Ok. Here is the bare-bones truth of right now.
I haven’t really known what to write and writing the truth felt impossible. Impossible to face and impossible to share. Things have been rough. Really rough and I didn’t know how to share it.
I remember the lyrics to a song by a well-known Christian group from the 90’s;
‘What if I stumble – what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all
…when my walk becomes a crawl’
I haven’t wanted to be the fool. I haven’t wanted to be the Missionary who isn’t coping. I haven’t wanted my voice of doubt and hurt to go out where so many people hear it.
I haven’t wanted you to read and think,
Oh here we go again… she’s struggling…
… she is stumbling…
You see, the truth of the last few weeks is that I haven’t stumbled or lost my footing.
The truth is… I haven’t been walking at all.
I haven’t been striving for the advancement of the Gospel the last few weeks.
I personally haven’t shared anything with anyone. I’ve barely even spoken to a National.
I haven’t been seeking to grow in godliness or pursuing holiness.
I haven’t been walking in faith and following hard after Jesus.
I have been standing completely still. Staring at my feet.
I have not even tried, to put one foot in front of the other.
I haven’t looked forward to the hope we have in Jesus.
I haven’t looked up and sought after my Father.
I’ve just stared down. At my feet.
There was a moment, a few weeks ago where I was lying on my bed, sick with (what appears to have been) Dengue Fever.
I was hurting, all over and the pain was only intensified by the heat of a fever which made my brain feel like it had melted into a swirling sloshing mess. I was on my bed staring into the eyes of my 2 year old son, Roo. Who was also battling the virus. Roo lay next to me motionless. At intervals the pain would win out over his lethargy and he would cry out, “Ow… owwww”.
His watery eyes stared back at me. Vacant and distant. Only an arm’s length away.
In that moment, I felt in the midst of storm.
I felt the wind of anger rushing forward. Why. Why God do you not care what happens to us?
I felt fear rain down in heavy drops. What next? What else will we need to endure? What else will you not spare us from?
Thunder claps of doubt. Am I not yours? Am I doing this wrong? Have I been trusting you and you don’t know me?
Desperation, like bolts of lightning, piercing prayers of accusation. I don’t have the faith for this again. This is enough. I’ve had enough. You have put me through enough. What else do you want from me?
Bitter cold. The temperature of hurt. Do you not love me? I love you… I love you. Why don’t you love me? Where is your love for me now? I am HERE for You. Where are you? Where are you in this?
I looked down at my feet in that storm.
When I was crying and begging for my Hoosband to book tickets. Fly me out of here. Please. We need to rescue ourselves. We need to rescue Roo.
I looked down expecting to see sand.
I looked down expecting that the foundations of my faith were washing away. Crumbling in the storm.
I looked down at my feet and waited to be free from the storm.
To see nothing … and have no faith left… and to just walk away…
But I looked down and saw Rock.
I looked down, because as the wind howled and the rain fell, I was standing.
Though in my heart there was thunder and lightning and bitter cold… my foundation was Solid Rock.
My foundation wasn’t built on security. On health or stability.
It wasn’t built on fully understanding, or blind-following.
I wasn’t expecting an easy path or a wide gate.
It wasn’t built on irrational happiness or established in good times.
It wasn’t built on the quotable psalms or inspiring parts of Isaiah, alone.
The truth of who God is -is not measured and weighed by my experience, sustained by my strength or proven by my circumstance.
God is not diluted with my tears. He does not vanish in the darkness.
In the depths of my deepest… I looked down and I was not washed away.
I looked down and saw that there was Rock.
I looked down and saw that I was still standing… and I was surprised.
Still storming. Still standing.
That’s the truth.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on his unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil”
There was another moment… days after the first moment.
I was laying tentatively on the lounge. The Dengue virus had stopped punching me from head to toe. I felt bruised and beaten and tired. But not sick. Roo had stopped spiking dangerously high temperatures a couple of days earlier, had woken from his fever haze and was actually outside playing with his siblings.
I think I was talking with Hoosband about my stormy heart.
We were talking Job, pain and the sovereign rights of the Creator.
We were talking refining and trials. Spiritual warfare and Biblical promises.
I had a constant silent tear. One after the other.
Sore heart. Loud storm. Silent tears.
It was the moment when I thought about how, through all this. I had been spared one thing- I had been spared the need to take Roo back to a local hospital.
I had been spared facing that fear and reliving that pain.
(Last year, our son Roo ha been seriously burned in a household accident and treated at a local hospital before being evacuated, I’ve previously shared about that experience in earlier blog posts.)
It was the moment I thought that – and then heard the audible crack of head against tile.
I heard Miss E say something like, ‘Run get Mum and Dad. He has broken his head open’ I heard crying and I knew all my fears and dread and hurt were about to wrap around my battle weary heart and attempt to suffocate it.
Roo was hurt… again.
Roo had split his head open in a wide, deep wound. Roo was bleeding all over my hoosband. All over the floor.
Roo was going to need to go to hospital.
Storm. Panic. Storm.
There was another moment.
A moment after the first moment and only hours after the second moment. When the local doctors wouldn’t let me see my son. When they had taken him for a 15minute procedure and couldn’t wake him from sedation over an hour later.
There was a moment when I was sitting by his bed, in a room that was not at all sterile or even clean… when they began to slap his face, attempting to wake him.
Slap. He wont wake up. Slap. We didn’t actually measure the dose.
Slap. I am still covered in his blood.
Slap. unlabeled syringes are pulled out of pockets and injected into this arm
Slap. I’m sitting in a plastic deck chair watching… getting no answers.
Slap. Another injection. Slap. Another 10minutes.
Slap. Watching my son receive the best treatment this province has to offer.
As the best attack that could be levelled against me. Was. Yet again.
It was the small and lonely hours of the night that he finally stirred to consciousness, that I carried him back to the ward and the level of care never improved, the longer we stayed.
The whole time. There was a storm.
And here is the truth…
I didn’t pray. I didn’t trust. I deliberately tried not to think.
I was on auto-pilot the whole hospital stay.
I slept in bloodied clothes in his hospital room, with bucket showers and wild cats. I got him out of there as soon as I could. Took him home to watch and wait for infection, or concussion or whatever else could be coming next.
And as soon as I let myself breathe… the air came in quick gulps.
Rushing winds, pelting rain. Peals of lightening. Icy cold and deafening thunder.
A storm of fear, doubt and hurt. A rage of anger and desperation.
A storm for every moment, on top of another moment in the space of 2weeks. 2 weeks on top of 2 years of moments.
Not only heart heavy and tired from battle – but physically wasted and worn down by illness.
I looked down and saw my feet on the Rock.
And I just cried.
So the truth is.
I am not walking. I am not even trying.
I am standing here just staring down at the Rock of my Salvation, as the storm rages on. I look down to keep sure of where I am. Still standing. Still Rock.
There is still doubt and desperation and hurt.
I haven’t found shelter, yet, from the drenching fear
or made sense of the angry wind.
But I know my house was built upon the Rock.
And that my Jesus has been known to calm storms.
It all the truth I know today.
And all I can tell you right now.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
all other ground is sinking sand
When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in his Righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne”
* DC TALK wrote the song, What if I Stumble, released in 1995, from the album Jesus Freak.
*Edward Mote is the original author of the above Hymn. Written in 1834, I couldn’t help but think of its verses. The words to this Hymn hung in my kitchen for the last 2 years.