Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Perfect Timing

Looking back, I can think of a few circumstances where I felt afraid for my life. Mostly, I think of those events and laugh at the hilarity of the situation - like the occasion my roommates and I thought our house was being robbed…it wasn’t, on multiple occasions.  I did learn, though, that I could run through a dark alley in seventeen degree weather, barefoot while in only my pajamas.
I can joke about those occasions, but I have experienced one truly terrifying near death experience. The day my throat swelled shut is a chilling moment of my life; a moment perfectly interceded by our Father; it changed the course I thought my life would take.  This was a critical moment where I lost hope in earthly relationships and questioned God’s timing for my future. Not only did I feel that the love and support I needed would be impossible to find, I wondered why on a Tuesday amidst an important week in school and career, did God destroy my best laid plan. Now that I am a few years beyond, I can see just how important God’s timing is for our future relationships, careers, and journey. Our plans are far too weak to withstand the presence of God. What a blessing and comfort that is.
The story: I couldn’t afford to be sick. I was in my second year of Grad School living with my parents, saving money with those ever so popular non-paid internships. It was February, I had been sick for several days; the typical winter cold that renders a lot of us useless for a week or two. My mom had just taken me to Urgent Care where I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchitis, and sent away to stock up on Mucinex DM and an antibiotic. I was already anxious about the coming week because of school projects, a professor who didn’t believe in “sick days”, and a few job interviews. Like I said, there was no time to be sick!
My mom and I were sitting in a parking lot and all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. I thought it was from hacking up a lung, phlegm caught in my throat, or some other gross side effect of a sinus infection. It felt like my world was closing in; for 25 seconds I gasped to find a single breath of air, then it cleared and just like that I was okay again.
An hour later, while attempting to fall asleep, it happened again. This time, it didn’t clear. I rolled off my bed to my hands and knees, crawling towards the running water in the bathroom. My mom was filling up a Vicks vapor machine. My dad heard me attempting to breath from down the hall, came running, and started half carrying me, half dragging, yelling at my mom to turn off the water and get in the car. She just froze, hoping it would pass. I just remember a lot of hysteria. Yelling, talk of 911, and then there was me, struggling for my life.
Not more than ten minutes later, my dad had me at the emergency room. I got myself out of the car and with extremely labored breath managed to half walk into the ER making my way to the check in line. Evidently I wasn’t thinking. Nurses grabbed me, put me in a wheelchair and started triaging immediately. I guess breathing, or lack thereof, is right up on the list with chest pain when it comes to short wait times in an emergency room.
It was a rough 24 hours. During those 24 hours I was forced to lie down for several tests, making breathing impossible. After numerous x-rays, CT scans, antibiotics and steroids doctors still could not lessen the swelling. An ENT doctor told my parents that if they had put off taking me to the ER, I probably would have died. He had never seen a throat that swollen in his life. Thankfully my dad acts quickly and because he drove me to the ER himself, I was spared from the tracheotomy I would have received in an ambulance.
Although I received flowers and a few visitors, I spent a lonely week in the ICU. To the guy I was dating, I felt like a heavy burden. This only confirmed the fears I had; that my medical issues would cause relationships to fail. It was a terrible and disheartening experience in what had already been the hardest week of my life. 

A few days in, the intense swelling happened again following a breathing treatment. Nurses called a code and doctors swarmed my room from all floors, monitors were turned away from my mom to prevent her from freaking out. I feared for my life all over again.
That same morning, I interviewed for the job I have today and was forced to postpone an in person interview for the job I thought I wanted. In a hospital bed, monitors beeping, wires everywhere, my struggling voice, medicated with steroids, antibiotics, anxiety meds, morphine, and more, I told the interview panel I just had laryngitis. I don’t remember what I said during the interview; I just questioned why God knocked me down during what I thought could be the most significant week of my life.  
Doctors finally released me from the hospital citing an unknown cause. It was months before my weak voice began to return and the nightmares of drowning began to fade. To this day, my voice is not what it had been and I still have trouble falling asleep.  
What I learned: Although I’m not perfect, I’ve learned to trust that God will intervene. He wills changes in the plans you’ve crafted for yourself, and he will force outcomes you never thought imaginable. By pushing back the second job interview, the job in Washington DC was offered to me first. I took it, even thinking that I would probably enjoy the other opportunity more; for some reason, I just couldn’t turn it down.
I believe without a doubt, God had a purposeful hand in this situation. If not for the timing of God’s hand, I might not be living in Washington DC. I may not have met my husband Aaron, and the fear of finding a man that would care for me the way Aaron does, may have become unbearable.
God restored my hope in relationships and my life journey because of the plans He had for me, not of the plans I had for myself. This outcome has far surpassed the hopes and dreams I set for myself and today I praise God for His perfect timing and for the love He shows his Children, even though it may be unfathomable in the moment. God wanted me in that hospital bed. He wanted me to miss interviews. He wanted me to trust in His timing so my future held tightly by Him could be unveiled before my eyes.

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10

1 comment:

  1. So true! God knows what He's doing and His plan is better than mine. It's inspiring to hear about your trust in Him and steadfast faith.