Families

When Your Life is No Cinderella Story

Barbara Rainey

Tuesday morning dawned like any other normal July morning in our house. However, things soon changed as I drove home after dropping my kids off at their summer activities. Without warning, I suddenly felt extremely dizzy and almost blacked out.

Although I could barely see, I managed to pull into a parking space. I dropped my head on the steering wheel and prayed, “Lord, please let me get home.” I was only a block away. My vision cleared somewhat, and I slowly drove home. My next prayer was that my husband, Dennis, would still be at the house. I made my way through the door, greatly relieved that my second prayer was answered. Dennis was home.

We rushed to the hospital. I reclined in the passenger seat, my heart racing at 200 to 300 beats per minute. My mind raced too. How long would it last this time? It had been seven years since we’d discovered my congenital heart problem. Why was it happening again? Why now?

The Big Surprise

Approximately three months before this traumatic Tuesday, I had discovered another unexpected plan God had for my life. We were nearing the end of an unusually busy spring, and I was feeling particularly stretched with our five children. They were normal, active, curious children with five different personalities and five different sets of needs and problems.

I found out I was pregnant, and I was completely caught off guard by the news.

I was physically sick, drained mentally and tired just thinking about six children.

Learning to Trust God’s Will

The next two months were hard. Life was reduced to whatever took the least amount of effort. I felt so overwhelmed and cried out to God. I acknowledged that He had a plan for my life, and I believed that He knew what was best for my family and me. But on many days, feelings of discouragement and inadequacy would take over. I continued to fight my recurring fears: “Would it happen again?” “Will our baby be OK?” “How could I do what God was asking me to do?”

During this time, I turned to the Bible, and Isaiah 41:10 stuck out to me:

“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Revised Standard Version).

I reread it several times, “Fear not, for I am with you, I will help you.” It was encouraging to know that God would give me the strength and the help I needed.

Finding Strength

Back to that Tuesday in July. I lay in the intensive care unit. My heart was out of control. I felt helpless and concerned about my unborn child. I knew that God could heal and protect, but I also knew that He was the giver and the taker of life. I prayed simply that He would protect our baby and spare its life and mine.

After two hours of trying different medications, the doctor induced sleep and retimed my heart using an electric shock treatment. When I woke up, the nurse told me I was OK and that the baby’s heartbeat was a strong 152 beats per minute. I was so relieved that I cried for joy because of God’s goodness to me.

Through that pregnancy and hospitalization, I learned that accepting God’s will for my life can be a difficult assignment. Sometimes, God’s will requires an adjustment. It may also carry a price tag called suffering — whether it be emotional, mental or physical.

But even though things can be hard, the Bible tells us God’s will is good. In the book of Romans, verse 12:2, it says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (New International Version).

Laura Victoria Rainey was born on a cold January night. She was healthy and unaffected by my racing heart episode. She has added many joys and smiles to our family.

Looking back, that experience taught me a lot. Even though there were times I wished I was Cinderella and the wave of a magic wand could give me an escape, I learned to trust God’s direction in my life. I learned that He would enable me to do what He had planned. Another Bible verse that really helped me to see this is 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV): “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”

The question I asked myself, I will now ask you for you too may find yourself in the middle of a plan that is not by your design: “What difference will this part of God’s will make in your life? Will you resist and insist on your own plan, or will you allow God to lead your decisions?” The choice is yours and mine.

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@ 2006 FamilyLife. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission from FamilyLife.

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