Grieving Our Losses Day 17 – Grieving Lost Health—Nancy’s Story
Narrated by Ruth P. McDonald
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, ESV)
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17, ESV)
Grief is not a stranger to me. Over the years, I’ve experienced several losses that had a deep impact on me. I’ve felt the sharp ache of an empty nest, when all of our children left home to pursue their own lives as adults. I remember hearing as a young mother that I would one day miss the shoes, coats, and clutter lying around the house, the evidence of a home with children. And how true that statement was! My home may have been neater once the kids left, but the loneliness was a real sorrow. If you’re currently parenting kids under your roof, treasure each moment and instill the Word of God in them, as they truly are gone far before you’re prepared for it.
Grief and sorrow accompanied the years following the death of both my parents. I prayed for my mother’s passing after a long illness, and then grappled with guilt wondering if my prayers were selfish, as caring and visiting with her was challenging with my work schedule. I spent many hours with her in the last few months of her life, and she would often encourage me in my walk with the Lord. My mother wrote a letter that I treasure still. Her last sentences were: “If it is His will that I walk through the shadow of death, I have nothing to fear for my Shepherd of over 70 years will be with me and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever, where there is fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore. I’ll be waiting to welcome each of you home.” The 23rd Psalm was my solace, along with hymns, after their passing.
But after enjoying more than 70 years of good health—a blessing I am thankful for—it seems a distant memory for me now at times. I long for those days when I felt healthy and well. In recent years, the Lord has allowed me to go through some debilitating health issues. Recurring urinary tract infections have led to a bout of septic shock. I’ve had a pulmonary embolism, a perforated bowel, and spinal stenoses requiring back surgery. These issues have left me housebound for many months.
My social life looks quite different than the vibrant one I used to enjoy. It now centers mostly around doctor visits and physical therapy as I try to regain strength to walk properly again. Sometimes, this causes me to feel so useless, and I desperately miss the life I used to lead. I miss fellowship with the Christians I worshiped with and the encouragement they give us, as well as the warmness of church meetings. And yet, even as I mourn what was, I know God has a purpose for me in this stage of life as well.
Being confined to the house has opened up new opportunities I did not have in the past—opportunities that have brought me closer to the Lord. I now have ample time to sit and pray for others, many of which I can surely empathize with. I enjoy posting Scripture verses and hymns on Facebook each day. These are little nuggets that may help other believers or even those who may be searching for the Lord.
No, grief is no stranger to me, but how precious it is to know that even in our grief, He is with us, offering His strength to see us through. As I look ahead in life, I do grieve my lost health, but I pray that the Lord will continue to use me and help me to accept His will for me. Some days can be discouraging and others less so, but each new day we are promised His faithfulness—strength for today and hope for tomorrow! What a great God I serve!