This week I’ve been questioning why certain things are happening in my life. Perhaps the best thing that happened to me last year was the huge improvement in my health due to my giving up wheat. I kept praying that God would help me to get better. I told him I was tired of being tired all the time, tired of the achiness, tired of itching, tired of the nausea and chest pain. If you have a Word Press account, you realize that sometimes Word Press will suggest another blog you should read, and, subsequently, I couldn’t resist clicking on the link to the blog at My Life with DM at https://mylifewithdm.wordpress.com/
The author of the blog had recently decided to cut the 8 main food allergens from her diet with outstanding results. She went into complete remission from Dermatomyositis. After cutting each of the food allergens, I found that wheat, something I ate everyday in some form, was the culprit. It was contributing to my muscle inflammation, itching, nausea (from a drop in blood pressure), and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart). I know that some people would say that my coming upon this person’s blog post was just a coincidence, but I truly think it’s a God thing, and I can say that as a former Agnostic. I’m well-educated and naturally skeptical, but I’ve seen too much after 42 years to believe this was just a coincidence. I think God put the answer in front of me. After removing wheat from my diet, I have more energy and less pain now which has changed my whole life for the better. As a result, my rheumatologist feels it’s time to get off the prednisone, so I am currently only taking 5 mg every two days instead of each day. Soon, I hope to be off the prednisone for good.
Unfortunately, one of the worst things that could’ve happened in 2016 came to pass. My 87-year-old mother had a heart attack, and it became apparent that she couldn’t live on her own in her senior independent living complex anymore. When I when to see her, she hadn’t read her mail in a couple months, and had not done laundry in about one month. We had no idea until she had her heart attack what was going on because she had stopped talking to my two sisters who live near her, accusing one of stealing an earring, and the other of stealing a picture. Fortunately, she reconciled with them after her heart attack.
Because of my mother’s situation, the only options we had were to either put her in an assisted living facility which she railed against or bring her to Texas from Memphis to live with me again. She was happy at the idea of living with me, so now she’s here with us again. My husband, who is spending most of his free time at home learning programming, looks after her during the day. When I come home from work, I’m able to help her take a shower, read her mail, take her to appointments, etc. There’s no way I would have the energy to do this if I had not stopped eating wheat. I used to come home from work absolutely exhausted to the point that I felt I was going to throw up. My chest would be hurting, and my muscles and joints would ache, but that is no longer the case.
My point in all of this is that I believe God decided to lead me to better health when I needed it most…when I needed to look after my mother. Being ill all these years with Lupus and then Dermatomyositis was like putting me through “the refiner’s fire”. There are many references in both the old and new testaments to how God refines us. For instance, Isaiah 48:10 tells us, “See, I have refined you but not like Silver. I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.” Some may say, “Well, that’s not very nice. Why would God do this to us?” If you study up on silversmithing, you would know that the silversmith does not consider his silver pure until he can see his reflection shine in it. God refines and shapes us through our trials because he wants us to become more like Him, a God who loves everyone, even those people whom it’s hard to love. That is why his second greatest commandments is to love others as ourselves.
Because of my experiences, I’ve become more understanding and compassionate (loving) to others, especially those who are in pain or facing the possibility of death like my mother who’s in the final stage of heart failure. Additionally, my priorities are very different than they once were. I’m no longer living for this world, but for the next. I’m no longer storing up treasures on Earth; I’m storing them up in Heaven. I can honestly say that I would not have traded the last 23 years of illness for anything, for through it, I have been endowed with a great gift, a Heavenly perspective that I wouldn’t trade for the world!