Pneumonia and the blessing it has been.

I’m not gonna lie, but some of this is somewhat embarrassing to share with you [whoever you are]. As anyone who reads my blog might know, last year I was training hard physically for a Tough Mudder, to which I completed at the end of October. I was in great shape and knew I had pushed myself harder than ever in my life. However, immediately following the Mudder, I found out I had pneumonia. For anyone that has never had it, it is not something I would ever wish upon anyone. It isn’t that you feel so horrible. The problem is that you feel like you have a never ending cold, slight headache and are ALWAYS out of energy. Oh and not to mention, a constant feeling of somewhat drowning. So for the last week of October and whole month of November I was at my worst with this wretched sickness. Drugged with 3 different anti-biotics, including a super intense cough medicine with codeine, I was slowly recovering from my illness. In the beginning of December, I had been given an opportunity to go to Haiti and see what Convoy of Hope does there post-earthquake recovery. Though I was just getting over my sickness, I felt there was nothing short of being in the hospital that would keep me from that trip. So I went…

One thing for sure is that I am a very impatient person. I was so [ironically] restless waiting to recover. Having worked out so much and gotten used to running 4 miles or more, I was so ready to get back into the gym. However, my body fought me and won…it was simply not ready to return to the gym. Of course, I learned it the hard way attempting to workout the middle two weeks in December. As Christmas came along, I was starting to feel closer to 100%.  But as the week moved past Christmas, my body simply had exhausted itself. Between the remnant of the pneumonia, traveling to Haiti then to Kentucky for Christmas, and over working my body for those two weeks, my body crashed…again, and bad. It was as if I was back in that last week of October at my worst. My coughing attack returned. My lungs felt like they were slowly filling with fluid. My body was weak. And bonus… a migraine came in full force. My new year started off with, through a series of events, being unable to fly to Israel as planned to photograph a friend’s wedding and being stranded in Kentucky with my sister and her husband [don’t get me wrong- I loved getting to see them]…and the cherry on top of it all was the return of all the symptoms of pneumonia. The funny and ironic thing is that had I made it on the flight to Israel, I would have been very sick for my friend’s wedding and probably have just wasted my time there. God knew I guess. Returning back to Jersey, I figured I would give myself a week or so to fully recover and try working out again. I came dangerously close to staying sick. It seemed like I couldn’t shake the cough, headache, sinus pressure or the weakness.

So now here I am…exposing myself to some mild embarrassment [don’t worry…I’ll get over it]. In these months of struggling to regain my health paired with the holidays… I find myself frustrated and mildly angry at my current state. I have gained what looks like [at least in my head] 20 pounds, yet feels like 50 [definitely not an accurate number]. I find my clothes not fitting right. Beyond all of that, I find myself upset that for a year, I trained for the Mudder and pushed myself. I was in great shape and now… just a few months since and you can’t even tell. I don’t feel like I’m in shape, though I know I am still relatively okay. As I just said, I have gained weight, around 10-12 pounds- and I notice more than anyone -as most people probably do with their own flaws… we are our own worst critics. Knowing that this year I want to do the Tri-State Tough Mudder again and train for a 10k or half-marathon, as well as regular 5ks, etc. my health is something that just needs to improve.

It is so discouraging looking at pictures of myself right before my Mudder and a picture from a week ago… I feel defeated. Last year was a year I devoted to being diligent and disciplined to fitness only to end the year [and start this year] worse than I began it.

But I hear a still, soft voice. A whisper.

God knows my heart. He knows the discipline, the sweat, the literal tears, the literal blood, the bruises, the pain, the energy I put into last year as a whole. He knows that in my weakness, only He can make me strong. He’s been speaking to me so much lately about that idea- letting him build me up, and work in my life, especially through the things I have no control over. It means being disciplined at times in silence and rest. It means learning patience. I will return to my workouts, this time, slowly bringing myself back up to speed. But during this time I cannot forget that rest is crucial. A sabbath every once in a while, at minimum to just simply relax and to rest in Him.

My only encouragement to you, the reader, is to just rest. You may be going through difficulty right now. You may be sick. You may just be in a weird place emotionally, spiritually, whatever. Try to rest in God and let him just renew you- your mind, your strength, your spirit. Maybe healing from heartbreak, loss of a loved one, busy job, or something else. He can be that healing- he is that healing. He is that renewal. I know that these past 3 months have been frustrating being sick, gaining way, and not necessarily feeling beautiful all the time- yet I know God is my God and he is for me. But he also longs for me. With being sick, I have spent a lot of time just reading my Bible, praying, or just talking to him. I have learned what it looks like and feels like for me to just rest in Him. A peace. I will maintain that peace and that rest while slowly but surely continuing in the discipline to workout, but I know that in all of that, He is my strength. My everything. My all.