Thursday, December 17, 2015
What a difference a year makes! Only 8,760 hours. This last year has felt more like a lifetime to me. A lifetime of learning and growing.
Exactly one year ago today, one of the hardest days of my life, I was headed to the hospital to have treatment for thyroid cancer. I would need to be in isolation for 3 days. I could only have 15 - 30 total minutes of contact a day. So, the nurses bringing in my food and checking me with a Geiger counter (not kidding...) a few minutes each day would be all of the contact I had. As we began to prepare for the isolation, Mark, (my husband) and I got the phone call that my big brother, Bob, - one of my heroes - had died, and I couldn't leave, but Mark had to go. It was miserable but I was NEVER alone! I needed a hug but I knew that God was with me. It was a hard time, a very hard time, but I'm not telling you this for your sympathy, I want to tell the "why" of it all.
When I got out of the hospital I began counting how many people had been praying for me - I've forgotten the numbers but it was hundreds - some even out of the country - many I didn't know. One gentleman I didn't know who worked at the hospital was even stopping to pray at my door each day as he passed by while working. So humbling. Unbeknownst to me, God was beginning a work in me that day. I missed my big brother and family, I was sick and lonely, BUT GOD. . .
God began to teach me through my pain and grief. He began to show me a strength that I never knew I had: a strength and ability to lean in on Him for comfort, for encouragement, for my every need. I began to see how small my trust in Him had actually been. He began to gently lead me to deeper levels of trust and healing. Even though I knew some of these truths and had been taught them all of my life, I didn't really KNOW them. God showed me He was big enough to hear me cry out to Him, "You hurt me!" without being disappointed in me or turning from me. He showed me that He understood and wasn't leaving or changing.
God began to show me that He wanted me to begin asking bigger questions. Rather than always asking "why?" He wanted me to begin asking "what do you want me to learn through this?", "how do you want me to respond in this situation?", "where were you, who are You to me during this season?" and "Where do I go from here?". He has used this year - my time of having absolutely no energy - to give me opportunity to draw near to Him, to begin to know Him, to be still, to listen, to grow and to rest. God didn't shy away from my questions, in fact I believe he delighted in them and rejoiced to be able to answer some of them for me.
I was taught that I had a choice. I could either look at my problems and feel sorry for myself and seek sympathy or I could look at the size of my problem as being the measure of how big of an opportunity it is for God to work miracles and bring changes. I learned that I have a voice and that I'm not invisible. That my voice and my story need to be heard. I know that other people have been through so much more, and even still my story of how God worked in my life can be an encouragement to others. I can now do as others did for me. I can say THIS is what God did for me THIS is what God taught me during this time of pain. I can tell you that God is still in the miracle business and that if He can do this for me He can do the same and even greater things for you and through you.
So many have helped me this year. People have prayed, called me, sent cards, driven me to Dr. visits, loved on my children, opened their homes for me, cooked for me, given to me, sponsored me to go to Bible conferences, taught me, coached me, listened to me complain, cried with me, encouraged me, - in short have loved me and given me room to grow. So, thank you. Thank you for your prayers and all of your encouragement. It made a difference.
I still miss my brother, and I still have moments of regret, but I have been brought to the point of being able to say I am so thankful for this year. For every moment of the hard times, for the pain as well as the joy. I know I have a long ways to go and many more things to learn, but now I know that I have a purpose and a voice. More importantly, I have God walking right beside me teaching all along the way. He can do the same for you.