I prayed for healing for what felt like an eternity, but in all actuality, it had only been ten months. Ten months of struggling through illness. An illness that robbed a lot from me in a short amount of time. At the end of December 2015 (only four short months after bringing the kids home to the states), I was diagnosed with Chronic Idiopathic Urticarial. Ten days after I received a TDAP injection, my body and immune system went haywire. I had no idea what I would endure for the next ten months. I’m glad I didn’t know ahead of time, because I may not have had the strength to get through it.
The months following meant modifying my diet to a list of about ten acceptable food items my body could “somewhat” tolerate, taking obscene amounts of prescription drugs, including prednisone and immunosuppressant therapies, to try to keep my symptoms at bay. It was an extreme measure to bring comfort. But these measures are what it took to get through the day because of my raging hives and swollen body.
Healing in the Making
After 11 months of seeing specialists, doctors, and holistic practitioners, God was doing work in my heart and my life. I finally started to feel like I was having a breakthrough in my healing. After divine appointments of coming in contact with people who provided answers, I had begun a regiment of holistic healing that really and truly was bringing my body some restoration, but it wasn’t complete. It was until December of 2016 that I would discover what God was doing to bring my complete healing. I was pregnant.
Finding out I was pregnant was the shock of a lifetime. Something my husband and I have both always agreed on is we were never going to pursue conceiving biological children. We knew God put adoption on our hearts, and we couldn’t see how a biological child was necessary when adopting more children is on our hearts. We took the necessary precautions to prevent pregnancy. Still, due to my illness, it was recommended by a doctor to stop taking artificial hormones, as they could be causing a hormonal disturbance and could be setting off my immune system even further.
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Without thinking, I did. I was desperate to feel better. I wanted to do anything that could ensure that my body would come back into homeostasis. Looking back, I can see how God had to deal with the stubborn hearts my husband and I had over the control we wanted over our lives and family. After wrapping my head around the shock of this pregnancy, I felt like God was removing layers of a hardened and stubborn heart that was certain it knew better than the God of the universe. HE was pruning me and showing me the intricate plans He had that I couldn’t comprehend. He showed me that my illness was never in vain, but that every moment was purposeful in bringing me to the moment I was in today. The bible speaks a lot about pruning.
John 15 tells us:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned… By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
It took the revelation of knowing the life growing inside of me was repairing me from the inside out. How has pregnancy healed me? Well, it’s funny because pregnancy has a way of healing our bodies if we have immune dysfunction, and for some, it is only temporary (while pregnant), but for others, it calms and resets the immune system. In the last year and a half of my life, I have felt God refining me on an extreme level. I can feel Him stripping the once fruitful branches, only to show me they were impeding new and better growth.
I felt like my world had been taken from me.
It felt as though everything I thought God had placed in my life He had suddenly been taken away. And without a big abundant tree to hide behind, I had to get real about dealing with myself head-on. I had to go deeper into the spiritual truths of my Father. I was learning more about His character, not my own. It was in those months that I felt God’s tender love so sweetly.
Week after week, I could feel him planting new branches. Fruitful branches that took more hard work than I had imagined sowing into. It meant facing ugly in the eye and learning how to respond biblically. Also, late nights of tear-soaked pillows wrestling with God to give me a break. My whole heart, my entire spirit, then the sweetest intimacy with God I had ever experienced.
Although I still didn’t understand His ways, I knew them to be good. I can see they are good despite some of my physical realities, even in so much turmoil. As I wrestled with a body that felt like it was failing me, I still knew – He. Is. Good.
God Carries Us Through
The thing about going deeper with God is understanding His character without using our present circumstance to measure His goodness. His character never changes based on our diagnosis or present tribulation. He is using it. He is using every ounce of it.
So on December 25th at noon, two pink lines were confirmation, and although it wasn’t the plan, I still declare HE IS GOOD. I know this because I know my Father. He is good, whether He is presenting me with a gift, or taking away. I seek Him in dark, deep seasons, and He always carries me through. The day He blessed me with a life I didn’t plan, I praised Him for His incomprehensible and perfect plan. A plan my mind could not dream up for myself.
On that Christmas morning, in messy pajamas, Christmas presents all across the floor, my branches, a little more full. This time I knew they were un-doubtable fruitful, and I thank God for this season of pruning. Every kick I feel this sweet baby makes, my heart sings. I’m reminded once again that He is always good.