November 2002 was one of the hardest months of my life. That's when I found out I also have Endometriosis, a painful disease that affects the reproductive system. I ended up having my first surgery in April of that year. I have since had two more surgeries.
That moment in history was definitely a dark time for me. I didn't understand what God was doing. I already had Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness characterized by chronic fatigue, muscle pain, and nerve problems. I already had chronic migraines almost every week. Now I had something else to deal with?! What was God doing?
I soon learned that I might not be able to have children and that my condition would most likely get worse before it got better. For some reason that didnít encourage me any!! I just couldn't accept it. If I had been married, maybe I would have noticed some problems earlier....if I had been married, maybe I would have been able to have a child before it was too late....if I had gone in sooner, maybe things would be different now....There were sure a lot if "ifs" going on in my head.
I felt like God was ignoring me and that somehow I wasn't in His plan anymore. Here I was a missionary serving Him and I end up with all these health problems. I tried to go to my family for moral support and comfort but because they were in Michigan and I was in Florida, that didnít work out so well either. I'd never felt so abandoned in my life. I decided that God didn't know what He was doing and for two months I put God on a shelf and cried everyday because of my grief. All I knew was that I was not going to trust God with this problem....
Then one day I received an email from a woman who was struggling with some very painful physical ailments. She said that reading my testimony online helped her deal with her pain. I couldn't believe it - even though I didn't WANT to be used by God...He was using me to encourage others anyway!! I started to get other emails like that and people I worked with said that I encouraged them as well.
I realized that what people were seeing was the outpouring of God's love in my life. I didn't even think God was around, yet it didn't matter. I am a child of God and He'll use me whether I'm willing or not...I guess I might as well go willingly! That moment was a turning point for me.
I vowed from then on to use my pain and experiences to encourage other hurting people. Who else to encourage and reach physically hurting people, than a physically hurting person? God created a special area of ministry just for me. Here I was on the right road all along and I didn't know it. I just got caught on a few detours, which we all face from time to time. Good thing there are signs guiding us through all this "construction". (The signs of course are God, prayer, Bible Study, the Holy Spirit and other Godly influences.)
Maybe you're at a point in your life where you're facing some detours. I encourage you to focus on what you CAN do, not on what you canít do. Seek God and let Him lead you. God does love you and wants what is best for you. Godís plan WILL happen Ė with us or without us, so why not go with the flow and see where God leadsÖ.and remember what Jeremiah says:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares
the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm
you, plans to give you hope and a future."
- Jeremiah 29:11.