“You know It’s bad when this doctor finally gives up the fight and becomes the patient. It’s pneumonia. Prayers appreciated.” That was the first post I put on social media to update the status…on Good Friday.
Illness had gripped my family a couple of days before our spring break trip and traveled from one family member to the next every couple days until I was the last to succumb. Unfortunately, I was also the one who took the longest to recover and not until it first got much worse. In me, this sickness went from the cold or virus the rest of the family had to full blown pneumonia. After I had let it run the same course it had for the rest of the family and only continued to worsen, I gave up my role as doctor to my family and to my private practice patients, and became the patient myself.
Within a day of initial diagnosis, on black Saturday, I was back in the medical center for monitoring. My symptoms seemingly only worsening, as I struggled to breathe, and every breath a painful reminder that something was amiss in my normally healthy body.
As I sat shivering in the cold exam room, waiting to be seen by the doctor, Facebook showed me reminders of a year ago on that date. The photos were a beautiful reminder of a time I spent at a writer’s conference, marveling at the fact that God was giving me the opportunity and responsibility to write “Hope Prevails” with and for Him--a book He laid on my heart 2 years prior at this exact place. In a critique session, I was paid the highest compliment when I was told, “Everything you write is filled with HOPE!” That was all the confirmation I needed to continue writing and sharing the message God had given me of His help and His hope!
I contrasted that photo of me surrounded by the beautiful cherry blossoms with my view that day: a return visit to the medical clinic with pneumonia, fighting for each painful breath, at times wondering if there would come another or that painful hard-fought-for breath would be the last.
Many won’t understand, some won’t agree, but when you choose to be obedient to God’s call on your life, there will be warfare to fight. The pain was intense, and fighting for your very breath is frightening but I don’t give up that easily. You’d think the enemy would know that by now.
For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. (Psalm 18:39 ESV) #HeIsRisen #VictoryIsMine #HopePrevails!
Doctors monitored, treated, and sent me home with additional treatment to try to eradicate the vice-grip around my lungs and airways, with a directive to return to the clinic in the morning for continued monitoring. The goal: to keep me OUT of the hospital because no one ever really rests in the hospital, and my immunity was too compromised to be able to fight off any other illnesses floating around the floors of a hospital this time of year.
Easter morning, instead of being at church with my family and going out for Sunday brunch, my view was instead another clinic room, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, and more lab work as we tried to attack the pneumonia that was attacking me. Not how I planned to spend the last week, but especially not Easter morning…fighting for breath.
And then I thought of my Savior and how he had to fight for breath as He was beaten, as He had to carry His own cross to His death, as He was nailed to a cross and hung to die so that he would fight to breathe. Before He took His final breath, He declared, “It is finished!”
Satan thought he won that battle. Until resurrection Sunday when Jesus rose again, and the tomb was empty. Jesus died the most cruel death imaginable so we could live! So that Satan would be defeated on our behalf! So that we could receive healing in Jesus’ name. So that we too could be more than conquerors and joint heirs.
Satan thought he won on Good Friday but he was sadly mistaken. If he thinks he’s winning with me, again, he’s sadly mistaken. By Christ’s stripes, I am healed and the enemy will again be defeated.
Doctor’s orders? Bed-rest, medication, lots of fluid, and no work for the week. This doctor has officially become the patient. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that rest is crucial for warfare. And while this is a physical illness, it’s still a spiritual battle and one that the enemy won’t win!
What challenges has God used in your life to prepare you for the battle ahead?
Because of Him, #HopePrevails
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A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.