I feel, in a sense, that I understand how difficult in can be for pastors to decide what message to present to their congregation week after week, service after service. It’s not always easy sharing what God has told you share. In doing so you face potential backlash. I want to use this life I’ve been given to help others, but it’s not always easy letting others into my world.
I’m not a very emotional person, and by that I mean that when I have emotional moments I hide them from others, because showing feelings in a sign of weakness, and I am not weak. Wait til the doctor leaves the room to break down. Call Mom to take over when a nurse has traumatized me yet again. Whatever I do, don’t show fear. But lately that’s been harder to do.
The past month hasn’t been an easy one for me. Living in a body that doesn’t work isn’t just a physical challenge, but a mental one as well. I know my care and can walk anyone through my care, but in vulnerable positions where I’m off my ventilator or having sudden health complications, I am completely helpless. In those moments if my caregiver isn’t attentive and quick thinking, panic and fear can destroy me. What do I do? How do I get help? How do I tell them what’s wrong? Sometimes I don’t even know what’s wrong, I just know it’s bad. The only comfort in those moments is in knowing that God knows what He’s doing and I have to trust Him wholeheartedly.
I have had several moments of fear throughout my life. I’ve been through so many health battles. The past two years have been especially difficult. Between having cellulitis multiple times, a displaced g-tube saga, and seriously incompetent nurses, it’s been a rollercoaster ride to say the least. Everything thankfully had been relatively calm for the first half of this year in regards to my health, which was a welcome change from last year. I went to NYC with some of my best friends in the beginning of May for a fun girl’s trip. We came home and then shortly thereafter my parents left town to take a short but much needed vacation. My stomach had started bothering me when leaving New York, but I didn’t think much of it. As fate would have it, the day after my parents got settled in, I began experiencing tremendous pain in my stomach, and that horrible feeling I hate but couldn’t shake came out full force: fear. The displaced g-tube saga was happening all over again. Surgery was a must. The pain that comes with necessary healing (and bothered me for several months last time) would arise. I couldn’t get my meds via g-tube, couldn’t get adequate fluids or nutrition, couldn’t move without crying. What was I to do? My Mom wasn’t here. I need my Mom. She’s my very best friend in this life, my rock. I called in a panic, not sure what to do. Trying to calm me down, she asked if I was OK, to which I replied “I’m so scared.” Parents to the rescue. Got the soonest surgery opening, Dad got Mom on a 7am flight and drove the truck home, and everything was fine.
The experience I went through wore me out physically and made me even weaker than normal, if you can imagine. I had a new night nurse that weekend, who I explained all of this to. She assured me she knew what she was doing and I took her word for it. In the process of transporting me to use the restroom before going to bed, my ventilator came disconnected. Instead of reconnecting it, the nurse simply ignored it and carried on as if nothing was wrong. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t breath, couldn’t do anything. I can’t explain the fear running through my mind. The panic. This is it. I fought as much as I could, then the darkness came, and I was somewhere else. Heaven maybe? Somewhere peaceful. Next thing I know, someone (God I think) told me to “wake up” and so I did, to find that I had been put in bed and hooked up to oxygen. Again, the overwhelming feeling of fear took over and I was inconsolable. Crying, confused. What just happened? I thought I died. I need my mom. Of course the nurse denied anything happened because her job and license would be in serious jeopardy. I made her get Mom, who held me until I couldn’t cry anymore. Obviously that nurse didn’t come back.
Fear is a very real thing. It’s something I deal with quite often. It’s why I have anxiety. It is like a force that wants to crush me and everything God has brought me through. But here’s the thing: my God is more real than anything in this life, and He has me in the palm of His hands. Life is hard but God is amazing, and He is my hope in the storms. I don’t always have it all together, though that’s what I’d like you to think. The truth is I’m a mess sometimes and if this life was all there is I wouldn’t have the strength to do anything. I would hide in my beautiful home and let fear overtake me until I was nothing more than the vegetable doctors said I would be.
For some crazy reason that I can’t quite figure out, loves me. God loves me. Me, who can’t even breath without assistance. Me, who needs to be transferred to the bathroom. I have nothing to offer Him, and yet He loves me. And that love is so much more powerful than any fear. God put me on this earth for a reason, and I feel honored to have a purpose in life. That, too, has empowered me to boldly conquer fear time after time. The world may be shattering all around me, but once I remember these things, the monsters that haunt me aren’t so scary.
I know life is hard. God never promised this life would be easy, but He did promise He won’t make us go it alone. I am a child of the Most High King, and I have within me a force that banishes fear and the lies it tells. I can overcome anything so long as God is with me, and so can you. Walk in the freedom that comes through Christ and know that fear is just another tactic used by the enemy to destroy what God can use for His perfect plan. I know who wins in the end, and can rest knowing that it is well with my soul.