It was chaotic. My heart raced like Sea Biscuit on his final lap around the stadium; nostrils flared as the rapid pattern of his full gallop was lost in a fury of adrenaline rush. I was exhausted. Emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. I was tired and anxious, lacking decent rest and food. When you are going through a traumatic situation, sometimes you go into what I understand as “fight mode’. A mode where you just go and go and go without the sustainable things your body needs to function yet somehow you gain this frantic-like energy that moves you into action. We had just picked my friend Natalie up from the hospital in London after her body erratically stopped functioning the day before (a story I will tell another time in more detail). After we left the hospital, we decided to stop and get a bite to eat. Towards the end of our meal, Natalie’s body began to go downhill again and was rapidly losing all strength. We left the restaurant and went straight to the hotel. Now, completely limp, my friend Ashley, hotel staff and I, slowly got her inside and down the narrowest hallway ever designed. The kind young man in the room next to ours saw what was happening and helped us situate her onto the bed. He looked at Ashley and I with a look of concern, questioning if the hospital had released her (as if they were out of their minds). My friend laid there, unable to move her body. The muscle convulsions she was having earlier started coming back. I feared she might even fall off the bed after watching a strong convolution jerk her body up and move her towards the edge. On top of that, her temperature rose as a fever set in. She looked quite ill and drained. The man asked if she would be alright, his eyes were deep with concern, nearly tearing up. He was very worried about the entire situation and assured us that if we needed anything, he would be next door. At one point, I anxiously ran out to the car to where my Grandpa was and with a shaky voice, warned him that we needed to take Natalie back to the hospital. She wasn’t looking good and I was scared, not wanting to take any chances. We decided to call Natalie’s mom and get her opinion. Her mom cautioned that we not admit her to the hospital again. “Just let her rest” she advised. She knew if we did that, they may not release her as soon and Natalie needed to be home. We gathered around her, prayed against the fever and it left immediately! Praise God.
Natalie’s mom told us to have her take the medicine she was prescribed back home. While she was in the hospital, the doctors kept it for her, only we realized the nurse had never given it back. So, Grandpa and I jumped back in the car, leaving Ashley to care for Natalie at the hotel. I had to help get us to Queens Hospital, in the dark, in London. It was nearing eleven o’clock and we had just booked a flight for Natalie to fly home the next morning. Our heads were still spinning from talking with our travel agent, booking flights, canceling flights, and everything else in between. Natalie was certainly in no condition to fly alone. At times, she became too weak to hold her head straight. It flopped from side to side and at the restaurant earlier, I helped her eat because even lifting a fork became a difficulty. Her body was failing to perform proper motor skills. Unable to travel alone, Ashley selflessly volunteered to be her flying companion to get her home. Ashley is incredible. Both Her and Natalie are true inspirations.
Experiencing something dramatic in a foreign place is hard. As a young girl, giving my mom a tight hug during a difficult time was often the comfort I needed to ease my mind. I wished for that same hug as I sat in the car with my Grandpa, routing our way back to the hospital for Natalie’s medicine. The roads in England can be quite confusing, especially when you’re driving on the opposite side of the road. Ashley was the designated navigator for the trip but I couldn’t rely on her skills this time. If only I could give mama a hug, my hectic world would be alright again. We had prayed that Natalie would be able to sleep and that she did! She slept throughout the night with little trouble. That entire day was painfully slow with much to figure out and work through.
I remember plopping myself beside my friend as she sat on her hospital bed. Putting my arm around her, I tugged on her light-blue hospital gown saying, “this is a good color on you!”. She rolled her eyes and we both chuckled, relieved that she had finally been released. In fact, earlier that same day, a doctor told us it would take days and we shouldn’t expect them to release her anytime soon. Before we knew anything about her being released by a new doctor, I had a moment alone with God.
“She has to move” I cried. They would only release her if she regained feeling and got out of bed. We had left her late that morning and she couldn’t even feel her toes. I was striving for God to bring an answer or do something. That’s when God gently spoke to my heart, “Do you believe that I am good?”. The only thing I needed to do was believe He was good. He was assuring my heart that He, the God of the universe, was a GOOD GOD.
After encountering this revelation, it was obvious that I did not know Him as a perfectly good Father.
This truth unlocked the eyes of my heart to see God in a new way from that day forward. It continues to be one of the greatest, enlightening moments of my life. God is good. It is not just what He does, it’s who He is. His character is wrapped in pure goodness.
He can do nothing apart from good, and to know God is to know good.
It didn’t matter what happened next. It was never about what more I could do or my capabilities to pray some mighty prayer. God had always been near and was very much in tune. My heart had been secured and the unknown did not have the right to steal my peace. It did not matter what happened because it would not have the power to decipher His goodness. He is good, and that is the ONLY thing I needed to know. It wasn’t up to me to somehow convince God of what He needed to do in the situation. I finally surrendered my striving. I’m not sure when it started, but at some point, during that day a song was dropped in my spirit. Softly playing in my head and stirring in my heart. Even amid the craziness, that song remained. Just steadily playing on repeat as I endured through enervation like the rest of us. It was a very particular song, but it was mostly the chorus I heard. It goes something like this:
Let my heart want for nothing, but you, just you
Let my heart want for nothing but you, just you
The riches of this world could never satisfy
Let my heart want for only you, oh Jesus
…for me, only Jesus, for me only Jesus
You may recognize it. A Bethel song of worship sang by Brian and Jenn Johnson.
A very specific song for such an unusual time. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
The Lord was establishing something in my heart that day. It was strategic and the best constant reminder I could have had. I didn’t need any answers, person, place, or thing…I just needed Jesus. For me, only Jesus. He was “my constant in the chaos, my compass when the road was lost” (as the beginning of the song states). It was only Him I needed. God is good, and Jesus is enough. This was being embedded into the core of my being. That day was something significant for me.
I won’t forget that strange hotel. I won’t forget the kind, genuine people who assisted us or the downtown Muslim community, the active streets and Turkish restaurants. I won’t forget the complete sincerity of those who came quickly to our aid. I won’t forget passing one of Natalie’s Doctors with tears in my eyes. She stopped me, asking what was wrong. She then spoke comforting words, hugged me and told me Natalie would be okay. In that day, I had never encountered a people so eager to help with such deep concern. I was humbled. I was moved. I was forever changed.
I am still being changed by the truth I grabbed hold of that day. It continues to travel into the depths of my heart, revealing a perfectly pure and good Father.
My heart will still sing, for me only Jesus.
Natalie is in great health and continues to dream big. I am so proud of her and Ashley. I thank my Grandpa for being so strong and patient with us girls. He is truly amazing. I am honored to call them my friends and family.