It has been a long time since I have posted. I have had so many people check in with me to make sure I am alive and well. I want to let you know that I am getting better slowly after some long hospitalizations that weaved in and out of my hectic class schedules and caused me to withdraw from a couple of classes. Although I cannot help it when I get these septic infections, it is terribly discouraging to feel like I have to “quit” whatever I’m involved in at the moment.
My last hospitalization was the scariest of any I have experienced since I woke up in the ICU in 2013 after my neck was broken. This time around, because my infection was septic, I was unable to communicate with the doctors and even my family. I could understand what they were saying to me and I knew how I wanted to respond, I simply could not put it into words how to answer them.
Although this mental incoherence is common for me when I have a septic UTI, it normally only lasts 3 to 4 days. This last time it went on for 12 days straight. It was terrifying for everyone that I could not communicate for 12 days and the doctors started to think that I had a stroke. Even after I was sent home from the hospital, I still could not do much of anything like read, do classwork, solve crossword puzzles, or make sense of the news. This went on for another 3 to 4 weeks. I also experienced so many physical woes in the hospital and when I returned my facility. All of this weighed heavy on my faith and I became really discouraged.
Matthew 1: 22 “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Immanuel came to give freedom to the harassed and helpless (me and you) and He was the representation of “God with us.”
I began to question if God was with me in the hospital when people would talk to me and I simply would just shake my head in frustration, unable to speak. Then my faith really waned when I was sent home from the hospital and I was still so physically sick and cognitively disabled. The demons of anxiety and depression were trying to strangle me. I did not read anything in the Bible for days and days. That is a dangerous place for me to be. My constant question every day was, “why God?”
If I do not hear the truth and the good news in the Scriptures, I fall for the bad news and the lies of the world. Nothing feels hopeful when I am in that place.
Isaiah 43: 1 But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
God is with me in the best of times. God is with me in the worst of times. The point is God is always with me. I have to intentionally think back about all the times I have been awestruck by the prayers that He has answered. A couple of years ago I needed a new wheelchair and a friend created a Go Fund Me campaign. We raised $29,000 in a little over a week. Yes – specialized wheelchairs that you drive with your head are very expensive.
More important than tangible “gifts” that come from above (James 1:17-18), the way He has used the most trying times in my life to change my character for the good, has made me a more compassionate and empathetic person. If my life circumstances can help even one person, I do not feel distressed that it happened. I look forward to seeing how this most recent debilitating event will change me for the good and be useful in helping another person.
James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, 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.
When I realize that Immanuel is “God with us” I can face my trials with pure joy, realizing it will lead to spiritual maturity and completeness. This type of pure joy is not giddy happiness. This type of pure joy is contentedness, acceptance, and deep trust that I am right where I need to be.
If you are discouraged, feel like you are in a dead space in your life or in your growth, hold on. Immanuel will not leave your side. He has a plan for you. He wants the best for you. He is with you.