Sunday, November 30, 2014

Can God do more miracles than we hope for?

I want to continue what I promised. Filling you in on the things I remember, the fight for life and the fight to hold on to the one thing I person I did know held me in His hands, God. So this is the next two weeks or so of my adventure.

The next night was when my poor husband was told I needed a heart valve replacement. My heart valve had a bacteria on it and endocarditis. The blood was just sloshing around in my heart and not going out very well. My body was still in organ failure along with a high fever that wasn't coming down and surgery was not possible until they could get the infection under control. My blood pressure was rising and falling so they were constantly pushing medicine to keep it going. They were going to transfer me to another hospital for the surgery but there was yet another problem. I didn't have insurance. I was always the one who was mostly healthy, no real problems. Insurance had to wait. Our budget was too small. So without insurance they had to find a hospital and surgeon willing to take my case. Thankfully, and again an answer to prayer, the cardiologist at my hospital had a surgeon friend at another hospital that was willing. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Again they didn't know if I would survive. They had given me medicine to put me in a deep sleep, almost a state of coma so that my body would heal but it was still fighting that infection. They wanted me awake for surgery so they took me off the medicine to wake me up, but I wouldn't wake up. When they received me at the new hospital and I wouldn't wake up for three days, the Doctor asked for a CT Scan to see if maybe I had a stroke. Evidently stroke victims like to sleep. When the scan came back, it definitely showed a stroke but it also showed that my brain was completely swollen. As my neurologist later told me “Your brain was like mashed potatoes!”

This was another huge setback. The Doctor again explained for the second time that I might not make it. He was going to re-do the scan in a couple of days and if the brain was healing then we would go from there, if the brain didn’t heal we were talking about a completely different scenario because that meant the brain was dying. I can’t even imagine what my family and friends were going through and down the roller coaster we went.

But God! They took the CT scan again in three days and it was not what anyone expected. The Doctor came to my husband to tell him my brain was completely healed. In three days it had completely healed itself. He exclaimed “I had nothing to do with that, only God”.

God had now done three huge miracles in two weeks’ time but was another one possible?

My brain was cleared, the fever was finally going down and my organs were working again except my heart. I needed a heart valve replacement. The surgeon called the Cardiologist. He wasn't sure if he even needed to do the surgery.  My body was not ready to withstand the surgery and if I contracted an infection I would not make it through the event. The Cardiologist told him that either way the outcome would be the same, I would /could die. At least I had a small chance with the surgery and if I didn't survive, well, I wasn’t going to without the surgery.

If I were sitting on the other side of bed, I am not sure how I would feel. I am not sure if I would even have enough in me to ask God for one more miracle. My family and friends though stood vigil, they prayed, they held my husband’s hand, they held my daughter close to their heart. In the midst of all of this, my daughter was still in the hospital and my husband was going to both hospitals as much as he could. Thankfully she was finally released from her hospital in time for my surgery.

So, the day before my daughter’s eighteenth birthday that had so many other plans than being in a hospital, before all this happened, I had surgery. God was so gracious with His love and I made it through that surgery with flying colors and healing began.  But there was so much healing to be done. My body was so weak. According the Doctors, I was Septic the week before I went to the hospital and the infection had been in my body for a long time. I had been sick a lot longer than I even knew.

The recovery was very hard. When I woke up, really woke up, I was back at the original hospital and that is when it started. The things I remember before my eyes and brain finally caught up with each other is foggy and dreamy. There are so few things I do remember but I do remember finally waking up because that was so hard. The reality of everything that happened came crashing on me like being caught in an undertow. People around me were praising God about all those miracles they had witnessed but my miracle started when I woke up.

When I first woke up, I could talk but I couldn't read. I could think but I couldn't move any muscle in my body. I could want things, ice, food and other things but I could do nothing for myself. I was completely paralyzed. I had so many questions. I was so scared. I didn't know how I would be and what God had planned but I held on to hope and determination.

And today we have come to a new crossroad. A crossroad of Faith, Hope and knowing…..facing the good, the bad and the best in relationships and in my own heart. Watching God again take my heart and forge a new path in it.

Thank you for listening, the next few weeks were terribly hard. Recovery was the toughest place for me and I want to take my time through that.  So next time…we will laugh, cry and praise God for all that He is, He does, and the love He gives.
In His Loving Grip

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Being Thankful

It is amazing to me to see the seasons go by, they seem to flow one into another. I enjoy them all but now we are heading into the Holiday Season. What a precious blessing this year is to me. We don’t always stop and think, “I might not be here next Thanksgiving so let me make sure this is taking care of”.  The next big event.  We are all human, we know life is going to go from one day to the next. But what if it didn’t? What would life be without you in it? What would your family be doing without you in it?
As I start the decorating, the cooking, the cleaning, these things float through my mind. But also, why am I still here? What difference does it make? The struggles are harder now, not easier. I have burdened my family more now than ever before. The mountain of bills, the constant help they have to give me, the things I can’t do without them….some days it is so overwhelming. There seems to be no end.
Now before you start down the road of “Oh my goodness” you have to know, things happen in your life and those thoughts float through your mind. We don’t talk about it, we don’t look at it long, but there are thoughts that we all keep close to our hearts that tug on our faith, our heart, and honestly at times our hope. But as those dark, heavy clouds start covering the sky, I personally cry out and ask the God of all things for the rainbow.
This is why I love seasons, the Holiday season is here! The rainbow J Things are slowing down, Olivia is off for Thanksgiving break, Dean is happily working, he is really enjoying his new job as Minister of Music and I get to take my time this year.  This is the first time that I ever remember that I am not working. I get to take my time to cook and decorate. I have time to listen to my daughter.
She is growing into quite a young lady. It amazes me at what she endures and still is strong and loving and caring. This summer was quite hard on her and it has taken months for her to work through everything. I didn’t realize how much I impacted her life. How much she depended on me, or how much she truly loved me. But, I do now.
If this is the only reason God spared my life, it is worth it. On Friday, her last day of school, we were discussing things that had gone on at school. Things she wanted to talk about it. During the conversation she talks about this character she is developing in her book, how she finally believed God because she saw God heal this little girl. As she was regaling her story with all the drama I stopped and just looked at her. It occurred to me that she was talking about herself. The miracle that she was trying to talk about was the one about her Mom. So I just asked, “Is that story really about you and I?” She looked at me sheepishly at first but then bolder and said “yes”. Mom, I felt like you would be okay, but, when I had doubts I begged God to save you and He did. When you were getting better, I knew that God was big and was able. I knew then I could trust him with everything.
I just started crying. There are a lot of things that I was upset about, how many things that have gotten worse from all of this but at that moment it was all worth it. It was worth every minute for my child, if for no one else, had solidified her relationship with the Lord. I know that sounds a bit extreme but there is nothing in life as strong and solid as a relationship with the Lord. When life throws you for a loop, when you need the faith to move a mountain but you only have enough to get out of bed, when you lose all hope but hang on to God’s hand, when things are good and you know the reason why….this is the most important thing in life. Knowing God and knowing Grace. That is a thankful heart, one that knows those things that matter more than what we can see. Because Faith is what pleases God. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Psalm 91 Whoever dwells in the shelter of theMost High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

We left off headed to the ER and things not looking good. I look back from today and can’t even believing it happened.  That one minute I had the flu and the next, I woke up with those horrible fluorescent lights in my eyes and people saying “Mrs. King, can you follow the light with your eyes?” and other people that were out of my sight yelling “she’s awake, she understands, she’s following instructions!”. My first thought “they are really frustrating me!” because I couldn't understand what was happening at all so I just went back to sleep.

I was told the night we headed to the hospital, I was very ill. Evidently my body was in multi-organ failure when we arrived and that was just the beginning. I was full of pneumonia, my fever was very high, and my heart was failing quickly. When we arrived at the ER, Dean thought I had a bad case of the flu and so did I. This idea was quickly changed when they were putting me in ICU. They put me in some strange bed that rotated and gave me medicine to go to sleep.  They started IV’s, intubated me, and hooked me up to so many different machines. Thankfully, I don’t remember even one minute of that time period.
During all of this, what no one realized is that I had no idea what was going on.  I had no memory from the Thursday before until when I woke up two weeks later. I answered questions, I was very irritated with all the these things happening, I would respond but somewhere my brain shut down and did not let much of it enter. Personally, as sick as I was, I think that was God protecting me from some very tough situations that followed. When we need that protection, God wraps us in His arms.

Psalm 91 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

How blessed I was not to remember all that happened. I know from the stories I have been told, the heartfelt love that was expressed, and the prayers that protected me that there was a lot of stress, a lot of concern and my body was in a severely fragile place.

The first day at the hospital my husband was told by the Doctor that “IF” I survived the night it would be a miracle. He told Dean if he believed in miracles, now would be the time, his response “I can do that.” Dean went directly to the waiting room and pulled everyone there, he says about thirty people, and they prayed. Blasts were sent out for prayer, churches were called and the power of intercession was answered. All those precious friends, prayer warriors and saints that went to their knee’s on my behalf. How could anyone ever know the love that was shared to me in prayer for me during that horrible time?  I made it through the night. The launch of tens of thousands of angels began.
That night was where the rollercoaster left the building and started down the track. The climb up the hill was long and the unknown was on the other side.  You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach as you climb the hill.  The click you hear as the car goes up the hill, all in anticipation of going down the other side….my friends, my family, my church family, all those outstretched arms felt that feeling. Waiting, waiting and more waiting.
I can only tell this part, I can only express my heart of thanks and love to each of you that were there or were praying.  I have never been on my side of a horrible crisis, usually I am the one holding the glue together, I am amazed at what God does when it is YOU needing those outstretched arms.
I can tell this is a long journey and so many stories and so many perspectives in what happened….so today I stop here and we will continue on a bit later. We stop as so  many are in the waiting room, seeing God move and finally knowing I made it through the first night and the car of the rollercoaster is at the top of the hill.
Love and thankfulness to all of you.

In His Grip,

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Fall is here and so am I !!! God is good

I know this is long, so sorry, but hopefully  it will minister to you.

Fall is in the air. That brisk crisp morning air that will heat up to the mild 70’s here. The trees are are bright with changing colors, leaves falling, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and Fall Festivals, a season to celebrate. I am blessed to be here to enjoy the holidays that are coming. In fact, it’s a pure miracle that I am here. God spared my life for me to live and give.

We all have life changing moments.  That moment may come with something someone said to us, a moment that a scripture means something anew, someone we love struggles or we ourselves face a tragic time that changes our lives.

This summer was such a moment for me. I love summer. I actually love all the seasons but this summer, well, it has a whole new meaning for me. Instead of time in the pool, gardening, reading books and celebrating my daughter’s 18th birthday (which is a miracle of itself), my summer was spent in a hospital bed fighting for my life, literally.  Now after four long months, it’s time to talk about it.
We all have that moment that is so BIG in your life that you are not sure that it happened. How could all of that happen, to you? But it does and it did, so we go deeper in our trust with the Lord and we are tried in the crucible of fire so that all those “icky” things the Lord wants us to deal with surfaces to the top and can be cleaned out. Not only do you go through the fire but those around you do as well.

There are a lot of things I don’t really remember.  There are some things that are very vivid, even today that I remember. All in all I know one thing, it has been a long grueling four months with more questions than answers and a lot has been churning inside my head.

Prayerfully, what God has churning inside of me will help someone else along their journey of confusion, disappointment, being frustrated with God, or just not having answers when you so desperately want them.  When you are walking in the dry, cracked, hot desert…when you long for that Oasis of help and it doesn’t come…where is your faith? I don’t have that answer, only you do, but I do have a testimony that the Lord says we “Overcome by the Word of OUR testimony” so maybe mine will encourage you.

So, I am going to take this slow, start from the beginning and work through all that has happened.

The downward spiral started in April, as always in our finances. Financially we had been doing great. Finally after all those years of bills and expenses from my daughter’s two transplants, diabetes and Cystic Fibrosis, we were so close to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  In fact, we were working towards my husband’s desire at starting a church. He had been able to concentrate his efforts to planting a church and it seemed things were going well. Then one thing led to another and the dominoes started their decent.

I am going to start the story and finish little by little. So, hopefully you can get the bigger picture of what God was up too. I know I still see in a glass darkly all that He has done but prayerfully the story will unfold like He wants it to.

The first part starts in April. One client moved their offices to another state, a hit to our finances but we could still survive then the second call, my main client that I had been working with for ten years was no longer using consultants, my third client went into bankruptcy and had not paid my invoices. Wow, you would think that would be hard enough, but it will explain my hesitation for a Doctor’s appointment. You see, the next couple of months, I knew I didn't feel right but I knew I was under some serious stress.

I remember always being tired. Now, I guess you have to know me but tired is not something I like. So, I assumed that the tired was not enough exercise and I needed to get back to getting healthy.

Off to my project cabinet I went. Painting, gardening, spring cleaning, anything I could put my hands on to do. My Mom used the old adage “Idle Hands” and my hands were trying not to be idle. The other thing I had noticed over the last year was the weight gain. Lots of weight and I was eating less and less. Of course that had to be hormones? And the swelling in my legs was awful but of course that had to be extra salt I was eating or something because it came and went. 

HUGE SIDE NOTE: Ladies, if you are reading this and have weird, constant symptoms that are not usual to you, GO TO THE DOCTOR. Don’t hesitate, just go. It may be nothing, but we make a lot of things nothing trying to take care of so much.

By May I had agreed to teach Vacation Bible School, which I love, but just couldn’t seem to really exert the effort to get all my teaching together. We do VBS Big out our church and I love every minute. My favorite part is decision time . Seeing those little ones start to understand Jesus, the Bible and God. So precious.This year I will miss all of it. I will miss a lot of things but God's Hand will be in the midst of it all. 

Because I was so weak, I asked a friend to help me decorate the Saturday before. We met at the church, along with husband and started the process but I just couldn't do it.  I felt too ill, I laid down on the chairs until my husband said we were going home.  When we got home I fell into to bed along with my daughter, who seemed to be sick as well. I thought we might have the same thing but the next day neither one of us was any better and Dean decided to take Olivia to the hospital (her sickness can be very dangerous) and left me at home. The events that unfold here are crazy.

 Olivia was admitted and was very ill. Dean was driving back to house during the day to bring me food and make sure I was okay and staying the evening and night with Olivia. He did that for five days. The last day I remember was Thursday. I asked him to bring me some watermelon, I was so thirsty. When he brought to me, I remember it tasted so good and that is the last thing I remember. A day later, Dean has taken me to the Emergency Room and been told I probably would not make it through the night.

I am going to leave you here for a moment because the story is long….but I don’t want to miss anything God has to say….so hold on friends, if you are reading, I will post again soon.
In His Grip Always