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Blog Introduction

This blog is the story of how my husband and I faced the illness and death of two of our children. Each blog post is essentially a chapter in the story, so in order to truly understand it, you are going to benefit by starting at the beginning.
I hope you find our story touching, and in some way find comfort and hope through it as you face your own storms in life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"I Can't Do This!"

I needed to escape.  The mounting mental torment I was experiencing, along with the effects of culture shock, had pushed me to the brink of despair.  I was internally panicking.  Like a caged animal, I felt trapped with no way out, and I was becoming desperate.

Rob was on one of his trips to Trieste to pick up guest speakers for a conference.  The weather had turned particularly nasty, with gusty winds and plenty of snow.  Europeans know how to drive in this kind of wintery weather, but they are cautious when it gets really bad.  The roads toward Italy, and into Trieste, are winding, mountainous roads; much too treacherous to travel in icy conditions, so to prevent unnecessary injuries and death, they shut down many of the highways. We would see tractor-trailers and cars lined up along the road for miles as there was no where for them to go. The day Rob traveled to Trieste, they began to shut down roads. I sat home watching it snow while my mind, in it's overly distressed state, began to conceptualize an "acceptable" way to get home.  "If only Rob would get in a car accident and die, then I would have a legitimate excuse to go home and no one would think any less of us." It was a horrible thing to even consider, but I was desperate.  I didn't really want him to die; what I really wanted was an out. Thankfully, he and his passengers arrived home safely, but subconsciously, I once again felt trapped.  That avenue of escape had not opened, and I felt hopeless again.

The conference at church was set to begin, and Rob and I had been asked  to pray with people at the end of the service.  We wore name badges so those visiting the church would know who had been designated to help.  I sat near the front with a friend as the worship team led us in song, then the message was given. The entire time I felt squirmy inside; knots in my stomach, churned up. I wished I wasn't there.  I kept looking around, as if to find the quickest, most unobserved route to make an exit.  I was supposed to be one of the spiritual ones here; the ones who had faith to move mountains and to see God touch people and heal them.  I was supposed to be a leader, but instead I felt like a failure and a fake, and I wanted to run.  I was doubtful and confused about God's goodness, His ability to heal; everything.
When the time came for us to pray, I went up as directed.  A little old woman came to me and asked for prayer.  Through a translator, her need was expressed, and I prayed as best I could in that moment.  Then another woman came for prayer.  Again, I prayed with all the sincerity I could muster, but the conflict inside of me was raging.  I couldn't continue praying for others, expecting them to believe for things I no longer believed in.  After I finished praying with her, I swiftly walked away, ripped off the name badge I was wearing, returned to my seat, and gushed out the words I had felt for so long; "I can't do this!"  My friend put her arm around me and softly said, "I know." I felt like a failure, and I knew I couldn't keep living the facade.  I could not offer to others the hope I no longer had for myself.  I could not offer the Healer to those in need, when I no longer believed He healed.  In fact, I wasn't even sure I believed in Him at all anymore.  He had let me down, He had rejected me, and He didn't love me.  I could not share with others what I did not have to give.  I spent the rest of the night either in the outer hallway or outdoors.  I could not stand being in the room where I was supposed to be ministering; it would have shouted my failure from every corner for all to hear.
Little was said about my exit by anyone, but I could tell by the look in their eyes people knew something was wrong. It was becoming harder to keep my inner turmoil to myself.  The long-held emotional war was starting to break through the crevices and show itself to others. It would be hard to keep the battle to myself from this point on.

Other signs I was in trouble were becoming apparent. My appetite had dwindled to nearly nothing, and I was rapidly losing weight. I enjoyed the fact that my pants weren't tight anymore, but even in my fragile mental state, I knew good nutrition was important, and that my intake was not enough.  At 5' 8" tall, 115 pounds was not healthy.  It didn't matter.  I could not force food to my mouth.  I had to cut a slice of bread into at least four smaller pieces to even begin being able to consume it.  Larger pieces were too overwhelming and were flat out  rejected.   I was becoming more and more withdrawn, preferring to be the "wall-flower" instead of engaging in conversations with anyone.  Trips Rob loved to take me on to downtown Ljubljana for coffee or pizza, were now rejected repeatedly.  I couldn't get my mind around leaving the house, my sanctuary. I was battling insomnia in spite of the fact that I was tired all the time.  I would fall asleep, but invariably awakened at four a.m. every day only to lie in bed in the chains of anxiety until the light of morning would finally come and release me from the darkness. The anxiety would fade, but returned each evening.

I was spiraling downward into a full-blown depression. 



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