Simple reminders from my unexpected hospital stay.

Sometimes it takes something hard and scary, interrupting the middle of an ordinary life, to remind us of simple truths tucked deep in the back of our minds.

Recently, I spent a painful night in the emergency room followed by two long days in the hospital. Ruptured ovarian cysts are no joke. The pain was excruciating. Honestly, worse than childbirth. The doctors assumed mine was large and ugly, making the pain even worse than usual.

Now that I’m home and resting in my cozy spot, I can’t help but reflect on all the good that I’ve witnessed these last few days. I think when we’re in our lowest, most vulnerable places, we experience the closeness of God the most. Here’s what I noticed:

1. My husband has my back. Yes, we argue over silly stuff. We tease each other, and much of our relationship is based on humor and poking fun. But when it gets down to the “sickness and health” stuff, he is my rock. He rubs my shoulders, massages my feet, squeezes my hand, holds back my hair, stays by my side and offers constant encouragement. He is my person.

Family pic in hospital (2)

2. God has placed loving people all around me. Neighbors and friends who watch your babies and bring suppers, co-workers who understand and offer compassionate support, parents who selflessly drop everything to wash your clothes and vacuum your floors, nurses and doctors who provide gentle care and expertise. It’s one thing to know there are wonderful people around you; it’s another to experience their generosity and love firsthand.

Apple pie

3. Surrender, surrender, surrender. I felt like a human pincushion throughout my stay, and I have multiple bruises from IV attempts and countless blood draws to prove it. There were ultrasounds and CT scans, putting extra pressure in painful spots. I had to continually surrender and find a strength bigger than myself. I had to close my eyes, release my control and ask my Savior to help me through. Really. This has been my approach to childbirth (along with a steady stream of epidural, of course), and I needed to tap back into that quiet, calm source of strength.

4. We are never in control. There was nothing I did to cause this, nor nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening. We never know what tomorrow holds. We can plan and organize our lives to our little heart’s desire (and all of us type A’s will), yet our plans are never guaranteed. We need to be open to whatever comes our way and find the blessings in whatever situation we find ourselves facing.

5. Self care matters. As a young mom, I’m aware of the importance of self care. Yet, I don’t schedule enough of it. These last few days have been filled with sleep and relaxation and not lifting a finger. Coffee and a book, long bubble baths, quietly sitting by the fire while online shopping. Choosing to snuggle with my kids and read an enormous pile of books, while leaving the dishes on the counter. Even when I’m not healing, I should choose rest over work more regularly.

Reading books6. Give thanks. We don’t realize how good we have it until it’s taken away. The basic, boring stuff of life is worth celebrating, because nothing is permanent. Think of the last time you had the stomach flu, and the burst of energy felt afterwards. We don’t realize how good healthy feels until it’s stripped away. Let’s not take the good stuff for granted. Everything can change.

I’m so thankful that my experience wasn’t worse, and I should be back to full health soon. As I continue my healing and recovery, I hope to take these truths and let them seep into my life, even when things are going just right.

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