“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
One of the most wonderful things about God’s words in his scripture is the power to change the way you think of the world. This passage was echoed often throughout my life as words of comfort whenever I faced challenges but it was never a passage that remained close to my heart. However, God would change this for me, as I had to trust and give every single piece of my life to God in what has been one of the most difficult and emotionally challenging periods of my life. I feel blessed that God not only looked after me and protected me through all my fears of this time, but also how he gave me the strength and courage to document this experience and share it.
Just over a week ago, I was admitted to hospital and ended up having an emergency operation to remove a ruptured cyst from my abdomen which caused an unbearable amount of pain. The whole experience was quite traumatic and emotional, but God was with me through every single pain and struggle and was a massive part of my recovery. Without Him, there is no way that I would be in the position I am in now. I’m coming to terms with this slowly (it still feels like a blur), but from this whole experience, God has given me a complete change of mindset, made me feel so loved, and has given me an extortionate amount of His strength to help me push myself to getting better.
In addition, I have so much love and gratitude for my family at the church who were by my side every step of the way in hospital and in recovery. They stood by my bedside and sacrificed their time for me to make sure that I was okay. They walked with me down to ultrasounds, and surgery, and were there when I woke up from surgery holding my hands. Also, for giving me somewhere to recover and for so much love and support and for making me smile and laugh even though I was in pain. They are a big reason for why I got back up so quickly, and why I am in such an amazing position in my recovery.
The next morning after I was admitted, I had an extensive number of tests done – everything from ultrasounds, to blood screening. The doctors were still puzzled as to why I was crying and in so much pain. I was informed that they were going to perform emergency surgery to find out exactly what was wrong. I remember suddenly being crushed by so much fear that all I could do was cry, and utter three single words: “I am Scared”. These were the only three words that I could say. I remember at that point messaging someone who dropped what she was doing to come get to me as soon as possible, which I am so grateful for. She and another member of the church family rushed in to hold my hand, keep me calm and pray with me and they stayed until I went down for surgery.
My mentor gave me some comforting words and told me not to be scared. She told me to be brave and replied with three words “Be a button”. She was with me as soon as I woke up from surgery. This picture of a button was something she had prophesized to me in a card she wrote for me. You see, buttons are truly amazing and significant even though they are very small. They hold everything together, they fix things that are broken, and they are sewn with so much joy and happiness. But these words never sunk until I was being prepared for surgery. I remember hearing these words in my head to “be a button” and listening to a Bethel worship song which my mentor recommended about being brave.
‘Remember be brave, be a button, you can hold things together’
It was these words, and the kind reminder to keep being a button, which halted my panic. So many emotions and tears still overwhelmed me, but I was ready to face my biggest hurdle. I remember thinking I was ready to do this. God was by my side; He had me in the palm of His hands; He would guide the doctors and nurses and He would protect me. And I trusted God with all the strength He gave me that He wouldn’t leave or forsake me through this. God, was amazing and provided me with so much love, care, and strength not only spiritually but physically here with the church family who were with me every step of my way, and continually support me in recovery. And I am so blessed and thankful for everything they have done for me.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
I remember saying goodbye to my Belfrey family. They were smiling and comforting as I was wheeled down to surgery, and then I had arrived to the anaesthesia unit and the anaesthesiologists were getting me ready, I was hooked to a heart and oxygen monitor and I was given oxygen to breathe in. And the first thing I thought along with many patients before being put to sleep was: am I going to wake up? This may sound harsh, but I thought that I wouldn’t wake up from surgery, which is a common human reaction to have minutes before the surgery began. Which led me to think of a question which turned out to change my complete view on the life I was living. “If I wasn’t going to wake up, in this moment, have I fulfilled everything that God wants me to do? Have I displayed a fruitful character? Have I been a good enough Samaritan? Have I done enough?
My, answer, like many was simply no. Because I didn’t feel like I have fulfilled what God destined me to do, and I’m certain I can help others in so many more ways. So to the ultimate question: “Have I done enough?”, my answer was No. But why did it have to be ‘No’? It didn’t have to be a ‘No’. This is not only a thought I struggle with, it’s a thought shared by many Christians all over the world. But the most important thing, is, if there is so much that we can offer to the Lord that he wants us to fulfil what is there stopping us from doing it?
And the answer is nothing. God has created us, to do so many things to share the good news of Jesus, and amplify the love that He has for us all, as His sons and daughters. And each frontline we have, each step of the journey we are all on, is just as important. And every single step you take, every path in your journey, God walks with you.
Whether, you’re a student in York, or in a full-time job, or an explorer of the world, each of these points of your journey are just as significant to God, and not any job, or point in your journey has any less significance than any other. Because, in each of these roles, God has a reason for why you’re there. Everything you do, you do for the Glory of God, and He will lift you up, and help you to excel in your own strengths and possibilities. He will use you to project His power to others, so that you can help all the individuals who are strangers to God to discover Him, that they can be followers of Jesus and live eternally with Him. But you will never have to do this alone, because God is always there and He walks with you.
So, when I look back at the ultimate question now, “Have I done enough?”, I now realise that God has given us so many gifts, and everything we do as followers of Jesus we do for Him, to glorify Him, and share the love, strength, and joy that He has for us, and He helps us every step of the way. Through our jobs, conversations, and stories to help strangers of the Lord, find Him, and discover the unconditional love of the Lord. In short, we have done enough, because we are all followers of God, and everything we do in our life through gifts we have been given are used for the glory of our God, and that is an image that I will carry with me, and I encourage others to do the same.
The best way, I like to think of this is two different worship musicians, one musician is playing in front of thousands of people in a large church, and they are all on their feet dancing and cheering in praise of the Lord. The other musician, is worshipping in the street, and everybody walks past, and appear to ignore the sung scriptures, until, somebody stops in awe to listen. Both musicians, have been given the gift of music by the Lord, but they are both in two different situations, but they are both just as important, and significant, because they have both fulfilled what God wanted them to do with their gifts. The number of listeners, is not important, because in both situations, strangers to the Lord were opened to the opportunity of discovering who Jesus was, and how much he loves us, and the wonderful promises he has for us on Earth. So, wherever you are in your journey, God is always using you, he is always on your side, and if you fulfil everything which God has set out for you, for Him, then you have done enough.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'. Erma Bombeck.
Recovery was an influential part in being able to physically see the plans God has for me. The smallest tasks like sitting up, getting out of bed, and even walking seemed so difficult. But God provided me with so much strength! I left the hospital still in a significant amount of pain, and I couldn’t walk without being assisted. And by the Sunday, two days after being discharged, I was in church, which I thought wouldn’t be possible so soon after being discharged. I felt so blessed to be there and I wouldn’t be there without the strength and support that God gave me, and the strength that I received from my family at the Belfrey.
I am still making so much progress and I am so happy to be where I am now, which is incredible, but without God, my recovery and this whole experience would be such a different story. Without God, and the church, I don’t know how I would have gone through this, and I cannot imagine it differently. Because God provided me with the strength I needed to be brave, the courage I needed to face every hurdle. The love I needed to feel comfort and calm, and ultimately, the family I needed - the church, who were by my side every step of the way. Never forget, that the Lord, promises that he will never leave you or forsake you, that He will provide everything you need to get through every battle in life that you will face. He will protect you; you just have to put all your life in His hands. Remember – the hold that He has on you is far greater than any hold you have on Him.
This scripture is very encouraging in times of unknown and difficulty, and it is something that I encourage you to read.
“I come to you, Lord, for protection; never let me be defeated. You are a righteous God; save me, I pray! Hear me! Save me now! Be my refuge to protect me; my defence to save me. You are my refuge, and defence, guide me and lead me as you have promised” Psalm 31.
This ties together, the message that I want to have come across, that God hears every single cry to him, and listens to your voice in every time of need, and he never fails to provide for us, and he sends salvation to us, so never be afraid to cry out to the Lord in any time of need. Because he can hear you, and he will never let you down. In addition, just how much God loves each one of us, and how significant we are in fulfilling what God wants us to do on Earth, and God offers so much love and guidance to help us, and doing so not only by just being fruitful, or a good Samaritan, but by making the change to somebody else, so they can discover the Love of our Lord and become a follower of Jesus, and live eternally for Him.