What Now?

I am a Christian and I believe that when bad things happen to us, it is not because of karma, but because God is testing our faith and our dedication to him. He is also using those situations to teach us and grow us. The past couple months though, I feel like I’ve had more than my fair share of tests and growth, and personally think I deserve a break. However, God’s work in us and through us is never done. Everything happens for a reason and I’m sure these times in my life are no different.

It has been very trying lately, and for once, it’s not because a guy has broken me. The first situation actually goes back a couple years, but came to a head recently. Over two years ago, I went to my doctor with a persistent cough and told her that I was having chest pain and trouble breathing. She diagnosed me with asthma and prescribed an inhaler. Over time, the meds increased to daily pills, additional inhalers, etc. No matter what was prescribed, nothing helped. I kept telling her this, but she insisted that I just needed to take these meds more often. After having COVID last year, my symptoms worsened. Then worsened again after getting vaccinated last fall. Then, after developing an array of serious symptoms following my flights to and from Ireland earlier this year, I wound up hospitalized. After almost a week in the hospital, still, no one could provide me with a definitive diagnosis. Extremely frustrated, I changed primary doctors a couple months ago. My new doctor promptly referred me to a pulmonologist that determined nothing was wrong with my lungs. He told me to immediately stop using all the inhalers, and said he thinks it’s an issue with my heart. I was then referred to a cardiologist that performed an EKG and found abnormalities. That led me to the hospital for some cardiac testing this past week, which I found out revealed nothing. Here I am again with zero answers, and still ailed. Apparently, further testing and a possible outpatient heart procedure is now needed to assist in this guessing game. We all knew my heart was broken in so many emotional ways, but I never thought it was literally broken.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, my house flooded five weeks ago. Plumbing in an upstairs bathroom broke and flooded the entire upstairs and made way through the sub flooring and down and out the downstairs walls, light fixtures and ceilings. Now I am tasked with fighting with my homeowners insurance company to move faster on the claim, getting the tear out of more than 40% of my home underway, and then dealing with the rebuild of it all. Let’s also add that while dealing with all of that and my health, we will be displaced in a rental for several months. Oh what fun! If only I had an insurance policy for stress relief. A good vacation alone to a far off place would be amazing therapy right now.

It’s times like this where our strength and faith are tested. I have no idea if what is wrong with my heart is major or minor. For all I know at this point, the cardiologist could come back and say it’s not my heart at all, and then I’m back to square one and off to the next specialist on the guessing list. I can’t dwell on that. I have to keep on living my life. Keep raising my kids and keep pushing forward with my goals and dreams. I cannot change my circumstances if it is not God’s will. I have to trust his plan and follow his lead. He will never bring us to it, if he doesn’t have a plan to bring us through it. Instead of questioning why, we need to question how. How does he want us to use this lesson? Is this situation for our own growth or to help someone else through theirs? What can we do to make this situation a better one for all involved?

Your only other option is to stop and get angry at God for putting you through this. But what good is that going to do? Instead, stop and thank God for the lessons and the growth. Stop and ask God what his purpose in this situation is, and ask for guidance through it. I have been one in the past to be angry with God every time something was thrown at me or didn’t go my way. Always questioning…Why me? Why now? Why again? But I have learned as I’ve gotten older, that I am growing through my struggles. I am learning from them and I am persevering. I still have many moments of weakness where I get angry and even feel loss within my faith. I still have days where my depression gets the best of me, and I still have moments where I feel absolutely hopeless in it all. But in the end, the only real option I have, is to take a deep breathe, say a prayer and just let go and let God. There isn’t really anything else I can do but pray more and worry less.

So I task you with stepping back and analyzing whatever situation you may be going through at the moment, good or bad, and ask yourself why you’re in that situation. Do not ask God why, ask yourself. What can you learn from it and what growth will arise from persevering through it? Can you make this situation into something that will help others by showing them or discussing with them what you’ve learned from it? Can you help yourself down the road by what you’re learning from it? More than a lesson learned, what is the blessing you are receiving by going through this? Is it the growth, or is it knowing that you’ve helped someone else through God’s work?

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