“My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” Excerpt from Footprints, author unknown
My walk in the darkness left me feeling completely separated from God. I couldn’t find Him in the pain I felt. Now that the season is over, I can assure you He was walking right beside me for all of it and carrying me far more often than I realized.
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
One of the things I love about this scripture is that we don’t know what Paul’s thorn was. For the longest time I thought it was a physical thorn. But after some research, I realize it could be physical. It could also be mental or spiritual. That makes it so relatable for us. Since we don’t know we can imagine he was facing a challenge similar to whatever our challenge is.
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
While I was missing those slivers of light that God was offering me in those weeks. Paul saw them in his pain. He let the joy of his Savior flow over him throughout his time in prison. He found blessing in his thorn.
It may have taken me longer to see God's presence than Paul, but today I can tell you that God was carrying me the entire time I was lost. His mercy was there all along, I just couldn’t see it through the fog of misery in my head.
God’s footprints were beside me as I walked into the doctor’s office within 2 hours of my phone call every single time I called. That rarely happens once, let alone three times. One appointment, when I was beyond despair, I'm positive God carried me into the office.
He carried me to see a wonderful doctor. A doctor who showed God’s love when I was sobbing in her office that I am a woman of faith and should be able to overcome this. She took my hands in hers and looked me straight in the eye and said, “This is not a crisis of faith, this is something wrong in your brain. Do you take pain medication, antibiotics? This is a prescription to make your brain better.” She also told me she would pray for me. Yes, He was right there in that room with me holding me through that amazing doctor.
When it came time for the conference that I looked so forward to, I was overcome with an unreasonable fear that swept through my body and mind leaving me unable to breath. I went outside and just prayed, “God I need to know . . .” Before I could even finish the prayer a complete feeling of peace washed over me telling me it would be ok.
He was in the hotel when I got to my very small, very dark room, holding me to keep me from fleeing in fear.
He was there as my husband held my hand, made sure I ate and kept telling me we will do what it takes to get you back.
The doctor told me that the medication would take at least four weeks and probably six to take effect. My whole family was coming for Thanksgiving in 10 days and I wanted to be “normal” when they arrived. And I was! God's hand was all over it when my husband was able to say to me, “I finally saw Nita again on Thanksgiving.”
The final footprint I saw was weeks after I was back to myself. I found my Mom’s old hymnal with some hymns flagged that she loved. As I looked through those flagged songs, I found one called “There’s Something About that Name.”
I sang that song in the my head every night at the end of those 10 weeks, trying to feel His presence. The funny thing was, even as I sung it, I didn’t know where it came from. I don’t remember singing it at any time in my life. And here it was in my Mom’s favorite hymnal, flagged with a well worn marker. I didn’t get the words completely right, but I was close enough to get the gist of the song. While I was desperately trying to feel His presence, He was carrying me with a song from my mother.