Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apology

I have started to see something about me that I do not like, and with the Lord's help I would like to change it. For the last couple of months I have been so wrapped up in my own little world that I have not payed much attention to the cares and concernes of the people who are important to me.  I have taken the attitude that the crisis in my life is somehow greater than the problems and concerns of those around me.  And yet, realistically, everyone has or will go through major trials in their lives.

I have a sister-in-law who has just had a knee replacement surgery, and I haven't even asked how she is doing.  I have a friend and an aunt on dialysis. Have I prayed as much for them as they pray for Bruce and me? So many of my friends have children or grandchildren who are not serving the Lord.  Have I prayed as faithfully for them as I used to?  I have numerous friends on facebook, and all of them have cares of their own, but so many of them have taken the time to encourage me and tell me that they are praying.  Have I done the same for them?

I am ashamed of myself. Although my time on the internet is limited to Bruce's sleepy times, and most of my writing has to be done off line at my granddaughter's apartment first, I do have the time if I make it.  It is the old self that is at the heart of it all, and I am asking the Lord to help me get rid of it.

Thank you all for reading my blogs and loving me just as I am, but I hope what I am can change into what He wants me to be, a mirror of his selfless image.

For the next post see: Overflowing with Thankfulness

For the previous post see:  It is going to get easier as I go

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It is Going to Get Easier as I Go

 "I don't think I can continue to do this every day," I moaned to my daughter as we neared the subway station. The heavy case holding my seventeen inch laptop, my moccasins, and various other neccessities was growing heavier by the minute, and my arthretic hips were complaining loudly at the abuse of the seven block walk. My emotions had already been knocked around far too much and I was not handling the new challenge very well.

That was a week and a half ago.  I didn't think I could do it.  When I got on the subway that first time and realized that I would have to stand up I was sure I could never do it again, and then a Heaven sent young student offered me his seat. The Lord knew I needed that little act of kindness to get me through the ordeal. It broke me up.

I can walk the six blocks to the subway with a swing in my step these days almost like Maria on her way to the VonTrap home. And the subway has never again been too full for me to find a seat. It is amazing how quickly I have gained the strenght I need for the journey to the station. Do my hips still hurt some times? Sure. And do I enjoy doing the subway yet? Not really. But I am conquering the walk and the subway.

When Bruce first woke up from his open heart surgery, and I saw his changed swollen features and knew something was wrong, I thought I couldn't handle it. And when I realized that Bruce's brain was confused and I would have to be the one to stand strong I was ready to break down, but God offered me the respite I needed when I needed it.

The day in ICU when Bruce did almost nothing but moan and couldn't seem to form any words, it nearly broke my heart.  I was despondant and didn't think I could stand any more. I was at a desparate low. Bruce was staring streight ahead and didn't seem to be acknowleging me. It was awful. But then, just before I left for the night, something happened that gave me the hope I needed.

Every night of our forty three years of married life, as long as we were together, I would tell Bruce that I loved him and he would do the same for me, so before I left the hospital I lifted his oxygen mask and kissed him good night and told him that I loved him.  And then I saw him start to stir, and after a struggle he began forming the words.  "I - love - you."  It was barly audible, and it would have been hard for anyone else to understand but I heard it, and there are just no words to describe what it did for me that day.

The road we are on is still not easy.  And there are still times when it really hurts, and today is one of those days.  His mind is off on a tangent today and I feel like I can't handle it.  And yet the victories of the past encourage me.  I know that each episode helps me gain a little strength and I am blessed.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. "



"God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape that you will be able to bear it."

For the next post read Apology

For the previous post see:  In everything Give Thanks

Friday, September 17, 2010

In Everything Give Thanks

The verse, "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you." has never held more meaning for me than it has this morning.  Yesterday I was struggling.  I had just been told that my husband would never be completely "normal" again; he would never preach again; he would be doing well to learn the basics like walking and feeding himself, but his speach and his clarity of mind would never fully return, and his preaching days were gone for good.

I cried yesterday.  I didn't want to accept it, I wanted the assurance that he would be well, completely well, but I was tired and discouraged.  A darling child of God was working in the hospital on his floor, and she took his hands and encouraged us with the words "In everything give thanks."  It reached my head.

This morning those same words reached my heart. And I thanked Him. I thanked God that He had a purpose in this situation.  I thanked Him that Bruce was still alive and was still able to tell me that he loved me. I thanked Him that he was still able to remember scripture even though he couldn't remember what day it was; I thanked Him that he had no trouble remembering where he was going when he died, even though he couldn't remember whether he was in the St. Micheal's Hospital in Toronto, or Hamilton on the Hill or in some fancy motel.

And I rejected the statement that he would never preach again.  He is already preaching.  His words, though slurred and slow, and sometimes a little confused, always lift up Jesus.  His desire in everything he tries to tell us is to draw his family closer to God.  And his thoughts of love are spoken more clearly now than ever before.

Why should I not give thanks? I mourn the stripping away of his pride and independence.  I admit that.  But his childlike faith and simple love have been unveiled through the stripping. He may never preach again with eloquence and style; he may never again be a judge encouraging young preachers at the ACE International Student Convention like he has done for the last few years, but I sincerely believe that God has not finished with my husband and will use him in ways I cannot yet fathom.  And for that I thank Him.

For the next post, see: It is going to get easier as I go

To read the previous post see: Giving Up

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Difficult News

"I don't think I'm going to live," Bruce whispered to me yesterday. "I think this is my time to go." I wanted to argue with him.  I wanted to say,"you said God would raise you up." I had already gone over in my mind the possibility of him dying, and although  we had both agreed that whatever happened, it would be OK, I had subconsciously counted on his stubborn will to live, and his continuing insistence that he still had work to do.

Yesterday, that changed. They hadn't been able to do the dialysis the day before because of a bad line and had just put in a new line that morning.  They were just starting the dialysis, but his creatinins in the blood stream were very high, his platelets were quite low, and the fluid build up was bad.  He was tired of the fight and he was saying his good byes.

I told him it was OK, and that I wouldn't hold him back if that's what he really wanted, but I asked him to let God do the deciding.  He agreed that he only wanted God's will but said he couldn't fight any more.  I told him to let God do the fighting for him and he agreed.
He said over and over how much he loved Jesus.
I don't know if he was just tired and felt like giving up, if his brain was just confused, or if he really knew that it is his time to go.  I am hoping for either of the first two options, because either of those can change.  I have experienced enough alone time with him in the hospital that I know I am not ready to say good bye just yet, but I know from experience that God always give us the strength we need in time for whatever he allows us to go through, and I am resting in that.

I wrote this last night and today I got some hard news.  They tell me now that his brain will not likely completely recover.

But we know that the doctors don't have the last word.  Today he is willing to fight it. We know that God's people all over the world are praying. We also know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, and we do love Him.

For the next post, see: In Everything Give Thanks

For the previous blog see God can use even our Weak Moments

Saturday, September 11, 2010

God can even use our weak moments - the Waiting Room

I found out yesterday how God can use us even when we feel overcome by our own frustrations. We may be able to look no farther than the desire for personal victory, but God is still at work.

My husband had his open heart surgery two days ago, and by 10am yesterday morning I was very anxious to see him, but the nurse said "no, not until visiting hours at eleven."  I watched other spouses ask admittance and then go in, but I was denied that  chance to let him see that I was there.

I had already had enough stress that morning while learning to use the Toronto subway.  First I had to walk several blocks to get to the station carrying my heavy laptop, and then I had to stand up in the crowded car for most of the twenty minute ride.  Some days I can handle new challenges.  Yesterday was not one of those days.

I found my way to the ICU waiting room and made the call to ask for admittance.  I was refused, and so, while others were being allowed into ICU, I was preparing to have my own lonely little pity party. But I was not alone.  Not only was God with me, but there were others in the waiting room who also had to wait. And some of those were people God wanted me to meet.

A mother and daughter  recognized the agitation in my spirit and stopped to encourage me and give me a hug.  We got talking and eventually some of their problems came out.  The conversation eventually led to God and prayer. The mom said she had been taught to pray for others but had never felt right about praying for herself.  A friend had told her she should, but when she tried she felt uncomfortable about it.  I had the opportunity of telling her about a personal God who loves us enough to want a personal relationship. And while I spoke my own words were reminding me to share my burden with my Savior.

Later, after that mother and her daughter had been allowed into the ICU and I was still waiting, I found myself sitting next to another mother and daughter.  The lady was a Christian, and we got talking.  My burden seemed much smaller when I heard hers. We talked about how God leads in every circumstance, and we were both strengthened.

I learned that the hospital waiting room wasn't such a bad place to be if that's where God wanted me to be. Later, after finally being allowed to see Bruce for a short time and then being sent back to wait some more, I read my emails, and a dear friend had encouraged me to let God use me in the place He had put me, and I marveled at how He had.

Bruce still has a very long way to go, and I guess, so do I.  It will be a struggle; learning to rest in Him is never as easy as it should be for me, but I will learn, and I will come out of this stronger, and I will have helped someone along the way.

Thank You, Jesus, for each trial, each struggle I face, and for the strength in You to overcome!



(I hope eventually to be getting back to the sequence of events in the past that I have been writing about, but for now, the present is consuming most of my thoughts.  Please forgive me if my blog centers around this situation for a time.)

To read more about Bruce's sickness see: Trusting God
To read the previous post, see: Finding a place for a Christian School

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Place for a Christian School

"You said what?!" I plopped down on the chair next to her bed, and let out a frustrated moan.  My dear mom had always been outspoken like her father, C.J. Plett, and I was used to that, but now in the last days of her life, her thinking process had become slightly befuddled, and we were never quite sure what she would come out with.

It was right at the time when we were preparing to set up an ACE school  to help our older daughter, Susy.  She had been homeschooling since the oldest of her three had reached kindergarten age, but she was starting to burn out and we were afraid that, without help, she would have to send them to the public school.

My brother Ben had been at the funeral party and Dad's funeral, and had been talking to us about his ACE school.  He told us that every one of the students who had stayed with them right through the twelfth grade was successful in life and ministry.  It was an impressive record for a school that had been operating for twenty years.

We prayed about it and decided to give Accelerated Christian Education a try.  We knew that there were several families in the area that had expressed an interest in having a Christian school and we wanted to help them.  We also wanted to help our own family.

Our daughter, Susy, was willing to be a teacher.  All we needed was to take some training, sign up the students, and find a place for the school.  We booked our training in Texas, and started contacting families.  It looked like we would be starting with twenty students.

All was going well except for one thing.  We could not find a suitable building to house the school.  Every place we tried was either too expencive, or was just not suitable.  Finally we checked with the church where we were attending.  The pastor was enthusiastic.  He didn't see a problem.  The Sunday School rooms were only being used one hour a week, and a school would be a ministry extension. It would also provide a small suplimentary income for the church. He would bring it up at the next board meeting.

But before the meeting could take place, my mom met the wife of the head deacon.  The church ladies were doing a service in the nursing home, and this sweet sister went to invite Mom to the recreation hall, but my mother decided that this was not for her. 

"No, I could never fellowship with you," she said, and then proceeded to tell this shocked deacon's wife that her church doctrines were all wrong.  The lady asked politely if Bruce and I felt the same way, and my dear Mom assured her that we did.

When Mom told us what she had said, it shook me up.  I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.  How could Mom say such a thing?  We were not surprised, soon after, when the board met and voted unanimous against giving us permission to use the Sunday School rooms for a school.


It took a bit of effort to remind ourselves that no matter what happened, God was still in control.

But our problem still remained.  We still felt we needed to start a school, and we still had no facility.

We proceeded with our plan and headed for Texas for a week of intensive training.  (It was during this time that Love Story part 2 took place.) Meanwhile Susy was working from her end in Paisley.  Partway through our training week she called.  We were loosing students.  We weren't sure we would have any other than our own family by the time we got back, and yet Bruce felt that the Lord was telling us to continue on, that we would have a school and we would have eight students.

It took a little longer before we realized that God had already given us the facility to house the school.  We were living in it.  The Lord hadn't given us this beautiful board and batten home just to fix up for ourselves to be comfortable in.  The grand sized living room with the open staircase was the perfect place for a learning center, and the 10' x 10' downstairs bedroom that Anita was vacating to get married, would make a cozy sitting room that could double as a kindergarten classroom.

We had eight students, and we had a wonderful little school in our home.  The kindergarteners  felt comfortable sitting with this old Grandma in the comfort of her home.  The atmosphere was beautiful, and the Lord accomplished good things in that school.  If we had rented the church Sunday School rooms, we would not have been able to make ends meet with the number of students we had,  but for eight students our house was ideal.  My mom had unknowingly saved us from making a big mistake.

Isn't it special how God can even use a deteriorating befuddled mind for his purpose?

For the previous posts see:  Love Story part 1 and 2