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How to Trust God When Bad Things Happen – God is With Us

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We often hear it taught in churches or synagogues; how to trust God when bad things happen. I mean, we ALL experience those “bad things” once in a while in life, don’t we? But sometimes the faith and trust we need to muster up when those times are REALLY bad can seem like a weight that is far too heavy. This was the case in my life not too long ago. So join me as we learn how to trust God when bad things happen and not lose our faith in His goodness…or the goodness of others!

Stressed young housewife with her hand over her face and text that says How to Trust God When Bad Things Happen - God is With Us

I “Wanted” – But God Had Other Plans

Overall my health had always been good!  While I did have some chronic pain issues from a spinal condition known as Spondylolisthesis, I never thought to really share about it with others since it was just a part of who I was and, quite honestly, blogging about health didn’t seem to be in my wheelhouse.

But having a stroke at 53 years old changes your perspective!

When I first started my blog I had a specific direction I wanted it to go in.

Oh those words “I wanted”!

How often do we try to get God to line up with our plans instead of the other way around? Too often in my case!

There is an old Yiddish saying: “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht

It means “man plans and God laughs”! And I am sure He laughed as I tried to get Him to line up with mine.

I knew “I wanted” to blog about Messianic Judaism and the Jewishness of Yeshua, about anxiety and fear, spiritual warfare and even (at one time) homesteading!

There was this vision in my head and it was going exactly as “I wanted”.

I never in a million years dreamed I would be sitting here blogging about how to trust God when bad things happen from a place of experience with health problems, and yet here I am about to do just that! 

God is With Us – How it All Began

The morning of June 24, 2019 started like any other morning in our house. I got my kids up, we took care of our goats and our chickens and all our other animals and went about our day like we normally do. It just seemed like an average day.

The day soon turned into anything but average. Evening came and everything changed.

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I guess it must have been early in the evening, probably around 7: 30 or 8:00 pm. I really don’t know what time it was but I went upstairs to my bedroom because I suddenly had a bad headache.

Normally I would’ve just taken Advil and pushed through it but I don’t even remember going upstairs. So something already wasn’t right.

Something’s Not Right

My 16 year old daughter came into my room and found me taking the pillows off my bed. I don’t know if y’all are like me but I LOVE my pillows and my bed is full of them, much to my husband’s dismay.

So I was in the process of removing all these pillows and beginning to climb on top of my bed.

My daughter asked me what I was doing, because she doesn’t normally see me hopping into bed early in the evening, and I apparently answered that I had to get ready for work. She said “Mom you don’t go to work”.

I’m a full-time blogger so I basically work from home. But there I was telling her that I had to get ready to go to work.

She asked me again and I gave her the same response, so from what I understand she came downstairs quite upset and got my husband.

She told him what I had been saying, which he immediately found odd and he went upstairs and try to talk to me but I just kept saying the same thing to him that I told her.

He was afraid and told me he was going to take me to the hospital. He asked me to get up and go with him or else he was going to call an ambulance, knowing I wouldn’t want to frighten the kids. All this was him hoping he could help me snap out of whatever was going on.

Moments of Clarity

During this time I was hearing some of what went on but I was sort of hearing it from a different place, if that makes sense.

There were times I could respond and there were times I couldn’t. But he finally managed to get me up and get me down the stairs to drive me to the hospital.

He didn’t want to frighten the kids by calling an ambulance and at that time I was walking and talking on my own. In fact he said I came downstairs and I started giving the kids instructions.

I gave them the alarm code, I told them what to do and how to lock up everything. I had these odd moments of clarity where my brain actually kicked in to take care of my kids. And then when I got in the car I was out again.

Apparently on the drive to the hospital I told my husband I need to call my mother. My mother had passed away four years prior so by this point he was pretty upset.

Arriving at the ER

There are some things I remember about being at the ER but most of it was a blur for the next day. I was in and out of clarity I like to say, because I don’t think I ever lost consciousness per se. I just don’t remember much and people were working on me without me really waking up although I was aware of their presence. But I was definitely not awake!

The next day the doctor told me that he thought from the CT Scan that I had a TIA or Transient Ischemic Attack which is a mini-stroke and a temporary blockage of blood flow, but not enough to cause permanent damage to the brain. But he said he was going to admit me and send me for an MRI the next day because the MRI machine was down for maintenance.

You Had a Stroke

They got me into a room and had my MRI scheduled for the next morning.

After the MRI the doctor consulted with the radiologist and he came in and said the words I didn’t think I’d ever hear at my age; you had a stroke.

It was not a TIA. It was a full ischemic stroke and I had a visible blood clot in my brain, along with brain tissue damage. The clot was in my left, frontal lobe so this explained why all my weakness was on my right side.

To make a very long story short, they kept me for a week and, given my age, did a whole battery of tests, including a spinal tap, to ensure it wasn’t something like Lyme Disease which can sometimes mimic a stroke.

Everything came back negative and it just confirmed his initial diagnosis of ischemic stroke.

How Can I Trust God When Bad Things Happen and Life Changes Dramatically?

As I write this it has been 3 weeks and I have to say that everything has changed.

I cried a lot in the first days home. I cried with a lot of fear that I could have another stroke (repeat strokes do happen often). But I am on baby aspirin and the doctor and neurologist believe that we have eliminated the risk by removing me from hormone replacement therapy given my family history of strokes.

I cried because I realize all the things that are no longer “normal”. I mess up words a lot. There was difficulty finding my words when speaking. I made a lot of mistakes when writing and my memory is just not anywhere near where it was prior to the stroke.

I had a speech therapist helped me with word finding and getting my cognitive functions back to normal.

woman standing on street covered by trees - text overlay with Proverbs 3"5-6 quoted in Tree of Life version

How Can I Trust God When Bad Things Happen and Life Changes Emotionally?

It breaks a mother’s heart when, 4 days after you are discharged from the hospital, your 16 year old is at a sleepover and she texts you to ask you if you are going to die.

My heart just ached for this kid who apparently had this fear bottled up for some time.

She was afraid it would happen again and that I wouldn’t survive so I had to reassure her when I wasn’t even sure at the time myself.

I had to watch my husband fall asleep at 8pm because he was so exhausted after managing a young child, three teenage girls, and 13 animals on his own for nearly a week and then have to worry about me on top of it all.

I felt fear with every headache and every ache and pain.

How could I put all my faith in God that my emotionally peace along with my physical health would be restored to me?

God is With Us – Things Were About to Worsen

As if all this was not enough, I began to develop a skin condition known as Dyshidrosis while I was in the hospital. It is like eczema but it starts under the skin and is incredibly itchy and can end up looking a bit like psoriasis.

Mine got infected and I ended up at urgent care less than a week after being home and found I had a blood infection. My left ring and pinky fingers were in complete pain but at least I went and got treatment for it when I noticed the red lines moving up my arm, which was actually the blood infection moving through.

Then I ended up back in the hospital with what they thought was another stroke. It turned out it was actually my cervical spine, which was so bad that I had to have immediate ACDF surgery.

The pain still has not subsided and I live with chronic pain every day of my life.

How to Keep Faith When Bad Things Happen

Lean on Others – Gratitude for Friends and Church Family

God helped my faith in that I saw the blessing of the friends He had placed in my life.

I had so many people from the blogging community praying for me, messaging me with words of encouragement and I don’t believe I could have done it all without the support they showed me.

My friends from high school, new friends and acquaintances all rallied around me with prayers and encouragement.

Our local friends and friends from our congregation were there for us!

God heard our prayers and answered them. The one area my husband was struggling with was getting meals cooked for everyone each night. Our dear friends took that task from him and I am so grateful to them all; those who visited, those who brought food, clothes and toys and those who prayed for us.

For those of you who are friends from our congregation, for those of you who are bloggers, for those of you who are my friends and family and acquaintances, I want you to know how grateful I am for all you have done, all the love you showed me and Dave and the kids, and how much easier you made this time for us.

Surrounding yourself in a good community, with people of faith and friends and family can help you keep your faith when those bad things happen!

Lean on Family – Gratitude for Loved Ones

Most of all there was my amazing husband who worked tirelessly keeping our home and kids together. He did it without complaint too.

He had to take care of a mini-farm full of animals and kids and do things he never had to do before when I was home! And he held it all together and was still there at the hospital for me!

My kids were unbelievable! Those girls stepped up and did whatever needed to be done without a single complaint.

I am so proud of all of them and so blessed to have had them there for me! They were so vital to my recovery!!

Lean on Him – Prayer! 

God heard every prayer and wow, did He ever answer!

At the original time of writing this post, I was 3 weeks post-stroke and I was actually writing in Hebrew, both in handwriting and print!

My occupational therapist said he didn’t think he needed to come back for much longer if I was writing from left to right AND right to left!

My speech therapist said I was scoring in the high 80’s and 90’s in my assessments, which was amazing 3 weeks afterwards!

And my neurologist and primary care doctor both have said I will make a full recovery!

I will recover most if not all of my speech, memory and definitely my motor functions.

I was blessed to have only experienced a little muscle weakness on my right side and no other physical issues. My dizziness and feeling like I am going to “black out” are normal parts of recovery and will not last.

Prayer works!! Having prayer warriors at work for you makes all the difference! God is with us as we cry out to Him, He was with me in the hospital right there with me and I felt the war being waged for me while I was “out”.

Tower of David Jerusalem with text overlay with Psalm 9:10 quoted in Tree of Life Version

God is With Us as We Get Back to Life

I came home and almost immediately got back to life as usual with a few exceptions. I do need to make sure I give my brain a rest frequently because it is busy trying to create new pathways, but I began cooking and cleaning and taking care of my animals again. 

It is, for the most part, like nothing happened. It is only when I get stressed or overdo it mentally or physically that my brain reminds me…you had a stroke!

My doctor has told me to set “checkpoints” throughout the day where I check in with myself to see how I am feeling. When you feel good it is easy to overdo it and then have no reserves for if and when something unexpected comes up. So she said I need to set those checkpoints to see if I have already done too much and need to rest.

But that is amazing!!! My biggest worry right now is whether I have done too much!! It is not that I feel I cannot do enough and that, to me, is a miracle!

I will be back to about as close to 100% if not 100% as I can get! 

There is Purpose in Your Pain

I tell you all of this because when things like this happen we tend to ask “why”.

When I got the diagnosis I asked why and how and every other question!

But deep down, I knew the answer!

God worked an absolutely miraculous healing in me where even the therapists and doctors are amazed at the progress I have made and I believe He has done so in order to encourage others. 

I do not believe God “caused” this to happen. But while I believe God didn’t cause this, I DO believe He is using it to maybe encourage one person who needs to hear that God sees you in your pain. God sees you in your suffering and God wants to take that and use it!

God did not put you where you are! We all make choices or live with the choices of others.

God didn’t force me to go on HRT, God didn’t force the drunk driver to hit your car and cause you those injuries, God didn’t force your loved one to smoke and get cancer. God does not cause us to suffer but He CAN and DOES use those hurts to help others. He does not want your pain to be in vain.

There is purpose in your pain!

God will give you beauty for ashes! He will show that He answers prayers! He will show you that He will never leave you or forsake you!

There is purpose in your pain! Click To Tweet

How to Trust God When Bad Things Happen – Know He is Sovereign and We Are Not!

We can ask why all day long but the Bible says in Isaiah 45:9:

Oy, to one who quarrels with his Maker, like a pot among the pots of the earth!

Shall the clay say to the potter, “What have you made?”

Or does your work say,“It has no handles”

tlv

Sound harsh? Yeah maybe from our self-centered human standards that seem to permeate society today.

But the truth is, we are merely God’s vessels and His creation. So who am I to ask God why He made me this way?

The clay doesn’t question the potter and ask why he made it a certain way. Yet we always seem to want to contend with God about our pain or our suffering.

Instead of asking God “why”, we should be saying “Here am I, send me.”

Here I am in my pain! Where do you want to lead me in it?

I am here Lord in my illness! I am here after surviving having a stroke! Who do you want me to encourage? God, who needs to see my faith through it all? Who needs to know how to keep the faith when bad things happen?

Here I am in my disability! Who was just injured and needs to see that you love them and that your heart breaks to see the pain they are in?

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How to Trust God When Bad Things Happen – Here Am I, Send Me!

God did not put us here to serve ourselves! He did not put me here so I can think about my own comfort!

He put me here to be the stone that cries out when there is silence, to be the testimony to the one who thinks God has abandoned them, to be the hug when someone feels forgotten!

I am clay in the hands of the potter, the gold being refined in the fire! I am here writing this whole blog post 3 weeks after having a stroke! If that is not a testament to God’s grace and mercy, I don’t know what is!!!

God did not put me here so I can think about my own comfort! He put me here to be the stone that cries out when there is silence, to be the testimony to the one who thinks God has abandoned them! Click To Tweet

God is With Us – There’s Another in the Fire

The song Another in the Fire by Hillsong was played by the worship team at my church the first Sunday I returned after having a stroke (we attend both a church and a Messianic Synagogue since we are inter-faith). I already knew this song well and I immediately broke into tears the second I heard the music start.

Like Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, there was another in the fire with me as I went through what I did. I felt it. I knew it.

When I laid in the room in the ER I wasn’t alone! When I went for my MRI, there was another there. 

I am crying like a baby right now as I type these words because I can remember the feeling of Yeshua being right there with me as I was suffering a stroke. His hand was on my shoulder the whole time and I physically felt His presence.

There are lines in the song that say:

And I can see the light in the darkness
As the darkness bows to Him
I can hear the roar in the heavens
As the space between wears thin
I can feel the ground shake beneath us
As the prison walls cave in
Nothing stands between us
Nothing stands between us

Hillsong united

THAT was what I felt that first 24 hours in the hospital. Nothing stood between us. I saw the light in the darkness and through my closed eyes that wouldn’t open the first hours in the ER I saw the darkness bow to Him! I saw it! And I felt it!

My eyes would not stay open but I saw it all! I saw a battle being waged for me and the darkness that tried to take my mind, the darkness that tried to steal my blogging ministry by destroying the left frontal lobe of my brain, I saw it bow to Him! God wasn’t done with me!

Yeshua in the Fire With Me

He carried me on His shoulders, just like the song by For King and Country! He never left me! And as people prayed for me, I felt Him even more!

That first 24 hours after having a stroke was not just a medical experience. No, far from it. It was a spiritual experience! Through closed eyes I saw spiritual warfare like I never have! I saw more with my eyes shut than I ever have with them open and I will never forget a second of it.

And I tell you, I am no one special! What He did for me, He WILL do for you! His presence there with me, He will be there for you too. 

An image of a black woman with long hair and in a green dress standing in a kitchen looking up and pointing with her two index fingers

How to Trust God When Bad Things Happen – Trust God Has a Plan and Purpose

If you want to know how to trust God when bad things happen, you have to realize God has a plan and a purpose and He will never leave us or forsake us.

Deuteronomy 31:6:

Chazak! Be courageous! Do not be afraid or tremble before them. For Adonai your God—He is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.

tlv

My faith is multiplied after this! He was there! And He is there for you too! He is there in the fire with you!

Are you going through life wondering how to trust God when bad things happen? The fact that you are reading a blog post from me instead of an obituary is a miracle in itself!

The fact that you are reading a blog post from me at all that was originally written and published 3 weeks after a stroke, considering it was my left frontal lobe that was destroyed…that is just nothing short of God’s grace and mercy and miracle working power. He is there working in your life and in your situation and in your marriage, your health, your job…wherever you need Him!

Stroke Awareness

Strokes can happen to anyone! It is not just something that happens when you get old. There are many people of all ages who suffer strokes and it is important to be aware of the signs!

My hospital has a saying, “Time is brain!”. That means is as the stroke progresses, more tissue is lost. The more time that passes and the longs you wait, the more damage can be caused to the brain.

You should be aware of the signs of a stroke so you can help yourself or a loved one quickly! If you believe you or a loved one is having a stroke, look for the signs!

You can do that by remembering the acronym FAST! The THINK FAST stroke recognition method can save lives!

How to Recognize a Stroke – Think FAST Stroke Recognition!

What is FAST stroke recognition?

F – Face: Is the face drooping? Ask them to smile and see if the face seems symmetrical or if one side is drooping.

A – Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms out in front of them. Does one drift downward?

S– Speech: Ask them to repeat something simple. Does their speech seem slurred or just not right?

T – Time: If you see ANY of these symptoms (not all of them, ANY of them) call 911.

For more information on strokes, visit the National Stroke Association or the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

Be sure to get your FREE ACTS Prayer Method Workbook below as my gift to you!

How to Trust God When Bad Things Happen - Featured on Grace & Truth

Songs Referenced in this post:

Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society.  Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.

 

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65 Comments

  1. What a moving and powerful story, Diane! I did miss your blog but I had no idea why you were not blogging. God was with you when you had the stroke and He is with you now. Your recovery is remarkable! I cannot believe how well you write only 3 weeks post-stroke!. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I also have a family history of stroke and high cholesterol. I was supposed to go in for a blood test last week, but canceled the appointment. After reading your story, I am rescheduling immediately!

    1. Thank you so much Laurie! Yes please reschedule!! You know what the funny thing is? And I mean funny in a “God has a way of working things out perfectly” kind of funny…I didn’t take off because of the stroke. I took off because I had a lot going on and needed a break. But this happened while I wasn’t blogging anyway! It won’t even cause a hiccup in my blog! Lol In fact I posted sooner than I was supposed to so nice try devil but not today!! Lol

  2. Diane, thank you for sharing your story in such a vulnerable and honest way. I remember seeing the Facebook post for prayer and almost taken aback by your words of having had a stroke. It’s so beautiful how everyone pullled together and stepped up to help out and keep the family running while you were in the hospital and recovering at home. And, I agree, I don’t believe God causes bad things. Priscilla Shirer said in one of her Bible studies that God either orchestrates it or allows it. In His sovereignty and providence, He uses everything to somehow bring about our good and His glory. Continued prayers for you!

  3. Powerful testimony Diane! First I am so glad that you are making an incredible recovery, that is a miracle story in itself. The spiritual growth through it is awesome! I love that you said, “Instead of asking God “why”, we should be saying “Here am I, send me. Here I am in my pain! Where do you want to lead me in it?” We do grow exponentially when we are in the fire with the Lord, and the faith that comes from those experiences will never leave us. God is doing great things in your life and He does work all things out for good. (Rom 8:28) Thanks for sharing 8)

  4. Praising God as you look at all the blessings since that day! Praying He keeps showing you His fingerprints in all you went through and as you continue to improve!

  5. Thank you Diane for documenting this all here in this beautiful post. I am still praying for your full recovery and no future events.

    Pinned & Tweeted.

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  6. Diane- – I had no idea this happened to you. I have been on a break. I am jumping up with joy that God didn’t take you home. Your post is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience, and most of all, your faith. Isn’t it amazing how well we see in the dark and how close God is to us? Blessings my friend. Maree.

    FYI- I am so glad you posted this on Grace and Truth.

      1. I am going to feature your article this week on Grace & Truth. I think everyone needs to read it.

        1. Thank you so much!! I’m so honored! And I’m so happy to because I really think people do you need to hear that God is with them in their pain and in their sickness. And I’m so blessed that God used this to even encourage one person so thank you so much

  7. I have never had to deal with a stroke, but I do have a child who was born with a chronic illness. To say that it changed our lives would be an under statement. You are so right that we have to cling to community, prayer, and trust in God to make it through.

    1. Erin thank you!! And please know I am praying for your baby!! I have been following your story and your faith is inspiring!! So know that you are all in my prayers!!

      1. Oh thank you, Diane! He is doing great! We are so blessed!

        I’m following your story and praying for you as well. I love our little Christian blogging community ?

        1. It IS amazing!! Thank you so much as well for your prayers!! Since it seems as though this past weekend I may have had a mini stroke prayers are certainly appreciated because any further strokes or mini strokes can completely undo all the progress I’ve made but I know God is watching over me so I have faith that that’s not gonna happen

  8. Wow! What a scary time. So often through these situations none of us would choose, we know God’s presence more than ever. So glad for His love and care manifested for you through this.

    1. Thank you so much Barbara! He is faithful and is always with us in our trials. Sometimes we just forget to look for Him there and we can easily miss Him.

  9. Wow! Amen! And praise the Lord! So many points I can relate to here, Diane, even though my story is different! Thank you so much for sharing your story and reminding us that we are never alone in the darkness.

  10. Your greatest miracle is spiritual sister but God can and does touch body , mind and spirit.
    I am a retired Pastor now 4 years. MY WIFE AND I minister in 3 nursing homes weekly in our town. Many of these folk are not too old and have had multiple illnesses, in their Christian
    Journey. When my wife was confined to bed with degenerative disc for disease I visited some, of these Christian Saints more. I think they pointed me to Jesus more than I did for them. Two years later she is back in ministry with me. The experience left us with a deepened joy in the Lord and with each other. Not of us have some limitations that affect us now in our 70’s but
    All, is given to lift up The Name of Jesus. . There is hope for you in the name of the Lord sister.
    I post spiritual themes in Instagram, but spent 2 1/2 weeks of July in bed with a viral summer cold. Praise the Lord it is almost gone! I give thanks to the Lord, I exalt His Name above all our struggled, and health issues., There is no other god like our God. I, celebrate his faithfulness in keeping you in the, palm palm of His hands. I too have had to watch my schedule since K fatigue faster, but rich olive oil is bring pressed in my life and gives me opportunity to share Christ.
    Even some pots with small. Racks can hold precious water. Thank you Jesus.
    Pastor Paul Benson,, pastoral.ablaze@gmail.com. God has lifted us already !

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