Thursday, December 25, 2014

Honestly...Ready for More

Suffering's really hard. 

I have stomach ulcers, and have been put on a strict antibiotic regiment to help fight them. The antibiotics have attacked the ulcers and it has become the battle for the stomach. Although why anything would want to fight for my stomach, I don't know, it's too messed up to be of much worth. Yet they're giving their best.

Nonetheless- tonight it feels like the battle's come to a climax (or one of the climaxes). It has been such constant incredible pain, that I want to throw up. I can practically feel the explosions down in there. Looking forward to peacetime. #warofthestomach 

Last night I felt so fatigued that I couldn't spend time with my family, I had to turn in for the night. I had to walk up a flight of stairs to get to the bed, and I was so weak that I just about fell backwards down the stairs. I didn't want to tell anyone I couldn't walk, because that sounds absurd, so I fell up every stair. When I made it to the bed, it was a victory. 

My muscles (every muscle you can think of, the disease isn't exclusive, very considerate) are incredibly sore to the touch. It feels as though I was beaten a couple days ago, and am just now feeling the bruising. 
This goes along with a pounding headache, and strong chest pain, and a few other minor symptoms not worth mentioning. 
I guess I can't really express the hurt that I feel very well, but it has been enough to bring some tears, and that is saying a lot for me. 

I've been asked before to give more updates on my physical health. That seems to be very difficult for me, because talking about my pain or discomfort often makes me feel like I am complaining. Even writing the above was a stretch. However, sometimes I suppose I could be honest. 

Though the pain has been exquisite lately, I still say bring it on. Ignore the tears God, I can take more. Give me more. 
Bring me suffering, bring me pain, 
bring me brokenness, if it will still bless your name. 

Sometimes I have to cry out because the pain is a lot, but it doesn't mean I am ungrateful or unwilling. It just means I'm human. I am weak God, but thankfully through your strength I can also endure; and not only endure, but find joy. 
So don't hold back, I'm ready for what you have in store, whether it be death, or increased and amplified suffering. 

Can't lie, death sounds like a pretty sweet deal right now. Encouraged by the verse: 
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants." Psalm‬ ‭116‬:‭15‬. 
But as long as you have me down here, I'll fight hard for ya. Yet not by my strength, but yours alone. Thanks for allowing me to suffer, God. I'm ready for more. 

Monday, August 25, 2014


I just returned from a week in Haiti on a medical missions trip. We served the women attending a Christian conference by providing medical exams. Many of these women were in significant pain; spiritually, emotionally, and physically. What I loved about being there was the connection I felt with these people. Though they can school me in all things suffering and pain, my own background with pain has given me a special compassion I'd never imagined I could have. Praying with these ladies was such a powerful and moving experience because we were praying recognizing we are completely dependent on God. Watching these women worship was also an amazing spectacle because they give their whole bodies and souls to praising God. When I told my mom I wished we cld worship like this at home she replied, "there's not enough need". (We, back in the states, rely so much on our own abilities that our mindset remains almost fully rooted in self reliance.) It was humbling this week to be able to bless and be blessed by these beautiful women through the unification of pain.

It seems like pain is all around us. Sometimes all I want to do is run as far away from it as possible. It is too heart breaking to deal with or think about. Yet I can't ignore it because it permeates my life as well. And since it's so real to me, it comes in even clearer focus when I see it in other's lives.

Pain uncovers the reality that God is my love and comfort.
My pain opens my heart to have compassion on others.
Pain humbles me.
Pain is my testimony.
Pain is my reminder that this world is not my home; that there are better things to come.
Pain is my reminder that I am dependent on a savior at all times.
Pain, in a lot of ways, has been the biggest blessing to my life.
Pain proves my weakness and God's greatness.

I don't pray for my healing because pain has become my character builder. It has shown where my values lie and has taught my heart what is worthy and meaningful in this life.

Pain is a challenge, and I welcome challenges.

I am thankful for the pain in my life, as crazy as that is to me. It is a gift.
Thank you God for giving me the strength to live thru pain in this life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I love being in the sun. So it’s naturally a bummer when I find out that I’m allergic to the sun.    …....  Especially as I’m currently out west on a road trip visiting national parks. There isn’t much shade over here. I could huddle under a cactus I suppose.

So, anyway, I get rashes and redness on my skin, which is both attractive and comfortable. (Sarcastic). But is that going to keep me from going to the beach or playing outside? Not at all.

It’s also a bummer when you’re running out of medicine to try.
My gut is partially paralyzed, and therefore does not move food through very well. Food often gets stuck and I get obstructions; where it won’t move so food either comes back up or just piles up down there. Both are painful. And it seems to continue getting worse and worse.

I was on a laxative and a pill to help my gastrointestinal system work last week. But it wasn’t doing the job. So my mom suggests trying a new med (a fizzy drink) called magnesium citrate (apparently used to flush out your bowels before a procedure or something of the sort). So I go out and purchase. The bottle says drink ½ to a whole bottle. Now I was really worried that it was going to be painful (my mom surmised it probably would be) so I stayed on the cautious side and took ½.  And waited. Nothing. So then I chugged the rest of the bottle. Waited. Nothing. Waited more. Started feeling a little nauseous [in the middle of a great movie, mind you], and low and behold I puke up all of the magnesium citrate (which burns your throat like. no. other.) [and I had to miss a large part of the movie].

Of course my stomach rejected a medication I had no idea could even fail. That was a bummer as well.

Still wondering how to keep my gastrointestinal system working as I continue eating (which seems to be necessary).

Thursday, June 12, 2014


       *A piece written for english class this past year on skin  

        My rash is perhaps one of the most torturous things I’ve had to deal with lately. It’s like when you have the worst mosquito bite, and you dig your nail into it hoping the pain will ease the itching. My rash has even more fun though, for it only intensifies each time you cave in and itch, and it appears all over your body, as much as it wants. I can’t see my rash, but it’s an incredible itching sensation, and my only wish is that I could rip my skin off. And when I do itch, my skin turns bright red and has the appearance I’ve been clawed by a very large animal. Not only is it ran enjoyment to feel, but also to see.
            I took skin for granted before mine became diseased. Besides rashes, I’ve also had open lesions. In seventh grade I had an open lesion on my elbow. It was bloody and had puss oozing from it all the time. It stayed for weeks. I had to wear bandages covering that whole section of my arm. No one knew what it was, but they did take a biopsy. That was a weird experience as well. They just cut out a chunk of my skin, while I watched. With a special instrument (knife), a piece just popped out of my body (it seemed too simple to me).
            My skin, due to Scleroderma, has also begun tightening, especially in my arms and face. It’s not exactly painful, just uncomfortable in an odd sort of way. You want to almost take the skin off your body, pull and stretch it out, and put it back on. You feel incredibly constrained.
If I dwell on what is happening, this itching, sometimes gross, shrinking skin of mine forms the idea of a prison. It is not a fun thing to deal with. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

True Strength

In the last few days, things have been less than ideal.

I was upset. I didn’t understand things, and really I had a right to not be okay or happy or peppy or cheerful or embracing each new day with every precious moment <3. That was sarcastic.
However, I was most upset because I was allowing myself to react so negatively toward my circumstances.

I thought I was being strong by just toughening it out, just waking up each day and completing the necessary tasks for that day. I thought that was what strength was.
It wasn’t until I observed another person going through a trying time whose attitude was drastically different from my own, that I realized I wasn’t being strong, or saintly, or great. I was being just “okay”.

Strength is finding and embracing your circumstances and not being just “okay” with them, but rather finding joy in a place where joy is not easily found, where joy is not suppose to be found, by the world’s standards. Strength isn’t just toughening it out, and putting on a brave face. Strength is pushing yourself and striving for better than fine, because things are often better than you perceive. You determine whether you are fine, or whether you are great. Be strong.

I am a firm believer in laughter. I believe it is the one rope tying you back to sanity. When all else rips away happiness from your life, and you yet find something to take joy in, that is a strength, that is a gift, that is a saving moment.

Because, honestly, that is what is going to make people look, wonder, question. Don’t settle for the expected. Strive to exceed the unexpected. That is what is going to not only reach your own heart, but much more importantly, others’.

“Be joyful always.”1 Thessalonians 5:16

Friday, October 11, 2013

Love Is Asking Questions.

“What a man desires is unfailing love” Prov. 19:22

Just today I heard and read multiple comments expressing hurt, frustration, and loneliness. The causes of these feelings probably vary, but I found one thing to be in common with each life- a lack of care and love.

For me, today was hard- just one of those days where, inside and out, nothing is easy. But- there were moments and people that “made my day”, as is casual to say. It’s a cliché, but it has truth nonetheless. Those people made my day okay, bearable, and in the end, actually enjoyable. Even through the pain.

What comes to mind specifically are certain conversations that went deeper than a “hi” or simple talk about a math class. Certain people who stuck around longer and paid attention more; people who gave up their own time, whether aware of it or not, to share it with me. Like one who, on my walk back to the Cranbrook campus from Kingswood, not only waited for me, but also walked with me all the way. It may seem simple, overlooked, possibly somewhat silly to point out, but it meant more and was timelier than they may have known.

It seems obvious to say: love, care, share, etc. And, perhaps it’s said too much, used too much, even by me. No matter how many times it’s stated however, I don’t think it looses its sense of immediacy and necessity.

In another light, on the road to trying to love and care for others more, I have caught myself suddenly trying to love the world, and every single person in it. Impossible. Rather, going deep with someone means much more than staying shallow with many people. Both in their life, and I believe, in yours. By going deep, I mean really committing to giving to that person. Giving anything, everything.

Through many experiences, I have realized (mind you it’s a realization not easy to stay faithful to) that you don’t need to get attention, just give attention. I suppose you could connect it to selflessness. Easy? No. Rewarding? Incredibly.

Selflessness. Giving. Loving. Life is so much more than books, than classes, than me.  How much of myself can I give away so that when I do struggle with something, maybe such as pride, there will be less of me to deal with?

What a man desires is love. For unfailing love, we have to look above. But what is more important when living and growing with others than love? It changes an outlook. It changes a day. It changes circumstances. It changes people.

Yet, for those of us hurting…

The road is two ways. And perhaps, this is the more intimidating side.

“What a man desires is unfailing love”

If we desire love, yet we don’t know how to accept it, how will we ever really know what love is?

Someone sits down next to you and asks how you are, and you say “fine” just to get them off your case. Why is this?

Is it considered a failure to be weak? Is it the audience’s fault for potentially passing judgment? Is it the world’s fault for creating an environment where weak is worst?

Love isn’t always found in strength. In fact, most times love comes out of weakness. If we can’t accept, share, admit, or be open about our weaknesses, how can we then know true love? And not true love relating to ourselves, but true love in relation with others.

That bond, that love, born out of weakness and formed between people, is that possibly the love that we each desire? Yet often are too scared to reach for?

Speaking not to answer questions, but to raise them.