I wasn’t ready for this

It’s starting to feel like I only write when I’m asking for people to give or when something bad has happened. And let’s be honest, today fits right into that mold.

I used to talk to my mom on the phone every day. She would call me on her way home from work, and we would chat for that 15 minute drive. Then my brother started working with her and since they live 1/2 mile apart, they started carpooling most days. That meant that my mom only called me on days when my brother wasn’t with her. It was hard (annoying) at first, but I’ve gotten used to it.

Normally on Tuesdays my brother rides with my mom so I was obviously surprised when my phone rang around 5 and it was my mom. She thought she was so funny telling me how sorry she was that she wouldn’t be able to see us the next day. She was sorry that I decided we wouldn’t be able to see her. (Wednesdays weather permitting the boys and I go to my mom’s house to spend time with Grandma Jo and then see my parents. The weather is a lot less permitting in the winter that the other 3 seasons.) Finally asked why “I” decided we couldn’t go over. My dad and Grandma Jo were both sick with the flu. We talked the rest of her drive home and said good-bye when she pulled in the garage. It should be a few days until I talked to her again.

You can’t imagine my surprise, my shock, my panic when about an hour later my phone rang and the caller ID showed my mom’s name. I had been messing around on Facebook and answered on the first ring. She doesn’t call me at night. My phone should not have rang.

My mom was a mess and the strongest she’s even been when I answered the phone. She said, “I think Grandma had a stroke. The ambulance came and got her. I’m on my way to the hospital.”

I can’t even tell you my reaction. I got this same call 2 years ago, but this time is worse because I know how that story ended. The last time I got this call Grandpa had brain cancer and died. And that was hard and I didn’t want to lose Grandpa. I wasn’t ready for that, but I’m really not ready to lose Grandma.

And as broken as I felt, I held it together. I got the information Mom needed to give me. I was strong for her. I hung up the phone, told my husband what happened and took 1 minute to fall apart. Then I made the calls that she needed to me to make.

They made it to the hospital and confirmed that she did have the flu. They didn’t think it was a stroke, but the flu was bad enough they were transferring her to a bigger hospital. Okay. I can do that. The flu is extra bad this year. They transferred her and did an MRI and EKG the next morning. She has the flu, and it was a stroke.

If you know anything about my grandma, you know she is so ready to be in Heaven with my grandpa. She’s been telling us all since Grandpa died that she just wants to be with him. So my first thoughts with all of this is that she was just going to give up. I’m not ready to lose her. That may be super selfish, but I need her for just a little bit longer.

But the one thing she wants more than to be with Grandpa is to not be a burden on her family so she keeps fighting. The location in the brain where her stroke was just affected mobility on the right side. It didn’t affect her memories or attitude or personality. She is as ornery ever. Her speech is slow and affected, but she makes jokes with the doctors that they don’t get.

Grandma and Grandpa always thought that she would die first. They planned for that. We know she has an aneurysm in her brain. Any day it could move and kill her. But it hasn’t. This week we learned things about her heart. It is bad when your aorta is enlarged. At 3cm they do surgery. Grandma’s aorta is 6cm. That makes your heart pump too fast and, instead of sending the blood out faster, your heart is pumping too fast and the blood can’t get out of the heart and instead pools around in your heart and starts clotting and that clot is what caused Grandma’s stroke.

We’ve been told that with the kind of stroke she had that with medication there is less than a 15% of her having another stroke. I guess if you must have a stroke, it’s the best kind you could have. Although that information came before we knew how swollen her aorta is.

Mostly we are being told that with rehab, Grandma will get back 60% mobility on her right side. She will be able to walk, but she will probably have to use a walker. They want to do heart surgery eventually. It’s hard for some people to understand but she is looking for quality of life over quantity. She’s been ready for Heaven for 2 years.

So today I’m feeling the same feelings I had 2 years ago. I feel selfish and guilty. I want Grandma to live, to be healthy and strong and for us to have years more of Wednesday visits. But I don’t get to make these decisions. I don’t get to pick. And my mom sits at the hospital all day and I think I should be doing something, but there is literally nothing I can do. Even if I drove to the hospital, they wouldn’t let me and the boys in.

So it’s all in God’s hands. And I pray for His will. For the right thing. If He chooses for us to have her longer I will rejoice in that and if He chooses for her to be with Grandpa, I will mourn for our lose, for the world’s lose, but rejoice in knowing that she is with Grandpa.

If you, dear readers, would pray for my family. The selfish part of me wants you to pray for healing and the unselfish part asks for you to pray that His will be done. Either way pray for Grandma to be at peace and for God to be with us all.

 

 

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Facebook is slowly breaking me

I joined Facebook late. I can’t remember when I joined but it was a while after I joined before I became active. I’m pretty sure it was sometime during the 20 months between the birth of my boys that I joined. I know every year Facebook will let me know on the day I joined that it is our anniversary.

And these days I mostly appreciate the updates. It’s how I stay in contact with people I don’t see on a regular basis (or peek into the lives of people I never see and wouldn’t even think of if Facebook didn’t remind me). And I would apologize for my use of Facebook, if I didn’t think all of you use it the same way. It’s a way to pretend we are closer to more people than we are. And I have less than 200 friends on Facebook (and WAY less than that in real life.).

One of the things that I have come to love about Facebook is their memories. “We think you might be interested in seeing what you posted on this day over the last 10 years…” And many of those times, Facebook is right. I’ve posted about the funny things my boys do or say or a super cute “how were they ever this small” picture. I very rarely share the memories, but Facebook was right. I love seeing them.

Welcome to this week. With everything happening with us plus I’ve been sick as a dog, I’m super emotional this week. And then Facebook wants to share with me. The first thing FB shared with me was an article that I shared. It was written by a mom whose baby died. I originally read the article and shared it because I know that it hurts and we don’t talk about miscarriage, stillborn, SIDS, infant and child death because it’s hard. Let me tell you, FB reminding me (Oh, and I reread the article) didn’t make it easier. Thanks for the memories.

That memory was one year ago today. Do you know what happened two years ago today? No? I didn’t know either until FB told me. I thought I had some more time. Two years ago today, my brother who is in the army (so he doesn’t live close) and his wife came home to see my grandpa. Two years ago today my family (minus my husband who wasn’t able to be there) gathered for pictures which I clearly remember telling my sister-in-law I wasn’t happy to be taking, and then remember telling her I was so thankful we took because these were our last family pictures.

I remember this week two years ago so clearly. It was my grandpa’s last good week. It was that “maybe the doctors were wrong” and “God works miracles” week. And, for the record, that week was a miracle because Grandpa was so good that week and had such a good visit with everyone. God gave us all that one super awesome good week.

But seriously, FB, I could have had a couple more days before the reminder. I have missed him so much these last few weeks with everything going on, I could have done without the reminder. I have heard his voice, that amazing, annoying, loving and terrible voice, “God’s only preparing you for something worse.” I’ve heard it, Facebook. I didn’t need the reminder this week.

I’m not sure if Facebook is trying to break us or help us. What I do know is when you are feeling fat and ugly and throw on the first shirt you can find and your sister-in-law wants to take pictures and tells you that you’ll appreciate it some day, trust her. Take the picture. Hug the ones you love. As hard as that summer was, what I would give to do it again.

Jesus didn’t need the stone rolled away.

There is something that bothers me a lot when we talk about Easter or when I hear songs about the resurrection. It’s a little thing, a small detail that most people probably don’t even hear. But when we talk about Easter and use this certain phrasing it changes the story.

One of my favorite Christian songs is Glorious Day by Counting Crowns.  They use this phrasing in their song. “One day the grave could conceal Him no longer, one day the stone rolled away from the door. Then He arose over death He had conquered.” Did you hear it? Honestly its just one little word. THEN He arose.

Nope. That’s not how it works. Jesus did not need the stone rolled away so He could leave the tomb. When you use the word then it sounds like Jesus couldn’t leave the tomb unless someone opened the door. We believe He was born to a virgin, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead three days later, but He needed the stone moved so He could get out of the tomb?

Maybe it’s silly how much this one word affects me, but, to me, this changes the story. It opens up room for so much doubt. How could Jesus be the Son of God if He needed the stone moved? He performed miracles but was trapped in the tomb until the stone was moved? Was He trapped in there until an angel of the Lord came down from Heaven and rolled the stone away? (Matthew 28:2)

No. Jesus wasn’t in the tomb when the angel moved the stone. Matthew 28:5-8 says, “But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.'”

The stone was not rolled away so Jesus could come out. Jesus was long gone from the tomb when the stone was rolled away. He was already on His way. He is alive. The stone was rolled away so that we may go in. It was moved so we  could see that the tomb was empty, so we could see the folded cloth and know that Jesus is not there. The stone was moved for us.

The stone was rolled away and we found an empty tomb, not Jesus waiting to get out.

Do you hear the difference that one word makes in the story? Death was already conquered. Jesus had already arose. God had already won, long before the stone was moved. The stone was moved so those who needed to see the empty grave could see it.

I’m not sure why the story gets told as if the stone was rolled away first. Maybe in the songs it just flows nicer that way. Maybe people don’t even realize the way they are phrasing it. Maybe I’m the only one in the whole world who hears it that way. (Although I’m guessing you’ll hear it now even if you never have in the past.) Maybe it shouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but it does bother me.

Jesus rose from the dead and THEN the stone was rolled away from the tomb. Not the other way around.

 

Super Duper Tuesday

It’s Super Tuesday in the United States. During election season, this is the day that the most states vote in the primary elections and tends to set the tone for the rest of the election season. It is very hard, if not impossible to come out of Super Tuesday without winning several states and continue on to win your party’s nomination. Today is an important political day.

I love politics. I listen to talk radio. I watch the shows. I read as many of the articles as I can stomach. I follow this stuff closely. Today is a big day for me even though my state isn’t voting today. In fact, if I could find someone willing to entertain my husband and children this evening so I can watch the election coverage on TV, Facebook and Twitter that would be super awesome. Since that probably won’t happen, I’ll be watching as much coverage as I can without my family losing their minds.

I like to talk politics. I like to argue politics. I have always been a conservative, both socially and fiscally. I am against big government. Until the last 6-10 years, I have considered myself a republican. However, as I have grown and paid more and more attention to the state of the world around us, I no longer consider myself a republican. Technically, I am probably an independent, but I lean hard to the Libertarian party. Because while I am very conservative in my personal beliefs, I honestly don’t give a crap what you want to do as long as it doesn’t affect my personal freedoms. I want the government to leave me alone and I want you to leave me alone.

So I’ve been watching this election cycle closely. I am amazed by the direction both political parties are going. I made up my mind about my vote more than a year ago (before people even began announcing that they would run). I have known for a while who I would like to see as the next president. And while I have made my decisions, there have been other candidates come and go that I could consider voting for. And there are some candidates that I would never vote for.

In the past I have normally voted straight republican, but that has changed. In our last state election, I voted for the libertarian candidate over the republican (who I know) because of the votes cast at the state capital. I have contact several of the people claiming to represent me because I will not vote for them again. You can not just assume you have my vote. I have actually contacted the democrat senator for my state on more than one occasion to thank him for at least doing what he said he was going to do, even when I don’t agree with what he is doing. At least I know where he stands on the issues.

There is one thing that I can guarantee you this election cycle. When it is my turn to vote, I will not cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump. I also will not stay home on election day. I will vote third-party. I will write in a candidate to vote for. I am tired of accepting someone who I can not stomach. I am not going to hold my nose and cast my vote.

I have prayed more over this election than any other in my lifetime. I truly believe this is the election that will decide whether the United States stands or falls. I have prayed that God would give us not the leader that we deserve but the leader that would bring us back to the path of righteousness. I pray that we will not vote with hate or fear or anger but that we would vote with love. That we would vote with a love for our nation and a love for God.

If you live in a Super Tuesday state, please vote today. But before you go to the polls, please pray. And know that there are people out there praying for you, too. I pray that the right person comes out on top tonight. I pray that God’s will be done. I pray that goodness and righteousness win out over name calling and lies and backroom deals.

A letter to Grandma for Her Birthday

Dear Grandma,

I can’t even to begin to imagine how hard these last few months have been for you. From the first hospital visit to today, your whole life has changed. Grandpa was your rock, and I can’t imagine anything that would be harder for you than losing him.

I’ve watched you this last year. I’ve seen the strength you gave him when you had no strength left because you knew he needed those last moments, we needed those last moments before he went to the Father. I know the nights you didn’t sleep because he didn’t sleep. I know that even when he did sleep you laid awake to keep watch over him.

I know how you struggle today to fill your time because he was your time. I know how alone you feel because he was your other half. I know that you never imagined a life without him because he was your life.

And I sat at your table this week. And you watched the boys play their games and we talked about life and everything that had happened in the week since we had seen you. And we even talked about Grandpa a little. Not in any big or hard ways, but just in the natural way he came up in conversation, in how he would react to the world around us. Or how we all think of him every time Purdue plays basketball. (Oh my goodness, he would be madder than my husband in how they have been playing!)

I’m not sure why, but this has been a hard week for me. I miss Grandpa so much right now, maybe even more than the week he died. He was always there to talk to, and sometimes when we talk I imagine how he would react to it. And if I’m struggling this much this week, I can’t even imagine how hard things are for you.

I love Grandpa so much, but I know you love him even more than I can imagine. I can’t imagine losing my husband after 11 years of marriage, and I know that’s only a drop in the bucket after 60. I wish I could tell you how to move on, how to breath in and breath out every day. I wish I could tell you what to do to make each day easier. I wish there was a way I could make each day easier.

And I know (and I know you know) there is a reason God called Grandpa home and left you here with us. And not that I would pick him over you, I’m just selfish enough to want you both here with me now. It makes me want to scream out that it isn’t fair. And we all know that isn’t the way life works. We all have a story to tell and God doesn’t call us home until our story is done, no matter how long or short the story is.

Sunday is your 80th birthday. Maybe that is why Grandpa being gone hurts so much this week. I can just see him trying to convince you that you needed a party and 80 candles on a cake. I can see him rejoicing that God gave us all one more year with you.

And maybe that’s where we all need to be right now. Yes, it hurts so much. Yes, we will continue to cry and miss Grandpa, but his story was told. Your story isn’t finished and we need to continue to tell it. And I thank God for every additional day I have with you, that my boys have with you because your story isn’t finished. And while I didn’t believe, even after he was sick, that Grandpa’s story was coming to an end, I am so thankful for every day we had with him. And I know you are, too.

So know that while you are struggling through this time of change, we are struggling with you. And know that while you are learning how to live without Grandpa, we are too. I know it’s not the same. I know as much as I hurt, you must hurt 1,000 times more. But also know that your story isn’t finished. God still has work for you to do here on earth.

This may be the least happiest birthday letter ever written. And this is probably your least happiest birthday ever. And while we celebrate God giving us another year with you, it’s okay to have tears for the year He didn’t give us with Grandpa.

I’m sorry this letter isn’t more cheery, but I don’t think cheer is what any of us have to give right now. Maybe for your 81st birthday we can be cheery. I love you very, very much. Happy Birthday, Grandma.

 

This is my story

I realize it’s not Wednesday. But even if it was Wednesday, it’s been so long since I’ve done a Worship Wednesday post, it would probably confuse you all. But it’s not Wednesday, it’s Friday. And this Friday, I’m listening to music waiting for my husband to get home from the store and one of my current favorite Christian songs comes on, Big Daddy Weave’s My Story.

This song speaks to me so much. I grew up in a Christian home. There was never a time when we didn’t go to church. There was never a time when I didn’t believe in God, or know that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God who came to earth as a man, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross for ME, and arose three days later. This has always been true for me.

And then I’m around people talking about their story, and they all have this big AHA moment where suddenly they understood and believed and knew Jesus came for them. And then I feel like I am less. Everyone is sharing their salvation story, and I just sit there uncomfortable hoping no one is looking at me. I don’t have this big story. I do not have a single moment in my life where I remember anything but believing in Jesus. Does this make me less?

I grew up in the church. We always, ALWAYS, went to church. If you spent the night at our house, you went to church on Sunday morning, too. There were no ifs, ands or buts about it (unless you snuck out at the crack of dawn. I’m looking at you, Joey). We went on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights until we changed churches and then we went on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. We were always in church. And if something happened with the church we were currently attending, we immediately were in another church. Church, God and Jesus are just something that has always been a part of me.

I hear people tell these stories, and I am so moved by them. They were in this horrible place and God spoke to them and they found Jesus and I rejoice with them. These are amazing stories. And then I am terrified they will ask me mine. And then what do I say? I’ve always believed? I’ve never doubted the presence of God?

Don’t get me wrong. I have made mistakes. I have made my own gigantic, horrible, terrible mistakes. But even in the midst of those mistakes, I knew God; I knew Jesus. While I was making my mistakes, there was never a moment when I doubted the presence of God. And while my mistakes may have taken me away from God, I knew that He had never left me.

What kind of story is that? What kind of testimony is it to say you always knew Him? There are days this makes me feel less, less Christian, less devoted, just less. And how ridiculous is that? Shouldn’t always knowing Him be more or equal to? But still I feel less.

My middle brother was the first of the three of us that were baptize. I remember so clearly as a teenager my brother saying he wanted to be baptized again because the first time he was baptized we were attending a Church of Christ where they have communion every Sunday and my brother really wanted to be able to have communion because every one else was. I remember my teenage brother with his amazing story being baptized again. (I am not saying that he ever doubted God or Jesus, just so we are clear.) I remember watching him being dunked into that water and being so proud of the choice he was making. I remember being jealous that he had this moment of clarity and a story he could tell. Isn’t that silly?

I know not having an amazing story doesn’t make me less. It doesn’t lessen my worth in my Father’s eyes. It’s such a silly human thing that I’m sure comes from Satan. And maybe that’s why this song means so much to me.

To tell you my story is to tell of Him.

My story (or lack thereof) doesn’t make me less. It doesn’t make me more. It makes me me. We all have different stories. We all come to Him in different places. Do you know what is important? It’s not the story. It’s that we come to Him.

So if you ask me my story, I will tell you a story of when Life overcame the grave. I will tell you of when justice was served but when mercy won. Let me tell you of the grace that is greater than all of my sin (and boy have I sinned.). Can I tell you about the kindness of Jesus which is more than any of us can imagine? This is my story. This is my song.

This season I’m thankful for God’s perfect timing

We are two days away from Thanksgiving and over two months since my last post. This has been a rough year. I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I would like. There has been so much going on and so many thoughts and feelings that I’ve wanted to write down, but when I sit at the computer they seem too personal and private to share with the whole world. I actually did sit down one day and write a long post about how the boys have been dealing with the grieving process since Grandpa died. I got all the way to the end and then hit save instead of publish.

Emotions run high and low and, although I know Grandma would never tell me to censor the words I use here, I didn’t want to be responsible for more low emotions. So I write out long posts in my head and save them for a day when everything isn’t as close to the surface. It’s not that we will ever be “over” Grandpa’s death, but someday November will come and we won’t just sit around for days crying. You see, November 14th was Grandpa’s birthday, and yesterday Grandma and Grandpa would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

If all of that doesn’t make me emotional enough, I got some extremely disappointing and confusing news yesterday. We were in the middle of something big. It felt so right and like God had led us to this place in this time and all of the many, many pieces were falling into place at just the right moments. It was so close we could feel it. And it felt so right and we could all imagine just exactly how it was going to be. And then yesterday we got the news that it probably, most likely is not going to happen.

It was one of those punch you in the stomach, can’t believe what you’ve just been told, what do we do now, moments. And, yes, there is a very, VERY slim chance that all the pieces line back up and our plan continues, but that is just so very unlikely at this point.

And it just leaves us all confused. What do we do now? What we were moving towards had been prayed over day after day after day, by not just those directly involved but others who prayed that God would show us the right way. And we all prayed that if we were moving in the wrong direction that God would stop us and not let us get there. But if we were moving in the wrong direction, why did God let us get so far? Why did he answer the first, second, third, fourth steps with yes just to give us a no about 6 hours before the last step?

And with all these things adding up, it’s hard to remember to be thankful for what we do have. And then I remember that God has perfect timing. And for reasons that I can’t see today, these things were supposed to happen in this order at this time. I can even trace the decisions and steps made back to when Grandpa first got sick, if not before. There is a big plan and smaller plans happening all around us that we can not see, and that we may never see.

I believe that someday (hopefully in the near future but maybe not), I will understand why we took the steps that we have taken and why we were stopped in this spot at this time.

This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing family, a fantastic husband that I can not imagine life without, 2crazylittleboys that bring me such overwhelming joy, a God that loves me so much He was willing to die for me, a roof over my head and food on my table. I have a warm bed to sleep in. I have been blessed with so much.

And this week as we work to make sense of what’s happened, I’m going to remember to be thankful for my God who stopped us from making a decision that could have harmed us all. Instead of focusing of what could have been and what I wanted, I’m going to remember that this is what we prayed for. Apparently we were on the wrong path, and now we are waiting for God to point us the in the next direction we should go.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. May God bless you with fun and food and family (and football!).

Yesterday was nothing short of divine intervention

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I’ve been thinking about God’s timing a lot recently, about how all things work as a part of His divine plan that we just cannot understand on this side of Heaven. Yesterday was an interesting day, to say the least. And without God’s amazing timing it could have worked out so differently than it did.

Depending on how you look at it, yesterday I saved the life of a baby or almost killed a baby. Without God’s amazing timing, that baby would have died yesterday afternoon. I guess I should start at the beginning.

Because of everything going on with the family right now, my weekly schedule has changed quite a bit. I used to go to my mom’s on Wednesdays, but I’ve started going on Thursdays the past couple of weeks. On our way there, I knew I was going to have to stop at the local grocery store, and I considered stopping on my way there rather than on my way home. In the end, I decided just to stop on my way home.

We spend the afternoon together and I ended up getting a slightly later start home than I wanted. While shopping, the boys dragged their feet and basically just made me crazy as I was just wanting to get home. We finally got up to the checkout, and as the cashier started to ring me up, I realized that I had forgotten the one thing my husband had asked me to pick up. I wasn’t going back through the store.

As I loaded the boys and groceries into the truck, I considered texting my husband to see if he really needed what I had forgotten. Then I remembered that the small town we were in had just opened a Dollar General and I could get the forgotten items there. It was the complete opposite direction I had planned on going, but I decided to run over there anyway. We drove around the block and pulled out on the main road.

Heading west, the sun was shining down on us, and it was a little hard to see. A car a little ways ahead of me swerved to go around something. I wondered if it was a bicycle. No, that’s to small to be a bike. Is there a dog in the road?

As I got closer, the object became more clear. IT WAS A BABY WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF MY LANE!

I slammed on my brakes, turned on my flashers and put the truck in park in the middle of the road. There were a couple of cars behind me and I was scared to death that they would swerve around me and hit the baby. I opened my door as fast as I could, hollering to the boys that they were not to move, and motioned to the car behind me to stop. I ran up to this little girl who couldn’t have been much more than a year old toddling down the road.

Where I found her, there were a couple of houses on both sides of the road but no people anywhere. I wasn’t even sure what house she belonged in. A buggy stopped as I reached and picked up the little girl, and a man ran up and started hollering for her parents. I asked if the closest house was hers, but he didn’t know. I carried her up towards the house as another little girl, around five years old, came running up from around the back of the house. The front door opened and her mom came out.

I was so sick and shook up all I could say was, “She was in the road.” I handed the baby over and the woman just stood there looking at me. “She was in the road.” As I started to head back to the truck, the woman said that the child had just been in the yard and thank you.

I got back into my truck and the boys told me how nice it was that I saved that baby. I was just sick. I wanted to throw up. I was shaking.

How amazing is God’s timing? If I had gone over to Mom’s a day earlier like I used to do, I wouldn’t have even been in that county yesterday. If I had gone to the store before going to Mom’s, I wouldn’t have been in that town. If I hadn’t forgotten something, I wouldn’t have been on that road. If that first car hadn’t swerved, I may not have seen her. (Why didn’t they stop?!)

Everything that happened led up to me being in that place at that time.

The next time that something doesn’t seem to go according to your plan, or you forget something at the store and have to make an extra stop, remember this story. Maybe the reasons won’t be as obvious as they were yesterday but know that it’s all a part of His plan.

What happened yesterday was nothing sort of divine intervention. I was at that place at that moment because that was right where God needed me to be.

God Uses All Things For Good, Even When It Sucks.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been going through some hard stuff. My grandpa hadn’t been feeling quite right so he went to see the doctor. They put him on some medications and a couple of days later we were admitting him to the hospital. He was hallucinating and hearing voices inside his head.

After a few days in the hospital, it was decided that all of his problems were side effects from the medications that he had been on. They took him on the medicine, and he appeared to be doing better. Yes, he was still struggling with seeing things that weren’t there, but he was having good days, too. We all believed that once the medications had worked their way completely through his system that he would be well, again.

The next week he and my grandma (and parents and aunt and uncle and friends) all went on a cruise to Alaska together. Everyone was nervous but it was decided that they would go. And like at home, there were good times and bad. And in the end everyone was glad they had gone.

On the way home from Alaska, grandpa took a turn for the worse. And a couple of days after they were home, he struggled to control his left arm and leg and fell. We had to call the ambulance, and he was rushed to the hospital. Once there they began treating him as if he had a stroke. None of us believed it was a stroke. We argued with the doctors. We pushed for more tests and other diagnosis. Finally we pushed on the right doctor.

They did several more tests and determined that grandpa had not had a stroke. They found he had an abscess on his brain, so basically just a really bad infection. They started him on antibiotics for it and began to talk about surgery to drain it. They didn’t know if any permanent damage had been done, but we were all just so thankful to know what was wrong and that they had a plan to get him better.

I think that relief may have lasted 48 hours, maybe. Two days ago, the doctors took grandpa into surgery. We prayed, and asked others to pray, and waited. Grandpa came through the surgery great, but they did not drain the infection. Because, you see, it turns out it wasn’t an abscess after all. It is glioblastoma multiforme, a fast acting, incurable, cancerous tumor.

Best case scenario, God heals grandpa. I truly believe this is an option. With treatment, the doctors say he had about 14 months. Without treatment, the doctors are saying less than 6 months. Even with treatment, grandpa will continue to struggle with the use of his left side and continue to have problems with hallucinations.

grandma and grandpa

My heart is just broken. I cry until there seem to be no tears left and then I’ll think of something and find out that there were tears left after all.

I’m not ready for this. I haven’t heard all his stories. And then I look at my little boys who adore their Grandpa John and I know they haven’t heard enough of his stories. Or taken enough tractor rides or walks or gotten into nearly enough trouble with him.

And then to go with all the other crappy emotions I’m feeling these days, I feel guilty and selfish. If it’s this hard for me, then how hard is it for my mom? He’s her dad. How is my grandma coping? They’ve been married for over 50 years. And it’ll probably piss them both off when they read that.

There are things I know that help, or will help over the coming months. My grandpa and my God are tight. They are on really good terms, and there is no doubt where my grandpa will be spending eternity. And it’s so much better than anywhere on Earth.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I know God is using this for His good. But boy does it suck. And we may never know what good God is using this for, but I know He is. I know He has a big plan that I can not understand.

walking by water

I know that God will use all that we are going through, no matter the outcome for His good. I know that everything will work out according to His plan. I know that, in the end, we will all be together again. And there will be no pain, no sickness, no hurt, and no tears.

But today, even knowing all that, doesn’t make my heart hurt any less.

 

My Faith Is Just My Faith

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about my faith as it is seen through the eyes of others. It’s been an interesting experience. To me, my faith is just my faith. It’s something that has always been a part of me. I don’t remember a time without it. There wasn’t one morning where I woke up and suddenly realized that Jesus was the Christ.

Now that’s not to say that there aren’t defining times of faith in my life. There are definitely moments that I look back on and know that God was working in my life. And while there are no times in my life where I questioned the existence of God, there are certainly times where I was far from Him.

I’m at an interesting period in my faith right now. Suddenly, I am listening more carefully and doing things I feel God is calling me to do when they make no sense to me. Or when I’m not even sure that I want to do them. Or when the thought of doing it has me literally on the verge of throwing up.

And then I pray that I’m making the right decision. I pray that the words that I’m using are the right ones, the ones that will make the most impact, the ones He wants me to use. Before yesterday’s post, Hope For the Holidays, I was sick and shaking. What if it didn’t work? What if there’s all these needs and no one to help? What if it’s just an epic failure, and then everyone knows that I’m an epic failure?

And then I prayed again. Hope For the Holidays is probably the most prayed over blog post I’ve ever written. And after I prayed, I felt at peace. I was still shaking. I was still nervous. Those are human reactions. But I knew that if it was right, it was going to work. I actually had prayed for God to shut my blog down and not let it work if I wasn’t supposed to write those words.

In the last couple of weeks, people have been talking to me about my faith. I’ve been told I was brave. I’ve been told that my faith is awe-inspiring. I’ve been told I’m doing God’s work.

It’s amazing for people to look at me and my words and see my faith like that. To me, it’s just my faith. It’s just who I am. Most of the time, I feel like a scared little girl just trying to do what her Father wants her to do.

You look at me and say that I am brave? I am so scared every time I write. But maybe being brave is writing when you are scared.

You look at me and say that my faith is inspiring? It’s just who I am. It doesn’t feel inspiring.

You look at me and say that I’m doing God’s work? WOW. That one just blows me over. I hope you’re right.

Thank you for giving me a different perspective on my faith.