I have been ordered to bed rest. I am trying to wrap my head around what that means actually as I have pushed through a lifetime of exhaustion to live the life I have lived. It’s been a full life, one that has accomplished much (Thanks be to God) One that has defied all odds. Sent home with the words (“Nothing more we can do”) when I was in my twenties, I lived…in incredible pain and against all odds for close to 40 years. In that pain I made some mistakes and I was often misunderstood. I lived each day as if it were my last, found it hard to give grace to those who lived as if they had all the time in the world. I didn’t think I had the luxury of living that way and so I didn’t. I am by nature a type A. I go and go and go and multi task and become things like a Doctor and a CEO. I can’t seem to wait for someone else when I see suffering, so I started my own foundation to care for orphans. I write books and enter contests and I write songs and have been blessed to win awards and be in newspapers and traveled to foreign countries. I fight for causes like dolphins being slaughtered and bees being killed by the millions because of man’s greed. I can’t seem to stop because I am empathic by nature and I feel other’s pain. So I push, by calling Congress, writing letters and meeting at times with world changers. I am often rejected by those closest to me, people for whom I believed in and that, as my friend Rich Mullins said “Has brought me to my knees” I have seen the inside of a Dr.’s office almost every week for twenty years, to stay as close to functional as I could. So I could live my life. The one that calls from my heart, to make a difference. When I was around 7 my Mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said “President of the United States.” She laughed and said “Boy are you in for a let down.” She was right of course. I have been through incredible trauma in my life, a sort of war, with chemicals like pesticides and herbicides and perfumes and well, you know..chemicals. Our world is incredibly toxic and I am a canary in a coal mine…running out of air.
I have been led (literally) at times to the wilderness. Wild places, without people so I could breathe the air around me again. It was lonely to be so young and forced into isolation. Jesus and I grew very close. I weep thinking about the years of sickness in a stainless Steele Air stream trailer, which if we had kept it today would have been worth around $50K…I was living with my precious dog who never left my side …Those were some rough days. I grew so close to the Lord that when I finally was able to return to some city time, homeless people followed me down the street because they saw something in me. That started my homeless ministry time, passing out food and clothing and back packs and soap and blankets. I lived among them, only I lived in a high dollar downtown loft. I walked among them daily and learned their names. They protected me and we gave daily or weekly hugs. Occasionally I would preach, which eventually led me into the prisons. I visited inmates and I told them about Jesus. I met my first husband who was a sheriff in the prisons and we married and divorced so fast that I almost missed my chance at love. Later I was a keynote speaker for Women’s conferences. I truly thought I was going to be launched into that arena but my health and my life choices seemed to shut that down. I spent a lot of times in bed. I spent a lot of times in hospital Emergency rooms. I found Dr’s that helped me to live. just as I despaired of death. I married my love Joe, who has been a blessing and a trial…We have persevered through incredible challenges. Beyond what most people can ever imagine.`Our marriage went through breakable times. Where no one believed it survived. But it does to this day stand. Twenty years and counting. The stress of the marriage has come with a price. My health has been deteriorating between the chemical exposures, the people dying, the marriage near collapse. My adrenal glands which are the organs we use for survival and stress has been failing. In complete collapse it is called Addison’s disease. It’s life threatening and debilitating. So I am ordered to rest. My world is and will become very small. A bedroom, books, coloring books, movies and Facebook. An occasional visitor, a sister’s daily touch. A husband who continues to try to become all that God designed him to be. Two dogs who bring me stress and joy. Help from neighbors, a housekeeper once a week. This will be my world for the next few months.
Only God and time will be my answer. I am taught again and again that I am truly NOT able to save myself. No matter how capable and strong I might imagine myself to be.
There is no certainty for any of us. We are all living on borrowed time. Some of us are just more aware of it.