Welcome to our Remember series, where we pause to reflect on how God has proven faithful in the past so to help us place our trust in Him in the present. We look to the future, knowing that God always keeps His promise and that He always makes a way. We invite you to pray with us, to write your own Psalm (see the end of the post!), and share with others about how God has been faithful in your life.
Eighteen years ago, shortly after my first child was born, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. At the time, I did not question it. I had bigger things to worry about, like being a new mom. I just took my prescription and lived my life.
Over the years, however, my blood work never leveled out. My doctor was constantly adjusting my prescription. But I do not remember a moment when she called to tell me, “Everything looks great.”
In fact, my health slowly continued to deteriorate.
Eight years later, by the time my sixth child was born, I was experiencing chronic adrenal fatigue, anemia, brain fog, inflammation, and depression.
In 2015, I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid.
My heart cried out: “How can I be a good mom to these six children when I am battling this? Why are You allowing this? It seems so unfair to my kids, Lord.”
In prayer, the Lord responded: “Do not lose heart, Sarah. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure …” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
Intellectually, I knew it was true. My health issues were a “slight momentary affliction” in the grand scheme of eternity. This gave me some consolation. But it did not last very long, for daily life as a wife, mother, and homemaker continued to be hard.
Most days, I felt an oppressive spirit pressing down on me. I lacked the energy I needed to be proactive with my kids. Piles grew around my house. Laundry backed up. Dinner was not always cooked. I felt stuck and paralyzed; imprisoned in my own life.
My chronic illness was a very silent, personal suffering. The worst of it lasted for about eight or nine years. Very few people knew just how horrible I felt.
At one of my lowest points, I found myself praying with Psalm 40: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (v. 1-2).
The hard part was that I could not see past the desolate pit. I could not even imagine the Lord inclining to me and hearing my cry. There was no rescue. I was resigned to being stuck in the miry bog forever.
I turned to psalms of lamentation, of grieving, of frustration. “How long, O Lord?” They taught me the importance of being completely honest with God. The Psalms showed me a steady pattern of prayer that went from lamenting to surrender to praise. I began to take solace in the raw beauty of these prayers. I clung to them when my own words failed me.
I slowly began to recognize that even in the pit, I wasn’t alone. Jesus had climbed down into the swamp and was waiting with me.
He was waiting with me, as I waited for Him.
WEEKLY BLOG UPDATES (+ more!)We'll send you the blog updates weekly in your inbox (with some special tips + tricks to living liturgically from our Blog Editor, Olivia Spears).
In the midst of waiting, the Lord revealed that our current home was in some way afflicting me. Whether an oppressive spirit had attached itself to the house or whether the amount of upkeep was simply too daunting for me, I am not sure. But God clearly put it on my heart (and that of my husband’s) to surrender the home we built for a simpler one that I could more easily manage.
This required a great amount of humility and abandonment to Divine Providence. To the outside world, downsizing when your family is still growing makes little sense. It could even be seen as a failure. But we knew this was God’s will, and we trusted Him.
Almost immediately and effortlessly, the door swung open to selling our home and buying a new one. However, there were still obstacles to endure.
During the two months leading up to our move, my faith was truly put to the test. I found out I was pregnant, and then I miscarried our seventh child. In the midst of the grieving, I suffered the physical demands of packing up our family of eight. The added stress of all the unforeseen circumstances that accompany moving was excruciatingly burdensome. I was inflicted with insomnia. My whole body was in constant pain due to the stress. The very day before we moved, I got so sick, I could not function. I knew it was Satan’s last ditch effort to latch on with his deadly claws. It confirmed that he did not want us to move; he knew this move meant freedom for me.
But in prayer, I saw the Lord grab ahold of my hand, leading me through the valley of death (Psalm 23). Everything around me was on fire, hot and burning. I had to stay on the narrow path if I did not want to get burned. I had to trust Him to lead me out.
Which He did.
Within days of moving, the oppression, the pain, and the insomnia all lifted. I no longer felt imprisoned in my own body. I was free.
The Lord showed me that He closed that chapter of my life. “It is over,” He said to me. The page had been turned. The healing had begun. I found strength and energy I had not felt in years. I was more peaceful. My hope was restored and my purpose renewed.
Often, I have wondered why I had to go through so much pain and suffering to be healed. In many ways, it remains a mystery.
A year after I felt stuck in the pit of Psalm 40, a new psalm came into my heart in prayer:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. // Psalm 103:1-5
Yes! My life from the pit had been redeemed; I was renewed.
When the Lord takes us by the hand and leads the way, we can see, feel, and experience the difficult terrain. But He guides us—sometimes pulls us—through. The valley of death and the refiner’s fire are hard, grueling, hot, and intense. But He doesn’t let go. And He, indeed, eventually sets us on a rock of safety.
And we remember … Apart from You, Lord, I can do nothing. But You can do it all! Bless the Lord, oh my soul!
If you would like, we invite you to write your own psalm to help you remember the marvelous works of the Lord. We walk you through it here. Keep this psalm handy. Pray it when life makes it difficult to see Who reigns sovereignly.
REMEMBER Series // Miracles When Moving #BISblog // Click To Tweet