There are a lot of inspirational quotes regarding journeys:
- “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
- “Success is a journey, not a destination.” Unknown
- “If Plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters! Stay cool.” Unknown
- “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” Tony Robbins
- “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu
All of these quotes are great, but they don’t represent how I feel about the journey I’ve been on over the last few months. “Sometimes your path is chosen for you, and the only way you can successfully make that journey, is through faith, and with a single breath.” Sheri Watkins
March 16th, 2017 dictated a new path in my life. I took no step on that path. I made no decision that this was the path I wanted. I didn’t determine the course of action that needed to take place. All paths were orchestrated by God, and God alone. That’s why I say a journey begins with faith, and a single breath. You can’t possibly walk a path, if you’re not first breathing. And you can’t breathe peacefully and confidently, unless you have faith in something bigger than you!
March 16th I almost died. March 16th I was given a third chance at this life. March 16th, 2017 I took a breath and stepped out on a path that God has chosen for me to walk.
That morning, I awoke thinking I was off. Something was wrong. I just couldn’t go to the bathroom, and that seemed weird. I had no fever. My back was hurting so bad, but I wasn’t overly alarmed. I thought that I possibly had a bladder infection. No biggie. Some meds and then I’d be on the mend. I was very wrong. I walked myself into the ER, and into a room and then… in the span of 4 hours, my temperature skyrocketed to 102, I was Tachycardic, I had kidney and liver failure, extreme dehydration, my BP was falling minute by minute, pulse oxygen was falling, my gallbladder was infected and abscessed, and I was septic. My body, was shutting down little by little.
It’s kind of strange how much you can process when you’re really sick. I knew this was bad. My husband looked gray, his brow was furrowed with worry but he tried not to show it. My kids were scared. My parents were scared. Family and friends were all concerned. And yet, I was oddly calm. I listened to all of the conversations and decisions that were being made on my behalf. The flurry of activity trying to get a line into my veins, bags being hung of IV fluids and meds. And yet, I was at peace.
Peace is a hard thing to explain, especially when you’re laying at the pathway to death’s door. It’s beyond surreal, and this wasn’t the first time I’d been hanging around that doorway. When I was 22 (maybe 23?) I fell out of a white water raft and was trapped underneath. As I inhaled water I prayed a simple prayer that God would remove the pain and an amazing peace washed over me. There is something to be said for simplicity in faith. I wasn’t flowery and formal, I just spoke to God and God answered.
As I laid on that gurney on March 16th, they wheeled me away to get an ultrasound. It was in this moment that God and I had a simple heart to heart. You see, I hadn’t chosen this path. I didn’t eat wrong things. I didn’t take drugs. I didn’t harm my body to make myself infected. I didn’t ignore symptoms because all my symptoms had been atypical and pointed the medical staff to other issues. I had done everything right, but God CHOSE me for this path. So I laid there and said, “God… I’m really looking forward to heaven, but today is not that day. Please don’t take me, I’m just not ready to leave yet.” And then I did the only thing I could do, I took a breath and had faith that God had everything under control.
Obviously, I’m still here today so God still has some stuff for me to do. And yes… I’ve done this whole death’s door thing a couple of times, so either I’m bullheaded and God has to do major things to get my attention OR He needed me to be a testimony regardless of the path He CHOSE for me to walk. And I suppose that’s my whole point of this blog entry. I’m sure there are some of you out there that have planned out your whole life. You’ve made all the right decisions, and you’ve done all the right things. And there are those of you out there that have had major detours thrown in your path, and you’re thinking WHY ME? What on earth is God trying to do to me, or with me?
My response – why NOT you? When we surrender our lives to Christ we give Him ALL of us, not just our predetermined paths. We give Him carte blanche to determine where HE wants to take us, not just where He can fit in with our personal goals.
Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps (NIV).” You can fight it if you’d like, but you’ll be miserable. It’s much easier to give Jesus the ability to establish our footsteps. Then we just need to breathe, have faith, and walk in lock step with Jesus Christ.
And let’s be honest, it may not be pretty. It may not be fun. It may be painful, and scary. You might be angry and bitter or overwhelmed and sad. You may be happy and elated or beaten down and worried. Each step may be painful, but when you walk with God – ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
I have a dear friend, my sister in Christ and my sister in my heart. She has been chosen to walk a path that is treacherous and overwhelming and scary. She has an incurable disease and she is trying to educate all those she can about Gastroparesis. Please take time to read about her journey. Even though it’s a scary path – she walks the path with Grace and Dignity and lives out her faith with every breath that she takes. I love you! Jerrilyn’s Journey