Never Ending Winter

 

This Winter season has been extra long for me this year.  As many of you know I had a weird illness since September that caused me to be dizzy and to have to stay home and not able to do much of anything. On top of the illness our winter in Missouri, this year was brutally cold with lots of snow, ice, and long dreary gray days.  Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was beginning to think I may never see warm sunny weather again!

To catch those up who don’t know about my life over the past year here is a quick run-down : In February 2017 my husband and I paid a large sum of money as a down payment to a roofing company to put a new roof on our home. The roof was supposed to be put on in March of that year.  March came and went but there was no roof put on and the company was ignoring our calls and if they did answer they would put us off.  In May I finally canceled the roof because I felt like they were scamming us and never going to put the roof on.  June, July, and August were spent trying to get our money back from the company and then paying ANOTHER roofing company in August to put on the roof.  The first company never gave us our money back and in August the new company installed our roof. Also in August – my husband filed in small claims court against the first roofing company to try to get our money back. September – my husband and I went to small claims court and were met at the judge by an attorney for the roofing company who asked to have the case moved to trial by jury and filed a third-party petition against me for slander against the roofing company because I had contacted the Better Business Bureau, the state Attorney General, and wrote review about them on Angie’s list in the attempt to get our money back.  The roofing company took our money, never gave us a roof, but now they were suing me for $25,000.00!  It was around that time that I one day while I was at work I was suddenly hit with dizziness that felt as if the whole room was spinning so bad I may fall off the Earth.  From that day on I was dizzy almost every day of my life and spent several months going to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  What had started as dizziness soon progressed to sound and light sensitivity, and I could not do anything with a screen such as computers or TV. I had memory issues, panic attacks, and soon even depression. If you can name it, I pretty much had it.  I ended up having to quit my job because I was too sick to do it plus my husband had to drive me everywhere, I went because I couldn’t drive because I was dizzy. If I had a good day and did go anywhere then I would get carsick or if not carsick I’d be worrying that I might become dizzy.  It got a point that I couldn’t even go to church on Sunday’s because the music and the stage lighting caused me to be dizzy.  I will stop here because it just suddenly dawned on me that my ‘brief rundown’ has turned into a full-blown story in itself.  If you’d like to read the much longer version, I did write a few blog posts about my illness this past winter which can be found hereVertigo, Panic, and Feelings of Insanity, When the Struggle is Real Keep Going Even if You Have to Do it with Your Eyes Closed, My Plans Aren’t Your Plans But Are Your Plans Mine Even Though They Don’t Make Sense?

Between the illness, being sued, and all the dull grey days of Winter this was probably one of the coldest, darkest, and longest seasons in my life I remember ever having.

Before all of this craziness happened, I led a pretty busy life and I always considered myself a pretty happy person but now looking back I can see that I was probably not as happy as I led myself to believe I was.  I was always rushing here and there and was always feeling overwhelmed with all the things I had to do but never doing much of the things I wanted to do.  I now can see that the things I wanted to do were things that I had been putting on the back burner that those things were truly important for my own well-being.  My job for instance – I was in the church building every day but I know now that I was actually pretty far away from the church on other aspects. Meaning my relationship with God. I know that sounds weird to say but now looking back I can see that needed to step back away from church in order to actually see just how far away from God I had moved.

Before I was ‘stuck’ at home I never had time to just calmly sit and read my Bible. My prayers were rushed more like a checklist and I barely journaled anymore because I just didn’t have the time. It was like my spiritual life only happened when I could fit it in.  Ya I know you can read my blog post where I always mention that but oddly even though I figured it out several times I never actually followed through with what I had learned until I was ‘forced’ into having the time to follow through. Bad… I know but now I do follow through … most of the time.

This past Fall and Winter has probably been one of the longest, coldest, darkest seasons I’ve been through physically and mentally in a very long time but all seasons do come to an end and even though I had small glimpses of sunshine here and there throughout the winter it wasn’t until about February that I started seeing the large rays beginning to shine through and this time they actually began staying.

My time stuck at home had given me a whole lot of time to begin connecting with God on a deeper level and also I was feeling a little better physically.  The dizzy spells were becoming less and less and I know my triggers that set off the dizziness now with stress being one of my big ones. Looking back, I can connect the whole roof scam and being sued by them as probably my breaking point and what set this whole illness off.  I have always been a stuffer of my feelings most of my life. Never telling people when I’m sad or upset and I usually just go about my days clinging to the good stuff and not paying much attention to the bad.  Now I can see that the bad I’d been stuffing finally caught up with me.  A person can’t stuff those feelings down inside without finally running out of room inside to stuff them and I think maybe I just broke because I was too full.  Through all of this, every doctor kept telling me I needed to get the stress out of my life but really how do you do that when it’s coming in from places you can’t stop??

I think it’s more in how you deal with stress is how you remove it from your life. Don’t stuff it inside where it can’t be dealt with or it will eventually end up eating you alive.

From where I sit now I can finally see that good stuff can be found even on a bad day but it is okay to acknowledge when things aren’t going so great. I realized now that it really is okay to be not okay.

During this season of my life, I have also learned to say no.  I have learned that if someone gets upset with me for saying no then that’s their problem, not mine. Also, now that I have said no a couple of times, I have realized nobody was upset with me anyway. HA 😊

I can see now that quitting my job was a good thing too.  I still love my church and of all the jobs I’ve had in my life being the church secretary was my all-time favorite.  So, when I say that quitting the job was a good thing, I know it probably makes no sense to anyone else except for me. But the best thing I have noticed is that now when I am at church, I am there for one thing only and that is God 😊

Also, I’ve realized that I’d been neglecting the things God called me to do.  Write my blog, finish the book I started and rekindle family and friend relationships that I’d let drift away because I didn’t have time.

Over the past month, my new neurologist has started weaning me off the medicine that another neurologist had given me for the brain stem migraine diagnosis. His plan was to start me on a different medication that has fewer side effects but as time has gone on, I’ve started feeling like my old self again so I haven’t had to take the new medication. I feel like I am finally waking up from this nightmare I’ve been stuck in and now that I am waking up when I look back and can see that October through January is one giant blur to me.  I never realized when I was traveling through it all just how dark my winter season really was and to be honest, I was worried that it was never going to end but the best thing in all of this was Jesus. He was always with me the whole time and no matter how bad I’d feel he kept pushing me forward. Making me get up out of bed in the morning when I didn’t want to get up. Sending close friends to check on me at just the right moments. He kept nudging me to read my Bible and he was the one with me on the nights I couldn’t sleep.  He pushed me forward toward springtime and on those days when I thought I couldn’t go on anymore he carried me.

Be still my heart… His love for his children is a love like nothing else. I was the one in one hundred and he came looking for me.

The roof stuff is still happening but, as far as my health goes I feel like I’m on the upside. I can feel the warmth of Springtime outside but most importantly I feel the warmth inside of me once again.   I know that this long dark Winter season is finally coming to an end and like the rays of sunshine in Springtime make the flowers bloom, I can feel God’s love for me cracking away at the icy chill of this long winter season so that I to can now bloom once again.

Taking the Leap

I have 3 grandsons. The two older boys are close in age, 7 and 8, and the youngest is 3.  Whatever the two oldest boys are doing the little one is not far behind trying to keep up.

A few weeks ago, as they were leaving my house, my daughter opened the door for them to go to the car the 2 older boys sprang out of the door like they had lightning bolts on their feet. For one split second, the youngest had a bit of worry on his face quickly replaced by determination as he leaped into action and began running to catch up with his older brothers.

Even though he is the little guy his split decision to leap into action left me realizing that to him his size didn’t matter, and he wasn’t going to let anything stop him from keeping up with his older brothers.

He had complete faith that he had what it took to keep up with the big guys.

Wouldn’t it be great if we adults had that sort of faith?

I think our years of getting knocked down by life sometimes stops us from trying out the harder stuff.  Sometimes we even freeze up on the stuff God asks us to do to, never taking a leap of faith to trust him to give us what we need to accomplish it.

In my grandson’s case when mom saw the older boys running ahead, she told them to wait, meaning for them to wait for her, but in the second that they waited little brother was able to catch up. He didn’t care that mom making his older brothers wait was the reason he’d caught up. All that mattered to him was that he was right beside the big boys and his little face was beaming with joy to show that he was now a part of the big boy club even though he was just a little guy.

What would it look like if we adults had that same kind of faith like a child? What would it feel like to be presented an opportunity by God to do something harder than we think we have abilities to do and then we then took the leap of faith and we succeeded?

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Think about this – What joy are you missing right now because you are afraid to take that leap?

 

I Can’t Stand to Look at Christmas trees – Don’t let the title fool you, I love Christmas!

I can’t stand to look at Christmas trees this year.

I love Christmas with all its twinkling lights, and the tree in my house has always been one of my favorite Christmas decorations. But this year because of my vestibular migraines the beauty of the lights within my Christmas tree’s branches feel like poison to my brain. All it takes is about 10 minutes of looking at or even toward a lit Christmas tree to wreck my whole day.

Before this Christmas I never knew there was a such a thing as migraines that you can’t feel yet will cause you to have to retreat from certain types of lighting, sounds, smells, and activity or you will end up with your head feeling like it’s pulsing and being pressed in from all sides, causing you to feel so dizzy you can’t think and want to puke your guts out!

I love our Christmas tree and love all its glitter and white lights and no matter how much it bothers me I insist on keeping it turned on every evening just as we always have.  But I haven’t been able to enjoy it this year and have been pretty much staying out of the room it’s in or I sit with my back to it.

To be honest, even though I’ve tried my best to be joyful this has really caused me a lot of sadness this year.

But then today I discovered something as I was passing through the room with the Christmas tree in it. As I was walking through the room I had my eyes averted away from the tree so as not to see it when suddenly they landed on our nativity set. The moment I saw it I suddenly realized that our nativity has a light in it and it’s always on every day all day AND this is the one lighted Christmas decoration that does NOT cause me to get nauseous when I look at it!

I found it very interesting that the one Christmas light in my house that I actually CAN look at is the one light that is shining over baby Jesus lying in the manger. Could it be that maybe Christmas is still Christmas even without a beautifully lighted Christmas tree?? Well of course it is! What really makes it Christmas is that Jesus was born on Christmas and the Christmas holiday is supposed to be a celebration of HIM. Jesus came to save the world on this day all those years ago and He is the one true light of the world.  This also made me think of the shepherds on their way to see him on that night so long ago when he was born. Under the cover of night, they were led by a bright shining star to a baby who was the very first Christmas gift ever given to us.

Just like God used the bright and shining light of my nativity to lead me to see him among all this junk I’ve been going through this year.

Jesus is what Christmas is really all about and with or without Christmas trees, Jesus will always be here.

I think not being able to look at my Christmas tree this year actually caused me to receive a very important gift.  The gift to see what’s truly most important – that Jesus is the only light I will ever need.

Without Jesus, there would have never been a Christmas in the first place. Jesus is the light of the world, and we ALL need him more than anything.

He is the greatest gift we have ever received.

 

 

Dear Readers,

My wish for you today is that your Christmas be filled with all of the joy, love, and peace that comes from Jesus. He is the one and the only true reason for the season may you see him as you go about your day today and every day. Have Merry Christmas!

Terri

I am Chosen and So ARE You

 

What does it feel like to not be chosen? Or how about being chosen last?

How about picking teams in gym class when you were a child in school?

Were you the person who was chosen first? Or were you always chosen last?

When I was a child my family wasn’t much into sports. We didn’t play sports or watch them on TV and we didn’t go to football or baseball games either. I also didn’t have an athletic bone in my body or really even care to have an athletic bone in my body.

Because of my lack of athletic abilities, I was pretty much guaranteed to be chosen last in gym class for any type of team sport game.

Here’s a classic example of what usually happened when I played team sports.

I was in 5th-grade gym class and kickball was the game.

Most days when we played kickball and it was my turn, I would kick the ball and someone from the other team would catch it right away causing me to never make it to any base, I was usually an easy out.

This day was a little different though.

This day I actually kicked the ball so high that it went soaring over everyone’s heads into the outfield.

I was horrified.

Why was I horrified you ask?

Because I never got this far in a game so I wasn’t for sure what I was supposed to do next! Everyone on my team was yelling, “run! run! run!” So run is what I did. I ran as fast as I could go to first base, but I didn’t stop at first. When I got to first base I’d heard the kids yelling and clapping so I decided I would keep going. I finally stopped on second base.

I was so happy!

But that happiness was very short-lived when my teammate who was ALREADY on second base said, “What are you doing?! Go back to first base, you dummy!” just as someone from the other team threw the ball at me and yelled, “Out!”

By now the kids on the other team were laughing at me and my own team was super angry with me.

I really had no idea as I’d rounded first heading for second that two people weren’t supposed to be on the same base together. I was so embarrassed that I just wanted to melt into the ground and be invisible for the remainder of my school life!

As you can see sports were not my thing and if I could have had it my way, I would have been perfectly happy to have skipped the whole gym class thing. Had there been a reading team or and art team those would have been the teams for me.

Not to sound braggy but I may have even been the first pick for an art team or some sort of speed reading team.

The funny thing is… well… actually the not so funny thing is… that I never saw that I had an art talent as a child.  All I could see was the fact that nobody ever chose me to be on their team because I was terrible at sports.

Ephesians 1:3-14 says that we were chosen by God.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[a] predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[d] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purposeof his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritanceuntil the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:3-14 NIV

It doesn’t say we were chosen because of our talent, our knowledge or how good we are.

What it does say is that He chose us long before He created the World and He chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight.  He predestined us for a relationship with him through JESUS!

How cool is that?? We don’t have to be good at anything at all. Because WE were already CHOSEN! Can you believe it God chose each one of us because he wants us on His team?

In the world, we live in its easy to focus on what we are not good at instead of what we ARE good at. We tend to focus on what our friends are chosen for when actually God gave us each our own special talents to use for what he chose US for.

God doesn’t want me doing things just because other people do them or like other people do them.  He chose ME to be me and I am good enough because he says I am already on the team. And what he gave me is what I will use to play the position he chose me for.

The same also goes for YOU.

You’ve already been chosen to be on ‘Team Jesus’.

So what do you say? Your spot is open waiting for you to fill it, nothing else required except that you believe in Him.

God chose YOU!

YAY TEAM!

 

 

When the Struggle is Real Keep Going Even if You Have to Do it With Your Eyes Closed

I leaned down to pick up what I thought was trash on the floor.

“Even when we are struggling God can still use us” were the words written on the paper.

Struggling

Lately that’s all I seem to be doing.

I can’t look at the screen as I type this, or it will send me into a swirling mess. Like I’m stuck on a merry-go-round. I also now have a Heavy head, with brain fog, and a lot of anxiety.

Sometimes I feel like I am going crazy.

I never know when I will be sick.  I could be fine and then 5 minutes later I’m in a fog.

I could be sick for a few minutes, hours, or all day.

I keep praying for God to take this away, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The only change is things just keep getting worse and I’ve found out I am a failure at staying in an MRI machine.

3 doctors to just be sent right back where I started to my general practitioner was really upsetting.

On Monday I was told I needed to see a neurologist or maybe even a psychiatrist wow now I’m not the only one who thinks I am crazy.

I started with the neurologists my GP gave me, Doctor ‘Quackquack’ and the one who’s supposed to be awesome. I didn’t call Dr. Quackquack.  My call to Dr. Awesome’s office was met by voicemail telling me to leave my name and number and they would call me back.

They didn’t call.

I tried to find more neurologists in my area but only could find pediatric neurologists.

I felt so hopeless.

Hopelessness isn’t something I usually feel. It’s a pretty foreign feeling for me and I can’t tell you how much I really hate the feeling

But then on Wednesday God gave me something that totally brought my hope back.

Dr. Awesome’s name had kept coming up all week and that day I kept feeling this urge to try to call him again.  So I did call him again and this time someone answered the phone! She said there were no appointments available until March…

Feeling defeated I started to hang up while saying a prayer in my head, “God please I need your help with this!”  I kid you not, the next words out of her mouth were – “you need to be seen right away, can you be here tomorrow morning at 8:45?”

Fast forward – the doctor was really great and we now have a partial diagnosis, brain stem migraines with aura. Even though I don’t feel the pain from the migraines, I still feel the effects of them.  He told me I am NOT crazy, and that no physiatrist is needed and that what I am feeling is real.  He also said I do have to get that MRI though, so we can see what the reason is for the migraines. He also told me the migraines are brought on by things like screens from phones, computers, lighting, sounds…. pretty much all of my normal life stuff.  He gave me a prescription for a medication that will hopefully help stop them from happening.  I should know if it works by the end of next week.

Yesterday was a better day, but then last night I had nightmares all night.  I woke up this morning feeling as if a dark cloud is hanging over me. It’s like no matter how many times I feel up this just keeps knocking me down. I wanted to stay in bed but I forced myself to get up.

No matter what I gotta keep getting up.

It’s been really hard to keep going when it’s the normal activities in my life that are making me sick. I can’t watch TV, or be anywhere with fluorescent or LED lighting, or those new energy efficient light bulbs.  We changed all the lightbulbs in our house.  TV I try to just listen but forget and find myself looking at the screen. I can’t get on my tablet for games.  Texting has pretty much become a thing of the past unless it’s a quick one. The sounds that bother me are weird. Things like soft sounds, like clicking or change jingling or certain voices. I had to give up my job for now because I can’t do it because Its pretty much all computer work.

The good in all of this is if I stay away from all of those things, I feel pretty okay.  So now I am doing things to occupy my time that actually are more meaningful than hanging out on Facebook (sorry Facebook).  I actually talk to people on the phone or in person now.  If I walk or exercise, I actually feel normal which is kinda strange. So now I walk and walk and walk.

Maybe all of this is my wakeup call to get back in shape and actually do life the old-fashioned way.

The thing that bugs me the most in all of this is I work in a church.  I have known since I began the job that God put me there so why is this stuff happening that makes me have to not work there?  I realized last week when I stepped away to get well that for now that is really what he wants me to do. Step away and get well.  For a long time now, I have known that God wants me back at this blog and a few other things but I never had much time before the write the blog, but now with no job and no other things to distract me I have a lot of time to write.  BUT –  I can’t look at the computer screen now. Plus, I’m really not sure what to write about.  I feel as if I have words, but most are hard for me to share publically.

I started writing this today because of the paper I found on the floor  reminded me “Even when we are struggling God can still use us.”  I have no idea when I wrote that.  It was just written on the back of an old grocery list and laying on the floor like trash, waiting right where God left it for me to find today. So as I sit here with my eyes closed typing this story (yes they are closed) I realize that right now in my life the struggle is real but God still can use me.  I really don’t get why it always comes back to this blog but God wants me to do it so guess if you are reading this then I did it.  I won’t be editing the mistakes though.

I hope if you are struggling today with anything you know that God is real and he is right there with you during your struggle too. Take the moments you have and make the best of them and let God use you during them.

It may not make sense but do it anyway.

Since I was a child I have always stuck to the motto ‘where there is a will there is a way’. with that being said remember this –  If you have the will but its still hard do, do it anyway.  Even if you have to close your eyes. God is with you even in the struggle and he will help you.  You may get knocked down but no matter what you gotta keep getting back up.

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me

We have a running joke in our house when it comes to birthdays.

Instead of just one day for your birthday, instead, you get a whole week, which by the end of the month has actually become a whole birthday month.

During birthday month the person with the birthday usually to tries their best to get the other people in our family to buy them gifts or to do things with them that we normally wouldn’t ask for or do.

For instance, when it’s my birthday week I know that it’s a given that my husband will take me out to dinner on the big day, BUT for the whole week I usually try my best to get out of cooking and every chance I get I will drop hints like, “have you seen the new birthday pancakes at Ihop” Or,  “wow you sure can smell the Mexican restaurant down the street today!”  I also throw in the fact that many of the restaurant’s reward clubs I belong to have sent us coupons for free birthday meals and somebody has to use them so it may as well be us 😀

Even though I truly don’t expect my husband to have to take me out to eat all week, A girls still gotta try, right?

And try try try I have because guess what October is for me?

October my Birthday month!

This is how Birthday month went down for me this year….

First, my husband gave me a new fitness tracker that I have been really, really REALLY wanting, AND I managed to talk him into letting me have it about 3 weeks early.  And then fast forward to Birthday week in which I managed to talk him into taking me to Ihop for free pancakes, we tried out a new Mexican restaurant that some friends suggested, We went to 54th Street Bar & Grill & Dairy Queen on my actual birthday, and then two days after my birthday, we went to another Mexican restaurant which just moved in at the end of our street. We also went on a ton of walks, Sunday drives, and shopping.

As I write this I realize how spoiled I am because even if it weren’t my birthday month he would still do all that stuff with me.  Thankfully we don’t do all of that eating on a regular basis or we’d both weight 5000 pounds!

Now fast forward to a little bit ago…

Last night I was writing letters to the kids I sponsor through Compassion. As I was answering the questions one of them had asked I realized that one of the questions was – When is my birthday month?.  The cool thing about that question is that the child who asked it just so happens to have her birthday in October too and it was really kind of cool to tell her that we share the same Birthday month.

As I was writing her letter I began wondering how she had spent her birthday. I started to write the question asking her if she had done anything special for her birthday but then I  stopped.  I stopped because I wasn’t sure if that were an appropriate question to ask because she lives in extreme poverty. The more I thought about the question the more I realized that she most likely doesn’t eat dinner out or get extravagant gifts for her birthday like I do.

As a sponsor, I am always offered the opportunity to send a donation towards a birthday gift for her and several times when I have done this I’ve received pictures back of what she bought with the money. What I’ve noticed is this – Every time she used her birthday money to buy practical gifts such as clothing or cooking supplies such as flour or sugar. While those are good gifts,  and she seems to be very excited to get those things I know they would not be my first choice of how to spend my own birthday money.  I realized now that her birthday and my birthday are probably very different.

I ended up never asking the question about her special day, but I did tell her how special she is and that God made her special by creating her on her birthday day.  I also wished her a Happy Birthday.

I think birthdays should be special for everyone, but especially for children.

I know my birthday was a little very extravagant, but the truth is even if I’d never gone out to eat dinner or received a gift it would have still been a great birthday.  It’s not about the eating or the gifts, it’s just knowing that people love me so much that they took the time from their own days to wish me a happy birthday, or to just hang out with me. Those are the things that really make birthdays special for me.

How about you? What makes your birthday special for you?

How do you like to make birthdays special for the people you love?


Today is the last day of my birthday month and in honor of birthdays of everyone everywhere, I’d like to try to squeeze in just one more gift. But this time the gift is not for me. This gift will be a special birthday opportunity for a child who may not normally have a special birthday. If you follow the link below you will go to Compassion International’s child sponsorship page.  On that page you can use the birthday search filter to choose a child that has a birthday coming up, or if you’d like you can even choose a child who shares the same birthday as you.  when you sponsor a child he or she will receive the news just in time for their birthday that they have been sponsored by YOU!

Wouldn’t that be an amazing birthday gift for that child to receive?!

If you’d like give the gift of sponsorship to a child for their birthday just click this picture and it will take you to Compassion Internationa’s website.  If you are unsure or just want more information this link will take you to that too.  

 

Vertigo, Panic, and Feelings of Insanity

Let me start by saying  – “My mind can be a scary place sometimes.”

I’m not sure why but over the past few weeks I’ve been hit with sudden bouts of dizziness. The first time it hit I was at work. One minute I was typing away at my desk and the next I was holding on for dear life as the whole room seemed to spin out of control.  The swirling passed after a few minutes but since that day it keeps happening several times a day. According to all the doctors I’ve been to so far the dizziness is vertigo but I say its scary! My symptoms range from a little off balance feeling to having the whole room spinning.  I never know when it may happen, so normal life things like going to work or just going to the store have been hard to do.  So far, each bad episode has passed after a few minutes, but my fear is – what happens if it doesn’t? Can this ever start and not stop?!

Add to the vertigo that I caught some sort of illness last week and had a fever the second half the week and then add last Saturday afternoon. Saturday,  I was sitting on my couch watching TV when a sudden wave of fear gripped me out of nowhere.  I had nothing to fear yet I felt as if sudden doom was happening.  I have had panic attacks before, but nothing like this, this was the mother of all panic attacks and for the rest of that day and all night I felt like I was stuck in a sea of fear.  The worst was the night…every time I would doze off would wake up with the most awful fear gripping me with my heart pounding so hard it felt as if it were going to explode.  Sunday morning it was not only fear but now I was exhausted from no sleep and also an anger feeling was gripping me. I am not sure what that was all about because I am not usually an angry person. By then I was feeling as if I may be going crazy and wondering if maybe I may have a brain tumor or something.

I told my husband that I wasn’t going to church but then at the same time I  knew I needed to go.  I didn’t want to but I did.  Back and forth and back and forth I struggled with that but eventually found myself in the car on my way to church.  In the car, I felt so terrible I was panicky, had stomach issues, and the weird anger… I even told my husband that if someone asked me how I was that morning instead of my usual ‘I am good’ response, I was just gonna say, “I am terrible!”  That is so not me.  Really.

So we get to church and seriously getting in the door was hard, this probably will sound horrible for me to say, but everyone is just so happy at church, and to be honest I think I just wanted all of those smiling people to ignore me for the day. But of course they didn’t and of course, I didn’t tell anyone about my fear/anger/crazy/whatever-was-wrong-with-me problem. And thankfully I was nice.  We went in and sat down and a friend came to chat and before you knew it I was even laughing over some silly story she told. The laughter felt really good, but it was short lived because just as the service started, I felt that familiar dizziness.  By the second song, I was in the bathroom putting cold towels on my face while holding on to the walls waiting for the dizziness to pass. I finally made it back into the sanctuary by the sermon but now the panic was back and it was gripping me so bad.  I felt as if I was suffocating, drowning right there in the back row of the church service and nobody knew.

I wanted church to be over right then so I could leave and I almost did leave, but I didn’t and thank God I didn’t because the sermon series we are in at church right now is titled ‘The Armor of God’ and the message this week was ‘Helmet of Salvation.’

Imagine that!? The sermon was about the Helmet of Salvation when the place that’s been under fire all week for me is my mind and now my pastor was talking about guarding our minds against enemy attacks!

I felt myself clinging to the scripture as we read it.  Familiar words that I have prayed a lot over the past few months actually –

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:10-20

After the message everyone stood up to pray, I wanted to stand but I couldn’t, I felt like I was teetering on the edge of a cliff with fear and dizziness so I stayed down in my seat for the prayer. I don’t really remember the words that were prayed, but one part I do remember is the pastor pausing for us fill in the stuff we needed to let go of and God’s voice in my head saying, “You’ve gotta let it go, I’ve got this, trust in my love. All you have to do is let go, I promise I will catch you.”

I did and just as He promised He caught me.

My Pastor had no idea what was going on in my life when he prepared his message this week but I know without a doubt God knew!

My armor was back in place.

I’d like to say that for the rest of the day I was well, but I wasn’t.  I actually went home and laid down for most of the day, but no matter what happened all day if that panicky feeling came along, I’d lean in more to God remembering that I had to use his armor to protect my mind and my day was pretty peaceful.

I went to bed last night and had a really good night of rest for the first time in a long time and so far today I feel refreshed and I am thankful.

As far as my health goes – I’ve been to 3 different doctors so far and have an appointment with an ear specialist on Oct. 4 and today I am seeing my endocrinologist. So far no one knows what is bringing on the vertigo, and I also suspect the panic may go hand in hand with that. I hope someone finds something easily fixable.  No matter what happens though my prayer today is this…

Father, Today I place life in your hands realizing I can’t do this alone. You’ve brought me through so much and you have never left me to face anything alone. Your peace has carried me to where I am today, and now to the start of this new day. Without you I couldn’t make it, please don’t ever let me stray away from that knowledge of your power and how I need to make sure I am tapped into you to stand firm against enemy attacks. Thank you for everything you do, but most of all Thank you for loving me.  Amen

Thank you for reading and make today a great day!

Terri

Check out this video by Jeremy Camp – Same Power