By Debra Brand
As I left my house to do some errands, I noticed a subtle but all-too familiar stinging itch on my right wrist. Touching the spot, I felt the rise of a skin bubble.
In an instant, I flashed back to the day before. I had noticed some weeds growing around the flowerpots in front of our house. Distinctly remembering the nettle plant, I groaned. Nettles carry the same dermatitis causing sap as poison ivy, oak and sumac. Uh oh!
Sure enough, by noon I had a blister on my wrist. Then, I detected an itching under my ring on the same hand. Once you start feeling itchy, you itch everywhere.
The big problem is that I have an allergic reaction to poison ivy. The little blisters cluster together to form raspberry-like bulges with the same coloring and bumpy hairy follicles. As the condition worsens, it spreads into a leathery patch. Wherever you happen to get a scratch or cut, it erupts. Shaving your legs, underarms, or beards for men, is totally out of the question.
Then, of course, you have the itching. Imagine being stung by 100 mosquitoes all at once. Their venom gets under your skin and makes you want to scratch it away. With the nettles or poison ivy, the more you scratch the worse it itches! The prognosis is at least two weeks of discomfort!
A hot shower never felt so good. Just standing, letting the water pound into my denuded flesh, caused chills over my entire body.
By the weekend, however, something had gone wrong. The lotions I used were not effective. My right eye started to swell and welts began to rise upon my neck, chest and abdomen. In the crease of my left elbow, an oozing, weeping patch expanded to the size of a fifty-cent piece.
Fully expecting a healing at church on Sunday, and not wanting to bother my physician until Monday, I suffered with the eruptions instead. As I did, I found myself commiserating with everyone Iíd ever heard of who had gone through trials and tribulations of any kind.
Monday morning came and I called my doctor. Of course, he wanted to know why I waited so long for medical attention.
I donít like being yelled at.
He prescribed a treatment that I didnít want, but would allow my body to heal. Covered in calamine lotion, my skin turned a pink turtle-texture Ė very attractive.
As with any trial, the worst part is the going through. "Itís always darkest before the dawn" and all that. Complete restoration and renewal will be the conclusion as the disease runs its course and I continue with the proper treatment.
Many times we donít understand why we are going through such darkened times. If we look back we may be able to point out where we have strayed from the perfect path laid out for us. Sometimes itís just a mistake thatís been allowed to happen for us to grow.
Perseverance produces character; and character, hope (Romans 5:4 NIV). Hope is the prospect of success, relief or escape after strenuous effort (dictionary).
Remembered consequences of an action should keep me away from dangerous plants and I have resolved never to expose myself to any type of poisonous plant, or to get dermatitis of any kind, again Ė but, you never know.
I know my healing will come in its appointed time. Right now, it takes tremendous willpower not to scratch an itch! But my eternal confidence is in Christ Jesus, and someday I will be with him, where there will be no more tears, fears, anxieties or raspberry rashes.
Debra Brand delights in the Scripture, "Taste and see that the Lord, He is good!" Debra is thankful for the opportunity God has given her to stretch herself for His purposes, with her aim being to bring others to know Him. Writing has always been a desire of Debraís heart, and she knows that it is the Lord who gives those desires. Watching them come true is one of the most exciting things in her life. You can write to Debra through the Letters page of this magazine.