Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It Comes Down to This

It has been a difficult couple of years.  I have fought a lot of self-pity.  "Woe is me.  My life didn't turn out the way I wanted.  This is hard work.  I don't like it."

From the outside, it may seem like the fact that my husband had a stroke should be "no big deal" by now.  "Hey, it's 2 1/2 years later.  Accept it and move on."  I accepted the stroke itself within the first six months...by repeating to myself over and over and over, "My husband had a stroke."  It was very unreal, so I said it to myself and out loud to everyone I met until I accepted it.  Then it was, "My husband is disabled."  To the cashier at Meijer.  To the guy at the greenhouse who helped me to load wood chips onto a cart.  To the people who came to my yard sales.

Then it was, "Will I have to work full-time for the rest of my life?"

Then, "We have to file for bankruptcy."

Then, "Our marriage will never be the same."

Then, "God....You let us down."

When I was young(er), my vision for my life was this:  Know, Love and Serve God.  Get married, have kids, raise a family of prayer warriors (a word God spoke to me when I was a missionary in the Philippines), and become Super Wife and Super Mom. Can you guess what didn't happen the way I wanted it to?

The time has come.  I am challenging myself, my children, my husband, and hopefully all who read this:  Accept God's will for your life.  I was reading Psalm 16, which I had dubbed as my "life Psalm" over 20 years ago. I wanted my heart to reflect what David said in the Psalm, "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."

But my attitude has been far from this in dealing with the aftermath of the stroke.  I accepted that it happened; obviously, I couldn't deny what in fact had happened.  But I have been crying, whining, and complaining that God didn't swoop in and fix it all right away.  Where was the miraculous healing?  Where was my husband's Academy-Award-winning rally?  Where was the new house and car that Ty Pennington should have given me?  Where were my lottery winnings?

I hope you realize that I am exaggerating just a little, but it certainly didn't get easier when I had to work full-time in a high-stress job for a year after the stroke.  It worked out peacefully for me to move to a part-time position, but that created more financial stress.  It didn't get easier to deal with the depression and anxiety with which I've battled for years; in fact, those things became exponentially worse.  My kids didn't magically transform into Spirit-led prayer warriors.  And I most certainly did NOT become Super Mom.

Now, I'm faced with this reality:  God has surely allowed my life to progress to the place where it is today; surely for His purposes, and ultimately for my salvation.  Either I can change my thinking from "God, when are you going to do something about this huge mess in my life?" to "God, show me how I can serve you in this mess" OR I will continue to be depressed, miserable, and deceived.

Can you guess what choice I'm going to make?


  1. I have never been the type of person to put on paper how I'm feeling, but am feeling very thankful that you are that type! I needed every word of this today. Thank you :)

  2. Thank YOU and God bless you in your struggle!

  3. Yes, I can, because you wrote this: "I'm Jen. I'm a 'jack of all trades, master of none.' I'm wife to a stroke survivor, mom to 4 kids, part-time librarian, full-time writer and 24/7 Jesus lover."

    So my guess is that you're going to ask Him how you can serve Him in all this.

    May I suggest what I heard from a wise priest once? Always ask "Ok, Lord: what do You want to do, here? How do You want to be part of this?" I know you know He's got more power than you or I do, but I have found those questions VERY helpful in my times of struggle, as a way of acting on that truth, and leaning on/turning to Him. Praying for you all.