Monday, November 17, 2014

My view on the quote "God won't give you more than you can handle"

"God won't give you more than you can handle"

I have been told this phrase by well wishers more times than I can count. Many proclaim that it's what God said in the Bible. And for a while, I believed the well wishers when this phrase was uttered. This phrase is supposed to be an encouragement to people going through hard times. But once my life got really hard, hearing this phrase made me mad. I started questioning myself. Am I too weak? Why can't I handle this if God doesn't give me more than I can handle? 

I don't believe that this phrase is true or what God says in the Bible. What I DO believe is that God doesn't give us more than we can handle WITH HIM, and ONLY with Him.

Here is why I believe that.

This is the verse that has been misinterpreted and I believe where we got the quote that God won't give us more than we can handle. 

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 it says "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

So this talks about God giving us an escape from all temptation and that no temptation will be too much for us to bear. When we are tempted, we have the option of getting out of it and running to God, or running away from God and giving in to temptation. We have that choice. 

What about suffering though? Does God really say that he won't give us more than we can handle? He never says that. The reason I don't think that 1 Corinthians applies to suffering is because temptation is a choice and suffering is not. I also don't believe that God "gives us suffering". Sin does. The devil does. That's what happened when Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and we brought suffering to this earth. 

What I DO believe is that God doesn't give us more than we can handle WITH HIM.

If God doesn't give us more than we can handle, then why would we need to rely on Him? Why would we need to cry out to Him? The trials of this world are too much to handle on our own. But they allow us to rely on God. To learn to depend on Him alone. To really live in His promises. To find rest in Him alone. To use His strength when we're too weak. 

There are many places in the Bible where people are going through more than they alone can handle. 

This is what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

"We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."

Another version of verse 8 says "We were so crushed beyond our ability to endure that we even despaired of living". 

So Paul, who is one of the most incredible men for God, was going through more than he alone could handle. He was thrown in prison, beaten, stoned because of the way he lived his life for Christ. He was given more than he could handle alone, but the only way he was able to handle it was with God. God gave him the strength to keep telling others about Jesus despite being almost killed multiple times. 

Job in the Old Testament lost his livestock which supported he and his family, his whole family died, his servants died, and he was inflicted with severe physical pain. All of that was more than he alone could handle, yet in Job 1:21b he says "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of The Lord". 

The only way he was able to make it through all of that was with God. Alone, that was too much to handle. 

When I was younger, I believed that God didn't give you more than you can handle. But the past several years have changed my view. 

I got mono when I was 13 and I could handle that. I was out of school for a month but knew I would be better soon. Well, I never recovered from the mono. Doctors said it was still the mono, but I kept getting worse and worse over the next 2 years. It was starting to be more than I could handle. I had to stop going to school and became bedridden. Doctors didn't know what was wrong, so we did something drastic and flew across the country to a medical clinic for challenging diseases. On December 3rd, 2008, 3 years after I got sick, I was diagnosed with Late Stage, Neurological Lyme Disease and many co-infections that are as hard to treat as the Lyme. For 3 years, while the doctors didn't know what was wrong, the disease took over my whole body, invading every organ including my brain and heart. We quickly learned that there is no treatment protocol for late stage Lyme, and that insurance wouldn't pay for my treatments. Let me say that again. Insurance doesn't pay for my treatments because there is no specific protocol to treat late stage Lyme and co-infections because there is little to no research about them, or a cure. I quickly got a PICC line put it which is a semi-permanent IV line that goes straight into your heart and out your arm. It allows you to get IV treatments without having to be poked every time you need to have blood drawn or receive treatments. I started having to go to the hospital about every other day for IV fluids, nausea meds, and morphine because of the pain all over. I also started giving myself IV fluids at home every day through my PICC line. After 9 months with my PICC line, I had surgery to implant a port in my chest that is a more permanent IV. It went from the right side of my chest, through my neck, and down to my heart. It's under the skin and you use stick a 1 inch needle in the port when you want to use it for IV treatments or blood draws. It's the same port that people get for their chemo treatments. 

Since I was diagnosed almost 6 years ago, I have traveled from Oklahoma to Nevada where my Lyme doctor is 7 times, spending anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months there. I missed the last 3 years of high school, but finished it from home and graduated on time. I wasn't able to attend graduation though because I was in the ICU. 
I've had 6 surgeries, 3 PICC lines, a port for 4 years, and over a hundred ER trips.  I now have problems with every one of my organs and have been diagnosed with heart problems, brain problems including seizures, a stomach disease, joint problems, and many other things. Last year I had a staph infection from my port that caused me to have emergency surgery and be hospitalized in Nevada for a week. I was then on IV antibiotics for 7 weeks for the MRSA staph infection. Just recently I developed seizures from the disease. I'm only 21 and have been sick since I was 13. This is all too much to handle alone. But with God, I can not only handle it, but I can overcome it. 

In 2012, we learned that my best friend, who had been battling cancer for 3 years, was going to be going to Heaven soon because the cancer was everywhere. Because I was not in school because of my health, I was able to sit with her every day until God called her Home. I was with her on that day that God took her Home to Heaven. The grief of losing my best friend at 20 years old is too much to handle alone. But with God, I grieve with hope. Hope that I will see her again in Heaven one day. 

A year after my best friend died, my grandma, who I was very close to, became very ill and we were told she would be going to Heaven soon too. Once again, I was able to be with her almost every day. I was sitting right by her when God called her Home. Losing 2 of the closest people to me so close together would have been too much to handle without God. 

Two days before my grandma died, my grandpa (her husband) was diagnosed with cancer, and soon after that, dementia. This May, a little over a year after my grandma died, I sat in the hospital holding my grandpa's hand when God called him Home. It was my mom's birthday that day, and I had 2 strains of the flu. All of that would have been too much for me to handle on my own. 

I don't say all of this to complain or for pity. I say it to show how God can get you through anything. He can get you through the seasons of life that are too much to handle. 

I have learned that in this life we will be given more than we can handle. Our bodies will get sick, we will lose loved ones, we will have financial problems, there will be divorces, poverty, abuse, and hunger. But we will NEVER, EVER be given more than we can handle together WITH God. God's promises are how we get through times when we have more than we can handle. God promises to never leave or forsake us. He promises to give us rest. He promises to guide us. He promises to carry us when we're too weak to walk on our own. 

And the most beautiful part is this. Our weakness is when we see God the most. When we're given more than we can handle, we learn to appreciate the little things. We see God's love in those supporting us, and praying for us. We feel God's strength when we're too weak to get out of bed. I have seen God more in the hardest days of my life than in the best days of my life. Being given more than I can handle has allowed me to rely on God for everything. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says "Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."

So when, not if, we are given more than we can handle, we can trust that God's promises are just as true. In fact, it's the times that I'm given more than I can handle when I see God's promises the most. And I thank Him for that. 

"This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life."
Psalm 119:50 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Your Grace Finds Me"

love this song because it talks about how God's grace is there in every season of life. I love the line "it's there on the wedding day, it's there in the weeping by the gravesite". It's there on our best days like our wedding days, and there on our hardest days, like when we lose a loved one.  God's grace finds us wherever we are. It never changes. We know that His grace never changes because God never changes. 

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8

So whatever season of life you are in, just remember that God's grace is there. God is there. If you are in a season of celebration, God is there celebrating with you. If you are in a challenging season, God is carrying you through it, still showering you with His grace. He will never leave you. His grace will find you. Here are the lyrics to Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman! 

"It's there in a newborn cry
There in the light of every sunrise
There in the shadows of this life
Your great grace

It's there on the mountain top
There in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

From the creation to the cross
There from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

It's there on the wedding day
There in the weeping by the gravesite
There in the very breath we breathe
Your great grace

It's the same for the rich and poor
The same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace
Oh, such grace"

"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this GRACE in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God" Romans 5:1-2

Friday, October 31, 2014

Glorious Unfolding

I'm so excited to be posting again! I went back and read my blog from the beginning. I wanted to see the big picture instead of just focusing on the now. I think part of the reason I haven't posted much the last year or so is because I've been consumed with the now and I get discouraged easily. When you only focus on what is going on right then, it's really easy to lose sight of the big picture. In 2 Corinthians it says that we're not supposed to fix our eyes only on what is seen. 

"So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:18

The troubles we face now will be gone one day! 

Going back and reading my blog from the beginning has put things into perspective for me. God has always been there. He's never once left me. He's carried me when I've been to weak to walk on my own and He's been there for my best moments. 

I've seen how I made it through the hardest days. I made it through that and am stronger because of that!  I've seen how there is purpose in the pain. I've seen how you really do grow closer to God during your moments of weakness. God can use anything for good, just like it says in Romans 8:28

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

It's incredible to see how God has never left me...I wouldn't have been able to get through what I've been through without Him. He is my hope, my peace, my joy, and why I get up in the morning. 

It's really easy to get discouraged when all we can see is what's right in front of us. It's easy to think that we can't make it through whatever is going on. But God has something bigger planned for us that what we can see. That's where our faith comes in. It's during those times when we have to trust God the most. 

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1

I love this song because it talks about the glorious unfolding of God's plan for our lives. Our story doesn't end when bad things are happening to us. Our story doesn't end with death. Death doesn't win. God already won when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. Then Jesus rose from the dead so that we could spend eternity in Heaven! God won, not death, and not this world either! 

Here are the lyrics to the song Glorious Unfoldinf by Steven Curtis Chapman 

"Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
We’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning

Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and see and we will be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We’ll see the glorious unfolding

Just watch and see (unfolding)
This is just the beginning of the beginning (unfolding)"

God has great plans for us...we just have to trust in His plan and hold on to His promises! 

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11


Thursday, October 2, 2014

The best doctors!

I have THE BEST doctors at the clinic in Nevada! 

 On Wednesday, September 24th, my seizures wouldn't stop despite many different medicines, so my doctors decided that I needed to stay overnight at the clinic (this very rarely happens. The clinic closes around 6pm every night and no one stays overnight). So Wednesday there were FOUR doctors (every doctor that works there) who stayed with me all night at the clinic. It was my main Lyme doctor (who will just randomly call to check on me even when I'm home, he's so caring and devoted), 2 Neurophysiologists, each with their own speciality, and then the critical care doctor. We all stayed in the critical care room because there are hospital beds in there. So my doctors all took shifts to make sure someone was always watching me. But for a couple of hours it was like the show, House MD. All 4 docs were brainstorming, trying to figure out how to get the seizures to stop because now they are every day, most of the day. So they all stayed up all night to monitor me, give meds to try and stop the seizures, and just brainstorm on treatment plans. Around 7:30am, they got up and started their day, and they didn't even get to go home, they just started another day of work. How INCREDIBLE is it that 4 doctors gave up their night and sleep just so that they could be with me and make sure I was ok. They could have easily sent me to the hotel so that they could go home to sleep. THIS is why we come to the clinic here in Nevada. They do not give up until they find answers and they really, really care. Im so blessed. Almost every time I seize, there's almost always one of the doctors holding my hand, singing to me, and staying with me until it's over. Thank you God for giving me such great doctors! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PICC line is in

I got my 3rd PICC line today. The procedure went well! 
I'm ready to keep fighting hard to get better! 

3rd PICC line

Today I'm getting my 3rd PICC line. My veins have been used so much so they can't get an IV which is why I need the PICC line. I had a port for 4 years, my first PICC for 8 months, and my second PICC for a couple of months. I'm tired of being poked so many times to get an IV so I'm glad I'm getting a PICC line, but of course I wish I didn't need one but we don't have a choice since I have no IV access. 

 The procedure to put the PICC line in is at 1:30pm Nevada time which is 3:30pm Oklahoma time. They are going to try and sedate me a little so that I don't have seizures during the procedure. 

The PICC line goes from the arm, all the way to the heart into a bigger vein like this picture shows. The procedure isn't painful, they numb you first and then use an xray and ultrasound machine to guide the line into the heart. It's just a weird feeling to feel it go through your veins as they get it in place! 

I will update later today with how the procedure went! Thank you so much for all the prayers! God is good! 

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you." -Isaiah 43:2

Monday, September 22, 2014

Clinic day 1

Day 1 at the clinic hasn't been boring! We started off with an EEG and it was able to determine the cause of my seizures. I started having back to back seizures at the clinic and they went on from about 10:30 am until 5pm and they finally stopped after many doses of medicines. Tomorrow I'm scheduled to get my 3rd PICC line because my veins are so bad. Please pray that the seizures stay away tonight and that the doctors will be able to come up with a treatment plan for these types of seizures. Please pray that my procedure to place my PICC goes well tomorrow. I have the best doctors here. They all held my hand during seizure after seizure and didn't leave my side. God is good! Thank you for your prayers!