Saturday, February 6, 2016

I am a List

Writing this second blog post is proving much harder than the first. I’ll admit, I have a lot of thoughts about where this blog can go, but they all end in the same place; a profound faith in that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and how I am supposed to be no matter how I came to be in the place I am.

A little later in this post, I’m going to list everything. Every diagnosis I have been given in my 28 years on earth. Okay, maybe not everything, but all the ones that are near and dear to my heart and influence my life on a daily basis. I want you to know because maybe someone out there has what I have. Maybe I’m not alone or maybe someone is suffering with something completely different but can find joy because of something I wrote. I want it to hit home no matter what you are facing because it all comes down to perfection. Why do we have an innate desire to be perfect? We aren’t perfect, our bodies aren’t perfect, and our faith is not perfect. Do you want to know what I am like behind closed doors? I complain. I complain a lot. Just ask my husband.

Sometimes I think all I am is a list of medical problems. That’s all there is to me. A perfect little list. Tell me if I’m wrong after you read this paragraph. Among the issues introduced to my body because of my pituitary gland (growth hormone deficiency, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism), there are a number of things that have occurred in the last five to six years, they could be side effects of prolonged synthetic Human Growth Hormone treatments or just random and unexplained. I have Chronic Kidney Disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, an IGA deficiency (weak immune system), asthma, allergies to everything, chronic joint pain, osteoarthritis, debilitating migraines, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Raynauds, mitral and tricuspid regurgitation, gastrointestinal problems, gluten allergies, TMJ, vestibular hypofunction, pre-glaucoma, granuloma annulare, and infertility; I’ve had jaw surgery, ear surgery, tonsil surgery, deviated septum surgery, foot surgery, uveitis, irities, vestibular neuritis, my throat has swelled shut, I fracture and break easily, and worst of all, I have mouth ulcers.

I’m a list, right? To doctors, I’m a list of deficiencies, syndromes, and diseases; to pharmacists I’m a list of medications, and to insurance companies I’m a list of all the things they have to pay for.  I’m tired and in pain just writing this list.

Trusting God with a list like this is hard, it is terrifying, and it is intimidating - and yet, it is beautiful, because to God, I am not a list. I am a precious child made perfect through Jesus. Have you ever come out on the other side of something in awe of God and what He worked in you? I have a few times - I mean just look at that list, and these are only the positive diagnoses.  I’m not going to lie and tell you I understood any of these situations at the time or any of these illnesses now. I didn’t and don’t. But that list has played a vital role (even as I questioned God every step of the way) in shaping my faith, hope, and personal relationship with God. This is what I hope to expose throughout my blog.

How can I even compare the wrath that Jesus felt in my place on the cross with my petty joint pain, tiredness, or mouth ulcers?  We are welcomed to be his children and if God is my Father and if He chose me to be a case study, to handle all of these things on the list that I call me, then I will joyfully carry out His plans for pain, fatigue, and fear. God chose me for one reason or another and though his earthly plans for me may not be revealed until I am in heaven, I will live graciously in the protective arms of my Father. I may be just a list, but to God, I am a perfectly created list.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God”  1 John 3:1


  1. Ah Riley, the list. Many of these are familiar to me these days, some are foreign. I'm so encouraged by your faithfulness and openness to share. I pray that one day our little case study daughter will draw near to Jesus in her weakness as you are now in yours. You're in our prayers. -Brittany

    1. Brittany, Thank you so much for reading my blog and for your comment - it means a great deal! I would love to pray for your family as well! -Riley

  2. Ri this is beautiful! I cried. Love you!

  3. This is so lovely. :) You aren't a list to the Lord-- such a sweet reminder of the way he sees us. And... Closed doors or not... I still don't believe that Smiley Riley complains. ;)