At the beginning of this month I found myself back in the hospital in an ICU room with yet more life threatening blood clots. Gratefully, though initially they believed I was also having congestive heart failure, they had been wrong. I spent six days in ICU and another day and a half in a regular room before I got to go home. However, I brought a physical reminder of this hospital stay for I am again on oxygen so the familiar sounds of the concentrator are ever present in our room. The next day a woman delivered me a C-Pap machine to use at night for they believe I have sleep apnea.
There were three blood clots, one in my lungs, one in my liver and one in what is left of my amputated leg. My survival was again a miracle as the clot that had gone through my heart to my lungs was large enough it should have killed me. This was the third time for that to happen.
I prayed in the hospital although I found myself deeply depressed. Recovery has been slower than usual for me and that has added to my sorrow and my grief. In many ways I am having to learn how to do things without both legs all over again for the amputation is so painful I can’t manage the way I did just a month ago. Blackness seemed to swallow me that I had no strength to fight. Though I knew people were praying for me I felt alone and abandoned. God seemed like a shadow of what was in my heart; I could see Him at times if I looked up at just the right time. I knew He was there. He would never forsake me. But I was afraid to talk to Him. I was afraid of what He’d guide me to do.
So I asked others to pray for me and their prayers lifted my darkness enough that I found myself seeking solace in the Word this morning and in prayer. I confess I do not yet have an answer to what the next step in my life should be. I confess that I can’t bear the answer yet.
I am a woman who has worked at some type of job since I was in high school. Most of the time I love my job and I’ve fought hard to keep working even after the amputation and when many people thought I was crazy to put myself through what I had to do to keep working. God’s grace has allowed me to recover from a dozen life threatening episodes in the last ten years and to return every time to the office. What I do is a large part of how I identify myself. My job helps me feel successful and really good at something that has a hand in helping people who are hurting. It helps me feel productive and part of the world. I believe God intended for mankind to work from the very beginning when He told Adam to take care of the Garden of Eden.
Yet now I must face the reality that in pushing myself to keep working I may be damaging my body further. Certainly the stress of the last year contributed to my recent hospitalization, especially the last two weeks in September. More than one doctor has suggested it’s time to apply for disability and leave the work force.
Frankly, I am afraid of God’s answer so praying about it has been hard. But this morning I did. God lead me to Jeremiah 29 and though parts of Jeremiah are very familiar to me I found new solace there this morning.
Where God is leading me I don’t know just yet, or maybe I just can’t hear His answer just yet, but regardless of which it is I know for certain that God has not forsaken me, God has a plan for me. I must seek Him with all my heart and open myself to Him completely to know the direction He is sending me.
Yesterday I was afraid to pray. Tonight I can still taste the sweetness of the Word that I devoured this morning.
If you’ve ever been afraid to pray, afraid of the answer God might give you there is no shame in that – God is big enough to be able to handle your fears and your honesty. It is a fear you must face for you must not allow that fear to triumph over you when God is waiting for you to call upon Him.
“Abba Father, Praise and glory to Your Holy name. Before You I kneel in spirit and seek Your audience. Accept my praise of Your Mightiness and Glory. Forgive my sins of fear that have kept me from You. I plea for Your Mercy and Grace, open my heart to You Abba Father so You can guide me in the way I need to go now. Help me not fear the answer but embrace the possibilities whichever way You lead me to go. I love You Lord and I praise You as the Author and Creator of my life, of all life, of all that is good, right and Holy. Thank You Abba Father. Amen.”