I know what you’re probably expecting out of this post. Vision for the new year, inspiration, and motivation. While I do hope that it holds all of those things for you, this post will hopefully contain more than a simple statement to live by or a thoughtfully crafted image for you to share via Instagram.
Quite honestly, I’ve been avoiding this post, unsure of what exactly to write or how to write it. However, I knew I had to share what The Lord has been doing in my life as of late. So, here it goes…
Let me start by saying that I have the sweetest husband, y’all. He is truly my best friend and a constant reminder of God’s love and forgiveness in my life. For those that are close to me, you know that he has absolutely doted on me since the beginning of our relationship. Our first date was a picnic under the stars at the Botanical Gardens in Athens, GA, which is also where we wed 3 years later. I’ve loved every minute of it. His love is extravagant, and as my sister once noted, “Y’all are just so high-maintenance.” It’s often a competition to see who can one-up the other with surprises. I must concede to his victory in that arena.
All that said, it’s not unusual that this story starts out with one of Chris’s surprises. Chris is always much more on top of the latest trends and social justice movements. His latest fixation is Warby Parker. They are a company based out of New York, with a Toms inspired movement of buy a pair, give a pair. They sell some of the trendiest eye ware I have seen in years, and since Chris doesn’t need glasses, he decided that I must need a pair. So, he set me up for my first eye exam in (cringe) 10 years, but told me that we needed to wait until the new year to buy a pair of glasses. His plan was to surprise me after my appointment with a trip to the Warby Parker Tour Bus, which was only in Atlanta for a few days, where I could try on and purchase a new pair of glasses for Christmas. So sweet.
My Optimetrist was just a short walk down the street we live on. So, the day of my appointment, I scurried down for what was sure to be a quick check up. However, as I started discussing some recent vision problems I had experienced over the last year, my appointment turned sour. I left with a heavy sentence. I was either going blind in my left eye due to a problem with my macula or experiencing early symptoms of MS. Chris pulled up to the office with a huge grin on his face. I slid in the car and burst into tears. He pulled over and waited until I had enough composure to share what the Optometrist had told me. Of course, this was immediately followed by another steady stream of tears. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, I was a designer, I made my living on my vision, how could losing my vision in my left eye be the best case scenario?
My Optometrist requested I schedule an appointment with a retina specialist, but it was mid December and there were not any appointments until after Christmas. The thought of waiting for a diagnosis through the holidays was excruciating, but I was determined to “remain calm” and trust in the Lord. Chris proceeded to call a specialist we found at Emory every morning, hoping to slide in on a canceled appointment, and in the meantime we waited. It was certainly a weird feeling to know that something inside of you was wrong, when just days before, everything seemed fine. It’s like driving your car with the engine light on, in anxious anticipation of exactly how far you can go before it shuts down. I decided not to tell anyone but my immediate family about the situation. I’m usually beyond open with people about everything, to a fault, so this was an odd decision. I suddenly dreaded the feeling of people “pitying me.” My parents however, completely ignored my request for privacy and proceeded to put me on every prayer chain this side of the Mississippi. I suddenly had people telling me stories of healing and encouragement. It was such a weird feeling to be on the other side of those statements. Honestly, it felt uncomfortable.
During this time of waiting and praying, a lot of thoughts went through my head. I suddenly became painfully aware of how I spent my time. I’ve never been a “work-a-holic.” A “busy bee” as my parents lovingly put it, yes. Always a craft, always a project. But, in the past two years, my desire to have my own company, in which I could mentor others, share my design skills, and have complete flexibility has driven me to work many long days, often in place of the quality family time I was working so desperately to have time for. These feelings, mixed with the inevitable joy and passion you gain, when you finally find your niche has created quite the drive. On top of that, I’m a “pusher” or as I like to package it, an “encourager.” I know exactly what needs to be done and said, and I get it done! It’s one of my best qualities. It’s the gift that has gotten me this far, but it’s also the quality that has caused me to learn a lot of lessons the hard way. I’d love to tell you that this time of waiting created a major life change. I think it did in some ways. I vowed to actually take time off over the holidays and to take a vacation email free with my husband in mid January. I also committed to normal business hours, rather than a 24/7 wedding factory! But, to be completely honest, it’s still a work in progress, and some days are better than others.
We were blessed with an open appointment a few days before Christmas. I was nervous, to say the least, as I sat in a waiting room where I was the youngest client by 40 years. As the Optometrist had said, “You’re too young to be having these kind of problems.” Great! Just what you want to hear, right? My appointment came, the Opthamologist looked over and over again at my eyes. He finally announced that he couldn’t see anything wrong! Chris didn’t believe him. As soon as he left the room he stated, “I want a second opinion.” So, I asked for further affirmation from the Opthamologist. He took me into a room where they scanned and printed a picture of my eye. He was right, not a thing wrong. The Optometrist had seen swelling and discoloring of the Macula, but the picture I had was nearly perfect. I had been healed.
It’s still hard to believe. And even harder to write or say, “God healed me.” But He did. Being raised in a church my entire life and supporting Chris through seminary, you think the words, “God healed me” would just roll off my tongue. Of course, I believe that God heals people ALL the time. Although, with modern medicine those healings are so often credited to something else. I think the reason that it is so hard for me to say, is because I feel like by saying, “God healed me” I am somehow pronouncing His love for me. It’s like walking up to someone and saying, “You know, God loves me so much, that He healed me. I am special.” The TRUTH is, that He loves me way more than that, “God loves me so much that He sent his Son to die for me.” That is reality.
I am overwhelmed by God’s love. It’s embarrassing how much He loves me and how little I show Him love. I remember my first phone call with my dad, after we got the report from the Opthamologist. He was annoyingly insightful and right as always, “You know, I believe that God healed you. And, He doesn’t just let things like this happen. There is a reason. Something to learn. Maybe He is telling you to slow down. Put things in perspective.” “I know,” I muttered on the other end.
I am a work in progress.
I’m still learning to slow down.
I am still learning to put things in perspective, and put God and family first.
I am still learning to relish in the truth that GOD LOVES ME (even though, I don’t deserve it).
I am still learning to believe in the power of prayer as spoken of in Mark 11: 24, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
I’m still learning to have confidence and contentment in Christ (Philippians 4:7). To let Him be in control. To stop trying so desperately to “stay in control & stay on top of things.” To let a few emails and to-do’s slip for an evening, long weekend, or even vacation spent with family in fellowship.
But, I will strive toward the goal.
In His Love,