“Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (CEB)
He was eating a sandwich, and I was with him when it happened.
He hadn’t been feeling well so when he said he was hungry, I made sure he had something to eat and stayed close — just in case he needed anything. I was sitting across from him at the kitchen table and noticed that as he ate, something was different. Something was changing.
Bite and chew.
Bite and chew.
Bite and …
After the next bite, his chewing seemed to grind slowly to a halt. Then, with a mouth full of food, my husband looked at me and said, “I can’t chew my food.”
He seemed to be himself, but not himself at the same time. He was looking at me, but didn’t seem able to see me. He could move, but his movements appeared labored, odd and slow.
I still don’t know quite how I knew what to do next. I guess somewhere in my formal education I took a class or read something that my mind remembered.
I asked my husband to smile.
Only one side of his face lit up.
My husband is having a stroke, right in front of me, I thought.
Right then and there, our lives changed forever.
I got him to the hospital where he was admitted and where we would spend nearly a week so he could be observed, cared for and treated.
I wanted to be with him so I found a way to make the chair next to his bed a home away from home for a while. The nurses and doctors called him lucky. They deemed his stroke to be mild and expected that after a time, he’d be able to return back to his normal life.
Since that day, more days, weeks and months have passed, and we’ve learned the full impact of his stroke and what it would take for him to travel the long road back to his life — to our life — with a new normal.
He is different. I am different. We are different.
The journey has certainly not been easy, and rarely has it been simple.
But I’m so grateful that through each stage of my husband’s health journey (however scary or difficult it may be), I’ve been able to be with him much of the time — for the hospital stay, the doctor’s visits and drives back and forth to therapy.
A few years have passed since the day my husband had that stroke. This journey with my husband also sent me on a new journey in my faith in God. My faith has gotten stronger — not because things have been easy, but because I’ve witnessed how God has been with us, and how He has faithfully been with me.
Today’s key verse gives me comfort: “Don't fear, because I am with you; don't be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Over time, I’ve learned what it means to move forward with strength and courage. I’ve learned what it is to be with my husband, walking alongside him during this difficult season and walking with less and less fear in my heart of what tomorrow may bring as I choose to trust and rest in God. I have fought discouragement, reaching often for my Bible to infuse encouragement from God’s Word into my mind and heart.
God has been faithful to bring just the right Scripture verses, songs or encouragement from other believers at the exact time I needed them. He has been faithful to console me, reminding me I have nothing to fear, because no matter where life takes me, He is with me wherever I go.
And the knowledge of God’s constant presence and care is the one thing that always comforts me.
Dear God, life has thrown me some hard curves. But I’m so grateful You have been there, even when it was hard, dark and scary. Thank You for seeing me in every situation and through every season. Thank You for Your constant, caring presence during difficult life circumstances. Help me live my life in a way that illustrates my trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)
Are you the woman you want to be? Proverbs 31 Ministries is partnering with Chrystal Evans Hurst as we read her newly released book She’s Still There: Rescuing the Girl in You as our next FREE Online Bible Study. Recognize the woman you were meant to be as you set out on a journey to find direction, purpose and true satisfaction. You can sign up for the study here.
Remembering the promise of God’s presence helps us move forward without fear. Chrystal is hosting a giveaway on her blog! Click here to download a free printable Chrystal has made available to remind you of God’s presence and to enter to win a copy of She’s Still There.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you learned what it means to entrust your fears and concerns to God? How do you know?
How has God’s presence been real to you during difficult times? Share your testimony of God’s care as an encouragement to others.
© 2017 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.