(because this is long, it's in two parts.)
The day after my last post, which was also Thanksgiving Day, my husband took me to the ER at Vanderbilt in Nashville. It was a two-hour drive accomplished in 90 minutes! But the docs said I should come. The symptoms I described in the previous post only got worse. We had my 02 tank on the highest level - 5 Liters - and it wasn't enough. I was gasping and panicking, trying to get control and calm down. It was one of the worst mornings of my life. I also had fever and a general feeling of "please let me die."
It turned out to be a less common form of the flu (not covered by the flu shot) that caused pneumonia in both lungs. I spent 5 days in the Critical Care Tower, much of that time not caring if I lived or died, just wanting to breathe. Nothing else mattered. Nothing. I say that with shame and not boasting. I wish I could always see everything in light of God's bigger plan, but I don't.
Instead of trying to explain all that God was doing (because I don't know), these are some of the ways God "met me" both there and in the time I've been home. We got home on Tuesday night, the 30th.
One of the things I prayed for before I left and while en route was that I would see God and know His presence in that place. I was hoping for something extra special that we sometimes call a "God thing," something to make me smile, give me warm fuzzies.
Didn't happen. Nope. Nada.
That is until I was able to think more clearly, which is closely linked to being able to breathe!!
(When you can't breathe adequately, you can't think of anything else.) Finally on the third morning, I was able to read some devotional material from my Tabletalk Magazine. The Nov. 25th devotional talked about Christ being the Logos, the Word made flesh, the very revelation of God Himself incarnated as the God-man. (Jn. I) "All of God's Word reveals Christ to us in some way, and none of it is read rightly unless we read it in light of His person and work. That is because Christ is God's Word to us in these last days....God's Word - the Bible - leads us to God's Word incarnate - Jesus Christ."
So I came to see that with my Bible right there with me and the Holy Spirit indwelling me, I had all the presence of God I really needed. He was there all along, I did not need to see something extra special - I already had it.
(The doctors hoped I would recover more quickly, but after 5 days they said I could recuperate at home. Basically, when expending any energy at all, my blood oxygen levels dip to a dangerous level, requiring me to set the 02 tanks as high as 15L in order to "recover", then gradually ease it back down. My hope, our hope, is for me to return to pre-pneumonia oxygen needs of 3-4 L.)
Upon returning home, things have been alternatingly encouraging/discouraging. I knew it would take me longer that most people to recover from an illness like this. But it is taking SO long that I struggle with the fear that this is my new normal, that I will never get back.
So God has been teaching and encouraging me with these truths about Himself and about me. Again - this is long.
(Lydia Brownback, Trust, a Godly Woman's Adornment)
"At some level we have an expectation that God's quota for testing us has been sufficiently filled for a season..We say 'God, this has been hard, so I'm sure that's it for a while. Now I'm looking to see what sort of blessing you'll bring to compensate me for the pain.' "
"Are we locked onto a particular type of healing or blessing that we want God to do for us? Something we think God should do for us?......That very thing you want God to fix may be His instrument to teach you first to depend on Him rather than on yourself or on peaceful circumstances....If we are anxious and fearful, could the reason be that we won't let go of our preconceived ideas of how things should go?"
"The Bible never says that a bad patch inevitably will be followed by a good one, in this life anyway.
"God is indeed good, and He is delighted when we trust in His love for us..But this sort of trust is very different from imposing onto Him our idea of how things will be. To our way of thinking, our expectation is the 'right' thing and therefore surely the thing that God will do for us.
"But often it is not. God's plans for our good are often radically different from our plans. Real trust isn't believing that God will do things as we expect He should; it is, rather, believing that whatever He does is good and perfect. We will only find relief from fear if we relinquish our expectations of what we think God ought to do for us and ask Him to create within our hearts a trusting expectation for what He wills to do."