All of my life, I have considered myself a Christian. As a child, I was involved in Sunday school and youth group. I have extremely fond memories of those days. As I got older, I continued to be an active member of my church, and I even taught Sunday school for preschoolers and served as a trustee. I thoroughly enjoyed going to church, and could not imagine my life without it.
When Ethan was born, I had him baptized. I took him to Sunday school. However, as he got older and our lives became busier, I slowly stopped attending. After all, I had to work every other weekend, so having a weekend "off" was a treat. Who wanted to get up early if they didn't have to? Slowly, I started realizing that I was no longer praying. I even started to question the whole idea of God, Jesus, and Heaven. It was a nice idea..but it was just that. An idea. And the sad part was... I was totally fine with my new way of thinking.
Several months ago, I was driving alone in my car, when I thought to myself "For me to become a believer in God again, something big is going to have to happen. Something life-changing. And then a miracle is going to have to happen. THEN maybe I will start believing that there is a power out there that is bigger than myself."
And then September 20 happened. My sister collapsed. I won't lie and say that I immediately turned to God. I didn't. I didn't even pray initially. It took me several weeks before I remembered what I had thought months before. And it literally took my breath away when I remembered.
Now I am certainly NOT saying that God saw my faith whithering away and used my sister as some sort of example. I don't believe that for one second. I am also not going to say that now that my faith has started to grow again, that my life is all rainbows and sunshine and everything all of a sudden makes sense. NONE of it makes sense and the unknown is haunting. I am a mess. Every morning I wake up thinking that today will be the day that I will start making better choices, and every night I go to bed trying to think of new ways to escape this reality. Often I wish that I could take Leslie's place. I deserve it. I'm not as good of a person as she is. She is a GOOD person. She has a heart of gold. I have always been more...what's the right word... mean? Judgmental? Both?
One of my biggest issues with Christianity are the people who act as though once you believe in God and start following His ways and reading the Bible, everything in life is so much easier. What the heck am I doing wrong, if this is the case? I struggle with how God can supposedly heal some people of such simple, insignificant ailments, yet my sister has to struggle every single day. I know how much MY heart hurts when I listen to her cry and ask, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?" ...how can this supposed "almighty, loving, and powerful" God sit back and not fix her?
I don't know. But I do know that the odds were VERY much against her. One horrifying incident has had such a ripple effect. People who hardly know her tear up when they hear her story. People are giving in such extremely generous ways, and I am absolutely CERTAIN that Heaven is literally bombarded with prayers for her on a daily basis.
I believe in God and I believe He was with her on September 20. I believe that God knows how much my heart is hurting, and I believe he knows how much her heart is hurting, too. I believe that her time on Earth will NOT be done any time soon, and that someday we will have a better understanding of why this happened. I do NOT believe this is the new Leslie, and I do believe that while it seems as though she has hit a plateau, she will continue to improve, a little at a time. And I also believe that I will have my days where I hit rock bottom, but I will also have my days where I will be full of hope.
She is a true miracle.