It is a well known fact that I spend a great deal of time re-setting my brain (read procrastinating) on Facebook and Pinterest and other social media outlets because grad school is hard for normal people and for someone with 14323942 medical diagnoses it's REALLY hard, especially when most of those make reading and retaining the information you read difficult. I don't know if you've been to grad school. But it's all about reading and retaining the information you read. Anyway, I digress. One day, when I was on Pinterest, re-setting my brain (truly it was the summer so it didn't matter) I found this jewel of a quote and about said out loud in my bedroom well ain't that the truth.
I immediately decided that this sentence is what was going to get me through the next year of my life, cause I graduate next August y'all!!!! I've got a canvas ready to paint the saying on it and hang it on my wall. I've got it written every week in my planner. It's on a note card in my car. Seriously.
Now, I don't know about y'all, but when I adopt a mantra I want to know where it comes from so I googled the quote, someone had to have come up with this brilliant statement, right? Katie Davis did. She is brilliant for more than just her mutual love of coffee and Jesus. She wrote the book entitled "Kisses from Katie" and it's amazing. I read the whole thing in about 2 days and was so enthralled the whole time I wrote a book report thing of it here and how her experience as a missionary in Africa compares to my experience as a chronic illness advocate here in America. It was such an amazing book, let's just leave it at that, now back to my post.
Why did I immediately fall in love with this quote as soon as I saw this and decide I was going to post it all over my life and do everything short of tattoo it on my hand to remind me? Well, number one, I'm a coffeeholic. Every time I get coffee (which is at least once a day) my life gets just a little better and a little more stress free. Plus, I've been a barista at least 4 times throughout my life. I'm pretty sure if they hooked up coffee in my saline infusions instead of the saline I would be ok with it, but they don't really allow that.
Second, I really love Jesus. A lot. We're best friends ya know. Every time I get mad or overwhelmed or feel like I can't go on, something happens and it's like oh, hey, yeah, that's God there reminding me that I'm not in this alone. It's really, really important to stay in the Word and stay in tune with God when you are chronically ill because the littlest things can throw your whole viewpoint off guard and mess up your whole day and doubting your whole life or your whole reason for existence. And if you thought being in the Word was important being chronically ill, being in constant conversation with Jesus is SO important being a chronically ill grad student. You are constantly challenged not only physically, but mentally as well and your body is pushed to the max. Hopefully in the end it will be worth it.
Looking for the signs of God around you is important and fun to do too! The small things that you don't even think about are the biggest signs from God to me. I always have the Christian radio station playing in my car and I'll be having this thought go through my head and the next thing I know a song will come on to counteract the thoughts that I'm having at that moment. Sometimes something will happen that will irritate you while it's happening but then you will realize it was to protect you, or to give you a better opportunity down the line. Earlier this week, I was sitting outside in a rush waiting on my dog to do what dogs are supposed to do outside, frustrated, trying to be on time to one of my many doctor's appointments exhausted and fuming inside. Then I looked down. And saw that the shadow had formed the shape of a butterfly from one of the plants in our garden.
The butterfly is the symbol that is used to represent fibromyalgia and I was in a particularly large amount of pain at that moment so it reminded me of my chronic pain friends. But, the butterfly is also a symbol that is constantly used in the Bible for new life. For instance in 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation is come. The old has gone, the new is here." So when I saw the butterfly it reminded me that in Christ I will have new life (and a new body! Praise God!)
I will be the first to admit that when the world gets you down, it's so easy to put God off on a little shelf and forget all about Him and keep whining and complaining and wondering just how you are going to get through this latest overwhelming time in your life. And let me tell you what, did I have a break down this week. If you are Facebook friends with me you may have witnessed it, heck you may have helped pull me out of the pit. Yes, the pit. I was about 20 seconds away from quitting grad school 14.5 weeks from finishing all my classes and one internship away from graduating because I was overwhelmed and sick and flaring and in pain and just had no idea how I could do it anymore and if it was worth what I was doing to my body to get me to this point. And it took earthly people on my Facebook newsfeed to remind me that I am not a quitter and that I am so close to accomplishing my dream. Where was God in all this? Well, He was literally where He always is. But in my head, He was up on a shelf somewhere, He certainly wasn't being asked by me what to do in this situation, but all of Facebook knew (and yes I know God knew too, but I wasn't letting Him in that I knew that He knew). It's so hard to forget that He helps us when we are overwhelmed and He will get us through any situation no matter what it is. After all the Bible also says, "From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2 NIV I like how the NIV version says "as my heart grows faint" as opposed to "when my heart is overwhelmed" like the KJV because so much of my life is my heart growing faint and it's highly disturbing and scary and so this is not only truth but symbolic as well.
Anyway, this was a really long post to make the point that as long as I have at least one cup of coffee a day (an iced decaf skinny vivace turtle mocha with no whip from Java Haute preferably please) and rely a whole lot of Jesus throughout my day and life it will all be ok. And if it's not ok, it's not the end. So I've just gotta remember every day when I get up or when something bad happens or I'm feeling extra stressed out and overwhelmed "All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus," and get in my car with my dog, forget about school for 30 minutes, listen to some Christian radio, say a prayer or 2, and head off to Java Haute, and it will all be ok. :)