One Year Ago
One year since I got the phone call that changed everything. I remember dreaming about this day and what things would look like. What our family would look like? What I would look like? Like a forest after a consuming wildfire, I imagined devastation. Before healthy, overgrown, and full of life. After parched, barren, and devoid of life. I remember wishing I could just go to sleep and wake up after it was all over. In that moment, unable to breathe or think, I thought with enough time I’d be better prepared to face the demise. But sleep even short lived, restorative sleep, was slow to come. I had to go through it. We had to go through it.
For those of you new to the Hucke’s story — it was one year ago that kicked off what I never could have anticipated. Isolated from our support outside of Albuquerque, and desperate for an easy megaphone for urgent prayer requests, using the facebook platform, I blasted updates almost daily. Real and raw, breaking all typical privacy norms, it was a small price to pay for the overwhelming support we received. Expecting the masses to eventually lose interest, what happened was just the opposite. My facebook presence picked up momentum and reach. God made it clear that this journey was not about me at all.
Now a year later, the collection of posts is an amazing testimony to God’s faithfulness. As his often clueless scribe, I journaled my thoughts, prayers, and insights from the Lord. Even though I’ve lived every detail, and the story is far from over, looking back on the twists and turns, the ups and down and where we are today, I am full of gratitude. God is indeed God and worthy of all praise.
I’ve struggled with what to write on this one year anniversary. I’ve wondered what new and profound insight I could share. With a heightened sense of responsibility, I’ve prayed asking what God would want for me to communicate.
Looking for some lightening bolt wisdom, I keep coming back to the constant flickering flame of a very simple, foundational truth. It’s nothing new and not particularly profound, but these 8 words, anchored me through our unpredictable fire.
Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
“Be still, and know that I am God;
A solid rock of truth, I stood on Psalm 46:10. Everyday, things changed. The scary truth of Ian’s status changed. The next steps of Ians care changed. Doctors changed. Nurses changed. My mood changed. My hopefulness changed. Expectations of the best outcome changed. But there was one who never changed. God.
Only in hindsight, made possible through the fire, can I see the changes God caused in me.
Changed Priorities (Be still)
I’m a self proclaimed Martha. A doer. A self sufficient, type A, take charge kind of person. Without much thought, my natural mode of operation was to act first, then check in with God later. I rationalized, God gave me a mind. Who has time for inaction? We are in a crisis, things are urgent. But now I’ve learned, through the fire, my FIRST priority must be to Be Still. In the stillness, I’m more likely to hear His voice and sense His control. In the stillness, I gain my bearings and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, my steps are ordered. (Proverbs 16:9) While it seems counterintuitive.
Being still, is not inaction. Being still is the right first action.
Changed Confidence (Know)
My relationship with the Lord spans decades. As a child believer and the wife of a minister, I’ve attended plenty of church. I know a whole lot about God. But walking through the fire, I can say with complete confidence, today I KNOW God. The time we spend together is precious. No dutiful quiet times in my day, rather, a constant companion and ever present comfort. Almost like a stream of consciousness, I never fly solo.
Changed Understanding (He is God)
Ian and I watched a movie recently, About Time. Tim the main character, can change the future. When bad stuff happens he enters a closet, concentrates and then presto turns back time. Exiting the closet, it’s now his duty to intervene in the bad events to cause things to come out differently. It is as if Tim steps in for God. Tim says, I know better, I’ve got this.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? Seriously. What if I could turn back the clock and go to the intersection where Ian’s accident occurred. Shout “IAN!”, right before he stepped into traffic how different our year would have been. How different Ian would be. How different I would be. Of course that is fantasy. But the question is… would my way be better? A year ago, without hesitation, I would answer yes, of course. Are you crazy? Give me control. Allow me to change the course of events. I know my limitations. I know that my handsome ginger cannot sustain any more hits. Certainly we would love God more if our year was smooth and easy.
Today, only through the fire, I am shocked by an unknown strength. My handsome ginger is hanging tough. And yes, defying all sensibility, I love God even more than I did a year ago. His ways are not my ways, but His ways are perfect.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.“
Let me be clear. I do not believe that God caused Ian’s accident to happen. But the omnipotent, sovereign God, that I know, did allow it. And true to His word, He used every sleepless night, every fearful thought, every heartache and every tear to bring about His purposes. (Romans 8:28)
The thing is… only when I allow God to be God, am I truly free!
A Vulnerable Landscape
I love living in Albuquerque. It’s located in the region of our country that has a “vulnerable landscape.” Over time, regions like ours, actually adapt ecologically making wildfires both beneficial and necessary.
In a sense, every person on this planet lives with a “vulnerable landscape.” As Dori advises in Finding Nemo, we “just keep swimming.” We’re oblivious to our surroundings, unaware of our own power, and we’re content to settle for an OK life. But just like any vulnerable landscape, eventually, a controlled wildfire becomes necessary. Sometimes, God allows a wildfire in our life, completely under his control, in order to bring about His best.
After this defining year, I am grateful to God that my imagination was completely WRONG. The Hucke family is NOT parched, barren or devoid of life. Having walked through the valley of the shadow of death, we are all different. It seems as if the wildfire has done a number, indeed. For me, it has cleared any overconfidence, it has regenerated healthy new growth, it has reset my priorities and revitalized my purpose. What a difference a year can make. What a difference God can make.
Finally, it must be said, the changes that God has caused in me has little to do with the miraculous outcome of our tragedy and everything to do with the fact that He is God.
With all sensitivity, this blog entry contains some tough theology. If there is a fire raging in your life and you have questions, I welcome them. Either publicly or privately. Or if you’d like for me to pray for you– that would be my privilege.
Julia Merson says
This past year, our family has been blessed through the trial of fire we have have been and are going through so many times by your strengthening and putting God in the Front of everything.
The things you and your family have faced together humbles us and makes us grateful that you continue to point out what an Awesome God we have and indeed his ways are not our ways. To Him be the Glory.
Our prayers are with all of you as you continue your the journey and Keep Writing and encouraging, it is truly a gift that you share.
Thank you Julia. Turning pain into purpose has been the Lord’s doing. Thankful to know it has benefitted you! Debbie