Can you sit for a spell and visit with me? I'll fix us some sweet tea and we can chat.
This past week has been an emotional roller coaster for me. Usually I don't share my personal problems with my blog readers but I've learned something important that I simply feel I must share. It's rocked my world and it's too important to keep to myself.
Several months ago I shared with you all that I have an inherited kidney disease. My Dad and sister had the disease as well. Up to this point I've been plodding along, visiting my doctor every three months and having whatever medical tests were required. My kidney function has gradually decreased over the past 2 years but slightly increased 3 months ago. One night last week, after my scheduled blood work, my doctor called me at home to let me know that my kidney function had dropped from 21% to 17%. He told me that if it doesn't return to 20% in three weeks I will be placed on the transplant list.
I've always had a healthy lifestyle. I tried to eat low cal/low fat foods and exercise regularly. I didn't smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs. More recently, I've started eating whole, organic foods. After the dietary changes, I noticed the increase in my kidney function. I felt like I was on the right track. I was encouraged to keep doing all I could to help my poor kidneys out.
When my doctor called, I felt as if all of my hard work had evaporated. He sensed my frustration with my bad test results and reminded me that their is no cure for my disease except a transplant. He also reminded me that my lifestyle has been beneficial because it has given me quality of life. I have felt generally well even though I'm sick. But in the back of my mind I kept thinking. . .
When you follow the rules, you should be rewarded!
This is not fair. This is not how I've planned my life to be. I've been working really hard and what do I have to show for it? Not fair, not fair, not fair.
Yes, I had a pity party. My family didn't know it. My friends didn't know it. My pastor didn't know it. But God did.
And my pity party did not impress Him.
I inwardly sulked. I ate junk food. I didn't exercise. I didn't pray. I cried a little.
After a few days, God spoke.
I was driving to work and couldn't get reception to my favorite radio station. I couldn't stand the silence so I channel surfed. I heard a voice on the radio of a young wife and mother telling her testimony. After a few minutes of listening, I realized she was talking about the fact that she was dying. She was dying of cancer. She had maybe 6-12 weeks to live. She would be leaving a loving husband and 2 small children behind. She wasn't having a pity party. She wasn't sulking. She was too weak to eat much or exercise. She prayed a lot. She only cried a little.
God spoke through her words.
I thought about her all day while I worked. After dinner I looked up her name and found her website. I was able to watch a video of the testimony I had heard. I listened to the whole thing. I was so amazed with her story. I was convicted by my attitude. After all, I'm not dying. My life will certainly change in a great way. I will have to take medications for the rest of my life. I will most likely gain enough weight so I will not look like myself. But I'm not dying.
Her name is Rachel Barkey. She died last year. She is one of my heroes.
If you get a chance, please look at her website and check out her testimony. I think it might change your life. . . or at least your attitude.
These are Rachel's words. . .
There is a natural tendency within us to try and make God who we think He is or who we think He ought to be. If all is well in our world, our view of God is unchallenged. He is good. He is loving. He is fair. But when things start to go awry, that is when our true view of God is revealed.
We think God is not good or that He is unjust or that He is not in control because hurricanes destroy whole cities. Children are mistreated and abused. Wars break out and innocent people are killed, or women get cancer and die, leaving their children without a mother and their husbands heartbroken. We try to fit God into who we want Him to be rather than seeking Him for who He really is.
My frustration and anger are normal. They are even right—some would say. But at their root, they are unbelief. They are my sinful heart saying, “I don’t believe that this is the right thing for me, God. You must not know what You are doing, or if You do, You are not good, or You are not in control, or You are just being unfair because I don’t want this, and You are not giving me what I want.”
That is what my heart naturally says, and what yours does, too, when faced with circumstances we don’t like—when someone at work is making things difficult, when someone in our family doesn’t do what we would like them to do, when accidents, natural disasters, or disease happen. But God is good. He is in control. And He is fair. When I try to make Him into a God who serves me, I sin. Our natural bent is to sin, and it is our greatest problem.