Whatever Comes Further, God is already There

 

bed

By: Jana Greene

“Hey, God…..”

“Yes?”

“What’s going to happen further along down the road?”

“I’m sorry, that’s on a need-to-know basis. Just trust me.”

“But….”

“Trust me, love. Whatever comes further, I’m already there with you.”

I’m always badgering God about what’s next, even though I know that I couldn’t even handle it if I knew. Seriously, I COULD NOT EVEN. But in some convoluted way, I ask God to reveal to me the outcome of certain things, but the gift of prophesy is not my strong suit.

I am considering this today as I’m struggling with my health issues. I have a rare-ish condition that causes chronic fatigue, migraines, intermittent system pain, and recurrent infections. It’s not going to kill me, but some days I feel like it would kill me if it were more merciful.

Here’s the thing, though: If God had revealed to me that I would do battle with this for the rest of my life, I don’t know that I would have stayed sober. I don’t know if I’d handle it well at all, so I’m grateful for the not knowing.

While I was busy NOT knowing, He went further down the road with me when I wasn’t even looking. The manifestations of His mighty hand over this struggle were being constructed long before I was even symptomatic.

If God had revealed that I would carry this thorn, maybe it would have gone down like this:

“Child, enough badgering! Come sit with me, and I will indulge your curiosity….

“As you grow older, you will feel like your mind and body are falling apart, because they will be – sort of – and you will be scared and tired and frustrated. But I’m working on an infrastructure for your life so that you will be able to carry this yoke…..

“I will bring you a spouse who adores you, and believes you when you are telling the truth about your pain. He will never give up on you, even when you are really sick….

“I will drop friends into your life with EXACTLY this same disease that you suffer from, and they will seemingly drop from the clear blue sky. You will marvel that I took such care to place those perfect people in your life at just the right moments. Lean on them and let them lean into you. They are sent directly from me….

“When you are having a bad day and hurting inside and out, I will scootch right up next to you so close that you can feel my love  for you, even through the pain. My Holy Spirit will be IN you, giving you fresh hope, even through the tears…..

“I will give you the gift to write about your experience, so that you can pay this Love forward to others….the ones who are gravely sick but look well, the ones whose labs and tests all come back normal and they feel like they are losing their minds, and that nobody believes them. YOU will comfort and believe them, just as you have been comforted….

“I will give you humor in copious quantities, so that you can not just survive, but THRIVE….

“Whatever comes further, I am already there with you.”

I get by with a LOT of help from my friends.

God bless us, every one.

 

 

 

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Through a Glass Darkly – a Migraine Tale

migraine

By: Jana Greene

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”

– 1 Corinthians 13:12 (MSG)

Greetings, Readers. I’ve been away a while due to several obligations and one horrible migraine that lasted – roughly – for as long as it took Jesus to rise from the tomb. Three days.

Here’s what my migraines feel like – An army of tiny, pix-axed elves are carving Mount Rushmore on the surface of my brain. They are groovy little elves because they provide lots of auras for my visual displeasure as they are unloading their tools. After a prelude of giving me auras and scary face numbness, they start chipping with their elfly chisels, but several hours in, they break out the jackhammers.

I must lie in absolute stillness in a dark and silent room for however long they ascribe to completing their dastardly and painful masterpiece. Sometimes that’s a couple of hours. Sometimes it’s days. DAYS.

I woke this morning gloriously pain-free, as if the stone had been rolled away. I wanted to get out of bed and dance the jaunty jig of the grandfather in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” when he finds out that Charlie has the Golden Ticket.

Come to think of it, maybe biblical King David was a migraine sufferer and danced post-headache:

“David, ceremonially dressed in priest’s linen, danced with great abandon before God.” – 2 Samuel 6:14 (MSG)

You never know.

But I digress…

This is where I’d like to give you some platitude about how all things work to the glory of those who love the Lord. I’m not about to praise God for horrible migraines. Every time I crawl out from under one, my spirit feels a little bruised. “Hey, Lord. I thought you had my back? FIX ME.”

It hearkens back to my primal and paradoxical predicament of thought: Is God an angry and vengeful, spiteful being who is punishing me for my infractions? Or is he a good, good Father who protects me from He-knows-what regularly and walks through every single circumstance with me.

I choose to believe that God is only good. He is love and He is lovely.

He shows UP.

Even as the jackhammers rat-a-tat-tat in my head. Even as we near a nightmare election. Even as I use ice cream as a coping mechanism. Even as I’m angry at him for allowing pain to invade.

Migraines necessitate that I must lie in absolute stillness in a dark and silent room, sometimes for a couple of hours. Sometimes for DAYS. I have some really amazing prayer times while squinting in the fog.

I’m not grateful for brain-invading  jackhammers. But I AM grateful that the God of the Universe hunkers down with me, escorting me through the pain. Clearly there are a LOT of things on His plate in the world right now, but He takes the time to crawl into that dark and painful space with me. Sometimes that is Kingdom Work enough.

I’m convinced that presence is the real Golden Ticket.

God bless us, every one.

*I don’t know about you, but whatever beef I’m having with The Almighty has a applicable Coldplay song. Don’t ask why or how, it’s just a cosmic thing. Music is HEALING. As I was writing this piece, I decided that the following might apply:

CLICK HERE to watch Coldplay’s “Fix You” video on YouTube.

 

 

 

 

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No Pain, No Gain – Chronic Illness and the Christian Church

thorns

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

2 Corinthians 12:7 (The Message)

As I write this, I have the flu. I think I am on day six of it. Every once in a while, I get up to get water or crackers and notice that the sun has made an entire rotation around the earth since the last trip to get water and crackers. And one week prior to getting sick with the flu, I had a freak allergic reaction and infection from a spider bite. And three times previous to that in the past month, I have had debilitating migraines. I have a lot of horrible migraines, for which there are harbingers of auras, sensitivity to sound, and numbness of my face (always disconcerting, that one.)

I get sick a lot. My immune system is not terribly strong, and I have a lot of pain and inflammation issues. If you saw me, you might see a healthy middle-aged person, a little fluffy and dented,  but well. Illnesses don’t always show on the outside. Oftentimes, the erosion is on the inside, where you cannot see.

Some of my dear friends also suffer from ‘invisible illnesses’ – ranging from bi-polar to nerve diseases, diabetes to chronic fatigue. They are health issues that are chronic – meaning more or less constant. Many of them are followers of Jesus Christ, such as myself.  Chronic illness reminds me of alcoholism, in that I seemed to serendipitously end up as a member of a club I didn’t choose to join.

I do, however, get to choose my membership in the body of Christ, which needs to better deal with some of the realities on this planet – chronic illness being one.  I am not the only Christian who has felt awkward about her health problems in the Church proper (not my particular church, which kind of ‘gets it’ on the level … but the church in general.)

Many in the Christian community don’t really know what to do with chronic illness – of that I am convinced.

I believe in miracles all day long. I believe that signs and wonders abound every single day. Nothing is impossible for God – nothing! He can rearrange every cell in my body to work in perfect alignment. He does it for people all the time. Knowing that can make it especially frustrating to suffer.

But the reality of the matter is that some of us will not get the healing we imagine this side of the Kingdom. People suffer in innumerable ways all of the time, and die from disease every day. That’s the reality.

Our bodies are indeed the Temple of the Holy Spirit, but I don’t for a minute believe that God only takes up residence in the Taj Mahals among us. Jesus was not put off by hanging out where there was great pain and suffering – in the alleyways. In bodies like ours.

He can heal me, and one day he will. Until that day, one question usurps the pain, the fatigue.

“Do you trust me?”
Do I trust Him even in the debilitation and pain?

Either I believe that all things work to the good or I don’t. Either I know that His grace is sufficient, or I don’t. On especially painful days, it’s harder to come to terms with that.  If Jesus was not spared pain, why do we imagine we deserve to be spared the experience?

Sometimes we do not get healing that the world recognizes as whole. When Christians insist that you become healed in a specific way on an ongoing basis, a number of things happen to the sufferer, the church, and  most awkwardly, the world as it observes us.

And this makes us all uncomfortable. Let’s bring this thorny issue  into the light where we can deal with it.

The sick believer isn’t believing/praying/wanting wellness enough

Let’s be honest. After your friends have prayed for the same healing for you over a period of months or years, you might start to believe that you are just a dud. I know I have felt like a dud many, many times. The whole “believe harder” angle is so damaging, because it places the miracle out of God the bestower, into you the believer. And nothing we do or do not do causes the heavens to release power. It is all in Christ Jesus that we receive. It is our job to receive what is released – and when you are suffering, accepting and receiving can seem a whole lot harder than turning water into wine.

The sufferer feels embarrassed/ashamed that they have not been restored in the way they’ve prayed.

It’s no fun being run down or in pain. It sucks, badly. If you are healthy on a regular basis, praise God! Please don’t tell sick people, “Wow, you are sick again?” or “I never get sick.” I think I speak for chronic illness sufferers everywhere in saying those comments are not at all helpful. Ultimately, we end up lying to those around us who ask “So how are you feeling?” with the f-word. “Fine.” After all, who wants to hear the same story over and over? It feels shameful, but it shouldn’t. If we cannot be transparent in the church, where is it safe to do so?

If I don’t get healthy, my witness is damaged

This is a pretty persuasive lie, because it makes common sense. Who wants a piece of what I’ve got, if I’m sickly? Over and over again it has been confirmed to my spirit that the world needs to see faith in imperfect lives. Because all of our lives are imperfect, and nobody can relate to perfection. You are going through what you are going through, that is your reality.

“If it hasn’t happened by now, it isn’t happening” is never true

I will never stop asking for healing. I will never stop interceding for my friends who are dealing with chronic illnesses. As chronic as these conditions are, they are ultimately temporal. And God wastes not one single hurt I go through. He can use it all, and He can take it all away. What the devil means to use for destruction, our Father can easily use as a means to love. That’s a fact.

God is not punishing us

God is love in its purest form. He is not sadistic. He hurts that you hurt. His plans are much bigger than the pain. That is the foundation of my survival, because it is truth.

You don’t need to ‘get well’ so that ‘God can use you’

What kind of propaganda is that? Stop saying that, church!

If I am supposed to do a thing, but I cannot because I am sick, then I am not supposed to do the thing. My illness is not keeping God from doing HIS thing, which is the main thing. He equips me, and He knows my innermost being and what it is capable of. That’s the thing about it.

Run the race He has set before you. You are not responsible for running the courses set for others.

Jesus is not afraid of catching my ick

Although migraines are not contagious, it is easy to fall into thinking He is staying far away. But he is present in the pain, He doesn’t run from us when we are in the valleys.

I think about the paralyzed man who was healed by Jesus in a common setting – the one who was told to pick up his mat and walk. This is so easy for God to do – to enable that! Why would he not allow us all to pick up our mats? Why are some of us barely dragging our mats behind us? I cannot begin to understand.

I’m inclined to believe it has to do with the Bigger Picture. For the sake of the whole purpose have had life breathed into these bodies – so that someone else can be blessed by hearing “I know what you are going through, you are not alone.” If suffering comes at the price of one other person knowing that God is to be trusted even through the circumstance of pain, it is somehow more tolerable.

Until I get my full healing, I’ll tell you what Jesus does for me – He gets down on the mat with me and loves me to pieces. That’s what I think the church should do. Pray, always! But also bend down to the hurting people where they are – and love them to pieces in the midst.

We don’t always get restored the way we want, but we always have comfort available to us.

We should stop selling Christianity in a slick package that promises a specific healing

Guess what? People see other people get prayed for that still suffer and die all the time. It’s the circle of life thing. Christianity is so much more than surface healing – so much deeper than tissue and brain matter and physical vitality. It is relationship with the Creator….. SO much MORE. And so much better.

Never stop praying in the Spirit. But get down on the mat and love people where they are.

I know for a fact that other people have gone through pain before me,  so that they could impart that same message to me. So, in a way, I am grateful for the pain of others.I am glad  I can pay that forward. When I have a finite amount of energy  every day, and I can either use it to raise my fist to shake it at God – because I don’t understand this! Or, I can raise it to praise Him. I am about 50/50 with the fist shaking and worship through the pain at this point. But I’m getting better at the latter.

Love the sinner, hate the sin. Love the sufferer, hate the pain. Jesus does.

Come to me, all you chronic pain sufferers, and I will give you rest.

Come to me all you whose minds are tortured with mental illness, and I will give you a soft place to fall.

Come to me, all you exhausted souls, and I will give you my Shalom.

Not a single other human being on this planet might know how much you are hurting, what your body and mind are going through. But God does. Make room on your mat for Him until you can get up and run that marathon.

Are you weak and sick? Then you are strong!

… It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.

God Himself inhabits our puny, struggling flesh as if it were the most beautiful temple in all the land. Because it is.

Rest in Him.

Sassy Pants Diet Update

This cat totally gets what I am talking about here.
This cat totally gets what I am talking about here, and has spent many a morning at Morning Enthusiasm Level 0.

This morning, I experienced the very first manifestation that I have not consumed sugar in any form, nor carbohydrate (ok, except for that one single cheat) since March. Traipsing into my closet with my usual morning enthusiasm (level 0) to get dressed, I considered wearing yet another pair of black pants. Black is slimming. I have a lot of black pants.

But no. I don’t know what it was about this morning – perhaps I noticed that my upper thighs were not chaffing in quite the usual way, like the legs of  a fat cricket  might – that made me choose the light gray slacks. But at any rate, I chose them, even though they have never fit me. (Yes, I bought them even though they didn’t fit. Because when I buy clothes in my actual size, I fear my brain will come to accept that I am my actual size, so I buy clothes one size smaller. Hey, it makes sense. Ask any woman.)

And I pulled them up, past my fat cricket, music-making thighs. And they zipped. They even buttoned.

Now, with an unprecedented morning enthusiasm level of 3, I finished getting dressed and walked into the kitchen, all sassy-like.

“BEHOLD!” I announced to my poor husband, who was just trying to have his first cup of coffee and read his morning Bible verse in peace. “ON THIS DAY, I WEAR THE PANTS OF YESTERYEAR!”

I suspect he is thinking, “It’s too early in the morning for this drama,” but he smiles and congratulates me.

Truthfully, it is a lot better than my usual morning drama, which goes something like this:

Slump into the closet woefully.

Try on pair of slacks that apparently shrunk in the dryer. Throw them on the floor, as I remember that I don’t put my pants in the dryer. Ever.

Put on skirt that will not zip. Grumble and fuss. Add skirt to heap on floor.

Choose a pair of black pants. Although they can be zipped up (technically) muffin top spills over waistband. When I attempt to breathe, muffin top becomes Bundt cake over top of pants immediately. Add to pile on floor.

Hate myself vehemently. Vow to buy new clothes, knowing full-well that I will purchase them in the same size as the ones on the floor – because, and well….WOMAN REASONS.

Grab pair of Fat Black Pants.

Finish getting dressed and head into the kitchen for coffee (and maybe a bagel …. what’s the point of even TRYING anymore?) and bitch to husband in high drama about how much I hate my body, while slathering cream cheese on said bagel.

Maybe cry a little, certainly spread my disdain around to my poor husband, who is JUST TRYING TO HAVE HIS FIRST CUP OF COFFEE AND READ HIS MORNING BIBLE VERSE IN PEACE!

Undeterred, he tells me I’m beautiful no matter what fits on any given day. I adore that man. I don’t know why he puts up with me, but I’m awfully glad he does.

Fat cricket legs, morning drama, sassy pants and all.

 

 

Food: a short history of dysfunction

Don't these look delicious? They were sinful, I tell you! Chocolates from Blue Ridge Chocolates.
Don’t these look delicious? They were sinful, I tell you! Chocolates from Blue Ridge Chocolates.

 

“I would try to be good, in the Puritanical sense, which meant denying my appetites. Resisting temptation meant I was good — strong, counter-animal. But the jungle drums would start beating again.” – Anne Lamott

Ugh. Those jungle drums! It seems so simple. Eat what you need, move about. Respect your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, instead of a primal casing for animal appetites. How much harder it is to live that way.
Having eaten “clean” for nearly a week (nearly a week!) it occurs to me that my eating habits come from a place of fear. Looking back, it becomes crystal clear.

Birth: 4 lbs, 11 oz. preemie. Obviously, when you weigh four pounds and some change, being a “good eater” is a good thing. No problems yet!

Early childhood: My earliest memory about food as a young child: B.O.R.I.N.G! Eating took away from my playtime. I would try a few bites of anything, but the few bites sustained me.

Mid-childhood: I had to be bribed into eating at all.  At mealtimes, I learned to shuffle food around on the plate to look as if I’d eaten more than I had. For a brief stint, I was not allowed to leave the supper table until every single bite of my food was gone. This evolved into my finding ways to trick my parents into thinking I ate, and their adding time on my sentence of sitting at the table – or even adding more food as a punishment. Food became a major power struggle issue. Not only was it boring, but now mealtimes became occasion for dread.

Late-childhood:: I earn the family nickname “toothpick legs.” Underweight, I am sick frequently.

Early Teens: Okay, I’m hungry now. I get it – hunger. Hormones aflux, the periods happen. Boobs happen, and keep happening. Fat fills in all the right places.  During this time, I start to make the correlation between yummy foods and reward. Food isn’t punishment, it’s reward! Ahhh, wait. It’s both!

I get into a twisted ritual of starving myself any time I’m disappointed in me;  of not feeling worthy of reward, starving myself as punishment. I also begin hiding food, in case I do something worthy of reward. Giving food way too much power.

Late teens: Oh,  how I love food now. I discover different ethnic foods (Greek is favorite!) This is a time of exploration –  curries and spices, cooking and baking. Nobody calls me toothpick legs anymore. I decide that I shouldn’t use food as a reward or punishment (hooray – GO ME!) but instead, eat unhindered of any rules at all. In the free-for-all. As you probably know, free-for-alls are not free at all. There is always a cost.

Young adult: I discover alcohol, and this is where it gets more complicated. I drink to excess, and frequently. Funny thing about alcohol – it is high-calorie, no-nutrient. I fatten up quickly from all the beer, wine, rum drinks, and white Russians (especially the white Russians!) and do the only rational thing an alcoholic does – stop eating with any regularity. Gotta have priorities, right? Drinking made me forget I had issues with food at all! Weight drops, as does self-worth.

Mid-twenties: I must get sober and eat veggies, because I am thinking about becoming a mama. I quit drinking. I get pregnant; I love being pregnant. Even with complications, feeling my baby move in my belly fills it up the way foods never did. I take prenatal vitamins and drink plenty of milk, but cannot resist urge to eat McDonalds. Once per day, I snarf two double cheeseburgers to assuage the baby and the infernal cravings she causes.
After she is born, I continue McDonald’s habit, and add several hundred more calories per day. Nursing makes me ravenous! I breastfeed my daughter until I become pregnant with my second baby – 2 ½ years. With the second pregnancy, I gave up the fast food burger  habit, but only because the new baby wants TACO BELL. I form the habit of eating firstborn’s leftovers. There are always leftovers because kids eat what they need and then go play.  Justification: This is what new moms do. They clean their kids’ plates – the leftover fries, the quarter of Happy Meal hamburger.

When I gave birth to my second daughter, I breastfeed her as well. Whew, I forgot how hungry nursing makes me! I am making sure to squeeze in a few fruits and veggies, as I feed my firstborn semi-healthy foods, but at night, I collapse from exhaustion and grab a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies. Or maybe Milanos, a comforting “treat” for Mommy only.

Late twenties: When the youngest is two years old, I wean her. I also take drinking back up, heady with the idea of having my body all back to myself to use (or abuse) as I see fit after seven straight years as a baby-growing vessel and milk machine. Adding a ” glass or two of wine” in the evenings seemed reasonable, except that it was (a) never ‘one’ glass of wine, and (b) several hundred extra calories every day. With the weight of two pregnancies still clinging to my frame, I could not eat as I typically did AND drink, something had to give…. And it was food, healthy food.

Early thirties: Okay, now I am miserable and fat. And on blood pressure meds. And antidepressants. And I am pre-diabetic. But also – at 32 – sober. For good, All glory to God, one day at a time – as long as I don’t pick up that first drink.  I tell the story of my alcoholism/recovery in my  book, “EDGEWISE: Plunging off the Brink of Drink and into the Love of God,” but from a nutritional perspective, the drinking/binge-eating had really done a number on my health. When getting sober, a person’s body craves sugar like a crazed maniac, because alcohol converts to sugar and without it….well, what better to reward your cravings – and spirit – with than actual sugar? At this stage in my life, my marriage was deteriorating, I ate for comfort in addition to craving. My body hurt, and hurt often.

Mid-thirties: The Divorce Diet. Highly effective at weight-loss and mind-loss. Depressed, I upped my smoking to two packs every day. Working four part-time jobs to feed my children, I was in survival mode. I chain-smoked, and drank  diet soda, and little else. I think I perhaps consumed 800 calories a day, because I was hanging by such a thread emotionally that I had NO appetite. NONE. Within a year, I lost 80 pounds. People started telling me how great I looked! I had NO control over a single thing going on in my life during that period, except weight. It became a daily personal challenge to eat as little as humanly possible without passing out. Damn it, I would have control over something going on! I found that if I went without even 800 calories each day (say, 400 calories) I dropped pounds even more rapidly and even MORE people told me how great I looked!

Until they starting telling me I was too thin. Toothpick legs was resurrected. And obsessed with running out of food for my daughters, I begin hoarding food again. I am sorry to say that I passed along my “food as reward” mindset to them, too.

Mid thirties: Ages thirty-three to thirty-six were a pivotal time for me. I had hit a bit of a stride as a single mom, with steady employment and a much-improved walk with God. I started having some clarity about my food issues, and – as I worked on my alcoholism recovery – became aware of the parallels. Started eating semi-regularly, gained a little bit of weight back, but still smoked like a freight train.

Late thirties:  I fell head over heels in love with a man whom I married a year later. I tried not to bring the body-issue baggage into our relationship, but of course – I did. But I was happy again, for the first time in forever! We both loved to eat, and four months into our courtship, I quit smoking completely. Again, I employed the tools of recovery to help me through the cold-turkey smoking cessation.

My appetite for life – and food – returned! My Lazarus taste buds all stood at attention and implored me to eat. And in my newly wed bliss, I decided that I must cook southern foods for my Yankee husband! Our first year of marriage was greased with butter and shortening. And it was delicious.

And now, several years (and medicines, pant-sizes, and cholesterol points) later, I am attempting to learn from the mistakes of the past – acknowledging the red flags of bingeing, hoarding, and starving in the rear-view mirror – the cost – but not changing direction for them. I am surrendering. In any surrender worth it’s salt (so to speak) there is an element of accountability.

Today, I am going to eat what I need and make those Jungle drums the rhythm to which I move about.

One day at a time.

Christians and Mental Illness: starving the stigma

Today, I am sharing the Redemption Feast blog post I wrote today for WilmingtonFAVS.com. It is a sensitive subject, but one that the world – and the church – cannot afford to ignore.
http://wilmingtonfavs.com/blogs/jana-greene/starving-the-stigma-in-the-church-mental-illness

The Flu or Something Like It

By: Jana Greene

It wasn’t the flu.

It couldn’t have been, because my husband had gotten a flu shot and he got  sick before me. The flu shot, heralded as viral kryptonite, was supposed to prevent just such an incidence as this….this plague upon the Greene Residence.

Of course there are two schools of thought on the flu shot.

Team Flu Shot, which consists of people wearing lab coats and the government (completely trustworthy, right?) insists that you MUST have the flu shot. If you don’t, you are a biological renegade, careless with your own health but worse, a phlem-ridden public nuisance volunteering to spread disease.

Team Never Been Sicker is comprised of people who have had the shot and soon thereafter became gravely ill. These folks complete every sentence pertaining to the shot with, “No, really….I’ve never been sicker!” People in this category will also tell you (with a far-away look in the eye, remembering the horror) that they will  never get another shot.. Because if you have every symptom of the legit flu, it is The Flu to you whether or not you’ve been immunized against it.

So, maybe it wasn’t the flu that my husband and I had, but it was a relative, at least. If it approached a talent agency about becoming a Flu Impersonator, it would get hired on the spot and paid top-dollar. It was a dead-ringer.

My Beloved and I lay next to each other for a week – two people madly in love with one another in bed – barely touching and saying things like, “please don’t touch me, even my hair hurts” through stuffed, red noses.

Hours became days. Bedside tables became crowded with wadded up tissues and cups sticky with Thera-flu residue. The days became a solid week, and then ten days of Imposter Flu…misery. And then, a tiny ray of hope in the form of a lapse in the constant headache.

We are starting to crawl out from under it, this monster bug.  A few days ago, I logged onto this blog and realized that I have not written since October!  What? How can that be? But there it was – bigger than Dallas – the calendar on the right-hand side of this page that chronicles blog entries with November empty.  Time flies when you are incapacitated.

So, I’m sending apologies to the blogosphere for missing out on the entire month of November (so far) and looking forward to doing some writing in earnest to make up the difference. God snuck in some inspiration for new articles in between bouts of fever and nausea, and I’m looking forward to digging in to His Word and His work, and venturing out into the world again.  Mister and Mrs. Never Been Sicker were down for a count, but not out of the game!

The plague is lifted, may the words soon follow!