Perspective is Grounding

We can all relate to stories, because our lives are made of them.  Our chapters may look different in the details, but we all share in love, laughter, pain, and death.  
 

Psalms 46: 1-3

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging”

When we find ourselves neck deep in a crisis what do we see?

            I was neck deep in a crisis hovering over my two-year old daughter as she lay in her hospital bed.  The pace of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit was intense.  In the middle of our whirlwind, I became very aware of my surroundings and the other children who were suffering.

The evening had been rough on Adalee.  All she could do was lay in her stark white hospital crib, which had adjustable rails on all fours sides.  She had a multitude of wires monitoring her every breath and bodily functions.  She had to go through multiple rounds of blood tests which were traumatizing for a two year old, and due to the anesthesia she was given for the MRI she got sick and vomited all over the both of us.  After cleaning her up and calming her down Adalee was finally asleep.  We had been in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit only hours when I had the chance to finally sit down.  I began to try and grasp the idea our two year old daughter had suffered a stroke with no pre-existing conditions.  We found ourselves neck deep in a life threatening situation, and had no idea what Adalee’s life would look moving forward. We had no answers, no reasons. Her body was broken, and she was losing function on the right side of her body.   Adalee was losing abilities with every passing minute, and we had no assurances they would return. We were in a situation parents hope and pray they never face, and yet the Lord opened my eyes to the other children. 

I laid down to try and get some rest, but the sounds of the PICU were deafening.  The constant echoes of beeping grew to a dull, white noise, but it couldn’t drown out the excruciating sounds.  On the other side of the curtain I heard a newborn baby with RSV, and the noises this sick infant made as it coughed will forever be imbedded in my brain.   It was awful and hands down, one of the worst sounds I have ever heard.  It took everything I had not to power through the curtain and tend to the tiny infant curled up on its stomach.  I knew acting out on that motherly impulse would violate all kinds of hospital rules, so I chose to be rational and only took a peek at the tiny baby through the curtain.  At the same time, across the hall there was a room with glass walls and an open door where I could see what appeared to be a boy around the age of 11 or 12. He was in a coma.  Hours earlier, when we entered the PICU, I noticed beyond the glass walls were drawn curtains, but I could still see the group of doctors and nurses surrounding the bed side as they conducted some type of procedure.  Hours later, when I finally sat down, the procedure had ended and the parents and family members laid on the chairs next to their son’s bedside.  From moment to moment they would sleep, pace, and watch over him in hopes he would wake.  As I could see the whole picture of what was taking place I still had room in my aching stomach to feel the agony these parents were going through.  As one parent to another, it was heart wrenching to have a small portion of an idea of what they were experiencing.  In these surroundings the Lord ministered to me, and gave me perspective.  At least my daughter had been awake and had come out of her anesthesia.  I knew Adalee was not going to die, or at least the thought had not occurred to me.  Her circumstances were life threatening and completely unknown, but she was alive and had been aware of what was going on around her.  Adalee may have been confused, but I could hold her and she would receive comfort from my arms.  In that instant, God allowed me to have perspective, and perspective is grounding. Adalee was in a very serious state and could have lifelong issues and challenges based on what we knew from the last few hours, but I was not losing her.  I was so thankful that her very serious condition was not worse.  This perspective also made me feel humble and grateful that she was alive, and it offered me a sense of responsibility to pray for the boy across the hall, his family, and the baby next to us.  I have prayed for the boy and his family since we left the PICU.  During the next two and half days Adalee was a patient in the PICU he did not wake. I often wonder about his outcome.  My heart will always feel pain for his parents, and when I feel it I pray for them.

Sometimes our darkest hours seem to consume every ounce of hope.  When we face our worst fears, and deal with heartache it is not always our natural instinct to seek and find a morsel of optimism.  In our suffering is it easy to be consumed with our own pain, but we must find a way to look up.  We can always count on the fact that there is someone who is dealing with something much worse.  There is someone out there whose pain we cannot imagine or comprehend.  In these times, the Lord can help us look beyond ourselves. It allows us to never lose perspective, and to find ways to be thankful.

Perspective does not lesson the seriousness of our own difficulties, but it does allow us to maintain an outlook of being thankful that our situation is not worse. God always gives us a reason to be thankful. If anything, we can be thankful that God is always good, regardless of our circumstances.

Psalm 118:1

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever”.

Peace in “The Perfect Storm”

We can all relate to stories, because our lives are made of them.  Our chapters may look different in the details, but we all share in love, laughter, pain, and death.  My purpose and prayer for this blog is to inspire strength and encourage faith.


 

Theme: Finding Peace & Comfort in Crisis

I hope you join me as I share a story of faith, prayer, and of how the Lord walked my family through a crisis. I invite you to follow this series, as each post is written as a chapter.

If you, or someone you know, is walking through a difficult time I pray this testimony encourages you.  I pray you will find God’s peace and comfort just as I did.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-5

“Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”                                         

The New International Version


We all can relate to what it feels like when life delivers unwelcomed difficulties to our door step.  I believe the Lord placed a sense of responsibility on my heart to share how He comforted my family and I through a traumatic situation in order to encourage and remind others that He wants to be our strength in times of hardship.


The definition of a Perfect Storm:
  •  a particularly violent storm arising from a rare combination of adverse meteorological factors.
  • a particularly bad or critical state of affairs, arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors.

According to Merriam-Webster the definition is a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors


I live in a place where thunderstorms roll in and out faster than the time it takes to watch your favorite sitcom.  In spring time and summer, heavy winds and tornados are commonplace.  Every year there are homes and towns that lose life and incur devastation, caused by colliding winds clashing together with a force so powerful it only leaves destruction in its wake.  Some people live in climates that would chill the rest of us to the bone, while others choose coastal living and face the dangers of hurricanes and flooding.  Regardless of which climate we choose, nature has a way of combining elements that come together at just the right time to form forces that can leave immeasurable damage.

Equally as devastating are the tidal waves and dark clouds of difficulties that often blow in and catch us by surprise.  Life sometimes has a way of dealing us a bad hand when we are already down, or striking us at a time when we are already drowning.  All at once, life can issue a series of problems that come together at the same time, and cause us to feel the burden is too heavy to carry…..as if we are in the perfect storm

My family was caught in a force just like this……..


               In February 2014, our two year old daughter, Adalee, suffered an ischemic stroke on the left side of her brain while we were on a family ski trip in Park City, Utah.  Out of the blue, with no pre-existing conditions, we found ourselves a thousand miles away from home in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with our baby girl.  Adalee lost her ability to use the entire right side of her little body.  Adalee’s face was paralyzed on one side, and she lost her ability to speak, walk, and move her right arm, hand, and fingers.  For three days the team of pediatric doctors performed a series of tests to find out why Adalee had suffered a stroke.  After reviewing her veins, blood, and heart the doctors could not find the reason of her “acute situation”, but ruled that her stroke was caused by “The Perfect Storm”.  In order for this to occur there were a handful of factors that had to come together in just the right way, and at just the right time, to result in this life threatening situation.  We were told that not finding the origin is good, and so much better than having a disease or problem with a major organ.  We learned to take this as good news, yet Adalee’s little body was still left debilitated. The wake of destruction had left its damage. 

The first few hours in the emergency room of the children’s hospital were a whirlwind.  As the team of nurses and doctors whisked my child away to get an MRI, I stood facing a dark, empty corridor in the ER.  My heart felt like a heavy bowling ball pressing down on my chest, and my stomach was a ball of knots being quartered and pulled in four different directions.  For the first time in hours, I was able to stop and think about what was taking place.  

In a raging instant our family had been turned upside down.  All we knew was that our daughter’s life, our lives, might never be the same.  Her abilities, her personality, and her words were deteriorating before our eyes.  The rug of normalcy had been pulled out from under us, and life as we knew it was now completely different. As I closed my eyes to take a breath, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me.  The voice was not audible, but I heard it just the same.

“I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  

(Joshua 1:5)

“I am here, I am God, and I. AM. CONSTANT”. 

Time stood still, and I will forever remember what I felt sweep over me. I felt God’s peace fall on my head and shoulders like a soft blanket.  It was as if He draped a cloak over my shoulders and I could feel the peace adorn my neck.  The overwhelming sense of peace rested upon the anxiety in my stomach, and it calmed me. It did not make the ache in my stomach go away, but it did compose my emotions.  In that instant, as the Lord spoke, He assured me that He was there. 

Even though it was just a second, I felt like time froze.  The Lord breathed through me several lessons with great depth and meaning that I would not only use to deal with this crisis, but that I would carry with me forever.


In one moment, God gave me peace, eternal perspective, and strength.

God made it clear He was with us, and that regardless of what happens to our life on earth He always stays the same.  God’s sovereignty overpowers any circumstance, and I saw through a new lens how this life on earth is so very short.  It was then the Lord gave me an eternal perspective. My heart began to rest on the hope that one day if Adalee did not fully recover physically, she would be whole again in eternity.  Our material possessions and physical abilities here on earth cannot be measured against an eternity with God.  I found peace in that moment.  Peace that would get me through this perfect storm.  Peace that would help me accept whatever her life would be from that moment on.

God was revealing Himself to me, because He loves me. He loves my daughter, and He wanted me to experience the comfort He alone can give in times of pain and crisis. I was blessed to recognize His presence, and I was simply reminded that He wants us all to experience Him. God wants to comfort us as our Father, just like my husband, Mark, and I wanted nothing more than to comfort our daughter.

God wants to comfort you…..regardless of your situation.

I began to get the sense God was holding me up. Through the promise of His word He gave me strength.  As the days progressed, this strength helped me to be able to handle the situation, process the loads of information we sifted through each time we spoke with the doctors, keep a clear mind in order to make the best decisions for Adalee, and to be emotionally strong for her.  I felt a resolve that I would be able to do whatever it took to help Adalee move forward.  If that meant taking care of her for the rest of my life, then I would do everything in my power to fulfill that purpose.

God’s strenth gave me focus. Focus gave me perspective. Perspective gave me peace. 


God’s word never says we will not endure hardship, or that we will never experience tragedy or loss.  In life we can count on bad things happening, but we can also rest assured that when we experience pain and difficulties He will always be there to give us strength.

If you are wading through your own perfect storm, the Lord wants to bring you peace and be your sense of calm. The scriptures of Matthew 8: 24-26 and Luke 8: 24-27 both tell of the story of how Jesus calms a real storm while on a boat with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee.  

Matthew 8:24-25 “Without warning a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying ‘Lord, save us!  We’re going to drown!'”  

Luke 8:24-25 ” …..He got up and  rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ He asked his disciples.”  

Jesus asked His disciples to believe in Him.  He wanted them to know He is more powerful than any storm.  Jesus wants us to do the same. His power can help us deal with any problem, and rescue us from drowing in the waves of our trials.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”   NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…”.    NIV

If the wake of destruction has already left immeasurable damage in your life, take heart. God’s word promises He has peace to give you, and will bear your burdens.

God desires to give us comfort, and to hold us up, and to open our eyes to how our  physical existence impacts our spiritual journey into eternity.  


We can all know that when the perfect storm seems to swallow us there is peace and hope. I am simply….sharing and pray you will ask the Lord to be your Peace in The Perfect Storm.