When most people are asked what their favorite holiday is they usually say their birthday or Christmas or Thanksgiving, mine is always October 14th, my re-birthday. At that church service, when I was feeling so down on myself and depressed, which I think is pretty normal for any teenage girl who thinks the entire world sucks and is against her and nothing at all is going right (even though she is really blessed beyond belief), I felt God. This was not a normal church, this church was hopping. People were dancing, praising, raising their hands worshiping their God. People had this look of joy on their faces I had never seen before. I could tell that there was a God and He was in this place. The "teaching" was something about people who think they can't be saved and can't be forgiven and seemed to speak directly to me. Then the praise team played the song "Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord" and I literally felt God beside me holding my hand and I knew that I needed to have a relationship with the God that these people were worshiping, the God that was in this place.
When I decided to attend Catawba officially in February of 2004, I immediately began counting down the number of times I would get to attend the 'best church ever'. Now after being in Salisbury for 7 years, almost my entire 'Christian' walk time and attending the 'best church ever' for the past five years in First Baptist Salisbury, I am faced with counting the number of times I get to go and the sadness that fills my heart when I think about having to leave it. Side note: in my mind both St Andrews and First Baptist are both the 'best church ever' still because they were the best church for me at the place I was in my walk with Jesus. I needed the on fire passion in the beginning so that I would stay hooked and engaged and soak it up. I needed the deep theology and preaching and family of First Baptist now. But I know that God will find me a new "best church ever" in Terre Haute, maybe this is God's way of telling me that I am at a new place in my walk with Jesus, maybe I needed to be forced to move so I found a new church where I can grow more spiritually. Maybe I got to complacent in Salisbury. Maybe I wasn't focused enough on my relationship with God. I feel like the past month in a half I have gotten so much closer to God it isn't even funny, and that wouldn't have happened with out all these trials.
When I was eating lunch with a friend the other day she said I am amazed at your ability to stay positive and focused on God when you have been through so much in your life when I have it pretty good and I can see blessings all over the place and have a hard time even getting up to go to church or spend time with God, I don't get it. I told her that it's probably because I have to be focused on God all the time to get me through it. It's like the story I posted on Monday about the paralytic when Jesus says at the end of the story in Luke 5:31-32, " The healthy don't need a doctor, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." We do need Jesus/God when things are going well but we don't always remember it, the past almost 2 years now I have needed God to get through every single second of every single day. To give me the strength to get out of bed, to give me the ability not to focus on my disease every second, to give me the courage not let it identify me. Eight years ago I would not have thought like this, eight years ago I was so immature in my faith and so immature in general. I am joyful and peaceful in this journey because that is what God calls us to do...and because i know that the church is a hospital for sinners and I am one and I also know that it is a hospital for the sick and He will heal me.
As I write this, I am at my favorite-sarcasm-place ever...the hospital, CMC Northeast, where I almost died. But I am celebrating my re-birthday, I am also celebrating a different kind of almost re-birthday. I am getting my treatment that makes me feel all better. That will hopefully heal my colon enough for me to not have to have it removed. It takes about 3 or 4 hours so I figured I could do this while I was receiving it. My treatments are a very expensive drug (5000 per infusion) that I get on a regular basis. I was receiving them every 2 months now this is the second one in 2 weeks. They just told me I need to get another one in 6 weeks. Then we will see about 2 months. But right now this is the only hope until we start the new drugs in Indiana for healing my colon...and it works pretty well. I am convinced the only reason I got so sick is because we had to postpone my last Remicade because of the surgery I had in August, we got off schedule and that caused more damage. And God is in the healing business, so this will work. Plus the fact that since my last one 2 or 3 weeks ago I feel SO much better in terms of my stomach issues, not some other stuff, but the stomach is great. I am still having symptoms but no where near as many. So all these hospital visits and dr's appointments and medications and things like that really are like mini re-birthdays in themselves, the day they tell me I am healed enough to not need these treatments or to not worry about the surgery anymore will be another day that will be my favorite day of the year when asked. I don't know when my health re-birthday will be because we don't know when the dr's will tell me that, but hopefully it will be soon. The doctor just told me that surgery is not off the radar yet but if I stick with my Remicade and steroids and make sure to eat right and take care of myself it could be, at least for a while. So that is the plan, to get to have a new re-birthday. To get to see my Father that is in the business of miracles show off again and heal my body. I know it is easy for Him and I know He could have done it by now, but I know He is doing it this way to teach me something and protect me and I wouldn't have it any other way. So today I am celebrating my spiritual re-birthday and hoping and praying for my physical re-birthday expectantly, trusting God the entire way with joy and peace. :)