Why God Allowed My Ulcers? (A Theory)

I was diagnosed with large, but superficial (meaning not deep) stomach ulcers a month ago. Prior to that point I suffered from intense acid reflux, constantly throwing up acid in my mouth. Citrus fruits became unbearable and onions and garlic, although delicious, badly hurt my stomach. Every doctor I saw about this just said it was plain old acid reflux and they prescribed me acid reflux medication. Not one person thought it could be ulcers.

Well, the problem persisted. My stomach would hurt after eating almost anything. Intense nausea would randomly come upon me and it lasted for hours. Not satisfied with the “it’s just acid reflux” theory, I saw another doctor. He admitted that it perhaps could be ulcers and sent me off for an endoscopy. 

After the endoscopy, I learned that I had several large ulcers and a growth in my esophagus. Wait. What?? What’s that? My gastroenterologist did not explain why I had the growth, the ulcers, or the best course of treatment. She simply stated that taking 20mg of my acid reflux medication would be sufficient treatment.

Something in my spirit told me to seek a second opinion, so I met with another gastroenterologist. He informed me that my previous GI doctor made huge mistakes. She prescribed the incorrect dosage for my medication. Instead of 20mg, I should’ve been taking 80mg! That’s a grave mistake.

Not only did she make that error, but she neglected to inform me that while the growth in my esophagus was normal, it could turn into cancer. Let me explain.  When you have this type of growth in your esophagus, it is HPV. As a never sexually active woman, I didn’t think that HPV was a concern for me, so I was never vaccinated against it, per my mother’s wishes.

My new GI doctor told me that I will have to keep an eye on my esophagus and there’s a possibility that they could grow back. If they do indeed grow back and they aren’t removed, they could be cancerous. 

If he had never told me that, I would never have gotten another endoscopy, allowing a doctor to check for these growths. I would never have known about this cancer risk. I would have been at risk for developing this type of cancer!! Talk about medical malpractice from my other doctor.

 

Anyway, I’ve been wondering why I got ulcers at 23 years old. I’d never heard of a young person having ulcers. None of my doctors thought it conceivable for someone so young to have these issues. I think I have an idea why, apart from possible personal mistakes (taking too much ibuprofen-people, this can cause ulcers! I didn’t know that!)

 

If I had never had ulcers, this growth in my esophagus would have continued to grow and it could have turned into cancer. God essentially saved me from that by allowing me to suffer in a different way, in order to correct the esophagus issue.

 

Although my lifestyle has changed regarding food and drink and although I get stomach pains from time to time, I’m grateful to God for His wisdom and mercy in this situation.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Ishi

You’ve been my One and only for over a decade.

Throughout my difficult stages of life, You held me tightly and whispered sweet promises over me.

At night, You gave me songs to raise to You. Songs to ground me.

When others tried to take Your place, or to disparage the masterpiece You made,

You gave me the courage to say no, to advocate for myself, and to choose You

over false imitators of Your love.

 

Because my Ishi, You have shown me love.

We both know that my parents’ marriage demonstrated what love shouldn’t look like.

You don’t want that for me.

My Ishi, You’ve etched the carvings of Your character on my heart.

It pumps and beats in tune with Your word.

My Ishi, You have loved me perfectly.  Perfect love casts out fear.

 

You are the only One I allow into the dark spaces my mind goes.

I have felt what seemed like Your absence and it ripped me apart.

I missed You, I missed feeling Your arms around me,

Your nail-scarred hands, touching my cheek when I cried.

 

Ishi, I knew You were there.

You were hiding and I was searching.

You waited for me to lift my eyes to Abba’s right hand,

to call upon Your name,

and to trust in You for an answer.

 

On the days that my depression left me in bed for every moment of daylight,

my Ishi was there.

When my lips couldn’t form the words to express my despair,

You formed them for me, interceding for me.

 

Ishi, You are with me wherever I go.

I know what it’s like to feel as if I’ve lost You, my best friend.

You are the only One I simply cannot live without,

as You are the One who twice breathed life into me.

But, You promise to be with me always, even until the end of the age.

Relating to God as Father (When You’ve Been Abused)

Readers,

This is a painful topic. I suppose I should insert a trigger warning for any abuse survivors. I won’t go into too much detail about the abuse that I suffered, but I will mention it in slight detail. This piece may bring back painful memories for you. I’m right there with you, friend. We’re in this together.

 

Alright, well here’s a bit of my story. I was born into a tumultuous family. My father had undiagnosed bipolar disorder and his own long history of abuse in all its sick forms. Many people hurt my dad when he was a child. Typically this is what happens. Someone is abused and they, in turn, abuse their own children, often unknowingly.

I was abused. I was emotionally, verbally, spiritually, and financially abused. Common occurrences in my home were these:

  1. I would come home from school and find at least two family members engaged in a screaming match.
  2. Dad would become so angry that he would punch holes in walls and break things in the home. One time he threw my dog against the wall. I will never forget that. 
  3. When I asked for money, it was given with much reluctance and often I felt indebted to my father. I had to perform in a certain way to pay him back. This is something I struggle with to this day.
  4. Often, my parents would threaten to divorce at least once a week. One time I became so fed up with the arguing, because I was studying, and I said, “Just divorce already or don’t because I’m studying!” I was 9 years old.
  5. Sometimes Dad would leave for days on end, after a big fight with my mom. If he didn’t leave, he gave her the silent treatment for a few days. As my brother and I grew older, he exhibited this behavior toward us as well. 
  6. I’ve been called a bitch, evil, a burden, etc. Cutting words.

Readers, this abuse is something that the Lord is slowly lifting off of my heart every day. With each morning, I feel that God is calling the abuse out of me, calling to my mind the painful memories so we can work through them together. Every time I see my therapist, I receive so much healing and validation. I love therapy. I highly recommend it!

Now, this piece is about relating to God as Father when you’ve been abused, especially by a man. I never realized that I had an incorrect and incomplete view of God as Father until recently. My Christian walk up until age 23, my current age, has been about legalism. I always wanted to “do the right thing” and “be a good Christian.” I wanted to please God. I wanted Him to be proud of me. I want my Dad to be proud to be my Dad. I didn’t want God to punish me. 

I never experienced that light freedom that comes from loving Christ and being loved by Him until recently. Actually, you know, picturing Christ in my mind when I thought of God was easier than thinking of the Father. This could be because the Father seems a bit removed from us in the sense that He does not have a body. He is Spirit. But, Christ has a body, so it’s easier to relate to Him. That’s so genius of God to send Christ. 🙂

But, this is how my walk has been. This has been how I related to God. I can’t quite pinpoint what really happened to change it, but one night I was reading Romans 4 and the realization of God’s holy grace rushed over me! The Holy Spirit came upon me in a powerful way and I wept for hours, finally realizing that God loves me because He is love and because He made me, not because I’m “good.”

For those of you who struggle with viewing God as Father, listen to me. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I don’t have this all figured out yet and I won’t until I join the Lord in heaven, but it gets easier. My recommendation is to:

  1. Deal with the memories when they come up (as long as is healthy for you)
  2. Seek therapy (whether that’s formal counseling or some type of counseling from church)
  3. Pray to your Father
  4. Read the sections of the Bible where the Father is mentioned as loving, patient, kind, and understanding
  5. Wait on the Lord. He will heal you.

 

Friend, what happened to you was not something unknown to God. He knew it would happen. He didn’t want it to! But, we have free will. However, what Satan meant for evil in your life, God will turn it around for your good! You will be a blessing to yourself and to others. God will bring you to a place where you can speak to others about your past and your healing. Many will come to the Lord through your testimony. Many will find healing. I firmly believe this. Rest in God. Let HIS strength be Yours. He loves you because He’s your Abba. ❤

 

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Self-Denial and Your Calling (Puerto Rico?)

Readers,

I’m sure you’ve been keeping up to date with the news on Puerto Rico, as we all should. Although the President says that the government’s relief efforts have been extraordinary, the faces of the people in Puerto Rico are telling me otherwise. The incredible mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, has given passionate pleas for Puerto Ricans, using such strong words like “dying” and “genocide.” Wow, and that’s the capital city.

So if those in the capital city are suffering so viciously, we must accept that there are many in the campo (countryside) who are worse off. They have no water, no electricity, no food, and no medical supplies. I’m certain that the death toll is much higher than the government believes it to be. I have no doubt that there are many Puerto Ricans in the campo who have died in their homes and relief workers simply haven’t found them yet.

This disastrous hurricane has raised so many feelings inside of me. I’ve been turning various options over in my mind, trying to find how God could be calling me to respond in the wake of this tragedy. The Lord knows that my Spanish isn’t the best and I don’t have enough work experience to convince myself that I can make a difference in Puerto Rico.

While many Puerto Ricans are leaving the island, as recovery is likely to take decades, there are countless others who have no such luxury. They cannot leave the island. They must stay until their dying day, which may be quickened by the terrible conditions Puerto Rico now suffers from. 

How can I get involved? What are my talents? Well, I can teach English. I can work with children. I can hand out supplies to those in need. I can be a mentor to teenage girls.

What are my spiritual gifts? I have the gift of exhortation, empathy, teaching, and faith. NO DOUBT God can use those.

But, what do I lack? Language skills. I know that on my own, without the Holy Spirit’s help, it will be incredibly difficult to share the gospel with anyone in Spanish.

This is what keeps me from moving to the island and investing in my fellow Puerto Ricans. Funnily enough, a lack of language skills hasn’t deterred me from thinking about serving God in India, because I’m not Indian. No one would expect me to know Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, etc. But, because I’m Puerto Rican, I face some backlash for not speaking the language as well as I’d like. I face shame. I face rejection, I face questions about my upbringing. 

I think of Moses. When God called him back to his own people, the people he wasn’t raised with, he kept complaining that he wouldn’t know how to speak to the people. God gave him Aaron for that. I hope to find my own Aaron along the way to be my mouthpiece until I can become fluent in Spanish.

Will I move to Puerto Rico? Perhaps. Do I want to? Hell yeah. To go back to the island my grandmother called home would be an honor. To return to my roots and invest in my people would be a gift. I pray that the Holy Spirit helps me get over myself enough for me to actually do this.

 

I don’t want to meet the King of Kings face to face and say I never left New York City because I was scared to be rejected. I want to tell Him that I left all I ever knew, planted myself in a poor country where I hardly spoke the language, and loved the people well. All for Him. It’s all for Him. It’s time to pray.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

 

Dealing with the Demonic (Spiritual Warfare)

Heavy topic. There are so many varying opinions on this topic, that I’m hesitant to really dive into it. I’m still learning about spiritual warfare, so this won’t really be a guide to it, but more of an explanation of how it’s been manifesting in my life.

I suppose you could say that I’ve always dealt with the demonic. When I was a child, sleep paralysis plagued me. I saw dark shadows. I heard screams and voices. I always called out to Jesus and it stopped.

As I’ve grown in Christ, spiritual warfare has become a regular issue in my life. Typically before a great thing for the Lord happens, I experience deep spiritual warfare. Right after my baptism in 2014/before I led three people to the Lord, I was attacked with obsessive thoughts and fears.

Before I left for India in 2015, again I was tormented by obsessive thoughts and fears about Satan and the demonic. A demon even spoke through a family member and cursed me, telling me I will get raped in India and that nothing good will come of my trip. Well, I found my life’s purpose that summer, in India.

Again, like clockwork, obsessive thoughts have found their way back to me, this time in the form of hypochondria and literal ulcers in my stomach. Now, I’m not saying that this is totally spiritual, but it’s also not just mental or physical. I’m working through this. Satan definitely uses obsessive thoughts to torment Christians. That’s one of his tactics.

I’ve also had demons literally speak to me. They’ve told me that I’m a whore, I’m worthless, I’m a rodent, and I should go to hell. I’ve literally heard these growling, inhuman voices in my ear, typically as I try to sleep. Anything a demon says is a lie. Satan is the father of ALL LIES. John 10:10 tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy and Jesus Christ came to give us life and give it abundantly. Remember that Scripture. It will give you encouragement.

That’s another way Satan attacks you. In your sleep. Sleep paralysis and insomnia can be a spiritual attack. I know for me, it always is. How do I know this? After rebuking the enemy and using the name of Jesus Christ, it ends and I can sleep.

 

How do we combat the enemy? Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the whole armor of God and pray in the Spirit at all times. We use the name of Jesus. We quote Scripture out loud. We do as Jesus Christ did, when He was tempted in the wilderness.

 

Be encouraged. If you’re dealing with the demonic, you’re not alone.

II Timothy 2:17 tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.

Fear is NOT of God! Rebuke it, give it to God, and go to sleep. ❤

Philippians 1:6 tells us that Jesus will finish the good work HE started in us.

Matthew 19:26 tells us that we, in our fragile and fleshly bodies can’t do this, but with God, ALL things are possible.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

When God Diverts Our Path (Literally)

This morning, I woke up so early to get to two doctor’s appointments. I rushed around the city, hopping on and off of buses, lugging around my heavy bag, and just wishing I could get back to my apartment.

But, God had other plans. Of course!!

As I made my way home, carrying my groceries and overnight bag (I had a sleepover last night), I was so consumed with trying to access RZIM’s live stream of Nabeel Qureshi’s funeral that I got on the wrong train. Realizing my mistake, I jumped off and stood somewhere on the street, waiting for the funeral service to load on my phone.

It turns out I was standing outside of a McDonald’s. There I saw a homeless woman with a sign, Diana. I felt God say to my heart, “Yes, you don’t want to miss this funeral live stream, but there is a woman who needs love.” 

I ended up buying her and her friend, Tyrone, a meal, sitting with them and talking about the crazy hurricanes and crazier Donald Trump. We just shared time and food together. I didn’t pester them with questions about their condition as homeless people. We just talked like people, humans, friends. As they left, Tyrone said, “Gabrielle. I’ll never forget that name.” 

 

Earlier that day, I was hungry and wanted to get a bagel from this deli, but I had no cash. Knowing that Dunkin’ Donuts would take my card for a $2.00 purchase, I went there and bought a bagel. A man, who used to be Muslim, sat down as I killed time by reading my Bible. He began preaching to me and encouraging me, reminding me that God will keep His promises. He will NEVER lie or not keep them. He will never forsake me. I needed that.

 

If I had gotten on the right train, if I had had cash on me, I would not have had these experiences. God let this happen so I could be ministered to and so I could minister to others.

 

Praise God.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Nabeel Qureshi

Nabeel,
I knew you were going to a place where everything would be made right.
Your body would be restored.
Life would be renewed.

A place where pain no longer ruled
And sickness was a forgotten foe.
Where humans didn’t kill each other
Over religious beliefs or skin color.

Yet you didn’t want to go.
Not many of us do desire to leave
Although what’s awaiting some of us
Is divine glory beyond comprehension.

But, the cancer ate away at your body.
The doctors removed your stomach;
Left you bare.

I wonder if you remembered what food tasted like,
What it was like to drink something cool and refreshing.
Or had you become accustomed to the tubes
That kept you with us, although you were suffering?

Nabeel,
In this world, you left the old life for the new.
The only promise you had to cling to
Was the promise of God’s ever-presence.

We are not ensured health in this life
Nor wealth, although we try
To keep a firm grip on both.

Nabeel,
You showed me what it meant to be a Christian.
To suffer, to be sick, and to love Jesus regardless.
You’re in the Lord’s arms and that brings comfort.
But we’ll miss you and the work you did for the people you loved.

Nabeel,
You are enjoying everything new.
New body.
New mind.
New home.
We just wish you didn’t have to go.

 

 

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. – John 11:25

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. – Philippians 1:21

Nabeel Qureshi is in Heaven

Nabeel Qureshi has passed away after a year-long battle with advanced stomach cancer. This morning he closed his eyes and opened them to see the face of his Savior, Jesus Christ.

I knew this day was coming, but I’m so heartbroken by his death. I have no other words to explain how I feel. He was a light shining the truth of Jesus to Muslims. I know he could have done SO much more if God had healed him. But, God has His reasons and His ways are good and just. All of that doesn’t take away from how painful it is to see someone suffer from cancer and die. Yet Nabeel is with Jesus now and that is what gives me comfort.

To learn more about Nabeel’s ministry, check out his books:

“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”

“No God but One: Allah or Jesus?”

“Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward”

 

Brother Nabeel, you are with the Lord now. We will all miss you. The world will miss the beautiful work you did for Jesus and the love that you constantly had for the Muslim people.

I know you heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

Rest in the Lord’s arms, Nabeel. We love you.

 

 

 

 

Self-Sabotage and the Single Girl

Readers,

I have a confession to make. I self-sabotage all the time. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I’ll find a way to make it harder for myself. Jobs, boyfriends, friends, it doesn’t matter! I self-sabotage.

This realization has come upon me recently and for a few weeks I wondered why I did this so constantly. It’s become almost second nature for me. Well, I think I have an idea why.

I grew up in an abusive home. My parents had a marriage void of love, respect, or shared purpose. My dad was not the best example of a father OR a husband. As a result, I’ve noticed ways I react to conflict or difficult situations that must have been learned in childhood. When there’s a conflict, I fight viciously for myself and cut ties. When it appears that someone is taking advantage of me, I remove all emotion from my words and treat that person in a professional way. When a job seems like it might be too hard for me, I quit the job or find reasons not to take it.

This was taught to me in my childhood. When my parents had a fight, divorce was threatened each time. My father would leave for the night, slamming the door and abandoning us. My mother would then go to the bank, taking out cash and teaching me how to “get what I need for myself.”

So much happened in my childhood that I’m slowly seeing how even my relationships with simple things like money or food have been distorted because I’ve never seen a healthy example of one.

What’s the point of all of this? I’m a runner. In difficult situations, I neither flee nor fight. I freeze.

But when people hurt me or appear to manipulate me, I fight with all I’ve got. It’s a positive thing that I’m a fighter. However I have to let my shield down a bit and put my sword back in its place.

Because sometimes, a person will show you that they would never treat you like how your dad used to. They aren’t that person from your past. And if they’re worth anything, they’ll stick around while you painfully and awkwardly discover that.

 

Be patient. Work out the lies you’ve believed and harmful habits from your childhood.

 

Let God heal them. Let God show you that there are people out there who will love you.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

And Then I Got Sick (God Allowed It)

Hey readers,

If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning, you know that my family has dealt with many illnesses this year. My dad had a pulmonary embolism in April and discovered that he had an enlarged heart, my brother had a severe bone infection in his leg in July, and my aunt who has Lupus isn’t doing so well.

In an odd way, I sensed that all of this was God. God allowed these things to happen for a reason. I began to see my friends and friends of friends become sick. One of my friends’ mom is undergoing a hysterectomy soon. This friend also has a friend with lung cancer. My old roommate was diagnosed with a spinal cord infection and possibly an auto immune disease. My half-sister’s grandma was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

All of this happened within the past few weeks.

So, I was kind of waiting for my turn to get sick. Now, I had been dealing with some acid reflux symptoms but chalked it up to stress from family issues and every doctor I saw confirmed this. A couple of weeks ago, my acid reflux became so painful, that I went to the ER and the doctor informed me that I could either just have terribly bad acid reflux or potentially an ulcer.

Yesterday, I had an upper endoscopy and the doctor found 2-3 small ulcers and a nodule on my esophagus. They’re doing biopsies of everything. 

I’ve never heard of a 23-year old having ulcers and nodules or anything like this. I only know one other young person who has had an ulcer. As a result of my ulcer, I need to completely change the way I eat and drink.

I’m not just talking about eating healthy foods. I typically eat very well. But there are some foods and drinks I can no longer take and if I can, they must be in small amounts.

Here’s an example:

  1. Black tea (MY BELOVED CHAI!!!)
  2. Onions (the best)
  3. Garlic (yum yum)
  4. Eggs (my typical breakfast)
  5. Anything fried (bye, bye chicken fingers)
  6. Alcohol (see ya, beloved whiskey and wine)
  7. Caffeine (adios, Coke Zero)
  8. Citrus fruits (nature’s candy)

There’s probably more, but it’s trial and error for me and my stomach.

Why did this happen to me? I don’t know. The biopsies come back next week. It may be the result of an infection and it may not be.

What I do know is that God let this happen. For some reason, God allowed me to have ulcers and nodules. What I’m resting in is the sweet sovereignty of Jesus. He is in control. He dictates what happens to me and what is kept from me. I trust Him with my life. I have to trust Him with my life. Because it belongs to Him. One day, I’ll no longer eat and be in pain. I’ll have a new, healthy body in heaven. Can God heal me of these ulcers and nodules? Absolutely. Will He? Maybe. Is He wrong if He doesn’t? Nope!

 

Let’s see what God does with this…

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.