Hi friends. I wanted to write a post and elaborate on what I wrote about yesterday when I mentioned that I had faced one of my biggest fears. Back when I first started this blog, I used to write a lot about just how I was feeling and things I was going through and how God showed up in the midst of it all. Just because I am writing more and trying to grow my blog, I don’t want to stop documenting the very real things that God is doing in my life. I feel like these are sometimes the most important things to write about too because even though they may not be the most popular, sharable posts, they are important because they hopefully show others just how real the God that I love is. I hope by sharing personal testaments to how God shows up in my life, it encourages you, and shows you that God cares about you as well.
Yesterday when I mentioned that I faced my biggest fears, I literally meant that I went to a pulmonologist (lung doctor). Sounds silly and not at all what you were expecting I’m sure. I’ve actually written a little bit here on this already but if you don’t already know, I have struggled with health anxiety for the past two years. (I’ve written about it here, here, and here if you are interested in a little bit more of the back-story.) When I wrote that last post about how God had healed me of my health anxiety I should have named it Part One, but little did I know there was a whole other part to it that was lurking just around the corner.
So long story short, I have struggled with fearing that I was going to get very sick or that I already was very sick for the past two years. It all started when I developed a cough two years ago that wouldn’t go away. I ended up at my regular doctors who couldn’t figure out what was wrong and sent me to a pulmonologist. The fear was very real while going through this all and the pulmonologist really didn’t ease my fears at all. He basically told me I was okay but without really giving me an explanation as to why I had the cough to begin with. What I should have done back then was get a second opinion because I didn’t have peace with his answer, but I was too afraid, and just wanted to believe the doctor so I didn’t. This was a very bad idea though because even though I wanted to believe the doctor, my anxiety just didn’t. I was still so convinced that something bad was going to happened and my biggest fear was that I had cancer.
Over the course of the next two years my anxiety came and went depending on my life circumstances. If there were more pressing issues going on in my life, I put worrying about my health on the back-burner. When there wasn’t much else to worry about, or if I got sick in any way, my anxiety would flare up and all I could think about was what if I had cancer. I know that this sounds so silly to some I’m sure, even now writing it out, it seems so simple, just go back to the doctor if you’re worried, that’s definitely what I should have done but I was just so fearful of what if they did find something, I just didn’t think I could handle it. So instead I worried about it from time to time.
Fast forward to about two weeks ago, my anxiety about it flared up yet again, but this time if felt like nothing would relieve it. It was getting worse and worse it seemed every time it would come back. It also got to the point where it was really affecting not only my life, but my husband’s as well. I would tell him I would do something and then my anxiety would flare up and I would think that I was sick so I would be too afraid to go out or do whatever. When my insanely patient, always loving husband got frustrated with me this past weekend, I knew I had to do something drastic to make it all stop. I had to face my fears head on and go back to the doctor to find out once and for all if I was really sick or not.
So that brings us back around to this week, Monday to be specific, when I had made the appointment to see another pulmonologist. I honestly was terrified and tried to cancel the appointment because I felt like I couldn’t handle it, but the website I had used to make the appointment wouldn’t let me cancel it online (probably because it was the day of the appointment) and I really did not want to call and cancel, so I went.
And let me tell you I am so happy that I did. It changed everything for me. The doctor took so much time to really sit and try to figure out what could be wrong and really gave me the feeling that she cared, which made all the difference. She reassured me that there was nothing serious wrong, that I had been dealing with this for too long for it to be anything serious like cancer. She said it was just something that was an annoyance more than anything, and that we would try to figure out what it could be, but that there was nothing to worry about and not to lose sleep over it.
Let me just tell you that before I went to the appointment I had read Habakkuk in my bible. I’m currently reading through it from start to finish and just happened to be a this point, so completely full of anxiety, I was asking God for help to get through this and I open my bible to this book. It’s only 5 chapters, and it’s about someone who is crying over what is happening to Israel because God is allowing them to be punished for their sins, and the person writing it is feeling as if God is not there because of the horrible things that are happening. Then right about in the middle of the book there are a few verses about how God won’t let you suffer forever and how his mercies are new every morning, and that his compassions never fail. You guys I just lost it. This book felt like I could relate so much. I felt like God had been ignoring my cries for help over the past two years to take these pains and worries away. But in that moment while I was crying out to him I felt him say, “Ashley go to the doctor so that I can show you that you’re healthy and that there’s nothing to worry about”. My anxiety honestly didn’t just go away and I wasn’t even sure if that was really God saying that or just my own mind, but after the appointment, I just knew it had been God.
If you ever feel like God is ignoring you, I know how frustrating and hard that is. Every time I was worried about being sick, and had a physical symptom of being sick too, like that chronic cough, I would pray and ask God for help and to take it away. But it took time and it took me stepping out in faith to really have peace. Sometimes we need to take part in our own healing and listen to whatever God might be trying to tell us to do. Even if we’re afraid. But the best part is, even if we can’t or won’t listen right at that time, God is so gentle and loving with us and he will be there when we are ready.
Thanks for reading this all if you made it to the end. 😉 I just wanted to keep my blog as real as I could and continue to write about what God is teaching me. I also hope that this encourages someone who might feel like God isn’t there for them. Let me know if there is anyway I can be praying for you if you can relate to any part of my story.