Thankful (part 1)

Today starts a new series I am doing in honor of Thanksgiving. I will be sharing small anecdotes and give you a glimpse into what makes me grateful. 

Part one is personal. I'm writing about a time in my life that I don't really remember. I know this story because it is my story, but I was too young to fully understand what exactly happened.

Not many people know this part of my story, so I thought I would share it. 

I am not supposed to be alive. 

19.5 years ago, I contracted a very severe case of bacterial meningitis. At first, my doctors thought it was the flu. Then, they assumed I had an ear infection. 

But a 106 fever is not the flu, and it certainly isn't an ear infection. 

My parents were at a Christmas party when everything started to unravel. My brothers were babysitting me. I was enamored with my brothers, but on this particular evening I could not stop crying. Actually, my brothers tell me I violently screamed the entire night. My parents returned, gave me some Motrin, and rocked me to sleep.

I woke them up at 4 in the morning, screaming and crying. When they took my temperature, they put me straight into an ice bath. The thermometer read 105.7. I am not a medical person, but I know your brain begins to fry at a certain temperature. 

My meningitis is a huge part of my life, even though I really can't remember anything about it.

I don't remember the ambulance. The transfer from El Camino to Stanford. The spinal tap. The medicine. The poking and prodding of the needles. I really don't remember anything.

I can only rely on the details my parents and others have told me. 

I know I was in a medically induced coma for 4 days. I know my brain glucose levels were low enough to make me nearly brain dead. I know that the doctors thought I was deaf, and severely mentally handicapped. 

I know that my meningitis was the result of a compromised immune system. Meningitis runs rampant at places like daycares and child centers. My mom stayed at home with me. Doctors were completely stumped as to how I got deathly ill. They told my parents multiple times that they would be lucky to have a partially functioning child. 

And when I woke up, and acknowledged my parents and the baby crying down the hall, the doctors told my parents that I was a living miracle. 

I'm not supposed to be alive, but I know God has an enormous plan for my life. We search for purpose. We search for meaning. 

In the midst of heightened anxiety and depression, I thank God every day for allowing me to have this life. 

I am thankful everyday to my Elohim for granting me the years I've had. 

Although medically I shouldn't be alive, God has a plan for me. And for that I am thankful. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley. I will fear no evil, for you are with me;your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

That is taken from Psalm 23. Psalm 23 has a special place in my heart. It was my dad's favorite Psalm, and I had the honor of reading it at his graveside service. 

Psalm 23 is also the epitome of God's promise to His beloved people. In the midst of tragedy, grief, sorrow, and even death, we are reminded that He is with us. Forever.

Thank you for taking the time to read! 

xx,

I guess they let babies eat cake in the ICU? :) 

I guess they let babies eat cake in the ICU? :) 


I am my Beloved's

I have a lot of fears.

Some are rational, like spiders and being robbed and such, and some are completely irrational.

One of my biggest fears is that I am not enough. My feelings of inadequacy stretch into another fear: that I will never be fully loved. Of course I know that I am loved by my family, friends, and others who occupy my life. But truthfully, I'm terrified that nobody will ever fall in love with me because I'm not enough.

I fear that I am not pretty enough, not smart enough, not strong enough...simply that I am not enough.  I also fear that I am too scarred, and too damaged. 

Will someone ever be able to love all of me? The good, the bad, and the ugly?

Will someone be able to love me, even if I am depressed and anxious? 

I play the "will someone" game a lot...too much. The truth is that someone already does love me and sees me as so much more than my ugliness and my sin. He sees me as redeemable, the greatest treasure, and He sees me as His beloved. 

I am not shy that I am a Christian. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own path in this life and that choice should always be given, but my choice will always be Jesus.

He saved me. And the truth of the matter is that He loves me. He loves me fully, completely, and exactly as I am. One of my favorite bands is a worship band called Housefires (thanks, Maddi!). Their song "Joy" has one of the best lyrics of all time:

"There is beauty in my brokenness...I've got true love instead of pain."

We are all broken. This world is filled with ugly stuff, but we are all salvageable. God doesn't look at us and say "That McKenzie, she really disappointed me. Let's throw her into the trash pile."

No, God looks at us and says "Child, I love you." 

The God who created the Universe loves me. 

So from now on, instead of playing the game of  "will someone," I play the game of "Yes, someone..."

Yes, someone loves me, and at the end of the day, that is really all that matters.

For I am my Beloved's, and He is mine. 

"Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you." (Is. 43:4-5)