***************************There was a verse that kept running through my mind, from the time I was sitting in the ER: "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" (Psalm 23:5a) I heard it in my heart in the King James Version that I had memorized as a child.
As I paced the sterile halls of the hospital, as I sat by Rich's bedside, as I went home to change clothes, I pleaded with God to give me a verse! Oh God, just give me one teeny verse to get me through this! And what did I get? Psalm 23:5a...not even the rest of it, not even "b." And in the King James, for cryin' out loud! (Sorry, that's just not my favorite.) How in the world did that verse even RELATE to what was going on in my life? But that was my verse, no doubt. So, I quit asking, and I started confessing. I said that verse multiple times each day. Incredibly, it brought comfort. But I wanted to know what God was talking about. I wanted to know what was going on! We thought that it was God's will for us to publish Baby Boot Camp. He provided the money. Everything went down like clockwork. And now, when what I needed to be doing was selling books, this happens. Was it all a mistake?
But even in my confusion, God showed up, every day.
- When my father-in-law came every morning, he brought a measure of God's security.
- When my children prayed, there was God's peace, flowing over us, covering every doubt.
- When I heard a mower and saw one of our church members cutting the lawn, God's provision was displayed.
- When people brought meals, God's comfort was all around.
- And Christian television? I know there are some folks on the airwaves that may not be sincere, but man, I am thankful for Christian TV! When a person is homebound, it is a blessing. At certain times of the day, there were some powerful preachers who brought God's Word, and it was always a Word in due season, into our home.
That "accident" was God's preparation for the ministry that lay ahead of me. In many ways, I was back in "baby boot camp," experiencing the fatigue, confusion, and blues that so many new moms go through. With the start of my speaking and writing ministry, our family was on the front lines of spiritual battle. We needed to learn how to pray, and boy! God sure taught us a few things about that! And then, there was a significant emotion of disappointment that I was dealing with.
I didn't get my book party. I didn't get to celebrate because of the way things happened. I had enough to celebrate in the fact that my husband was alive, and I chided myself for feeling disappointed and being selfish about a party! My sweet mom-in-law asked me if I still wanted to have the party, but there was really no way that I wanted to celebrate without Rich by my side, because he had been by my side, cheering me on, through the whole process. But God used that disappointment, too. I found it was a unique parallel to how a new, unmarried mom must feel. Like I wanted to celebrate my book, she wants to celebrate her baby, even if it isn't born under the best circumstances. It might be a stretch to some, but for me, well, it sent me straight to my local crisis pregnancy center to see if we couldn't team up on some things. (That was something I had never even considered.) My disappointment also sent me to Fort Campbell, KY, for a year of leading a moms' group and celebrating new babies with tender young women whose husbands were serving in Iraq. For many of them, their babies were welcomed with tears of disappointment and sorrow because their husbands were not by their sides.
By Thanksgiving of 2000, most things were back to normal. Rich was even driving again! We were plugging my book everywhere we could, and the hospital bed had been carted off for someone else who needed it. Not everything was back to normal, though. The Powell family was not back to normal, nor would we ever be. We were forever changed by my husband's prayer. The God of the valleys set a table before us; we tasted, and we saw that the Lord was good!
May His wonderful Name be praised!