Karen and I met years ago at the She Speaks writers’ conference. She is such a delight and a joy to speak to. As I keep up with Karen on social media since our time together I’ve watched her grow through some tough life changes and seasons but always keeping the Light of Christ so bright in her journey. I’m thrilled and honored to share her words with you here.
Expecting my third child, I watched my husband struggle to step up on a curb. Stairs seemed to be difficult. I bought him a new pair of shoes, but that didn’t fix the problem. His energy level had plummeted. He needed his sleep, or else he was grumpy. I suggested trips to the doctor, and my husband would explode. My marriage became a big mess. My fairy tale life was disintegrating before my very eyes. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew something wasn’t right. My life was in upheaval. These circumstances began a LONG waiting season in my life.
After an extended medical journey, they diagnosed my husband with an extremely progressive form of MS, for which there was no approved treatment. This diagnosis explained the limp, exhaustion, depression, and frustration. Doctors predicted that my husband could no longer walk in five years. His life would continue to decline at a slow, steady pace. Progressive Multiple Sclerosis is the longest waiting season of my life.
Early in the journey…I wanted God to speak to me.
Early in the journey of MS, I wanted God to speak to me. I wanted Him to give me some promise that He saw my situation. Could God send me a message? Would He speak peace into my broken heart? I longed for a spiritual connection with my Father. However, I heard nothing. I would beg God to give me a verse to hold on, but nothing impacted my heart. For me, it felt God was silent, and I felt unloved.
Fervently, I prayed for healing for my husband, but healing did not occur. The elders in our church anointed my husband with oil and prayed for healing, yet my husband still couldn’t walk. With a broken heart, I witnessed the child-like faith of my children as they ushered prayers of healing on behalf of their daddy. God was silent yet again.
I read stories of women who have found themselves in situations and eventually experience God work and “fix” their circumstances. Their waiting ends. But what happens when your waiting doesn’t end? I felt unseen when my waiting didn’t end when or how I thought it should.
How did I sustain my faith in the middle of silence? How do you sustain your faith in the middle of feeling unloved and unseen?
In my situation, I keep believing that God has the power to bring healing into my family. At any point, I believe God could speak, and healing would occur. However, I can’t live my life ignoring medical suggestions while I wait on healing.
There are medical decisions to be made while waiting. There are drugs to be given, failing eyes to attend to, catheters to be changed, ports to be flushed, etc. While encountering medical issues, I can still hope for and believe in the power of God to heal. Therefore, I live in reality, but my hope is in God’s healing. If God were to show up and bring His healing, I would tell of His goodness everywhere. My social media accounts would light up the Internet, praising God. But can my social media accounts light up the Internet even if God chooses not to heal? That’s not so easy, is it?
The reality of living with progressive MS sits before me every day. As I dress my husband each morning, MS stares me in the face. When I struggle to pick my sweet hubby up after a fall, MS disrupts my faith. When I hear my children say the same prayer night after night after night for ten years, it feels God doesn’t see.
To combat the feelings of unloved and unseen, I must remember God’s Word is the truth. When thoughts of unloved plague my mind, I recall His Word that tells me I am loved so much that Jesus died for me. (John 3:16) When I feel unseen, I must release my thought and remind myself God knows how many hairs are on my head. (And that number changes daily as evidenced by my shower drain.) (Luke 12:7)
His Word remains unchanged by my circumstances, my feelings, or my desires. His Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Remember, when I said, I longed for that deep connection with my Father, and I only sensed silence? Let me tell you that nine years later, His Word spoke into the silence. Nine long years. Look at the Scripture God used to speak into my heart.
Isaiah 18:4—For the Lord has told me this:
“I will watch quietly from my dwelling place—
as quietly as the heat rises on a summer day,
or as the morning dew forms during the harvest.”
God’s silence does not equal unseen. This Scripture was truth for my heart that longed to be seen in the silence. I equated silence with unseen and unloved, but there’s this truth tucked into Isaiah that defeats the lie that I had been believing. He watches quietly from His dwelling place. I am seen in the silence. You are seen in the silence. Wow! That’s a life-changing thought for me.
I want you to know today, in the middle of my waiting, hope fills my heart. I am confident that God loves me, and He sees me! Even in the silence, God is watching every second of my life from His dwelling place. I pray that when you find yourself amid a waiting season, you will hold on to hope! Cling to His Word because it is full of truth that sets us free. Without a doubt, know that God sees you even in the silence.
Karen lives in Madison, Alabama with her husband and three children. Karen graduated in 1996 from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR. Karen has served as Preschool and Children’s Pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. Karen now blogs at www.karenkaysmith.com. What started out as communicating medical facts, has become a place where Karen takes you from struggles to faith and uses life experiences to empower others to live life transformed. Karen is a regular contributor for A Wife Like Me, a website dedicated to encouraging wives in their marriages. Karen has a testimonial published in the book Homeschooling You Can Do It by Kirsten McTernan. She also has a Bible study published in Memoirs of a Headcase: Held by the God of Hope by Jacqueline Roe. She is in the process of writing a book to be published offering guidance to others on how to walk alongside loved ones who struggle with eating disorders.
Karen blogs at www.karenkaysmith.com.
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