Monday, July 9, 2018

ice cream flavors and God's favors

isn't that a pretty cool title?? I bet you are wondering what one has to do with the other, and well, they don't go together at all.  and this post really has nothing to do with that title.  But someone will know what it means.  she thinks i should write a book.

but for now, I'm just going to write here.  the last time i blogged, it was december.  7 months ago.  i shared about how life was hard.  that i was coming off some medication for depression and anxiety.  i shared that the effects of weaning off the medication was worse than the reason why i went on the medication to begin with.

When i wrote my very first blog post over 10 years ago now, (omg, i'll be 32 in three months) i shared that my intention in even starting a blog was to give hope to someone.  anyone.  maybe someone who has just had a bad day, maybe someone who wanted to give up hope completely, or maybe someone who just wanted to hear about another human being, trying to figure out and live out grace, truth, love, heartache, pain, and trust ... and a lot of other things.  you're not alone.  and in order to encourage someone in their journey of "you're not alone" you have to be willing to get honest.  grossly, raw, tearing pain honest.  So, I am.

i believe in Jesus.  some days i trust him, other days ... i trust him not so much.  and other other days i am wondering how to trust in a being i cannot see.  i love Jesus.  some days, i love him a lot.  other days, i forget how to love him.  and other other days ... i can't even love myself.

I have been off anxiety and depression medication now for almost a year.  i have lived and walked through the hardest, most gut-wrenching 2 and a half years of my life.  *brutal honesty coming up*
for the past 10 months, i have been bleeding.  there were days when i would wake up with hope, that "maybe today is the day that i won't be bleeding."  it never happened.  for 10 straight months, constantly bleeding.  i would go to work every day, praying that no one would find out, as in, that i wouldn't bleed through my clothes.  for 10 months, i went swimming twice a week with my preschool class, praying and hoping that everything would ... 'stay in tact'.  the only thing i could link it to was the medication that i had weaned off from.  the very week that i started tapering off the meds, things became irregular.  it was a rare side effect.

things at work were a little out of sorts as well.  lots of turnover, a public investigation into the program, program changes and i was working a split shift that essentially took over my life.  I would wake up for work at 630am and not be able to relax and come home until 630 at night.  i would be exhausted, still bleeding and 2 hours later, fall into bed for it to start all over again the next day.

can i tell you, most days it was sheer grit to not ever give up.  there were nights when i would fall into bed and cry myself to sleep, begging God to take me in my sleep because i would rather be with him in heaven than go through another day of constant bleeding.  some nights as i would lay in bed, trying to focus on truth, i was thinking about Landon.  My nephew.  i want to be around to see him grow up because after all, i actually do have a big part in his life.  i am helping raise him.  i see him everyday.  i change diapers, i feed and change him, give him baths, hug him, make him laugh.  his smile is what i could close my eyes and see when i was wondering when this bleeding would stop.  some mornings when i woke up, it was the desire to see him that let me know i could get up and fight through another day.

things at work very slowly moved along.  i had been patient long enough and even considered finding a new job opportunity.  I waited for over 3 months for a schedule to be worked out so that i could end the dreaded split shift.  it finally happened.  i had done some more research on the bleeding aspect and began taking a new approach with some different supplements.  The week that my schedule was finalized, i began to feel a weight lift and the bleeding began to slow.  i stayed on top of the supplements and stayed patient for the next part of my work situation to open up; moving into the classroom that i was originally hired to work in, 2.5 years ago.

can i tell you also ... during this transition of unknown, my sister had her second baby 3 months premature, just like Landon and the night before that, my dog of 16 years died while i was at work, covering a shift that i hadn't agreed to.  My family was all at home, waiting for me to show up for lunch, like i always do, before they took my dog to the vet to be cremated.  i never showed up bc of the shift i was covering and i found out via text 6 hours later that he had already been cremated and we would get his ashes in a week.  i was sitting in my vehicle down by the water, waiting for a meeting to start that i was supposed to be at.  i cried the hardest i had cried in a very long time.  sweat and tears rolled off my face.  i skipped the meeting and went home and cried the rest of the night.

i was up most of the night looking through my pictures of Stu, my best little pal, crying more tears.  I laid in bed awake at 330am, May 31.  wondering how i was supposed to get up for work in 3 hours and do my best to leave my broken heart at the door knowing that when i got home, my dog wouldn't be there to greet me ... not ever again.  I saw a light turn on upstairs, and heavy, fast footsteps bounding down the stairs.  it was my dad.  he said, as i was laying there with my phone full of pictures next to my head, "Erica, Angela is having the baby.  She is in labor right now."  i flew out of bed, ran upstairs, grabbed my shoes and me and mom drove to the hospital.  my dad stayed home with Landon.  Ezekiel James was born at 4:05am, 35 minutes later and was transported an hour after that to Children's Hospital, where he's been for the past 40 days.

2 weeks ago, my vehicle died in the parking lot at work.  i honestly could only laugh.  as i turned the key over in the ignition, and heard nothing, i started to laugh.  i had so many people come to my aid and try to help me.  nothing worked.  my car would have to sit until i could afford a tow and a repair.

the next day, friday,  i found out at that the final working piece was decided on and i was moving into the classroom that i had been wanting to be in, the spot in which i was hired in, 2 years ago.  my car got towed the next day, saturday and the starter that was 14 years old, original to my vehicle, got changed out in an hour and my car was ready for me to have the next day, Sunday.

can i tell you, the week i found out about the final piece at work fitting together, i stopped bleeding the very next day.  I have not bled in 10 days.

today was the first day i was back in my old classroom.  when i clocked in and went to my new spot, i could not hide the huge smile i had on my face.  one that has been dormant for a very long time.  it wasn't like work at all.  i was back where i belonged.  and even more exciting for me, the kids that i have already taught in the little tyke classroom ... will eventually all come through the 5 year old class that i am teaching in now.  it was the encouragement i needed at the right time, when i let a few parents know of the transition, they were smiling as big as i was when they realized that "Miss Erica" will be their kids teacher once more.

can i tell you ... there were days i did NOT want to get up.  there were days when i questioned what God was doing, what He was thinking.  if He was even in my corner at all.  *brutal honesty coming up*  there were days when huge blood clots were coming out of me and i wondered how God could love me in the state i was in.  On those days, it was sheer faith.  i felt like i only had a mite, half of a half of a mustard seed of faith.  there is a New Testament story in the bible.  It was about a woman who had been bleeding for 12 ... YEARS.  she heard that Jesus was coming through town and she pushed through crowds and crowds of people to see him.  i think of the images i have seen of Woodstock.  Jesus in the middle of that crowd, walking to his next assignment.  and this woman, who was bleeding, tired, scared ... crawled to get to him.  can you imagine, sweaty, dirt caked on sweaty face and palms.  rock sticking into weakened flesh from crawling on hands and knees.  she knew that if she could just touch Jesus, she would be healed.  she touched the most ragged part of his garment, the dustiest, dirtiest part of his robe ... the fabric that dragged across the ground.  she knew if she could just touch that part ... she would be healed.

on the days leading up to this woman finding Jesus, it was sheer faith.  she had nothing left to give, nothing left to offer, but if she could just touch the hem of the garment of the Healer ...

she reached for him and touched his robe and Jesus looked around at the crowd, and asked "who has touched me?  virtue and power flowed from me, who touched me?"  As if Jesus didn't already know.

on the days it was sheer faith for me, i remembered that woman, the woman with no name.  Perhaps the gospel writer left out her name because it would be easier for me, 2000 years later to relate to a woman who had felt like me at one point.  i would stand in the shower, watching blood leave my body and i would remind God of His Word, His promise.  that He was the healer, and i needed a healer.  i remember a few times i was praying and i thought, "if i could just touch you like that woman did, i would be healed."  then i was reminded of another scripture, another promise of God's word.  He said "blessed are you who believe and yet do not see."  that i am more blessed because i believe, yet do not see him.  and then again, in Luke, "blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her."

that is all i had most days.  i am going to see an OBGYN next monday for the first time.  which i am dreading.  i set up the appointment because of the bleeding.  i have seen God's favor in my life.  sometimes when God is preparing to reveal His favor, He is preparing you ahead of that to walk through the valley and desert it takes to get to see that favor.  Moses did not see the miracle of the split sea without the enemy barreling down on him,  chasing him into the miracle.

During this last season, i have felt like all i could do was let the enemy chase me into the miracle.