Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trauma 22 Years Apart: My Brother & My Husband

*Warning: This post contains content and photos that may be uncomfortable for some readers.*

This post is quite long and is unlike a typical post I would write as it describes two traumatic and miraculous events that I witnessed of two beloved people in my life: my brother and my husband. Twenty-two years apart, I found my brother (1990) and my husband (2012) unconscious and seizing.  I have an extremely visual memory, so everything I am sharing is like a video recording being played back in my mind. I have had flashbacks where I have relived some of these events, both with my brother and with my husband. Because I have a better recollection of what happened with my husband, there is more detail. I need to write this out as a therapeutic outlet and my blog happens to be where I have decided to share it. There are many people who experienced these events I am sharing and each has a different perspective and may remember more or less details than I do.
However, this is my story:
***
At ten years old, I was a light sleeper. My brother, who was seven and a half years old would sometimes wake very early in the morning by playing or singing in his bedroom. One particular morning around 3 or 4 am, I woke up to what sounded like my brother singing in his bedroom again. We had out of town company and the guest room was between our second floor bedrooms. So, I ran to his room and yelled into the darkness using my best quiet voice, "BE QUIET!"

After returning to my bed, I realized my brother had not silenced. So, I turned around and went into his room upset he wasn't listening to me. The strong odor of urine hit me. Funny how I still remember it... His sheets were tussled. In the dark, my brother was writhing around on the floor of his bedroom moaning...not singing.  I don't remember how long or if I tried to get him to respond, but not understanding that my brother was unconscious and seizing, I ran down the stairs to my parents' first floor bedroom and woke up my mom; my dad had just left to go out of town on a business trip.

My mom carried my brother downstairs to try to wake him. I have a faint memory of sitting on the stairs watching through the vertical railing of the banister as the paramedics went into my parents' room. However, I very clearly remember later looking through my bedroom window blinds watching them put my brother into the ambulance and seeing it drive away--thinking it was odd that they were not using the sirens and only the lights. That moment is etched into my psyche. Silent ambulance in the dark of the morning driving away with my brother; inside I was quietly crying for the sirens that weren't. 

After the local ER, my brother was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas, where we lived at the time. He was in a coma and still seizing. Something was happening to his brain but the doctors did not know what it was.  Later, probably when I was older, I was told more about his seizing and that his EEG (test for brain waves) was "extremely abnormal"; how he had to be restrained; how they said it had been likely he would not wake up; how they said if he did wake up he could be mentally disabled; how they said because of the severity of his condition he might not survive.

I remember staying home from school and watching "People's Court" with my mom's older sister who was our out of town company. I have a very strong visual memory of being with my cousin in my bedroom and telling her to appreciate her brother. I remember when I returned to school, teachers would whisper around me and it felt like I was being treated differently. I remember it feeling like things were changing but I didn't know how to process it.
Myself (10 years old) and my brother (7 1/2 years old) @Grand Teton National Park

***
On Sunday morning, September 23rd, 2012, which still feels like yesterday, I was sleeping in a different room from George and woke up at 3:30am to what I thought was snoring, so I assumed he was sleeping. Around 7:45am, I went in to wake George who was laying on his back. Giselle (our ten pound Cavalier) climbed on top of him, sniffing him intensely and I was hoping she wouldn't wake him up because my intention was to snuggle up next to him.

As I got closer, I realized that the "snore" was not a snore, it was some weird noise that I cannot describe nor imitate. I sensed something was very wrong. I started calling his name and shaking him. George was hot, so I stripped the blankets and bed sheets off of him and everything was soaked. He sounded like he was aspirating (fluid going into the airway) with this "snore," so the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in me rolled him on his side to open his airway and his face flopped to the pillow, so I immediately had to roll him back. Then George started seizing: eyes rolled back, odd moaning, muscle spasming. But, was not what I would expect from a seizure which is why I think I was a bit dumb-founded at first. He almost looked like he was trying to sit up with his arms outstretched which was something he would repeat with other seizures.

At one point, before I realized he was seizing, I was trying to get him to follow simple commands (again the SLP in me) which he wasn't, and the whole time, I was screaming, "I'm gonna call 911, George!" hoping to rouse him.

The 911 operator asked me if I had a defibrillator which scared the crap out of me. I've taken CPR so I know you use a defibrillator to reset the heart rhythm and of course we don't have one. She wanted me to put him on the ground but there was no way I could do that. And within what felt like seconds, the parameds were walking in our bedroom. I watched five men descend on and eventually stand on our king sized bed over George and was asked several questions. Then I was led out of the bedroom by a policewoman as they were cutting off George's gray long sleeved t-shirt.

I wanted to fight her to get back to George as I didn't want to leave him alone even though I knew the paramedics had to do what they had to do. My brain was scrambled eggs as she asked me even more questions in the entryway to our kitchen. She told me to call a friend to drive me to the hospital and I did.

Note to anyone who sees an ambulance/fire truck/squad car parked at someone's house: do not approach as if it is a show to be watched as it could be someone's nightmare unfolding. And by all means do NOT bring your three year old grandchildren over because "they like fire trucks."

Aside from initially finding George, which was terrifying, what is etched in my memory was seeing George being carried down the front cement steps to the ambulance and feeling the ache that I didn't get to kiss his forehead or touch his shoulder before he was taken. Still disoriented, my dear friend and the policewoman helped me get myself together, clothes & shoes on, dogs in their crate, a bag of Kelly-friendly food, phone & charger and the house locked.

I called George's parents' and mine, who all live out of town, on the ride to the hospital and somehow expected that when my friend and I arrived at the hospital George would be awake. But when we arrived, they didn't bring us back to George; they didn't have us sit in the waiting room; they brought us to the "Quiet Room," a room with two yellow couches that looked all too much like the room where a vet came in to tell us Knightley had died. We were told the doctor would be in to talk with us. My friend kept my head glued on (she must have had some pretty powerful super-glue) and kept me in the moment.
"Go with the strength you have, " the Lord said to Gideon. "I will be with you.' - Judges 6:14&16
The doctor came in, told me George had been intubated and was on a ventilator that was breathing for him and that he was getting tests to rule out things like stroke, brain tumor ect. He said they would bring us back to George when he was in his ER room. The wait felt like an eternity.  Finally, we were led back to George, though we still knew nothing about his condition. And there he was, laying on the gurney with a vent breathing for him.
My friend, who wasn't feeling so hot herself, took phenomenal care of me so I could care for George. God had certainly intervened so that she could be by my side and I am SO thankful that I had her as my advocate. When I would forget what the doctors had told me, she would remind me so I could relay it to family. She kept telling me to eat/drink/sit and even got one of those pink recliner chairs for me because my body was crashing. Having medical power of attorney, I was giving my consent for things like a lumbar puncture and an MRI--they even called me in the middle of the night when he was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) so that he could have a central line placed in his neck.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10
Unresponsive, on the ventilator in the ER Sunday morning.
It was a good and a terrible thing that I have a medical background as a Speech Language Pathologist but also as a health advocate. I knew enough to know and be thankful for the good news that was coming in but I also knew how bad it was. George failed one of the eye neurological tests and because of his state: unresponsive to stimuli they scheduled an MRI to look for a deep brain stem stroke. Short explanation: deep brain stem is the central processing center for your brain- if it doesn't work-nothing else does.

So, they took him to MRI and I was hoping to catch a nap while he was there, but then my heart fell to the floor when I heard the intercom emergency alert that goes through the whole hospital repeat three times: "Emergency Response Team to MRI" I thought he was dying and we had no way of knowing what had happened.  I completely melted-down but my friend held me up. We found out after a long wait that George had started seizing again when they moved him to the MRI. I didn't get the nap. Spoons were in the high negative numbers at that point.
He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. -Isaiah 40:29
My uncle (dad's brother) surprised me by showing up in the ER and relieved my dear friend who had been with me (and George) for eight plus hours. George and my uncle get along famously.  In April, my uncle had ended up in the hospital himself as the result of a traumatic emergency situation and George left work so that he could be with my uncle before his emergency surgery and continued to visit him after that.

Getting EEG in ER
I hated the ER. I felt like I was the only one that was watching over George, which my mom said she also felt when my brother was in the ER. One time when I was alone, George was both seizing and vomiting at the same time with the vent in his throat and I was screaming out the door for anyone to come help. After his MRI, an EEG was performed and he did not seize during the test at all (probably because he had been given an IV push of an anti-seizure med) until she took the leads off his head and he started seizing again. He spiked a fever from 97.9 at arrival in the ER to 102.6 and rising. An X-ray had determined when he arrived that George had some pneumonia. But after the temperature spike we had to take sepsis droplet precautions (i.e. masks) and as I had been touching him and talking in his ear and singing to him, I wasn't allowed to get too close anymore. The sepsis concern was scary as George already has a weakened immune system from the immuno-suppressant IV infusion he gets every eight weeks for his Crohn's disease.  
Sepsis precautions in ER.

George's parents who live 8 hours away were en route by vehicle. My dad, had been on a flight to a business conference on the other side of the country (eerily like my brother's situation) when he heard about George, he turned right around and flew directly to Chicago and my mom flew in as well.
ER RN, transporter & Respiratory Therapist
transporting George to ICU.

I had been told from almost the moment I was escorted into the ER that morning that George would be going to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but it took all day because they had to complete testing and get the results before he was transferred. He was brought to the ICU twelve hours after he arrived. Shortly after, his parents arrived as did another wonderful friend who had made me a Kelly-friendly supper for which I was so thankful! Finally, after an hour and a half of waiting in the ICU waiting room, we were allowed into the ICU to see George.

The hardest decision I ever made was to come home to sleep that first night. George's blood pressure and heart rate were bottoming out and he had to be given norepinephrine. I did not want to leave him, but I knew my body was going to give out if I did not go home and sleep in my own bed. I had a special number I could call to find out how he was doing and the nurse had my number to let me know of changes. I got calls from ICU nurses a few times that first night. And because only one person could stay the night with him, my choice to come home allowing his mother to be with her son.
ICU on Monday. A green bite block is in his mouth because he almost bit through the vent tube. He also had a 103 fever here.
Gray wrist restraints kept George safe.
Monday, George's parents, my parents and myself stood, sat, rotated chairs, held George's hands talked to him and occasionally to each other as we watched as George's rigid body fought hour after hour. Thank goodness for the restraints on his hands. George is so strong and his body was physically fighting so hard. He was spiking a fever again that got to 103.  He was still unconscious and unresponsive to any commands though he would jerk to loud noises and would grimace when they suctioned him. He was also beginning to breathe over the vent, though it was still erratic and unstable. These were huge improvements from the day before. Though in the photo above, George looks calm, he looked that way probably 5-10% of the time. His body was fighting and flexing the rest of the time. It was almost as if he was trying to get out of bed. The nurses had to reposition him countless times. All Monday, he was still in a coma.  Coma: the word I had only ever connected to my brother. The first time someone spoke it in the ER in reference to George was when the denial faded away and I knew it was bad.

***
My dad took the night shift with my brother and my mother took the day shift. My brother had been in a coma for a few days and after one particularly dreadful night, my dad called my mom to prepare her. He told her that my brother had had his worst night ever with severe, continuous seizures that were not being controlled by medications. So, my mom who at the time was only two years older than I am right now, put on mascara so she wouldn't cry. She hoped for the best though inside prepared for the worst. In my mom's own words from a talk she gave a several years ago,
I reached down for God given courage as I walked into the intensive care unit. I tentatively approached his bed, really expecting the worst. As I came closer, (my son) turned his head around with open eyes and said, "Hi Mom!!" I am unable to express the depth of joy that I felt! It was a miracle, nothing less. Not only was he awake, but he knew by name, "Mom."
I remember something feeling very tight in the pit of my stomach from the moment my brother was taken away in the ambulance and I am not sure when it went away.  I have been a sensitive (meaning intuitive/observant/emotionally in-touch) person my whole life and I think back to my ten year old self and wonder how she processed everything as it was happening. I remember standing in our kitchen and talking to my brother on the phone one time when he was still in the hospital. I had been told he had asked, "Is Kelly in the game room?" The game room was an upstairs room where we played together, watched television together, danced to music together and built forts together.  I remember the flood of love from the community: the long roll of butcher paper signed by his whole elementary school: teachers and students; the stuffed toy gorilla holding a banana and a "Get Well" balloon tied to it. I remember building Lego buildings with my brother and not understanding when he acted out. I remember going upstairs when the home-health nurses came to give him IV infusions. To this day, my brother hates needles and I don't blame him with all the poking and prodding he had as young boy. I remember the tutor that came to our house to work with him because he had missed so much of the second grade. I remember feeling inside that things had changed.

It was not until later that my parents (who were not church-going people) discovered how many people had been praying for our family and specifically my brother: my dad's boss's wife and her prayer partner, my brother's school principal, his teacher, people who had my brother's name on their prayer lists of their churches, neighbors, family, old friends of my mom who had gone to a Christian group called "Young Life" together as teenagers, and people my parents did not even know. People were praying for my brother all over the United States.

My brother is now 30 years old, is married to the sweetest woman, and is doing a  job he dreamed of doing ever since he was young. He has not had seizures since his episode/coma when he was seven and the cause remains a mystery. But, what my family witnessed was a miracle and it changed all our lives forever. My brother is here for a reason.

***
From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. -Psalm 61:2
Each time I walked through the locked doors into the ICU, I would take a big breath, ask God for strength and try leave all of the emotional weariness, crying spells and any sign of being overwhelmed at the door and brought my advocate stoic self. I questioned everything anyone did to George and asked for an explanation for everything. On one occasion, the neurologist told me he had switched George's IV anti-seizure medication and when I asked which one it was, the neurologist acted surprised and questioned me as to why I wanted to know! I guess other people do not ask, but my husband could not advocate for himself, so I sure as heck was gonna know everything they did to and put into his body.

The first hope we had was on Monday after they had changed some of George's medications that had been keeping the seizures at bay, but also had been sedating. On Sunday, even without the medications he was completely unresponsive. So when, the ICU nurse told me that with this medication change, he might rouse a little, I did not let myself hope. I did not want to jump on that roller coaster. A few hours later, a woman came from my church and the six of us (both sets of parents, myself and the lady) prayed over George all touching a part of his body; she anointed George with oil on his forehead (something done in the New Testament for those who are sick), and we sang "Amazing Grace" in our joyful noise chorus with tears.

Almost as soon as the woman from our church left the room, we noticed George's eyes flickering: not in a seizure way, but not necessarily like he was waking up. However, this change filled us with such positive excitement. The nurse came in with an assistant to reposition George in bed, something that had to be done numerous times because of how much his body had been struggling and moving around. We knew the drill and all stood back to let them do their job. George's mom was behind me with her arms wrapped around my shoulders. The ICU nurse noticed the eye flickering and we watched George respond meaningfully for the first time since he had been in the coma. He responded to three individual simple commands ("squeeze my hand," "wiggle your toes," "open your eyes"). My mom said she could not see it because the nurse blocked her view but she could see the reaction of myself and of his mom and has said that it is something she will never forget. I didn't expect George to respond, and when he squeezed the nurse's hand on command, when he wiggled his toes and he tried to open his eyes, which was very little, but an attempt, I sobbed with joy and held tightly to George's mom's arms as we rocked back and forth. Though the rest of the day, he was not responsive, George did this once more that night including turning his head to the sound of my voice. Despite having the nephrologist express concern that George had lost 55% of his kidney function since he had arrived, we were so happy.

Being trained as a Speech Language Pathologist, going through internships and actually having patients pass away suddenly and unexpectedly, I know that in these situations it can be one step forward, two steps back. So, though I was full of joy (and exhaustion), I was very tentative when I left the ICU for home that night. I did not sleep at night--I was alone in the house for a few nights--and it was probably good because I've never screamed out to Jesus louder or cried harder. Zoe, our black and tan Cavalier, pushed her body into mine trying desperately to comfort me.
My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. stay here and keep watch with me. -Matthew 26:38
Each morning I was terrified to call the ICU nurse--fearing worse news. That Tuesday morning I did not go to the ICU at the crack of dawn because my body was wearing out on me--I was having difficulty walking-fibromyalgia, was weak from no sleep and keeping vigil over George and I was in a lot of head pain--chronic illness really stinks in these situations. I had told my parents I would call them when I was ready for them to pick me up; they'd planned on arriving early at the hospital with George's parents who had been staying the night with George. I was so weary and terrified of hearing bad news alone that I did not have it in me to do a phone check in with the ICU nurse that morning. So at about nine in the morning, I called my mom and it went to voicemail; I called George's dad and it went to voicemail. With no one answering their phones which was an odd occurrence, my fear took over:  George had probably died and in my brain I figured my parents were not picking up the phone because they didn't want me to be on my own when I found out the news.

By the time I called my dad, I was panicking. He picked up and my heart stopped as I asked about George. My dad said, "Kelly, he is awake! And he is using sign language." And Dad wasn't able to get out any more because my sobs of relief and joy were too great and I told him to come right away to pick me up. I have used sign language with George during my Migraines because noise of talking would be too painful and though George consistently had trouble remembering all of the alphabet letters and other hand signs I'd teach him, he still would try. It was the same feeling my mom had when my brother called her "Mom", I knew in that moment, my George was coming back.

George had the ventilator down his throat still, so he couldn't talk and he was too uncoordinated to write so he was signing using the sign language alphabet. But, no one knew sign language (as I was still at home), so my dad pulled up a chart from the internet on his iPad and figured out George was spelling "c-o-l-d". As George had such difficulty picking up and remembering the sign language alphabet,  I had just had him practice signing it himself the week before. Knowing he was using a method of communication so difficult for him warmed every part of my being. I got down flat on the floor and thanked God that George was awake. 

On the ride to the hospital, I kept asking my parents, "He really has his eyes open?" "He was really signing?" Given his condition, I had been trying prepare myself for his possible death or severe mental impairment as we had almost lost him and his condition was so critical.  In the time it took my parents to retrieve me to the hospital, they had determined through tests that it was safe to remove and had removed George's ventilator and though he was still fragile with low oxygen saturation levels, he was breathing on his own. It was the first time I walked into the ICU with excitement to tell George had have him hear the words I had been terrified I would never have a chance to say again, "I love you."

He was sleeping and the room was dark as to keep him calm and quiet as he was still fragile. And the moment he saw me, his mom said his whole being lit up. I gave him a huge smile. His voice was quite hoarse from the vent and so not many people could understand him. But I could and the first thing he said to me was "I have to pee!" Hehe! He was still a bit out of it from the medications and didn't understand certain things (like he did not need to get up to urinate). But right away he was trying to hug me, he signed "I love you" and he started saying "I love you" and he was hoarsely trying to sing "our song" which melted my heart. He knew me. He loved me. That was all that mattered.

At one point, he called me "mein Liebschen" which means "my sweetheart" in German and something he says to me multiple times a day. I could not believe my ears. I did not expect him to make such a miraculous turn around. To go from squeezing a hand, to putting sentences together! He even told myself and his ICU nurse that: "I know my surroundings." I have to laugh at how funny it sounds now, but his brain was trying desperately to let us know he was okay.

George was still pretty out of it, being medicated and still recovering, so we were trying to let him rest, but he noticed my dad across the room for the first time and hoarsly said, "Ron!" And with tears running down my face, I took this photo as my dad briefly talked with George. Later George also called my mom "Donna" without prompting. He also called his parents "Mom" and "Dad" and later when asked by a medical professional who I was, he answered "my beautiful wife, Kelly."
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart. I will tell all the miracles you have done. -Psalm 9:1
 
George held my left hand and looked at my rings. We chose our engagement ring that has three stones as it has meaning to us: center stone larger representing God/Jesus and the stones on each side representing us. The ring visually symbolizes that God is holding us together. As he looked at my ring, George said "You, me and Jesus" which is what we always say. 'You, me and Jesus' is how we approach every challenge we are given and a comfort to know that we are not alone. I was constantly amazed by everything George was saying and the SLP part of me couldn't help but evaluate his cognitive skills as "swell" considering. He was having memory problems related to the medications, but by golly, I knew he was going to regain function! 

If you look at the above photo closely, you can see George has the nurse "call" button in his hand which also controls the television. He was randomly changing channels and not really watching it. When it was my turn to rotate out of the room as the ICU team deemed him too fragile (blood pressure and heart rate dangerously high) to have more than one of us in there at a time, I looked up at the muted television which I had had my back to.  I said, "George, you are watching, "Say Yes to The Dress" (a bridal show). Do you want to watch this?" Even though he was still not completely with it, his wit came through and he said,  "I say no to the dress!" And I laughed, for the first time in what felt like eons. The next day, as a dutiful Star Wars geek wife, I brought in the original Star Wars Trilogy (IV-VI), which I knew he would enjoy MUCH better.

I happened to be out of the room for the bedside swallow test (a test to check if the patient is safe to eat/drink without it going down the breathing pipe and into the lungs.) This test (something I used to do) was performed by the hospital's Speech Language Pathologist (who later offered to get me a job if I ever wanted/needed one). I happened to be out of the room for the initial swallow test and when I came in, George's dad got very emotional and with tears of joy said, "George can have chocolate ice cream!"

Every step was beautiful. George was quite compromised still and uncoordinated. I fed him his first meal, with my SLP self coming through: encouraging small sips, small bites, and having him vocalizing every now and then so I could hear that the food/liquid wasn't going down the wrong pipe. It made me smile to see him to work quite hard to reach over every other container to get to the chocolate pudding.

George made good progress and was discharged after ten days. Every day brought something new and everyday was a miracle. He is now back at work (his new job that he had only worked at for two days before this happened). I knew how many people had been praying for George, his family, myself and my parents. Facebook allowed for word to get out quickly and for prayer and support to come in from all corners of the U.S. but also from a friend and her family and family's church in New Zealand. I am/was simply overwhelmed at the number of people showing an outpouring of love for my husband and myself. Our veterinarian somehow found out through Facebook because I 'Like' the Animal Care Clinic's FB page and she personally called me expressing her concern. My brain was scrambled eggs on day one hour one, and each minute that passed, my brain worked slower and became more overwhelmed. It is so hard to relay such an experience to anyone who has not lived through it and hoping that people would extend grace. I told a friend I was forgetting to eat/drink because I was constantly nauseous and she immediately set up a group of people (three of which I did not know!) to text me daily 9a-9p (every two hours) to remind me to eat and drink. I could barely put thoughts together and was so thankful that one friend was able to take my broken communication and share it with the Facebook world by tagging me so that all my friends could get the update on George.  Later I was told that friends would pray together over the phone and over FaceTime for George. George was on church lists and email update lists. A couple of dear friends of my mother's devotedly frequented their church to pray and lit candles for George, myself and both sets of parents. My mom showed me the above photo texted to her by her friends when we were in George's ICU room, and I was overcome. Thank you.

It is a miracle. I will always remember and be thankful for God's divine intervention into George's life.

One of my favorite books, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie addresses how difficult it was for her as no matter how many prayers were said, two of her children died a couple years apart of a genetic disease. In hearing of stories like my brother and my husband, she said it would be painful to hear because, her children had not been healed and had died. As she pointed out, though Jesus performed miracles in Bible healing people of their ailments, he did not heal everyone of everything. And probably all of us have experienced that in our own lives.

Heck, I have not been healed of my chronic illnesses no matter how much I have begged God for mercy, I have not found relief in times of profound agony. This year, has been one hell of a year for George and me: we struggled through months of trying to discover what was ailing my body--why I couldn't walk, why I had hypersomnia, weakness/tingling in one side of my body--including two weeks at Mayo Clinic that were a frustrating time; I lost my beloved constant companion, Mr. Knightley suddenly to a complication of a disease where he died in the worst way I could have imagined and I still grieve the loss of his presence deeply; George unexpectedly got laid off of his job of 18 1/2 years; I had a miscarriage of a planned pregnancy. And George was in a coma and healing is still taking place.
God, save me, because the water has risen to my neck. I'm sinking down into the mud, and there is nothing to stand on. I am in deep water, and the flood covers me. I am tired from calling for help; my throat is sore. My eyes are tired from waiting for God to help me. -Psalm 69:1-3
God is not a vending machine, where we put requests in, push a button and get what we want out.  But, I won't discount that God was hearing so many voices crying in unison for my brother and twenty two years later, my husband in a similar situation. I truly believe that as 1 Corinthians 3:9 says, we are "co-laborers" with God and the author Richard Foster (of Prayer and The Celebration of Discipline) has helped me to see that is quite true in the area of prayer.

Let me quote what Nancy Guthrie geniously wrote, so that no one will misinterpret my meaning of how I view faith/prayer.
Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering and then believing without doubting that he will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want; it is measured by our willingness to submit to what he wants. 1.
God is sovereign and I can never expect to understand his ways. But, I do trust in my relationship with Him as it is a solid foundation that I can stand on, fall down on, grip tightly to, and count on to hold me up when the whole world around me has collapsed and turned upside down. It has been a journey to this place with God, a journey we all have the opportunity to walk. I find security in the Love God has for me and the freedom in the Grace He extends. I wish that all who read this would find that security and freedom.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. -John 16:33
 1. Guthrie, Nancy, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2009), 19.

1 comment:

  1. Kelly,
    I have read and read this post..first it took me about 3 days to get through it. I feel like I've experienced much that you have but on a much lesser degree.
    When Stuart had his "spell" last fall (a time he doesn't remember at all) I was afraid I was going to lose him. He presented as a "stroke" but they never figured out what caused his symptoms and they haven't come back. Thank goodness.

    As I read your post I thought how much that time wore me down and scared me so very much. And your experience was worst than mine. I'm so very sorry. I hope George fully recovers and feels like his old self in no time.

    I've mentioned before how my heart goes out to you about Mr. Knightly, I miss Sandy every day, it has been 6 months now and the pain is still so intense. I pray we are both able to handle the losing of our dear companions better than I have so far.

    You have lost so much, I know you were doing better, and hoped things were continuing to get better. The devastating losses you have gone through this year, I'm so proud of your fortitude and attitude.

    I think about you often, and will continue to send healing thoughts to you and George.

    ox

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