Our One True Constant
by Rochelle Bauer
Nineteen years old and ready to take on the world. I was invincible and had the world at my fingertips. I thought I knew all I needed to know to get through life. Oh, how naïve I was.
There was so much to come—so much heartache, so many losses, so much to learn. I had no idea. I thought I understood it all. I thought I had already fully lived because of the struggles I’d already faced as a teen. Boy, was I wrong.
Married at twenty and trying to mesh two very different lifestyles wasn’t easy. We both grew up differently and found ourselves set in our ways. Yet somehow, we made it work.
Little did I know that no matter how much you want it, only God gets to decide when you can start a family. I learned that particular lesson over and over and over again, too many times, in my opinion.
When I did get pregnant, no one prepared me for preterm labor, a baby in the NICU, and the fact that I would have to leave the hospital without my baby. You only hear of the great miracle of childbirth and the indescribable bond. No one tells you that you might not be able to hold your baby for days, let alone feed them or care for them. Who can prepare you for seeing your newborn in an incubator with tubes going every which way?
Then there are the unthinkable, unimaginable situations. Childhood cancer. The plane rides, surgeries, chemo, and the daily ups and downs. What parent prepares to see their child in such a state? I surely wasn’t prepared, even though I was now twenty-eight.
The white casket. The white roses and greenery at the front of the church. The family picture displayed that will never be retaken. There’s no preparation for that moment. There’s no way you can fully prepare to kiss your baby goodbye for the last time.
Two years later, you’re being rushed into surgery to deliver yet another baby. Crying because you’re so scared something is wrong with this child, as well. Why else would they be scurrying around?
But when you see the face of your third son, you have only utter and unexplainable joy on your face. You see the miracle God has provided for you once again, and you have all you can do to contain your emotions. So, you don’t. You cry and thank God for this precious gift of life. This is what thirty looks like. A six-year-old and a newborn. Years of loss and years of gain. Does this mean it all balances out? I’m not sure yet.
Then cancer comes again. This time it’s your mom. You’re thirty-six and driving her to and from appointments as your life melds with hers. You juggle parenting your kids, having a marriage, and taking care of your parent. It seems like so much, but you wouldn’t change this time for the world. Your own immediate family appears to be left in the dust, but they learn the importance of helping others. It’s a lesson you can only teach by example. You pray you’re teaching them correctly and not neglecting them. What choice do you have?
When forty comes, your mom is gone. You wait for her phone call that never comes. She’s with Jesus now, and phone calls aren’t part of heaven, although you wish they were. You miss her and wonder how you’ll live the next forty-odd years without a mother. Yet, somehow you do. This is adulthood, take it or leave it.
Forty-four comes in quietly during a pandemic and appears to be leaving chaos and more loss in its wake. No one can prepare you for all that is to come in life: not at nineteen, twenty-three, twenty-eight, thirty, thirty-six, forty, or forty-four. Just when you think you have a grasp on life, it throws you another loop and finds you gasping for air.
The only constant in my life is Jesus Christ. He was with me in each circumstance when others weren’t around. He was in the NICU with my son, the funeral for our second son, the operating room with our third. He was in each exam room with my mom and was with me as I waited for the birthday wish that would never come. He’s with me now as I face uncertainty.
He is the calm amidst the storm and the only One I can truly depend on. How about you? Do you know Jesus? Do you know He is beside you and will never leave you? He is worth getting to know, and He can carry you through.
Dear Jesus, Thank You for being the ever-present constant in our lives. When life throws us around in the wind, we know You are at the center, ready to steady us. No matter what we’re facing, help us look for you like a beacon of light in the dark. Remind us You will never leave us nor forsake us, even when others do. In Your Precious Name, we pray, Amen.
Rochelle lives in rural Minnesota where the winters are long but beautiful and the summers are short but sweet. She is wife to Daniel and mom to three sons, one of whom is with Jesus. Rochelle loves music, long baths, a good book, and a long nap. She has a deep desire to share how God has moved in her life, and how He continues to show His faithfulness.