Today…is my birthday. I had hoped that I would be writing this post about the great doctor’s appointment we had yesterday, and what a wonderful birthday present it was…but I’m not.
It was actually really, really rough. It was five hours long with no breaks… except for the brief moment the kids got to go through the sticker box. And though our kids didn’t have to stay for the entire appointment, it was so hard for my mommy heart to watch each of their “check-ups.” We won’t know the exact details without further mycotoxin testing…but it seems symptomatically, like our sweet little Emma was the hardest hit. She really struggled through some of the neurological tests, and has had a number of other heart-wrenching symptoms.
It’s a lot to carry. And the appointment only seemed to go from bad to worse. After the kids left, we spent hours talking through every detail of our treatment plan. And the more Dr. Hope talked…the more hopeless I felt. First, the lovely little rumor floating around the mycotoxin world that you can vacuum pack your stuff and eventually kill them off…well, it’s just a rumor at best. Mycotoxins aren’t living things. They are chemical matter…like a chair or a box. And like a chair or a box, they will never ever die. So there’s no point in boxing them up. Our immune systems may be able to someday handle the things we put away, but forget about the vacuum packs.
Then she told us that our collective exposure has been so significant that she doesn’t think we can keep any of our furniture…even the stuff that we had thoroughly scrubbed. We had hoped Clorox wipes would be enough, but since we had lots of vintage furniture, that unsealed wood was just too exposed to the mycotoxins. So…out went the furniture.
Then we found out that Whimsy- our little vintage camper- will also probably have to go. We had bought it with dreams of a life full of whimsy and family camping adventures…but apparently, that’s not going to be us. So, out went the camper.
And then she said (after a rather dramatic pause), “And…you probably need to cut your hair.” Ideally, it would be best to actually just shave my head, since the mycotoxins that close to my body cause the worst exposure, but I sort of stopped listening after she said, “Hair Cut.” All I kept thinking about was that fragile moment in the movie Little Women when Amy sees Jo’s chopped hair and cries out in anguish, “But Jo! Your one true beauty!”
I don’t want to cut my hair. I don’t want to sell the table my grandparents got as a wedding present. And I certainly don’t want to watch Whimsy drive off into the sunset. It’s like we’ve just watched our entire house burn to the ground, and now the one box left…is about to get thrown on the fire. It’s not much of a birthday present.
But I do want to say this…
I have learned some invaluable lessons in my 33rd year of life. It has been a year filled with the deepest sorrow and suffering I have ever known. It has been a year filled with tears. And sometimes, miraculously, a year filled with moments of laughter. Laughter that probably meant even more than the joy of all the other years…because it cost so very much for my heart to make it.
And it has been a year filled with reminders of who God is. Which is, after all, what all of these years are about in the first place…knowing Him and making Him known.
And so, since it’s my birthday…I want to share the most important truth I have learned in this 33rd year of mine…
God is Sovereign.
He knows things. And plans things. And does things that ONLY HE COULD KNOW.
When I was in college, I had something called my “Only God Could Know Book.” I, like every college girl (scratch that-human girl) struggled with believing the truth of my worth. And so…every time I felt like God did something, or gave something, or said something through someone else that ONLY God could know I needed to hear…I’d put it in the book.
For example…one day I was reading in 1 Peter 2:9 how it says that we are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation.” I remember thinking in that moment, “God, I don’t feel very royal. And I don’t feel like a Princess.” I shut my Bible, with what I’m sure was a rather emphatic thud, and went on a run with my friend.
I attended college in downtown Chicago, so runs included lots of stops. As we approached a stoplight, there were two guys clearly dressed in gang attire standing there beside us. And at that very moment one of the guys turned to me and said, “Hello there Princess.”
He may have been a gangster. He may have been an angel sent directly from God. But what I’m absolutely certain about is that only God could know I had read that very passage, and had those very thoughts, right before standing on that very corner.
And I know that this is true of Him, because He still does things…that only He could do.
This week, someone I’ve only met once held an amazing online auction full of handmade goods. Hundreds of beautiful people made and bid on all these items over Instagram, and then gave the proceeds of the auction to us. As I was looking over the items the day of the auction I actually said to Reid, “I wish I could bid on all of these. They’re just so great! I especially love this little birds nest necklace.”
Are you ready for this…fifteen minutes later I got a message on Facebook from the girl who makes those very necklaces. She wanted to send me one. It’s like God was eavesdropping on us.
We have been so incredibly bombarded with love over the last seven days. It doesn’t even feel real to be this loved by so many people all at once. But I felt especially humbled that I was being sent a beautiful little birds nest necklace with six tiny pearls…because there’s only One person in all the world who knew I had wanted one.
And He’s the King of all the birds nests. And of all the gangsters on all the corners.
And most of all…of all my baby birds.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last year of life…it’s that God’s sovereignty is a precious gift. It is a hard gift on the days when God does something that only God could know was coming, especially when that thing breaks your heart beyond ever being put back together again. There hasn’t been one moment of the last week that I wouldn’t have gladly traded in for ten seconds of baby Charlie in my arms. Or the next baby, or the next.
I don’t like all of the things God knew and God did.
But I trust Him. Because He is GOD. He knows things that we don’t. He sees things that we don’t. He hears things that we don’t. He does things that we don’t even fathom the far-reaching, sovereign implications of.
And at the end of this incredibly painful year of life…I truly can say, just like Habbakuk once said,
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and my precious babies are in the ground,
though the olive crop fails
and there is no new baby in my womb,
though we lost almost everything we owned,
and now I have to get a mom haircut,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
I’ve read this passage hundreds of times. But this year especially, one word alone has become an anchor to my heart. The Sovereign Lord. He is my strength…because He is sovereign. Only God could know why we have suffered so much. And only God could know the beautiful eternal outcome.
I could not do this life…if my God was not sovereign. I just couldn’t. I have wrestled deeply with every one of the hundreds of passages on God’s sovereignty over this last year. And it is because He is sovereign, because He numbers the days of every baby bird in my nest, and because He is the God of a lifetime of only God could know moments for each and every one of us that I can honestly say…
I trust Him.
And someday, I will get to sit down at His feet, and hear His version of my “Only God Could Know” book.
And it will be so very good.