Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Interview with my Younger Self

Me Now (MN): You know how people say, “If I could go back in time with the wisdom and insight I have now, I’d tell my younger self a thing or two?” Well, here’s my chance. Hello, Pia.

Younger Me (YM): Oh, so you use that name exclusively now?

MN: Yeah, once I moved to Toronto it was just easier to make a fresh start with a name that’s easier to pronounce. It left any bad memories associated with that name behind. Except it took me forty years to make it official. (See post What's in a Name? under Memoirs)

YM: We move to Toronto?

MN: Oh, yeah, I guess I’ve got to be more careful with what I let slip.

YM: I don’t really get why I’m here. Do I really want to know what’s ahead of me? What if I can’t handle it?

MN: Since I know you better than anyone, I know you need to be told that life won’t always be as good as it is now, and you need to be teachable. As for the future, it’s true it’s best not to know. But you WILL be able to handle what comes, by the grace of God.

YM: That’s good to know that I’ll still have my faith in the future. I sometimes worry I’ll lose my salvation.

MN: I can encourage you in that. You’ll soon learn about the doctrines of grace and you’ll see that you can’t lose your salvation because God chose you before the foundation of the world. It will give you assurance. This assurance in turn puts all other worries in their place.

YM: But what about…?

MN: Trust me. You’ll learn it over a period of a few years and you’ll never doubt it again. Remember, I know your future.

YM: Okay, I’ll take your word for it. But what CAN you tell me about my future? Do I get married, have kids, and live happily ever after?

MN: Yes, yes, and for the most part.

YM: What does that mean?

MN: Life happens. But I can promise you this; God is always faithful.

YM: I guess that’s all I need to know. Although I am curious. What’s my future husband like? Do I already know him?

MN: I guess I can tell you a little now. No, you haven’t met him yet. He’s still out there. Be patient.

YM: That’s surprising to me. I always assumed I’d marry one of the Finnish guys I know now. Is my future husband Finnish?

MN: No, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Don’t worry, you choose well.

YM: Please tell me he’s a believer at least?

MN: Yes, he is. Now let’s get back to the reason I wanted to talk to you.

YM: Okay. I guess you’ve told me enough. Most people don’t get that much information. Lay it on me, what’s the serious issue?

MN: It’s about your health.

YM: I don’t like the sound of that. Do I get gravely ill?

MN: No, but in a sense, it’s worse. You will have several chronic illnesses.

YM: Several? Isn’t one enough?

MN: You’d think so. But remember what I said earlier? Life happens, but God is always faithful.

YM: So you’re implying this will be a test of my faith?

MN: Yes, because it’s always easier to deal with short term crises than the discouragement that comes with ongoing suffering.

YM: Suffering? That makes it hard to guess which illnesses you could be talking about. Any hints?

MN: No, because part of the process is dealing with the anxiety of not knowing.

YM: So that’s all you’re giving me? No diagnoses or dates to spare me some anxiety?

MN: No, sorry. But you’ll have many happy years before it hits. Just appreciate them while you have them, try to take care of your health, and remember what I said earlier, Life happens, but God is always faithful. And one quote that will help you then is by Stuart Briscoe, “God allows things to happen to me, so that He can do things in me, so that He can do things through me.”

YM: That’s encouraging and scary at the same time. But if you have those things now, how is it you don’t look sick or disabled?

MN: Not every illness and disability is visible.

YM: Wouldn’t it be easier if it were?

MN: You’re more right than you know. But that’s another part of your journey that you’ll have to navigate; the frustration of suffering while having to feel you have to prove you are suffering.

YM: I don’t really want to deal with that yet. Let me try to boil down what you’ve told me. You said I’d suffer with some invisible chronic illnesses after many happy years with a Christian husband and children. Sounds like a mix of happy and sad.

MN: Yes, it is. Take a deep breath and go into the future, knowing God is already there, and He is faithful to the end.

YM: I guess I don’t have a choice, but I do feel encouraged by much of what you told me, especially about God’s faithfulness in the midst of trials.

MN: Count on it. It’s not your hold on Him that’s the basis of your assurance, it’s His hold on you; much like a child crossing the street with her father. He’ll hold you.

YM: Thanks. It’s also interesting to see what I look like 30 years in the future.

MN: Disappointed?

YM: You, I mean, I still look pretty young considering what are we, 50?

MN: 54.

YM: Yeah, not bad. But the weight gain is a surprise. No offence.

MN: None taken. Is it an excuse to say it’s part of the illness and treatment?

YM: I guess it is what it is. Does that mean that for most of my life I’ll have normal weight?

MN: Yes, fear not. I never realized how shallow I was.

YM: It seems this interview has enlightened both of us.

MN: See you in the future. And remember, rest in the faithfulness of God.
(See my other interviews in the Interviews folder).

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

After Darkness, Light!

October Journaling

1.      Church today. The last day of missions week. We were still tired from yesterday. I napped almost three hours.

2.      Nursery school today. My mom came along and she’s making dinner.

3.      Bible study.

4.      A few errands, but because of the rain I ended up on the couch for the rest of the day, in pain.

5.      Rest.

6.      Woke up to the announcement that my friend’s mom died last night. I didn’t know she was sick again, or I would have contacted her. She was a surrogate mom to me back in my teens during a rough time. I’ll post a pic. So sad. Till we meet again.

7.      Getting some apps purchased/prepped for Thanksgiving.

8.      Our renters are getting married today.

9.      Thanksgiving day. I only needed to bring two apps. Nice to be a guest. I had a bad pain day and was not very engaging at dinner. I overdid with the wedding yesterday.

10.   Rest day. I watched a documentary about M.E. that was debuted at some film festivals. It’s so shocking to see that in some modern countries like Denmark they don’t recognize it as physiological illness. One young girl was forcibly removed from her home and put into a psychiatric facility for three years. I’ve heard Iceland and Finland aren’t much better. So thankful to live in Canada where I am believed, supported, and treated. I also have full disability benefits, so I can concentrate on getting better.

11.   Treatment.

12.   Chiropractor today, otherwise a blah day, no energy, lots of pain. It’s our eldest daughter’s fifth wedding anniversary. I was healthy then but just beginning to have vague symptoms like anxiety.

13.   Pain clinic today, then pretty useless the rest of the day. Seems to be my usual for the past two weeks.

14.   Women’s breakfast meeting. We have one of our missionaries speaking. She and her family are in Taiwan. Then a nap for a few hours to recover.

15.   Church. I couldn’t nap today for some reason. Also more pain because of the rain.

16.   No school today. It was switched to Friday instead because my daughter and her husband are going to Boston for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary.

17.   Bible study this morning, then Costco run, I mean crawl, then a follow-up appointment with a geneticist. Too much. If you need me, I’ll be on the couch the rest of the night, and tomorrow, too.

18.   Rest day.

19.   Rest day before having the grandkids for four days.

20.   Picked up the kids and taught my grandson. Exhausted, but happy to see them. My daughter and her husband were planning to go to Boston but an expired passport changed their plans. They’re staying in Toronto at a friend’s place. Today my mom and sister came over and we took the kids to the park. Then we had a quick bonfire.

21.   Church this morning. There was a bee in the car as we were about to leave which slowed us down. Then my granddaughter cried in the nursery because of all the strangers. My husband is on his annual fishing trip. He chose this date after I had already promised to look after them. Also my other daughter is sick.

22.   Final morning. I taught school this morning, then they left at noon. Wiped out on the couch the rest of the day.

23.   Bible study, then nap and a bank appointment.

24.   Home day.

25.   See my post, a day in the life of me with M.E.

26.   Doctor’s appointment.

27.   My husband is going on a men’s retreat. It follows his annual fishing trip last weekend, so he’d rather stay home, but hey, it’ll be fine.

28.   Our eldest was in a car accident this morning, she was hurt a bit from the air bag deployment but not any worse thankfully. Their old car which they were planning to replace soon anyway was a write off. I went over to help out and they went and leased a new vehicle which will be ready by the end of the week. She was shaken up of course. So thankful she was okay.

29.   Church today. Slept only three hours last night, which is a switch for me, so it threw me off. My husband returned home from a men’s retreat. My mom is coming over for the week since my sister is travelling for work.

30.   School today.

31.   Bible study this morning, then my husband and I drove over to Oakville so my daughter could take our grandson out trick or treating. He went as a firefighter. Today is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, ending 1,000 years of superstition. The motto was “After darkness, light.” The main doctrines are called the five solas: Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola Gratia (grace alone), Sola Christos (through Christ alone), Sola Fide (faith alone), and Sola Deo Gloria (for the glory of God alone). If you can worship freely and read your Bible in your own language, thank God for the Reformation.