I’ve been trying to process every piece of last night. Having Lyme in my brain means being mentally and emotionally present is often difficult, as well as short term memory loss, so I’m often afraid I won’t fully remember things during this time. (I have several “dark years” in my past, meaning I simply can’t remember them) I went through each moment last night in my head though, thanking Jesus for each detail that he orchestrated through friends who know me and love me really well. Praying he would really seal them in my mind, because even though I’m soaring right now, I know there will still be dark days ahead where I’ll need to look back and be reminded of all he’s done for me- and last night was something sweetly he gave beyond my wildest dreams. So here’s a few of my favorite moments- for my future self, and just so you get to know also. I loved the music, my talented friends and the sound of their voices. I loved the moments when I just stopped and looked around in amazement, with my heart so full of love for so many people in one place and feeling a glimpse of heaven. I loved hearing my Girl Gang speak to, about, and for me because their words speak life into me everyday. I loved watching Amanda and Hannah dance, pretty sure the spirit was healing me then and there through their movement. I loved being prayed over, I wish I had those prayers recorded and could clothe myself in them everyday. I loved the people who came up to me after with words from the Lord, both with direct confirmation while also bringing me so much hope. I loved the moment that Flora sat with me while we listened to her daddy’s music (even though moment later she tried to push me off the chair) I loved when baby Josiah kissed me goodbye. I loved when I got to introduce Clive to my friends. I loved the tears I openly cried with many of you, and also the laughter we shared. I loved drinking white wine on a summer night, and being able to stand almost the entire time. I loved the moment when I got to stop and pray over someone else. I loved the overwhelming feeling all night long of surreal, and the quiet in between moments trying to take it all in. I loved not being afraid of Lyme Disease, and knowing I was seen as so much more by the people who know me and love me. But mostly, my absolute favorite part, was when we sang and worshiped together. When the eyes were off of me, and pointed up at Jesus, and voices rung loud, and hands lifted high, declaring that the Lord is great. He is so great.
I feel compelled to remind all of you that I spent almost a decade hiding. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was sick. Having an invisible illness is bad enough, but not having a name for it made it even harder to talk about. When I started sharing it was a very slow processes and only a few were let in at a time, and even when it become public it was still presented in a way I felt like I had control over. God had been asking me to share for years, but I was prideful and fearful and full of unnamed shame. I was terrified that people would only see me as sick if they knew, or that they would leave or love me less. (It wasn’t crazy to feel those things, because I have experienced them before.)
But I’m telling you to take the risk. If you’re hiding, find someone to help you come into the light. (I’m offering right now) Don’t hide anymore, because when you hide you miss out on A LOT. There are people who will surpass any expectation you’ve ever been afraid to have, and it will bring them joy to love you when you feel the most unloveable. There are people who look like Jesus and they will serve you even when you have nothing to offer them in return.
A little over a year ago, for the first time, I shared all the ugly gritty details on a very public platform at a church event. I thought Jesus was asking me to share because he wanted to make me braver and stronger. It was terrifying, but I knew first hand that obedience leads to joy, so I obeyed. I don’t know if I’m any braver or stronger, but I know more of Jesus. I know more of Jesus because that obedience opened the door to being fully known by his people and being loved 10 fold, not less.
Coming out of hiding, and into the light, brought more people and more love than I could have ever imagined asking for. When I say obedience leads to joy, I don’t mean that he will reward you for obeying. I mean that the obedience he calls us to is always ultimately for our joy, and he delights in freeing us.
I have been chronically ill my whole life, and yet my life has been so abundantly full. That’s because of Jesus and his people. There are no sweeter gifts. Not even health.
I have not been given an official total yet, but from the numbers I’ve seen- the salary I will be losing going down to part time for the next two months was covered in last nights proceeds, which is such a huge testimony to me of God’s faithfulness and provision.
I’ll leave you with a big thank you, and also the quote Elise read from me last night at the benefit.
“Treatment in the long run should mean getting to be a normal healthy person for the first time in my life. Going through treatment is physical taxing, emotionally draining, mentally exhausting, and finically stressful.
However, spiritually I have never felt more loved by Jesus, or empowered by the Holy Spirit. He is leading me through every aspect of healing.
I have also never experienced such a powerful source of community constantly looking for ways to love me and serve me, and have never felt such an overwhelming care. This has been the sweetest gift to me through this process. My Doctor is a Christian, and has told me that I cannot get to health without community and people surrounding me with prayer and support. I knew I would not be alone, but I had no idea the lord would provide such a beautiful army to fight along side me. This disease has taken a lot away from me, but I’ve never felt more loved.”
Thank you for loving me.