Sometimes, my mind can’t help but wonder what it’s like to be married. Sometimes I think, what I wouldn’t give to wake up next to my best friend every morning for the rest of my life. Sometimes though, CF butts in.
When I was diagnosed with CF, my parents were told that I wouldn’t live to be 18. A time limit was put on my life. When I was 9, I distinctly remember waking up on my birthday and thinking that I had officially reached middle age. What kind of nine year old thinks like that?! Well that was me. The final months before my 18th birthday were a nightmare. I had dreams of being sick and almost dying. I had dreams of getting a lung transplant in order to live longer. The nightmares continued until the day of my 18th birthday when I woke up and realized that I had made it. I had proved the doctors wrong. There I was, 18, and about to graduate from high school and go to college. I bet those doctors never saw that one coming. Still, I struggled.
In my English class my sophomore year of high school, we were required to write a research paper. We were allowed to write about whatever we wanted, as long as we approved it with out teacher. So of course, I chose to write about Cystic Fibrosis.That was the first time that I actually did any research on CF. I had always just figured that since I had CF, I knew everything about it. But of course that wasn’t true. While researching, I found that the new life expectancy for those with CF was the mid-thirties. My heart skipped a beat. All I could think was, that at 17, I was middle-aged. Again.
Here is where I become pretty vulnerable with you. My junior year of high school. I had just read “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy. My heart was set on courtship and ultimately, marriage. I wanted to find “the one” and be happy for the rest of my life. I still do. I carry that dream with me today in hopes that God will fulfill it in His timing (I’m currently praying for patience).
The summer after my freshman year of college (sorry, I know I’m jumping all over the place), I got sick and was placed in the hospital for a CF tune-up. This being only the second time that I had been in the hospital since I was 5, it was really hard on me. Thankfully, I was able to go home for the rest of the tune up and do IV antibiotics there. But it hit me really hard. Depression flooded me. I finally knew what it was like for other CF patients who were sick all of the time. The pain and the hurt they felt on a daily basis. One thing really stuck out to me though… marriage.
I had thought of it before. All CF patients have. We are given a time limit to live our life! So even at very young ages (like 9 and 17), we are planning what we can accomplish before God calls us home. But it never really sank in until I was lying in my bed with antibiotics pumping through my veins. I would never want my kids to see me like this. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving a family behind if I became too sick to live anymore. So, my only solution was to never get married and to never fall in love. Please tell me how it’s fair for a 19 year old to close up her heart? How is it fair that she is so afraid to die, that she’s now afraid to love? Well it’s not fair. That summer was the hardest summer of my life. I had to deal with the depression on my own. I bottled up my emotions and I never let anyone see what was actually going on inside of me. When people asked, I smiled the biggest smile and I put on the front that I had grown so accustomed to. I was “cute, little Jordan” that was always smiling and so full of joy. I couldn’t let anyone think otherwise.
That same summer, I went to Foundation-a Christian camp for incoming freshman/transfer students at Tech. I only went because one of my best friends at the time was going, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My small group leader (who is actually my grand-big in RSC) helped me to see that depression did not define me. She told me that Satan couldn’t have a foothold in my life. She prayed over me and for me, and God filled that deep hole of depression with His love.
I no longer say that I never want to fall in love or get married. I want a family and a husband to come home to each day. I want to live without a time limit. God has showed me, that even though it is scary living with a disease that could one day kill me, time limits are NOT His limits. My plans are also not His plans. So no matter what happens, whether I get sick again or not, I will live my life to the fullest. I will not take anything, not one single breath, for granted. I will fall in love. I now know that my God is bigger than any disease. CF doesn’t define me, but I define CF. In fact, I make CF look good 🙂
“When He heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God, so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.'” -John 11:4