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Broken wings

Photo on 2015-02-17 at 4.01 PM

Somethings are harder to talk about than others.

I have often claimed that it would be easier to talk about physical health problems than depression, abuse and various ways of coping with the inner and invisible pain that so many of us carry on a daily basis. I thought some words are more acceptable to say, that some struggles are more acceptable to acknowledge and that people would find it easier to respond to certain types of suffering that are more physical.

I was wrong.

physical health problems are not easier. just different.

In December, I was diagnosed with a low grade glioma (Brain tumour) deep in the brain. There were a few weeks when it was easier to talk about it. A diagnosis made my symptoms legit – I’m not making it up. It was so shocking to me that I needed to tell others.  I also wanted to invite others to pray.

but now people express concern and understanding and I want to talk about anything but physical stuff. I don’t want to accept my limitations. I struggle with chronic pain and exhaustion – but I want to keep up a pace that I’ve always known. I don’t mind people praying, but lately I’ve not wanted to talk about it.

this week I received copies of my MRI reports. The second one talked about increased problems though thankfully not an increase in hydrocephalus or the glioma.

but it also didn’t say that the glioma and hydrocephalus decreased or even disappeared.

Many people have prayed for that – many people including myself. I’ve had people say that as they pray they visualize it decreasing and others say they know that God wants to heal me. I’m typically skeptical of those remarks. But deep down, I hoped for this too. I’ve known miracles. I remember praying for one of my unborn siblings with our church community when a rather negative report came through the prenatal ultrasound. The next ultrasound astounded the physicians as nothing was wrong and a perfectly healthy looking baby presented himself. I know a number of cases in which people “got their miracle”. Many people praying and prayers answered in amazing ways.

But that didn’t happen for me. At least not yet and with God, there’s always a possibility that a miracle could happen when we least expect it. This is not new in my life – the hard way seems to be the path I must travel. I do believe strongly that God is not finished with me yet and so somehow the story is not over. Which means the glioma doesn’t win the day. But it’s still there. And a miracle has not happened to remove or shrink it.

I’ve been really bummed out about this.

Tonight, I was reminded of butterflies and how delicate their wings are. As they emerge from a cocoon, they struggle but you can’t take the struggle away and fix it for them because they will most likely die with interference. But even after they’ve emerged from the struggle, their wings remain delicate and damage to them would render them unable to fly in all their glory.

Martyn Joseph (one of my favourite singer/songwriters) has a way of speaking into my soul with words and melodies that carry healing and hold the inner parts of me.

I’m not very strong when it comes to this/ Deep in my heart I know it’s here/ Guess I’d rather wait until the morning/ Hope that it would bring a brighter sun/ Time has had a chance to do good healing/ I must take these pieces as they lie/ Offer them to You in my sadness/ I guess broken wings aren’t always meant to fly.

Oh I need you – more than I ever did before/ Oh how I need to hear Your voiceI will if I will listen to the lesson that you’re whispering/ Life is a painful journey/ But you knew so you took it for me long ago.

(Broken Wings)

I’m not very strong when it comes to what is happening in my brain – from depression to extra fluid to strange masses and cysts. I must take these pieces as they lie. And offer them to the One who laid down his life, knowing life is a painful journey.

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  1. john sullivan
    February 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Elizabeth, you have captured in words, the birth pangs of suffering. My concern is that well meaning Christians will offer pious responses that say more about them than the God they claim to serve.

    I would like to leave with you four words from the Book of Daniel that you might choose to preach on someday. Here they are “even if God doesn’t”! In context they are found in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and spoken to King Nebuchadnezzar: “Your majesty, we will not try to defend ourselves. If the God we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace well and good, but even if God doesn’t . . .”

    Here are the four points of a sermon that I have preached:

    1. Face the furnace – come to grips with reality – whatever the problem, you can meet it head on with the knowledge that even if God doesn’t extricate you from it, God will see you through it.

    2. Go into the furnace leaving the results to God. The three Hebrews trusted God for either intervention or strength through the pain of incineration.

    3. When you face the furnace and leave the results to God you can be sure of God’s presence with you in the fire.

    4. There is no limit what God will do if you give God the glory.

    The message is clear – there is a fourth with you in the fire.

    “When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, my grace all sufficient will be your supply; the flames will not hurt you, I only design, your dross to consume and your gold to refine”.

    “Be of good courage” Elizabeth,

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