Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finding Your Spiritual Mountaintop in the Midst of Your Darkest Valley

This photo was taken in September of 2012.  We had recently been informed that the horrid radiation had not killed all of the cancer and that Tim was terminal.  His “last ditch effort” massive surgery was only days away.  We knew it was risky for him to even survive surgery and the odds of successfully removing the tumor and all of its aggressive cancerous cells were less than 15%.  A precious friend offered to photograph our family before Tim went into the hospital. 

The photo shoot was over and our family did a big group hug and then we prayed.  We prayed prayers of thanksgiving to our God for the gift of this opportunity, we prayed blessings over our sweet photographer friend, and we laid our hearts before our God placing our trust solely in Him.    

You may think I have gone plumb crazy when you read this next sentence. 

I have been on a spiritual mountain top for the past few years.

Bear with me and I will explain. 

Did cancer strip away everything I knew to be comfortable and calm in my life?  Yes, for the most part.

It stripped away many of the material things I treasured…my custom dream home on a beautiful lot, my stress-free finances; things that I thoroughly enjoyed.  In return, it gave me a deeper reliance on God to provide for all the details of our life.  It taught me how to accept generosity from others.  You wouldn't believe the number of men who showed up to move Tim’s garage items from the old house to the new and the mass of women who came with smiles on their faces to line cabinets, scour bathrooms and unpack boxes as the movers unloaded the trucks in that summer of 2012.  It has taught me that HE alone is my source of comfort and calm.  His calm is THE BEST!

Did Tim’s sometimes slow and sometimes drastically rapid physical decline frustrate him and embarrass him as a man?  Absolutely.

It cost Tim intense physical anguish and the laying down of his pride; but it also joined him with Christ in suffering.  Tim tucked himself deep into the pocket of space next to God’s rib cage and sheltered under the protection of His wings.  Tim grew in wisdom and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).  He clung to God’s Word as he forged forward through pain and suffering.  His physical body was wasting away, but the depth of his relationship with his Savior was ever increasing.  What a beautiful thing to witness.

Did the all-consuming role of caregiver break my heart into a million tiny shards as I tended to my Tim’s every need while his earthly body deteriorated over two years?  Yes, the flashbacks still take my breath away and spring tears into my eyes.  Too many horrors.  Too.  Many. 

Those long, stress-filled, emotional months; they brought about a deeper dependency on God as my only source of strength.  He was faithful to always give me strength from His never-ending supply.  The honor of showing my husband the depth of my love for him through being his caregiver 24/7 blessed me in ways I could never properly express with words.  Our appreciation and respect for each other deepened through the hard times.  Our love for Jesus grew.      

Throughout the darkest of emotional times in my life and during the most painful physical struggles for my husband, we found ourselves firmly placed on a spiritual mountaintop. 

I’m not entirely sure I realized it in the midst of the battle, but hindsight shows me now.  Our dependence on God and His goodness, even when everything in our lives seemed to be “going bad”, caused spiritual growth beyond compare. 

God works in all circumstances.  He is constantly drawing us closer to Himself. 

I came across the photo in my computer today and memories flooded my heart.

The photo shoot was over.

I am so grateful the photographer picked back up her camera and captured us as we prayed and worshiped our God together as a family.  

We were facing the toughest of days, but we were simultaneously feeling the uplifting arms of our Father as He was drawing us up onto spiritual mountaintops.

Trust Him, friends, He is up to something good in your life!

He is up to something good in this widow’s life and the lives of her children.
He is close to the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
(Psalm 147:3)   

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