It Changes Things

We all have moments in life that change things. Things that happen over time, or things that happen in an instant, but they change our perspective, our attitude, or even the entire course of our life.

I had one of those moments this year. After finally discussing with my doctor some of the things I experience that aren’t quite within the range of normal, she sent me for an MRI. I guess when I shared the reading with a friend, and googled some of the terminology, I realized what it said, but the truly defining moment happened with doctor officially said it:

Chiari Malformation I.

I told myself in the days following that appointment that learning I have Chiari changes nothing. I’ve had it my whole life, and our God is mighty and protective and He had carried me through all of the things that I’d done in life.

But the truth is, when she said to watch jarring or bouncing activities, and to be conscious of anything that could cause a brain injury, it really changed a lot of things.

In some ways, it feels like finding out I have Chiari changed everything. Some times it is empowering to be learning what can trigger my headaches (which she classified as migraines, but I still have a hard time calling them that). Some times it is disappointing to know that it’s not in my best interest to ride roller coasters or go sky diving.

I even drive differently. I’ve always been a cautious driver, but even more so now. I don’t want to find out what whiplash means to my brain hernia. I just don’t.

Having a name for it, really being able to tell myself there is a reason for the bad days has helped ease my guilt over those days – so just because naming it changed everything, some of those changes are good changes. Before I knew, I beat myself up when I couldn’t get something done, when the pain was too much, and I had to give in. I pushed through the bad pain days and didn’t give my body the rest it needed, which just resulted in worse days.

I’ve been actively working on giving myself permission to rest when I need it. To listen to the start of the pain, and ease up a little, slow down a little. It’s not easy, I’m a work in progress.

I’m also learning to rely on Jesus more and more. His strength is made perfect in my weakness and this isn’t permanent. This world is not my home and I know whether I see healing on this side of Glory or not, when I enter in to Heaven’s Gate to worship my God and my Savior, there will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more brain hernia.

One of my favorite things about this journey this year is seeing how God was working years ago, leading up to this point. He put some very specific people in my life to speak words of life, healing, and love over me and to me. He sent me friends that would point me ever toward Him, reminding me to praise, helping me see the good, lifting me up, and never letting me feel alone.

It’s a pretty big thing to say I learned my brain is falling out of my head this year, and to also be able to say, “But I haven’t felt alone on this road.”

I remember telling myself as I sat down in the seat of my car after my doctor’s appointment, “I’ll never write about this. It doesn’t get to change my writing. It doesn’t change anything.” Cue writer’s block, because writing is how I process life. So I’m writing about it, and I’ll mention it when it’s relevant I’m sure, but that’s not all I’ll write about. In fact, of all the things Chiari could change for me, it doesn’t take writing away, and that is a great relief to me.

Chiari wasn’t the first thing that ever changed everything for me, and I doubt it will be the last. It’s just the most recent, the thing that I’m learning about in this season of life.

Have you ever had a “changed everything” moment in life? Tell me about it in the comments.

I met one of my best friends on Craigslist…

I’ve thought a lot about my friends and my life the last few days. It’s amazing the unexpected things that occur in life, and how quickly those things help us identify who is really there for us. If someone had told me a few years ago that one of my best friends, one of those people who would always be there with advice when I needed it, the ability to listen, and the ability to encourage me to pursue what is important to me, was a woman I met on Craigslist, I would have laughed. I mean, really? Craigslist has some pretty cool stuff, but best friends? Not likely.

I have many friends from church, and several of my church friends are even some of my closest friends, too. Yet, lifelong, close friends from church doesn’t surprise me. I don’t know why, exactly.

In 2009, I got the privilege of watching an amazing little girl, and therefore meeting her parents. And her mom found me on Craigslist. And 8 months later, my life fell apart, and I could no longer watch their little girl. I figured we would never speak again, even after her mom told me “you’re in our life forever, my daughter loves you, you won’t get rid of me that easily.” I laughed, on the inside of course. “Aw, how sweet of her, but I doubt we’ll ever talk again.” Boy was I ever wrong. We talk every day. And I value her opinion, even when she tells me I look like shit…which for the record, she’s never actually done. My ears just weren’t working!

My little sister is also one of my closest friends now, which I never expected. And there’s the bestie that I overwhelmed at church because randomly, sitting in a classroom full of one year olds, I blurted out 90% of my life story. The people who stand behind me when I need a push, in front of me when I need to be guarded, beside me when I need a hand to hold, and surround me with their love, are priceless. I value all of my close friends. I would do anything for them.

I guess this just has me thinking a lot about how blessed I am. I think people only get to take away from our lives when we let them. People come, and they go. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. But they come and go, and yet some stay. I try to remember to always learn from people whether they are coming, going, or staying. I try to remember that each person in my life is there to teach me something about myself, my faith, my strength, my lack of strength, or just about the world and people in general. I am a people person, and I know more people than I ever realized, and to list all the people in this post that have touched my life would take more time, and more space, than I have now.

Thank you all for being a part of my life, for shaping who I am, and for crossing paths with me on this crazy journey called life.

And just know, when you tell me about some great find on Craigslist, I don’t ever think of the stuff I’ve found, I think of the friend I found.