MONDAYS WITH KERRI
Often, we find ourselves in a place of desperation when we are asked to wait; we want to remind the God of the universe He is able to save us. And at times, we attempt to barter with Him saying, “Please God. If you do this, I will never doubt you again!” When we doubt His love, we struggle to believe He will move on our behalf. We become fearful in our desperation, straining to find the faith needed to wait for Him to move. We buy into the temptation to interpret His apparent silence as abandonment and it is there our enemy plagues us with the lies and shame that lead to fear. So like the Israelites, we must learn to wait. We must remember what God has done for us in the past to have the faith necessary to hope in the future He has designed for us. The word remember is mentioned one hundred and forty-three times in the Old Testament alone! Over and over God’s people are called to look back at how He moved, what He provided, and what He accomplished so that they would have the courage to face the challenges ahead of them. We too must reflect on what God has done for us and remember how He has moved in our lives and provided for us in the past. It will significantly change our perspective for the future.
I remember a phone conversation I had with my younger sister Koni a few years ago. She knows the power of remembering the past to find hope for the future. In fact, it has been through walking with her that I am learning to wait on the Lord as well. Koni was twenty-nine when her doctors discovered that she had a brain tumor growing into her pituitary gland. By the time they found the mass, it had wrapped itself around a carotid artery and was putting so much pressure on her optic nerve that her vision was severely affected. The surgeon did not pretend to be optimistic about her surgery. Koni was told that surgery would only give her a three percent chance of full recovery and normal life. She was warned that she was at a high risk for paralysis, blindness, pituitary gland loss, brain damage, and even death. The outcome of her surgery caused even her world-famous brain surgeon to use the term “miraculous.” Koni not only survived the surgery, but she did so with her eyesight intact. However, because a third of her pituitary gland was removed with her tumor, she has numerous health complications to this day. Her hormones are abnormal, causing her to experience dizziness, tunnel vision, migraines, nausea and extreme exhaustion on a regular basis. Her hormone levels continue to be completely out of balance, causing her troubling side-effects and a recent miscarriage.
Her daughter Kyla has had severe allergies and asthma since birth, which causes her to be on breathing treatments, nebulizers, and steroids. Kyla’s allergies are life threatening, causing anaphylactic shock. Her son Kaleb has chronic acid reflux and asthma, causing frequent trips to the emergency room. He is also on several medications that cause numerous harmful side-effects. Koni’s life is a series of doctor’s appointments, medical research, advocating for her children, insurance fights, and constant physical attacks.
However, she is one of the most blessed women I know. Why? She has been tried in the fire. She is completely incapable of controlling her own life. She is utterly dependent on the Great Physician. She knows He is the only one who can fix the brokenness in her and her children’s bodies. Koni knows her need and she knows who to cry out to in her pain. She never speaks “Christianese” or in trite clichés. Some days she is angry. Most days she is spent to the point of exhaustion. Often she feels nothing was accomplished in a day, but she is always in authentic relationship with The One who created her. She plays no games and puts on no pretense. She knows Him and chooses Him again each morning. She chooses to praise Him in the middle of the storms in her life. She knows what it means to wait on the Lord. She watches for Him like few women do, because she is desperate for Him to move on her behalf. Here is an excerpt from one of her Christmas cards:
We almost did not write a Christmas letter this year. So many hard events have been a part of our family-life that we feared this letter would only give glory to the pain. However, we did not want to miss this opportunity to declare that our God is faithful, good, and kind! He is in control, and He loves us! He is The One who carries us through deep waters! This past March, through a miscarriage, we lost our little girl, Makalee Joy. This year also included several close calls for Kaleb with acid reflux and asthma: he also had stomach and esophagus surgery and a visit to the neurologist for a CAT scan to try and help him with his headaches. Kyla became allergic to her asthma medication, to the point she could not walk. Koni had numerous medical challenges, leading to a DNC, EKG, and a Stress test. A visit to the neurologist resulted in finding out her pituitary gland is not functioning properly and there are changes in her tumor tissue. In these moments when we are reminded that we lack control in this life, when we are in the midst of hurting, we are faced with an important choice: Do we focus on the event(s) causing the pain, or do we embrace the truth that God loves us, praise Him, and wait on Him in spite of the pain. He says, “He inhabits the Praises of His people.” In the moments where we chose to praise Him, we are inoculated with His peace, we inhale His joy, and we are able to quietly rest as we wait for Him to move on our behalf! This year we worship and thank Jesus for who He is, we praise Him for the grace He has given, we praise Him for His presence and protection over our lives, and we praise Him for His provision for us. We are so thankful that our Savior was born and that He lives with us every day. We are thankful that when He asks us to walk through the deep waters, He goes with us!
I always think of Koni when I read 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:
For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So, we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.