“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NLT

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There was a time, not so long ago, when I strapped on a Garmin, laced up my shoes in the dark hours of morning and headed out the door. With each strike of foot on pavement, steps were counted. Mileage, pace, added up and displayed.

First thing in the door I would pull out my running journal and log the information, compare days and routes taken, hills, valleys, my accomplishments. Puffed up and rejuvenated, ready to face the day with a Venti Soy Misto.

That was another life.

Looking back, I am proud of my accomplishments, medals hanging in the closet, the running journal packed away. Memories of laughter and sweat, the sound of squishy shoes slapping pavement.

What I’m not so proud of, the hyper control freak I was. Feeding pride and OCD ways. Wearing myself thin and frayed. The blindness to a god I had created.

When my life changed, the Garmin and running journal were soon packed away. Running shoes gathered dust in the corner. That frayed thread of control, stripped away.

***

Before we brought my sweet man home from the hospital he was gifted a Fitbit from our son and daughter in love. Laid flat out by open heart surgery, the gift became the encouragement and motivation he needed to heal. Days passed, steps taken through the pain brought color to his pallor and brightness back in his eyes.

We soon found ourselves shopping for new clothes to fit his healthier body. Leaving him in the fitting room, I wandered the store and found myself staring at the Fitbit display. Strolling towards me, my man encouraged me to purchase one. “Why,” I asked? Pointing out the benefits of having my heart rate displayed at the touch of button, I soon rolled the pros and cons around my mind. The cost, other things I’d rather have.

For me, Tachycardia, a runaway heart rate, is by far the most anxiety producing symptom of P.O.T.S. Though I have adjusted a bit, learned to quiet myself and breathe through the episodes, can I just tell you what it feels like to have your heart take off as a runaway jet plane minus its pilot?

There’s the moment that hangs in the air, breath caught in your chest, with a slight movement, you feel your heart hesitate. Flip flop if you will. In a moment of panic, I wonder is it done? It’s in that moment of uncertainty a jackhammer cranks up in your chest. You watch a comfortable 76BPM jump to 176BPM.

I caved. The pros far outweighed the cons. The pair of Tieks I had been dreaming of, the leather tote bag slipped away and I became the proud we owner of a Fitbit.

In the early days of Dysautonomia I fought for steps, fought to stand. Today, my steps are slow, aided with a cane, a load (I have longed to borrow that word from my precious six year old grandson~smile) of sodium tablets, Gatorade, and medication.

When I feel the “flip flop” in my chest, I glance at my Fitbit and see what’s going on. There’s comfort in the knowing. Comfort in the convenience of having it on me, rather than grabbing the blood pressure cuff, pushing the heart rate up even higher.

To glance at my Fitbit and count the steps reminds of the grace in this journey. Reminds me I’m not in this battle alone. Encourages me in the actual amount of steps I am able to take. Reminds me to give thanks and count the gifts.

Reminds me the beauty of the Author of my story. Pokes and prods me to share the ugly hard with you, maybe encourage you in your journey, whatever hard that may be.

Madeleine L’ Engle said this, ” The unending paradox is that we do learn through the pain.”

And I have.

I have learned to find peace in the valley. Find joy in the hard. Wrap myself in Grace. To live this story not alone in puffed up pride, but to live it with my hand tucked tightly in the hand of The Creator.

Graced by God

***

Be on the lookout for this soon to be released collection of stories…

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