Sunday, January 28, 2018

Made, Carried, Sustained, Rescued

It’s been 22 years today since my aorta dissected. (read the story here and here) At the time, I just prayed I would be able to live long enough to raise my babies, who were 4yrs old (going on 5) and 10 months old at that time. 8 days ago my 2nd grandson was born and as I held him I reflected on that desire and felt such gratitude for these past 22 years. I also once again prayed for more years--for the chance to grow old and experience more adventures with my husband, more moments of connection with those I love, more opportunities to serve, learn, grow, laugh, and even cry...just to live. Each year is a gift, each day is a gift (even the really hard, sucky days).

My daughter, Kayla, and grandson, Kayden, painted this for my Christmas gift. Kayla wasn't aware that Isaiah 46:4 is one of my favorite Bible verses. It's actually the verse that comes to mind through every health challenge, every time I feel like "I can't" do this anymore, that navigating all of this is too hard. The full verse says "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (NIV) 

God saw me as I was being formed. (Psalm 139:1-18) God saw my genetic mutation that causes Marfan Syndrome and he knew I would need to be carried more than the average person, and he was okay with that. He knew I would struggle in his arms, demand to be put down, demand the strength to walk this out on my own...all before surrendering to my need for him and allowing him to carry me again, and he was okay with that too. He even knew that we would dance this dance over and over again through the years, and still he loved me enough to assure me that HE would be the one to carry, sustain and rescue me. 

When I tell my dissection story, people often comment on how scary it must have been. When I look back on the story though, I don't remember the fear, I remember the absolute peace. I remember feeling God's presence more strongly than I ever had before. I do remember being scared as we called 911 and I remember asking one of the crew if she prayed and telling her to start praying when she said yes. And then my fear evaporated and was replaced by the assurance that I was being held by God. For those of you who know me well, you know I struggle with fear, anxiety and maybe a little pessimism. You know my mind quickly goes to the worst case scenario, so you also know that one of the miraculous parts of my dissection story--aside from the obvious survival--was that absolute lack of fear and full trust and confidence in God's ability. 

What I know is that I feel fear when I allow myself to be distracted. When I allow my circumstances to fill my mind. No matter what is happening, no matter how bleak or hopeless things seem, my goal (and I really hope you'll join me in this when it comes to challenges in your own life) is to keep myself aware of the presence of the one who says, "I am he who will...."

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