Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What Would I Do Without YOU?

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
(1 John 3:1, NIV)

Allow me, if you will, to have an honest moment with you.  This has been one of the toughest summers of my life.  Not that I haven't been through tough things before.  I have had summers where I have been on crutches with knee troubles from osteoarthritis.  I have had summers where my husband was working for cash to make ends meet because he was between jobs.  I have had a couple of summers where I was in the first few years of figuring out life with hemophilia and still in crisis mode because we weren't yet approved for home therapy. 

But this summer is different.  We unexpectedly lost my father just over a month ago.  Just the heartache of not being able to hug him and joke with this sassy Irishman is enough.  Yet, there are so many other pieces to this loss.  Helping a son with anxiety disorder process such a thing brought me plenty of concern.  So did helping a little girl diagnosed with ADHD, SPD, and social deficits.  Overall, it's just been adjusting to a new life without him.

What has been especially challenging is caring for my mom.  They still lived in their own home on a third of an acre lot about 40 minutes away from my home.  Mom is disabled, without one hip due to the misfortune of osteoporosis and several failed hip replacement surgeries.  Despite having 5 other siblings, I am the one locally who she has the most trust in.  Flattering as that may be, this results in many demands on my time and the added stress of more responsibility.

In addition, my son is also having oral surgery this summer.  Having hemophilia, this becomes much more involved because the mouth is so vascular.  Making countless calls to the insurance company to get this approved to be done in a hospital versus a dentist's office took over 3 months, but the calls didn't end there.  Talking to his hematologist to develop a care plan, running to the dentist to pay half down on the astronomical bill, getting a last minute pre-surgical physical exam and unexpected immunizations has all been more involved than the typical kid would go through.

My point in this transparency is not to invite you to my personal pity party, but to share with you the value in times like these.  For it is in times like these where we are "hard pressed on every side" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) that give us pause to think, "How would I do this without Jesus?".  You see, despite our trials, we all still have jobs to do, homes to keep, bills to pay, laundry to wash.  We have the seasonal demands of holidays, and back-to-school, and yard work, and travel.  Frankly, it's humanly impossible to meet all these challenges on our own.  These are the times that it is such a great relief to have a solid faith in the redeeming power of Jesus.  I know that it is only by His power that I survive these things and survive them well!

My question to God of "What would I do without You?" then quickly becomes, "What are people who DON'T know You doing to survive this sort of stuff?".  Sadly, we know many of the answers to that.  Drinking, drugs, verbal or physical abuse, marital dysfunction, severe depression and bitter apathy are common in the overwhelming situations of too many people's lives.  People are so desperately in need of that eternal hope in these hopeless times.

One of the greatest gifts I have received in this heavy, difficult summer is the tender message from God, "Life is so hard, but My blessings and love are greater still."  That hope fills me with joy at the same time I am enduring great sorrow.  I feel my Father's lavish love just by watching light glisten off of a gently lapping lake or by seeing the sun glisten off each individual needle of a whooshing pine tree.  I feel so immensely grateful for the gift of chatting with a friend who shares common experiences, for the opportunity to see a kitten snuggling with a dog 20 times her size, for the chance my kids have to go to summer camp through generous scholarships.  The goodness God lavishes on me is far greater than the anguish that life throws at me in this sinful, imperfect world.  And even on days when I can see that goodness, I know I have the blessed assurance of heaven.

Those same blessings are available to all, but sadly, too many don't know it.  Shouldn't that compel us to share the hope of the gospel with others who suffer around us without knowing Jesus?  God has allowed a set of circumstances in our lives that uniquely position us to share with others the eternal hope that is available to all who are willing to receive it.  Peter tells us in his first letter, "...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15-16, NIV)  

Not feeling all so hopeful in your overwhelming circumstances?  Maybe it's time to begin with yourself.  If you are a believer in Jesus, do you have an unopened gift right there in your possession?  Do you not recognize that your God is bigger and more gracious than any trouble you could face?  Wow!  Stop to think about the magnitude of that for a minute!  That same amazing glory that raised Jesus from the grave is available to YOU, and to anyone you would be willing to share that hope with!

Let me leave you with a little cliche of unknown origin, "We have nothing without Him, but with Him we have everything!" And a song of hope to inspire you as well:

My prayer for you today is that you would find many sweet moments before our Maker thinking, "What would I do without YOU?".

~ Barb Dittrich


  1. Amen!! Amazing post, dear Barb. Thank you for sharing your heart!!

  2. No kidding! Nice reminder for all of us. I'll also pray that God remove any impediments to the growth of your ministry adventures.