I stared at the bathroom floor trying to blink back the tears. Extreme nausea hit me like a ton of bricks and the pain searing through my gut felt like knives lacerating my insides. I was away from the comforts of home, in a hotel somewhere in Indiana, and I was alone.
The mountain ahead of me looked too high to climb, and as I crawled back into bed, I collapsed in sobs. It was sometime after 4:00 in the morning. The bed I was sleeping on was so hard it felt like it was made of wood, and my night had only consisted of approximately three and half hours of fitful, interrupted sleep.
Only a few days earlier we had gotten the news that my husband's Dad was not doing well. He was in the hospital battling cancer as well as covid, and we were told that his health was declining. Nolan and Xander (husband and son) bought tickets immediately and flew out so they could be with the family. The reason I had stayed behind was because flying with my health condition was almost impossible.
The following morning we got the news that Dale would not make it through the day, so with a breaking heart, I hit the road for Oregon. It was the middle of winter and I had a 36 hour stretch of road to cover before I could join my family. It hurt so much to be apart during a time when I desperately wanted to be with my husband during his grief.
I have a chronic illness called Ulcerative Colitis which flares up periodically. This means that my large intestine gets really inflamed, is lined with ulcers, and makes it that I react to almost everything I eat and am constantly in need of a bathroom. In a severe flare (like I was in now) I can hardly leave the house as it hits me constantly throughout the day. It's common to be running twenty plus times per day to the bathroom.
We own a camper which was a life saver in my situation, so my brothers got it all ready for the road and I headed across the States with my little home on wheels trailing behind. Anytime I suddenly needed a bathroom, I could pull to the shoulder and run back to the camper. It was far from enjoyable, but it worked, and my trusty turtle shell was able to get me from Pennsylvania to Oregon.
So this brings us back to the Quality Inn in Indiana. (Nolan wanted me to sleep in hotels for safety reasons, and being it was the dead of winter, the camper had no running water.)
As I lay in the bed wondering how in the world I would find the strength to finish the next 28 hours on the road... anxiety crept in. Not only did the trip look huge but I also knew that what lay at the end of my journey would be even more difficult. I hadn't left my home in around two weeks due to my condition, and now I had to get to Oregon and figure out how to make it through two difficult days of grief: a viewing, funeral, and burial. All this stress wasn't helping my gut problem either.
However, God had some things to teach me... to once again show me His compassion and love, and how He always holds true to His promises, even when my human heart was trembling and focusing on the size of my problem more than the greatness of my God.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2 ESV
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17-18 ESV
God promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) These verses take on a whole new meaning when we as humans hit rock bottom. We are desperate and life looks impossible. Our hearts are crushed and bleeding and our bodies so worn out we don't know how we can keep going on. Yet, it's so ironic that we need these times to fully experience God's grace and love in our lives; His compassion and mercy for His children!
If life was only sunshine, the human tendency
would be to forget our need of a Savior, but it's in
our desperation that we cling to the Rock of Ages.
Charles H. Spurgeon wrote. "I've learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the rock of ages." And while I have yet to learn how to love the hard times of life, I do know they are necessary to help us grow in our relationship with Jesus.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11
As I continued to drive West, I was constantly getting messages, emails, calls etc. from friends, family, and many people that only knew us through our Youtube channel. The prayers of the saints were surrounding us and the love and care I felt from many people that were concerned for my health and safety overwhelmed me. God's peace and strength settled around me like a warm blanket, and I knew He was going to get me through. I didn't know how it would happen, but I was so thankful for the peace in my heart and the strength to finish the journey.
The church family in Oregon was so kind and considerate. They knew what I was dealing with and went out of their way to make sure things could be set up in a way that would work well for me. Even though it looked rather odd, the camper ended up going with us and was parked in convenient locations that I could access quickly.
This act of kindness by various people overwhelms me to tears to this day. God's people were taking care of each other, and I was on the receiving end of their kindness. When my health is so fragile I feel extremely vulnerable and useless... and yet the love and compassion I felt from so many that week was beyond anything I've experienced.
Not only did God have His family surrounding me with love but He also had His arms around me. On the days that I was worried most about, my gut was quieter than most times. (Yes, I still needed to run off at inopportune times, but it never happened at the critical moments for which I am so grateful!)
So through the humility of my disease and the immense feeling of vulnerability it brought, I felt the love and compassion of God and His people in a way I likely would never have known if my health would've been perfect. It's my prayer that God will never let me forget, and that I can use this difficult time as a learning experience; to always have a heart of love and compassion for others, and actively look for ways to lighten their load. I pray God instills a heart of true compassion, where I not only show compassion through my actions, but that my heart also cries with those that are in distress. So if it takes me walking a difficult road to achieve true empathy towards others, than I'm willing to walk it. (I just pray it's not too long!) LOL.
I would love to hear about the trials you are facing or have faced in the past where life looked impossible yet God's grace pulled you through!