Saturday, 28 March 2015

And Then This Happened

On March 17th my hubby, Don called me at work to complain about some mild heartburn and a numb left arm. I told him to dial 911 and raced home, beating the ambulance and advanced life support team.

He looked a bit tired but fine, and we spoke while they hooked him up to all kinds of monitors and gadgets. Arriving at the hospital, his heart rate was 33 and they couldn't establish a blood pressure reading (I assume because his pulse was so slow?)

As the day progressed we were told he had not suffered a heart attack, and then hours later, we were told he had. Let the roller coaster ride begin. More turns and highs and lows would follow. As Don and I sat in the trauma room, he asked me to take a picture of the heart monitor because it was averaging around 40 beats per minute . . . he thought it would make him look like an elite athlete.

Grabbing my cell, I held it up just as his heart rate disappeared. The top right of the screen lit 32 and then went blank; the green line that had been slowly leaving a weaving trail went flat. In shock I just kept taking picture after picture while beeps and alarms sounded. Strangely, Don kept speaking and looked pale but fine.

I dropped my cell onto the bed and began to quote scripture, starting with ,'He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds'. Don - not knowing what I was doing - joined in. Moments later the number reappeared and slowly rose. He was admitted and hooked up to a horrible machine that beeped and alarmed constantly.

The next day, they told me that they were taking my man for a quick, twenty minute angiogram. Two hours later I was still alone outside in the hall waiting. I sat, head hung down and asked the Lord, 'You are El Roi - you do see - right?' Moments later my cell rang. It was a friend telling me that something I had prayed about years ago and had been waiting for resolution was . . . resolved. In that moment. Not last year . . . not last month . . . not yesterday . . . but in that moment.

God sees.

A half hour later, they wheeled him out with a report that showed he needed open-heart surgery. Shock? You bet! Supernatural peace . . . buckets full! I was still in awe of God's intervention minutes before.

The next day I was scheduled to fly to LA to see Mia off before her three month mission trip. We were dumbfounded but the cardiologist assured me that Don was in good hands and that I should go.

So I did.

For forty-eight hours I was in a blissful, beach bubble with my kid, miles away from painful reality. However, come Sunday, having returned the rental car, the truth slammed me and I lost it. Babbling, snotty tears flowed.

Back home, two of the kids were able to fly in just before the surgery, and we captured a selfie. (I was going to post it, but decided to protect the innocent. It wasn't too pretty a shot of Don).

El Roi was holding us. We could feel it. Once in awhile I would crack and have a good cry when nobody was looking, (except for the couple of hundred people at the Burbank airport). But we were good.

His bypass surgery was postponed a few times as he was bumped by others with more urgent needs. I struggled with resentment, but then kept remembering my El Roi moment days before. His timing is always perfect.

The night before his surgery, I lay in bed alone with one of Don's shirts I pulled from the hamper tucked under my chin. I could smell his scent and it brought me comfort. I knew that I had to let go. That I had to open up my hands and release my husband into God's perfect will and purpose. Not for God's sake, but to grow my own faith and to give up my selfish fleshly desires for whatever He had planned. It took me a bit, I prayed a lament using Psalm 41:1-3, replacing Don's name where possible.

I wanted Don to walk with me for many more years to come . . . but I also trusted the very One who had showed up and encouraged me when I was alone outside the angiogram room a few days before.

As I write this, Don is in the cardiac intensive care unit recovering from a quadruple bypass. When he woke this morning and they removed his breathing tube, the nurses told me his first words were, 'Thank you. God bless . . . Jesus loves you!'

Moments later, I sat down next to him and he reached out and - forgetting that he could speak - spelled out 'Jesus loves you' into the palm of my hand with his finger. My man was experiencing the crazy love of His Father and wanted everyone in the room to join in.

There is nothing amazing about us or our journey - we acknowledge that many have walked much more challenging and tragic paths. But we are amazed at God's faithfulness and all that He has taught us these past twelve days. As Don said when the nurses left us alone for a moment, 'This is not about us, Lori . . . we're here for His purpose.'

Yes, my sweet man, Jesus does love me. And He sees. And He is faithful . . . He gave me you . . . and then He gave you back to me.

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