I want to share the events of Christmastime 2003, the year my father suffered a life changing stroke. Now many years later, the pain is still very real. It never goes away: God’s grace and what I need to see me through these moments just increases. At the time I had written You Ain’t in Kansas Anymore, a thirty day devotional for women, available on Amazon. God called me to continue writing so I began the devotionals for another thirty day devotional calling it And This Ain’t Hollywood Either. When this tragedy occurred, I stopped. God spoke loudly and clearly, “Do not stop writing. You are not the only one in pain.” Below you will find two devotionals that I wrote during the time this was all happening.
Let me be clear: my dad is still with us. My mom is his caregiver. She now spends her days caring for the man she committed her life to so many years ago and is a true testament to what love truly is.
Life is different now. This time of year, the enemy wants to steal my joy with the pain of the events of this life, but I know that my Redeemer lives.
And it’s time to celebrate. Hope has arrived. Let the choirs sing, break out the decorations, and shout for joy. I hope my story ministers to you, my friend. Our Savior has come.
From And This Ain’t Hollywood Either, p. 33
On December 12, 2003, my Mom and Dad went to Suede’s restaurant in Jackson, Tennessee for a Sunday School Christmas party. As they were sitting down to order, my dad leaned over to my mom and said, “Take me to the car.” My mom asked if he were going to be sick and he responded, “Yes.” She said, “Is it your heart?” To this question, she never got an answer. My dad suffered a massive stroke. The days leading to Christmas we spent walking a tightrope balancing between life and death. We spent sixteen days in the ICU. God did work a mighty miracle, and my dad is recovering. The recovery is extensive, and will probably take years. The devotionals that follow are my journey through this valley. Be warned: these are not for the fainthearted. My desire is that my pain may help you. May God be glorified.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
(And one more page for this blog) p. 34
Silence is Golden
“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Proverbs 25:20
The waiting is the hardest. The hours seem to drag on forever. Hanging between life and death and not knowing which way the pendulum will swing is agonizing. And then there are the visitors. You know the ones who mean well, but have a hair too much to say. They want desperately to comfort you but do not know what to do. So they talk. And talk. And ask questions making you relive things that you would rather not relive, “Digging up bones”, to steal a phrase from an old Randy Travis song. Those of us who have been in the pain understand both sides of this issue—wanting to comfort and needing to be comforted. I have now learned to just sit with my hurting friend or family member, holding a hand, praying silently, but saying nothing. It is best to visit quickly and then leave, respecting their privacy. Sometimes we wonder why God seems to be silent, but maybe we should take a cue from Him. Silence is sometimes golden.
I will continue posting my journey during this Christmas season.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NIV
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