“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 MSG
“Mrs. Thornton, it could be nothing or it could be a tumor.” Not the words I expected to hear from my eye doctor three days before Christmas in 2011. Maybe, “Mrs. Thornton, it’s time to get glasses.” Or, “Mrs. Thornton, your vision looks good, but some reading spectacles might help.” Certainly not, however, “Mrs. Thornton, it could be nothing or it could be a tumor.”
I tried to be calm when the next doctor explained to me that there was extra fluid around my brain for some unexplainable reason. I rejoiced when the MRI two times showed no tumor. I cried when the technician who drained the fluid from my spine told me how blessed I was to be alive with pressure that great on my brain. But I fell to pieces when I realized the doctors new nothing about why all of this was happening and couldn’t explain anything of the nature of my circumstances. I just wanted a name. They gave me Intracranial Hypertension. A symptom for something else. A miscellaneous “something else.”
They asked, “Do you get headaches?” “Not a ton” I replied. “That was until my brain fluid was drained and I was put on meds.” Months passed. My circumstances didn’t change, but I did. I became bitter, nervous, weakened, eaten up with fear. A year passed. My cognitive skills began to shrink. Memory was rapidly growing shorter. The ability to hold a normal conversation was dissolving.
While attending a women’s Bible Study at church, talking through the spiritual warfare behind depression, I aggressively verbally attacked one of my peers. Not my nature, at all. I left class for a breath of fresh air when I bumped into one of my pastors who asked me how I was doing. I broke down into tears. So much fear. He prayed with me and gave me some suggestions while recommending me to a psychologist. This began the Neuro-Psychological analysis testing. Hmm… That was not my favorite. Months of me getting to the root of an issue that I had battled several years before and that had nothing to do with my brain at all, but instead my emotional health.
Then…something changed. It was not my circumstances. I faced fear. I addressed shame. Fear of being an inconvenience to my family. Shame of not being able to do some basic things- like remember facts I once could. Then I took an unexpected leap of faith. I asked God to use me where I was, regardless of what that looked like and I trusted that He could. Each morning, I prayed to God asking how I could make a difference in at least one life that day. I attempted to conquer instead of accepting defeat. I even changed my boards on Pinterest to reflect positive encouragement. Then I took a deep breath. Even with my circumstances not changed, I smiled and then I cried…out of joy because I had changed.
It has been almost another year, since joy came to live inside of me. Since then, I’ve reentered life. Easy is not the word to answer how it has been. Unpredictable is probably a more accurate description. However, even after two surgeries for other body issues, God is carrying me through while still using me to encourage those around me. – In spite of my circumstances.