Eleven years ago tomorrow, everything changed. If you have been reading my blogs lately, I am telling a part of my journey surrounding my father’s devastating stroke on December 12, 2003. Here are two more entries from my book And This Ain’t Hollywood Anymore written years ago. It is available on Amazon, and I hope that it brings encouragement to readers just as I hope that my honest words here are encouraging you. God loves you, He loves me and He demonstrated that great love for us by sending His Son who is the focus of this time of year. That same Son would die on a cruel cross to take my place. Jesus willingly took what He did not deserve, so that I would not get what I deserve, if only I would just believe. And I believe. I run to the arms of the Savior because, clearly, I need a Savior.
Christmas Day in the ICU
“And the angel said unto them, ’Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11
Funny how things change, and they change faster than you would like. Our Christmases have always been spent with my family on Christmas Eve and with Robert’s family on Christmas Day. That’s been the tradition. But Christmas Day 2003 was also Day 13 in the ICU. My dad’s condition was getting better and Christmas was different. In Christmases past we were excited about the gifts and the time together as a family. Now we are still excited about those, but it is different. And different is o.k. It is a new day now. The old traditions are gone; it is time to start new ones. The first Christmas was different also. A child was born who would save the world. That night changed everything. One night changed everything for us, too. Thank God for the first Christmas that brought our precious Jesus to a dying world. He is our only hope.
Words of Peace
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-6
Exhausted, I sat reclined on the sleeper chair wedged between my dad’s hospital bed and the bathroom. I was wide awake and it was 3:00 A.M. I picked up a magazine that was lying on the floor beside the chair. Due to the bathroom light, I was able to faintly make out the words. I read “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace”. How true, I thought! I agreed with that totally. “Oh, my word, it really is 3 A.M.,” as I realized that this was a quote by Buddha. I was agreeing with Buddha? I must have been also losing my mind. A night at the hospital will do that to you. Nevertheless, those words are true. Thanks to all those who have offered words that really brought comfort. One friend from church whose father had recently passed away said that she prayed that her dad would improve, and then he died. She felt God may have answered her dad’s prayer to take him home. Those words brought comfort. They came from a sister in Christ that had been where I was and that made all the difference. Her pain brought me comfort. Only God knows why we experience our trials, but our pain can bring someone comfort. We must look for ways to use our trials to encourage our brothers and sisters. Pray today that you may be able to honestly share your pain in order to also share how Christ’s strength will we see us through.