Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Gratitude, Healing Lyme, Moving On

Before I share the exciting news of my upcoming relaunch of my design business, my seriously fabulous new logo and some inspiring new design projects I’m working on, I felt compelled to share my story of healing and gratitude with you. Though the chapter has been closed for a while now I felt prompted to wrap up what I learned from my illness. I wanted to give the honor and gratitude where it is due. So, before I tell you about some fabulous new projects, like the one for the Los Angeles County Mayors Office, Crisis Response Team project, let me tell you this: 

“I am healed from Lyme Disease,” I say confidently, aloud.
I speak confidently, because I believe there is great power in the spoken word. 
I’d be lying however, if I didn’t  share that almost every time I say them, I pause, in my mind.  I trust God that I am a constant work in progress, always healing, always learning, and always growing. That enemy fear  is always trying to poke his unwelcome spirit in.  So, I declare and I decree in my sweet and strong voice that I am healed.

I’ve had this story ready to share for almost a year. Yet, there was certain factual details that the check in my spirit said do not share. My mind battled. Why not? Over this weekend, at the Healing Conference, there was a story about a bell that resonated deep in my soul. As the pastor shared, I realized why I was not released to share my story.  God showed me it was because certain particular details were irrelevant to the story.  It was profound revelation, followed by so much revelation of what had not been relevant in my life, all along. So, I’ll share my story, with joy and without those irrelevant details.

I’ll keep the details of the illness short.  I felt sick, with migraines, dizziness*, etc., thyroid issues, tired, as if I was dying, gaining weight for three years, despite an organic, healthy, grain free diet. They found a pineal cyst and an empty sella turcica, in my brain. All incidental findings, but  required an  MRI every 6 months for a year.  Three other factors made it very lonely.  It was my sons junior and senior year in High School.  I wanted to be fully present. His senior year events, even graduation, that I was able to attend were  marked by my ducking out, avoiding eye contact and conversation, as I just couldn’t make small talk. I felt bone dead tired, the kind that defies adequate description. One of my best friends was dying of cancer. (two very dear friends had serious cancer) I did not want to share much, because I didn’t want to take any loving attention away from her nor my son’s celebrating in his senior year.  She is with Jesus now and I miss her.  Lastly, I had no diagnosis for the first two years of illness, despite thirty doctors visits, until I found Dr. R*. He listened to me, suspecting Lyme Disease. The tests confirmed it eight days later, the day before Justin’s High School Graduation.  

The year before I was diagnosed there was a doctor  who was trying to burn down my husbands dental practice.  I didn’t know if it was personal, nor if he was going to come to the house and try to burn our house down too.  Due to the active investigation, I was not able to share that with anyone. During his arrest, an illegal silencer was found in his home. The day when he was released on bail I was having a very elaborate alarm system installed with 9 motion cameras on all outside areas, which by the way, I do not find humorous.  Scott was on the way out of town to go skiing with friends in Mammoth. I had an allergic reaction and ended up in the ER, my eye swelling shut. Thank God for my dear friend Marta who met me at the hospital where we just began to laugh at my year, and my eye. 

The same year, before I was diagnosed, feeling like I was dying or going crazy, one of the two, we were on a boat returning from Catalina Island with my family. We encountered  about ten or twenty whales about half mile out who were spouting, majestic and beautiful.  We watched them frolic for about half an hour and then I said, in all seriousness, "I'm going to pray that they come closer.” My cousin just started laughing.  The men followed suit and began laughing somewhat uproariously, that I would pray for such a silly thing. My cousin said, “You don’t think God has anything better to do than to bring the whales closer?”  He just laughed and laughed.  I explained, “God cares about showing us how much he loves us and that he hears our prayers.”  So, they laughed harder.  My dad joked, while laughing hilariously, to tell God, “Send two whales!  Tell God you want one on the port side of the boat and one starboard side.”  To which they all crazy laughed. If you can imagine me rolling my eyes here, please imagine. 

So, I knew God would hear my prayers and bring the whales closer, so I went below to spend an hour in prayer. Immediately as I sat down to pray, loud, shrieking and screaming began. I cannot describe the sounds of their screams. I was scared, thinking my little 3 or 5 year old niece or nephew had fallen over, as the shrieks weren’t anything I had ever heard before. I ran up top to see two whales come right towards us, one on the port and one on starboard side. 

To use the word majestic to describe this event would be such an understatement.  The blue whale is the largest animal alive. A blue whale weights two hundred tons. Since I am a visual person, it helps me to imagine that is the same weight as forty elephants.  Their tongues alone weight as much as one elephant. 

They came so close to the boat at a speed I cannot describe, one on port, one on starboard. They were as long as the 100 foot boat. My cousin Danny, the captain, looked a little grim when he realized how close the whales got to the boat. Their spines came up, out of the water, as they were almost past and honestly it felt like they were only inches from the boat. Danny said later if they had both been closer it could have lifted the boat up. Both my niece and nephew were up top without life jackets at that moment. When I reflect on all the different elements of the majesty (and dangerous possibilities) of that moment my mind races.

We were in awe. We screamed, jumped up and down. We’re a pretty dignified bunch. I use that choice of adjectives in jest, but we’re not the kind that jumps up and down and cries. But we jumped up and down, cried and screamed.  It is one of the few things I have experienced in my life where awe is the only word to come close to describing the moment. I found the video on facebook to listen and watch again, today and was brought to tears again, with an awe for what God brought that day. Our conversation over our three hour dinner was about prayer. 

It was majestic, mesmerizing and really spoke to me about God hearing us. About to embark on the hardest year of my life, God heard my little but fervent prayer and used that to bring the largest animal on the planet to me. I don’t believe he did it only to show my family that yes, he heard, but that my faithful and fragile heart would need that reminder to sustain me through the next few years.  

Prayer was integral to my healing. I didn’t need a whale to help me pray more, nor to know prayer was deep and effective. But I think God knew how much I’d need the encouragement that year, when I spent most of Justin’s senior year feeling awful laying on the sofa most of the time and very guilty about not knowing why. The whale became my reminder of God hearing my prayers. 

I believe healing and wellness can be profoundly affected by your mind. Neuroscience fascinates me.  I believe healing (and sickness) can begin with the spoken word. It is so powerful.  Healing prayer, speaking the scriptures in the name of Jesus Christ could heal. Though I began studying towards a Naturopathy degree, it became the power of prayer that fascinated me.

 Before my diagnosis, my acupuncturist asked me upon meeting me “What was my healing goal?”  I said to be thinner. I was at wits end and crying throughout the appointment.  She said no, “Who do you want to be, when your healed?”  I was thinking  “great she’s a nut ball ” this isn’t therapy it’s acupuncture.  But she was very intuitive,  recommended the gastrointerologist who diagnosed my Lyme Disease.  I told her I needed to go pray about it. A picture came to my mind of me standing, thinly (wink!) in a white dress, sweet and strong. 

 My thyroid illness, made worse by Lyme,  was routed deeply in not feeling heard in some situations (according to various thought, thyroid issues mean not feeling heard, picture someone squeezing your throat).  Part of my healing was learning to communicate clearly and directly.  I came to realize that when I felt I wasn’t being heard I got stronger,  louder, and bolder. Sadly, I think I came across harshly.  So my healing goal: Sweet and strong. I had absolutely no idea what that all meant at the time. It has all come together in the healing,  strength and sweetness. 

 I went to healing conferences, healing rooms,  Hidden Manna, prayed with M & M each week. M & R, bi-monthly. I learned so much about healing, illness and oils. Forgiveness is the cornerstone of healing. I really had no idea.  The language of these prayers is very powerful. Speaking them out loud is very powerful. The choice of words themselves are powerful. Renouncing lies that have been spoken over you, releasing people from their offense, giving them back to God, blessing them.  It includes replacing what you let go with something else. I was blessed to be prayed for by friends from all over the country and several parts of the world. I had prayers for separate things, like migraines. They are mostly gone.  My adrenal fatigue was prayed over at my friend M’s house, by J., and I felt an electrical type charge that is indescribable and I fell to the floor. The next time my adrenals were tested the test was not  just improved, but 100% normal. I have the tests to prove it, not that I needed them. 

So, it is with much gratitude for the love I received on this journey. I am compelled to thank those who prayed for, over and with me. Thank you to my dear and precious friends who prayed for me while I was in the MRI tube, I literally felt the presence of God sustaining me each time like I was covered by big beautiful white wings. Thank you to my family (especially my mom and dad) who prayed  for me and in Catalina when I felt I was close to losing it completely laid hands on me at dinner and prayed blessing over me one by one. Thank you to M & M for being my trusted prayer warriors and helping me keep my eyes up and on God, not letting me get too discouraged. Thank you to my precious friends, who didn’t forget I was still here. Thank you to the dear, dedicated and brilliant doctors who helped me, some of whom are dear friends and did it on their own time. The time you took to meet with me and go over my charts, tests etc.. truly shows your heart for diagnosis and healing. 

Thank you to my best friend, my husband and my love: Scott. I know it was not easy, but I trust you and your big heart and brilliant mind. Thank you for helping me navigate.  We are so much better for this journey. Also, thank you to my darling/handsome and amazing; Hannah and Justin. You guys are my loves. 

My illness was caused by a tick bite, yes, but it was God that healed me. He healed me from a lot more than Lyme. To God be the glory. It was by His grace, alone. 

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