Furiously working on a talk for a women’s retreat, I felt a weird sensation on my neck. The retreat was sixteen days away and I would be presenting five messages. This was talk number three. I loved the content: recharging through prayer, recharging by getting away, recharging by silence and stillness. Ahhh.
The next day, after returning from a walk, I noticed a red spot underneath my baseball cap. Thinking it might be staph (going around my son’s football team), I visited the doctor. Shingles was diagnosed. Shingles? I’m not old enough. Evidently I am.
Praying as I drove home from the doctor, it occurred to me that this bout of Shingles was most likely caused by stress and my lagging immune system.
This fall has been crazy. Non-stop. My spiritual cup hath runneth almost empty. The wonderful content I was focusing on for the upcoming retreat had become almost non-existent for me. Ironic. I was barely praying, nor was I being still in God’s presence. Instead, I was running around like a crazy woman. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and had an obnoxiously long “to-do” list.
I am usually intentional in this- remaining balanced and purposeful with my days, saying “no” sometimes, wanting to live deeply instead of wide. But this Fall, I’d let myself get spread too thin and pulled myself wide. So wide that it landed me in Shinglesville.
Yet, when I look back on this last month. I am filled with immense gratitude. Yes, Shingles is painful and draining and it stinks! But God and His mercy met me there in my need.
~He met me through the prayers and generosity of friends and family. A few sweet girlfriends brought meals and others regularly checked in on me.
~He met me in my rest. There was time to read His word and to pray for my people. I was able to recharge my spiritual battery so that my cup hath ranneth over instead of empty.
~He met me as I assessed my schedule and contemplated what I could have done differently. He filled me with His peace, strength, wisdom and GRACE.
We all have many, many reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving week. None of us have to look vigorously to find good things.
But what about the hardships? Is there a challenge in your life today that downright stinks? A situation or a someone? Is God whispering to you? Maybe He’s inviting you to look at this difficulty in a new way? Can you find something there to be thankful for?
God met me as He always, always does. Because of Him, I can say, “I am thankful for Shingles”.