Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good News and a Rainbow

God gave me the most beautiful rainbow, yesterday, right over the hospital. It was a fitting time and place to remind me that He makes us promises and then fulfills them.

I knew that.  With all the times we've seen it happen, I shouldn't have needed any reminding.  There was the time, for instance, when God promised to take care of us after we had lost everything including our credit, and then He gave us a house , or how He provided for our needs giving us what we needed to do the renovating.

I could look back on the time He gave us the desire to travel south for special meetings and then miraculously provided us with the funds because we were traveling in God's will.  The move to Paisley and Anita's beautiful love story were all part of the fulfilling of his promises, as was our move to Owen Sound. (The subject for my next post)

And now I was thinking of another promise, the promise Bruce has held on to since he became so sick.  When he was so near death's door way back in June, Bruce believed God told him that as He had extended Hezekiah's life, so He would extend his. But I struggled.  Was it really from God, or was it the wishful thinking of a mind that was already week from poisons in the bloodstream?

Yesterday, the nurse told us that Bruce would be coming home soon.  His blood levels were normal, his kidneys were functioning normally, his heart was fine, and he was gaining strength every day.  He will be stepping out of the hospital for the first time this weekend to worship and fellowship, and then, on Wednesday, he will be leaving it after five months of sickness.

It was shortly after receiving this exciting news that the rainbow appeared in the evening sky.  I had never seen a rainbow so beautiful, and this one seemed to be giving me my own personal promise which I will always hold in my heart.

Thank You, Lord for your rainbow of promises!

To read the previous post see:  A Time to Live and a Time to Die

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Time to Live and a Time to Die

I am so glad Bruce knew it wasn't his time to die.  It almost seems that God either honors a Christian's desire in this, or He gives them the desire to live if He still has work for them to do, or the longing to go when their time of departure is near.

With my mom, it seemed different, but now I wonder.  For so long she acted like she wanted to go home.  I remember talking to her on the phone one day shortly after Dad died.  She was crying.  "The nurse checked my heart today," she sobbed.  "She told me I would live to be ninety two."  Poor Mom! She wanted, so badly, to go home to be with Dad.

And yet she hung on. We hadn't thought she would even out live Dad, (see Funeral Party) and yet there she was still alive in spite of her cry for home.  We wondered what was keeping her here.

Meanwhile, Anita and her husband, Noe, and their beautiful new baby boy were waiting for landed immigrant status in Canada.  Because of the complications with his Honduran citizenship and his temporary status in the USA, he was not allowed to travel across the border, and if Anita left she might not be allowed back into the USA again to see him.

This meant that my mom, Grandma Susie, had never seen her newest great-grandson or her Honduran Grandson-in-law whom she already adored from a distance.  Finally, more than two years after Dad died, Noe received his papers and the family was able to cross the border.

Mom burst into joyful tears when they walked through the door.  This was the day she had been waiting for. God had allowed her this wonderful privilege.

Just shortly after that we got the call.  Mom was dying.  She was ready to leave.  Her one last earthly desire had been granted, and now she was about to have her heart's greatest desire fulfilled.

Throughout the vigil it was clear that she was happy to be going home.  She would get restless if the doctor suggested giving her medication to relieve pain.  She wanted no part of anything that might lengthen her journey or make it artificial.  Her last breath was the sound of victory. She was finally home.

The funeral was a beautiful celebration.  Bruce preached and the family sang and played instruments just as they had at the funeral party.
I stood talking outside our house for a while after almost everyone had left, but then I heard music coming from inside where my three brothers were gathered with my family.  I have never quite been able to explain what I felt as I walked in the front door and saw my family sitting around playing their guitars.  They were playing a Spanish song, and my Latin son-in-law, Noe, and my brother, Dave, the missionary to Latin America, were singing a duet in Spanish.

From one end of the continent to the other, God had created our family and was using Mom's passing to show me how He had knit us all together.

In spite of the sadness that is part of saying goodbye, I was overflowing with gratitude that day, not just because Mom was where she had longed to be, or because Noe and Nathanael had been granted the privilege of meeting Grandma Susie, but also because our Honduran son-in-law was becoming part of our whole wonderful family.

Thanks, Mom, for waiting in spite of your impatience.

To read more about Grandma Susie see my blog post: I wanted to me more like my mom, Grandma Susie
or to read my novels based on her life story see:

To read the last blog post see: Spring Storm
To read the last post in the life story series see: Place for a Christian School

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spring Storms

In spite of all the lovely fall colors, I am reminded more of spring than of fall these days.  I have to constantly tell myself, the same way I do in spring, that this is a season of change, a time of surprises, sometimes happy ones of sunshine and flowers, but then, too, I have to expect the freak storms that shouldn't happen any more but do, almost always, just when I'm sure that winter is over for good.

When the spring sun comes out and melts the snow I can't bring myself to believe another storm is around the corner, and when the storm comes, I can't seem to believe that spring could be back the next day.  And that's the way my life has been like lately.

When Bruce started doing so well and they scheduled him for Rehab the sun came out and melted the snow of our lives.  And then, the day they transferred him, even before they moved him, he became confused again and unable to do things for himself.  He didn't even want to.

The storm hit me hard because I really wasn't expecting it.  Even though I had been told by several doctors at the hospital in Toronto that Bruce's recovery would be a slow process with many setbacks along the way, it was just too hard to believe when he was recovering so nicely.  When the sun hid its face, in my mind I knew that the storm wouldn't last, and yet, somehow I couldn't convince my emotions to believe.

But the storm didn't last.  It was only a brief set back, and now he is doing well again.  I want to think the sunshine is back for good, but again my head knows that life is full of storms.  My heart isn't listening at the moment though.  Personally, I would just like to stick with spring for now, but God controls the seasons of our lives.

If another storm does come, I will try to remember that it is soaking the ground so the flowers of our lives will grow brighter in the future.

For the Next post see A time to live and a time to die
For the previous post see: Overflowing with Thankfulness

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Overflowing with Thankfulness

I remember being in the ICU in shock standing beside someone who didn't look or act or think like my husband, and being furious with all the doctor's who should have warned us that this could happen, and thinking we would have never agreed to go through with the open heart surgery if we had known it would be like this.

But it was God who shut the doctors' mouths, so that they only told us the risk of death, something we could handle better.  The Lord kept them from telling us that he might be on dialysis the rest of his life, or that all his organs would suffer badly from the operation; and it was God that kept them from telling us that over forty percent of valve replacement patients will go into a delirium, and some, especially those who have gone through the sort of problems Bruce has suffered in the previous three months, will never truly be "normal" again.

I tried to tell myself that all things work together for good to them that love God.  When Bruce went into a particularly upsetting delirium I tried to remind myself that God was still in control, but, oh, it was so hard.  All I could think of was the way Bruce had taken my hand before the operation, and held on to it so tightly, and whispered "I'm scared," and how I tried to remind him that God was in control, and whether he lived or died, it would be a win win situation.

But this wasn't a win win situation! Not the way I saw it from the ICU that day.  I wanted my husband back, not some strange looking man with a mixed up brain.

It took a lot of tears and time spent with God before I was willing to, not only accept whatever He allowed, but also to thank him for it. See In Everything Give thanks.

Today, my heart is overflowing with thankfulness.  Bruce has not only recovered the use of his kidneys, and heart functions, he has also been steadily recovering the use of his mental abilities.  He still struggles a bit with short term memory, but even that is getting better every day.

They tell me that my husband will be in the hospital until almost Christmas, and if that is true I am so thankful that we have a good hospital in Owen Sound where he can get the attention he needs and I can see him every day without having to be away from my home and family.  But it wouldn't surprise me too much if he is well enough to come home long before December 25.

When I look back now, I can see why God shut the doctors' mouths.  If they had told us of the mental risk Bruce would be facing, I don't believe we would have agreed to the operation, and, from what the heart surgeon told us just before we left his care, if Bruce hadn't had the operation when he did he would be dead by now.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, Lord!!!!  Thank You that I still have my husband!

For the Next post see: Spring Storms
For the previous post see: Apology