I have never prayed so hard in my life. I knew in my heart that God had already healed her. I thanked Him for the healing. I believed.
Ok, so I’ve walked this Christian life long enough to know that things do not always turn out the way we ask but I had also experienced, witnessed first hand, miracles occur. I knew that my God was strong enough to heal my daughter. And since He claimed to love her more then I ever could I knew that at any moment one of the doctors would walk into the waiting room and say “We can’t explain it, there is no tumor. Your daughter can keep her eye the cancer is gone.”
That was not the path that had been laid out for us. Instead when they walked in the room what was said was, “Everything went according to plan. The surgery went well. You can go see her in recovery now.” The room spinned.
What I did not see at that time was the healing that did take place. I was so consumed in my grief I did not see God’s hand in every step: the willingness of the eye doctor to see us within 24 hours of calling, the quick response of the specialist or the fact that he had only just attended Dr. Wilson’s seminar, the kindness of both of our employers giving us as much time as we needed off, the blessing of a hospital that took care of every detail, and the support system of fellow St Jude parents that came with the package.
Katie’s life was saved, just not in the way I had requested.
The next few weeks were emotional to say the least. People do not know how to respond to tragedy. I am one of them. I have stumbled many times over words trying to offer comfort.
Our first time out I took Katie to Chickfila where another parent began to berate me for bringing my child out in public with pink eye. “Um, ma’am look a little closer. She doesn’t have an eye.” Or the time a man walked around a corner and exclaimed “Oh my! A Pirate baby!” Or the first church service after her surgery where the subject of faith was preached on, “If you just have enough faith healing will come!” No…it didn’t.
I entered a very dark place. I was angry and hurt. I had a misconstrued image of God.
After being a Christian for over 20 years, four years of seminary, overseas mission trips, and working in ministry one would think that once tragedy hit my own life I would be able to hold fast to my faith. No. I let go.
I now see God’s hand in every person He placed in my life during that time. Strangers I met in waiting rooms who offered to pray for me. New friends came into my life whose struggle with cancer was much greater but constantly held on to joy and belief in God’s goodness. Old friends who would remind me that I wasn’t being asked to carry tomorrow, only today.
He never let me go, though I wanted nothing to do with Him.
All I could see was that He had the power to heal my daughter and had turned His back. Thankfully, God did not give up on me.
After about 8 weeks Katie’s eye socket had healed enough that she could begin wearing a prosthetic.
Other then our week long visits to St. Jude every two weeks, our life began to return to normal. St Jude became our new normal. We both returned to work.
Because John was a manager at Chili’s it became a natural fit for them to select our family to participate in fundraising and the grand opening of the Chili Center at St. Jude. It was a great distraction. We felt like we were contributing to this amazing hospital. We had a photo shoot, Katie and John were featured in a full page add in USAToday, we were flown to New York to be on Good Morning America (which didn’t end up happening other then we were on set- well John and Ian were. Katie started crying and I had to hide in the stairwell with her), and we were given the honor of presenting the Chili’s check to St Jude at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Life had found a new normal. But I was empty.
John reenlisted in the Army and we soon discovered that baby #3 was on the way.
It was not until we arrived at Ft Bliss that I began to see how God had intricately woven Himself into my life and had not allowed me to slip away.
I joined PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) in the hopes of finding friends. It worked. I soon joined Sue Huggler’s class, “The Jesus I Never Knew” and dove into Bible Study and a fresh look at Christ. At this point I hadn’t picked up my Bible in a year. As someone who had committed her life to work in full time ministry I was in the midst of a crisis of identity as well as a crisis of faith.
And then something happened.
Christ spoke to me through the story of Lazarus.
Have you ever had a crisis of faith? Share with us in the comments below.