Recently, I got pretty sick. Not your common cold kind of sick, but 12 days in the hospital, 6 days spent in the ICU kind of sick. The completely blind-side you kind of sick. The, as I am typing this, I am still battling kind of sick. Ok, you get the point. Now, although I am still sick, and patiently waiting for my healing, my faith in God has been transformed. Strange? No, amazing things can happen when your life hangs in the balance. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) This time a year most people spend time “giving thanks” for what they are thankful for. If you would have asked me a month ago what I was most thankful for I would have given you an answer something like, “my husband, my son, my health, my job, my church”. Today, while I am still thankful for those things, they carry a very different meaning to me. During these past few weeks, my husband has shown a quiet strength that is given only by God. He has lead our household just as God has called him to do. For that, I am thankful. Psalm 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song”
Spending time in ICU, and several other days in a hospital wing, seeing people suffering far greater than even me, could not help but shift my emotional “thankfulness” to that of a “thankfulness” state of mind. While in the ICU, one event specifically comes to mind. I called for the nurse, and she took more time to come to my room than usual. When she finally arrived, she apologized and said she was attending to someone who was dying. Today I am thankful for my life. I am Thankful in a way I have never been before for my Savior. I am overwhelmed by the amount of support my family received by our church family, through visits, meals, and prayers. There are people out there whom I will most likely never meet, who were praying for my healing and for my family. For that, I am thankful. I believe that I could wake up tomorrow fully healed. Jesus Christ has that healing power. Nevertheless, if He chooses to lengthen my time of healing, to teach me to become a more thankful, patient, or perhaps a lesson yet unseen, I accept that. If there is one lesson that I have fully learned and embraced, it is thankfulness. Not, emotional thankfulness, but thankfulness as a state of mind. What is the difference? To put it simply, your spouse gives you a necklace you have been wanting for a long time. You are thankful. Or, you overpaid your escrow for the year and your unexpectedly get a refund check in the mail. You are thankful. These are pretty basic. A thankfulness state of mind is hard to come by. Do I think I’ve got it down and will never slip? No. I am human. However, I certainly believe that my mind has shifted to believing in a more thankful way. For example, as I have said before, I am thankful for my life. Not just, I get to wake up every day, but my life. What my life is: A gift. When you are told you are sick enough to need immediate treatment or you could die, the realization that your life is a gift from God becomes a reality. The reality that you have a family who depends on you, now requires your faith to get through the course. Everyone has bad days. I had my fair share of grouchy, irritable, “I’ll do better tomorrow” days, not ever realizing those days were numbered. Sure, you hear the cliché, “you never know when your last day will be”, but you never think it will happen to you. I can guarantee you, by switching to a thankful state of mind, I will be kinder to my husband and kinder to my son. Because I never again want to say, “I’ll try harder tomorrow”. I’ve learned that by having a thankfulness state of mind, my eyes are opened to many positives through my illness. My love and appreciation for my husband has grown deeper. I have always had a very difficult time letting him “do” any of the housework. Not because he isn’t capable, but simply because of my controlling nature. God found a way to humble my controlling nature, and I have found that my husband is an excellent and organized housekeeper. In place of control has grown an appreciation for all the hard work he has had to take on in my absence. I have learned humility. Some of the people closest to me have now seen me at my worst, and I have always considered myself to be the “caretaker” in most of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of the “caretaking” and have had to graciously accept their help. I have seen a true shining example of Christian stewardship. The outpouring support of our friends has brought me to tears many nights. There weren’t many times when I was alone in my hospital room, but when I was, it could get pretty quiet. However, it was in those quiet times, I felt Christ presence the most, letting me know I was never alone. After 35 years of smoking, my father decided to stop. In his words, “if you can fight for your life and it’s not even your fault, I can stop a stupid habit and live to see my grandson get married.” Glory to God!
If I wake up tomorrow fully healed, I will thank God. If I have weeks or months of treatments to undergo, I will be thankful. Because I will know, that God has a plan for me. He may have thrown me a curve ball, but I believe there is a beautiful lesson to be learned in all of this, I am terrible in baseball, but Our God bats 1000.
“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. “ Jeremiah 17:14
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” Psalm 30:11-12