My Life Through Music Part Seven: If...

An Essay By Damaris Ann // 2/8/2019

I started off the year I turned 20 on a somewhat hopeful note. I had learned to let go of my demons, but yet they still haunted me. My depression was better, but it was still there. In February of 2018 (two months before my 20th birthday) I hit an all-time low. I was becoming more and more sick, and had fallen to the point where I could no longer work out or do any of my normal exercise.
If in one unfortunate moment
You took everything that I own
Everything you've given from heaven above
And everything that I've ever known

Because of my chronic fatigue I could no longer participate in the pro-life ministry in my area. That was incredibly depressing to me. I felt worthless and useless, and was plunged back into a suicidal mindset. One particular day I stood on a bridge and nearly took that last step into the water. I was desperate to end it all.
If you stripped away my ministry
My influence, my reputation
My health, my happiness
My friends, my pride and my expectation

But God had other ideas for my life. And He had my heart. So when I heard that Still Small Voice commanding me to stop, I did. I fell to my knees in the middle of the wet road and cried out to Jesus, saying, “Lord, take my life in Your own timing. Use me for Your glory. I can’t own my own life, Lord. Take me. I am Yours.” And then I walked home. I began to slowly become more joyful and content from that day forward. I was still sick and discouraged, but I knew Who was in control, and that was enough for me.
If you caused for me to suffer
Or to suffer for the cause of the cross
If the cost of my allegiance is prison
And all my freedoms are lost

For my 20th birthday I flew to North Carolina to visit my best friend and meet her (then) boyfriend. It was one of the best weeks of my life. A time for rest and encouragement. I felt happy and uplifted by the time I had to say goodbye and fly home. The next week I went on a business road-trip to California with an old family friend. It was a stressful trip; things going wrong and being delayed, and I didn’t sleep the first two nights that we were gone. I was running on monster drinks, coffee, and jellybeans. But as I was driving, I realized that I was happy. Genuinely happy! And even though it was stressful, I was staying calm and still enjoying the difficult moments. I remember texting my mom “I’m so happy! And I don’t understand it. But I DO understand that God is good.” After that trip my depression miraculously disappeared.
If you take the breath from my lungs
And make an end of my life
If you take the most precious part of me
And take my kids and my wife

That summer I drove to Georgia with my family to celebrate my maternal grandma’s 90th birthday. I was so sick on the trip that I fasted for a whole day. Food was making me so sick. So once we arrived, my mom and I made a last-minute trip to a Whole Foods store to purchase some gluten-free foods and things that would bother my stomach less. I also had to buy a soft pair of shorts to wear around our hotel room because my illness was causing bloating that made me look 14 weeks pregnant, as well as cry from the pain. By the time we drove home I was very discouraged about my health. I became more purposeful in my prayer life, trying to find contentment in my lot.
It would crush me, it would break me
It would suffocate and cause heartache
I would taste the bitter dark providence
But you would still preserve my faith

I settled into a new lifestyle of trying to eat healthier and rest more. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. Days went by, and life went on. My best friend got married. Then another dear friend got married, too. I helped out a lot with her wedding, and spent the two weeks leading up to the wedding running errands and helping in any way I could. It was exhausting, but it kept my mind off my sick body and my discouragement. Then the weekend after the wedding I went on a four-day beach trip with all four of my siblings, my brother-in-law, and my two nephews and baby niece. It was a fun trip, but it took its toll on my body, too. And the day after we all got home, my mom woke me up with the news that my adopted grandmother had passed away in the night. “Oh my God.” I cried out. I couldn’t believe it. The entire following week went by in a haze of preparation for her funeral and reception. By the time the funeral came around, I hadn’t had time to grieve or process my loss. So during the funeral service when I sat down all of those feelings came flooding out. I cried through the entire service, and during the rest of the day.
What's concealed in the heart of having
Is revealed in the losing of things
And I can't even begin to imagine
The sting that kind of pain brings

The week following the funeral was difficult. I came to realize that I had very strong feelings for someone, but the day after that realization I learned that he loved someone else. And when I was in the middle of reeling from that heartbreak it was time to attend our yearly homeschooler’s conference here in Texas. I avoided most of my friends during the conference, trying to conceal the pain I was in both physically and emotionally. I confided in one sweet friend, and her prayers and sympathetic tears and love helped me start the process of healing. So I gave it over to Jesus, and purposed to wait on His timing.
I would never blame you for evil
Even if you caused me pain
I came into this world with nothing
And when I die it will be the same
I will praise your name
In the giving and taking away
If I have you I can lose everything
And still consider it gain

I went straight from the conference to spend a week with a sweet young couple that I love dearly. It was just the break from normal life that I needed. Then I went home for five days before leaving again with my little sister to visit a friend and attend the wedding of a sweet acquaintance. It was an emotional visit; the wedding brought up my old heartache, and I wound up calling my mom from outside the reception to cry because there was nobody there to slow dance to “Just the Way You Look Tonight” with me. I was sick, too, and battling constant stomach pain. Needless to say, I was very discouraged.
It could mean everything, it could mean nothing
One word makes the difference
It could mean everything, it could mean nothing
One word changes everything

But my faith was still growing. I started reading Jeremiah Burroughs’ “Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” again, and spending more time in the Word and in prayer. It was a difficult season.
If that's not what I believed
Then why is that what I proclaim?
If it don't change how I live
Should I still shout it just the same?
If I shout it as loud as I can
Will blessings shower down
From the heavens and land on my crown
To rinse away all my doubt?

October rolled around, and I was happy, but still doubting about my health. I flew to North Carolina to spend a week with my best friend and her husband, and it was the best vacation ever. After the week was up my siblings and some dear friends from here in Texas picked me up, and we all drove to the Ridgecrest Conference Center together to attend the NCFIC conference. It was my favorite conference ever, and we made so many wonderful memories together. But I became so sick that I missed nearly half of it. I remember one day the pain was so bad that I couldn’t even walk, so I spent six hours in bed alone, crying and shaking from the pain, and begging God to send relief.
My brother was amazing, and drove into town to buy me some organic chicken and rice soup. I flew home from the conference feeling like a broken cripple, hobbling on a mysteriously hurt foot, and trying to hide my bloated stomach under a loose jacket. I was beyond discouraged. I had lost all hope of ever experiencing healing.
And the grace of God is only sweet
To the ears who hear the sound of it
But that sweetness won't be tasted
By the mouth of a counterfeit faith

I became more emotional, crying almost daily from the pain and frustration. But that in and of itself was sweet, because it pushed me to the throne of God.
Only the thirsty will drink from the fountain of life and count
Everything as a loss for the sake of being found in Christ
Obedience to God's word is the safest foundation
A safe haven for saints waiting for the glorious great day when

I poured myself out at the cross. I became convicted of sin and unfaithfulness, and throughout it all the Lord showed me His grace, and taught me contentment. He brought people into my life who helped me realize how He truly is sovereign and faithful to provide.
Our saviour will return
That's the day of restoration
Those who sleep will be awakened
And we will never cease to thank him

A week before Christmas Day (which was, by the way, my favorite Christmas so far, even though I was so sick that I spent the whole day curled up on the couch), I made a drastic change in my diet. I completely cut wheat out, and cut back on dairy and sugar as well. I missed my comfort foods, but I noticed that I was having less stomach pain, as well as less bloating. I was more hopeful about experiencing healing, and rejoicing in God’s mercy in showing His grace to me.
Singing "worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and honor"
Worthy is the Lamb who reconciled us to our Father
Worthy is the one who gives life without end
But if Christ is not raised then we are still in our sin
If...

I was still sick. I rung in the New Years alone, having left a party and gone straight to bed feeling sick and sore. But even though I was sick and sore, I wasn’t hopeless, and I wasn’t truly alone. I knew that God was good, and I was at peace with His will for my life. I resigned myself to His lot for me, and rejoiced in the blessings He had given me. 2018 may have been the hardest year of my life, but it was still the best. I knew that even if I was never meant to experience healing, I could still rejoice.

Comments

This was gut wrenching and

This was gut wrenching and beautiful, D. Thank you for your rawness and for sharing what gives you hope. Thank you for your vulnerability, esp when expressing both the brutality of your experience and your need to fully trust from within your weakness (which defines your strength!).
On a more prosaic note, activated charcoal helps my bloating. Love you!

Sarah Bethany | Sun, 02/10/2019

Your comments always make me

Your comments always make me feel warm and loved, sweet Sarah. Thank you. I love you, too. ❤️

Activated charcoal is something I don’t leave the house without! Another remedy or two I’ve found that helps is Mag Phos (a cell salt), and Nux Vomica (a homeopathic remedy). I keep them all in my backpack!

Damaris Ann | Sun, 02/10/2019

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.

Navigation

User login

Please read this before creating a new account.