later, I got my arm poked again. (In the above photo, it's the tiny bright red spot swimming near all my tiny moles.) I haven't heard anything yet, but no news is good news. (Which, by the way, is a lesson that I learned in a previous season.)
I hope this means that I'm not diabetic, my blood sugar is OK, and my blood pressure isn't dangerously high. I hope all of this eye drama is only being caused by stress and that my body will continue to heal itself. (And, ironically, I also learned that I can currently see better out of my right eye than I can out of my left one.) If that's all this is, it would definitely confirm that 2017 is supposed to be a year of rest for me -- yet another stop on my lifelong journey of learning how to rest, relieve stress, enjoy life, and not feel guilty about doing so.
I don't know for sure yet. I just need to keep waiting.
"Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!" (Psalm 27:14)
In the body of Christ, people preach all the time about the concept of waiting -- waiting for your promised land, waiting for your dreams to come true, waiting for God to move in your life, waiting to live out your calling, etc. They usually present it like a one-time journey, like God did with the Israelites in the Bible. They usually say something like if you grumble and complain, God will leave you in the wilderness until you learn your lesson, and then He'll bring you into your promised land. They usually say something like if you keep getting hit with the same trial over and over and over again, that means God isn't going to let you move on until you learn the lesson that you're supposed to have been learning. And then when a spiritual light bulb comes on for you, you'll be done waiting, and you'll live happily ever after.
And I think to a degree, all that's true. But maybe it isn't exactly true for everybody.
I recently watched a sermon online for fun. It was a Holly Furtick message called "Waiting Room." I think she shared a lot of good wisdom. She explained that a waiting room can be a dangerous place. For example, if your kids are sick and you take them to the doctor, they could catch something from somebody else while they're stuck in the waiting room.
But what if your time in the waiting room is like mine was at the retina doctor?
I waited in the waiting room multiple times, in multiple ways, for multiple reasons, during the same visit: waiting for my name to be called, waiting for my eyes to fully dilate, waiting to see the doctor, waiting for the technician to perform the angiogram, waiting to see the doctor again... I think I ended up going back to the official waiting room about two or three times, in addition to waiting in multiple exam rooms. All for a tiny little retina.
(This is why I don't like to go see doctors; they usually just tell me that I'm as healthy as a horse and that I need to take better care of myself. And then they charge me money to tell me something that I already knew.)
But the waiting room was a scary place for me earlier this week. Suddenly, I wasn't a 41-year-old woman with a hemorrhaging retina; I was a little girl who was going to countless doctors' appointments all over again. (I was always getting sick (and sometimes pretending to get sick) when I was a kid, and at one point I had begun to develop a peptic ulcer (which college dorm food suddenly healed my body of, in a scared-straight kind of way).)
This is the kind of thing that shows me what I'm made of. And it helps me bond with my Father.
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there." (Psalm 139:7-8)
After I got home that evening, I pulled out my guitar and poured out my heart (and my eyes) to Him in song. And lately as I've been rebuilding my guitar calluses, I've noticed that I've been able to play my guitar because my wrist hasn't been hurting.
If you followed my blog last year, perhaps you remember reading about how my wrist hurting was kind of a big deal to me. And I can't help but notice that God helped me through that.
So, He'll help me through this current health drama as well. It looks like I'll need to keep taking it one step at a time.
I really think that's how life in general unfolds: one step at a time. Maybe that's how God often leads us, too.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)
I often see people around me living cool lives that progressed in a pretty regular fashion: grow up, meet somebody, get married, have children, find a meaningful career, retire, travel the world, live happily ever after.
But not everybody lives that way. And the sudden course changes in our lives aren't always our fault.
Maybe suddenly your life will be interrupted with a divorce, a job termination, the death of a loved one, the death of a dream, a horrible accident, a terrible health diagnosis, or all of the above, or a crazy mix of all of the above, or anything else that I haven't mentioned. Maybe all of that could even happen all at once. (Maybe Job could vouch for that.)
I don't think that necessarily means that that kind of stuff happens because you're doing something wrong... or that you're failing to learn a specific lesson... or that God is yelling at you. Maybe it's just life happening.
At any rate, one thing I know for sure is that God is always available for us to lean on.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)
So, I'm learning that sometimes the waiting room isn't just a one-time stop on your way to your dream destination. Sometimes the waiting room must be revisited multiple times while you're en route to your promised land. Sometimes it's just part of the process.
And I think sometimes there is more than one promised land. And maybe there are sometimes a handful of promised lands within a promised land.
God knows what He's doing. Maybe He isn't always in a hurry. Maybe He's strengthening us in ways that we don't need to see yet. Maybe when it's all over, we'll be able to trample scorpions or leap tall buildings in a single bound or shoot laser beams out of our eyes.
Or maybe we can just rest our heads between His shoulders and enjoy belonging to Him.