In the Face of Death.

I was screaming in my head. Or was I praying out loud? Everything happened in a blur. I was drowning. No, a pillow was pressed against my face. No, I was merely standing in a shroud of hot steam that filled the shower cubicle. The hot water hit my body while I took deep breaths to calm myself down. Perhaps it was because I was too anxious. Or am I having a heart attack? I needed more oxygen. More deep breaths. Death felt close. Fear struck my heart.

My daughter came to mind and something clicked in me. I prayed with gusto and authority, “LORD, HELP! I WANT TO LIVE! I want to live for my children, I want to see them grow up. I want to proclaim You to the world. Sorry for all those times I kept asking You to take away my life. I take back those words. I want to live.” I couldn’t remember the exact words, but this was the essence.

I stepped out of the toilet, hoping the cool air would help. Just moments ago, I walked past my hubby in this space and became angry. Why didn’t he notice that I am having shortness of breath. Why didn’t he show concern? Negative thoughts. Just earlier on, we finished the final episode of Stranger Things on Netflix. I was chilling alone on the sofa for a while more. Then as I stood up, my shortness of breath got pronounced. I brushed it off as usual and went to shower.

Dripping wet on the floor mat, the cool air helped just a little. A sentence kept repeating in my mind, I reckoned it’s the prompting of the Holy Spirit: “Ask (my hubby’s name) to pray for you. Ask (my hubby’s name) to pray for you. Ask (my hubby’s name) to pray for you.” I grabbed the towel, wrapped around myself and went out to ask hubby to pray for me. We took communion.

I went back into the bedroom feeling better, but still feeling scared of the shortness of breath. It seemed like the breathing pipes carrying the oxygen in me would be cut off anytime. Should I go A&E? Just in case, it’s too late. It was such a hassle to go to hospital now. And I don’t like hassle. I had showered and ready for bed. I didn’t want to shower again. I wanted to sleep early. I didn’t want to waste unnecessary money.

Hubby knew me well. He knew the situation was serious if I decided to go A&E. I wouldn’t suggest it if I wasn’t feeling that unwell. I kept thinking if it’s just imaginary. Or I was just too anxious. I needed to JUST calm down. Googling for answers somehow made my condition worse, making me more anxious, expecting the worse case scenario. Shortness of breath is an early symptom of heart attack. Reading the search results gave me heart palpitations. My face was feeling hot. I could feel the heart thumping.

As I was changing my clothes to head out, I looked at my half messy dressing table. If I were to die now, it would be like I was suddenly raptured*. A void left on earth. Unfinished business. I thought of my social media profiles, about what are the final posts. A feeling of suddenly plucked out of somewhere felt so unfinished. Not a nice feeling not being able to settle affairs before death (交代后事). The lament over the loose ends and people left behind.

*Rapture is a Christian belief that there’ll be an end time event when all Christian believers who are alive will rise along with the resurrected dead believers into Heaven and join Christ.

I closed my eyes to avoid seeing curious peering eyes. I opened my eyes, looked up and ignored those eyes. The lights and ceiling alternated in order, like a drama scene as I was wheeled to see the doctor. I closed my eyes again hoping for the best. I would never depreciate the value of healing services again, thinking that other more “spiritual” stuff take priorities over such physical healing. Without health, it’s harder though not impossible to bless others spiritually, financially, etc.

I prayed for a good doctor, which I did get. A patient, gentle and smart doctor. She did all the scans and checks. Turned out it was a scare, everything on the scan looks good – my lungs and heart are all functioning well. According to the doctor, my shortness of breath stemmed from my gastric – weird cause. Anyhow, she prescribed me some meds and we’re ready to go.

Before we exited A&E and went to the pharmacy, I had to use the toilet and it was playing a happy song on Class 95. Immediately, an ominous cloud lifted from my heart, and joy entered. The feeling was so tangible. Looking back, it could be a victory song. Songs do influence our spirits much. So be careful of what we listen to. I, like most young girls, used to rub my own wounds with sad song, only to find myself spiraling deeper into the dark hole. Thank God for worship songs now!

In the toilet cubicle, God brought to mind a situation years back. Yes, toilet again! It was a week prior to a mission trip and I was battling inner demons. I forgot why, but I was in the shower cubicle feeling super angry and sad. I hit the toilet wall with my bare fists, over and over again. I grabbed the skin of my chest and screamed my lungs out (except I muted myself to avert the neighbours’ attention). I was pulling my hairs. My hubby was behind my locked door to calm me down. I kept wanting to die. I kept asking God why I was here on earth. I’m a useless piece of shit. Take my life, I told Him. I didn’t want to live. Death prowled over me.

God stretched out His wings and protected me. I came out of the toilet alive and into the mission field, learning many important lessons in His kingdom work, impacting lives and being impacted. No wonder, the enemy was trying hard to stop me from progressing spiritually.

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:3-4

Now, I come face to face with death again. I could feel fear. This time, God gave me the weapons to stand against the darkness and fight in His name, power and authority.

So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

Mark 9:29

Hubby and I talked about what had happened and concluded it’s a spiritual attack. Being the more logical/practical/facts person, he’s not one who would easily agree this with me. I am the one usually with prophetic antenna that sometimes seemed too far-fetched for him.

I was joking with him, “Probably it’s Stranger Things. The monster that got into the people got into me.” I didn’t want to sound overly “spiritual”. And surprise surprise, he agreed! I would often think certain shows have dark effects on people, but he would brushed it off and continue watching. With my comfort level with horror films so low, I watched Stranger Things – which turned out to have its claw on me. I was blindsided.

The few days following this incident on Wednesday night, I am quite sure it is spiritual attack. On Thursday, I had sharp pain on my left shoulder; Friday, my whole right arm felt super achy; Saturday, my flu worsened and my bones at the back ached/pulled at certain angles and so much I couldn’t even sneeze.

Baby EX suddenly refused to go school on Tuesday, outbursts the next two days. She was okay the previous week (her first week). On Wednesday, she was bitten by a classmate. On Thursday, Baby EX’s school notified us of gastro virus going in school, when my friend told me that this was the first time they had such notification in the two years her child had been there. I took Baby EX out to play on Friday and didn’t rest as much. But thank God, she didn’t catch it. Except, her flu continues while rashes, cuts and insect bites appeared everywhere on her over the weekend.

Come Sunday, one of the worship songs we sang proclaims about Jesus overcoming death, and in Him, there’s no fear. A victory to conclude the second week of July.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NKJV)

In the face of death, I went through a series of feelings, and a myriad of thoughts, that highlighted the brevity of life on earth. In toilet where I thought I would die, it kind of sieved out my purpose of living. My hubby can get another wife, but my children would not get another natural mother. Time is short, God’s call for me to proclaim His Word to the world is only still budding. I need to believe His calling for me and seek His will in the things I should do.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Thanks hubby for accompanying me throughout the journey. It would be scary to face it all alone.

Thanks to our lovely neighbour who came over to watch baby EX who was sleeping soundly as we rushed to the hospital.