Dr. Emory House

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Every hospital has a code they use over the intercom when calling a CPR team to a patient or visitor who has stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped beating.  The Methodist Hospital code was (and I believe still is) ‘Dr. Emory House.’ On occasion, I sat with family members while a patient was being resuscitated, so I knew a little of what it was like for those who could do nothing but wait and pray. What I didn’t know was what went on in the minds and hearts of those who responded to the call for Dr. Emory House. So I asked. I thought you might find interesting what a nurse and physician told me. 

The Nurse’s Statement:

As I am on my way to the area given, I always wonder if it’s a patient or visitor. Once I’m there, I feel out the situation, look to see who is doing what and how fast everything is moving. I tend to get lost in the situation, removing myself from the person and concentrating on the disease. It is only at the time of outcome, that the individual becomes a person again.

If the patient dies, I review mentally all that was done. Did I make an impact on the outcome? I step it through, giving it an overall look.

If the patient survives, and my feelings were that the patient should not have been coded, I have trouble dealing with this personally and morally. I feel I prolonged death rather than extended life.

I always debrief with someone to get rid of the emotional impact it has on me. I think all nurses are careful about doing this. It’s important to talk it out.

After an Emory House, I need reaffirmation that I am still alive – a hug or just some touch. This is especially so if the patient is a young person. I need to feel all the feelings you experience when you are alive.

The good comes when crisis intervention has only positives. The patient makes it and is restored to quality life. I feel I’ve been put on this earth for a purpose and possibly this is one of the ways I fulfill that purpose.

The Doctor’s Statement:

Explaining my thoughts to the code goes back to when I was 13 and my father died. He was ‘re-sussed’ at home and didn’t make it.

As an intern, not yet skilled to participate, I felt a lot of emotion when I witnessed resuscitation. I was medically detached and emotionally attached. Then as a resident, that detachment reversed itself. The medical point is so intense, you much detach emotionally.

When you are coding a patient, you don’t look at the face; you just go by the book. My heart usually races as I think how important it is not to make a mistake. I’m aware eyes are on me to direct the resuscitation. You have to know when to stop, and that’s very hard.

As a private physician, you get pulled back in emotionally. When an Emory House is called on your patient, you think of all you know about that person. You wonder what happened in the last 24 hours. Did I fail to do something?

No one teaches doctors how to tell the family when the patient doesn’t make it. This is probably the most difficult part for me. I learned from watching an extremely compassionate doctor. He showed me the importance of touch and speaking softly.

There’s such a feeling of emptiness when it’s all over. I don’t usually react emotionally, but one night after an unsuccessful Emory House, I went home to watch television. There was a scene where someone was coded and he didn’t make it. I cried.

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These interviews took place thirty years ago, however I suspect little would differ if these same interviews happened today. I’m sure many of you have prayed for doctors and nurses when you or loved ones have been sick – for their knowledge and skills. But have you ever thought to pray for their protection and healing? They need those prayers, too.

 

A Man and His Dog

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I hope you will enjoy another story about heroes from my hospital days. As you read, keep in mind this happened in a 900-bed hospital. The bigger the hospital, the harder it can be to do the little things for patients. 

It was a volunteer that told me about a patient who came into our hospital suddenly and didn’t have time to make arrangements for his dog’s care. The dog had been without food and water for two days and our patient knew the dog would die if he wasn’t cared for soon. The patient lived within five minutes of the hospital.

I called his physician who was immediately supportive of our doing whatever we could to relieve his patient’s concern. He said he didn’t feel there would be any harm if the patient was unhooked from his IV long enough to see about his dog, provided someone from the hospital could drive him there. 

A call to Security found them willing to help; they would drive the patient to his house. The patient’s care nurse unhooked his IV and readied him for the short trip home. The security officer went to the floor where the nurse released the patient to him for a quick trip home. With the help of the officer, the patient attended to his dog’s food and water. In little more than 30 minutes, the patient was back in his bed, hooked up again to his IV, and sleeping as sound as a baby. 

When I visited him the next day, his eyes glowed like a child’s at Christmas. He just couldn’t believe his doctor and our hospital would do such a kind thing for him. His doctor said it only took his thinking what he would want done for him if he were the patient. As for Security, it was one of the few times they got to be a part of a happy occurrence, and it brought them, for a day at least, to the inner circle of patient care. The nursing staff? Our nurses were the best and always ready to make their patients happy. 

So there are several heroes in this story. The doctor is the first — for without his okay, it certainly could not, and would not, have happened. Our Security Department’s director and his transporting officer were heroes for not being afraid to take the risk. An unseen hero was our director of Risk Management who was notified of what we wanted to do and gave her complete support. It was all about a patient and his dog that day. 

 

Looking Back at a Memorable Patient

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There’s so much bad news today, I thought a little sharing of personal heroes might be in order. During the years I worked for Methodist Healthcare (1983-1998), my primary responsibilities were to patient concerns, patient rights, and medical ethics. I got to know some terrific individuals and wrote about many of them. I believed the sharing of patient perspectives helped us react more like a small community rather than a large hospital. Everyone does better when they understand another’s perspective. The stories were first shared internally and then with the medical community at large through my column, “Patient Perspective,” in the Memphis Healthcare News. I’ve pulled a few stories, in no particular order, to share with you. This one is very dated, but our need to understand and respect one another never changes. This couple taught us a lot about that. It was written in December of 1988. 

There are those particular patients whose stories we file away in our memory book. Then, from time to time, we draw on the lessons they taught through their demonstration of great courage, kindness, or even wit. There is one patient I remember who met all those qualifications.

I first became involved with him due to his extreme fear of contracting AIDS. He and his wife came to our hospital armed with their own can of disinfectant, and his wife cleaned the bathroom and telephone again – just to be sure.

The patient and his wife, both in their late 60’s, enjoyed one of those marriages that was a sheer delight to observe. As we got to know each other, his wife told me they had both had previous marriages that came apart in the early 1940’s. She said her first husband left to get a haircut one day and just never came back. So, for six years, the second husband made her go with him every time he got a haircut! Then she laughed that happy, throaty laugh of hers, and you could imagine the whole scene taking place.

There were a number of hospitalizations and other visits to our hospital. One day, the patient had been in to get blood and I met him and his wife as they were leaving the hospital. They stopped to speak and give me a quick hug, but then said they had to hurry along. “I’ve just been given the blood of an 18 year old, and I want to get my wife right home” said the patient.

During the time of one hospitalization, the patient decided he would leave a little test for the housekeepers: he put one tiny piece of paper in each of the four corners of his bathroom. The housekeeper passed the test, but one of the patient’s daughters said the housekeeper should have left them where they were with one word written on each paper scrap: (1) I’ve (2) cleaned (3) this (4) bathroom.

The most memorable happening of all, though, came in his first hospitalization. This beautiful human being, full of love and wit, called in all of his grandchildren to talk to them. (As I recall, their ages ranged from about 12 to mid-20’s.) He told them he wanted to be serious just for a minute and then he explained his condition and that he knew his long years of smoking were to blame. He said “Granddaddy should be up playing with you now, and not lying in this bed. If I had taken care of my body, that’s what I would be doing. So I want you to promise me, while each one of you still has a healthy body, to respect it and take care of it. Don’t ever be foolish enough to put yourself where I am now.” With that, he dismissed the time for serious conversation, and became, once again, the life of the party.

Yes, there were times when the patient and his wife might have been seen as ‘difficult’ for staff as they struggled to hold on to the months of life he had left. But surely, there’s not a one of us that felt we could ever put a mark against such a courageous couple.

This was a man and woman who helped us laugh when their hearts were breaking; who held close to each other and taught us lessons about love and left us with memories that bless our days of reflection. The patient was one of those individuals who lives on in each and every person he ever touched, and if there were a hall of fame for patients, we would place his picture there.

 

Voices That Teach

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In the mid-1980s, I was drawn to the teachings of a Catholic priest, Henri J. Nouwen, and a Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. Merton’s book, No Man Is an Island, became my handbook of sorts. I read it over and over, highlighting, underlining, and making notes in the margins. He communicated in to-the-point statements on human relations. “Some people never reveal any of the good that is hidden in them until we give them some of the good that is in ourselves” was an excellent workshop opener.

Nouwen was another great teacher who spoke in pithy statements. He had a way of communicating that immediately drew people in. He taught at the University of Notre Dame and the Divinity Schools of Yale and Harvard and was in constant demand as a lecturer all over the world. Yet with all this respect for what he had to say, he struggled his lifetime with self-doubt and depression. He also felt a great sense of conflict with his many speaking engagements, nouwen books2saying “Many people ask me to speak, but nobody as yet has invited me for silence. Still, I realize that the more I speak, the more I will need silence to remain faithful to what I say. People expect too much from speaking, too little from silence. . . .” . Quite a few of his personal journals went on to be books and people read them often feeling he was telling their stories. Nouwen was ever seeking Jesus and once someone said to him after a lecture, “When I look at you it is as if I am in the presence of Christ.” Nouwen’s response was quick: “It is the Christ in you, who recognizes the Christ in me.”

Another strong voice for me through the years has been that of Oswald Chambers. He was a profound messenger of God. His devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, is perhaps the most highly acclaimed devotional book ever written. Some pastors say it is second only to the Bible in influencing their relationship with Christ. I have several books written about this man who died young (43) due to untreated appendicitis. He was serving as a chaplain on a battlefield and would not put himself in the way of others he felt needed physician attention more. His wife recorded his sermons in shorthand and after his death published the devotional book as well as other books and articles. I have a book with some of his prayers and I particularly like this one: “O Lord, breathe on me till I am one with Thee in the temper of my mind and heart and disposition, unto Thee do I turn. How completely I realize my lost-ness without Thee.”

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Richard and I were married by Maxie Dunnam in 1989.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to the voice of Dr. Maxie Dunnam, for it was he who directed me to the likes of the three I’ve mentioned. Dr. Maxie Dunnam was my pastor from 1983 to 1994. When he preached Sunday mornings at Christ United Methodist Church, he could be counted on to tell about those who influenced his life, and how. Most Sundays I left with a note in hand of someone he had mentioned or a book he had read that impacted his life. Maxie, like Nouwen, is not slow to share personal failings when he believes it will benefit others. He still write today and anything Maxie Dunnam says is worth hearing.

I’ve talked of the influence of two Catholics, a Holiness Movement evangelist, and a Methodist minister. I want to mention one other voice that stimulates my mind, that of Jewish rabbis. If you’ve never heard a rabbi speak as a guest lecturer at a seminar, you have missed gold! Their depth of knowledge and ability to bring you along with them to their final “aha” moment is something rich and beautiful.

Who are the spiritual giants in your life? Who do you credit with pouring into your journey? Who teaches you about purposeful living? I would love to hear. Maybe you will point me to a new favorite for 2019.

Peaceful Sleep

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For most of us, that time of turning in for the night is when our minds accelerate. We think of the decisions we made that day and whether they were wise, many times wishing we could do them over. We think about things that may happen in the near future, things that may be life changing, problems we face — both big and small. We think about our children and our concerns for them. One thing I think about every night is whether I did anything kind for anyone. It bothers me to think I’ve closed out a day without a single act of kindness.

For some who live alone, there are thoughts about safety. Was everything that needed to be turned off, turned off? Did I lock all the doors? Did I arm the security system? If I fall during the night, will someone know to check on me relatively soon the next day?

In the last year of my mother’s living alone, I prayed a lot about her safety.  I prayed against fire, against a predator realizing that she lived alone, that she wouldn’t fall or get sick or become frightened during the night.

Psalm 4:8 says “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (NIV).  I have a friend who prays this every night over family and friends who live alone, calling out each name and asking that they will know God’s protection. What a beautiful gift!

Proverbs 3:24 says “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (NIV). Psalm 127:3 reminds us that the one who watches over us never slumbers or sleeps.

I especially love this word from Psalm 3:3-6 (NLT):  “But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.” I love it because it begins with recognizing and praising God, saying to Him that we know He hears us when we call out to Him. Those words of David say that we know God in Heaven sees every threat that might come our way. It encourages us when it says we slept in trust and woke up without any trouble coming upon us through the night. The last sentence rightly gives God praise again, following the Lord’s instruction to begin and end our prayers with praising God. In that final praise, we affirm our confidence that we are protected on every side and from every danger.

Do you have trouble falling to sleep? Do you replay all the day’s woes? Do you angst over children or parents or other loved ones? Maybe one of these verses can help you to let go and sleep peacefully. Or, you can check your Bible’s concordance or “google” for other verses on peaceful sleep. I encourage you to choose a scripture and commit it to memory, then let it be your last thought of the day. And as Proverb 3:4 says, may your sleep be sweet.

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My Chloe sleeping peacefully. Not a single worry or care!

 

Resting in God’s Peace

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Ask what the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16 NIV))

There is a peace that only God can give. It is as Augustine said “God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” No matter the thing we deal with, small or mighty, when we learn to rest in God all things become manageable in a better way. They become subject to Him and we no longer feel we have to be in charge — in mind or in practice. We can have that peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Hear these stories:

Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic for 51 years, just learned she has cancer again. “When I received the unexpected news of cancer, I relaxed and smiled, knowing that my sovereign God loves me dearly and holds me tightly in His hands. What good is it if we only trust the Lord when we understand His ways? That only guarantees a life filled with doubts.” Joni has had a lifetime of resting all in the Lord.

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. (Psalm 9:1 NLT)

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Nick Vujicic who was born without limbs says “It is hard to find purpose or good in difficult circumstances, but that is the journey. Why does it have to be a journey? Because throughout the difficult times, you will learn more, grow more in faith, love God more, and love your neighbor more. It is the journey of faith that begins in love and ends in love.” Nick rested his difficulties in the Lord long ago. He has a wife and four children and speaks internationally about his faith in God. He proclaims with James:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)

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Five weeks ago, a three-year-old child became very sick, suffered a seizure, and is just now coming out of a coma. She isn’t speaking yet and is unable to walk. She has a long rehabilitative journey ahead of her, yet this is what her mother says: “Even though this has been the toughest thing for us to go through, we are thankful that God chose our little girl to do such big things for Him. Most importantly, we are thankful for our God who can heal Hadley completely and for our faith which we could not handle this season without. I know that she is touching so many people and for that I will always be grateful.”

Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. (Philippians 3:1) I have learned the secret of living in every situation . . . for I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12, 13 NLT). 

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One December a friend who lives many states away came to visit. We took her to a party held in a beautiful and luxuriously decorated home. Our friend lived under great financial constraints; she enjoyed no luxuries, ever. I became concerned that the contrast of life style might sadden her. Yet all through the evening, she was clearly having fun. She said the party was a good reminder of earlier times, before her husband became a housebound invalid. She was grateful for the experience of being in the midst of laughing people.

Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. (Colossians 3:15 NLT)

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It isn’t that some people are born stronger than others, but that they have made the decision to let go of their circumstances and trust God — to rest in Him. We will all have storms in our lives, some far greater than others, but the secret to living above the storm is giving it to God. When we are fully submitted, no matter what happens, we take on the peace of God. It is His promise.

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught.  (Colossians 2:7 NLT)

 

What the Heart Sees

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timmy in hatOn June 29, this young man celebrated his official Adoption Day and became Timothy William Evans, the son of Mike and Melanie Evans. As Melanie puts it, he was knit in his mother’s womb and yet placed in our hearts.

Eight-year-old Timothy was the third child to be adopted by the Evans and the second with special needs. They also have two biological children with special needs. God has fashioned some people with hearts that are extra deep with compassion and Mike and Melanie are two of those people.

In all, Mike and Melanie have eight children. Andrew is their oldest and the first adopted. Jeremy, their first biological child, came next. Savannah, Ethan, and Mariah are triplets. Due to cerebral palsy, Ethan needs a wheelchair for mobility. Mariah cannot talk or walk. Forever, adopted five years ago and destined to live out her life in an orphanage, has frequent and severe seizures that so far medical treatment has not helped. The youngest member of the Evans Eight is Christian, born last year.

Timmy has Down syndrome, autism, and is non-verbal most of the time. He is pretty good with sign language and will sometimes use his voice, but on rare occasions. What I see with Timmy is how his heart speaks, how it plays out through his expressions. (If you click on the pictures below, there will be captions of each situation.)

 

I have a personal connection with the Evans family that goes back about 10 years and I’ve loved watching how they nurture and seek the best for each of their children. Yes, they have people to assist them, but the bottom line is Melanie and Mike are responsible for their care and quality of life 24/7. I would love to tell you more about each of these children, but this is about Timmy, so let me get back to him.

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Mike holding Timothy on adoption day.

I am particularly drawn to this picture of Timmy being held in his white father’s arms. It is the same security I saw in the face of Forever, also African-American, when she was chosen by the Evans. It underscores what I learned from my years of working with mentally challenged people: they do not see color. They see deeper, into the very heart, I believe.

Sundays mean church for the Evans family and Timmy was there with his family two days after adoption. Melanie said Timothy reached one arm high and with palm outstretched wide, spontaneously started worshiping. He had not seen someone else doing it; in fact, it isn’t commonplace in their church. Doesn’t that show you the very real connection he has with his Creator? Do you see that he knows what has happened for him? He is a little boy with major disabilities, but his heart is sound and full of purpose. God has a plan for Timothy just like He does for each of us.

Melanie has this quote about adoption on her Facebook page and it sums up how she and Mike see it:  “Adoption is not the call to have the perfect rosy family. It is the call to give love, mercy, and patience.”

Timothy, I’m so grateful the Evans found and chose you. You hit the jackpot of families who see and love with the heart.  Happy life, Timmy!

 

 

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My blog, Meet “Maddie and Wilda,” October 2017, features Melanie’s mom, Wilda Lahmann. Both Mike and Melanie grew up in homes where fostering and unconditional love were modeled for them.

The Problem with Assuming

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Image-2A few Sundays ago, a fellow church member, Rob Stacey, talked to our Sunday school class about judging a person based on his outward appearance. In speaking, he cited this verse of scripture: “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly” John 7:24 (NLT).

Rob told us he had been born with cerebral palsy. His gait is slow and he walks with the help of a walker. When out to eat with his wife, the waiter asked his wife what Rob would like to eat. Her response was, “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask him?” Rob’s admonition to us was don’t assume and never direct questions to someone with a disabled person until you have tried talking to the disabled person.

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Courtesy of David Ring’s media page.

David Ring was born with Cerebral Palsy. His mobility is more stagger than walk and at times he is difficult to understand. Through his growing up years, Mr. Ring says he endured humiliating public ridicule. He fought through perceptions of who he was and what he could do and today has an international ministry as an evangelist and motivational speaker. The outward appearance would say he is very limited in what he has to offer and that’s why he begins his messages with “I have Cerebral Palsy–what’s your problem?”

My friend Rob reminded us that we all have purpose as long as we have breath and we need to respect that with one another rather than make broad assumptions without facts to back up the assumptions.  When we find the purpose God has given us, He equips us to use what we have to serve others. David Ring says “God took my greatest liability and made it my greatest asset.” His disability is not a hindrance but a tool in furthering the gospel of Christ.

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Just a few of some very special friends who taught me a lot.

I had six incredibly blessed years working with mentally challenged men and women as a church department director. I bore the title of teacher, but it was those mentally challenged individuals who did the teaching. They were so much more than what first impression said. Margie could hardly speak and she didn’t have a normal walk. But by God’s grace and Margie’s patience, I came to understand much of her speech and how much she could comprehend–which was a lot. Dianne appeared testy and sullen, but she was a woman who loved God and was happiest when in worship service. Tim, mentally challenged and blind, loved to sing solos and give testimony to God. Another woman also named Dianne, had Down syndrome and spoke very little. But it wasn’t because she couldn’t carry on a conversation; it was simply a choice she made. She knew every book of the Bible and could readily find scripture.

When I think of those with severe disabilities, the first two people who come to mind are Nick Vujicic (without limbs) and Helen Keller (blind, deaf, mute) and they both became world changers. They are prime examples of how wrong we are to make determinations based solely on what we see or first come to know.

People can seem different for a lot of reasons. They may look different and they may behave different, but until we have looked beneath the surface as said in John 7:24, we cannot possibly know who they are or what they can do.

Learn more about David Ring at http://davidring.org 

Jesus Heals All Afflictions

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In a study of the people Jesus healed, I noted eleven different afflictions: demon/evil spirit possessed, paralytics, blind, fever, leprosy, dying, hemorrhage or bleeding, raised from the dead, seizures, bent over, deaf/mute. Though these have their specific stories, it doesn’t mean they were the only diseases or afflictions that Jesus healed. Thousands came to Him and He healed all that asked.

It may be that the woman bent over for 18 years is the one that captures my attention the most. Her story is told in Luke 13:10-13 and, depending on the Bible translation, she is described as bent double, hunched over, bowed together, twisted and bent. All translations agree that she could no longer stand straight. I have seen a few people like this and thought how terrible it would be to live bent over, how restricted one’s life would be because of it. Her story captures my attention because of the immediate parallel I see with mind state. With this woman’s physical condition I think of others who, though not bent over physically, are certainly bent over emotionally. They seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, as we are inclined to say. I remember a friend who lost her young son in a car accident. Her hair turned to gray overnight and she rarely smiled. Her sorrow had weighed her down and in my mind, I saw her as bent over from the loss of her beloved son. She was never quite the same.

Then I began to look at each of Jesus’ healings with new eyes. Those who could not see remind me of those who wander into wrong relationships. They don’t want to see the warning signs and so they close their eyes and involve themselves in situations that will cause eventual heartache. They are blinded by emotions.

Those with leprosy were outcasts. They were judged as unfit and shut off from society. Many of us have had times when we felt unwanted and shut out. We might not suffer from a terrible skin disease, but the isolation is just as painful in its own way.

The healing that Jesus did most by my search was that of the demon or evil possessed. They suffered in horrific ways. Chains wouldn’t hold them. Some were thrown into fire or water. Some tore off their clothes. Others fell to the ground in convulsions. These people lived lives out of control. And, of course, this makes me think of those who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, on and on. Addiction is one of the hardest things to bring under control. Because of the stronghold addiction has on an individual’s life, much is thrown into a kind of fire. Marriages, families, careers, health—all are destroyed by the demons of addiction.

In every healing of Jesus, I am reminded of something in the mind state. Some of us need physical healing and some of us need healing of the mind or emotions. Whatever our need, Jesus is able to heal. He is a God of compassion and He cares about our brokenness.

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 (ESV)

“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

 

My appreciation to Flickr for free photos.

Journaling Life’s Good Times and Bad

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7064964081_2d983f7df9_mJournaling is a good thing. I wish I could learn to be steadfast with it, faithful to the recording of my thoughts, God’s hand moving in my life, scriptures of promise I claimed. When I read from old entries, I am reminded of times that God proved Himself to me in some personal way. I also read about reflections, when the Holy Spirit takes my mind down a particular pathway and talks to me about life. I was reminded this morning of such a time when I read an entry from two years ago. It was reflection and also a prompting to do more journaling. I feel led to share it with someone, though I know not who. It may not flow for everyone for I’ve written it here just as I did on May 13, 2016.

Life is made up of good times and bad. We take deeper breaths when the days of relief come, when the hard road we have traveled finally ends for a while, we let easier times embrace us. We drink in the rest and we give thanks–and for a while we may coast. We know we almost succumbed to a hard time, but “almost” is the word. God kept us from falling headlong into a pit of despair. He gave us “almost.”

We glance back and wonder at our crippled walk. We look at our panicked fear that oppression, or whatever was had, would stay forever. We know our God and He never has forsaken us, yet it seemed for just a while He might this time. The backward glance is but for a moment. We don’t want to relive even in memory the pain of yesterday.

It will always be this way: good times, bad times, good times again. We will always have our doubts in dark days whether we can stand the new test. But in the dark days–those days called trial–there is also infinite blessing. 3404886436_b08118862b_qLike the earth and blooms and winged creatures drink in water from a long awaited heavy rain, we drink in scripture and prayer with greater thirst when we are in our gray days.

We are never quite at home on earth, always longing for that return to the Father’s home. We yearn to be closer to Him when we cannot do for ourselves, when we cannot change a sickness or injury or crisis of whatever kind. We climb into the arms of our Father, spending more time with Him then, for is there that we receive new strength. Though it may not immediately show itself, we can count on it to be there for the next hill to climb.

When we reach that place of sweet relief, that place where problems have lessened and our heart’s load has lightened, it is not a time to cast off the protection that comes with spending quantities of time with God. Yes, we take time to enjoy our respite. We give praise, we give thanks, but we need to keep building reserve. Part of that is by recording what we learn in our earth travels, so that in another time of battle we may reflect and be encouraged. The mind deceives and the memory fails. Write down the help found on the journey. Record answered prayers, the better direction learned, the greater blessing that came with the wait. 34324554473_c2ea15c73f_mRomans 8:28 forever proves true. That for those who love God, all things do work together for good when we are called according to His purpose.  And that purpose is to be shaped in the image of His Son.

 

 

 

(My appreciation to Flickr for all images.)