Friday, October 19, 2012


You know those moments in life where you throw up your hands and say, “Are you freaking kidding me...I have to endure this again?”  Yeah, I’ve had my fair share of those moments lately. In fact, in the last few weeks, I’ve developed a distinct loathing for the word “again.” I’m on short-term medical leave...again.  I’m living at my parent’s house...again. I can’t drive myself anywhere.  I hate food.  I spend most of my days in bed.  It’s the cruelest form of deja vu...and I have to live through it all...again.  Sometimes it feels like my wellness is totally a house of cards...and that suffering is shaped like a boomerang.  I spend almost every day trying to find the perfect balance.  Drink just enough water.  Get just enough sleep.  Eat just enough protein. My life now seems to be entirely focused on stacking my body back to health, card by fragile card. But then, like a boomerang, the misery swings back around in a great, vicious arc, and I watch in horror as my health begins to crumble...again.
I’m not gonna lie...this type of existence totally blows. Sometimes it almost feels like it’s happening to someone if I’m looking at some strange woman passed out on my parent’s spare bed...with a dozen prescription bottles within reach. Every morning I wake up hoping that today will be the day I feel better.  And every day I’m reminded that I’m a prisoner of my broken body. The one word question, “again?” has become my heart’s lament.  
I now find myself in the brutal tension of wanting desperately to feel well...but living in constant fear that wellness is just a precursor to more misery.   Last Tuesday I was having a surprisingly good day...and then, with no warning...I spent 45 minutes dry heaving into a plastic bag while I sobbed.  It’s because of moments like this that I begin to fear hope...because I truly begin to doubt if I have enough strength for another “again.” I feel like a boxer who has endured punch after brutal punch...lying on the floor of the boxing ring bloodied and exhausted.  I can hear the saints screaming for me to get up...but I know that if I stand up, I’ll just endure more suffering.  And I it worth it?
It’s in these raw and horrible moments that every carefully placed pretense of “toughness” is blown away, and I glimpse the fear that holds me captive.  I am no Rocky Balboa, that’s for sure.  Internally I’m crying, “NO!  I can’t do it again.  I can’t.  Please don’t ask me to do it again.  Take it away, Father.  Heal me. more agains.”  
You know, in a crazy way...having a chronic illness almost gives me an advantage.  It makes the “agains” of life pretty cut and dry.  There’s a big ‘ol line drawn in the sand.  I can either choose to push through the suffering and hope for what’s on the other side of devoured by the fear.  So, every day, with a breadth of hope and by the strength of a praying Body...I stand up.  Again. 
Another one of the benefits of lying in one place for days is that it gives me the space and time to contemplate life outside of my parent’s house.  And do you know where my mind often wanders?  To you.  I think about you.  Because I know that I’m not the only one enduring repetitive suffering.  And I know that you don’t get to call a time-out on life as you watch 15 hours of HGTV and have your mom cook your food and do your laundry.  No, in that way...I have it way easier than you. 
Which is why I think about you facing the daily battle of raising your children alone.  I think about you enduring a bone-deep weariness of body, mind, and soul.  I think about how you’re struggling with the pain of terminal cancer.  I think about you facing the pain of waiting for your baby girl’s diagnosis.  I think about how you ripped out your heart and gave it to Abba...because He asked you to.  I think about how you’re struggling in your marriage or how you’re facing intense loneliness.  I think about how you’ve encountered yet another betrayal.   I think about your broken heart...unmet longings, divided churches, abusive relationships, fractured family, and unimaginable grief.   I can put a face and name to each one of these battles.  Some of you have been here before...and now you find yourself here again. 
And yet, even as you are confronting the agony of your own’re praying unceasingly for a girl lying on her parent’s spare bed.  That’s why...when I’m lying in bed, contemplating my “again” mind wanders to you.  As a girl who has often found the Church wanting...lately I’ve been awed and humbled by the splendor of His Bride. 
That’s why for the last few days, I’ve had a terrible sense of urgency to tell you something.  Something that Abba has revealed to me in slow, agonizing glimpses...over a year of extreme refining.
Even though it’s very, very hard to believe on some days...I’ve learned that suffering isn’t shaped liked a boomerang.  That would imply that we alone have the strength to remove it (which is good news...because when we’re facing our “agains,” strength is often hard to come by). No, the shape of our suffering is just another lie from the enemy.  He wants us to believe that we should always be looking over our, that we’ll miss the flaming arrows headed straight toward us. 
He also wants us to focus on our own misery and bitterness long enough...that we feel alone and hopeless.  Imprisoned by fear and facing our own impending doom.  What a total load of hooey. 
Believe me...this is not my chosen method of refinement.  I’d rather drink mint juleps as I’m being fanned by a good-looking man reading me Song of Solomon.  But, alas, Abba has decided to use my broken body to show me some profound truths.  Because the more times I stand up in the midst of my misery...the more I begin to see the big picture.  
It’s kinda like Google maps.  The Accuser wants us to only see things at street level...but if we want to see what the God of Universe is up to...well, then...we have to zoom out. oh man...what a view.  Turns out, I’m not standing alone in a boxing ring.  I’m standing in the shadow of my Father’s wings.  I can see His strong right hand upholding me.  He alone is my shield.  The horn of my salvation.  My strong tower.  He is surrounding me with songs of deliverance.  He has delivered my soul from death...and my eyes from tears.  No weapon forged against Him will stand.  He will satisfy my needs and strengthen my frame.  He will bind up my broken heart and bestow me with a crown of Beauty.  And the more I’m forced to push through the “agains” of suffering...the more I am forged in the truth that the Lord my God is with me...and He is mighty to save. 
Friends...we are not prisoners of suffering, fear, or our broken bodies.  No, we are prisoners of hope (Zechariah 9:12).   And through this Divine hope...we will see the redemption of our “agains.”   
Hold fast to the truth.  Keep standing up.  Push through the fear.  And remember...if you have a British accent...”again” is pronounced...a-gain.  Hallelujah.  Amen. (Z-snap)


  1. I'm praying for you, Alissa! Love you, Marcia V.

  2. Alissa, God has given you a gift in your way with words. Your blogs are so powerful as you shine His grace through your struggles. Thanks for your courage in sharing your life. I forwarded this blog info on to a friend of mine who has been struggling with depression...again. Oh, and I knocked on heaven's door on your behalf, too. Thanks again.

  3. Alissa, Wow.. for ounce I'm speechless! Your words are truly up lifting...thank you.


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