So this will be honest.
This has been an interesting week. This week I began my fifth month of this journey I have been taking with my friend Mononucleosis. I promise this will not be another long complaint of how much I hate being mononuked; rather, it will be a story about how there is a Love that keeps caring for sick girls who want nothing to do with Him.
At least several million times today, I made snide comments to myself or to God or to the walls or something about how I’m going “into my fifth month. The fifth freaking month.” It’s a big deal to me. I won’t go too far into the extent of how I’ve been effected by this and how it will continue to effect my future. But I used to work and go to school and run five miles a day and hang out with people constantly and stay up until 5 am doing homework and I couldn’t sit still to save my life. Now I stay in my room all day, sleep for up to 20 hours at a time, and today I didn’t get out of bed until 8 pm. I also haven’t left the house for almost two weeks now because of constantly being dizzy and bursting into tears randomly due to waves of nausea and exhaustion and pain and confusion. Mono doesn’t usually last this long, as many people have confronted me about, but I was endowed with the pleasure of getting some virus from it (EBV) that causes me to just keep getting more sick and more tired because some immune system issue, though the spleen and lymphnode return to normal, and what some people don’t understand is that it can last up to a year or several years or the rest of someone’s life. (See note at the end.) Okay, I’m going to stop, because now this is just ranting.
So this is what Jesus puts up with all day from me, except I’m usually a huge ball of sleepy emotions and I soon start complaining to Him about everything in existence and asking Him why He would let this happen to me.
I’ve never yelled at Jesus before. But I’ve been pushed so far beyond my limits that I’ve stopped relying on Him and started telling Him I don’t want to read the Bible anymore because there are too many stories of people being healed in it and it makes me jealous. I started saying ridiculous things to Him. Ridiculous things borne out of fear and misery and much time spent away from His presence. Things like, “Why would you leave me in this living hell of constant pain when you have the power to make it stop?” or, “You know all I ever want is to be in community. Why are you making me be alone?”
I’ve felt a struggle in my soul through this all. I’ve felt Jesus pulling me closer; I’ve felt the enemy blocking all hope and convincing me that there is no future. As I try to fall asleep, I recount endlessly the things people have said about my being sick. I close my eyes and I see everything I’ve lost. I dream about the plans I had and the good intentions I started with and waking up feeling very deeply that someone I have loved has passed away, and that person is the part of my soul that had goals and visions and drive and joy.
But today, because of my feelings, I felt such a hopeless detachment to the One who was once the Love of my life, the wind at my heels, the beat in my heart. The only thing I could say to Him was, “Five months. I wish I could serve you, but I can’t. There is absolutely nothing I can do to love people or grow in community with them or share your love or anything, because all of these commands center around community, and I am alone, and there is nothing I can do about it. I wish I could give you something, but I can’t. And I do not see a future and I do not see this ending and I do not believe any of these things I thought I would do for you will ever happen.” And that scared me enough to make me read the Bible.
So, Luke 1 begins with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth getting pregnant by the promise and provision of God. My eye wasn’t caught until verse 24 when it explains that Elizabeth “for five months remained in seclusion” while she was pregnant. And the following verses go on to say that Elizabeth considered this pregnancy to be a blessing. So she seemed pretty happy during her five month isolation.
“So You hear me,” I said. “But she was only okay with this because she knew it would end. She had a vision of the end goal and knew that this time served a purpose. She wasn’t troubled in her heart because she had a reason to believe that the result would be worth the time.”
“Is that not what I’ve been telling you for years?” He said in a way. “Have I not promised to work all things together for your good? You know this will come to an end. You know that when all else fades, Love will remain. You know that unlike My Word, this will pass. You know I have plans for you- plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. You know my love is unfailing. You know you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. You know you still have a purpose. You know you have a reason to have vision. You know that I chose to call you according to my purpose long before the foundations of the earth, even when I knew what situations you would be in. These promises are Truth, always. I am Truth, always.”
I guess the worse part was that right before I freaked out at God, I told a friend of mine that the only way they would be able to move past certain obstacles was to search for a vision, an end goal, and press on towards it, when I myself couldn’t do it.
So, I don’t know what the point of posting this was. I guess just to show, yet again, just how loving Jesus is. How accepting, how patient, how kind, even when dealing with someone as angry and confused and misled as myself. He went out of His way to speak to me, thought I certainly did not deserve it. He will certainly love on you as well.
Also, I once believed that Jesus had already stripped me of myself when I dealt with previous medical issues in the past. But as it turns out, He had to break me down even further to get my heart to become receptive again, and to deal with issues that I had buried even deeper in my soul. That’s what happens when you are strong-willed. Because of the anger and frustration that this has brought on, I’ve had to dig deeper and deal with my way of handling grudges and jealousy, as well as my need to be understood and accepted and my inability to deal with people thinking poorly of me. I’ve had to force myself to believe that it is always always possible to be faithful to God with what resources we have. Because of the limitations I’ve had, I’ve had to dig up old talents that I had buried. But if there is anything that has stood out, it is that there is purpose in the pain. He doesn’t let you hurt because He wants to see you suffer for how ignorant you are. He lets the pain in our lives, though He feels it just as strongly as we do, because He knows the result will be worth it, for us and Him. It will. I can promise you that.
And one last thing- (This is my favorite!!) the intensity of the struggles you face are an indication of the purpose God has planned for you. Because while I thought this was a hindrance from pursuing my dreams of living a life to glorify Him, I think it may just be training – a reevaluation of the motives that drove my vision and a renewing of the source of my strength. I’m still figuring this out. But throughout the Bible, the enemy seems to attack hardest those who God intends to use, to cause them to stray. So all of His followers will be attacked, naturally. It’s expected. And I can imagine Jesus saying of me, “Imagine what good Hannah’s strong will could do when under the commands and filled with the passion of My word.” But first, He had to let that strong will be broken down, attacked on all sides, so that He could start to build it up again, on His foundation. That’s why we have to hurt, I think.
Note: I’ve spent a lot of time being angry because people have said things without understanding what mono actually is. So to clear it up, mono is a type of herpes that is only spread through saliva. So yes, I of course get a lot of shaming comments about having an “STD” or “the kissing disease”. It’s not an STD. And it’s not just caused by kissing. It’s can be caused by nearly anything, including eating or drinking after someone, eating at a restaurant with utensils that haven’t been fully sterilized, or going to the dentist. Many people either carry it inactively, or have been exposed to it, but have not produced a reaction. My doctors explained that the reason I came down with it was because I was prone to it affecting me because I was highly stressed during the months leading up to the symptoms.
You’re in the same boat as me if you’ve ever had a cold sore, or the chicken pox, or shingles. Which are all in the same herpes family.
You more than likely have mono in your house or are exposed to it on a regular basis. Please be sensitive. The last thing someone who is sick wants is to be insulted and judged for something that isn’t their fault. Just saying.