Sunday, September 8, 2013

Standing Firm in the Midst of Unanswered Questions ~ Guest Post by Karen M. "Shelly" Ricci

Another Chapter in My Personal Healing Journey


"(Pain) removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul." --C.S. Lewis
 For almost as far back as I can remember, I have struggled with something physically.  When I was a very young child, it was chronic ear infections.  As an older child, my joints began to hurt.  At age 9, a doctor officially diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis.  At age 26, I became completely paralyzed from both shoulders, down, and spent 8 months in 2 different hospitals and a nursing home, not knowing if feeling would return.  The official 'diagnosis' on that was medicine - induced lupus/ transverse myelitis (spinal cord inflammation) and this has led to peripheral neuropathy (fancy term that, in my case, means nerve damage). 
I don’t know about you but when a problem arises, in my life, my first response is to find out the root cause of the problem.  Because once the root cause, of the problem, is revealed the solution to the problem seems much easier to find.  While it may be somewhat easy to find out, from a medical point of view, what caused the physical struggles I’ve had in my life…some of the answers, from a spiritual point of view still linger. 
IS THIS A TEST?
Many nights, as a child, were spent crying myself to sleep because of the pain.  Sometimes my mom would hear me crying and come to my room.  I remember one night, in particular, I was crying out in pain and I asked my mom if this (pain) was God putting me through a "test".  Because I knew enough about God, at age 9,  to know that He did, in fact, put some people through tests ...or at the very least, allowed them to be tested.  (see Job, Isaac, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, David, Ruth, Naomi, Peter, Paul, and Christ Jesus just to name a few)

Honestly, I don't know if what I struggle with, physically, is something the LORD has allowed me to go through because He is 'testing' me.  The tests that people went through in the Bible did not seem to last as long as my own struggle, so due to the duration, I am thinking this may not be a 'test'.

DO I HAVE A LACK OF FAITH?
Another question that has haunted me, over the years, is "Do I have a lack of faith?"  Many of the healing miracles that Jesus did were because of, or as a result of, the fact that the person who needed the miracle had "faith".

I can attest to the fact that there have been times in my life where my faith was increased.  Over the years, I believe my faith has actually grown.

But I still have not experienced a complete physical healing in my body.

Is it because I don't have enough faith?  Some people would simply say that yes, this must be why I have not been healed, completely.  But I disagree. Is there room for my faith to grow even more?  YES!  However, I do not struggle with disbelief and let’s be honest…there really is nothing that I could ever do, or do enough of, that would help me to 'earn' a healing, anyways.

SO, if God wants to completely heal my body, then what is it that keeps Him from going ahead and doing it?  I don't know. 

CAN MIRACLES COME IN PARTS?
Oh, I have experienced partial healings in my lifetime.  The time I was paralyzed from my shoulders down and told I'd never walk or have feeling again......and the feeling came back and I did walk freely without assistance for years.  Or how about the time that I was told that I'd never be able to conceive a child ....but I became pregnant about a year and a half later (without trying) and went on to have a flawless pregnancy and deliver a beautiful baby girl.  Then there was that time when I went in for C-spine fusion surgery and the surgeons discovered, on the operating table, that they would only have to complete 1/3rd of what they thought they'd have to do, to my spine, because in a week's time it had already begun to fuse itself. This list doesn't even include all the miracles I've experienced financially, relationally, in circumstances, etc.
The Lord has clearly had His hand, on my life, and intervened on my behalf over and over again.  But I am still not “whole” in my body…..yet.

So....what's up with the partial miracles?  Why not just go all the way with it?  I don't know.

Right now, I am in need of another surgery.  At the present time, complications are keeping me from being able to even have the surgery.

Wouldn't it be AWESOME if God chose to heal me, completely, of the complications as well as from even needing another surgery?  YES!  But.....what if He chooses not to? 

Is there a specific timing involved here?  Like, does God plan to heal me completely but He has a specific timing planned for it?  Maybe.

I wish that I had the answers....not just for myself but for anyone who may be wondering why they haven't been healed.  But I don't.


WHAT I DO KNOW
What I do know, however, is that :

God STILL heals....whether He heals me now, later or not at all.


God is MY Healer...whether He heals me now, later or not at all.

God is THE Healer....He is still the One to run to regardless of what has, or has not, happened in my life so far.

ALL of His thoughts towards me are good...even when things are tough.

His grace is sufficient.

He not only loves me but He IS Love.

He has good plans for my future....even when it's hard for me to see that far ahead.

 He is worthy to be praised....regardless of my present circumstances.

He is always with me and will never leave me.....even if I don't always ~feel Him.

He isn't waiting until my body is 'perfect' to use me...for it is in my weakness that I am strong.

He sees me as beautiful not as less than or as someone who is not "whole"...for HE sees the heart when people may only see the outward appearance.

He can be trusted with all the details of my life...at all times...even if He doesn't answer my prayers when I want and how I want.

He doesn't know me as a 'condition', or as an illness or disease...He calls me by name.

He IS using what was meant for evil and turning it into my good (studying to be a naturopathic doc is only a small bit of evidence towards this truth :)

He is My Prince of Peace....no matter what storms life may bring.

He gives me wisdom to know, and discern the seasons: when it is time to battle and when it is time to rest.

He is my JOY-giver....in all circumstances.

His joy gives me strength.
He carries me when I can no longer stand.

He ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS brings the right people into my life at just the right time. (see my unshakeable hubby, my miracle daughter, some wonderful friends who have supported me for years, sweet new friends and the amazing church we're attending now)

In Him, there is always a reason to celebrate!

He keeps me laughing!

And I could go on and on…..
ALWAYS A CHOICE
Truthfully, yes, I could allow myself to become depressed or confused because I don't have all the answers. The future is unknown at this point. I could  become angry or bitter.  I could even choose to question God's goodness and His love for me.

 OR.......

I could keep a tight grasp on those things that I DO know to be true.  I could continue to declare God's goodness and His love for me. I could leave my future in His hands and decide everyday to praise Him with the breath that is still within me.  Because, truly, the amount of joy, peace and love I experience is not tied to whether or not I am healed in my body.

I could become so focused, and consumed, with myself and my own struggles.

OR.......

I could get over myself, get over my own struggles, and be available to pray and be there for others.

My self worth is not tied to whether, or not, other people see me as "whole".  I AM whole because my Heavenly Father has already established that for me.  And I choose to trust Him with all the details of my life....whether He heals me now, later or not at all.

Everyday we have to choose what we will focus on.  And whatever we focus on is what becomes magnified, or enlarged, in our lives.  My choice is to magnify the Lord rather than to magnify the physical challenges that I currently deal with.  Because those physical challenges do NOT define who I am.  They never have and they never will.

Doctors, or other people, may attempt to define me by how they see me or by what they think I lack.  But "I cannot afford to have a single thought, about myself, that God does not have about me" (thanks Bill Johnson for that quote and train of thought :).  

Maybe Jack Handey had it right when he said, "I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it."  

Maybe there will be a day when more of my questions will be answered.

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." -  1 Corinthians 13:12

Either way, I'm gonna stick with the fact that in ALL things, my Father is worthy to be praised!

"I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works. 
 I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High." --Psalm 9:1-2
When I spend my time placing my trust in my own understanding, disappointment is sure to follow.  Maybe we aren’t meant to have the answers, anyways.  Maybe once we realize we don’t have all the answers, we are freed up to trust in Him, completely.
“Trust in Adonai with all your heart;
do not rely on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him;
then he will level your paths.” –Proverbs 3: 5-6 (CJB)
                                                                                                          
You may not be struggling with needing healing in your body, right now.  But you may need healing in your soul or your spirit.  Maybe you need a miracle in your marriage or in your finances and you are feeling discouraged because things don't seem to be improving. You may be hurting because you know there is more, to you, than what other people say about you.  Or maybe some difficult things have happened in your life and you have unanswered questions and doubts.  

Whatever 'it' may be, don't forget all of the wonderful ways the Lord came through, for you, in the past.  Encourage yourself, in the Lord, by focusing on His goodness.  Filter out all of the negative voices, in your life, and cling to what the Lord says to you.  See yourself the way He sees you rather than allowing other people to place their insecurities, or fears, on you. Choose to embrace His peace and love rather than getting bogged down in confusion and sadness.  

Decide that what you DO know now, is enough…because He is enough.

Regardless of your circumstances, one thing is certain - He will never leave you or forsake you.  He was with you before your fiery trial, is with you now and will be with you after.  He can handle your questions. Everyday, as you choose to trust Him, He will bring peace to your heart.
He will  help you to stand firm, content in His love, even in the midst of  unanswered questions.

For Him Alone, Karen M. "Shelly" Ricci 


BIO: Karen Michelle "Shelly" Ricci is a wife and homeschooling mom who decided to start learning about natural methods of healing because of her life long struggle with auto-immune diseases. She is currently studying to become a Naturopathic Doctor of Original Medicine. Her desire to find answers for her own health is not as important as her desire to serve others as they, too, are on their own healing journey. Her approach is simply to look at the person as a whole: body, soul and spirit and point them back to the natural things Yahweh has created to help them in their healing journey. Her faith in Yeshua is apparent as she seeks to glorify Him in all aspects of life. She loves music, trying out new recipes with her hubby and having dance parties with her daughter. She is also working on writing a novel based on true events in her life. You can join in on this journey, with Shelly, by connecting on her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shalom-Total-Wellness-Healing-Body-Soul-Spirit/156321544541616

You can also email her at karenm.ricci@rocketmail.com

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