I can’t resist the urge to write about them…to share them, because they ‘blindside’ me every time. They stop me dead in my tracks and touch me in a deeper and more profound way than anything else in this life. I’m talking about what I like to call “God things”……those amazing, unmistakeable almost “Twilight Zone”-ish moments or encounters where God ‘reaches down’ into my little world and makes it CRYSTAL CLEAR that HE is aware of whatever is on my heart and perhaps eating away in my mind and He lets me know in no uncertain terms that He is listening, watching and totally prepared to help me through whatever it is. These moments blow me away EVERY. TIME., ….a feeling of pure ecstasy and gratitude at the reminder that my heavenly Father REALLY DOES love me and REALLY IS there for me, whether I’ve remembered that or not! Unfortunately during the next few moments after the wonderful ‘rush’, a feeling of guilt raises its’ ugly head as well. Guilt over my complacency, doubt & fear that I, in my human weakness, allowed to take up residence in the overcrowded hallways of my mind. As a long-time Believer, I proceed to chastise myself over what I feel I should have never forgotten, never doubted….if I were where I believe I should be in my faith. But then I attempt to rally, and remind myself that we Believers are only human and there is only ONE perfect person…Jesus. Oh we often try to be perfect….some would have you believe they are. Some do everything in their power to at least appear that way on the surface. Not me, I openly admit my frailties and struggles, some of which are obvious, with being who and what I know I’m supposed to do and be. Every day is made up of hundreds of little choices we have to make. Some are seemingly “no-brainers” for a true Believer……..others not so much. There are those that slide stealthily into that slippery area that seems “gray”. Maybe 1 or 2 of those seemingly gray area choices don’t get you in trouble now and then, but if you keep making more and more, little by little, someday down the road you may find yourself dead center in the middle of the gray area that isn’t really gray at all….it’s black, black, as in dead wrong….and you wonder how on earth that ever happened. It happens one choice at a time. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re in the “gray” area in the first place….until after you made your seemingly harmless choice. Like most people, I’ve made my share of bad choices…and I continue to at times, because I’m human….and we are not flawless… not even close. But He still loves us anyway….with all our dirt and grime and “black choices”.
I digress. This post isn’t about choices, but when I write, I usually start out with a game plan but then as I start to write the final draft, new thoughts that I didn’t even know I had suddenly appear and I “go with the flow”…and that’s just what “flowed” at that point in my mind. True to my personal ‘calling card’, I have followed the cute little bunny down the ‘bunny trail’ and found myself in the briar patch instead of staying on the path to my topic at hand. The “God-thing”. My apologies. However, before I can tell you about that, I need to share the very personal “back-story” that I wasn’t really sure I wanted to share. But, I’m not getting any younger and if this speaks to even one person who needs to hear it for whatever reason, I’m willing to “fall on my sword” to help them out.
The summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school I came down with a very serious illness….a potentially life threatening illness. We will never know for sure what caused it, but the prevailing theory then was an inhalation exposure to the extremely toxic, benzene-containing fumes from industrial strength toilet bowl cleaner that had been left in a bathroom full of toilets, to fill the room with deadly fumes. Little did I know then that the treatment for this would change the ENTIRE trajectory of my life. This “crisis” went on for about 8 months with weekly trips to a specialist 2 hours away until, the day before I turned 17 and the day before the “Blizzard of ’78” hit, I had my spleen removed at a hospital in Lorain and thereby achieved a total cure, for which my family and I were forever grateful. But the things I learned during the course of that illness have never left me. One of those things is that when you have a serious illness and you share that fact with people, you will experience reactions that run the gamut…from one extreme to another. Some people will gather around and offer love and support, others will avoid you like the plague………fear and perhaps ignorance of the facts will render them mute. They drop off the radar. They don’t know what to say. They’re afraid of saying the wrong things. Some who are very close to you might be afraid they will lose you and they can’t take that kind of pain, so they gradually or suddenly disappear. I experienced it all in that first of many health crises. I lost a good friend in that first brush. It hurt and I never could quite make sense of it. We reasoned that perhaps her mother thought I would die and that that would be too much for her to handle, so she just gradually distanced herself right out of my life, at a time when I needed my friends the very most. It hurt and that is one of the reasons I hesitate to share. I don’t want to lose anyone. That was 42 years ago. Twelve years after that, I went through an even bigger life threatening ‘tango’ with the big “C”, as a result of the drug used to fight that first issue. By this time I had a husband of 3 years and a 20 month old toddler…..much more at stake, should I lose the battle. But I didn’t. Oh it was tough, very tough and I remember vividly talking to the Lord and BEGGING him to please just let me live long enough to get my daughter into Kindergarten. Then, after I made it that long, I remember begging Him to let me live at least until she turned 10. Tough, tough times. But, by God’s good grace….and only that…..I am still here, and she will be 30 in about 3 weeks. I was told by my oncologist at that 10 year mark that I had been truly “CURED” of my cancer. He said it was one of the only kinds, back then, that the word CURE could be used with, despite the fact that it was already at Stage IV when they found it. There is NO DOUBT in my mind that I received a MIRACLE……..one of many, actually.
Fast forward to the last few years. I went through a time of no health issues….a glorious time! Then my dad died 2 1/2 years ago followed by my mom just 6 months ago. In regards to my health, it’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since. In the last 6 months I’ve had 1 ongoing challenge that I am learning to deal with followed by 3 different “scares” that thankfully turned out to be OK. However, in just the last week a new, unexpected issue of potentially deadly consequences has arisen and rocked my world. Sometimes being in the medical field is a blessing……and sometimes it’s a curse. In my nurse’s mind this is probably a game-changer. It’s the first thing that pops into my head when my eyes open in the morning and the thing that keeps my over-thinking brain steaming full-speed ahead into the late hours at night. I can’t even get in to the specialist until late this week….too much time to “stew”. My mind and heart are heavy…..or, I should probably say WERE heavy….until this “God-thing” happened. Geesh!! Did you think I was EVER going to get to this??!!!! Yeah…..me neither!!!
So, here I was rushing around the other morning popping into two different doctor’s offices signing records releases so they can communicate with each other when I heard a car honking. Now, back when I was a young gal…….and ya already know that was a LONG time ago…..my mom taught me to NOT turn around when someone honked. She said when guys are honking at girls walking down the street, if the girls are always turning around to look, it made the girl look “cheap” and vain. Some things we learn as kids are easy to “unlearn”, some not so much. So, I hesitated to look as I was getting into my car. However, the honking persisted and I finally looked over to see an old friend just a smiling and waving. Now here is where I need you to see how unusual this event was. Are you paying attention or are you half-asleep and drooling all over your keyboard or phone?!!!!
At my previous job that I held for 11 years, there was a monthly meeting with representatives from any and all types of organizations whose main focus was caring for the elderly. I met this gal during those meetings. She is, without a doubt, the MOST DEVOUT Christian I know. Her faith and positivity just bubble out of her everywhere she goes and I can only imagine the thousands of “seeds” she has knowingly and unknowingly planted and continues to plant for the Kingdom. Well, since I changed jobs a little less than 2 years ago, I sadly almost never see her anymore. So, I was quite tickled….and relieved that I had not given in to the “urge to look at the “honker” only to find a leering, wolfish man sneering away…..mom’s voice wouldn’t be scolding me in my mind this time! She parked and we both got out and met by her car. She had a coworker in the car with her too. She said she had seen me and was just going to honk but then decided she needed to stop and give me a hug. Well, in just the first minute or so, my reason for being there came out and I told her the gravity of the situation and my thoughts and fears. Right then, as if on cue, her friend, who had been listening, popped her head out and asked if they could pray with me. Holy smokes!!! It was at THAT VERY MOMENT that it hit me like a brick that this was no ordinary encounter. It was NO accident that I was there when my seldom -seen friend just happened along!! NO SIRee!!! This Chick does NOT believe in coincidence….NOPE, NOT EVEH, NEVEH!!! I believe to the depths of my heart that our sovereign God is in control of everything and anything at ALL times……even the minutia that we mentally discard as meaningless. I was taught that God has 2 types of “will”…….His “intentional will” —- where He MAKES things happen, for reasons only He knows…….and His “permissive will” —- where He ALLOWS things to happen, for reasons only He knows. Buddy, I’m here to tell ya that I KNOW He WANTED me to run into my dear friend that day because He KNEW she had what I needed right at that very moment when my fears were churning in my mind……..and she surely did! She was His arms and His comforting voice as the 3 of us stood in that parking lot and she prayed so fervently for me as we all embraced, heads down, in our little circle. My heart sang with joy at the incredulous realization that, once again He had reached down to touch my heart and calm my fears…to let me know that whatever happens in the weeks to come, He WILL be walking right along side me, holding my hand.
I hope my ‘gut’ is wrong, I hope the statistics about this issue are wrong in my case. But what I’m most happy to be right about is the indisputable assurance, delivered as only our ever-loving Heavenly Father can do, that He will help me though it. Yes, these “God-things” are hard for me to keep quiet about.