[Author note: This post was originally published in 2014. Although it ends with a resolve to trust, this wasn’t the end of my darkness. I continued to spiral down and lost my voice. I didn’t write again for six months.
When God began to lift me from the pit I had stumbled into, the first thing He did was restore my voice. One year after the accident, I was writing again.
This post has since been updated with this ONE change: I added links to other posts written later, as evidence of how God did use my pain for His glory and my good.]
In one second, everything changed.
It had been a difficult year.
I had endured, seeking to be obedient and serve God’s purposes in that season of life.
But the time came when He had made a way of escape.
I turned that calendar page one glorious Friday in early May.
It felt like I had skipped spring and gone straight from a prolonged season of winter into the sun-kissed days of summer.
I had so much to do and so many new things on the horizon.
I spent the next week preparing for a weekend that was the culmination of three years of sacrifice.
I watched God smile on my family and my heart was more full than I could remember it being in a long time.
My husband kissed me goodbye a couple of days later and told me not to make any plans for the weekend when he returned, as we were going to “play” for the first time in a long time.
I practically danced around the house, finding joy in the mundane chores and running errands.
A Reversal of Seasons
Before the clock struck midnight that night, I was in an ambulance headed to the emergency room.
I had fallen down the stairs and broken my ankle.
It was so badly dislocated that the responders didn’t know how to stabilize it.
The ER doctor said it was the worst he had seen.
The orthopedic surgeon said I had “blown it up.”
That night in the hospital, my response was one of faithful resolve.
I even said with a smile the classic, “Well, maybe God just wanted to slow me down.”
I was so proud of my ability to trust Him and put things into perspective that He was in control and it would be ok.
Surgery came late the next day and I woke up from the anesthesia with a reaction to the medication that induced a panic attack like nothing I have never known was possible.
Had it not been for a very attentive nurse, I might have had a heart attack from the intensity.
From there I progressed into a night of terror-filled pain, with the charge nurse contacting the doctor multiple times to change the medication until it was the strongest they could give, interleaved with morphine.
As I lay there writhing and gripping the rails of the bed, knowing there was nothing else they could give me, I felt my resolve slowly leak away through my tears.
The days at home included more panic attacks and mind-altering reactions from the strong medication.
I rarely slept for more than a half-hour at a time, so there was plenty of opportunity to be aware of the all-consuming pain, and be completely conscious of all that had been stripped away.
My accident had turned the table on our future plans and now finances, a new job for me, and even a place to live were all uncertain.
Spring had turned back into winter.
The “promised land” was only a mirage in the wilderness.
I was left waiting yet again.
And there was nothing ~ NOTHING ~ I could do about it.
I couldn’t even take a shower by myself.
Embracing the Journey? You have got to be kidding me!
For years now, my theme has been “Embracing the Journey.”
In the middle of the pain and helplessness and uncertain future, my husband tried to remind me of that.
I think I threw something at him. I didn’t want to hear it.
I wish I could tell you that I quickly returned to a place of faithful resolve.
That would be lovely.
But I need to tell you the truth.
I need to tell you how, like Peter, I took my eyes off the Savior and only saw the storm.
Someone, somewhere needs to hear the nitty gritty story of how my faith faltered – the almost-40-year-old faith that belonged to a Bible teacher and prayer warrior.
Why? Because it proves there is nothing about where I am now that can be attributed to me.
All glory goes to God.
He sustained me when I didn’t even believe He cared.
He rescued me at the same moment I was blaming Him for making me drown.
As of this writing (June 2014), I have not recovered physically.
There is little change in what I can control or do.
And I still have no idea why I had to experience this.
The only difference is that God drew my face toward heaven, cradled in His loving hands, and in essence said, “Look at me. Keep your eyes on me. Stop staring at the storm.”
And here is the most important reason for telling you this: He will do the same for you, despite whatever faltering or doubting or drowning you have done.
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny himself.”
(2 Timothy 2:13)
“Will Explain Later” — signed, God
I am not at the point that I can declare I would go through it again. I may never get there.
But with each passing day, my Savior gets more of my attention than my situation.
And as I placed more of my attention on Him, I saw a new quote this week that leaped off the page:
“God marks across some of our days: ‘Will explain later.’” (Vance Havner)
Yep. If I never understand the reason, I can — I will — trust His promise that He is working all things together for my good and for His glory.
Changing the Question
The same husband who got pelted for reminding me to “Embrace the Journey” is the same faithful man who looked at me the other day and said, “Christi, what if this has nothing to do with you – or us? What if this is about who God will touch with it?”
This time, his timing was better and he got my attention, not my crutch.
In essence, he helped me to redefine the question.
Instead of asking “Why did this happen to me?” – I am now asking, “How can I offer my brokenness to God for His glory?”
How can I put 2 Corinthians 12:9 into practice in my life: “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
The first answer has been to write.
Write about my faithlessness and God’s faithfulness.
Write about the compassion shown to me by His servants and how to minister to someone fighting their way through the trial.
Talk about pain and the valley of deep darkness.
Declare the life-sustaining power of prayer and the need for brothers and sisters to not only pray, but let each other know they are praying – and even hear their prayers at times.
Write about what to do in the waiting.
Recite the truth of Scripture that offers a rock to stand on when all else is crumbling around you.
Talk about how God took me from a place of “My heart and flesh are failing” to “It is well with my soul.”
And if I falter again, well, write about that.
And in doing so, I might just come to see that I am exactly where I need to be, even if it wasn’t what I had hoped for.
But if I don’t, God will explain later.
Combat feelings of discouragement and brokenness with survival-grade faith.