One week ago on Sunday night at 9.55pm, I was walking down a long, deserted hospital corridor, waiting for news.
Earlier in the day, my mum was rushed in to A&E with terrible stomach pains and bleeding. The doctors knew something was wrong, but they didn’t know what.
Finally at 8pm, after hours of tests and questions, a doctor swished into our cubicle and said, ‘you’re bleeding internally. We don’t know where from – but we need to scan you and find out what’s happening’.
I held my mum’s hand. ‘Are you ok? I asked her, checking her response to this rather alarming news. ‘Yes’, she said. ‘There’s no point in worrying…let’s just get on with it’. The doctor left and I prayed (again) for healing, for answers, for a way through all this. An hour or so later, two porters arrived to take mum to CT and I decided to take a walk.
As a family, we’ve been in this situation before. Ill-health isn’t a surprise to us, from heart attacks to arythmia disorders, open heart surgery, neurological conditions and more, we know what it feels like to walk through that dark valley. It’s not a nice place. And you always feel like this is the sort of thing which happens to grown ups. And you don’t feel like one. But it turns out, you are.
But on Sunday, waiting for news, I decided to clear my head and go for a walk.
There was a distinct stillness in the long corridor, apart from the faint nearby beeping of machines or the odd swoosh of automatic doors opening. I didn’t know what to think or do, but I knew I needed fresh air.
I eventually found a big, open window, with a little bit of dark sky view. The cool air was welcome against my raging cheeks and in some way, helped to calm the flippy floppy worry, that my heart was dealing with.
I didn’t know how to pray, but I remembered some words recently spoken by a wise man. When you’re in the middle of a storm, stop and ask God for a word…something that will get you through.
So that’s what I did.
Lord, I need a word…I need something to hang my hat on, something to rely on.
I wasn’t hearing or feeling anything, but then this lovely peace seemed to settle over my bones. If you’ve ever experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence…then yes, it was just like that. I sat down on the window ledge and enjoyed a few moments away from the maelstrom, and then, there it was;
Call to me and I will answer.
I had an inkling this was in Jeremiah somewhere and a quick google confirmed it.
Call to me and I will answer and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Now as much as I like (and crave) context when it comes to the Bible, this seemed to me, to be words dropped straight from Heaven. To me, this was God saying, I’m right here…talk to me…tell me what’s going on’.
So I decided to take God at His word and I (silently) spelled out all my worries. I wasn’t ready for this to be ‘it’. I wasn’t prepared or ready at this point in my life, to lose my mum.
And I most definitely felt that God heard me. That bone-deep peace stayed oh-so-near as I walked back to the ward, just as my ma was being wheeled back in.
An hour later we were told that she had an abdominal injury caused (incredibly by coughing after a bout of pneumonia) and a big loss of blood, but it wasn’t the bowel rupture they’d initially suspected. As the doctor walked away, mum and I punched the air and said, ‘Thank you Jesus!’
The last week has been a bit of a tornado, of transfusions, treatments, pneumonia, pleurisy, some unexpected complications and a bout of MRSA. But, we’re getting there! If you’re the praying type, please keep my mum, Shirley in your prayers.
But even on not-so-good- days, we hang on to the simple truth that at any time, we can call out to our Heavenly Father and He’ll be right there.
I honestly do not know how anyone walks through difficult times, without Jesus.