It is hard to imagine being in the hospital (with brief time-outs) for five months. I will be honest, the longer I stayed in the system, the harder it was for me to see God at work. The lack of communication between my doctors and their team was disheartening. As a result, I felt I was always scrambling for answers. Frustrated, I began to question if God could hear my prayers.
God is Listening
Despite that, I believe God is listening to every cry from our lips, and He is leaps and bounds ahead of us, because He is putting everything together so that when we are in need and we cry out to Him, the answers are already in place—they just have to unfold.
For example, I landed in the hospital originally because my health was getting worse. How I landed there surprised me more than I can say. Why I was there was an actual answer to prayer: to be able to share face-to-face with people about God.
But I want to tell you about why it is so important to be patient with God and let Him complete His good work in you. Patience and waiting on God are vital in finding those “God moments” that point us to answered prayer.
I have a condition known as lymphedema. Lymphedema is a debilitating, embarrassing, painful, and incurable disease. It has landed me in the hospital more times than I can count, with severe infections that required IV antibiotics, hospital stays, and eventually, home care.
Challenges and Doubts
I was admitted to the hospital for cellulitis in May, of 2021. Cellulitis is a common side effect of lymphedema. This infection can be dangerous and lead to sepsis if not treated quickly. In my case, the fluid build-up in my legs was so great that the tibia of my left leg broke. It then split open, leaking lymphatic fluid. The end result was cellulitis. Months later, my legs would turn septic, and I would continue to fight this infection in and out of the hospital until October 15, 2021.
The bacteria causing the cellulitis in my legs was also in my lungs and I had pneumonia. I think doctors either think you know what’s wrong and assume you understand the terminology they are using, or they say nothing so as not to alarm you. Whatever the case, my doctors thought I knew I was in heart failure. Their solution was for me to pee everything out. A few days later, they released me from the hospital. I still had cellulitis and pneumonia, but I was told they could be treated with IV antibiotics at home.
I was not told I had a new condition to live with called congestive heart failure.
As my week progressed at home, I found it increasingly difficult to breathe. On September 9th, a nurse was visiting me, and after checking my vitals, she realized my oxygen levels were way too low, and an ambulance was called. The paramedics put me on oxygen, and with sirens blazing, I was once again taken back to the hospital, where I was officially admitted this time for congestive heart failure.
I was released from the hospital a few days later with my leg looking like this, but I still didn’t know how to live with CHF. A doctor told me to get a pulse oximeter and not let my stats get below 90. I didn’t feel good about being sent home. The pressure on my family to take care of me was enormous. I knew I would be back.
Fortunately, I saw a wound specialist who debrided the skin on my leg, and the change was remarkable. While my leg was still leaking lymphatic fluid, he told me I no longer had cellulitis. Two days later, my PICC line was removed at the cellulitis clinic due to hives that I had developed from an allergic reaction to the antibiotic I was on. The antibiotics were stopped completely. The cellulitis was gone. Things were looking up!
But three days later, on Thanksgiving Day weekend, my throat closed, and I could not breathe at all. I was admitted to the hospital again. I was exhausted, and I thought I would die. And this is when miracles began to happen, and prayers were answered before they were uttered.
Answers to Prayer
When you go into the hospital by ambulance, paramedics and stretchers line the halls, waiting for an available room. This is the norm and can be a long wait. But when I arrived, no one was in the hallway. In the five months of being in and out of the ER, this had never happened! I was in a room within minutes.
The next answer to prayer happened when it was discovered that I had cellulitis again. Strange as it may seem, if I hadn’t stopped breathing, I would not have realized the cellulitis was coming back. With my breathing stabilized, blood tests were taken, which indicated my markers were going up. I was once again admitted to the hospital and settled down for a few nights in the E.R. But the next day, I was admitted to a private room. More answers to prayer!
After informing my doctors I wanted to be told everything, I got my wish. That same day, a doctor came into my room and said she had some bad news. I had staph epidermis, a blood infection. They believed a dirty PICC line had been the culprit. She informed me that this infection could settle in the heart, brain, and joints and was quite dangerous. But she said they were treating it with antibiotics.
”So what’s the bad news?” I asked.
Her eyebrows shot up, and her eyes widened. “I don’t think you understand. It’s quite serious.”
“I understand. But I’m already on antibiotics for cellulitis and pneumonia, and you said you were treating it already, so…”
The doctor mentioned that she had never met a patient so calm about receiving bad news before.
Was I too used to being sick? Or was I trusting God more?
Honestly, I couldn’t tell.
After an echo of my heart, more blood tests, urine tests, etc., a team of doctors came into my room two days later.
“We have some bad news.”
My weary soul almost fell into a coma at this news. Honestly, I was so tired I didn’t even react.
“You have C-DIFF.” (C-DIFF is a bacteria that causes severe diarrhea and colitis. If not treated, it can get dire).
“How did I get that?”
“From being on antibiotics for too long.”
“And how is it treated?”
“We’re going to take you off all antibiotics specifically treating your blood infection, pneumonia and cellulitis.”
“Wait. What? But how will I get better?”
“Oh! Your blood infection is gone, and so is your cellulitis.”
“What about my pneumonia?”
“Oh, that’s gone too.”
Have you missed your miracle?
Believe it or not, I almost missed this miracle from God because I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. In only two days, everything had left my system. This is unheard of for cellulitis. But I also no longer had a blood infection or pneumonia. God had cleared them out of my body. While I still had C-DIFF to deal with, it was a very mild case and could be treated at home.
And that is where I am right now. Home. For how long? I am hoping it is for good. But I have had cellulitis twice this summer that lasted for about two months, so I take it day by day. I still have lymphedema. God has His reasons, and at this time, He has chosen not to heal me of this disease.
However, this whole journey has taught me more about myself and my walk with God. I also learned to see things in a more significant way. My perception of how God works changed from not only trying to find those “God moments” but to seeing the “bigger picture.”
What is a “God Moment?”
I had so many of them that I almost missed them. For example, God placed me in the same room with someone else with the same disease. She was constantly asking why she had to suffer. I shared my experiences with her, but also talked to her about God. Do I believe I was in the hospital for her? Definitely! I mean, what are the odds that I’d end up in the same room with someone else who had the same disease? That’s a “God Moment.”
In fact, almost every one of my roommates wanted to talk about God. I didn’t even have to bring Him up. They were at the point of despair and wondered if prayers were answered. Some had decided against God, but all wanted to talk about Him with me. Those are God Moments.
What is the big picture?
Seeing the “big picture” is the ability to look past your circumstances and trust that God is in control. No matter how bad things can get. For example, God placed the right nurses on duty who became my advocates when I needed my doctors to listen to me.
God also sent me a hospital worker, who, for reasons I still don’t understand, sought me out when it was his lunch time. When I was discharged and then ended up back in the hospital, and he quickly came to see me. Why? He was gay, and his Christian parents had disowned him when he came out to them.
He needed someone to talk to. I have no idea why he chose me, but I am positive God was directing him to my room. He needed to feel the love of God and know that Jesus cared about him. I don’t know what I said or did, but this young man visited me every day “just to talk” until I was discharged.
How can I trust God more and decrease my anxiety?
When I consciously decided to see the big picture and look for those “God Moments,” my anxiety levels started to decrease.
Waiting on God is hard, but He has already seen my future (and yours). He’s been busy getting things arranged for you and me to get from point A to B. And if point B is going to meet Him in my forever home, then why would I worry? Or why should I fret if He has something more for me to do here on earth? All will be revealed in time, and everything will be provided.
I want to say I am living a worry-free life now, but I know me, and that would be a huge lie. Stuff happens that knocks me off course, and I panic. I know I will still have those days, but as the song says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” You will either stand firm and trust God or give in to our fears and slip into the sinking sand.
“We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.“Acts 14:22b
Is life more than you can bear right now? If you believe in God, know this: God has got you! He has had you in His eye since before you were born. Yes, life might be hard. It may even be horrible. God did not promise us a carefree life (Acts 14:22). But He promised us eternal life if we believe in His Son and trust in Him. And that’s the big picture! That is what He is preparing us for. So that we will finish this life perfect and complete in Him. So, find those God moments! Look for the bigger picture when all seems impossible, and know that God has not forgotten about you.
You are and forever will be His child. Trust Him because He has you in the palm of His hand.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10