I remember when I had the Chickenpox.  I remember it like it was today.  I was told my whole life that I got a chicken-pock once on my upper lip as a child when others around our family had them, so I probably wouldn’t ever get them again.  Wonderful!  I thought I was safe from the awful childhood virus.  And then I turned 21.

September 2002.  I never knew anyone else during that time that got the chickenpox.  No one.  One day I was a care-free, community college student, loving life and the next moment I was a hideous, disgusting monster who wanted to die.  You think I am being dramatic.  I am not!

I was about to start my last quarter of pre-requisites before starting nursing school.  My mom and I took a trip to Indiana for a few days to visit family.  On the plane ride home I noticed a cluster of red bumps on my left deltoid.  And I had some lumps on the back of my head.  And I was super emotional (like crying a lot).  And I didn’t feel well.  Now, the emotional part, is not that uncommon for I am a girl and I have no problem crying about things, anything, everything.  Crying is apart of my life and I have grown accustomed to it, accustomed to mascara running all over the place, accustomed to waking up with huge puffy eyes that have to be packed with ice so I can get my contacts in.  Crying makes you uncomfortable but not me.  I cry at funerals, I cry at church, I cry after I get off iChat with my family, I cry when people write huge checks so I can go to Uganda, I cry when patients yell at me, I cry when I feel like I can’t handle things, I cry when I am angry, I cry when I am sad, I cry when I am confronted with a lie I have been believing, I cry when no one understands me, I cry when I am overwhelmed by the beauty of God and His faithfulness in my life, I cry when I buy leather couches, I cry when someone tells me to stop acting like I am an inconvenience (yeah, that was a big deal and I will probably write a blog about it), BUT I don’t cry when I get a traffic ticket!  I don’t cry when I am getting my hair cut, I don’t cry when I am chopping onions, I don’t cry when I am drinking coffee, I don’t cry when I am cleaning my bathroom, I don’t cry when I am running a 10K.  (see, I don’t cry ALL the time).

Wait a minute.  This is a blog about chickenpox.  Why am I writing about crying?  HAHAH.  Wow.  Where was I?

So, we get home from Indiana and I go see the doctor.  He looks at the gross things on my arm and says, “Yep, you have the chickenpox but since this is like Day 3 or 4, it’s too late to give you anti-virals.  You will probably just have a mild case and be fine.”  We go home.  Relieved.  I wake up the next day.  I have them all over my other arm.  My upper body.  Next day.  My face, my legs, my neck, my eyelids, my ears and everywhere else.  Big, nasty, itching, red, draining, scabbing sores.  Everywhere.  I hurt, I itch and I am suppose to be starting school this week.  I am miserable, feverish (and there is a boy staring at me at Caffe Ladro where I am writing this…Uh, go away dude, I am writing about you, hahaha and you don’t even know it).  In the days and weeks to come, I would realize what great friends and family I have. I would realize that oatmeal baths are quite nice.  I would realize that watching Elephant Man is very comforting (misery likes company).  I would realize that waking up and finding scabs all over your bed is not that end of the world.  I would realize that Root Beer is one of the best drinks ever when all you want to do is die.  (A guy just sneezed into his hand and now he has his hand cupped at his side and got up and went straight to the bathroom…that was really gross to watch!…Apparently his beard wasn’t enough to catch everything).  My friend Buffy came and spent time with me.  I watched movies like they were going out of style and I didn’t read my Bible all.

And now the point of this post.  I didn’t read my Bible because I didn’t want to.  I didn’t read my Bible because I was angry at God that I got the Chickenpox.  I didn’t read my Bible because I was sick and couldn’t concentrate.  I didn’t read my Bible because I wanted to die.  I felt like Job, disgusting, sad, tired, disappointed.

And because I didn’t read my Bible, I knew I couldn’t ask God for healing (yeah, that was the biggest lie—as if being able to come to God and ask for healing is based on my goodness and not His).  I felt guilty, ashamed at my attitude but didn’t give a rip.  Obviously, I was highly emotional anyway, as my entire immune system went to work clearing my body of this hellish virus (and that’s why I had lumps on the back of my head-my lymph nodes were packed to the gills trying to win a battle with the devil himself).  Every hormone and enzyme I had was highly sensitive and my heart was overwhelmed with the attack.  I just wanted to fit in (hello, I was 21).  I just wanted to succeed.  I just wanted to be beautiful and here I was, with the most disgusting sores all over my skin. I couldn’t imagine life without sores.  I seriously couldn’t imagine being normal.  It took 3-4 months for those sores to completely heal.  I went back to church after 3 weeks of hiatus.  I was fully embraced of course (and showed off my scars to the boys).  My youth pastor at the time, said he got the chickenpox when he was 20 years old which was actually quite comforting to know (who knew that all the great people of the universe get them when they are in the twenties?)

When you feel gross, when you feel alone, when you feel like no one understands, when you feel like you want to run, when you feel tired, attacked, listless, disappointed, unattractive, guilty, and all you want to do is watch Elephant Man…Know this.

Know that God is with you.  Know that He never will leave.  Know that you can still talk to Him even when you can’t concentrate.  Know that you can ask for healing even if you haven’t done once nice thing for anyone.  Know that in the midst of your anger and confusion, you can still come to God.  He didn’t die for you when you were perfect.  He died for you when you were a sinner.  “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly”.  He died when you had rejected Him already. He did it when you were spitting in His face, denying his existence, denying his love.  Back when you were a lying, thieving, rattlesnake, that’s when He died to set you free!  To set you free from the lies, the curse, the confusion!  That’s when He did it.  So, in light of that obvious love, COME!  Come to the waters you thirsty, parched desert!  Come to the healer, you disgusting mound of sores!  Come to the lover, you unlovable trash-talker!  You are gross but He is beauty.  And His beauty will set you free from your ugly!

And that’s Good News.  That’s God News.

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