Losing many family members and family friends within a short amount of time is extremely hard for the mind and soul. One of the hardest times I ever went through was when over the span of about 18-24 months my family lost about 16 family members and good friends. The constant anticipation of a phone call telling of another loved one’s death sent me into a sense of desperation and depression. I was confused and didn’t think there was anyone around me who would understand what was going on and help explain things to me.
The ages of 10 and 11 are already hard enough for most kids with the change in school environments, friends coming and going, and bodily changes that are not enjoyable either; adding a stream of dying family members only serves to make an already confusing situation worse. The hardest thing for me was the fact that no one my age seemed to be going through what I was, which made it difficult for me to find anyone I could talk to.
Because the people the family was losing were more closely related to my parents and I felt I had to be supportive of my mom and dad and because I did not have the gumption to show my true emotions about my situation outwardly to my friends, I had to put on a brave face and grieve on the inside instead of opening up and truly talking about what was going on.
The only way I was able to come out of the feeling of depression I was experiencing was finding someone who I could talk things out with and attain a sense of stability again. Some of the biggest contributors to me being able to come out of the feeling of isolation were my old youth director and some of the girls in my grade level. I realized that although they might not be going through what I was at the time, they had all lost someone at some point and could give me advice as to how to grieve in a healthy way.
Something to ask yourself: who has helped you through those times when you thought no one was there for you?
Written by Katheryn
I met a guy named Rusty once. Rusty was the epitome of a desperate man. He was on his last string ready to give up on life. He was struggling and couldn't find answers anywhere but the bottle, and when he walked into the church late on a Wednesday night, he was ready to end it all.
You could see the desperation in his eyes. He was so ashamed and embarrassed. He was seeking help as a last chance effort. So I did my best. I got him in contact with someone that could help, and together we took Rusty to the hospital.
From there, I moved on. All I knew was that he detoxed at the hospital and they got him connected with a rehab facility in Missouri. Honestly, I was just glad he made it through the night.
Not a week later I saw Rusty again. I needed to pick him up at the bus station because he was coming home to get his car that he left at the church. He’d spent maybe 5-6 days at rehab in Missouri...
Sometimes the Glory of God is overwhelming. Sometimes God shakes us to the bone. Sometimes all you can do is smile because of how great God is. Words simply do not work.
When I saw Rusty the second time, it could not have been a more opposite situation. Transformation at its best! Rusty was radiating with joy. It was contagious and amazing. He sounded like a man who had sat with God for 5-6 days.
In the days after meeting this new Rusty, I remember feeling jealous of how desperate he was because in his weakness and humility he truly found Christ. In such a desperate place, he gave all of himself to God.
But the truth is, I really am as desperate for God as Rusty. I may not realize it most days or want to admit it, but just as much as Rusty needed the power of God to work in him, so do I need God’s power to work miracles in me.
Written by Mark
From my gurney, as I stared past my toes towards the swinging hospital doors, I took a deep breath, because I knew that I would emerge as a different person, someone discovering important lessons about life in a very short time period. I knew I would be joining the ranks of millions who walked this road before me. Also nagging my brain was that slim chance that I would NOT emerge, a thought which I quickly dismissed.
I would return from those doors as a new person, someone practically remade or reborn.
If you have ever had a medical procedure or episode, you may know exactly how I felt that day. However, I did not arrive at this realization until I was in my late twenties. Until that time, all things medical or surgical were merely parts of life, like renting an apartment or buying a car. This event was different.
When we think of it, each day that we are lucky enough to awaken, we are reborn. On Wednesday, we add an experience or just a day of life that makes us a slightly different person on the following Thursday.
The day we break our arm for the first time, we learn the consequences of careless bicycle riding.
Upon completion of our first day at work, we are full of ideas and questions which have never occurred to us.
After our tonsillectomy, we discover that we really don’t want the promised post-surgery ice cream.
Our first cognition of our belief in God brings us joy and strength we have yet to experience.
Every moment in time changes us, resurrects us, gives us a new opportunity. We must be ready. Whether the daily changes that face us are exhilarating or intimidating, we can face them best with God as our guide. Isaiah 41:10 says, …fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
On that icy February morning, so long ago, I was about to meet my son for the first time. As the gurney wheels rolled through the doors, I felt humbled by my prior ignorance of the experience of so many women before me.
I was afraid that I would not be the right kind of mother. I was a little terrified of the birth experience. I was SO EXCITED to find out the baby’s gender.
The difference in this medical experience and my prior experiences was that my husband and I were now the protectors of another human. It was our job to ensure that this child would grow up healthy in all ways. For that new role, we certainly needed God’s guidance.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Christ tells his doubting disciples to …make disciples of all nations…[because] I am with you always, to the close of the age. Surely, with His help, we can find strength for our daily resurrections.
Written by Becky
September last year I mentioned my dad becoming a hollow shell of the man I knew. I thought I had lost him.
First was the hearing. Not just loss of hearing but a sensory issue so he couldn’t separate sounds like a voice and the closing of a cabinet, it was all just noise. He became recluse. I can’t recall which came next, the loss of muscle, the deep depression, weakness in the legs, loss of mental focus, he couldn’t read a paragraph and even labored to talk ending each sentence with a sigh.
The family doctor had nothing.
Two E.N.T.s, zero.
THE top ear specialist in Dallas, nada.
Two neurologists went in completely opposite directions; both came up empty handed.
Come on guys! Tell me what’s happening to my dad! His yard went from immaculate to weed-infested, his pool from beautifully cleaned to green and full of leaves. He was an engineer that couldn’t stop building stuff by his own designs and measurements who became a couch potato watching "Law & Order" all day. He couldn’t even handle being around his grandchildren! He had gone from being an intelligent, passionate, and opinionated man to one struggling to put sentences together. He went from despising pills to taking anything the doctors prescribed - and they were NEVER without suggestions! None of them worked by the way…
My Seekers Bible study class prayed for him regularly. My mom, sister and I prayed…Lord did we ever pray!
For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
We didn't just pray for healing, though we did in the beginning. We were losing hope, so we prayed God would use this to draw Dad closer to Him. See, I didn’t grow up in a religious household. When I came to know Jesus I tried to talk to Dad about Him, especially when he was becoming sick but he wouldn’t even say His name…”Jesus.”
Apparently Dad was doing some praying on his own, though. When my mom was asleep he would go outside in the backyard and talk to God. Dad says he never asked God to heal him, he just wanted to know what was happening to him..."was this the end?”
Then one day he got out of bed, got his morning coffee and…went outside. He found himself bending over to pick weeds. Started organizing the garage. What was going on? Well, I’ll tell you, he was back! Still with the ailments, but my dad was back! It was as if God snapped His fingers and said, “Enough.” Dad is better than before because now he won’t shut up about Jesus! He even witnessed to his Muslim neighbor. Dad never bargained with God but has since given his word that he is going to be a warrior for Jesus Christ until his last day.
Written by Harry
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.