Ok…this is a sad story. It’s about me, but since it isn’t something I remember saying, I can tell you as if it were someone else and tell you that it breaks my heart that someone would think this. Last time I was in for chemo I was talking with the nurse that was with me the night I ended up in ICU. I told her the last thing I remember saying out loud before waking up in ICU was, “I look like I’m about to give birth to twins!” ( that’s how distended my stomach was). She said, “I remember very clearly the last thing you said to ME before you went in ICU. ” She got teary as she told me how she had left the room after I had gone into the bathroom. I was miserable and my mom called her back in to see if she could help me. When she came in the restroom, apparently I just looked up at her and asked, “WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?”.
As I have pondered this response from me, that came without conscious thought, it saddens me that somehow, in my core of cores, I have believed the lie that if circumstances are bad, I must be doing something wrong. I must be displeasing God. I am missing the “BLESSED” life and it’s all my fault. Mind you, I would argue this truth with YOU if you told me you believed this is how God operates, but clearly I am unconvinced that he extends the same “gospel” to me. As if I am unique in how he “blesses”.
I have scoured the dictionary and the bible and tried to come up with a definition of “Blessing” or being “Blessed” that helps me understand it better. Frankly, I am confusing myself even more. It’s like a whole book worth of information. I want things more simple and to the point. SO-here’s what i have been mulling over, for the past few years, actually. I realize I have been basing my view of BLESSING on the lie of the American Dream. You know it well….If you are working hard and pleasing God then your life ( your external life, anyway) will always go up and to the right: better jobs, bigger houses, more money, more stuff, good kids, etc. Then, when “real” life happens and we lose a job or have to downsize or our kids rebel or we get cancer, we (I) feel like maybe we are “doing something wrong.” When I start “comparing my insides to other people’s outsides” I convince myself that I am a mess and those who appear to have it all together are the ones actually receiving God’s blessings.
Then I read through the Psalms and David talks over and over again (complaining, actually) about how the wicked prosper. He says in Psalm 73:12, “this is what the wicked are like-always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure.” Ohhh, somebody call the Whaambulance, David. But I’d be right in there with him. I am starting to see the light, slowly but surely. I am realizing, especially over the past few years and more acutely after being diagnosed with Leukemia, that I see and sense God BLESSING me now more than when I had the job and the stuff and the house and the money and the “false security” of good health and a pretty nice head of hair.
Thank the Lord that he saved me from the same messed up thinking that David engaged in ( until he, too, came to his senses). David wailed and whined like I often have: “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. FOR I ENVIED THE ARROGANT WHEN I SAW THE PROSPERITY OF THE WICKED.. THEY HAVE NO STRUGGLES; THEIR BODIES ARE HEALTHY AND STRONG. THEY ARE FREE FROM THE BURDENS COMMON TO MAN; THEY ARE NOT PLAGUED BY HUMAN ILLS.” Ever think those kinds of things? Later David (in the same schizophrenic Psalm, mind you) also says: “When my heart was grieved and my spirit EMBITTERED, I was senseless and ignorant…YOU hold me by my right hand. YOU guide me with your counsel…whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
In my trials and pain, I have to honestly say that I have NEVER felt more BLESSED inside than when my circumstances have appeared to be disastrous on the outside. Your average person wouldn’t say to someone with Leukemia, “boy, God is really blessing you.” But they would be missing the point of the kind of blessings God grants. It only took me 44 yrs to figure this out-along with a dose of a BLESSED Terminal Disease. 🙂
10 thoughts on “What am I doing wrong?”
Oh Heather my heart breaks reading this because I’ve been there and I still struggle when I am having those doubts and those bad days. I think of those who have done me wrong and wonder why they get to prosper while I suffer, I wonder if they are secretly jumping for joy for the pain I am going through. But you’re right….I have never felt so blessed by God as I do now. He is using me in ways I know could only be Him. Last month, I was able to recognize a fellow survivor’s pain (she referred to as sciatic) and suggest she get a bone scan, now she is in treatment for mets in her spine. Without my journey I wouldn’t have been able to help others like I want to. It’s so hard when we are down to cry “why me” and only see the pain and anguish but it’s when we are full with His spirit and His will that we are able to see the good and blessings in all of this. Stay strong, we’re all rooting for you!
Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us. I know that some relate to certain things you say. I understand what you you say about being blessed. I have a different disease, which is “terminal” but I’m almost 72, so have had a pretty full life. I am grateful that most of the time now I feel fairly well and can keep up with most of my activities. Thankful for a fuller appreciation of life and all that God does for us. Only He really knows how long we have. You will soon be healed and able to continue with the life you love while you inspire others. Prayers continue from many.
Okay, you have no idea who I am and might think I’m nuts. But I have to reply. I’m a friend of your sister’s and Patrick’s from The Crossing and I’ve been following your blog and praying for you fiercely since day one – sometimes multiple times during the night. Not sure why, but God has put you on my heart constantly. I am so humbled and awed by you, your blogs and your journey; God has not only blessed you but let me tell you, you have been a serious blessing to me. Thank you for sharing all of this – you are making a difference in people’s lives. I would love to repost this blog on my own blog with your permission. I think you have much wisdom to share and I want others to glean from it. Let me know if that’s okay. If not, I understand. Sending you a big cyber-hug!
sherri-I am thrilled that you have been reading my blog. please feel free post whatever you want. It’s all about encouraging anyone who needs it wherever they are at. I don’t understand the draw, but am willing to keep writing until god says stop or my well runs dry. I am gonna check out your blog aa well!
Awesome! Don’t stop writing!
Reblogged this on kagx2 and commented:
H, you have found your calling…write books!!! This has helped me to understand so many things I had absolutely backwards!! Enough said, I can;t wait to read your next blog…I hope this is helping you MORE each day to overcome these demons as I call them…they are sure helping a lot of us reading them!!! Luv, Karen
Reblogged this on sherri bennett and commented:
I haven’t blogged in a while but I couldn’t think of a better post to get the ball rolling again. This is a repost from a blog I follow, God and Heather. This woman is fierce. Her humility, honesty, wisdom and strength are inspiring. I have been so blessed by her; I know you will too!
Sent from my iPad
God is using you in an amazing way! And so glad you are allowing that, and making it a gift you can share with others. I am blessed to call you a friend! Praying for you each day.
Heather, I too used to think that blessings came with prosperity and an “easy” life. I’ve seen through my trials that God’s blessings are poured out to us in how we feel spiritually and emotionally. God gives us the inner peace and joy that sustains us. He encourages others to be his hands and feet to assist and surround us with love. I am always reminded that this life is temporary. Our eternity is Heaven.
Today, as I read this part of my devotion, I thought of our conversation last week.
“God didn’t throw up His hand when you were born and say, “Now what am I going to do with this one?” He had a plan and a purpose for you before you were born. Isn’t that exciting?”
Love you, Heather. You are always in my prayers.