Have you ever thought you really knew a friend until something major happens? All of a sudden your relationship is threatened and tested beyond belief. Your heart drops into your stomach. All you thought, your picture of reality is instantly shattered. You find yourself wounded. No matter the cause, no matter the truth, you still find yourself questioning. If you’re not careful bitterness can creep in, and more lies fill your brain and heart. After you catch your breath, you begin to remember the bond you had. This can combat that bitterness and clear the smoke! You breathe, you pause, and memories flood your mind. That friend, was always there. He always had your back. He caught you when you fell. He wiped your tears. You remember the blessings and gifts that friend gave you. Oh my, how they lifted your spirit! They encouraged you.
Can your faith be restored? Can the relationship withstand this storm, and whatever may come?
Where is your faith? The above story is a story of the place we as a family found ourselves in the relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, three and a half years after the most miraculous encounter with them. My instantaneous healing from Lupus. We would find ourselves faced with many questions about ourselves and our God. We would have to take a hard look at ourselves. A look at the heart of the matter. How could we go from such a miraculous high to a terrifying storm. We questioned ourselves and had big questions for our Creator.
We had been to Seminary in Kentucky. I began having severe allergic reactions, so testing was in order. When EVERY test came back positive, our doctor suggested a move. Once again I had to say goodbye to my extended family. Moving back to our beloved Florida, we settled in beautiful St. Augustine. One day while sitting in our living room chatting away with my Mother on the phone, I was happy and relaxed. Suddenly the worst sound I had ever heard, broke the chatter. I see a fire ball out our picture windows, hitting very close over water. Static and a surge of electricity went through the phone with a loud pop that rattled both Mother and I. I told her what happened and began to cry. Hanging up, my hand tingled, my head hurt like crazy and my left ear hurt terribly.
Nevertheless, I took some Tylenol and went to bed. A week or so later, I was sent to the hospital and was admitted to the Cardiac ICU unit. My blood pressure was high, my heart erratic and racing well over 100 beats per minute. No amount of rest or liquids brought it down. I was in for three days. Nothing showed up to explain my symptoms. Though the lightning was not a direct hit, it questionably could have contributed to my problems. I was sent home and put back on meds. I had been medicine free for three and a half years except for the few months of breathing help in Kentucky. I recently found my journal from this time, and it confirmed my memory. I was scared and confused. I wrote an open honest prayer to the Father asking questions. You know, He does not mind them! As I read my journal I noticed the change of heart I was having as the Holy Spirit was calming me. I said, “Lord, I don’t know your big picture. I am not understanding at all, but I will trust you.” I wrote down a verse that always carried me.
“You survivors in Israel, listen to me, the Lord. Since the day you were born I have carried you along. I will still be the same when you are old and gray, and I will take care of you. I created you. I will carry you and always keep you safe.” Isaiah 46: 3-4 Contemporary English Version
This verse serves as a reminder of our Lord’s faithfulness. Here is a good time for me to encourage you to journal. Journals too can serve as wonderful memories of how God was always present. He was there on those days of celebration. He was there as you ran errands and waited for your child to get out of class. He was there at the doctor’s appointment. Oh look, see how he got you through that need, through that storm in life? One day, they will be a testament to the generations that come after you. What a gift to you grandchildren and on down the line.
So back to our life in St. Augustine, Florida. I was using Tapestry of Grace Year One with both my students. They enjoyed learning together and I enjoyed it too. I tweaked the program to fit our schedule, our family, and our goals. Remember that curriculum is a guide. With most you can tweak to go at your own speed. This comes in handy when you have good and bad days. Sometimes we also would do a Unit Study off a topic brought up in our TOG studies. The fact was, the children were learning daily despite my illness. We always found a way. Soon we developed a lifestyle of learning.
In the months to come, I continued to have abnormal blood work, odd symptoms, fatigue, nausea, muscle and nerve pain. I could tell my body was really off track. After months of no monthly cycle, my Primary Doctor told me I was pregnant. What? Not now! I thought this a little off. I was sick again, no answers, and in my mid 30’s. I was excited but skeptic. After all, I had a tubal ligation during my emergency C-Section with my son! (That is a whole other miracle story!) . Yeah, this guy was a quack. I ended up firing him one night when I found myself back in the ER and having an allergic reaction to Nitroglycerin, along with other issues. I was assigned another doctor, and shortly I had some answers. I will never forget the moment.
I walked into the Hospital to pickup my labs with my children. I stopped to read the results in the patient waiting area. Thankfully we were alone. So many positives, my heart sank. The auto-immune illness was back in action. What was I going to tell my family? “What did I do wrong Lord?” Questions and emotions overcame me. I began to cry. My daughter took the papers and began saying, “No, no this cannot be!” We quickly composed ourselves to get to the car. Our teenage daughter became angry, not hostile, but she was angry at this dreadful stealing illness. “What is it this time? “It cannot be Lupus again, can it?” ” Did you lie to us Mom?” The emotions were raw for all four of us. It was four years since I was healed, and approximately 9 years since I first fell so sick. “What are you doing God?” “Did I really mess up that bad?”
Questions continued. Answers were to come as were trials. God was in the midst of it all.
“We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him.” Romans 8:28
As Mac Lucado says, ” Don’t quit. For if you do, you may miss the answer to your prayers.”
These were hard words to hear, although our memory would not let go of them. Promises after promises filled our hearts and minds. We recalled God’s faithfulness. What was ahead, we had no idea.
to be continued….