While waiting in line at the post office earlier today, I was reminded of one of the most traumatic experiences our family has ever been through. A lady who was a few spots ahead of me had just given blood and said she was feeling light headed. Not long after she spoke those words, she passed out and people frantically began shouting, “call 911” and “it looks like she’s having a stroke”.
A rush of memories flooded my mind as I pictured Shelby lying on our kitchen floor in a pool of his own blood, convulsing and as white as a sheet. I thought he was having a seizure and remember being so terrified as I screamed his name over and over again. My screaming awakened our 3-year-old who innocently refers to that night as “the time daddy died”. After spending a few days in the ICU, doing multiple tests, and having surgery to remove a rare birth defect, he was finally able to come home.
While Shelby was in the hospital last year, one of the things we missed going to was to see ICE at the Gaylord Texan. This picture of our family from yesterday’s outing at ICE, is what God’s faithfulness and answered prayer looks like. It’s a picture of a God who never fails, who never gives up, and who works all things for good.
But even as I compare where we were last year to where we are this year, there is one thing that has never changed. We celebrate this season and remember Immanuel, “God with us”. It’s so easy to think that God is with us when things are going well; when we aren’t stuck in a hospital missing out on all the festivities. But as I reflect on this past year, I know that God was still with us even when things were hard. Through every valley, storm, and trial that we have been through, God was still there. His presence was always with us, even in our suffering.
I’m encouraged that even though we have had some very hard chapters in life lately, God is ultimately creating a beautiful story. What a comfort to know that bad chapters don’t mean the end of the story.