As the old saying goes, "when it rains, it pours." Friday Eric and I were supposed to pick up Eli from my in-laws house. However, Eric got a stomach virus that left him home in bed, my son in Paducah and me in Lexington. When it rains, it pours...right? Well, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Many of you know the story of my family and some don't, so for the privacy of my loved ones I'll leave you with this picture.
For the past three years my family has stood in the midst of a mighty storm. Much like a hurricane the waves continue to pound, each one threatening to take us under, to drown us. But, Jesus is our rescuer, our life guard. Time and time again he has saved us from impending disaster.
As you may recall, my dad was in a very serious accident this past spring. This followed losing my grandfather in 2008, our family business in 2009, and our childhood home in 2010. Truly, "the Lord gives and takes away."
The accident left my dad with several broken fingers, two broken wrist, a broken pelvis and two torn rotator cuffs. It left my mom working full-time while being the primary caregiver of my wheelchair bound father. (for now)
The storm roared again this past weekend when my brother nearly lost his life. After having a stomach virus last week, he awoke to extreme chest pain early Saturday morning. Unable to breath, he rushed to the hospital where doctors discovered the viral infection and gotten into his blood stream and thus his heart.
The infection nearly caused him to go into cardiac arrest. He had a heart catheter procedure done yesterday and by the grace of God, there is no permanent damage. He will be weak for the next few weeks, but will recover fully!!!
When I look at my family and the past three years, I am reminded of the verse in James that says:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Three years ago if you had asked me what I thought of that verse, it would said a canned "Christian" answer like, "Well, faith comes through trials. We must all learn to trust God."
All the while I would have thought. "That is insanely scary! But God loves me so I'll never have to go through that."
HAHA! I think God was laughing at me! The truth is that verse scarred the living daylights out of me. Plus, it was perplexing. I mean, who would would be happy to face adversity?
Well, three years into this storm, I get it!! There is beauty, peace and hope in that passage. For the record, joy is not in the pain. No, pain is pain.
Joy is learning to trust the Lord. It's in being with my brother and sister in the hospital room laughing at my dad doped up on meds. It's in taking strolls to the gift shop while the doctors were examining my brother. Joy is seeing my son bring a smile to my parent's face as they watch their son wheeled off to surgery. Joy is making two four hour trips to Lexington to be together while missing my sick husband in Bowling Green. Joy is laughing at the old man on the cardiac floor who fusses at the nurses. Joy is remembering the good times, holding hands through the bad, and looking forward to the future. Joy is learning to dance in the rain and seeing rainbow as the storm passes.
After the winds die down and the waves cease to crash, every hurricane is followed my portrait of peace as birds fly high in cloudless blue skies. The storm is nothing more than a memory. That day is coming. My family is going to walk out of this storm strong, beautiful and free.
Yes, we have lost much. But, we have also gained much. The Lord spared our lives on two occasions. He has allowed storms to blow our way, but he has held us in his hand throughout. He knows every tear we've cried. He's watched our hearts break, and he has felt our pain. He has drawn near our broke hearts, given rest to our weary souls, and been the cleft of protection in which we take refuge. He is our God and we are his people!!
Today I am considering pure joy to face many trails because I have come to love my family and my God in new ways. We covet your prayers as this storm continues pass and we praise God for his faithfulness to us again this past weekend!!