First, I could end up in excruciating pain which is only exacerbated by light, especially day light. The slightest hint of light is like a million tiny needles going into my eye; and second, though gradually, I would end up with no eye sight.
Normal course of action is to start me on steroids immediately; 160 milligrams to be exact – 80 topically and 80 orally, along with antibiotics, etc. It can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It all depends on the severity of it. Then, of course, there is the side effects of the steroids, especially the swelling. I can remember that during one of my episodes my face looked as if you could pop it as a balloon. I had gained so much weight from the steroids that I could not wear any of my clothes. A friend of mine sent me clothes to wear as I had none of my own, and I could not afford to purchase new clothes just for this. To say It is not a pretty sight is an understatement.
In the past when I had to endure this, I had someone to help me. I would turn it into something to be used for my advantage. Why not gain while losing? It seemed to work for others in life, so I normally milked it for all it was worth. It was a time before I knew Christ, and I was a very insecure individual. If this helped me to get attention, then so be it. If it helped me miss work, then awesome. If it opened up a door for me to be able to play incapacitated for a while, then I was game. I truly was my own worse enemy.
The third time this happened I was a single mother living alone with my six-year-old son. I had no one to rely upon and I was a young Christian. Though very difficult, I managed. Looking back, I was not as mature as I am today, but I was making strives. I got through and that is what mattered. I had to learn to lean on me, and I had to make situations work whether I wanted them to or not. It wasn’t just about me anymore as I had a child to care for. I still suffered immensely, and it was a great struggle but a tremendous learning experience.
James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Fast forward 15 years. It is once again just my son and me. I am learning all over how to be solely dependent upon myself for everything … cutting the grass, tending to the home, financially caring for myself and assisting my son with his college education, taking care of the bills, and the list goes on. I cannot afford any setbacks as missing work, extra medical expenses, and the inability to drive. I have volunteered for a big church event next week, and I have things for which are pressing in around me. Going blind in one eye and having to endure pain cannot be on my list right now. However, on the other hand, can you think of a better way to halt the progress I am making in my life?
Yesterday I woke with soreness of eye and complete redness. When I crawled out of bed, the light coming in from my bedroom window hurt. I thought, “Oh no, this cannot be happening. What in the world will I do? I am alone for the majority of the time and I cannot afford for this to happen.” I wanted to sit down and cry, but I did not. As quickly as these thoughts started to bombard me, I realized what was happening.
You have heard it said many times that when you make great strives to draw closer to God, or you do things in a mighty way for His glory, then you can almost wait expectantly for an attack against you. The devil will do what he can to halt your growth. The last thing he wants is for you to grow in your relationship with Christ.
You see, over the course of the past few weeks I have made great strives in moving forward in my relationship with God. I have made decisions which I have only been contemplating for quite some time. I had become decisive. I was taking charge and pressing on.
First off, I was taking steps to becoming a member of the church I have been attending for over a year and a half. For a while, every time I thought I was ready to make this move, I would be reminded of a reason to falter. Things would come to mind which caused me to doubt. The devil does not want you to become an active participant of a church. Being part of a church family is nothing but awesome, and it is a great desire of God’s for His children to congregate together. I finally pushed forward and stepped out in faith to do God’s will and not allow my thoughts to hold me captive.
I was becoming involved in church functions, assisting whenever and wherever I could. Though this is a bit challenging for me at times because of the distance between my work and the church location, and my home and the church location, I was making it work. I even went so far as to sign up to participate in a small group during upcoming weeks.
I was spending more time in His Word at home and in my prayer time. I was stepping out in faith in big ways.
I have increased my ministry efforts in reaching the lost and being the hands and feet of Jesus. This meant giving more of my time, for which I feel stretched as it is. However, I desire to be more like Him in my actions towards others, and I was making great headway.
My giving has become more in line with what God would desire it to be and not dependent upon my circumstances. I have already, in such a short time, seen God’s faithfulness in accordance with Malachi 3:10.
All of the above were reasons for the devil to say, ‘enough is enough’. I am sure he was feeling very threatened by my perseverance; hence, the attack on my physical body.
I wallowed for a very short period of time, and then I too said, ‘enough is enough’. As I was driving down the road to work, on the verge of tears because of what I feared lied ahead, I said out loud, “I will not be defeated. Bring it on! Though I do not desire to walk this road, I will not only walk it, but I will increase in the midst of the storm. I will not miss work. I will not miss attending functions for which I am committed. I will not allow this to hamper me in anyway. I will get fat … fatter … and I will feel pretty as I do. I will take the steroids, the pain meds, the topical meds, and whatever else, and I will take them knowing that God is using these instruments to pour healing into my body. I will become a bit of an attraction for people to stare at as my eye becomes obtrusive and in total contrast to my other eye. People cannot help but stare, but I will simply wear sunglasses. I will press on no matter what, so again, bring it on.” I was resisting the devil, and now I was going to walk in faith until he fled from me.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Throughout my day the pain subsided though the redness remained and the watering from the eye continued. I reminded myself at work what I said above, and I kept declaring it in my mind. I have never had these episodes just diminish. Once they took hold, I had to endure until the end. But, I have never used His Word and relied upon His strength to overcome. I have never put to the test James 1:7, but today I did!
I came home from work. I was tired, and I was battling within. As much as I was walking in faith, on the inside I was sick to my stomach, and I was fighting fear of what was to come. I wanted to simply change clothes, crash before the television, and have a little pity party. I did not. I changed my clothes and went outside to cut grass. I was not giving in to my flesh, and I was determined to rise above. It was a battle. A great battle. Warring against oneself is never easy. Coming out victorious is even harder.
I so believe in God’s Word, and it is a great comfort to me. However, in order for God to speak to me to encourage me, I have to know His Word. If I am going to rely on His Word, I have to know what He says. I knew that God had my back. I knew He was with me though I could not feel His presence. I was walking in faith and determined to win. As someone who has not won many battles with myself, I grew stronger by the minute and more determined than ever. How? Because, unbeknownst by me, I had been preparing for this exact battle for quite some time. While I was pressing in and being Jesus’ hands and feet, He was strengthening me. While I was spending more time in His Word, He was getting it deep on the inside of me, so I could pull it out when I needed it. I was putting on the armor of God for battle. Now, here I was, facing the enemy, and true to His Word, He was right there with me.
Today is a new day, and I am without pain. My eye is still red, but the devil has fled. I am in remission before I ever got into the real battle. I am confident the redness is going to lessen throughout the day, and I will come out victorious. Was there ever any doubt? Yes, a great deal! As much as I was walking in faith, I was battling on the inside with fear and anxiety. It was a second by second battle, but I fought the good fight and He gave me the strength to overcome. How? Through being faithful in my walk with Him. Through being obedient to His will for my life. Through overcoming and walking in reassurance because He said He would never leave me nor forsake me. Through not doubting. Yes, I was anxious, but I allowed His Word to override any negative thoughts I was having. For once in my life, I was dependent upon Him and not allowing my emotions to control me. I was not simply standing still in my faith, but I was pushing ahead.
Why do I share this with you? I share this to give you strength for the battle you are in today. I share it to comfort you in your affliction and to give you hope. I share it to show you where God has brought me from. Since the release of my book, entitled My Story, if I have learned anything, it is how so many people are walking the same paths in life that you yourself have already walked. I have learned how the testimony of your trials is such an encouragement for others. People need to hear about what God does in your life, so they can draw on your strength until they have found their own. They need to see God actively working so they know that He will do the same for them. I have become very transparent in life. I have to be if I am going to use my trials to glorify God in all things, and I may become your source of encouragement. It truly is my life’s greatest desire.
Psalm 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
I am walking proof that God delivers. I stood strong in my faith, though the battle was raging inside of me, and He delivered me. I took Him at His word that if I resisted the devil, then he would flee from me. I am victorious today, and you can be also.