Once upon a time, my handsome and successful husband, my beautiful daughter, and my two precious sons were excited about moving into our new home in a coveted neighborhood within an exemplary school district. I was pregnant with our fourth child – a much-desired baby girl and we were looking forward to welcoming her into our family. Our family had a stockpile of savings, a church full of friends, and detailed plans for a secure future. We were healthy, happy, financially well-off, and living the American dream.
We were ‘blessed’…..
But that dream came to a crashing halt on Memorial Day weekend of 2010. Our seven-year-old daughter, Rebecca, was hospitalized for the first days of what would become years of hospitalizations. She had an unknown form of chronic pancreatitis caused from an unknown immunologic condition that prompted us to frantically travel from state to state in search of an unknown cure. After 22 pancreatic surgeries and 30 separate anesthetic procedures, I became a full-time hospital mom to my daughter, an absentee mom to my two sons, and a part-time wife to my husband. And as we were fighting to save Rebecca’s life, our baby girl Annabelle died, shaking the foundation of my faith to the core.
The next few years were agonizing watching Rebecca suffer from an excruciatingly painful disease while my boys suffered from instability and fear. We were faced with the loss of my husband’s job, a perpetual war with health insurance companies, and an uprooting move to Minnesota in order for Rebecca to receive a life-necessitating experimental transplant. All the while standing helpless as our savings and assets drained into the deep abyss of medical bills.
We were no longer healthy, we were no longer happy, and no longer financially secure.
We were no longer ‘blessed’….
Or were we?
Was there a way for me to re-focus my mind toward God’s blessings as opposed to the earthly blessings I desired and craved?
This became the pivotal moment in my faith and the start of my written journey with God. The words I penned while living in the hospital re-shaped my view on this often misunderstood Lord:
Throughout the past few years, I have changed my perspective on miracles. So many times we falsely view God’s work of wonders as a forever blessing. And yet, any physical marvel on this earth is temporary.
This may sound sacrilegious to some…… as far as I am aware though, Lazarus is not still alive. Jesus raised Him from the dead – a proven miracle – and yet eventually Jesus allowed him to die. His miraculous healing on this earth was temporal, yet still a miracle. And the reason for his healing was, “for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it (John 11:4).”
God granted Hezekiah an extra fifteen years of life and yet, once again, his healing was short-lived.
I heard of a person with cancer who prayed his disease be cured from his body. And it was…..only it returned a decade later. This individual felt God had not answered his prayer because a true miracle would never allow cancer to return again.
Yet, what if the miracle was in the ten years of remission? What if God knew that facing death would result in a life filled with more meaningful zest in ten short years than forty years of perfect health could ever produce?
We somehow get into a trap of feeling this earth is our home. That God intended for us to live healthy, wealthy, easy lives while we exist in this sin-ridden world. And yet, the examples of God’s most faithful lived anything but a life of ease. In fact, it was by their sufferings that the Lord was truly revealed.
Job gives hope to all enduring the unthinkable. The story of Joseph gives strength to those victimized and wrongly accused. Moses allows us to persevere for future blessings we may never realize and the disciples exemplify an unmatched passion for Christ straight to their violent, unjustified deaths.
Instead of waiting (years in Rebecca’s case) for a miracle to cure every portion of her damaged body, I am learning to accept the daily and sometimes hourly miracles that God bestows in our lives.
Rebecca’s past state of pancreatic remission for “only” a year and a half becomes a treasure chest of beautiful memories. Our family living together under the same roof for an extended period of time becomes a cherished act of Providence. Achieving five hours of interrupted sleep as opposed to a total of one is viewed as a blessing.
And in the midst of a severe pain attack when Rebecca smiles and says she loves me – now that becomes a true miracle.
Perspective is key to every situation. C.S. Lewis once said, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
When my future and the future of my family are permanently focused on heaven, then the abominations this earth has to offer becomes a side note – barely an honorable mention in the scheme of things.
That is not to diminish the trials we endure. If I had a thousand adjectives, it would never begin to describe the intensity of hearing your child moan, scream, and writhe in unrelenting pain on a minutely, hourly, daily, and weekly basis – the nauseous exhaustion, the unanswered questions…. This seemingly never-ending cycle leads straight to insanity or straight to God.
I choose God.
Although by worldly standards I am irreparably scarred emotionally, and my child physically – it is only passing. This earth is not our home and it was never meant to be. The more I grasp that concept, the more freeing my situation becomes. My life is no longer on hold for a fleeting miracle that may or may not manifest.
So as I fervently pray for the miraculous healing of my daughter’s broken body on this earth, and watch for the “smaller” unexpected daily miracles our Lord bestows, I will choose to focus on the one permanent promise –
“For Our God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever (Me, My Rebecca, My sons, My Brian, Anyone) believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).”
That is our everlasting miracle – one that surpasses all.
And so began my search for the ‘unexpected miracles’ in life. By recognizing these miracles, it allowed me to experience the transformation of our pile of ashes into a beautiful story only a remarkable God could be capable of authoring.
Thank you for reading and becoming a beautiful part of our story as well.
Love to each and every one of you,
Christyn Taylor is a Bible study teacher at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. The Taylor family has had to overcome many obstacles over the last several years and Christyn has not shied away from sharing what the Lord is doing in her family’s life through this journey.
Christyn’s writings are published in various blogs and books, including Max Lucado’s You’ll Get Through This. She has written and taught numerous Bible studies from “Triumphs to Tragedies” of women in the Bible, to “Life Lessons on Job,” to a new curriculum entitled “Scandalous Love.”
Christyn is a wife to Brian and a mother to three children: Rebecca, Nicholas and Alexander. They reside in San Antonio, Texas.