As I held my seizing child in my arms, I realized for the first time that God was in charge. I had no control. Kate had been seizing for over 25 minutes. The ambulance was lost and couldn’t locate my mom’s house (which had stood in the very same place for 36 years). It had all started with a cough and a fever. What happened? How did I lose control so fast? It was 3am and my exhaustion was hitting me like a heavy load of bricks. I could barely think through the situation. It was painful to see my child going through something so awful. She was just about to turn 1 year old. Please God take away her pain. Please God take away my anxiety and worry. Please God take this seizure away – like a miracle – just make it leave. Anything to stop this horrible nightmare would be much appreciated. I can feel the pain still to this day, 7 years later. It was a powerful moment in my life.
Looking back, I can see how I handled the pain that day. It wasn’t pretty. Sure, I prayed to God while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, but once I got to the hospital I didn’t deal with the pain at all. Part of me wanted to retreat and find a place to hide away from this horrible situation, and part of me wanted to hug my child and be with her every moment. Thoughts rushed through my mind. Worry, anxiety and fear conquered my love for God. I kept repeating in my head all the day’s events. What had I done wrong? What did I miss? How could I have stopped this from happening? Do you see how I handled the struggle? It was all about me. I never thought about asking God, “What good will come of this pain?” or “What do You need ME to do to carry through your plan?” or “Please give me the strength to get through this struggle because I cannot do it alone?” Instead of asking God for help, I was busy trying to take the pain away from Kate and onto me. In a way, I was trying “fix” Kate’s problem. What I would learn down the road is that Kate is not “fixable.” So by me taking in the pain, I was truly not allowing God to work within me and my family.
“As long as we cling to our pain as an excuse for our problems and a reason for being and staying the way we are, we will never experience God’s healing.” Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver
Joanna Weaver nailed it! I was clinging to the pain and taking my eyes off of God. God would allow healing (not just physically but mentally) to take place, but I had to accept Him into my heart. I was too busy pushing him away and letting evil thoughts take over into my mind. I was blaming myself for the situation instead of dealing with the struggle. That darn blame game! It gets me every time. In my mind, the suffering cannot end until there is someone to blame.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
God gives us this wonderful gift of peace and yet so few of us accept it. I know that I am the queen of worry and fear. I allow the fears of the future to get to me on a daily basis. I have tried to remind myself to take things a day at a time. Moment by moment. Enjoy the day that God gives me. I try so hard. It seems like when that pain hits me out of nowhere, I just fall back into my trap of “woe is me.”
“Can’t you give me a heads-up when you are going to throw a struggle my way? I mean even just a little nudge that something bad may happen today would be much appreciated.” Those “pop quiz” struggles that He keeps throwing my way are killing me! You would think I would stop being surprised by them and really pray about the way I handle pain, but not so much.
So, I started to think, how can I take on those “pop quiz” struggles with a little more God-like attitude? I came up with a few suggestions:
• Pray immediately for peace, strength and perseverance
• Remind yourself that you CANNOT and WILL NOT do this without God
• Breathe deep. Breathe in the Holy Spirit and out all your selfish desires (like pride, ambition and your own will) Let’s face it, struggles do not always end with a fairy tale finish
• Ask for help from others. Yep, this is tough one for most people, but accept help especially during times of struggle. I am a firm believe that God gives us angels on earth to help us through hard times. Take them and be thankful for them!
• Relinquish control. Say it out loud, “I do not have control God, you do.” I know it sounds silly, but just an out loud reminder can help us move forward.
• Accept God’s Will. Sometimes the ending is not so great. In fact it down right stinks. It isn’t fair. Tell God that you accept whatever happens and stay attuned to what good God works out of this horrible situation.
Struggles and pain provide us with an opportunity to become closer to God or to allow evil into our life. It is one or the other. You can choose. It is your choice.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13