This sign hangs in my hallway. Romans 12:12 challenges me all the time, and this current season is no exception.
The past few months have been full of highs and lows for our family. I remember sitting in the hospital with Matt and asking the physical therapist about what he would need to do once he was released to go home. She said he would have no physical therapy required, and I was amazed. A few friends in the medical field and another who personally experienced sepsis herself had warned me that physical therapy could last for a while. I thought he was so lucky to get through this ordeal with none required.
That wasn’t the end of the struggle, though. The follow-up appointments with a variety of doctors were the new norm, and every time it seemed something new arose. We learned within a week or two of his release that he had developed blood clots in his chest and leg. That was an unexpected complication. A week or two after hearing those words, I sat at a lunch where someone had just attended the funeral of a young man who died from a blood clot in his chest. Matt was eventually seen at Mayo, where he visited three or four weeks in a row, once for two and a half days of appointments, tests, scans, consults. It was hard to stay home, but with three kids in school and no one working to pay the bills, I didn’t have much of a choice. I learned about each appointment afterwards, but Matt did a great job keeping track of the details, the medications, and the schedule.
Almost two weeks ago, he was at Mayo for another day of appointments, and he texted from there saying that he was being checked into the hospital for observation for two nights. He was not expecting an overnight stay, his phone battery was almost dead so I couldn’t call him, and all I knew was that they were worried about his heart. It is not exactly the thing you want to read as you pull up for school pickup! I shot a quick text to my Bible study group, and my dear friend Steph hopped out of her van in the pickup line and ran over to pray with me. I sure needed that hug and prayer in that moment.
As I got ready to drive up to Mayo to be with Matt on Saturday morning, he texted that they were releasing him to drive home a day early. He finally got a phone charger and called me on the drive home. They believed the inflammation in his heart was due to the septic shock, and it would return to normal.
Unfortunately, one of our kids had been exposed to COVID that week as well, and we learned on Monday that he was positive. He had almost no symptoms. Somehow the rest of us all tested negative, which was a great blessing considering we did not want Matt to contract COVID with the current lung and heart issues he is facing.
Patient in affliction. I would hesitate to ever describe myself as patient, but it has been a good reminder in this season that I must trust God as I patiently wait for the resolution to Matt’s health issues. I have some experience with this patience in affliction through other seasons of life, but I can see the Lord continuing to work in my heart the deep and abiding peace that comes from patiently waiting on Him.
Joyful in hope. I know it seems counterintuitive, but God has chosen to also send many blessings our way in this season of suffering. The people who have blessed us with phone calls, prayers, meals, money, yard work, child care, lunches for the kids…sometimes I just sit and cry when I think of all the generous people who have lavished love upon us. These blessings have given us much joy, and they have also served to remind us of the hope we have in Christ. If He thinks so much of us to send a group of hard-working men to take care of the yard work we are unable to do right now, how could I not also trust that He is working out His plans for our future, our family, our ministry even when I cannot see it?
Faithful in prayer. Praying for others is a passion of mine. In this season, I have relied greatly on the prayers of others. I know that on the darkest days, those prayers have held me up and kept me from falling into despair. I have felt like our family is the man on the stretcher whose friends carry him to Jesus. He can’t get there without help, and his friends gladly do whatever it takes to get him an audience with Jesus. I believe God has used this season of relying on the prayers of others to further kindle my desire to be the stretcher-carrying friend as often as possible.
I know we are not the only ones in a hard season. If you are facing struggles and looking around for your stretcher-carrying friends, please look here. I would love to pray with you, to help you find support wherever you are, and to see you find the ways God wants to bless you even through this unexpected struggle.
I have never been left alone to navigate this season, not by God or by my family, friends or church family. He is faithful.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Hebrews 10:23 ESV