Sharing My Heart

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A Prayer for my Son

This has been a really tumultuous year. (defined as: marked by disturbance and uproar; excited. confused, or disorderly.)

 

It started out with the deepest snow winter I’ve experienced in Central Oregon in the last 16 years.  I love snow but this was ridiculous….it just kept coming.  We had to tend to our roof, for fear of it caving in, we shoveled our 1/8th of a mile driveway 3 times and it was cold and depressing.

Then Trump became president.  This is not for or against, its just plain weird.  Celebrity Apprentice host becomes new tweet obsessed president…weird, not normal.

Then more snow.

Then my daughter starts thinking seriously about changing schools from the school she has been attending since she was 4, with 11 kids in her class, to a public high school with close to 2,000 attendees.  Not a bad thought, just different, not our norm.

March 24, 2017, one day before our 5 year wedding anniversary, I find my husband dead in the bed.  I’m not startled to say that anymore, its a fact, it carries no post-traumatic stress with it (Thank you God for the faith you imparted to me, may I never depart from your presence), its part of our normal, which is weird and not normal.  He lived and we are ever changed by it.

Then a personal life struggle/sin/stronghold was graciously flushed out and by the Grace of God I am free and forgiven.  The darkness found the light and it changed everything for me, for my husband, for my family, for my business.  God is THAT good.

Abby decided to transfer to that public school in the fall and so we visited and registered and planned out her new path and that was odd but completely right at the same time.

Then Noah graduated from High School and it was over.  Now all the choices are his.  If there are things he wants to achieve, knowledge he wants to gain, friends he wants to make it is now entirely up to him.  Sure I’m here…but he doesn’t really want mama’s unsolicited advice….so he moved out and I gave him a love letter and I watched him drive away and then he called a few hours later for “solicited advice” and I gave it to him but I didn’t solve his problem, he gets to do that.

Interesting, odd, not “normal, weird, strange  year so far…..

In January, I wrote about ABIDE and my hearts desire was to have my “abiding” count.  I believe that God has given me plenty of opportunity to test that hearts desire of mine and by His grace and mercy, He has received all the glory and my faith is stronger.

About that letter to my son….I said lots of sappy things that moms will say to their sons as they leave because its the deep feelings of a momma’s heart but I also shared wisdom with him. Things like Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Proverbs 8:26 AND remember Noah The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction Prov 1:7 AND Dear Son: Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Prov 3:7

And then I shared with him the prayer I will be praying for him every day and every night:

That God will pursue Noah, and do everything it takes to grab his heart and make it His own! And that Noah in turn, would abandon all that this world has to offer in exchange for the One and Only Living God. 

Amen

….partner with me in praying that prayer for Noah.  I saw the power of prayer bring my husband back to life and I will abide with God until this prayer is answered as well.  May we ALL abandon all this world has to offer in exchange for the One and Only living God.

Let it be so for Noah….let it be so…..

 

What if he had died?

My last post generated hundred’s of you to stop by my blog for a visit.  This caused me to pray for you as you had an opportunity to read about our adventure and wondered about the questions you were asking yourself and the questions you were asking God about such challenges in life.  I thought of two questions I might have, if I was in your shoes…..

  1. What if he had died?
  2. Would God have been there for you if you weren’t walking a holy life?

I’ll start with the second one because I am most amazed that God was with us so closely and so personally, when we are such broken and messed up individuals.  I’ll speak for myself here but I am pretty confident Brek would jump on my band wagon.  We are broken, sinful, desperate human beings.  We have not yet arrived to this holy place you think may exist for people like us, that seek God and feebly attempt to live for Him

God showed up despite our sin.  In fact, God shows up because of our sin!  I know you’ve heard it before but while we were yet sinners, God sent His son to pay the debt of our sin (past, present, future).  Jesus died the death we deserved and reconciled our debt so that we can have a restored relationship with the God of all creation.  When we believe that with all that we are (heart and mind), our debt of sin is cancelled, we don’t have to pay because Jesus paid and God sees us as the inheritors of Christ’s righteousness.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor. 5:21

So you see, the only thing that we have is Jesus.  His righteousness is ours because we have faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us.  It doesn’t mean we are without sin.  We….I….am not.  I am and was chief sinner, before the heart attack, during the heart attack and even now.  I am sinful.  True, I’m ever being changed into the likeness of my savior because I seek after Him and WANT desperately to bring Him glory.  BUT….despite my sin, GOD WAS THERE.  You do not need any secret sauce or special equation to receive the EXACT same grace and mercy we received during our trial.  You simply need to believe and trust.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

This  may not be your time to trust Jesus and I’m ok with that.  I love you right where you are and just who you are but I know that someday even you will have the opportunity to believe.  The bible tells us that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil 2:10-11).  That means you too!  Personally, I am thankful that God has called me to faith in Him NOW…I needed Him last month and I have no idea how tragic life would be if not for GOD.  I also know that there will come a time when it will be to late to believe.  This world is not intended to last forever, we get one shot to get it right and the only right way is Faith in Jesus.  Without it you will be responsible to pay the debt of your own sin.  Please don’t wait to long to turn and trust.

Question #1  What if he had died?

I would have cried more and longer.  I would have had to make some hard decisions.

I would have still given God Glory.  I would have still rejoiced in His faithfulness. If he had died, I would still proclaim that God is in charge, I would have still proclaimed His goodness and I would be ok.

Our church would still have come to our side and walked along with me as we navigated the strange waters.  They still would have prayed, they still would have fed me and they still would have given toward our financial need.  PEOPLE, if you do not have a church that responds to your needs and your celebrations this way, then find one!  The church is meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I look forward to the opportunity to be this to another church family member when given the chance.  We are blessed by our church.

And finally, if he had died, I would have celebrated!

Brek believes with all of his heart the truth of Philipians 1:21 “to live is Christ, to die is gain”.  If he had died he would have GAINED big time.  I know this and He knows this.  This does not mean we live to die, it just means we understand life is precious but to die means we gain wholeness and eternal life. Its the destination we long for, its our destiny.

We believed this before the heart failure but we believe it even more now.  We cherish LIFE!  We intend to cherish it more and to live it more for Christ then ever before!  But we know that to die is gain and when that time comes we will celebrate.

 

4 weeks ago

It has been 4 weeks since I walked into my bedroom to find my husband dead.  I know that seems a little harsh and morbid but it was real.  He was not alive.  I remember he had texted me to tell me that he was having chest pain again.   He had had some chest pain about 5 days prior that he attributed to acid re-flux and it went away after reclining on the bed for a bit.  He was going to try that again.  I called him and he sounded fine.  He wasn’t in distress.  He didn’t see an immediate need to go to urgent care or seek medical attention. He really thought he would be fine.

He was’t fine.  His eyes were open a bit and his face looked like it was in distress but he was lifeless.  “Call 911, Abby, Abby”…..She came in as I was calling 911 and searching through the drawer in the bathroom for the Nitro tablets.  We knew he was a candidate for a heart attack.  His dad started his heart disease journey at age 35.  My beloved was 45, in excellent health, exercising regularly, eating well, no smoking, no drinking, under the care of a cardiologist who was helping to monitor and manage some cholesterol issues, he was not on deaths door. He was strong and healthy and alive.

I told the 911 operator that my husband was dead and I needed help.  She walked me through every step of the way.  Remove any pillows, get him flat.  “Abby, help, grab his ankles.  We are going to get him on the floor.  Ready…1,2,3″.  220lbs lifted by two tenacious German women, down to the ground.

7 minutes of CPR…”Abby I really need to you help me, I need a break, I can’t do this any more”.  Abby takes my place.  1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4.  The 911 operator counted, told us to keep going.  After a couple minutes I took over again and Abby went to look for the EMS response team.  12 minutes after calling for help the Deschutes County Sheriff arrived….well 7 Deschutes County Sheriff’s arrived.  They did the first defibrillation and asked me to let them know when I was getting tired.  “I’m tired!!”  Ok.  They took over, I went to the deck and together Abby and I prayed.  I made some calls to key people: Brek’s mom, My Mom and our community group leader at Church.

We kept praying. Pleading.  Calling out.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6

Was that Scott?  Scott was walking up our driveway.  A good friend to Brek and a lifeline to us!  Next my brother came tearing up the street, jumped the fence, ran up the driveway and into our house.  I don’t remember when I was hugged so strongly by him.

The EMT’s shocked him 11 times at home.   They worked on him in our bedroom for what seemed like an eternity!  Finally, about 45 minutes after I had found him, he was en-route to the hospital.  That was a good sign right?

Abby drove me, Scott followed behind and Aaron met us there.  Before I could take it all in, Neal, our pastor was there, Dave our community group leader and my best friend, Bre came in.  Bre is my heart!  We all prayed.  We waited.  I was able to go back in the ER to see him.  They explained to me that he was temporarily stable, he needed to be taken back to the ‘cath lab’ to determine the extent of damage to his heart. I was in shock and scared and helpless. Tom, the BIG ER nurse looked me in the eye, “I promise to take care of your husband”.  Something in his gentle strength made me believe that this was true.  Tom had my back and he would do what needed to be done.

Over the next few hours we heard at least 3 code blues….his heart wasn’t wanting to beat.

They placed a stint in one artery, everything else was fine.  The blocked artery was in the area of the heart that gives the timing to the beat.  Since that was broken, the heart couldn’t pick up the beat message and that is why it was having trouble working, even with all of the CPR and shocks he received.  He needed to be kept in a cold resting state, still assisted with breathing for 24-72 hours.  I was able to see him, he was in distress, he was not resting.  His eyes were closed and he was not responsive but he was agitated. I was helpless to help him and felt alone.  Go home and sleep they said.

Mom and Dad Paul had arrived and we all went home to, sleep?

In case you wondered, you don’t sleep after an evening like this.  There is NO WAY!  You can pray and cry and shake.  That is what you do.

The next morning I hurried back to the hospital.  As the morning went on, friends and family poured into the ICU waiting room and we waited.  What were we waiting for?  I’m honestly not sure.  But then it came.  Two doctors wanted to have a family meeting.  Was this the end?  Was it time to decide to let him go?

Mom and Dad Paul and I sat in the room while the Doctor told us, his organs were failing. Cardiogenic shock.  Heart was functioning at 15%, Kidneys were shutting down and the liver was dying.  They could do one procedure to give the heart support but after that they were at the end of their ability to care for the patient and he needed to be flown to OHSU in Portland.  Would I give them permission to transfer?

Is there an option?  Does anyone ever say, “no, don’t transfer my beloved?”

I said goodbye to him and he looked at me.  Heidi, my pastor’s wife, read psalm 23 and we prayed with him.  He still wasn’t present in the body. His eyes were empty.  I let him go.  I told him to do what Jesus was leading him to do and whatever that was we could trust.  He flew away.

4 hours later, I was on my way to the ICU room at OHSU.  I prepared myself for the worst.  He was probably going to  have to be on a bypass machine until his heart got healthy, he would probably still be in a coma, he may be a transplant patient.  This was going to be a long road ahead and it may end up that he’d never come home.

As I rounded the corner to his room, he was sitting up drinking water and eating ice chips.

WHAT?!!! IN THE WORLD???

Turns out he didn’t need the big machines at OHSU.  He just needed a $50,000 airplane ride and a new view.

Three days after he had died in our bedroom, my husband was sitting in a chair and walking around the ICU.  He was alive!

We had a rough go of it.  He went home 6 days after the initial event.  We returned to the hospital 2 times since then and are now dealing with pulmonary emboli (lung blood clots), but HE IS ALIVE!  He is strong.  He is loving.  He is reset.

I am accounting for this day in History here on my blog because this is where all things are written and stored.  To remember and rejoice.  To cry and to laugh.  To be a marker of where I have been and where I am going!  Sometimes it is beneficial for others to read but mostly its beneficial for me to write!

As you can imagine, the faith journey I have been on, carries with it many lessons and opportunities for God to be glorified!  I will share with you over the  next few weeks, all of these great things!  The last 4 weeks have been nothing but miraculous!  There is no other medical explanation for where we are today except luck or God.  We know it was God.

He did it, we participated and now we Glorify!

 

 

 

 

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