It’s in The Hands of God…

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:6-7

Enjoy the NOW you are in...

 

I pulled up to pay my ticket and leave the parking garage after my husband’s cardiology appointment.

The man asked me, “How are you doing today?” as I gave him my dollar. I paused. Then I lied.

“Fine,” I said.

He smiled. Then he said, “Have a good day,” and the gate opened. I turned my head and watched the yellow bar rise. In front of me was the garage exit…and I felt confused.

Why was the sun shining?

When my father died, I remember driving around, seeing people mowing their lawns, raking leaves, playing with their kids, and I thought, “Don’t they know something awful has happened? Don’t they know the world is forever changed?

And this day, the sun shining outside that dark garage brought similar feelings to my heart.

The news from the doctor was not good.

The miracle did not come.

Yet.

Yet?

Part of me is terrified. The other part wars against the fear, white-knuckling my faith.

God is good all the time.

God IS. Good. ALL the time.

The words catch in my throat and my vision blurs. The tears leak out over the edges of my eyes like a too-full cup that just can’t hold one more drop.

I think I drove for a long while before I realized I didn’t know where I was.

I kept forgetting to breathe.

And then I knew I couldn’t go home.

My kids were at home. All of them. And I was in no shape to talk to anyone, let alone the people that will need me to be a broken woman of strength and dignity, smiling at the days to come.

I thought we had more time before the decision we needed to make would need to be considered.

More time before machines ran his heart and they operated (and excuse me but…how on earth is that even possible??).

More time to pray for the miracle.

And I felt very alone, as I drove, trying to figure out where I was, forgetting I could just push a button in my GPS and it would get me where I needed to go.

I wondered, “Who can I talk to? Do I even have any friends?I think it’s called “going limbic” when your brain is so depleted of blood and oxygen by surging adrenalin that your body is ready to respond, but your brain operates on significantly less capacity – in other words, we become stupid. That was me at that moment.

I find it ironic that this is the state within which we often pursue conflict in marriage and family – it’s called the “fight or flight” response.

I couldn’t remember the names of any of my friends or who they were or even what they looked like. But the face of one finally came, and I remembered that she was my friend.

So I pulled over and texted her.

Are you home?

Yes.

Can I come over? I need a friend.

You bet. I’m a mess and my house is a wreck, but come anyway.

And I was thankful. Thankful I had someone to talk to.

Thankful she cared more about me than appearances.

It helped.

We cried and prayed together. Then I went home to my kids.

And on the ride home, I was so very thankful for her. I didn’t care that she was still in her workout clothes from the morning. I didn’t care what her house looked like. I honestly can’t really even remember those things – but I do remember her.

What I didn’t know at the time was that it was Him in her that wrapped arms around me, praying aloud for comfort, joy, wisdom, all the things…

More of Him, always, isn’t it?

As a really big and bad ugly week made worse by dreaded news came to an end, I clung to what I know is True.

God IS.

And He is good. ALL the time.

God IS.

And so today, I ask you to just join me.

Join me in knowing Him in the midst of our struggles.

Join me in seeking Him when we forget everything because we’re not feeling like uber-strong water walkers, but we’re instead fighting waves of grief and fear which threaten to coldly, sharply wash over us and drown us in the sea.

Join me as we cling to faith with our fingernails, knowing we are being tested, knowing He is with us, knowing He is trusting us with His absence, and remembering what is True.

I don’t know what the future will bring.

I don’t need to. We’ve made it through two pectus excavatum surgeries with two teen boys, and we’re getting prepared (whatever that means) for heart surgery for my husband, all the while, praying for a miracle.

Subscribe to the side, and pray for us all as we struggle through the sorrows of this world. Today, I’m taking comfort in this:

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:6-7

In this you greatly rejoice, even though

And I choose for THIS NOW that I’m in, moment by moment, to cling to faith. To choose Life. Because He chose me. And He chose you.

In the last week I’ve dealt with more pain and sorrow with members of our ministry team than I would ever choose to. Alligator tear-style pain. Stop-the-planet-I-want-to-get-off-style pain. My heart breaks for them as we all undergo trials on this vertical growth curve given to those who choose to serve with everything they have.

And the simple truth?

We ALL need heart surgery.

Myself included.

It just looks different from person to person. Know what I mean?

Would just love to hear from you today. What struggles have you endured? What “heart surgery” has God performed on YOUR heart?  As for me, I’m sure it’s being more loving, more patient, more kind, more gentle, less proud, less envious, protecting, hoping, rejoicing in truth, persevering-style.

And can I trouble you to please pray for us?  Plus the ministry and our staff?  Last week, when I shared what was going on with our team and all the struggles, a friend replied, “You must be launching Daughters.” I know He allows it, and He is good, but I confess, I’m not that big of a grown up sometimes and I weep for us and those I serve with.

Love to you,

~Nina

titus 2 women leadership

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37 thoughts on “It’s in The Hands of God…

  1. Nina, I just read this post. My prayers are with you. What came to mind, is going through a trial with God and with dignity. My Mom battled colon cancer for 7 years. At first when she knew something was wrong, the doctors could not find anything. Finally, she went to the Mayo Clinic in MN, where they found it, operated, said they got it all. Go home and return to your normal life. What’s “normal” anyway?

    Her digestion never did return to normal. And after some time, tests revealed the cancer had metastisized to her liver. She was in pain. She underwent several rounds of chemotherapy. We all prayed. I asked God not only for healing, but to take away the pain. The pain left and never returned! A miracle!

    Through this all, even when warned by doctors to stay out of the public, and out of crowds, she kept her normal schedule, attending church, hosting her various clubs as planned. She said, the church is my family anyway. I can be with family. She continued life and was an exammple of facing illness with dignity.

    A friend of hers had a similar diagnosis with colon cancer, and chose to become a virtual recluse. She died after a few months, while my mom continued living. She never lost her faith in God, continued with grace and dignity. When the chemo no longer seemed to be working she volunteered for an experimental drug saying that if she could help someone else by taking it, it was a good thing. It didn’t help her though and God answered our prayers by taking her to heaven. She faced death with dignity, dying at home, as was her wish.

    She is my hero, my role model, and I fall way short. Know God WILL see you through this trial, with your dignity in tact and you will be a role model for all of us.

    Thanks for all you do and for making yourself available for God’s use. He is using you to change my life.

  2. Nina:

    The scripture is certainly appropriate. I needed a reminder of that, as have been complaining (way too much) about present trials. It’s not helping. The scripture puts it all in perspective for me. Hope He gives you peace, hope, and perserverance.. Or, even just a good sleep tonight.

  3. You’ve been on my mind a lot today and then I read this. Praying. Like crazy. I’m sorry you have to go through this but I love that you rekentkrtjrn to the Savior because you know that’s where “it’s” at.

  4. Nina, I’m praying for you and the team!!! Many of us seem to be walking through some of the darkest days of our lives, BUT GOD! I know God overcomes! We just need to hold on to his strong hand and take it one day at a time. Beth Moore said there are “take two steps and breathe days,” I’m there too. Love you and the team, will continue to pray for you!!!

  5. You know I am terrible about writing things…. so just feel our hearts…. we are praying, praying. Love you all
    to pieces.

  6. Nina,

    I spent 3 long weeks at the Cleveland Clinic with my husband in June of 2013. It all started in 2010 when my healthy, active husband (he is a strength coach at a university, works out everyday) was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs. Our kids were 5 and 3. He should have died then-although I didn’t fully comprehend the seriousness of it at that time. He spent 14 days in the hospital. Fast forward to the spring of 2013. He came down with pneumonia. He was septic when we got to the ER. They drained a liter and a half of fluid from his lungs. He wasn’t getting better. Our kids are now 7 and 5. I vaguely remembered a conversation with our pulmonologist from 2010 that there was a tiny possibility the clots in his lungs wouldn’t completely go away and would cause problems later. In 2010 there was only one hospital in the US that did surgery to correct this problem. I started doing research. It was hard to find information. I kept searching, I knew this was why he wasn’t getting better. Our doctors weren’t doing much, he just kept getting worse. They sent him home after a month in the hospital on 5 liters of oxygen at 37 years old. His white blood count was normal, he just needed some more time and his lungs would recover. I knew that wasn’t true. I kept researching. The Cleveland Clinic now did that rare surgery. I had to get him there-it was 5 hours away. I made phone calls everyday to Cleveland, to our insurance, to our doctors here in Indiana. All while my husband sat on our couch not being able to breath, barely able to get to the bathroom. He should have died before we ever got to Cleveland. Finally, after 2 weeks of phone calls I got him an appointment. I was told they rarely perform surgery immediately. We would probably go home after the appointment and go back for surgery. I made arrangements for the kids. Our appointment was on a Wednesday. They admitted him immediately to pulmonary icu. They scheduled surgery for Monday. Surgery consisted of open chest, heart and lung bypass, cooling the body down for short periods off bypass. They pulled all of the scar tissue caused from the old blood clots out of his pulmonary arteries. Surgery was on Monday, they didn’t wake him up until Thursday afternoon. The longest 4 days of my life. He should have died during surgery based on how sick he was. He should have died after surgery. We spent two weeks in cardiac icu and a week in step down. I didn’t see my kids for 3 weeks. Now over 18 months later he is fully recovered. Working out everyday, feeling better than he has in years. He should have died so many times but he didn’t. I don’t know how I made it through, how I stayed strong for him and the kids. It is a blur. Sometimes I still break down and just cry about it because I didn’t fully process at the time. When you are sitting in that waiting room during surgery, know that I sat in that exact waiting room. When you are sitting in cardiac icu, know that I have sat in that same place. Cleveland Clinic is amazing. The doctors are amazing. I know I don’t need to tell you to have faith but, have faith. My husband should not have lived but something in me knew he would. Take care of yourself. I know we don’t know each other but, I have been there if you ever want to talk.

    Love and Prayers,
    August

    • August, thank you so much for taking so much time to respond here today. I do feel encouraged a bit, but OH. Hospital stays. I’m so glad they got your husband in right away. And we are blessed to know now, and thankful to be able to prepare.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

      Love to you,
      Nina

  7. Prayers for you and all the others with so many trials! WE all are being tested the closer we come to the Lord and doing His work! Yes is it more about Him and less of us but I know that doesn’t necessarily help all the heart break, but GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME! Love and prayers for you!

    • Thank you, Kim. Yes, you are right to be enthusiastic about how good He is. I will get back there soon, I hope. 🙂

      Love to you,
      Nina

  8. I am praying for my friends who are at the Mayo clinic with their one year old baby who is dying from an untreatable brain tumor. Thankfully they have family nearby for support, when they travelled all the way from Alaska. Through all of this their faith in God has not waivered. As they prepare their little one to meet The Lord, they pray without ceasing.

    • It is truly beautiful to watch, and gut wrenching at the same time, as we don’t want to learn to love Him more through these lessons. Then we wonder, would their pain be one I would choose? A baby? My baby? Would I have traded? Am thankful I don’t have to choos, if that makes sense.

      Thank you for being here.

      Love to you,
      Nina

  9. Nina, I have and will continue to go to the Throne of Grace for you and your family, thank you for giving me that opportunity.

    My struggle in marriage is unfulfilled expectations. I have a wonderful husband and our marriage is solid (15+). However, I know this is an area where I need to work on. Growing up, my mother was very snippy, naggy and even caustic toward my father. Then a few years back, he suffered a severe stroke which left him unable to walk or talk for the most part. The change in my mother was unbelievable. She has become the sweetest most loving person toward him. Her care for him is of the highest qualities despite her age and infirmities of her own. When talking to my sister about this change and how happy we are that it occurred, my sister said she thought the cause was because my mother let go of her expectations of what Daddy should be. Once freed from those, she was able to just love him. My sister came to this conclusion after her husband suffered 3 heart attacks and strokes. She realized herself that her relationship with her husband would not be anything like it was before as he could no longer carry his part. That freed her up to just love him. I think she is glad for that time of “Just loving him” as he died shortly after.

    Well, I don’t want something so catastrophic to happen to my husband before I can “just love him” expectation free. But I cannot see how to let go of my expectations, I am not sure I really know what they are.

    • I agree with your heart – and I’m not sure how to help you with your expectations if you don’t know what they are. If you figure that out, let me know and we’ll come back to it. Am going to follow your comment stream for when you do. 🙂
      Glad you are here, baby.
      Love to you,
      Nina

  10. Nina, I will pray for you and your husband. Just a quick testimony for encouragement: a few years ago, my dad was scheduled to have heart surgery to replace a valve (something like that). I prayed that he would not need the surgery and acknowledged this was a bold prayer. A week before surgery, his final tests revealed that he did not need surgery after all. Praise God! May your husband have a similar testimony. Love to you and yours. And yes, I need big time heart surgery right now but I have to believe He can change me. I pray that I will be willing.

    • I stinkin’ love that God did this for you guys! 🙂 We’re still praying for miracle healing. And if God says, “No,” then we’ll walk through the rest as well as we can, leaning on our faith and our God and each other.

      May He leave us all changed.

      Love to you,
      Nina

  11. I like the analogy of heart surgery. I believe I’ve been on the table for a while now. The last couple months it seems that He’s opened my chest and exposed the diseased heart that needs replacing. I having been praying for a new heart for awhile now. A couple of summers ago I went through a painful “procedure” that at the time I thought was restorative, but now believe it was just a biopsy. I am ready for the new heart He is giving me. It is painful and will require time to recover and rehab to heal. And a life time of maintenance to keep it healthy. But I’m trusting in Him to complete the work He’s started. He is the ultimate Healer.

    I’m praying for you and your husband. We know our Lord is the best heart surgeon there is and I trust He will guide the hands of the surgeon who operates on your husband.

    • Thank you, Sandi. You are a treasure. We all appreciate the prayers – and I’m praying right back about your heart disease – I loved the comment about being on the table a while now… so sorry. I get it.
      Love to you,
      Nina

  12. Nina, prayers for you and your family. This is a hard path to walk. Jesus please wrap Your arms around Nina and her family and hold them up close to You! When it’s too hard to walk carry them. Let them feel Your great love today!

    Jesus walked beside me through two bouts of postpartum depression/anxiety. On the other side I see how much He grew me during those times. He calls me to share the story He has given me to call others onward and upward.

    Blessings and prayers for all of you today!

    • Sarah –
      SO GLAD you are on the other side. Awful stuff. And yes, looking back is awesome.

      Thank you for your prayers.
      Love to you, beautiful!
      ~Nina

  13. The falling out with my husband continues downward as I slowly climb upwards towards God. I have your wonderful book, but being separated from my husband physically makes it somewhat difficult to do the dares. Fortunately, my relationship with God is getting bigger and stronger.

    At this time, my husband refuses to talk to me. We only communicate through email and I have to muster great self-restraint to ignore the very nasty, painful, angry and contemptuous ones that he writes me. I have small panic attacks when I see a new mail or text message from him. Yet, I pray and pray and pray for him, me, our new marriage (that’s right – New).

    I also found the following prayer on a Daily Readings/Prayer app (Laudate) that I say and love very much. I hope it can help you.

    “Lord, there has been too much change in my life recently, and I feel overwhelmed. Because I try to be a responsible person, I sometimes forget that it is unwise for me to allow my sense of duty to override my common sense.
    Lord, help me to allow myself more time to rest, relax, and pray. Guide me toward something spiritual to read every day and a quiet time afterwards to reflect on what I have read and how it pertains to my life. I truly want to simplify my life and live more as Christ did. Help me remember that there is no loss or problem I must face alone. You are always near, with Your love and compassion to comfort me. Amen.”

    And this one…

    “Eternal, Holy God, I come to You burdened with worries, fears, doubts and troubles. Calm and quiet me with peace of mind. Empty me of the anxiety that disturbs me, of the concerns that weary my spirit, and weight heavy on my heart. Loosen my grip on the disappointments and grievances I hold on to so tightly. Release me from the pain of past hurts, of present anger and tension, of future fears. Sometimes it’s too much for me Lord, too many demands and problems, too much sadness, suffering, and stress. Renew me spiritually and emotionally. Give me new strength, hope, and confidence. Prepare me to meet the constant struggles of daily life with a deeper faith and trust in You. Let your love set me free, for peace, for joy, for grace, for life, for others, forever.”

    You’re in my prayers, Nina! Much love and positive juju being sent your way.

    • Sara –

      So sorry to hear of what you are going through. Separation is hard – and I am praying for your marriage. Thank you as well for the prayers – time with Him is always encouraging. And I believe you also are being tested – those emails are opportunities for you to be light to the world, His Light. May His gentleness AND truth rein in you.

      Love to you,
      Nina

  14. I am battling with feeling anxious today – for no reason, except that I may be a bit tired. Overwhelming anxiety that makes me feel like running away. I am petrified of what this anxiety will do to me and my marriage and to Baby Girl. I just so long for this to be over with…

    • Barbara, you are brave and beautiful. And I understand anxiety and depression, particularly the post partum kind.

      I am so sorry you are feeling this way. I might be over interpreting from your post, but I am concerned for you if this has been happening for a while. Please forgive me if this is just brief fluke on your radar of experience. If it has been going on for a while, you are right to understand that something needs to be done – you don’t want to continue creating deeply trenched neuro-pathways of fear. Yes, God can miraculously heal you of this and make your fear go away, but He is also not Santa. Please consider seeing your doctor about trying meds. They, combined with cognitive therapy, saved my life and the lives of many. Find a counselor that can help you with this, and don’t be embarrassed.

      You owe it to your daughter to be well. You will feel like the sun shines again when you start coming out of this. You won’t be so afraid – and you can use this opportunity to learn to Trust God more. Food will taste good once again and your thoughts won’t run away like horses let out of the barn.

      In the meantime, and oh, can it be a mean time, take every thought captive and tame it to the Truth of Christ. And just do the next thing. Then do the next thing again. And before you know it, the day is done.

      Keep us posted on how you are doing.

      Love to you

      Nina

      • Thank you, Nina. This has been a lifelong battle of mine. I have been on Paxil, and have been to see counsellors, but here’s the thing: God keeps telling me He has already answered my prayers. I have to trust Him. I find anxiety almost comforting because I have known it for so long – and He is telling me that there is a new way. This is something I must do – today is particularly bad, but it isn’t always like this. I have to stop living inside my head. This is the vision from God: http://thefragranceofmarriage.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/i-give-myself-permission-to-be-a-sexually-charged-wife/ and I’m still on the wrong side of the door!

        • I do encourage you to get control of those anxious thoughts – they can impact your heart physically, and spiritually, and emotionally – as I’m sure you already know. Praying for you, Beloved.

          So glad you are here!
          Nina

          • Wow. Nina, your post is all so relevant to what I was reading just this morning in my quest for mental and physical peace and health. This article by Dr. Lawrence Wilson explains the “fight or flight” you mentioned. I’ve lived in a stressed state for so long, the effects are now too loud for me to ignore. http://drlwilson.com/Articles/AUTONOMIC%20HEALTH.htm

            I also had to go back and find this article he also wrote, albeit on a slightly different subject, he relates heart issues and you may find some encouragement or direction within. http://drlwilson.com/articles/chelation.htm

            My prayers go up for you and your family to continue your ministry for the Lord. Thank you for what you do.

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