"You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever." Psalm 30:11-12
We're huge Tom Hanks fans at my house. We also quote movies (his and other family favorites)...a lot! Many times we switch words in the "There's no crying in baseball" quote, substituting the current dilemma for "baseball." In recent days, I've wrestled with the self-imposed idea that "There's no crying in Christian-dom." We've got to be STRONG...right?
Just over three weeks ago my husband had a stroke. I can't even believe that I am writing those words. We're not even 50 yet! I do know now that God carries us through horrifying circumstances to tend to details as we face shocking truth.
I was running errands...buying items I needed for the start of a new school year...and purchasing frames for our daughter's upcoming wedding. I was in AC Moore when John called. He asked me to come pick him up at work, that he didn't feel like he could drive and thought he had vertigo. I knew it was worse than that right away. His speech was slurred. I wasn't but a couple of miles away from his office, and remember little about the drive there...except that his boss called and said, "Kristi, there's something seriously wrong with John. Which hospital would you like for him to be taken to?" Somehow I managed to respond matter of factly. My heart pounded. I felt sick as I pulled into the parking lot and walked into his workplace. I watched as coworkers and paramedics crowded around my husband...who had no use of the left side of his body and was slumped in a chair. I made necessary phone calls. I said words to his parents and mine that I never dreamed of having to say. I had to figure out what to say to our daughters...one weeks away from her wedding, one 3 hours away from us, one at work nearby, and our 8 year old.
And then I caught myself thinking, "Do I look 'strong'?" "Am I appearing to have faith?" "Am I Christian enough to handle this?" "Is crying allowed?" Honestly, it makes me a little mad that those thoughts would even enter my mind. Lies of the enemy. But do you know what is way more powerful than those lies? The WORD of TRUTH. I thought first of David. He "cried" out to God. He was a man after God's own heart! Then I thought of Job. He was "blameless and upright." He expressed his emotions. And then Jesus...God's own Son. It is recorded that He wept on several occasions. Then I remembered that He is our Comforter....He knew ahead of time that we would need one. He is our Rock...steady and unchanging, a firm foundation. He is our Strength. In our weakness, He is strong.
Did I cry in the days that followed? Yes. Hard. Do I face some fears as a result of our experience? Yes. But I have to keep trusting, to believe the words I cherish in His Word. Isaiah 49:13 says, "Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones." Oh, He had some huge compassion that day. By His grace, John has no residual effects of the stroke. God saw fit to answer the many prayers lifted in that hour. He continues to hold us, to guide us to strengthen us, to draw us closer to Him...and to each other... as we daily turn to Him.
And I join with Paul in his prayer in Ephesians 3:16-19, "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Amen. "I mean it." (Daddy, that's for you.)