My Testimony

He Holds My Right Hand
By:  Victoria L. Stankus

I was blessed to have grown up in a Christian home. My parents came to know Jesus when they were young, and they were active in the church since before I was born. So, I grew up in church, and it didn’t take me long in life to realize who Jesus was and what He did for me on the cross. I believe I was around 4 years old when I actually understood that I was a sinner, asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins, and trusted Him for my salvation.

As I grew into my teen years, I started to realize how important it is to not just trust in Jesus for salvation, but to also have a personal relationship with Him. My family moved around quite a bit while I was growing up (I counted 9 different school systems from K-12), so making close friendships was sometimes hard. But, a good relationship with my family and with God were the two things that were always a constant in my life. It was comforting for me to know that someone would always be there to help me through the difficult times.

I was around 15 years old when I discovered my favorite verse:

Isaiah 41:13 - For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (NIV)

This verse was important to me because it helped me to remember God would always be there for me, helping me along the way. God didn’t promise that my life would always be easy, but He did promise to be there holding my right hand. I have hung on to that verse to this day and consider it to be my “life verse.”

One of the scariest times in my life was when my husband, David, had to undergo major open-heart surgery to replace a valve and part of his aorta. We had only been married for 3 years and I was only 26 years old at the time. It was a very scary time for me as I realized I might lose my husband. (My sister had lost her husband in an accident when she was newly married, so that just increased my fear). But, thankfully, David pulled through and has been in pretty good health ever since then. The Lord really taught me through that experience to lean on Him, and showed me that I could trust Him, no matter what the outcome. He was there holding my right hand.

Shortly after David’s recovery, we decided it was time to start trying for a baby. We weren’t anticipating any difficulties, but soon realized conceiving a child would happen only if God allowed it to happen. For two years, I watched other women around me getting pregnant, and I longed to have a child of my own. But, once again, God took hold of my hand and led me through that experience. He taught me that I could be happy with or without children, that I could be content with my life, no matter what the outcome. Shortly after I learned that lesson, I became pregnant with our first child, a daughter.

When our daughter was finally born, we were so thrilled! We knew she was truly a miracle from heaven and were so excited to have her in our lives. She was a good baby, very happy and didn’t cause us much trouble at all, until she was a little over a year old. We had her hearing tested when she was 15 months because she wasn’t responding to us the way she should have been. Her hearing tested fine, so we went on with life, but grew increasingly more concerned as she began to forget words that she had already learned and wasn’t doing the things other children her age were doing. Then, when she was 2 1/2 years old, she was diagnosed with autism. Our lives were completely turned upside-down.
NOTE: For those who don’t know much about autism, it is a neuro-developmental disorder - causing delays in speech, motor skills, and socialization with others. The child is sometimes referred to as being “trapped” in her own little world.
It was incredibly heartbreaking to hear this diagnosis. I personally went through a very difficult time of grieving for the normalcy of my child. I didn’t understand why this was happening to us. But, as time went by, I learned that, with testing, comes strength; and, with strength, the ability to cope in difficult situations. Through this experience, I am stronger in my faith. I don’t believe God caused our daughter’s autism, but He did allow it to happen. Instead of being bitter and angry, I chose to make the best of our situation and asked God to lead David and me in raising our daughter to the best of our ability. I chose to take God’s hand once again.

Two weeks after our daughter’s diagnosis, I unexpectedly turned up pregnant. We miscarried that baby about a week later. To be very honest with you, we were actually relieved about the miscarriage. Yes, it was a loss. But, we were not emotionally prepared at that time to handle possibly having another child with autism (or any other disability). So, after that miscarriage, we did not really "try" for more kids. However, when our daughter was 4 years old, our second child (a son) was born. We were nervous about it at first, but God held our hands, and we soon realized He knew what was best for us. Our son became a "best friend" to our daughter, and he has been so good in helping bring her more out of her shell. We can’t imagine what our lives would be like without him.

Of course, our son has not come without challenges of his own. From the time he was crawling, I could tell he was a LOT different than his sister and, in most cases behaved like a typical, curious, active boy. But, along with his joyful boyish nature also came a strong, stubborn, opposing attitude. At the age of 5, came a diagnosis of mild Tourettes Syndrome (a neurological disorder that presents with uncontrollable tics/movements, also causing fatigue and increased behavioral issues when they are active). Then, at age 10, he was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which produces anxiety when things don't happen as he expects). Along with that, we also were told he had symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder and learning delays. We love our son dearly but, let’s just say, raising and educating him over these past few years has caused David and me to, undoubtedly, cling tightly to God’s hand.

In September 2012, our newest journey began when I found a lump and was diagnosed with Stage 1, Grade 3 (aggressive), invasive breast cancer. Never did I imagine something like this would happen to me, but it did. Its still hard to believe, as I was always the "healthy one" in our family. Throughout this journey, God was, and continues to be there, holding my hand. I am thankful to have survived treatments and am now considered to be cancer free!

Being a Christian obviously does not mean everything will be perfect in our lives. Each of us has gone through our own struggles, some much worse than what I could imagine. But, I know for a fact that a relationship with Christ can help you make it through the difficult times. He has definitely made a difference in my life. Without Him being there to hold my hand, I don’t know how I would  survive the struggles of this world. 

If you let Him, God will be there to hold your hand and help you through the difficult times as well.

Revised: November 5, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment. I would love to know your thoughts! (NOTE: It may take a little while before your comment shows up, due to all comments being moderated. Advertisements or spam will not be approved for publication.)