Hello! This is Esther again! (If you don’t remember me, that’s okay! You can read my last post on Sammy’s blog here or check out my blog here.) I’m so happy I have the chance to sit down with you again. So grab a mug full of coffee or tea and let me tell you a story…
Six years ago, I got a Master’s degree in piano performance, I was a music professor at a college, and I was performing. I felt like my career as a pianist was beginning to take off. On top of that, my husband and I have felt a call to move to Japan to be church planters, and everything was happening right on schedule.
But then everything changed.
I first realized something was wrong when I was preparing for a recital and noticed my hands were stiff. “Maybe I’m practicing too much. Maybe I’m stressed,” I thought.
The stiffness turned into pain and spread all over my body to the point that I couldn’t move on my own. My husband, Daniel, had to lift my body out of bed and walk me one step at a time through my morning routine. I couldn’t even squeeze my toothpaste onto my toothbrush.
It took every ounce of my strength to make it through each day.
I went to numerous doctors, and they did test after test and had no answers. Weeks of waiting turned into months, and the pain was too much for me. My hair started falling out until half of it was gone. And I began to wonder, “Am I dying?”
There was one time when I was laying in bed, and I asked Daniel to come to my side so I could tell him my dying wish: “Promise me that if something happens to me, you’ll still go to Japan.”
This was a scary time. I was scared of what the doctors would say. I was scared for my future. I was scared that I might be dying. The beautiful thing is that when you’re not able to move, you have a lot of time to pray. So I spent a lot of time lying in bed and praying to God.
On October 3, 2012, I wrote these words in my journal:
“I have lost almost 20 pounds since the end of July. I am exhausted. I saw 2 doctors today. They are close to having a diagnosis. Right now I’m waiting for test results…I don’t like some of the words the doctors are saying. But I’m too tired to be stubborn. GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY DIAGNOSIS.”
I wasn’t afraid anymore of death or bad news. I had hope because I had God.
Several days later, on October 8, I wrote:
“Still in pain. But God has given me a tremendous peace. I feel His presence and the support of His people. When I look around, I can still see God’s goodness in my life. In the midst of extraordinary pain, He has given me extraordinary strength.”
The very next day, the doctor called to tell me that I have lupus. That phone call changed my life. The months of waiting were so hard, but I’m so grateful that instead of allowing me to have the diagnosis the very moment I wanted it, God waited until the very moment I was ready to hear it. And as soon as I got off the phone with the doctor, I cried happy tears and said, “Thank You, God!” I was so relieved that I finally had answers, and I could finally move forward.
In my journal that day, I wrote down a verse from Scripture:
“Because the Lord is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.”
That same day, my husband came home with a couple of trays of food from a friend with a card. On the card was written the same verse.
The past 6 years have been hard. Too often, if something is hard, we equate that with it being bad. Hard doesn’t always mean bad. Sometimes hard is bad, but sometimes hard is just hard.
The reality is my life is hard, but my life isn’t bad. Even with lupus, my life is good and God continues to be good. And with all of the struggles and obstacles I’ve faced the past six years, I can confidently say, “Because the Lord is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”