I have been asking God what He wants me to do with my life for over 3 years now - and when I say daily, I really mean DAILY. All the time. Begging. Pleading. Wondering. Questioning. Sometimes He tells me to "Do This Now" or "Do That Now," but until recently, I had to keep questioning and wondering the BIG "What Do YOU Want Me to Do with My Life?" Now I am starting to wonder if He is beginning to reveal His answer to me.
I am a Pediatrician. All my life, God has called me to work with children - with His Babies. In high school and college, I skipped the whole waiting tables/fast food/serving thing most of my peers excelled at. Instead? I babysat. I worked at the Birmingham YMCA after-school day care and summer day camps. I lived and worked with kids. I loved it. I loved them. I loved showing them that someone loved them and wanted them around. And so when it came time to choose a Life Calling, I became a Pediatrician - but not just any Pediatrician- and Emergency Room Pediatrician. Because not only did I love children, I also love(d) Instant Gratification. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I am a multitasker. I can't sit still and only do 1 thing at a time. Watching TV at night? I will also be reading blogs or a book, talking to my husband, folding laundry, and anything else my hands and body NEED to be doing at that same time. I'm a wee bit nuts. It drives my husband nuts, but in his own (very recent) words, "I'm HIS Crazy." He loves me anyway.
So what does this have to do with anything? Three years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. In an instant, I had to relearn how to live. Being a Pediatric ER Doc? Gone. Multitasking 10 things at once? Gone. Staying up and working nights and weekends? Gone. Saving lives one earache at a time? All gone. Instead, I lost 2-3 months of my life. I existed. I relearned how to walk without a walker. I learned how to concentrate with a near-constant FOG in my brain. I relearned how to use the microwave (yes, there are times when I forget how to turn on our basic appliances). I learned what it meant to be The Patient, and not The Doctor. And through all this, I questioned. I asked. I begged. Why God? Why Me? Why push me and let me go through all that (often-miserable) training to have my dreams taken away from me? Why teach me how to save babies and then not let me save them? WHY?!!!
And through all this, He's been teaching me. Teaching me patience (I HATE patience). Teaching me to rely on others. Teaching me to (gasp, gasp, gasp) not only accept help, but to (gasp, choke, gag) ASK for help. Teaching me that I can't DO everything. Teaching me to be still. Teaching me to accept limitations. Teaching me to Trust Him and HIS Plan. But I still just want to know. I want to know WHY? I want to know WHAT NOW? I want to know WHAT NEXT?
The last few weeks have been rough. I've had another MS Flare and have been back on massive, high-dose steroids. I have had another three weeks of just existing and sitting on the couch. I have not been able to take care of my family. I have barely been able to take care of myself. Showering daily has become a GOAL, not an ASSUMED part of my day. I have read a lot. I have slept a lot. I have watched a lot of TV. And I have created a lot of art.
I am a scrapbooker. I am a photographer. I take pictures of everyday life and document my family's stories for us to remember later - and to help me remember. Another side effect of my MS is poor short term memory and difficulty forming new memories. I, literally, forget entire conversations and days. It's as though they never happened. Scrapbooking helps me with this. By looking at my pictures and reading what I have written, I can remember. By looking at them with my children, I can hear what THEY remember. I can hear their perspectives on our family's life. I can hear how they perceive this marvelous life of ours. I can process and question Why God has given me this disease.
During this Flare, I haven't been able to scrapbook as much. My mind and hands have not been able to coordinate well enough to play with pictures, words, and pretty papers. But I have felt this NEED to create - a need to express on paper how I'm feeling and the thoughts that keep swirling through my mind. God has reminded me of hymns and verses I learned as a small child. He has put them in my heart and in my mind to remind me of His Love. He has 'lead me beside the still waters for His Name's sake.' He has prompted a need in my heart to create. To create art with the words He has been whispering in my heart. To make a visual reminder of this season of my life. To document His Love for Me.
I don't know what comes next. I don't know what He wants me to do with my life. I don't know what He wants me to do with my love of children and Pediatrics. But I do know that He has a plan. I know that He is in control. I know that He wants me to play with pictures and pretty papers. I know that He wanted me to write this blog post and many many more about this journey He is leading me on. So bear with me, World. There's no telling what's coming next.