The bed had become my sick bed, and the guest bedroom, my place to rest, heal and recover.
A life-threatening illness not only stole my physical health,
but also led me into the valley of depression, ushering in questions about my identity, purpose and worth. On medically induced bed rest for five months, tethered to life-sustaining IV-hydration and nutrition, having dwindled from 113 pounds to a skeletal 74, I was unable to be the doctor who cared for patients, much less a wife or mother. I had succumbed to the enemy’s lies, believing my worth was based on what I did.
I could do nothing but sleep, pray, listen to praise music or watch sermons online. I clung to God in the deepest pit and shared with Him my pain.
“God, if this is all my life is going to amount to, I’m not sure I want to keep living.”
Yet the time I lay in that sickbed served a greater purpose.
Healing took time, two surgeries, cooperation with a healthcare team, and a willingness to do hard work in my mind and heart.
Earlier in my career as a neuropsychologist, I always pondered the biblical account of the lame man. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well, I always countered in my mind, “What a silly question, Jesus. Of course, he does. He’s just lying by the side of the pool waiting for someone to push him in.” Yet the longer I treated patients, the more I realized not everyone “comes to the pool” to be healed; many are comfortable in their suffering. And many just want a quick fix without much work on their part.
As I convalesced, my spirit was stirred.
“Jesus says to him, ‘Arise, take up your mat, and walk’” (John 5:8 Berean Literal Bible).
Jesus wanted the lame man to do the hard work and participate in his healing. He called me to do the same.
“My beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me’” (Song of Songs 2:10 NIV).
Many days seemed dark, and I needed a reason to fight and arise.
I needed to counter the feeling that it wasn’t a good day because of pain, sickness, depression, etc. with God’s truth that as long as He is still on His throne, it IS a good day.
My focus shifted in my thoughts and my words away from my problems and onto the Problem Solver.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).
Yet, each day required work: not just to cooperate with my medical team, but to examine my heart and mind, to identify Satan’s lies, to arise above them, rebuke them and refute them with God’s truth.
Slowly over weeks and months, life began to return to some semblance of normal.
Patients were thrilled I returned to the private practice, and family life brought with it a greater appreciation for the simple joys.
As I wrote about my experience in Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression I cried out to the Lord,
“I don’t want to be the poster child for depression. That isn’t what I want to be known for. I want my life to count
for more than that.”
He sweetly reminded me of His promises every time I needed to not only hear them, but stand on them.
“Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be”
(Job 8:7 NIV).
What began as a single social media post to remind myself “Today is a good day because…”
unintentionally ended up becoming a 5-year-plus daily devotional ministry sharing the truth of God’s promises to encourage others to look beyond their trials and see His good in each day.
Rarely a week goes by that I don’t hear something along the lines of “I don’t know how you go through all you have and continue to stay so positive and encourage others despite your circumstances.”
It isn’t me. It’s what God has done in me. It’s a choice to rise above our problems and focus on THE Problem Solver and all His promises.
Because of Him, today is a good day for a good day regardless of our trials.
Friend, I don’t know what difficulties you are facing right now. But I know our focus can make all the difference.
He sees you, He knows you, He loves you.
What the enemy intended for evil, God will use for good especially when we determine in our hearts to arise above our circumstances and let God use them for others’ good and His glory.