How Are You Doing?
By Dot Bowen
“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. Isaiah 46:10 (NIV)
I am so grateful for the love and concern so many have expressed over the last few months as people learned I am battling a clotting disorder. It seems the new question of the day for me is, “How are you doing?” I am honored Dot asked me to share about what God has done as I’ve navigated uncharted territory in my journey.
Not only am I the longest standing employee at Cup of Joy, I am a pediatric nurse practitioner. I love my career choice because it is challenging, fulfilling, exhausting and ever-changing all at the same time. Medical treatments and technology change in the blink of an eye, and it is a privilege to offer these options to patients and families. I never anticipated being on the receiving end of new treatments and medical technology, but in March 2015 I reluctantly added “full time patient” to my resume. With that said, I want to make a disclaimer: I am a terrible patient. I much prefer being on the listening end of the stethoscope rather than being the one to whom the doctor listens. I am humbled and privileged to share some of what the Lord has taught me as God continues to write my story.
The Power of Prayer I have been reminded how vital it is to surround yourself with praying friends. I physically felt the prayers of my friends and family being offered directly to Jesus on my behalf while I lay in a hospital bed and on my sofa at home. Upon hearing I was sick, a very close friend texted me to say, “I am not a praying person, but I will be praying for Robin.” (paraphrased) I think about that text every day. I absolutely believe Jesus used my illness to draw my friend to Him. If one person comes to know Jesus more closely through my illness... well, the reality takes my breath away.
God’s Sovereignty It was obviously futile to try to understand or make sense of what seemed like chaos swirling around me. I wanted to understand the decisions that were being made and what was going on, but I had no capacity to do so—I was just too sick. I chose to trust in God’s sovereignty and remind myself He is in total control of my life. Nothing that was happening to me was a surprise to Him. I held tight to this truth because I had absolutely no control over anything. God’s ability to manage the details of our personal lives—from the tiniest to life threatening—all while maintaining the universe is true whether we are going through a medical, family, or personal issue.
Thirsty For His Word I found myself physically aware of a desire for His Word. It was so comforting to have someone read to me. It definitely wasn’t a big production—they read while I listened. A few months before I became ill, I was challenged to memorize a Bible verse every two weeks. By the time I was in the thick of things, I had some Scripture strongly held in my heart and mind. I was able to say those verses out loud or in my mind over and over. Meditating on God’s Word took my mind off of where I was and what was happening and allowed me to focus on Jesus. And I promise you it always helped.
My Tribe I have a group of friends and family members that knew the ins and outs of what was happening moment by moment. They saw me at my worst, and I was okay with it. They knew when I was discouraged. They knew when I was scared. They knew when I needed a hand to squeeze and when I just needed someone to braid my nasty, dirty hair. I cannot express how important this group of people is to me; they were the hands and feet of Jesus to me and demonstrated His love in tangible ways. I can’t encourage you enough to seek out a “go-to” group that you love and trust to do life with—the good, the bad, and the nasty, dirty, ugly.
Seeing God’s Hand at Work I can’t count high enough to number the “God moments” throughout this journey. From the Radiology tech who held my hand and whispered, “You are really sick,” and told me I needed to go directly to the Emergency Room knowing she wasn’t supposed to say divulge that information to the nurses and doctors who took time out of their day to pray with us. My family’s ability to alter schedules, drop plans, and come together time and time again was nothing short of miraculous. The friends and co-workers who literally fed my family and cleaned our house for weeks as well as the cards, texts, and countless generosities we received all point to God’s great love and care for us.
God does not promise that everything in this life will be good, but He does promise that all things work together for my good and His glory. Through Him alone I am able to say, “To God be the glory!”
Further Reading Joshua 1:9, Psalm 83:1-5, Matthew 11:28, Philippians 4:13, Psalm 56:9, Exodus 14:14, Psalm 34:4, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, James 4:8, Isaiah 41:10