IMG_190131 Days Walking Through Chronic Illness

day eight 

“We will use these stones to build a memorial…What do these stones mean?…They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Convenant went across. These stones will stand as a memorial…forever.” Excerpt from Joshua 4:6~7 NLT

We crawled into the car yesterday, my man and me, at the impolite hour of 4am.

There is a gentle quietness that time of day. The sky inky black. Stars a plenty, as if they had been sprinkled about. A waning crescent moon. The aroma of strong coffee surrounded us.

Backpack loaded, we were on the road again. Destination; Duke Dysautonomia Clinic. Once again.

We made our first trip there two years ago, within weeks of this day. The irony, not lost to me.

It was two years and some weeks ago we first made this trip. An anniversary of sorts as I am writing my story of chronic illness. A twist of fate possibly? I think not. It is more likely the Hand of God.

We rode along in silence as we listened to the Bible. A couple of chapters in the Book of Acts. Some Psalms, a Proverb.

As light dawned, my mind wandered to remembering stones.

The rest of the drive, I settled in, watched the replay of the two years making this trip.

I am not one to get mired up in the past. I tend to be more of what I would call a “hitch~yer.” Hitch yer britches up girl, and move on. Ya’ll, I am taking freedom with my southern~mountain twang, here. I hope you will give me some grace.

Somehow, surrounded by the quietness of the early morning, my man next to me; I had a sense God was taking me through the remembering stones. If nothing else, to keep a freshness to it all.

For the days when the crumbling of my soul is want to give in, remembering stones are a reminder of where I have been. Where I am.

They are poignant to me. Sentimental and maybe a little sorrowful at times. The stones. Warm in my memories, as if they were in my hand, they beat in my heart.

Laid out in the seat of the car, unable to hold up my head. Heart rate pounding hard and fast. Stopping often, being taken to the bathroom. Sick. Back in the car, a bit further up the road. Stopping again. Again and Again.

Those first trips seemed to take forever.

Blood pressure cuff around my arm exhausts the batteries, making for another stop. The grumpy clerk who wouldn’t exchange the dead batteries he sold us. Sold at an exorbitant rate, no less.

My husband, one eye peeled on the road, the other watching me. His warm hand of comfort on my leg. Every once in a while, it pats.

My quality of life, twenty percent, eking up slowly, bit by excruciating bit, with each trip.

Each place we stopped along the way. The Blue Diner, where we ate. Sometimes making it there early enough to enjoy a bagel at the bagel shop. Watching college students mingle around.

 “Oh the places you’ll go. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” ~Dr. Seuss

The remembering stones, they make me think of the Apostle Paul. The thorn in his side.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”…2Corinthians 12:8~9a

…For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2Corinthians 12:12b NLT

In my weakness, I gather memory stones. Hold them in my heart.

They give me strength. They remind.

Each time I am faced with difficulty in the daily-ness of chronic illness, there is renewal of faith.

I pick up the stones, I am reminded of a faithful God who has brought me this far. That calmed my fear in the storm. Held me up in His righteous right hand.

Reminded I could and most likely would become complacent with Him, without need in the most mundane of things.

Oh the places my Faithful God has taken me as I have traveled this path. Lived out this story.

Whatever story you may be living, whatever path you are on, I pray your heart and eyes are opened to His faithfulness. That you will collect your own memory stones. Have a way of looking back.

“Faith is the deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” Oswald Chambers

“Faith reveals a reliance on God.” The Armor of God~Priscilla Shirer

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn