Stretch.

I have no idea if I will post this or not. I’ll write it and then decide.

I have this ridiculous pride streak that makes it super hard to ever tell anyone when I am not 100%. I rarely get sick (but when I do it’s a whopper) and when I do, for whatever reason it’s embarrassing to me… So now for me to post this someplace that 7 or 8 people may read – this will stretch me.

A few months ago I started having some crazy episodes at night… I would go to bed fine and wake up in a cold sweat with my heart beating out of my chest… I tried to ignore it for a time (yes I do know that is stupid) and kept trying to self diagnose with the help of Google and medical websites (yes I do know that is stupid)… As I said, dumb I know – but see previous paragraph. After a few times – I finally did mention it to my wife and she of course insisted I go to a doctor. It was probably time for a checkup anyway since I hadn’t been to one for a checkup since I was in my 20s. Rule of thumb… go to doctor more than once every 20 years… got it.

He ran all of the tests imaginable – short of a pregnancy test… and he felt he could rule that one out on his own. Everything was 100% normal and he said I just needed to learn to manage stress better… find a hobby, exercise more regularly, etc. That seemed to work. I didn’t have any more episodes until this past week and then I had the mother of one. I woke up at 2 in the morning and I really thought my ticket was getting punched. So much so that I woke my wife up – she called and woke the neighbor up whose husband is a doctor – but he was out of town so I went to the hospital. My pulse and bp were through the roof. They admitted me and for 3 days did every possible test they could run – including 2 stress tests and a full MRI. 3 days of resort living in the hospital and still every test normal – low cholesterol, good blood counts, no tumors, no blockages, no heart murmurs, no stroke or heart attack markers … But they were able to monitor the event in the night being hooked up to all of the monitors… So they ruled out me being crazy – thankfully.

I met with a doctor who explained that she thought it was stress. Stress?!? What are you talking about doc? I work at a church! C’mon! It’s not like I’m an air traffic controller or bomb defuser on a SWAT team… Although I did realize that we have been through a pretty stressful period at church. We had a lot to get figured out and a lot of pretty heavy decisions that were made at Eastside. But the intense stress we went through ended a month or so ago and the last few months really have been so good! So what was the deal? Had it happened a year ago – sure I would understand… I was stressed I admit! But now? Why? She said that our mind and body are on a kind of delay. When we are in the thick of everything – we build up extra defenses… It’s usual that after a sense of relief comes that our body essentially says – oh, ok – i don’t need all of that now and let’s it go. I guess my rubber band snapped back from being under the constant tension.

I really do feel great! I have so much excitement about where we are going… And Eastside is in a very good place directionally, spiritually and financially! Family is great as well… so I just have to get this night thing whipped…

So… if I decide to post this… which I cannot imagine doing… I would like to ask you (gulp) for help… that you would pray for this issue … pray for my wife Tera to not worry… and for my silly pride to be broken too while you are at it…

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40

Jason Rehmel is the Lead Pastor at Eastside Christian Church on the east side of Cincinnati. If you are someone who has had a terrible experience(s) at a church or churches – stop by some weekend and give it one more shot with Eastside. Whether you have felt judged, or dismissed, or unwanted – wherever it has been – Eastside is different.

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