Friday, September 24, 2010

Peace that Passes Understanding

Philippians 4:7 (NIV) reads: "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I don't guess I ever really knew what that passage meant until recently. Let me walk you through my week last week...

For years now, literally years, we've known Bret was sick. Some bloodwork came back weird, we didn't get any real answers, we moved, he never got another dr, we never did anything else about it. There wasn't much reason to - the doctor had given us no real reason for alarm, other than blood levels being a little off. But he continued to be less than 100%. At first it was only every now and then that he felt miserable. But it gradually became more and more often, and he gradually added more and more symptoms. All of the symptoms could easily be explained away with some other circumstance at the time. Sleeping but not feeling rested, excercising and eating right but not losing weight, stomach issues, etc - the few doctors that he did talk to about it just brushed him off and told him to lose weight and lessen his stress.

Finally, it was to the point that it was interfering with family, work, school, life. This time, he was miserable enough to insist on some answers. To make a long story short, after initially being blown off yet again, his bloodwork came back with levels more than just a little off. Two specialists, who knows how much bloodwork, a liver biopsy (yes, basically outpatient surgery), and six months later - last week we learned that Bret has nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This basically means that he has permanent liver damage that will continue and become cirrhosis if left untreated. Why the liver damage, you ask? Well...because apparently he also has hypothyroidism and diabetes which have gone untreated for so long.

Yeah, that's right. My sweet, hard-working hubby that we thought just didn't feel very good has three major organs - liver, pancreas, and thyroid - that are not functioning properly. No wonder he's been miserable!

We learned all of this on Thursday of last week - after I had gone for my yearly woman's appointment on Monday, found a lump in my breast, and had to go have a mammogram and ultrasound done on Wednesday. Thankfully my stuff turned out to be nothing.

But oh my goodness, what a week! And all this after last week's stress of starting a new job, a close call with a tornado, and having to temporarily evacuate my house.

Yet that Sunday, after singing and meditating on "It is Well with My Soul," when asked the question, "How is it with your soul?" the only answer I could come up with was "at peace."

You see, there were two waiting rooms at the Solis Breast center where I had my mammogram done. The first was a regular waiting room, where hubbies could sit and wait with you. But then I was called back and a few minutes later found myself in another waiting room, this time filled with braless women wearing hospital gowns for shirts, many of whom were so nervous and distressed about what they might find out that they were sobbing. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling that this was very significant. I didn't really know why, but I just sat there, committing all my feelings to memory.

And Sunday morning, "It is Well with My Soul" put it all into perspective for me. I had just as much or more reason to be scared and nervous as did those other ladies. I mean, they at least probably knew what to expect from the infamous boob-squishing machine! Yet, I realized that though I was certainly nervous at the time, I had peace. And when Bret came home the next day with his literally life-changing news, I was able to be relieved that we finally had some answers instead of scared of what those answers were. And there's only one source of peace like I have in a situation like that. It's the "peace of God which transcends all understanding." I really believe that my heart and mind have been and are guarded in Christ. It will all be okay - maybe not in the way I want or expect - but it will all be okay.

So we've just taken this blow in stride, as we've learned to do quite well over the past few years. Diet plans, exercise plans, meds, glucose strips, finger pricks, a liver biopsy at least every five years - all for the rest of his life - yet we have this peace that passes understanding.

The Message says it like this: "Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." I'm certainly not there yet - but man oh man, if it feels like this already, I'm motivated to keep trying.

May Christ displace worry at the center of all of our lives...

post signature


CB said...

Oh my word. What a horrible, horrible week. I am so sorry. Glad you have some answers about Bret and he can start dealing with them, and glad your reports turned out to be nothing! How scary!

billy and stephanie said...

My heart hurts for you, but also is amazed and encouraged by your wonderful spirit. Thank you for sharing and know that I will be praying for Bret and your family.

Heidi said...

Thank you for being so transparent and sharing ya'lls trials. I know the last couple of weeks have been crazy but how awesome to have had the chance to truly understand and experience the "peace that passes understanding"! Love you guys!

Bonnie said...

As always, a mom NEVER wishes for anything but happiness and joy for her children, but I'm very glad that this is at the phase where you can write about it...I know that's significant. It is what it is (and you KNOW what it is!) and you can go on from there. And thanks for sharing Eugene Peterson's wording of the Philipians verse. As is so often the case, he uses words that we can wrap our 21st century minds around a little more poignantly.
Love you and may the Peace continue to enfold you.

Lee and Michelle said...

Knowledge does bring a some peace but as you've pointed out, only God can give us unexplained peace in very difficult circumstances. I'm praying that Bret begins to feel better and praising God for your good test results. When it rains, it pours and I believe it's in those times that we should listen very closely.

A Blessed Wife and Mom said...

I will be praying for your family!! For healing, strength and of course peace. I will pray that you will have clear answers on how to deal with Bret's health issues from here on out and I am SO glad that your results came back as nothing serious!!