Monday, May 24, 2010

Progress

I have a great update for you. 

(Isn't it good to hear that someone has GOOD NEWS?) 

Well, since I last wrote here, my husband has been making steady ('tho slow) progress.  He's a little bit better every day...stronger, less sore, more mobile.

We saw the surgeon Friday. Things look good; the surgeon is pleased.  He examined Jeff and said, "You were a very sick boy, you know. Very sick." He looked at me and said, "He was SEPTIC, you know. We were just a day or so away from losing him..." I buried my head in my lap and said, "I know. I know. I know!" And I DO know, and I knew that at the time, no matter what anyone was telling me, no matter how much I tried to "think happy thoughts." The surgeon's re-iteration just knocked the breath right out of me with the "what-ifs." I did not visit those "what-ifs" at the time Jeff was so ill, although I did know what we were up against.  It is now, in retrospect, that I've been picturing how very, very different my life could be right now.  Thankfulness doesn't even begin to describe how I feel!

A second surgery will take place in July, to remove a strand of antibiotic-releasing cement beads. Also, prior to that, needle aspiration of the joint fluid to test for eradication of infection. After surgery, there will be a second hospitalization and heal time of 2 - 3 weeks. That extends out of work time thru the middle of July.  (We didn't know how extensive the second surgery/heal time would be until this week.)

We have been surrounded and supported by loving arms and prayers and help like I have truly never witnessed nor experienced before. I MUST and I WANT to thank you each for that. Those of you who have helped out KNOW who you are and KNOW your gift of love to us, you know the prayers that you have prayed - and we pray that you will feel the love of God in return and that God's spirit will give you peace in your own hearts. In many ways, we find ourselves realizing that God's ways and how He interacts with humans is a bigger mystery than ever.

In some ways, I don't feel that my own faith has been so strong through this ordeal.  It is kind of difficult to explain.  It has not been absent, it has always been foundational and still solid beneath my feet.  In some ways, though, it felt as though that's where it stayed...beneath where I stood.  Faith didn't easily rise to my heart.  I felt a great disconnect, did not feel that I had any right to demand or expect a certain outcome from God.  I believed that He was in charge no matter what the ending, after all, He is our God in life and in death.  I felt, perhaps, a little bit wounded too, after the year we have had.  (If I am being honest, the last decade felt difficult.)  I still trusted Him - but I did not necessarily trust that this process would be painless.  And it wasn't painless, but it certainly is better (for me, for the kids, for him, for us) than it could have been! 

What I learned is this, and I mean what I say.  I'm not saying nice things to make people feel good.  :)  What I learned and felt for the first time ever is this:  When our faith is not strong, it is the prayers and arms of other believers and people who care who truly hold us up and support us.  Other people serve as the literal hands, arms, feet, and heart of the God who LOVES and the God who CARES.  (And I want to remind you that He feels this way about YOU too.  Yes, YOU! )  We can read it a thousand times over the course of our lives, but until we experience it first hand, it won't carry the same magnitude.  Thank you, each one of you, for lifting us up when we were too weary to walk on in faith.

We don't feel that we have Him figured out (at all!) Yet, we can say with confidence that He is WITH us. In our life, and in the Resurrection, He is our hope and the very foundation of our being.


Thank you, again, for praying.  Thank you too, for your cards and your gifts which have been sent with the message of God's love to our hearts.  We received the message.  :)







 

10 comments:

  1. I've been praying every day for you and Jeff. It's so good to hear that things are improving all the way around. Slow but steady is still a good thing. :)

    I know exactly what you mean about faith. I have been there so many times. I will keep praying to sustain you. I wish I could do more - come help do laundry or cook a meal or something, but all I can do is pray, so I will pray with all my heart. :)

    Is it too early to ask when the latest bundle is arriving?

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  2. Thank you for keeping us up to date and for being so honest. It has been a hard year for your family. Sometimes we just get so TIRED! As a new Christian who has read you for about 4 years now, I am always learning new things from you. The power of others praying---wow. Just wow. I'm not great with prayer--not consistent--but I'm realizing I need to get better! Thanks again for opening you life to us. And please don't leave us for facebook :)

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  3. Thank you Vanessa - that is EXACTLY what we need! Thank you. You have been thru hard times too.

    Sometimes I wish I could shut my brain off and just quit thinking things through - but that's how we grow, I guess. (?) I am wondering...what I described...is that a lacking of faith or just the realization that He's in charge? I never doubted what He "could" do....but did not feel right in demanding an outcome. Lack of faith, or...trust that in the end of all things He can be trusted, even if it seems pretty horrible at the time? I don't know. Still thinking. Give me insight, anyone, if you have it. :)

    Baby is due around the second week of October.

    Alison - thank you! Yes...what you said is SO right. WE GET TIRED. We're human, made that way by God. He knows that, understands that...always encourages us on to do better, I think, yet...sometimes there is a lag time during a time of great trial. By that, I mean, our head knowledge and our emotions don't always keep perfect time. I have had a couple of friends who just have not been able to handle how my heart dealt with this in the beginning. One person, in particular, did not talk with me or comment for almost three weeks because my faith was not PERFECT while I sat (alone) in the surgical waiting room - not knowing how things were going to go while my husband was septic on the operating table. I must say that, my struggle was perhaps partially related to my memories of bringing my dear friend home from the hospital (many years ago) when her husband suddenly died from this exact same thing. She was 29 with three young children, and I saw her pain very up close for the next decade. She suffered so much. I knew it was a reality...NOT a foregone conclusion, but a potential reality...and I really wish that friend who was angry with me due to what she perceived as my lack of faith would have simply issued me grace and given my emotions and heart the gift of TIME. Time to think, to deal, to heal...it has been such a valuable lesson to me and reminded me of our frail humanity and just how patient God is with us. THAT'S another shocking thing in all of this: God has been SO patient with me, with us - so loving and kind, NOT demanding. The lesson for me is to extend time, patience, love and grace for other people who are struggling thru trials. Given time, they often will grow and come to good conclusions - but I would be wrong to force them to hurry and to push them to arrive at "the end" before they are ready. God is soooo much more patient with ME than that! :) (I hope you aren't sorry you commented now (grin), but you just touched on such a great issue. We get tired, as you say.

    And yeah. The power of prayer!!! WOW! I didn't quite get that until now, either. Not just prayer for healing - but truly carrying the burden for people who are hurting so much they can't even begin to articulate their pain. WOW! :) Lots of lessons for me here, as you can tell. :)

    I'm not leaving...I'm just incredibly overwhelmed with all the stuff that has to be done. :) You are so sweet, and you and Vanessa entirely made my day. THANK YOU. :)

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  4. "Lack of faith, or...trust that in the end of all things He can be trusted, even if it seems pretty horrible at the time?"

    It is a tough thing. A book that helped me was one called, "The Gospel According to Job," by Mike Mason. He knew what suffering was, and even God declared him a righteous man and undeserving of what he went though. Seriously, how awesome is it when even The Most High God testifies on your behalf? :D

    When my husband and I went though a terrible traumatic crisis a few years ago - from which we still haven't recovered so I know what you mean by hard decade! - many who called themselves friends/family accused us of some pretty terrible things. Some even going so far as to say that we obviously deserved what happened to us because either we weren't Christian enough, and/or didn't have enough faith, that God was punishing us. I learned that there are those who will try to bandage a wound, and those who delight in pouring acid in them, and that I no longer wanted to be around the acid-pourers.

    Most times my cries to God were "Why? Why me? Why us? Why my family? Why do those who have caused such grief and sorrow get to have so much?" One day I remember praying, "Wasn't there any other way? Did it HAVE to be like that?" And I about fell on the floor from the punch to the gut because I remembered the prayers of Christ in the garden. "If there is any other way, Father, let this cup pass from me!" Jesus really didn't want to suffer and die, but He did it anyway. And God answered Him the same way He answered me - "No My beloved, there is no other way, and I'm so, so sorry about that - one day you will understand but I can't explain it right now, please trust Me."

    And I realized that sometimes terrible, gut-wrenching, sorrowful things happen - and God is still in charge and will still cause all things to work for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The death of Christ was a terrible thing, the most horrible of horrible things to ever happen, and yet ... God used that awful thing for the most precious good.

    It took a lot, but I finally got that. I mean GOT it. I may not see the good of what happened to me in my lifetime, but I know God will use it somehow. That's where the trust comes in. And even in those dark moments, sometimes all you can cling to is the pain of believing in Him. I once read that being a Christian can sometimes be like having open heart surgery without anesthetic. Boy howdy, I've learned that's true. Sometimes the only thing that sustains you is the grit of defiance, that no matter what God will throw at me, I'm going to take it! Though He slay me, in my flesh I will see Him!

    And I recalled the story of Jacob and how he wrestled with God all night long, and in the morning God rewarded him. Kind of like a cuff to the chin. I think God likes a scrapper.

    You can do all things through Him, Holly. It's easy to forget that; or feel like you're just not strong enough to get through it, that you just want to fall down and please quit trying to make me be strong when I'm not and don't want to be! I know. So I will pray for your grit, your defiance and strength. For your endurance. For your health and healing, and for your peace and joy. (I have learned that Christians have the unique ability to hold sorrow in one hand and joy in the other.) You have been through much, and I can promise you that God is using you for some awesome things. Though you may not feel it at the moment, He is blessing you, and He is so very, very proud of you. :) *hugs*

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  5. Thank you Vanessa. :)

    You've given me a lot to think about. :) It's one a.m., and I just finished up a bear that I'm making for a lady. I'll head to bed and think thru your words. :) Thanks for taking the time to answer me! :)

    Love, Holly

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  6. I'm just learning the true power of prayer myself. Aron and I are going through some difficult stuff right now, ourselves. And, coming up on our 5 year anniversary, we have been through some difficult beginning years of our marriage, doesn't feel much like any of it has been easy. But God doesn't say it'll be easy, He just says He'll be there to help us through it. Just this month, I committed myself to more regular prayer, like Alison was saying she's not very good at. Neither was I, but this month, I decided to commit myself to praying every day, a few times a day, and getting in the word every day, plus a few other lifestyle changes. I'm so glad I did. I'm already feeling God moving in my life because of it. It hasn't been easy, I've had my low days, I've had days where I messed up and sunk a little lower, but I've been surrounded by wonderful prayer warriors and amazing friends who have been helping me carry this burden. I'm so glad you have people like that around you as well, Holly. I will continue praying for your family, and more regularly too! ;)

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  7. Um, okay...I just typed a HUGE comment here and then google tried to sign me in and it was lost. I can't type that again.

    Vanessa, I was just telling you that in rereading your comment I found it very profound and true - and then I went on and blathered for oh, way too long. :) I guess it wasn't meant to be. That's okay.

    Katie - thanks to you too! I wonder if any of us can truly understand how prayer works, how God interacts and intervenes? I think we try, and that we catch glimpses, but we do not and cannot comprehend it all.

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  8. I know how frustrating that is to lose a comment! I'm sorry. I use a little add-on for FireFox called Lazarus *snicker* that can retrieve those lost ones. It's saved me lots of times, especially with this crazy connection I have now. :)

    Anyway, I was just trying to encourage you during those times of discouragement. They pop up so quickly and feel so heavy. And I wanted you to know you're not alone - not that you don't already know that, but I know it can be nice to hear it too. :) *hugs*

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  9. See...now this is why I've come here all these years. Thank you! :)

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  10. dear Holly, i am so happy for you to hear that you feel all better. and congratulations to pregnancy no.9!!! I can't believe it... wow, the 9th kid. I wish you so much well and may God's blessings always be with you! you do a great job!

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