Fighting the Fear of Not Being in Control

Today, I get to introduce you to someone who is very special to me. We “met” in 2016 and became fast friends. I say “met” because I actually have never “met” Emily in person. Her blog will explain a little more about why.

In 2016, my sister tagged me in a devotional online. I read it and was so touched by it, I looked up the author– it was Emily. Soon after that, she asked me to join the devotional group she was the project coordinator for and now completely oversees.

Emily is a warrior. She is fiercely kind. Extremely thoughtful and an amazing friend. She is always full of encouragement and she is so transparent even in situations that would make the strongest human being want to crumble. I am deeply grateful God placed her in my life and I am beyond thrilled to have her share with us what “National Rare Disease Day” means for her.

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Many of our fears are based on the small chance of something happening. I have a fear of electric eels. I don’t live in South America, and I don’t plan on sneaking behind the scenes of a zoo or aquarium. So, I’m not likely to encounter one anytime soon. I’m afraid, but it’s not a fear with much basis in reality.

 

What do you do when fears are based in reality because of things you can’t control?

 

What if you have a fear of the hospital or doctors, not because unfamiliar medical procedures, but because they have a history of not knowing how to treat you?

 

What if you’re afraid to lift something because you might dislocate you’re wrist or shoulder?

 

What if you’re afraid to wash your hair because you might be allergic to the shampoo? You used it yesterday, and had no reaction, but a reaction with no warning happened with the brand before that, the brand before that one, and the one before that.

 

Those are just some the fears I live with every day. I have two rare illnesses. For many rare disease patients, the fears are similar. Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing.

 

I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Collagen and connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments are designed to hold our bodies together. In a healthy person, those are like superglue. Mine are like a preschooler’s glue stick, minus the glitter. For my subtype, hyper mobility, this means doing everyday tasks, like reaching for the remote control, leads to sprains as well as partial and full joint dislocations. It’s painful. It can also lead to complications with wounds not healing well and a greater risk for a life threatening aortic tear.

 

I also have a Mast Cell Disorder. Mast cells are white blood cells and are part of the immune system. They’re supposed to fight infections. In an otherwise healthy person, when they malfunction they cause allergic reactions to things like dust, pollen, bee stings, or peanuts. For the most part, if someone avoids a specific trigger, their health isn’t in serious danger.

 

My mast cells are constantly hyperactive and malfunctioning. They see everyday, benign things as an enemy, things like fragrances, food, temperature, sunlight, strong emotions (both good or bad), too little sleep, certain sounds, and so many others. The list is endless. Often, my mast cells react for no identifiable reason. When they do, they attack my body, mistaking it for something foreign and bad. A mast cell disorder is basically allergic to life. In just over a year, I’ve had 66 anaphylaxes. Those are life threatening allergic reaction emergencies that require an epinephrine auto-injector and a trip to the Emergency Room, where, depending on if they follow my unique protocol for a mast cell disorder or not, I could get worse instead of better.

 

So, eels aren’t the only thing I fear. I fear living in a world, living in a body, that’s threatens my life, every second of every day.

 

We all have some fears rooted in reality, fears of things more likely to happen than having to hold an electric eel. Many times, they’re because of situations we have little or no control over.

 

We often focus on eliminating what we’re afraid of. If we can’t eliminate it, we try to control it to some degree. If we can’t control a eliminate or situation that causes us terror, how do we handle it? How do we live without it controlling us by the fear it brings?

 

There’s no single answer, but for me there are two helpful things. First, is remembering God knew this would happen. We live in a broken world. God knew all the evil and terrible things that would happen to people, both those who follow after Him and those who don’t. When I don’t think I can handle what the next minute could bring, it’s comforting to know He is ready to handle it because He knows what will happen. John 16, Jesus tells His disciples hard things will happen to them. He told them so they wouldn’t be afraid.

 

“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 NIV

 

The second thing is not only did he tell His disciples they would face things that would be hard, He also wanted them to know He is more powerful than anything they would face.

 

Those promises still stand true for us today.  I realize anaphylaxis because of a mast cell disorder may take my life. I also have to realize God is the one who is in charge of my life. He knows what I’ve faced in the past and what I will face in the future. He knows the same for you too.

 

Overcoming the world doesn’t mean being immune to what happens here. It means God is stronger, and He isn’t controlled by it.

 

I may be living with circumstances beyond my control and you may be as well. God isn’t swayed by what we fear or even our fear itself. We’re not less in His eyes because we’re afraid. He sees us. He knows us. He knows our pasts and how it affects our emotions about our futures. He promises His peace. His peace isn’t always the absence of fear. It’s a quiet assurance in the middle of fear that He is in control. We’re not in control, and that’s a good thing.

 

— Emily Furda

Www.EmilyFurda.com

Two Words To Keep You Going!

I was sitting outside reading a book about how life rarely turns out as we plan.

When I couldn’t help but tear up. I wanted to pray, but at this point in my life, it’s still a challenge. If I am being honest, praying biblically hurts too much.

I remember praying hard for a specific thing several years ago. It ended with me sobbing in my closet. I met someone that I thought would be the guy for me. He was everything you would want in a husband. But, I knew the Lord was telling me, no. Why? I wish I could tell you. To this day, I still don’t know why God said no.

I wish I could tell you I understand it, but I don’t. So, asking God for something along the same lines, is a challenge. Why? Because I know if it’s a no, it will be one more thing to grieve. Can I be honest? I’m really tired of grieving and I don’t get much better at it as life goes on. In fact, it gets harder — not easier.

Occasionally, I think about getting a tattoo. I used to never care for them. But, then, after I lost my Dad, I’ve contemplated getting one.

To me, it would symbolize the tattoo that will forever be in my heart this side of eternity. I already have a mark on my heart, I might as well have a mark on my body. Since I love words, I often think what words I would get as a tattoo. Last week, I had two pop into my mind. I put them together and I realized that is the essence of the Christian life— no matter what the circumstances.

The two words are:

Persevering Faith

Life doesn’t stop. It doesn’t slow down in the good times and it doesn’t pick up in the bad times. It just keeps moving at the same pace it always has, and it always will.

In life, we have to keep persevering. It may not be pretty. In fact, we may stumble through it, but we cannot quit. Coupled with perseverance, is the need for faith.

Picture perseverance as your legs and faith as your mind. When you run, you need your legs and your mind to run a race. The mind will keep you going even if your legs feel like quitting. The same in true for our spiritual lives. We will hit walls that will feel like we aren’t going anywhere and other times, we will feel like we are going a million miles an hour.

So, whatever you may be praying for and holding out for, keep persevering and keep hanging on to faith because no matter what you may or may not have, you will be able to finish your race with those two things.

Life doesn’t always have a happy ending but that doesn’t mean we cannot finish our race strong and encourage others to to finish their race as well.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

“You shouldn’t do that”

I was having a conversation with a former co-worker, when I finally asked his opinion.

“You shouldn’t do that.” He said.

“Why?” I asked (with a little bit of an attitude)

“Cause you’d be too comfortable. You’d get stuck.”

I stood there shell shocked. He totally nailed the truth into the deepest part of me. I knew he was right, but I didn’t dare admit it.

I decided not to do the comfortable thing. The route I decided to take demolished my comfort zone. It opened up my eyes to so many new things. Things and experiences I would have never been able to see and do had I stayed with the comfortable.

This conversation took place over 6 or 7 years ago. But, I remember my exact frame of mind. It’s a mindset that I’ve heard several others express. It’s the frame of mind that says, “I’m waiting to do this or that because I want to enjoy it with my future husband.”

Looking back, I realized I wasted a lot of time there. I know in church, we are taught to wait for our husband, but that doesn’t mean I wait on living the life God’s given me.

I used be hesitant to join anything because I’d want to experience it with my husband. But the reality is, I may never get married.

I used to be hesitant to get too attached or involved or try new things because “maybe my husband and I can do them together.” But, the honest truth is, he may have completely different interests than I do. I may love to travel and he could be a total homebody.

I finally realized, I was just missing out on other gifts God was offering. Sure it wasn’t marriage but the gift of family and friendships have become priceless to me. The ability to get alone and write— it gives me breath! The ability to fiddle with a camera, run a few miles, learn martial arts, travel for fun are all gifts. Gifts that before, I never even thought about. Gifts that I absolutely love.

So, if you’re single, stop waiting! Go try something new, get involved in church, plan a trip, or do something you’ve always wanted to do. Because, if you do meet your husband you’ll have a lot of great conversations. If you just wait around, and he starts to ask about you… All you will have to say is: well, I was waiting for you.

Your life doesn’t begin when you find a husband. Your life is here and it’s meant to be invested. If not with a husband than your family, nieces and nephews, friends, church family, friends, your neighbors.

You only have one life to live. Don’t buy the lie that you’re not someone because you don’t have someone. Or you’re not as loved because you don’t have a spouse. Your life can be just as meaningful without a husband. And if and when he comes along, you will realize you’ll have a better relationship because he’s not your end all. Keep in mind, “The best of men are men at best.” The same is to be said for the ladies.

There is a woman I know who never got married. But she gave her life to serve at a crisis pregnancy center. She served 20+ years. There are still women who come in to those centers saying, “that woman helped me choose life for my baby.” Or “That woman lead me to the Lord.” Can you imagine the impact she’s had on the kingdom of God because of her service. Can you imagine how many people she will meet in heaven because of her investment?!

And did you know it was a single woman who was so burdened for young married couples that she helped make “Family Life Today” a reality. Imagine all the families who made it through the rough patches because of a SINGLE woman.

My challenge to you singles is to ask God to open your eyes to see the other gifts that He’s placed in your life. When you stop focusing on what you do have, you’ll start seeing what you do have.

You have no idea what God could do with your singleness— until you let Him take the reins. And if God chooses you to have a partner in this life, cherish them. They are a gift.

Happy Valentines Day, Single. Go change the world!

Be still… Stay Silent… A Psalm of Trust.

I was called disrespectful.

I was called untrue.

I was called untrustworthy.

I was called a manipulator.

I was accused of being a seducer.

I was accused of being an adulterer.

I was said to have no friends and said I’d have many problems in the future.

I was accused of being a helpless victim.

I was verbally flogged.

Each word hurt more than the next

“You’re undermining me”, “You’re Judas to me.” The painful words flowed as each one ripped into my deeper into my heart and soul.

I am not perfect, but I meant no Ill will. I repeated to myself.

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” was my echo trying to figure out why I couldn’t keep it together anymore.

Everything was unraveling… I’ve failed… I’ve corrupted all of this… Maybe I am cursed… Maybe I will always end up in these situations… Maybe this is why I’m not married… Maybe all these problems are because of me…

I questioned myself over and over and over again… I’ve failed… How could I not have prevented this? How could I not see myself as all these things? “You are wicked” I condemned myself… as I was being condemned…

Such hopeless days… I spent more days in tears than with a smile…

When life as I knew it was falling apart… I was being held… So close was His touch, his heartbeat, his whisper…

“This is not your battle… Let me handle it…”

Be still… Stay silent…

Don’t retaliate… Don’t talk back… So, I held my tongue…

Accusations still flew… Lies spoken over me… Physical reactions became undoubtably noticeable…

Be still.. Stay silent…

I cried night after night…

Be still, stay silent…

I packed up my life… Tears pouring out of my eyes… no clear direction to be seen…

Be still, Stay silent…

Friends started calling… Be still stay silent…

Until a call… A safe place for me to share my story… Stay still… BE honest…

I cried and nearly trembled as I shared … recounting the stories… Watching the dismay on the man’s face… I couldn’t read it… Maybe he thought I was making this up… My emotions had no where else to go… I felt torn apart… so vulnerable no longer knowing how to protect myself.

I finished and waited for his response…

“You did nothing wrong… I hope you walk out of here with your head held high…”

Words can pierce so deeply and heal profoundly… the same area damaged by the reckless words of an unstable person, began mending through a stable, faithful, kind man…

Words can tear apart a soul. Words can mend a soul. It can filet a heart beyond recognition , and yet somehow make it stronger than ever before. The deeper the wound, the greater capacity for compassion…

To the one who broke me— I don’t ever wish to see or hear again… But I am grateful for all the damage… because through it… I learned to be still to be silent and hear the One whose words spoke over me are more powerful than yours. And it is His words, not yours that brought me back to life.

He was still and was led silently a sheep to the slaughter… so that when He had defeated the grave… His words would hold the power of life and death… He speaks life… He hates death…