Over the past year of my life, I have been in a battle for my family, my sanity, and my very life. Last summer, my husband and I moved our little family an hour away from the city we knew which was filled with all our extended family and friends for the promise of taking a step closer to being homeowners. Within three weeks of moving into our new homestead, my husband, John suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). As a result of all the testing run after the TIA, it was revealed that my husband had a Chiari Malformation (where part of the brain “sinks” down into the spinal column putting pressure on the brain which must be relieved). Be still my daughter…. God whispered right away.
With lightening speed we traveled down a dark and scary road. He would need brain surgery, soon. It would take nearly two months to recover from this surgery. Then what felt like the death knoll, while out-of-work recovering from this surgery he would get no pay. No pay! We are a family who lives paycheck-to-paycheck! How would we make it through two months with no pay?!?! Be still my daughter… God’s voice called to my soul.
With my knees wobbling and my heart quaking, I resolved to lead my family through this nightmare and to Be still and just trust that God would not let us fall apart. Through my blog, family, friends and even strangers learned of our predicament and started sending money, food, suggestions. Somehow, someway, we made it through those two months. The rent was paid. Food was on the table. Utilities were taken care of. To this day, I have no idea how that worked out. God also provided strength for each new day. I was stressed beyond my physical body’s capability to handle it. My hair was falling out in clumps. I had a lot on my plate: nursing a sick husband, taking over all of his share of the household duties, homeschooling four children, and telecommuting as well. When I look back, I know there is no way I did that in my own strength. It was God and God alone. He whispered, Be still my daughter…. Then He carried us through.
Fast forward about fourteen months. We were cruising along, a little irritated by the ways brain surgery still affected our lives, but basically just rejoicing in How great is our God! Then one phone call catapulted us back.
“Is this John’s wife?” a voice calling from my husband’s cell phone asked. “This is his coworker. He said he feels like it is happening again.”
He feels like what is happening again? my foggy brain thought. “What do you mean?” I asked.
“He feels the same way he did when he had that stroke thing before brain surgery.” the voice answered.
Be still my daughter….
So here we are again. One year older…. A little bit wiser… Going through motions that are so familiar, all over again. There are many things that I am doing differently this time: standing up for myself a little better when well-meaning friends and family don’t respect our boundaries and taking care of myself a little more so this family has at least one healthy parent available to it. But there is one thing I am not changing at all…. Be still my daughter…. I am remaining still and trusting that God will get us through this, the most recent of our struggles.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
By Jami Lynn Kastner, my life as a lessonLeave a Comment
I Live in an Antbed says
Praying that He will continue to wash over you with His peace and provision.
May you and your family continue to be held tight in His arms and find rest under the shadow of His wings.
Holley Gerth says
Wow, Jami…what a powerful testimony in the middle of very real and painful difficulties. Praying right now for you and your family, for continued provision and peace that passes all understanding. Thank you for sharing this with us!
Beth Williams says
Praying for peace & comfort that only He can provide!
Thanks for the wonderful testimony! You are one stong woman of God who knows where her strength comes from!!
Beth Ann says
Jami, Your post brought tears to my eyes. Several years ago, I experienced a brain “event” myself that came on suddenly and changed my life. Thank God I was in the right place at the right time, and I could have brain surgery immediately! Throughout the following months, and through all the heartaches it caused, my husband came to Christ. God works all things together for good to those who love the Lord. Amen!
God Bless You- I love your optimism and FAITH! 🙂
Jami–thank you for sharing so honestly the range of emotion that comes with life’s deepest struggles. They reverberate truth to those of use who have walked (or are walking) similar paths. So glad He’s given you peace and provision in the midst of it; many prayers for double grace on this next leg of the journey.
Sarah Elizabeth @ Welcome to Love says
Thank you so much for sharing your fear, pain, hope, and faith with me It takes courage and heart to make this committment and openly so early in the game. God honors your hope and faith in Him and we’re all praying for you!
Praying for His ABUNDANT grace to fill up the cracks in your faith today, tomorrow, the next day, and on until this is just one more amazing story of His goodness for you to tell.
Jennifer Ross says
Your story brought me to tears. My oldest son Caleb, had a brain tumor removed 3.5 years ago. I know that it’s a little bit different circumstances, but when you love someone, it just absolutely tears your heart apart. I wrote a blog post about Caleb’s brain tumor last May. He is doing wonderful now…… thank God!
You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and faith with all of us.
Even being your sister and watching this all happening, I cried reading this. You as always are an inspiration to me!
I just wanted to let you know that I will be praying for your husband. I too have Chiari and have had two surgeries. When I saw you picture on my blog summary I knew immediately what that scar was…my heart lurched. I will be lifting him (and you) up in my prayers.
I’m so sorry for your family’s struggles. May God grant full healing, provision, and the grace and strength you need each day.
i only know of this through Extreme Makeover Home Edition…but i have never forgotten it…a close family friend has been diagnosed, but has not needed surgery yet (prayerfully won’t ever)
i’m so sorry…and it is true–there is no way as you write all of these things down that you could possibly humanly handle…i love that He gave you a simple life-giving word and you have clung to it in faith and shared it with (in)courage…
i too pray hard for your family right now…KNOWING He will provide…with love, abby
I will be praying for you & your husband & your children as you walk this journey. Thank you for sharing with us.
You know I’m your biggest fan (well, maybe after all your family anyway ;))
I am SO proud of you, dear friend, as I cry reading your journey again in writing (plus the photo). I know what this opportunity means for you personally, and I am YOUR cheerleader! 😉
Thank you for reminding me of this all important message of Being Still and Trusting.
Thank you for your honesty, vulnerability, truthfulness, openness….thank you for allowing all of us to learn from your life as a lesson because I know there are many of us who are changed in some way because of you.
You are a gifted teacher (love the analogies!!) who has a heart full of love for the Lord and the gift of encouragement that you so wonderfully share with others. And it all comes out in your writing~your heart. Who you are – thank you.
I will be praying for God to keep you and your family uplifted in His strength through your current trials and that you feel Him closer than ever before.
May you be richly blessed,
christina parker brown says
Thank you for sharing your whispers. I needed that. Blessings to you and your family. I can’t wait to hear how God plans to bless you thru this.