Last week I had an exasperating third surgery on my head. I had a wound infection and there were big unanswered questions about an ugly looking lesion in the back of my brain. Though I knew I needed to be in the hospital, much of my time in the ICU, I was restless and without peace. There were noises everywhere, bright lights, doctors asking me to squeeze fingers and move toes, physical therapists wanting to exercise, alarms sounding and a constant headache that made me restless. Being back in a hospital situation, was the last place I wanted to be. I am weary of being poked and of surgeries. Most of all, I am weary of being away from home, my family, and the small simple joys of life like sitting on the deck while watching the sunset over the peak.
Sadly, my recent string of unplanned, unexpected and unwanted ER visits and hospital stays undid me internally. Before I even understood what was happening, fear and a lack of trust in God’s sovereign protection overwhelmed me. It felt as though I was reliving one of my life’s worst moments when a nurse overdosed me just under two years ago. My fear stood as a barrier and isolated me from comfort and peace of the Lord.
After the many ups and downs in the past few years, I have realized a fundamental character flaw deeply embedded in me. When my trust is broken, like it was when I was overdosed, if I am not careful to intentionally guard my heart and spirit, my emotions rule me by screaming my bad or painful history will repeat itself again. With painful history being the prism I look to my future through, God’s grace and truth is squelched and choked out of my life. Believe me, it is not a pretty thing.
For the first three days I was in the hospital I was so afraid. Old tapes played and replayed through my mind. Even though I had incredible doctors working hard to determine what medications I needed, what the lesion is in my brain (everything from a walled off abscess, a stroke and other various ideas were tossed out as possibilities as well) and even a Christ following doctor who took the time to pray for me, I was still terrified. My history was speaking louder to me than my ability to press into the promises of God.
Finally, after several days filled with hopeless confusion, a simple thought came to mind. “I am with you.” If you’re with me, I snapped, why do you have me in this situation again? “I’ve given you a rematch”. Finally the dam broke, my eyes were opened and I realized my fear, my paranoia, my inability to trust my Lord was robbing me of the victory and freedom God wanted to give me. I sobbed.
You see, the Lord was allowing me to be in similar circumstances as those when my trust was crushed during my overdose so I could see him in my midst. He was allowing me to walk a similar road so the ground fear had gained, could be taken back. He, in his mercy, doesn’t want me to spend the rest of my life terrified of medical situations – he wants me to walk in His confidence in all situations. This redo – rematch – replay – was my opportunity to walk in his grace, experience his mercy and leave my drive to self protect in the dust. The key to that freedom was found by entrusting myself to him.
As the very cathartic tears slowed, for the first time in days I was able to turn on my music. I have many playlists on my droid – from the Beetles to AC/DC and from Holst the Planets to the Hallelujah chorus the range of music is vast. However, the first song that played left me in awe. Take a moment to read the words…God is so cool!
“Praise You In This Storm”
As the thunder rolls I barely hear Your whisper through the rain “I’m with you” And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives And takes away
[Chorus:] And I’ll praise You in this storm And I will lift my hands For You are who You are No matter where I am And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand You never left my side And though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm
I remember when I stumbled in the wind You heard my cry to you And you raised me up again My strength is almost gone How can I carry on If I can’t find You
But as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain “I’m with you” And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives And takes away
I lift my eyes unto the hills Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord The Maker of Heaven and Earth
There is nothing that breaks the hold of fear more than falling on our knees and praising God. There is no one, no doctor, psychologist, counselor, friend or foe who can meet me in my most broken places, tear down walls, and heal me like the Lord!
Without even knowing it, I have spent over 18 months on constant guard to protect myself from another devastating error from devastating my life again. But God did. Without even recognizing it, I built walls to insulate me from any potential storm on the horizon. But God did. Without even trying, I sealed the most damaged place in my heart from the Lord’s healing restoration. God saw, he allowed circumstances that I feared the most and granted me a rematch that he knew would ultimately loose the grip that fear had tightly around my heart.
The truth be told, I almost lost the rematch – fear almost prevailed but because of his character and love for me the Lord tore down the walls and day by day is setting me more free.
Realizing, the God of the universe, creator of everything cares so much for me that he would carry me through difficult times and use them to bring more freedom into my life is humbling beyond words. Truly, astounding, awe-inspiring, amazing grace.
When the Lord allows us to walk through similar situations we often ask why? We wonder where he has gone and why he has abandoned our sides. I believe, more than ever, when we do walk those oh familiar roads he is closer than we can imagine, teaching us, helping and encouraging us to win the rematch that will change the path of our lives.
I pray we all come to know the depth of his love and the peace his brings even in the midst of very painful life storms.