A couple of months ago I was having a particularly hard weekend. I was frustrated with the fight and had so many questions about the future. It felt like my healing was placed on hold. Our next step for my treatment was getting a SPECT scan and evaluation at one of Dr. Daniel Amen’s clinics in Washington DC. We knew that it would help us get an idea of where my brain function was and that the scan results would tell us what would be the best treatment to help me get to where I want to be. The only thing stopping us was the fact that the SPECT scan would cost $3900 plus travel expenses. I had given an offering, believing in faith for the money to get it done. There were so many ways that I thought we would raise it, but nothing seemed to be working out. In fact, things were looking much worse than when I gave the offering in the first place.
Brendan wanted to cheer me up by going to dinner, but since I can only tolerate outdoor restaurants and it was storming, we were out of options. There was, however, a new pizza place that had opened in town that we thought would be slow and quiet. This was a big deal b/c we rarely ever go out to eat simply b/c we can't bring ourselves to pay that much for food when we could be paying that money toward medical expenses. The restaurant proved to be anything but sensory friendly, even with my acoustic filters in. Between the TVs, crashing silverware and crowd noise, my brain was spinning. By the time we got seated, I couldn't even read the menu, or talk to the waitress. Brendan saw what was happening to me, and took control of the situation like he’s done so many times before. He pointed to the menu at the item he knew I would probably want, signaling for my confirmation and I nodded. He helped me up and told me to go to the car, and that he would order to go for us.
Inside the car and still soaked by the rain, I sat and cried while watching all the happy couples inside eating and enjoying their dates. I thought about how we just wasted $20 that we could have put toward bills. I was frustrated for Brendan that he can't just have a normal wife. All I could do was cry out to God…
When am I going to be all better?
How much longer do I have to fight?
How much longer do I have to sit out and watching other people get to live?
Immediately, my inner coach stepped in and I started to talk myself out of the pity party. Think of how many people have it worse than you, Liz. Look at the blessings that you have been given. Look at how far you've come. A few years ago you were in bed for days at a time, and could barely close your eyes without falling over.
These moments always seem to hang in the balance of letting myself be vulnerable before God and making sure I don’t go down a path of ungratefulness. I just wanted to know that everything would be okay. I wanted to know that although He seemed far away at the moment, God still had my back.
Just as I started to calm down, Brendan opened the car door and said, “Wow, I have never seen a rainbow like that!” I looked out my window and saw the biggest rainbow I had ever seen, stretching right across the parking lot. I just took that in faith as a sign that God was telling me to trust him that everything was indeed going to be okay.
That night we watched the movie, “Miracles from Heaven”, and it spurred so many emotions that I just had to let surface. So many of us affected by TBI or any other chronic illness can watch that movie and relate to the little girl who is fighting for her health for so long. We feel what she felt when she had to sit out and watch everyone else live their life. We understand her all too well when she said she wasn't afraid of dying anymore. It makes sense to us that she told God that she didn't want to come back to her earthly life if it meant she still had to be sick. Brendan, on the other hand, like so many spouses and family members would, related to the mom. Fighting for her daughter in the natural, but letting her faith in God’s healing power waiver. At the end of the movie, seeing her breakthrough after all that she suffered and how God used her story to bring hope to so many was like a second rainbow to the both of us. We had waited for that movie to come to DVD for quite a while and I believe it was the perfect time that we needed to see it.
The next morning, Brendan woke me up to tell me that we had a surprise $1600 come in.
Later that night, I had a feeling that something was coming in the mail and sure enough I had two checks from my insurance company. Months ago, I had called them to see if they would reimburse for some of my last trip to the brain center. The lady on the phone said it didn’t look like it, but I sent the request in by mail anyway. Lo and behold, they did reimburse me $1400, and it finally came in the mail that day!
In addition, a friend sent me an email asking me if I had ever heard of the Amen Clinics, she said that she is a patient there and they would give me a $400 friends and family discount if I mentioned her. With all of these surprise (but expected) blessings, plus the $1000 I had already saved, we were bound for DC!
Sometimes it’s so hard to stay in faith when things aren’t working out like you would expect. Sometimes it seems like God is taking forever! I believe He is not as interested in living up to our expectations as He is in going over and above our expectations in a way that we have no choice but to give Him all the glory.