Needless to say, nonchalantly checking my e-mail quickly turned into a shrieking/squealing/borderline crazy fest between my best friend Amy and I. I was just about in tears over how excited I was/am. As we were throwing our mini-celebration, the substitute teacher overheard our conversation. Instead of shushing us, she asked, "Why do you support the Arthritis Foundation?" I don't remember exactly how I answered... I just basically explained my diagnosis of autoimmune arthritis in short and went back to
working on our project squealing with Amy. ;)
Later on last night, I had an appointment to get spinal injections. I haven't had them in about 6 weeks, but being I can't use Enbrel until my kidney infection is completely gone, I thought it was the best choice to manage pain for the next few weeks. They weren't fun to sit through (as usual) but I know listening to my doctor's recommendation to get them this week was the right decision.
As I was checking out of the clinic, the substitute teacher from my economics class walked in! WHAT?! She noticed me and struck up a conversation. It turns out that she, too, suffers from chronic pain and was there for her own spinal injections. We chatted about our diagnosis' a bit more before she got called back. As she was walking away, she said, "It was so refreshing to meet you today. You're a great girl."
I smiled and stopped dead in my tracks.
I woke up yesterday morning dreading the rainy day that was causing wicked my joint pain, my appointment afterschool, and how I'd be feeling afterwards. I woke up less than refreshed, but because I got out of bed and fought anyway... I made a difference.
I never know when or where God will use me to raise awareness for this disease and if I'm being completely honest, there are a plethora of days that I complain, cry, and absolutely HATE it. The calling, the purpose, the questions, the funny looks, the pain. There are days that I plead with God to just take it all away. But for a brief moment standing there in that doctor's office, I realized I was glad. Thankful even, that He chose me.
In chapter 40 of the book of Luke, there is a young woman named Martha. As Jesus enters her village, she invites Him into her home. As Jesus spoke of His teachings, Martha's sister Mary sat down at Jesus' feet and listened intently. Martha, on the other hand, is distracted cooking and cleaning. Martha becomes upset about this and says to Jesus, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me!" Gently, Jesus responds to her by saying, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but only one thing is necessary."
At a dead standstill in that office, I realized that I am Martha in so many areas of my life. On particularly painful days, sure, I blast worship music and dig in to find encouraging verses... But I still allow myself to worry and feel discouraged about the calling God has put on my life. I focus on the logistics, the many things, when all I need to focus on is faith, the one thing.
God may not heal me today and He may not have plans to heal me tomorrow, but I know that one day He WILL. Until then, I am more than content serving as a refreshing reminder of His love right where I'm at.