“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.”
~ Job 42:2 NLT
December 2018 was another rough month.
This time, my husband was fighting an additional odd sickness. His new gastrologist ordered a colonoscopy test after he felt much fatigue and stress from a taxing job, gobs of pressure, and his current physician switching some of his daily medications. On top of this, he decided it was time to start his own company. Health-wise, his body was shot.
My husband is a brilliant go-getter, yet I had never seen him this frail before.
During this transition of starting a new company, I’d been the supportive wife until my two-day school field trip to St. Augustine with my three younger kiddos (ages 11, 13, and 15 at the time). A vacation with other homeschool families sounded nice, until my morning routine slipped into chaos.
I don’t do well when my morning schedule flops.
My ritual looks like this: wake, savor my coffee, journal, and then spend time with the Lord. I’ve done this pretty consistently ever since my stem-cell transplant back in 2000. Funny how a disease brings you to your knees and points you back to dependency on the only all-knowing Being you’ll ever need. But this weekend I unraveled into a complaining mess.
My poor kids.
We stayed in your typical 1-bedroom hotel, complete with two queen beds, which was fine until I woke the next day and realized that the only place to sneak away for my quiet time was in the bathroom, sitting on the cold tile floor with the loud exhaust fan rumbling each time I flipped on the light. Only, I had slept in.
I rarely sleep in.
At 8 am, I heard the kids stirring, so I rushed to get ready, rushed to grab my coffee I had started before the crew decided to powerup their devices, and that’s when my sweet son asked if he could try some, you know, coffee? Since we were on vacation, I said, “Sure,” as I searched for my makeup bag, only he didn’t realize that first cup I had left at the coffee machine was mine. I assumed at age 13 he would know how to pop a coffee pod in and push the brew button.
When I turned to grab my caffeinated-goodness, I saw him sip away at my only source of wake-my-hazy-mind-up solution.
That’s when I reprimanded him for not first asking me if that was mine, and proceeded to make another cup. Then we wrestled for the bathroom and the blow dryer, and I finally hustled everyone down for our continental breakfast, skipping my normal counseling session with God.
No biggie, right?
I always show up.
What’s missing one day going to hurt?
Well, I was snippy most of the morning. I stared at them when they weren’t intently listening to the tour guide, and texted them when they whispered to a friend on the educational trolley ride. Basically, the afternoon ended on a bitter note and by 5 pm, I rattled off my dissatisfaction with them not taking our field trip more seriously. This is St. Augustine, after all, and there was much to be learned!
(Can you imagine the eerie eye-twitching I had going on right about now? So embarrassing.)
That’s when the emotional fatigue hit and I knew I wouldn’t have enough energy to drive four hours back to West Palm Beach. So I booked another hotel (which was not in our budget), as all my healthy friends drove home.
That night before going to bed, the bad-mom-guilt hit.
I had been awful.
I apologized for my unpleasant actions, but as soon as my eyes closed, my mind gabbed on and on about our unstable situation: “What are we doing starting our own business, what if it fails? What about insurance? What about retirement? What if my husband’s colonoscopy results come back with the unthinkable?”
All of this anxiety weighed me down like someone had wrapped a shawl with bowling ball tassels across my shoulders.
I fell asleep that night so incredibly uneasy and woke the next morning to the same scenario:
No place to have a quiet time.
Once we loaded in the van, I did have the kids read from my book (oftentimes this lifts my spirit because it reminds me of each place that God has shown up), and then an excerpt from Joyce Meyer’s book, Change Your Words, Change Your Life. This helped a little, until those negative voices grew louder.
So, I called a friend for wise counsel on our four-hour drive home.
Then a relative.
No one brought me 100% comfort. No one definitively said, “Your husband’s test results will come back clear! He is going to do great in this next business venture! You won’t have to worry about health insurance or a sickness, or paying your mortgage! God’s got this.”
It was all the ways we could survive.
We could sell the house. Downsize and rent a two-bedroom condo, just outside of town. I could work a couple of jobs while Jason healed and the kids were old enough to school themselves at home, or go to traditional school.
Nothing was wrong with the advice given, even though I desperately desired for them to say the most positive words. My friends and relatives meant well, but each time I hung up from a conversation I felt less encouraged.
And that’s when it dawned on me.
They weren’t God.
Nothing can take the place of His wisdom and peace.
I cried silently behind my oversized sunglasses that day I felt our life was spiraling out of control. I sought counsel from everyone other than the One True Source. People mean well, but they’re not always the best advice-givers.
They’re human, just like you and me.
Are you starting to see the missing piece here? It wasn’t until the next morning when I finally cracked open my Bible that it hit me.
Of course, God directed me to Job 42, where He says that Job had to repent and seek Him. Job had listened to the counsel from three well-meaning friends whose theories were flawed during the most miserable time in his life. After 30 some-odd chapters, he finally listened to God and accepted that He was in control and no plan of God’s could be overthrown. Job repented, prayed for his friends, and then was blessed twice as much as he was before.
Time alone with God is my silver bullet straight to the heart of my sinful fear.
Only He can lead me, not a well-meaning girlfriend or relative, or my amazing spouse whom I rely so heavily on, only my Lord and Savior. Time with Him changes my thoughts and actions.
There is me inside of me,
and God inside of me,
and whoever I spend time with surfaces.
He says that every word written in the Bible is written to teach us (Romans 15:4) and help us see some hope in what we’re facing. I believe the Lord wanted us to see the pain others have walked through in Scripture. These stories give us hope as we look on and say, “See, God helped this desolate man, surely if we follow Christ, He will help us, too.”
There’s no other reason I can think of that He would have shared Job’s heart-wrenching story, other than to encourage us today.
Read on from an excerpt from Job 42 below, and listen to what you feel the Lord is speaking to you.
Job Submits Himself to the Lord:
“Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I (Job)—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me…I (Job) had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes… So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning,” (excerpts from Job 42 NLT).
If there’s one tidbit of wisdom I can offer you, it’s to start the day solid by asking for His counsel, believing that He can do anything. Because, sweet friend, He can. No plan of His can be stopped.
Who have you gone to instead of the Lord and how has this impacted you?
Pray and write what God just whispered to you:
“A word of encouragement during a crisis is worth more than an hour of praise
after victory. When we encourage others, we let them borrow our courage.”
~ Joyce Meyer, Change Your Words, Change Your Life
“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests
before you and wait expectantly.”
~ Psalm 5:3 NIV
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house
and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
~ Mark 1:35 NIV
“Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
~ Psalm 30:5b GNT
Hello, sweet friends. I pray you all are well!
If you have the time, please let me know your thoughts on this devotional. Is there something you would change? Or, did you find a typo? If so, please comment below, and I’ll include your name in my acknowledgement section of this 30 Day Devotional for the Newly Diagnosed, from a (Former) Professional Patient.
PS To subscribe to the blog to receive future posts, click here. To send me the biggest virtual hug, click on this underlined link to leave a review on Amazon of When God Intervenes. Best. Gift. Ever. (I know. That was a shameless plug. But I’ve been told that reviews help guide others to the book. I’d love to encourage as many recovering patients as I can and spread a little hope. As always, I’m thankful for you guys. xoxo)