On Monday, February 26, 2018, I carried my husband, Dave, to the hospital. He was there 10 days and 11 nights. While he was there he had two medical procedures and one operation. During that time, I stayed with him all day almost every day, took care of our dog (as much as she would allow me to – she is a daddy’s girl) and worked from Dave’s hospital room, from home and even made it to the office once for a meeting.
I don’t handle stress well, yet I live in a state of what I call semi-stress all the time. My mind doesn’t know how to be quiet and my body doesn’t know how to relax. So, imagine the state I was in during the time I described above.
The hospital where Dave stayed had a coffee/water station on each floor. One day, about half-way through Dave’s stay, I went to get some ice at the station. There was an elderly African American woman standing at the station. She said “hello” and I replied “hello.” Out of politeness, more than true interest, I asked her how she was doing. She said “I am too blessed to be stressed!” Immediately the thought came to my mind that if anyone says that to me again, I’m going to scream. And so I popped off, rather sarcastically, “Well, I’m blessed, but I’m extremely stressed.” This woman, whose name was Margaret, reached out and grabbed my arm as I tried to escape. Following is a paraphrase of our conversation:
Margaret: Let me tell you a story. I stand before you as an example of God’s grace and mercy and healing power. In 2008, I had a stroke that was so severe, the doctors said I would never walk, never talk, would basically be a vegetable for the rest of my life. And do you know what caused that stroke? Stress. My son-in-law is down the hall-the doctors think he’s had a stroke. And do you know what caused that stroke? Stress. Who do you have in the hospital?”
Me: My husband.
Margaret: I want you to go back to his bedside, stand next to him and say over and over “But God. But God. But God.” Repeat after me.
Me: But God. But God. But God.”
By now, I’m crying. “Thank you,” I blubbered. I start to walk away. But Margaret is not finished.
Margaret: Let me pray with you before you go. And she prayed such a powerful prayer – three sermons could have been preached from that prayer.
I walked away, after receiving the sweetest hug and more words of encouragement. I thought to myself, “Well, she has a great testimony. But I’m not sure that’s for me.” How thick-headed can one person be?? (Note here – I said “But I…)
Later that evening I was checking my personal email. I receive several emails each day from various Christian websites, book stores, women’s ministries, etc. One of the sites had sent an extra email that day as they were promoting a book titled…you got it…But God…can change anything.” Now God has spoken twice in one day – But God! But God! Not but I…But God! I ordered that book that night and two days later it came. I began reading it immediately. It was like the author had been spying on me.
I plan over the next few weeks to complete the book and hope to write some comments and thoughts about it as I go along.
In the meantime, just remember, it’s not “But I” – it’s “But God”!