Monday, April 20, 2009

If You Thought I was Freaky Before...

So. Um. Half my face isn't working right.

I had these eye twitches and lip twitches going on all day Saturday. Kind of annoying, but I wrote it off to stress and being tired. My tongue was kind of numb and food didn't taste right. Plus I felt sick anyway.

Then I woke up early (or at least early for us) on Sunday...and the right side of my face was not working. My eye only closes with extreme focus. The right side of my mouth will not smile or frown with the rest of my mouth. WHAT IS GOING ON?

Welcome to Bell's Palsy. The nerve that runs through your neck, ear, and controls half of your face...eye, eye brow, mouth, some of your taste buds and tongue gets all bothered and decides to give up working for awhile. At least that's my version of it. It happens...for unknown reasons. It stays...for a few days, weeks, months...just depends on the person. But it usually goes away in a couple weeks on its own.

So here I am trying to lead worship at Maryland Community Church with Frank as guests on Sunday. It's rainy. I'm tired. My stomach hurts. My face doesn't work. My kids are running around the sanctuary during practice and spilling cereal on their nice carpet and collecting all the little pencils from the endless rows of seats and taking off their shoes and trying to climb on the altar...

As a worship leader there are days that you don't FEEL like worshiping. And I certainly did not win the Happy Happy Joy Joy Award yesterday. I might have been a fabulous candidate for the Rainy Complainy Janey Award. BUT, God's glory shines through that much brighter on the days where we are forced to depend on Him.

It's easy to get comfortable and even a little prideful as a worship leader. It's easy to depend on your own abilities and talents and get a little secretly smug when asked to lead worship at a BIG church. It's easy to make it more about you than God. It's easy. It's one of those daily struggles.

Not so easy when you can't smile right like you usually do to invite people to sing with you. Or close your eyes right so you can just focus on God and block out the people. Or your tongue feels thick and heavy and it's hard to form the words to a song. But worship isn't based on my smiles or my eyes closed or my singing. It's about my heart's attitude and desire. And I couldn't help but worship as the song lyrics came....

"This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

"Everyday, it's You I live for. Everyday, I'll follow after You!"

"Could circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You?"

"You traded your life for mine."

"I exalt thee!"

Really. It was time to get over myself and praise God anyway. This is something very temporary that will go away. It's such a little thing. And even if it WAS a big thing, God still deserves my praise, even though that's hard to think about. So whatever your ugly and painful circumstance is today, keep praising God. Sometimes it doesn't seem like it, but this life is so temporary compared to eternity...

Psalm 144:3-4 (New International Version)

3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him,
the son of man that you think of him?

4 Man is like a breath;
his days are like a fleeting shadow.

And if you need a good laugh, call me up and get me saying tongue twisters or something. Or watch me try to drink my coffee with out drooling. Or make me mad and watch me try to glare at you with one eye. It's pretty funny. Every time I see myself in the mirror, what I see makes me laugh and then it just looks worse!


Helen said...

Praise God! I got scared when I first started reading that you had a stroke. My friend's forty-eight year old husband had one a few weeks ago (please pray for them, he is not doing well...), so it doesn't only happen to old folks.
Speaking of old folks, my mom had a TIA on Saturday that took half an hour to clear out...usually it takes less than ten minutes. I thought she was having a real stroke. Praise God again, it was a TIA...
So though it sounds strange, I am thanking and praising God right now that your's turned out to be Bell's Palsy (sorry, I don't really mean to diminish your suffering, too much experience with strokes right now), and I am praying that you return to normal quickly.
Love you. Try to take it easy. Stress sometimes triggers it ( I had a friend whose husband had that too....and I thought I was only a carrier for insanity and high blood pressure, but who knows, right?)

Beth said...

I get you Helen-keep praising! The stroke thing crossed my mind, too, and I am very thankful it's not that. I will pray for your friend's husband.

Amy said...

Beth! I saw on facebook that your face was numb, but I had no idea it was actually something like Bell's Palsy. Is this something you've been dealing with for a while, like you've had diagnosed?
I LOVE your outlook. Many of us deal with much less than half their face not working properly, and are not able to be quite so sunny about it. You are a great example of going from strength to strength..that God gives you the strength you need for TODAY, in this moment. You are my special friend, Beth, and I love seeing you praise God in the midst of your circumstances. Love you.

sherri said...

Beth- Like Helen, I was a bit concerned when I first started reading this post, but I'm glad this is temporary, and proud of you for handling it so well.

Doesn't it just make you more aware how we should be so thankful for all we have and how quickly "normalcy" can be interrupted?

Your attitude has inspired me today.

Love you sister-

Lisa Joy said...

We just had a delightful dinner with your mom, and she mentioned this and that you'd written about it here. I'm praying for you!

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

katdish said...

I'm sorry that you're dealing with the Bell's palsey. I know someone else that has it, I just can't remember who at the moment.

We have a routine when we practice. We do a sound check with a couple of songs, work through some technical stuff. Then we take a break, someone usually does a quick devotional, we pray for each other and then get back to practice. The difference before and after that prayer time is night and day -- in the quality of the music and my ability to focus on why we're doing it in the first place.

Get better soon! Or at least post some pictures! (just kidding)

Marni said...

Oh Beth! I didn't see this until today and I'm sorry you didn't hear from me sooner. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this...but girl, what a trooper you are! I seriously doubted I would have gone to church and especially would not get up and sing. That is a real testament to how you won't let anything stop you from worshipping.

I'm praying for you. I hope you get better very, very soon.

HAHAHAHA. I just read what Kat wrote about pictures.

Annie K said...

Darnit Beth...I go away for the weekend and I'm finally catching up on blogland and read THIS! Wow. Know that I am praying for you and for healing. Seriously. I am praying like crazy for you!

Love you!

Mylestones said...

Hi Beth! Sherri sent me. And apparently I do whatever Sherri tells me to do....
Just wanted to say hello and that I appreciate what you shared in this post. And its encouraging to see that you chose to bless His name, not just when He gives, but when He takes away. Hang in there!

Beth said...

Mylestones- Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. I think we all do what Sherri says...unless we want her mother after us!! :)

katdish said...

Sherri's mom is not the boss of me! (But don't tell her I said that.)

sherri said...

katdish- I heard that and I'm a tattler, so Momma's gonna' be SOOOOO mad!

Nick the Geek said...

A guy I worked with had that from some kind of virus and it lasted like a month or so. Weird stuff.

I get this weird eye twitch when my MIL is coming for a visit. I always thought I handled stress well but guess not. Weird.

Anyways, I'll pray for you.

Debbie said...

So glad to have found your site...prayind for your health!!! thankyou for your witness during the trial!!