Monday, May 30, 2016

What CF Means

I learned shortly after we began dating that Elias had Cystic Fibrosis. Back then, it didn't mean a lot to me. I knew about his treatments and medications, but in many ways it wasn't really real. He was just like any other teenage boy.

Then we got married and CF meant financial struggles. Jobs that only offered part time health insurance. Insurance companies that wouldn't pay for life saving medications, struggling to figure out how to pay or get assistance for his healthcare needs and draining our savings. It meant learning more about his meds, nebulizer treatments and therapy vest. It meant quarterly checkups with his specialist. It meant infertility with the choice of IVF or adoption. It meant that when we decided that we were being called to serve as missionaries in West Africa that we would need a house with the luxuries of electricity and a refrigerator so that we could keep his meds cold and use his nebulizer and therapy vest. Some of these things were really hard and some were just inconveniences.

Now, nearly 8 years into marriage CF means something else. CF is progressive and Elias is getting older. Now 30, he's getting close to the average life expectancy of a person with CF. CF now means PICC lines and IV antibiotics at home, possibly once a year or more for at least two weeks at a time. It means hospitalizations and learning how to advocate for ourselves so that he gets the correct care the first time. It means talks about work from home options and learning more about disability so that we are ready and understand our options when that time comes. It means fear and worry about the future or even just tomorrow. It means that I need to make sure that I can step up and support our family financially if he can't. It means that things can change quickly for good or bad. It means that some years might be better than others and that his health could even improve and he could be healthier and stronger than ever. It means that our wedding vows become more true than ever "for better, for worse, in sickness and in health".

May is Cystic Fibrosis awareness month. If you would like to donate to research toward a cure for CF, you can do so here:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A God of Emotions

This past week has been an emotionally charged one. Our family has had to face the what ifs of some health issues that we are facing. I also took a doula training and as doulas we provide a lot of emotional support, which means that in training we talk about emotions.

After the first day of my training, I was driving home from Watertown, thinking and praying about our current situation, my fears, concerns and just my emotions in general and it dawned on me that I am so thankful that I serve a God of emotions. He understands my emotions better than I do and he can handle all of them, good, bad and downright ugly. I'm a pretty emotional person, so to be frank, I wouldn't want a God who couldn't handle them.

I also thought about Jesus and how Jesus not only fully understands emotions from a Godly understanding, but he also completely understands emotions from a fully human perspective. That is seriously incredible. In the Bible we get to read about Jesus experiencing joy, anger and even grief. That is my kind of God. The kind that weeps at a grave with a grieving family even though he knows what is yet to come. The kind that gets angry and flips tables when that anger can be used in a controlled and constructive way and the kind that shares in great joy, even in the simple things.

I haven't always embraced this. I've been angry and bitter with God, shaking my first at him and blaming him for not changing the pain that I was enduring and I'll probably do it again at some point in the future. In those moments I truly felt that God could not possibly understand what I was going through and that if he did, he would change it because it was too cruel not to. I've cried heavy, sobbing tears through a broken heart and just wondered why he would allow this kind of pain. Yet, he understood all of it, even better than I did. He was okay with me being angry and loved me through it and I believe that he hurt even more than I hurt to see me in pain. He did create emotions after all.

I am so thankful that I serve a God of emotions, that can handle whatever I'm feeling and love me through it all.