In January of 1999, my husband left for his first unaccompanied tour to Korea. That means that he goes for a year and his family stays behind. Our children were 7,6,4 and 4. The children and I packed up to California and stayed with my parents. He was due home for mid-tour leave on August 1, 1999(which meant that he got to come home for 30 days and then go back). I lived EVERY day telling myself that if I could JUST make it to that day in August that he came home, everything would be fine. That I would be fine. I pinned my very survival on that man and his homecoming. Every day as I became more and more weighed down from the heavy load, I was still somehow, breathing a teeny bit easier because I was one day closer to relief and wholeness. The day before he was due to get on his flight, the area around the border between North and South Korea was stricken by a monsoon. My husband was able to call and tell me that he was okay, but the base was on lock-down. No one was allowed to leave. Therefore, he would not be getting to Kimpo airport, or getting on his flight to come home. This was devastating to me. Do you know that screen that comes on the TV in the middle of the night when there is no more programming? That snowy/fuzzy screen? That is what I saw and heard on the edges of my mind. I couldn't think. I couldn't know how to function. I was able to get myself into the bathroom and start a bath. I sat down next to the tub and sat and sat. The tub filled and filled. And I sat and sat. Not thinking, not planning, not meditating. NOTHING. Just sitting. The snowy place grew bigger and I couldn't remember what one does after turning ON the bath. So I just sat there. I had no thought to my children or to my parents or even to my very breath. It was as though I was absent from my own mind. I remember my Mom coming in and shutting off the bathwater as it was about to flood the bathroom. I don't remember if I ever even got in it. I spent the next two days living just on the outskirts of the snowy place. I don't know if I ate, went to the bathroom, slept, changed my clothes, tended to my children AT ALL - I'm pretty sure my Mom did that. At some point she told me that I had to pull it together. Yes. Thank you. I have to pull it together. I couldn't think of that. I could only hear the soft sound of the snowy place.
This instruction, coupled with my man coming home (only one day late), helped me to get the programming back on and disconnect the snowy place.
To this day I cannot say or read the word Kimpo without cringing.
This was an extraordinarily painful lesson to learn. I cannot rely on my husband for my health, safety, or survival. People fail. The only true, unfailing, infallible thing I can rely on is my God. The God. The Creator of heaven and earth. Only He will never fail me.
Jeremiah relayed this message, "This is what the Lord says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.'"
Wow. That is what I felt like when my husband didn't come home on time. How did Jeremiah know this? Oh, that's right - he was a prophet ~ and as he says, 'the Lord said.'
Jeremiah went on to say, "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
Wow. I have been watching for another day in recent months...the day my husband returns from Iraq. He was supposed to be on his way home yesterday. They were weathered out and were unable to get out as scheduled. I truly am blessed. There is Someone who is ALWAYS with me. I have put my trust in Him, and I did not fear when the heat came. I did not fall down. I did not run a never-ending bath. I did not abandon my children to the snowy place. Not because of my strength - but because of His.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him." (Psalm 28:7)
Tomorrow I will be singing the offertory. I will be singing these words with the utmost conviction and a peace that passes all understanding....
If all I had was one last breath, I'd spend it just to sing Your praise...just to say Your name.
If all I had was one last prayer, I'd pray it 'cause I know You're always listening.
If all I had was one more song to sing, I would raise my voice to make the heavens ring!
If all I had was one last chance, I'd take it, I would stake it all on You!
I know You're there. I know You see me.
You're the air I breathe, You are the ground beneath me.
I know You're there, I know You hear me.
I can find You anywhere. I know You're there....
(you can hear the song in its entirety here)