Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Full Heart & a Personal Journey

I don't often use this blog to share things that are outside the paper crafting community.  But today it just feels right.

This week has been tough.  We found out Wednesday that my husband's sister had a heart attack (she's 50) and was in a diabetic coma.  The doctor's had told the family that this could go either way. She could come out of it or she could never wake up.  The signs weren't good and we were warned that the prognosis wasn't good either.

This is Dwight's sister.

Little things started happening.  Her muscles twitched, she'd open her eyes from time to time but it didn't seem like she was really "there" when that happened.  She responded to stimuli and on Friday we were told she would respond to some small commands.  But she was still in a coma.   Still we were told, "Make a plan."  That meant, prepare for the worse because these little things, these "signs" might mean nothing.  She could go either way.

Friday night my husband met his family at the hospital to make a plan like the doctors had requested.  What do we do if she doesn't make it.  What kind of funeral do we plan?  All of those questions that no one really wants to think about.

At one point as my husband, his mom and niece sat in the hospital room together, his sister briefly opened her eyes and then they closed.  His niece was excited and said, "See!" like it was a sign.  My husband felt bad for his niece because she was getting her hopes up.  He felt like when the eyes opened there was no life in them and he was scared for the hope that this gave his niece.  False hope.

It seemed grim.

Saturday morning we hadn't heard anything new, so we guessed nothing had changed.

We we wrong.

God was at work.

Around 10:45 we got a call from Dwight's brother who had just walked into his sister's room.  I didn't know what to expect when he said "This is Steve."  So many thoughts run through your head at each phone call you receive.  Is this the phone call we've dreaded?  Is this more bad news?  Is this the end? And you dare to hope too that maybe it's good news.  But yet still preparing yourself for the worse. You really don't expect good news at this point after the warnings that you've heard over & over..."don't get your hopes up", "prepare for the worse", "make a plan".

But it was good news.

It was news of second chances.

She was awake!  She recognized her brother!  And that brother was calling to give us good news of great joy!  Unexpected news.  

God had once again overcome death.

I think sometimes in America we tend to miss God's miracles.  We get desensitized and take for granted the miracle of modern medicine.  I'm not going to overlook this one.  I think God took my sister-in-law from death's door and brought her back.  

And sometimes I wonder who this miracle is for.  For one it is about getting another chance at life. For one it is about getting a chance with her mother again.  About looking tragedy in the eye, making tough choices and being stronger for it.  For another it is about having a daughter back.  For chances at more time spent with the one she birthed.  For others it may be about broken relationships having a chance to right themselves.  For others it is about being the one experiencing tragedy personally, not walking along side of them, but being one of them, in their shoes!  For others it is about seeing God at work.

For me, it is about a lot of little lessons.

Yesterday as I was getting ready for work I was working myself up with all of the "what if's".  What if she dies?  What if we can't find the money to pay for a funeral?  What if she wakes up but isn't able to function like she use to?  What if this is too much for my niece, mother-in-law and husband to bear?  On and on and on.

But the Lord gave me a message.  I felt it clearly.  "Jennifer, before you were even born I had this." And the word that stuck with me was "I'm already there."  And He was.  He went out before us all. He had this covered.  And that gave me peace that whatever was to come, He had already gone before us.  He was in control.  We were experiencing that firsthand, in the good and the bad.

But he taught me again about having faith and not fear.

He reminded me about the power of prayer.

And I know he taught a lot of others lessons along the way too.

One I want to share today is this.  During this difficult time we had hope.  Hope that she would wake up, yes!  But also the hope that is found in a loving Savior who many years ago sent His son to die on the cross for us all.  It is a free gift that we only have to believe in to receive.  That was our main source of hope.  Yes, either way, no matter life or death, the Lord gave us hope.

Had my sister-in-law not made it, we knew she would go to a much better place.  Many years ago she put her trust in an eternal Savior and we knew that if she were to pass from this life she would live forever with Him.  

For some of you, this may not be a welcome message.  You don't believe in this God.  But, the truth is, He loves you too.  He loves all of us and desires for us all to have a relationship with Him.  And I cannot walk through this with husband and his family and not share the good news with you, my blog readers who I consider my friends.

There was another time in history where the angels announced good news of great joy!  That was the birth of our Savior!  And that birth was just the beginning of that story too.  John 3:16 tells us that God loves the world so much that He gave His one & only Son (the one that the angles had announced) and that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.  I pray that for each of you friends.  I hope that this personal journey might speak to you as well and touch a place in your heart that is hurting or empty.

Thank you for bearing with me on this non-craft related post.  This story was too important (and exciting!) not to share.

Oh, and by the way, as I am typing this my sister-in-law is eating applesauce and being told the story of what transpired over the course of the last few days.

Some of you prayed for her.  Thank you!  I can't express the gratitude we feel for so many reaching out to our family during this time!  We felt your love and support.

Applesauce.  Who would have guessed! :)


Karen B. said...

Happy to hear that she is on the road to recovery...
What wise words you've said, I especially like: before you were even born I had this. What wonderful words to remember!

Chrissy Larson said...

What an amazing and moving story! I loved reading every bit of it and I sit here typing this through tears. I'm so happy to hear this amazing news. It's amazing how God has everything in his control and it's awesome when we feel his presence and see his work. I hope her recovery continues to amaze everyone!

Lynn said...

Oh Jen, my heart is full for your family. Thank you so much for sharing your faith with us. I appreciate you and will most certainly being saying prayers for a continued road to recovery for Dwight's sister. xoxo

Leigh Penner said...

Oh, what a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing, Jen!

Tracey McNeely said...

Jen thank you for sharing such a wonderful story with a happy ending for your family. The power of prayer, she happy for you my friend!

McStamper said...

Thanks so much for your wonderful message. God is so good.

Brandi R said...

LOVE this post! A very moving and beautiful post! So glad to hear that that she is doing good! God Bless!!! ♥♥

Kristie Goulet said...

This is such an amazing and encouraging post to read, Jen! So thankful you posted! God is good! xoxo

Diane said...

Praise God! He is glorified by your post. Enjoy life and hope!

Jocelyn Olson said...

What an incredible story! I'm so happy to hear about her recovery. What an uplifting post! <3

Kathy Mc said...

Oh my, what an uplifting story, Jen. Prayer truly is powerful and so rewarding with such a wonderful outcome for your SIL. So glad you shared this do we can pray for full recovery. She is beautiful and way too young to leave us.

Jennifer K said...

I am filled with joy at the turn of events for your SIL. :) And I especially like how you understand that God is good, regardless of the outcome. That can be so hard to believe in when the answer isn't what we want. Hugs to you.

Diana Maldonado said...

So glad to read that she is okay! Thanks for sharing this beautiful post with all of us. Will be praying for all of you! God is good all the time, even when we can't see it or don't understand it!

beth said...

Yes God works in mysterious ways. So glad your sister-in-law is doing better. We had an experience of Gods miracles three years ago. My husband, 66, had a cardiac arrest on a street close to mu daughters home we had just left. While on 911 I yelled to my daughter who ran over and began CPR. She is an ER physician. Her name is Jennifer. My husband was without a heart beat for 20 minutes. I have been told in about 95% these incidents death is the result and the rest the outcome is not good. We had so many prayers coming our way and such wonderful support. Well three years later he is still called miracle man, the name the hospital staff gave him. Noone would know anything happened to him. Still plays baseball, gets up on the roof, works outside in the heat of Florida. Since that day I thank God everyday for his miracle. He did experience being high in the air and seeing lots of red lights below, the police cara, firetruck, ambulance. We go to church regularly now and find such peace that passes all understanding. I pray the same for you and your family.

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