January and February were a blur of snow, ice, and bone-chilling cold, the kind of cold that makes you wear layers of wool socks in your boots, that requires scarves wrapped around your face so the skin doesn’t turn raw at the lightest hint of wind.
Even in 2014, when spring seemed like it would really never come, it came.
After a lot of worrying and prayer and tears, I decided to take a step, and to leave my job, temporarily, in preparation for applying for early retirement. I knew there was no way I could care for my body and give it what it needed while continuing in my current job. I couldn’t do it. But if I left….that was going to be a big leap of faith. I was going to have to Trust God like I had never done before, and pray that I was doing the right thing.
Leaving a job is a big thing for anyone….but when you need insurance, like I do, it becomes almost foolhardy to consider. But I couldn’t stay where I was.
So in March, I worked my last day, turned in applications for short-term disability, and started a new schedule. This one involved pulmonary rehab three times a week, radically changing the way I ate, and making a commitment to exercise, to being healthy, to treating my body well. I was also able to write–really write–write my memoir, which I’ve talked about here before, and take time to get back to a solid prayer life.
In March, Elizabeth Foss’ Restore workshop started, and I am so grateful for that. Those six weeks of lessons in getting back to basics–to establishing a good prayer life, eating well, exercising, taking care of what matters most–are still echoing my in my day-to-day life (in fact, I was just now going through my binder of workshops from the class and making notes. It’s going to come into 2015 with me in a big way). God truly gave me a gift in this workshop, and the women in it.
In April, I went on a silent retreat. I try to make one every year, but I really needed it this year. I needed to get in touch with God, to hear Him speak to me in silence, to fall into His arms and trust Him, to believe what He says in Scripture. He will give me rest? I can lean on Him? Really?
How do I know I won’t fall?
On Saturday, at lunch, there were memory verse cards on our plates. I didn’t realize that until I’d already taken my seat, pulled out my chair and placed the starched and ironed white napkin on my lap.
This is the verse:
I smiled. How I smiled. Big, face breaking smile that probably led the other women to think I was a bit crazy.
That was the first, big moment when I realized He was really with me. That I wouldn’t fall. I just had to trust in Him.
I left the retreat feeling buoyant. Feeling like this was all going to work out.
The week after the retreat, I turned 32. I was losing weight, I was getting stronger, I was feeling better than I had in a long time. I wrote pages and pages daily. I recommitted myself to prayer, and every day I walked a little further in trust with Him. Somehow I felt like this was going to be OK.
Spring that year felt so warm.
It turned into summer, and Dad and I made another trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.
Music Man rehearsals began when we got back. I kept working out with Amy, my pulm rehab therapist, whom I adore. I had a blast with my stage family, and met new people. I celebrated my ninth transplant anniversary, and my PFTs were up. It seemed like things were on an upswing. I was doing things right. And God? He was probably laughing at me.
See what happens when you just trust my plan?
But there were some hurdles coming. Because my plan didn’t just depend on me. It depended on other people, too. And that was when I really, vividly saw the power of prayer–and how to ask people for prayer for the big things.