Missing In Action


The saga continues.

Almost five years ago, within months of becoming a newlywed, I began to feel sick. Flu like. Tired. Nauseated. Dizzy. Headaches. At first I wondered if I could be pregnant. I mean, it would have taken a miracle, but God had already done that putting Brendan and me together. We would have welcomed a baby.

I took a test. Negative.

That was okay. We had enough adjustments to make without adding a pregnancy and newborn to the list. But my “sickness” didn’t diminish. In fact, it became worse. We took a trip to Disneyland, and I had to be pushed in a wheelchair because I didn’t have the strength to walk or even stand in line. It was a little overwhelming and discouraging. And I became sicker. Until I could barely crawl out of bed on most days.

Eventually, we discovered we had mold growing in our house.IMG_4523

A lot of mold. One of the giveaways was how I would feel better when I was out of the house for long periods of time. When the landlord finally decided to address the issues we presented (mushrooms growing in the bathroom for example), they tore open a small section of the bathroom wall and discovered everything was covered in black mold. They tore out more, more mold, etc. Until the bathroom was gutted, as was the laundry and the floor under the kitchen. Many months of cleaning, a long story of homelessness and two years of a law suit later, we seem to have arrived in the same place.

Seriously?

For the first two years of living in our current house, I was finally becoming healthy again. Yay! Then, a year ago November my “illness” returned. I felt similar to that first year in what we “affectionately” call “the mold house.” But there were no visible signs. No musty smells. We had some leaking faucets and a pretty substantial crack in our shower that seemed a potential for mold, but with no clear evidence, we passed it off as winter colds, and me pushing myself too hard in a busy life. Stresses contributed. Family loss and troubles with a couple of our kids. You know. The usual stuff. But I became more ill. A plumber finally fixed the leaks and “sealed” the crack in the shower. Never mind the now obvious water marks on the ceiling below said shower. I became sicker. I started a symptoms log. In addition to the first illness symptoms, there were others. Awful itching, blistering rashes, choking congestion, stomach pain.

I went to doctors.

One said I had rheumatoid arthritis even though I had no common symptoms and blood tests were clear. More blood tests. No clear diagnosis. A friend recommended a naturopathic doctor who ended up being a life saver. Through diet, rest and supplements I began to feel like life was returning. But not fully. I can’t seem to get past the 75-80% mark. I still need a nap each day. I’m tired, dizzy and have headaches often. I can’t exercise or be around too many people at once without exhaustion setting in. Or if I can, I end up paying the next day.

Then our son broke out in a terrible rash.

With no known cause, he had hives from head to toe and ended up having an emergency room visit one night after vomiting, fainting and shaking. He now has to use an inhaler before exercise for allergy induced bronchial spasms. Our daughter became ill with sore throats and extreme fatigue (okay so she’s a teenaged girl, but still…). Brendan and I hated to think it, but the only common thread was the dreaded mold. Next door, construction of a new apartment complex had been going on since November where they had torn down a few very old buildings. Could that have contributed as well? Now we noticed two growing water stains on our bedroom ceiling…

We finally did mold testing last week.

I guess its good and bad when you hope for the answer to be positive for something. You hope to have an answer. But you dread the answer. We have mold growing in our house. No wonder we have all struggled this year feeling terrible. We’re still waiting for the detailed test results.

After hours of research, I found information about essential oils killing mold.

Natures Mold Rx by Dr. Ed Close, explained through numerous case studies how mold had been eradicated in buildings and homes by diffusing a blend of essential oils over long periods of time. I felt hopeful for the first in a long time. Within a week, I had two diffusers going – one upstairs and one down – in an effort to bring health to our home. At first, it seemed to help. After blasting our air for eight hours, we were breathing a little better. I stopped having choking fits at night. Our kids felt better. But then I quit running the diffusers all the time. I decreased it to a few hours, a couple of times per day. This week I’ve not felt well at all. Same symptoms again.

Discouragement set in.

As of this writing, we are wondering about moving. About how to deal with our landlord. Again. About cleaning our things and finding a house free of mold. It’s a daunting and exhausting situation. One that I keep reminding myself God has an answer for.

I’ve learned so much this past year and a half of illness. I’m grateful for all the Lord has taught me, shown me, and how I’ve learned to rest in him. But I’m also ready to move on. I long to be healthy and active again. To take a walk and make dinner without feeling done in. I thought this week of my blogger friend Bill, and wondered how I could even think of complaining when he has such an amazing attitude while being in his constant state of illness. He wrote a great blog recently about purpose. I’m thankful for the challenge in my perspective. I also want to act with wisdom where I can take steps in faith to act.

I write this because it has been hugely encouraging me to read about other people’s stories. To discover I’m not crazy, nor suffering alone. And to say thanks for being with me…

Have you experienced any of the same situations?

Sex Begets Sex


I heard another story of a brokenhearted woman this week.

Light out of Darkness
Light out of Darkness

Hard circumstances followed her through life and relationships never seemed to turn out right. Deceived by men over the years, she wondered if anyone would ever love her purely, rightly, completely—at all. She hates the life she’s found herself trapped in, but doesn’t know how she got there or how to get out. Despairing and lonely, this woman cries out to God asking “what’s wrong with me?”

Her name could be Susan or Jane or Crystal. Or Fantine from Les Miserables.

While the women have different names, the story is the same. Sexually abused as girls or young women, we now search in vain for true love and acceptance. Our hearts live in a confused, turmoiled state of unrest, if not every day outwardly, at least in the secret depths of our souls.

As grown women, we wonder why we feel targeted or lost; why we can’t find a good man or keep any; and why compulsion or addiction rules us. We question our sanity and worth. The only value we seem to possess is derived from doing enough, making enough money or offering our sexuality as a sacrifice for “love.” Sometimes it’s the same thing.

I was such a woman.

Now I long to reach out and grab hold of each one whose eyes hold deep secrets. I want to say I understand. It’s not your fault. You didn’t imagine these twisted nightmares or create such craziness. Perhaps you don’t remember anything but bits and pieces of tortured pleasure; or maybe you’re haunted with images you wish would disappear forever.

The bottom line is that sexual abuse creates an emotional, spiritual, mental and physical environment for the repetition of a broken, abusive life.

It may be that you are stuck in a relationship with someone who is abusive, or that you abuse yourself with cutting or food or drugs. You may have deeply related health issues. Perhaps you have found a wonderful man who is kind and loving, but you can’t allow yourself to believe he actually loves you. You may visit your abuse on your children through the same type of circumstances you endured, or in eruptions of rage that fly from you unbidden, unexpected and unwanted.

Whatever your situation, I am so sorry it happened to you.

Hope seems non-existent, but I promise it is there. God’s heart breaks with yours and longs to unravel and redeem all the broken, hurting places of confusion and pain. It may seem impossible. It may take a long time. The truth seems lost in the lies, but light shines in the darkness; there is hope for you. Cry out to Jesus. He hears. He answers. He heals.

If you’ve started on the journey to wholeness, don’t quit.

So many times I’ve wanted to give up. I’ve felt that the deepest issues couldn’t change in me.  I’ve often cried in despair (even recently) thinking that no healing was available for the tiniest cracks in my heart. But Jesus doesn’t let go. In the darkest moments of confusion and pain, he holds me close and comforts me if I let him. He whispers,

I love you, truly. Don’t despair. I’m everything you need. Rest in me. Be still because I am God. I created the entire universe and I am holding you right now. You will be alright.”                                  Jesus

Beloved, can I pray for you?

Jesus, because my heart breaks for these women, who have suffered abuse and suffer from the effects of it still, I know your heart breaks. Please draw them to you. Change their perception of you so they can see that you love them and long to comfort them. Please embrace them with all the grace and strength and gentleness of your spirit. Thank you that while you accept us where we are, you never leave us there, but instead take us into new life and healing.   Amen
 
If you need prayer or want to discuss your situation feel free to comment below or contact me privately at: laurabennet14@gmail.com