Sunday, July 21, 2013

"God uses us in our brokenness"

This will be a little bit of a different kind of a blog post.

Remember when you were in elementary, middle, high school...heck, college, for that matter and the teacher goes here, read this book and write a book report on it and the whole class complained?? Yeah, me too...and I was usually the loudest complainer. So what am I about to do? Write a book review. Sort of.

I just recently read a book. For fun. I don't know how I fit it in, in between my crazy hectic, almost tragic, life (that I may describe at some point in the near future--seems like I haven't done that lately). But I read a book. It was called "Kisses from Katie" by Katie Davis.

So let's get this sorted out. The review part is gonna be about like, well, real short. The remarkable amount of quotes and crazy ways I felt the way it tied into chronic illness and my life even though it had nothing to do with chronic illness or my life (which may indicate I'm obsessed or may indicate God needed me to read this book because I've been in a deep, dark place lately, despite what Facebook says) will be the rest of the blog. But you need to know what the book is actually about to get to the quote parts.

So the book is about this girl, named Katie (seriously, I know), who is the PERFECT teenager...nice car, cheerleader, homecoming queen, boyfriend she just knew she was gonna marry, parents who would pay for her to go to any college she wanted to go to and do anything for her. When she was 16 God told her she was to take a break in between high school and college and be a missionary...her parents thought it was just a notion, and she would grow out of it. Well, senior year came around and she asked her parents if she could start applying at places. Her parents, now realizing she was serious, agreed to let her apply. She went to Uganda over Christmas break to check it out with her mom, again her parents thinking she would get it out of her system and she would just want to go to college instead. However, she falls even more in love with the idea and is offered a job as a kindergarten teacher in an orphanage in Uganda and gladly accepts it and moves to Uganda after graduation. Long story short, Katie falls deeply, madly, passionately in love with Uganda, her 240 kindergartners, and the 14 (yes 14 girls she ends up adopting--yes legally adopting) by the age of 22. If you can't tell Katie never leaves Uganda, but you know that before you get the book home from the library because of the back cover, so it's not a spoiler :) What you don't know is Katie's journey of love, sweat, tears, passion, and redemption of going from the most popular girl that had it ALL in an urban high school to a single mother of 14 with NOTHING in the middle of Uganda running a school, a medical clinic, and a non-profit all at the same time. No kidding.

This book is one that I could not put down. So emotional. And I am not one for forwards and afterwords. But just a forewarning. If you don't want your heart to stay ripped out of your chest like mine was in the last chapter, please read the afterword, it will get a little better. That's all I got to say about that.

Now on to the parallels I saw to my life with chronic illness/Jesus/my life in this book.
**These are all quotes from Katie's book by Katie (or from the Bible) and then the indented part is my thoughts on it.

  • "But I have everything I know is important. I have a joy and a peace that are unimaginable and can come only from a place better than thus earth. I cannot fathom being happier. Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together more beautifully." 
    • This sentence was in the first page or 2 of the introduction and I knew I was in for a book homerun. If you've been around the blog for a while, or are even new to the blog you may notice that I'm kind of a big proponent on how God/Jesus is making beautiful things out of my shattered life. I think I've even used words pretty dang close to that before. And yes, "Beautiful Things" by Gungor is still HIGH up on my favorite song list. I may have just turned it up full blast on my way home from clinicals today when I needed some affirmation.
  • Matthew 10:28 "Do not fear things that destroy the body but things that destroy the soul."
    • Katie was talking about parasites and worms and dirt and nasty things, I am of course talking about my stupid health conditions. But seriously same thing, right. We are both knowing that we should be more concerned with things that should destroy our soul (Satan) but dealing with temptation of things that will destroy our Earthly bodies.
  • "We are not called to be safe, we are promised when we are in danger He is right there with us."
    • First of all, Chronicles of Narnia--Aslan--anyone? 
    • Second, get out of your comfort zone. Don't stay safe. Don't stay at home all day Megan, exercise for 10 minutes, do something fun, God is there with you. He will protect you. 
  • "We were each created to change the world for someone, to serve someone. Some days it is excruciatingly difficult, but the blessings far outweigh the hardships."
    • God created everyone to do something, to help someone, to do something. God did not call everyone to move to Uganda and adopt 14 kids at the age of 19 obviously. But God did call everyone to do something. A big part of getting over my brokenness after getting so sick was realizing that I didn't have to be a missionary in another country or travel all over the place to save the world. I could change the world from my bed. And I will. Somehow, someway. Because that is what God called me to do. It will be difficult, but the blessings will be there. 
  • "God spent my whole life preparing me for the life He had planned for me."
    • God knew this was gonna be my life long before I did (duh!) and had me prepared for it. I just know it. From little things like wanting (and praying--literally) to learn how to cook before I got diagnosed with Celiac--which is a total necessity since restaurants are hard to do, but better now. To being a very, very, very organized and detail oriented person--which is a total and complete God send because I have medical binder upon medical binder and know where ever file and test and lab I've had done in the past 3 years is and can tell you what it means and what happened because of it. Who knew my anal retentiveness would come in handy? To some larger things like spending three years as a special education teacher where I was in the process of getting my master's degree, in which I had assignments on things like write me a 20 page paper on the American's with Disabilities Act...and now I know my rights inside and out...because now I am an American with a disability....and I advocate for my rights frequently ;)
  • "Sometimes it's like I'm emptying the ocean with an eyedropper and just when I have about a half cup of water it rains."
    • This is how my life feels a lot of the time. Everything takes so much energy. Katie was talking about having so many things on her plate. And I am too, but just in a different way. I'm talking about having so many things on my plate and trying to get them all scheduled and get everything balanced and scheduled in between sick world and real world and you think you finally got it and then it pours....and you have to start all over...yeah that would definitely be this month...but I might get to that like I said already, in a different post....haha
  • "There were many moments when the only way I could keep going was to try my best not to look back but to look only forward, relying on God's perfect plan." 
    • I for the life of me can't remember the quote that Mary Ann Cody told me the week I was getting ready to leave Salisbury for "good", but it was really similar in nature to this. But something about not even looking forward, but looking up because God knew what was going on (very loosely paraphrased). I remember, of course, the whole way driving from Salisbury to Indiana trying my hardest with that quote in the back of my mind to not look in the sideview mirror while I was bawling my eyes out as my mom drove me out of the town I loved. To look forward because God knew what he was doing, He had a plan. I stopped crying about the Tennessee border if I remember, right, I don't remember if it was sheer exhaustion, or if once I got out of NC I came to the realization that it was over, and I had to get over it. But ever since I got to the TN border, I've had to keep moving forward. I don't let things set me back. Not a diagnosis, not a treatment, not a side effect, not a timeline, not a prognosis. I just keep swimming. 
  • "Neither this man, nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God can be displayed in His life." John 9:3 
    • This verse is sometimes used to explain why bad things happen to good people, or why sickness happens to young people. Or any number of other things. I find comfort in it. Because if God can be displayed through my life through my struggle, fight, and conquer of chronic illness; then that is a good thing. If one person is saved through my adversity, then it is worth it. 
  • Adoption---this isn't a quote, but a theme
    • Obviously, from my review you heard me say Katie adopts a whole lot of kids in her life at a super young age. It has ALWAYS (since I knew what adoption entailed fully) been my DREAM to adopt a whole lot of kids too. In fact, I wanted to adopt a child from every continent in the world so that I could literally have the whole world in my house. I am not saying this dream is dead. But unless I find a very rich, understanding husband that is gonna do all the work and make all the money, it's probably gonna be in some severe trouble ;) I still hope to have at least one child through adoption (I definitely cannot have my own kids physically any way at all--which is another way in which God planned ahead for me because my heart was for adoption before I was aware of this), although at this point it will likely be a foster to adopt of an American child and only if I get a whole lot better and only if I get married because it is unlikely they would place a child in my care at this point (and they would be right not too, if the state is choosing--I am not saying I do not have many very capable, very loving, very caring, chronically awesome parent friends...but I know they, like any other parent, have struggles that may be more than most healthy parents). Anyways. I love me some adoption. Please, if you are able, go adopt you a whole bunch of babies. Preferably some babies with some special needs from eastern european nations. I will even set you up with some resources :) 
  • Another theme that she spoke of was money and how she used to be "Rich" and had all her needs met in abundance and  now she just had her basic needs met and felt more rich than ever. 
    • I go through this so much now. I am living on disability and very minimalist and feel much more blessed and abundant than when I had a real job and was getting more than one paycheck. The money I get now is more useful and important to me. All my needs are met. God provides for me in miraculous ways. And never lets me want. He even lets me thrive. When I was earning a paycheck, I wasn't even thriving, I was living paycheck to paycheck and bouncing things and so on, but now that I have to trust in him, I am thriving. 
  • "And when there's nothing left, and we feel we're all in pieces God begins to make us whole, he makes us real. His love sets us free and transforms us." 
    • In the past month I've been to the bottom, and this is true, and God is making me whole. But it's not public yet. But it might be one day. But for now, just know that this statement is real, so real. And it feels good. 
  • "People say I'm brave. They tell me I'm strong, They pat me on the back and say, 'Way to go, Good Job.' But the truth is, I am not really brave, I am not really strong; I am not doing anything spectacular. I am simply doing what God has called me to do."
    • Honestly, I get kind of tired of this. I'm not doing anything different than anyone else. If you get a chronic illness you have to learn to deal with it. It's not like something you get to choose to deal with one day and not the other. It's there every day for the rest of your life. You aren't being brave fighting it every day. I mean I can feel that way, but don't like treat me like I'm the only one doing this because there are millions. It's just the same as someone who has some different calling like being a soldier, or something. It's their job. Being chronically ill, is mine.
  • "The farther away I got from home, the more my trust had to increase...I couldn't imagine that my heart had the capacity for any more trust, but with every passing mile, I found out , that it did." 
    • I still--2 years, 9 months, and 1 day after leaving Salisbury--say but if only I could be in Salisbury, if only I could be home, if only I could be do this again, if only I could be with this person again. And every day, my heart gets a little bit better at coping with it and a little better at realizing that it's gonna be longer and longer until I get those things to satisfy my soul again. 
  • "It's just a little bit of coffee, and a whole lot of Jesus."
    • So this may or may not be my new life phrase. I saw this quote on Pinterest, looked up where it came from and found out this book, and this is why I read it. So thank Pinterest for this blog. But seriously. If you know me. How much more perfect could you get for me? This is how I do most things in my life. But it may be a little bit more than a little bit of coffee ;)
  • "The number of days or weeks we are together isn't important, what really matters is the way God knits our hearts together during the time He chooses for us to be in one another's lives."
    • This was in the part that I was talking about in the beginning that will rip your heart out if you don't read the afterword. So read it. But it reminded me of all the people that have been in my life and it doesn't matter for how long, God knew how long they were gonna be there and He knew just exactly how to form those relationships at the right speed to make them work for that time frame, because He is awesome. It also reminds me of all these support groups I'm involved in now. And how we all come together to get advice and help and support each other in very intimate and vulnerable ways and God somehow knits the right people together at the right times. How else would these people with this super rare disease be able to meet all over the world otherwise. Thanks Facebook and God :) 
  • And the last one, "God uses us in our brokenness"
    • This was actually not in the book, or in the afterword, but in the "discussion with Katie" all the way at the very end (yes, I liked the book so much I read the interview with the author at the end). And obviously I think it's a true statement or I wouldn't use it as the title for my blog. But He does. God knows what we are going to find as brokenness and turns it into passion. He takes our pain and turns it into plans. He uses our brokenness for good. Here I am, one chronically ill girl who wants to use her education and dietetics knowledge to revolutionize the medical world for people with chronic illnesses and get them the help and support they need. I want to start a blog-o-sphere revolution on nutrition for those with chronic illnesses. I want to go into private practice here in town (very part time while still being on disability because there is no way I could work full time) helping those with chronic illnesses, food allergies, or developmental disabilities with their nutritional needs. And why do I want to do all these things? Because I am broken in these places. God uses us in our brokenness. Everybody's broken. And it's for a good reason. Because if nobody was broken, there would be nothing to fix, and then there would be no room for passion and perseverance. 

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