The Diagnosis and the Journey

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

In the last three weeks Psalms 139 keeps showing up in my life. In my social media feed, in staff devotions, blogs I follow. It’s obvious to me that God has been trying to get my attention. Like He is trying to plant a seed of truth deep in my heart.

Psalm 139:13,14 You made all the delicate, innermost parts of my body, and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous…how well I know it.

I’ve needed this reminder because I have felt insecure about who I am, about how God made me. I have not felt wonderfully made.   At times I have wanted to cry and be critical. All I have seen when I look in the mirror are all the imperfections.

I was 21 years old when I was diagnosed; when I learned the truth. Those bumps on my body…they now had a name. There was nothing that could change it. No special pill I could take that would make them disappear. Or dissolve. Things were not going to improve. In fact over time it would increasingly get worse. Neurofibromatosis.

The news penetrated my heart. It devastated me. I remember crying in the car on the way home. I felt hideous. I was a freak; a monster. It didn’t help matters any when a good friend said, ” I hope you never plan on having kids.” She went on to tell me that that child would have a fifty percent chance of having it too. And I knew that. I definitely didn’t need the reminder. I also knew how badly I wanted a family. Her careless words crushed me.

That was a long time ago. Over twenty -five years have passed.  Half a life time ago. Countless times I have prayed and cried and begged the Lord to take it. Over the years it has progressed.  Especially in recent months. I have to believe that there is a reason for it. I may never know that reason this side of heaven.  I do know though that I will have my healing there for sure!  I am believing that somehow God can use it for His glory…to bring honour to Him, and who knows maybe even to draw others to Him.

So many times I have been guilty of looking to the world for my worth and value.  Instead of looking to Him.  The One who made me. The One who knows my heart.

1 Samuel 16:7b The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

I think of the verse that says “My grace is sufficient” It’s like God whispering these words to my heart. I know they are true.

2 Corinthians 12:8, 9a Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

This is how God made me!   Who am I to criticize his creation and call it ugly when I look in the mirror? Who am I to feel like I don’t measure up? He calls me Wonderfully complex…his workmanship beautiful.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do good things he planned for us long ago..

He calls me his masterpiece!  When He looks at me, He doesn’t see what I see….all the imperfections.  I am His creation and He loves me because He made me!  No one will ever love me more than He does.

Lois Peters is a friend I met recently in a FB group for others with NF.  She says that her mantra is the song Flawless by MercyMe. “No,matter the bumps, no matter the bruises, no matter the scars, still the truth is the cross has made you flawless”  She recently posted something that resonated with me and was yet another confirmation of what God was trying to get through to me. She said, “I am reminded of how when Jesus looks at us, he doesn’t see the scars, or bumps, he sees his daughter whom he loves unconditionally and is proud of. Each day I give my day to Him and I pray that I love myself and others as he loves me. No one is perfect and we all have imperfections, but remember in his eyes we are “Flawless.”

God is good.  All the time. And He loves us because He made us.

Isaiah 62:3 The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—A splendid crown in the hand of God.

Song of Soloman 4:7 You are all together beautiful, my darling; beautiful in every way.

So that is a little of my journey. And it isn’t over. There are still going to be days where I need reminding of the truths in His Word. I don’t know where you are in your journey and what things you are a little or a lot insecure about when you look in the mirror. Perhaps it’s all the grey hair, or loss of hair, wrinkles, sagging skin.  Perhaps it’s your weight. Maybe when you look in the mirror all you see is the fat girl, or the bean pole staring back at you.. I leave you with the verse I began with.

Psalm 139:13,14 You made all the delicate, innermost parts of my body, and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous…how well I know it.