Tuesday, July 3, 2018

When You Feel Alone...

Grandma James and I
Two years ago today started what was to this point in my life, the hardest thing I ever had to go through.  It was two years ago today, that my Grandma James, (whom I lived with and helped care for) was admitted to the hospital in a series of events that would end with her passing 12 days later.  At first, it didn't seem too serious.  Grandma was quite ill, but she was admitted to the hospital and seemed to be improving.

Then Everything Changed.

It was so sudden.  She went from doing ok, to literally she could die at any moment and I didn't know what to do.  Though it wasn't normally the case, at that point in time, much of my family was out of town.  My Aunt (who had Grandma's power of attorney and medical proxy), Uncle, and Cousins were out of state on vacation, my brother was at his home in Ohio, my parents were at their home in West Virginia.  All the Doctors and Nurses were looking to me for answers to questions that I simply couldn't answer and I really thought I was going to fall apart.  So much had been happening up to that point that I had literally told a friend the day before that I didn't think I could handle one more thing.  I was as far down as I had ever been and didn't know what to do.  I felt utterly alone.

But I wasn't alone.  The day before I had contacted one of my Aunts on the other side of the family and asked if she would come sit with me, which she gladly did.  So when Grandma took a turn for the worse, she was there.  Right there...holding me up so I wouldn't fall.  Other family and friends started helping however possible.  People from my church showed up via text, in person, on the phone, on facebook, and let me know that they were praying for me.  And then within 12 hours all the family who had been out of State was also with me.

Psalm 94:17-19 (NIV) says:
17 Unless the Lord had given me help,
    I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.

Those words speak to me in a very special way because that is exactly how I felt two years ago.  I felt like "my foot was slipping", but true to his Word, just when I thought I would fall apart, God made sure that the support I needed would be there.  

Those next few days are a bit of a blur.  As we sat and waited for the end that we knew was drawing near for Grandma, we looked to the Lord for strength and to those around us for encouragement.  So many people...from literally all over the world, stood with us during that time.  Some were in the room with us, some were holding us in prayer from all parts of the globe, but all were with us and we felt their prayers.  

So, why write about this?  Because we all go through times where we feel alone.  Ministry is tough and while Pastors go visit their parishioners when someone is in difficult circumstances, when we Pastors are in difficult circumstances sometimes we don't know how to reach out for help. We sometimes feel like we are "just supposed to handle it" because we are the Pastor.  But I want to encourage you to remember that no matter what is happening in your life, you are not alone...and you are don't have to "just handle it" when times are hard.  Not only will God walk those difficult paths with us, if we will allow it, He will send others to walk with us as well.  But we have to be vulnerable enough to accept that help.  

Having been in the depths of confusion, frustration, sadness, and helplessness, I can attest that it's not a place I want to go to go back to, but if life takes me there again, I will continue to lean on the One who made me, but I won't be afraid to reach out for help from those He sends to walk with me.  

Have a blessed week everyone! 

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