Have you ever been so busy with your everyday life that you didn’t realize God’s incredible faithfulness until you look back? Sometimes, as Christians, I think we take our faith and God for granted until we take a step back, look at our journey, and evaluate God’s involvement in our lives. It is when step back to do this evaluation that we can see and appreciate all He has done and the full measure of His faithfulness in our lives.
Many times in my younger years, I would act before evaluating all the pros and cons. I graduated with a business degree from The University of Texas in Austin and my first job was with Phillips 66 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Most of my college friends stayed in Texas after graduation, but I was quite motivated to go wherever my career led me and I received a great opportunity from Phillips 66. The plan was to train in their headquarters and when my own territory opened up, move from there. The position would allow me to use marketing, advertising, sales, and management skills. Six months into the job, a position opened up in Minnesota in January 1997. Not knowing any better and wanting to be a team player, I said “yes”. I have never seen that much snow or lived in that cold of temperatures before in my life, but God had a plan. I found a church and met my husband there. In the end, we were only dating six weeks when he popped the big question! His mom had passed away from a sixteen-year battle with hormonal cancer, a month before we met. Neither of us knew I would face medical challenges myself in the future, but God did. He knew I would need a special mate by my side one day and my husband, Dainis, had watched his dad take care of his mom all those years. A few months before our fifth year wedding anniversary, I suffered my massive stroke.
Three weeks prior to my stroke, I worked at Northwest Airlines in marketing and sales with the travel agency community. We had been trying to start a family for about a year, but had not yet been successful. The position of Office Manager became available at our church, and they offered it to me. Although it would be a huge change, we were hopeful it would lead to less stress and more success in family planning. I started my new job at the church beginning of January 2003. Three weeks into the job on a Friday afternoon, I was not feeling well but was not aware of the signs of a stroke until my leg went numb. I was only 29, and that was not on my radar screen. I took the job at the church to help start our family, but now know that through God’s faithfulness; He provided that job for me in order to save my life. I was unconscious before even getting into the ambulance. I had an emergency brain surgery that night to stop the bleed and woke up seventeen days later from a drug-induced coma, completely paralyzed on the left side. The stroke was caused by an undetected malformation of blood vessels on the right side of my brain. After another major brain surgery to remove the malformation and a stay in the hospital for two months, I went home in a wheelchair. Two months after discharge, my husband, who worked in the aviation industry, lost his job because of the slowdown from the September 11th terrorist attacks. Through God’s faithfulness, he found a new opportunity in Arizona. I also found a wonderful new neuro rehab clinic in Phoenix, and my recovery took off. Had we not moved to Arizona, and I received the care I did, I would not be the independent person I am today.
Many times, it takes us looking back on our journey to see God’s faithfulness, but He truly is right there beside us every step of the way. Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Life is not always easy and we all face challenges. However, we have a faithful God by our side during the best and worst of times. It is up to us to depend on Him and keep our faith strong.