I remember being around age 6 or 7 playing tag with friends and never being able to run as long or as hard as all of them. I remember running was fun for them, but it would make my chest burn. I would wheeze and then my mom would have to give me this awful cough syrup. (Albuterol)
When we were 11, we moved to San Diego and my attacks would get more frequent. The Dr. told me I had asthma. Not having Google, I turned to the giant medical books from Hospitals and Good Housekeeping we had and I read everything I could find on it. "I could die from this!" That thought filled my head a lot. Middle of the night steamy showers, inhalers from Mexico, whatever home treatments we could do, was what I had. We didn't have any kind of health insurance and so seeing a Dr. was something my parents had to save money for, or make payments on. My Dr. signed me out of PE because I couldn't do any intense exercise or I would have an asthma attack. I got sick more easily, everything went to my chest. Late night asthma attacks meant early morning school days were exhausting. That was my life, but it wasn't a big deal or too overwhelming. I ended up finishing high school early because I was taking an extra class every year since I had no PE class to fill.
When I got married at 18 my husband and I signed up for life insurance. First thing we did was see a regular Dr. who got me on preventative asthma medication. My asthma stayed great and controlled for many years after that.
A few flare ups through the years, but nothing that I couldn't recover in a few days. I could even do some exercise if I medicated prior to it. (Don't feel bad for me... I hate exercise and have never experienced that endorphin, amazing feeling people talk about getting from exercise.)
Sometime last year I got a cough (August 2016). No matter what I did, it wouldn't go away. Then in late November I got a sinus infection. Nothing new, I have had many of those throughout the years, except this one wouldn't leave. 2, 3 day long hospital visits, more than 23 different Dr.s (we stopped counting at 23), 12 antibiotics, countless breathing treatments, steroids, inhalers, cough syrups, cough pills, 2 months straight of absolutely 0 voice, weight gain (gotta be my favorite part!!! NOT!) days and days and days in bed, sinus surgery, discovery of a lump (not cancerous) in my chest, discovery of gallstones and enlarged liver, fibromyalgia, low iron, and so on. I was finally starting to be well again. Starting to be able to do more (I love to do) housecleaning, cooking, caring for those I love, organizing, whatever, I was finally able to do something!!! Then bam, I got sick again. I tried to just power through the way I had before all of this, but my asthma said nope. My asthma said we are going to flare up so bad you feel like you are back to square 1. I met with my dr and I am coming to the conclusion, I have a new normal. My many years of quick recovery seem to be over. I am back on all the steroids, breathing treatments, cough suppressants, inhalers, etc. just to be able to slightly do things.
It is easy to get discouraged. It is easy to think look at other people who don't want to serve God and they have amazing health and can do all their heart desire physically. It is easy to look at what I don't have. It is easy to want to quit. It is easy to want to say ok give all this work to someone else. (I homeschool my kids, serve at my church, help my husband, run the women's ministry at my church, help my dad, do my parents finances, and then some...)
In 2 Corinthians it tells us that Paul had some kind of "thorn in his flesh" something keeping him from being strong and doing all he wanted to do. He begged God, 3 times. I can hear those pleas. I know what they sound like. Sitting in the bottom of my shower weeping, laying in my bed as the tears flow down my face, crumpled on the floor after blacking out from severe coughing again... I just want to be able to breathe normal. I am not asking to run a marathon, or hike a mountain, or swim the ocean. I just want to walk to my bathroom and not get short of breath and start wheezing. I just want to be able to teach a bible study and not have to stop for a breathing treatment. I just want to be able to laugh with my family and not cause a coughing fit that sends me into a choking fit or a blackout.
Each time I have cried out to God for healing, I hear the same thing He told Paul... “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” His grace is all I need? Really? Are we looking at the same thing here God? It can be hard and confusing when we don't understand what He is doing. “My grace is all you need..."
I have my list of needs... Right now one of them is that I need to be healthy. He has said no, you don't get health, you get my grace. His grace for me. His favor. He says I don't need to be healthy, He says I simply need Him. It will be enough. It will be more than enough. There will be no way anyone can look at my life and say, "Wow, isn't she an amazing, super, woman!" No, they will look at my life and say "Wow, God is amazing! God is gracious! God is worthy to be praised." Alright God, I get it. That is what I want to, you to receive the glory, not me. What you do, is way more lasting and powerful than anything I could do with healthy lungs.
So my new normal is to be like Paul and boast in my weaknesses, but I am not sure I am there yet. Somedays yes, other days, I just want to be strong. I know His grace will get me there.
“...I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 NLT