Monday, October 10, 2016

A Time For Everything

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favourite holidays. For one, I love all things Autumn; the colours, the chill in the air, the scented candles and the cozy decor make me supremely joyous. Also, the heavenly smell of the turkey roasting and the stuffing warming in the oven just charms me. This was a weekend that I was undoubtedly looking forward to. 

Sadly, this magnificent holiday ended up a little tainted for me when I woke up on Sunday in miserable pain. You see, Sunday was the day our company was arriving and Monday was the day we were to have our real Thanksgiving celebration and dinner. I tried to stay positive and festive as I lit my Spiced Cinnamon Pear candle and got ready for the day ahead; though as I sat at my vanity and applied my makeup, I wrapped my body in the comforting warmth of my trusty heating-pad to get me through the morning. And immediately following I went upstairs to locate my pain killers because I knew that without them I'd be crawling back into bed in a matter of hours. The excitement of seeing my darling niece kept me up and awake until the arrival of my brother, sister-in-law and my favourite person in the world (my niece, of course). The rest of the day went well and we enjoyed the company of family, laughed at how big of a personality could be in such a small person (also, my niece), ate a nice dinner and started to watch the Bluejay's Game like the loyal Canadians we are.

A few minutes into the game I started to abruptly feel more ill. The pain intesified and spread all the way from my ribs to my knees and everything inbetween. I began feeling delirious and woozy because of the pain. I decided that I just needed to lie down and just be alone for a while, so I took my laptop into another room and tried to get comfortable. Finding a comfortable position quickly proved to be impossible as my pain increased and my heating pad helped less and less. Eventually I gave up on trying to get comfortable on a bed and headed to the bathtub instead. My good old bathtub always gets me through these times of my body waging war against me. I even treated myself to a lavender scented bath bomb to help with the pain and grabbed a book to distract myself. I sat in the bathtub and read The Devil Wears Prada until I couldn't stand the heat any longer and decided to get out and go to sleep.

Oh, but sleep did not come easily. Now, I'm not intending to brag or anything, but I'm a tough cookie when it comes to pain. I've experienced plenty of different kinds of pain in my life due to chronic illness, lyme disease and various injuries. But I'm just going to say for the record, that by far, the worst kind of pain I have ever experienced is the pain that comes along with my menstrual cycle because of my gynecological disease that I was oh-so-lucky to develop somehow. My doctor has described the pain that I feel as likely exactly the kind of pain that woman in labour experiences. And people wonder why I avoid getting my cycle by using back-to-back birth control. Anyway, back to the story. I had gotten out of the bath and dried off, gotten into some comfortable sleeping attire, set my heating pad on the highest setting and crawled into bed. I tossed and turned and switched positions trying to find a position that would alleviate some of the pain and none did as I had hoped. Eventually, I ended up texting my mom from downstairs in my bedroom because I wasn't sure if I could actually make it up the stairs to go talk to her.

We were trying to figure out why my pain seemed to be even worse than usual. I was honestly considering whether or not I could have accidentally overdosed on my pain killers (I didn't, thank the Lord). At this point it felt as if I were in labour, having my guts ripped out and torn apart and also a like someone was taking a searing hot knife and stabbing me repeatedly with it. Not a fun way to spend Thanksgiving in my opinion. We debated going to the hospital; but we've done this in the past and I always regret going because the doctors can do nothing to help the pain except pump me full of morphine as I sit in a freezing cold hospital room on an uncomfortable bed being poked and prodded at. So, I chose to stay in my comfortable and warm bed and endure the long night ahead. And a long night it was, indeed. I'm actually not sure whether I fell asleep or passed out from the pain but eventually I woke up to a new day ahead. I always wait a while to move when I wake up after a night like the one I had just experienced. I never know if the pain will come rushing back or if it's done it's thing and gone away. I slowly began to stretch to the side to grab my iphone off of the bedside table when the harsh pain returned in full force. I laid my head back down and admitted defeat. Though I ended up making my way out of bed about fifteen minutes later because I could hear my niece laughing upstairs and she always puts me in a better mood.

I made my way upstairs; heating pad in hand, pain killers already ingested and pajamas still on. First thing I did was plug in my heating pad beside my favourite chair and turn it on high and then I headed to the kitchen to brew myself a pot of coffee. Two things that I often need the most: my heating pad and a pot of freshly brewed coffee. After what felt like an eternity of waiting for my coffee to brew; I sat down and curled up with my heating pad, in my pajamas to drink my coffee and watch my niece run around the house getting into everything that she shouldn't get into. I probably stayed in that position for about four hours because I was in too much pain still to move. Eventually, the pain lessened and my enthusiasm for Thanksgiving grew as my mom prepared the turkey and the stuffing and my sister-in-law prepared a homemade pumpkin pie. I went to my room to get dressed and immediately knew that pants were out of the question considering the pain I still felt; so I settled on a flowy dress and leggings. And hey, I looked all dressed up though in reality, I just loathed the idea of wearing a pair of pants.

My pain wasn't gone but neither was my gratitude for the life that God has blessed me with. I choose each and every day to celebrate and find joy in the little things. And this weekend, even in extreme amounts of pain, was no exception.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Wishing you all many blessings and joyfulness and leftover turkey and stuffing sandwhiches. 


Coral K.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Big Faith

It's a good thing that over the past couple of years I've learned to roll with the punches because life is a never-ending series of changed plans and things not working out how you thought they would. And I'm okay with that.

God has thrown me a few curve balls in my life. A couple of them have been huge and life-altering, some are tiny things that change day-to-day and others are medicore -- not life-changing, not necessarily day-to-day little things; but more like things that just make you feel stumped. That's how I've felt the past few weeks. Stumped. I'm not going to make it sound pretty because it isn't always pretty; I have on more than one occasion over the past month, sat and silently wondered, "God what the heck are you trying to do here right now?". Life can be really freaking confusing. Even if you have immense faith that God is working; it's still confusing, it's still hard.

I have a habit of proclaiming my trust in God and then, naturally, I end up making my own plans and not including God in the decision making. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who does that. We pray and we say, "God, give me the knowledge and wisdom to know what you want me to do. Lead me. Be here with me, show me the way you want me to go. I trust you." And then we go about our lives, planning, stressing, worrying and then we get frustrated and confused and annoyed and disappointed when everything doesn't work out. The thing is, God doesn't want us to trust Him just during that one moment of prayer. God wants us to trust Him and look to him for guidance in those big moments and in the small moments. I used to think it was so trivial and immature to pray about little things. There was someone in my life that used to drive me crazy because I would ask them a question, and instead of answering me, they would say, "Let me pray about it." About literally, the smallest decisions. 

I hated it. I didn't get it. All I could think was, why can't you just make your own decisions? God isn't going to change something in the next ten minutes of your life. Can't you just give me an answer?

And I didn't get it, until very recently. You see, my family has always credited me with "big faith". My brothers never understood why I didn't go through a "rebellious teenage phase". I went to church, I went to youth group, I volunteered, I went to bible camp, I read my bible, I went to discipleship school.. And I loved it. I had big faith in God. I still do. It is in fact, one of my spiritual gifts I have learned. But, I have faith in God in the big things, the overall picture. As someone who tends to focus more on the big picture rather than the details; I tend to trust God with that big picture. I just trust that it'll all turn out the way God wants it in the end. And that's something I'm really thankful for that God has blessed me with. But, I struggle immensely with trusting God in the moment. Do I ever get asked to do something and pray about it in that moment? Hardly ever. I overthink, I worry, I research, I stress, I ask people's opinions.. But I don't always think to go to God with it. And that should be my first instinct. It needs to be. 

Now, you might be wondering where all of this is leading.. I guess where it's leading is to a challenge that I have given myself. A challenge to trust God in the day-to-day happenings of life. Which is really hard for me. Some people take it day-by-day and it comes naturally but they stress about the future. I have peace about the future but I stress about the now. So I am challenging myself to stop worrying and stressing and planning it all out for myself and to turn to God in the little things.

To clarify why I wrote this specific message after my last blog post had my feeling like my life was falling into place.. Things changed. And it was one of those medicore curve balls that was just downright disappointing. But, I'm choosing to see the good. I'm choosing to trust God in the daily moments where I feel stressed and like I have to figure things out for myself. And in that time, I'm embracing the freedom God has blessed me with. The freedom to develop new skills, revisit old hobbies, create new hobbies, spend time with loved ones and embrace life and to embrace God's blessings.

Just remember, that God wants you to trust him in ALL things. Not just the big things and not just the little things. In all things.