Nine years ago today, my life was changed forever. My mom and I took my father into the hospital and thus, our family began a journey that would transform us and our lives. He didn't come home until fourteen weeks later...and then we added on about another year and half of doctor's appointments, more complications and, eventually, a few weeks out of state at a different hospital. God wrought a miracle. There is no denying that. I still hear the echo of the doctor who told my mom and I that had "never seen someone come into the hospital with those [lab] numbers and survive." My dad's health scare proved that nothing is impossible with God.
But ironically, as we mark nine years of relatively good health for my dad, he is now back in the hospital for another situation. On this day, we face the past and the current all in one. He is a healthier dad than when we came to this place in 2007, but we all still struggle with the aftermath of what happened...and the acceptance of the now.
Throughout the last couple of weeks since we first got him to the hospital recently, I have had to face the past in a way I never thought I'd have to again. Not only have I had to face fears of the unknown, I've had to face my old self. Within those hospital walls is a former Katherine that still follows me from time to time. She is a person run by fear, a person afraid to show her struggles, a person who wants to hide from everyone...including God. When I walk those halls even today, I can feel the chest tighten. I can sense the heart begin to race. I can notice the pulsing, the shaking in the veins, the trembling in the knees. The old me calls out: you know what this is. Run from it all. Run from Him. For a moment, the old path is tempting. I know how to walk in that darkness. There is a sort of false security of going toward that strangely luring way.
But then the renewed self speaks forth - and I listen loud: you have the Light now. That old self has no place in your heart anymore. You are being made into something new. And I realize that I cannot hide. God has not given me that option. Unlike nine years ago, I am walking through this saga quite publicly in that He has given me platforms from which to speak about my brokenness. He has asked me to step forward and shine brightly, to speak about that which haunts me...and thus, to speak about what gives me hope. I have no option of listening to that old self, strong still though it may be. To do so would be to forfeit all that has been taught to me the last nine years. To do so would be to forget Him. To ignore His love. To walk away from the message of Grace that I attempt to proclaim to those around me.
And here I make a confession: while I know that many of you see me as an example of faith and hope and all things Him...my life often feels just as broken as yours. I often speak from my pain as much as my faith. What I write I am often writing for my own benefit as for yours. There is something about putting the words down in print that makes it irrevocable for me in some way...thoughts that are turned truth onto paper and made to be believed in a greater way. I struggle. Oh...do I ever struggle. Living in faith and trying to accept His will is tough. And these days, it seems harder than ever before. But somehow, I pray that through my vulnerability, perhaps God uses what I say and do to make you press into Him deeper too. Maybe by my faith-fight, He strengthens your hands to war for joy, too. Just perhaps...He places all of us in each other's way to be healers of sorts to one another - that by our feeble attempts to look up and see Him for Who He is, we may assist each other to keep going...just for today. Because today is all we have.
My faith is a weak one right now. But its flame is still burning because God fuels it. God sustains it. God tells me of His love in such a way that I cannot hide the light anymore. Yes, the darkness may surround for a time...but He has assured that those who follow Him truly will not walk in darkness but that even the darkness will be light around them because they posses the Light of Life (John 8:12; Psalm 139:11).
Nine years have passed. The scars on my heart are still there. They always will be. After what we've gone through, the fight for faith and joy only becomes greater. But greater still is He that has stolen my heart for Himself. And, as I breathe deep and pray for peace, He tells me that His love has overcome and I have nothing to fear.