I'll be completely honest and transparent here for a moment---I've been struggling in my spiritual life. I know God, I love Him, I long to follow Him to the best of my ability, and yet I've been feeling lately a great distance between myself and Him. I've prayed for Him to show me His presence because I've felt near desperate to have a palpable assurance of His watch over me. I've been battling anxiety and lingering post partum depression attacks and even though I know that God works all things out for good it's been hard. I plaster on the smile and go through the daily motions, but it just feels hollow. There are decent days and not so great ones, but I feel like the good ones---no, the great ones--are just around the corner if I can only keep my head up and trudge on. There's a hole and I know that the only One who can fill it is Jesus, but it seems like I just can't reach Him.
So, when several months ago my mom started having some health problems, I got scared. I grew up without a father and so my mom is the only parent I've ever known. We've had times of difficulty, but doesn't every relationship? I started down that long, lonely, and terrifying road of what ifs and it shook me. I was so fearful of what might happen that I failed to remember that it is all in His hands. When the health problems received a diagnosis, I became even more scared. I was so scared that I couldn't even pray that much about it because praying about it, saying it out loud, made it real. So I mumbled quick petitions when I felt nearly overwhelmed, but I was also scared of what would happen if the answer I received wasn't the answer I wanted. A test of faith. A reminder that the Lord in his infinite wisdom knows best even if I don't like the outcome.
|My mother and I, many moons ago|
We made the trip this past week to support my mother through a surgery. A surgery that would either be a saving grace or the first step in many subsequent treatments. The what ifs plagued me through the entire drive. I wanted to, needed to pray, but every time I bowed my head, the words wouldn't form. I just thought to myself knowing God would hear the jumble of worries floating around in my head, "Lord, please let everything be alright and help me to remember that no matter what, your will be done."
The day of the surgery was spent entertaining three small children in a waiting room (which by the way, is an excellent way to keep your mind off of things). A small gaggle of family members chatted and waited for the surgeon to come out and fill us in on the details. When he came out, I felt a surge of anxiousness shoot up into my throat. I swallowed it down as best as I could and listened to him explain that everything during the surgery had gone well, but that the diagnosis was, in fact, that dreaded "C" word. They were awaiting test results to determine if further treatment would be needed, but I sort of faded out mentally as he continued to provide explanations. Strength, Lord, strength. Please. I choked back tears and put on the brave face. What now?
My husband reminded me that the Lord was in control, no matter what, and I fought the internal monologue filled with doubt and pessimism. I berated myself for my lack of faith, for talking the talk but failing miserably when it came to walking the walk. I just need a sign Lord. Show me that you are there.
"Let your anxiety be a reminder of your utter dependence on Me. Your faith is growing. Do not despise the growth pains. Endure with the strength I give." ~ Pam Vredevelt
We finished out the visit, spending each day shuffling between my mother's house, the hospital, and various distractions when children turned antsy. We finally had to leave on Friday to journey back to North Carolina.
I was restless.
Then yesterday, while I was backstage helping Gabriella get ready for a ballet performance, my phone's incoming text message alert sounded. When I looked at the screen, my eyes filled with tears. He answered.
"Praise the Lord! Doc said stage 1a. Cured, no treatments. Will keep close eye next 5 years."
Now before you think that I only felt like I received an answer for a sign because I got the results I desired, I want to say that it wasn't WHAT the text said that hit me right square in my heart. I always knew that He could heal my mother. I have never doubted His absolute power. I was worried about if He would. What struck me to my core was the realization that even through my doubt, even with my fears, He reminded me that He doesn't need ME to do His work. That He blesses us in spite of our flaws and loves us through them.
|Me, my mom, and my brother about a year ago|
I don't know what's in store for the next few years concerning my mother's health, but for now I rest in the assurance that God is here, He is ever present, and He has reached down and told ME that I don't need to be afraid.
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." Psalm 56:3