By the time I was 27 (in 2010) I had gone from being an intern working in the office of CTI Music Ministries to a mission’s leader traveling with teams all over the world. I unequivocally loved my life. I felt as though I was living completely within my giftings and passions, and growing in my relationship with the Lord every moment. I was seeing the world, I was sharing my story, mentoring team members, playing music, and building life-long friendships. The only thing that could have been better was my health.
I had always known that my health would degenerate the older I got; I had just never been so affected by it like I was at this point in my life. In the years past I had been able to maintain a relatively normal existence, with minimal disruption from my disease. Sure I was typically in the hospital once or twice during a year, and on home-IV-antibiotics several weeks at a time, but that was all normal to me. I had learned to work around that in order to do the things “normal” people my age were doing, like going to school, working their first job, and attending football games, etc. But this was different. Suddenly my health was worse than it had ever been and I was finding it hard to even have conversations without getting short of breath. The work I was doing was physically taxing on a person in perfect health but for me it seemed to be a million times worse. We were carrying stage equipment and luggage all over whatever country we happened to be in, we were doing up to four concerts a day, and we were getting hardly any sleep. Not only that but I was hardly able to keep up with my medication drudgery.
This all came to a head when I checked myself into the hospital and found that my lung function was lower than it had ever been. It was so low the doctors started to talk to me about getting on a transplant list. Needless to say, they were not happy when they found out about the kind of life I had been living the past two years. One of my doctors flat out said to me, “I just want to make sure you understand that the way you are choosing to live your life is literally killing you”. My response to that came pouring out of my mouth almost instantly, so I knew my words were authentic. I told him, “I know. I know the cost, and I want to pay it because I love my life. There isn’t anything I would rather be doing. I’m doing things that I am proud of. It is worth it to me. If I die…I die”.
The emotion of that moment didn’t catch up with me until a few hours later when the doctor had long gone. I was laying in my hospital bed weeping. But it wasn’t because of the prospect of death, it was because I could see tangibly that my heart was finally genuine, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude that the Lord would give me an opportunity to show Him that. I was being made more like Christ! What more could I want?
Affects on Counseling
In all honesty, I can’t see a way this event will directly affect my counseling. Perhaps I will realize some correlation unexpectedly some day, but for now I’m not seeing it. Obviously this event has had a huge role in shaping my character, and I understand that our character is the foundation on which we build our counseling technique; still I can’t seem to pinpoint anything specific.