For many years I’ve had issues with my stomach, back, neck, and hip. I’ve felt bad for a really long time and can’t remember not having some type of pain.
I had my gallbladder out in 1999 but continued to have issues after surgery. I was then diagnosed with IBS, which turned out to be a wrong diagnosis. Then, last October, during the process of building our dream home, I had horrific pain that sent me to the ER. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and immediately started medication. A few weeks later I had horrible leg/hip pain and end up spending Thanksgiving in the hospital. I was told I had arthritis in my hip and that my right hip is the age of a 70 year old.
During a follow-up with a Rheumatologist it was confirmed I have Ankylosis Spondylitis, which is basically arthritis that affects all the big joints. Some days in the last six months it’s been hard to walk, sleep, and even get out of bed without being in pain.
Let me backtrack a little. Months before all this began, I was in severe pain with my stomach. I remember being in my bathroom so upset and screaming at God, “I NEED ANSWERS! Just give me some answers to why I hurt so bad!” I have prayed for years but this prayer was short, to the point and filled with frustration! I felt I just couldn’t take it anymore.
Very soon after that I made the trips to the ER and got more answers in one night than I had in YEARS. That started me on to a journey to getting better.
Because of Ulcerative Colitis, I’m unable to take any over the counter meds for inflammation so my Rheumatologist suggested I start on Remicade infusions. It literally took over a month or longer for me to make the decision to start. As of today, I’ve had my second infusion. My treatment plan includes another one in four weeks and then probably every eight weeks. The goal is to get my body free of inflammation and ready to have a hip replacement.
All of this has been very hard on me and my family. Being a mom with two smaller kids and zero energy isn’t the best combination.
As all of this was going on, we were finally able to move into our dream home at the end of December. The journey to get there was years in the making. But again, having our beautiful forever home and not being able to do everything I had dreamed of doing because I hurt so bad has taken a toll. I have been depressed. I have fought depression in some shape or form daily for a long time.
I consider myself to be a godly woman, one of faith, a prayer warrior, but I’ve learned being those things doesn’t mean I don’t have to fight to keep my head above the water. I do. Many days I’ve cried and not even been able to speak a prayer on my lips. These struggles plus others over the years have tested my faith and I have not always come out with a passing grade.
However, just when you think maybe God doesn’t care, He has a way of surprising you. He surprised me with Sunflowers. Yes, I said sunflowers. Sunflowers that we believed were just “weeds.” Sunflowers, one of my most favorite flowers, blooming right there in my front yard. Tall, beautiful sunflowers EVERYWHERE. I can’t leave my house or even look out a front window without seeing them. Our best guess is they were brought in with the dirt used to build up our foundation because we haven’t done any planting and we haven’t scattered any seeds. But somehow the flowers just appeared.
With some research, I have discovered Sunflowers are known as the “Happy Flower.”
A coincidence? I don’t think so.
This is my God, faithful and true, reminding me that He is present even here. This is my God, beautiful and kind, trying to cheer me up with flowers from heaven.
Psalm 56:8-9 (NLT2) “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!”
Father, when I feel lost, remind me that my safe place is always You. May I come to You first. May I call out Your Name first. Thank You that You are near, and that You have promised a Helper all along the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.