On Being Thankful In All of Life’s Trials: A Thanksgiving Blog Post from My Wife’s Hospital Room

November 22, 2013

John Lennon said that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.09-03-25

I think he was right.  For better or worse, the events that shape and mold us the most are often the ones that sneak up on us.

This week, life happened.  I’ll try to keep things brief.

My wife was sick over the weekend.  Like, sicker than she’s ever been.  But Monday, she was much worse.  And Tuesday, she was worse still.  We were up all night, the both of us.  And when we went to our doctor and they could not get a blood pressure reading, we knew we were in trouble.

Now, I sit here next to my wife in her hospital bed.  She was so dehydrated when I brought her that her blood looked like syrup.  It took an hour of repeated sticking to get any blood to drip.  But her body is distended with excess fluid.  She is extremely painful and anxious.  And as for me, I watch helplessly.  I bring her things she needs but I don’t feel like much help.

And this is all related to our journey to becoming parents, the awful side effect of fertility treatments. Yes, there is a steep price to pay for some of us.  You know the risks when you read the fine print, but you don’t really count on it.  Our doctor says she is only her second patient in eight years to react this severely.

Yes, we covet your prayers.  But even in this midst of this, something else is happening.  Something to be thankful for.

What did John Lennon mean when he said that line about life happening when you are busy making plans?

He meant that we have to leave ourselves open for the unexpected.  We have to leave room in the margins.  This is because not just some life events, but some of our most important life events will come unexpectedly.

My wife is an amazingly strong woman, even though she does not think she is.  And earlier this week, she told me how she has never been chronically ill.  But this event is actually adding something to her – more empathy and compassion for sick people.  You don’t always have to go through something to have empathy for others.  But it helps sometimes.

That is the thing about life events, even the tragic or painful ones.  If only we are yielded, there is always fruit that is added to us.  We have seen people absolutely broken and crushed, or become absolutely bitter about what life does to them.  And then we have seen others who have seen terrible times, and yet they seem to have been given something: an amazing testimony of the work of grace in their lives.

Our path through infertility has not just kept something from us (a child), but added many things to us.  We could choose to let things break us.  We could let struggles drive us apart and crush our marriage.  But we choose hope.  We choose joy.  We choose redemption.  We choose to believe that when we are broken, it is so we can be rebuilt.  I want a testimony of grace and redemption, whatever our temporary circumstances.

And that is reason to be thankful.

Right now, Thanksgiving is an optimistic time frame for us to get out of this hospital room where I sit typing these words.  I look out the window and see the streets starting to freeze.  I hear the beeping of the machines in the room.  So I’ll be taking next week off (I’m sure you will too.)  I will rest in thankfulness, be it in my own living room, or in the hospital cafeteria.  We truly do have much for which to be thankful.  I hope you do too.

19 responses to On Being Thankful In All of Life’s Trials: A Thanksgiving Blog Post from My Wife’s Hospital Room

  1. Dear Matt,
    WE will pray for you and your wife. God Bless you both.


  2. I’m usually just a reader, but this truly moved me this morning. Our worst life experiences CAN be our best if we are yielded to the Spirit in the midst. Yielded -what a great word you used. In my worst grief or worry or sadness have been some of my closest times with both those I love and with God.
    I, too, have sat in many doctors offices to discuss infertility, endured medical procedures, etc. It is truly a wild roller coaster ride of emotions and hormones and health. My greatest moment of peace with God – one of those I can actually feel him moments – was the moment I actually heard His voice ask me if I was happy without children. When I acknowledged that children might make me happier, but I was truly happy right now – That was when my fur coat in August dropped from my shoulders- I’d been causing myself needless suffering. My voice then asked “What do you want me to do about this child thing.” He said “Have peace, your life will be full of joy.” We ended up stepping off the infertility roller coaster shortly after that and on to the adoption roller coaster. It’s not the right choice for everyone- and each couple must do what’s right for them- but my dreams were fulfilled beyond measure.
    Thank you so much for writing your heart – you have touched mine today. My prayers are with you and your wife for healing right this second and for your wildest dreams to be fulfilled in an amazing way for your future family.

  3. Beautiful post. So moving. A reminder that things are added, not just lost, is so much more powerful when it comes from a place deep inside, when pain mingles with hope. Thanks for sharing. I’m praying.
    Kelly Stanley recently posted..Pass the fruit salad

  4. Beautiful post, Matt. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the valuable reminder. Prayers for you and your wife.

  5. So sorry your wife is going through such a hard trial, Matt. You both are so right…trials like that do help us to have compassion of others. I pray she feels better soon. “We choose to believe that when we are broken, it is so we can be rebuilt.” Amen to that!
    Eileen recently posted..A Fly on the (Heart) Wall

  6. Matt, thanks for letting us know. I’ve prayed and will pray for both of you. Your attitude through all this blesses God, and I know he has you in the palm of his hand.

  7. Oh Matt; I’ve prayed and will continue to. Appreciate the way you explain the John Lennon line in your 9th paragraph here. As well as your observation about how people respond to tragedy and God work of grace. I’ve definitely experienced that the important life events most frequently occur in the margins.
    Tracy recently posted..An email that surprised me

  8. Praying for you both as you walk this tough road. So very sorry for the pain and anxiety but grateful for the way in which you have shared the beauties discovered even in the middle of this hard time. Hoping you’ll be home for Thanksgiving.
    Diana Trautwein recently posted..Philip or Andrew?

  9. sucks man. praying for you both.

  10. Hope you guys are doing better now and that this week proves restful for your family.

  11. Praying for comfort for your wife, peace for you both, and rest as you lean into the arms of the One who sees and grants grace.
    Holly C. recently posted..An Evening of Gratitude

  12. Matt,

    I hope you guys are doing better—and have prayed for you both! I hope Thanksgiving is a blessed time for you both!

  13. Praying for you…from a hospital waiting room. My in laws are playing tag team sickness, and it very likely means no “normal” Thanksgiving for us this year. What a great reminder to be thankful

    Keep us updated on your wife!

  14. Praying for you! Shalom to you both!


  15. Matt, I will be praying for you and your wife. My husband and I went through a life threatening illness this past year, which started at Thanksgiving. I have written about it on my blog. I know the redemptive power of Jesus, and how good he is in all of life’s situations, especially our most challenging and unexpected ones. One thing I learned is that God is always good, no matter what. That thought is what kept me going. Your wife is in the best of hands. I will pray for wisdom and guidance of her doctors, as well, and for your continued strength as her support. God bless you both.
    Kathleen Fisher recently posted..Music For Your Sunday Morning

  16. You’ve been on my mind since first reading this post. Really don’t want to be cliché.. just know you & your wife are in my thoughts.

  17. What an incredibly uplifting post. Our prayers are with you and your wife. It always amazes me when people can have a positive outlook when experiencing an unexpected life event such as yours.
    Justin Youn recently posted..Presenting the Holy Spirit Review

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