6 min read

The Unexpected

The Unexpected
The troubles in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful. He will not allow the troubles to be more than you can stand.  When you are troubled, He[God] will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10

This turtle on the log was my inspiration for this blog.  In contrast to the calm water, the little turtle seemed to be clinging to this log with all his might.  I had to chuckle to myself as I took this photograph documenting his plight.  I found myself thinking, “I can relate” because I am this little turtle.  I too have had those days when all I could do is, “just hold on” — even in the calm.  The older one gets in life, the more you realize that no one is ever really a stranger to life’s many difficulties. Rarely can we predict the timing of these hardships.  All to often, in our vulnerability it is easy to feel as though our world has been flipped upside down.  In these trying times, it may look as though our obstacles are insurmountable, but appearances seldom tell the whole story.  Pondering the predicament of my turtle friend, another God story in creation emerged, along with a lesson to adopt.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3

Throughout my lifetime I have had my world rocked by the sudden mishaps and also the big unexpected tragedies.  Six years ago this month I encountered one of those major hurdles.  While my husband was at work, I had the desire to surprise him by re-staining our backyard pergola.  Up on a six foot ladder, I encountered the “sudden” misfortune of falling backwards head first onto our patio.  The sound that my head made when it hit that concrete, is a sound I hope to never hear again.

What a difference a single moment in time can make.  I have discovered that it is not the tribulation itself, but what I do with my situation that will direct my path. How I view my misfortune, determines if it will become an impediment to hold me back or an inconvenience to overcome.  I fully grasp that I can remain broken by circumstances or become a victorious overcomer.  Now, before you stop reading this blog, because it may appear that I am over simplifying real difficulties, you need to know, this is not to say that I was unbroken by my fall off the ladder.  It would have been nice to bounce back up and brush myself off, but in reality, my right elbow was shattered requiring two surgeries, and the severity of my concussion and injury to my brain was serious and continues to persist.  But I was alive — and I have chosen to live.

I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done. Psalm 118

For the next three years I found myself daily having to choose to live, as I had to face each day waking up with a headache.  Those of you who have suffered with headaches know how discouraging it can be when they become a continual companion.  Another companion that greeted me upon rising each day was Vertigo, which is also a side effect testifying to my brain injury.  Of course, vertigo insisted that nausea join along too.   As a result, from that point forward nausea was determined to follow me everywhere I went.  There were a lot of adjustments that needed to be made to fully equip me for this part of my pilgrimage.  I had to learn how to walk intentionally, to keep stability in each step.  If I turned to quickly, I found my world spinning faster than I could travel, leading to another adjustment — turn slower.  In the beginning I had to take time for total blackouts over my eyes, to give my brain rest from over stimulation or it would just stop computing— the thought that my brain could and would just stop, was frightening to me.  Eating became a need only for survival, the nausea relentlessly removed all enjoyment from it.  And then there was my job I needed to get back to.  I worked with people I cared a great deal for and they were having to carry an extra burden in my absence.  This path I was on proved to be very un-level, making it hard for me to keep my balance at times.  Recognizing my great need for help, I knew I needed to choose wisely who I would allow to assist me.  I chose God, wrapping myself in the comfort of the promises He made me.

Dont be afraid, for I am with you.  Dont be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.  Isaiah 41

Continuing on with my life takes deliberate daily perseverance and persistence. Likewise, I am often inspired by the examples of these qualities I see practiced throughout God’s creation.  Birds tenaciously pursuing the perfect twigs to build their nest, rising before the sun, flying back and forth again and again, many still working late into the sunset.  Bears coming out of hibernation, even when it is still cold outside.  The flower seed pushing up through the dirt to the surface, all evidence of a willingness to live.  On this journey, I have learned the secret of how to acquire the essential stamina necessary for my endurance.  I lean daily on Jesus, especially on those days when I have no strength to muster on my own. Discouragement can also come upon you when you least expect it.  After being told by a neurologist that my health companions of headaches, vertigo, and nausea will be my new normal for life and that nothing more could be done, I found myself once again stumbling off balance.  I cried a little.  Then, I chose to push forward, to look for, embrace, and enjoy all that each day has to offer me.  I am alive, and I am still choosing to live.  I have gained comfort in the words of the Apostle Paul as he led by example through his own suffering;

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away [his own health problems and hardships].  Each time He[God] said, “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.”  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  2 Corinthians 12

I have concluded that the traumas of the past, don’t have to cripple us in our todays.  If you don’t hold onto them, these traumas will no longer have the power to hold on to you.  Moreover, the dread from the agonizing anticipation of the future need not control you or me.  We have a God who knows the future.  In the same way that trials can be unexpected, even more so, is the wonderful unexpected faithfulness of God to those who seek Him.  He will willingly walk with us, giving us the fortitude required, no matter what monsters we may face.  Yes, the older one gets in life, the more you realize that no one is ever really a stranger to life’s many difficulties.  So, how about you, when hardships come across your path, who or what will you turn to and choose for stability?  There is an answer for you today and each day going forward.  It is Jesus.  If you ask Him, He will guide you and never ever leave you!

The Lord says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you. Psalms 32