Last Friday I watched as my daughter Faith was wheeled down a hall to the operating room. This was the fourth time I’ve kissed her on her forehead, let go of her hand, and watched her disappear behind double doors for a surgery knowing she would soon be under the care of surgeons and anesthesiologist. This time however, was different since I was letting her go within the same hospital system where I was overdosed and almost killed just over 5 years ago. Whether it’s the lingering effects of medically induced PTSD or the fact that Phillip, my husband was unable to be with us this time, the moment Faith disappeared through those doors my heart was pounding, sweat beaded up on my forehead, my hands trembled and I couldn’t catch my breath. I just stood there frozen. Absolutely frozen.
Finally, a nurse who had watched me stand there for sometime, brought me a glass of water and a chair. She helped me sit down and with the most gentle eyes asked what she could do to help me. Her kindness pricked my heart and tears flowed easily. I shared over the next few minutes how this was the first time I had been back in the hospital system where disaster had happened to me and, that letting my little girl go into that very system was the hardest thing I had ever done. I further explained that while I knew there were excellent doctors and nurses in the hospital — like her — my emotions were unable to align with everything my head was telling me.
The nurse embraced me, wept with me and then asked if she could pray. As we did, I didn’t feel the relief I hoped I would. Though I knew God was with me and Faith, the deep scars from my overdose and the broken trust it still causes me in medical situations, made it impossible for me to feel God’s presence. All I felt was utter terror, inexplicable and irrational fear. I was too overwhelmed by my past painful experiences to sense, feel, or experience the peace of the Lord in my circumstances. This was one of those times, I had to walk by faith not by sight. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us,
11 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].
And, by God’s grace, that’s what I did.
After a few more minutes with that incredibly, kind nurse I gathered up my strength and spent sometime time texting my dear friend, buying a cute stuffed animal for Faith and even walked by the area where my son James spent almost 10 weeks in the NICU. Standing where James had been so well cared for almost 16 years ago, reminded me of so many good things that happened within this hospital system where I had been hurt so badly. It reminded me that even though something truly wicked happened to me, many acts of service, love, and out right miracles happen there too. As I remembered, even though I wasn’t deeply in touch with His presence, by faith I could believe He was there, surrounding my sweet girl every moment of her surgery.
Finally, a little of God’s peace touched my heart as I made it to the surgical waiting room.
About an hour later, as the surgeon walked into the waiting room to tell me about how Faith had done, I could tell by the look on his face all was well. They found the problem, fixed it and soon she was headed home with me to heal. The past few days, I have marveled as she has bounced back far more quickly than any of us anticipated. My greatest worry in fact has been her over doing it! It is exciting to watch her thrive. I am grateful beyond words.
Now, this whole situation is obviously, evidence that I still have work to do in this area isn’t it? In hindsight, I believe, the Lord allowed for our insurance to require us to go through this particular hospital system to unearth unresolved feelings I buried a long time ago. It’s time for me to go there and do the work I need to — but I know I’m not going there alone. I know, that I know, that I know, no matter the situation, the Lord is faithful to provide all that I need. What is the evidence of this? Simple reflections of the other day when He provided a kind, caring nurse to sit with me when I was absolutely frozen by fear, a loyal friend to text with me, and even the walk He created through the hospital that reminded me of the amazing care my son received many years ago is evidence of His constant care. I can reflect on many other times throughout my life that shines His faithfulness. I just need to take the time to look.
What Is Faith?
Remember friends, faith in God is not all about feelings. In fact, sometimes our feelings get in the way of our faith. It is instead an ever-growing, steadfast journey; a relationship; a choice to trust Him even when we don’t sense Him. Faith in God is an acknowledgement that we do not always understand, nor do we comprehend all things, yet we choose to take Him at His Word and believe in His loving character. Faith in God does not mean life is perfect, but it does mean we know the One who is.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.
I think Emerson had it right. All I have seen, experienced, and learned in my life compels me, this utterly broken woman, to trust my Creator for all I have not yet seen and for all I need. He is able to bind up the wounds that still need healing. He is able to provide for our needs. Most of all, He WILL lead us through every valley and over every mountain top this side of Heaven – because HE is faithful. Because He is love.
May we all grow in faith