Nancy Moser

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at and

The Day I Died

The human spirit can endure a sick body,
but who can bear a crushed spirit?
Proverbs 18:14 (NLT)

I was hurting. I had reason to hurt. Spine surgery was good reason. The surgeon discovering my spinal nerves were “a tangled mess” was good reason.

Feel sorry for me?

That’s what I wanted. That’s what I craved. Self-pity enveloped me as my sick body bore the added burden of a crushed spirit.

During my first days home from the hospital, I entered the Land of Me. Yes, it’s natural for patients to focus on themselves, their own pain, their own issues regarding getting around, finding a place of comfort, handling their limitations, fears and insecurities. And yet…and yet…

It was a Tuesday, just six days after my surgery. I was as cranky as the wicked stepmother in “Cinderella.” Even though my husband had been taking good care of me, even though my family was attentive, I felt alone and quite sorry for myself. Why hadn’t so-and-so sent a card? Or flowers? Why hadn’t this other person even mentioned my surgery? Didn’t they know? Didn’t they care?

A certain e-mail set me off. The acquaintance wrote that they’d heard I was doing “great.” What? I wasn’t doing great! I hurt inside and out! How dare they discount my pain! And so I replied to the e-mail, explaining just how much I was still hurting.

On that day, even my husband was testy. Perhaps he’d had enough of caregiving, or perhaps I wasn’t a good patient. He even had the audacity to say, “Today I need to get something done.” The two of us fed each other’s bad attitudes, so a bad day got worse. Snap, snap, gripe, grouch, claw, and crab.

It all came down to this: How dare the world go on without me?

I cried over this and sulked about that. The world was mean and unfeeling. As was God. Where was He anyway? Didn’t He know I needed Him? My heart called out Psalm 25: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins” (Ps. 25:16–18 NIV).

But then, in the midst of my pouting and pain, our daughter called. She’d had a hard day at her job working with autistic children, she didn’t feel well, and she had too much on her plate and not enough time to get things done. Hearing her cry out for love and compassion, I momentarily set my pity party aside and comforted her. I built her up and helped her find a glimmer of sun through the clouds.

As my daughter turned to me in her anguish, looking for relief, God responded to my plea. By helping her, God helped me break through the cloudy bank of storms that had been hanging low over me. There, in the distance, was a glimmer of sunlight if only I could focus on finding it.

Then a simple phrase set itself front and center: It’s not about you.

I wanted to argue. It was about me. I was the one who’d endured surgery, and now had to deal with—

It’s not about you.

But couldn’t it be? For just a little bit? Couldn’t people pay more attention to me? Couldn’t—

It’s not about you.

I ran out of arguments. I’d had a successful surgery. I was on the mend. Other people had problems that far overshadowed my own. Besides, what good did it do to have a pity party if no one else came?

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD” (Prov. 16:20 NIV).

And so, after a little soul searching, I gave God a moment of my mood, apologized for it, and asked for His continued help to keep me moving toward the light.

And He answered: “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Ps. 25:8–9 NIV). As I transitioned from ME-dom to WE-dom, I began to cry. Again. But these tears were different, because they were tears of shame and release and humility.

But it wasn’t good enough to merely feel sorry for my attitude; I had to take action.

I reread some e-mails that I had responded to during my funk and sent apologies for my terse, woe-is-me replies. In them I publicly acknowledged God’s protective hand over my surgery, and thanked people for their prayers. I took my husband’s hands in mine and said, “We need a truce. No more snapping at each other. And by the way, I really appreciate your taking such good care of me.” And most important, I bowed my head and thanked God for bringing me through the surgery, for the wisdom and skill of the doctors, and for a bright future that would involve long walks with my husband and running after my grandkids, free of pain.

As this strong spring breeze blew across my life, the clouds of pessimism dissipated completely, and the next day, what I would have seen as negative was positive. What had been bad was good. The dark had been totally transformed by the light. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12 NIV).

The new happiness came in many forms, some big and some small.

A spring catalog came in the mail. It advertised outfits in bright colors and fresh patterns. Soon I would be able to walk without pain and I would lose a little weight and . . . how much fun it would be to wear some of these fashions that made me happy just looking at them!

I got a response to one of my e-mail apologies that was full of grace and humor and friendship.

And when the doorbell rang that afternoon, my husband answered it and brought me a box. “You owe someone an apology.” There was a PajamaGram from two of my dearest friends. Thank you, God, for giving me these friends. I know they were always there, but I was too self-absorbed and focused on the negative that I didn’t appreciate what and who I had in my life.

How could life be so negative and horrible one day and a single day later, be good and full of kindness, and make me excited to be a part of it?

The key was in letting ME die.

Attitude is everything. Attitude is powerful. Attitude can tear down or build up.

It comes down to this anonymous quote: A life of self is death, but the death of self . . . is life.

Praise be to God.


Nancy Moser