Before Thanksgiving, I received the startling/unexpected results of my MRI's, went home almost every weekend to attend multiple appointments, and got the news about my upcoming surgeries. Each and every day felt like another excruciating punch to the stomach and each and every night consisted of me worrying about things completely out of my control. I didn't beg God to change the circumstances and I didn't go to any length to change them myself -- instead? I internalized. Though I wore a smile on the outside and answered the dreaded, "how are you?" question with a entirely fabricated, "I'm fine!" I was growing weary. During this time, Julia, my roommate Maddie, my friends Carrie and Paige, and my best friend Amy all the way in Missouri made it (what seemed like) their own personal mission to make sure they kept me lively. Whether it was a hug, an encouraging note/message, or a funny story...they were there, day in and day out.
Sometime after Thanksgiving, my friend Julia came flying into my room as she always so energetically does. In her hand, she held a small black bracelet that read: "positivity."
"For you!" she said amongst a spell of her infectious laughter, "and every time you have a negative thought, you have to snap your wrist with it!" She settled it on my arm. I laughed it off and thought I'd forget about it...oh, how wrong I was.
Throughout the weeks that followed, the bracelet served as a deep reminder of the power that positivity has in any and every situation. I have worn it every day, and, yes, I've had to snap my wrist a few times. ;) By God's grace and strength, I was able to complete my finals, pack my things for a long break home, and still enjoy the remainder of my first semester surrounded by girls who so fiercely love and support me.
Now, am I saying a bracelet magically combated all of my negative thinking? No, not at all. In fact, where I am now has a lot more to do with what God spoke to me through the gift of friendship than it has to do with a mere elastic band around my wrist. But what I am saying is this: though things have been trying -- though things on this earth will ALWAYS be trying -- I have been personally reminded of what JOY we have in our Savior no matter what the circumstance may be...no matter how the pain may feel...no matter how weary we may become.
I have been severely nauseous since my surgeries. Most days since? I haven't even gotten out of bed. I refuse to take my pain medications anymore as they make the nausea even worse. The pain and uncomfortableness at night makes the nausea worst. A simple shower leaves me in need of a two hour nap. Many days, my mom starts making a meal I requested and I have to make a crutched run to the bathroom because I can hardly stomach the smell. Each day is a battle and all I can do is keep waking up and going to war...with my own body. While it is exhausting, I understand it is also essential.
Yesterday morning, my best friend Amy and her family picked me up for church. Before I even got in the car, I didn't think I would make it through. I miserably sat through the service deliberating with myself over whether I should make a crutched limp to the bathroom or whether I should just stay seated and hope that I could hold it together for the remainder of the service. I decided to stay.
It's always amazing and glorious and bit a funny to me when God shows up like that. A divine appointment, some might call it. I decided to stay, and I'm thankful I did because the message reminded me of the power of positivity, something so important, yet again. As I bowed my head to pray, my gaze fell upon that black elastic band around my wrist...and I was reminded of another powerful truth. You see, whether we find ourselves in a season of illness, joy, grief, peace, or something entirely different...HE is with us -- WITHIN us, even, and He is worthy of our praise.
Psalm 94:19 says: "When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul." I can't think of a better reason than that to remain positive throughout this difficult season though, at times, it seems entirely impossible. He is with me and I have decided to stay -- and whether staying means battling, celebrating, enduring, or rejoicing (and at times, all of those things)...I will do so for He is within me and I will not fall.