The year was 1983. We had recently started our own real estate sales and marketing company focusing on builder new home subdivision and custom home sales in the Foothill region of Placer County CA. The 1980’s were a difficult time for real estate sales with interest rates starting creeping from 10% and finally ending at 21% for fixed rate 30 year loans. The news from Washington during the Reagan years was as soon as inflation is under control… rates will come down. We expect to see the easing of rates… next quarter… next quarter… next quarter.
Soon after we celebrated the grand opening of the company I started having health issues. Terrible cramps had mostly accompanied my menstrual cycles since I was a teenager. But, now I was discovered blood in my stool during non menstrual times. It was getting scary. A few months before anything had evidenced itself, a small quiet voice had been telling me that we needed health insurance. So after a few weeks of being troubled by the strong sense that it would be wise to seek coverage I moved forward through the Board of Realtors, which had recently added a group type major medical plan as a membership benefit. I also subscribed to a hospitalization only plan separately, which would pay so much per day for any hospitalization stay.
When the blood started to appear in my stool, I sought help from our family doctor. Tests indicated that endometrial cells must have invaded my bowels and this was where the blood originated. Several further tests were required which then confirmed the original diagnosis, the remedy a hysterectomy. The concern, that the damage to the intestines would be too severe and that a colostomy would be required was something that nearly pushed me over the edge. For, external excrement that was over the top!
My prayer life turned tumultuous. I was afraid. I loved God and trusted Him. It took all my courage and faith just to hang on. The surgery was scheduled. But, then of course I still needed to work. I continued my week-end open houses… Since the high rates made for slow sales, visitors were scarce. Some days no one came through. The cookies I baked came home with me after leaving a few for the property owners. I spent this time in prayer and bible study.
One day at an open house, God’s Word lead me to Psalm 23; The Lord is My Shepard. I read and re-read the passages. Then with help from my pastor (Tim Dwyer) I came to understand. The Lord IS my Shepard:
• 1. I shall not want (be in need)
• 2. He maketh me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters (He causes me to rest and be refreshed)
• 3. He restores my soul; & leads me in paths of righteousness –for His name’s sake
• 4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (fellowship with God)
• 5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies (adverse situations); thou anointest my head with oil (symbol of gladness); my cup runneth over
• 6. Surely goodness and mercy ( like sheep dogs) shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I really had nothing to fear… and yet I trembled….
Shortly later … one morning, getting out of bed I looked at my feet and my toes were yellow. I looked into the mirror and my eyes were yellow. My husband looked at me and said; “You’re yellow!” I called my doctor who after a test and my visit confirmed I had contracted hepatitis. Yikes!
My family went in for shots (what fun) I was told I needed total rest for six weeks… to lay in the sun. The sun! This was February; rain, cold, North winds… but not now, not this year. This year February turned SUNNY! I lay all day under soft warm spring like rays of sunshine on a chaise lounge on the deck outside our bedroom. As I looked around I found myself surrounded by the beautiful … green fields… all the open acres of un-built upon land… Pristine, warm beautiful oak tree studded knee high pastures. Pastures! –
Here again was God. Here He was, showing me I was in His plan. Didn’t he tell me that He would make me lie down in green pastures? LOL… Now with hepatitis, I’m required to lie down… in the sun… in the middle of “green pastures”! My soul quieted as amazement poured through me. Who was I that God would love me so??
My surgery was rescheduled. Certainly, I still had concerns, those hadn’t magically vanished. But, I knew that God had everything under control. I knew that I was exactly where he wanted me to be. I also had insurance to cover 80% of the cost… and the small policy that paid a few “cash” dollars to help off set some expenses. My biggest concern was that if Jesus “called” I’d fly home. My prayer request to pastor and church were… “Pray that God still has work for me to do here on earth.” Surgery went well, no colostomy was required. Our church fellowship was wonderful, meals were provided for our family I had lots and lots of flowers in my private hospital room and all the nurses were caring and gracious. I was blessed.
Best of all… I felt the presence of the Lord which provided a huge sense of peace. I go back to the 23rd Psalm on a regular basis. It encourages me to know that God is with me in all situations. This Psalm is a promise of life from Him to me… that I do not fight the battle. He does. He is far greater than any adversity, I could ever encounter. I only need to remember- I need fear “no evil” He will always restore my soul.
Do I think that I am special? Yes. But, I am special to Him because I have chosen to be His child. Why should I be so amazed that He would reach down to encourage me in my time of need when He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in my place – so that I might live? (John 3:16) Isn’t that the most incredible truth? Therefore, yes I am special… but so are all of His children. So are you. He would not have one to be lost. (2Peter 3:8) He would have it that all would be saved through the sacrifice of His Son.