Her eyes filled with tears as she looked at me across the table. Her thoughts were roaming as she awaited her turn. Aces played and then a diamond run to compliment my hand. I stared back at her as one after another took their turn with the hand they were dealt. She’s a natural card player, almost always beating the rest of us. At only 9 she’s found the ability to focus on what is in front of her and foresee the possibilities to come.
But this night, something else was on her mind. “What if you get sick again? What if you get this stomach virus and it makes you sick again?” She choked back her crackling voice and gazed at me for answers. I quieted her for the moment, “I’m ok, baby girl.” Her eyes still questioning as she looked at me as though we were the only two at the table. “Hey, Mama’s ok.”
It seemed to settle her for the moment, but I knew there would be more to follow. Our turns resumed and after a while we called it a night before any of us reached 500. I found her still shaken in the dark of her room, anxiety brimming. I hate that she’s like this, that a little bit of darkness had to creep into her light filled innocence.
“Why did God let you get sick in the first place when you love Him so much?”
Ahhhhh, and that is a question. It’s a question we often ask even when we know the answer, isn’t it? Why?
We’ve talked about this so many times, yet this time it was closer to home.
“Because of sin,” I remind her. “It’s all because of the fall.”
“Were you scared, Mama?”
And then I knew this was a moment, a moment which I hoped I would successfully weave the delicate vulnerability I felt with the truth I know. A moment I hope she hides in her heart.
“Yes, baby girl, I was scared.”
A few months back, while pregnant with my 7th child, I was given an antibiotic for a secondary infection that I should not have been given. In turn, it wreaked havoc on my system, giving me a terrible bacterial infection that nearly killed me. It is an infection that claims the lives of 10 percent of its victims, and I had it about as bad as it gets.
What began as a mild stomach issue turned quickly into a painful, violent illness. By the time I was diagnosed and began receiving treatment, I couldn’t even stand up because my body was so weak. I crawled to the bathroom and only slept in 20 minute increments. I could feel the life draining out of me and wondered if I would be part of that 10 percent.
The night in which I was my sickest was also the night which I clung to God like never before. All the scriptures that I memorized with my kids over the years came flooding into my heart. His Word sustained me. For nearly 36 hours He was truly my bread of life, in a more desperate way than I had ever experienced. I repeated the scriptures over and over in my mind to calm myself. I believed them with my whole heart and reminded myself of His promises. I continually pictured a mountain with c. diff (the name of the bacterial infection) written on it, and I told it to move. This is how I got through the hardest night of the most terrifying battle of my life.
By the grace of God, I made it through those tough days. I wish I could tell you that after I began to improve, my faith continued to feel as focused. It was through the recovery that something broke, though. The relapse rate is high for c diff and I was scared. All. The. Time. I worried about germs, about leaving the kids, about the baby’s health.
I felt disconnected and just not like myself. I was grateful that I was on the mend, that the labor and delivery went smooth, that the baby was healthy, that I had this beautiful family. But, I hadn’t felt so far from God since I came to Christ.
Between having a newborn and being in recovery for c diff, the blues aren’t really that odd I suppose. But, honestly, in spite of the fact that things were improving, I felt forsaken. I felt angry.
It’s been 5 months since I first got sick. I’ve cried a lot and prayed a lot too. I’ve wondered if I would ever feel like myself again. I’ve wondered if I would ever feel connected to Jesus like I had before. I’ve even asked God why a couple of times, although I always come back to why not?
My doctors have told me that recovery can take 2 years. They’ve cautioned me against germs, which is no small feat as a mom of 7. I have to be careful and there are no guarantees.
That’s what it is, you know. It wasn’t so hard to trust God when I was clinging to life. But this…this staring my own mortality in the face and knowing it is somewhat out of my control…this has shaken me. Before I got sick, I was very healthy. I ate great and worked out every day. In spite of that, I still got sick.
Recently, I have begun to feel a small glimmer of hope. I can feel His comforting embrace leaning into me like the warm rays of sun on my face when they first peak through the clouds after a long winter. He is still here. He never left me. He has not forsaken me. Whether I feel Him or not, He is here with me. My feelings of disconnect are not indicative of a true disconnection…it is just a feeling.
So I plug away knowing that, through all the emotion, the anxiety, the fear and uncertainty, He is the same God that held me in the dark of the night. He holds me still.
This probably happens to all of us at times. Are you stuck? Are you wishing and waiting for God to be a bigger presence in your life? Are you wondering when He’ll show up or why you can’t connect? I get it. I’m there right now. Even writing for me has been a stretch because that fiery faith I normally have has felt so far out of reach. So, I will tell you what I said to my daughter after I told her I was scared.
“When I was sick and scared I clung to scripture, to God’s promises. I reminded myself of truth and trusted that God would take care of me. I felt Him holding me during that time and my faith was so strong. But in the months that have followed it’s been harder. I haven’t felt as connected. So, when I’m scared I cling to scripture, to God’s promises. I keep reminding myself of truth and I challenge myself and my doubts to trust God to take care of me. He never wavers, sweet girl. He is the same God, the Great Redeemer. He will redeem this time of disconnect for me too, as long as I keep trusting Him to.”
I pray she takes that and never stops leaning into Him no matter what her journey holds. I pray she understands the roller coaster of faith, and the steadiness of her Father. I trust the Lord, I remember His promises and I pray through shaky faith.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely[d] goodness and mercy[e] shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell[f] in the house of the Lord
Join Brandy at brandyhynes.com where she writes about big family, big faith, and the big island of Hawaii.You can also chat with her at facebook.com/Bigfamilybigfaithbigisland or twitter.com/BrandyHynes