We all face storms—some we see brewing months before they hit, and others blindside us when the massive waves strike. On Sunday, March 11, 2018, our storm made landfall as my husband, Chris, developed gall stone-induced pancreatitis and was admitted to the hospital.
Chris’s pancreatitis worsened faster than any of us realized when imaging results showed he had “acute, infectious, hemorrhagic, necrotizing pancreatitis.” This new diagnosis led to an urgent transfer to the Medical Intensive Care Unit where he was put into a medically-induced coma. As doctors began the intubation procedure, Chris aspirated on his own vomit. His lungs rapidly filled with fluid, causing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. We watched helplessly as his oxygen levels hovered around 40%, and he had less than a 10% chance of surviving the day.
Early the next morning, Chris’s attending physician told me Chris was sicker than the previous day, and he warned me that I would likely need to turn off life support and let him pass peacefully. But Chris’s body refused to quit. Then, the next squall hit. On March 21, Chris went into cardiac arrest. I watched as his medical team performed chest compressions for the longest six minutes of my life before his heart began to beat again.
Over the past 394 days in this hospital, we have experienced organ failure, paralysis, infections and setback after setback. Yet through it all, I’ve found one thing to be true: who and where I’m rooted in the storm determines my ability to peacefully weather each challenge, while finding hope along the way.
During this storm, without pre-planning, I wrote about what God was teaching me personally. My writings have become unintended, daily devotions that friends have used as sources of strength and encouragement during their own battles. God has gifted me the opportunity to speak with dozens of groups about the importance of daily rooting ourselves in Him. My encouragement to you is to let God use your storm and allow Him to let it become a beacon of light to someone else still suffering in the darkness.