I was nervous.
I remember the day in an office in Clarksville when my mom called and said that my dad was leaving. I asked “Leaving to go where?” She answered through tears, “No, he is LEAVING ME!”
I was shocked.
I remember the day in our car in Smiths Station when my husband told me that he felt like his dad was hiding something from us. A week later, his dad shared with us that he had leukemia. It was not fair to me that this loving pastor, wonderful man of God, “GDaddy” to our children, was going to have to suffer and fight through this disease.
I was confused.
I remember the day in a Hobby Lobby in Coral Springs when I got a call that my two-week-old son may have an incurable genetic disease. The next day, in a hospital in a city that I had never even heard of, those fears were confirmed.
I was discouraged.
I remember the day in our kitchen in Canton when I got a call from one of my dearest friends saying that she had stage 4 cervical cancer. I remember her words “This is the world’s diagnosis, and our God is bigger.” Around a year later, I remember the call that she had been eternally healed, but she had left behind a loving husband and four precious children.
I was heartbroken.
I remember the day in our garage in Cumming when my husband felt that it was best to move, yet again, to another state for him to find a different job. I had zero interest in going. Our fourth child was a newborn, and I finally lived close to my sister again. He said for me to trust him.
I was bitter.
I remember the day in our bedroom in Samford when I dumped the contents of my five-year-old’s piggy bank onto the bed to see if there was enough change to get a $5 Hot-n-Ready pizza for dinner! My husband was a full-time college student, and we were struggling to find jobs.
I was humbled.
I remember the day on a porch in Salem when we again had to ask my husband’s parents if we could move in with them while we saved some money and figured out what the Lord’s plan was for us. This was our 14th move in 14 years!
I was frustrated.
I remember the day in an exam room in Opelika when during a routine OB check up I found out that my well-developed baby no longer had a heartbeat. The next day, after two back-to-back surgeries and a blood transfusion, I was empty.
I was crushed.
In all of these situations and through all of these emotions, I still had hope. Somewhere through the pain, the confusion, the sadness, there was hope. I know all of these stories could have ended differently-some much worse. I cannot speak for those friends who have had to bury their parents, their spouses or their children, though my heart hurts for them. I can, however, speak to the wives, moms, sisters and daughters.
All of us have stories. We have experiences that have shaped us. We need to own these stories. These stories that God has given us are meant to be shared with others.
I once heard Charlotte Gambill speak at a women’s conference, and I remember her saying that if we stay in the middle of the river- in the middle of our misery, our sorrow, our struggle – and we never paddle through it, then no one on the other side will hear of our experience, of the healing, of the restoration, or the change.
No one will hear about our God who carries us through every situation if we stay silent.
For those who have stories that could have ended much worse and for those who have stories that ended in the worst possible way, there is a hope. There is a future. There is a covenant God who keeps his promises and nothing surprises Him. We are in this together, and we need each other.