Saturday, May 31, 2014

sweet mercies

Well here we's the sixth month of 2014 [halfway thru the year already?!] and it sort of feels like we're just getting started. It's finally warm out, the kids are driving both of us CRAZY, the house is a wicked mess, and my hubby is out on the golf course as I type this. No need for alarm...he's not swinging any clubs just yet. He's more like the golf cart chauffeur at this point, driving his buddies around while they play the game. But that's okay. You see, we're SO excited to be a part of this thing called LIFE again that we'll do just about anything to take part. Even roll up alongside it in a golf cart. Like I said... [just.getting.started].

Derek's doing really well actually. He's 3 weeks out of surgery now and looking more like himself than ever. He still has a bit more recovery ahead of him, but we're expecting him to sail right thru it. He's doing more than he should [in my over-protective opinion] but who can blame him, right? He's itching to get going again. We were told by his doctors that he has a really good chance of getting back the strength and stature he had before the illness and heart surgery...which is also beyond awesome. We were expecting him to have some major restrictions as far as lifestyle and work, but it doesn't look like there will be too many issues, if any. I think my main concern at this point is keeping him alive thru this Blackhawks series [yes, it may be hockey that kills him]. The stress alone might give him a heart attack. It's freaking me out! People recovering from open heart surgery should not pump their fists and march around the living room screaming. !

I have to say I'm feeling a little warm and fuzzy today, just reminiscing about where we've been. I counted the days, and over a period of 3 1/2 months Derek spent a total of 44 of those bad boys (days) in the hospital. He went from a fever and a belly ache to a life supporting ventilator... practically overnight. Those first weeks still ROCK MY WORLDI want to remember them -- my thoughts, my fears, my prayers. This unique road was carved into our lives and hearts [literally...eek] and I want to make sure I get some of it down on paper before time gets the best of me and I forget the weight of it all.  And oh, is it weighty :)

A few nights I can't seem to forget came right after Derek was first intibated. It's when reality set in and I came home from the hospital alone to our house for the first time without him. I realized that I might soon be telling my two little ones that their Daddy would not be coming home [ever]. Talk about crying and wailing and uncontrollable shaking. I think THAT hurt the most in the beginning of all this. I don't mean in any way that I don't have crazy love for Derek. I did then, I do now. It's just that I could lose that man and still breath... because in my heart of hearts "I got it"... he would go to GLORY with his God if he died. I would be miserable, I would be broken, but I knew I would see him again and have an eternity next to him, singing and living in praise to our God....together, forever. The end. But on the other side of that, I could not bear the hurt it would cause our kids. Those little ones, there's no way they could understand, and that literally took the breath right out of my lungs. They wanted hugs and tickles and that big daddy of theirs to wrestle with. THAT was what stretched my faith. Giving the hurt that my kids might have to face to God and letting the pieces fall where they may. The protecting love we have for our kids is overwhelming; I don't think I ever fully realized that before. I was definitely hit in the gut with that one. Thankfully a blow that I've only had a taste of and do not have to fully face at this moment in life. Such a sweet mercy for this heart of mine. Thank you Lord.

The birth of our third child and how that would play out in all this...another ginormous sweet mercy. I have to admit it turned out better than I could have imagined. Seriously... this whole thing bordered on the insane if you ask me. The pregnancy was definitely something that I had to come to terms with in the very beginning as well. It was like I could see the birth of our 3rd child before me... the joys we were expecting to it being our first time to not find out the baby's sex and expectantly awaiting that good old surprise. Except all of the sudden I was preparing myself to experience that surprise "alone". That was pretty horrible. Knowing one day soon I'd be having that moment with or without him. That had some weight...let me tell ya. But I quickly handed that over to the Lord and did not allow my mind to go there ever. It was like I wrote it on a piece of paper, gave it to God and completely forgot about the being pregnant part and the complications it brought to the situation. Not that I forgot, but I refused to let myself dwell on it. Tapping into those unpredictable pregnancy emotions was not something I was willing to risk. Plus, ALL of my energy and emotion was concentrated on one person... my Derek. No time for self inflicted drama!

Another song I've sang over and much so that Rowan sings along and thinks it's "our song" The lyrics kill me. It's our truth. 

It's that crazy sea again, that God quiets for who...FOR US. And those fears and mountains that once stood before us...we can now see past them. And where are our eyes again? Yep, ON HIM.  Oh the words.  I LOVE THIS SONG.


The grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name 

Friday, May 9, 2014

surgery behind us... some fabulous LIFE before us!

We have much to be thankful for today! Derek made it thru his open heart surgery like a champ... the surgeon said it went as well as it possibly could. He is in a lot of pain and has had his own pharmacist mixing him some custom cocktails (no joke). With all of he's been thru, he's somewhat immune to pain they called in the big dogs. He's doing well though, hopefully we'll be home in a week. He has some recovery ahead of him; it will be months yet until he's himself. But we'll gladly take it. We feel like this is a new start for us, and we have SO MUCH to look forward to. It's freeing really. We're on our 9th hospital room and month 4 of this madness, so bring it on. 

Truly we are all breathing a LONG and SLOW sigh of relief. This road has had it's share of peaks and valleys, and both Derek and I just weren't sure where this big surgery would land us. We absolutely believed God would see our family thru it, but we've learned that the landing spot is sometimes not what we would expect or ask for. I think that's been hard for a lot of people to understand. We ARE people of faith...but we still prepared for any outcome this surgery might have brought. It was completely different being able to see the hard coming this time; the first time around we were blind sided by it all. Talk about coming full circle...

And speaking of FAITH, one of my best friends reminded me of Mark 2... Remember those men who brought the sick man on the mat... and since they couldn't get thru the crowd to Jesus, they actually cut a hole and lowered him on his mat thru the roof? They didn't know if Jesus would heal their friend, but they believed in Jesus, that He alone had the power to really save and heal... so much so that in desperation they dangled the guy from the ceiling! That's what I believe we've all done with Derek thru prayer; continuously dangled him before our Savior without reservation. People have been repeatedly bringing Derek before the Lord and begging for His help over the last 3 or 4 months...and we are so THANKFUL for all your prayers. It's truly amazing how many people have been genuinely concerned for this guy and been brought to their knees in prayer. To God be the glory, for real. I've never seen anything like this, and we're humbled that everyday people like us could be on the receiving end of such love.

I've been reading Psalm 89 and 91 over the last few grueling days; so much speaks to what this whole journey has been for us.

Psalm 89
"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known... You rule over the surging sea; when it's waves mount up, you still them... Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and SHIELD..."

So many people have told me they don't understand how we've held up thru this with such faith. I have no idea "how" either...I'm surprised myself really. But I can tell you that Christ is our foundation, and when the storm came and life fell apart, THAT was all that was left and we clung to it with all we had. I cannot imagine walking this road without it. And honestly, we didn't have to fear the reality of these circumstances... we could sing thru the tears. We knew wherever we landed, He would be with us and somehow we could bear it...


Psalm 91
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty... He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your SHIELD and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys by midday... If you make the Most High your dwelling - even the Lord, who is my refuge -   then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent... He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him."