Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
“How I long for the months gone by,
for the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone on my head
and by his light I walked through darkness!
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house,
when the Almighty was still with me
and my children were around me,
when my path was drenched with cream
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.”
- Job 29:1-6
We were nearing the end of our 12-day anniversary trip through parts of Europe. We had rented a car and had ended up in Northern Spain. We were in absolute honeymoon delight visiting palaces, beaches, restaurants and friends. Our daily walks, talks and hand-holding were things I could get used to. But our precious girls, whom we missed terribly, awaited us and we became more eager to see them.
It came unexpectedly, the sudden anxiety, stomach pain and nausea. One minute I had been enjoying kisses on the beach and the next I was laying in bed in fetal position totally inconsolable. I wanted the pain and discomfort to go away. In my head I kept repeating “please, not again.” I remembered all too well the last time I had felt this sick 3 years prior and I didn’t want to go back there ever again. I scrambled to figure out what had happened and why these symptoms had overcome me so quickly.
I longed for the days just 2 weeks earlier where I was in my home cooking and playing with the girls; the simple, yet fulfilling days of taking care of my family: soccer practice, dinner, homework, bath time and giggles. I so desperately wanted to transplant myself to one of those days. I became desperately homesick and I was 5,649 miles away from home.
I traced my steps and figured out that the sandwich I had eaten earlier in the day was the likely culprit. So if it was food poisoning then it would pass in 24 hours time. I quickly realized, however, it wasn’t going to pass so quickly and I still had 3 days and 3 flights ahead of me before reaching home.
“I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer;
I stand up, but you merely look at me.
You turn on me ruthlessly;
with the might of your hand you attack me.
You snatch me up and drive me before the wind;
you toss me about in the storm.
- Job 30:20-22
I pleaded with The Lord. I questioned The Lord. I waited for The Lord, to no avail. The pain seemed to increase and the anxiety along with it. My visits to the bathroom increased and I was awfully weak and altogether bedridden the last day of our trip. The huge mountain that lay ahead of me at this point: 2 flights (14 hours total) taunted me. I pleaded with The Lord. I questioned Him. I waited for Him, again.
In the meantime, my husband’s sweet and tender care were all God’s blessings and love poured over me. He made every effort to nurse me back to health. He never left my side and he prayed over me and read me Psalm 91.
As I think about the last three days and the pain and anguish, what sticks out to me most now is that it served a purpose. Marriage was designed to demonstrate the relationship God has with His church/His people. It is through our husbands that He pours out His great and unconditional love for us. It is perfect, tender, unending love. Marriage is a gift that should not be taken for granted but rather nurtured and prayed over.
In the middle of the storm, I pleaded with God to take away the pain and anxiety. I begged that He who holds us in His hands would end it. He chose not to because it would serve a purpose as we see Job’s anguish did too.
But He never left me alone. He got me through every step of the way. When I could no longer mumble my prayers and could just say “Jesus, Jesus, “ He rescued me out of the prison I was in. When I felt emotionally, spiritually and physically weak, He strengthened me. And He brought me home to my precious and darling girls!
Though the process of physical healing is still not over, I know that I know that I know that He who holds us in His hands showers us with His perfect love, “agape” love even when we can not see it.
Be encouraged today oh sweet reader. Jesus is your great comforter, lover and provider. The mountain is enormous, the storm tempestuous, the struggle impossible. But remember “...’With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ “
Held by His perfect love,
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."