A Storm Is Coming!
The tears have finally begun to flow… they unexpectedly came this morning while writing a review for the Board and Care facility where my father lived his last two and half months of life. I haven’t had the energy or the strength in mind or body to just give it a good a cry yet,—I still don’t, but I have begun to let the tears flow…
I guess it was about ten years ago while sitting in the pews on a Sunday morning listening to Pastor Greg Laurie preach his message titled, “A Storm Is Coming,” that I received a personal message from God. As I was taking copious notes there suddenly came a calm, a stillness, and at the same time a thundering loud voice in my mind spoke, “A storm IS COMING!” I paused from my note taking and listened….
One year from that message I was awakened in the middle of the night to an audible voice, “You heard me right!” I knew it was the Lord speaking and I knew exactly what He was speaking about! Indeed, a storm was coming!
I’ve been in that storm for seven years now and under a heavy burden. Not one area, not one relationship has been spared from the storm. Things I’ve shared and things I’ll never share.
But the Lord has stood with me (2 Timothy 4:17)! While I was “alone” on the road driving between two hospitals in two different counties... alone in hospital rooms, alone navigating administrations, advocating, doctors, insurance… on and on… But I was never really alone!
But I have hope this seven year storm may be coming to end!
As I began studying the book of Exodus in June, a particular Scripture verse jumped off the page (you know how exciting that is when that happens?!), and so, out loud I said, “Let it be, Lord! Let this seventh year in the storm, under the heavy burden, be my Exodus year? Let it be!”
Exodus 6:6 says this, “… and I will bring you out from under the burdens… and I will deliver you from their bondage….” And this too, from verse 8, “And I will bring you to the land which I swore… I am the LORD.”
Loosing my mom just eleven months ago and still under the darkness of her particular going away—my dad received an unexpected diagnosis of metastatic mesothelioma and then went away to Heaven in just two short months.
My brother had a heart attack within a week of my dad’s hospitalization and subsequently had his second heart transplant with multiple unexpected complications and setbacks. He is presently in cardio rehab and marching towards a discharge date in less than a week after eleven weeks of hospitalization.
My 47-year-old niece who has cerebral palsy, perforated her esophagus and nearly died (ironically she was a few rooms away in the same ICU as my brother).
But THE LORD STOOD WITH ME, while I stood with them.
He stood with me, and within me, as I prayed each morning, “Lord, which one needs me the most today?” Often I cared for my dad in the morning located in South Corona, and then drove to Loma Linda in the afternoon where my brother and neice were both hospitalized. Typically I spent two hours each day just driving. But the hardest days were when I had to choose...
And that’s only what has taken place in the last two and a half months of my seven year storm.
I’m only half of myself today… I am not recovered yet. But I believe with all that I have in gritty-genuine faith, that God is doing GREAT things for me! I am becoming VERY RICH, so get jealous for me! For I will not leave one spoil behind; the cost is too high!
There are some significant people I want to thank: My husband, Larry, YOU ARE A GREAT MAN!
My niece, Jessica, who just happens to be an Oncology RN, your love and care is more than my little words can express! I love you, sweetheart!
Thank you, Jennifer D., the Hawkins, the Hoopers and the Walsh’s for making us a delicious dinner! Thank you, Leanne, for CONSTANTLY checking in on me and dropping off groceries at my front door, and all sorts of other goodies. Tiff, that bag of everything has gone a long way! I’ve used every notecard, eaten every snack and loved the cozy blanket, hospitals do get cold! The Virtue office girls: Cindy and Larisa, you the bomb!
And for countless others, my Support Leaders in Virtue, friends who prayed and are praying for us! My longest bestie, Kathie, has set her phone alarm to 3:16 and prays for us daily! Especially you, Pastor John, from Living Truth, and Pastor Mike, for your consistent visits to dad and Kirk. Thank you, pastor’s Jeff, Brad and Marty from Harvest, for coming and praying over Kirk and Jennifer at Loma Linda... those were among the hardest of days. Pastor Rick for praying and anointing Dad the day before he went Home.
And thank you to my dad’s caregivers: Moises and Wendall, making my dad pancakes for every meal! And to Sol, who came often, but on that day, the day Dad went to Heaven, you were the tangible hands of Christ as we together washed and dressed Daddy for his going away! You were the one who held me and cried with me! How very special!
“Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:2,9)
It's hard to walk with those in long trials, or “seven year storms,” but it really is the beloved work of Christ. We become His hands in a tangible way. We gain way more than we'll ever lose by stepping into someone else's storm and walking a mile or two with them!
PS... And my apologies too! The phone calls, texts and emails that I did not return... the speaking invitations that I never got back to you on... I’m sorry. Totally not how I want to be!
I love you, people! ♥️