On the Side - June 2014
The Hard Fight
By Shelly Wyrick
Last spring I found one of my daughter’s play figurines, a warrior princess, in the front lawn. The plastic toy had been left in the grass all winter and I knew at first sight what tragedy she had endured. A lawn mowing. Or two. Maybe three. Although she no longer had her right arm nor head, she remained in the most athletic of poses, feet wide apart, knees bent, and sword drawn in her left hand. Still some fight in her. You go girl.
I stood her on the kitchen counter and contemplated her demeanor before asking my daughter if I could have her. Sure mom. Moving her to my bathroom vanity, I saw her there every morning and was reminded to fight hard when life demanded it. That very summer I would need the inspiration.
We got a call sometime after 9:00 at night, because that’s when all bad calls are made. My sister quickly hashed out the situation on the other line- Dad was slurring his speech and they were taking him to the ER. We would soon learn it was a severe hemorrhagic stroke. Only by God’s grace did the man survive. I have lived through a few things, but the days that followed and the memories that are etched in my mind have no comparison: Huddling in the darkly lit neuro intensive care unit with my mom and sisters, like a sports team nearly defeated, I was not sure of who was holding who up, or if any could stand alone. I remember my mama, more poised and terrified than I had ever seen. I recall embracing his body to take in his smell – one thing that remained normal about him. There are other memories, still too real in my mind to tell. I hated so much about it.
The void in not knowing his future and the silence of my hero’s inability to speak just about drove me insane.
In that horror a friend emailed me a verse, “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 62:5-6 NAS). Sometimes the hardest fight is the one you cannot fight at all. I couldn’t fix him. It took all the strength this warrior princess could muster to sit in silence for my Lord. But, like a wildflower returning after a forest fire, faith grows in silence.
Having faith during the quiet fight takes courage. It takes strength. But, at least in my case, faith grew stronger because I was helpless. The weaker I felt the more dependent I was on God, and the more aware I became of His presence. In the silence, His work in the details screamed at me. I appreciated, more then than ever, how tender He was, giving me encouragement in unexpected ways, ways no one else would have noticed. Faith grows in silence. Faith grows in the void. Faith grows when outwardly we cannot do an iota about our situation.
In the silence a girl’s gotta get her game face on, strap on her armor and get set in a ready-position. A girl’s gotta have guts. Gumption. Spunk. John Wayne put it this way, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” In the very shadow of uncontrollable circumstances, we must use what’s left to get ourselves under the wing of the One who can make up the difference. Never stopping, never giving up in her fight to have faith.
To the world, the life of a doctor’s wife seems pretty coosh. And the spouse of a resident rather promising. But someone needs to hear this call to saddle up and wait on the Lord because life’s horrors show no partiality to pay scale or prospective future. And if it’s not you, if your life is just hunky dory right now and you’re thinking Wow, Shelly’s gone off the edge, then open your eyes and look around. Someone around you is hurting, is lonely, is desperate for you to show up and bear a little armor for her. Help her wait on the Lord.
On a Mission
My little figurine has gone on a mission. A friend (the same one who emailed me the verse) is fighting a battle, a long one. So I sent my plastic toy to her house, to remind her to fight hard in the silence. Funny thing, shortly after sending the warrior princess away I found her right arm in the lawn. Accordingly, I set that on my vanity. To some it might look like a right arm laying on a counter. But when I look at her, it appears that she’s in the counter, clawing her way out.
Still some fight in her. You go girl.
Shelly is a physical therapist turned play-at-home-mom of three young kids. Among her other accomplishments, she recently won her first game of Bingo last weekend against her six year old. Shelly adores her old-fashioned manly-man of a husband, coffee, and Jesus. She is currently trying to rehabilitate her black thumb in the garden and also enjoys writing, jogging, and being outdoors with her family. Ten months after his stroke, her dad has made an incredible recovery and is still fighting hard.