Back in the summer of 2006, my happy, peaceful world crashed. Suddenly, the world – my world – as I knew it, was forever altered. There wasn’t a thing I could do about it. After an emergency room visit, my mother’s health was dangling precariously and she was feeling depressed about it all, too. I was in despair. My mother could die and I was celebrating a birthday. Sweet Sixteen didn’t feel so sweet anymore.
Because of this crash, I was unexpectedly promoted from a simple schoolgirl to housekeeper, schoolteacher, and take-care-of-everything-including-siblings-extraordinaire-girl. I mean, of course I knew how to do simple chores, but all of a sudden running an entire household was quite another thing! With an older brother away at college, being second oldest meant that the responsibility fell to me to take care of household matters while Dad worked to support us and Mama lay in bed.
I definitely wasn’t the ideal teen to take over the house, but I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I had to - my family was depending upon me. Things didn’t always go well. I was a very distressed and inexperienced housekeeper. I struggled doing laundry, cleaning, organizing, teaching my siblings, and doing my own homework, on top of everything else included in running a household.
Honestly, I wasn’t very happy with God. I felt like it was not fair – that He was throwing all this at me. I mean, according to the world’s standards, Sweet Sixteen was supposed to be when everything is going your way, when you’re having the time of your life. Instead, I was crying myself to sleep and struggling to believe that something good could come out of this trial. I was so upset, too. Why would God let this happen to my dear mother and my family? Why did I, at sixteen, have to run my house? I still didn’t have my driver’s license and was still working on Algebra! Come on, I wasn’t supposed to be doing this. I couldn’t believe it God was making me do this.
But the Lord was still at work in the midst of despair and pain. He brought friends to my side, to help with meals, chores, teaching, and everything else needed. He brought heart-warming letters that had Scriptures and words of wisdom and encouragement. And one special verse from Isaiah 43:2. I felt just like that, that I was drowning and couldn’t get to the surface to catch a breath. Slowly He showed me that He was still with me and loved me so much. I repented of my wrong attitude and began to spend more time in the Holy Word, seeking words of comfort and security. I clung to my “water promise” verse through it all.
I cried out to the Lord, to save my mother’s life, to deliver her from hopelessness and to heal her. I prayed and cried out and waited for the Lord more times than I could count. I asked that good would come from all this, but I wasn’t sure how that was possible.
And, oh, was He faithful! After a year of tears and seemingly hopelessness, a year of hurts and wounds, a year that seemed to never end, my mother was healed. Slowly she became stronger and stronger. Soon it was Mama, and not me, that was running the house and teaching my siblings! I was really happy about that!
You know, I would have been glad if that was as far as my answered prayers went, but God surprised me and answered all of them. I realized I was actually thankful for that hard year. I began to see things in a new way, that this had been a year of training, a year of growth in faith, and a year of lessons. It was a year of growing closer together as a family, of learning all the daily tasks my Mama did for me, and of God’s unexplainable peace. I found myself able to comfort others when they were going through a hard time, like it says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. And you know, I found that God took what I viewed as bad and used it for good (Romans 8:28).
It’s been over four years later since that trial. When I'm tempted to throw my hands up in the air and say, "God, this is hopeless!", I remember. I look back and marvel at His goodness and faithfulness. And I know without a doubt that He's never gonna fail me.