“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men” – II Corinthians 3:2
Your life is the living, breathing, evidence of the words of faith that have been spoken over you and to you.
For me and my husband 2020 didn’t begin the way we’d hoped it would.
We were excited to enter into the new year experiencing more joy, greater victories, and a new level of growth, but instead we found ourselves thrust into a place of uncertainty and fear as my husband lay in the hospital fighting for his life.
The day before New Year’s Eve my husband came home early from work complaining that he felt chilled and achy.
I knew that these were classic flu symptoms and set out to “fix him” with the typical flu remedies; juice, tea, soup, and all the flu and cold medicine that he could hold.
After a few days of this treatment, we noticed that he wasn’t getting any better. In fact, his symptoms were getting worse and now included severe weakness, a headache that wouldn’t go away, and blurry vision.
We headed to the emergency room expecting them to give him an IV- in order to rehydrate him- and some medication before sending us back home.
Once we were in the emergency room the doctors determined that he didn’t have the flu at all and set about running more test to determine what was causing these symptoms.
When the results finally came back we found out that the toxin levels in his body were well outside of the normal range.
For anyone who knows a bit about how God designed us you know that our lives exist through a narrow range of parameters within our bodies. These parameters cannot increase or decrease too far outside of that range without causing organ and system failure or even death.
The amount of toxins in my husband’s body had risen so far above the normal range that the nurses were surprised that while he was still weak and lethargic, he continued to be awake and had kept his sense of humor.
He was diagnosed with severe dehydration and acute renal failure. Simply stated, my husband’s kidneys had stopped working, he wasn’t making urine, and his body had no way of eliminating the toxins that were building up.
The plan was to admit him into the hospital, start a bicarbonate IV, and watch his numbers closely in the hope that his kidneys would quickly begin to rebound.
But after 2 days, he was still lethargic and weak and the toxin levels in his blood were continuing to rise.
As I spoke to him that morning over the phone, he shared that the doctor had been in and strongly suggested that he be put on dialysis in order to remove the toxins from his body.
Fear and panic gripped my stomach and my heart as I raced to the hospital. I had worked in hemodialysis for 12 years, and I knew what that road would look like for him.
As I talked to God in the car, I poured out my soul. “This isn’t what blessing and victory is supposed to look like,” I reminded Him.
As we sat in the hospital room waiting for the nephrologist to come and give us a second opinion, I was reminded that this wasn’t the first time I had been this way.
It was a different time, years earlier in fact, when I’d received that dreaded phone call in the dark and early hours of the day.
I remember rushing to the hospital and being met by a group of nurses and doctors who surrounded me outside of the hospital room and looked at me with compassionate eyes and told me that it didn’t look good.
And just like now, I remembered the numbness that shielded me from the full impact of what I was facing.
I thought back to how I had nodded politely as they told me what they believed would be the likely outcome.
I remembered walking into that room where my family member lay unconscious as a ventilator forced air in and out of his lungs.
I remembered the flurry of medical personnel coming in and out of that room discussing next steps as I sat there alone.
I remembered consent forms being placed in my hands for a surgery that held no promises and then the quiet that came as the medical team prepared for the surgery.
At that moment I had a choice; I could dissolve into a place of surrender and resignation to what seemed like the inevitable, or I could pull on the faith and the strength that I had learned to believe and trust in more and more through each trial of my life.
I decided to reach for my God. I knew that He would hear me, because He had before. And although I didn’t quite know how He would work it out, I chose to trust Him knowing that His purpose for me was always one of good and not evil-
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11
The surgery was successful and today that family member is well and thriving. His life and mine have forever been changed by God’s faithfulness in the early hours of that day.
Now as I sat, once again, in the hospital room with my husband waiting for the nephrologist to come expecting her to come into agreement with the primary care doctor’s course of treatment, I knew that I had done all that I could do and now God had to do what only He could.
Finally, the doctor arrived. She came in like a whirlwind as she walked quickly into the room. I reached out my hand to shake hers, but instead she gave me a great big hug as she said, “He doesn’t need dialysis. His numbers are increasing just as I expected.” I was astonished as she continued. “He is making a lot of urine now and this is a sign that his kidney function is returning. We will continue to monitor him, and his numbers should start to come down as his kidneys continue to heal.”
Our God is an awesome God!
Today my husband’s toxin levels are almost back within normal range. He doesn’t recall much about those long days and nights he spent in the hospital but he does know about all of the prayers that helped see him through.
He and I have emerged from that event seeing God’s plan for us more clearly as we now find ourselves confronted by COVID-19.
Although it is a scary and uncertain time, God is, yet again, reminding me that I have been this way before.
Certainly not on a COVID-19 level but in the many experiences of my life that have taken me through fearful and uncertain times.
Each time, I have come out with a story that emphasizes God’s goodness and love for me.
And with each story there has been a lesson. And with every lesson there is always a reminder about the glory of what Jesus did on the cross for you and for me so that we could run behind the ripped veil and experience the indescribable love of the Creator.
Our lives and our stories were already predestined by God. They boast of His sovereignty, and His glory, and His goodness that surrounds us.- Romans 8:29.
Each time we make the decision to push aside the veil that was ripped when Jesus died for us, our eyes are opened just a little bit more.
When our eyes become open to the things of the Spirit, then we see more clearly that God has always been right there with outstretched arms and a forgiving heart.
When we begin to see Him more clearly our perceptions change, our actions are reshaped and our outcomes are altered.
It is a lifelong process to go from where we once were to where we need to be.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
So, in this moment, I’m choosing God- again. He alone has been the constant in my life through the dark and ugly places and the scary times. He alone has my best interest in His heart even when I can’t see it or feel it. He alone knows all about me and accepts me anyway.
And although my story is far from being a fairy tale, it is confirmation of God’s goodness, and His glory, and His love.
Walk it out!