One of the goals that Dan and I had while in the hospital, was to shine Christ’s light in a place that is filled with difficult situations and hardships. But also God’s miracles, love, and healing. I’d love to say that it is easy, but when you are going through your own struggles, it has brought on a whole new meaning for me – trying to still shine His light, even through the ups and downs. Then again, God NEVER stops working and His timing is always perfect and His healing, never ceases.
As a Christian, I have this false idea that in making God’s name known, that I have to do it with a permanent smile on my face, with a healthy body, with my life put together, and with this attitude that all is well, all the time. Every part of that has been challenged for me. How do you proclaim His name when you are a 12 out of 10 in pain? How do you shine His light when tears can’t seem to stop falling? How do you keep the faith when it seems like what could go wrong, went wrong? In other words, how do you be a witness through the ups and downs?
Today, I am feeling good. Knowing that I might go home tomorrow, I am thankful for a day to walk and sleep, with no tests hanging over my head. It’s a day of preparation before going home. An “up” day. Yesterday, I felt was filled with some setbacks. I would take a walk, but could not go far, due to shortness of breath and feeling lethargic. I would get back from a walk and immediately zonk out. Hard. What was going on? I finally called the cardiac PA because I was concerned something was wrong. I started to fear.
After speaking with the cardiac PA, she said that everything I felt is normal. She said especially with cardiac recovery, you are going to have up and down days. It’s difficult because if you would look at me, you wouldn’t see a difference, until I started to walk. If you saw my face and my body, it would look no different. It’s my heart that is controlling every step. I just have to be patient, which I stink at, and accept the down days. I have to learn to capitalize on them too, and just rest.
So with a day like yesterday, how do you shine Christ’s light when you feel so sluggish and walking 50 feet is hard? I’ve learned that we have a lot of power in our attitudes and words. Our bodies may be falling apart and our mental capacity at it’s limit, but how we respond, can make a huge difference. Even if it’s through tears.
I have shed many tears while in the hospital and they come at times when I least expected it. But those tears often come while having a heart to heart with a nurse or PA. It’s in those moments that I am at my limit, but I can choose to keep pushing forward and say that I believe there is a reason for everything, that good can come out of this, and that it’s a God-thing that I’m here. It’s simple words, but words I have to speak aloud to ensure they are a promise to myself as well, and in turn, hope the person I’m talking to, clings to that hope as well. In doing so, it has opened the door for the most amazing conversations.
The people God has brought into our lives here, has all been by God’s design and His divine appointments. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to be a witness. Especially through the ups and downs. But I find that the best conversations have happened when I am tearful, honest, and at my worst. When I am in the pits and feel like the pits. You know the feeling, right? I’m sure you’ve been there.
I am told that it is going to be a long road to recovery. In my mind, I have a hard time telling myself that because I want to beat the odds. But I have been humbled all too many times being here, and proven that it is going to take time. When they say it could take 6 months, that is just mind-boggling to me. A half a year? But then I start doing my PT exercises, work on my breathing, and then try to move, and I realize that with broken bones, torn muscles, lungs that have been collapsed for surgery, and a heart that was recently operated on TWICE, okay, 6 months doesn’t sound too bad!
We all experience ups and downs in life. You have them every day too. We are no different than each other. But how do we respond? With the I’m okay, it’s all good smile, when we really aren’t? Can still make His name known, even through the dark times? Indeed we can, and let me tell you, I HAVE A LONG WAYS TO GO. I am talking about it in this post, but oh I have so far to go. I have missed opportunities. I have missed the mark. But I don’t want to give up because God hasn’t given up on me.
Be you. Be real. Be honest. Make every day your mission field. In doing so, you will find God using you in the most unlikely places.
And it may even be in the middle of a hospital hallway.