Thursday, March 24, 2011

This Long And Winding Road: Update 4

These past few days have been a struggle. I'm now in the seventh month of my treatment protocol for chronic Lyme disease and I'm finding the further we go into it; the more difficult and challenging it gets.

I'm learning a lot more about this advanced or late stage of Lyme disease. I'm also coming to understand more about the multiple strains of Borrelia bacteria that cause the various symptoms. Nothing like being up close and personal with a load of Lyme spirochetes. And I am learning more about the vicious nature of not only the disease itself, but the controversy surrounding it.

Now I'm no wimp. I've lived with this debilitating illness for almost two decades and have developed a rather unique toughness about me. I am very familiar with the wearying roller coaster nature of chronic illness. I know what it is to have to dig in for the long haul. I understand the necessity of perseverance. I also know it is God who has sustained me through all of this. My help truly comes from the Lord! Still, it has been anything but easy.

I was told by my doctor that things tend to get worse before they get better. I get that. Herxheimer reactions or healing crises are common during treatment. And believe me, I clearly understand this is a major process. You know the old cliche' - sick and tired of being sick and tired? Well, that's me. I'm feeling really worn out by all of it. Not that I haven't felt that way a million times before but I think there is something really profound and different happening in my body now. Perhaps, then, it would make sense that this would be more difficult.

I've also been thinking about the fact that this illness has been misdiagnosed all of these years. MS, Primary Lateral Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, Chronic Mono and Post-viral Demyelinating Syndrome. These are a few of the diagnoses I've gotten over time but Lyme has been underlying all along.

Some days, the unfairness of it all wants to creep into my mind. And so does the thought of wondering what the difference in my life might be like had I been properly diagnosed early on. Yet I know this thinking is not productive whatsoever. So I don't entertain it for long. I can't. Because ultimately I know there is a greater, divine purpose in all that has happened and this is what motivates me to keep going. I choose to trust God.

Chronic illness is very exhausting; physically, emotionally, financially and yes, even spiritually at times. It often seems like an unending and ruthless battle. And sometimes my heart just aches for better days. Yet through the most difficult of times, I have found Jesus to be closest. Psalm 34:18 is surely true: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed."

I do have some specific prayer requests. First and foremost, please continue praying for my endurance and comfort. This was specific from the Lord and I really do ask that you pray this above all else. He knows exactly what I need.

And secondly, I am experiencing shortness of breath. This is something I've dealt with throughout my illness but is now being exacerbated by the treatment. Basically, it's the Lyme. My doctor feels there is nothing we can do to fully alleviate it but she has put me on something that is helping. However I'm still having times I experience this, especially when I move around a lot. It's no fun whatsoever and adds to my already existent fatigue. Please pray for this to totally subside.

In the meantime, I will keep on traveling this long and winding road; maybe even with that very Beatles tune cranked up on my iPod. Gotta smile :) I might have to stop every so often and I might even have to crawl awhile, but I will go on.

And I will ever remind myself of two things: God's grace is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9); and never, never, never give up (Winston Churchill).


Michelle Holderman
Copyright © 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Strength For The Journey by David Wilkerson

After reading David Wilkerson's blog post today, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to share his words on my own blog. Please take the time to read this.


No one on earth can place you in ministry. You may be given a diploma by a seminary, ordained by a bishop, or commissioned by a denomination. But the apostle Paul reveals the only source of any true call to ministry: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” (1 Timothy 1:12).

What does Paul mean here when he says Jesus enabled him and counted him faithful? Think back to the apostle’s conversion. Three days after that event, Christ placed Paul in the ministry—specifically, the ministry of suffering: “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). This is the very ministry Paul refers to when he says, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry…” (2 Corinthians 4:1). He continues, adding, “…as we have received mercy, we faint not.” He’s talking about the ministry of suffering. And he makes clear it is a ministry that we all have.

Paul is telling us Jesus gave him a promise for this ministry. Christ pledged to remain faithful to him and enable him through all his trials. The Greek word for enabled means a continual supply of strength. Paul declares, “Jesus promised to give me more than sufficient strength for the journey. He enables me to remain faithful in this ministry. Because of him, I won’t faint or give in. I’ll emerge with a testimony.”

A transfiguration is taking place in all our lives. The truth is, we’re being changed by what obsesses us. We’re becoming like the things that occupy our minds. Our character is being influenced and impacted by whatever has hold of our hearts.

I thank God for everyone who feeds his mind and soul with spiritual things. Such servants have fixed their eyes on what is pure and holy. They keep their gaze fixed on Christ, spending quality time worshipping him and building themselves up in faith. The Holy Spirit is at work in these saints, continually changing their character in Christ’s. These believers will be ready for the hard, explosive sufferings to come. Slothful, lazy, prayerless believers will suffer heart failure or breakdowns. They’ll be crushed by their fears, because they don’t have the Holy Spirit at work in them, transfiguring them. When the hard times come, they simply won’t make it.

Here is Paul’s final word on the matter: “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments…. As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich” (2 Corinthians 6:3–5, 10). How do we “make many rich”? By outshining the hope of Christ in the midst of our sufferings. We offer true riches when we cause others to ask, “What’s his secret? Where does he find such peace?”