How could I NOT praise God? Someone told me the other day that I was the strongest woman they have ever met. I smiled and said, “God is my strength.” If they only knew the rest of the story. In 2009 I nearly lost my mind because I tried to handle my life on my own strength. I soon learned that I have no strength. We got a call on New Year’s morning around 3:00 AM that our son was being flown to a hospital in Germany because he had been in a training accident in Kuwait while waiting for deployment to Iraq. The next couple of days were a blur as we waited to see if he would live or die and I couldn’t even be there to hold his hand. I prayed, but the prayers seemed to hang somewhere around the ceiling fan on my bedroom ceiling. Whirling around and around like the thoughts in my head.
In February 2009 my husband of 32 years underwent surgery for prostate cancer. In March we found out that our daughter, the mother of our two beautiful grandchildren was a heroin addict. The next year is a blur of taking care of our son, my husband and all the while trying to help our son-in-law take care of the kids. I lived my life believing everything that our daughter said, and hating myself for believing. She told me she hated me, that I would never see my grandchildren again once she got well. She left, she came back. And each time she cut off a little bit more of my heart and fed it to me.
Then a friend of mine stopped over and invited me to visit her church. I’ve always been a strong believer, but there’s a certain amount of hopelessness in being the mother of an addict. There is something that says, people won’t understand. You must have done something wrong. It’s all your fault. But God is stronger than my mind and I went. It was the best decision I could have made. And I have given my life to a ministry of support and counseling to others who have family members who are suffering from addictions.
See, the thing is, we are always going to have something going on in our lives as long as we live on this earth. But we have to keep our focus in the right place. That place is God. I was living a selfishly self-centered existence by only living for the misery. The questions that were never answered I have found out really don’t matter a few days after worrying about them. What does matter is that I can truthfully say that I love God more than the situations in my life.
The decision to surrender to God was not easy. It meant giving up a part of me that I thought I needed…my stress. I was worried at one time that people would think I was crazy for not worrying about all that was going on! But you know what? It just doesn’t matter. I have surrendered my fears, my anxiety, my sadness to the joy of serving God. I love my daughter, and I pray for her healing daily. But I love God more. How can I say that? He is the One sure thing in my life. He is the One sure thing in your life, too. I live in peace because I know that God has my daughter in HIs Hands. And I can face whatever happens, whatever choices she makes, because I realize that they are her choices. I have no more power over that than I did when we found out that awful day.
Yes, it hurts when her now six-year-old daughter asks if Mommy is going to be at her birthday party and I have to say “no.” And it hurts when her 8-year-old son cries because he misses the baby sister he may never see again. And I cry. But then I look up and I praise God for these children. I praise God for the wonderful woman that He has brought in to their Daddy’s life. A woman who loves them and takes care of them and provides a security that they have never had until now.
God is worthy of praise in all situations. And with every breath I have, I will praise Him.