Yesterday I went with EJ to the doctor. She ordered him an MRI and more blood work (which we will get done today). She gave him exercises to do for his back, and prescribed more pain medication and something to help him sleep. EJ asked her about going on disability, which many people have encouraged him to look into. It took him a long time to even consider going on disability because he wants to be able to work, not be an invalid. The doctor said that since EJ hasn’t yet had back surgery, etc., it would be probably be difficult for him to get disability, and then he might not get the full amount, so we’d struggle financially–and it might work against him if he sought work in the future.
Have you ever had one of those awful years were difficulty follows problems follows heartbreak follows stress?
A lot of Christians say that Christians should always be joyful, and I also believe that Christians experience increasing joy. However, I think some believe “joy” means “paint an artificial smile on my face and pretend everything is ok, even though my life is falling apart and my heart is breaking.” I don’t think it means this, and neither do I think it’s always a bouncy, trouncy, Tigger type of joy. I think there are times of bright and dancing joy, but I think it’s usually more of an authentic deepness, a settled foundation, so that even when life is difficult and our hearts are breaking, there’s a light in the darkness, hope in despair, a knowing that we are always loved and never abandoned by God sort of joy. It’s like a line in a children’s song: “Real joy is mine, even if the teardrops start.”
Today, as is my habit, I woke up, made coffee, turned on the computer, and connected to the world. I also read my Bible, connecting with God. It was a leisurely morning. I didn’t feel any pressure to hurry and get dressed.
For many years, I struggled to believe that God really loves me. I grew up hearing that He did, and I thought I believed it, but I didn’t REALLY believe it deep down in my spirit. It comes from growing up with conditional love. Because I didn’t really believe He loved me, I was scared whenever I “failed” God that He would be disappointed or angry with me. And any time something bad happened, I thought God was punishing me for something. Recognizing that this was a problem, about ten years ago I began to pray Ephesians 3:17-19 for myself: