Over Christmas break, I had a medical scare that apparently was just a nasty virus. But when you go to the hospital on account of fainting and you’re a 33-year-old, otherwise-healthy woman, everyone asks you if you could have fainted because you might be pregnant. And by everyone, I mean the ambulance medics, the first nurse, the second nurse, the doctor, and the radiologist. It got a bit exhausting explaining that I couldn’t possibly be pregnant because I have no eggs.
I also held out the tiniest bit of hope that maybe this was why I fainted. Maybe I actually was pregnant. Maybe this trip to the ER would turn out to be a Christmas miracle.
It wasn’t. Again, it was probably just some weird virus. Yet even though the gift of pregnancy was not to be mine, God was giving me another gift. Two other gifts, in fact:
- He gifted me with the reminder that I am not in control. . . of pretty much anything. If I can feel perfectly fine one moment and five seconds later, I’m lying flat on my back in the grocery store with while my husband is saying, “Anna, Anna, can you hear me?” . . .I’m certainly in less control of my body and health than I thought. Indeed, on the 30-minute ride to the hospital, I realized I am in far less control of my very life than I thought.
- In the midst of this episode, I was reminded that God is in control of my life. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps,” and Psalm 139:16 says, “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me.” Ironically, during the craziness of the Christmas season, we can forget who is in control of this very thing we call life. Christmas vacation 2017 will be my reminder that God is establishing my steps, not me.
- The second gift was my mantra for 2018: love and thankfulness. During my hospital visit, my husband was giving my parents updates, as they were halfway across the country and unable to join us in the ER. When all the tests finally came back negative, my dad texted, “Great news. Love and thankfulness!”
- These are two words I tend to lose track of when all the busyness of life is overwhelming and its disappointments are mounting. Sure, I gladly love others when I feel like it, or when people are easy to love, or the emotion is there. But when I’m stressed out or my schedule’s swamped, I forget to love with a biblical love, that intentional love that seeks others out as Jesus sought us out. So I am declaring the year 2018 to be a year of this kind of love: a thoughtful love, a deeper love, a holy love. I will have to make some adjustments to make that happen, but I’ll dare to say that love is worth it.
- As for thankfulness, I will admit there is much room for growth in me. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, which means the good and the bad. So I’m to be thankful for my hospital visit and for my return home. I’m to be thankful for my infertility and for the schedule that having no children allows. I’m to be thankful for a new writing project and for another rejection letter. Ultimately, I think when God tells us to be thankful in all circumstances, He’s reminding us to be thankful for life itself, for that gift of existence that we cannot give ourselves. He’s reminding us that He is is the one establishing our steps and numbering our days, that none of those steps is without purpose, and that none of those days will be unredeemed.
So here’s to 2018, a year of worshipping the God who is in control of life, a year of deeper love, and a year of richer thankfulness!