Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: A Blast of Winter
By Patricia Protzman
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I had been experiencing pain and stiffness in my joints and had visited my doctor the week before. She thought Lyme disease could be the problem since I was an avid gardener and had been bitten by ticks. However, she also wanted to do a lab test for rheumatoid arthritis. Today I was back to hear the results. She said two words, rheumatoid arthritis. A picture of gnarled hands and feet appeared in my mind with a helpless, dependent, woman who could not walk, feed, dress, or toilet herself. She relied totally upon the help of others to perform her activities of daily living. As a nurse, I had taken care of this patient many times over the years; I pictured my life to be like hers in the near future.
First, the pain was gotten under control. My doctor prescribed a medication, which relieved me of the pain and stiffness in a few hours. I could bend my fingers and walk without pain. However, I could not continue to take this drug, it was only temporary. The next step was to see a rheumatologist, which my primary doctor referred me. It was going to be two months before I saw them. Was the pain going to return when I stopped taking the current medication? The pain and stiffness was terrible. I could not even pull the covers up over me in bed and my husband had to help me dress.
I read everything available on rheumatoid arthritis. There were new medications available and the gnarled hands and feet could be prevented by taking them. This gave me a ray of hope. However, as I read on, most of the medications had terrible side effects. This frightened me even more. I had a choice between a pain and deformed-free existence or dying from liver and kidney failure, or any number of other terrible side effects. For someone who rarely took a pill of any kind, this was terrifying. I was going to end up dying from them I just knew it. I could not possibly win.
A door had been opened and a blast of winter blew into my life, which I was not expecting—cold, bleak, and dark. Not only were my joints stiff and painful, but my mind was frozen on all the negative things that could happen to me. This would not be an easy path to follow, but one snow-covered and unmarked. What in the world, was I going to do?
I thought, get yourself together, you are a Christian. You’re not fighting this by yourself. God is your Father, Christ is your Savior, and the Holy Spirit will guide and comfort you. They are there for you. You know the verse, “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV) Yes, I knew what the Bible said; I knew that God was with me; yes, I was overreacting and expecting myself to deal with this problem alone. What was wrong with me? I was living in the flesh and forgetting that we walk by faith and not by sight.
I went to the Lord in prayer and asked forgiveness for not coming to Him first and trusting Him. A prayer for enough grace to deal with this cold, dark, painful issue came next. Not only could I not function physically, but also my mind and spirit were frozen over with fear. Finally, a prayer for peace, abiding faith, and God’s will. I surrendered my concerns and fear at the feet of Jesus.
Immediately a sense of peace surrounded me. The Holy Spirit whispered, “Trust me.” Even though the future is unknown, I know who is in control—God. Whatever happens will be done for a purpose and for my good. The kind of love Christ gives embraces and warms the coldest and stiffest minds and spirits. He had just melted mine. There will be lessons to be learned from this life experience and I plan on using them to glorify my God and Savior Jesus Christ. This unknown journey is just beginning, but I am packed and traveling with the best companions in the world—God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
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