(Written January 14, 2019)
Alright here's the deal- I am a really impatient person 99.9% of the time. Though it's something that I hate to admit, I've finally come to terms with it, especially since I started college. I feel that I'm at my best productivity-wise when I'm doing so much that it almost seems like too much. That may not always be the best for me, but I operate best that way. I tell people all the time that there's a little hamster running on a wheel & that's what's running my brain, so that also may have something to do with it. But lately, I've really had to learn about patience...& not in the way that I wanted to learn about it. To properly tell you this story, I need to go back to Christmas Eve, a few weeks ago.
The week before Christmas, my entire family got what we dubbed the "Christmas Sleepy Sickness"- you're tired, mopey, & feel like crap. Along with that comes a sore throat. I had, by some miracle, avoided the sickness altogether, unlike the rest of my family...or so I thought. Christmas Eve came & while my sister & dad were feeling better, my mom & I felt horrible. We went to my grandma's house & I didn't feel like eating much. Yay. That night & the next day, I didn't feel great at all. I went to the doctor the day after Christmas & they gave me some medicine. It was supposed to last 5 days & then I should have been good to go. I took the last dosage of meds on December 30th & by January 1st, I was right back to where I started. My throat was hurting (even more so than the first go-around at some points) & my lymph nodes felt swollen. It was WEIRD. I went back to the doctor on January 2nd & they said that the medicine wasn't fully out of my system yet, so come back that next Monday if I still felt like that. I left, not satisfied with what I had just been told, & confused. Why was this still going on?
Anyways, I couldn't go to the doctor because of errands on Monday (the 7th). However, my friend Georgia texted me that Monday afternoon with 1 Corinthians 13 to read, along with Galatians 5:22-23.
Galatians 5:22-23 says:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (ESV)
She sent both of those because the first fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, which went along with 1 Corinthians 13. She encouraged me to take a fruit a week & apply it to my life. I took LOVE first, since it seemed to go along with the other passages I was reading. Okay cool. Everything I was reading that week seemed to be going along with LOVE & how God loves us so much & wants the best for us. I thought that was pretty cool. I had a project that I was working on that Tuesday, so I took the Fruits of the Spirit passage into that day with me as a reminder. I read it that morning & told myself, "Okay, Grace- let's apply this today!" I did & it worked! However, as the day went on, I was getting frustrated. Not with who I was working with, but myself. I was getting frustrated because I couldn't use my voice like I was supposed to. My throat kept hurting & I felt like I was just stuck. I pushed through but by the end of the day, it was really sore.
I was so confused. Why was this happening? Why was God having my throat hurt like this at such a big point in my life? I couldn't seem to get better & it seemed like everything I tried to help my voice just made it worse. I'll be honest: I've cried a LOT over my throat this past month. As y'all know, I'm a singer, but I also love to talk. How am I supposed to do what I love if my voice isn't even "for real" there?
I went back to the doctor that Thursday & we ruled out four more possible sicknesses that it could have been. I got some more random medication prescribed, plus an added vocal rest (yay...?). I felt useless.
Friday, my church had an event with author & speaker Bob Goff. I went to the night with one of my best friends, Chandler. It was really fun! I wasn't able to talk a ton (especially at my normal volume; it had to be kind of quiet) & I couldn't sing much, but I still had a blast! As Bob was talking, he kept speaking of two things: LOVE & PATIENCE.
This entire past week, God had been speaking to me in so many ways- friends, family, scripture, Bob Goff, random signs on the street or Pinterest- about LOVE & PATIENCE...& I didn't even realize it! Remember when I told you how Georgia had texted me to practice the fruits of the Spirit? I picked LOVE first, simply because it was the first one that I was reading about. The next one on the list I had made (I drew these all out & taped it up in my closet- I'm a visual person) was supposed to be JOY. While I wanted to practice JOY next, my eyes kept going down to read PATIENCE instead. I was so confused as to why I was going to that word until Friday night. I kept thinking, 'God, we both know that I am NOT a patient person. Why am I looking at this? I mean sure, it will be difficult for me to practice, but I don't need to practice that one now...right?' But it wasn't MY timing I was going by; it was HIS. He wanted me to practice PATIENCE so I could learn a lesson from it, one that I didn't know he was trying tot each me until I was in the middle of it all. He was teaching me LOVE through all the good things that had happened that week & PATIENCE through all the trials.
I noticed at the end of the night with Bob Goff that I hadn't really moved once since Bob had started talking. Let's go back to that hamster-on-a-wheel situation I was talking about earlier & let me say this: I can NEVER sit still. I'm too "go go go" for that. But something about Friday night made me at ease with myself. It was as if God way laying his hands on my shoulders & saying, "Relax! Don't you know I already have a plan for you, that I know what's going to happen? You don't need to worry. I'm God! I got this all taken care of."
Jeremiah 29:11 says this:
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you & not harm you, plans to give you hope & a future." (NIV)
I'll be completely honest with y'all: up until this past week or so, I thought that that particular verse was just REALLY overused. I thought it was just one of the first ones that people would think of to say out loud. However, this past week, I have never felt it to be more true to my life than right now. This whole adventure with my throat has been super disheartening- hearing doctors say "I'm not sure, let's try this," not being able to talk, not being able to SING, etc.- but it has also taught me the true meaning of PATIENCE.
I've often heard that patience is something that we need to pray for, but it's also one of the most difficult things to pray for. For years, I've prayed that God would help me to be patient, even though I knew it would be hard. I prayed for patience on timing especially- that it will be done in His timing, not in the timing that I thought it should be done in, & for me to be okay with that. There's a big difference in the two & up until this past year or so, I never truly knew the difference.
I've learned about PATIENCE. I've learned how God's LOVE for us is shown in many ways. That may mean great things happening, sure. But that's the most obvious way. The way that I learned it this week was through my faith in Him that he has this taken care of. He gave me this gift with my voice, so He isn't going to take it away, temporary or eventually permanently, without a reason & a better future down the road.
The past two days, my throat has been feeling better & my lymph nodes aren't as sore. there's still momentary discomfort but as a whole, it's a LOT better than it was. I think God was just wanting me to take the blinders off of my eyes & see that He was teaching me PATIENCE before he healed me. PATIENCE can be difficult, but it's made me closer to Him for knowing how to be patient.
PS: Thank you so so much to everyone who has been praying for me & my throat this past month! It's made me feel so loved.
PPS: Thank you to Marissa & Lane for running out to get cough drops & DayQuil for me last Tuesday. Y'all are the real MVPs.