To say that this past week has been a whirlwind for the Bargerons and all those who are loving and praying for our family would be a severe understatement. The outpouring of support from thousands of people has been tremendous, but nothing has been quite as encouraging as the sweet moments when the Lord has calmed my fears and whispered peace into my chaos.
Last Wednesday, our beloved Mimi underwent an extensive, intrusive surgery to remove a malignant tumor that doctors discovered at the base of her tongue a month prior. The original prognosis was that she would lose the majority of her tongue in the process to ensure that all of the cancer was removed, but God moved on behalf of her and all those praying for her so much so that the tumor was supernaturally shrunk. The doctors didn't have to take as much of her tongue as they thought, but that's not all. Nothing other than her tongue was affected by the surgery -- no veins or nerves were touched at all, and her voice box was completely protected, too. Y'ALL! You may not think that's a big deal, but it's a HUGE one.
The surgery lasted all day, and recovery began immediately. The recovery process has been, as one might assume, the toughest part since her initial diagnosis. She has come leaps and bounds since those first few hours since her operation, and all of us have been amazed to witness that even though there have been some really difficult struggles, the good news keeps steadily flowing in. Family members have tag-teamed staying with her since she has been in her own room, and emotions have been taking what feels like endless roller coaster rides since. It's hard to watch someone you love so much struggle in ways you never thought they would, and it gets even more complicated to navigate through all the different ways that individuals process and deal with the emotions that come with it. As thankful I have been for all those who have been praying for Angie to come out on top of this trial, I am just as thankful for all the prayers lifted on behalf of those of us who are going through it, too.
Because Braxton loves his schedule and usually goes bonkers (seriously) when it shifts, I spent the majority of my time on the coast at the house we were staying in for the week. The "doer" and "fixer" and "helper" in me was going crazy, and I was tested a lot during those few days. God had me play a role that was more of a "side line" role, and honestly, it was tough.
I was praying on the back porch on the second morning that everyone else left for the hospital, and I asked God why He has started switching things up on me in recent seasons. I told him that this girl who loves to serve with her hands doesn't do well when her hands aren't being used like she thinks they ought to be, and He kept speaking the words, "Trust me," into my frustrated prayers. As I continued speaking, He hushed my frustrations, brought clarity to my list of questions, and reminded me that my purpose for every moment never changes: I'm here for His glory...no matter where "here" is.
Ever since I became a stay-at-home-mom, Satan has been having a field day with trying to make me believe that I'm not doing anything significant with my time. After a few months of believing him, the blinders finally came off and I left the pity party I'd been sucked into. The same thing happened last week when God and His Word woke me up and reminded me of this resounding truth: the way I was serving may not have looked like what everyone else was doing, but my job was no less important.
I got to have hours and hours of uninterrupted (well, when B was asleep, anyway) conversation with God, the One who was moving on behalf of Angie and all those prayer warriors who were diligently and faith-fully lifting her up. I got to look out over the shore, hands lifted in surrender, and breathe in the Holy Spirit while exhaling my fears and doubts. I got to intercede in a way that no one else was. And I was upset about it at first.
Say it with me...Seriously, Anna?
Once those blinders came off and I was able to clearly see my circumstance as a beautiful, unique opportunity to worship instead of an inconvenience, the gears shifted and my knees welcomed as many scabs as they could get. Was I praying as I sulked before this revelation? Of course. I am a firm believer that prayer is powerful and effective, and I had been doing it without ceasing. But did I believe it was enough? In that moment, no.
But in His grace, however, He reminded me that He doesn't place us in our circumstances by accident. My Father had strategically placed me in a position where the only thing I could do was pray and serve behind the scenes. And that was enough. I was exactly where He wanted me. Exactly where I could be most effective. Even when I wasn't so sure.
Maybe God has you somewhere that you think you shouldn't be. Maybe you are struggling with letting Him lead, just like I often am. God knows and studies our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7), and He knows better than we do because He sees everything from start to finish (Isaiah 55:8-9). We may not think we are being used in a way that is furthering the Kingdom of God, but that's not for us to decide. Wherever He has us at any given time is a place where we can glorify Him. I'm preaching to my own stubborn heart, but I'm certain that I'm not the only one who needs to hear these truths.
Wherever we are, whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, we can be used to bring the Kingdom of God here. It may not look like we want it to, but God never withholds His best from His children (Romans 8:32).
The better we become at simply trusting and obeying the One who is for us, the better we become at silencing the Enemy's lies.
And even when we don't get it right, His mercies remain endless. He provides what we need, though it's not always what we want, and sanctification follows. Always.
Oh, what hope!
"For it is God working in you, giving you the desire and power to do what pleases Him."