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The (Not So) Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

I'm sitting in yet another hospital waiting room.

Ever since my husband, Barry, first underwent open heart and quadruple bypass surgery 15 months ago, I've been in this waiting room—or one just like it—more times than I can count on one hand, waiting for him to come out of the operating room.

In little more than a year's time, my vocabulary has increased to include words and phrases such as aneurysm, atrial fib, and EP study with ablation. They all mean I have to put on a cheery face, kiss Barry good-bye, and promise I won't worry about him or forget to eat lunch and lock the garage door at night while he's in the hospital again.

With all Barry's surgeries and procedures, we've had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, one of the worst in our 32 years together. Yet, ironically, it's also turned out to be the best.

I learned just how deeply Barry loves me. As he was all prepped and waiting to go into surgery to repair his aortic aneurysm, Barry looked at my friend Tara, who was waiting with us, and said, "Make sure Nancy takes care of herself. Promise me, or else I'll worry."

He wasn't worried about being sliced open again—he was worried about me.

I still can't get that out of my mind—that Barry would be concerned more about my well-being than about his own. I fell in love with him all over again. I love him because he first loved me. Sounds biblically familiar, doesn't it?

I came to faith in Christ three years after Barry and I married, and for almost 30 years I prayed about my husband's relationship with the Lord. Then the day of Barry's open heart surgery, he told me if he died, I'd see him again, because he knew Jesus was his Savior. He prayed with me, he prayed with a friend, and he prayed with his surgeon. Barry hasn't stopped praying—he prays with me every day.

What I'd asked God for all these years—to heal the spiritual rift in my marriage, to bring my husband and me close—God had given. He'd performed heart surgery on us both, ripping us apart and knitting us back together.

And I remembered the apostle Paul's words—that "God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).

God's been good. He's has been faithful and terribly, terribly kind!

Barry and I talk often about this past year, how it's been awful—and awfully good. We wouldn't wish this kind of year on anyone and wouldn't want to go through it again, but we're glad it happened.

We thank God for the good days and the bad, because in all our days God's held us both securely in his grip. We've known God's incredible kindness to us. Our hearts are in his hands.

We've had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year—and I praise God for it.

P.S. The doctor just came in, and he's smiling.


Nancy Kennedy

Romans 8:28 says God works everything together for good for those who are his. How have you seen God working the terrible things in your life for good? How have you experienced his kindness to you this year?

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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