Where is your faith?

     Why is it so hard to have faith in times of trouble?
     I’ve asked myself that question many times in the last 14 months.
In May of 2012, my husband had a stroke. A few months later, a gifted heart surgeon opened his chest and rerouted his arteries. Then came the complications — a blood clot and two more surgeries.
     No matter how strong you think you are, when you or someone you love is facing major health issues nothing is easy to process.
     As Christians we are taught to trust God and have faith in what we cannot  see. Yet I found myself mulling over worst case scenarios.  What if he didn’t make it through the surgery? What about his long-term prognosis? How would he handle the emotions of a long-term recovery? How would our lives and the lives of our children be different?  How would our 23-year-old deal with her father’s illness while juggling difficult classes at a university 600 miles away from home?
     I’m sure Joe had these questions times ten, but he didn’t give voice to them and neither did I, except when talking to my parents.
     People say if you pray, why worry and if you worry, why pray?  I prayed anyway — for healing and for peace. I also prayed a selfish prayer — God, how will I do all that I need to do and be a good caregiver to Joe?
     Joe sailed through heart surgery. His surgeon, Dr. Morris Brown, said it couldn’t have gone better. The nurses and support staff at Piedmont were great, as were the home health nurses. Joe’s brother Charles was by his side the entire time — a testament to the love they have for one another.
     As weeks turned to months, and complications with his legs surfaced, my patience grew shorter. I was drifting through work and coming home exhausted. Before his health issues began, we were typical empty nesters. I seldom cooked and put off chores like going to the grocery and doing laundry.
      Meanwhile, close friends were dealing with major illness and death. Our neighbors, the McNairs, have a 23-year-old son who has spent most of the last few years in and out of hospitals battling a chronic illness.
     Our friends Sonya and Curtis were staring leukemia in the face. Sonya and the McNairs held fast to their faith. They didn’t appear to show any signs of weakness. The same was true for my friend and colleague, Shelia, who was slowly losing her beloved father.
     Despite support from family and friends, late in the midnight hour I would awake from a fitful sleep as fear crept into my mind.
     I read scriptures and inspirational verses, prayed for strength and sanity —  and all the while doubted the power of God’s will.
     Juggling work with caregiving exhausted my mind, body and spirit. I found myself sinking into a hole that I couldn’t climb out of by myself.
     I connected with a Christian counselor and described to him my husband’s health situation and all that I was doing — a full-time management job, a book, a leadership position at my church and being a mother, grandmother and friend.   I became a puddle of tears in his office, tears that hadn’t flowed since Joe’s first surgery in August.
     “God is trying to carry you,” he said. “You aren’t letting him.”
That revelation was somehow freeing.  With his help, I’m learning that is okay to show weakness, to say no when I want to say yes to additional commitments.
     God is our refuge in good times and bad. In bad times, it’s easy to drop what Christians call our sword and shield.   In reality, that’s when we need them the most.

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”

Psalm 27:5

10 thoughts on “Where is your faith?

  1. Thank you for sharing a personal story about your husband’s health. You and your beloved are in my prayers for a swift and full recovery. Keep the faith and know that you are not alone. I’ll be checking in on you from time to time.

  2. Hey sister, this was really powerful, “God is trying to carry you. You aren’t letting him.” That stopped me cold. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. What a beautiful testimony and a wonderful reminder of God’s all-sufficient grace. As the Word says, His strength is made perfect in our weakness! It is when we are weak that He is the absolute strongest! Thank you for always being such a wonderful example, to all who know and love you! Your family has always held a special place in my heart, and I will continue to pray for you and Joe, but also praise God for bringing you both this far.

    And thank you for the reminder to hold on to our faith and trust in God’s ability to carry us. I needed to hear that, right now!

    All my love!

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