“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

In Love...and Desperation - God is So Good

I'm at the Midwest blog The Barn Door today, talking about a lovely visit I had to one of the many attractions here in the Grand Rapids. Come join me for my retreat to the Frederick Meijer Gardens - a garden retreat.

Welcome to my Wednesday feature God is So Good. Here I will share stories - true and fiction, mine and others' - of the Lord's presence in the midst of trials, struggles, and difficulties.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33bW
 Well, it's almost Mother's Day. And partly for that reason, I thought I'd share this piece which I originally wrote for the FaithWriters writing challenge (with names changed for anonymity - though I have NO idea if it worked LOL). I've "fixed" the names - and a few other details. It's 100% true. And still, I am 100% grateful.

"I'm so glad you're here." Those were the only words I could force from my mouth as I held her tight.

"Me too. It's going to be all right, dear." Neither of our voices was above a whisper.

We both needed the embrace, the encouragement to hang on, the hope for the future. We were desperate for the strength to work through--to think through--the events of the past few days. I certainly can't speak for Sharon, but I know I was glad to see her walk through the hospital room door at that moment. Her hug was precious, as were her words.

It made no difference to me that we were not blood relatives, or that she wasn't even related to my husband by blood. It didn't matter that she was "just" his step-mother. Sharon loved him with a maternal love, and she treated me like the daughter she'd never had.

My own mother, the one I'd turned to for every scary, frightening situation in my first half-dozen years, was no longer living. My step-mother, who had taken her place (to an extent, anyway) in those matters for the next dozen or two years, was three thousand miles away.

For the past decade or so, I'd had someone else to turn to with my fears--someone new with which to share them. My husband, Marc, became my protector: the one who scared away the boogie man and comforted me in my troubles. But today, when I needed someone to do just that, not only was he unavailable, but he was what was scaring me.

Then, of course, there was God. Was he there? Undoubtedly. And, yes, he comforted me. But sometimes having a physical person you can actually touch and talk to can make a difficult situation a bit easier to handle.

It was my husband in that hospital bed, and we really had no answers. When hospital personnel were mentioning "mass" and "brain" in the same sentence, however, best-case scenarios were not the first things to come to mind. Sure, God was in control, but how would this affect me, my family, my husband, my LIFE?

It was comforting, somehow, to have another woman there with me. Females really do seem to react to situations like this differently than men do. I needed someone who could share in my concern and fear: someone who would understand. We could certainly empathize with each other. She and I were both afraid of losing someone we loved dearly: she, her step-son of nineteen years, and me, my husband of nine.

Sharon and I, unlike the mother-in-law stereotype, had gotten along since we'd met. Yet, something about that desperate situation, and the love we both had for Marc, created a special bond--a bond of desperation and love, if you will--between us. We were truly drawn together by this trial. This is a bond we still have, 9 years later. The trial is not gone either, though it is different: less immediate, more controlled, if you will. And through it all, Sharon was, and is, there.

I had other ladies in my life during this time, and they were certainly a blessing. Yet, God knew what I needed at that moment in the hospital room (and several others over the next few years): a woman who loved me, and Marc, in a way only a maternal figure could--and could do it in person. God gave us that woman in Sharon.


There are a small handful of people who I KNOW were huge in getting us through this trial. My mother-in-law was one of them. And God provided each one. He is SO good!
Do you have a story you'd like to share about God's goodness in your struggles? Drop me an email and we can talk! 
Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength


  1. A beautifully inspiring testimony Joanne.

  2. I can't begin to tell you how I've known the comfort of others during my trial. But my mother's support was unlike anyone else's. You're right, a woman's touch is a special touch, and I'm so glad you had your mother in law in your time of need. This is a special gift to hold in your heart.

    Recently, Billy was sick and spent some time in the ER. While he was there, I kept thinking, "What would I do without him? He is my support..."

    Thankful we aren't in this alone, Joanne. Thankful for the faith and trust we share in Jesus Christ.



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