What to Do When the Stress Never Ends


I just needed to hang in there until May 31.

I knew April and May would be ridiculously busy with extensive traveling, speaking engagements, ministering to cancer patients/caregivers, serving on faculty at writing conferences, milestone family celebrations, and teaching discipleship classes. But I just had to make it until May 31 and then my schedule would clear, I could relax and shift out of stressful, high-gear living. I knew I could do it.

But that was before we met with the doctor on May 30.

Unexplained, intermittent pain in my husband’s right knee–now a year-and-a-half since bilateral  replacements–led us to yet-another appointment with his surgeon.  An earlier CT scan confirmed what we already knew, i.e. something’s not right. Blood work did not indicate an infection, but the doctor wanted to aspirate some fluid “just to make sure.”

We were anticipating my husband would need a “revision” surgery, placing a small, steel rod beneath his tibia, which appeared to be slipping. It would be a much easier procedure than what he’d already been through and very little rehab required. in fact, the pain should be improved pretty much immediately.

We weren’t crazy about him having to have more surgery–he’s already had four procedures on that knee (two invasive and two arthroscopic)–but it didn’t sound like a big deal. Kind of like when you’ve survived cancer and then a doctor tells you that you have a kidney stone. The latter doesn’t seem nearly as daunting because of what you’ve already faced.

But when the surgeon withdrew the second tube of fluid, he said his “stomach dropped.” Instead of the clear color he expected, it looked yellow and cloudy–normally a sign of infection. Now the conversation shifted from “propping up” the tibia, to removing the entire replacement, cleaning out the area and at some point putting in a new joint followed by extended antibiotics and extensive rehabilitation.


Just when I almost had made it to May 31.

Do you know that feeling? It happens when your life has been spinning out of control and you discover that the light you see at the end of the tunnel is really an oncoming train. Or when the roller coaster of bad news just keeps taking another plunge.  Or when you can’t seem to catch a break with your job, your finances, your kids, your………………..fill in the blank.

Maybe the bottom dropped out just when you thought you had gotten through it all. Just when you thought life would slow down. Just when you imagined the stress would end. Just when you could exhale.

But now, like me, you are waiting and wondering. How big and heavy is that train I see coming? Is there any chance to derail it? Can I possibly jump away before impact?

Good questions. And I don’t know any of the answers. But I do know how I prayed  after that doctor appointment  and how God answered.

“Lord, I feel terrible for my husband to have to go through pain and excruciating work AGAIN and honestly, I feel terrible for ME to have to go through exhausting caregiving again. It doesn’t make sense. And because I already know how difficult it may be, I can’t logically feel okay about it.

“But, I’m praying and believing that Your Holy Spirit can bring me a peace that passes all understanding. A peace that isn’t based on what I can see or know or even feel on my own, but simply on Your supernatural power to do more than I can ask or imagine.”

I prayed that last Friday. On Saturday morning when I read my Bible, words jumped off the page and encouraged my heart. On Sunday morning, the worship music lifted my spirits and the message was just what I needed to hear. Nothing had changed in our circumstances and no new information was obtained concerning our future, but it was well with my soul.

God will do the same for you and your loved one.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he’s done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand, His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

P.S. Surgery–of some sort–is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, June 8. If I don’t blog for a while, it’s because I’m taking really good care of my guy!

If the music video below doesn’t automatically load, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCR_Fa8YV2U






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