Or: What I learned in 2014
All it takes is faith and trust!
2014 started off pretty cold, and not just weather-wise.
I was in a pretty bad place with my job, with my faith, with a lot of things.
When I say this, people usually look at me oddly. “Um, you almost died like lots of times. How is this worse?”
It’s worse because I can navigate medical stuff. I’m good at medical stuff. I trust God when it comes to medical stuff.
Apparently, God wanted me to trust Him with a lot more than just the medical stuff.
Trusting God is one of those things that was always sort of abstract to me. I mean, I did trust Him. In limited areas. But with everything? Yeah, no. I mean, I tried. But a lot of the time I thought I could handle it all.
(Insert laugh track here)
So things came to a head a few weeks before Christmas last year, in that my job description changed pretty radically, and I couldn’t keep up, physically, anymore. It required me to do a lot of standing, a lot of machine fixing, and a lot of lifting things back and forth. These are things I really can’t do. (I loathe saying I can’t do something. It sounds whiny. But it’s true, here.) CF affects joints as well, and mine do not allow me to stand for 5+ hours in an 8 hour work day. My skin-grafted right arm does not allow me to plunge it into the hot depths of copying machines to fix things, because the skin is so delicate (even 10 years later), that it will rip on the tiny unseen things inside the machines. I can’t continually bend over, squat, stand again, and stand for the majority of my day. My body simply does not allow it.
On top of all that, I had been very privileged in my past years of employment to have bosses who were very understanding about my medical needs, which means I will miss more time than the average bear. It was always the first thing I told any new supervisors–this is my reality. I will give you as much notice as I, myself, have. (I have had my dad call my bosses from ER rooms, when I was being worked on a few feet away, to tell them I was going to miss work.) If I have an appointment during the day, I will try to schedule it at the end of the workday, so I am here for the majority of it. I will come to work as soon as the appointments are over, when I have them in the morning. Really, I tried to be as accommodating to my bosses and my doctors as I could be–and sometimes that was quite a balancing act. I was truly blessed with supervisors who let me do what I needed to do, in terms of my health, and were so understanding.
That changed, in my new position.
(I have actually been reluctant to write about this, or talk too much about it, but I think the spiritual lessons I’ve learned sort of demand that I write about them. So I will try to do this as tactfully as possible and with regard for discretion.)
So, in January I had a job that was very physically (for me) demanding, and a supervisor that didn’t understand the nature of my (many) health issues, and was making life rather difficult for me. In February came the diagnosis of chronic rejection, and with that, I came to a decision.
For my entire life, my health has come last to all the other things I wanted/needed to do. I would push myself beyond my limits and tell my body to keep it together, and usually it wouldn’t, eventually culminating in a long hospital stay or something bizarre. (That wasn’t to say I was reckless. I wasn’t. But the desire to be a normal college student, to participate in all my activities, to do things my friends were doing, like stay out late or skimp on sleep, overrode my health concerns. I would take my meds, and I would do my treatments, obviously. But I didn’t like to baby myself.)
Now, I really had to not do that. It was time to put my health first, and then everything else, second. Chronic rejection is a slippery beast. We don’t really know what causes it, or how to treat it, definitively. It can happen without any warning, like all rejection (chronic and acute). But if it’s not successfully treated, it can lead to a need for another transplant.
Yeah. Emily did NOT want to go there again.
So it was time to get serious. It was time to give my body the sleep, food, exercise, rest it needed. It was time to put it first. And that meant work–at least work in its current incarnation–was not going to happen.
At this point, I was really displeased with God.
I had discovered, in January, Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts video study. And this had been a raft I was desperately clinging to, that “God is always good, and I am always loved.” I decided to really count 1000 gifts, to do it in one year, to persevere, to not stop as I had in other years.
She also mentioned this:
How much did I really trust Him?
Well now I was going to find out.