"Most people would panic at this point," Paul remarked and exhaled deeply. "And to be honest, part of me really wants to panic. But I think this is an opportunity. Want to go on an adventure?"
It had been an exceptionally difficult few months. We had both been working full-time and also running two ministries through our church. Then my health had taken a severe turn for the worse. There are two weeks of my life of which I only remember a few events. During that time, I suffered severe spasming episodes every few hours, day and night, in which my body whiplashed me until I was weak and trembling, and then I slept--only to wake to do it over again. Paul worked from home in order to care for me.
It was during this time that my husband grew a single white hair in his curly red beard.
I very much enjoyed my job as a legal assistant, but the doctor's evaluation indicated that my condition (propriospinal myoclonus, a rare neurological condition with an unknown cause) was indefinite and interruptive. In other words, I could not be a reliable employee. My employer and I had a conversation and mutually agreed to my termination.
One week later, Paul's company downsized and regretfully let him go.
Suddenly, we had gone from fully employed and busy to unemployed and battling a very invasive condition.
We were spent--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Without jobs to distract us, we suddenly faced a barrage of question and fears. What was Paul's next job? What was the best treatment plan for me? What was the future of our ministries? Would I ever be well enough to have kids? What did God desire for us?
So we prayed. And the message that kept coming back to us--in the Bible verses we read, in the music at church, in the quiet seeking during sleepless nights--was simply this: "Do not fear."
What would it look like not to fear?
"We can always make more money," Paul reflected. "The one resource we can't replace is time. We can never get our time back."
Paul and I had a running argument over the nature of mountains. "Eastern mountains aren't mountains, dear. I will show you REAL mountains." In addition, he wished to take me out to the West Coast to meet his elderly grandparents and extended family.
The doctor said "no flying." So that meant taking a long car trip at whatever pace my body could handle.
We would travel from sea to shining sea.
I worried that this might be our way of running away from our problems, but Paul's parents and others did not seem to share that concern. The Lord had changed our lives for a reason, and had given us this season for refreshing and recentering before the next task. Rather then react in fear, we would walk in faith. God was still sovereign over our circumstance and would provide direction when we needed it. We would trust Him with every part of our lives and future.
So we packed our car with camping gear, travel food, maps, and good music, said goodbye to Virginia, and headed west.
The Lord had set an incredible journey before us and we were ready to go.
More posts to come on our Incredible Journey!
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.