This has been the hardest blog I have ever written. I now have 3 unfinished blogs floating in my head and in my computer, because the words felt off. The words of this blog are vulnerable and true, but they are the only words that seemed right. I hope this helps you as much as it has been helping me through the last year and especially the last few weeks.
I am tired of waiting for answers. My patience has gone. I just want answers. For years now, my mother’s health has been declining. It started out gradually with constant lethargy and mental cloudiness. Within the last year, her health has taken a steeper decline. Her hands shake. Her mind can’t form short-term memories and she struggles every day. Every. Single. Day. And the doctors seem to have no answers.
Last summer, I had an uncomfortable encounter with God. During a youth mission camp, we had a night of contemplative prayer stations. Some were silent, some were spoken, and some were even written. As I got to the station to write down personal prayer requests, I had nothing to write. I stood there with a card and pen in my hand surrounded by at least 100 students as they waited to hang their prayer request on the clips at the station. I prayed that God would reveal something for me to write down. I thought of things like, “the youth to encounter God” and “the children at our mission site to know God.”They were nice things and of course needed prayer, but none of them were what I needed to write down.
I stood there as my eyes started to water, when God told me to write down, “my mom’s health.”
I wasn’t comfortable and begged for something else to write. I couldn’t let it go. Handing over something that big is too much for God to ask from me. How are we supposed to trust anyone else to take care of something so important in our life?
With tears now freely rolling down my cheek, I scribbled down “my mom’s health” and quickly hung it up.
As I walked away, I realized that they were having a worship session in the middle of the campus for us. I stood at the back as everyone sang songs of praise, songs of how great God is. I stood there trying to mumble the words as I still tried to contemplate what I had just written; trying to reason with God about the magnitude of trust I was placing in Him.
A little over a month later, I got a text from my mother saying that she had 2 mini strokes. At the time, I was in Germany and could only send messages with wifi. I freaked out. I immediately started questioning her and bombarding her for information she didn’t really have. When I got home from Germany days later, my mom was in the hospital.
This is EXACTLY why I didn’t want to write that prayer request. I knew that God was in control, but that knowledge didn’t fully comfort me. As much as He is in control, He is working towards His will, not mine. That’s terrifying.
It has been almost a year from that point, and the doctors are no closer to giving us answers. A year of struggling with keeping my mom’s anxiety and blood sugar under control, while keeping her strength and mental acuity from diminishing. Nothing seems to help. No answers seem to be coming.
As I have felt myself boil up with repressed anger and impatient sadness, I read scriptures like Romans 12:12 reminding me to, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed for this situation. I have tried to fulfill this scripture. Let me tell you something… it’s hard. It’s hard to be patient within affliction. This affliction seems to be unwavering, unchanging.
This last Sunday, I had a real and honest conversation with a friend, RayLynne. We talked about basically everything. While others were rushing to lunch, we sat in a children’s Sunday School room and shared life together. She shared some struggles and I tried to share some “wisdom,” but in the end her words spoke far greater things to me. RayLynne shared her reencounter with the book of Job. As she began reading the scriptures in Job, they were everything she needed to share and everything I needed to hear.
If you have never read Job, let’s just say it’s not an uplifting story. Job loses everything in a matter of mere minutes. He loses all of his children, wealth, and physical health. As he stood there mourning and miserable, covered from the head to toe in painful sores, his wife questioned him. Job 2:9 recounts, “His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
I try to imagine myself in his shoes, and it is not a place I would ever want to be. I couldn’t imagine going through the roughest time of my life and having my support system turning to me and telling me to just give up, curse God and die. What harsh words and sentiments from a grieving mother. She spoke out during her hurt and that’s the most she could say to Job. What a raw moment, but it’s all she had to offer.
As shocking as her words were, his words astounded me even more in verse 10, “He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[b] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” Job’s words in verse 10, are the exact words I needed. Should we only accept the good from God? How can we not expect the trouble? How can we thank God in the good, yet turn away and blame Him in the bad?
When RayLynne read those old words to me, I was floored. They resonated in my time of struggle, as much as they do in her times of struggle. As we spoke, we discussed music and scriptures. Recently I have endlessly been playing the Lauren Daigle song, “Trust In You.” If you have never listened to it, please do yourself a favor, ( https://youtu.be/qv-SXz_exKE ). This song has resonated with me so deep. The chorus of this song encapsulates my exact struggle:
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You.
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
I can’t explain how upsetting it is to watch my 55 year-old mother struggle with things that shouldn’t be happening for another 20-30 years. I have thought countless times, “I am too young to handle this. How am I supposed to deal with this? I’m 27; I’m not equipped for this.”
But who is equipped? Who is equipped to watch their hero struggle?
As much as I want answers, I know that God is in control.
As much as I want my old mom back, this time of struggle is for something.
Jesus’ words in John 15:5 reminds me, ““I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” That Scripture is the exact reason I haven’t given up my hope. That Scripture is the reason I am reassured by my faith. God will give answers in due time. Sooner or later, I will get to see the fruits (strength and character) that He has produced inside me during these hard times. Through it all, I must stay near to God. I can’t do it alone. Apart from Him, I can do nothing.
So what now? I am back to Romans 12:12. I will strive to be joyful in hope. I will try to be patient in affliction. I will be faithful in prayer. All of this; especially when the answer doesn’t come.
Until the answers come, I will wait. Until the answers come, I will pray. Until the answers come, I will Trust in You.