Carry The Mat

by Laura Hairston

When I think of my blog’s title, “Life At The Table”, I am reminded it is not just easy life, but all encompassing of life at the table – life when it’s easy, fun, exciting, but, at the same time, when life brings stress, illness, loss, and a list of things we have all experienced at one point in our lives.

This morning as I read about God being for us and not against us (Romans 8:31) and that God is our help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1), it made me think of the other times I have read those words, well actually quickly skimmed over those words without question and just assumed ‘yeah, that sounds good’, but once I walked through my own adversity, if I’m being honest, those words became challenging for me. I think when we walk through times of uncertainty, life shattering words like, ‘you have cancer’, those words can become a comfort, but, also, a question. God, if you’re for me, why do I have cancer? God, if you are not against me, then why did I lose my baby? Even though deep down I know God is good, He’s the one who ultimately brings peace, hope, life, there are times in the midst of the fog of life, to feel those truths, but there are times if we are all honest with ourselves we have questioned those truths. Sometimes in life we feel paralyzed and even unsure of what to feel or where to seek, but God brings along friends who help carry us and help answer those questions and even show us in tangible ways the nearness of God.

I was then reminded of the story, our friend, Kim shares of the friends who carried their paralytic friend to the feet of Jesus (Mark 2:1-12). Now, it was not easy because of the crowds, but they were persistent and opened the roof and lowered their friend to Jesus. Jesus said by their faith, his sins were forgiven and he was healed.

So what does that say to me? First of all, I have experienced and seen God’s help in times of trouble work through others. There are times our friends go through life shattering events that paralyze them – death, illness, loss of family, etc., and it is hard for them to move let alone pray, believe, or just make arrangements for life – because life does not just stop going on around us.

So, what is our response? We carry our friends. We organize whatever is needed when they are unable. We watch their children. We make them meals. We clean their home. We sit with them without having to utter a word. But, we also pray when they cannot and we trust that by our faith they will be healed.

A little over 8 years ago, Ryan and I walked through one of those times. On December 19, 2005, the day after our one year wedding anniversary, I received the news that Ryan had been in an accident and rushed to one of the hospitals and I needed to get there as soon as possible. I immediately froze, and all I could do was call my friend whose house I Just left. She immediately threw her children in the car, past their bedtime, with no shoes and rushed to pick me up. If you are not aware, there are A LOT of hospitals in the DFW area, but through her making phone calls, we found it. Ryan had been taken by helicopter to one of the head trauma hospitals in the area, an hour away from our home.

The next 4 weeks we sat in ICU, at times unsure if he would pull through experiencing blood clot, collapsed lungs, multiple breaks in bones, induced coma, and breathing machine all happening during Christmas and New Years. He was then stabilized and released. He was unable to put weight on his foot, which meant he was to be in wheelchair for six weeks and afterwards, a month of therapy learning to walk again.

So, there I was a 23 year old young woman, thinking after one year I would be a widow. Paralyzing to say the least. But, I had friends and family carry the mat for me. They prayed for us, brought meals to the hospital and to our home after leaving the hospital, kept our dogs, came and sat with Ryan so I could take a break, lured me outside the hospital room to take a walk outside or just a good nap. Once he started therapy, the staff at our former church set up a schedule to take him and bring him home. They knew what I needed and just did it. They did not care if they were inconvenienced, they didn’t say, “let me know what you need”, they just made suggestions and did it. I will say that is very easy for us to throw out and even though our hearts may be right, but when in deep water treading, we don’t know what we need. That is where trusting in the spirit to help us discern what people and the obedience to just say “yes” is very important!

I cannot tell you how much it meant to me when in the midst of the fog they stepped in. I was so thankful for the shared life I experienced with friends and family and the way they allowed God to use them. He was close to the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18) through the servantship of our friends. I am forever grateful for them because God gave me a peace that passed all understanding, a hope that Ryan would be healed, and a trust that whatever happened The Lord was faithful and He would take care of me.

So, as you share life with friends, remember that when life throws curveballs and leaves us paralyzed, pick up the mat and carry them to the feet of Jesus.

Posted on January 11, 2014 .