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Escaping Stress

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7, NASB).

 

My husband, Dan, has battled high blood pressure since we first married over thirty years ago. Hmmm…now that I think about it, there just might be a connection there! Nevertheless, for several years, Dan struggled with an irregular heartbeat, a debilitating condition that drains energy and generally promotes a compelling sense of exhaustion. 

 

Now you need to understand something very important about my husband. Dan Southerland is not accustomed to doing anything short of full speed ahead, so you can imagine his frustration and my concern. Little did I know that the opportunity for fear and worry would escalate to a whole new level when, at 2:30 am on March 15, Dan looked at me and said, “Honey, I think you need to call an ambulance.” I already had. 

 

Sweat was dripping from his body like rain, followed by waves of excruciating chest pain, dizziness and nausea. The ambulance arrived six minutes after I called and began to work on my now semi-unconscious husband. I heard one paramedic say, “I can’t get a blood pressure reading, pulse or vein.” Dan gained consciousness for a few seconds to say, “I love you. Go get Danna.” I knew what he was saying and I was not having it! I climbed up on the bed beside my precious husband and in my kindest, most merciful voice said, “Honey, if you die, I will absolutely kill you! You are not going anywhere! You are staying right here! Do you understand me?” That declaration certainly grabbed the attention of the paramedics whose heads snapped up to see the lunatic wife in action. I then called for reinforcements. “Danna, get in here,” I yelled to our 20-year-old daughter who was already dressed and standing behind me. If her eyes had not been twice their normal size, I would never have known she was terrified. “What’s up, Dad?” she asked. That’s my girl! The paramedics finally got an IV going and within minutes, Dan was feeling much better. 

A quick sidebar: For weeks, I had been telling Dan how much I loved Carrie Underwood’s song, “Jesus Take the Wheel.” 

The paramedics lifted Dan onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. Danna said, “Mom, you ride with Dad. I’ll follow you so we will have a car at the hospital.” As I climbed into the passenger side of the ambulance, the radio was on and the first words I heard were “I can’t do this on my own. Jesus, take the wheel.” God’s peace settled around my heart and soul like a familiar friend and I celebrated the love of a God who cares enough about His daughter that He played her favorite song at the precise moment she needed to hear it. You see, when the paramedic climbed into the driver’s seat, he said, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Southerland, but we can’t have the radio on during a call.” I smiled and responded, “I didn’t turn it on. It was on when I got in.” His eyes said it all. “This woman is nuts!” But I knew the presence of God was in that ambulance, with my husband and whatever we were facing. 

Why do we doubt Him? Why do we worry? Yes, He is Lord of the Universe, but He is also Friend of the wounded heart and Shepherd of every valley. He is Love. He is Peace.

Over the next nine days, Dan was in the hospital where I think they ran every possible test that can be run on the human heart. After a defibrillator was inserted in Dan’s chest, he left the hospital and has been going full speed ever since. God was with me every step of the way and He will be there for you, my friend. No matter where you are, no matter how hopeless your circumstances may seem, no matter how deep and dark the pit – He is at work in and around you. Just give up and surrender the wheel of your life, trusting Him to make a way where there is no way.