Exactly four months ago today, Jason experienced a massive heart attack. Who would have thought that my healthy, in-shape, non-smoker husband would almost lose his life at 38 years old? Life can change so very fast! Each day we are given is truly a gift from God.
God has been very faithful to provide healing for Jason in the past few months. But his life has definitely been changed. My life has also held many changes. Our family has had to adjust to many “new normals.”
For the past three months, Jason has attended a cardiac rehab program in order to strengthen and rebuild his heart function. Three mornings a week for the past 12 weeks, he has taken the kids to school, driven himself to the Heart Life Center, and diligently worked out while being monitored by the staff with blood pressure checks, heart monitors, and weight checks.
The purpose of this cardiac rehab program holds two important goals: 1) to strengthen Jason’s physical heart and rebuild his stamina and 2) to help Jason learn to trust his heart again.
After suffering through the major trauma of a heart attack, it is often very difficult for the patient to trust his own heart. Fear can easily set in. Worry about exercising can creep into his mind. Doubts about “it” happening again can paralyze the patient.
Therefore, the rehab program helps the patient develop confidence in his heart once more. Through close monitoring and increased exercise, the patient realizes that his heart stamina is rebuilding and healing. It’s a gradual process but a needful one.
Just this past week, Jason “graduated” from his cardiac rehab program! YAY!! His cardiologist cleared him to exercise any way he now chooses! His heart has regained strength and is operating very well. It was definitely a day to celebrate at our house!
In my own life over the course of the past few months, I’ve also been learning to trust HIS heart. I’m talking about trusting the heart of my Savior. I’ve had to practice over and again the art of exercising my trust in His love for me.
Elisabeth Elliot, one of my favorite heroes, wrote these words, “I am not a theologian or a scholar but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.”
I love the verses from Psalm 103 which say, “The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. (v. 8) For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.” (vv. 11-14)
God has been teaching my own heart (again and again) to trust HIS heart of love for me. It’s been painful to watch my husband suffer and endure losing his strength and stamina. It’s hurt to see him struggle with the changes that come from such a heart event. It’s been hard to face the challenges that have come to our own marriage. Yet, it is in the pain and hardships that I’ve endured that I’m truly coming to know and understand the love of God.
Many nights following Jason’s heart attack, I would awake during the night and feel a fear that perhaps he wasn’t breathing. I would take my hand and gently lay it on his back or chest to feel the rise and fall of his breath. And I would pray.
I would thank God that my husband was alive and healing. I would thank Him that He was faithful to us. I would also ask Him to conquer my fears and replace with a strong confidence in His love – a perfect love that casts out fear.
Psalms 119:76 says, “Now let Your unfailing love comfort me, just as You promised me, Your servant.”
I would also rehearse in my mind and heart the faithfulness of God. Throughout the past few years I have seen God work in my own life and bring healing to my brokenness, fears, griefs, and doubts over and over again. I have experienced the love of my Jesus in ways I never dreamed possible. The love of God that once was only head knowledge has deeply moved into my heart. It has been a process of leaning into His love for me and looking for ways that He shows His love throughout Scripture and personally in my life.
Psalm 13:5-6 says, “But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the LORD because He is good to me.”
As I continue to understand the depths of God’s love, I am learning to more consistently trust HIS heart in every season of life.
God’s love for me never fails.
God’s love rescues me.
God’s love covers my sin.
God’s love conquers my fears.
God’s love provides for my every need.
God’s love is too deep, high , and wide to ever be measured.
God’s love always gives me His best.
God’s love is unchanging.
God’s love upholds me.
“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands…” (Ex. 34:6-7)
I would have to agree with Elisabeth Elliot that it is often in the pains and struggles of life that our roots of trust grow deeper in His love. It is in the hard and messy times that we are able to more fully understand His presence that is always with us. I am never alone in my pain. He is always with me.
I’ll never forget what the nurses and hospital staff asked me the day of Jason’s heart attack. A few of them were talking with me and said, “You are so calm. We can’t believe how you seem to be ok and not hysterical. How can you be so at peace?”
Without any hesitancy in my voice or heart, I simply replied, “I’ve been through hard before. And I know God will be faithful. He has been teaching me to trust Him. I lost my mom to suicide a few years ago. He has taught me to know His love and He will always do what is best for me. I can trust His heart.”
As I spoke those words, I remember feeling a complete confidence in His love and care for me. I was confident that He also loved my husband.
Has it always been easy for me to believe those words in the past few months? At times, I’ve struggled. Have I cried and asked God to remove the hard? Yes. Do I have moments of fear and worry? Absolutely.
Yet, deep inside my heart, I know I can trust God’s love for me. When my human weaknesses threaten to steal my joy, confidence, and peace, I must remind my heart of the truths found in His Word. I must reflect on the countless ways He has shown His faithfulness. I must go to Him and ask for faith to believe. I must surround myself with others to strengthen my heart with encouraging words of truth.
What circumstances have threatened your belief in God’s love for you? How are you reminding your heart of His constant and faithful love for you? Are you counseling your heart with the truth of His Word . . . His love letter to us?
I pray your heart will be encouraged to trust His heart once again. It’s a process – letting go of our lives and control and giving ourselves to His control…trusting that His love is always better than we can fathom.
Recently, I heard this song from Ellie Holcomb: “You Love Me Best.” It’s a new favorite of mine. I promise your heart will be encouraged.