March 16, 2017 is a day forever etched into my brain.
Most people would look at the collapse of a world as being a bad thing, but it allowed for a restructuring that would not have been possible without it.
As the chaos of the world today is swirling in our midst, dancing in the streets and in our minds, behind closed doors to keep everything away, I recall the peaceful chaos that blessed and cursed my family three years ago.
Perhaps it wasn’t peaceful to everyone involved – the surgeon who had to come in at eight at night to place a chest tube in a nineteen year old girl, my parents as they wondered what they would do now since I was to be taking care of things due to my mother’s recent (planned) surgery, my boss and co-workers as they had to scramble to find someone to cover my shifts – but to me, in a way, it was almost funny.
Perhaps it was the pain medicine they gave me, but other than the annoying discomfort of having a chest tube in and the inconvenience of being stuck in a hospital room, only able to walk *so* far from my bed because of being attached to the wall, I recall that time was mostly filled with joy.
My lung collapsed around 8:30 in the morning, and I finished my shift at work, went home for lunch, took my siblings in to clean the church we work for, went home, took a nap, and woke up to a nudge from God telling me to research the symptoms of a collapsed lung.
- Pain that radiates from the chest to your shoulder, and extending to your back
- Shortness of breath
- Elevate heart rate
- Chest tightness
What I had thought was an asthma attack turned out to be a spontaneous pneumothorax. It was first revealed to me by God, then I had my dad listen to my lungs with a stethoscope. When he didn’t hear anything on my left side we went to the ER who practically rolled their eyes at me at first but then they heard it (or, didn’t hear it), they noticed the tachycardia, and the x-ray confirmed it.
My lung was 60% collapsed and with it, the world as I knew it collapsed and it has been the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me.
Was it easy? Was I always joyful? Did I feel no pain, have no sorrow, cry no tears? Did I find I had no fear and laughed in the face of terror?
No. It was hard at times, I felt pain and cried, I was fearful, but still I had peace. God provided in a way I could never have experienced without the collapse. He gave me joy, peace, and I felt love from people I hardly even knew and from God Himself, too.
One of my nurses in the ER was someone I had previously helped while working at Kohl’s and she remembered me. She visited me after her shift, and I later saw her again at Kohl’s after everything happened and I got to tell her more of my story.
In the midst of chaos, when it feels like the world is collapsing in on you, you can still have peace and know Jesus is there, and what feels like the end may actually be the beginning of a beautiful new life.
I now look at my life in two sections: Before and After.
Before I was struggling with major insecurities and working through a heartbreak that had caused me to be bitter about my health for the first time in my life. Never before had I wanted so much to be “well”, but by actually becoming less “well”, I became more whole. By losing a part of me, I gained a whole new life.
After Andrew became a major part of my life. I realized there’s more to life than just surviving, there’s something beautiful about living you never realize until you wake up to find the world collapsed and no matter what, God is still there and He is still working.
Sometimes we seem to live in this comfortable bubble, ignoring the world around us and just living for the next day in the paradise we have created. And sometimes, God calls us to wake up in ways we could never have imagined.
I woke up by spending over a week in a hospital bed, cut off from most of the world by being stuck in one place.
Today, a lot of people are also stuck in one place with the cozy world they created laying around them in pieces. There is chaos in the world, and perhaps it feels like it’s falling apart around you, but sometimes things fall apart so they can be restructured in a more beautiful way.
If we use this time to enjoy the peace we can have in the middle of the storm, we can enjoy the joy Jesus brings as He rebuilds our lives to be more the way He wants them to be instead of what we settled for them to be.
Allow God to give you peace in the storm and trust Him to know what’s best. After the storm passes, remember not what you had to go through, but instead, what you managed to make it through.
This whole next month I will spend celebrating the difficult and wonderful days I went through three years ago. I will spend it not dwelling on the past, but remembering what God has done so I can trust Him in what’s to come.