Do your words sometimes echo mine, “God you’ve got to be kidding? Are you going to give me one more thing to handle? You built me strong and courageous, but this just may be too much.” I remember a day last October was one of those days.
On that particular day, I experienced the kind of things that tear at your heart, exhaust you and bring you to your knees. To name just a few; our sweet dog had to be put down, two people I loved were clinging to life, and to top it off I was attending a suicide prevention class. In that class the lovely woman I sat next to choked back tears as she shared with me her tragic loss of her grandson. The sorrows kept building inside of me that day. What a year of losses, oh my, what a lifetime of losses!
At that moment I pleaded, “Please God, not one more thing today, I can’t take it!”
But of course, that one more thing did happen and here is how it went. That evening I found myself in the ER with my husband. His blood pressure was sky high. Rushing to the hospital with worries an imminent heart attack or a problem with his carefully placed stent were at hand.
The ER was dark and overcrowded; I could smell and feel the sickness all around me. After finding a seat, the woman slumped in the chair next to me began frantically pointing towards the wall. I wanted to help, but I couldn’t figure out this woman’s need. I felt inadequate; like a failure. My heart broke as her husband spoke with such tenderness, as he explained she just had surgery and started chemo today. She was exhausted, sick, and no beds were available.
We all sat in a makeshift waiting room waiting, waiting, and waiting.
As I watched the clock ticking; minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, I grew very weary. Finally, we were called to journey down the long corridor looking for an available bed. I kept my feet moving step-by-step trying so hard to block out the many awful memories of this place.
Oh, how I didn’t want to go down memory lane that night. I was tired, I was spent, and my heart was already breaking from the build up of losses to come and losses already felt. But as we moved on, I looked to the left and saw the room where my oldest child had spent a great deal of time. I could almost hear the heart monitors, hooked up to her and feel the fear we had felt those days when we thought something was terribly wrong with her heart.
Begging God, as I walked along, “Please don’t take us through those doors at the end of the hall, for that room is where terrible memories remain.” Of course, we went right through the doors to an available bed. Trying hard with all I had to concentrate on what was at hand, but my eyes began to dart around the room, and the memories crept in.
Looking to the left at two beds I remembered another awful night when my other child fought for her life. I knew exactly where I had stood as the doctors and nurses worked so hard to make sure they could save her. I remembered the struggle and then her falling into a deep sleep. That night the clock ticked ever so slowly as I waited for her beautiful eyes to open.
So many ER visits, stitches, heart monitors, seizures, and yes even I occupied a bed at one time. Bad bad memories! That night I kept telling myself; I can handle this just grab tight to God’s hand, breathe, and push those thoughts away.
Then that one more thing happened that brought me to my breaking point.
The screams began from a distant bed. “You f……… idiot. Don’t touch me! You can’t do this to me! My mom doesn’t want you touching me! You f… moron!” And on and on it went. Oh, those familiar sounds of a Psychiatric Ward were ringing through the ER. They were loud and on fire. They penetrated my heart to a spot I just couldn’t linger in. I could not take one more memory or heartache. It was enough for one day. I had nothing left to give.
So with pangs of guilt leaving someone I love behind; I ventured home. God clearly spoke to me on my drive; reminding me I must take care of my humanness or I am of no value to others. Through tears, I listened to God and allowed him to comfort me.
He whispered in my ear, “Trust me.”
Yes, God built me strong and courageous but not strong enough. God loves to remind me; I need him and that I must put on my oxygen mask first before helping others.
As my head hit the pillow in the wee hours of that morning, I knew God had this whether I felt it or not. Clinging to God, believing he would take good care of “me”. I could face whatever was before me.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 22-23
In the morning I was refreshed amazed at what a little self-care like sleep can do. I drove to the hospital, and to my surprise, the ER had taken on an entirely new look in my mind. I could now see each memory with new eyes. God had always been with
God had always been with us,
he saw us through each and every one of those events. Yes, it was difficult, yes, it was painful, but those events led to the new beginning of healing and restoration. The ER saved and gave me back my wonderful family members one event after another.
I was reminded that night God is in charge – not me. He has promised to be with each of us, every single step, but we must learn to lean into him. I have no doubt that he will continue to see us through whatever comes our way. However, we must remember to do our small part, which sometimes is just saying enough for tonight, I am going to sleep.