January 1, 2009


"The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost 2,000 years."
-George Mathhew Adams

So here I am on this the threshold of a new year. I wonder what is to come and I ponder what I wish, hope, and pray that it will hold. Ultimately my mind wanders to those that live with this insidious disease and I wish for health for us all. I hope that 2009 will be the year that the medical and political barriers surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of LD will be broken down. And above all else, I hope that 2009 will be the year a cure is found for Chronic Late Stage Lyme.

And of course, I know that pain and suffering is not unique to just those of us living with Lyme. No the human experience is rife
with pain and joy, hope and despair, wins and losses, successes and failures, and suffering beyond comprehension. I wish for all my friends and family to have a year that is exempt from the toil, the pain, the suffering that is part of the journey of life.

Ultimately my deepest desire, my sincerest prayer for this new year is that all should come to experience the love that is to be found in the miracle that unfolded in a stable 2,000 years ago.
God loved us so much that He sent His son to heal this broken world. That wrapped up in that babe in the manger is the most profound gift of love the world has and can ever know. The miracle of it all is that love is a free gift offered to all, no strings attached. A gift not based on anything we have done, could do, or should do.

That love is what carries me through the darkest nights...although I have not always recognized or accepted that love for what it is. Pre-Lyme I have lived through some pretty tough stuff, walked through times of abandonment and abuse and wondered where was God when I was hurting. In my anger and bitterness, I wanted answers to my questions. When I couldn't find the answers than I needed someone or something to blame. I played the blame game... with God taking top honors as the fall guy. All that left me with was a sense of betrayal and emptiness. It took a lot of years for me to recognize or acknowledge that it was I who walked out on God, not the other way around.

So when Lyme hit, I made the conscious choice to not box God in by trying to explain nor expect to understand the whys and hows.
I have never asked "Why me?". I simply choose not to go there. But, that's not to say that I haven't struggled with wanting to know the answers to some perplexing and painful questions. Why is my healing taking so long? Why is it coming at such great emotional, physical and financial cost? Where is the working it out for my 'good' in it all? How is this 'good' for my kids, my husband, my family? Did God 'give' me Lyme or 'allow' me to get Lyme? Or is pain, suffering and sickness just the natural consequences of living in this broken world? We live in tough times and I don't have the answers. And I think that religious platitudes given even with the most sincere of intentions can do more harm than good. I certainly don't wish to hash out the great theological debates that can rage over the subject of pain and suffering. Or why bad things happen to good people. I can't even answer my 5 year old daughter's question of "Mama, why did God make ticks?"

No, I don't know the answers.
And I am okay with not knowing.

What I choose to do is just simply trust that God is carrying me through. That he has a plan and a purpose for my life and most of all, He loves me. The knowledge of his love resonates deep within my soul because I have experienced it in the deepest, darkest moments of my life. When I have been drowning in an abyss of hopelessness and utter despair, and given up all hope, His love is what saved me.

From my heart to yours, from a fellow pilgrim who is bruised and battered and battle weary on this inexplicable journey called life, my prayer for the new year is that you too should experience this same love.
God's Love is intensely personal, limitless and unconditional. It is the one love that is not the least bit based on how much I deserve it. It is the one love that can never lessen or fail.

To accept this gift, is to experience the healing power of His love.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." - John 3:16, The Message

That is my prayer for this new year.
There is always hope.
Don't give up
You are loved.

Please watch:
Don't Give Up, You are Loved - by Josh Groban

1 comment:

Renee said...

This is absolutely beautiful Shannon. You are such a good writer and a blessing to those of us who have the privilege to read your deepest thoughts.