It was my second day out of town.
With no family......
No requests or duties......
3 1/2 full days of "ME TIME".
I had plans to do absolutely nothing but what I wanted to do.
I was in Las Vegas.
NO. I did not need to see the strip.
I had no plans to gamble.
I didn't even want to catch a show.
I wanted to write, get a massage, shop a little, and be an old lady.
My idea of fun is to not have any duties.
This is what I had in mind.
But here I was laid up in my hotel room.....SICK.
It had hit me in the early hours of the morning.
I woke up out of my sleep with the insatiable need to vomit.
I ran to the bathroom, and up came all of the chinese food that had just went down only hours before.
It was hard to believe that it had tasted so delicious going down, and unbelievably disgusting coming up.
Whatever this bug was that I had not only dehydrated me, but took all of my strength.
I laid in the bed sweating and unable to move.
Hours would go by and I'd wake up still feeling like a bus hit me.
At one point I cut off my phone to keep from having to answer calls and texts, only to be awaken out of my sleep to the hotel staff calling.
My husband and the administrator of the church that I was there to minister at that Sunday were calling to do a Wellness Check because they had not heard from me.
My husband was ready to hop a flight!
He'd never known me to not still be moving and "doing" even when sick.
And the fact that I was unusually weak had him concerned.
I was in "man down" status for sure.
My idea of taking in the warmer weather in Las Vegas, getting a bite to eat and relaxing would have to take a back seat.
I was sick. And I was sick for real.
As I stayed in my room dozing in and out of sleep, though being legarthic was a large part of my resting, I realized that my body actually needed the rest, sick or not.
I could feel my cells taking in every ounce of stillness as if they had been waiting for a time where I would simply stay put.
I admitedlly do not know how to be still.
I always feel as though something is going undone.
And as I gave in fully to the need to rest, without zero fight or thought for a task that I could be doing, my mind began to open up.
And God began to gently open conversation with me as he often does.
With my face resting on the white sheets and hotel pillows, I had a flashback.
And I felt God asking me: "Do you remember when?"
My mind went back to a season in my life when I would get in the bed, lay my head on my pillow and cry and ask God:
"Where are you?"
It was a very lonely season.
It was hard.
I was weathering a lot of external situations that were out of my control, but very much effecting my entire life, mind, soul, body, and spirit.
And I felt like God was not doing or saying much.
I remember the pain of the trial itself, but also the feeling of helplessness and abandonment.
I was afraid to say it or admit it, but I felt like God had abandoned me.
I had an idea of what His job was. And he was not doing it.
As this season went on, I would often get in my bed and cry myself to sleep, asking God where he was.
Now.....as I lay here in my hotel room, on a totally different coast, during a totally different time in my life, the thought came to me:
"I used to go to bed asking God where he was. Now I go to bed saying that I know that you are with me."
This thought hit me in such a profound way.
I had not even noticed the change.
I could not pinpoint a day or time or epiphany or moment...... I just realized that somewhere between the origin of my trial, and the future that I was living in.....my question changed to a confession.
I can't tell you the moment that I realized that God had always been there.
I cannot tell you a dream that I had, a word that I received, or an angelic visitation that I experienced.
I just knew that I had changed from question to confession.
And I didn't know when it happened.
But I knew that I was not the same.
Somewhere in the course of my journey, I exchanged weakness for strength.
I decided to walk with God.
I decided to wait out my question with persistence.
I gave up my offense and expectations.
I became a student.
I held on to God through my season.
And as a result, I received spiritual tutelage in a trial that God chose not to deliver me from, but deliver me through.
There are sides of God that are only available to us in conditions that require them.
It was important to God that I learn him that way.
It mattered that I have the discernment of his presence on mountains and in valleys.
And going through a trial WITH God changes the question of his presence to a knowing that cannot be shaken or taken away.
And you can never really tell when the question changes, because the change is gradual, but radical.
It is gradual but sure.
It is happening as you go.
And when you see it, it is an epiphany all in itself.
Your fragility is still there in terms of vulnerability with God.
But you have an authority now.
There is a distinct authority that comes with being fully convinced that he's real....and that his reality is for you.
As I lay under the covers, recovering from being ill, I began to cry.
I gave myself credit that I had not ever given.
I celebrated being changed.
And I celebrated making a decision to wait on God to change my answer.
It was not my pride making me give myself credit.
I could literally feel God smiling over me as he brought the impression to my heart to remember my "once upon a time".
He was so proud of me.
There would be more battles to fight, and trials to push through.
But right here, in this moment, I was grateful for a very tangible change that God was highlighting.
I was different.
I was no longer changing in that area. I had gone from changing to changed.
And it was sure.