Thursday, September 1, 2016

When the coffee gets bitter

I've had a revelation in the past few weeks: Life is not about me.

It doesn't get much more ironic than writing "It's not about me" in a blog that's purpose is to gain attention, but hear me out: 

In late July, while at annual training for a couple weeks, my hubs started having extreme headaches. They were so bad, he would curl up under a desk and try to sleep rather than leave his office for lunch or breaks. This continued even when he got home, which is when he started to experience nausea and extreme stomach pain as well. We finally contacted the doctor when I noticed he was looking rather jaundice. 

At his 2nd doctor's appointment within a few days, the doctor looked at us and said he wanted to admit him to the hospital right away. One of his blood tests was supposed to register between 33-70. His was 1,000. Suffice to say he wasn't doing very well, so we left for the hospital with his head hurting and my mind racing. It was a pretty rough 5 days in the hospital for him, with plenty of pain meds, a CT scan, a spinal puncture, x-ray, ultrasound, lots more blood tests and little sleep. I mean really, do you need to turn on the light at 4 a.m. to deliver a towel? But I digress...

Throughout the stay, we had some wonderful visits from friends and family and when I wasn't tracking down someone to change an IV bag or get him some more morphine, I was answering e-mails and texts to update people on his condition. 

On day two, he started to get worse quickly. This was also the time when the visits and communication slowed down as people were giving us some space. While he tried to sleep off the pain, I sat next to my book, journal and phone, also known as my boredom busters. I had already written until tears formed and Candy Crushed much longer than any person my age should. My book sat opened to the first page for about 20 minutes until I gave up re-reading the first paragraph. I was finally forced to mentally face what was going on and was trying desperately to keep it together.

It's moments like this I purposefully try to avoid. Instead of finding hope in Christ, I often try to push aside my thoughts and stay busy so I never even have the opportunity to worry for too long about the unknown future. This, however, was my breaking point. I sat on the floor outside room 506, head in my hands and praying harder than I've prayed in a long time. I felt helpless and completely scared- but tried to act okay as nurses occasionally passed by. It was at this moment that God showed up in an awesome way: my phone screen illuminated.

"Psalm 55:22- Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."

My aunt couldn't have had more perfect timing in texting me this verse. I had been battling with whether or not to pray for God's will. I really didn't want God's plan if it lead to something I didn't like.

Over the next few days, I can't say I dwelled on this too much. I occupied my mind and stayed busy. My hubs started feeling better and ended up getting released to go home three days later. We still don't know what caused this and he's still struggling with headaches, but only at a fraction of the intensity they were before and much more rare.

I don't say this to brag about how God answered my prayers. I know it could have gone the other way and God wouldn't be any less involved or loving for it. I say this to explain how happy I am that God is in control and I am not.

This phrase had me less than comforted while we were in the hospital, but over the last month, I have come to a few conclusions as to why this is an incredible thing:

1. Life is not about me, or about my husband. We are an incredibly selfish society, but the sooner we realize that God doesn't owe us a happy or content life, the sooner our struggles seem smaller and we can focus on the fact that we are here to glorify Him. We are a speck on the timeline of eternity and our time here on earth would be so much more impactful spent glorifying Him than it would be worrying about ourselves or pursuing our will separate from God's.

2. God loves us. It says this countless times in the Bible. I've experienced it countless more. He may allow us to go through some awful circumstances, but His heart breaks with ours. He sent His only son to die as payment for our sins- what more proof can He give that He wants us to experience an amazing eternity?

3. God is with us. Even if this situation had taken a turn for the worse, I am never alone. Any situation seems a little less daunting when you have someone muddling through by your side. I saw evidence of this every time He prompted someone to call or text or visit us.

So while it may be painful and bitter, as life can tend to be, I do take comfort in the fact that God is in control. I can say that now, with my husband recovering, and have said it when things didn't take a turn for the better. It's a beautiful thing to belong to a loving God who focuses on little ol' me- and to have a ridiculous number of family members in Christ there to support us. I can't thank you all enough.