Romans 5:3-5, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (ESV)
I used this Bible verse on our wedding invitations.
But I took it out of context.
I used the last part where God has poured out His love into our hearts.
It was appropriate and it felt warm
and fuzzy. And it wasn’t wrong.
7 years later the verse has even more meaning. But it means more when you step back and look at the bigger picture.
Who wants to think about rejoicing in suffering on their wedding day?
It’s not a light hearted perspective but it’s what we commit to isn’t it?
In sickness or in health?
For better or worse?
Everyone expects to be the exception but everyone faces challenges of varying degrees.
The important thing is to face them as a couple. Head on. Together. And if one of you isn’t able to at the time, then the partner can face it for the both of you until the other half catches up.
Marriage is a journey of growing together as you learn and change.
No one is perfect and no one expects to have a child with significant special needs. I’m thankful God gave me the husband he did to go on this journey with!
Once the inconceivable happens and you find a way to survive it, anything else seems possible.
If something you never imagined could happen actually happened, how would you react?
Would you either a) close your mind and stop believing or would you b) be open to other things you never thought possible?
Neither answer is right or wrong. It’s an answer each individual must answer when placed in an “impossible” situation.
Since Buddy had his brain surgeries, I’ve had at least 3 paradigm shifts.
I’m not even sure those words encompass the changes.
I knew who I was.
I’d spent 30+ years being me so I was pretty sure I knew who I was.
But did I?
Was I finished figuring that out?
Not by a long shot.
I’ve learned that the foundation of who I was still remains. I’m still a farm girl who loves animals, is fiercely loyal to her family, close circle of friends, and who loves to be outside and be active. I still believe that God created us and that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
I’m still a healthcare professional who strives to use my knowledge to help people feel better. Those skills are just expanding to include new tools.
I’m no longer afraid to think outside the box.
It no longer has to be black or white.
Gray is defined as ….
1. of a color intermediate between black and white, as of ashes or an overcast sky.
2. dull and nondescript; without interest or character.
And I’m learning to live in the gray.
I’m allowing myself to change. It doesn’t matter who else does or doesn’t recognize it. I’ve given myself permission!
Kutless – That’s What Faith Can Do
Life is so much more than what your eyes are seeing…
I got a haircut today. Sounds simple and benign and rather mundane.
But it’s my first haircut in almost two years.
It was a step towards taking care of me and the person I was before Buddy was born.
It’s not that I didn’t need a haircut. It’s just that I didn’t want to take the time away from Buddy, Munchakin or my husband to go get one.
I wouldn’t say I let myself go. I’m eating healthier than I ever have an am at my wedding weight. I just didn’t worry about my physical appearance or about feeling pampered.
Today was a big step. I cut off 10 inches of my hair and took a step towards being ok with meeting my needs once in a while.
It was also symbolic for me. I literally cut off the hair that had been growing since I was pregnant with Buddy. And I’m doing something good with it. I’m donating it to help make a wig for a woman undergoing cancer treatment.
I can’t think of a better parallel.
Taking something traumatizing and devastating and letting go.
Taking something life altering and depressing and finding a way to serve others.
Taking something challenging and heart wrenching and still having hope and being able to make a difference.
I’m not trying to make a hair donation sound like a monumental event. I’m fortunate to have hair that grows easily. But I tried before to donate and never had the patience or strength to wait for it to get long enough. Buddy has taught me the value in both patience and strength and continues to teach me to look for the happiness and joy in any situation.
You never know what is going to trigger a memory.
Whether it’s a happy one or a sad one.
Sometimes the flood of emotions can catch you off guard.
My husband had hernia surgery which is supposed to be a simple procedure.
But it’s still surgery.
And it’s still painful.
Watching him in pain in the recovery room when he tried to get up and got nauseous and had the chills was hard to watch.
I don’t like seeing him in pain and feeling helpless.
I also didn’t like the reminder of my c-section with Buddy. It’s occurrence and my lack of recovery was obscured by Buddy’s seizures and transfer to the NICU within hours of his birth.
The physical scar has healed nicely but apparently I had much more of the emotional scar to work through than I realized.
Has this ever happened to you?
You think you’ve dealt with something and all of a sudden it rears its head?
It’s better to give it to God and ask him to heal the pain and the trauma than to try and push through it yourself like I did.
I only ended up making it harder on myself, on my husband, and on my kids.
I was angry, tired, and snippy for no good reason.
I needed to ask for strength and for healing and not try to do it all by myself.
How often do I forget His grace, mercy, and power? How often do I need reminders?
Thankfully He is also forgiving and aware of the human struggle!
My most recent post was written 7 years ago. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused and for not making it more clear in my writing. I’m not in the hospital currently and thankfully have recovered from the mysterious illness that left doctors shaking their heads in 2010.
I’ve been writing this blog for one year and it’s starting to shift as my comfort level with being vulnerable and honest increases.
I thank you for taking the time to read what I write and for being part of this journey with me!
We change every day. Cells grow, hairs fall out, and skin ages and wrinkles. A visible difference can’t be seen on a daily basis. Much like a new puppy you haven’t seen for a week, it’s hard to notice the amount of change until a separation occurs.
As difficult as it is to notice physical changes in ourselves, it is even more challenging to see spiritual change. But that’s the kind of day I had today. Alone in a hospital, not TV, internet not working, and snowed in with no visitors. I should have been a wreck but today is one of the best days I’ve had in a while (since July 30th when this whole journey started to be exact).
I spent the day receiving IVIG treatment and reading the book “The Shack” recommended by my pastor. It made me re-think so many “truths” that I knew and challenged them. I literally twice had to close the book in an attempt to process what I had just read. The questions shook me at the core and, much like the main character, I’m sure I had a dumbfounded and quizzical look on my face.
Looking back on my life I can recall times when I felt God was closer to me than others. Some you might expect like when I was at a Christian retreat and witnessed a friend give his life to Christ or in Jamaica while serving the needy and reading His Word in the early morning hours. I felt Him while in the outback of Australia hiking around His beautiful creation, Uluru, at sunrise, while on my first family vacation ever at age 28 at the beach, and while listening to the words of a country artist at a concert. What strikes me most is not that those times happened but when and where they didn’t. I didn’t sense God when we sold the farm or when my grandmother passed away. And I definitely didn’t sense God when I got sick.
I think the difference is that I tried to do it on my own. I was tough enough to get through it or I was distracted by what I thought were important things to get done. I tried to be in control. The times I sensed God were when I was traveling or out of my element. I let my guard down and let Him in.
And that’s what reading The Shack did for me. I read without distractions. I feel closer to God and more at ease. The future of my sickness still scares me and I know I will struggle with fear and trying to regain control. For now though, I want to live with God and love for eternity as I was created to do. I will still sin. I will still make mistakes but despite all that and maybe because of that God loves me.
This past year has definitely been one of transformation.
For my marriage.
And for me.
I led a pretty charmed life.
Nothing terribly tragic happened to me.
When I worked hard at something, I usually ended up being successful.
I took SO much for granted.
And I didn’t stop to think about things from others perspectives.
I probably thought I did but I didn’t have the life experience to truly “get” it.
Now if someone cuts me off while driving, I think to myself, “maybe they have a sick parent at home they need to care for.”
If someone is grumpy at their job, I think to myself “maybe they just lost a beloved pet.”
If someone says something rude, I think to myself “he/she is doing the best they can.”
If someone’s shoes don’t match and they are disheveled, I think to myself “maybe they have a newborn and a toddler at home and have just managed to get out of the house.”
I try to smile at the person in question whenever possible and I try not to judge.
It’s not up to me to fix or understand whatever is going on, but I can offer an understanding look or a knowing glance that can make someone feel like they aren’t alone.
It’s what most of us want and need anyway. To feel like we are connected and to feel like someone sees us and understands what we are going through.
It may not be easier to be humble and kind in certain situations but it will definitely be more memorable and have a lasting impact!
Not everything happens for a reason. But in everything that happens, there can be a reason to bring hope and healing to others. God can use our pain for a greater good if we choose to let Him in. ~Christine Suban