Thank You, Jesus, for my Crohn’s Disease – Part 3

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After 5 days in the hospital, the histoplasmosis (histo) was not at a dangerous level and I was released. I left with a prescription of an antifungal medication that I was required to take for an entire year.  But there was a new problem. Every medication to control Crohn’s disease was immunosuppressant.  When I tried these medications, my fevers would immediately return because my histo levels would rise. I will always have traces of the fungus in my lungs so I cannot be immune compromised.  My infectious disease physician, Dr. Delgado, was adamant that I stop all Remicade treatments. Dr. Maisel and Dr. Delgado corresponded to try to find the best medication for me, but after a few tries of new and upcoming drugs, nothing was keeping the histo suppressed .

After 6 years, I stopped Remicade treatments and all medications for Crohn’s disease and was only taking itraconazole for the histoplasmosis.  Was I worried? Most definitely. I felt like the two diseases would be against me, fighting to take over depending on which was treated.  In addition, Dr. Delgado warned us greatly that if I were to get pregnant, the medication would be detrimental to the baby.  So not only did I fear for my own health, but I had the fear of an unplanned pregnancy.

As always though, God had a greater plan that I could ever make up.  If you’ve read Part 2, you’ll remember that this was the year 2008 and by November of 2009 I was cleared from taking itraconazole.  I was now taking no medication, and I was having no symptoms of Crohn’s disease.  The Spring of 2010 I received a colonoscopy since it had been 2 years since my last one.  Irritable Bowel Disease patients are encouraged to get a colonoscopy every 2 years even during remission (no symptoms/flair-ups/inflammation) to screen for cancer since our cancer rate is higher than non-IBD people.

Results: no inflammation. Zilch. Zippo. None.  Brett and I walked out of there praising Jesus!!! And….Brett has some stories since Dr. Maisel allowed him to sit in on the colonoscopy!  Many physicians don’t let spouses because they have had their share of pass out experiences. So I can confidently say that Brett knows ALL of me…including inside of me! 😉

What then? I was in remission. And I continued my life as normal.  Fast forward to February 2011 and I was pregnant with our first born, Kherington.  A new fear arose. For some women, their Crohn’s symptoms worsen during pregnancy while others improve.  Since I was in remission my fear was that I would struggle with symptoms throughout my pregnancy.   But all praise to the Lord, my entire pregnancy was asymptomatic.

As I reflect back to that horrible experience of contracting histoplasmosis, I originally thought it was all a curse. My Crohn’s disease was a curse. My histoplasmosis was a curse and prevented me from continuing treatment for Crohn’s.  But the truth is disease IS a curse.  These diseases are a result of sin. No, not a specific sin that God was punishing me for, but the fact that I am a sinner.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”  Romans 5:12

Disease = death.  You. Me. We are all going to die. Disease is part of the process of dying, and death is a result of sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Yet, the good news is that Jesus Christ has defeated sin by nailing it to the cross and has defeated death by rising from the grave 3 days later.  This earthly body will continue to decompose, but HALLELUIAH some day I will live for all eternity with Jesus Christ with no disease or death!

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

Maybe you are struggling with a chronic illness. Or a loved one just died. Or you question God why there is so much suffering and death. He is not the cause. He is the SOLUTION.

Jesus is my Healer.  He has currently healed me from Crohn’s disease. This past February 2015, I had another colonoscopy. The result: no inflammation.

But more importantly, Jesus has healed me from my sin. One night in September of 1991, my prayer was similar (or as much as a 5 year old could say) as David crying out,

“Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” Psalm 41:4

And Christ’s response?

“He sent out his word and healed [me]; he rescued [me] from the grave.” Psalm 107:20

Maybe you have not been healed yet by your illness, disease, or thorn in the side.  But have you been healed from your sin?  Have you been too focused on trying to find the cure for your disease?  Or maybe you don’t have an illness but you are trying every new health fad to prevent disease, yet are failing to allow Christ to heal you from the disease of your soul, which has an eternal consequence?

Choose your eternal health now. Don’t wait. Christ is able and willing to make you alive now and for all eternity:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?  John 11:25-26

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From Where I Stand {Love Letters}

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For February, my circle blog, From Where I Stand, decided to post on the topic of Love. As I have been Spring Cleaning the past few weeks (no, unfortunately it is not Spring yet, but getting it done now before Damon comes in May!), I have come across my old prayer journals. I started browsing through some of them and came across the prayers I wrote when I first transferred to Purdue. It was a hard transition of leaving friends and family and starting new. Yet, as I read and remember, it was the time in my life when I truly fell in love with my Savior, Jesus Christ, and wouldn’t trade the tears I shed for anything. I was studying the book of the Bible, Song of Solomon, and using a commentary to study, not the relationship between husband and wife, but Christ (Beloved) and me (Bride). Here is a passage from Song of Solomon, followed by one of my many love letters I wrote to Jesus:

“Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.

My beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.

Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.’ ” 

~ Song of Solomon 2:8-13

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dearest Bridegroom,

Thank you for willingly sacrificing Your life and presence from your Father to save my soul and “marry me.” Me, a filthy, unholy, unrighteous sinner. Yet, You still love me and came to rescue me. You are my ultimate Hero. You are the Hero of this Romantic Story! Thank You. You came for me and I accepted. Here I am with the most romantic Person of all times! Yet, I have not seen you completely face-to-face. You are still “hiding” from me until you physically return to take me Home with you. I will wait patiently for you, Love. I will wait only for You all of my days. Until then, I will listen for Your peaceful, quiet voice and go wherever You lead me. You have made everything beautiful in my life. When I am with you, the storms are over and the sun is shining. Your grace and mercy makes everything better. Thank You for all You do for me and loving me. I love you.

Your Waiting Bride, Christina

As I continued to rummage through prayer journals, college textbooks and binders, I took a walk down memory lane as I came across my collection of notes, cards, drama theater tickets, birthday/anniversary gifts, etc of the past 11 1/2 years I’ve spent with Brett.   One of the gifts I gave Brett when we were dating in college was a folder of prayers I wrote about specific things in his life.  Take a peak at one I wrote and gave Brett on February 16, 2006, right after Valentine’s Day. We had been together for over 3 years, and this is still my prayer today and for as long as we live:

Abba,

            Thank you for being Love. Thank you for Your unconditional Love towards Brett and me. We do not deserve it.  Thank you for the Love that Brett and I have towards one another. We would not be able to Love each other the way we do if You were not in the center of our relationship. If You are Love, and You are in our relationship, then Love is going to pour out of Brett and me. This week was Valentine’s Day, and just the day before I studied First Corinthians 13, where Paul gives the characteristics of Love. I pray today, Father, that Brett and I will first be filled with You so that we will be consumed with Love.  I pray also that these characteristics of Love will pour out of our lives towards one another:

Love is Patient; enduring of pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness. Help us to be patient with one another no matter what the other person is doing or no matter what the situation we are in.

Love is Kind; friendly, generous, or warm-hearted in nature. Help us to always be kind to one another and never be cruel or rude in our comments or actions.

Love does not Envy; feel discontent or resentment aroused by desire for the possessions or qualities of another.  Help us to never be envious of each others’ gifts and abilities that You have blessed us with individually.

Love does not Boast; glorify itself with words. Help us to never boast in ourselves and our accomplishments individually or as a couple.

Love is not Proud; a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance.  Help us to not be selfish and think that one is better than the other.

Love is not Rude; discourteous or ill-mannered.  Help us, Abba, to treat each other as You treat us.

Love is not Self-seeking; insist on its own way.  Help us to always be thinking about the other person and never about ourselves and our wants and desires.

Love is not Easily Angered; a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility. Help us to never get angry at the other person that results in sin in our relationship.

Love keeps No Record of Wrongs; it does not keep track of wrongdoing against someone.  Help us to never bring up past sins that we’ve committed against one another, but put them in the past and forgive each other.

Love Does Not Delight in Evil, but Rejoices with the Truth; does not find pleasure in sin but find delight in the truth.  Help us to never enjoy participating in sin, but always be filled with joy when we do what is right in Your eyes.

Love always Protects; guards and defends. Help us to guard our Love from being attacked from other people and defend our Love for each other.

Love always Trusts; believes things to be true. Help us, Father, to trust the best in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Help us to be faithful to each other so we can always trust each other.

Love always Hopes; a wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment. Help us to expect and hope for the best in each other.

Love always Perseveres; to persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. Help us to never give up on one another and our Love for one another no matter what circumstances or trials we face.

Love never Fails; cease to be active. Father, help our Love for one another to never be inactive. May it grow and never stop until the day we are separated in death and taken up to heaven. Come What May, Abba, help us to never stop Loving each other the way that You would have us to be loved.

I Love You, Abba.        ~Christina~

I close these love letters with a poem that Brett wrote for a college English class later that year in September 2006.

NO FEAR

They say, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.”

This truth unfortunately comes with pain.

My perseverance leads some to wonder,

Why I must travel down loves darkest lane.

The answer cannot be found in a kiss,

Or in my sobbing cries heard in the night.

Being with you is like a state of bliss.

Let us go there and defeat this mean fight.

All of this time I have been by your side,

And I will be throughout the end of time.

Rest assured my dear that I have not lied.

I love you more with every clock chime.

Now I shall stop looking in this mirror,

And pop the big question without a fear.

(A  month later, Brett bought my ring and proposed the following March of 2007!)

B-C 2Summer of 2006

Check out Megan’s perspective on Love at Megs Five.