For many years now, I have been struggling fairly significantly in my health. From the time that I was 15, there have been emergency room visits, unending Doctor appointments, pills, pokes, experiments, ultrasounds, and surgeries coupled with the pain, nausea, weight struggle, exhaustion, horrible menstrual cycles, migraines, and general sickness that can come with endometriosis.
Through the years of sickness, I have prayed for healing. However, these prayers reached a new height of urgency almost four years ago. That day in May, after a particularly awful weekend, I heard some very candid words from my doctor. She told me that I needed to change my thinking about endometriosis. She said things like, “Endometriosis does not go away,” and “This is only something that you manage, it is not something that you cure,” and (most devastating of all) “You need to prepare for the fact that a hysterectomy might be in your near future.” I was shocked, hurt, and angry. As the next few days passed, and I digested the information that I had been given, one of those emotions rose to the surface: Anger. I was angry at God and I wasn’t afraid to tell Him about it. My prayers took on a whole new tone as I questioned, ranted, and cried out to God. I am so thankful for those angry days. God says to “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) I thank my God for drawing near to me, even when I was coming to Him in anger. He began to comfort and soften my questioning heart.
As the months went by, the anger began to dissipate into pain. Pain and, oddly enough, hope. As my dear husband and I began to talk through the new reality that we were facing, we began to discover that God had placed something else on our hearts. Something that had just started becoming clear to us. We wanted to care for the children who were already in the world, but who were hurting. We had already dabbled in the pond of foster parenting (another story for another time) and found that God was replacing our natural desire for biological children with the desire to show His love to precious children whose lives have been marked by pain.
We doubled our efforts and finished our foster parent training within just a few months. On December 7, we received our first official foster placement: 3 precious little girls. They were little (3 ½, 18 mos, and 4 mos), beautiful, and heart-breakingly in need of God’s love. Our lives were turned completely upside down and we absolutely loved it. My arms were full and the hurt in my heart was quieted.
However, my health situation continued to decline and could not be ignored. We saw some specialists, got second (third and fourth) opinions, and were running out of options. We set a date for surgery and the pain in my heart was aroused again. It was around this time that a special was sung at our church. It happened to be a Sunday that I was playing the piano, so, in God’s perfect plan, I heard the song four times that morning.
“…no gain or loss we know could keep us from Your love…” “…no sickness…” “…could keep us from your love…” “…how high, how wide…” “…no matter where I am, healing is in Your hands…” “…how deep, how strong…” “…healing is in Your hands…”
I finished playing and left the room sobbing. I began to beg God for healing. There was no anger, just a deep, raw pain. Maybe this was going to turn out like Abraham and God was going to heal me now that He knew I was willing. I knew that God’s healing is often emotional, but I prayed…begged God for physical healing. Again, God was near, so very near to me. I knew that it was the right decision to continue to plan for the surgery – both Justin and I were convinced of this – and each step, every day, God brought comfort, but not the healing that I longed for.
On April 29, 2013, two weeks before Mother’s Day, I had surgery. The surgery went very well, and I actually began to feel better almost the same day. I was shocked. I healed quickly from the surgery and sometimes even forgot how recent my surgery had been because I felt so incredibly healthy. My energy and appetite returned. I got a shocking amount of things done each day. The deep and constant physical pain was gone.
Then, on Mother’s Day, my husband was asked to share about our special family in the morning service. I cried as he shared about our precious girls, as our adorable family photo flashed on the screen, and as he praised me in my motherhood. After he finished speaking, the worship team began playing a song. I couldn’t believe they had chosen this specific song to come right after my family’s story.
“…how high, how wide…” “no matter where I am, healing is in Your hands…” “…”how deep, how strong…” “…now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands…”
As I stood there and listened to those words, I knew that God’s healing was perfect. I have never known a joy that was as painful as this. Each day, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for all of the blessings that have been placed in my life. As I look into each of my little daughter’s eyes, see their smiles, and hear their laughter, I am overwhelmed with how blessed I am to be able to show them God’s love each day. Healing is in God’s hands.
“No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know
could keep us from Your love
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough
to keep us from Your love
Our present, our future, our past is in Your hands
We’re covered by Your blood
In all things, we know that.
We are more than conquerors.
You keep us by your love
How high, how wide
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong,
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands
~Healing Is In Your Hands (Christy Nockels)