Last year at this time, I felt that God was giving me a one word direction: SIMPLIFY. And, I thought I knew exactly how that would look. I pictured “simplify” in a romanticized, dreamy way. I imagined my home being somehow magically transformed into a light and airy retreat with no clutter anywhere. And, I pictured myself serenely sipping herbal tea from a designer mug and enjoying my new simplified existence. Problems would somehow disappear along with the clutter and I would grow in faith, creativity and wisdom.
Turns out that is not what God had in mind.
Instead, I was stripped down to my very soul. I was bruised and battered and shaken until even my faith was weak and broken. There was no sorting and purging of closets and drawers. There were no healthy meal preparations, no Bible studies, and certainly no creativity.
I think I have shared with you all before that I have a chronic illness called Meniere’s Disease. It’s a nasty auto-immune disorder that has robbed me of the hearing in my affected ear and causes violent bouts of vertigo. In 2015, it once again began attacking me with a vengeance. The attacks were so intense that I couldn’t move an inch without becoming extremely ill. I spent months at a time unable to leave the house and rarely able to leave my bed except for short periods between attacks.
I was reduced to needing help to get to the bathroom. Meals consisted of water and an occasional piece of toast if I felt I could keep it down. Showers were weekly instead of daily and taken between attacks. And, my faith was brought back to the basics of, “Is there really a God?” and “Does He care about me at all?”
Oh, this was so not what I had in mind when I heard the word “simplify” at the beginning of the year. Where was my serene house and peaceful existence?! Instead, I was scared, confused, ill and so very angry. Someone had gotten the plan very, very wrong.
After months and months (OK, pretty much all of 2015), it finally dawned on me: my life HAD become simple. I may not have been able to clean out my closet, but I certainly didn’t worry about what to wear. I wore whatever nightgown my husband brought to me. I couldn’t clean the house, but that meant I didn’t have a long chore list either. Meal planning flew out the window, my guys learned to fend for themselves. And, gone were the days of overdoing every holiday. I spent almost every birthday and holiday sick in bed.
My faith was reduced to pure simplicity. At first, I spent a lot of my time arguing and wheedling with God. Did he not know that serial killers and child molesters were roaming the earth unencumbered by illness? What in the world was I doing laying on the bathroom floor in misery while they ran around free?
But, it finally came down to SIMPLY this: Did I believe in a loving God? And, did I trust him?
I would cry and moan and be angry but those two questions remained. And, in the end, I had to answer “Yes” to both questions. And that’s faith in its very simplest form.
As I head into 2016 a new word has emerged: ACCEPTANCE. Of course I want to imagine it means I will be accepting loads of blessings and miraculous healing. But, I know better. And so, this year I will be working on acceptance. Acceptance of whatever may come my way. For, I really do believe in a loving God and I truly do trust him.
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