Going into college I decided to work with the accessibilities office to get accommodations for my classes partially because I had only been diagnosed with anxiety and EDS a month prior to college. It was because of this that I was able to schedule my exams outside of the normal class times, allowed an emotional support animal (Ruth), and the ability to receive extensions on turning in assignments. As a part of accommodations, I was required to sit down and talk with my professors about these accommodations.
I remember sitting in my meeting with the Equine Department at my school specifically. As an equine minor, I had to be accommodated to avoid injury at the farm.
For example, I forfeited my right to ride the taller horses because only a few years prior I had taken a nasty fall off of a large quarter horse, which had caused some severe chronic pain in my neck. It was because of this fall that I realized I needed to be closer to the ground to avoid worse injuries in the future. One of my professors didn’t completely understand this and had been putting me on some of the largest horses in the barn because I “needed to get over that fear.” While I was in the meeting, I had been talking about how there is no cure for EDS, and that the best I could do was treat my symptoms for the rest of my life. One of the office workers, an older, kind lady, piped up, “Unless, of course. God heals you miraculously. We can pray for that.” I brushed off the comment, but inside I was put off by it. Does she not know how often I have prayed for healing, I thought to myself? Yes, her comment was meant to be kind and considerate, as I have come to know that she is.
I walked back to my dorm, kind of dejected, because I just couldn’t shake the comment. It really bothered me, partially because the diagnosis was so fresh in my mind. It was fitting, I think, that one of my all-time favorite articles popped up on my Facebook memories a little while later and reminded me of God’s plan. One of my favorite critiques on the Church is a book by Caleb Kaltenbach, called Messy Grace. It’s a book that talks about the Church’s treatment of those in the LGBT community, and I highly recommend it if you want to learn more (his story is epic). But this book, and a sermon he preached at my churched, spurred me to learn more about homosexuality in the church (disclaimer: I am not a part of the LGBT community, and am straight). As someone going into youth ministry, I know that this is an issue in the Church that I will confront sooner rather than later, and I want to be prepared on how to bring people from the LGBT community into my youth group. This article interested me, not because of the content, but because of his outlook on his situation.
Now, the article, I Begged God to Make Me Straight & He Never Answered. Here’s Why, might seem completely unrelated to healing at a first glimpse. But the author, Matt Moore, discusses how he didn’t want to be gay because he wanted to go out and party on the weekends and sleep with girls. He didn’t want to be gay for all the wrong reasons. He was gay because we live in a fallen world that doesn’t reflect the world God created it to be. Homosexuality existed because the world was filled with sin. I have EDS because I live in a world that is fallen. I have EDS because sin exists, and therefore we aren’t perfect. I have EDS because the world I live in is a world filled with sin, illness, and death. And why did I want healing? It was for my own purposes, not God’s. I didn’t want to be free of my chronic illness so that I could travel to different parts of the world and do mission work. I wanted to be free of my illness so that I could experience the things that other college students my age experienced. I wanted that college life, a life that I can never have because of my chronic illness. Why healing and sexuality are two very different things, I think that this article accurately describes not just sexuality struggles, but also the struggles humanity faces on a daily basis. We can pray for healing, or our sexuality, or fill in what it might be for you, but God might have a plan far greater than any of that.
This article reminded me that God’s plan for me doesn’t necessarily include healing, and that’s okay. I wasn’t meant to live my own life; I was meant to live the life God created me for. I was having a conversation with someone the other day, and I made the comment that I have never really enjoyed the party scene. Staying up late, getting drunk, and dancing to loud music was never something I enjoyed. But I didn’t like the loud music because I get migraines. I didn’t want to get drunk because I have gastroparesis and am already nauseous 24/7, and I didn’t want to stay up late because I was always fatigued. These are all parts of my disorders, and sometimes I wonder if I would enjoy the party scene more if I didn’t have EDS. As much as I would like to believe that I still wouldn’t choose these things, I do wonder if God allowed me to have EDS to keep me grounded. Honestly, if it’s the EDS stopping me from enjoying the party scene, I’m thankful for that. Because, I don’t always like the path God has me on, but I know that His plan is far greater than any plan I could have for myself. So, pray for guidance. Pray for wisdom. Above all, pray that God has a perfect plan for our lives. But, don’t pray for healing. If God heals me, it will be for His plan, not mine.
“In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; He saved me from all my troubles.” – Psalm 34:6
I’ve probably said this before, but I honestly love the Psalms so much. Psalm 34 is an awesome Psalm, and I highly recommend reading it (I actually recommend just reading the Psalms in general). Part of what I love when reading a Psalm is the little intro at the beginning that tells you why it was written. Fun fact: the English of those is often translated wrong, because the original Hebrew actually reads for David, not by David. I learned that in one of my Old Testament classes last semester, so thank my professor for that tidbit of information. Anyways, this particular Psalm was written regarding David’s pretending to be insane when Abimelech turned him away (1 Samuel 21).
This verse speaks to me, I think, because it is a constant reminder that God listens, and He is there to save us from our troubles. Like I said, we live in a fallen world. God created the world to be perfect, but because we allowed sin to enter the world we are separated from Him in this broken world. Thankfully Jesus came, and broke the power than sin held over us. But we are still living in this broken world. We still have troubles, and we still sin. But God is slow to anger. He is just, and He cares for us. He listens, and He saves us. I love that.
Do It Again by Elevation Worship
“Walking around these walls,
I thought by now they’d fall.
But You have never failed me yet.
Waiting for change to come,
Knowing the battles’ won,
For You have never failed me yet.”