As you read this I can hardly type....can hardly function....I am empty emotionally, physically and spiritually and it is no one's fault but my own.
As many of you know, I try to take time out for personal retreat a couple of times a year.....sometimes I go to Camp Lutherhaven north of Fort Wayne and sometimes I go to Lake Placid Christian Conference Center south of Fort Wayne. If you live in the Fort Wayne area I encourage you to take advantage of these solitary retreat programs....they are often free or for little charge.
It is a habit I have instilled since my divorce...to grieve if needed, to pray, to simply sort things out, to journal and to rest....to shut up the voices in my head and truly listen to God...and I do not function well without the respite they give me.
And now at last I am here, and I don't know how to sort through my mess except to prayerfully write it here before God. It is sometimes the best way He and I communicate.
My dear friend Leisa Larson once told me and a group of young moms in our Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group that if you squeeze a sponge until the water is all gone, there will be nothing left...you have to replenish the sponge.
My pastor Ray Harris at The Pointe Church has said you can't serve in your home, workplace or community if you don't replenish yourself spiritually.
I have not done this. I have not made my spiritual life or rest of any kind a priority.
And it shows.
I have been ugly to live with and am endangering the very relationships with those I love around me and endangering my health as well.
Some of my health issues will always be there to deal with.
Continued colon testing shows that I will always have to be watchful....it is not uncommon to have pains that cause me and my boyfriend to question "Do we need to go to the hospital?"
So far, we haven't gone to the hospital for my colon....but the constant strain of potential emergency have worn us both out. I am certain it would not be so bad if I managed my work stress better....thus, I am in control of some of this.
In December I noticed some breast tenderness, and given my breast cancer history, I had it checked out right away even though I had to pay out-of-pocket because I had just started my new insurance at my new job. Fortunately, that turned out ok.
I started taking on more and more responsibility at my new job in January, and it has been difficult. I am not catching on as fast as my supervisor would like and when I am ill and not feeling well colon-wise and stressed because of that....
...well, that does something to a mind's cognitive abilities. But the modern workplace does not care about that....the workplace wants your work done, and that's what I have been attempting to do.
I have been working 10, 11 or more hours a day...and I take responsibility for some of this...I am being too conscientious.
It is an issue I have been working through with a life coach/counselor at Stages and Transitions. I have discovered that I live with the underlying, constant fear of not measuring up and fear of being the one who sticks out for poor performance. I constantly live in the mindset that I absolutely can not be the one who drops the ball for any reason, any time, ever, at all, period. And I am exhausted by the expectations of this mindset.
In relationships, particularly with my boyfriend, I find that if he is quiet or in a bad mood, I always think it's because I done something wrong or he's mad at me. I stupidly think it's all about me all the time....how exhausting this must be for him to deal with.
And then to add to it...at the end of January I was diagnosed with a nasty virus that came with extreme fatigue and nausea that took weeks to recover from.
No sooner than that improved I got hit with a sinus infection that flared up my asthma that required two doctor visits, doses of steroids, steroid shots and two rounds of antibiotics.
I ended up in the ER twice recently due to extreme back pain. The pain was so bad I would have gladly chosen death...I begged God to take me....and in my pain I was very mean and nasty to my boyfriend.
He has missed work because of me, which means no pay for him. I have sick days, but as a new employee have tried not to miss work. He is worried about medical bills and my fearful comments that I am going to lose my job. Neither of us, I think, have been thinking clearly under the stress.
I was much improved Tuesday after chiropractor appointments and follow ups with my family doctor and got up to head to work...only to realize I had blood in my urine. I thought, "My God....what else could possibly happen!?!"
I went to work but had to leave early to see my chiropractor for a follow up. I was nervous about asking my boss to leave, but I had no choice. After the chiropractor I stopped at my family doctor for a urine test and was prescribed another antibiotic.
Believe me...there are days when I wish I was sick enough, long enough to apply for disability...and as life would have it, there are days when I feel absolutely great...my body is bipolar!
As for the medical bills....I do not worry...God keeps providing. I just negotiate and pay the bills as they come.
I made the decision to pay higher premiums to have a lower $1500 deductible, which will help. I just have to get through paying the $1500 to get to my deductible as the bills hit my insurance. Fortunately, billing and insurance take a while so I have been able to use HSA funds I am building up as the bills slowly trickle in.
Yet, the temptation to not tithe is ALWAYS there. It never adds up and looks like I can pay my bills, but miraculously I have NEVER missed a bill...
....and the blessings just keep pouring in...
My asthma doctor prescribed a $145 inhaler prescription, and I was able to have him prescribe a $45 prescription instead. While I was negotiating that, CVS kept the $145 order on hold and then sent it to me by mistake...and because it was their error they gave it to me for FREE!
I received a $100 VISA gift card from the YMCA for teaching swim lessons there for over 10 years even though I am very part-time and can only teach a few lessons in the summer. My Y employment also gives me 40% off from a summer camp for Heather.
The low gas prices and driving a Prius continue to help my weekly budget...in my old van I was spending $65 a week on gas...in the Prius I was spending $25 a week on gas...and now with the lower prices I am spending $15 or less a week on gas...so I am putting any leftover gas money in savings to offset medical expenses.
When I went to the pharmacy for the recent antibiotic, the bill was $200...they pharmacist took one look at that and said, "I am calling your doctor...we can get you something way better than that!" Bless that man's heart...he was able to get me a prescription for a mere $4.44.
Year after year, I keep qualifying for reduced lunch fees and free textbooks for Heather...which also allows for some free frees on a college credit test she needs to take this spring and free college entrance exams.
In December I took out a $100 cash withdrawal from my Walmart credit card to help with Christmas expenses, but the transaction showed up on my account as a $100 payment. I called the credit card company three times and spoke with the Walmart store manager where I made the transaction, trying to pay them the money. The Walmart manager could not find a transaction error in the store accounts, so he thanked me for my honesty and told me to consider it a $100 credit against my account. Crazy, right?
In spite of the financial blessings, everything has been a terrible strain on my relationship with my boyfriend of almost two years. I love him very, very much, but I have made him very unhappy in recent weeks.
Since I was already headed to my retreat, he also decided to take some time away this weekend to get a break. I was so fearful he would come home today and want to end the relationship. When he arrived home, we both honestly admitted that we enjoyed the solitude and time away from each other and decided that we needed to take these breaks more often...we are both very independent people and need our space.
I admitted to him my responsibility for the stress we have been going through, and he understands that some of it has been out of my control. What hurt him the most is that I had not been completely honest with him or myself about how poorly I had been feeling all winter.
The time away this weekend gave me an opportunity to strategize some stress relief. I even participated in a restorative yoga class that my sister-in-law recommended. While I was in the session I let go of so much stress and rested in the arms of God...so much so that I wept.
I am weak and a bit shaky and my stamina is not what it had been, so I am going to try to walk a couple of times a week along with the yoga. My boyfriend agreed that those were good ideas and encouraged me to pursue them.
So there you have it my friends...my life seems like such a train wreck at times. Please keep me in your prayers as you always have.
Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Friday, April 4
I am happy to share that I have been recovering well and continuing to make some serious changes to combat the stress in my life.
I am back on my feet at work, and miraculously, tasks that I just couldn't get my mind around have suddenly become easier and I am accomplishing more in a shorter amount of time. I think my mind knew it was time to sink or swim!
My boss has been supportive of my restrictions and has encouraged me to get out off the office and get home at a reasonable time, which I am truly grateful for. My boyfriend has even said I am grounded if I am not home by 6 p.m :) I am so blessed by his support and love that he shows even after I have been not so easy to love.
Thank you for your love, support and prayers through all the crazy times in my life.