What do you do when life throws you a curve?
Our guest for today’s blog is Mrs. Beth Brown. She is one of us. She is a dear friend and a woman after God’s heart with hands that are always willing to serve. We appreciate her faithfulness to give us a witness to the power of God in a life surrendered to Him. Her story is written as journal entries punctuated by the phrases that are in the verse that sustained her during a very difficult time.
“ Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Ever look forward to something only to have the proverbial “rug pulled out from under your feet?”
“It’s Friday!!! The holidays just around the corner! Hallelujah, almost 3 o’clock! “ Don’t get me wrong, I loved my students for 33 years, but I found myself looking more forward to retirement than the joys and gifts of each day. Anybody relate?
Do not fear?
October 2011, my life drastically plummeted only 18 months from retirement. On that day, I woke up with severe upper body pain….unable to move my neck and shoulders or lift my arms . “Dear God, what is going on? Why, when I am so close to “my life plan” RETIREMENT? “ How could I NOT fear?
I will help You?
I actually continued striving to teach in misery. It was only by the grace of God I could teach. I had much help from family, church family, friends, unlimited medical personnel, co-workers and even my junior high students assisted with instruction. I was unable to hold a book or bend my neck to read. Every encouraging prayer was a treasure. My grandchildren even prayed for me, not only at bedtime, but also at mealtime blessings.
Be not dismayed?
Mid January, my principal found me in tears and compassionately advised me it was time to go home. Cervical neck fusion in February gave hope that I could return to work in February. I could finally get relief! Wrong! There were complications healing the worst being a non functioning esophagus. I was living on Boost for months as my overall health declined. This was the first time in my life that I needed to gain weight but kept losing. I found that It is no fun when you are sick!
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand?
I had severe pain walking, sitting and reclining. “What do I do Lord when I can’t take care of myself. How will my heart survive if I am unable to keep my grandchildren and rock those babies? I couldn’t eat, cook, shop, drive, ride, or even hold my Bible to read !”
My family became my “earthly rocks” . My husband never complained even as he became my personal caregiver and hairdresser (He will not be happy that I shared that detail.) My children along with their spouses supported me in countless ways!
Friends and family sacrificed their time taking me to appointments, calling, texting , visiting , listening , and advising. I was unable to attend church for months, but precious prayer groups came to me. These were unforgettable moments . Since I could not read, friends shared spiritual audio books and material to encourage me. One friend spent her lunch hour reading the Bible to me. Another took me chair shopping since I could only sit in Daddy’s ugly blue lawn chair. I think I tried out at least 50 and still ended up with another ugly consignment wingback.
All of this support was God’s provision.
“All of you are Christ’s body, and each of you is part of it.” 1 Peter 4:10 NIV
Local doctors and therapists frustrated and puzzled stood by me and tried everything. I saw specialists in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa and too many others to mention.
The next step was at Mayo Clinic which took four month of waiting. Finally, diagnosis…my muscles and not my spine were supporting my head. I needed two more fusions!! FEAR sets in.
I made numerous trips to Jacksonville Fl. where doctors tried several less invasive treatments. My pain doctor there knew the risks of further surgery and told me to try a very mild physical therapy again. DISCOURAGEMENT !!!!!
I Am YOUR God!!!!!
Local therapists followed the plan, and SLOWLY I began to improve . This was my miracle!! The last time I went to Mayo for a recheck, my doctor was amazed as he looked at my MRI which still showed the problems with my cervical spine and questioned me, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? NO SURGERY? WHY ARE YOU BETTER? THIS MAKES NO SENSE!”
My answer, “MY GOD along with PRAYER!!! He had never mentioned God at previous visits, but that day he hugged with a “God bless!!”
Isaiah 41:10 became my lifeline. My faith was weak, but I kept a glimmer of hope through His Word and believers encouraging me, while many of them were going through storms of their own. Even though I was not able to teach full time, I still enjoyed working with children and spending time with my grandchildren.
I try to live each day according to HIS plan , and no longer live for Friday’s!!! I still have a long way to go!
The question marks after the scripture phrases have changed to exclamation marks!!
My FEAR has weakened as my FAITH has grown!
I realize that the GOD of the universe is MY GOD, and He is able to meet my needs!
He STRENGTHENED me physically and spiritually!
He HELPED me through His power and the hands and hearts of others!
He literally HELD ME UP WITH HIS RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND when I was weak!
Use my tribulation to share your love with others. I pray that this testimony may give someone hope and draw them closer to You. Use my hands, feet and heart to reach out to those who are hurting or in need. I praise you for your mercy in allowing me to enjoy my life again! I especially thank you for my family, friends, church family, and medical teams who stood by me and prayed for me. Bless each one of them. In Jesus Holy name I pray. Amen.
Break every chain.
Chain Breaker Zach Williams