I love the way God turns unpleasant situations around to use for His glory and redemption. He has recently shown me a tangible example of that through my daughter’s life. He truly works ALL things together for His good, and the good of those who love Him!
When my husband was gone, I found myself in the position of being a “solo” parent. It was awkward, because we had absolutely no communication with him, and his departure was rather abrupt. There was radio silence for long periods of time. It’s difficult to know how that can impact a child. Jasmyne was 8 when her Dad left, and I did the best I could to create as normal a life as possible and to drive home the fact that her Dad’s departure had nothing to do with her. I think that on some level, she understood that, but still, I can only imagine that subconsciously, it was having an effect on her.
During the time Scott was gone, we went through some major changes. About a year after he left, we moved from North Carolina to Tennessee. That was huge for Jasmyne, as it meant saying goodbye to friends she’d known since kindergarten, saying goodbye to Grandma (my mother) who she had grown close to since she was 2.5, and changing schools. In fact, she had to change schools twice…after we moved here, they rezoned the district forcing her to change schools yet again! She took it like a trooper and enjoyed the adventure, but it was still a huge change. Then, a few months after we got to Tennessee, I went to graduate school for 2 years. My schedule was crazy, but thankfully we had amazing support through that, and the experience turned out to be another wonderful adventure for both of us. We met some new friends, and lots of neat doors opened up to us when I went back to school. The move to Tennessee proved to be the best thing for us, as it positioned us to receive some beautiful treasures in the darkness of my husband’s absence. Scott’s absence definitely left a hole in our lives. God’s grace filled that hole, and yet, we still didn’t have clear answers on what was to become of him or his position in our lives, or of us. Even in the midst of all the good we experienced in spite of his absence, it was like something was hanging over our heads.
In 2015, Jasmyne and I both reached a turning point. By early 2015, I was done with graduate school, Jasmyne was in 5th grade…and God began to shift some things in our lives. Relationships changed, (one in particular with a family member that was a painful but necessary change for both of us) my schedule changed, and little did I know that God was beginning to prepare my heart for Scott’s return. By the end of 2015, I was back in contact with him, making plans for his return home!! Whew!
Between the craziness of our lives and our schedules, and the unfinished business with Scott, both mine and Jasmyne’s health were suffering in ways we couldn’t really see. For me, it came in the form of severe anemia…my iron stores had become so low that the doctor told me I not only had low hemoglobin, but I had NO iron stored in my bone marrow! I thought I was just tired because I was so busy! Concerts, classes, papers, lessons, childcare, gigs…who wouldn’t be tired! He couldn’t believe I was walking around! I took tons of iron for months before my levels got back to close to being normal! Hormonal changes, perimenopause, and who knows what else contributed to the decrease in iron, but it boils down to one word: STRESS. It was literally sucking the life out of me!
I had noticed for some time that Jasmyne’s weight was steadily creeping up. I needed help, because I was trying my best to make sure we ate reasonably healthy, even with my crazy schedule…but clearly something was not right. So, I took to Google and discovered that our local children’s hospital had a program for children struggling with weight issues. It sounded perfect for us! So I signed Jasmyne up, and…well, you can read about it here:
I could not be more proud as a mom, and I’m so happy for her! She was so excited about her progress that she wanted to return to the clinic and show her team what she had accomplished, and thank them for their help. They were so impressed, they invited her to share her story and be featured in their magazine!! Little did Jasmyne know that her triumph over her challenges would lead to being a “cover girl”, and being able to inspire other children all over our region! I especially love that this experience has helped her grow in her own relationship with the Lord, for herself! She recognizes His hand in turning this area of her life around for His glory!
I am proud of her, not only for this amazing accomplishment of taking responsibility for her own health, but for the way she has handled herself in the midst of some serious challenges. I don’t think it is an accident that Jasmyne found her motivation to apply all she learned at the clinic AFTER her Dad returned home. In all honesty, I believe that his absence was every bit as much a part of her struggles as our lifestyle. It’s as if, when he came home, things became clearer for all of us in so many ways. Between that, going through puberty and a leap in her maturity and development, something inside of Jasmyne just clicked, and she took off. I marvel at the way God takes those areas in which we are weak, are major challenges, or seem hopeless and dark, and turns it around for a testimony, if we are brave enough to let Him do so, just like Jasmyne was brave to share her story.
I believe there is a lesson in this for our family, and a glimpse of some things to come. Just like Jasmyne adjusted her lifestyle to set her up for success, as a family we plug away at making adjustments, in the midst of continuously evolving circumstances, in order to achieve success in the long run.
In March, Scott’s care provider made the decision to change medications, and it has been several months of “touch and go” as we try to get the dosage right. Thankfully, he is not in any kind of crisis or danger and he is cooperative and agreeable with his care. Still, it has not been a fun journey, and there have been some discouraging moments with some breakthrough symptoms. It took so long to get the medication he had to discontinue right, and we had finally found a groove, and then BAM! Suddenly we found ourselves whipped in a whole new direction.
I will say this: since March, the Lord has taken me on a deeper journey of trust in Him, with new directions of fresh hope for our future that I may not otherwise have found if we had not had this setback. Scott is getting some of the best care he’s ever received, and new doors of support have opened that I’ve never had in nearly 18 years of marriage. As I have slowly opened up with more of our journey from a spouse’s perspective, people have marveled over the hand of God in our lives, and have gained hope in their situations. In other words, God is bringing redemption to our story.
I don’t know what the future holds for our family, but I continue to hold on to the Father, who I know holds on to me, my daughter, and my husband. My daughter’s story inspires me. I hope it inspires you!!!