I've been reflecting a lot recently on these past months since becoming a mama, comparing what used to be with what is. I go back to those days in the hospital often, because I love praising God for how good He was to me and those that I care most about during those dark hours + days. I've experienced tragedy numerous times in my life, but this was the first time that I was the one at the center of all the prayers being lifted. I'm used to being the one offering up prayers for + encouraging others who are hurting, not the one on the receiving end, and I learned a big lesson from that: meals, text messages, hugs, visits, and all the other things that aren't considered "big" to the world really are.
Honestly, I didn't offer up many prayers while I was in the hospital; I believe that's why so many people were lifting them up for me. I was absolutely aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit, because He presented Himself to me in the faces of everyone who visited, in the tears that were shed (including my own), and in those rare moments when it was just TJ, me, and our newborn baby boy in the room, but I struggled to pray for anything other than strength for the moment. Something that will stick with me for the rest of my life is all the love that I received from my nurses and doctors while I was recovering. They knew when I was feeling down (I've never been a good liar, but I didn't even try to be while I was so sick), and they did whatever they could to lift my spirit. They served me relentlessly while I was in their care, and I won't ever forget how good they were to me.
Two months after we were discharged, we went to visit our dear friends who had just welcomed their new baby girl into the world, and I stopped by the nurse's station to check for any familiar faces. I knew two of them, and though they didn't know me right away (I looked a lot different from the last time they'd seen me), as soon as I told them what room I had been in, one nurse exclaimed, "Oh, yes! You were so sick, but you were everyone's favorite!" She hugged me, and said she would tell everyone else that I stopped by next time she saw them. My morning + night nurses always greeted me with smiles on their faces and most of them said that they hoped they'd be my nurse during their shift. I would always laugh because I was sure that they said that to everyone. I jokingly mentioned that to Lorraine (my spunkiest nurse) during my visit after she said I was everyone's favorite, and she quickly came back with, "Honey, I'm serious. Even when you didn't have the strength to pick up your head you were still so kind."
Those words have been the source of many of my mind's wanderings lately, and then Walt (our beloved Pastor at Capstone Church) asked a question in this past Sunday's sermon that connected a few dots. The meat of the message was spoken to stir in the hearts of those listening a desire to take the Gospel wherever we are called, and a question he asked was used by the Holy Spirit to take my breath away: "Do people get excited to be in your presence?" He continued on to ask, "Do people want more or less to do with you because of your words and actions? What do your actions say about your God?" And just like that, all my seemingly random thoughts clicked into place and pointed toward the bigger picture: God's great glory. Those nurses thought they wanted to take care of me, but I know it was the Gospel in me that drew them in.
Satan wants me to think that my "sweetness" and "good heart" are what left such a lasting impression on those who took care of me while I was in the hospital. He wants me to boast (both inwardly and outwardly) in my "kindness" and "wisdom." He wants to blind me from the Truth so that I will think that I don't need anything other than the "characteristics" that are already active within me. But (goodness, I love that word) Jesus is faithful in binding up the enemy's lies and steadfastly reminding me that His goodness and love are what flow from me (Psalm 23:6). It is God's kindness that enables me to be kind (Titus 3:4-6), it's His wisdom that creates countless fruit in my life (James 3:17), and it's the new heart He has given me that makes me desire humble submission (Ephesians 4:22-24). When we are weak, we must lean on the promises that His Word makes to us, because Satan will most certainly be seeking out every opportunity to make us even weaker. The more we lean on God before the storm comes, the more we will know to lean on Him when it hits. My mundane life is proof of this. Do you believe that yours can be a living testament to that, too?