|Find Comfort Here|
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
As of this year, I have been wandering in and out of the desert for thirty years with an insidious undercurrent of feeling sad, because of the many losses I have incurred. I have lost the use of both arms and both legs and am confined to an electric wheelchair, loss of a job, income, beloved home, identity, choices, hope, freedom, and loss of control over the environment that I am now living – that of long-term care.
I always have this feeling of being left behind as I see other people’s lives moving forward out of sight. I liken my days to that of my “May Long Weekend Syndrome” where: Everybody Is Doing Everything But Me. I am tired of feeling like a sack of cement has fallen onto my heart every time somebody mentions worldly trips, marriages, new babies, spontaneous day excursions to the mountains, camping, and hiking. This list is as long as my imagination will allow.
Throughout the first half of 2018, Ruth, who is a psychiatric nurse that works at the facility where I live was unable to entertain any solutions to my declining despair. It was this anniversary of sorts, that sent me reeling off my path, into hollowness and becoming entangled in a thicket of thistles and thorns of extreme consternation.
We started to look into existing programs throughout the city where I could find specialized bereavement counseling for my unique losses. It was during one such call where I was told, “A human being had to have been lost.”
I said, “I have been lost for 30 years. Does that count?”
In the summer of 2018, family and friends were startled to notice that I wasn’t coping well. I was unable to reflect and find strength in my past victories and blessings and was distracted by fretting about my own desires, not God’s. How do I reconcile my feelings that I’m not mad at God or the disease, but how inaccessible my world is and what I miss? Is this a form of envy? It’s this type of thinking that makes me falter.
God may know me intimately, but I do not.
It wasn’t until Ruth was able to find me a therapist, that specialized in grief counseling and would be willing to help me move through the uncharted territory called Kate Gerke.
Oswald Chambers eloquently wrote:
"Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him."I came to the realization that I’m keeping my soul’s losses in purgatory, and denying it rest. I needed to hand over these losses in Christ to unburden myself for the journey ahead.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29On January 1, 2019, I took my first step and started a daily journal that would best articulate daily trends in my emotional and spiritual growth or lack thereof. Additionally, I would include prayers and relevant Scripture that would hearten me while I dictated some of my most painful reflections. To start, I read the book of Proverbs – for the first time – and prayed for wisdom and understanding on how to recalibrate my moral compass and how to represent Christ in my relationships.
I am now reading the book of Psalms – for the first time ever in my 15 years as a Christian! With renewed hope and comfort moving forward, I have realized that I need to reflect on my inner-self and regain a more healthy and steadfast perspective on the permanency of my realities.
|Anywhere You Want It To Be|
The word of God will afford me direction, but it’s His grace that enables me to follow it, and it’s that grace that can only be obtained by my devoted prayers.
“even though he had always been with us in the desert. During the daytime, the LORD was in the cloud, leading us in the right direction and showing us where to camp. And at night, he was there in the fire.” Deuteronomy 1:33
This new journey that I’m on is going to be just as unsettled and grueling as the last, but at least I will be able to enjoy the scenery.
Katie Gerke was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, but has soldiered on despite her losses. Katie started mouth painting in 2008 and has been writing since 2010. She now runs her own business and is still walking with Jesus Christ.