This summer my church decided to host the Beth Moore Simulcast on Sept. 10. I had been praying that my church would host a simulcast, so when I heard about it, I just knew I was to have a part in it. Sure enough, I received an email in July asking me to be the Prayer Team Leader. I almost responded immediately, but I replied that I'd pray about it and let them know in a few days. I had just read in Experiencing God that just because you're asked to do something doesn't mean you're supposed to do it and that you should pray about everything. So I prayed and then sat in silence. The answer I received wasn't the one I expected. The thought kept coming into my head--"Come away and rest." At first, I thought that was just me telling myself that because I had so much to deal with caring for my parents and my husband and because my oldest son had been terribly sick the 4th of July. He had come home from work with fever and abdominal pain on the 3rd. We took him to the ER on the 4th because his pain was so severe. Tests were done and showed the beginning of an ulcer. They think he may have passed a tiny gallstone as well.
So I prayed again the next day and the next. Still, that thought kept coming to me as I sat in silence--"Come away and rest." Okay, I thought. I'll decline the Prayer Leader role but maybe God wanted me to be one of the encouragers who pray with women who come forward during the Simulcast's invitation/commitment time. So I prayed about that. But I wasn't given the green light to do that, either. Okay, I thought. I'll just go the Simulcast.
On July 27, my mother had a major stroke. She couldn't respond to any questions and she didn't know who I was. She had to be taken to the hospital where she stayed a week regaining her memory and ability to express herself. Then she was moved to rehab where she stayed until Aug. 10 regaining her sense of balance and some strength so she could dress herself and feed herself, etc. I saw this as the reason why God didn't want me to be the Prayer Team Leader for the Simulcast.
Two days after Mother came home, without praying about it, I emailed my reservation to the Simulcast. I was looking forward to some praise and worship and "getting a word" from Beth Moore. The following week my husband complained about a pain in his bronchial tubes whenever he exerted himself. When he called to make an appointment to see his doctor, the nurse tried to get him to go on to the ER. My husband refused and said she was over-reacting because he felt fine as long as he took it easy.
During the doctor visit the next week, my husband was urged by his physician to go see his cardiologist. The cardiologist, when called for an appointment, said "come now!" So we went. My husband did two days of tests, then went back the next Monday for the treadmill test. This took place on August 29. We were told that afternoon that he had significant blockage and that he needed to have an arteriogram--the sooner the better. It was scheduled for the next day.
That morning in the hospital parking lot, I prayed with my husband for a good outcome and that the least invasive procedure would be used. After the arteriogram, my husband's cardiologist ended up putting two stents in his arteries. We were told to come back the next week for two more stents to be put in. Then we were told that one of his blocked arteries had already made its on by-pass! We were stunned at the amount of blockage considering that my husband had not experienced any chest pain. However, we thanked God that by-pass surgery was not required and felt blessed that the blockages were found and the "lease invasive procedure" could be used.
On Sept. 2, my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Sept. 5 at 11:30 pm I received a call from my sister that Daddy had taken Mother to the Emergency Room because of severe abdominal pain. My husband's procedure for his last two stents was the next morning, and we had to be there at 6:30 am. My sister said to stay home and sleep, and since Mother was in the same hospital, I could see her then.
I did a lot of praying and not much sleeping. By the time we got to the hospital to admit my husband, my brother-in-law was waiting for us. Mother was being admitted to a room on the 3rd floor and was scheduled for a CT scan. I prayed for her and I prayed for my husband and the cardiologist, and God gave me a peace that I cannot explain, even now.
My husband's two stents were put in and I waited with him in recovery until noon. We were put in a room on the 4th floor & he had to lay flat until 5:30 pm. I fed him lunch and he could not be left alone, so I stayed with him until he was able to sit up at 5:30 pm. Then I went down to the 3rd floor to check on Mother. She was asleep from the pain medication they had just given her. My sister said her blood pressure had been so high, the doctor wouldn't give her anything for pain because it would make her blood pressure go up even higher, and he was afraid she'd have a stroke. She had been in agony for hours. Finally, she was able to have pain meds and she had just fallen asleep, so I didn't want to wake her. I felt torn in two. I cried. My husband needed me to stay with him, but my heart went out to my mother.
My sister told me that she & Daddy could take care of Mother and for me not to worry and to take care of my husband. I told them to tell her I had been there and then rushed back up to order my husband's supper from the cafeteria. We finally were discharged at 9 pm. I was exhausted, my husband was exhausted and we went home. I had made arrangements to come up and relieve my sister in the morning.
That night they moved Mother into ICU. Wednesday I took turns with my son taking my daddy to the hospital to see Mother during visiting hours. Thursday the hospital called to say that the doctor wanted to meet with the family the next day because her respiratory system was not functioning normally and she might be in decline. Friday morning the cardiologist said there was a blood clot in her intestines and that her organs were slowly shutting down. Any heroic efforts would not be effective and would only prolong her suffering.
Friday afternoon they placed her in a private room so she could be with all the family. Friday night my husband & I spent the night with her. She had been anxious and restless all afternoon, so I grabbed her hand and we prayed the Lord's Prayer along with her grand-daughters who were at her side. After that, she settled down and after everyone left except my husband and I, she slept soundly. Around 4 am her breathing changed, and I went over and held her hand and buzzed the nurse. He made her as comfortable as he could. She didn't wake up or answer when we spoke to her. At 5:20 am, Sept. 10, the same day as the Simulcast, while I was holding her hand, my mother left us to be with the Lord.
The funeral was four days later. It was a wonderful service. The pastor wove in the details of her life that we had given him with his sermon so that it was seamless and a celebration of her life. I felt God's love and peace throughout the service and at the graveside service. He stood by me and held me together. I will never forget that. He is so faithful.
We may make our plans, but God knows what is best for us. If we will trust Him and pray before making decisions, even those that seem a "no-brainer", we will find that He is trustworthy. He is all-wise, all-knowing, and ever-present with us. He is our provider, battle-fighter, peace-giver, healer, our righteousness, our sancitifier, our friend. He is all that you need.