I keep thinking it wasn’t real. The whole thing was just a dream. I didn’t really have a heart attack. I want it to not be real.
I want to go back to before …
Before when my weight and cholesterol and blood pressure were numbers that looked good and gave me confidence in my health. Before when 42 was really way too young for anything scary like a heart attack. Before when I drank my coffee and ate my bagel and didn’t have a handful of pills to go with my breakfast.
We all have a before. Before the crisis. Before the hurt. Before the loss. Before can captivate us and make us yearn for what we didn’t know, what we hadn’t considered, what had never crossed our minds.
If I’m really honest, I wish I didn’t know what I know now. I long for the days when ignorance was bliss. I trust God is at work and He has allowed what He could prevent as a means for His glory and my good. I’m struggling to understand all that in this moment. It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s hard to accept these circumstances I find myself in. But I choose to believe because my mind and my heart can’t begin to sort out what it would mean if His words aren’t true, if His love isn’t perfect, if His grace isn’t sufficient.
Wrapping words around my thoughts is too hard right now. Too hard and too scary. Last Sunday I had a panic attack at church. Scott wasn’t there because he was leading worship in revival at a church 30 minutes away. And I was afraid something would happen and he wouldn’t be there to hold my hand. This fear isn’t rational. I know that. But rational and real are not always the same thing.
I stood there in my church, next to one of my dearest friends, singing a song that has ministered to me time and again …
I need You, oh I need You.
Every hour I need You.
My one defense, my righteousness,
Oh God how I need You.
And more than ever before I realized my need for God — for His presence, for His peace. I kept breathing in and out, singing those now familiar words and holding back the tears.
I’d sung the words before ..
When I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Cause Jesus You’re my hope and stay
Honestly, though, before I had no idea what it meant to fall on Him. And now, even though I’ve had to collapse on Him, I still struggle with letting go of me, of what I want to do, what I dream, what I expect, what I hope. I wish for what I thought my life would be.
It’s scary. After is scary. After the heart attack, after the miscarriage, after the death, after the hurt. I’m finding all I can do is lean into Him. I have to … it’s the only way to battle the fear.
I don’t know what your situation is or where life has led you. But I know this, we all have befores and afters in our lives. Sometimes we aren’t sure what to do with all the feelings and the fears and the wondering and even the wandering as we work our way through the now. I don’t have a four-step plan for any of it. I just keep leaning in to Him, to His Word, and to the people in my life who keep loving me and holding up my arms in the battle. So, friend, what about you? Will you lean in too? Will you hear His whispers of love and peace and hope and grace?
And when you’re afraid, it’s okay. Because sometimes I’m afraid too … and we can point each other to perfect love. We’ll just keep walking and trusting and He will lead us all the way, just as He always has.
Dear Teri, I continue keeping you in my prayers. I go back to 1 Peter 5:7 so often “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV) Anxiety, fear, sorrow…it is hard for me to let it go, especially after Amy died 20+ years ago and now most recently my dad, but I try. Oh, I try. I take comfort in this passage.
I continue to pray for you and your health. Hugs~
Teri Lynne Underwood says
Oh Mary! Your kindness is balm to my spirit this morning. I pray for you often and send my love through these crazy interwebs!
Kate Battistelli says
Praying for you today sweet friend. You’re words are so full of truth–we all have our ‘befores’ and continuing to trust no matter what, well, that’s the hard part! But like Psalm 56 says, “When I am afraid I will trust in you”. I can cling to His truth when I feel like I’m falling and know He’ll catch me and not let me crash. I know you’re holding Him closer than ever. It’s in these times we learn how big our God really is and WHO our God really is. Love you big!!
Teri Lynne Underwood says
Kate, that verse is one of Casiday’s favorites! It was the one we memorized together when she was about 3 and having bad dreams. Thank you for your words of encouragement!! I love you so!!
Kris Camealy says
Lady, I have thought if you EVERY SINGLE DAY since you left my house. No kidding. Please know I am praying for you, and I so hope we can talk soon. Psalm 86:11 has been my verse this week: Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. That’s where I’m clinging. Praying for you! Call me when you have time, I’m eager to hear your voice. love you.
Before no longer exists. Now if I could just get my mind and heart to believe that instead of wanting what once was, I’d be better off. Now is what God wants for me now. Before is no longer good enough.
Jacque Watkins says
Oh Teri Lynne, I’m so sorry. It’s a grieving process for sure. And my heart is with you and for you, as you lean in to Him. I think of the scripture that says God is our refuge and our strength, that nothing is impossible with Him. And He is God WITH us. In every season. Through every storm. His hand guiding and in total control. I am praying for you as you navigate this new normal, and giving thanks for you and the gentle way God is wooing you even amidst this. You are so loved…xo
Brooke McGlothlin says
Because He bends down to listen, I will praise Him as long as I have breath.
Because of the kind of God He is, because of how He’s saved me, loved me, redeemed me, and changed me. Because He takes the time to care about me…just one of many…I will praise Him. I’ve often asked myself this question: if God never answered another prayer for me, never showed any other love for me, never did another thing for me, would His sacrifice on the cross be enough? I’ve lived through some really hard things over the last few years…not as hard as some, but enough to make me wonder if He was enough.
Sweet friend, I’m praying for you. I’m so grateful for you. And so thankful you’re still here telling us about the fear and showing us that God is big enough to handle our panic and our doubts.
Terri, I can relate. I had a heart attack also. Home alone. And I continued to live alone after it happened. So the first little while was indeed scary. Every little pain scared me. But GOD held my hand and carried me through. HIS GRACE was enough for me and it is for you as well. I lean on Joshua 1:7-9. I hope you find those words encouraging as you face each day with joy, giving thanks that God is in control and He is not done with you yet!
Shelly Miller says
Just catching up, thinking about you and praying. Peace, may you know it beyond reason. Love you!
Teri Lynne Underwood says
Oh sweet Shelly! I miss you like crazy and would give just about anything for another hour or two at an airport restaurant. Thank you for stopping by … maybe we need to skype soon? Love you too!